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Look, prince Odysseus - what you ask is easy;
I think I see the cave you just described.

Far up, or further down? I cannot see it.

Up high - and I can hear no sound of footsteps.

30 Make sure that no one lies asleep inside.

I see an empty chamber - no one near.

And are there no provisions there for living?

A pile of leaves pressed down for a man to sleep on.

Is all the rest of the cave deserted then?

35 All but a cup carved from a piece of wood
by a clumsy workman's efforts - and some kindling.

This treasure-house which you describe is his.

And over here - ugh! - filthy rags are lying,
set out to dry, and full of hideous pus.

40 Clearly this dwelling place belongs to him;
he must be somewhere near: a man whose leg
was maimed so long ago will not walk far.
Either he's gone to look for food, or else
to find a soothing medicine for his wound.
45Send this man here to spy, and to prevent him
from coming suddenly; for he would rather
take me than all the other Greeks combined.

Done - be assured the path will be well guarded.
Spy withdraws.
Now, if you will, speak further of your plan.

50 Son of Achilles, now is the time to show
your true nobility, not with strength alone,
but, if you hear some unexpected plan,
yet serve me - for you came as my assistant.

What are you asking?

load focus Notes (Sir Richard C. Jebb, 1932)
load focus English (Sir Richard Jebb, 1898)
load focus Greek (Francis Storr, 1913)
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  • Commentary references to this page (5):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 586
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 218
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 1191
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 1157
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 962
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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