Ulysses and Telemachus remove the arms from the hall to an upper-chamber.

The Hero then confers with Penelope,

to whom he gives a fictitious narrative of his adventures.


while bathing Ulysses,

discovers him by a scar on his knee,

but he prevents her communication of that discovery to Penelope.

They went,

but left the noble Chief behind In his own house,

contriving by the aid Of Pallas,

the destruction of them all,

And thus,

in accents wing'd,

again he said.

My son!

we must remove and safe dispose All these my well-forged implements of war;

And should the suitors,

missing them,

enquire Where are they?

thou shalt answer smoothly thus -- I have convey'd them from the reach of smoke,

For they appear no more the same which erst   10 Ulysses,

going hence to Ilium,


So smirch'd and sullied by the breath of fire.

This weightier reason (thou shalt also say) Some God suggested to me,


inflamed With wine,

ye wound each other in your brawls,

Shaming both feast and courtship;

for the view Itself of arms incites to their abuse.

He ceased,


in obedience to his will,

Calling the ancient Euryclea forth,

His nurse,

Telemachus enjoin'd her thus.

   20 Go --shut the women in;

make fast the doors Of their apartment,

while I safe dispose Elsewhere,

my father's implements of war,


during his long absence,

here have stood Till smoke hath sullied them.

For I have been An infant hitherto,


wiser grown,

Would now remove them from the breath of fire.

Then thus the gentle matron in return.

Yes truly --and I wish that now,

at length,

Thou would'st assert the privilege of thy years,

  30 My son,

thyself assuming charge of all,

Both house and stores;

but who shall bear the light?

Since they,

it seems,

who would,

are all forbidden.

To whom Telemachus discrete replied.

This guest;

for no man,

from my table fed,

Come whence he may;

shall be an idler here.

He ended,

nor his words flew wing'd away,

But Euryclea bolted every door.


starting to the task,

Ulysses caught,

And his illustrious son,

the weapons thence,

  40 Helmet,

and bossy shield,

and pointed spear,

While Pallas from a golden lamp illumed The dusky way before them.

At that sight Alarm'd,

the Prince his father thus address'd.

Whence --whence is this,

my father?

I behold A prodigy!

the walls of the whole house,

The arches,

fir-tree beams,

and pillars tall Shine in my view,

as with the blaze of fire!

Some Pow'r celestial,


is within.

To whom Ulysses,



   50 Soft!

ask no questions.

Give no vent to thought,

Such is the custom of the Pow'rs divine.



to bed.

I stay,

that I may yet Both in thy mother and her maidens move More curiosity;

yes --she with tears Shall question me of all that I have seen.

He ended,

and the Prince,

at his command,

Guided by flaming torches,

sought the couch Where he was wont to sleep,

and there he slept On that night also,

waiting the approach    60 Of sacred dawn.

Thus was Ulysses left Alone,

and planning sat in solitude,

By Pallas' aid,

the slaughter of his foes.

At length,


or like herself,

All golden Venus,

(her apartment left) Enter'd Penelope.

Beside the hearth Her women planted her accustom'd seat With silver wreathed and ivory.

That throne Icmalius made,

artist renown'd,

and join'd A footstool to its splendid frame beneath,

  70 Which ever with an ample fleece they spread.

There sat discrete Penelope;

then came Her beautiful attendants from within,

Who cleared the litter'd bread,

the board,

and cups From which the insolent companions drank.

They also raked the embers from the hearths Now dim,

and with fresh billets piled them high,

Both for illumination and for warmth.

Then yet again Melantho with rude speech Opprobrious,


assail'd Ulysses' ear.

   80 Guest --wilt thou trouble us throughout the night Ranging the house?

and linger'st thou a spy Watching the women?

Hence --get thee abroad Glad of such fare as thou hast found,

or soon With torches beaten we will thrust thee forth.

To whom Ulysses,

frowning stern,


Petulant woman!

wherefore thus incensed Inveigh'st thou against me?

is it because I am not sleek?

because my garb is mean?

Because I beg?

thanks to necessity --    90 I would not else.

But such as I appear,

Such all who beg and all who wander are.

I also lived the happy owner once Of such a stately mansion,

and have giv'n To num'rous wand'rers,

whencesoe'er they came,

All that they needed;

I was also served By many,

and enjoy'd all that denotes The envied owner opulent and blest.

But Jove (for so it pleas'd him) hath reduced My all to nothing.

Therefore well beware    100 Thou also,


lest a day arrive When all these charms by which thou shin'st among Thy sister-menials,




lest her Thou should'st perchance irritate,

whom thou serv'st,

And lest Ulysses come,

of whose return Hope yet survives;

but even though the Chief Have perish'd,

as ye think,

and comes no more,

Consider yet his son,

how bright the gifts Shine of Apollo in the illustrious Prince Telemachus;

no woman,

unobserved     110 By him,

can now commit a trespass here;

His days of heedless infancy are past.

He ended,

whom Penelope discrete O'erhearing,

her attendant sharp rebuked.


audacious woman!

known to me Is thy great wickedness,

which with thy life Thou shalt atone;

for thou wast well aware,

(Hearing it from myself) that I design'd To ask this stranger of my absent Lord,

For whose dear sake I never cease to mourn.

  120 Then to her household's governess she said.

Bring now a seat,

and spread it with a fleece,




the guest May hear and answer all that I shall ask.

She ended.

Then the matron brought in haste A polish'd seat,

and spread it with a fleece,

On which the toil-accustom'd Hero sat,

And thus the chaste Penelope began.


my first enquiry shall be this -- Who art thou?


where born?

and sprung from whom?

 130 Then answer thus Ulysses,



O Queen!

uncensurable by the lips Of mortal man!

thy glory climbs the skies Unrivall'd,

like the praise of some great King Who o'er a num'rous people and renown'd Presiding like a Deity,

maintains Justice and truth.

The earth,

under his sway,

Her produce yields abundantly;

the trees Fruit-laden bend;

the lusty flocks bring forth;

The Ocean teems with finny swarms beneath   140 His just controul,

and all the land is blest.

Me therefore,

question of what else thou wilt In thy own palace,

but forbear to ask From whom I sprang,

and of my native land,

Lest thou,

reminding me of those sad themes,

Augment my woes;

for I have much endured;

Nor were it seemly,

in another's house,

To pass the hours in sorrow and in tears,

Wearisome when indulg'd with no regard To time or place;

thy train (perchance thyself)   150 Would blame me,

and I should reproach incur As one tear-deluged through excess of wine.

Him answer'd then Penelope discrete.

The immortal Gods,

O stranger,

then destroy'd My form,

my grace,

my beauty,

when the Greeks Whom my Ulysses follow'd,

sail'd to Troy.

Could he,


my domestic charge Himself intend,

far better would my fame Be so secured,

and wider far diffused.

But I am wretched now,

such storms of woe   160 The Gods have sent me;

for as many Chiefs As hold dominion in the neighbour isles Samos,


and the forest-crown'd Zacynthus;



rulers here In pleasant Ithaca,


loth to wed,

Woo ceaseless,

and my household stores consume.

I therefore,

neither guest nor suppliant heed,

Nor public herald more,

but with regret Of my Ulysses wear my soul away.



press my nuptials,

which by art   170 I still procrastinate.

Some God the thought Suggested to me,

to commence a robe Of amplest measure and of subtlest woof,

Laborious task;

which done,

I thus address'd them.


my suitors!

since the noble Chief Ulysses is no more,

enforce not now My nuptials;

wait till I shall finish first A fun'ral robe (lest all my threads be marr'd) Which for the ancient Hero I prepare Laertes,

looking for the mournful hour    180 When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest.


I the censure dread of all my sex,

Should he,

so wealthy,

want at last a shroud.

Such was my speech;


unsuspicious all,

With my request complied.


all day I wove the ample web,


by the aid Of torches,

ravell'd it again at night.

Three years by artifice I thus their suit Eluded safe;

but when the fourth arrived,

And the same season after many moons    190 And fleeting days return'd,

passing my train Who had neglected to release the dogs,

They came,

surprized and reprimanded me.


through necessity,

not choice,

at last I have perform'd it,

in my own despight.

But no escape from marriage now remains,

Nor other subterfuge for me;

meantime My parents urge my nuptials,

and my son (Of age to note it) with disgust observes His wealth consumed;

for he is now become   200 Adult,

and abler than myself to rule The house,

a Prince distinguish'd by the Gods,



after all,

speak thy descent;

Say whence thou art;

for not of fabulous birth Art thou,

nor from the oak,

nor from the rock.

Her answer'd then Ulysses,


O spouse revered of Laertiades!

Resolv'st thou still to learn from whom I sprang?

Learn then;

but know that thou shalt much augment My present grief,

natural to a man    210 Who hath,

like me,

long exiled from his home Through various cities of the sons of men Wander'd remote,

and num'rous woes endured.


though it pain me,

I will tell thee all.

There is a land amid the sable flood Call'd Crete;



circled by the sea.

Num'rous are her inhabitants,

a race Not to be summ'd,

and ninety towns she boasts.

Diverse their language is;

Achaians some,

And some indigenous are;

Cydonians there,

  220 Crest-shaking Dorians,

and Pelasgians dwell.

One city in extent the rest exceeds,


the city in which Minos reign'd,


ever at a nine years' close,

conferr'd With Jove himself;

from him my father sprang The brave Deucalion;

for Deucalion's sons Were two,

myself and King Idomeneus.

To Ilium he,

on board his gallant barks,

Follow'd the Atridæ.


the youngest-born,

By my illustrious name,


am known,

   230 But he ranks foremost both in worth and years.

There I beheld Ulysses,

and within My walls receiv'd him;

for a violent wind Had driv'n him from Malea (while he sought The shores of Troy) to Crete.

The storm his barks Bore into the Amnisus,

for the cave Of Ilythia known,

a dang'rous port,

And which with difficulty he attain'd.



instant to the city went,

Seeking Idomeneus;

his friend of old,

   240 As he affirm'd,

and one whom much he lov'd.

But -he- was far remote,

ten days advanced,

Perhaps eleven,

on his course to Troy.



I conducted to my home,

Where hospitably,

and with kindest care I entertain'd him,

(for I wanted nought) And for himself procured and for his band,

-- By public contribution,


and wine,

And beeves for food,

that all might be sufficed.

Twelve days his noble Greecians there abode,

  250 Port-lock'd by Boreas blowing with a force Resistless even on the land,

some God So roused his fury;

but the thirteenth day The wind all fell,

and they embark'd again.

With many a fiction specious,

as he sat,

He thus her ear amused;

she at the sound Melting,

with fluent tears her cheeks bedew'd;

And as the snow by Zephyrus diffused,

Melts on the mountain tops,

when Eurus breathes,

And fills the channels of the running streams,

  260 So melted she,

and down her lovely cheeks Pour'd fast the tears,

him mourning as remote Who sat beside her.

Soft compassion touch'd Ulysses of his consort's silent woe;

His eyes as they had been of steel or horn,

Moved not,

yet artful,

he suppress'd his tears,

And she,

at length with overflowing grief Satiate,


and thus enquired again.



I shall prove thee,

as I judge,

If thou,


hast entertain'd in Crete   270 My spouse and his brave followers,

as thou say'st.

Describe his raiment and himself;

his own Appearance,

and the appearance of his friends.

Then her Ulysses answer'd,


Hard is the task,

O Queen!

(so long a time Hath since elaps'd) to tell thee.

Twenty years Have pass'd since he forsook my native isle,


from my best remembrance,

I will give A likeness of him,

such as now I may.

A double cloak,


Mœonian dyed,

  280 The noble Chief had on;

two fast'nings held The golden clasp,

and it display'd in front A well-wrought pattern with much art design'd.

An hound between his fore-feet holding fast A dappled fawn,

gaped eager on his prey.

All wonder'd,


how in lifeless gold Express'd,

the dog with open mouth her throat Attempted still,

and how the fawn with hoofs Thrust trembling forward,

struggled to escape.

That glorious mantle much I noticed,

soft   290 To touch,

as the dried garlick's glossy film;

Such was the smoothness of it,

and it shone Sun-bright;

full many a maiden,

trust me,

view'd The splendid texture with admiring eyes.

But mark me now;

deep treasure in thy mind This word.

I know not if Ulysses wore That cloak at home,

or whether of his train Some warrior gave it to him on his way,

Or else some host of his;

for many loved Ulysses,

and with him might few compare.

   300 I gave to him,


a brazen sword,

A purple cloak magnificent,

and vest Of royal length,

and when he sought his bark,

With princely pomp dismiss'd him from the shore.

An herald also waited on the Chief,

Somewhat his Senior;

him I next describe.

His back was bunch'd,

his visage swarthy,

curl'd His poll,

and he was named Eurybates;

A man whom most of all his followers far Ulysses honour'd,

for their minds were one.

  310 He ceased;

she recognising all the proofs Distinctly by Ulysses named,

was moved Still more to weep,

till with o'erflowing grief Satiate,

at length she answer'd him again.


O stranger,

thou who hadst before My pity,

shalt my rev'rence share and love,

I folded for him (with these hands) the cloak Which thou describ'st,

produced it when he went,

And gave it to him;

I that splendid clasp Attach'd to it myself,

more to adorn    320 My honour'd Lord,

whom to his native land Return'd secure I shall receive no more.

In such an evil hour Ulysses went To that bad city never to be named.

To whom Ulysses,



Consort revered of Laertiades!

No longer let anxiety impair Thy beauteous form,

nor any grief consume Thy spirits more for thy Ulysses' sake.

And yet I blame thee not;

a wife deprived   330 Of her first mate to whom she had produced Fair fruit of mutual love,

would mourn his loss,

Although he were inferior far to thine,

Whom fame affirms the semblance of the Gods.

But cease to mourn.

Hear me.

I will relate A faithful tale,

nor will from thee withhold Such tidings of Ulysses living still,

And of his safe return,

as I have heard Lately,

in yon neighb'ring opulent land Of the Thesprotians.

He returns enrich'd    340 With many precious stores from those obtain'd Whom he hath visited;

but he hath lost,

Departing from Thrinacia's isle,

his bark And all his lov'd companions in the Deep,

For Jove was adverse to him,

and the Sun,

Whose beeves his followers slew.

They perish'd all Amid the billowy flood;

but Him,

the keel Bestriding of his bark,

the waves at length Cast forth on the Phæacian's land,

a race Allied to heav'n,

who rev'renced like a God   350 Thy husband,

honour'd him with num'rous gifts,

And willing were to have convey'd him home.



had attained long since His native shore,

but that he deem'd it best To travel far,

that he might still amass More wealth;

so much Ulysses all mankind Excels in policy,

and hath no peer.

This information from Thesprotia's King I gain'd,

from Phidon;

to myself he swore,

Libation off'ring under his own roof,

   360 That both the bark was launch'd,

and the stout crew Prepared,

that should conduct him to his home.

But me he first dismiss'd;


as it chanced,

A ship lay there of the Thesprotians,

bound To corn-enrich'd Dulichium.

All the wealth He shew'd me by the Chief amass'd,

a store To feed the house of yet another Prince To the tenth generation;

so immense His treasures were within that palace lodg'd.

Himself he said was to Dodona gone,

   370 Counsel to ask from the oracular oaks Sublime of Jove,

how safest he might seek,

After long exile thence,

his native land,

If openly were best,

or in disguise.



he is safe,

and at his home Well-nigh arrived,

nor shall his country long Want him.

I swear it with a solemn oath.

First Jove be witness,

King and Lord of all!

Next these domestic Gods of the renown'd Ulysses,

in whose royal house I sit,

   380 That thou shalt see my saying all fulfill'd.

Ulysses shall this self-same year return,

This self-same month,

ere yet the next begin.

Him answer'd then Penelope discrete.

Grant heav'n,

my guest,

that this good word of thine Fail not!


soon shalt thou such bounty share And friendship at my hands,


at first sight,

Whoe'er shall meet thee shall pronounce thee blest.

But ah!

my soul forebodes how it will prove;

Neither Ulysses will return,

nor thou    390 Receive safe conduct hence;

for we have here None,

such as once Ulysses was,

to rule His household with authority,

and to send With honourable convoy to his home The worthy guest,

or to regale him here.

Give him the bath,

my maidens;

spread his couch With linen soft,

with fleecy gaberdines[82] And rugs of splendid hue,

that he may lie Waiting,


the golden morn's return.

Attend him also at the peep of day    400 With bath and unction,


his seat resumed Here in the palace,

he may be prepared For breakfast with Telemachus;

and woe To him who shall presume to incommode Or cause him pain;

that man shall be cashier'd Hence instant,

burn his anger as it may.

For how,

my honour'd inmate!

shalt thou learn That I in wisdom œconomic aught Pass other women,

if unbathed,



thou sojourn here?

man's life is short,

 410 Whoso is cruel,

and to cruel arts Addict,

on him all men,

while yet he lives,

Call plagues and curses down,

and after death Scorn and proverbial mock'ries hunt his name.

But men,

humane themselves,

and giv'n by choice To offices humane,

from land to land Are rumour'd honourably by their guests,

And ev'ry tongue is busy in their praise.

Her answer'd then,



Consort revered of Laertiades!

    420 Warm gaberdines and rugs of splendid hue To me have odious been,

since first the sight Of Crete's snow-mantled mountain-tops I lost,

Sweeping the billows with extended oars.


I will pass,

as I am wont to pass The sleepless night;

for on a sordid couch Outstretch'd,

full many a night have I reposed Till golden-charioted Aurora dawn'd.

Nor me the foot-bath pleases more;

my foot Shall none of all thy ministring maidens touch,

  430 Unless there be some ancient matron grave Among them,

who hath pangs of heart endured Num'rous,

and keen as I have felt myself;

Her I refuse not.

She may touch my feet.

Him answer'd then prudent Penelope.

Dear guest!

for of all trav'llers here arrived From distant regions,

I have none received Discrete as thou,

or whom I more have lov'd,

So just thy matter is,

and with such grace Express'd.

