Book XV

Return of Telemachus

Appearance of Pallas in a dream to Telemachus, warning him to return to Ithaca⁠—His departure from Lacedaemon, and arrival at Pylos⁠—Theoclymenus, an augur, taken on board by him at Pylos⁠—The story of Eumaeus related by him to Ulysses⁠—Arrival of Telemachus at the coast of Ithaca⁠—The ship sent forward to the city, while Telemachus, having committed Theoclymenus to the care of his friend Piraeus, goes to the lodge of Eumaeus.

Then Pallas, hastening to the mighty realm
Of Lacedaemon, sought the illustrious son
Of great Ulysses, to remind the youth
Of home, and bid him think of his return.
She found Telemachus and Nestor’s son
Upon their couches in the portico
Of Menelaus, the renowned. Deep sleep
Held Nestor’s son; but to Telemachus
The welcome slumber came not, for his thoughts
Uneasily through all the quiet night
Dwelt on his father. Now beside his bed
The blue-eyed Pallas took her stand and spake:⁠—

“Telemachus, it is no longer well
That thou shouldst wander from thy home, and leave
All thy possessions, and those arrogant men
That crowd thy halls. Beware, lest they devour
Thy substance utterly, dividing all
Among them, and this journey be for naught.
Make suit to Menelaus, great in war,
Quickly to send thee home, that thou mayst join
Thy blameless mother in thy halls; for now
Her father and her brothers counsel her
To wed Eurymachus, whose gifts exceed
Those of the other suitors, and besides
He offers a yet richer bridal dower.
It were not hard without thy leave to take
Wealth from a palace. What a wife will do
Thou knowest. ’Tis her pleasure to increase
The riches of the man whom she has wed.
Care of her former children has she none,
Nor memory of the husband whom she took
While yet a maid, and who is in his grave;
Of these she never speaks. Return thou, then,
And give thy goods in charge to one among
The handmaids of thy household who shall seem
The fittest for the trust, until the gods
Bring thee a noble wife. Another word
Have I for thee, and bear thou it in mind:
The chief among the suitors in the strait
Between the rugged Samos and the isle
Of Ithaca are lurking, in the hope
To slay thee on thy voyage home; but this
I think they cannot do before the earth
Hold many of the suitor-crew who make
Thy wealth a spoil. Steer thou thy gallant barque
Far from the isles; sail only in the night.
Some god, whoever it may be that keeps
Watch over thee, will send a prosperous gale.
When to the nearest shore of Ithaca
Thou comest in thy ship, let it go on,
With all thy comrades, to the town, while thou
Repairest to the keeper of thy swine,
Whose heart is faithful to thee. There remain
With him that night, and send him to the town
With tidings to the sage Penelope
That thou art come from Pylos and art safe.”

So having said, the goddess took her way
Up to the Olympian height. Telemachus
Touched with his heel and wakened Nestor’s son
From a soft slumber and bespake him thus:⁠—

“Rise, Nestor’s son, Peisistratus, and bring
The firm-paced steeds and yoke them to the car,
And we will now set forth upon our way.”

And Nestor’s son, Peisistratus, replied:
“Telemachus, whatever be our haste,
It were not well in darkness to begin
Our journey, and the morn will soon be here.
Remain till Menelaus, Atreus’ son,
The hero mighty with the spear, shall come,
And bring his gifts, and place them in our car,
And send us on our way with kindly words.
Well does a guest remember all his days
The generous host who shows himself his friend.”

He spake, and quickly on her car of gold
Appeared the Morn. Then Menelaus came,
The great in battle, from his couch beside
The fair-haired Helen. When Telemachus
Knew of the king’s approach, the hero threw
In haste his tunic o’er his noble form,
And over his broad shoulders flung a cloak
Of ample folds. Then, going forth, the son
Of great Ulysses met the king and said:⁠—

“Atrides Menelaus, loved of Jove
And sovereign of the people, send me hence,
I pray, to the dear country of my birth,
For earnestly I long to be at home.”

