The Ithacans bury the wooers, and sitting in council
resolve on revenge. And coming near the house of Laertes,
are met by Odysseus, and Laertes with Telemachus and
servants, the whole number twelve, and are overcome, and

Now Cyllenian Hermes called forth from the halls the souls
of the wooers, and he held in his hand his wand that is
fair and golden, wherewith he lulls the eyes of men, of
whomso he will, while others again he even wakens out of
sleep. Herewith he roused and led the souls who followed
gibbering. And even as bats flit gibbering in the secret
place of a wondrous cave, when one has fallen down from the
cluster on the rock, where they cling each to each up
aloft, even so the souls gibbered as they fared together,
and Hermes, the helper, led them down the dank ways. Past
the streams of Oceanus and the White Rock, past the gates
of the Sun they sped and the land of dreams, and soon they
came to the mead of asphodel, where dwell the souls, the
phantoms of men outworn. There they found the soul of
Achilles son of Peleus, and the souls of Patroclus, and of
noble Antilochus, and of Aias, who in face and form was
goodliest of all the Danaans after the noble son of Peleus.

So these were flocking round Achilles, and the spirit of
Agamemnon, son of Atreus, drew nigh sorrowful; and about
him were gathered all the other shades, as many as perished
with him in the house of Aegisthus, and met their doom.
Now the soul of the son of Peleus spake to him first,

'Son of Atreus, verily we deemed that thou above all other
heroes wast evermore dear to Zeus, whose joy is in the
thunder, seeing that thou wast lord over warriors, many and
mighty men, in the land of the Trojans where we Achaeans
suffered affliction. But lo, thee too was deadly doom to
visit early, {*} the doom that none avoids of all men born.
Ah, would that in the fulness of thy princely honour, thou
hadst met death and fate in the land of the Trojans! So
would all the Achaean host have builded thee a barrow, yea
and for thy son thou wouldst have won great glory in the
aftertime. But now it has been decreed for thee to perish
by a most pitiful death.'

{* Reading [Greek]}

Then the soul of the son of Atreus answered, and spake:
'Happy art thou son of Peleus, godlike Achilles, that didst
die in Troy-land far from Argos, and about thee fell
others, the best of the sons of Trojans and Achaeans,
fighting for thy body; but thou in the whirl of dust layest
mighty and mightily fallen, forgetful of thy chivalry. And
we strove the livelong day, nor would we ever have ceased
from the fight, if Zeus had not stayed us with a tempest.
Anon when we had borne thee to the ships from out of the
battle, we laid thee on a bier and washed thy fair flesh
clean with warm water and unguents, and around thee the
Danaans shed many a hot tear and shore their hair. And
forth from the sea came thy mother with the deathless
maidens of the waters, when they heard the tidings; and a
wonderful wailing rose over the deep, and trembling fell on
the limbs of all the Achaeans. Yea, and they would have
sprung up and departed to the hollow ships, had not one
held them back that knew much lore from of old, Nestor,
whose counsel proved heretofore the best. Out of his good
will he made harangue, and spake among them:

'"Hold, ye Argives, flee not, young lords of the Achaeans.
Lo, his mother from the sea is she that comes, with the
deathless maidens of the waters, to behold the face of her
dead son."

