In a council of the Gods, Minerva calls their attention to Ulysses, still a wanderer.

They resolve to grant him a safe return to Ithaca.

Minerva descends to encourage Telemachus, and in the form of Mentes directs him in what manner to proceed.

Throughout this book the extravagance and profligacy of the suitors are occasionally suggested.

Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed And genius versatile, who far and wide A Wand'rer, after Ilium overthrown, Discover'd various cities, and the mind And manners learn'd of men, in lands remote.

He num'rous woes on Ocean toss'd, endured, Anxious to save himself, and to conduct His followers to their home; , , yet all his care Preserved them not; , , they perish'd self-destroy'd By their own fault; , , infatuate!

who devoured   10 The oxen of the all-o'erseeing Sun, And, punish'd for that crime, return'd no more.

Daughter divine of Jove, these things record, As it may please thee, even in our ears.

The rest, all those who had perdition 'scaped By war or on the Deep, dwelt now at home; , , Him only, of his country and his wife Alike desirous, in her hollow grots Calypso, Goddess beautiful, detained Wooing him to her arms.

But when, at length,   20 (Many a long year elapsed) the year arrived Of his return (by the decree of heav'n) To Ithaca, not even then had he, Although surrounded by his people, reach'd The period of his suff'rings and his toils.

Yet all the Gods, with pity moved, beheld His woes, save Neptune; , , He alone with wrath Unceasing and implacable pursued Godlike Ulysses to his native shores.

But Neptune, now, the Æthiopians fought,    30 (The Æthiopians, utmost of mankind, These Eastward situate, those toward the West) Call'd to an hecatomb of bulls and lambs.

There sitting, pleas'd he banqueted; , , the Gods In Jove's abode, meantime, assembled all, 'Midst whom the Sire of heav'n and earth began.

For he recall'd to mind Ægisthus slain By Agamemnon's celebrated son Orestes, and retracing in his thought That dread event, the Immortals thus address'd.

  40 Alas!

how prone are human-kind to blame The Pow'rs of Heav'n!

From us, they say, proceed The ills which they endure, yet more than Fate Herself inflicts, by their own crimes incur.

So now Ægisthus, by no force constrained Of Destiny, Atrides' wedded wife Took to himself, and him at his return Slew, not unwarn'd of his own dreadful end By us: for we commanded Hermes down The watchful Argicide, who bade him fear    50 Alike, to slay the King, or woo the Queen.

For that Atrides' son Orestes, soon As grown mature, and eager to assume His sway imperial, should avenge the deed.

So Hermes spake, but his advice moved not Ægisthus, on whose head the whole arrear Of vengeance heap'd, at last, hath therefore fall'n.

Whom answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.

Oh Jove, Saturnian Sire, o'er all supreme!

And well he merited the death he found; , ,    60 So perish all, who shall, like him, offend.

But with a bosom anguish-rent I view Ulysses, hapless Chief!

who from his friends Remote, affliction hath long time endured In yonder wood-land isle, the central boss Of Ocean.

That retreat a Goddess holds, Daughter of sapient Atlas, who the abyss Knows to its bottom, and the pillars high Himself upbears which sep'rate earth from heav'n.

His daughter, there, the sorrowing Chief detains,   70 And ever with smooth speech insidious seeks To wean his heart from Ithaca; , , meantime Ulysses, happy might he but behold The smoke ascending from his native land, Death covets.

Canst thou not, Olympian Jove!

At last relent?

Hath not Ulysses oft With victims slain amid Achaia's fleet Thee gratified, while yet at Troy he fought?

How hath he then so deep incensed thee, Jove?

To whom, the cloud-assembler God replied.

  80 What word hath pass'd thy lips, Daughter belov'd?

Can I forget Ulysses?

Him forget So noble, who in wisdom all mankind Excels, and who hath sacrific'd so oft To us whose dwelling is the boundless heav'n?

Earth-circling Neptune --He it is whose wrath Pursues him ceaseless for the Cyclops' sake Polypheme, strongest of the giant race, Whom of his eye Ulysses hath deprived.

For Him, Thoösa bore, Nymph of the sea    90 From Phorcys sprung, by Ocean's mighty pow'r Impregnated in caverns of the Deep.

E'er since that day, the Shaker of the shores, Although he slay him not, yet devious drives Ulysses from his native isle afar.

Yet come --in full assembly his return Contrive we now, both means and prosp'rous end; , , So Neptune shall his wrath remit, whose pow'r In contest with the force of all the Gods Exerted single, can but strive in vain.

   100 To whom Minerva, Goddess azure-eyed.

Oh Jupiter!

above all Kings enthroned!

If the Immortals ever-blest ordain That wise Ulysses to his home return, Dispatch we then Hermes the Argicide, Our messenger, hence to Ogygia's isle, Who shall inform Calypso, nymph divine, Of this our fixt resolve, that to his home Ulysses, toil-enduring Chief, repair.

Myself will hence to Ithaca, meantime,    110 His son to animate, and with new force Inspire, that (the Achaians all convened In council,) he may, instant, bid depart The suitors from his home, who, day by day, His num'rous flocks and fatted herds consume.

And I will send him thence to Sparta forth, And into sandy Pylus, there to hear (If hear he may) some tidings of his Sire, And to procure himself a glorious name.

This said, her golden sandals to her feet   120 She bound, ambrosial, which o'er all the earth And o'er the moist flood waft her fleet as air, Then, seizing her strong spear pointed with brass, In length and bulk, and weight a matchless beam, With which the Jove-born Goddess levels ranks Of Heroes, against whom her anger burns, From the Olympian summit down she flew, And on the threshold of Ulysses' hall In Ithaca, and within his vestibule Apparent stood; , , there, grasping her bright spear,  130 Mentes[1] she seem'd, the hospitable Chief Of Taphos' isle --she found the haughty throng The suitors; , , they before the palace gate With iv'ry cubes sported, on num'rous hides Reclined of oxen which themselves had slain.

The heralds and the busy menials there Minister'd to them; , , these their mantling cups With water slaked; , , with bibulous sponges those Made clean the tables, set the banquet on, And portioned out to each his plenteous share.

  140 Long ere the rest Telemachus himself Mark'd her, for sad amid them all he sat, Pourtraying in deep thought contemplative His noble Sire, and questioning if yet Perchance the Hero might return to chase From all his palace that imperious herd, To his own honour lord of his own home.

Amid them musing thus, sudden he saw The Goddess, and sprang forth, for he abhorr'd To see a guest's admittance long delay'd; , ,   150 Approaching eager, her right hand he seized, The brazen spear took from her, and in words With welcome wing'd Minerva thus address'd.

Stranger, all hail!

to share our cordial love Thou com'st; , , the banquet finish'd, thou shalt next Inform me wherefore thou hast here arrived.

So saying, toward the spacious hall he moved, Follow'd by Pallas, and, arriving soon Beneath the lofty roof, placed her bright spear Within a pillar's cavity, long time    160 The armoury where many a spear had stood, Bright weapons of his own illustrious Sire.

Then, leading her toward a footstool'd throne Magnificent, which first he overspread With linen, there he seated her, apart From that rude throng, and for himself disposed A throne of various colours at her side, Lest, stunn'd with clamour of the lawless band, The new-arrived should loth perchance to eat, And that more free he might the stranger's ear   170 With questions of his absent Sire address, And now a maiden charg'd with golden ew'r, And with an argent laver, pouring first Pure water on their hands, supplied them, next, With a resplendent table, which the chaste Directress of the stores furnish'd with bread And dainties, remnants of the last regale.

Then, in his turn, the sewer[2] with sav'ry meats, Dish after dish, served them, of various kinds, And golden cups beside the chargers placed,   180 Which the attendant herald fill'd with wine.

Ere long, in rush'd the suitors, and the thrones And couches occupied, on all whose hands The heralds pour'd pure water; , , then the maids Attended them with bread in baskets heap'd, And eager they assail'd the ready feast.

At length, when neither thirst nor hunger more They felt unsatisfied, to new delights Their thoughts they turn'd, to song and sprightly dance, Enlivening sequel of the banquet's joys.

   190 An herald, then, to Phemius' hand consign'd His beauteous lyre; , , he through constraint regaled The suitors with his song, and while the chords He struck in prelude to his pleasant strains, Telemachus his head inclining nigh To Pallas' ear, lest others should his words Witness, the blue-eyed Goddess thus bespake.

My inmate and my friend!

far from my lips Be ev'ry word that might displease thine ear!

The song --the harp, --what can they less than charm  200 These wantons?

who the bread unpurchased eat Of one whose bones on yonder continent Lie mould'ring, drench'd by all the show'rs of heaven, Or roll at random in the billowy deep.


could they see him once to his own isle Restored, both gold and raiment they would wish Far less, and nimbleness of foot instead.

But He, alas!

hath by a wretched fate, Past question perish'd, and what news soe'er We hear of his return, kindles no hope    210 In us, convinced that he returns no more.

But answer undissembling; , , tell me true; , , Who art thou?


where stands thy city?

where Thy father's mansion?

In what kind of ship Cam'st thou?

Why steer'd the mariners their course To Ithaca, and of what land are they?

For that on foot thou found'st us not, is sure.

This also tell me, hast thou now arrived New to our isle, or wast thou heretofore My father's guest?

Since many to our house   220 Resorted in those happier days, for he Drew pow'rful to himself the hearts of all.

Then Pallas thus, Goddess cærulean-eyed.

I will with all simplicity of truth Thy questions satisfy.

Behold in me Mentes, the offspring of a Chief renown'd In war, Anchialus; , , and I rule, myself, An island race, the Taphians oar-expert.

With ship and mariners I now arrive, Seeking a people of another tongue    230 Athwart the gloomy flood, in quest of brass For which I barter steel, ploughing the waves To Temesa.

My ship beneath the woods Of Neïus, at yonder field that skirts Your city, in the haven Rhethrus rides.

We are hereditary guests; , , our Sires Were friends long since; , , as, when thou seest him next, The Hero old Laertes will avouch, Of whom, I learn, that he frequents no more The city now, but in sequester'd scenes    240 Dwells sorrowful, and by an antient dame With food and drink supplied oft as he feels Refreshment needful to him, while he creeps Between the rows of his luxuriant vines.

But I have come drawn hither by report, Which spake thy Sire arrived, though still it seems The adverse Gods his homeward course retard.

For not yet breathless lies the noble Chief, But in some island of the boundless flood Resides a prisoner, by barbarous force    250 Of some rude race detained reluctant there.

And I will now foreshow thee what the Gods Teach me, and what, though neither augur skill'd Nor prophet, I yet trust shall come to pass.

He shall not, henceforth, live an exile long From his own shores, no, not although in bands Of iron held, but will ere long contrive His own return; , , for in expedients, framed With wond'rous ingenuity, he abounds.

But tell me true; , , art thou, in stature such,   260 Son of himself Ulysses?

for thy face And eyes bright-sparkling, strongly indicate Ulysses in thee.

Frequent have we both Conversed together thus, thy Sire and I, Ere yet he went to Troy, the mark to which So many Princes of Achaia steer'd.

Him since I saw not, nor Ulysses me.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.


I tell thee true; , , my mother's voice Affirms me his, but since no mortal knows   270 His derivation, I affirm it not.

Would I had been son of some happier Sire, Ordain'd in calm possession of his own To reach the verge of life.

But now, report Proclaims me his, whom I of all mankind Unhappiest deem. --Thy question is resolved.

Then answer thus Pallas blue-eyed return'd.

From no ignoble race, in future days, The Gods shall prove thee sprung, whom so endow'd With ev'ry grace Penelope hath borne.

   280 But tell me true.

What festival is this?

This throng --whence are they?

wherefore hast thou need Of such a multitude?

Behold I here A banquet, or a nuptial?

for these Meet not by contribution[3] to regale, With such brutality and din they hold Their riotous banquet!

a wise man and good Arriving, now, among them, at the sight Of such enormities would much be wroth.

To whom replied Telemachus discrete.

   290 Since, stranger!

thou hast ask'd, learn also this.

While yet Ulysses, with his people dwelt, His presence warranted the hope that here Virtue should dwell and opulence; , , but heav'n Hath cast for us, at length, a diff'rent lot, And he is lost, as never man before.

For I should less lament even his death, Had he among his friends at Ilium fall'n, Or in the arms of his companions died, Troy's siege accomplish'd.

Then his tomb the Greeks  300 Of ev'ry tribe had built, and for his son, He had immortal glory atchieved; , , but now, By harpies torn inglorious, beyond reach Of eye or ear he lies; , , and hath to me Grief only, and unceasing sighs bequeath'd.

Nor mourn I for his sake alone; , , the Gods Have plann'd for me still many a woe beside; , , For all the rulers of the neighbour isles, Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown'd Zacynthus, others also, rulers here    310 In craggy Ithaca, my mother seek In marriage, and my household stores consume.

But neither she those nuptial rites abhorr'd, Refuses absolute, nor yet consents To end them; , , they my patrimony waste Meantime, and will not long spare even me.

To whom, with deep commiseration pang'd, Pallas replied.


great need hast thou Of thy long absent father to avenge These num'rous wrongs; , , for could he now appear   320 There, at yon portal, arm'd with helmet, shield, And grasping his two spears, such as when first I saw him drinking joyous at our board, From Ilus son of Mermeris, who dwelt In distant Ephyre, just then return'd, (For thither also had Ulysses gone In his swift bark, seeking some pois'nous drug Wherewith to taint his brazen arrows keen, Which drug through fear of the eternal Gods Ilus refused him, and my father free    330 Gave to him, for he loved him past belief) Could now, Ulysses, clad in arms as then, Mix with these suitors, short his date of life To each, and bitter should his nuptials prove.

But these events, whether he shall return To take just vengeance under his own roof, Or whether not, lie all in the Gods lap.

Meantime I counsel thee, thyself to think By what means likeliest thou shalt expel These from thy doors.

Now mark me: close attend.

  340 To-morrow, summoning the Grecian Chiefs To council, speak to them, and call the Gods To witness that solemnity.

Bid go The suitors hence, each to his own abode.

Thy mother --if her purpose be resolved On marriage, let her to the house return Of her own potent father, who, himself, Shall furnish forth her matrimonial rites, And ample dow'r, such as it well becomes A darling daughter to receive, bestow.

   350 But hear me now; , , thyself I thus advise.

The prime of all thy ships preparing, mann'd With twenty rowers, voyage hence to seek Intelligence of thy long-absent Sire.

Some mortal may inform thee, or a word, [4] Perchance, by Jove directed (safest source Of notice to mankind) may reach thine ear.

First voyaging to Pylus, there enquire Of noble Nestor; , , thence to Sparta tend, To question Menelaus amber-hair'd,    360 Latest arrived of all the host of Greece.

There should'st thou learn that still thy father lives, And hope of his return, although Distress'd, thou wilt be patient yet a year.

But should'st thou there hear tidings that he breathes No longer, to thy native isle return'd, First heap his tomb; , , then with such pomp perform His funeral rites as his great name demands, And make thy mother's spousals, next, thy care.

These duties satisfied, delib'rate last    370 Whether thou shalt these troublers of thy house By stratagem, or by assault, destroy.

For thou art now no child, nor longer may'st Sport like one.

Hast thou not the proud report Heard, how Orestes hath renown acquired With all mankind, his father's murtherer Ægisthus slaying, the deceiver base Who slaughter'd Agamemnon?

Oh my friend!

(For with delight thy vig'rous growth I view, And just proportion) be thou also bold,    380 And merit praise from ages yet to come.

But I will to my vessel now repair, And to my mariners, whom, absent long, I may perchance have troubled.

Weigh thou well My counsel; , , let not my advice be lost.

To whom Telemachus discrete replied.


thy words bespeak thee much my friend, Who, as a father teaches his own son, Hast taught me, and I never will forget.

But, though in haste thy voyage to pursue,   390 Yet stay, that in the bath refreshing first Thy limbs now weary, thou may'st sprightlier seek Thy gallant bark, charged with some noble gift Of finish'd workmanship, which thou shalt keep As my memorial ever; , , such a boon As men confer on guests whom much they love.

Then Pallas thus, Goddess cærulean-eyed.

Retard me not, for go I must; , , the gift Which liberal thou desirest to bestow, Give me at my return, that I may bear    400 The treasure home; , , and, in exchange, thyself Expect some gift equivalent from me.

She spake, and as with eagle-wings upborne, Vanish'd incontinent, but him inspired With daring fortitude, and on his heart Dearer remembrance of his Sire impress'd Than ever.

Conscious of the wond'rous change, Amazed he stood, and, in his secret thought Revolving all, believed his guest a God.

The youthful Hero to the suitors then    410 Repair'd; , , they silent, listen'd to the song Of the illustrious Bard: he the return Deplorable of the Achaian host From Ilium by command of Pallas, sang.

Penelope, Icarius' daughter, mark'd Meantime the song celestial, where she sat In the superior palace; , , down she came, By all the num'rous steps of her abode; , , Not sole, for two fair handmaids follow'd her.

She then, divinest of her sex, arrived    420 In presence of that lawless throng, beneath The portal of her stately mansion stood, Between her maidens, with her lucid veil Her lovely features mantling.

There, profuse She wept, and thus the sacred bard bespake.


for many a sorrow-soothing strain Thou know'st beside, such as exploits record Of Gods and men, the poet's frequent theme; , , Give them of those a song, and let themselves Their wine drink noiseless; , , but this mournful strain  430 Break off, unfriendly to my bosom's peace, And which of all hearts nearest touches mine, With such regret my dearest Lord I mourn, Rememb'ring still an husband praised from side To side, and in the very heart of Greece.

Then answer thus Telemachus return'd.

My mother!

wherefore should it give thee pain If the delightful bard that theme pursue To which he feels his mind impell'd?

the bard Blame not, but rather Jove, who, as he wills,   440 Materials for poetic art supplies.

No fault is his, if the disastrous fate He sing of the Achaians, for the song Wins ever from the hearers most applause That has been least in use.

Of all who fought At Troy, Ulysses hath not lost, alone, His day of glad return; , , but many a Chief Hath perish'd also.

Seek thou then again Thy own apartment, spindle ply and loom, And task thy maidens; , , management belongs    450 To men of joys convivial, and of men Especially to me, chief ruler here.

She heard astonish'd; , , and the prudent speech Reposing of her son deep in her heart, Again with her attendant maidens sought Her upper chamber.

There arrived, she wept Her lost Ulysses, till Minerva bathed Her weary lids in dewy sleep profound.

Then echoed through the palace dark-bedimm'd With evening shades the suitors boist'rous roar,   460 For each the royal bed burn'd to partake, Whom thus Telemachus discrete address'd.

All ye my mother's suitors, though addict To contumacious wrangling fierce, suspend Your clamour, for a course to me it seems More decent far, when such a bard as this, Godlike, for sweetness, sings, to hear his song.

To-morrow meet we in full council all, That I may plainly warn you to depart From this our mansion.

Seek ye where ye may   470 Your feasts; , , consume your own; , , alternate feed Each at the other's cost; , , but if it seem Wisest in your account and best, to eat Voracious thus the patrimonial goods Of one man, rend'ring no account of all, [5] Bite to the roots; , , but know that I will cry Ceaseless to the eternal Gods, in hope That Jove, for retribution of the wrong, Shall doom you, where ye have intruded, there To bleed, and of your blood ask no account.

[5]   480 He ended, and each gnaw'd his lip, aghast At his undaunted hardiness of speech.

Then thus Antinoüs spake, Eupithes' son.


the Gods, methinks, themselves Teach thee sublimity, and to pronounce Thy matter fearless.

Ah forbid it, Jove!

That one so eloquent should with the weight Of kingly cares in Ithaca be charged, A realm, by claim hereditary, thine.

Then prudent thus Telemachus replied.

   490 Although my speech Antinoüs may, perchance, Provoke thee, know that I am not averse From kingly cares, if Jove appoint me such.

Seems it to thee a burthen to be fear'd By men above all others?

trust me, no, There is no ill in royalty; , , the man So station'd, waits not long ere he obtain Riches and honour.

But I grant that Kings Of the Achaians may no few be found In sea-girt Ithaca both young and old,    500 Of whom since great Ulysses is no more, Reign whoso may; , , but King, myself, I am In my own house, and over all my own Domestics, by Ulysses gained for me.

To whom Eurymachus replied, the son Of Polybus.

What Grecian Chief shall reign In sea-girt Ithaca, must be referr'd To the Gods' will, Telemachus!

meantime Thou hast unquestionable right to keep Thy own, and to command in thy own house.

  510 May never that man on her shores arrive, While an inhabitant shall yet be left In Ithaca, who shall by violence wrest Thine from thee.

But permit me, noble Sir!

To ask thee of thy guest.

Whence came the man?

What country claims him?

Where are to be found His kindred and his patrimonial fields?

Brings he glad tidings of thy Sire's approach Homeward?

or came he to receive a debt Due to himself?

How swift he disappear'd!

  520 Nor opportunity to know him gave To those who wish'd it; , , for his face and air Him speak not of Plebeian birth obscure.

Whom answered thus Telemachus discrete.


my father comes no more.

I can no longer now tidings believe, If such arrive; , , nor he'd I more the song Of sooth-sayers whom my mother may consult.

But this my guest hath known in other days My father, and he came from Taphos, son    530 Of brave Anchialus, Mentes by name, And Chief of the sea-practis'd Taphian race.

So spake Telemachus, but in his heart Knew well his guest a Goddess from the skies.

Then they to dance and heart-enlivening song Turn'd joyous, waiting the approach of eve, And dusky evening found them joyous still.

Then each, to his own house retiring, sought Needful repose.

Meantime Telemachus To his own lofty chamber, built in view    540 Of the wide hall, retired; , , but with a heart In various musings occupied intense.

Sage Euryclea, bearing in each hand A torch, preceded him; , , her sire was Ops, Pisenor's son, and, in her early prime, At his own cost Laertes made her his, Paying with twenty beeves her purchase-price, Nor in less honour than his spotless wife He held her ever, but his consort's wrath Fearing, at no time call'd her to his bed.

  550 She bore the torches, and with truer heart Loved him than any of the female train, For she had nurs'd him in his infant years.

He open'd his broad chamber-valves, and sat On his couch-side: then putting off his vest Of softest texture, placed it in the hands Of the attendant dame discrete, who first Folding it with exactest care, beside His bed suspended it, and, going forth, Drew by its silver ring the portal close,   560 And fasten'd it with bolt and brace secure.

There lay Telemachus, on finest wool Reposed, contemplating all night his course Prescribed by Pallas to the Pylian shore.


[1] We are told that Homer was under obligations to Mentes, who had frequently given him a passage in his ship to different countries which he wished to see, for which reason he has here immortalised him.

[2] Milton uses the word --Sewers and seneschals.

[3] Ἔρανος, a convivial meeting, at which every man paid his proportion, at least contributed something; , , but it seems to have been a meeting at which strict sobriety was observed, else Pallas would not have inferred from the noise and riot of this, that it was not such a one.

[4] Οσσα --a word spoken, with respect to the speaker, casually; , , but with reference to the inquirer supposed to be sent for his information by the especial appointment and providential favour of the Gods.

[5] There is in the Original an evident stress laid on the word Νήποινοι, which is used in both places.

It was a sort of Lex Talionis which Telemachus hoped might be put in force against them; , , and that Jove would demand no satisfaction for the lives of those who made him none for the waste of his property.



Telemachus having convened an assembly of the Greecians, publicly calls on the Suitors to relinquish the house of Ulysses.

During the continuance of the Council he has much to suffer from the petulance of the Suitors, from whom, having informed them of his design to undertake a voyage in hope to obtain news of Ulysses, he asks a ship, with all things necessary for the purpose.

He is refused, but is afterwards furnished with what he wants by Minerva, in the form of Mentor.

He embarks in the evening without the privity of his mother, and the Goddess sails with him.

Aurora, rosy daughter of the dawn, Now ting'd the East, when habited again, Uprose Ulysses' offspring from his bed.

Athwart his back his faulchion keen he flung, His sandals bound to his unsullied feet, And, godlike, issued from his chamber-door.

At once the clear-voic'd heralds he enjoin'd To call the Greeks to council; , , they aloud Gave forth the summons, and the throng began.

When all were gather'd, and the assembly full,   10 Himself, his hand arm'd with a brazen spear, Went also; , , nor alone he went; , , his hounds Fleet-footed follow'd him, a faithful pair.

O'er all his form Minerva largely shed Majestic grace divine, and, as he went, The whole admiring concourse gaz'd on him, The seniors gave him place, and down he sat On his paternal Throne.

Then grave arose The Hero, old Ægyptius; , , bow'd with age Was he, and by experience deep-inform'd.

   20 His son had with Ulysses, godlike Chief, On board his fleet to steed-fam'd Ilium gone, The warrior Antiphus, whom in his cave The savage Cyclops slew, and on his flesh At ev'ning made obscene his last regale.

Three sons he had beside, a suitor one, Eurynomus; , , the other two, employ Found constant managing their Sire's concerns.

Yet he forgat not, father as he was Of these, his absent eldest, whom he mourn'd   30 Ceaseless, and thus his speech, weeping, began.

Hear me, ye men of Ithaca, my friends!

Nor council here nor session hath been held Since great Ulysses left his native shore.

Who now convenes us?

what especial need Hath urged him, whether of our youth he be, Or of our senators by age matured?

Have tidings reach'd him of our host's return, Which here he would divulge?

or brings he aught Of public import on a diff'rent theme?

   40 I deem him, whosoe'er he be, a man Worthy to prosper, and may Jove vouchsafe The full performance of his chief desire!

He ended, and Telemachus rejoiced In that good omen.

Ardent to begin, He sat not long, but, moving to the midst, Received the sceptre from Pisenor's hand, His prudent herald, and addressing, next, The hoary Chief Ægyptius, thus began.

Not far remote, as thou shalt soon thyself   50 Perceive, oh venerable Chief!

he stands, Who hath convened this council.

I, am He.

I am in chief the suff'rer.

Tidings none Of the returning host I have received, Which here I would divulge, nor bring I aught Of public import on a different theme, But my own trouble, on my own house fall'n, And two-fold fall'n.

One is, that I have lost A noble father, who, as fathers rule Benign their children, govern'd once yourselves; , ,   60 The other, and the more alarming ill, With ruin threatens my whole house, and all My patrimony with immediate waste.

Suitors, (their children who in this our isle Hold highest rank) importunate besiege My mother, though desirous not to wed, And rather than resort to her own Sire Icarius, who might give his daughter dow'r, And portion her to whom he most approves, (A course which, only named, moves their disgust)   70 They chuse, assembling all within my gates Daily to make my beeves, my sheep, my goats Their banquet, and to drink without restraint My wine; , , whence ruin threatens us and ours; , , For I have no Ulysses to relieve Me and my family from this abuse.

Ourselves are not sufficient; , , we, alas!

Too feeble should be found, and yet to learn How best to use the little force we own; , , Else, had I pow'r, I would, myself, redress   80 The evil; , , for it now surpasses far All suff'rance, now they ravage uncontroul'd, Nor show of decency vouchsafe me more.

Oh be ashamed[6] yourselves; , , blush at the thought Of such reproach as ye shall sure incur From all our neighbour states, and fear beside The wrath of the Immortals, lest they call Yourselves one day to a severe account.

I pray you by Olympian Jove, by her Whose voice convenes all councils, and again   90 Dissolves them, Themis, that henceforth ye cease, That ye permit me, oh my friends!

to wear My days in solitary grief away, Unless Ulysses, my illustrious Sire, Hath in his anger any Greecian wrong'd, Whose wrongs ye purpose to avenge on me, Inciting these to plague me.

Better far Were my condition, if yourselves consumed My substance and my revenue; , , from you I might obtain, perchance, righteous amends   100 Hereafter; , , you I might with vehement suit O'ercome, from house to house pleading aloud For recompense, till I at last prevail'd.

But now, with darts of anguish ye transfix My inmost soul, and I have no redress.

He spake impassion'd, and to earth cast down His sceptre, weeping.

Pity at that sight Seiz'd all the people; , , mute the assembly sat Long time, none dared to greet Telemachus With answer rough, till of them all, at last,   110 Antinoüs, sole arising, thus replied.

Telemachus, intemp'rate in harangue, High-sounding orator!

it is thy drift To make us all odious; , , but the offence Lies not with us the suitors; , , she alone Thy mother, who in subtlety excels, And deep-wrought subterfuge, deserves the blame.

It is already the third year, and soon Shall be the fourth, since with delusive art Practising on their minds, she hath deceived   120 The Greecians; , , message after message sent Brings hope to each, by turns, and promise fair, But she, meantime, far otherwise intends.

Her other arts exhausted all, she framed This stratagem; , , a web of amplest size And subtlest woof beginning, thus she spake.

Princes, my suitors!

since the noble Chief Ulysses is no more, press not as yet My nuptials, wait till I shall finish, first, A fun'ral robe (lest all my threads decay)   130 Which for the antient Hero I prepare, Laertes, looking for the mournful hour When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest; , , Else I the censure dread of all my sex, Should he, so wealthy, want at last a shroud.

So spake the Queen, and unsuspicious, we With her request complied.

Thenceforth, all day She wove the ample web, and by the aid Of torches ravell'd it again at night.

Three years by such contrivance she deceived   140 The Greecians; , , but when (three whole years elaps'd) The fourth arriv'd, then, conscious of the fraud, A damsel of her train told all the truth, And her we found rav'ling the beauteous work.

Thus, through necessity she hath, at length, Perform'd the task, and in her own despight.

Now therefore, for the information clear Of thee thyself, and of the other Greeks, We answer.

Send thy mother hence, with charge That him she wed on whom her father's choice   150 Shall fall, and whom she shall, herself, approve.

But if by long procrastination still She persevere wearing our patience out, Attentive only to display the gifts By Pallas so profusely dealt to her, Works of surpassing skill, ingenious thought, And subtle shifts, such as no beauteous Greek (For aught that we have heard) in antient times E'er practised, Tyro, or Alcemena fair, Or fair Mycene, of whom none in art    160 E'er match'd Penelope, although we yield To this her last invention little praise, Then know, that these her suitors will consume So long thy patrimony and thy goods, As she her present purpose shall indulge, With which the Gods inspire her.

Great renown She to herself insures, but equal woe And devastation of thy wealth to thee; , , For neither to our proper works at home Go we, of that be sure, nor yet elsewhere,   170 Till him she wed, to whom she most inclines.

Him prudent, then, answer'd Telemachus.


it is not possible That I should thrust her forth against her will, Who both produced and reared me.

Be he dead, Or still alive, my Sire is far remote, And should I, voluntary, hence dismiss My mother to Icarius, I must much Refund, which hardship were and loss to me.

So doing, I should also wrath incur    180 From my offended Sire, and from the Gods Still more; , , for she, departing, would invoke Erynnis to avenge her, and reproach Beside would follow me from all mankind.

That word I, therefore, never will pronounce.

No, if ye judge your treatment at her hands Injurious to you, go ye forth yourselves, Forsake my mansion; , , seek where else ye may Your feasts; , , consume your own; , , alternate feed Each at the other's cost.

But if it seem    190 Wisest in your account and best to eat Voracious thus the patrimonial goods Of one man, rend'ring no account of all, Bite to the roots; , , but know that I will cry Ceaseless to the eternal Gods, in hope That Jove, in retribution of the wrong, Shall doom you, where ye have intruded, there To bleed, and of your blood ask no account.

So spake Telemachus, and while he spake, The Thund'rer from a lofty mountain-top    200 Turn'd off two eagles; , , on the winds, awhile, With outspread pinions ample side by side They floated; , , but, ere long, hov'ring aloft, Right o'er the midst of the assembled Chiefs They wheel'd around, clang'd all their num'rous plumes, And with a downward look eyeing the throng, Death boded, ominous; , , then rending each The other's face and neck, they sprang at once Toward the right, and darted through the town.

Amazement universal, at that sight,    210 Seized the assembly, and with anxious thought Each scann'd the future; , , amidst whom arose The Hero Halitherses, antient Seer, Offspring of Mastor; , , for in judgment he Of portents augural, and in forecast Unerring, his coevals all excell'd, And prudent thus the multitude bespake.

Ye men of Ithaca, give ear!

hear all!

Though chief my speech shall to the suitors look, For, on their heads devolved, comes down the woe.

 220 Ulysses shall not from his friends, henceforth, Live absent long, but, hasting to his home, Comes even now, and as he comes, designs A bloody death for these, whose bitter woes No few shall share, inhabitants with us Of pleasant Ithaca; , , but let us frame Effectual means maturely to suppress Their violent deeds, or rather let themselves Repentant cease; , , and soonest shall be best.

Not inexpert, but well-inform'd I speak    230 The future, and the accomplishment announce Of all which when Ulysses with the Greeks Embark'd for Troy, I to himself foretold.

I said that, after many woes, and loss Of all his people, in the twentieth year, Unknown to all, he should regain his home, And my prediction shall be now fulfill'd.

Him, then, Eurymachus thus answer'd rough The son of Polybus.

Hence to thy house, Thou hoary dotard!

there, prophetic, teach   240 Thy children to escape woes else to come.

Birds num'rous flutter in the beams of day, Not all predictive.

Death, far hence remote Hath found Ulysses, and I would to heav'n That, where he died, thyself had perish'd too.

Thou hadst not then run o'er with prophecy As now, nor provocation to the wrath Giv'n of Telemachus, in hope to win, Perchance, for thine some favour at his hands.

But I to -thee- foretell, skilled as thou art   250 In legends old, (nor shall my threat be vain) That if by artifice thou move to wrath A younger than thyself, no matter whom, Woe first the heavier on himself shall fall, Nor shalt thou profit him by thy attempt, And we will charge thee also with a mulct, Which thou shalt pay with difficulty, and bear The burthen of it with an aching heart.

As for Telemachus, I him advise, Myself, and press the measure on his choice   260 Earnestly, that he send his mother hence To her own father's house, who shall, himself, Set forth her nuptial rites, and shall endow His daughter sumptuously, and as he ought.

For this expensive wooing, as I judge, Till then shall never cease; , , since we regard No man --no --not Telemachus, although In words exub'rant; , , neither fear we aught Thy vain prognostics, venerable sir!

But only hate thee for their sake the more.

  270 Waste will continue and disorder foul Unremedied, so long as she shall hold The suitors in suspense, for, day by day, Our emulation goads us to the strife, Nor shall we, going hence, seek to espouse Each his own comfort suitable elsewhere.

To whom, discrete, Telemachus replied.

Eurymachus, and ye the suitor train Illustrious, I have spoken: ye shall hear No more this supplication urged by me.

   280 The Gods, and all the Greeks, now know the truth.

But give me instantly a gallant bark With twenty rowers, skill'd their course to win To whatsoever haven; , , for I go To sandy Pylus, and shall hasten thence To Lacedemon, tidings to obtain Of my long-absent Sire, or from the lips Of man, or by a word from Jove vouchsafed Himself, best source of notice to mankind.

If, there inform'd that still my father lives,   290 I hope conceive of his return, although Distress'd, I shall be patient yet a year.

But should I learn, haply, that he survives No longer, then, returning, I will raise At home his tomb, will with such pomp perform His fun'ral rites, as his great name demands, And give my mother's hand to whom I may.

This said, he sat, and after him arose Mentor, illustrious Ulysses' friend, To whom, embarking thence, he had consign'd   300 All his concerns, that the old Chief might rule His family, and keep the whole secure.

Arising, thus the senior, sage, began.

Hear me, ye Ithacans!

be never King Henceforth, benevolent, gracious, humane Or righteous, but let every sceptred hand Rule merciless, and deal in wrong alone, Since none of all his people, whom he sway'd With such paternal gentleness and love, Remembers the divine Ulysses more!

   310 That the imperious suitors thus should weave The web of mischief and atrocious wrong, I grudge not; , , since at hazard of their heads They make Ulysses' property a prey, Persuaded that the Hero comes no more.

But much the people move me; , , how ye sit All mute, and though a multitude, yourselves, Opposed to few, risque not a single word To check the license of these bold intruders!

Then thus Liocritus, Evenor's son.

   320 Injurious Mentor!

headlong orator!

How dar'st thou move the populace against The suitors?

Trust me they should find it hard, Numerous as they are, to cope with us, A feast the prize.

Or should the King himself Of Ithaca, returning, undertake T' expell the jovial suitors from his house, Much as Penelope his absence mourns, His presence should afford her little joy; , , For fighting sole with many, he should meet   330 A dreadful death.

Thou, therefore, speak'st amiss.

As for Telemachus, let Mentor him And Halytherses furnish forth, the friends Long valued of his Sire, with all dispatch; , , Though him I judge far likelier to remain Long-time contented an enquirer here, Than to perform the voyage now proposed.

Thus saying, Liocritus dissolved in haste The council, and the scattered concourse sought Their sev'ral homes, while all the suitors flock'd  340 Thence to the palace of their absent King.

Meantime, Telemachus from all resort Retiring, in the surf of the gray Deep First laved his hands, then, thus to Pallas pray'd.

O Goddess!

who wast yesterday a guest Beneath my roof, and didst enjoin me then A voyage o'er the sable Deep in quest Of tidings of my long regretted Sire!

Which voyage, all in Ithaca, but most The haughty suitors, obstinate impede,    350 Now hear my suit and gracious interpose!

Such pray'r he made; , , then Pallas, in the form, And with the voice of Mentor, drawing nigh, In accents wing'd, him kindly thus bespake.


thou shalt hereafter prove Nor base, nor poor in talents.

If, in truth, Thou have received from heav'n thy father's force Instill'd into thee, and resemblest him In promptness both of action and of speech, Thy voyage shall not useless be, or vain.

  360 But if Penelope produced thee not His son, I, then, hope not for good effect Of this design which, ardent, thou pursuest.

Few sons their fathers equal; , , most appear Degenerate; , , but we find, though rare, sometimes A son superior even to his Sire.

And since thyself shalt neither base be found Nor spiritless, nor altogether void Of talents, such as grace thy royal Sire, I therefore hope success of thy attempt.

   370 Heed not the suitors' projects; , , neither wise Are they, nor just, nor aught suspect the doom Which now approaches them, and in one day Shall overwhelm them all.

No long suspense Shall hold thy purposed enterprise in doubt, Such help from me, of old thy father's friend, Thou shalt receive, who with a bark well-oar'd Will serve thee, and myself attend thee forth.

But haste, join thou the suitors, and provide, In sep'rate vessels stow'd, all needful stores,   380 Wine in thy jars, and flour, the strength of man, In skins close-seam'd.

I will, meantime, select Such as shall voluntary share thy toils.

In sea-girt Ithaca new ships and old Abound, and I will chuse, myself, for thee The prime of all, which without more delay We will launch out into the spacious Deep.

Thus Pallas spake, daughter of Jove; , , nor long, So greeted by the voice divine, remain'd Telemachus, but to his palace went    390 Distress'd in heart.

He found the suitors there Goats slaying in the hall, and fatted swine Roasting; , , when with a laugh Antinoüs flew To meet him, fasten'd on his hand, and said, Telemachus, in eloquence sublime, And of a spirit not to be controul'd!

Give harbour in thy breast on no account To after-grudge or enmity, but eat, Far rather, cheerfully as heretofore, And freely drink, committing all thy cares   400 To the Achaians, who shall furnish forth A gallant ship and chosen crew for thee, That thou may'st hence to Pylus with all speed, Tidings to learn of thy illustrious Sire.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.


I have no heart to feast With guests so insolent, nor can indulge The pleasures of a mind at ease, with you.

Is't not enough, suitors, that ye have used My noble patrimony as your own     410 While I was yet a child?

now, grown mature, And competent to understand the speech Of my instructors, feeling, too, a mind Within me conscious of augmented pow'rs, I will attempt your ruin, be assured, Whether at Pylus, or continuing here.

I go, indeed, (nor shall my voyage prove Of which I speak, bootless or vain) I go An humble passenger, who neither bark Nor rowers have to boast my own, denied    420 That honour (so ye judg'd it best) by you.

He said, and from Antinoüs' hand his own Drew sudden.

Then their delicate repast The busy suitors on all sides prepar'd, Still taunting as they toil'd, and with sharp speech Sarcastic wantoning, of whom a youth, Arrogant as his fellows, thus began.

I see it plain, Telemachus intends Our slaughter; , , either he will aids procure From sandy Pylus, or will bring them arm'd   430 From Sparta; , , such is his tremendous drift.

