And her own good report, or shall espouse
The noblest of her wooers, and the best
Entitled by the splendour of his gifts.
But I will give him, since I find him lodgd
A guest beneath thy roof, tunic and cloak,
Sword double-edged, and sandals for his feet,
With convoy to the country of his choice.
Still, if it please thee, keep him here thy guest,
And I will send him raiment, with supplies
Of all sorts, lest he burthen thee and thine.
But where the suitors come, there shall not he
With my consent, nor stand exposed to pride
And petulance like theirs, lest by some sneer
They wound him, and through him, wound also me;
For little is it that the boldest can
Against so many; numbers will prevail.
Oh amiable and good! since even I
Am free to answer thee, I will avow
My heart within me torn by what I hear
Of those injurious suitors, who the house
Infest of one noble as thou appearst.
But saysubmittest thou to their controul
Willingly, or because the people, swayd
By some response oracular, incline
Against thee? Thou hast brothers, it may chance,
Slow to assist theefor a brothers aid
Is of importance in whatever cause.
For oh that I had youth as I have will,
Or that renownd Ulysses were my sire,
Or that himself might wander home again.
Whereof hope yet remains! then might I lose
My head, that moment, by an aliens hand,
If I would fail, entring Ulysses gate,
To be the bane and mischief of them all.
But if alone to multitudes opposed
I should perchance be foiled; nobler it were
With my own people, under my own roof
To perish, than to witness evermore
Their unexampled deeds, guests shoved aside,
Maidens draggd forcibly from room to room,
Casks emptied of their rich contents, and them
Indulging gluttnous appetite day by day
Enormous, without measure, without end.
Stranger! thy questions shall from me receive
True answer. Enmity or hatred none
Subsists the people and myself between,
Nor have I brothers to accuse, whose aid
Is of importance in whatever cause,
For Jove hath from of old with single heirs
Our house supplied; Arcesias none begat
Except Laertes, and Laertes none
Except Ulysses, and Ulysses me
Left here his only one, and unenjoyd.
Thence comes it that our palace swarms with foes;
For all the rulers of the neighbour isles,
Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crownd
Zacynthus, others also rulers here
In craggy Ithaca, my mother seek
In marriage, and my household stores consume.
But neither she those nuptial rites abhorrd
Refuses absolute, nor yet consents
To end them; they my patrimony waste
Meantime, and will destroy me also soon,
As I expect, but heavn disposes all.
News to Penelope that I am safe,
And have arrived from Pylus; I will wait
Till thou return; and well beware that none
Hear thee beside, for I have many foes.
It is enough. I understand. Thou speakst
To one intelligent. But say beside,
Shall I not also, as I go, inform
Distressd Laertes? who while yet he mournd
Ulysses only, could oersee the works,
And dieted among his menials oft
As hunger prompted him, but now, they say,
Since thy departure to the Pylian shore,
He neither eats as he was wont, nor drinks,
Nor oversees his hinds, but sighing sits
And weeping, wasted even to the bone.
Hard though it be, yet to his tears and sighs
Him leave we now. We cannot what we would.
For, were the ordering of all events
Referrd to our own choice, our first desire
Should be to see my fathers glad return.
But once thy tidings told, wander not thou
In quest of Him, but hither speed again.
Rather request my mother that she send
Her households governess without delay
Privately to him; she shall best inform
The ancient King that I have safe arrived.
His sandals, to the city bent his way.
Nor went Eumæus from his home unmarkd
By Pallas, who in semblance of a fair
Damsel, accomplishd in domestic arts,
Approaching to the cottage entrance, stood
Opposite, by Ulysses plain discernd,
But to his son invisible; for the Gods
Appear not manifest alike to all.
The mastiffs saw her also, and with tone
Querulous hid themselves, yet barkd they not.
She beckond him abroad. Ulysses saw
The sign, and, issuing through the outer court,
Approachd her, whom the Goddess thus bespake.
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