And Menelaus, great in war, replied:
“Telemachus, I will not keep thee long,
Since thou so much desirest to return.
I am displeased with him who as a host
Is lavish of his love, for he will hate
Beyond due measure; best it is to take
The middle way. It is alike a wrong
To thrust the unwilling stranger out of doors,
And to detain him when he longs to go.
While he is with us we should cherish him,
And, when he wishes, help him to depart.
Remain until I bring thee worthy gifts
And place them in thy chariot, that thine eyes
May look on them; and I will give command
That in the palace here the women spread
A liberal feast from stores that lie within.
But if, in turning from thy course, thou choose
To pass through Hellas and the midland tract
Of Argos, I will yoke my steeds and go
With thee, and show the cities thronged with men;
Nor will they send us empty-handed thence,
But bring us gifts which we may bear away⁠—
Tripod, perchance, or cauldron wrought of brass,
Perchance a pair of mules or golden cup.”

Then spake discreet Telemachus in turn:
“Atrides Menelaus, loved of Jove
And sovereign of the people, rather far
Would I return to my own home; for there
Is no man left in charge of what is mine,
And I must go, lest, while I vainly seek
My father, I may perish, or may lose
Some valued treasure from my palace rooms.”

The valiant Menelaus heard, and bade
His wife and maidens spread without delay
A ready banquet from the stores within.
Then Eteöneus from his morning sleep,
Son of Boëtheus, came, for very near
His dwelling was. The sovereign bade him light
A fire and roast the flesh, and he obeyed.
And then into the fragrant treasure-room
Descended Menelaus, not alone;
Helen and Megapenthes went with him.
And when they came to where the treasures lay,
Atrides took a double goblet up,
And bade his son, young Megapenthes, bear
A silver beaker thence, while Helen stood
Beside the coffers where the embroidered robes
Wrought by her hands were laid. The glorious dame
Took one and brought it forth, most beautiful
In needlework, and amplest of them all.
The garment glittered like a star, and lay
Below the other robes. Then, passing through
The palace halls, they found Telemachus,
And thus the fair-haired Menelaus spake:⁠—

“Telemachus, may Jove the Thunderer,
Husband of Juno, grant thee to return
According to thy wish! I give thee here
Of all the treasures which my house contains
The fairest and most precious. I present
A goblet all of silver, save the lips,
And they are bound with gold; it is the work
Of Vulcan. Phaedimus the hero, king
Of the Sidonians, gave it me when once
His palace sheltered me. He gave it me
At parting, and I now would have it thine.”

Atrides spake, and gave into his hands
The double goblet. Megapenthes next
Before him set the shining beaker wrought
Of silver. Rosy Helen, holding up
The robe, drew near, and spake to him and said:⁠—

“I also bring to thee, dear son, a gift,
The work of Helen’s hands, which thou shalt keep,
In memory of her, until the day
Of thy desired espousals, when thy bride
Shall wear it. Let it in the meantime lie
Within thy halls, in thy dear mother’s care;
And mayst thou soon and happily arrive
At thy fair palace and thy native coast.”

So spake she, placing in his hands the robe.
He took it, and was glad. Peisistratus
Was moved with wonder as he saw, and laid
The presents in the car. The fair-haired king
Then led them to the hall, and seated them
On thrones and couches, where a maiden brought
Water in a fair golden ewer, and o’er
A silver basin poured it for their hands,
And near them set a table smoothly wrought.
The matron of the palace brought them bread
And many a delicate dish to please the taste
From stores within the house. Then to the board
Boëtheus’ son drew near and carved the meats,
And gave to each a portion, while the son
Of glorious Menelaus poured the wine.
The guests put forth their hands and shared the food
That lay prepared before them. When the calls
Of thirst and hunger ceased, Telemachus
And Nestor’s famous son brought forth and yoked
The steeds, and climbed into the sumptuous car,
And drove from out the echoing portico.
Atrides Menelaus, amber-haired,
Went forth with them, and, holding in his hand
A golden cup of generous wine, poured out
An offering for their voyage to the gods.
Before the steeds he took his stand, and first
Drank from the cup, and then bespake the guests:⁠—

“Now fare ye well, young men, and when ye come
To Nestor, shepherd of the people, give
Greetings from me; for he was kind to me
As if he were a father, when the sons
Of Greece were warring in the realm of Troy.”