Even to fruitful Ephyre, perchance, He will proceed, seeking some baneful herb Which cast into our cup, shall drug us all.

To whom some haughty suitor thus replied.

Who knows but that himself, wand'ring the sea From all his friends and kindred far remote, May perish like Ulysses?

Whence to us Should double toil ensue, on whom the charge To parcel out his wealth would then devolve,   440 And to endow his mother with the house For his abode whom she should chance to wed.

So sported they; , , but he, ascending sought His father's lofty chamber, where his heaps He kept of brass and gold, garments in chests, And oils of fragrant scent, a copious store.

There many a cask with season'd nectar fill'd The grape's pure juice divine, beside the wall Stood orderly arranged, waiting the hour (Should e'er such hour arrive) when, after woes   450 Num'rous, Ulysses should regain his home.

Secure that chamber was with folding doors Of massy planks compact, and night and day, Within it antient Euryclea dwelt, Guardian discrete of all the treasures there, Whom, thither call'd, Telemachus address'd.


draw me forth sweet wine into my jars, Delicious next to that which thou reserv'st For our poor wand'rer; , , if escaping death At last, divine Ulysses e'er return.

   460 Fill twelve, and stop them close; , , pour also meal Well mill'd (full twenty measures) into skins Close-seam'd, and mention what thou dost to none.

Place them together; , , for at even-tide I will convey them hence, soon as the Queen, Retiring to her couch, shall seek repose.

For hence to Sparta will I take my course, And sandy Pylus, tidings there to hear (If hear I may) of my lov'd Sire's return.

He ceas'd, then wept his gentle nurse that sound   470 Hearing, and in wing'd accents thus replied.

My child!

ah, wherefore hath a thought so rash Possess'd thee?

whither, only and belov'd, Seek'st thou to ramble, travelling, alas!

To distant climes?

Ulysses is no more; , , Dead lies the Hero in some land unknown, And thou no sooner shalt depart, than these Will plot to slay thee, and divide thy wealth.

No, stay with us who love thee.

Need is none That thou should'st on the barren Deep distress   480 Encounter, roaming without hope or end.

Whom, prudent, thus answer'd Telemachus.

Take courage, nurse!

for not without consent Of the Immortals I have thus resolv'd.

But swear, that till eleven days be past, Or twelve, or, till enquiry made, she learn Herself my going, thou wilt not impart Of this my purpose to my mother's ear, Lest all her beauties fade by grief impair'd.

He ended, and the antient matron swore    490 Solemnly by the Gods; , , which done, she fill'd With wine the vessels and the skins with meal, And he, returning, join'd the throng below.

Then Pallas, Goddess azure-eyed, her thoughts Elsewhere directing, all the city ranged In semblance of Telemachus, each man Exhorting, at the dusk of eve, to seek The gallant ship, and from Noëmon, son Renown'd of Phronius, ask'd, herself, a bark, Which soon as ask'd, he promis'd to supply.

  500 Now set the sun, and twilight dimm'd the ways, When, drawing down his bark into the Deep, He gave her all her furniture, oars, arms And tackle, such as well-built galleys bear, Then moor'd her in the bottom of the bay.

Meantime, his mariners in haste repair'd Down to the shore, for Pallas urged them on.

And now on other purposes intent, The Goddess sought the palace, where with dews Of slumber drenching ev'ry suitor's eye,    510 She fool'd the drunkard multitude, and dash'd The goblets from their idle hands away.

They through the city reeled, happy to leave The dull carousal, when the slumb'rous weight Oppressive on their eye-lids once had fall'n.

Next, Pallas azure-eyed in Mentor's form And with the voice of Mentor, summoning Telemachus abroad, him thus bespake.


already at their oars Sit all thy fellow-voyagers, and wait    520 Thy coming; , , linger not, but haste away.

This said, Minerva led him thence, whom he With nimble steps follow'd, and on the shore Arrived, found all his mariners prepared, Whom thus the princely voyager address'd.

Haste, my companions!

bring we down the stores Already sorted and set forth; , , but nought My mother knows, or any of her train Of this design, one matron sole except.

He spake, and led them; , , they, obedient, brought  530 All down, and, as Ulysses' son enjoin'd, Within the gallant bark the charge bestow'd.

Then, led by Pallas, went the prince on board, Where down they sat, the Goddess in the stern, And at her side Telemachus.

The crew Cast loose the hawsers, and embarking, fill'd The benches.

Blue-eyed Pallas from the West Call'd forth propitious breezes; , , fresh they curled The sable Deep, and, sounding, swept the waves.

He loud-exhorting them, his people bade    540 Hand, brisk, the tackle; , , they, obedient, reared The pine-tree mast, which in its socket deep They lodg'd, then strain'd the cordage, and with thongs Well-twisted, drew the shining sail aloft.

A land-breeze fill'd the canvas, and the flood Roar'd as she went against the steady bark That ran with even course her liquid way.

The rigging, thus, of all the galley set, Their beakers crowning high with wine, they hail'd The ever-living Gods, but above all    550 Minerva, daughter azure-eyed of Jove.

Thus, all night long the galley, and till dawn Had brighten'd into day, cleaved swift the flood.


[6] The reader is to be reminded that this is not an assembly of the suitors only, but a general one, which affords Telemachus an opportunity to apply himself to the feelings of the Ithacans at large.



Telemachus arriving at Pylus, enquires of Nestor concerning Ulysses.

Nestor relates to him all that he knows or has heard of the Greecians since their departure from the siege of Troy, but not being able to give him any satisfactory account of Ulysses, refers him to Menelaus.

At evening Minerva quits Telemachus, but discovers herself in going.

Nestor sacrifices to the Goddess, and the solemnity ended, Telemachus sets forth for Sparta in one of Nestor's chariots, and accompanied by Nestor's son, Pisistratus.

The sun, emerging from the lucid waves, Ascended now the brazen vault with light For the inhabitants of earth and heav'n, When in their bark at Pylus they arrived, City of Neleus.

On the shore they found The people sacrificing; , , bulls they slew Black without spot, to Neptune azure-hair'd.

On ranges nine of seats they sat; , , each range Received five hundred, and to each they made Allotment equal of nine sable bulls.

   10 The feast was now begun; , , these eating sat The entrails, those stood off'ring to the God The thighs, his portion, when the Ithacans Push'd right ashore, and, furling close the sails, And making fast their moorings, disembark'd.

Forth came Telemachus, by Pallas led, Whom thus the Goddess azure-eyed address'd.


there is no longer room For bashful fear, since thou hast cross'd the flood With purpose to enquire what land conceals   20 Thy father, and what fate hath follow'd him.

Advance at once to the equestrian Chief Nestor, within whose bosom lies, perhaps, Advice well worthy of thy search; , , entreat Himself, that he will tell thee only truth, Who will not lye, for he is passing wise.

To whom Telemachus discrete replied.

Ah Mentor!

how can I advance, how greet A Chief like him, unpractis'd as I am In manag'd phrase?

Shame bids the youth beware   30 How he accosts the man of many years.

But him the Goddess answer'd azure-eyed, Telemachus!

Thou wilt, in part, thyself Fit speech devise, and heav'n will give the rest; , , For thou wast neither born, nor hast been train'd To manhood, under unpropitious Pow'rs.

So saying, Minerva led him thence, whom he With nimble steps attending, soon arrived Among the multitude.

There Nestor sat, And Nestor's sons, while, busily the feast   40 Tending, his num'rous followers roasted, some, The viands, some, transfix'd them with the spits.

They seeing guests arrived, together all Advanced, and, grasping courteously their hands, Invited them to sit; , , but first, the son Of Nestor, young Pisistratus, approach'd, Who, fast'ning on the hands of both, beside The banquet placed them, where the beach was spread With fleeces, and where Thrasymedes sat His brother, and the hoary Chief his Sire.

  50 To each a portion of the inner parts He gave, then fill'd a golden cup with wine, Which, tasted first, he to the daughter bore Of Jove the Thund'rer, and her thus bespake.

Oh guest!

the King of Ocean now adore!

For ye have chanced on Neptune's festival; , , And, when thou hast, thyself, libation made Duly, and pray'r, deliver to thy friend The gen'rous juice, that he may also make Libation; , , for he, doubtless, seeks, in prayer   60 The Immortals, of whose favour all have need.

But, since he younger is, and with myself Coeval, first I give the cup to thee.

He ceas'd, and to her hand consign'd the cup, Which Pallas gladly from a youth received So just and wise, who to herself had first The golden cup presented, and in pray'r Fervent the Sov'reign of the Seas adored.

Hear, earth-encircler Neptune!

O vouchsafe To us thy suppliants the desired effect    70 Of this our voyage; , , glory, first, bestow On Nestor and his offspring both, then grant To all the Pylians such a gracious boon As shall requite their noble off'ring well.

Grant also to Telemachus and me To voyage hence, possess'd of what we sought When hither in our sable bark we came.

So Pallas pray'd, and her own pray'r herself Accomplish'd.

To Telemachus she gave The splendid goblet next, and in his turn    80 Like pray'r Ulysses' son also preferr'd.

And now (the banquet from the spits withdrawn) They next distributed sufficient share To each, and all were sumptuously regaled.

At length, (both hunger satisfied and thirst) Thus Nestor, the Gerenian Chief, began.

Now with more seemliness we may enquire, After repast, what guests we have received.

Our guests!

who are ye?

Whence have ye the waves Plough'd hither?

Come ye to transact concerns   90 Commercial, or at random roam the Deep Like pirates, who with mischief charged and woe To foreign States, oft hazard life themselves?

Him answer'd, bolder now, but still discrete, Telemachus.

For Pallas had his heart With manly courage arm'd, that he might ask From Nestor tidings of his absent Sire, And win, himself, distinction and renown.

Oh Nestor, Neleus' son, glory of Greece!

Thou askest whence we are.

I tell thee whence.

  100 From Ithaca, by the umbrageous woods Of Neritus o'erhung, by private need, Not public, urged, we come.

My errand is To seek intelligence of the renown'd Ulysses; , , of my noble father, prais'd For dauntless courage, whom report proclaims Conqueror, with thine aid, of sacred Troy.

We have already learn'd where other Chiefs Who fought at Ilium, died; , , but Jove conceals Even the death of my illustrious Sire    110 In dull obscurity; , , for none hath heard Or confident can answer, where he dy'd; , , Whether he on the continent hath fall'n By hostile hands, or by the waves o'erwhelm'd Of Amphitrite, welters in the Deep.

For this cause, at thy knees suppliant, I beg That thou would'st tell me his disast'rous end, If either thou beheld'st that dread event Thyself, or from some wanderer of the Greeks Hast heard it: for my father at his birth   120 Was, sure, predestin'd to no common woes.

Neither through pity, or o'erstrain'd respect Flatter me, but explicit all relate Which thou hast witness'd.

If my noble Sire E'er gratified thee by performance just Of word or deed at Ilium, where ye fell So num'rous slain in fight, oh, recollect Now his fidelity, and tell me true.

Then Nestor thus Gerenian Hero old.

Young friend!

since thou remind'st me, speaking thus,  130 Of all the woes which indefatigable We sons of the Achaians there sustain'd, Both those which wand'ring on the Deep we bore Wherever by Achilles led in quest Of booty, and the many woes beside Which under royal Priam's spacious walls We suffer'd, know, that there our bravest fell.

There warlike Ajax lies, there Peleus' son; , , There, too, Patroclus, like the Gods themselves In council, and my son beloved there,    140 Brave, virtuous, swift of foot, and bold in fight, Antilochus.

Nor are these sorrows all; , , What tongue of mortal man could all relate?

Should'st thou, abiding here, five years employ Or six, enquiring of the woes endured By the Achaians, ere thou should'st have learn'd The whole, thou would'st depart, tir'd of the tale.

For we, nine years, stratagems of all kinds Devised against them, and Saturnian Jove Scarce crown'd the difficult attempt at last.

  150 There, no competitor in wiles well-plann'd Ulysses found, so far were all surpass'd In shrewd invention by thy noble Sire, If thou indeed art his, as sure thou art, Whose sight breeds wonder in me, and thy speech His speech resembles more than might be deem'd Within the scope of years so green as thine.

There, never in opinion, or in voice Illustrious Ulysses and myself Divided were, but, one in heart, contrived   160 As best we might, the benefit of all.

But after Priam's lofty city sack'd, And the departure of the Greeks on board Their barks, and when the Gods had scatter'd them, Then Jove imagin'd for the Argive host A sorrowful return; , , for neither just Were all, nor prudent, therefore many found A fate disast'rous through the vengeful ire Of Jove-born Pallas, who between the sons Of Atreus sharp contention interposed.

   170 They both, irregularly, and against Just order, summoning by night the Greeks To council, of whom many came with wine Oppress'd, promulgated the cause for which They had convened the people.

Then it was That Menelaus bade the general host Their thoughts bend homeward o'er the sacred Deep, Which Agamemnon in no sort approved.

His counsel was to slay them yet at Troy, That so he might assuage the dreadful wrath   180 Of Pallas, first, by sacrifice and pray'r.

Vain hope!

he little thought how ill should speed That fond attempt, for, once provok'd, the Gods Are not with ease conciliated again.

Thus stood the brothers, altercation hot Maintaining, till at length, uprose the Greeks With deaf'ning clamours, and with diff'ring minds.

We slept the night, but teeming with disgust Mutual, for Jove great woe prepar'd for all.

At dawn of day we drew our gallies down    190 Into the sea, and, hasty, put on board The spoils and female captives.

Half the host, With Agamemnon, son of Atreus, stay'd Supreme commander, and, embarking, half Push'd forth.

Swift course we made, for Neptune smooth'd The waves before us of the monstrous Deep.

At Tenedos arriv'd, we there perform'd Sacrifice to the Gods, ardent to reach Our native land, but unpropitious Jove, Not yet designing our arrival there,    200 Involved us in dissension fierce again.

For all the crews, followers of the King, Thy noble Sire, to gratify our Chief, The son of Atreus, chose a diff'rent course, And steer'd their oary barks again to Troy.

But I, assured that evil from the Gods Impended, gath'ring all my gallant fleet, Fled thence in haste, and warlike Diomede Exhorting his attendants, also fled.

At length, the Hero Menelaus join'd    210 Our fleets at Lesbos; , , there he found us held In deep deliberation on the length Of way before us, whether we should steer Above the craggy Chios to the isle Psyria, that island holding on our left, Or under Chios by the wind-swept heights Of Mimas.

Then we ask'd from Jove a sign, And by a sign vouchsafed he bade us cut The wide sea to Eubœa sheer athwart, So soonest to escape the threat'ned harm.

  220 Shrill sang the rising gale, and with swift prows Cleaving the fishy flood, we reach'd by night Geræstus, where arrived, we burn'd the thighs Of num'rous bulls to Neptune, who had safe Conducted us through all our perilous course.

The fleet of Diomede in safety moor'd On the fourth day at Argos, but myself Held on my course to Pylus, nor the wind One moment thwarted us, or died away, When Jove had once commanded it to blow.

   230 Thus, uninform'd, I have arrived, my son!

Nor of the Greecians, who are saved have heard, Or who have perish'd; , , but what news soe'er I have obtain'd, since my return, with truth I will relate, nor aught conceal from thee.

The spear-famed Myrmidons, as rumour speaks, By Neoptolemus, illustrious son Of brave Achilles led, have safe arrived; , , Safe, Philoctetes, also son renown'd Of Pæas; , , and Idomeneus at Crete     240 Hath landed all his followers who survive The bloody war, the waves have swallow'd none.

Ye have yourselves doubtless, although remote, Of Agamemnon heard, how he return'd, And how Ægisthus cruelly contrived For him a bloody welcome, but himself Hath with his own life paid the murth'rous deed.

Good is it, therefore, if a son survive The slain, since Agamemnon's son hath well Avenged his father's death, slaying, himself,   250 Ægisthus, foul assassin of his Sire.

Young friend!

(for pleas'd thy vig'rous youth I view, And just proportion) be thou also bold, That thine like his may be a deathless name.

Then, prudent, him answer'd Telemachus.

Oh Nestor, Neleus' son, glory of Greece!

And righteous was that vengeance; , , -his- renown Achaia's sons shall far and wide diffuse, To future times transmitting it in song.


would that such ability the Gods    260 Would grant to me, that I, as well, the deeds Might punish of our suitors, whose excess Enormous, and whose bitter taunts I feel Continual, object of their subtle hate.

But not for me such happiness the Gods Have twined into my thread; , , no, not for me Or for my father.

Patience is our part.

To whom Gerenian Nestor thus replied.

Young friend!

(since thou remind'st me of that theme) Fame here reports that num'rous suitors haunt   270 Thy palace for thy mother's sake, and there Much evil perpetrate in thy despight.

But say, endur'st thou willing their controul Imperious, or because the people, sway'd By some response oracular, incline Against thee?

But who knows?

the time may come When to his home restored, either alone, Or aided by the force of all the Greeks, Ulysses may avenge the wrong; , , at least, Should Pallas azure-eyed thee love, as erst   280 At Troy, the scene of our unnumber'd woes, She lov'd Ulysses (for I have not known The Gods assisting so apparently A mortal man, as him Minerva there) Should Pallas view thee also with like love And kind solicitude, some few of those Should dream, perchance, of wedlock never more.

Then answer thus Telemachus return'd.

That word's accomplishment I cannot hope; , , It promises too much; , , the thought alone    290 O'erwhelms me; , , an event so fortunate Would, unexpected on my part, arrive, Although the Gods themselves should purpose it.

But Pallas him answer'd cærulean-eyed.


what word was that which leap'd The iv'ry guard[7] that should have fenced it in?

A God, so willing, could with utmost ease Save any man, howe'er remote.

Myself, I had much rather, many woes endured, Revisit home, at last, happy and safe,    300 Than, sooner coming, die in my own house, As Agamemnon perish'd by the arts Of base Ægisthus and the subtle Queen.

Yet not the Gods themselves can save from death All-levelling, the man whom most they love, When Fate ordains him once to his last sleep.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.

Howe'er it interest us, let us leave This question, Mentor!

He, I am assured, Returns no more, but hath already found    310 A sad, sad fate by the decree of heav'n.

But I would now interrogate again Nestor, and on a different theme, for him In human rights I judge, and laws expert, And in all knowledge beyond other men; , , For he hath govern'd, as report proclaims, Three generations; , , therefore in my eyes He wears the awful impress of a God.

Oh Nestor, son of Neleus, tell me true; , , What was the manner of Atrides' death,    320 Wide-ruling Agamemnon?

Tell me where Was Menelaus?

By what means contrived Ægisthus to inflict the fatal blow, Slaying so much a nobler than himself?

Had not the brother of the Monarch reach'd Achaian Argos yet, but, wand'ring still In other climes, his long absence gave Ægisthus courage for that bloody deed?

Whom answer'd the Gerenian Chief renown'd.

My son!

I will inform thee true; , , meantime   330 Thy own suspicions border on the fact.

Had Menelaus, Hero, amber hair'd, Ægisthus found living at his return From Ilium, never on -his- bones the Greeks Had heap'd a tomb, but dogs and rav'ning fowls Had torn him lying in the open field Far from the town, nor him had woman wept Of all in Greece, for he had foul transgress'd.

But we, in many an arduous task engaged, Lay before Ilium; , , he, the while, secure    340 Within the green retreats of Argos, found Occasion apt by flatt'ry to delude The spouse of Agamemnon; , , she, at first, (The royal Clytemnestra) firm refused The deed dishonourable (for she bore A virtuous mind, and at her side a bard Attended ever, whom the King, to Troy Departing, had appointed to the charge.)

But when the Gods had purposed to ensnare Ægisthus, then dismissing far remote    350 The bard into a desart isle, he there Abandon'd him to rav'ning fowls a prey, And to his own home, willing as himself, Led Clytemnestra.

Num'rous thighs he burn'd On all their hallow'd altars to the Gods, And hung with tap'stry, images, and gold Their shrines, his great exploit past hope atchiev'd.

We (Menelaus and myself) had sailed From Troy together, but when we approach'd Sunium, headland of th' Athenian shore,    360 There Phœbus, sudden, with his gentle shafts Slew Menelaus' pilot while he steer'd The volant bark, Phrontis, Onetor's son, A mariner past all expert, whom none In steerage match'd, what time the tempest roar'd.

