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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 23

Translated by S. Butcher and A. Lang

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Page 3

 Then wise Penelope answered her: 'Dear nurse, boast not yet over them with laughter. Thou knowest how welcome the sight of him would be in the halls to all, and to me in chief, and to his son that we got between us. But this is no true tale, as thou declarest it, nay but it is one of the deathless gods that hath slain the proud wooers, in wrath at their bitter insolence and evil deeds. For they honoured none of earthly men, neither the good nor yet the bad, that came among them. Wherefore they have suffered an evil doom through their own infatuate deeds. But Odysseus, far away hath lost his homeward path to the Achaean land, and himself is lost.'

 Then the good nurse Eurycleia made answer to her: 'My child, what word hath escaped the door of thy lips, in that thou saidest that thy lord, who is even now within, and by his own hearthstone, would return no more? Nay, thy heart is ever hard of belief. Go to now, and I will tell thee besides a most manifest token, even the scar of the wound that the boar on a time dealt him with his white tusk. This I spied while washing his feet, and fain I would have told it even to thee, but he laid his hand on my mouth, and in the fulness of his wisdom suffered me not to speak. But come with me and I will stake my life on it; and if I play thee false, do thou slay me by a death most pitiful.'

 Then wise Penelope made answer to her: 'Dear nurse, it is hard for thee, how wise soever, to observe the purposes of the everlasting gods. None the less let us go to my child, that I may see the wooers dead, and him that slew them.'

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