So spake Odysseus, and with his staff smote his back and shoulders; and Thersites cowered down, and a big tear fell from him, and a bloody weal rose up on his back beneath the staff of gold. Then he sate him down, and fear came upon him, and stung by pain with helpless looks he wiped away the tear.
But the Achaeans, sore vexed at heart though they were, broke into a merry laugh at him, and thus would one speak with a glance at his neighbour: “Out upon it! verily hath Odysseus ere now wrought good deeds without number as leader in good counsel and setting battle in army, but now is this deed far the best that he hath wrought among the Argives,
seeing he hath made this scurrilous babbler to cease from his prating. Never again, I ween, will his proud spirit henceforth set him on to rail at kings with words of reviling.”
So spake the multitude; but up rose Odysseus, sacker of cities, the sceptre in his hand, and by his side flashing-eyed Athene,
in the likeness of a herald, bade the host keep silence, that the sons of the Achaeans, both the nearest and the farthest, might hear his words, and lay to heart his counsel. He with good intent addressed their gathering and spake among them:“Son of Atreus, now verily are the Achaeans minded to make thee, O king,
the most despised among all mortal men, nor will they fulfill the promise that they made to thee, while faring hitherward from Argos, the pasture-land of horses, that not until thou hadst sacked well-walled Ilios shouldest thou get thee home. For like little children or widow women
do they wail each to the other in longing to return home. Verily there is toil enough to make a man return disheartened. For he that abideth but one single month far from his wife in his benched ship hath vexation of heart, even he whom winter blasts and surging seas keep afar;
but for us is the ninth year at its turn, while we abide here; wherefore I count it not shame that the Achaeans have vexation of heart beside their beaked ships; yet even so it is a shameful thing to tarry long, and return empty. Endure, my friends, and abide for a time, that we may know
whether the prophecies of Calchas be true, or no.