I have an ancient maiden grave,

  440 The nurse who at my hapless husband's birth Receiv'd him in her arms,

and with kind care Maternal rear'd him;

she shall wash thy feet,

Although decrepid.



Wash one coeval with thy Lord;

for such The feet and hands,

it may be,

are become Of my Ulysses now;

since man beset With sorrow once,

soon wrinkled grows and old.

She said,

then Euryclea with both hands Cov'ring her face,

in tepid tears profuse   450 Dissolved,

and thus in mournful strains began.


my son,

trouble for thy dear sake Distracts me.

Jove surely of all mankind Thee hated most,

though ever in thy heart Devoutly giv'n;

for never mortal man So many thighs of fatted victims burn'd,

And chosen hecatombs produced as thou To Jove the Thund'rer,

him entreating still That he would grant thee a serene old age,

And to instruct,


thy glorious son.

  460 Yet thus the God requites thee,

cutting off All hope of thy return --oh ancient sir!

Him too,


where'er he sits a guest Beneath some foreign roof,

the women taunt,

As all these shameless ones have taunted thee,

Fearing whose mock'ry thou forbidd'st their hands This office,

which Icarius' daughter wise To me enjoins,

and which I,

glad perform.


I will wash thy feet;

both for her sake And for thy own,

--for sight of thee hath raised   470 A tempest in my mind.

Hear now the cause!

Full many a guest forlorn we entertain,

But never any have I seen,

whose size,

The fashion of whose foot and pitch of voice,

Such likeness of Ulysses show'd,

as thine.

To whom Ulysses,



Such close similitude,

O ancient dame!

As thou observ'st between thy Lord and me,


who have seen us both,

have ever found.

He said;

then taking the resplendent vase   480 Allotted always to that use,

she first Infused cold water largely,


the warm.

Ulysses (for beside the hearth he sat) Turn'd quick his face into the shade,

alarm'd Lest,

handling him,

she should at once remark His scar,

and all his stratagem unveil.

She then,


minister'd the bath To her own King,

and at first touch discern'd That token,

by a bright-tusk'd boar of old Impress'd,

what time he to Parnassus went   490 To visit there Autolycus and his sons,

His mother's noble sire,

who all mankind In furtive arts and fraudful oaths excell'd.[83] For such endowments he by gift receiv'd From Hermes' self,

to whom the thighs of kids He offer'd and of lambs,


in return,

The watchful Hermes never left his side.

Autolycus arriving in the isle Of pleasant Ithaca,

the new-born son Of his own daughter found,

whom on his knees   500 At close of supper Euryclea placed,

And thus the royal visitant address'd.



devise a name For thy own daughter's son,

by num'rous pray'rs Of thine and fervent,

from the Gods obtained.

Then answer thus Autolycus return'd.

My daughter and my daughter's spouse!

the name Which I shall give your boy,

that let him bear.

Since after provocation and offence To numbers giv'n of either sex,

I come,

   510 Call him Ulysses;[84] and when,

grown mature,

He shall Parnassus visit,

the abode Magnificent in which his mother dwelt,

And where my treasures lie,

from my own stores I will enrich and send him joyful home.



that he might obtain Those princely gifts,

went thither.

Him arrived,

With right-hand gratulation and with words Of welcome kind,

Autolycus received,

Nor less his offspring;

but the mother most   520 Of his own mother clung around his neck,


she with many a fervent kiss His forehead press'd,

and his bright-beaming eyes.

Then bade Autolycus his noble sons Set forth a banquet.


at his command,

Led in a fatted ox of the fifth year,

Which slaying first,

they spread him carved abroad,

Then scored his flesh,

transfixed it with the spits,

And roasting all with culinary skill Exact,

gave each his portion.

Thus they sat   530 Feasting all day,

and till the sun declined,

But when the sun declined,

and darkness fell,

Each sought his couch,

and took the gift of sleep.


soon as day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd Aurora look'd abroad,

forth went the hounds,


with the hounds Ulysses,

and the youths,

Sons of Autolycus,

to chase the boar.

Arrived at the Parnassian mount,

they climb'd His bushy sides,

and to his airy heights Ere long attain'd.

It was the pleasant hour   540 When from the gently-swelling flood profound The sun,


first smote on the fields.

The hunters reach'd the valley;

foremost ran,


the hounds;

behind them,


the sons Came of Autolycus,

with whom advanced The illustrious Prince Ulysses,

pressing close The hounds,

and brandishing his massy spear.


hid in thickest shades,

lay an huge boar.

That covert neither rough winds blowing moist Could penetrate,

nor could the noon-day sun   550 Smite through it,

or fast-falling show'rs pervade,

So thick it was,

and underneath the ground With litter of dry foliage strew'd profuse.

Hunters and dogs approaching him,

his ear The sound of feet perceived;

upridging high His bristly back and glaring fire,

he sprang Forth from the shrubs,

and in defiance stood Near and right opposite.



Rush'd on him,

elevating his long spear Ardent to wound him;


preventing quick   560 His foe,

the boar gash'd him above the knee.

Much flesh,

assailing him oblique,

he tore With his rude tusk,

but to the Hero's bone Pierced not;

Ulysses -his- right shoulder reach'd;

And with a deadly thrust impell'd the point Of his bright spear through him and far beyond.

Loud yell'd the boar,

sank in the dust,

and died.

Around Ulysses,


the busy sons Throng'd of Autolycus;

expert they braced The wound of the illustrious hunter bold,

  570 With incantation staunched the sable blood,

And sought in haste their father's house again,


heal'd and gratified with splendid gifts They sent him soon rejoicing to his home,

Themselves rejoicing also.

Glad their son His parents saw again,

and of the scar Enquired,

where giv'n,

and how?

He told them all,

How to Parnassus with his friends he went,

Sons of Autolycus to hunt,

and how A boar had gash'd him with his iv'ry tusk.

  580 That scar,

while chafing him with open palms,

The matron knew;

she left his foot to fall;

Down dropp'd his leg into the vase;

the brass Rang,

and o'ertilted by the sudden shock,

Poured forth the water,

flooding wide the floor.

-Her- spirit joy at once and sorrow seized;

Tears fill'd her eyes;

her intercepted voice Died in her throat;

but to Ulysses' beard Her hand advancing,


at length,

she spake.

Thou art himself,


Oh my son!

   590 Dear to me,

and my master as thou art,

I knew thee not,

till I had touch'd the scar.

She said,

and to Penelope her eyes Directed,

all impatient to declare Her own Ulysses even then at home.

But she,

nor eye nor ear for aught that pass'd Had then,

her fixt attention so entire Minerva had engaged.


darting forth His arms,

the Hero with his right-hand close Compress'd her throat,

and nearer to himself   600 Drawing her with his left,

thus caution'd her.

Why would'st thou ruin me?

Thou gav'st me milk Thyself from thy own breast.

See me return'd After long suff'rings,

in the twentieth year,

To my own land.

But since (some God the thought Suggesting to thee) thou hast learn'd the truth,


lest others learn it from thy lips.

For this I say,

nor shall the threat be vain;

If God vouchsafe to me to overcome The haughty suitors,

when I shall inflict   610 Death on the other women of my house,

Although my nurse,

thyself shalt also die.

Him answer'd Euryclea then,


My son!

oh how could so severe a word Escape thy lips?

my fortitude of mind Thou know'st,

and even now shalt prove me firm As iron,

secret as the stubborn rock.

But hear and mark me well.

Should'st thou prevail,

Assisted by a Pow'r divine,

to slay The haughty suitors,

I will then,


  620 Give thee to know of all the female train Who have dishonour'd thee,

and who respect.

To whom Ulysses,



My nurse,

it were superfluous;

spare thy tongue That needless task.

I can distinguish well Myself,

between them,

and shall know them all;

But hold thy peace.


leave it with the Gods.

So he;

then went the ancient matron forth,

That she might serve him with a second bath,

For the whole first was spilt.


laved at length,

 630 And smooth'd with oil,

Ulysses nearer pull'd His seat toward the glowing hearth to enjoy More warmth,

and drew his tatters o'er the scar.



thus Penelope began.

One question,


I shall yet propound,

Though brief,

for soon the hour of soft repose Grateful to all,

and even to the sad Whom gentle sleep forsakes not,

will arrive.

But heav'n to me immeasurable woe Assigns,

--whose sole delight is to consume   640 My days in sighs,

while here retired I sit,

Watching my maidens' labours and my own;

But (night return'd,

and all to bed retired) I press mine also,

yet with deep regret And anguish lacerated,

even there.

As when at spring's first entrance,

her sweet song The azure-crested nightingale renews,

Daughter of Pandarus;

within the grove's Thick foliage perch'd,

she pours her echoing voice Now deep,

now clear,

still varying the strain   650 With which she mourns her Itylus,

her son By royal Zethus,

whom she,


slew,[85] So also I,

by soul-distressing doubts Toss'd ever,

muse if I shall here remain A faithful guardian of my son's affairs,

My husband's bed respecting,

and not less My own fair fame,

or whether I shall him Of all my suitors follow to his home Who noblest seems,

and offers richest dow'r.

My son while he was infant yet,

and own'd   660 An infant's mind,

could never give consent That I should wed and leave him;

but at length,

Since he hath reached the stature of a man,

He wishes my departure hence,

the waste Viewing indignant by the suitors made.

But I have dream'd.


and expound my dream.

My geese are twenty,

which within my walls I feed with sodden wheat;

they serve to amuse Sometimes my sorrow.

From the mountains came An eagle,



brake all their necks,

 670 And slew them;

scatter'd on the palace-floor They lay,

and he soar'd swift into the skies.

Dream only as it was,

I wept aloud,

Till all my maidens,

gather'd by my voice,


found me weeping still,

and still Complaining,

that the eagle had at once Slain all my geese.


to the palace-roof Stooping again,

he sat,

and with a voice Of human sound,

forbad my tears,

and said -- Courage!

O daughter of the far-renown'd   680 Icarius!

no vain dream thou hast beheld,


in thy sleep,

a truth.

The slaughter'd geese Denote thy suitors.

I who have appear'd An eagle in thy sight,

am yet indeed Thy husband,

who have now,

at last,



horrid death designing for them all.

He said;

then waking at the voice,

I cast An anxious look around,

and saw my geese Beside their tray,

all feeding as before.

Her then Ulysses answer'd,


   690 O Queen!

it is not possible to miss Thy dream's plain import,

since Ulysses' self Hath told thee the event;

thy suitors all Must perish;

not one suitor shall escape.

To whom Penelope discrete replied.

Dreams are inexplicable,

O my guest!

And oft-times mere delusions that receive No just accomplishment.

There are two gates Through which the fleeting phantoms pass;

of horn Is one,

and one of ivory.[86] Such dreams   700 As through the thin-leaf'd iv'ry portal come Sooth,

but perform not,

utt'ring empty sounds;

But such as through the polish'd horn escape,


haply seen by any mortal eye,

Prove faithful witnesses,

and are fulfill'd.

But through those gates my wond'rous dream,

I think,

Came not;

thrice welcome were it else to me And to my son.

Now mark my words;


This is the hated morn that from the house Removes me of Ulysses.

I shall fix,

   710 This day,

the rings for trial to them all Of archership;

Ulysses' custom was To plant twelve spikes,

all regular arranged[87] Like galley-props,

and crested with a ring,

Then standing far remote,

true in his aim He with his whizzing shaft would thrid them all.

This is the contest in which now I mean To prove the suitors;


who with most ease Shall bend the bow,

and shoot through all the rings,

I follow,

this dear mansion of my youth    720 Leaving,

so fair,

so fill'd with ev'ry good,

Though still to love it even in my dreams.

Her answer'd then Ulysses,


Consort revered of Laertiades!

Postpone not this contention,

but appoint Forthwith the trial;

for Ulysses here Will sure arrive,

ere they,

(his polish'd bow Long tamp'ring) shall prevail to stretch the nerve,

And speed the arrow through the iron rings.

To whom Penelope replied discrete.

   730 Would'st thou with thy sweet converse,

O my guest!

Here sooth me still,

sleep ne'er should influence These eyes the while;

but always to resist Sleep's pow'r is not for man,

to whom the Gods Each circumstance of his condition here Fix universally.

Myself will seek My own apartment at the palace-top,

And there will lay me down on my sad couch,

For such it hath been,

and with tears of mine Ceaseless bedew'd,

e'er since Ulysses went   740 To that bad city,

never to be named.

There will I sleep;

but sleep thou here below,



preparing on the ground Thy couch,

or on a couch by these prepared.

So saying,

she to her splendid chamber thence Retired,

not sole,

but by her female train Attended;

there arrived,

she wept her spouse,

Her lov'd Ulysses,

till Minerva dropp'd The balm of slumber on her weary lids.


[82] A gaberdine is a shaggy cloak of coarse but warm materials.

Such always make part of Homer's bed-furniture.

[83] Homer's morals seem to allow to a good man dissimulation,

and even an ambiguous oath,

should they be necessary to save him from a villain.

Thus in Book XX.

Telemachus swears by Zeus,

that he does not hinder his mother from marrying whom she pleases of the wooers,

though at the same time he is plotting their destruction with his father.

F. [84] In the Greek ὈΔΥΣΣΕΥΣ from the verb ὀδυσσω --Irascor,

-I am angry-.

[85] She intended to slay the son of her husband's brother Amphion,

incited to it by the envy of his wife,

who had six children,

while herself had only two,

but through mistake she slew her own son Itylus,

and for her punishment was transformed by Jupiter into a nightingale.

[86] The difference of the two substances may perhaps serve to account for the preference given in this case to the gate of horn;

horn being transparent,

and as such emblematical of truth,

while ivory,

from its whiteness,

promises light,

but is,

in fact,


F. [87] The translation here is somewhat pleonastic for the sake of perspicuity;

the original is clear in itself,

but not to us who have no such practice.

Twelve stakes were fixt in the earth,

each having a ring at the top;

the order in which they stood was so exact,

that an arrow sent with an even hand through the first ring,

would pass them all.




doubting whether he shall destroy or not the women servants who commit lewdness with the suitors,

resolves at length to spare them for the present.

He asks an omen from Jupiter,

and that he would grant him also to hear some propitious words from the lips of one in the family.

His petitions are both answered.

Preparation is made for the feast.

Whilst the suitors sit at table,

Pallas smites them with a horrid frenzy.


observing the strange effects of it,

prophesies their destruction,

and they deride his prophecy.

But in the vestibule the Hero lay On a bull's-hide undress'd,

o'er which he spread The fleece of many a sheep slain by the Greeks,


cover'd by the household's governess With a wide cloak,

composed himself to rest.

Yet slept he not,

but meditating lay Woe to his enemies.


the train Of women,

wonted to the suitors' arms,

Issuing all mirth and laughter,

in his soul A tempest raised of doubts,

whether at once   10 To slay,

or to permit them yet to give Their lusty paramours one last embrace.

As growls the mastiff standing on the start For battle,

if a stranger's foot approach Her cubs new-whelp'd --so growl'd Ulysses' heart,

While wonder fill'd him at their impious deeds.


smiting on his breast,

thus he reproved The mutinous inhabitant within.


bear it.

Worse than this thou didst endure When,

uncontroulable by force of man,

   20 The Cyclops thy illustrious friends devour'd.

Thy patience then fail'd not,

till prudence found Deliv'rance for thee on the brink of fate.

So disciplined the Hero his own heart,



endured the rigorous curb,

And patient;

yet he turn'd from side to side.

As when some hungry swain turns oft a maw Unctuous and sav'ry on the burning coals,

Quick expediting his desired repast,

So he from side to side roll'd,

pond'ring deep   30 How likeliest with success he might assail Those shameless suitors;

one to many opposed.


sudden from the skies descending,

came Minerva in a female form;

her stand Above his head she took,

and thus she spake.

Why sleep'st thou not,

unhappiest of mankind?

Thou art at home;

here dwells thy wife,

and here Thy son;

a son,

whom all might wish their own.

Then her Ulysses answer'd,


O Goddess!

true is all that thou hast said,

  40 But,

not without anxiety,

I muse How,

single as I am,

I shall assail Those shameless suitors who frequent my courts Daily;

and always their whole multitude.

This weightier theme I meditate beside;

Should I,

with Jove's concurrence and with thine Prevail to slay them,

how shall I escape,


at last?[88] oh Goddess,

weigh it well.

Him answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.

Oh faithless man!

a man will in his friend   50 Confide,

though mortal,

and in valour less And wisdom than himself;

but I who keep Thee in all difficulties,

am divine.

I tell thee plainly.

Were we hemm'd around By fifty troops of shouting warriors bent To slay thee,

thou should'st yet securely drive The flocks away and cattle of them all.

But yield to sleep's soft influence;

for to lie All night thus watchful,




Fear not.

Deliv'rance waits,

not far remote.

  60 So saying,

she o'er Ulysses' eyes diffused Soft slumbers,

and when sleep that sooths the mind And nerves the limbs afresh had seized him once,

To the Olympian summit swift return'd.

But his chaste spouse awoke;

she weeping sat On her soft couch,


noblest of her sex,

Satiate at length with tears,

her pray'r address'd First to Diana of the Pow'rs above.


awful progeny of Jove!

I would that with a shaft this moment sped   70 Into my bosom,

thou would'st here conclude My mournful life!


oh that,

as it flies,

Snatching me through the pathless air,

a storm Would whelm me deep in Ocean's restless tide!


when the Gods their parents had destroy'd,

Storms suddenly the beauteous daughters snatch'd[89] Of Pandarus away;

them left forlorn Venus with curds,

with honey and with wine Fed duly;

Juno gave them to surpass All women in the charms of face and mind,

   80 With graceful stature eminent the chaste Diana bless'd them,

and in works of art Illustrious,

Pallas taught them to excel.

But when the foam-sprung Goddess to the skies A suitress went on their behalf,

to obtain Blest nuptials for them from the Thund'rer Jove,

(For Jove the happiness,



And the unhappiness of all below) Meantime,

the Harpies ravishing away Those virgins,

gave them to the Furies Three,

  90 That they might serve them.

O that me the Gods Inhabiting Olympus so would hide From human eyes for ever,

or bright-hair'd Diana pierce me with a shaft,

that while Ulysses yet engages all my thoughts,

My days concluded,

I might

'scape the pain Of gratifying some inferior Chief!

This is supportable,

when (all the day To sorrow giv'n) the mourner sleeps at night;

For sleep,

when it hath once the eyelids veil'd,

  100 All reminiscence blots of all alike,

Both good and ill;

but me the Gods afflict Not seldom ev'n in dreams,

and at my side,

This night again,

one lay resembling him;

Such as my own Ulysses when he join'd Achaia's warriors;

my exulting heart No airy dream believed it,

but a truth.

While thus she spake,

in orient gold enthroned Came forth the morn;


as she wept,

Heard plain her lamentation;

him that sound   110 Alarm'd;

he thought her present,

and himself Known to her.

Gath'ring hastily the cloak His cov'ring,

and the fleeces,

them he placed Together on a throne within the hall,

But bore the bull's-hide forth into the air.


lifting high his hands to Jove,

he pray'd.

Eternal Sire!

if over moist and dry Ye have with good-will sped me to my home After much suff'ring,

grant me from the lips Of some domestic now awake,

to hear    120 Words of propitious omen,

and thyself Vouchsafe me still some other sign abroad.

Such pray'r he made,

and Jove omniscient heard.

Sudden he thunder'd from the radiant heights Olympian;


Ulysses heard the sound.

A woman,


a labourer at the mill Hard by,

where all the palace-mills were wrought,

Gave him the omen of propitious sound.

Twelve maidens,

day by day,

toil'd at the mills,

Meal grinding,


of barley,


of wheat,

  130 Marrow of man.[90] The rest (their portion ground) All slept;

she only from her task as yet Ceas'd not,

for she was feeblest of them all;

She rested on her mill,

and thus pronounced The happy omen by her Lord desired.



Governor of heav'n and earth!

Loud thou hast thunder'd from the starry skies By no cloud veil'd;

a sign propitious,

giv'n To whom I know not;

but oh grant the pray'r Of a poor bond-woman!

appoint their feast   140 This day,

the last that in Ulysses' house The suitors shall enjoy,

for whom I drudge,

With aching heart and trembling knees their meal Grinding continual.

Feast they here no more!

She ended,

and the list'ning Chief received With equal joy both signs;

for well he hoped That he should punish soon those guilty men.

And now the other maidens in the hall Assembling,

kindled on the hearth again Th' unwearied blaze;


godlike from his couch  150 Arose Telemachus,



Athwart his shoulders his bright faulchion slung,

Bound his fair sandals to his feet,

and took His sturdy spear pointed with glitt'ring brass;

Advancing to the portal,

there he stood,

And Euryclea thus,

his nurse,



have ye with respectful notice serv'd Our guest?

or hath he found a sordid couch E'en where he might?


prudent though she be,

My mother,

inattentive oft,

the worse    160 Treats kindly,

and the better sends away.

Whom Euryclea answer'd,



Blame not,

my son!

who merits not thy blame.

The guest sat drinking till he would no more,

And ate,



he replied --Enough.

But when the hour of sleep call'd him to rest,

She gave commandment to her female train To spread his couch.

Yet he,

like one forlorn,


through despair,

indiff'rent to himself,

Both bed and rugs refused,

and in the porch   170 On skins of sheep and on an undress'd hide Reposed,

where we threw cov'ring over him.

She ceas'd,


grasping his bright-headed spear,

Forth went the Prince attended,

as he went,

By his fleet hounds;

to the assembled Greeks In council with majestic gait he moved,

And Euryclea,

daughter wise of Ops,

Pisenor's son,

call'd to the serving-maids.

Haste ye!

be diligent!

sweep the palace-floor And sprinkle it;

then give the sumptuous seats   180 Their purple coverings.

Let others cleanse With sponges all the tables,

wash and rince The beakers well,

and goblets rich-emboss'd;

Run others to the fountain,

and bring thence Water with speed.

The suitors will not long Be absent,

but will early come to-day,

For this day is a public festival.[91] So she;

whom all,



forth went Together,

twenty to the crystal fount,

While in their sev'ral provinces the rest   190 Bestirr'd them brisk at home.

Then enter'd all The suitors,

and began cleaving the wood.


the women from the fountain came,

Whom soon the swine-herd follow'd,

driving three His fattest brawns;

them in the spacious court He feeding left,

and to Ulysses' side Approaching,

courteously bespake the Chief.


look the Greecians on thee with respect At length,

or still disdainful as before?


answer thus Ulysses wise return'd.

  200 Yes --and I would that vengeance from the Gods Might pay their insolence,

who in a house Not theirs,

dominion exercise,

and plan Unseemly projects,

shameless as they are!

Thus they conferr'd;

and now Melanthius came The goat-herd,


with the aid of two His fellow-swains,

the fattest of his goats To feast the suitors.

In the sounding porch The goats he tied,


drawing near,

in terms Reproachful thus assail'd Ulysses' ear.

   210 How,


persever'st thou,


still To vex the suitors?

wilt thou not depart?

Scarce shall we settle this dispute,

I judge,

Till we have tasted each the other's fist;

Thou art unreasonable thus to beg Here always --have the Greeks no feasts beside?

He spake,

to whom Ulysses answer none Return'd,

but shook his brows,



framed Terrible purposes.



approach'd Chief o'er the herds,


fatted goats   220 He for the suitors brought,

with which he drove An heifer;

(ferry-men had pass'd them o'er,

Carriers of all who on their coast arrive) He tied them in the sounding porch,

then stood Beside the swine-herd,

to whom thus he said.

Who is this guest,


here arrived So lately?

from what nation hath he come?

What parentage and country boasts the man?

I pity him,

whose figure seems to speak Royalty in him.

Heav'n will surely plunge   230 The race of common wand'rers deep in woe,

If thus it destine even Kings to mourn.

He ceas'd;


with his right hand,

drawing nigh,

Welcom'd Ulysses,

whom he thus bespake.

Hail venerable guest!

and be thy lot Prosp'rous at least hereafter,

who art held At present in the bonds of num'rous ills.



of all the Gods,

art most Severe,

and spar'st not to inflict distress Even on creatures from thyself derived.[92]   240 I had no sooner mark'd thee,

than my eyes Swam,

and the sweat gush'd from me at the thought Of dear Ulysses;

for if yet he live And see the sun,

such tatters,

I suppose,

He wears,

a wand'rer among human-kind.

But if already with the dead he dwell In Pluto's drear abode,

oh then,

alas For kind Ulysses!

who consign'd to me,

While yet a boy,

his Cephalenian herds,

And they have now encreas'd to such a store   250 Innumerable of broad-fronted beeves,

As only care like mine could have produced.


by command of others,

I transport For their regale,

who neither heed his son,

Nor tremble at the anger of the Gods,

But long have wish'd ardently to divide And share the substance of our absent Lord.



this thought occupies,

and haunts My mind not seldom;

while the heir survives It were no small offence to drive his herds   260 Afar,

and migrate to a foreign land;

Yet here to dwell,

suff'ring oppressive wrongs While I attend another's beeves,

appears Still less supportable;

and I had fled,

And I had served some other mighty Chief Long since,

(for patience fails me to endure My present lot) but that I cherish still Some hope of my ill-fated Lord's return,

To rid his palace of those lawless guests.

To whom Ulysses,



   270 Herdsman!

since neither void of sense thou seem'st,

Nor yet dishonest,

but myself am sure That thou art owner of a mind discrete,

Hear therefore,

for I swear!

bold I attest Jove and this hospitable board,

and these The Lares[93] of the noble Chief,

whose hearth Protects me now,


ere thy going hence,

Ulysses surely shall have reach'd his home,

And thou shalt see him,

if thou wilt,


Slaying the suitors who now lord it here.

  280 Him answer'd then the keeper of his beeves.

Oh stranger!

would but the Saturnian King Perform that word,

thou should'st be taught (thyself Eye-witness of it) what an arm is mine.

Eumæus also ev'ry power of heav'n Entreated,

that Ulysses might possess His home again.

Thus mutual they conferr'd.


in conf'rence close the suitors plann'd Death for Telemachus;

but while they sat Consulting,

on their left the bird of Jove   290 An eagle soar'd,

grasping a tim'rous dove.



Amphinomus the rest bespake.

Oh friends!

our consultation how to slay Telemachus,

will never smoothly run To its effect;

but let us to the feast.

So spake Amphinomus,

whose counsel pleased.


all into the royal house repaired,

And on the thrones and couches throwing off Their mantles,

slew the fatted goats,

the brawns,

The sheep full-sized,

and heifer of the herd.

  300 The roasted entrails first they shared,

then fill'd The beakers,

and the swine-herd placed the cups,


chief intendant of the beeves,

Served all with baskets elegant of bread,

While all their cups Melanthius charged with wine,

And they assail'd at once the ready feast.

Meantime Telemachus,

with forecast shrewd,

Fast by the marble threshold,

but within The spacious hall his father placed,

to whom A sordid seat he gave and scanty board.

   310 A portion of the entrails,


he set Before him,

fill'd a golden goblet high,

And thus,

in presence of them all,


There seated now,

drink as the suitors drink.

I will,


their biting taunts forbid,

And violence.

This edifice is mine,

Not public property;

my father first Possess'd it,

and my right from him descends.


controul your tongues,

nor with your hands Offend,

lest contest fierce and war ensue.

  320 He ceas'd: they gnawing,


their lips,

aghast With wonder that Telemachus in his speech Such boldness used.

Then spake Eupithes' son,


and the assembly thus address'd.

Let pass,

ye Greeks!

the language of the Prince,

Harsh as it is,

and big with threats to us.

Had Jove permitted,

his orations here,

Although thus eloquent,

ere now had ceased.

So spake Antinoüs,

whom Ulysses' son Heard unconcern'd.

And now the heralds came   330 In solemn pomp,

conducting through the streets A sacred hecatomb,

when in the grove Umbrageous of Apollo,

King shaft-arm'd,

The assembled Greecians met.

The sav'ry roast Finish'd,

and from the spits withdrawn,

each shared His portion of the noble feast,

and such As they enjoy'd themselves the attendants placed Before Ulysses,

for the Hero's son Himself,


had so enjoined.

But Pallas (that they might exasp'rate more   340 Ulysses) suffer'd not the suitor Chiefs To banquet,

guiltless of heart-piercing scoffs Malign.

There was a certain suitor named Ctesippus,

born in Samos;

base of mind Was he and profligate,


in the wealth Confiding of his father,

woo'd the wife Of long-exiled Ulysses.

From his seat The haughty suitors thus that man address'd.

Ye noble suitors,

I would speak;


The guest is served;

he hath already shared   350 Equal with us;

nor less the laws demand Of hospitality;

for neither just It were nor decent,

that a guest,

received Here by Telemachus,

should be denied His portion of the feast.

Come then --myself Will give to him,

that he may also give To her who laved him in the bath,

or else To whatsoever menial here he will.

So saying,

he from a basket near at hand Heav'd an ox-foot,

and with a vig'rous arm   360 Hurl'd it.

Ulysses gently bow'd his head,

Shunning the blow,

but gratified his just Resentment with a broad sardonic smile[94] Of dread significance.

He smote the wall.

Then thus Telemachus rebuked the deed.


thou art fortunate;

the bone Struck not the stranger,

for he shunn'd the blow;


I had surely thrust my glitt'ring lance Right through thee;


no hymenæal rites Of thine should have employ'd thy father here,

  370 But thy funereal.

No man therefore treat Me with indignity within these walls,

For though of late a child,

I can discern Now,

and distinguish between good and ill.

Suffice it that we patiently endure To be spectators daily of our sheep Slaughter'd,

our bread consumed,

our stores of wine Wasted;

for what can one to all opposed?

Come then --persist no longer in offence And hostile hate of me;

or if ye wish    380 To slay me,

pause not.

It were better far To die,

and I had rather much be slain,

Than thus to witness your atrocious deeds Day after day;

to see our guests abused,

With blows insulted,

and the women dragg'd With a licentious violence obscene From side to side of all this fair abode.

He said,

and all sat silent,

till at length Thus Agelaüs spake,

Diastor's son.

My friends!

let none with contradiction thwart   390 And rude reply,

words rational and just;

Assault no more the stranger,

nor of all The servants of renown'd Ulysses here Harm any.

My advice,

both to the Queen And to Telemachus,

shall gentle be,

May it but please them.

While the hope survived Within your bosoms of the safe return Of wise Ulysses to his native isle,

So long good reason was that she should use Delay,

and hold our wooing in suspence;

   400 For had Ulysses come,

that course had proved Wisest and best;

but that he comes no more Appears,






Seeking thy mother,

counsel her to wed The noblest,

and who offers richest dow'r,

That thou,

for thy peculiar,

may'st enjoy Thy own inheritance in peace and ease,

And she,


find another home.

To whom Telemachus,



I swear by Jove,

and by my father's woes,

  410 Who either hath deceased far from his home,

Or lives a wand'rer,

that I interpose No hindrance to her nuptials.

Let her wed Who offers most,

and even whom she will.

But to dismiss her rudely were a deed Unfilial --That I dare not --God forbid!

So spake Telemachus.

Then Pallas struck The suitors with delirium;

wide they stretch'd Their jaws with unspontaneous laughter loud;

Their meat dripp'd blood;

tears fill'd their eyes,

and dire Presages of approaching woe,

their hearts.

  421 Then thus the prophet Theoclymenus.[95] Ah miserable men!

what curse is this That takes you now?

night wraps itself around Your faces,



the palace shakes With peals of groans --and oh,

what floods ye weep!

I see the walls and arches dappled thick With gore;

the vestibule is throng'd,

the court On all sides throng'd with apparitions grim Of slaughter'd men sinking into the gloom   430 Of Erebus;

the sun is blotted out From heav'n,

and midnight whelms you premature.

He said,




and thus the son Of Polybus,

Eurymachus replied.

This wand'rer from a distant shore hath left His wits behind.

Hoa there!

conduct him hence Into the forum;

since he dreams it night Already,

teach him there that it is day.

Then answer'd godlike Theoclymenus.

I have no need,


of guides    440 To lead me hence,

for I have eyes and ears,

The use of both my feet,

and of a mind In no respect irrational or wild.

These shall conduct me forth,

for well I know That evil threatens you,



as none Shall

'scape of all the suitors,

whose delight Is to insult the unoffending guest Received beneath this hospitable roof.

He said,


issuing from the palace,

sought Piræus' house,

who gladly welcom'd him.

   450 Then all the suitors on each other cast A look significant,


to provoke Telemachus the more,

fleer'd at his guests.

Of whom a youth thus,

insolent began.

No living wight,


had e'er Guests such as thine.


we know not who,

This hungry vagabond,

whose means of life Are none,

and who hath neither skill nor force To earn them,

a mere burthen on the ground.

Witness the other also,

who upstarts    460 A prophet suddenly.

Take my advice;

I counsel wisely;

send them both on board Some gallant bark to Sicily for sale;

Thus shall they somewhat profit thee at last.

So spake the suitors,

whom Telemachus Heard unconcern'd,



look'd and look'd Toward his father,

watching still the time When he should punish that licentious throng.


Icarius' daughter,

who had placed Her splendid seat opposite,

heard distinct   470 Their taunting speeches.


with noisy mirth,

Feasted deliciously,

for they had slain Many a fat victim;

but a sadder feast Than,


the Goddess and the warrior Chief Should furnish for them,

none shall ever share.

Of which their crimes had furnish'd first the cause.


[88] That is,

how shall I escape the vengeance of their kindred?

[89] Aĕdon,



[90] μυελον ανδρων.

[91] The new moon.

[92] He is often called --πατηρ ανδρων τε θεων τε.

[93] Household Gods who presided over the hearth.

[94] A smile of displeasure.

[95] Who had sought refuge in the ship of Telemachus when he left Sparta,

and came with him to Ithaca.



Penelope proposes to the suitors a contest with the bow,

herself the prize.

They prove unable to bend the bow;

when Ulysses having with some difficulty possessed himself of it,

manages it with the utmost ease,

and dispatches his arrow through twelve rings erected for the trial.



Goddess cærulean-eyed,

Prompted Icarius' daughter,

the discrete Penelope,

with bow and rings to prove Her suitors in Ulysses' courts,

a game Terrible in conclusion to them all.


taking in her hand the brazen key Well-forged,

and fitted with an iv'ry grasp,

Attended by the women of her train She sought her inmost chamber,

the recess In which she kept the treasures of her Lord,

  10 His brass,

his gold,

and steel elaborate.

Here lay his stubborn bow,

and quiver fill'd With num'rous shafts,

a fatal store.

That bow He had received and quiver from the hand Of godlike Iphitus Eurytides,


in Messenia,[96] in the house he met Of brave Orsilochus.

Ulysses came Demanding payment of arrearage due From all that land;

for a Messenian fleet Had borne from Ithaca three hundred sheep,

  20 With all their shepherds;

for which cause,

ere yet Adult,

he voyaged to that distant shore,

Deputed by his sire,

and by the Chiefs Of Ithaca,

to make the just demand.

But Iphitus had thither come to seek Twelve mares and twelve mule colts which he had lost,

A search that cost him soon a bloody death.


coming to the house of Hercules The valiant task-performing son of Jove,

He perish'd there,

slain by his cruel host   30 Who,

heedless of heav'n's wrath,

and of the rights Of his own board,

first fed,

then slaughter'd him;

For in -his- house the mares and colts were hidden.



occupied in that concern,

Meeting Ulysses there,

gave him the bow Which,


huge Eurytus had borne,

and which Himself had from his dying sire received.


in return,

on him bestowed A spear and sword,

pledges of future love And hospitality;

but never more     40 They met each other at the friendly board,


ere that hour arrived,

the son of Jove Slew his own guest,

the godlike Iphitus.

Thus came the bow into Ulysses' hands,


never in his gallant barks he bore To battle with him,

(though he used it oft In times of peace) but left it safely stored At home,

a dear memorial of his friend.

