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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 20

Translated by S. Butcher and A. Lang

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Page 2

 So spake he, chiding his own spirit within him, and his heart verily abode steadfast in obedience to his word. But Odysseus himself lay tossing this way and that. And as when a man by a great fire burning takes a paunch full of fat and blood, and turns it this way and that and longs to have it roasted most speedily, so Odysseus tossed from side to side, musing how he might stretch forth his hands upon the shameless wooers, being but one man against so many. Then down from heaven came Athene and drew nigh him, fashioned in the likeness of a woman. And she stood over his head and spake to him, saying:

 'Lo now again, wherefore art thou watching, most luckless of all men living? Is not this thy house and is not thy wife there within and thy child, such a son as men wish to have for their own?'

 Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her saying: 'Yea, goddess, all this thou hast spoken as is meet. But my heart within me muses in some measure upon this, how I may stretch forth my hands upon the shameless wooers, being but one man, while they abide ever in their companies within. Moreover this other and harder matter I ponder in my heart: even if I were to slay them by thy will and the will of Zeus, whither should I flee from the avengers? Look well to this, I pray thee.'

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


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