Marion Mills Miller.

The classics, Greek & Latin; the most celebrated works of Hellenic and Roman literatvre, embracing poetry, romance, history, oratory, science, and philosophy (Volume 2) online

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down to rest. But Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, would
needs have Telemachus, son of divine Odysseus, to sleep there
on a jointed bedstead beneath the echoing corridor, and by him
Peisistratus of the good ashen spear, leader of men, who alone
of his sons was yet unwed in his halls. As for him he slept
within the inmost chamber of the lofty house, and the lady
his wife arrayed for him bedstead and bedding.

So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, Nes-
tor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, gat him up from his bed, and
he went forth and sat him down upon the smooth stones, which
were before his lofty doors, all polished, white and glistening,
whereon Neleus sat of old, in counsel the peer of the gods.
Howbeit, stricken by fate, he had ere now gone down to the
house of Hades, and to-day Nestor of Gerenia in his turn sat
thereon, warder of the Achaeans, with his staff in his hands.
And about him his sons were gathered and come together,
issuing from their chambers, Echephron and Stratius, and
Perseus and Aretus and the godlike Thrasymedes. And sixth
and last came the hero Peisistratus. And they led godlike
Telemachus and set him by their side, and Nestor of Gerenia,
lord of chariots, spake first among them:

' Quickly, my dear children, accomplish my desire, that
first of all the gods I may propitiate Athene, who came to
me in visible presence to the rich feast of the god. Nay then,
let one go to the plain for a heifer, that she may come as
soon as may be, and that the neat-herd may drive her: and
let another go to the black ship of high-souled Telemachus to
bring all his company, and let him leave two men only. And
let one again bid Laerces the goldsmith to come hither that
he may gild the horns of the heifer. And ye others, abide
ye here together and speak to the handmaids within that they
make ready a banquet through our famous halls, and fetch


seats and logs to set about the altar, and bring clear water.'
Thus he spake and lo, they all hastened to the work. The
heifer she came from the field, and from the swift gallant ship
came the company of great-hearted Telemachus; the smith
came holding in his hands his tools, the instruments of his
craft, anvil and hammer and well-made pincers, wherewith he
wrought the gold; Athene too came to receive her sacrifice.
And the old knight Nestor gave gold, and the other fashioned
it skilfully, and gilded therewith the horns of the heifer, that
the goddess might be glad at the sight of her fair offering.
And Stratius and goodly Echephron led the heifer by the horns.
And Aretus came forth from the chamber bearing water for
the washing of hands in a basin of flowered work, and in the
other hand he held the barley-meal in a basket ; and Thrasyme-
des, steadfast in the battle, stood by holding in his hand a
sharp axe, ready to smite the heifer. And Perseus held the
dish for the blood, and the old man Nestor, driver of chariots,
performed the first rite of the washing of hands and the
sprinkling of the meal, and he prayed instantly to Athene as
he began the rite, casting into the fire the lock from the head
of the victim.

Now when they had prayed and tossed the sprinkled grain,
straightway the son of Nestor, gallant Thrasymedes, stood by
and struck the blow; and the axe severed the tendons of the
neck and loosened the might of the heifer; and the women
raised their cry, the daughters and the sons' wives and the
wife revered of Nestor, Eurydice, eldest of the daughters of
Clymenus. And now they lifted the victim's head from the
wide-vvayed earth, and held it so, while Peisistratus, leader
of men, cut the throat. And after the black blood had gushed
forth and the life had left the bones, quickly they broke up
the body, and anon cut slices from the thighs all duly, and
wrapt the same in the fat, folding them double, and laid raw
flesh thereon. So that old man burnt them on the cleft wood,
and poured over them the red wine, and by his side the young
men held in their hands the five-pronged forks. Now after that
the thighs were quite consumed and they had tasted the inner
parts, they cut the rest up small and spitted and roasted it,
holding the sharp spits in their hands.


Meanwhile she bathed Telemachus, even fair Polycaste,
the youngest daughter of Nestor, son of Neleus. And after
she had bathed him and anointed him with olive oil, and cast
about him a goodly mantle and a doublet, he came forth from
the bath in fashion like the deathless gods. So he went and
sat him down by Nestor, shepherd of the people.

Now when they had roasted the outer flesh, and drawn it
off the spits, they sat down and fell to feasting, and honour-
able men waited on them, pouring wine into the golden cups.
But when they had put from them the desire of meat and
drink, Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, first spake
among them :

' Lo now, my sons, yoke for Telemachus horses with flow-
ing mane and lead them beneath the car, that he may get for-
ward on his way.'

