So saying he sat down, and among them rose
Mentor, who was a comrade of noble Odysseus. To him, on departing with his ships, Odysseus had given all his house in charge, that it should obey the old man and that he should keep all things safe. He with good intent addressed their assembly, and spoke among them:
“Hearken now to me, men of Ithaca
, to the word that I shall say.
Never henceforth let sceptred king with a ready heart be kind and gentle, nor let him heed righteousness in his heart, but let him ever be harsh and work unrighteousness, seeing that no one remembers divine Odysseus of the people whose lord he was; yet gentle was he as a father.
But of a truth I begrudge not the proud wooers that they work deeds of violence in the evil contrivings of their minds, for it is at the hazard of their own lives that they violently devour the house of Odysseus, who, they say, will no more return. Nay, rather it is with the rest of the folk that I am wroth, that ye all
sit thus in silence, and utter no word of rebuke to make the wooers cease, though ye are many and they but few.”
Then Leocritus, son of Euenor, answered him:“Mentor, thou mischief-maker,1
thou wanderer in thy wits, what hast thou said, bidding men make us cease? Nay, it were a hard thing
to fight about a feast with men that moreover outnumber you. For if Ithacan Odysseus himself were to come and be eager at heart to drive out from his hall the lordly wooers who are feasting in his house, then should his wife have no joy
at his coming, though sorely she longed for him, but right here would he meet a shameful death, if he fought with men that outnumbered him.2
Thou hast not spoken aright. But come now, ye people, scatter, each one of you to his own lands. As for this fellow, Mentor and Halitherses will speed his journey, for they are friends of his father's house from of old.
But methinks he will long abide here and get his tidings in Ithaca
, and never accomplish this journey.”
So he spoke, and hastily broke up the assembly. They then scattered, each one to his own house; and the wooers went to the house of divine Odysseus.
But Telemachus went apart to the shore of the sea, and having washed his hands in the grey seawater, prayed to Athena: “Hear me, thou who didst come yesterday as a god to our house, and didst bid me go in a ship over the misty deep to seek tidings of the return of my father, that has long been gone.
Lo, all this the Achaeans hinder, but the wooers most of all in their evil insolence.”