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She then, seized with wonder, went back to her chamber, [355] for she laid to heart the wise saying of her son. Up to her upper chamber she went with her handmaids, and then bewailed Odysseus, her dear husband, until flashing-eyed Athena cast sweet sleep upon her eyelids. Now the goodly swineherd had taken the curved bow and was bearing it, [360] but the wooers all cried out in the halls. And thus would one of the proud youths speak: “Whither, pray, art thou bearing the curved bow, miserable swineherd, thou man distraught? Soon by thy swine, alone and apart from men, shall the swift hounds devour thee—hounds thyself didst rear—if but Apollo [365] be gracious to us, and the other immortal gods.” So they spoke, and he set down the bow, as he bore it, in that very place, seized with fear because many men were crying out aloud in the halls. But Telemachus on the other side called out threateningly: “Father, bear the bow onward—soon shalt thou rue giving heed to all— [370] lest, younger though I am, I drive thee to the field, and pelt thee with stones; for in strength I am the better. I would that I were even so much better in strength and might than all the wooers that are in the house; then would I soon send many a one [375] forth from our house to go his way in evil case; for they devise wickedness.” So he spoke, but all the wooers laughed merrily at him, and relaxed the bitterness of their anger against Telemachus. Howbeit the swineherd bore the bow through the hall, and came up to wise Odysseus, and put it in his hands. [380] Then he called forth the nurse Eurycleia, and said to her: “Telemachus bids thee, wise Eurycleia, to bar the close-fitting doors of the hall, and if any of the women hear within groanings or the din of men within our walls, let them not [385] rush out, but remain where they are in silence at their work.” So he spoke, but her word remained unwinged; and she barred the doors of the stately halls. But in silence Philoetius hastened forth from the house, and barred the gates of the well-fenced court. [390] Now there lay beneath the portico the cable of a curved ship, made of byblus plant, wherewith he made fast the gates, and then himself went within. Thereafter he came and sat down on the seat from which he had risen, and gazed upon Odysseus; now he was already handling the bow, turning it round and round, and trying it this way and that, [395] lest worms might have eaten the horns, while its lord was afar. And thus would one speak with a glance at his neighbor: “Verily he has a shrewd eye, and is a cunning knave with a bow. It may be haply that he has himself such bows stored away at home, or else he is minded to make one, that he thus [400] turns it this way and that in his hands, the rascally vagabond.”

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 1.356
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