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And when the maids had bathed them and anointed them with oil, [50] and had cast about them fleecy cloaks and tunics, they sat down on chairs beside Menelaus, son of Atreus. Then a handmaid brought water for the hands in a fair pitcher of gold, and poured it over a silver basin for them to wash, and beside them drew up a polished table. [55] And the grave housewife brought and set before them bread, and therewith dainties in abundance, giving freely of her store. And a carver lifted up and placed before them platters of all manner of meats, and set by them golden goblets. Then fair-haired Menelaus greeted the two and said: [60] “Take of the food, and be glad, and then when you have supped, we will ask you who among men you are; for in you two the breed of your sires is not lost, but ye are of the breed of men that are sceptred kings, fostered of Zeus; for base churls could not beget such sons as you.” [65] So saying he took in his hands roast meat and set it before them, even the fat ox-chine which they had set before himself as a mess of honor. So they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them. But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, lo, then Telemachus spoke to the son of Nestor, [70] holding his head close to him, that the others might not hear: “Son of Nestor, dear to this heart of mine, mark the flashing of bronze throughout the echoing halls, and the flashing of gold, of electrum,1 of silver, and of ivory. Of such sort, methinks, is the court of Olympian Zeus within, [75] such untold wealth is here; amazement holds me as I look.” Now as he spoke fair-haired Menelaus heard him, and he spoke and addressed them with winged words: “Dear children, with Zeus verily no mortal man could vie, for everlasting are his halls and his possessions; [80] but of men another might vie with me in wealth or haply might not. For of a truth after many woes and wide wanderings I brought my wealth home in my ships and came in the eighth year. Over Cyprus and Phoenicia I wandered, and Egypt, and I came to the Ethiopians and the Sidonians and the Erembi, [85] and to Libya, where the lambs are horned from their birth.2 For there the ewes bear their young thrice within the full course of the year; there neither master nor shepherd has any lack of cheese or of meat or of sweet milk, but the flocks ever yield milk to the milking the year through. [90] While I wandered in those lands gathering much livelihood, meanwhile another slew my brother by stealth and at unawares, by the guile of his accursed wife. Thus, thou mayest see, I have no joy in being lord of this wealth; and you may well have heard of this from your fathers, whosoever they [95] may be, for full much did I suffer, and let fall into ruin a stately house and one stored with much goodly treasure. Would that I dwelt in my halls with but a third part of this wealth, and that those men were safe who then perished in the broad land of Troy far from horse-pasturing Argos.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), BA´LNEAE
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TRIUMPHUS
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