Then spake in turn discreet Telemachus:
“Assuredly I shall relate to him,
As soon as I am with him, all that thou,
foster-child of Jove, hast bid me say;
And would to heaven I might as surely tell
Ulysses in his palace, when again
I come to Ithaca, how welcome thou
Hast made me here, and how I came away
With treasures rich and many from thy court.”

As thus he spake, an eagle to the right
Appeared, that, flying, bore a large white goose,
Clutched from the tame flock in the palace court;
And men and women ran the way he flew,
And shouted after him. Before the steeds
Of the young men, and still on the right hand,
The bird went sweeping on. They saw well pleased,
And every heart was gladdened. To the rest
Peisistratus, the son of Nestor, said:⁠—

“Now tell me, Menelaus, loved of Jove,
Prince of the people! does the god who sends
This portent mean the sign for us or thee?”

He spake; and Menelaus, dear to Mars,
Paused, thinking how to answer him aright,
When thus the long-robed Helen interposed:⁠—

“Listen to me, and I will prophesy
As the gods prompt me, and as I believe
The event will be. Just as this eagle came
From the wild hills, his birthplace and his haunt,
And seized and bore away the waterfowl
Reared near our halls, so will Ulysses come,
After much hardship and long wanderings,
To his own home, to be avenged: perchance
Already is at home, and meditates
An evil end to all the suitor crew.”

Then spake discreet Telemachus in turn:
“May Juno’s husband, Jove the Thunderer,
So order the event, and I will there
Make vows to thee as to a deity.”

He spake, and touched the coursers with the lash;
And through the city rapidly they went
And toward the plain, and all day long they shook
The yoke upon their necks. The sun went down:
The roads all lay in darkness as they came
To Pherae, and the house of Diodes,
Whose father was Orsilochus, and he
The offspring of Alpheius. There that night
They slept; their host was liberal of his cheer.
But when appeared the daughter of the Dawn,
The rosy-fingered Morn, they yoked the steeds
And climbed the sumptuous car, and drove afield
From underneath the echoing portico.
The son of Nestor plied the lash; the steeds
Flew not unwillingly, and quickly reached
The lofty citadel of Pylos. There
Telemachus bespake his comrade thus:⁠—

“Wilt thou consent to do what I shall ask,
O son of Nestor? ’Tis our boast that we
Are friends because our fathers were; besides,
We are of equal age, and journeying thus
Has made our friendship firmer. Take me not,
O foster-child of Jove, beyond the spot
Where lies my galley, lest against my will
The aged Nestor should detain me here
Through kindness, when I needs must hasten home.”

He spake, and then the son of Nestor mused
How what his friend desired might best be done.
And this seemed wisest after careful thought:
He turned the chariot to the ship and shore,
And taking out the garments and the gold⁠—
Beautiful gifts which Menelaus gave⁠—
He put them in the galley’s stern, and thus
Bespake Telemachus with winged words:⁠—

“Embark in haste, and summon all thy crew
On board before I reach my home and tell
The aged king. I know how vehement
His temper is; he will not let thee go,
But hastening hither to enforce thy stay,
At Pylos, will not, I am sure, go back
Without thee; his displeasure will be great.”

He spake, and toward the Pylian city turned
His steeds with flowing manes, and quickly reached
His home. Meantime Telemachus held forth
To his companions, thus exhorting them:⁠—

“My friends, make ready all things in our ship
And mount the deck, for we must now set sail.”