Here, therefore, Menelaus was detained, Giving his friend due burial, and his rites Funereal celebrating, though in haste Still to proceed.

But when, with all his fleet The wide sea traversing, he reach'd at length   370 Malea's lofty foreland in his course, Rough passage, then, and perilous he found.

Shrill blasts the Thund'rer pour'd into his sails, And wild waves sent him mountainous.

His ships There scatter'd, some to the Cydonian coast Of Crete he push'd, near where the Jardan flows.

Beside the confines of Gortyna stands, Amid the gloomy flood, a smooth rock, steep Toward the sea, against whose leftward point Phæstus by name, the South wind rolls the surge   380 Amain, which yet the rock, though small, repells.

Hither with part he came, and scarce the crews Themselves escaped, while the huge billows broke Their ships against the rocks; , , yet five he saved, Which winds and waves drove to the Ægyptian shore.

Thus he, provision gath'ring as he went And gold abundant, roam'd to distant lands And nations of another tongue.

Meantime, Ægisthus these enormities at home Devising, slew Atrides, and supreme    390 Rul'd the subjected land; , , sev'n years he reign'd In opulent Mycenæ, but the eighth From Athens brought renown'd Orestes home For his destruction, who of life bereaved Ægisthus base assassin of his Sire.

Orestes, therefore, the funereal rites Performing to his shameless mother's shade And to her lustful paramour, a feast Gave to the Argives; , , on which self-same day The warlike Menelaus, with his ships    400 All treasure-laden to the brink, arrived.

And thou, young friend!

from thy forsaken home Rove not long time remote, thy treasures left At mercy of those proud, lest they divide And waste the whole, rend'ring thy voyage vain.

But hence to Menelaus is the course To which I counsel thee; , , for he hath come Of late from distant lands, whence to escape No man could hope, whom tempests first had driv'n Devious into so wide a sea, from which    410 Themselves the birds of heaven could not arrive In a whole year, so vast is the expanse.

Go, then, with ship and shipmates, or if more The land delight thee, steeds thou shalt not want Nor chariot, and my sons shall be thy guides To noble Lacedemon, the abode Of Menelaus; , , ask from him the truth, Who will not lye, for he is passing wise.

While thus he spake, the sun declined, and night Approaching, blue-eyed Pallas interposed.

  420 O antient King!

well hast thou spoken all.

But now delay not.

Cut ye forth the tongues, [8] And mingle wine, that (Neptune first invoked With due libation, and the other Gods) We may repair to rest; , , for even now The sun is sunk, and it becomes us not Long to protract a banquet to the Gods Devote, but in fit season to depart.

So spake Jove's daughter; , , they obedient heard.

The heralds, then, pour'd water on their hands,   430 And the attendant youths, filling the cups, Served them from left to right.

Next all the tongues They cast into the fire, and ev'ry guest Arising, pour'd libation to the Gods.

Libation made, and all with wine sufficed, Godlike Telemachus and Pallas both Would have return'd, incontinent, on board, But Nestor urged them still to be his guests.

Forbid it, Jove, and all the Pow'rs of heav'n!

That ye should leave me to repair on board   440 Your vessel, as I were some needy wretch Cloakless and destitute of fleecy stores Wherewith to spread the couch soft for myself, Or for my guests.

No. I have garments warm An ample store, and rugs of richest dye; , , And never shall Ulysses' son belov'd, My frend's own son, sleep on a galley's plank While I draw vital air; , , grant also, heav'n, That, dying, I may leave behind me sons Glad to accommodate whatever guest!

   450 Him answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.

Old Chief!

thou hast well said, and reason bids Telemachus thy kind commands obey.

Let -him- attend thee hence, that he may sleep Beneath thy roof, but I return on board Myself, to instruct my people, and to give All needful orders; , , for among them none Is old as I, but they are youths alike, Coevals of Telemachus, with whom They have embark'd for friendship's sake alone.

  460 I therefore will repose myself on board This night, and to the Caucons bold in arms Will sail to-morrow, to demand arrears Long time unpaid, and of no small amount.

But, since he is become thy guest, afford My friend a chariot, and a son of thine Who shall direct his way, nor let him want Of all thy steeds the swiftest and the best.

So saying, the blue-eyed Goddess as upborne On eagle's wings, vanish'd; , , amazement seized   470 The whole assembly, and the antient King O'erwhelmed with wonder at that sight, the hand Grasp'd of Telemachus, whom he thus bespake.

My friend!

I prophesy that thou shalt prove Nor base nor dastard, whom, so young, the Gods Already take in charge; , , for of the Pow'rs Inhabitants of heav'n, none else was this Than Jove's own daughter Pallas, who among The Greecians honour'd most thy gen'rous Sire.

But thou, O Queen!

compassionate us all,   480 Myself, my sons, my comfort; , , give to each A glorious name, and I to thee will give For sacrifice an heifer of the year, Broad-fronted, one that never yet hath borne The yoke, and will incase her horns with gold.

So Nestor pray'd, whom Pallas gracious heard.

Then the Gerenian warrior old, before His sons and sons in law, to his abode Magnificent proceeded: they (arrived Within the splendid palace of the King)    490 On thrones and couches sat in order ranged, Whom Nestor welcom'd, charging high the cup With wine of richest sort, which she who kept That treasure, now in the eleventh year First broach'd, unsealing the delicious juice.

With this the hoary Senior fill'd a cup, And to the daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd Pouring libation, offer'd fervent pray'r.

When all had made libation, and no wish Remain'd of more, then each to rest retired,   500 And Nestor the Gerenian warrior old Led thence Telemachus to a carved couch Beneath the sounding portico prepared.

Beside him he bade sleep the spearman bold, Pisistratus, a gallant youth, the sole Unwedded in his house of all his sons.

Himself in the interior palace lay, Where couch and cov'ring for her antient spouse The consort Queen had diligent prepar'd.

But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,    510 Had tinged the East, arising from his bed, Gerenian Nestor issued forth, and sat Before his palace-gate on the white stones Resplendent as with oil, on which of old His father Neleus had been wont to sit, In council like a God; , , but he had sought, By destiny dismiss'd long since, the shades.

On those stones therefore now, Nestor himself, Achaia's guardian, sat, sceptre in hand, Where soon his num'rous sons, leaving betimes   520 The place of their repose, also appeared, Echephron, Stratius, Perseus, Thrasymedes, Aretus and Pisistratus.

They placed Godlike Telemachus at Nestor's side, And the Gerenian Hero thus began.

Sons be ye quick --execute with dispatch My purpose, that I may propitiate first Of all the Gods Minerva, who herself Hath honour'd manifest our hallow'd feast.

Haste, one, into the field, to order thence   530 An ox, and let the herdsman drive it home.

Another, hasting to the sable bark Of brave Telemachus, bring hither all His friends, save two, and let a third command Laerceus, that he come to enwrap with gold The victim's horns.

Abide ye here, the rest, And bid my female train (for I intend A banquet) with all diligence provide Seats, stores of wood, and water from the rock.

He said, whom instant all obey'd.

The ox   540 Came from the field, and from the gallant ship The ship-mates of the brave Telemachus; , , Next, charged with all his implements of art, His mallet, anvil, pincers, came the smith To give the horns their gilding; , , also came Pallas herself to her own sacred rites.

Then Nestor, hoary warrior, furnish'd gold, Which, hammer'd thin, the artist wrapp'd around The victim's horns, that seeing him attired So costly, Pallas might the more be pleased.

  550 Stratius and brave Echephron introduced The victim by his horns; , , Aretus brought A laver in one hand, with flow'rs emboss'd, And in his other hand a basket stored With cakes, while warlike Thrasymedes, arm'd With his long-hafted ax, prepared to smite The ox, and Perseus to receive the blood.

The hoary Nestor consecrated first Both cakes and water, and with earnest pray'r To Pallas, gave the forelock to the flames.

  560 When all had worshipp'd, and the broken cakes Sprinkled, then godlike Thrasymedes drew Close to the ox, and smote him.

Deep the edge Enter'd, and senseless on the floor he fell.

Then Nestor's daughters, and the consorts all Of Nestor's sons, with his own consort, chaste Eurydice, the daughter eldest-born Of Clymenus, in one shrill orison Vocif'rous join'd, while they, lifting the ox, Held him supported firmly, and the prince   570 Of men, Pisistratus, his gullet pierced.

Soon as the sable blood had ceased, and life Had left the victim, spreading him abroad, With nice address they parted at the joint His thighs, and wrapp'd them in the double cawl, Which with crude slices thin they overspread.

Nestor burn'd incense, and libation pour'd Large on the hissing brands, while him beside, Busy with spit and prong, stood many a youth Train'd to the task.

The thighs consumed, each took His portion of the maw, then, slashing well   581 The remnant, they transpierced it with the spits Neatly, and held it reeking at the fire.

Meantime the youngest of the daughters fair Of Nestor, beauteous Polycaste, laved, Anointed, and in vest and tunic cloathed Telemachus, who, so refresh'd, stepp'd forth From the bright laver graceful as a God, And took his seat at antient Nestor's side.

The viands dress'd, and from the spits withdrawn,  590 They sat to share the feast, and princely youths Arising, gave them wine in cups of gold.

When neither hunger now nor thirst remain'd Unsated, thus Gerenian Nestor spake.

My sons, arise, lead forth the sprightly steeds, And yoke them, that Telemachus may go.

So spake the Chief, to whose commands his sons, Obedient, yoked in haste the rapid steeds, And the intendant matron of the stores Disposed meantime within the chariot, bread   600 And wine, and dainties, such as princes eat.

Telemachus into the chariot first Ascended, and beside him, next, his place Pisistratus the son of Nestor took, Then seiz'd the reins, and lash'd the coursers on.

They, nothing loth, into the open plain Flew, leaving lofty Pylus soon afar.

Thus, journeying, they shook on either side The yoke all day, and now the setting sun To dusky evening had resign'd the roads,    610 When they to Pheræ came, and the abode Reach'd of Diocles, whose illustrious Sire Orsilochus from Alpheus drew his birth, And there, with kindness entertain'd, they slept.

But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Look'd rosy from the East, yoking the steeds, They in their sumptuous chariot sat again.

The son of Nestor plied the lash, and forth Through vestibule and sounding portico The royal coursers, not unwilling, flew.

   620 A corn-invested land receiv'd them next, And there they brought their journey to a close, So rapidly they moved; , , and now the sun Went down, and even-tide dimm'd all the ways.


[7] Ερκος οδοντων.

Prior, alluding to this expression, ludicrously renders it --

"When words like these in vocal breath Burst from his twofold hedge of teeth."

[8] It is said to have been customary in the days of Homer, when the Greeks retired from a banquet to their beds, to cut out the tongues of the victims, and offer them to the Gods in particular who presided over conversation.



Telemachus, with Pisistratus, arrives at the palace of Menelaus, from whom he receives some fresh information concerning the return of the Greecians, and is in particular told on the authority of Proteus, that his father is detained by Calypso.

The suitors, plotting against the life of Telemachus, lie in wait to intercept him in his return to Ithaca.

Penelope being informed of his departure, and of their designs to slay him, becomes inconsolable, but is relieved by a dream sent to her from Minerva.

In hollow Lacedæmon's spacious vale Arriving, to the house they drove direct Of royal Menelaus; , , him they found In his own palace, all his num'rous friends Regaling at a nuptial banquet giv'n Both for his daughter and the prince his son.

His daughter to renown'd Achilles' heir He sent, to whom he had at Troy engaged To give her, and the Gods now made her his.

With chariots and with steeds he sent her forth   10 To the illustrious city where the prince, Achilles' offspring, ruled the Myrmidons.

But to his son he gave a Spartan fair, Alector's daughter; , , from an handmaid sprang That son to Menelaus in his age, Brave Megapenthes; , , for the Gods no child To Helen gave, made mother, once, of her Who vied in perfect loveliness of form With golden Venus' self, Hermione.

Thus all the neighbour princes and the friends   20 Of noble Menelaus, feasting sat Within his spacious palace, among whom A sacred bard sang sweetly to his harp, While, in the midst, two dancers smote the ground With measur'd steps responsive to his song.

And now the Heroes, Nestor's noble son And young Telemachus arrived within The vestibule, whom, issuing from the hall, The noble Eteoneus of the train Of Menelaus, saw; , , at once he ran     30 Across the palace to report the news To his Lord's ear, and, standing at his side, In accents wing'd with haste thus greeted him.

Oh Menelaus!

Heav'n descended Chief!

Two guests arrive, both strangers, but the race Of Jove supreme resembling each in form.

Say, shall we loose, ourselves, their rapid steeds, Or hence dismiss them to some other host?

But Menelaus, Hero golden-hair'd, Indignant answer'd him.

Boethe's son!

   40 Thou wast not, Eteoneus, heretofore, A babbler, who now pratest as a child.

We have ourselves arrived indebted much To hospitality of other men, If Jove shall, even here, some pause at last Of woe afford us.

Therefore loose, at once, Their steeds, and introduce them to the feast.

He said, and, issuing, Eteoneus call'd The brisk attendants to his aid, with whom He loos'd their foaming coursers from the yoke.

  50 Them first they bound to mangers, which with oats And mingled barley they supplied, then thrust The chariot sidelong to the splendid wall.

[9] Themselves he, next, into the royal house Conducted, who survey'd, wond'ring, the abode Of the heav'n-favour'd King; , , for on all sides As with the splendour of the sun or moon The lofty dome of Menelaus blazed.

Satiate, at length, with wonder at that sight, They enter'd each a bath, and by the hands   60 Of maidens laved, and oil'd, and cloath'd again With shaggy mantles and resplendent vests, Sat both enthroned at Menelaus' side.

And now a maiden charged with golden ew'r, And with an argent laver, pouring first Pure water on their hands, supplied them next With a bright table, which the maiden, chief In office, furnish'd plenteously with bread And dainties, remnants of the last regale.

Then came the sew'r, who with delicious meats   70 Dish after dish, served them, and placed beside The chargers cups magnificent of gold, When Menelaus grasp'd their hands, and said.

Eat and rejoice, and when ye shall have shared Our nuptial banquet, we will then inquire Who are ye both, for, certain, not from those Whose generation perishes are ye, But rather of some race of sceptred Chiefs Heav'n-born; , , the base have never sons like you.

So saying, he from the board lifted his own   80 Distinguish'd portion, and the fatted chine Gave to his guests; , , the sav'ry viands they With outstretch'd hands assail'd, and when the force No longer now of appetite they felt, Telemachus, inclining close his head To Nestor's son, lest others should his speech Witness, in whisper'd words him thus address'd.

Dearest Pisistratus, observe, my friend!

How all the echoing palace with the light Of beaming brass, of gold and amber shines   90 Silver and ivory!

for radiance such Th' interior mansion of Olympian Jove I deem.

What wealth, how various, how immense Is here!

astonish'd I survey the sight!

But Menelaus, golden-hair'd, his speech O'erhearing, thus in accents wing'd replied My children!

let no mortal man pretend Comparison with Jove; , , for Jove's abode And all his stores are incorruptible.

But whether mortal man with me may vie    100 In the display of wealth, or whether not, This know, that after many toils endured, And perilous wand'rings wide, in the eighth year I brought my treasures home.

Remote I roved To Cyprus, to Phœnice, to the shores Of Ægypt; , , Æthiopia's land I reach'd, Th' Erembi, the Sidonians, and the coasts Of Lybia, where the lambs their foreheads shew At once with horns defended, soon as yean'd.

There, thrice within the year the flocks produce,  110 Nor master, there, nor shepherd ever feels A dearth of cheese, of flesh, or of sweet milk Delicious, drawn from udders never dry.

While, thus, commodities on various coasts Gath'ring I roam'd, another, by the arts Of his pernicious spouse aided, of life Bereav'd my brother privily, and when least He fear'd to lose it.

Therefore little joy To me results from all that I possess.

Your fathers (be those fathers who they may)   120 These things have doubtless told you; , , for immense Have been my suff'rings, and I have destroy'd A palace well inhabited and stored With precious furniture in ev'ry kind; , , Such, that I would to heav'n!

I own'd at home Though but the third of it, and that the Greeks Who perish'd then, beneath the walls of Troy Far from steed-pastured Argos, still survived.

Yet while, sequester'd here, I frequent mourn My slaughter'd friends, by turns I sooth my soul   130 With tears shed for them, and by turns again I cease; , , for grief soon satiates free indulged.

But of them all, although I all bewail, None mourn I so as one, whom calling back To memory, I both sleep and food abhor.

For, of Achaia's sons none ever toiled Strenuous as Ulysses; , , but his lot Was woe, and unremitting sorrow mine For his long absence, who, if still he live, We know not aught, or be already dead.

   140 Him doubtless, old Laertes mourns, and him Discrete Penelope, nor less his son Telemachus, born newly when he sail'd.

So saying, he kindled in him strong desire To mourn his father; , , at his father's name Fast fell his tears to ground, and with both hands He spread his purple cloak before his eyes; , , Which Menelaus marking, doubtful sat If he should leave him leisure for his tears, Or question him, and tell him all at large.

  150 While thus he doubted, Helen (as it chanced) Leaving her fragrant chamber, came, august As Dian, goddess of the golden bow.

Adrasta, for her use, set forth a throne, Alcippe with soft arras cover'd it, And Philo brought her silver basket, gift Of fair Alcandra, wife of Polybus, Whose mansion in Ægyptian Thebes is rich In untold treasure, and who gave, himself, Ten golden talents, and two silver baths    160 To Menelaus, with two splendid tripods Beside the noble gifts which, at the hand Of his illustrious spouse, Helen receiv'd; , , A golden spindle, and a basket wheel'd, Itself of silver, and its lip of gold.

That basket Philo, her own handmaid, placed At beauteous Helen's side, charged to the brim With slender threads, on which the spindle lay With wool of purple lustre wrapp'd around.

Approaching, on her foot-stool'd throne she sat,   170 And, instant, of her royal spouse enquired.

Know we, my Menelaus, dear to Jove!

These guests of ours, and whence they have arrived?

Erroneous I may speak, yet speak I must; , , In man or woman never have I seen Such likeness to another (wonder-fixt I gaze) as in this stranger to the son Of brave Ulysses, whom that Hero left New-born at home, when (shameless as I was) For my unworthy sake the Greecians sailed   180 To Ilium, with fierce rage of battle fir'd.

Then Menelaus, thus, the golden-hair'd.

I also such resemblance find in him As thou; , , such feet, such hands, the cast of eye[10] Similar, and the head and flowing locks.

And even now, when I Ulysses named, And his great sufferings mention'd, in my cause, The bitter tear dropp'd from his lids, while broad Before his eyes his purple cloak he spread.

To whom the son of Nestor thus replied.

  190 Atrides!


Chief renown'd!

He is in truth his son, as thou hast said, But he is modest, and would much himself Condemn, if, at his first arrival here, He should loquacious seem and bold to thee, To whom we listen, captived by thy voice, As if some God had spoken.

As for me, Nestor, my father, the Gerenian Chief Bade me conduct him hither, for he wish'd To see thee, promising himself from thee    200 The benefit of some kind word or deed.

For, destitute of other aid, he much His father's tedious absence mourns at home.

So fares Telemachus; , , his father strays Remote, and, in his stead, no friend hath he Who might avert the mischiefs that he feels.

To whom the Hero amber-hair'd replied.

Ye Gods!

the offspring of indeed a friend Hath reach'd my house, of one who hath endured Arduous conflicts num'rous for my sake; , ,    210 And much I purpos'd, had Olympian Jove Vouchsaf'd us prosp'rous passage o'er the Deep, To have receiv'd him with such friendship here As none beside.

In Argos I had then Founded a city for him, and had rais'd A palace for himself; , , I would have brought The Hero hither, and his son, with all His people, and with all his wealth, some town Evacuating for his sake, of those Ruled by myself, and neighb'ring close my own.

  220 Thus situate, we had often interchanged Sweet converse, nor had other cause at last Our friendship terminated or our joys, Than death's black cloud o'ershadowing him or me.

But such delights could only envy move Ev'n in the Gods, who have, of all the Greeks, Amerc'd -him- only of his wish'd return.

So saying, he kindled the desire to weep In ev'ry bosom.

