Then Odysseus, of many wiles, answered him, and said: “Lord Alcinous, renowned above all men, verily this is a good thing, to listen to a minstrel such as this man is, like unto the gods in voice.
For myself I declare that there is no greater fulfillment of delight than when joy possesses a whole people, and banqueters in the halls listen to a minstrel as they sit in order due, and by them tables are laden with bread and meat, and the cup-bearer draws wine from the bowl
and bears it round and pours it into the cups. This seems to my mind the fairest thing there is. But thy heart is turned to ask of my grievous woes, that I may weep and groan the more. What, then, shall I tell thee first, what last?
for woes full many have the heavenly gods given me. First now will I tell my name, that ye, too, may know it, and that I hereafter, when I have escaped from the pitiless day of doom, may be your host, though I dwell in a home that is afar. I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, who
am known among men for all manner of wiles,1
and my fame reaches unto heaven. But I dwell in clear-seen Ithaca
, wherein is a mountain, Neriton, covered with waving forests, conspicuous from afar; and round it lie many isles hard by one another, Dulichium, and Same, and wooded Zacynthus
itself lies close in to the mainland2
the furthest toward the gloom,3
but the others lie apart toward the Dawn and the sun—a rugged isle, but a good nurse of young men; and for myself no other thing can I see sweeter than one's own land. Of a truth Calypso, the beautiful goddess, sought to keep me by her
in her hollow caves, yearning that I should be her husband; and in like manner Circe would fain have held me back in her halls, the guileful lady of Aeaea, yearning that I should be her husband; but they could never persuade the heart within my breast. So true is it that naught is sweeter than a man's own land and his parents,
even though it be in a rich house that he dwells afar in a foreign land away from his parents. But come, let me tell thee also of my woeful home-coming, which Zeus laid upon me as I came from Troy
the wind bore me and brought me to the Cicones,
to Ismarus. There I sacked the city and slew the men; and from the city we took their wives and great store of treasure, and divided them among us, that so far as lay in me no man might go defrauded of an equal share. Then verily I gave command that we should flee with swift foot, but the others in their great folly did not hearken.
But there much wine was drunk, and many sheep they slew by the shore, and sleek kine of shambling gait.