'So he spake, and the high-hearted Achaeans ceased from
their flight. Then round thee stood the daughters of the
ancient one of the sea, holding a pitiful lament, and they
clad thee about in raiment incorruptible. And all the nine
Muses one to the other replying with sweet voices began the
dirge; there thou wouldest not have seen an Argive but
wept, so mightily rose up the clear chant. Thus for
seventeen days and nights continually did we all bewail
thee, immortal gods and mortal men. On the eighteenth day
we gave thy body to the flames, and many well-fatted sheep
we slew around thee, and kine of shambling gait. So thou
wert burned in the garments of the gods, and in much
unguents and in sweet honey, and many heroes of the
Achaeans moved mail-clad around the pyre when thou wast
burning, both footmen and horse, and great was the noise
that arose. But when the flame of Hephaestus had utterly
abolished thee, lo, in the morning we gathered together thy
white bones, Achilles, and bestowed them in unmixed wine
and in unguents. Thy mother gave a twy-handled golden urn,
and said that it was the gift of Dionysus, and the
workmanship of renowned Hephaestus. Therein lie thy white
bones, great Achilles, and mingled therewith the bones of
Patroclus son of Menoetias, that is dead, but apart is the
dust of Antilochus, whom thou didst honour above all thy
other companions, after Patroclus that was dead. Then over
them did we pile a great and goodly tomb, we the holy host
of Argive warriors, high on a jutting headland over wide
Hellespont, that it might be far seen from off the sea by
men that now are, and by those that shall be hereafter.
Then thy mother asked the gods for glorious prizes in the
games, and set them in the midst of the lists for the
champions of the Achaeans. In days past thou hast been at
the funeral games of many a hero, whenso, after some king's
death, the young men gird themselves and make them ready
for the meed of victory; but couldst thou have seen these
gifts thou wouldst most have marvelled in spirit, such
glorious prizes did the goddess set there to honour thee,
even Thetis, the silver-footed; for very dear wert thou to
the gods. Thus not even in death hast thou lost thy name,
but to thee shall be a fair renown for ever among all men,
Achilles. But what joy have I now herein, that I have wound
up the clew of war, for on my return Zeus devised for me an
evil end at the hands of Aegisthus and my wife accursed?'

So they spake one to the other. And nigh them came the
Messenger, the slayer of Argos, leading down the ghosts of
the wooers by Odysseus slain, and the two heroes were
amazed at the sight and went straight toward them. And the
soul of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, knew the dear son of
Melaneus, renowned Amphimedon, who had been his host,
having his dwelling in Ithaca. The soul of the son of
Atreus spake to him first, saying:

'Amphimedon, what hath befallen you, that ye have come
beneath the darkness of earth, all of you picked men and of
like age? it is even as though one should choose out and
gather together the best warriors in a city. Did Poseidon
smite you in your ships and rouse up contrary winds and the
long waves? Or did unfriendly men, perchance, do you hurt
upon the land as ye were cutting off their oxen and fair
flocks of sheep, or while they fought to defend their city
and the women thereof? Answer and tell me, for I avow me a
friend of thy house. Rememberest thou not the day when I
came to your house in Ithaca with godlike Menelaus, to urge
Odysseus to follow with me to Ilios on the decked ships?
And it was a full month ere we had sailed all across the
wide sea, for scarce could we win to our cause Odysseus,
waster of cities.'

Then the ghost of Amphimedon answered him, and spake: 'Most
famous son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon, I remember
all these things, O fosterling of Zeus, as thou declarest
them, and I in turn will tell thee all the tale well and
truly, even our death and evil end, on what wise it befell.
We wooed the wife of Odysseus that was long afar, and she
neither refused the hated bridal nor was minded to make an
end, devising for us death and black fate. Also this other
wile she contrived in her heart. She set up in her halls a
mighty web, fine of woof and very wide, whereat she would
weave, and anon she spake among us:

'"Ye princely youths, my wooers, now that goodly Odysseus
is dead, do ye abide patiently, how eager soever to speed
on this marriage of mine, till I finish the robe. I would
not that the threads perish to no avail, even this shroud
for the hero Laertes, against the day when the ruinous doom
shall bring him low, of death that lays men at their
length. So shall none of the Achaean women in the land
count it blame in me, as well might be, were he to lie
without a winding-sheet, a man that had gotten great

'So spake she, and our high hearts consented thereto. So
then in the daytime she would weave the mighty web, and in
the night unravel the same, when she had let place the
torches by her. Thus for the space of three years she hid
the thing by guile and won the minds of the Achaeans; but
when the fourth year arrived and the seasons came round, as
the months waned and many days were accomplished, then it
was that one of her women who knew all declared it, and we
found her unravelling the splendid web. Thus she finished
it perforce and sore against her will. Now when she brought
the robe to light, after she had woven the great web and
washed it, and it shone even as sun or moon, at that very
hour some evil god led Odysseus, I know not whence, to the
upland farm, where the swineherd abode in his dwelling.
Thither too came the dear son of divine Odysseus out of
sandy Pylos, voyaging with his black ship. These twain
framed an evil death for the wooers, and came to the
renowned town. Odysseus verily came the later, and
Telemachus went before and led the way. Now the swineherd
brought Odysseus clad in vile raiment, in the likeness of a
beggar, a wretched man and an old, leaning on a staff, and
behold, he was clad about in sorry raiment. And none of us,
not even the elders, could know him for that he was, on
this his sudden appearing, but with evil words we assailed
him and hurled things at him. Yet for a while he hardened
his heart to endure both the hurlings and the evil words in
his own halls; but at the last, when the spirit of Zeus,
lord of the aegis, aroused him, by the help of Telemachus
he took up all the goodly weapons, and laid them by in the
inner chamber and drew the bolts. Next in his great craft
he bade his wife to offer his bow and store of grey iron to
the wooers to be the weapons of our contest, luckless that
we were, and the beginning of death. Now not one of us
could stretch the string of the strong bow; far short we
fell of that might. But when the great bow came to the
hands of Odysseus, then we all clamoured and forbade to
give him the bow, how much soever he might speak, but
Telemachus alone was instant with him and commanded him to
take it. Then he took the bow into his hands, the steadfast
goodly Odysseus, and lightly he strung it, and sent the
arrow through the iron. Then straight he went to the
threshold and there took his stand, and poured forth the
swift arrows, glancing terribly around, and smote the king
Antinous. Thereafter on the others he let fly his bolts,
winged for death, with straight aim, and the wooers fell
thick one upon another. Then was it known how that some god
was their helper, for pressing on as their passion drave
them, they slew the men right and left through the halls,
and thence there arose a hideous moaning, as heads were
smitten and the floor all ran with blood. So we perished,
Agamemnon, and even now our bodies lie uncared for in the
halls of Odysseus, for the friends of each one at home as
yet know nought, even they who might wash the black-clotted
blood out of our wounds, and lay out the bodies and wail
the dirge, for that is the due of the dead.'

Then the ghost of the son of Atreus answered him: 'Ah,
happy son of Laertes, Odysseus of many devices, yea, for a
wife most excellent hast thou gotten, so good was the
wisdom of constant Penelope, daughter of Icarius, that was
duly mindful of Odysseus, her wedded lord. Wherefore the
fame of her virtue shall never perish, but the immortals
will make a gracious song in the ears of men on earth to
the fame of constant Penelope. In far other wise did the
daughter of Tyndareus devise ill deeds, and slay her wedded
lord, and hateful shall the song of her be among men, and
an evil repute hath she brought upon all womankind, even on
the upright.'

Even so these twain spake one to the other, standing in the
house of Hades, beneath the secret places of the earth.

Now when those others had gone down from the city, quickly
they came to the rich and well-ordered farm land of
Laertes, that he had won for himself of old, as the prize
of great toil in war. There was his house, and all about it
ran the huts wherein the thralls were wont to eat and dwell
and sleep, bondsmen that worked his will. And in the house
there was an old Sicilian woman, who diligently cared for
the old man, in the upland far from the city. There
Odysseus spake to his thralls and to his son, saying:

'Do ye now get you within the well-builded house, and
quickly sacrifice the best of the swine for the midday
meal, but I will make trial of my father, whether he will
know me again and be aware of me when he sees me, or know
me not, so long have I been away,'

Therewith he gave the thralls his weapons of war. Then they
went speedily to the house, while Odysseus drew near to the
fruitful vineyard to make trial of his father. Now he found
not Dolius there, as he went down into the great garden,
nor any of the thralls nor of their sons. It chanced that
they had all gone to gather stones for a garden fence, and
the old man at their head. So he found his father alone in
the terraced vineyard, digging about a plant. He was
clothed in a filthy doublet, patched and unseemly, with
clouted leggings of oxhide bound about his legs, against
the scratches of the thorns, and long sleeves over his
hands by reason of the brambles, and on his head he wore a
goatskin cap, and so he nursed his sorrow. Now when the
steadfast goodly Odysseus saw his father thus wasted with
age and in great grief of heart, he stood still beneath a
tall pear tree and let fall a tear. Then he communed with
his heart and soul, whether he should fall on his father's
neck and kiss him, and tell him all, how he had returned
and come to his own country, or whether he should first
question him and prove him in every word. And as he thought
within himself, this seemed to him the better way, namely,
first to prove his father and speak to him sharply. So with
this intent the goodly Odysseus went up to him. Now he was
holding his head down and kept digging about the plant,
while his renowned son stood by him and spake, saying:

'Old man, thou hast no lack of skill in tending a garden;
lo, thou carest well for all, {*} nor is there aught
whatsoever, either plant or fig-tree, or vine, yea, or
olive, or pear, or garden-bed in all the close, that is not
well seen to. Yet another thing will I tell thee and lay
not up wrath thereat in thy heart. Thyself art scarce so
well cared for, but a pitiful old age is on thee, and
withal thou art withered and unkempt, and clad unseemly. It
cannot be to punish thy sloth that thy master cares not for
thee; there shows nothing of the slave about thy face and
stature, for thou art like a kingly man, even like one who
should lie soft, when he has washed and eaten well, as is
the manner of the aged. But come declare me this and
plainly tell it all. Whose thrall art thou, and whose
garden dost thou tend? Tell me moreover truly, that I may
surely know, if it be indeed to Ithaca that I am now come,
as one yonder told me who met with me but now on the way
hither. He was but of little understanding, for he deigned
not to tell me all nor to heed my saying, when I questioned
him concerning my friend, whether indeed he is yet alive or
is even now dead and within the house of Hades. For I will
declare it and do thou mark and listen: once did I kindly
entreat a man in mine own dear country, who came to our
home, and never yet has any mortal been dearer of all the
strangers that have drawn to my house from afar. He
declared him to be by lineage from out of Ithaca, and said
that his own father was Laertes son of Arceisius. So I led
him to our halls and gave him good entertainment, with all
loving-kindness, out of the plenty that was within. Such
gifts too I gave him as are the due of guests; of well
wrought gold I gave him seven talents, and a mixing bowl of
flowered work, all of silver, and twelve cloaks of single
fold, and as many coverlets, and as many goodly mantles and
doublets to boot, and besides all these, four women skilled
in all fair works and most comely, the women of his

{* Supplying [Greek] from the preceding clause as object to
[Greek]. Other constructions are possible.}

Then his father answered him, weeping: 'Stranger, thou art
verily come to that country whereof thou askest, but
outrageous men and froward hold it. And these thy gifts,
thy countless gifts, thou didst bestow in vain. For if thou
hadst found that man yet living in the land of Ithaca he
would have sent thee on thy way with good return of thy
presents, and with all hospitality, as is due to the man
that begins the kindness. But come, declare me this and
plainly tell me all; how many years are passed since thou
didst entertain him, thy guest ill-fated and my child,--if
ever such an one there was,--hapless man, whom far from his
friends and his country's soil, the fishes, it may be, have
devoured in the deep sea, or on the shore he has fallen the
prey of birds and beasts. His mother wept not over him nor
clad him for burial, nor his father, we that begat him. Nor
did his bride, whom men sought with rich gifts, the
constant Penelope, bewail her lord upon the bier, as was
meet, nor closed his eyes, as is the due of the departed.
Moreover, tell me this truly, that I may surely know, who
art thou and whence of the sons of men? Where is thy city
and where are they that begat thee? Where now is thy swift
ship moored, that brought thee thither with thy godlike
company? Hast thou come as a passenger on another's ship,
while they set thee ashore and went away?

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him, saying: 'Yea
now, I will tell thee all most plainly. From out of Alybas
I come, where I dwell in a house renowned, and am the son
of Apheidas the son of Polypemon, the prince, and my own
name is Eperitus. But some god drave me wandering hither
from Sicania against my will, and yonder my ship is moored
toward the upland away from the city. But for Odysseus,
this is now the fifth year since he went thence and
departed out of my country. Ill-fated was he, and yet he
had birds of good omen when he fared away, birds on the
right; wherefore I sped him gladly on his road, and gladly
he departed, and the heart of us twain hoped yet to meet in
friendship on a day and to give splendid gifts.'

So he spake, and on the old man fell a black cloud of
sorrow. With both his hands he clutched the dust and ashes
and showered them on his gray head, with ceaseless
groaning. Then the heart of Odysseus was moved, and up
through his nostrils throbbed anon the keen sting of sorrow
at the sight of his dear father. And he sprang towards him
and fell on his neck and kissed him, saying:

'Behold, I here, even I, my father, am the man of whom thou
askest; in the twentieth year am I come to mine own
country. But stay thy weeping and tearful lamentation, for
I will tell thee all clearly, though great need there is of
haste. I have slain the wooers in our halls and avenged
their bitter scorn and evil deeds.'

Then Laertes answered him and spake, saying: 'If thou art
indeed Odysseus, mine own child, that art come hither, show
me now a manifest token, that I may be assured.'

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 'Look
first on this scar and consider it, that the boar dealt me
with his white tusk on Parnassus, whither I had gone, and
thou didst send me forth, thou and my lady mother, to
Autolycus my mother's father, to get the gifts which when
he came hither he promised and covenanted to give me. But
come, and I will even tell thee the trees through all the
terraced garden, which thou gavest me once for mine own,
and I was begging of thee this and that, being but a little
child, and following thee through the garden. Through these
very trees we were going, and thou didst tell me the names
of each of them. Pear-trees thirteen thou gavest me and ten
apple-trees and figs two-score, and, as we went, thou didst
name the fifty rows of vines thou wouldest give me, whereof
each one ripened at divers times, with all manner of
clusters on their boughs, when the seasons of Zeus wrought
mightily on them from on high.'

So he spake, and straightway his knees were loosened, and
his heart melted within him, as he knew the sure tokens
that Odysseus showed him. About his dear son he cast his
arms, and the steadfast goodly Odysseus caught him fainting
to his breast. Now when he had got breath and his spirit
came to him again, once more he answered and spake, saying:

'Father Zeus, verily ye gods yet bear sway on high Olympus,
if indeed the wooers have paid for their infatuate pride!
But now my heart is terribly afraid, lest straightway all
the men of Ithaca come up against us here, and haste to
send messengers everywhere to the cities of the

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 'Take
courage, and let not thy heart be careful about these
matters. But come, let us go to the house that lies near
the garden, for thither I sent forward Telemachus and the
neatherd and the swineherd to get ready the meal as
speedily as may be.'

After these words the twain set out to the goodly halls.
Now when they had come to the fair-lying house, they found
Telemachus and the neatherd and the swineherd carving much
flesh, and mixing the dark wine. Meanwhile the Sicilian
handmaid bathed high-hearted Laertes in his house, and
anointed him with olive-oil, and cast a fair mantle about
him. Then Athene drew nigh, and made greater the limbs of
the shepherd of the people, taller she made him than before
and mightier to behold. Then he went forth from the bath,
and his dear son marvelled at him, beholding him like to
the deathless gods in presence. And uttering his voice he
spake to him winged words:

'Father, surely one of the gods that are from everlasting
hath made thee goodlier and greater to behold.'

Then wise Laertes answered him, saying: 'Ah, would to
father Zeus and Athene and Apollo, that such as I was when
I took Nericus, the stablished castle on the foreland of
the continent, being then the prince of the Cephallenians,
would that in such might, and with mail about my shoulders,
I had stood to aid thee yesterday in our house, and to beat
back the wooers; so should I have loosened the knees of
many an one of them in the halls, and thou shouldest have
been gladdened in thine inmost heart!'

So they spake each with the other. But when the others had
ceased from their task and made ready the feast, they sat
down all orderly on chairs and on high seats. Then they
began to put forth their hands on the meat, and the old man
Dolius drew nigh, and the old man's sons withal came tired
from their labour in the fields, for their mother, the aged
Sicilian woman, had gone forth and called them, she that
saw to their living and diligently cared for the old man,
now that old age had laid hold on him. So soon as they
looked on Odysseus and took knowledge of him, they stood
still in the halls in great amazement. But Odysseus
addressed them in gentle words, saying:

'Old man, sit down to meat and do ye forget your
marvelling, for long have we been eager to put forth our
hands on the food, as we abode in the hall alway expecting
your coming.'

So he spake, and Dolius ran straight toward him stretching
forth both his hands, and he grasped the hand of Odysseus
and kissed it on the wrist, and uttering his voice spake to
him winged words:

'Beloved, forasmuch as thou hast come back to us who sore
desired thee, and no longer thought to see thee, and the
gods have led thee home again;--hail to thee and welcome
manifold, and may the gods give thee all good fortune!
Moreover tell me this truly, that I may be assured, whether
wise Penelope yet knows well that thou hast come back
hither, or whether we shall dispatch a messenger.'