He spake, they hearkened and obeyed, and leaped
On board and manned the benches. While he thus
Was hastening his departure, offering prayer
And pouring wine to Pallas at the stern,
A stranger came, a seer, a fugitive
From Argos, where his hand had slain a man.
Melampus was his ancestor, who dwelt
Some time in Pylos, mother of fair flocks⁠—
Rich, and inhabiting a sumptuous house
Among the Pylians. Afterward he joined
Another people, fleeing from his home
And from the mighty Neleus, haughtiest
Of living men, who, seizing his large wealth,
Held it a year by force. Melampus lay
Meantime within the house of Phylacus
Fast bound, and suffering greatly, both because
Of Neleus’ daughter, and of his own mind
Distempered by the unapproachable
Erinnys. Yet did he escape from death,
And drove the lowing herds to Phylace
And Pylos, and avenged his cruel wrong
On Neleus, carrying off his child to be
A consort for his brother. Then he came
Into the realm of Argos, famed for steeds;
For there it was decreed that he should dwell,
And rule o’er many of the Argive race.
And there he took a wife and built a house⁠—
A lofty pile; and there to him were born Antiphates and Mantius, valiant men.
Antiphates was father of a son,
The brave O’icleus, and to him was born
Amphioraüs, one of those whose voice
Rouses the nations. Aegis-bearing Jove
And Phoebus loved him with exceeding love;
Yet reached he not the threshold of old age,
But, through the treachery of his bribed wife,
Perished too soon at Thebes. To him were born
Two sons, Alcmaeon and Amphilochus.
Clytus and Polyphides were the sons
Of Mantius; but Aurora, she who fills
A golden chariot, bore away to heaven
Clytus for his great beauty, there to dwell
Among the immortals, while Apollo gave
To Polyphides of the noble mind
To be a prophet, first of living men,
Since now Amphiaraüs was no more.
His father had displeased him, and he went
To Hyperesia, where he dwelt, and there
Revealed to all what yet should come to pass.

It was his son who now approached; his name
Was Theoclymenus; he saw the prince
Telemachus, who stood beside the swift
Black ship, and, pouring a libation, prayed;
And thus he said to him in winged words:⁠—

“My friend, whom here beside this barque I find
Making a pious offering, I entreat
Both by that offering and the deity,
And by thy life, and by the lives of these
Who follow thee, declare to me the truth,
And keep back naught of all that I inquire⁠—
Who art thou, from what race of men, and where
Thy city lies, and who thy parents are.”

Then spake in turn discreet Telemachus:
“Stranger, to every point I answer thee.
I am by race a son of Ithaca,
My father was Ulysses when alive,
But he has died a miserable death;
Long years has he been absent, and I came
With my companions here, and this black ship,
To gather tidings of my father’s fate.”

Then said the godlike Theoclymenus:
“I too, like thee, am far away from home;
For I have slain a man of my own tribe,
And he had many brothers, many friends,
In Argos famed for steeds. Great is the power
Of those Achaians, and I flee from them
And the black doom of death, to be henceforth
A wanderer among men. O, shelter me
On board thy galley! I, a fugitive,
Implore thy mercy, lest they overtake
And slay me; they are surely on my track.”

And thus discreet Telemachus replied:
“If thou desire to come on board my ship,
I shall not hinder thee. Come with us then,
And take a friendly share in what we have.”

So saying he received his brazen spear,
And laid it on the good ship’s deck, and went
Himself on board, and, taking at the stern
His place, he seated Theoclymenus
Beside him. Then the mariners cast loose
The hawsers, and Telemachus gave forth
The order to prepare for sea. They heard
And eagerly obeyed; they raised the mast,
A pine-tree stem⁠—and, bringing it to stand
In its deep socket, bound it there with cords,
And hoisted by their strongly twisted thongs
The ship’s white sails. The blue-eyed Pallas sent
A favorable and fresh-blowing wind,
That swept the sky to drive more speedily
The galley through the salt-sea waves. They came
To Cruni, and to Chalcis pleasantly
Watered by rivers. Now the sun went down;
Night closed around their way, but onward still
A favorable wind from Jupiter
Toward Pherae bore them, and the hallowed coast
Of Elis, where the Epeian race bear sway,
And then among the isles whose rocky peaks
Rise from the waters. Here Telemachus
Mused thoughtfully on what his fate might be⁠—
To perish by the ambush or escape.