Soon as,

divinest of her sex,

arrived At that same chamber,

with her foot she press'd   50 The oaken threshold bright,

on which the hand Of no mean architect had stretch'd the line,

Who had erected also on each side The posts on which the splendid portals hung,

She loos'd the ring and brace,

then introduced The key,

and aiming at them from without,[97] Struck back the bolts.

The portals,

at that stroke,

Sent forth a tone deep as the pastur'd bull's,

And flew wide open.




The elevated floor on which the chests    60 That held her own fragrant apparel stood,

With lifted hand aloft took down the bow In its embroider'd bow-case safe enclosed.


sitting there,

she lay'd it on her knees,

Weeping aloud,

and drew it from the case.

Thus weeping over it long time she sat,

Till satiate,

at the last,

with grief and tears,

Descending by the palace steps she sought Again the haughty suitors,

with the bow Elastic,

and the quiver in her hand    70 Replete with pointed shafts,

a deadly store.

Her maidens,

as she went,

bore after her A coffer fill'd with prizes by her Lord,

Much brass and steel;

and when at length she came,

Loveliest of women,

where the suitors sat,

Between the pillars of the stately dome Pausing,

before her beauteous face she held Her lucid veil,

and by two matrons chaste Supported,

the assembly thus address'd.

Ye noble suitors hear,

who rudely haunt    80 This palace of a Chief long absent hence,

Whose substance ye have now long time consumed,

Nor palliative have yet contrived,

or could,

Save your ambition to make me a bride -- Attend this game to which I call you forth.

Now suitors!

prove yourselves with this huge bow Of wide-renown'd Ulysses;

he who draws Easiest the bow,

and who his arrow sends Through twice six rings,

he takes me to his home,

And I must leave this mansion of my youth    90 Plenteous,




oft I shall remember even in my dreams.

So saying,

she bade Eumæus lay the bow Before them,

and the twice six rings of steel.

He wept,

received them,

and obey'd;

nor wept The herdsman less,

seeing the bow which erst His Lord had occupied;

when at their tears Indignant,


Antinoüs began.

Ye rural drones,

whose purblind eyes see not Beyond the present hour,

egregious fools!

  100 Why weeping trouble ye the Queen,

too much Before afflicted for her husband lost?

Either partake the banquet silently,

Or else go weep abroad,

leaving the bow,

That stubborn test,

to us;

for none,

I judge,

None here shall bend this polish'd bow with ease,

Since in this whole assembly I discern None like Ulysses,

whom myself have seen And recollect,

though I was then a boy.

He said,

but in his heart,


the hope   110 Cherish'd,

that he should bend,


the bow,

And pass the rings;

yet was he destin'd first Of all that company to taste the steel Of brave Ulysses' shaft,

whom in that house He had so oft dishonour'd,

and had urged So oft all others to the like offence.

Amidst them,


the sacred might arose Of young Telemachus,

who thus began.

Saturnian Jove questionless hath deprived Me of all reason.

My own mother,

fam'd    120 For wisdom as she is,

makes known to all Her purpose to abandon this abode And follow a new mate,



I Trifle and laugh as I were still a child.

But come,

ye suitors!

since the prize is such,

A woman like to whom none can be found This day in all Achaia;

on the shores Of sacred Pylus;

in the cities proud Of Argos or Mycenæ;

or even here In Ithaca;

or yet within the walls    130 Of black Epirus;

and since this yourselves Know also,

wherefore should I speak her praise?

Come then,

delay not,

waste not time in vain Excuses,

turn not from the proof,

but bend The bow,

that thus the issue may be known.

I also will,


that task essay;

And should I bend the bow,

and pass the rings,

Then shall not my illustrious mother leave Her son forlorn,

forsaking this abode To follow a new spouse,

while I remain    140 Disconsolate,

although of age to bear,

Successful as my sire,

the prize away.

So saying,

he started from his seat,

cast off His purple cloak,

and lay'd his sword aside,

Then fix'd,


the rings,

furrowing the earth By line,

and op'ning one long trench for all,

And stamping close the glebe.

Amazement seized All present,

seeing with how prompt a skill He executed,

though untaught,

his task.


hasting to the portal,

there he stood.

  150 Thrice,


he essay'd to bend the bow,

And thrice desisted,

hoping still to draw The bow-string home,

and shoot through all the rings.[98] And now the fourth time striving with full force He had prevail'd to string it,

but his sire Forbad his eager efforts by a sign.

Then thus the royal youth to all around -- Gods!

either I shall prove of little force Hereafter,

and for manly feats unapt,

Or I am yet too young,

and have not strength   160 To quell the aggressor's contumely.

But come -- (For ye have strength surpassing mine) try ye The bow,

and bring this contest to an end.

He ceas'd,

and set the bow down on the floor,

Reclining it against the shaven pannels smooth That lined the wall;

the arrow next he placed,

Leaning against the bow's bright-polish'd horn,

And to the seat,

whence he had ris'n,


Then thus Eupithes' son,

Antinoüs spake.

My friends!

come forth successive from the right,[99]  170 Where he who ministers the cup begins.

So spake Antinoüs,

and his counsel pleased.




Œnop's son,


He was their soothsayer,

and ever sat Beside the beaker,

inmost of them all.

To him alone,

of all,

licentious deeds Were odious,


with indignation fired,

He witness'd the excesses of the rest.

He then took foremost up the shaft and bow,


station'd at the portal,

strove to bend   180 But bent it not,



his hands Delicate and uncustom'd to the toil.

He ceased,

and the assembly thus bespake.

My friends,

I speed not;

let another try;

For many Princes shall this bow of life Bereave,

since death more eligible seems,

Far more,

than loss of her,

for whom we meet Continual here,

expecting still the prize.

Some suitor,


at this moment,

hopes That he shall wed whom long he hath desired,

  190 Ulysses' wife,


let him Essay the bow,


trial made,

address His spousal offers to some other fair Among the long-stoled Princesses of Greece,

This Princess leaving his,

whose proffer'd gifts Shall please her most,

and whom the Fates ordain.

He said,

and set the bow down on the floor,

Reclining it against the shaven pannels smooth That lined the wall;

the arrow,


he placed,

Leaning against the bow's bright-polish'd horn,

  200 And to the seat whence he had ris'n return'd.

Then him Antinoüs,


thus reproved.

What word,


grating to our ears Hath scap'd thy lips?

I hear it with disdain.

Shall this bow fatal prove to many a Prince,

Because thou hast,


too feeble proved To bend it?


Thou wast not born to bend The unpliant bow,

or to direct the shaft,

But here are nobler who shall soon prevail.

He said,

and to Melanthius gave command,

  210 The goat-herd.



kindle fire;

Beside it place,

with fleeces spread,

a form Of length commodious;

from within procure A large round cake of suet next,

with which When we have chafed and suppled the tough bow Before the fire,

we will again essay To bend it,

and decide the doubtful strife.

He ended,

and Melanthius,

kindling fire Beside it placed,

with fleeces spread,

a form Of length commodious;


he brought a cake   220 Ample and round of suet from within,

With which they chafed the bow,

then tried again To bend,

but bent it not;

superior strength To theirs that task required.

Yet two,

the rest In force surpassing,

made no trial yet,


and Eurymachus the brave.

Then went the herdsman and the swine-herd forth Together;

after whom,

the glorious Chief Himself the house left also,

and when all Without the court had met,

with gentle speech   230 Ulysses,


the faithful pair address'd.


and thou,


shall I keep A certain secret close,

or shall I speak Outright?

my spirit prompts me,

and I will.

What welcome should Ulysses at your hands Receive,

arriving suddenly at home,

Some God his guide;

would ye the suitors aid,

Or would ye aid Ulysses?

answer true.

Then thus the chief intendant of his herds.

Would Jove but grant me my desire,

to see   240 Once more the Hero,

and would some kind Pow'r,

Restore him,

I would shew thee soon an arm Strenuous to serve him,

and a dauntless heart.



fervently implored The Gods in pray'r,

that they would render back Ulysses to his home.



convinced Of their unfeigning honesty,


Behold him!

I am he myself,

arrived After long suff'rings in the twentieth year!

I know how welcome to yourselves alone    250 Of all my train I come,

for I have heard None others praying for my safe return.

I therefore tell you truth;

should heav'n subdue The suitors under me,

ye shall receive Each at my hands a bride,

with lands and house Near to my own,

and ye shall be thenceforth Dear friends and brothers of the Prince my son.


also this indisputable proof That ye may know and trust me.

View it here.

It is the scar which in Parnassus erst    260 (Where with the sons I hunted of renown'd Autolycus) I from a boar received.

So saying,

he stripp'd his tatters,

and unveil'd The whole broad scar;


soon as they had seen And surely recognized the mark,

each cast His arms around Ulysses,


embraced And press'd him to his bosom,

kissing oft His brows and shoulders,

who as oft their hands And foreheads kiss'd,

nor had the setting sun Beheld them satisfied,

but that himself    270 Ulysses thus admonished them,

and said.

Cease now from tears,

lest any,

coming forth,

Mark and report them to our foes within.


to the hall again,

but one by one,

Not all at once,

I foremost,

then yourselves,

And this shall be the sign.

Full well I know That,

all unanimous,

they will oppose Deliv'ry of the bow and shafts to me;

But thou,

(proceeding with it to my seat) Eumæus,

noble friend!

shalt give the bow    280 Into my grasp;

then bid the women close The massy doors,

and should they hear a groan Or other noise made by the Princes shut Within the hall,

let none set step abroad,

But all work silent.

Be the palace-door Thy charge,

my good Philœtius!

key it fast Without a moment's pause,

and fix the brace.[100] He ended,


returning to the hall,

Resumed his seat;

nor stay'd his servants long Without,

but follow'd their illustrious Lord.

  290 Eurymachus was busily employ'd Turning the bow,

and chafing it before The sprightly blaze,


after all,

could find No pow'r to bend it.

Disappointment wrung A groan from his proud heart,

and thus he said.


not only for myself I grieve,

But grieve for all.


though I mourn the loss Of such a bride,

mourn I that loss alone,

(For lovely Greecians may be found no few In Ithaca,

and in the neighbour isles)    300 But should we so inferior prove at last To brave Ulysses,

that no force of ours Can bend his bow,

we are for ever shamed.

To whom Antinoüs,


Eupithes' son.

Not so;

(as even thou art well-assured Thyself,

Eurymachus!) but Phœbus claims This day his own.

Who then,

on such a day,

Would strive to bend it?

Let it rather rest.

And should we leave the rings where now they stand,

I trust that none ent'ring Ulysses' house   310 Will dare displace them.



Serve all with wine,



libation made,

We may religiously lay down the bow.

Command ye too Melanthius,

that he drive Hither the fairest goats of all his flocks At dawn of day,

that burning first,

the thighs To the ethereal archer,

we may make New trial,

and decide,

at length,

the strife.

So spake Antinoüs,

and his counsel pleased.

The heralds,


pour'd water on their hands,

  320 While youths crown'd high the goblets which they bore From right to left,

distributing to all.

When each had made libation,

and had drunk Till well sufficed,


artful to effect His shrewd designs,

Ulysses thus began.


O ye suitors of the illustrious Queen,

My bosom's dictates.

But I shall entreat Chiefly Eurymachus and the godlike youth Antinoüs,

whose advice is wisely giv'n.

Tamper no longer with the bow,

but leave   330 The matter with the Gods,

who shall decide The strife to-morrow,

fav'ring whom they will.


grant -me- the polish'd bow,

that I May trial make among you of my force,

If I retain it still in like degree As erst,

or whether wand'ring and defect Of nourishment have worn it all away.

He said,

whom they with indignation heard Extreme,

alarm'd lest he should bend the bow,

And sternly thus Antinoüs replied.

   340 Desperate vagabond!

ah wretch deprived Of reason utterly!

art not content?

Esteem'st it not distinction proud enough To feast with us the nobles of the land?

None robs thee of thy share,

thou witnessest Our whole discourse,


save thyself alone,

No needy vagrant is allow'd to hear.

Thou art befool'd by wine,

as many have been,

Wide-throated drinkers,

unrestrain'd by rule.

Wine in the mansion of the mighty Chief    350 Pirithoüs,

made the valiant Centaur mad Eurytion,

at the Lapithæan feast.[101] He drank to drunkenness,

and being drunk,

Committed great enormities beneath Pirithoüs' roof,

and such as fill'd with rage The Hero-guests;

who therefore by his feet Dragg'd him right through the vestibule,

amerced Of nose and ears,

and he departed thence Provoked to frenzy by that foul disgrace,

Whence war between the human kind arose    360 And the bold Centaurs --but he first incurred By his ebriety that mulct severe.

Great evil,


if thou bend the bow,

To thee I prophesy;

for thou shalt find Advocate or protector none in all This people,

but we will dispatch thee hence Incontinent on board a sable bark To Echetus,

the scourge of human kind,

From whom is no escape.

Drink then in peace,

And contest shun with younger men than thou.

  370 Him answer'd,


Penelope discrete.


neither seemly were the deed Nor just,

to maim or harm whatever guest Whom here arrived Telemachus receives.

Canst thou expect,

that should he even prove Stronger than ye,

and bend the massy bow,

He will conduct me hence to his own home,

And make me his own bride?

No such design His heart conceives,

or hope;

nor let a dread So vain the mind of any overcloud    380 Who banquets here,

since it dishonours me.

So she;

to whom Eurymachus reply'd,

Offspring of Polybus.

O matchless Queen!

Icarius' prudent daughter!

none suspects That thou wilt wed with him;

a mate so mean Should ill become thee;

but we fear the tongues Of either sex,

lest some Achaian say Hereafter,

(one inferior far to us) Ah!

how unworthy are they to compare With him whose wife they seek!

to bend his bow   390 Pass'd all their pow'r,

yet this poor vagabond,

Arriving from what country none can tell,

Bent it with ease,

and shot through all the rings.

So will they speak,

and so shall we be shamed.

Then answer,


Penelope return'd.

No fair report,


attends Their names or can,


riotous as ye,

The house dishonour,

and consume the wealth Of such a Chief.

Why shame ye thus -yourselves-?

The guest is of athletic frame,

well form'd,

  400 And large of limb;

he boasts him also sprung From noble ancestry.

Come then --consent -- Give him the bow,

that we may see the proof;

For thus I say,

and thus will I perform;

Sure as he bends it,

and Apollo gives To him that glory,

tunic fair and cloak Shall be his meed from me,

a javelin keen To guard him against men and dogs,

a sword Of double edge,

and sandals for his feet,

And I will send him whither most he would.

  410 Her answer'd then prudent Telemachus.

Mother --the bow is mine;


save myself,

No Greek hath right to give it,

or refuse.

None who in rock-bound Ithaca possess Dominion,

none in the steed-pastured isles Of Elis,

if I chose to make the bow His own for ever,

should that choice controul.

But thou into the house repairing,

ply Spindle and loom,

thy province,

and enjoin Diligence to thy maidens;

for the bow    420 Is man's concern alone,

and shall be mine Especially,

since I am master here.

She heard astonish'd,

and the prudent speech Reposing of her son deep in her heart,


then mounting with her female train To her superior chamber,

there she wept Her lost Ulysses,

till Minerva bathed With balmy dews of sleep her weary lids.

And now the noble swine-herd bore the bow Toward Ulysses,

but with one voice all    430 The suitors,


reproved the deed,

Of whom a youth,


insolent exclaim'd.

Thou clumsy swine-herd,

whither bear'st the bow,

Delirious wretch?

the hounds that thou hast train'd Shall eat thee at thy solitary home Ere long,

let but Apollo prove,

at last,

Propitious to us,

and the Pow'rs of heav'n.

So they,

whom hearing he replaced the bow Where erst it stood,

terrified at the sound Of such loud menaces;

on the other side    440 Telemachus as loud assail'd his ear.


forward with the bow;

or soon repent That thou obey'dst the many.

I will else With huge stones drive thee,

younger as I am,

Back to the field.

My strength surpasses thine.

I would to heav'n that I in force excell'd As far,

and prowess,

every suitor here!

So would I soon give rude dismission hence To some,

who live but to imagine harm.

He ceased,

whose words the suitors laughing heard.

 450 And,

for their sake,

in part their wrath resign'd Against Telemachus;

then through the hall Eumæus bore,

and to Ulysses' hand Consign'd the bow;


summoning abroad The ancient nurse,

he gave her thus in charge.

It is the pleasure of Telemachus,

Sage Euryclea!

that thou key secure The doors;

and should you hear,


a groan Or other noise made by the Princes shut Within the hall,

let none look,



  460 But each in quietness pursue her work.

So he;

nor flew his words useless away,

But she,


shut fast the doors.



sprang Philœtius forth,

who closed The portals also of the palace-court.

A ship-rope of Ægyptian reed,

it chanced,

Lay in the vestibule;

with that he braced The doors securely,

and re-entring fill'd Again his seat,

but watchful,

eyed his Lord.



assaying with his hand the bow,

   470 Made curious trial of it ev'ry way,

And turn'd it on all sides,

lest haply worms Had in its master's absence drill'd the horn.

Then thus a suitor to his next remark'd.

He hath an eye,


exactly skill'd In bows,

and steals them;

or perhaps,

at home,

Hath such himself,

or feels a strong desire To make them;

so inquisitive the rogue Adept in mischief,

shifts it to and fro!

To whom another,



   480 I wish him like prosperity in all His efforts,

as attends his effort made On this same bow,

which he shall never bend.

So they;

but when the wary Hero wise Had made his hand familiar with the bow Poising it and examining --at once -- As when in harp and song adept,

a bard Unlab'ring strains the chord to a new lyre,

The twisted entrails of a sheep below With fingers nice inserting,

and above,

   490 With such facility Ulysses bent His own huge bow,

and with his right hand play'd The nerve,

which in its quick vibration sang Clear as the swallow's voice.

Keen anguish seized The suitors,

wan grew ev'ry cheek,

and Jove Gave him his rolling thunder for a sign.

That omen,

granted to him by the son Of wily Saturn,

with delight he heard.

