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faithful retainer who have just come into the hall, complete the work of death. ·
Penelope, who had retired to her distant chamber before the axe-eye trial had begun, and knew nothing of what had since taken place, is now told of it by the nurse. She goes down to the fatal hall, from which the bodies had been removed. She cannot at first believe that Ulysses has come back, but apprehends that someone has assumed his name. And she is not fully assured that it is really her husband until he recalls to her recollection a domestic incident of which only she and he could have had any knowledge.
PENELOPE'S RECOGNITION OF ULYSSES. Then from the eyelids the quick tears did start,
And she ran to him from her place, and threw
Her arms about his neck, and a warm dew Of kisses poured upon him, and thus spake :
“ Frown not, Ulysses, thou art wise and true ! But God gave sorrow, and hath grudged to make Our path to old age sweet, nor willed us to partake
Youth's joys together. Yet forgive me this, Nor hate me that when first I saw thy brow,
I fell not on thy neck, and gave no kiss, Nor wept in thy dear arms, as I do now. For in my breast a bitter fear did bow
My soul, and I lived shuddering day by day, Lest a strange man come hither, and avow
False things, and steal my spirit, and bewray My love : such guile men scheme to lead the pure astray.”
- Translation of WORSLEY. Here, with the twenty-third Book, the story of the Odyssey properly comes to an end. There is another Book, however, which is so decidedly inferior to the others that some critics are inclined to question its authenticity.