Meantime Ulysses and the swineherd sat
At meat within the lodge; the other men
Were at the board, and when the calls of thirst
And hunger ceased, Ulysses spake to try
The swineherd, whether he were bent to show
Yet further kindness, and entreat his stay,
Or whether he would send him to the town.

“Eumaeus, hearken thou, and all the rest.
Tomorrow ’tis my wish to go to town,
That I may beg, and be no charge to thee
And thy companions. Give me thy advice,
And send a trusty guide to show the way.
There will I roam the streets, for so I must,
And haply someone there will give a cup
Of wine and cake of meal. And when I find
The house of great Ulysses, I will tell
The sage Penelope the news I bring.
Nay, I would even go among the crew
Of arrogant suitors, who perhaps might give
A meal, for there is plenty at their feasts,
And I would do whatever they require.
For let me tell thee, and do thou give heed,
There lives no man who can contend with me
In menial tasks⁠—to keep alive a fire
With fuel, cleave dry wood, and carve and roast
The meat and pour the wine⁠—whate’er is done
By poor men waiting on the better sort.”

And thou, Eumasus, keeper of the swine,
Didst answer in displeasure: “Woe is me!
How could thy bosom harbor such a thought?
O stranger! thou must surely be resolved
To perish if thy purpose be to go
Among the suitor crew, whose insolence
And riot reach the iron vault of heaven.
Not such attendants minister to them
As thou art, but fair youths arrayed in cloaks
And tunics, with sleek heads and smooth of face.
These wait at polished tables heavily
Loaded with bread and flesh and wine. Stay thou
Content among us, sure that no one here
Is wearied by thy presence, neither I
Nor any of my fellows. When he comes,
The dear son of Ulysses will provide
For thee the garments thou dost need⁠—a cloak
And tunic⁠—and will send thee where thou wilt.”

Ulysses, the great sufferer, answered thus:
“I pray that thou mayst be as dear to Jove,
The great All-Father, as thou art to me,
Since through thy kindness I enjoy a pause
Amid my weary wanderings. There is naught
Worse than a wandering life. Unseemly cares
A hungry stomach brings to homeless men;
Hardship and grief are theirs. But since thou wilt
That I remain and wait for thy young lord,
Speak to me of the mother of thy chief
Ulysses, and his father, whom he left
Just on the threshold of old age, if yet
They live, and still may look upon the sun;
Or have they died, and passed to Pluto’s realm?”

And then in turn the master swineherd spake:
“Rightly and truly will I answer thee,
stranger! still Laertes lives, but prays
Continually to Jove that he may die
In his own house; for sorely he laments
His son long absent, and his excellent wife,
Bride of his youth, whose death has brought on him
Sharp sorrow, and old age before its time.
By a sad death she died⁠—through wasting grief
For her lost, glorious son. May no one here,
No friend of mine, nor one who has bestowed
A kindness on me, die by such a death!
While yet she lived, great as her sorrow was,
I loved to speak with her and hear her words;
For she had reared me with her youngest-born⁠—
Her daughter, long-robed Ctimena. With her
Was I brought up, and scarcely less than her
Was held in honor. When at length we came
Into the pleasant years of youth, they sent
The princess hence to Samos, and received at
Large presents; but to me her mother gave
Garments of price, a tunic and a cloak,
And sandals for my feet, and sent me forth
Into the fields, and loved me more and more.
All this is over now, yet must I say
My calling has been prospered by the gods.
From this I have the means to eat and drink,
And wherewithal to feast a worthy guest;
But from the queen I never have a word
Or deed of kindness, since that evil came
Upon her house⁠—that crew of lawless men.
Greatly the servants would rejoice to speak
Before their mistress, and inquire her will,
And eat and drink, and carry to their homes
Some gift, for gifts delight a servant’s heart.”

Again Ulysses, the sagacious, spake:
“Swineherd Eumaeus, thou, while yet a child,
Wert doubtless strangely tossed about the world,
Far from thy kindred and thy native land.
Now tell me, was the spacious town wherein
Thy father and thy mother dwelt laid waste?
Or wert thou left among the flocks and herds
Untended, and borne off by hostile men,
Who came in ships and sold thee to the lord
Of these possessions for a worthy price?”

And then the master swineherd spake again:
“Since thou dost ask me, stranger, hear my words
In silence; sit at ease and drink thy wine.
These nights are very long; there’s time enough
For sleep, and time to entertain ourselves
With talk. It is not fitting to lie down
Ere the due hour arrive, and too much sleep
Is hurtful. Whosoever here shall feel
The strong desire, let him withdraw and sleep,
And rise with early morn and break his fast,
And tend my master’s swine. Let us remain
Within, and drink and feast, and pass the time
Gayly, relating what we have endured,
Each one of us; for in the after time
One who has suffered much and wandered far
May take a pleasure even in his griefs.

“But let me tell what thou hast asked of me:
Beyond Ortygia lies an island named
Syria; thou must have heard of it. The sun
Above it turns his course. It is not large,
But fruitful, fit for pasturage, and rich
In flocks, abounding both in wine and wheat.
There never famine comes, nor foul disease
Fastens on wretched mortals; but when men
Grow old, Apollo of the silver bow
Comes with Diana, aims his silent shafts,
And slays them. There two cities stand, and share
The isle between them. There my father reigned,
The godlike Ctesias, son of Ormenus,
And both the cities owned him as their king.

“There came a crew of that seafaring race,
The people of Phoenicia, to our isle.
Shrewd fellows they, and brought in their black ship
Large store of trinkets. In my father’s house
Was a Phoenician woman, large and fair,
And skilful in embroidery. As she came
A laundress to their ship, those cunning men
Seduced her. One of them obtained her love⁠—
For oft doth love mislead weak womankind,
Even of the more discreet. Her paramour
Asked who she was, and whence. She pointed out
The lofty pile in which my father dwelt.

“ ‘At Sidon, rich in brass, I had my birth⁠—
A daughter of the opulent Arybas;
And once, as I was coming from the fields,
The Taphian pirates seized and bore me off,
And brought me to this isle and sold me here,
At that man’s house; much gold he paid for me.’

“Then said her paramour: ‘Wilt thou not then
Return with us, that thou mayst see again
Father and mother, and their fair abode?
For yet they live, and rumor says are rich.’

“To this the woman answered: ‘I consent
If first ye take an oath⁠—ye mariners⁠—
And pledge your faith to bear me safely home.’

“She spake, and they complied, and when the oath
Was duly taken, thus the woman said:⁠—

“ ‘Now hold your peace; let none of all the crew
Speak to me more, in meeting on the road
Or at the fountain, lest someone should tell
The old man at the house, and he suspect
Some fraud and bind me fast, and plot your death.
Lock up your words within your breast; make haste
To buy supplies, and when the ship is full
Of all things needful, let a messenger
Come to me at the palace with all speed;
And I will bring with me whatever gold
My hands may find, and something else to pay
My passage. I am nurse to the young heir
Of the good man who dwells in yonder halls⁠—
A shrewd boy for his years, who oft goes out
With me⁠—and I will lead him to the ship,
And he will bring, in any foreign land
To which ye carry him, a liberal price.’

“The woman spake, and to our fair abode
Departed. The Phoenician crew remained
Until the twelvemonth’s end, and filled their ship
With many things, and, when its roomy hull
Was fully laden, sent a messenger
To tell the woman. He, a cunning man,
Came to my father’s house, and brought with him
A golden necklace set with amber beads.
The palace maidens and the gracious queen,
My mother, took it in their hands, and gazed
Upon it, and debated of its price.
Meantime the bearer gave the sign, and soon
Departed to the ship. The woman took
My hand and led me forth. Within the hall
She found upon the tables ready placed
The goblets for my father’s guests, his peers;
But they were absent, and in council yet
Amid a great assembly. She concealed
Three goblets in her bosom, and bore off
The theft. I followed thoughtlessly. The sun
Went down, and darkness brooded o’er the ways.
Briskly we walked, and reached the famous port
And the fast-sailing ship. They took us both
On board, and sailed. Along its ocean path
The vessel ran, and Jupiter bestowed
A favorable wind. Six days we sailed,
Both night and day; but when Saturnian Jove
Brought the seventh day, Diana, archer-queen,
Struck down the woman, and with sudden noise
Headlong she plunged into the hold, as dives
A seagull. But the seamen cast her forth
To fishes and to sea-calves. I was left
Alone and sorrowful. The winds and waves
Carried our galley on to Ithaca;
And there Laertes purchased me, and thus
I first beheld the land in which I dwell.”