He took a shaft that at the table-side Lay ready drawn;

but in his quiver's womb   500 The rest yet slept,

by those Achaians proud To be,

ere long,


True he lodg'd The arrow on the centre of the bow,


occupying still his seat,

drew home Nerve and notch'd arrow-head;

with stedfast sight He aimed and sent it;

right through all the rings From first to last the steel-charged weapon flew Issuing beyond,

and to his son he spake.

Thou need'st not blush,

young Prince,

to have received A guest like me;

neither my arrow swerved,

  510 Nor labour'd I long time to draw the bow;

My strength is unimpair'd,

not such as these In scorn affirm it.

But the waning day Calls us to supper,

after which succeeds[102] Jocund variety,

the song,

the harp,

With all that heightens and adorns the feast.

He said,

and with his brows gave him the sign.

At once the son of the illustrious Chief Slung his keen faulchion,

grasp'd his spear,

and stood Arm'd bright for battle at his father's side.



[96] A province of Laconia.

[97] The reader will of course observe,

that the whole of this process implies a sort of mechanism very different from that with which we are acquainted.

--The translation,

I believe,

is exact.

[98] This first attempt of Telemachus and the suitors was not an attempt to shoot,

but to lodge the bow-string on the opposite horn,

the bow having been released at one end,

and slackened while it was laid by.

[99] Antinoüs prescribes to them this manner of rising to the trial for the good omen's sake,

the left-hand being held unpropitious.

[100] The δεσμὸς seems to have been a strap designed to close the only aperture by which the bolt could be displaced,

and the door opened.

[101] When Pirithoüs,

one of the Lapithæ,

married Hippodamia,

daughter of Adrastus,

he invited the Centaurs to the wedding.

The Centaurs,

intoxicated with wine,

attempted to ravish the wives of the Lapithæ,

who in resentment of that insult,

slew them.

[102] This is an instance of the Σαρδανιον μαλα τοιον mentioned in Book XX.;

such as,


could not be easily paralleled.

I question if there be a passage,

either in ancient or modern tragedy,

so truly terrible as this seeming levity of Ulysses,

in the moment when he was going to begin the slaughter.




with some little assistance from Telemachus,

Eumæus and Philœtius,

slays all the suitors,

and twelve of the female servants who had allowed themselves an illicit intercourse with them,

are hanged.

Melanthius also is punished with miserable mutilation.


girding up his rags,

Ulysses sprang With bow and full-charged quiver to the door;

Loose on the broad stone at his feet he pour'd His arrows,

and the suitors,



This prize,

though difficult,

hath been atchieved.

Now for another mark which never man Struck yet,

but I will strike it if I may,

And if Apollo make that glory mine.

He said,

and at Antinoüs aimed direct A bitter shaft;


purposing to drink,

   10 Both hands advanced toward the golden cup Twin-ear'd,

nor aught suspected death so nigh.

For who,

at the full banquet,

could suspect That any single guest,

however brave,

Should plan his death,

and execute the blow?

Yet him Ulysses with an arrow pierced Full in the throat,

and through his neck behind Started the glitt'ring point.

Aslant he droop'd;

Down fell the goblet,

through his nostrils flew The spouted blood,

and spurning with his foot   20 The board,

he spread his viands in the dust.


when they saw Antinoüs fall'n,

Seized all the suitors;

from the thrones they sprang,

Flew ev'ry way,

and on all sides explored The palace-walls,

but neither sturdy lance As erst,

nor buckler could they there discern,



to Ulysses thus they spake.

Thy arrow,


was ill-aimed;

a man Is no just mark.

Thou never shalt dispute Prize more.

Inevitable death is thine.

   30 For thou hast slain a Prince noblest of all In Ithaca,

and shalt be vultures' food.

Various their judgments were,

but none believed That he had slain him wittingly,

nor saw Th' infatuate men fate hov'ring o'er them all.

Then thus Ulysses,

louring dark,


O dogs!

not fearing aught my safe return From Ilium,

ye have shorn my substance close,

Lain with my women forcibly,

and sought,

While yet I lived,

to make my consort yours,

  40 Heedless of the inhabitants of heav'n Alike,

and of the just revenge of man.

But death is on the wing;

death for you all.

He said;

their cheeks all faded at the sound,

And each with sharpen'd eyes search'd ev'ry nook For an escape from his impending doom,

Till thus,


Eurymachus replied.

If thou indeed art he,

the mighty Chief Of Ithaca return'd,

thou hast rehears'd With truth the crimes committed by the Greeks   50 Frequent,

both in thy house and in thy field.

But he,


who was cause of all,

Lies slain,


he thy palace fill'd With outrage,

not solicitous so much To win the fair Penelope,

but thoughts Far diff'rent framing,

which Saturnian Jove Hath baffled all;

to rule,


supreme In noble Ithaca,

when he had kill'd By an insidious stratagem thy son.

But he is slain.

Now therefore,

spare thy own,

  60 Thy people;

public reparation due Shall sure be thine,

and to appease thy wrath For all the waste that,


drinking here We have committed,

we will yield thee,


Full twenty beeves,

gold paying thee beside And brass,

till joy shall fill thee at the sight,

However just thine anger was before.

To whom Ulysses,

frowning stern,



would ye contribute each His whole inheritance,

and other sums    70 Still add beside,

ye should not,

even so,

These hands of mine bribe to abstain from blood,

Till ev'ry suitor suffer for his wrong.

Ye have your choice.

Fight with me,

or escape (Whoever may) the terrours of his fate,

But ye all perish,

if my thought be true.

He ended,

they with trembling knees and hearts All heard,

whom thus Eurymachus address'd.

To your defence,

my friends!

for respite none Will he to his victorious hands afford,

   80 But,

arm'd with bow and quiver,

will dispatch Shafts from the door till he have slain us all.

Therefore to arms --draw each his sword --oppose The tables to his shafts,

and all at once Rush on him;


dislodging him at least From portal and from threshold,

we may give The city on all sides a loud alarm,

So shall this archer soon have shot his last.

Thus saying,

he drew his brazen faulchion keen Of double edge,

and with a dreadful cry    90 Sprang on him;

but Ulysses with a shaft In that same moment through his bosom driv'n Transfix'd his liver,

and down dropp'd his sword.


staggering around his table,

fell Convolv'd in agonies,

and overturn'd Both food and wine;

his forehead smote the floor;

Woe fill'd his heart,

and spurning with his heels His vacant seat,

he shook it till he died.


with his faulchion drawn,

Amphinomus Advanced to drive Ulysses from the door,

   100 And fierce was his assault;


from behind,

Telemachus between his shoulders fix'd A brazen lance,

and urged it through his breast.

Full on his front,

with hideous sound,

he fell.

Leaving the weapon planted in his spine Back flew Telemachus,


had he stood Drawing it forth,

some enemy,


Should either pierce him with a sudden thrust Oblique,

or hew him with a downright edge.



to his father's side he ran,

  110 Whom reaching,

in wing'd accents thus he said.

My father!

I will now bring thee a shield,

An helmet,

and two spears;

I will enclose Myself in armour also,

and will give Both to the herdsmen and Eumæus arms Expedient now,

and needful for us all.

To whom Ulysses,




fetch them,

while I yet have arrows left,



I be justled from the door.

He said,


at his word,

forth went the Prince,

 120 Seeking the chamber where he had secured The armour.

Thence he took four shields,

eight spears,

With four hair-crested helmets,

charged with which He hasted to his father's side again,


arming first himself,

furnish'd with arms His two attendants.


all clad alike In splendid brass,

beside the dauntless Chief Ulysses,

his auxiliars firm they stood.


while a single arrow unemploy'd Lay at his foot,


ever pierced   130 Some suitor through,

and heaps on heaps they fell.

But when his arrows fail'd the royal Chief,

His bow reclining at the portal's side Against the palace-wall,

he slung,


A four-fold buckler on his arm,

he fix'd A casque whose crest wav'd awful o'er his brows On his illustrious head,

and fill'd his gripe With two stout spears,

well-headed both,

with brass.

There was a certain postern in the wall[103] At the gate-side,

the customary pass    140 Into a narrow street,

but barr'd secure.

Ulysses bade his faithful swine-herd watch That egress,

station'd near it,

for it own'd One sole approach;

then Agelaüs loud Exhorting all the suitors,

thus exclaim'd.

Oh friends,

will none,

ascending to the door Of yonder postern,

summon to our aid The populace,

and spread a wide alarm?

So shall this archer soon have shot his last.

To whom the keeper of the goats replied   150 Melanthius.


Prince renown'd!

That may not be.

The postern and the gate[104] Neighbour too near each other,

and to force The narrow egress were a vain attempt;

One valiant man might thence repulse us all.

But come --myself will furnish you with arms Fetch'd from above;

for there,

as I suppose,

(And not elsewhere) Ulysses and his son Have hidden them,

and there they shall be found.

So spake Melanthius,



sought   160 Ulysses' chambers through the winding stairs And gall'ries of the house.

Twelve bucklers thence He took,

as many spears,

and helmets bright As many,

shagg'd with hair,

then swift return'd And gave them to his friends.

Trembled the heart Of brave Ulysses,

and his knees,

at sight Of his opposers putting armour on,

And shaking each his spear;

arduous indeed Now seem'd his task,

and in wing'd accents brief Thus to his son Telemachus he spake.

   170 Either some woman of our train contrives Hard battle for us,

furnishing with arms The suitors,

or Melanthius arms them all.

Him answer'd then Telemachus discrete.


this fault was mine,

and be it charged On none beside;

I left the chamber-door Unbarr'd,


more attentive than myself,

Their spy perceived.

But haste,


shut The chamber-door,

observing well,

the while,

If any women of our train have done    180 This deed,

or whether,

as I more suspect,


Dolius' son,

have giv'n them arms.

Thus mutual they conferr'd;


again Melanthius to the chamber flew in quest Of other arms.


as he went,

Mark'd him,

and to Ulysses' thus he spake.

Laertes' noble son,

for wiles renown'd!


the traytor,

whom ourselves supposed,

Seeks yet again the chamber!

Tell me plain,

Shall I,

should I superior prove in force,

  190 Slay him,

or shall I drag him thence to thee,

That he may suffer at thy hands the doom Due to his treasons perpetrated oft Against thee,


even in thy own house?

Then answer thus Ulysses shrewd return'd.


with Telemachus,

will here immew The lordly suitors close,

rage as they may.

Ye two,

the while,

bind fast Melanthius' hands And feet behind his back,

then cast him bound Into the chamber,

and (the door secured)    200 Pass underneath his arms a double chain,

And by a pillar's top weigh him aloft Till he approach the rafters,

there to endure,

Living long time,

the mis'ries he hath earned.

He spake;

they prompt obey'd;

together both They sought the chamber,

whom the wretch within Heard not,

exploring ev'ry nook for arms.

They watching stood the door,

from which,

at length,

Forth came Melanthius,

bearing in one hand A casque,

and in the other a broad shield   210 Time-worn and chapp'd with drought,

which in his youth Warlike Laertes had been wont to bear.

Long time neglected it had lain,

till age Had loosed the sutures of its bands.

At once Both,

springing on him,

seized and drew him in Forcibly by his locks,

then cast him down Prone on the pavement,

trembling at his fate.

With painful stricture of the cord his hands They bound and feet together at his back,

As their illustrious master had enjoined,

  220 Then weigh'd him with a double chain aloft By a tall pillar to the palace-roof,

And thus,

deriding him,

Eumæus spake.


good Melanthius,

on that fleecy bed Reclined,

as well befits thee,

thou wilt watch All night,

nor when the golden dawn forsakes The ocean stream,

will she escape thine eye,

But thou wilt duly to the palace drive The fattest goats,

a banquet for thy friends.

So saying,

he left him in his dreadful sling.

  230 Then,

arming both,

and barring fast the door,

They sought brave Laertiades again.

And now,

courageous at the portal stood Those four,

by numbers in the interior house Opposed of adversaries fierce in arms,

When Pallas,

in the form and with the voice Approach'd of Mentor,

whom Laertes' son Beheld,

and joyful at the sight,




help --now recollect a friend And benefactor,

born when thou wast born.

  240 So he,

not unsuspicious that he saw Pallas,

the heroine of heav'n.

Meantime The suitors fill'd with menaces the dome,

And Agelaüs,


Damastor's son,

In accents harsh rebuked the Goddess thus.


oh Mentor!

that he lure thee not To oppose the suitors and to aid himself,

For thus will we.

Ulysses and his son Both slain,

in vengeance of thy purpos'd deeds Against us,

we will slay -thee- next,

and thou   250 With thy own head shalt satisfy the wrong.

Your force thus quell'd in battle,

all thy wealth Whether in house or field,

mingled with his,

We will confiscate,

neither will we leave Or son of thine,

or daughter in thy house Alive,

nor shall thy virtuous consort more Within the walls of Ithaca be seen.

He ended,

and his words with wrath inflamed Minerva's heart the more;


she turn'd Towards Ulysses,

whom she thus reproved.

   260 Thou neither own'st the courage nor the force,



which nine whole years thou showd'st At Ilium,

waging battle obstinate For high-born Helen,

and in horrid fight Destroying multitudes,

till thy advice At last lay'd Priam's bulwark'd city low.


in possession of thy proper home And substance,

mourn'st thou want of pow'r t'oppose The suitors?

Stand beside me,

mark my deeds,

And thou shalt own Mentor Alcimides    270 A valiant friend,

and mindful of thy love.

She spake;

nor made she victory as yet Entire his own,

proving the valour,


Both of the sire and of his glorious son,


springing in a swallow's form aloft,

Perch'd on a rafter of the splendid roof.


Agelaüs animated loud The suitors,

whom Eurynomus also roused,


and Demoptolemus,

And Polyctorides,

Pisander named,

   280 And Polybus the brave;

for noblest far Of all the suitor-chiefs who now survived And fought for life were these.

The bow had quell'd And shafts,

in quick succession sent,

the rest.

Then Agelaüs,


harangued them all.

We soon shall tame,

O friends,

this warrior's might,

Whom Mentor,

after all his airy vaunts Hath left,

and at the portal now remain Themselves alone.

Dismiss not therefore,


Your spears together,

but with six alone    290 Assail them first;

Jove willing,

we shall pierce Ulysses,

and subduing him,

shall slay With ease the rest;

their force is safely scorn'd.

He ceas'd;


as he bade,

six hurl'd the spear Together;

but Minerva gave them all A devious flight;

one struck a column,

one The planks of the broad portal,

and a third[105] Flung right his ashen beam pond'rous with brass Against the wall.

Then (ev'ry suitor's spear Eluded) thus Ulysses gave the word --    300 Now friends!

I counsel you that ye dismiss Your spears at -them-,


not content with past Enormities,

thirst also for our blood.

He said,

and with unerring aim,

all threw Their glitt'ring spears.

Ulysses on the ground Stretch'd Demoptolemus;

Euryades Fell by Telemachus;

the swine-herd slew Elătus;

and the keeper of the beeves Pisander;

in one moment all alike Lay grinding with their teeth the dusty floor.

  310 Back flew the suitors to the farthest wall,

On whom those valiant four advancing,

each Recover'd,


his weapon from the dead.

Then hurl'd the desp'rate suitors yet again Their glitt'ring spears,

but Pallas gave to each A frustrate course;

one struck a column,

one The planks of the broad portal,

and a third Flung full his ashen beam against the walăl.

Yet pierced Amphimedon the Prince's wrist,

But slightly,

a skin-wound,

and o'er his shield   320 Ctesippus reach'd the shoulder of the good Eumæus,

but his glancing weapon swift O'erflew the mark,

and fell.

And now the four,


dauntless Hero,

and his friends All hurl'd their spears together in return,

Himself Ulysses,

city-waster Chief,

Wounded Eurydamas;

Ulysses' son Amphimedon;

the swine-herd Polybus;

And in his breast the keeper of the beeves Ctesippus,

glorying over whom,

he cried.

   330 Oh son of Polytherses!

whose delight Hath been to taunt and jeer,

never again Boast foolishly,

but to the Gods commit Thy tongue,

since they are mightier far than thou.

Take this --a compensation for thy pledge Of hospitality,

the huge ox-hoof,

Which while he roam'd the palace,

begging alms,

Ulysses at thy bounteous hand received.

So gloried he;


grasping still his spear,

Ulysses pierced Damastor's son,



  340 Telemachus,

enforcing his long beam Sheer through his bowels and his back,

transpierced Leiocritus,

he prostrate smote the floor.


Pallas from the lofty roof held forth Her host-confounding Ægis o'er their heads,

With'ring their souls with fear.

They through the hall Fled,

scatter'd as an herd,

which rapid-wing'd The gad-fly dissipates,

infester fell Of beeves,

when vernal suns shine hot and long.


as when bow-beak'd vultures crooked-claw'd[106]  350 Stoop from the mountains on the smaller fowl;

Terrified at the toils that spread the plain The flocks take wing,


darting from above,



and slay,

resistance or escape Is none,

the fowler's heart leaps with delight,

So they,

pursuing through the spacious hall The suitors,

smote them on all sides,

their heads Sounded beneath the sword,

with hideous groans The palace rang,

and the floor foamed with blood.

Then flew Leiodes to Ulysses' knees,

   360 Which clasping,

in wing'd accents thus he cried.

I clasp thy knees,


oh respect My suit,

and spare me!

Never have I word Injurious spoken,

or injurious deed Attempted

'gainst the women of thy house,

But others,

so transgressing,

oft forbad.

Yet they abstain'd not,

and a dreadful fate Due to their wickedness have,



But I,

their soothsayer alone,

must fall,

Though unoffending;

such is the return    370 By mortals made for benefits received!

To whom Ulysses,

louring dark,


Is that thy boast?

Hast thou indeed for these The seer's high office fill'd?



oft Thy pray'r hath been that distant far might prove The day delectable of my return,

And that my consort might thy own become To bear thee children;

wherefore thee I doom To a dire death which thou shalt not avoid.

So saying,

he caught the faulchion from the floor  380 Which Agelaüs had let fall,

and smote Leiodes,

while he kneel'd,

athwart his neck So suddenly,

that ere his tongue had ceased To plead for life,

his head was in the dust.