Argive Helen wept Abundant, Jove's own daughter; , , wept as fast   230 Telemachus and Menelaus both; , , Nor Nestor's son with tearless eyes remain'd, Calling to mind Antilochus[11] by the son[12] Illustrious of the bright Aurora slain, Rememb'ring whom, in accents wing'd he said.


antient Nestor, when of late Conversing with him, we remember'd thee, Pronounced thee wise beyond all human-kind.

Now therefore, let not even my advice Displease thee.

It affords me no delight    240 To intermingle tears with my repast, And soon, Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Will tinge the orient.

Not that I account Due lamentation of a friend deceased Blameworthy, since, to sheer the locks and weep, Is all we can for the unhappy dead.

I also have my grief, call'd to lament One, not the meanest of Achaia's sons, My brother; , , him I cannot but suppose To thee well-known, although unknown to me   250 Who saw him never; , , [13] but report proclaims Antilochus superior to the most, In speed superior, and in feats of arms.

To whom, the Hero of the yellow locks.

O friend belov'd!

since nought which thou hast said Or recommended now, would have disgraced A man of years maturer far than thine, (For wise thy father is, and such art thou, And easy is it to discern the son Of such a father, whom Saturnian Jove    260 In marriage both and at his birth ordain'd To great felicity; , , for he hath giv'n To Nestor gradually to sink at home Into old age, and, while he lives, to see His sons past others wise, and skill'd in arms) The sorrow into which we sudden fell Shall pause.

Come --now remember we the feast; , , Pour water on our hands, for we shall find, (Telemachus and I) no dearth of themes For mutual converse when the day shall dawn.

  270 He ended; , , then, Asphalion, at his word, Servant of glorious Menelaus, poured Pure water on their hands, and they the feast Before them with keen appetite assail'd.

But Jove-born Helen otherwise, meantime, Employ'd, into the wine of which they drank A drug infused, antidote to the pains Of grief and anger, a most potent charm For ills of ev'ry name.

Whoe'er his wine So medicated drinks, he shall not pour    280 All day the tears down his wan cheek, although His father and his mother both were dead, Nor even though his brother or his son Had fall'n in battle, and before his eyes.

Such drugs Jove's daughter own'd, with skill prepar'd, And of prime virtue, by the wife of Thone, Ægyptian Polydamna, giv'n her.

For Ægypt teems with drugs, yielding no few Which, mingled with the drink, are good, and many Of baneful juice, and enemies to life.

   290 There ev'ry man in skill medicinal Excels, for they are sons of Pæon all.

That drug infused, she bade her servant pour The bev'rage forth, and thus her speech resumed.



dear to Jove!

These also are the sons of Chiefs renown'd, (For Jove, as pleases him, to each assigns Or good or evil, whom all things obey) Now therefore, feasting at your ease reclin'd, Listen with pleasure, for myself, the while,   300 Will matter seasonable interpose.

I cannot all rehearse, nor even name, (Omitting none) the conflicts and exploits Of brave Ulysses; , , but with what address Successful, one atchievement he perform'd At Ilium, where Achaia's sons endured Such hardship, will I speak.

Inflicting wounds Dishonourable on himself, he took A tatter'd garb, and like a serving-man Enter'd the spacious city of your foes.

   310 So veil'd, some mendicant he seem'd, although No Greecian less deserved that name than he.

In such disguise he enter'd; , , all alike Misdeem'd him; , , me alone he not deceived Who challeng'd him, but, shrewd, he turn'd away.

At length, however, when I had myself Bathed him, anointed, cloath'd him, and had sworn Not to declare him openly in Troy Till he should reach again the camp and fleet, He told me the whole purpose of the Greeks.

  320 Then, (many a Trojan slaughter'd,) he regain'd The camp, and much intelligence he bore To the Achaians.

Oh what wailing then Was heard of Trojan women!

but my heart Exulted, alter'd now, and wishing home; , , For now my crime committed under force Of Venus' influence I deplored, what time She led me to a country far remote, A wand'rer from the matrimonial bed, From my own child, and from my rightful Lord   330 Alike unblemish'd both in form and mind.

Her answer'd then the Hero golden-hair'd.


thou hast well spoken.

All is true.

I have the talents fathom'd and the minds Of num'rous Heroes, and have travell'd far Yet never saw I with these eyes in man Such firmness as the calm Ulysses own'd; , , None such as in the wooden horse he proved, Where all our bravest sat, designing woe And bloody havoc for the sons of Troy.

   340 Thou thither cam'st, impell'd, as it should seem, By some divinity inclin'd to give Victory to our foes, and with thee came Godlike Deiphobus.

Thrice round about The hollow ambush, striking with thy hand Its sides thou went'st, and by his name didst call Each prince of Greece feigning his consort's voice.

Myself with Diomede, and with divine Ulysses, seated in the midst, the call Heard plain and loud; , , we (Diomede and I)    350 With ardour burn'd either to quit the horse So summon'd, or to answer from within.

But, all impatient as we were, Ulysses Controul'd the rash design; , , so there the sons Of the Achaians silent sat and mute, And of us all Anticlus would alone Have answer'd; , , but Ulysses with both hands Compressing close his lips, saved us, nor ceased Till Pallas thence conducted thee again.

Then thus, discrete, Telemachus replied.

  360 Atrides!


prince renown'd!

Hard was his lot whom these rare qualities Preserved not, neither had his dauntless heart Been iron, had he scaped his cruel doom.

But haste, dismiss us hence, that on our beds Reposed, we may enjoy sleep, needful now.

He ceas'd; , , then Argive Helen gave command To her attendant maidens to prepare Beds in the portico with purple rugs Resplendent, and with arras, overspread,    370 And cover'd warm with cloaks of shaggy pile.

Forth went the maidens, bearing each a torch, And spread the couches; , , next, the herald them Led forth, and in the vestibule the son Of Nestor and the youthful Hero slept, Telemachus; , , but in the interior house Atrides, with the loveliest of her sex Beside him, Helen of the sweeping stole.

But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Glow'd in the East, then from his couch arose   380 The warlike Menelaus, fresh attir'd; , , His faulchion o'er his shoulders slung, he bound His sandals fair to his unsullied feet, And like a God issuing, at the side Sat of Telemachus, to whom he spake.



what urgent cause Hath hither led thee, to the land far-famed Of Lacedæmon o'er the spacious Deep?

Public concern or private?

Tell me true.

To whom Telemachus discrete replied.

   390 Atrides!


prince renown'd!

News seeking of my Sire, I have arrived.

My household is devour'd, my fruitful fields Are desolated, and my palace fill'd With enemies, who while they mutual wage Proud competition for my mother's love, My flocks continual slaughter, and my beeves.

For this cause, at thy knees suppliant, I beg That thou wouldst tell me his disastrous end, If either thou beheld'st with thine own eyes   400 His death, or from some wand'rer of the Greeks Hast heard it; , , for no common woes, alas!

Was he ordain'd to share ev'n from the womb.

Neither through pity or o'erstrain'd respect Flatter me, but explicit all relate Which thou hast witness'd.

If my noble Sire E'er gratified thee by performance just Of word or deed at Ilium, where ye fell So num'rous slain in fight, oh recollect Now his fidelity, and tell me true!

   410 Then Menelaus, sighing deep, replied.


their ambition is to reach the bed Of a brave man, however base themselves.

But as it chances, when the hart hath lay'd Her fawns new-yean'd and sucklings yet, to rest Within some dreadful lion's gloomy den, She roams the hills, and in the grassy vales Feeds heedless, till the lion, to his lair Return'd, destroys her and her little-ones, So them thy Sire shall terribly destroy.

   420 Jove, Pallas and Apollo!

oh that such As erst in well-built Lesbos, where he strove With Philomelides, and threw him flat, A sight at which Achaia's sons rejoic'd, Such, now, Ulysses might assail them all!

Short life and bitter nuptials should be theirs.

But thy enquiries neither indirect Will I evade, nor give thee false reply, But all that from the Antient of the Deep[14] I have receiv'd will utter, hiding nought.

  430 As yet the Gods on Ægypt's shore detained Me wishing home, angry at my neglect To heap their altars with slain hecatombs.

For they exacted from us evermore Strict rev'rence of their laws.

There is an isle Amid the billowy flood, Pharos by name, In front of Ægypt, distant from her shore Far as a vessel by a sprightly gale Impell'd, may push her voyage in a day.

The haven there is good, and many a ship    440 Finds wat'ring there from riv'lets on the coast.

There me the Gods kept twenty days, no breeze Propitious granting, that might sweep the waves, And usher to her home the flying bark.

And now had our provision, all consumed, Left us exhausted, but a certain nymph Pitying saved me.

Daughter fair was she Of mighty Proteus, Antient of the Deep, Idothea named; , , her most my sorrows moved; , , She found me from my followers all apart    450 Wand'ring (for they around the isle, with hooks The fishes snaring roamed, by famine urged) And standing at my side, me thus bespake.


thou must be ideot born, or weak At least in intellect, or thy delight Is in distress and mis'ry, who delay'st To leave this island, and no egress hence Canst find, although thy famish'd people faint.

So spake the Goddess, and I thus replied.

I tell thee, whosoever of the Pow'rs    460 Divine thou art, that I am prison'd here Not willingly, but must have, doubtless, sinn'd Against the deathless tenants of the skies.

Yet say (for the Immortals all things know) What God detains me, and my course forbids Hence to my country o'er the fishy Deep?

So I; , , to whom the Goddess all-divine.


I will inform thee true.

A seer Oracular, the Antient of the Deep, Immortal Proteus, the Ægyptian, haunts    470 These shores, familiar with all Ocean's gulphs, And Neptune's subject.

He is by report My father; , , him if thou art able once To seize and bind, he will prescribe the course With all its measured distances, by which Thou shalt regain secure thy native shores.

He will, moreover, at thy suit declare, Thou favour'd of the skies!

what good, what ill Hath in thine house befall'n, while absent thou Thy voyage difficult perform'st and long.

  480 She spake, and I replied --Thyself reveal By what effectual bands I may secure The antient Deity marine, lest, warn'd Of my approach, he shun me and escape.

Hard task for mortal hands to bind a God!

Then thus Idothea answer'd all-divine.

I will inform thee true.

Soon as the sun Hath climb'd the middle heav'ns, the prophet old, Emerging while the breezy zephyr blows, And cover'd with the scum of ocean, seeks   490 His spacious cove, in which outstretch'd he lies.

The phocæ[15] also, rising from the waves, Offspring of beauteous Halosydna, sleep Around him, num'rous, and the fishy scent Exhaling rank of the unfathom'd flood.

Thither conducting thee at peep of day I will dispose thee in some safe recess, But from among thy followers thou shalt chuse The bravest three in all thy gallant fleet.

And now the artifices understand     500 Of the old prophet of the sea.

The sum Of all his phocæ numb'ring duly first, He will pass through them, and when all by fives He counted hath, will in the midst repose Content, as sleeps the shepherd with his flock.

When ye shall see him stretch'd, then call to mind That moment all your prowess, and prevent, Howe'er he strive impatient, his escape.

All changes trying, he will take the form Of ev'ry reptile on the earth, will seem    510 A river now, and now devouring fire; , , But hold him ye, and grasp him still the more.

And when himself shall question you, restored To his own form in which ye found him first Reposing, then from farther force abstain; , , Then, Hero!

loose the Antient of the Deep, And ask him, of the Gods who checks thy course Hence to thy country o'er the fishy flood.

So saying, she plunged into the billowy waste.

I then, in various musings lost, my ships   520 Along the sea-beach station'd sought again, And when I reach'd my galley on the shore We supp'd, and sacred night falling from heav'n, Slept all extended on the ocean-side.

But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Look'd rosy forth, pensive beside the shore I walk'd of Ocean, frequent to the Gods Praying devout, then chose the fittest three For bold assault, and worthiest of my trust.

Meantime the Goddess from the bosom wide    530 Of Ocean rising, brought us thence four skins Of phocæ, and all newly stript, a snare Contriving subtle to deceive her Sire.

Four cradles in the sand she scoop'd, then sat Expecting us, who in due time approach'd; , , She lodg'd us side by side, and over each A raw skin cast.

Horrible to ourselves Proved that disguise whom the pernicious scent Of the sea-nourish'd phocæ sore annoy'd; , , For who would lay him down at a whale's side?

  540 But she a potent remedy devised Herself to save us, who the nostrils sooth'd Of each with pure ambrosia thither brought Odorous, which the fishy scent subdued.

All morning, patient watchers, there we lay; , , And now the num'rous phocæ from the Deep Emerging, slept along the shore, and he At noon came also, and perceiving there His fatted monsters, through the flock his course Took regular, and summ'd them; , , with the first   550 He number'd us, suspicion none of fraud Conceiving, then couch'd also.

We, at once, Loud-shouting flew on him, and in our arms Constrain'd him fast; , , nor the sea-prophet old Call'd not incontinent his shifts to mind.

First he became a long-maned lion grim, Then dragon, panther then, a savage boar, A limpid stream, and an o'ershadowing tree.

We persevering held him, till at length The Antient of the Deep, skill'd as he is   560 In wiles, yet weary, question'd me, and said.

Oh Atreus' son, by what confed'rate God Instructed liest thou in wait for me, To seize and hold me?

what is thy desire?

So He; , , to whom thus answer I return'd.

Old Seer!

thou know'st; , , why, fraudful, should'st thou ask?

It is because I have been prison'd long Within this isle, whence I have sought in vain Deliv'rance, till my wonted courage fails.

Yet say (for the Immortals all things know)   570 What God detains me, and my course forbids Hence to my country o'er the fishy Deep?

So I; , , when thus the old one of the waves.

But thy plain duty[16] was to have adored Jove, first, in sacrifice, and all the Gods, That then embarking, by propitious gales Impell'd, thou might'st have reach'd thy country soon.

For thou art doom'd ne'er to behold again Thy friends, thy palace, or thy native shores, Till thou have seen once more the hallow'd flood   580 Of Ægypt, and with hecatombs adored Devout, the deathless tenants of the skies.

Then will they speed thee whither thou desir'st.

He ended, and my heart broke at his words, Which bade me pass again the gloomy gulph To Ægypt; , , tedious course, and hard to atchieve!

Yet, though in sorrow whelm'd, I thus replied.

Old prophet!

I will all thy will perform.

But tell me, and the truth simply reveal; , , Have the Achaians with their ships arrived   590 All safe, whom Nestor left and I, at Troy?

Or of the Chiefs have any in their barks, Or in their followers' arms found a dire death Unlook'd for, since that city's siege we closed?

I spake, when answer thus the God return'd.

Atrides, why these questions?

Need is none That thou should'st all my secrets learn, which once Reveal'd, thou would'st not long dry-eyed remain.

Of those no few have died, and many live; , , But leaders, two alone, in their return    600 Have died (thou also hast had war to wage) And one, still living, roams the boundless sea.

Ajax, [17] surrounded by his galleys, died.

Him Neptune, first, against the bulky rocks The Gyræ drove, but saved him from the Deep; , , Nor had he perish'd, hated as he was By Pallas, but for his own impious boast In frenzy utter'd that he would escape The billows, even in the Gods' despight.

Neptune that speech vain-glorious hearing, grasp'd  610 His trident, and the huge Gyræan rock Smiting indignant, dash'd it half away; , , Part stood, and part, on which the boaster sat When, first, the brainsick fury seiz'd him, fell, Bearing him with it down into the gulphs Of Ocean, where he drank the brine, and died.

But thy own brother in his barks escaped That fate, by Juno saved; , , yet when, at length, He should have gain'd Malea's craggy shore, Then, by a sudden tempest caught, he flew   620 With many a groan far o'er the fishy Deep To the land's utmost point, where once his home Thyestes had, but where Thyestes' son Dwelt then, Ægisthus.

Easy lay his course And open thence, and, as it pleased the Gods, The shifted wind soon bore them to their home.

He, high in exultation, trod the shore That gave him birth, kiss'd it, and, at the sight, The welcome sight of Greece, shed many a tear.

Yet not unseen he landed; , , for a spy,    630 One whom the shrewd Ægisthus had seduced By promise of two golden talents, mark'd His coming from a rock where he had watch'd The year complete, lest, passing unperceived, The King should reassert his right in arms.

Swift flew the spy with tidings to this Lord, And He, incontinent, this project framed Insidious.

Twenty men, the boldest hearts Of all the people, from the rest he chose, Whom he in ambush placed, and others charged   640 Diligent to prepare the festal board.

With horses, then, and chariots forth he drove Full-fraught with mischief, and conducting home The unsuspicious King, amid the feast Slew him, as at his crib men slay an ox.

Nor of thy brother's train, nor of his train Who slew thy brother, one survived, but all, Welt'ring in blood together, there expired.

He ended, and his words beat on my heart As they would break it.

On the sands I sat   650 Weeping, nor life nor light desiring more.

But when I had in dust roll'd me, and wept To full satiety, mine ear again The oracle of Ocean thus address'd.

Sit not, O son of Atreus!

weeping here Longer, for remedy can none be found; , , But quick arising, trial make, how best Thou shalt, and soonest, reach thy home again.

For either him still living thou shalt find, Or ere thou come, Orestes shall have slain   660 The traytor, and thine eyes shall see his tomb.

He ceas'd, and I, afflicted as I was, Yet felt my spirit at that word refresh'd, And in wing'd accents answer thus return'd.

Of these I am inform'd; , , but name the third Who, dead or living, on the boundless Deep Is still detain'd; , , I dread, yet wish to hear.

So I; , , to whom thus Proteus in return.

Laertes' son, the Lord of Ithaca -- Him in an island weeping I beheld,    670 Guest of the nymph Calypso, by constraint Her guest, and from his native land withheld By sad necessity; , , for ships well-oar'd, Or faithful followers hath he none, whose aid Might speed him safely o'er the spacious flood.

But, Menelaus dear to Jove!

thy fate Ordains not thee the stroke of death to meet In steed-fam'd Argos, but far hence the Gods Will send thee to Elysium, and the earth's Extremest bounds; , , (there Rhadamanthus dwells,   680 The golden-hair'd, and there the human kind Enjoy the easiest life; , , no snow is there, No biting winter, and no drenching show'r, But zephyr always gently from the sea Breathes on them to refresh the happy race) For that fair Helen is by nuptial bands Thy own, and thou art son-in-law of Jove.

So saying, he plunged into the billowy waste, I then, with my brave comrades to the fleet Return'd, deep-musing as I went, and sad.

  690 No sooner had I reach'd my ship beside The ocean, and we all had supp'd, than night From heav'n fell on us, and, at ease reposed Along the margin of the sea, we slept.

But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Look'd rosy forth, drawing our galleys down Into the sacred Deep, we rear'd again The mast, unfurl'd the sail, and to our seats On board returning, thresh'd the foamy flood.

Once more, at length, within the hallow'd stream   700 Of Ægypt mooring, on the shore I slew Whole hecatombs, and (the displeasure thus Of the immortal Gods appeased) I reared To Agamemnon's never-dying fame A tomb, and finishing it, sail'd again With such a gale from heaven vouchsafed, as sent My ships swift-scudding to the shores of Greece.

But come --eleven days wait here, or twelve A guest with me, when I will send thee hence Nobly, and honour'd with illustrious gifts,   710 With polish'd chariot, with three princely steeds, And with a gorgeous cup, that to the Gods Libation pouring ever while thou liv'st From that same cup, thou may'st remember me.

Him, prudent, then answer'd Telemachus.

Atrides, seek not to detain me here Long time; , , for though contented I could sit The year beside thee, nor regret my home Or parents, (so delightful thy discourse Sounds in my ear) yet, even now, I know,    720 That my attendants to the Pylian shore Wish my return, whom thou thus long detain'st.

What boon soe'er thou giv'st me, be it such As I may treasur'd keep; , , but horses none Take I to Ithaca; , , them rather far Keep thou, for thy own glory.

Thou art Lord Of an extended plain, where copious springs The lotus, herbage of all savours, wheat, Pulse, and white barley of luxuriant growth.

But Ithaca no level champaign owns,    730 A nursery of goats, and yet a land Fairer than even pastures to the eye.

No sea-encircled isle of ours affords Smooth course commodious and expanse of meads, But my own Ithaca transcends them all!

He said; , , the Hero Menelaus smiled, And stroaking tenderly his cheek, replied.

