August Bethany Weekend Full, New July Date Announced

Telemachus

‘You, herdsman, and you, too, swineherd… Would you be men enough to stand by Odysseus if he came back? Would you bear arms for him…?’
The cowherd said: ‘Ah, let the master come! Father Zeus, grant our old wish! Some courier guide him back! Then judge what stuff is in me and how I manage arms!’
Likewise Eumaeus fell to praying all heaven for his return, so that Odysseus, sure at least of these, told them: ‘I am at home, for I am he. I bore adversities, but in the twentieth year I am ashore in my own land. I find the two of you, alone among my people longed for my coming.’
Homer, Odyssey, Bk XXI

At last the time has come. Up to now disguised as a lowly beggar, Odysseus reveals himself, the returned lord of Ithaka. He has work to do, and he needs help. Among all the servants it is Eumeaus the swineherd and Philoitios the cowherd who in the lord’s absence consistently watched, and prayed. For them, a lord not present in body was not deemed an altogether absent lord. Faith—an unswerving commitment to what cannot be seen—has animated their work, their stewarding of what belongs first of all to their master.

But now it is time for another work. Sometimes justice demands a readiness to fight. Even against great odds. These two know well what their master is asking—the enemy number in the scores. The hands of these servants have been hardened in the care of animals, not in training for battle. But to set wrongs to right, they will now wield sword and spear. Whether successful or not, swineherd and cowherd will be as faithful bearing arms as they have been in tending herds. For their prayers have been answered. The longed for one has returned, ashore in his own land, and found his servants at the ready. For whatever is needed.

Note: This is the third in a four part series of Wednesday Quotes about Eumaeus, the swineherd of the Odyssey.

Homer (8th century B.C.) is the great epic poet, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

The Key of Peace

“Peace is the tranquility of order.” St. Augustine, The City of God There are few words that exercise such a power over our hearts, and our imagination. A few years ago I was giving a lecture at a division-one university, introducing students to some basic points in...

read more

Playing Alone

When I was down beside the sea A wooden spade they gave to me To dig the sandy shore. Robert Louis Stevenson, At the Sea-Side A Child's Garden of Verses There is nothing quite like playing alone. To watch it is a privilege. Indeed, in watching one might even...

read more

Seeing is Seeing

For not only that we might act, but even when we intend to do nothing, we prefer sight, as we may say, to all the other senses. Aristotle, Metaphysics This year the fireflies have been stunning. Last night my wife and I were mesmerized; we just sat and looked. And we...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest