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So he spoke, and the sun set, and darkness came on. [330] Then among them spoke the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena: “Old man, of a truth thou hast told this tale aright. But come, cut out the tongues of the victims and mix the wine, that when we have poured libations to Poseidon and the other immortals, we may bethink us of sleep; for it is the time thereto. [335] Even now has the light gone down beneath the darkness, and it is not fitting to sit long at the feast of the gods, but to go our way.” So spoke the daughter of Zeus, and they hearkenened to her voice. Heralds poured water over their hands, and youths filled the bowls brim full of drink, [340] and served out to all, pouring first drops for libation into the cups. Then they cast the tongues upon the fire, and, rising up, poured libations upon them. But when they had poured libations and had drunk to their heart's content, then verily Athena and godlike Telemachus were both fain to return to the hollow ship; [345] but Nestor on his part sought to stay them, and he spoke to them, saying: “This may Zeus forbid, and the other immortal gods, that ye should go from my house to your swift ship as from one utterly without raiment and poor, who has not cloaks and blankets in plenty in his house, [350] whereon both he and his guests may sleep softly. Nay, in my house there are cloaks and fair blankets. Never surely shall the dear son of this man Odysseus lie down upon the deck of a ship, while I yet live and children after me are left in my halls [355] to entertain strangers, even whosoever shall come to my house.” Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Well indeed hast thou spoken in this, old friend, and it were fitting for Telemachus to hearken to thee, since it is far better thus. But while he shall now follow with thee, that he may sleep [360] in thy halls, I for my part will go to the black ship, that I may hearten my comrades and tell them all. For alone among them I declare that I am an older man; the others are younger who follow in friendship, all of them of like age with great-hearted Telemachus. [365] There will I lay me down by the hollow black ship this night, but in the morning I will go to the great-hearted Cauconians, where a debt is owing to me, in no wise new or small. But do thou send this man on his way with a chariot and with thy son, since he has come to thy house, and give him horses, [370] the fleetest thou host in running and the best in strength.”

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