Even so he spake, and they gave good heed and hearkened ;
and quickly they yoked the swift horses beneath the chariot.
And the dame that kept the stores placed therein corn and
wine and dainties, such as princes eat, the fosterlings of Zeus.
So Telemachus stept up into the goodly car, and with him
Peisistratus son of Nestor, leader of men, likewise climbed
the car and grasped the reins in his hands, and he touched
the horses with the whip to start them, and nothing loth the
pair flew toward the plain, and left the steep citadel of Pylos.
So all day long they swayed the yoke they bore upon their

Now the sun sank and all the ways were darkened. And
they came to Pherae, to the house of Diocles, son of Orsi-
lochus, the child begotten of Alpheus. There they rested for
the night, and by them he set the entertainment of strangers.

Now so soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered,
they yoked the horses and mounted the inlaid car. And forth
they drave from the gateway and the echoing corridor, and
Peisistratus touched the horses with the whip to start them,
and the pair flew onward nothing loth. So they came to the
wheat-bearing plain, and thenceforth they pressed toward the
end: in such wise did the swift horses speed forward. Now
the sun sank and all the ways were darkened.



Telemachus's entertainment at Sparta, where Menelaus tells him
what befell many of the Greeks on their return; that Odysseus was
with Calypso in the isle Ogygia, as he was told by Proteus.

AND they came to Lacedaemon lying low among the
caverned hills, and drave to the dwelling of renowned Mene-
laus. Him they found giving a feast in his house to many
friends of his kin, a feast for the wedding of his noble son and
daughter. His daughter he was sending to the son of Achilles,
cleaver of the ranks of men, for in Troy he first had promised
and covenanted to give her, and now the gods were bringing
about their marriage. So now he was speeding her on her way
with chariot and horses, to the famous city of the Myrmidons,
among whom her lord bare rule. And for his son he was
bringing to his home the daughter of Alector out of Sparta, for
his well-beloved son, strong Megapenthes [son of sorrow],
born of a slave woman, for the gods no more showed promise
of seed to Helen, from the day that she bare a lovely child,
Hermione, as fair as golden Aphrodite. So they were feasting
through the great vaulted hall, the neighbours and the kinsmen
of renowned Menelaus, making merry; and among them a
divine minstrel was singing to the lyre, and as he began the
song two tumblers in the company whirled through the midst
of them.

Meanwhile those twain, the hero Telemachus and the splen-
did son of Nestor, made halt at the entry of the gate, they and
their horses. And the lord Eteoneus came forth and saw them,
the ready squire of renowned Menelaus ; and he went through
the palace to bear the tidings to the shepherd of the people, and
standing near spake to him winged words :

4 Menelaus, fosterling of Zeus, here are two strangers, who-
soever they be, two men like to the lineage of great Zeus. Say,
shall we loose their swift horses from under the yoke, or send
them onward to some other host who shall receive them kindly ?

Then in sore displeasure spake to him Menelaus of the fair
hair: 'Eteoneus son of Boethous, truly thou wert not a fool


aforetime, but now for this once, like a child thou talkest folly.
Surely ourselves ate much hospitable cheer of other men, ere
we twain came hither, even if in time to come Zeus haply give
us rest from affliction. Nay go, unyoke the horses of the
strangers, and as for the men, lead them forward to the house
to feast with us.'

So spake he, and Eteoneus hasted from the hall and called
the other ready squires to follow with him. So they loosed the
sweating horses from beneath the yoke, and fastened them at
the stalls of the horses, and threw beside them spelt, and there-
with mixed white barley, and tilted the chariot against the shin-
ing faces of the gateway, and led the men into the hall divine.
And they beheld and marvelled as they gazed throughout the
palace of the king, the fosterling of Zeus ; for there was a gleam
as it were of sun or moon through the lofty palace of renowned
Menelaus. But after they had gazed their fill, they went to the
polished baths and bathed them. Now when the maidens had
bathed them and anointed them with olive oil, and cast about
them thick cloaks and doublets, they sat on chairs by Menelaus,
son of Atreus. And a handmaid bare water for the hands in a
goodly golden ewer, and poured it forth over a silver basin to
wash withal ; and to their side she drew a polished table, and a
grave dame bare food and set it by them, and laid upon the
board many dainties, giving freely of such things as she had by
her, and a carver lifted and placed by them platters of divers
kinds of flesh, and nigh them he set golden bowls. So Mene-
laus of the fair hair greeted the twain and spake :

' Taste ye food and be glad, and thereafter when ye have
supped, we will ask what men ye are; for the blood of your
parents is not lost in you, but ye are of the line of men that are
sceptered kings, the fosterlings of Zeus; for no churls could
beget sons like you.'

