ODYSSEY 18

And now there came the town beggar
Making his rounds, known throughout Ithaca
For his greedy belly and endless bouts
Of eating and drinking. He had no real strength
Or fighting power—just plenty of bulk. 5
Arnaeus was the name his mother had given him,
But the young men all called him Irus
Because he was always running errands for someone.
He had a mind to drive Odysseus out of his own house
And started in on him with words like this: 10

"Out of the doorway, geezer, before I throw you out
On your ear! Don't you see all these people
Winking at me to give you the bum's rush?
I wouldn't want to stoop so low, but if you don't

Get out now, I may have to lay hands on you."
15

Odysseus gave him a measured look and said:

"What's wrong with you? I'm not doing
Or saying anything to bother you. I don't mind
If someone gives you a handout, even a large one.

This doorway is big enough for both of us.
20
There's no need for you to be jealous of others.
Now look, you're a vagrant, just like I am.
Prosperity is up to the gods. But if I were you,
I'd be careful about challenging me with your fists.
I might get angry, and old man though I am,
25
I just might haul off and bust you in the mouth.

-276-

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