But Phemius,

son of Terpius,

bard divine,


through compulsion,

with his song regaled The suitors,

a like dreadful death escaped.

Fast by the postern,

harp in hand,

he stood,

Doubtful if,


he should take his seat Beside the altar of Hercæan Jove,[107]    390 Where oft Ulysses offer'd,

and his sire,

Fat thighs of beeves,

or whether he should haste,

An earnest suppliant,

to embrace his knees.

That course,

at length,

most pleased him;


between The beaker and an argent-studded throne He grounded his sweet lyre,

and seizing fast The Hero's knees,



thus address'd.

I clasp thy knees,


oh respect My suit,

and spare me.

Thou shalt not escape Regret thyself hereafter,

if thou slay    400 Me,

charmer of the woes of Gods and men.

Self-taught am I,

and treasure in my mind Themes of all argument from heav'n inspired,

And I can sing to thee as to a God.



behead me not.

Put ev'n the wish Far from thee!

for thy own beloved son Can witness,

that not drawn by choice,

or driv'n By stress of want,

resorting to thine house I have regaled these revellers so oft,

But under force of mightier far than I.

   410 So he;

whose words soon as the sacred might Heard of Telemachus,

approaching quick His father,



he interposed.


harm not with the vengeful faulchion's edge This blameless man;

and we will also spare Medon the herald,

who hath ever been A watchful guardian of my boyish years,

Unless Philœtius have already slain him,

Or else Eumæus,

or thyself,



in the tumult of our foes.

   420 He spake,

whom Medon hearing (for he lay Beneath a throne,

and in a new-stript hide Enfolded,

trembling with the dread of death) Sprang from his hiding-place,

and casting off The skin,

flew to Telemachus,

embraced His knees,

and in wing'd accents thus exclaim'd.


I am here --oh,

pity me!

repress Thine own,

and pacify thy father's wrath,

That he destroy not me,

through fierce revenge Of their iniquities who have consumed    430 His wealth,


in their folly scorn'd his son.

To whom Ulysses,



Smiling complacent.

Fear not;

my own son Hath pleaded for thee.

Therefore (taught thyself That truth) teach others the superior worth Of benefits with injuries compared.

But go ye forth,

thou and the sacred bard,

That ye may sit distant in yonder court From all this carnage,

while I give command,


concerning it,

to those within.

   440 He ceas'd;

they going forth,

took each his seat Beside Jove's altar,

but with careful looks Suspicious,

dreading without cease the sword.

Meantime Ulysses search'd his hall,

in quest Of living foes,

if any still survived Unpunish'd;

but he found them all alike Welt'ring in dust and blood;

num'rous they lay Like fishes when they strew the sinuous shore Of Ocean,

from the grey gulph drawn aground In nets of many a mesh;

they on the sands   450 Lie spread,

athirst for the salt wave,

till hot The gazing sun dries all their life away;

So lay the suitors heap'd,

and thus at length The prudent Chief gave order to his son.


bid Euryclea come Quickly,

the nurse,

to whom I would impart The purpose which now occupies me most.

He said;

obedient to his sire,

the Prince Smote on the door,

and summon'd loud the nurse.

Arise thou ancient governess of all    460 Our female menials,

and come forth;

attend My father;

he hath somewhat for thine ear.

So he;

nor flew his words useless away,


throwing wide the portal,

forth she came,


by Telemachus conducted,

found Ere long Ulysses amid all the slain,

With blood defiled and dust;

dread he appear'd As from the pastur'd ox newly-devoured The lion stalking back;

his ample chest With gory drops and his broad cheeks are hung,

  470 Tremendous spectacle!

such seem'd the Chief,

Blood-stain'd all over.


the carnage spread On all sides seeing,

and the pools of blood,

Felt impulse forcible to publish loud That wond'rous triumph;

but her Lord repress'd The shout of rapture ere it burst abroad,

And in wing'd accents thus his will enforced.

Silent exult,

O ancient matron dear!

Shout not,

be still.

Unholy is the voice Of loud thanksgiving over slaughter'd men.

  480 Their own atrocious deeds and the Gods' will Have slain all these;

for whether noble guest Arrived or base,

they scoff'd at all alike,

And for their wickedness have,



But say;

of my domestic women,

who Have scorn'd me,

and whom find'st thou innocent?

To whom good Euryclea thus replied.

My son!

I will declare the truth;

thou keep'st Female domestics fifty in thy house,

Whom we have made intelligent to comb    490 The fleece,

and to perform whatever task.

Of these,

twice six have overpass'd the bounds Of modesty,

respecting neither me,

Nor yet the Queen;

and thy own son,

adult So lately,

no permission had from her To regulate the women of her train.

But I am gone,

I fly with what hath pass'd To the Queen's ear,

who nought suspects,

so sound She sleeps,

by some divinity composed.

Then answer,


Ulysses wise returned.

  500 Hush,

and disturb her not.


Summon first Those wantons,

who have long deserved to die.

He ceas'd;

then issued forth the ancient dame To summon those bad women,



Calling his son,


and Eumæus,

Ulysses in wing'd accents thus began.

Bestir ye,

and remove the dead;

command Those women also to your help;

then cleanse With bibulous sponges and with water all The seats and tables;

when ye shall have thus   510 Set all in order,

lead those women forth,

And in the centre of the spacious court,

Between the scull'ry and the outer-wall Smite them with your broad faulchions till they lose In death the mem'ry of their secret loves Indulged with wretches lawless as themselves.

He ended,

and the damsels came at once All forth,


and with tepid tears Show'ring the ground;

with mutual labour,


Bearing the bodies forth into the court,

   520 They lodged them in the portico;

meantime Ulysses,


enjoin'd them haste,


urged By sad necessity,

they bore all out.

With sponges and with water,


they cleansed The thrones and tables,

while Telemachus Beesom'd the floor,

Eumæus in that work Aiding him and the keeper of the beeves,

And those twelve damsels bearing forth the soil.


order giv'n to all within,



Led forth the women,

whom they shut between   530 The scull'ry and the outer-wall in close Durance,

from which no pris'ner could escape,

And thus Telemachus discrete began.

An honourable death is not for these By my advice,

who have so often heap'd Reproach on mine and on my mother's head,

And held lewd commerce with the suitor-train.

He said,

and noosing a strong galley-rope To an huge column,

led the cord around The spacious dome,

suspended so aloft    540 That none with quiv'ring feet might reach the floor.

As when a flight of doves ent'ring the copse,

Or broad-wing'd thrushes,

strike against the net Within,

ill rest,


there they find,

So they,

suspended by the neck,

expired All in one line together.

Death abhorr'd!

With restless feet awhile they beat the air,

Then ceas'd.

And now through vestibule and hall They led Melanthius forth.

With ruthless steel They pared away his ears and nose,

pluck'd forth   550 His parts of shame,

destin'd to feed the dogs,


still indignant,

lopp'd his hands and feet.


laving each his feet and hands,

they sought Again Ulysses;

all their work was done,

And thus the Chief to Euryclea spake.

Bring blast-averting sulphur,


bring fire!

That I may fumigate my walls;

then bid Penelope with her attendants down,

And summon all the women of her train.

But Euryclea,


his nurse,


  560 My son!

thou hast well said;

yet will I first Serve thee with vest and mantle.

Stand not here In thy own palace cloath'd with tatters foul And beggarly --she will abhor the sight.

Then answer thus Ulysses wise return'd.

Not so.

Bring fire for fumigation first.

He said;

nor Euryclea his lov'd nurse Longer delay'd,

but sulphur brought and fire,

When he with purifying steams,


Visited ev'ry part,

the banquet-room,

   570 The vestibule,

the court.

Ranging meantime His house magnificent,

the matron call'd The women to attend their Lord in haste,

And they attended,

bearing each a torch.

Then gather'd they around him all,

sincere Welcoming his return;

with close embrace Enfolding him,

each kiss'd his brows,

and each His shoulders,

and his hands lock'd fast in hers.


irresistible the impulse felt To sigh and weep,

well recognizing all.



[103] If the ancients found it difficult to ascertain clearly the situation of this ορτοθυρη,

well may we.

The Translator has given it the position which to him appeared most probable.

--There seem to have been two of these posterns,

one leading to a part from which the town might be alarmed,

the other to the chamber to which Telemachus went for armour.

There was one,


on each side of the portal,

and they appear to have been at some height above the floor.

[104] At which Ulysses stood.

[105] The deviation of three only is described,

which must be understood,


as instances of the ill success of all.

[106] In this simile we seem to have a curious account of the ancient manner of fowling.

The nets (for νεφεα is used in that sense by Aristophanes) were spread on a plain;

on an adjoining rising ground were stationed they who had charge of the vultures (such Homer calls them) which were trained to the sport.

The alarm being given to the birds below,

the vultures were loosed,

when if any of them escaped their talons,

the nets were ready to enclose them.

-See- Eustathius Dacier.


[107] So called because he was worshipped within the Ἐρκος or wall that surrounded the court.



Ulysses with some difficulty,

convinces Penelope of his identity,

who at length,

overcome by force of evidence,

receives him to her arms with transport.

He entertains her with a recital of his adventures,

and in his narration the principal events of the poem are recapitulated.

In the morning,



the herdsman and the swine-herd depart into the country.

And now,

with exultation loud the nurse Again ascended,

eager to apprize The Queen of her Ulysses' safe return;

Joy braced her knees,

with nimbleness of youth She stepp'd,

and at her ear,

her thus bespake.



dear daughter,

see With thy own eyes thy daily wish fulfill'd.

Ulysses is arrived;

hath reach'd at last His native home,

and all those suitors proud Hath slaughter'd,

who his family distress'd,

  10 His substance wasted,

and controul'd his son.

To whom Penelope discrete replied.

Dear nurse!

the Gods have surely ta'en away Thy judgment;

they transform the wise to fools,

And fools conduct to wisdom,

and have marr'd Thy intellect,

who wast discrete before.

Why wilt thou mock me,

wretched as I am,

With tales extravagant?

and why disturb Those slumbers sweet that seal'd so fast mine eyes?

For such sweet slumbers have I never known   20 Since my Ulysses on his voyage sail'd To that bad city never to be named.

Down instant to thy place again --begone -- For had another of my maidens dared Disturb my sleep with tidings wild as these,

I had dismiss'd her down into the house More roughly;

but thine age excuses -thee-.

To whom the venerable matron thus.

I mock thee not,

my child;

no --he is come -- Himself,


even as I say,

    30 That stranger,

object of the scorn of all.

Telemachus well knew his sire arrived,

But prudently conceal'd the tidings,

so To insure the more the suitors' punishment.

So Euryclea she transported heard,

And springing from the bed,

wrapp'd in her arms The ancient woman shedding tears of joy,

And in wing'd accents ardent thus replied.

Ah then,

dear nurse inform me!

tell me true!

Hath he indeed arriv'd as thou declar'st?

   40 How dared he to assail alone that band Of shameless ones,

for ever swarming here?

Then Euryclea,


matron belov'd.

I nothing saw or knew;

but only heard Groans of the wounded;

in th' interior house We trembling sat,

and ev'ry door was fast.

Thus all remain'd till by his father sent,

Thy own son call'd me forth.


I found Ulysses compass'd by the slaughter'd dead.

They cover'd wide the pavement,

heaps on heaps.

  50 It would have cheer'd thy heart to have beheld Thy husband lion-like with crimson stains Of slaughter and of dust all dappled o'er;

Heap'd in the portal,

at this moment,

lie Their bodies,

and he fumigates,


The house with sulphur and with flames of fire,

And hath,


sent me to bid thee down.

Follow me,


that ye may give your hearts To gladness,


for ye have much endured;

But the event,

so long your soul's desire,

  60 Is come;

himself hath to his household Gods Alive return'd,

thee and his son he finds Unharm'd and at your home,

nor hath he left Unpunish'd one of all his enemies.

Her answer'd,


Penelope discrete.

Ah dearest nurse!

indulge not to excess This dang'rous triumph.

Thou art well apprized How welcome his appearance here would prove To all,

but chief,

to me,

and to his son,

Fruit of our love.

But these things are not so;

  70 Some God,

resentful of their evil deeds,

And of their biting contumely severe,

Hath slain those proud;

for whether noble guest Arrived or base,

alike they scoff'd at all,

And for their wickedness have therefore died.

But my Ulysses distant far,

I know,

From Greece hath perish'd,

and returns no more.

To whom thus Euryclea,

nurse belov'd.

What word my daughter had escaped thy lips,

Who thus affirm'st thy husband,

now within   80 And at his own hearth-side,

for ever lost?

Canst thou be thus incredulous?

Hear again -- I give thee yet proof past dispute,

his scar Imprinted by a wild-boar's iv'ry tusk.

Laving him I remark'd it,

and desired,


to tell thee,

but he,


Compressing with both hands my lips,



follow me.

My life shall be the pledge.

If I deceive thee,

kill me as thou wilt.

To whom Penelope,



   90 Ah,

dearest nurse,

sagacious as thou art,

Thou little know'st to scan the counsels wise Of the eternal Gods.

But let us seek My son,


that I may behold The suitors dead,

and him by whom they died.

So saying,

she left her chamber,

musing much In her descent,

whether to interrogate Her Lord apart,

or whether to imprint,

At once,

his hands with kisses and his brows.

O'erpassing light the portal-step of stone   100 She enter'd.

He sat opposite,

illumed By the hearth's sprightly blaze,

and close before A pillar of the dome,

waiting with eyes Downcast,

till viewing him,

his noble spouse Should speak to him;

but she sat silent long,

Her faculties in mute amazement held.

By turns she riveted her eyes on his,


seeing him so foul attired,

by turns She recognized him not;

then spake her son Telemachus,

and her silence thus reprov'd.

  110 My mother!

ah my hapless and my most Obdurate mother!

wherefore thus aloof Shunn'st thou my father,

neither at his side Sitting affectionate,

nor utt'ring word?

Another wife lives not who could endure Such distance from her husband new-return'd To his own country in the twentieth year,

After much hardship;

but thy heart is still As ever,

less impressible than stone,

To whom Penelope,



   120 I am all wonder,

O my son;

my soul Is stunn'd within me;

pow'r to speak to him Or to interrogate him have I none,

Or ev'n to look on him;

but if indeed He be Ulysses,

and have reach'd his home,

I shall believe it soon,

by proof convinced Of signs known only to himself and me.

She said;

then smiled the Hero toil-inured,

And in wing'd accents thus spake to his son.

Leave thou,


thy mother here   130 To sift and prove me;

she will know me soon More certainly;

she sees me ill-attired And squalid now;

therefore she shews me scorn,

And no belief hath yet that I am he.

But we have need,

thou and myself,

of deep Deliberation.

If a man have slain One only citizen,

who leaves behind Few interested to avenge his death,



he forsakes both friends and home;

But we have slain the noblest Princes far   140 Of Ithaca,

on whom our city most Depended;


I advise thee,




then answer'd Telemachus.

Be that thy care,

my father!

for report Proclaims -thee- shrewdest of mankind,

with whom In ingenuity may none compare.

Lead thou;

to follow thee shall be our part With prompt alacrity;

nor shall,

I judge,

Courage be wanting to our utmost force.

Thus then replied Ulysses,


   150 To me the safest counsel and the best Seems this.

First wash yourselves,

and put ye on Your tunics;

bid ye,


the maidens take Their best attire,

and let the bard divine Harping melodious play a sportive dance,


whether passenger or neighbour near,

All may imagine nuptials held within.

So shall not loud report that we have slain All those,

alarm the city,

till we gain Our woods and fields,


once arriv'd,

such plans  160 We will devise,

as Jove shall deign to inspire.

He spake,

and all,


in the bath First laved themselves,

then put their tunics on;

The damsels also dress'd,

and the sweet bard,

Harping melodious,

kindled strong desire In all,

of jocund song and graceful dance.

The palace under all its vaulted roof Remurmur'd to the feet of sportive youths And cinctured maidens,

while no few abroad,

Hearing such revelry within,

remark'd --    170 The Queen with many wooers,

weds at last.

Ah fickle and unworthy fair!

too frail Always to keep inviolate the house Of her first Lord,

and wait for his return.

So spake the people;

but they little knew What had befall'n.



With bath and unction serv'd the illustrious Chief Ulysses,

and he saw himself attired Royally once again in his own house.


Pallas over all his features shed    180 Superior beauty,

dignified his form With added amplitude,

and pour'd his curls Like hyacinthine flow'rs down from his brows.

As when some artist by Minerva made And Vulcan,

wise to execute all tasks Ingenious,

borders silver with a wreath Of gold,

accomplishing a graceful work,

Such grace the Goddess o'er his ample chest Copious diffused,

and o'er his manly brows.



stepping from the bath,

resumed   190 His former seat magnificent,

and sat Opposite to the Queen,

to whom he said.


the Gods to thee have giv'n Of all thy sex,

the most obdurate heart.

Another wife lives not who could endure Such distance from her husband new-return'd To his own country in the twentieth year,

After such hardship.

But prepare me,


A bed,

for solitary I must sleep,

Since she is iron,

and feels not for me.

   200 Him answer'd then prudent Penelope.

I neither magnify thee,


nor yet Depreciate thee,

nor is my wonder such As hurries me at once into thy arms,

Though my remembrance perfectly retains,

Such as he was,


when he sail'd On board his bark from Ithaca --Go,


Prepare his bed,

but not within the walls Of his own chamber built with his own hands.

Spread it without,

and spread it well with warm   210 Mantles,

with fleeces,

and with richest rugs.

So spake she,

proving him,[108] and not untouch'd With anger at that word,

thus he replied.


that order grates my ear.

Who hath displaced my bed?

The task were hard E'en to an artist;

other than a God None might with ease remove it;

as for man,

It might defy the stoutest in his prime Of youth,

to heave it to a different spot.

For in that bed elaborate,

a sign,

   220 A special sign consists;

I was myself The artificer;

I fashion'd it alone.

Within the court a leafy olive grew Lofty,


pillar-like in girth.

