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So he spoke, but Odysseus eagerly1 ate flesh and drank wine, [110] greedily, in silence, and was sowing the seeds of evil for the wooers. But when he had dined, and satisfied his soul with food, then the swineherd filled the bowl from which he was himself wont to drink, and gave it him brim full of wine, and he took it, and was glad at heart; and he spoke, and addressed him with winged words: [115] “Friend, who was it who bought thee with his wealth, a man so very rich and mighty, as thou tellest? Thou saidest that he died to win recompense for Agamemnon; tell me, if haply I may know him, being such an one. For Zeus, I ween, and the other immortal gods know [120] whether I have seen him, and could bring tidings; for I have wandered far.” Then the swineherd, a leader of men, answered him: “Old man, no wanderer that came and brought tidings of him could persuade his wife and his dear son; nay, at random, when they have need of entertainment, do vagabonds [125] lie, and are not minded to speak the truth. Whosoever in his wanderings comes to the land of Ithaca, goes to my mistress and tells a deceitful tale. And she, receiving him kindly, gives him entertainment, and questions him of all things, and the tears fall from her eyelids, while she weeps, [130] as is the way of a woman, when her husband dies afar. And readily wouldest thou too, old man, fashion a story, if one would give thee a cloak and a tunic for raiment. But as for him, ere now dogs and swift birds are like to have torn the flesh from his bones, and his spirit has left him; [135] or in the sea fishes have eaten him, and his bones lie there on the shore, wrapped in deep sand. Thus has he perished yonder, and to his friends grief is appointed for days to come, to all, but most of all to me. For never again shall I find a master so kind, how far soever I go, [140] not though I come again to the house of my father and mother, where at the first I was born, and they reared me themselves. Yet it is not for them that I henceforth mourn so much, eager though I am to behold them with my eyes and to be in my native land; nay, it is longing for Odysseus, who is gone, that seizes me. [145] His name, stranger, absent though he is, I speak with awe, for greatly did he love me and care for me at heart; but I call him my lord beloved, for all he is not here.”

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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