1 They have with them a servant Medon, a bard, and two men who can carve at table.
2 Thus sang the bard, and both Ulysses and the seafaring Phaeacians were charmed as they heard him.
3 He went on eating it while the bard was singing, and had just finished his dinner as he left off.
4 And Ulysses answered, "King Alcinous, it is a good thing to hear a bard with such a divine voice as this man has."
5 He is evidently in great trouble, so let the bard leave off, that we may all enjoy ourselves, hosts and guest alike.
6 Meanwhile the bard began to sing the loves of Mars and Venus, and how they first began their intrigue in the house of Vulcan.
7 To you others, however, who come here night after night to drink my choicest wine and listen to my bard, I would insist as follows.
8 There was a bard also to sing to them and play his lyre, while two tumblers went about performing in the midst of them when the man struck up with his tune.
9 Thus sang the bard, but Ulysses drew his purple mantle over his head and covered his face, for he was ashamed to let the Phaeacians see that he was weeping.
10 A servant led in the favourite bard Demodocus, and set him in the midst of the company, near one of the bearing-posts supporting the cloister, that he might lean against it.
11 But Ulysses, when he had taken it up and examined it all over, strung it as easily as a skilled bard strings a new peg of his lyre and makes the twisted gut fast at both ends.
12 Mother," answered Telemachus, "let the bard sing what he has a mind to; bards do not make the ills they sing of; it is Jove, not they, who makes them, and who sends weal or woe upon mankind according to his own good pleasure.
13 A servant presently led in the famous bard Demodocus, whom the muse had dearly loved, but to whom she had given both good and evil, for though she had endowed him with a divine gift of song, she had robbed him of his eyesight.
14 Moreover you have told the story of your own misfortunes, and those of the Argives, as though you were a practiced bard; but tell me, and tell me true, whether you saw any of the mighty heroes who went to Troy at the same time with yourself, and perished there.
15 They set the steaks to grill and made an excellent dinner, after which the inspired bard, Demodocus, who was a favourite with every one, sang to them; but Ulysses kept on turning his eyes towards the sun, as though to hasten his setting, for he was longing to be on his way.
16 The suitors applauded the bard, whereon Minerva went up to Ulysses and prompted him to beg pieces of bread from each one of the suitors, that he might see what kind of people they were, and tell the good from the bad; but come what might she was not going to save a single one of them.
17 When the bard left off singing he wiped the tears from his eyes, uncovered his face, and, taking his cup, made a drink-offering to the gods; but when the Phaeacians pressed Demodocus to sing further, for they delighted in his lays, then Ulysses again drew his mantle over his head and wept bitterly.
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