Around this tree I built,

with massy stones Cemented close,

my chamber,

roof'd it o'er,

And hung the glutinated portals on.

I lopp'd the ample foliage and the boughs,

And sev'ring near the root its solid bole,

Smooth'd all the rugged stump with skilful hand,

  230 And wrought it to a pedestal well squared And modell'd by the line.

I wimbled,


The frame throughout,

and from the olive-stump Beginning,

fashion'd the whole bed above Till all was finish'd,

plated o'er with gold,

With silver,

and with ivory,

and beneath Close interlaced with purple cordage strong.

Such sign I give thee.

But if still it stand Unmoved,

or if some other,

sev'ring sheer The olive from its bottom,

have displaced   240 My bed --that matter is best known to thee.

He ceas'd;


conscious of the sign so plain Giv'n by Ulysses,

heard with flutt'ring heart And fault'ring knees that proof.

Weeping she ran Direct toward him,

threw her arms around The Hero,

kiss'd his forehead,

and replied.

Ah my Ulysses!

pardon me --frown not -- Thou,

who at other times hast ever shewn Superior wisdom!

all our griefs have flow'd From the Gods' will;

they envied us the bliss   250 Of undivided union sweet enjoy'd Through life,

from early youth to latest age.

No. Be not angry now;

pardon the fault That I embraced thee not as soon as seen,

For horror hath not ceased to overwhelm My soul,

lest some false alien should,


Beguile me,

for our house draws num'rous such.

Jove's daughter,

Argive Helen,

ne'er had given Free entertainment to a stranger's love,

Had she foreknown that the heroic sons    260 Of Greece would bring her to her home again.

But heav'n incited her to that offence,

Who never,


had even in her thought Harbour'd the foul enormity,

from which Originated even our distress.

But now,

since evident thou hast described Our bed,

which never mortal yet beheld,

Ourselves except and Actoris my own Attendant,

giv'n me when I left my home By good Icarius,

and who kept the door,

   270 Though hard to be convinced,

at last I yield.

So saying,

she awaken'd in his soul Pity and grief;

and folding in his arms His blameless consort beautiful,

he wept.

Welcome as land appears to those who swim,

Whose gallant bark Neptune with rolling waves And stormy winds hath sunk in the wide sea,

A mariner or two,


escape The foamy flood,



reach the land,

Weary indeed,

and with incrusted brine    280 All rough,

but oh,

how glad to climb the coast!

So welcome in her eyes Ulysses seem'd,

Around whose neck winding her snowy arms,

She clung as she would loose him never more.

Thus had they wept till rosy-finger'd morn Had found them weeping,

but Minerva check'd Night's almost finish'd course,

and held,


The golden dawn close pris'ner in the Deep,

Forbidding her to lead her coursers forth,

Lampus and Phaëton that furnish light    290 To all the earth,

and join them to the yoke.

Then thus,

Ulysses to Penelope.

My love;

we have not yet attain'd the close Of all our sufferings,

but unmeasured toil Arduous remains,

which I must still atchieve.

For so the spirit of the Theban seer Inform'd me,

on that day,

when to enquire Of mine and of my people's safe return I journey'd down to Pluto's drear abode.

But let us hence to bed,

there to enjoy    300 Tranquil repose.

My love,

make no delay.

Him answer'd then prudent Penelope.

Thou shalt to bed at whatsoever time Thy soul desires,

since the immortal Gods Give thee to me and to thy home again.


thou hast spoken from the seer of Thebes Of arduous toils yet unperform'd;

declare What toils?

Thou wilt disclose them,

as I judge,


and why not disclose them now?

To whom Ulysses,



   310 Ah conversant with woe!

why would'st thou learn That tale?

but I will tell it thee at large.

Thou wilt not hear with joy,

nor shall myself With joy rehearse it;

for he bade me seek City after city,


as I go,

A shapely oar,

till I shall find,

at length,

A people who the sea know not,

nor eat Food salted;

they trim galley crimson-prow'd Have ne'er beheld,

nor yet smooth-shaven oar With which the vessel wing'd scuds o'er the waves.

 320 He gave me also this authentic sign,

Which I will tell thee.

In what place soe'er I chance to meet a trav'ler who shall name The oar on my broad shoulder borne,

a van;[109] He bade me,

planting it on the same spot,

Worship the King of Ocean with a bull,

A ram,

and a lascivious boar,

then seek My home again,

and sacrifice at home An hecatomb to the immortal Gods Inhabitants of the expanse above.

   330 So shall I die,

at length,

the gentlest death Remote from Ocean;

it shall find me late,

In soft serenity of age,

the Chief Of a blest people.

--Thus he prophesied.

Him answer'd then Penelope discrete.

If heav'n appoint thee in old age a lot More tranquil,

hope thence springs of thy escape Some future day from all thy threaten'd woes.

Such was their mutual conf'rence sweet;

meantime Eurynome and Euryclea dress'd     340 Their bed by light of the clear torch,

and when Dispatchful they had spread it broad and deep,

The ancient nurse to her own bed retired.

Then came Eurynome,

to whom in trust The chambers appertain'd,

and with a torch Conducted them to rest;

she introduced The happy pair,

and went;

transported they To rites connubial intermitted long,

And now recover'd,

gave themselves again.[110] Meantime,

the Prince,

the herdsman,

and the good   350 Eumæus,

giving rest each to his feet,

Ceased from the dance;

they made the women cease Also,

and to their sev'ral chambers all Within the twilight edifice repair'd.

At length,

with conjugal endearment both Satiate,

Ulysses tasted and his spouse The sweets of mutual converse.

She rehearsed,

Noblest of women,

all her num'rous woes Beneath that roof sustain'd,

while she beheld The profligacy of the suitor-throng,

   360 Who in their wooing had consumed his herds And fatted flocks,

and drawn his vessels dry;

While brave Ulysses,

in his turn,

to her Related his successes and escapes,

And his afflictions also;

he told her all;

She listen'd charm'd,

nor slumber on his eyes Fell once,

or ere he had rehearsed the whole.


he discoursed,


at the first He conquer'd in Ciconia,

and thence reach'd The fruitful shores of the Lotophagi;

   370 The Cyclops' deeds he told her next,

and how He well avenged on him his slaughter'd friends Whom,


the monster had devour'd.

How to the isle of Æolus he came,

Who welcom'd him and safe dismiss'd him thence,

Although not destin'd to regain so soon His native land;

for o'er the fishy deep Loud tempests snatch'd him sighing back again.


also at Telepylus he arrived,

Town of the Læstrygonians,

who destroyed    380 His ships with all their mariners,

his own Except,

who in his sable bark escaped.

Of guileful Circe too he spake,

deep-skill'd In various artifice,

and how he reach'd With sails and oars the squalid realms of death,

Desirous to consult the prophet there Theban Tiresias,

and how there he view'd All his companions,

and the mother bland Who bare him,

nourisher of his infant years.


next he heard the Sirens in one strain   390 All chiming sweet,

and how he reach'd the rocks Erratic,

Scylla and Charybdis dire,

Which none secure from injury may pass.


how the partners of his voyage slew The Sun's own beeves,

and how the Thund'rer Jove Hurl'd down his smoky bolts into his bark,

Depriving him at once of all his crew,

Whose dreadful fate he yet,



How to Ogygia's isle he came,

where dwelt The nymph Calypso,



wish'd   400 To espouse him,

and within her spacious grot Detain'd,

and fed,

and promis'd him a life Exempt for ever from the sap of age,

But him moved not.



he arrived After much toil,

on the Phæacian coast,

Where ev'ry heart revered him as a God,

And whence,

enriching him with brass and gold,

And costly raiment first,

they sent him home.

At this last word,

oblivious slumber sweet Fell on him,

dissipating all his cares.

   410 Meantime,


Goddess azure-eyed,

On other thoughts intent,

soon as she deem'd Ulysses with connubial joys sufficed,

And with sweet sleep,

at once from Ocean rous'd The golden-axled chariot of the morn To illumine earth.

Then from his fleecy couch The Hero sprang,

and thus his spouse enjoined.

Oh consort dear!

already we have striv'n Against our lot,

till wearied with the toil,

My painful absence,

thou with ceaseless tears   420 Deploring,

and myself in deep distress Withheld reluctant from my native shores By Jove and by the other pow'rs of heav'n.

But since we have in this delightful bed Met once again,

watch thou and keep secure All my domestic treasures,

and ere long I will replace my num'rous sheep destroy'd By those imperious suitors,

and the Greeks Shall add yet others till my folds be fill'd.

But to the woodlands go I now --to see    430 My noble father,

who for my sake mourns Continual;

as for thee,

my love,

although I know thee wise,

I give thee thus in charge.

The sun no sooner shall ascend,

than fame Shall wide divulge the deed that I have done,

Slaying the suitors under my own roof.



with thy maidens,

sit retired In thy own chamber at the palace-top,

Nor question ask,



look abroad.

He said,

and cov'ring with his radiant arms   440 His shoulders,

called Telemachus;

he roused Eumæus and the herdsman too,

and bade All take their martial weapons in their hand.

Not disobedient they,

as he enjoin'd,

Put armour on,

and issued from the gates Ulysses at their head.

The earth was now Enlighten'd,

but Minerva them in haste Led forth into the fields,

unseen by all.


[108] The proof consisted in this --that the bed being attached to the stump of an olive tree still rooted,

was immovable,

and Ulysses having made it himself,

no person present,

he must needs be apprized of the impossibility of her orders,

if he were indeed Ulysses;


this demonstration of his identity satisfies all her scruples.

[109] See the note on the same passage,

Book XI.

[110] Aristophanes the grammarian and Aristarchus chose that the Odyssey should end here;

but the story is not properly concluded till the tumult occasioned by the slaughter of so many Princes being composed,

Ulysses finds himself once more in peaceful possession of his country.



Mercury conducts the souls of the suitors down to Ades.

Ulysses discovers himself to Laertes,

and quells,

by the aid of Minerva,

an insurrection of the people resenting the death of the suitors.

And now Cyllenian Hermes summon'd forth The spirits of the suitors;

waving wide The golden wand of pow'r to seal all eyes In slumber,

and to ope them wide again,

He drove them gibb'ring down into the shades,[111] As when the bats within some hallow'd cave Flit squeaking all around,

for if but one Fall from the rock,

the rest all follow him,

In such connexion mutual they adhere,


after bounteous Mercury,

the ghosts,

   10 Troop'd downward gibb'ring all the dreary way.[111] The Ocean's flood and the Leucadian rock,

The Sun's gate also and the land of Dreams They pass'd,



into the meads they came Of Asphodel,

by shadowy forms possess'd,

Simulars of the dead.

They found the souls Of brave Pelides there,

and of his friend Patroclus,

of Antilochus renown'd,

And of the mightier Ajax,

for his form And bulk (Achilles sole except) of all    20 The sons of the Achaians most admired.

These waited on Achilles.


appear'd The mournful ghost of Agamemnon,

son Of Atreus,

compass'd by the ghosts of all Who shared his fate beneath Ægisthus' roof,

And him the ghost of Peleus' son bespake.


of all Heroes we esteem'd Thee dearest to the Gods,

for that thy sway Extended over such a glorious host At Ilium,

scene of sorrow to the Greeks.

   30 But Fate,

whose ruthless force none may escape Of all who breathe,

pursued thee from the first.

Thou should'st have perish'd full of honour,

full Of royalty,

at Troy;

so all the Greeks Had rais'd thy tomb,

and thou hadst then bequeath'd Great glory to thy son;

but Fate ordain'd A death,

oh how deplorable!

for thee.

To whom Atrides' spirit thus replied.

Blest son of Peleus,

semblance of the Gods,

At Ilium,

far from Argos,


for whom   40 Contending,

many a Trojan,

many a Chief Of Greece died also,

while in eddies whelm'd Of dust thy vastness spread the plain,[112] nor thee The chariot aught or steed could int'rest more!

All day we waged the battle,

nor at last Desisted,

but for tempests sent from Jove.

At length we bore into the Greecian fleet Thy body from the field;



we cleansed With tepid baths and oil'd thy shapely corse,

Then placed thee on thy bier,

while many a Greek   50 Around thee wept,

and shore his locks for thee.

Thy mother,


hearing of thy death With her immortal nymphs from the abyss Arose and came;

terrible was the sound On the salt flood;

a panic seized the Greeks,

And ev'ry warrior had return'd on board That moment,

had not Nestor,

ancient Chief,

Illumed by long experience,


His counsels,

ever wisest,

wisest proved Then also,

and he thus address'd the host.

  60 Sons of Achaia;

fly not;


ye Greeks!

Thetis arrives with her immortal nymphs From the abyss,

to visit her dead son.

So he;


by his admonition stay'd,

The Greeks fled not.


all around thee stood The daughters of the Ancient of the Deep,

Mourning disconsolate;

with heav'nly robes They clothed thy corse,

and all the Muses nine Deplored thee in full choir with sweetest tones Responsive,

nor one Greecian hadst thou seen   70 Dry-eyed,

such grief the Muses moved in all.

Full sev'nteen days we,

day and night,

deplored Thy death,

both Gods in heav'n and men below,


on the eighteenth day,

we gave thy corse Its burning,

and fat sheep around thee slew Num'rous,

with many a pastur'd ox moon-horn'd.

We burn'd thee clothed in vesture of the Gods,

With honey and with oil feeding the flames Abundant,

while Achaia's Heroes arm'd,

Both horse and foot,

encompassing thy pile,

  80 Clash'd on their shields,

and deaf'ning was the din.

But when the fires of Vulcan had at length Consumed thee,

at the dawn we stored thy bones In unguent and in undiluted wine;

For Thetis gave to us a golden vase Twin-ear'd,

which she profess'd to have received From Bacchus,

work divine of Vulcan's hand.

Within that vase,


treasured lie Thine and the bones of thy departed friend Patroclus,

but a sep'rate urn we gave    90 To those of brave Antilochus,

who most Of all thy friends at Ilium shared thy love And thy respect,

thy friend Patroclus slain.

Around both urns we piled a noble tomb,

(We warriors of the sacred Argive host) On a tall promontory shooting far Into the spacious Hellespont,

that all Who live,

and who shall yet be born,

may view Thy record,

even from the distant waves.


by permission from the Gods obtain'd,

  100 To the Achaian Chiefs in circus met Thetis appointed games.

I have beheld The burial rites of many an Hero bold,


on the death of some great Chief,

the youths Girding their loins anticipate the prize,

But sight of those with wonder fill'd me most,

So glorious past all others were the games By silver-footed Thetis giv'n for thee,

For thou wast ever favour'd of the Gods.


hast thou not,


although dead,

  110 Foregone thy glory,

but thy fair report Is universal among all mankind;


as for me,

what recompense had I,

My warfare closed?

for whom,

at my return,

Jove framed such dire destruction by the hands Of fell Ægisthus and my murth'ress wife.



they conferr'd;

meantime approach'd,

Swift messenger of heav'n,

the Argicide,

Conducting thither all the shades of those Slain by Ulysses.

At that sight amazed    120 Both moved toward them.

Agamemnon's shade Knew well Amphimedon,

for he had been Erewhile his father's guest in Ithaca,

And thus the spirit of Atreus' son began.


by what disastrous chance,

Coœvals as ye seem,

and of an air Distinguish'd all,

descend ye to the Deeps?

For not the chosen youths of a whole town Should form a nobler band.

Perish'd ye sunk Amid vast billows and rude tempests raised   130 By Neptune's pow'r?

or on dry land through force Of hostile multitudes,

while cutting off Beeves from the herd,

or driving flocks away?

Or fighting for your city and your wives?

Resolve me?

I was once a guest of yours.

Remember'st not what time at your abode With godlike Menelaus I arrived,

That we might win Ulysses with his fleet To follow us to Troy?

scarce we prevail'd At last to gain the city-waster Chief,

   140 And,

after all,

consumed a whole month more The wide sea traversing from side to side.

To whom the spirit of Amphimedon.

Illustrious Agamemnon,

King of men!

All this I bear in mind,

and will rehearse The manner of our most disastrous end.

Believing brave Ulysses lost,

we woo'd Meantime his wife;

she our detested suit Would neither ratify nor yet refuse,


planning for us a tremendous death,

   150 This novel stratagem,

at last,



in her own recess,

a web Of slend'rest thread,

and of a length and breadth Unusual,

thus the suitors she address'd.


my suitors!

since the noble Chief Ulysses is no more,

enforce not yet My nuptials;

wait till I shall finish first A fun'ral robe (lest all my threads decay) Which for the ancient Hero I prepare,


looking for the mournful hour    160 When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest;


I the censure dread of all my sex,

Should he so wealthy,

want at last a shroud.

So spake the Queen;


unsuspicious all,

With her request complied.


all day She wove the ample web,

and by the aid Of torches ravell'd it again at night.

Three years she thus by artifice our suit Eluded safe,

but when the fourth arrived,

And the same season,

after many moons    170 And fleeting days,


a damsel then Of her attendants,

conscious of the fraud,

Reveal'd it,

and we found her pulling loose The splendid web.


through constraint,

at length,

She finish'd it,

and in her own despight.

But when the Queen produced,

at length,

her work Finish'd,


bright as the sun or moon,

Then came Ulysses,

by some adverse God Conducted,

to a cottage on the verge Of his own fields,

in which his swine-herd dwells;

 180 There also the illustrious Hero's son Arrived soon after,

in his sable bark From sandy Pylus borne;


plotting both A dreadful death for all the suitors,

sought Our glorious city,

but Ulysses last,

And first Telemachus.

The father came Conducted by his swine-herd,

and attired In tatters foul;

a mendicant he seem'd,


and halted on a staff.

So clad,

And ent'ring on the sudden,

he escaped    190 All knowledge even of our eldest there,

And we reviled and smote him;

he although Beneath his own roof smitten and reproach'd,

With patience suffer'd it awhile,

but roused By inspiration of Jove Ægis-arm'd At length,

in concert with his son convey'd To his own chamber his resplendent arms,

There lodg'd them safe,

and barr'd the massy doors Then,

in his subtlety he bade the Queen A contest institute with bow and rings    200 Between the hapless suitors,

whence ensued Slaughter to all.