And then again the great Ulysses spake:
“Eumaeus, the sad story of thy wrongs
And sufferings moves me deeply; yet hath Jove
Among thy evil fortunes given this good,
That, after all thy sufferings, thou art lodged
With a good master, who abundantly
Provides thee meat and drink; thou leadest here
A pleasant life, while I am come to thee
From wandering long and over many lands.”

So talked they with each other. No long time
They passed in sleep, for soon the Morning came,
Throned on her car of gold. Beside the shore
The comrades of Telemachus cast loose
The sails, took down the mast, and with their oars
Brought in the vessel to its place. They threw
The anchors out and bound the hawsers fast,
And went upon the sea-beach, where they dressed
Their morning meal, and mingled purple wine.
Then, when the calls of thirst and hunger ceased,
Discreet Telemachus bespake the crew:⁠—

“Take the black ship to town. I visit first
The fields, and see my herdsmen, and at eve
Will come to town. Tomorrow I will give
The parting feast, rich meats and generous wine.”

Then said the godlike Theoclymenus:
“Whither, my son, am I to go? What house
Of all the chiefs of rugged Ithaca
Shall I seek shelter in? with thee, perhaps,
In thine own palace where thy mother dwells.”

And thus discreet Telemachus replied:
“I would have asked thee at another time
To make our house thy home, for there would be
No lack of kindly welcome. ’Twere not well
To ask thee now, for I shall not be there,
Nor will my mother see thee⁠—since not oft
Doth she appear before the suitor-train,
But in an upper room, apart from them,
Weaves at her loom a web. Another man
I name, Eurymachus, the illustrious son
Of the sage Polybus, to be thy host.
The noblest of the suitors he, and seeks
Most earnestly to wed the queen, and take
The rank Ulysses held. Olympian Jove,
Who dwells in ether, knows the fatal day
That may o’ertake the suitors ere she wed.”

As thus he spake, a falcon on the right
Flew by, Apollo’s messenger. A dove
Was in his talons, which he tore, and poured
The feathers down between Telemachus
And where the galley lay. When this was seen
By Theoclymenus, he called the youth
Apart, alone, and took his hand and said:⁠—

“The bird that passed us, O Telemachus,
Upon the right, flew not without a god
To guide him. When I saw it, well I knew
The omen. Not in Ithaca exists
A house of a more kingly destiny
Than thine, and ever will its power prevail.”

And thus discreet Telemachus replied:
“O stranger, may thy saying come to pass;
Then shalt thou quickly know me for thy friend,
And be rewarded with such liberal gifts
That all who meet thee shall rejoice with thee.”

Then turning to Piraeus he bespake
That faithful follower thus: “Pirseus, son
Of Clytius, thou who ever wert the first
To move, at my command, of all the men
Who went with me to Pylos, take, I pray,
This stranger to thy house, and there provide
For him, and honor him until I come.”

Piraeus, mighty with the spear, replied:
“Telemachus, however long thy stay,
This man shall be my guest, nor ever lack
Beneath my roof for hospitable care.”

He spake, and climbed the deck, and bade his men
Enter the ship and cast the fastenings loose.
Quickly they came together, went on board
And manned the benches, while Telemachus
Bound the fair sandals to his feet, and took
His massive spear with its sharp blade of brass
That lay upon the deck. The men unbound
The hawsers, shoved the galley forth, and sailed
Townward, as they were bidden by the son
Of great Ulysses. Meantime the quick feet
Of the young chieftain bore him on until
He reached the lodge where his great herds of swine
Were fed, and, careful of his master’s wealth,
Beside his charge the worthy swineherd slept.