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[795] Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, took other counsel. She made a phantom, and likened it in form to a woman, Iphthime, daughter of great-hearted Icarius, whom Eumelus wedded, whose home was in Pherae. And she sent it to the house of divine Odysseus, [800] to Penelope in the midst of her wailing and lamenting, to bid her cease from weeping and tearful lamentation. So into the chamber it passed by the thong of the bolt, and stood above her head, and spoke to her, and said: “Sleepest thou, Penelope, thy heart sore stricken? [805] Nay, the gods that live at ease suffer thee not to weep or be distressed, seeing that thy son is yet to return; for in no wise is he a sinner in the eyes of the gods.” Then wise Penelope answered her, as she slumbered very sweetly at the gates of dreams: [810] “Why, sister, art thou come hither? Thou hast not heretofore been wont to come, for thou dwellest in a home far away. And thou biddest me cease from my grief and the many pains that distress me in mind and heart. Long since I lost my noble husband of the lion heart, [815] pre-eminent in all manner of worth among the Danaans, my noble husband whose fame is wide in Hellas and mid-Argos. And now again my well-loved son is gone forth in a hollow ship, a mere child, knowing naught of toils and the gatherings of men. For him I sorrow even more than for that other, [820] and tremble for him, and fear lest aught befall him, whether it be in the land of the men to whom he is gone, or on the sea. For many foes are plotting against him, eager to slay him before he comes back to his native land.” Then the dim phantom answered her, and said: [825] “Take heart, and be not in thy mind too sore afraid; since such a guide goes with him as men have full often besought to stand by their side, for she has power,—even Pallas Athena. And she pities thee in thy sorrow, for she it is that has sent me forth to tell thee this.” [830] Then again wise Penelope answered her: “If thou art indeed a god, and hast listened to the voice of a god, come, tell me, I pray thee, also of that hapless one, whether he still lives and beholds the light of the sun, or whether he is already dead and in the house of Hades.” [835] And the dim phantom answered her, and said:“Nay, of him I may not speak at length, whether he be alive or dead; it is an ill thing to speak words vain as wind.” So saying the phantom glided away by the bolt of the door into the breath of the winds. And [840] the daughter of Icarius started up from sleep, and her heart was warmed with comfort, that so clear a vision had sped to her in the darkness1 of night. But the wooers embarked, and sailed over the watery ways, pondering in their hearts utter murder for Telemachus. There is a rocky isle in the midst of the sea, [845] midway between Ithaca and rugged Samos, Asteris, of no great size, but therein is a harbor where ships may lie, with an entrance on either side. There it was that the Achaeans tarried, lying in wait for Telemachus.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 11.259
    • Thomas D. Seymour, Commentary on Homer's Iliad, Books I-III, 1.63
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