Dear youth!

thy speech proclaims thy noble blood.

I can with ease supply thee from within With what shall suit thee better, and the gift   740 Of all that I possess which most excels In beauty, and the noblest shall be thine.

I give thee, wrought elaborate, a cup Itself all silver, bound with lip of gold.

It is the work of Vulcan, which to me The Hero Phædimus imparted, King Of the Sidonians, when on my return His house received me.

That shall be thy own.

Thus they conferr'd; , , and now the busy train Of menials culinary, [18] at the gate    750 Enter'd of Menelaus, Chief renown'd; , , They brought him sheep, with heart-ennobling wine, While all their wives, their brows with frontlets bound, Came charg'd with bread.

Thus busy they prepared A banquet in the mansion of the King.

Meantime, before Ulysses' palace gate The suitors sported with the quoit and spear On the smooth area, customary scene Of all their strife and angry clamour loud.

There sat Antinoüs, and the godlike youth   760 Eurymachus, superior to the rest And Chiefs among them, to whom Phronius' son Noëmon drawing nigh, with anxious mien Question'd Antinoüs, and thus began.

Know we, Antinoüs!

or know we not, When to expect Telemachus at home Again from Pylus?

in my ship he went, Which now I need, that I may cross the sea To Elis, on whose spacious plain I feed Twelve mares, each suckling a mule-colt as yet   770 Unbroken, but of which I purpose one To ferry thence, and break him into use.

He spake, whom they astonish'd heard; , , for him They deem'd not to Nelëian Pylus gone, But haply into his own fields, his flocks To visit, or the steward of his swine.

Then thus, Eupithes' son, Antinoüs, spake.

Say true.

When sail'd he forth?

of all our youth, Whom chose he for his followers?

his own train Of slaves and hirelings?

hath he pow'r to effect   780 This also?

Tell me too, for I would learn -- Took he perforce thy sable bark away, Or gav'st it to him at his first demand?

To whom Noëmon, Phronius' son, replied.

I gave it voluntary; , , what could'st thou, Should such a prince petition for thy bark In such distress?

Hard were it to refuse.

Brave youths (our bravest youths except yourselves) Attend him forth; , , and with them I observed Mentor embarking, ruler o'er them all,    790 Or, if not him, a God; , , for such he seem'd.

But this much moves my wonder.

Yester-morn I saw, at day-break, noble Mentor here, Whom shipp'd for Pylus I had seen before.

He ceas'd; , , and to his father's house return'd; , , They, hearing, sat aghast.

Their games meantime Finish'd, the suitors on their seats reposed, To whom Eupithes' son, Antinoüs, next, Much troubled spake; , , a black storm overcharged His bosom, and his vivid eyes flash'd fire.

  800 Ye Gods, a proud exploit is here atchieved, This voyage of Telemachus, by us Pronounced impracticable; , , yet the boy In downright opposition to us all, Hath headlong launched a ship, and, with a band Selected from our bravest youth, is gone.

He soon will prove more mischievous, whose pow'r Jove wither, ere we suffer its effects!

But give me a swift bark with twenty rowers, That, watching his return within the streights   810 Of rocky Samos and of Ithaca, I may surprise him; , , so shall he have sail'd To seek his Sire, fatally for himself.

He ceased and loud applause heard in reply, With warm encouragement.

Then, rising all, Into Ulysses' house at once they throng'd.

Nor was Penelope left uninformed Long time of their clandestine plottings deep, For herald Medon told her all, whose ear Their councils caught while in the outer-court   820 He stood, and they that project framed within.

Swift to Penelope the tale he bore, Who as he pass'd the gate, him thus address'd.

For what cause, herald!

have the suitors sent Thee foremost?

Wou'd they that my maidens lay Their tasks aside, and dress the board for them?

Here end their wooing!

may they hence depart Never, and may the banquet now prepared, This banquet prove your last![19] who in such throngs Here meeting, waste the patrimony fair    830 Of brave Telemachus; , , ye never, sure, When children, heard how gracious and how good Ulysses dwelt among your parents, none Of all his people, or in word or deed Injuring, as great princes oft are wont, By favour influenc'd now, now by disgust.

He no man wrong'd at any time; , , but plain Your wicked purpose in your deeds appears, Who sense have none of benefits conferr'd.

Then Medon answer'd thus, prudent, return'd.

  840 Oh Queen!

may the Gods grant this prove the worst.

But greater far and heavier ills than this The suitors plan, whose counsels Jove confound!

Their base desire and purpose are to slay Telemachus on his return; , , for he, To gather tidings of his Sire is gone To Pylus, or to Sparta's land divine.

He said; , , and where she stood, her trembling knees Fail'd under her, and all her spirits went.

Speechless she long remain'd, tears filled her eyes,  850 And inarticulate in its passage died Her utt'rance, till at last with pain she spake.


why went my son?

he hath no need On board swift ships to ride, which are to man His steeds that bear him over seas remote.

Went he, that, with himself, his very name Might perish from among mankind for ever?

Then answer, thus, Medon the wise return'd.

I know not whether him some God impell'd Or his own heart to Pylus, there to hear    860 News of his Sire's return, or by what fate At least he died, if he return no more.

He said, and traversing Ulysses' courts, Departed; , , she with heart consuming woe O'erwhelm'd, no longer could endure to take Repose on any of her num'rous seats, But on the threshold of her chamber-door Lamenting sat, while all her female train Around her moan'd, the antient and the young, Whom, sobbing, thus Penelope bespake.

   870 Hear me, ye maidens!

for of women born Coeval with me, none hath e'er received Such plenteous sorrow from the Gods as I, Who first my noble husband lost, endued With courage lion-like, of all the Greeks The Chief with ev'ry virtue most adorn'd, A prince all-excellent, whose glorious praise Through Hellas and all Argos flew diffused.

And now, my darling son, --him storms have snatch'd Far hence inglorious, and I knew it not.

   880 Ah treach'rous servants!

conscious as ye were Of his design, not one of you the thought Conceived to wake me when he went on board.

For had but the report once reach'd my ear, He either had not gone (how much soe'er He wish'd to leave me) or had left me dead.

But haste ye, --bid my antient servant come, Dolion, whom (when I left my father's house He gave me, and whose office is to attend My num'rous garden-plants) that he may seek   890 At once Laertes, and may tell him all, Who may contrive some remedy, perchance, Or fit expedient, and shall come abroad To weep before the men who wish to slay Even the prince, godlike Ulysses' son.

Then thus the gentle Euryclea spake, Nurse of Telemachus.


my Queen!

Slay me, or spare, deal with me as thou wilt, I will confess the truth.

I knew it all.

I gave him all that he required from me.

   900 Both wine and bread, and, at his bidding, swore To tell thee nought in twelve whole days to come, Or till, enquiry made, thou should'st thyself Learn his departure, lest thou should'st impair Thy lovely features with excess of grief.

But lave thyself, and, fresh attired, ascend To thy own chamber, there, with all thy train, To worship Pallas, who shall save, thenceforth, Thy son from death, what ills soe'er he meet.

Add not fresh sorrows to the present woes   910 Of the old King, for I believe not yet Arcesias' race entirely by the Gods Renounced, but trust that there shall still be found Among them, who shall dwell in royal state, And reap the fruits of fertile fields remote.

So saying, she hush'd her sorrow, and her eyes No longer stream'd.

Then, bathed and fresh attired, Penelope ascended with her train The upper palace, and a basket stored With hallow'd cakes off'ring, to Pallas pray'd.

  920 Hear matchless daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd!

If ever wise Ulysses offer'd here The thighs of fatted kine or sheep to thee, Now mindful of his piety, preserve His darling son, and frustrate with a frown The cruelty of these imperious guests!

She said, and wept aloud, whose earnest suit Pallas received.

And now the spacious hall And gloomy passages with tumult rang And clamour of that throng, when thus, a youth,   930 Insolent as his fellows, dared to speak.

Much woo'd and long, the Queen at length prepares To chuse another mate, [20] and nought suspects The bloody death to which her son is doom'd.

So he; , , but they, meantime, themselves remain'd Untaught, what course the dread concern elsewhere Had taken, whom Antinoüs thus address'd.


one and all, I counsel you, beware Of such bold boasting unadvised; , , lest one O'erhearing you, report your words within.

  940 No --rather thus, in silence, let us move To an exploit so pleasant to us all.

He said, and twenty chose, the bravest there, With whom he sought the galley on the shore, Which drawing down into the deep, they placed The mast and sails on board, and, sitting, next, Each oar in order to its proper groove, Unfurl'd and spread their canvas to the gale.

Their bold attendants, then, brought them their arms, And soon as in deep water they had moor'd   950 The ship, themselves embarking, supp'd on board, And watch'd impatient for the dusk of eve.

But when Penelope, the palace stairs Remounting, had her upper chamber reach'd, There, unrefresh'd with either food or wine, She lay'd her down, her noble son the theme Of all her thoughts, whether he should escape His haughty foes, or perish by their hands.

Num'rous as are the lion's thoughts, who sees, Not without fear, a multitude with toils    960 Encircling him around, such num'rous thoughts Her bosom occupied, till sleep at length Invading her, she sank in soft repose.

Then Pallas, teeming with a new design, Set forth an airy phantom in the form Of fair Iphthima, daughter of the brave Icarius, and Eumelus' wedded wife In Pheræ.

Shaped like her the dream she sent Into the mansion of the godlike Chief Ulysses, with kind purpose to abate    970 The sighs and tears of sad Penelope.

Ent'ring the chamber-portal, where the bolt Secured it, at her head the image stood, And thus, in terms compassionate, began.

Sleep'st thou, distress'd Penelope?

The Gods, Happy in everlasting rest themselves, Forbid thy sorrows.

Thou shalt yet behold Thy son again, who hath by no offence Incurr'd at any time the wrath of heav'n.

To whom, sweet-slumb'ring in the shadowy gate   980 By which dreams pass, Penelope replied.

What cause, my sister, brings thee, who art seen Unfrequent here, for that thou dwell'st remote?

And thou enjoin'st me a cessation too From sorrows num'rous, and which, fretting, wear My heart continual; , , first, my spouse I lost With courage lion-like endow'd, a prince All-excellent, whose never-dying praise Through Hellas and all Argos flew diffused; , , And now my only son, new to the toils    990 And hazards of the sea, nor less untaught The arts of traffic, in a ship is gone Far hence, for whose dear cause I sorrow more Than for his Sire himself, and even shake With terror, lest he perish by their hands To whom he goes, or in the stormy Deep; , , For num'rous are his foes, and all intent To slay him, ere he reach his home again.

Then answer thus the shadowy form return'd.

Take courage; , , suffer not excessive dread   1000 To overwhelm thee, such a guide he hath And guardian, one whom many wish their friend, And ever at their side, knowing her pow'r, Minerva; , , she compassionates thy griefs, And I am here her harbinger, who speak As thou hast heard by her own kind command.

Then thus Penelope the wise replied.


if thou art a goddess, and hast heard A Goddess' voice, rehearse to me the lot Of that unhappy one, if yet he live    1010 Spectator of the cheerful beams of day, Or if, already dead, he dwell below.

Whom answer'd thus the fleeting shadow vain.

I will not now inform thee if thy Lord Live, or live not.

Vain words are best unspoken.

So saying, her egress swift beside the bolt She made, and melted into air.

Upsprang From sleep Icarius' daughter, and her heart Felt heal'd within her, by that dream distinct Visited in the noiseless night serene.

   1020 Meantime the suitors urged their wat'ry way, To instant death devoting in their hearts Telemachus.

There is a rocky isle In the mid sea, Samos the rude between And Ithaca, not large, named Asteris.

It hath commodious havens, into which A passage clear opens on either side, And there the ambush'd Greeks his coming watch'd.


[9] Hesychius tells us, that the Greecians ornamented with much attention the front wall of their courts for the admiration of passengers.

[10] Οφθαλμῶν τε βολαι.

[11] Antilochus was his brother.

[12] The son of Aurora, who slew Antilochus, was Memnon.

[13] Because Pisistratus was born after Antilochus had sailed to Troy.

[14] Proteus

[15] Seals, or sea-calves.

[16] From the abruptness of this beginning, Virgil, probably, who has copied the story, took the hint of his admired exordium.

Nam quis te, juvenum confidentissime, nostras.

Egit adire domos.

[17] Son of Oïleus.

[18] Δαιτυμων --generally signifies the founder of a feast; , , but we are taught by Eustathius to understand by it, in this place, the persons employed in preparing it.

[19] This transition from the third to the second person belongs to the original, and is considered as a fine stroke of art in the poet, who represents Penelope in the warmth of her resentment, forgetting where she is, and addressing the suitors as if present.

[20] Mistaking, perhaps, the sound of her voice, and imagining that she sang. --Vide Barnes in loco.



Mercury bears to Calypso a command from Jupiter that she dismiss Ulysses.

She, after some remonstrances, promises obedience, and furnishes him with instruments and materials, with which he constructs a raft.

He quits Calypso's island; , , is persecuted by Neptune with dreadful tempests, but by the assistance of a sea nymph, after having lost his raft, is enabled to swim to Phæacia.

Aurora from beside her glorious mate Tithonus now arose, light to dispense Through earth and heav'n, when the assembled Gods In council sat, o'er whom high-thund'ring Jove Presided, mightiest of the Pow'rs above.

Amid them, Pallas on the num'rous woes Descanted of Ulysses, whom she saw With grief, still prison'd in Calypso's isle.

Jove, Father, hear me, and ye other Pow'rs Who live for ever, hear!

Be never King    10 Henceforth to gracious acts inclined, humane, Or righteous, but let ev'ry sceptred hand Rule merciless, and deal in wrong alone, Since none of all his people whom he sway'd With such paternal gentleness and love Remembers, now, divine Ulysses more.

He, in yon distant isle a suff'rer lies Of hopeless sorrow, through constraint the guest Still of the nymph Calypso, without means Or pow'r to reach his native shores again,   20 Alike of gallant barks and friends depriv'd, Who might conduct him o'er the spacious Deep.

Nor is this all, but enemies combine To slay his son ere yet he can return From Pylus, whither he hath gone to learn There, or in Sparta, tidings of his Sire.

To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.

What word hath pass'd thy lips, daughter belov'd?

Hast thou not purpos'd that arriving soon At home, Ulysses shall destroy his foes?

   30 Guide thou, Telemachus, (for well thou canst) That he may reach secure his native coast, And that the suitors baffled may return.

He ceas'd, and thus to Hermes spake, his son.


(for thou art herald of our will At all times) to yon bright-hair'd nymph convey Our fix'd resolve, that brave Ulysses thence Depart, uncompanied by God or man.

Borne on a corded raft, and suff'ring woe Extreme, he on the twentieth day shall reach,   40 Not sooner, Scherie the deep-soil'd, possess'd By the Phæacians, kinsmen of the Gods.

They, as a God shall reverence the Chief, And in a bark of theirs shall send him thence To his own home, much treasure, brass and gold And raiment giving him, to an amount Surpassing all that, had he safe return'd, He should by lot have shared of Ilium's spoil.

Thus Fate appoints Ulysses to regain His country, his own palace, and his friends.

  50 He ended, nor the Argicide refused, Messenger of the skies; , , his sandals fair, Ambrosial, golden, to his feet he bound, Which o'er the moist wave, rapid as the wind, Bear him, and o'er th' illimitable earth, Then took his rod with which, at will, all eyes He closes soft, or opes them wide again.

So arm'd, forth flew the valiant Argicide.

Alighting on Pieria, down he stoop'd To Ocean, and the billows lightly skimm'd    60 In form a sew-mew, such as in the bays Tremendous of the barren Deep her food Seeking, dips oft in brine her ample wing.

In such disguise o'er many a wave he rode, But reaching, now, that isle remote, forsook The azure Deep, and at the spacious grot, Where dwelt the amber-tressed nymph arrived, Found her within.

A fire on all the hearth Blazed sprightly, and, afar-diffused, the scent Of smooth-split cedar and of cypress-wood    70 Odorous, burning, cheer'd the happy isle.

She, busied at the loom, and plying fast Her golden shuttle, with melodious voice Sat chaunting there; , , a grove on either side, Alder and poplar, and the redolent branch Wide-spread of Cypress, skirted dark the cave.

There many a bird of broadest pinion built Secure her nest, the owl, the kite, and daw Long-tongued, frequenter of the sandy shores.

A garden-vine luxuriant on all sides    80 Mantled the spacious cavern, cluster-hung Profuse; , , four fountains of serenest lymph Their sinuous course pursuing side by side, Stray'd all around, and ev'ry where appear'd Meadows of softest verdure, purpled o'er With violets; , , it was a scene to fill A God from heav'n with wonder and delight.

Hermes, Heav'n's messenger, admiring stood That sight, and having all survey'd, at length Enter'd the grotto; , , nor the lovely nymph    90 Him knew not soon as seen, for not unknown Each to the other the Immortals are, How far soever sep'rate their abodes.

Yet found he not within the mighty Chief Ulysses; , , he sat weeping on the shore, Forlorn, for there his custom was with groans Of sad regret t' afflict his breaking heart.

Looking continual o'er the barren Deep.

Then thus Calypso, nymph divine, the God Question'd, from her resplendent throne august.

  100 Hermes!

possessor of the potent rod!

Who, though by me much reverenc'd and belov'd, So seldom com'st, say, wherefore comest now?

Speak thy desire; , , I grant it, if thou ask Things possible, and possible to me.

Stay not, but ent'ring farther, at my board Due rites of hospitality receive.

So saying, the Goddess with ambrosial food Her table cover'd, and with rosy juice Nectareous charged the cup.

Then ate and drank   110 The argicide and herald of the skies, And in his soul with that repast divine Refresh'd, his message to the nymph declared.

Questionest thou, O Goddess, me a God?

I tell thee truth, since such is thy demand.

Not willing, but by Jove constrain'd, I come.

For who would, voluntary, such a breadth Enormous measure of the salt expanse, Where city none is seen in which the Gods Are served with chosen hecatombs and pray'r?

  120 But no divinity may the designs Elude, or controvert, of Jove supreme.

He saith, that here thou hold'st the most distrest Of all those warriors who nine years assail'd The city of Priam, and, (that city sack'd) Departed in the tenth; , , but, going thence, Offended Pallas, who with adverse winds Opposed their voyage, and with boist'rous waves.

Then perish'd all his gallant friends, but him Billows and storms drove hither; , , Jove commands   130 That thou dismiss him hence without delay, For fate ordains him not to perish here From all his friends remote, but he is doom'd To see them yet again, and to arrive At his own palace in his native land.

He said; , , divine Calypso at the sound Shudder'd, and in wing'd accents thus replied.

Ye are unjust, ye Gods, and envious past All others, grudging if a Goddess take A mortal man openly to her arms!

    140 So, when the rosy-finger'd Morning chose Orion, though ye live yourselves at ease, Yet ye all envied her, until the chaste Diana from her golden throne dispatch'd A silent shaft, which slew him in Ortygia.

So, when the golden-tressed Ceres, urged By passion, took Iäsion to her arms In a thrice-labour'd fallow, not untaught Was Jove that secret long, and, hearing it, Indignant, slew him with his candent bolt.

  150 So also, O ye Gods, ye envy me The mortal man, my comfort.

Him I saved Myself, while solitary on his keel He rode, for with his sulph'rous arrow Jove Had cleft his bark amid the sable Deep.

Then perish'd all his gallant friends, but him Billows and storms drove hither, whom I lov'd Sincere, and fondly destin'd to a life Immortal, unobnoxious to decay.

But since no Deity may the designs    160 Elude or controvert of Jove supreme, Hence with him o'er the barren Deep, if such The Sov'reign's will, and such his stern command.

But undismiss'd he goes by me, who ships Myself well-oar'd and mariners have none To send with him athwart the spacious flood; , , Yet freely, readily, my best advice I will afford him, that, escaping all Danger, he may regain his native shore.

Then Hermes thus, the messenger of heav'n.

  170 Act as thou say'st, fearing the frown of Jove, Lest, if provoked, he spare not even thee.

So saying, the dauntless Argicide withdrew, And she (Jove's mandate heard) all-graceful went, Seeking the brave Ulysses; , , on the shore She found him seated; , , tears succeeding tears Delug'd his eyes, while, hopeless of return, Life's precious hours to eating cares he gave Continual, with the nymph now charm'd no more.