So spake he, and took and set before them the fat ox-chine
roasted, which they had given him as his own mess by way of
honour. And they stretched forth their hands upon the good
cheer set before them. Now when they had put from them the
desire of meat and drink Telemachus spake to the son of Nes-
tor, holding his head close to him, that those others might not


' Son of Nestor, delight of my heart, mark the flashing of
bronze through the echoing halls, and the flashing of gold and
of amber and of silver and of ivory. Such like, methinks, is
the court of Olympian Zeus within, for the world of things that
are here ; wonder comes over me as I look thereon.'

And as he spake Menelaus of the fair hair was ware of
him, and uttering his voice spake to them winged words :

' Children dear, of a truth no one of mortal men may con-
tend with Zeus, for his mansions and his treasures are ever-
lasting: but of men there may be who will vie with me in
treasure, or there may be none. Yea, for after many a woe
and wanderings manifold, I brought my wealth home in ships,
and in the eighth year came hither. I roamed over Cyprus
and Phoenicia and Egypt, and reached the Aethiopians and
Sidonians and Erembi and Libya, where lambs are horned from
the birth. For there the ewes yean thrice with in the full
circle of a year; there neither lord nor shepherd lacketh aught
of cheese or flesh or of sweet milk, but ever the flocks yield
store of milk continual. While I was yet roaming in those
lands, gathering much livelihood, meantime another slew my
brother privily, at unawares, by the guile of his accursed wife.
Thus, look you, I have no joy of my lordship among these my
possessions: and ye are like to have heard hereof from your
fathers, whosoever they be, for I have suffered much and let a
house go to ruin that was stablished fair, and had in it much
choice substance. I would that I had but a third part of those
my riches, and dwelt in my halls, and that those men were yet
safe, who perished of old in the wide land of Troy, far from
Argos, the pastureland of horses. Howbeit, though I bewail
them all and sorrow oftentimes as I sit in our halls, awhile in-
deed I satisfy my soul with lamentation, and then again I cease ;
for soon hath man enough of chill lamentation yet for them
all I make no such dole, despite my grief, as for one only, who
causes me to loathe both sleep and meat, when I think upon
him. For no one of the Achaeans toiled so greatly as Odys-
seus toiled and adventured himself; but to him it was to be
but labour and trouble, and to me grief ever comfortless for
his sake, so long he is afar, nor know we aught, whether he be
alive or dead. Yea methinks they lament him, even that old


Laertes and the constant Penelope and Telemachus, whom he
left a child newborn in his house.'

So spake he, and in the heart of Telemachus he stirred a
yearning to lament his father ; and at his father's name he let
a tear fall from his eyelids to the ground, and held up his purple
mantle with both his hands before his eyes. And Menelaus
marked him and mused in his mind and his heart whether he
should leave him to speak of his father, or first question him
and prove him in every word.

While yet he pondered these things in his mind and in his
heart, Helen came forth from her fragrant vaulted chamber,
like Artemis of the golden arrows ; and with her came Adraste
and set for her the well-wrought chair, and Alcippe bare a rug
of soft wool, and Phylo bare a silver basket which Alcandre
gave her, the wife of Polybus, who dwelt in Thebes of Egypt,
where is the chiefest store of wealth in the houses. He gave
two silver baths to Menelaus, and tripods twain, and ten talents
of gold. And besides all this, his wife bestowed on Helen
lovely gifts; a golden distaff did she give, and a silver basket
with wheels beneath, and the rims thereof were finished with
gold. This it was that the handmaid Phylo bare and set be-
side her, filled with dressed yarn, and across it was laid a dis-
taff charged with wool of violet blue. So Helen sat her down
in the chair, and beneath was a footstool for her feet. And
anon she spake to her lord and questioned him of each thing.

' Menelaus, fosterling of Zeus, know we now who these men
avow themselves to be, that have come under our roof? Shall
I dissemble or shall I speak the truth ? Nay, I am minded to
tell it. None, I say, have I ever yet seen so like another, man
nor woman wonder comes over me as I look on him as this
man is like the son of great-hearted Odysseus, Telemachus,
whom he left a new-born child in his house, when for the sake
of me, shameless woman that I was, ye Achaeans came up un-
der Troy with bold war in your hearts.'

