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Then wise Penelope answered him: “Antinous, it is not well nor just to rob of their due the guests of Telemachus, whosoever he be that comes to this house. Dost thou think that, if yon stranger [315] strings the great bow of Odysseus, trusting in his strength and his might, he will lead me to his home, and make me his wife? Nay, he himself, I ween, has not this hope in his breast; so let no one of you on this account sit at meat here in sorrow of heart; nay, that were indeed unseemly.” [320] Then Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered her: “Daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, it is not that we think the man will lead thee to his home—that were indeed unseemly—but that we dread the talk of men and women, lest hereafter some base fellow among the Achaeans should say: [325] ‘Truly men weaker far are wooing the wife of a noble man, and cannot string his polished bow. But another, a beggar, that came on his wanderings, easily strung the bow, and shot through the iron.’ Thus will men speak, but to us this would become a reproach.” [330] Then wise Penelope answered him again: “Eurymachus, in no wise can there be good report in the land for men who dishonor and consume the house of a prince. Why then do you make this matter1 a reproach? This stranger is right tall and well-built, [335] and declares himself to be born the son of a good father. Nay, come, give him the polished bow and let us see. For thus will I speak out to thee, and this word shall verily be brought to pass; if he shall string the bow, and Apollo grant him glory, I will clothe him with a cloak and tunic, fair raiment, [340] and will give him a sharp javelin to ward off dogs and men, and a two-edged sword; and I will give him sandals to bind beneath his feet, and will send him whithersoever his heart and spirit bid him go.” Then wise Telemachus answered her: “My mother, as for the bow, no man of the Achaeans [345] has a better right than I to give or to deny it to whomsoever I will—no, not all those who lord it in rocky Ithaca, or in the islands towards horse-pasturing Elis. No man among these shall thwart me against my will, even though I should wish to give this bow outright to the stranger to bear away with him. [350] But do thou go thy chamber, and busy thyself with thine own tasks, the loom and the distaff, and bid thy handmaids ply their tasks. The bow shall be for men, for all, but most of all for me; since mine is the authority in the house.”

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