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered saying: 'Old man,
already she knows all; what need to busy thyself herewith?'

Thereon the other sat him down again on his polished
settle. And in like wise the sons of Dolius gathered about
the renowned Odysseus, and greeted him well and clasped his
hands, and then sat down all orderly by Dolius their

So they were busy with the meal in the halls. Now Rumour
the messenger went swiftly all about the city, telling the
tale of the dire death and fate of the wooers. And the
people heard it, and all at once gathered together from
every side with sighing and groaning before the house of
Odysseus. And each brought forth his dead from the halls,
and buried them; but those that came out of other cities
they placed on swift ships and sent with fisherfolk, each
to be carried to his own home. As for them they all fared
together to the assembly-place, in sorrow of heart. When
they were all gathered and come together, Eupeithes arose
and spake among them, for a comfortless grief lay heavy on
his heart for his son Antinous, the first man that goodly
Odysseus had slain. Weeping for him he made harangue and
spake among them:

'Friends, a great deed truly hath this man devised against
the Achaeans. Some with his ships he led away, many men,
and noble, and his hollow ships hath he lost, and utterly
lost of his company, and others again, and those far the
best of the Cephallenians he hath slain on his coming home.
Up now, before ever he gets him swiftly either to Pylos or
to fair Elis, where the Epeians bear sway, let us go forth;
else even hereafter shall we have shame of face for ever.
For a scorn this is even for the ears of men unborn to
hear, if we avenge not ourselves on the slayers of our sons
and of our brethren. Life would no more be sweet to me, but
rather would I die straightway and be with the departed.
Up, let us be going, lest these fellows be beforehand with
us and get them over the sea.'

Thus he spake weeping, and pity fell on all the Achaeans.
Then came near to them Medon and the divine minstrel, forth
from the halls of Odysseus, for that sleep had let them go.
They stood in the midst of the gathering, and amazement
seized every man. Then Medon, wise of heart, spake among
them, saying:

'Hearken to me now, ye men of Ithaca, for surely Odysseus
planned not these deeds without the will of the gods. Nay I
myself beheld a god immortal, who stood hard by Odysseus,
in the perfect semblance of Mentor; now as a deathless god
was he manifest in front of Odysseus, cheering him, and yet
again scaring the wooers he stormed through the hall, and
they fell thick one on another.'

Thus he spake, and pale fear gat hold of the limbs of all.
Then the old man, the lord Halitherses, spake among them,
the son of Mastor, for he alone saw before and after. Out
of his good will be made harangue and spake among them,

'Hearken to me now, ye men of Ithaca, to the word that I
will say. Through your own cowardice, my friends, have
these deeds come to pass. For ye obeyed not me, nor Mentor,
the shepherd of the people, to make your sons cease from
their foolish ways. A great villainy they wrought in their
evil infatuation, wasting the wealth and holding in no
regard the wife of a prince, while they deemed that he
would never more come home. And now let things be on this
wise, and obey my counsel. Let us not go forth against him,
lest haply some may find a bane of their own bringing.'

So he spake, but they leapt up with a great cry, the more
part of them, while the rest abode there together; for his
counsel was not to the mind of the more part, but they gave
ear to Eupeithes, and swiftly thereafter they rushed for
their armour. So when they had arrayed them in shining
mail, they assembled together in front of the spacious
town. And Eupeithes led them in his witlessness, for he
thought to avenge the slaying of his son, yet himself was
never to return, but then and there to meet his doom.

Now Athene spake to Zeus, the son of Cronos, saying: 'O
Father, our father Cronides, throned in the highest, answer
and tell me what is now the hidden counsel of thy heart?
Wilt thou yet further rouse up evil war and the terrible
din of battle, or art thou minded to set them at one again
in friendship?'

