Tell me, Muse, of that resourceful Man who travelled far,
After he had sacked the sacred walls of Troy in war,
And looked on many towns of men, and learnt their mind, while he
In his own heart suffered many sorrows on the sea,
To save himself from death and doom and bring his comrades safely home—
Eager though he was, he could not save them; they were fools and ate
The cattle of our Lord the Sun-God; their own folly proved their fate—
Something of that story, goddess, child of Zeus, to us relate.
That, so far as the Muse is concerned, is a complete epic paragraph, the form marked by the chime, ‘Tell, Muse … goddess, child of Zeus, relate!’ The Man, his character and his adventures, his comrades and their folly, are to be the Muse's theme. And yet the pattern still awaits completion, since the Man is not yet named. The second paragraph fulfils an expectation. We are in suspense until we hear ‘godlike Odysseus’ at the end.