And Menelaus of the fair hair answered her, saying : * Now
I too, lady, mark the likeness even as thou tracest it. For
such as these were his feet, such his hands, and the glances of
his eyes, and his head, and his hair withal. Yea, and even now


I was speaking of Odysseus, as I remembered him, of all his
woeful travail for my sake ; when, lo, he let fall a bitter tear
beneath his brows, and held his purple cloak up before his eyes.'

And Peisistratus, son of Nestor, answered him, saying:
'Menelaus, son of Atreus, fostering of Zeus, leader of the
host, assuredly this is the son of that very man, even as thou
sayest. But he is of a sober wit, and thinketh it shame in his
heart as on this his first coming to make show of presumptuous
words in the presence of thee, in whose voice we twain delight
as in the voice of a god. Now Nestor of Gerenia, lord of
chariots, sent me forth to be his guide on the way: for he
desired to see thee that thou mightest put into his heart some
word or work. For a son hath many griefs in his halls when
his father is away, if perchance he hath none to stand by him.
Even so it is now with Telemachus; his father is away, nor
hath he others in the township to defend him from distress.'

And Menelaus of the fair hair answered him, and said:
' Lo now, in good truth there has come unto my house the son
of a friend indeed, who for my sake endured many adventures.
And I thought to welcome him on his coming more nobly than
all the other Argives, if but Olympian Zeus, of the far-borne
voice, had vouchsafed us a return over the sea in our swift
ships, that such a thing should be. And in Argos I would
have given him a city to dwell in, and stablished for him a
house, and brought him forth from Ithaca with his substance
and his son and all his people, making one city desolate of those
that lie around, and are in mine own domain. Then ofttimes
would we have held converse here, and nought would have
parted us, the welcoming and the welcomed, ere the black cloud
of death overshadowed us. Howsoever, the god himself, me-
thinks, must have been jealous hereof, who from that hapless
man alone cut off his returning.'

So spake he, and in the hearts of all he stirred the desire
of lamentation. She wept, even Argive Helen the daughter of
Zeus, and Telemachus wept, and Menelaus the son of Atreus ;
nay, nor did the son of Nestor keep tearless eyes. For he be-
thought him in his heart of noble Antilochus, whom the glori-
ous son of the bright Dawn had slain. Thinking upon him he
spake winged words:


' Son of Atreus, the ancient Nestor in his own halls was
ever wont to say that thou wert wise beyond man's wisdom,
whensoever we made mention of thee and asked one another
concerning thee. And now, if it be possible, be persuaded by
me, who for one have no pleasure in weeping at supper time
the new-born day will right soon be upon us. Not indeed that
I deem it blame at all to weep for any mortal who hath died
and met his fate. Lo, this is now the only due we pay to mis-
erable men, to cut the hair and let the tear fall from the cheek.
For I too have a brother dead, nowise the meanest of the Ar-
gives, and thou art like to have known him, for as for me I
never encountered him, never beheld him. But men say that
Antilochus outdid all, being excellent in speed of foot and in
the fight.'

And Menelaus of the fair hair answered him, and said:
'My friend, lo, thou hast said all that a wise man might say
or do, yea, and an elder than thou ; for from such a sire too
thou art sprung, wherefore thou dost even speak wisely. Right
easily known is that man's seed, for whom Cronion weaves the
skein of luck at bridal and at birth: even as now hath he
granted prosperity to Nestor for ever for all his days, that he
himself should grow into a smooth old age in his halls, and his
sons moreover should be wise and the best of spearsmen. But
we will cease now the weeping which was erewhile made, and
let us once more bethink us of our supper, and let them pour
water over our hands. And again in the morning there will
be tales for Telemachus and me to tell one to the other, even
to the end.'

So spake he, and Asphalion poured water over their hands,
the ready squire of renowned Menelaus. And they put forth
their hands upon the good cheer spread before them.

Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, turned to new thoughts.
Presently she cast a drug into the wine whereof they drank,
a drug to lull all pain and anger, and bring forgetfulness of
every sorrow. Whoso should drink a draught thereof, when
it is mingled in the bowl, on that day he would let no tear fall
down his cheeks, not though his mother and his father died, not
though men slew his brother or dear son with the sword before
his face, and his own eyes beheld it. Medicines of such virtue


and so helpful had the daughter of Zeus, which Polydamna,
the wife of Thon, had given her, a woman of Egypt, where
earth the grain-giver yields herbs in greatest plenty, many that
are healing in the cup, and many baneful. There each man is a
leech skilled beyond all human kind; yea, for they are of the
race of Paeeon. Now after she had cast in the drug and bid-
den pour forth of the wine, she made answer once again, and
spake unto her lord:

'Son of Atreus, Menelaus, fosterling of Zeus, and lo, ye
sons of noble men, forasmuch as now to one and now to an-
other Zeus gives good and evil, for to him all things are pos-
sible, now, verily, sit ye down and feast in the halls, and take
ye joy in the telling of tales, and I will tell you one that fits
the time. Now all of them I could not tell or number, so
many as were the adventures of Odysseus of the hardy heart,
save only what a deed was this he wrought and dared in his
hardiness in the land of the Trojans, where ye Achaeans suf-
fered affliction. He subdued his body with unseemly stripes,
and a sorry covering he cast about his shoulders, and in the
fashion of a servant he went down into the wide-waved city
of the foemen, and he hid himself in the guise of another, a
beggar, though in no wise such an one was he at the ships of the
Achaeans. In this semblance he passed into the city of the
Trojans, and they wist not who he was, and I alone knew him
in that guise, and I kept questioning him, but in his subtlety
he avoided me. But when at last I was about washing him
and anointing him with olive oil, and had put on him raiment,
and sworn a great oath not to reveal Odysseus amid the Tro-
jans, ere he reached the swift ships and the huts, even then he
told me all the purpose of the Achaeans. And after slaying
many of the Trojans with the long sword, he returned to the
Argives and brought back word again of all. Then the other
Trojan women wept aloud, but my soul was glad, for already
my heart was turned to go back again even to my home : and
now at the last I groaned for the blindness that Aphrodite
gave me, when she led me thither away from mine own coun-
try, forsaking my child and my bridal chamber and my lord,
that lacked not aught whether for wisdom or yet for beauty.'

And Menelaus of the fair hair answered her, saying:


' Verily all this tale, lady, thou has duly told. Ere now have 1
learned the counsel and the thought of many heroes, and trav-
elled over many a land, but never yet have mine eyes beheld
any such man of heart as was Odysseus; such another deed as
he wrought and dared in his hardiness even in the shapen horse,
wherein sat all we chiefs of the Argives, bearing to the Trojans
death and doom. Anon thou earnest thither, and sure some
god must have bidden thee, who wished to bring glory to the
Trojans. Yea and godlike Deiphobus went with thee on thy
way. Thrice thou didst go round about the hollow ambush and
handle it, calling aloud on the chiefs of the Argives by name,
and making thy voice like the voices of the wives of all the
Argives. Now I and the son of Tydeus and goodly Odysseus
sat in the midst and heard thy call ; and verily we twain had a
desire to start up and come forth or presently to answer from
within; but Odysseus stayed and held us there, despite our
eagerness. Then all the other sons of the Achaeans held their
peace, but Anticlus alone was still minded to answer thee.
Howbeit Odysseus firmly closed his mouth with strong hands,
and so saved all the Achaeans, and held him until such time as
Pallas Athene led thee back.'

Then wise Telemachus answered him, and said : 'Mene-
laus, son of Atreus, fosterling of Zeus, leader of the host, all
the more grievous it is! for in no way did this courage ward
from him pitiful destruction, not though his heart within him
had been very iron. But come, bid us to bed, that forthwith
we may take our joy of rest beneath the spell of sleep.'

So spake he, and Argive Helen bade her handmaids set out
bedsteads 'beneath the corridor, and fling on them fair purple
blankets and spread coverlets above, and thereon lay thick man-
tles to be a clothing over all. So they went from the hall with
torch in hand, and spread the beds, and the henchman led forth
the guests. Thus they slept there in the outer gallery of the
house, the hero Telemachus and the splendid son of Nestor.
But the son of Atreus slept, as his custom was, in the inmost
chamber of the lofty house, and by him lay long-robed Helen,
that fair lady.

Soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, Mene-
laus of the loud war-shout gat him up from his bed and put


on his raiment, and cast his sharp sword about his shoulder,

Online LibraryMarion Mills MillerThe classics, Greek & Latin; the most celebrated works of Hellenic and Roman literatvre, embracing poetry, romance, history, oratory, science, and philosophy (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 37)