Yet, cold as she was am'rous, still he pass'd   180 His nights beside her in the hollow grot, Constrain'd, and day by day the rocks among Which lined the shore heart-broken sat, and oft While wistfully he eyed the barren Deep, Wept, groaned, desponded, sigh'd, and wept again.

Then, drawing near, thus spake the nymph divine.


weep not here, nor life consume In anguish; , , go; , , thou hast my glad consent.

Arise to labour; , , hewing down the trunks Of lofty trees, fashion them with the ax    190 To a broad raft, which closely floor'd above, Shall hence convey thee o'er the gloomy Deep.

Bread, water, and the red grape's cheering juice Myself will put on board, which shall preserve Thy life from famine; , , I will also give New raiment for thy limbs, and will dispatch Winds after thee to waft thee home unharm'd, If such the pleasure of the Gods who dwell In yonder boundless heav'n, superior far To me, in knowledge and in skill to judge.

  200 She ceas'd; , , but horror at that sound the heart Chill'd of Ulysses, and in accents wing'd With wonder, thus the noble Chief replied.


other thoughts than of my safe return Employ thee, Goddess, now, who bid'st me pass The perilous gulph of Ocean on a raft, That wild expanse terrible, which even ships Pass not, though form'd to cleave their way with ease, And joyful in propitious winds from Jove.

No --let me never, in despight of thee,    210 Embark on board a raft, nor till thou swear, O Goddess!

the inviolable oath, That future mischief thou intend'st me none.

He said; , , Calypso, beauteous Goddess, smiled, And, while she spake, stroaking his cheek, replied.

Thou dost asperse me rudely, and excuse Of ignorance hast none, far better taught; , , What words were these?

How could'st thou thus reply?

Now hear me Earth, and the wide Heav'n above!

Hear, too, ye waters of the Stygian stream   220 Under the earth (by which the blessed Gods Swear trembling, and revere the awful oath!) That future mischief I intend thee none.

No, my designs concerning thee are such As, in an exigence resembling thine, Myself, most sure, should for myself conceive.

I have a mind more equal, not of steel My heart is form'd, but much to pity inclined.

So saying, the lovely Goddess with swift pace Led on, whose footsteps he as swift pursued.

  230 Within the vaulted cavern they arrived, The Goddess and the man; , , on the same throne Ulysses sat, whence Hermes had aris'n, And viands of all kinds, such as sustain The life of mortal man, Calypso placed Before him, both for bev'rage and for food.

She opposite to the illustrious Chief Reposed, by her attendant maidens served With nectar and ambrosia.

They their hands Stretch'd forth together to the ready feast,   240 And when nor hunger more nor thirst remain'd Unsated, thus the beauteous nymph began.

Laertes' noble son, for wisdom famed And artifice!

oh canst thou thus resolve To seek, incontinent, thy native shores?

I pardon thee.


but could'st thou guess The woes which fate ordains thee to endure Ere yet thou reach thy country, well-content Here to inhabit, thou would'st keep my grot And be immortal, howsoe'er thy wife    250 Engage thy ev'ry wish day after day.

Yet can I not in stature or in form Myself suspect inferior aught to her, Since competition cannot be between Mere mortal beauties, and a form divine.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

Awful Divinity!

be not incensed.

I know that my Penelope in form And stature altogether yields to thee, For she is mortal, and immortal thou,    260 From age exempt; , , yet not the less I wish My home, and languish daily to return.

But should some God amid the sable Deep Dash me again into a wreck, my soul Shall bear -that- also; , , for, by practice taught, I have learned patience, having much endured By tempest and in battle both.

Come then This evil also!

I am well prepared.

He ended, and the sun sinking, resign'd The earth to darkness.

Then in a recess    270 Interior of the cavern, side by side Reposed, they took their amorous delight.

But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Look'd rosy forth, Ulysses then in haste Put on his vest and mantle, and, the nymph Her snowy vesture of transparent woof, Graceful, redundant; , , to her waist she bound Her golden zone, and veil'd her beauteous head, Then, musing, plann'd the noble Chief's return.

She gave him, fitted to the grasp, an ax    280 Of iron, pond'rous, double-edg'd, with haft Of olive-wood, inserted firm, and wrought With curious art.

Then, placing in his hand A polish'd adze, she led, herself, the way To her isles' utmost verge, where tallest trees But dry long since and sapless stood, which best Might serve his purposes, as buoyant most, The alder, poplar, and cloud-piercing fir.

To that tall grove she led and left him there, Seeking her grot again.

Then slept not He,   290 But, swinging with both hands the ax, his task Soon finish'd; , , trees full twenty to the ground He cast, which, dext'rous, with his adze he smooth'd, The knotted surface chipping by a line.

Meantime the lovely Goddess to his aid Sharp augres brought, with which he bored the beams, Then, side by side placing them, fitted each To other, and with long cramps join'd them all.

Broad as an artist, skill'd in naval works, The bottom of a ship of burthen spreads,    300 Such breadth Ulysses to his raft assign'd.

He deck'd her over with long planks, upborne On massy beams; , , He made the mast, to which He added suitable the yard; --he framed Rudder and helm to regulate her course, With wicker-work he border'd all her length For safety, and much ballast stow'd within.

Meantime, Calypso brought him for a sail Fittest materials, which he also shaped, And to his sail due furniture annex'd    310 Of cordage strong, foot-ropes, and ropes aloft, Then heav'd her down with levers to the Deep.

He finish'd all his work on the fourth day, And on the fifth, Calypso, nymph divine, Dismiss'd him from her isle, but laved him first, And cloath'd him in sweet-scented garments new.

Two skins the Goddess also placed on board, One charg'd with crimson wine, and ampler one With water, nor a bag with food replete Forgot, nutritious, grateful to the taste,   320 Nor yet, her latest gift, a gentle gale And manageable, which Ulysses spread, Exulting, all his canvas to receive.

Beside the helm he sat, steering expert, Nor sleep fell ever on his eyes that watch'd Intent the Pleiads, tardy in decline Bootes, and the Bear, call'd else the Wain, Which, in his polar prison circling, looks Direct toward Orion, and alone Of these sinks never to the briny Deep.

   330 That star the lovely Goddess bade him hold Continual on his left through all his course.

Ten days and sev'n, he, navigating, cleav'd The brine, and on the eighteenth day, at length, The shadowy mountains of Phæacia's land Descried, where nearest to his course it lay Like a broad buckler on the waves afloat.

But Neptune, now returning from the land Of Ethiopia, mark'd him on his raft Skimming the billows, from the mountain-tops   340 Of distant Solyma.

[21] With tenfold wrath Inflamed that sight he view'd, his brows he shook, And thus within himself, indignant, spake.

So then --new counsels in the skies, it seems, Propitious to Ulysses, have prevail'd Since Æthiopia hath been my abode.

He sees Phæacia nigh, where he must leap The bound'ry of his woes; , , but ere that hour Arrive, I will ensure him many a groan.

So saying, he grasp'd his trident, gather'd dense  350 The clouds and troubled ocean; , , ev'ry storm From ev'ry point he summon'd, earth and sea Darkening, and the night fell black from heav'n.

The East, the South, the heavy-blowing West, And the cold North-wind clear, assail'd at once His raft, and heaved on high the billowy flood.

All hope, all courage, in that moment, lost, The Hero thus within himself complain'd.

Wretch that I am, what destiny at last Attends me!

much I fear the Goddess' words   360 All true, which threaten'd me with num'rous ills On the wide sea, ere I should reach my home.

Behold them all fulfill'd!

with what a storm Jove hangs the heav'ns, and agitates the Deep!

The winds combined beat on me.

Now I sink!

Thrice blest, and more than thrice, Achaia's sons At Ilium slain for the Atridæ' sake!

Ah, would to heav'n that, dying, I had felt That day the stroke of fate, when me the dead Achilles guarding, with a thousand spears   370 Troy's furious host assail'd!

Funereal rites I then had shared, and praise from ev'ry Greek, Whom now the most inglorious death awaits.

While thus he spake, a billow on his head Bursting impetuous, whirl'd the raft around, And, dashing from his grasp the helm, himself Plunged far remote.

Then came a sudden gust Of mingling winds, that in the middle snapp'd His mast, and, hurried o'er the waves afar, Both sail and sail-yard fell into the flood.

  380 Long time submerged he lay, nor could with ease The violence of that dread shock surmount, Or rise to air again, so burthensome His drench'd apparel proved; , , but, at the last, He rose, and, rising, sputter'd from his lips The brine that trickled copious from his brows.

Nor, harass'd as he was, resign'd he yet His raft, but buffetting the waves aside With desp'rate efforts, seized it, and again Fast seated on the middle deck, escaped.

   390 Then roll'd the raft at random in the flood, Wallowing unwieldy, toss'd from wave to wave.

As when in autumn, Boreas o'er the plain Conglomerated thorns before him drives, They, tangled, to each other close adhere, So her the winds drove wild about the Deep.

By turns the South consign'd her to be sport For the rude North-wind, and, by turns, the East Yielded her to the worrying West a prey.

But Cadmus' beauteous daughter (Ino once,   400 Now named Leucothea) saw him; , , mortal erst Was she, and trod the earth, [22] but nymph become Of Ocean since, in honours shares divine.

She mark'd his anguish, and, while toss'd he roam'd, Pitied Ulysses; , , from the flood, in form A cormorant, she flew, and on the raft Close-corded perching, thus the Chief address'd.



how hast thou incensed So terribly the Shaker of the shores, That he pursues thee with such num'rous ills?

  410 Sink thee he cannot, wish it as he may.

Thus do (for I account thee not unwise) Thy garments putting off, let drive thy raft As the winds will, then, swimming, strive to reach Phæacia, where thy doom is to escape.

Take this.

This ribbon bind beneath thy breast, Celestial texture.

Thenceforth ev'ry fear Of death dismiss, and, laying once thy hands On the firm continent, unbind the zone, Which thou shalt cast far distant from the shore   420 Into the Deep, turning thy face away.

So saying, the Goddess gave into his hand The wond'rous zone, and, cormorant in form, Plunging herself into the waves again Headlong, was hidden by the closing flood.

But still Ulysses sat perplex'd, and thus The toil-enduring Hero reason'd sad.


I tremble lest some God design T' ensnare me yet, bidding me quit the raft.

But let me well beware how I obey    430 Too soon that precept, for I saw the land Of my foretold deliv'rance far remote.

Thus, therefore, will I do, for such appears My wiser course.

So long as yet the planks Mutual adhere, continuing on board My raft, I will endure whatever woes, But when the waves shall shatter it, I will swim, My sole resource then left.

While thus he mused, Neptune a billow of enormous bulk Hollow'd into an overwhelming arch    440 On high up-heaving, smote him.

As the wind Tempestuous, falling on some stubble-heap, The arid straws dissipates ev'ry way, So flew the timbers.

He, a single beam Bestriding, oar'd it onward with his feet, As he had urged an horse.

His raiment, then, Gift of Calypso, putting off, he bound His girdle on, and prone into the sea With wide-spread palms prepar'd for swimming, fell.

Shore-shaker Neptune noted him; , , he shook    450 His awful brows, and in his heart he said, Thus, suff'ring many mis'ries roam the flood, Till thou shalt mingle with a race of men Heav'n's special favourites; , , yet even there Fear not that thou shalt feel thy sorrows light.

He said, and scourging his bright steeds, arrived At Ægæ, where his glorious palace stands.

But other thoughts Minerva's mind employ'd Jove's daughter; , , ev'ry wind binding beside, She lull'd them, and enjoin'd them all to sleep,   460 But roused swift Boreas, and the billows broke Before Ulysses, that, deliver'd safe From a dire death, the noble Chief might mix With maritime Phæacia's sons renown'd.

Two nights he wander'd, and two days, the flood Tempestuous, death expecting ev'ry hour; , , But when Aurora, radiant-hair'd, had brought The third day to a close, then ceas'd the wind, And breathless came a calm; , , he, nigh at hand The shore beheld, darting acute his sight   470 Toward it, from a billow's tow'ring top.

Precious as to his children seems the life Of some fond father through disease long time And pain stretch'd languid on his couch, the prey Of some vindictive Pow'r, but now, at last, By gracious heav'n to ease and health restored, So grateful to Ulysses' sight appear'd Forests and hills.

Impatient with his feet To press the shore, he swam; , , but when within Such distance as a shout may fly, he came,   480 The thunder of the sea against the rocks Then smote his ear; , , for hoarse the billows roar'd On the firm land, belch'd horrible abroad, And the salt spray dimm'd all things to his view.

For neither port for ships nor shelt'ring cove Was there, but the rude coast a headland bluff Presented, rocks and craggy masses huge.

Then, hope and strength exhausted both, deep-groan'd The Chief, and in his noble heart complain'd.


though Jove hath given me to behold,   490 Unhoped, the land again, and I have pass'd, Furrowing my way, these num'rous waves, there seems No egress from the hoary flood for me.

Sharp stones hem in the waters; , , wild the surge Raves ev'ry where; , , and smooth the rocks arise; , , Deep also is the shore, on which my feet No standing gain, or chance of safe escape.

What if some billow catch me from the Deep Emerging, and against the pointed rocks Dash me conflicting with its force in vain?

  500 But should I, swimming, trace the coast in search Of sloping beach, haven or shelter'd creek, I fear lest, groaning, I be snatch'd again By stormy gusts into the fishy Deep, Or lest some monster of the flood receive Command to seize me, of the many such By the illustrious Amphitrite bred; , , For that the mighty Shaker of the shores Hates me implacable, too well I know.

While such discourse within himself he held,   510 A huge wave heav'd him on the rugged coast, Where flay'd his flesh had been, and all his bones Broken together, but for the infused Good counsel of Minerva azure-eyed.

With both hands suddenly he seized the rock, And, groaning, clench'd it till the billow pass'd.

So baffled he that wave; , , but yet again The refluent flood rush'd on him, and with force Resistless dash'd him far into the sea.

As pebbles to the hollow polypus     520 Extracted from his stony bed, adhere, So he, the rough rocks clasping, stripp'd his hands Raw, and the billows now whelm'd him again.

Then had the hapless Hero premature Perish'd, but for sagacity inspired By Pallas azure-eyed.

Forth from the waves Emerging, where the surf burst on the rocks, He coasted (looking landward as he swam) The shore, with hope of port or level beach.

But when, still swimming, to the mouth he came   530 Of a smooth-sliding river, there he deem'd Safest th' ascent, for it was undeform'd By rocks, and shelter'd close from ev'ry wind.

He felt the current, and thus, ardent, pray'd.

O hear, whate'er thy name, Sov'reign, who rul'st This river!

at whose mouth, from all the threats Of Neptune 'scap'd, with rapture I arrive.

Even the Immortal Gods the wand'rer's pray'r Respect, and such am I, who reach, at length, Thy stream, and clasp thy knees, after long toil.

 540 I am thy suppliant.

Oh King!

pity me.

He said; , , the river God at once repress'd His current, and it ceas'd; , , smooth he prepared The way before Ulysses, and the land Vouchsafed him easy at his channel's mouth.

There, once again he bent for ease his limbs Both arms and knees, in conflict with the floods Exhausted; , , swoln his body was all o'er, And from his mouth and nostrils stream'd the brine.

Breathless and speechless, and of life well nigh   550 Bereft he lay, through dreadful toil immense.

But when, revived, his dissipated pow'rs He recollected, loosing from beneath His breast the zone divine, he cast it far Into the brackish stream, and a huge wave Returning bore it downward to the sea, Where Ino caught it.

Then, the river's brink Abandoning, among the rushes prone He lay, kiss'd oft the soil, and sighing, said, Ah me!

what suff'rings must I now sustain,   560 What doom, at last, awaits me?

If I watch This woeful night, here, at the river's side, What hope but that the frost and copious dews, Weak as I am, my remnant small of life Shall quite extinguish, and the chilly air Breath'd from the river at the dawn of day?

But if, ascending this declivity I gain the woods, and in some thicket sleep, (If sleep indeed can find me overtoil'd And cold-benumb'd) then I have cause to fear   570 Lest I be torn by wild beasts, and devour'd.

Long time he mused, but, at the last, his course Bent to the woods, which not remote he saw From the sea-brink, conspicuous on a hill.

Arrived, between two neighbour shrubs he crept, Both olives, this the fruitful, that the wild; , , A covert, which nor rough winds blowing moist Could penetrate, nor could the noon-day sun Smite through it, or unceasing show'rs pervade, So thick a roof the ample branches form'd   580 Close interwoven; , , under these the Chief Retiring, with industrious hands a bed Collected broad of leaves, which there he found Abundant strew'd, such store as had sufficed Two travellers or three for cov'ring warm, Though winter's roughest blasts had rag'd the while.

That bed with joy the suff'ring Chief renown'd Contemplated, and occupying soon The middle space, hillock'd it high with leaves.

As when some swain hath hidden deep his torch   590 Beneath the embers, at the verge extreme Of all his farm, where, having neighbours none, He saves a seed or two of future flame Alive, doom'd else to fetch it from afar, So with dry leaves Ulysses overspread His body, on whose eyes Minerva pour'd The balm of sleep copious, that he might taste Repose again, after long toil severe.


[21] The Solymi were the ancient inhabitants of Pisidia in Asia-Minor.

[22] The Translator finding himself free to chuse between ἀυδηέσσα and ἠδηέσσα, has preferred the latter.



Minerva designing an interview between the daughter of Alcinoüs and Ulysses, admonishes her in a dream to carry down her clothes to the river, that she may wash them, and make them ready for her approaching nuptials.

That task performed, the Princess and her train amuse themselves with play; , , by accident they awake Ulysses; , , he comes forth from the wood, and applies himself with much address to Nausicaa, who compassionating his distressed condition, and being much affected by the dignity of his appearance, interests himself in his favour, and conducts him to the city.

There then the noble suff'rer lay, by sleep Oppress'd and labour; , , meantime, Pallas sought The populous city of Phæacia's sons.

They, in old time, in Hypereia dwelt The spacious, neighbours of a giant race The haughty Cyclops, who, endued with pow'r Superior, troubled them with frequent wrongs.

Godlike Nausithoüs then arose, who thence To Scheria led them, from all nations versed In arts of cultivated life, remote; , ,    10 With bulwarks strong their city he enclosed, Built houses for them, temples to the Gods, And gave to each a portion of the soil.

But he, already by decree of fate Had journey'd to the shades, and in his stead Alcinoüs, by the Gods instructed, reign'd.

To his abode Minerva azure-eyed Repair'd, neglecting nought which might advance Magnanimous Ulysses' safe return.

She sought the sumptuous chamber where, in form   20 And feature perfect as the Gods, the young Nausicaa, daughter of the King, reposed.

Fast by the pillars of the portal lay Two damsels, one on either side, adorn'd By all the Graces, and the doors were shut.

Soft as a breathing air, she stole toward The royal virgin's couch, and at her head Standing, address'd her.

Daughter she appear'd Of Dymas, famed for maritime exploits, Her friend and her coeval; , , so disguised    30 Cærulean-eyed Minerva thus began.


wherefore hath thy mother borne A child so negligent?

Thy garments share, Thy most magnificent, no thought of thine.

Yet thou must marry soon, and must provide Robes for thyself, and for thy nuptial train.

Thy fame, on these concerns, and honour stand; , , These managed well, thy parents shall rejoice.

The dawn appearing, let us to the place Of washing, where thy work-mate I will be    40 For speedier riddance of thy task, since soon The days of thy virginity shall end; , , For thou art woo'd already by the prime Of all Phæacia, country of thy birth.

Come then --solicit at the dawn of day Thy royal father, that he send thee forth With mules and carriage for conveyance hence Of thy best robes, thy mantles and thy zones.

Thus, more commodiously thou shalt perform The journey, for the cisterns lie remote.

   50 So saying, Minerva, Goddess azure-eyed, Rose to Olympus, the reputed seat Eternal of the Gods, which never storms Disturb, rains drench, or snow invades, but calm The expanse and cloudless shines with purest day.

There the inhabitants divine rejoice For ever, (and her admonition giv'n) Cærulean-eyed Minerva thither flew.

Now came Aurora bright-enthroned, whose rays Awaken'd fair Nausicaa; , , she her dream    60 Remember'd wond'ring, and her parents sought Anxious to tell them.