No suitor there had pow'r To overcome the stubborn bow that mock'd All our attempts;

and when the weapon huge At length was offer'd to Ulysses' hands,

With clamour'd menaces we bade the swain Withhold it from him,

plead he as he might;

Telemachus alone with loud command,

Bade give it him,

and the illustrious Chief Receiving in his hand the bow,

with ease    210 Bent it,

and sped a shaft through all the rings.


springing to the portal steps,

he pour'd The arrows forth,

peer'd terrible around,

Pierced King Antinoüs,


aiming sure His deadly darts,

pierced others after him,

Till in one common carnage heap'd we lay.

Some God,

as plain appear'd,

vouchsafed them aid,

Such ardour urged them,

and with such dispatch They slew us on all sides;

hideous were heard The groans of dying men fell'd to the earth   220 With head-strokes rude,

and the floor swam with blood.


royal Agamemnon!

was the fate By which we perish'd,

all whose bodies lie Unburied still,

and in Ulysses' house,

For tidings none have yet our friends alarm'd And kindred,

who might cleanse from sable gore Our clotted wounds,

and mourn us on the bier,

Which are the rightful privilege of the dead.

Him answer'd,


the shade of Atreus' son.

Oh happy offspring of Laertes!

shrewd    230 Ulysses!

matchless valour thou hast shewn Recov'ring thus thy wife;

nor less appears The virtue of Icarius' daughter wise,

The chaste Penelope,

so faithful found To her Ulysses,

husband of her youth.

His glory,

by superior merit earn'd,

Shall never die,

and the immortal Gods Shall make Penelope a theme of song Delightful in the ears of all mankind.

Not such was Clytemnestra,

daughter vile    240 Of Tyndarus;

she shed her husband's blood,

And shall be chronicled in song a wife Of hateful memory,

by whose offence Even the virtuous of her sex are shamed.

Thus they,

beneath the vaulted roof obscure Of Pluto's house,

conferring mutual stood.


descending from the city-gates,


by his son and by his swains Follow'd,

arrived at the delightful farm Which old Laertes had with strenuous toil   250 Himself long since acquired.

There stood his house Encompass'd by a bow'r in which the hinds Who served and pleased him,


and sat,

and slept.

An ancient woman,

a Sicilian,

dwelt There also,

who in that sequester'd spot Attended diligent her aged Lord.

Then thus Ulysses to his followers spake.

Haste now,



slay ye of the swine The best for our regale;


the while,

Will prove my father,

if his eye hath still   260 Discernment of me,

or if absence long Have worn the knowledge of me from his mind.

He said,

and gave into his servants' care His arms;

they swift proceeded to the house,

And to the fruitful grove himself as swift To prove his father.

Down he went at once Into the spacious garden-plot,

but found Nor Dolius there,

nor any of his sons Or servants;

they were occupied elsewhere,


with the ancient hind himself,

employ'd   270 Collecting thorns with which to fence the grove.

In that umbrageous spot he found alone Laertes,

with his hoe clearing a plant;

Sordid his tunic was,

with many a patch Mended unseemly;

leathern were his greaves,

Thong-tied and also patch'd,

a frail defence Against sharp thorns,

while gloves secured his hands From briar-points,

and on his head he bore A goat-skin casque,

nourishing hopeless woe.

No sooner then the Hero toil-inured    280 Saw him age-worn and wretched,

than he paused Beneath a lofty pear-tree's shade to weep.

There standing much he mused,


at once,

Kissing and clasping in his arms his sire,

To tell him all,

by what means he had reach'd His native country,

or to prove him first.

At length,

he chose as his best course,

with words Of seeming strangeness to accost his ear,


with that purpose,

moved direct toward him.


stooping low,

loosen'd the earth around   290 A garden-plant,

when his illustrious son Now,

standing close beside him,

thus began.

Old sir!

thou art no novice in these toils Of culture,

but thy garden thrives;

I mark In all thy ground no plant,




Pear-tree or flow'r-bed suff'ring through neglect.

But let it not offend thee if I say That thou neglect'st thyself,

at the same time Oppress'd with age,

sun-parch'd and ill-attired.

Not for thy inactivity,


   300 Thy master slights thee thus,

nor speaks thy form Or thy surpassing stature servile aught In thee,

but thou resemblest more a King.

Yes --thou resemblest one who,

bathed and fed,

Should softly sleep;

such is the claim of age.

But tell me true --for whom labourest thou,

And whose this garden?

answer me beside,

For I would learn;

have I indeed arrived In Ithaca,

as one whom here I met Ev'n now assured me,

but who seem'd a man   310 Not overwise,

refusing both to hear My questions,

and to answer when I ask'd Concerning one in other days my guest And friend,

if he have still his being here,

Or have deceas'd and journey'd to the shades.

For I will tell thee;

therefore mark.

Long since A stranger reach'd my house in my own land,

Whom I with hospitality receiv'd,

Nor ever sojourn'd foreigner with me Whom I lov'd more.

He was by birth,

he said,

  320 Ithacan,

and Laertes claim'd his sire,

Son of Arcesias.

Introducing him Beneath my roof,

I entertain'd him well,

And proved by gifts his welcome at my board.

I gave him seven talents of wrought gold,

A goblet,

argent all,

with flow'rs emboss'd,

Twelve single cloaks,

twelve carpets,

mantles twelve Of brightest lustre,

with as many vests,

And added four fair damsels,

whom he chose Himself,

well born and well accomplish'd all.

  330 Then thus his ancient sire weeping replied.


thou hast in truth attain'd the isle Of thy enquiry,

but it is possess'd By a rude race,

and lawless.



Were all thy num'rous gifts;

yet hadst thou found Him living here in Ithaca,

with gifts Reciprocated he had sent thee hence,

Requiting honourably in his turn Thy hospitality.

But give me quick Answer and true.

How many have been the years   340 Since thy reception of that hapless guest My son?

for mine,

my own dear son was he.

But him,

far distant both from friends and home,

Either the fishes of the unknown Deep Have eaten,

or wild beasts and fowls of prey,

Nor I,

or she who bare him,

was ordain'd To bathe his shrouded body with our tears,

Nor his chaste wife,

well-dow'r'd Penelope To close her husband's eyes,

and to deplore His doom,

which is the privilege of the dead.

  350 But tell me also thou,

for I would learn,

Who art thou?


where born?

and sprung from whom?

The bark in which thou and thy godlike friends Arrived,

where is she anchor'd on our coast?

Or cam'st thou only passenger on board Another's bark,

who landed thee and went?

To whom Ulysses,



I will with all simplicity relate What thou hast ask'd.

Of Alybas am I,

Where in much state I dwell,

son of the rich   360 Apheidas royal Polypemon's son,

And I am named Eperitus;

by storms Driven from Sicily I have arrived,

And yonder,

on the margin of the field That skirts your city,

I have moor'd my bark.

Five years have pass'd since thy Ulysses left,

Unhappy Chief!

my country;

yet the birds At his departure hovered on the right,

And in that sign rejoicing,

I dismiss'd Him thence rejoicing also,

for we hoped    370 To mix in social intercourse again,

And to exchange once more pledges of love.

He spake;

then sorrow as a sable cloud Involved Laertes;

gath'ring with both hands The dust,

he pour'd it on his rev'rend head With many a piteous groan.

Ulysses' heart Commotion felt,

and his stretch'd nostrils throbb'd With agony close-pent,

while fixt he eyed His father;

with a sudden force he sprang Toward him,


and kiss'd him,

and exclaim'd.

 380 My father!

I am he.

Thou seest thy son Absent these twenty years at last return'd.

But bid thy sorrow cease;

suspend henceforth All lamentation;

for I tell thee true,

(And the occasion bids me briefly tell thee) I have slain all the suitors at my home,

And all their taunts and injuries avenged.

Then answer thus Laertes quick return'd.

If thou hast come again,

and art indeed My son Ulysses,

give me then the proof    390 Indubitable,

that I may believe.

To whom Ulysses,





the scar which with his iv'ry tusk A wild boar gave me,

when at thy command And at my mother's,

to Autolycus Her father,

on Parnassus,

I repair'd Seeking the gifts which,

while a guest of yours,

He promis'd should be mine.

Accept beside This proof.

I will enum'rate all the trees Which,

walking with thee in this cultured spot   400 (Boy then) I begg'd,

and thou confirm'dst my own.

We paced between them,

and thou mad'st me learn The name of each.

Thou gav'st me thirteen pears,[113] Ten apples,[113] thirty figs,[113] and fifty ranks Didst promise me of vines,

their alleys all Corn-cropp'd between.


oft as sent from Jove The influences of the year descend,

Grapes of all hues and flavours clust'ring hang.

He said;


conscious of the proofs Indubitable by Ulysses giv'n,

    410 With fault'ring knees and fault'ring heart both arms Around him threw.

The Hero toil-inured Drew to his bosom close his fainting sire,


breath recov'ring,

and his scatter'd pow'rs Of intellect,

at length thus spake aloud.

Ye Gods!

oh then your residence is still On the Olympian heights,

if punishment At last hath seized on those flagitious men.

But terrour shakes me,



ere long All Ithaca flock hither,

and dispatch    420 Swift messengers with these dread tidings charged To ev'ry Cephallenian state around.

Him answer'd then Ulysses ever-wise.


fear nought,

but let us to the house Beside the garden,

whither I have sent Telemachus,

the herdsman,

and the good Eumæus to prepare us quick repast.

So they conferr'd,

and to Laertes' house Pass'd on together;

there arrived,

they found Those three preparing now their plenteous feast,

  430 And mingling sable wine;


by the hands Of his Sicilian matron,

the old King Was bathed,


and attired afresh,

And Pallas,

drawing nigh,

dilated more His limbs,

and gave his whole majestic form Encrease of amplitude.

He left the bath.

His son,

amazed as he had seen a God Alighted newly from the skies,


My father!

doubtless some immortal Pow'r Hath clothed thy form with dignity divine.

  440 Then thus replied his venerable sire.




oh that I possess'd Such vigour now,

as when in arms I took Nericus,

continental city fair,

With my brave Cephallenians!

oh that such And arm'd as then,

I yesterday had stood Beside thee in thy palace,

combating Those suitors proud,

then had I strew'd the floor With num'rous slain,

to thy exceeding joy.

Such was their conference;

and now,

the task   450 Of preparation ended,

and the feast Set forth,

on couches and on thrones they sat,


ranged in order due,

took each his share.


ancient Dolius,

and with him,

his sons Arrived toil-worn,

by the Sicilian dame Summon'd,

their cat'ress,

and their father's kind Attendant ever in his eve of life.


seeing and recalling soon to mind Ulysses,

in the middle mansion stood Wond'ring,

when thus Ulysses with a voice   460 Of some reproof,

but gentle,

them bespake.

Old servant,

sit and eat,

banishing fear And mute amazement;


although provoked By appetite,

we have long time abstain'd,

Expecting ev'ry moment thy return.

He said;

then Dolius with expanded arms Sprang right toward Ulysses,

seized his hand,

Kiss'd it,

and in wing'd accents thus replied.

Oh master ever dear!

since thee the Gods Themselves in answer to our warm desires,

  470 Have,


at length restored,


and be happy,

and heav'n make thee such!

But say,

and truly;

knows the prudent Queen Already thy return,

or shall we send Ourselves an herald with the joyful news?

To whom Ulysses,



My ancient friend,

thou may'st release thy mind From that solicitude;

she knows it well.

So he;

then Dolius to his glossy seat Return'd,

and all his sons gath'ring around   480 Ulysses,

welcom'd him and grasp'd his hand,

Then sat beside their father;

thus beneath Laertes' roof they,


took repast.

But Fame with rapid haste the city roam'd In ev'ry part,

promulging in all ears The suitors' horrid fate.

No sooner heard The multitude that tale,

than one and all Groaning they met and murmuring before Ulysses' gates.

Bringing the bodies forth,

They buried each his friend,

but gave the dead   490 Of other cities to be ferried home By fishermen on board their rapid barks.

All hasted then to council;

sorrow wrung Their hearts,


the assembly now convened,

Arising first Eupithes spake,

for grief Sat heavy on his soul,

grief for the loss Of his Antinoüs by Ulysses slain Foremost of all,

whom mourning,

thus he said.

My friends!

no trivial fruits the Greecians reap Of this man's doings.

-Those- he took with him   500 On board his barks,

a num'rous train and bold,

Then lost his barks,

lost all his num'rous train,

And -these-,

our noblest,

slew at his return.

Come therefore --ere he yet escape by flight To Pylus or to noble Elis,

realm Of the Epeans,

follow him;

else shame Attends us and indelible reproach.

If we avenge not on these men the blood Of our own sons and brothers,

farewell then All that makes life desirable;

my wish    510 Henceforth shall be to mingle with the shades.

Oh then pursue and seize them ere they fly.

Thus he with tears,

and pity moved in all.


Medon and the sacred bard whom sleep Had lately left,

arriving from the house Of Laertiades,


amid The throng they stood;

all wonder'd seeing them,

And Medon,

prudent senior,

thus began.

Hear me,

my countrymen!

Ulysses plann'd With no disapprobation of the Gods    520 The deed that ye deplore.

I saw,


A Pow'r immortal at the Hero's side,

In semblance just of Mentor;

now the God,

In front apparent,

led him on,

and now,

From side to side of all the palace,

urged To flight the suitors;

heaps on heaps they fell.

He said;

then terrour wan seiz'd ev'ry cheek,

And Halitherses,

Hero old,

the son Of Mastor,

who alone among them all Knew past,

and future,


thus began.

  530 Now,

O ye men of Ithaca!

my words Attentive hear!

by your own fault,

my friends,

This deed hath been perform'd;

for when myself And noble Mentor counsell'd you to check The sin and folly of your sons,

ye would not.

Great was their wickedness,

and flagrant wrong They wrought,

the wealth devouring and the wife Dishonouring of an illustrious Chief Whom they deem'd destined never to return.

But hear my counsel.

Go not,

lest ye draw   540 Disaster down and woe on your own heads.

He ended;

then with boist'rous roar (although Part kept their seats) upsprang the multitude,

For Halitherses pleased them not,

they chose Eupithes' counsel rather;

all at once To arms they flew,

and clad in dazzling brass Before the city form'd their dense array.

Leader infatuate at their head appear'd Eupithes,

hoping to avenge his son Antinoüs,

but was himself ordain'd    550 To meet his doom,

and to return no more.

Then thus Minerva to Saturnian Jove.

Oh father!

son of Saturn!

Jove supreme!

Declare the purpose hidden in thy breast.

Wilt thou that this hostility proceed,

Or wilt thou grant them amity again?

To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.

Why asks my daughter?

didst thou not design Thyself,

that brave Ulysses coming home Should slay those profligates?

act as thou wilt,

  560 But thus I counsel,

since the noble Chief Hath slain the suitors,

now let peace ensue Oath-bound,

and reign Ulysses evermore!

The slaughter of their brethren and their sons To strike from their remembrance,

shall be ours.

Let mutual amity,

as at the first,

Unite them,

and let wealth and peace abound.

So saying,

he animated to her task Minerva prompt before,

and from the heights Olympian down to Ithaca she flew.

   570 Meantime Ulysses (for their hunger now And thirst were sated) thus address'd his hinds.

Look ye abroad,

lest haply they approach.

He said,

and at his word,

forth went a son Of Dolius;

at the gate he stood,

and thence Beholding all that multitude at hand,

In accents wing'd thus to Ulysses spake.

They come --they are already arrived --arm all!


all arising,

put their armour on,

Ulysses with his three,

and the six sons    580 Of Dolius;

Dolius also with the rest,

Arm'd and Laertes,

although silver-hair'd,

Warriors perforce.

When all were clad alike In radiant armour,

throwing wide the gates They sallied,

and Ulysses led the way.

Then Jove's own daughter Pallas,

in the form And with the voice of Mentor,

came in view,

Whom seeing Laertiades rejoiced,

And thus Telemachus,

his son,



oh my son!

thou shalt observe,

untold   590 By me,

where fight the bravest.

Oh shame not Thine ancestry,

who have in all the earth Proof given of valour in all ages past.

To whom Telemachus,



My father!

if thou wish that spectacle,

Thou shalt behold thy son,

as thou hast said,

In nought dishonouring his noble race.

Then was Laertes joyful,

and exclaim'd,

What sun hath ris'n to-day?[114] oh blessed Gods!

My son and grandson emulous dispute    600 The prize of glory,

and my soul exults.

He ended,

and Minerva drawing nigh To the old King,

thus counsell'd him.

Oh friend Whom most I love,

son of Arcesias!

pray'r Preferring to the virgin azure-eyed,

And to her father Jove,

delay not,

shake Thy lance in air,

and give it instant flight.

So saying,

the Goddess nerved his arm anew.

He sought in pray'r the daughter dread of Jove,


brandishing it,

hurl'd his lance;

it struck   610 Eupithes,

pierced his helmet brazen-cheek'd That stay'd it not,

but forth it sprang beyond,

And with loud clangor of his arms he fell.

Then flew Ulysses and his noble son With faulchion and with spear of double edge To the assault,

and of them all had left None living,

none had to his home return'd,

But that Jove's virgin daughter with a voice Of loud authority thus quell'd them all.


O ye men of Ithaca!

while yet    620 The field remains undeluged with your blood.

So she,

and fear at once paled ev'ry cheek.

All trembled at the voice divine;

their arms Escaping from the grasp fell to the earth,


covetous of longer life,

each fled Back to the city.

Then Ulysses sent His voice abroad,

and with an eagle's force Sprang on the people;

but Saturnian Jove,

Cast down,


his smouldring bolt At Pallas' feet,

and thus the Goddess spake.

  630 Laertes' noble son,

for wiles renown'd!


abstain from slaughter;

lest thyself Incur the anger of high thund'ring Jove.

So Pallas,

whom Ulysses,



Then faithful covenants of peace between Both sides ensued,

ratified in the sight Of Pallas progeny of Jove,

who seem'd,

In voice and form,

the Mentor known to all.