Homer: The Odyssey

20. Book XX (continued)

Therewith he went forth from out the fair-lying halls, and came to Peiraeus who received him gladly. Then all the wooers, looking one at the other, provoked Telemachus to anger, laughing at his guests. And thus some one of the haughty youths would speak:

'Telemachus, no man is more luckless than thou in his guests, seeing thou keepest such a filthy wanderer, whosoever he be, always longing for bread and wine, and skilled in no peaceful work nor any deed of war, but a mere burden of the earth. And this other fellow again must stand up to play the seer! Nay, but if thou wouldest listen to me, much better it were. Let us cast these strangers on board a benched ship, and send them to the Sicilians, whence they would fetch thee their price.' {*}

{* Reading [Greek], which is a correction. Or keeping the MSS. [Greek] 'and this should bring thee in a goodly price,' the subject to [Greek] being, probably, THE SALE, which is suggested by the context.}

So spake the wooers, but he heeded not their words, in silence he looked towards his father, expecting evermore the hour when he should stretch forth his hands upon the shameless wooers.

Now the daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, had set her fair chair over against them, and heard the words of each one of the men in the halls. For in the midst of laughter they had got ready the midday meal, a sweet meal and abundant, for they had sacrificed many cattle. But never could there be a banquet less gracious than that supper, such an one as the goddess and the brave man were soon to spread for them; for that they had begun the devices of shame.

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