Then Zeus, the gatherer of the clouds, answered her saying:
'My child, why dost thou thus straitly question me, and ask
me this? Nay didst not thou thyself devise this very
thought, namely, that Odysseus should indeed take vengeance
on these men at his coming? Do as thou wilt, but I will
tell thee of the better way. Now that goodly Odysseus hath
wreaked vengeance on the wooers, let them make a firm
covenant together with sacrifice, and let him be king all
his days, and let us bring about oblivion of the slaying of
their children and their brethren; so may both sides love
one another as of old, and let peace and wealth abundant be
their portion.'

Therewith he roused Athene to yet greater eagerness, and
from the peaks of Olympus she came glancing down.

Now when they had put from them the desire of honey-sweet
food, the steadfast goodly Odysseus began to speak among
them, saying:

'Let one go forth and see, lest the people be already
drawing near against us.'

So he spake, and the son of Dolius went forth at his
bidding, and stood on the outer threshold and saw them all
close at hand. Then straightway he spake to Odysseus winged

'Here they be, close upon us! Quick, let us to arms!'

Thereon they rose up and arrayed them in their harness,
Odysseus and his men being four, and the six sons of
Dolius, and likewise Laertes and Dolius did on their
armour, grey-headed as they were, warriors through stress
of need. Now when they had clad them in shining mail, they
opened the gates and went forth and Odysseus led them.

Then Athene, daughter of Zeus, drew near them in the
likeness of Mentor, in fashion and in voice. And the
steadfast goodly Odysseus beheld her and was glad, and
straightway he spake to Telemachus his dear son:

'Telemachus, soon shalt thou learn this, when thou thyself
art got to the place of the battle where the best men try
the issue,--namely, not to bring shame on thy father's
house, on us who in time past have been eminent for might
and hardihood over all the world.'

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: 'Thou shalt see
me, if thou wilt, dear father, in this my mood no whit
disgracing thy line, according to thy word.'

So spake he, and Laertes was glad and spake, saying: 'What
a day has dawned for me, kind gods; yea, a glad man am I!
My son and my son's son are vying with one another in

Then grey-eyed Athene stood beside Laertes, and spake to
him: 'O son of Arceisius that art far the dearest of all my
friends, pray first to the grey-eyed maid and to father
Zeus, then swing thy long spear aloft and hurl its

Therewith Pallas Athene breathed into him great strength.
Then he prayed to the daughter of mighty Zeus, and
straightway swung his long spear aloft and hurled it, and
smote Eupeithes through his casque with the cheek-piece of
bronze. The armour kept not out the spear that went clean
through, and he fell with a crash, and his arms rattled
about his body. Then Odysseus and his renowned son fell on
the fore-fighters, and smote them with swords and
two-headed spears. And now would they have slain them all
and cut off their return, had not Athene called aloud, the
daughter of Zeus lord of the aegis, and stayed all the host
of the enemy, saying:

'Hold your hands from fierce fighting, ye men of Ithaca,
that so ye may be parted quickly, without bloodshed.'

So spake Athene, and pale fear gat hold of them all. The
arms flew from their hands in their terror and fell all
upon the ground, as the goddess uttered her voice. To the
city they turned their steps, as men fain of life, and the
steadfast goodly Odysseus with a terrible cry gathered
himself together and hurled in on them, like an eagle of
lofty flight. Then in that hour the son of Cronos cast
forth a flaming bolt, and it fell at the feet of the
grey-eyed goddess, the daughter of the mighty Sire. Then
grey-eyed Athene spake to Odysseus, saying:

'Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many
devices, refrain thee now and stay the strife of
even-handed war, lest perchance the son of Cronos be angry
with thee, even Zeus of the far-borne voice.'

So spake Athene, and he obeyed and was glad at heart. And
thereafter Pallas Athene set a covenant between them with
sacrifice, she, the daughter of Zeus lord of the aegis, in
the likeness of Mentor, both in fashion and in voice.

Homer, thy song men liken to the sea,
With every note of music in his tone,
With tides that wash the dim dominion
Of Hades, and light waves that laugh in glee
Around the isles enchanted: nay, to me
Thy verse seems as the River of source unknown
That glasses Egypt's temples overthrown,
In his sky-nurtur'd stream, eternally.
No wiser we than men of heretofore
To find thy mystic fountains guarded fast;
Enough--thy flood makes green our human shore
As Nilus, Egypt, rolling down his vast,
His fertile waters, murmuring evermore
Of gods dethroned, and empires of the Past.