Them she found within.

Beside the hearth her royal mother sat, Spinning soft fleeces with sea-purple dyed Among her menial maidens, but she met Her father, whom the Nobles of the land Had summon'd, issuing abroad to join The illustrious Chiefs in council.

At his side She stood, and thus her filial suit preferr'd.

Sir![23] wilt thou lend me of the royal wains   70 A sumpter-carriage?

for I wish to bear My costly cloaths but sullied and unfit For use, at present, to the river side.

It is but seemly that thou should'st repair Thyself to consultation with the Chiefs Of all Phæacia, clad in pure attire; , , And my own brothers five, who dwell at home, Two wedded, and the rest of age to wed, Are all desirous, when they dance, to wear Raiment new bleach'd; , , all which is my concern.

  80 So spake Nausicaa; , , for she dared not name Her own glad nuptials to her father's ear, Who, conscious yet of all her drift, replied.

I grudge thee neither mules, my child, nor aught That thou canst ask beside.

Go, and my train Shall furnish thee a sumpter-carriage forth High-built, strong-wheel'd, and of capacious size.

So saying, he issued his command, whom quick His grooms obey'd.

They in the court prepared The sumpter-carriage, and adjoin'd the mules.

  90 And now the virgin from her chamber, charged With raiment, came, which on the car she placed, And in the carriage-chest, meantime, the Queen, Her mother, viands of all kinds disposed, And fill'd a skin with wine.

Nausicaa rose Into her seat; , , but, ere she went, received A golden cruse of oil from the Queen's hand For unction of herself, and of her maids.

Then, seizing scourge and reins, she lash'd the mules.

They trampled loud the soil, straining to draw   100 Herself with all her vesture; , , nor alone She went, but follow'd by her virgin train.

At the delightful rivulet arrived Where those perennial cisterns were prepared With purest crystal of the fountain fed Profuse, sufficient for the deepest stains, Loosing the mules, they drove them forth to browze On the sweet herb beside the dimpled flood.

The carriage, next, light'ning, they bore in hand The garments down to the unsullied wave,    110 And thrust them heap'd into the pools, their task Dispatching brisk, and with an emulous haste.

When they had all purified, and no spot Could now be seen, or blemish more, they spread The raiment orderly along the beach Where dashing tides had cleansed the pebbles most, And laving, next, and smoothing o'er with oil Their limbs, all seated on the river's bank, They took repast, leaving the garments, stretch'd In noon-day fervour of the sun, to dry.

   120 Their hunger satisfied, at once arose The mistress and her train, and putting off Their head-attire, play'd wanton with the ball, The princess singing to her maids the while.

Such as shaft-arm'd Diana roams the hills, Täygetus sky-capt, or Erymanth, The wild boar chasing, or fleet-footed hind, All joy; , , the rural nymphs, daughters of Jove, Sport with her, and Latona's heart exults; , , She high her graceful head above the rest   130 And features lifts divine, though all be fair, With ease distinguishable from them all; , , So, all her train, she, virgin pure, surpass'd.

But when the hour of her departure thence Approach'd (the mules now yoked again, and all Her elegant apparel folded neat) Minerva azure-eyed mused how to wake Ulysses, that he might behold the fair Virgin, his destin'd guide into the town.

The Princess, then, casting the ball toward   140 A maiden of her train, erroneous threw And plunged it deep into the dimpling stream.

All shrieked; , , Ulysses at the sound awoke, And, sitting, meditated thus the cause.

Ah me!

what mortal race inhabit here?

Rude are they, contumacious and unjust?

Or hospitable, and who fear the Gods?

So shrill the cry and feminine of nymphs Fills all the air around, such as frequent The hills, clear fountains, and herbaceous meads.

 150 Is this a neighbourhood of men endued With voice articulate?

But what avails To ask; , , I will myself go forth and see.

So saying, divine Ulysses from beneath His thicket crept, and from the leafy wood A spreading branch pluck'd forcibly, design'd A decent skreen effectual, held before.

So forth he went, as goes the lion forth, The mountain-lion, conscious of his strength, Whom winds have vex'd and rains; , , fire fills his eyes,  160 And whether herds or flocks, or woodland deer He find, he rends them, and, adust for blood, Abstains not even from the guarded fold, Such sure to seem in virgin eyes, the Chief, All naked as he was, left his retreat, Reluctant, by necessity constrain'd.

Him foul with sea foam horror-struck they view'd, And o'er the jutting shores fled all dispersed.

Nausicaa alone fled not; , , for her Pallas courageous made, and from her limbs,   170 By pow'r divine, all tremour took away.

Firm she expected him; , , he doubtful stood, Or to implore the lovely maid, her knees Embracing, or aloof standing, to ask In gentle terms discrete the gift of cloaths, And guidance to the city where she dwelt.

Him so deliberating, most, at length, This counsel pleas'd; , , in suppliant terms aloof To sue to her, lest if he clasp'd her knees, The virgin should that bolder course resent.

  180 Then gentle, thus, and well-advised he spake.

Oh Queen!

thy earnest suppliant I approach.

Art thou some Goddess, or of mortal race?

For if some Goddess, and from heaven arrived, Diana, then, daughter of mighty Jove I deem thee most, for such as hers appear Thy form, thy stature, and thy air divine.

But if, of mortal race, thou dwell below, Thrice happy then, thy parents I account, And happy thrice thy brethren.


the joy   190 Which always for thy sake, their bosoms fill, When thee they view, all lovely as thou art, Ent'ring majestic on the graceful dance.

But him beyond all others blest I deem, The youth, who, wealthier than his rich compeers, Shall win and lead thee to his honour'd home.

For never with these eyes a mortal form Beheld I comparable aught to thine, In man or woman.

Wonder-wrapt I gaze.

Such erst, in Delos, I beheld a palm    200 Beside the altar of Apollo, tall, And growing still; , , (for thither too I sail'd, And num'rous were my followers in a voyage Ordain'd my ruin) and as then I view'd That palm long time amazed, for never grew So strait a shaft, so lovely from the ground, So, Princess!

thee with wonder I behold, Charm'd into fixt astonishment, by awe Alone forbidden to embrace thy knees, For I am one on whom much woe hath fall'n.

  210 Yesterday I escaped (the twentieth day Of my distress by sea) the dreary Deep; , , For, all those days, the waves and rapid storms Bore me along, impetuous from the isle Ogygia; , , till at length the will of heav'n Cast me, that I might also here sustain Affliction on your shore; , , for rest, I think, Is not for me.

No. The Immortal Gods Have much to accomplish ere that day arrive.

But, oh Queen, pity me!

who after long    220 Calamities endured, of all who live Thee first approach, nor mortal know beside Of the inhabitants of all the land.

Shew me your city; , , give me, although coarse, Some cov'ring (if coarse cov'ring -thou- canst give) And may the Gods thy largest wishes grant, House, husband, concord!

for of all the gifts Of heav'n, more precious none I deem, than peace 'Twixt wedded pair, and union undissolved; , , Envy torments their enemies, but joy    230 Fills ev'ry virtuous breast, and most their own.

To whom Nausicaa the fair replied.

Since, stranger!

neither base by birth thou seem'st, Nor unintelligent, (but Jove, the King Olympian, gives to good and bad alike Prosperity according to his will, And grief to thee, which thou must patient bear,) Now, therefore, at our land and city arrived, Nor garment thou shalt want, nor aught beside Due to a suppliant guest like thee forlorn.

  240 I will both show thee where our city stands, And who dwell here.

Phæacia's sons possess This land; , , but I am daughter of their King The brave Alcinoüs, on whose sway depends For strength and wealth the whole Phæacian race.

She said, and to her beauteous maidens gave Instant commandment --My attendants, stay!

Why flee ye thus, and whither, from the sight Of a mere mortal?

Seems he in your eyes Some enemy of ours?

The heart beats not,    250 Nor shall it beat hereafter, which shall come An enemy to the Phæacian shores, So dear to the immortal Gods are we.

Remote, amid the billowy Deep, we hold Our dwelling, utmost of all human-kind, And free from mixture with a foreign race.

This man, a miserable wand'rer comes, Whom we are bound to cherish, for the poor And stranger are from Jove, and trivial gifts To such are welcome.

Bring ye therefore food   260 And wine, my maidens, for the guest's regale, And lave him where the stream is shelter'd most.

She spake; , , they stood, and by each other's words Encouraged, placed Ulysses where the bank O'erhung the stream, as fair Nausicaa bade, Daughter of King Alcinoüs the renown'd.

Apparel also at his side they spread, Mantle and vest, and, next, the limpid oil Presenting to him in the golden cruse, Exhorted him to bathe in the clear stream.

  270 Ulysses then the maidens thus bespake.

Ye maidens, stand apart, that I may cleanse, Myself, my shoulders from the briny surf, And give them oil which they have wanted long.

But in your presence I bathe not, ashamed To show myself uncloath'd to female eyes.

He said; , , they went, and to Nausicaa told His answer; , , then the Hero in the stream His shoulders laved, and loins incrusted rough With the salt spray, and with his hands the scum   280 Of the wild ocean from his locks express'd.

Thus wash'd all over, and refresh'd with oil, He put the garments on, Nausicaa's gift.

Then Pallas, progeny of Jove, his form Dilated more, and from his head diffused His curling locks like hyacinthine flowers.

As when some artist, by Minerva made And Vulcan wise to execute all tasks Ingenious, binding with a golden verge Bright silver, finishes a graceful work,    290 Such grace the Goddess o'er his ample chest Copious diffused, and o'er his manly brows.

Retiring, on the beach he sat, with grace And dignity illumed, where, viewing him, The virgin Princess, with amazement mark'd His beauty, and her damsels thus bespake.

My white-arm'd maidens, listen to my voice!

Not hated, sure, by all above, this man Among Phæacia's godlike sons arrives.

At first I deem'd him of plebeian sort    300 Dishonourable, but he now assumes A near resemblance to the Gods above.


would to heaven it were my lot to call Husband, some native of our land like him Accomplish'd, and content to inhabit here!

Give him, my maidens, food, and give him wine.

She ended; , , they obedient to her will, Both wine and food, dispatchful, placed, and glad, Before Ulysses; , , he rapacious ate, Toil-suff'ring Chief, and drank, for he had lived  310 From taste of aliment long time estranged.

On other thoughts meantime intent, her charge Of folded vestments neat the Princess placed Within the royal wain, then yoked the mules, And to her seat herself ascending, call'd Ulysses to depart, and thus she spake.

Up, stranger!

seek the city.

I will lead Thy steps toward my royal Father's house, Where all Phæacia's Nobles thou shalt see.

But thou (for I account thee not unwise)    320 This course pursue.

While through the fields we pass, And labours of the rural hind, so long With my attendants follow fast the mules And sumpter-carriage.

I will be thy guide.

But, once the summit gain'd, on which is built Our city with proud bulwarks fenced around, And laved on both sides by its pleasant port Of narrow entrance, where our gallant barks Line all the road, each station'd in her place, And where, adjoining close the splendid fane   330 Of Neptune, stands the forum with huge stones From quarries thither drawn, constructed strong, In which the rigging of their barks they keep, Sail-cloth and cordage, and make smooth their oars; , , (For bow and quiver the Phæacian race Heed not, but masts and oars, and ships well-poised, With which exulting they divide the flood) Then, cautious, I would shun their bitter taunts Disgustful, lest they mock me as I pass; , , For of the meaner people some are coarse    340 In the extreme, and it may chance that one, The basest there seeing us shall exclaim -- What handsome stranger of athletic form Attends the Princess?

Where had she the chance To find him?

We shall see them wedded soon.

Either she hath received some vagrant guest From distant lands, (for no land neighbours ours) Or by her pray'rs incessant won, some God Hath left the heav'ns to be for ever hers.

'Tis well if she have found, by her own search,   350 An husband for herself, since she accounts The Nobles of Phæacia, who her hand Solicit num'rous, worthy to be scorn'd -- Thus will they speak, injurious.

I should blame A virgin guilty of such conduct much, Myself, who reckless of her parents' will, Should so familiar with a man consort, Ere celebration of her spousal rites.

But mark me, stranger!

following my advice, Thou shalt the sooner at my father's hands   360 Obtain safe conduct and conveyance home.

Sacred to Pallas a delightful grove Of poplars skirts the road, which we shall reach Ere long; , , within that grove a fountain flows, And meads encircle it; , , my father's farm Is there, and his luxuriant garden plot; , , A shout might reach it from the city-walls.

There wait, till in the town arrived, we gain My father's palace, and when reason bids Suppose us there, then ent'ring thou the town,   370 Ask where Alcinoüs dwells, my valiant Sire.

Well known is his abode, so that with ease A child might lead thee to it, for in nought The other houses of our land the house Resemble, in which dwells the Hero, King Alcinoüs.

Once within the court received Pause not, but, with swift pace advancing, seek My mother; , , she beside a column sits In the hearth's blaze, twirling her fleecy threads Tinged with sea-purple, bright, magnificent!

  380 With all her maidens orderly behind.

There also stands my father's throne, on which Seated, he drinks and banquets like a God.

Pass that; , , then suppliant clasp my mother's knees, So shalt thou quickly win a glad return To thy own home, however far remote.

Her favour, once, and her kind aid secured, Thenceforth thou may'st expect thy friends to see, Thy dwelling, and thy native soil again.

So saying, she with her splendid scourge the mules  390 Lash'd onward.

They (the stream soon left behind) With even footsteps graceful smote the ground; , , But so she ruled them, managing with art The scourge, as not to leave afar, although Following on foot, Ulysses and her train.

The sun had now declined, when in that grove Renown'd, to Pallas sacred, they arrived, In which Ulysses sat, and fervent thus Sued to the daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd.

Daughter invincible of Jove supreme!

   400 Oh, hear me!

Hear me now, because when erst The mighty Shaker of the shores incensed Toss'd me from wave to wave, thou heard'st me not.

Grant me, among Phæacia's sons, to find Benevolence and pity of my woes!

He spake, whose pray'r well-pleas'd the Goddess heard, But, rev'rencing the brother of her sire, [24] Appear'd not to Ulysses yet, whom he Pursued with fury to his native shores.


[23] In the Original, she calls him, pappa!

a more natural stile of address and more endearing.

But ancient as this appellative is, it is also so familiar in modern use, that the Translator feared to hazard it.

[24] Neptune.



Nausicaa returns from the river, whom Ulysses follows.

He halts, by her direction, at a small distance from the palace, which at a convenient time he enters.

He is well received by Alcinoüs and his Queen; , , and having related to them the manner of his being cast on the shore of Scheria, and received from Alcinoüs the promise of safe conduct home, retires to rest.

Such pray'r Ulysses, toil-worn Chief renown'd, To Pallas made, meantime the virgin, drawn By her stout mules, Phæacia's city reach'd, And, at her father's house arrived, the car Stay'd in the vestibule; , , her brothers five, All godlike youths, assembling quick around, Released the mules, and bore the raiment in.

Meantime, to her own chamber she return'd, Where, soon as she arrived, an antient dame Eurymedusa, by peculiar charge     10 Attendant on that service, kindled fire.

Sea-rovers her had from Epirus brought Long since, and to Alcinoüs she had fall'n By public gift, for that he ruled, supreme, Phæacia, and as oft as he harangued The multitude, was rev'renced as a God.

She waited on the fair Nausicaa, she Her fuel kindled, and her food prepared.

And now Ulysses from his seat arose To seek the city, around whom, his guard    20 Benevolent, Minerva, cast a cloud, Lest, haply, some Phæacian should presume T' insult the Chief, and question whence he came.

But ere he enter'd yet the pleasant town, Minerva azure-eyed met him, in form A blooming maid, bearing her pitcher forth.

She stood before him, and the noble Chief Ulysses, of the Goddess thus enquired.


wilt thou direct me to the house Of brave Alcinoüs, whom this land obeys?

   30 For I have here arrived, after long toil, And from a country far remote, a guest To all who in Phæacia dwell, unknown.

To whom the Goddess of the azure-eyes.

The mansion of thy search, stranger revered!

Myself will shew thee; , , for not distant dwells Alcinoüs from my father's own abode: But hush!

be silent --I will lead the way; , , Mark no man; , , question no man; , , for the sight Of strangers is unusual here, and cold    40 The welcome by this people shown to such.

They, trusting in swift ships, by the free grant Of Neptune traverse his wide waters, borne As if on wings, or with the speed of thought.

So spake the Goddess, and with nimble pace Led on, whose footsteps he, as quick, pursued.

But still the seaman-throng through whom he pass'd Perceiv'd him not; , , Minerva, Goddess dread, That sight forbidding them, whose eyes she dimm'd With darkness shed miraculous around    50 Her fav'rite Chief.

Ulysses, wond'ring, mark'd Their port, their ships, their forum, the resort Of Heroes, and their battlements sublime Fenced with sharp stakes around, a glorious show!

But when the King's august abode he reach'd, Minerva azure-eyed, then, thus began.

My father!

thou behold'st the house to which Thou bad'st me lead thee.

Thou shalt find our Chiefs And high-born Princes banqueting within.

But enter fearing nought, for boldest men    60 Speed ever best, come whencesoe'er they may.

First thou shalt find the Queen, known by her name Areta; , , lineal in descent from those Who gave Alcinoüs birth, her royal spouse.

Neptune begat Nausithoüs, at the first, On Peribæa, loveliest of her sex, Latest-born daughter of Eurymedon, Heroic King of the proud giant race, Who, losing all his impious people, shared The same dread fate himself.

Her Neptune lov'd,   70 To whom she bore a son, the mighty prince Nausithoüs, in his day King of the land.

Nausithoüs himself two sons begat, Rhexenor and Alcinoüs.

Phoebus slew Rhexenor at his home, a bridegroom yet, Who, father of no son, one daughter left, Areta, wedded to Alcinoüs now, And whom the Sov'reign in such honour holds, As woman none enjoys of all on earth Existing, subjects of an husband's pow'r.

   80 Like veneration she from all receives Unfeign'd, from her own children, from himself Alcinoüs, and from all Phæacia's race, Who, gazing on her as she were divine, Shout when she moves in progress through the town.

For she no wisdom wants, but sits, herself, Arbitress of such contests as arise Between her fav'rites, and decides aright.

Her count'nance once and her kind aid secured, Thou may'st thenceforth expect thy friends to see,  90 Thy dwelling, and thy native soil again.

So Pallas spake, Goddess cærulean-eyed, And o'er the untillable and barren Deep Departing, Scheria left, land of delight, Whence reaching Marathon, and Athens next, She pass'd into Erectheus' fair abode.

Ulysses, then, toward the palace moved Of King Alcinoüs, but immers'd in thought Stood, first, and paused, ere with his foot he press'd The brazen threshold; , , for a light he saw    100 As of the sun or moon illuming clear The palace of Phæacia's mighty King.

Walls plated bright with brass, on either side Stretch'd from the portal to th' interior house, With azure cornice crown'd; , , the doors were gold Which shut the palace fast; , , silver the posts Rear'd on a brazen threshold, and above, The lintels, silver, architraved with gold.

Mastiffs, in gold and silver, lined the approach On either side, by art celestial framed    110 Of Vulcan, guardians of Alcinoüs' gate For ever, unobnoxious to decay.

Sheer from the threshold to the inner house Fixt thrones the walls, through all their length, adorn'd, With mantles overspread of subtlest warp Transparent, work of many a female hand.

On these the princes of Phæacia sat, Holding perpetual feasts, while golden youths On all the sumptuous altars stood, their hands With burning torches charged, which, night by night,  120 Shed radiance over all the festive throng.

Full fifty female menials serv'd the King In household offices; , , the rapid mills These turning, pulverize the mellow'd grain, Those, seated orderly, the purple fleece Wind off, or ply the loom, restless as leaves Of lofty poplars fluttering in the breeze; , , Bright as with oil the new-wrought texture shone.

[25] Far as Phæacian mariners all else Surpass, the swift ship urging through the floods,  130 So far in tissue-work the women pass All others, by Minerva's self endow'd With richest fancy and superior skill.

Without the court, and to the gates adjoin'd A spacious garden lay, fenced all around Secure, four acres measuring complete.

There grew luxuriant many a lofty tree, Pomegranate, pear, the apple blushing bright, The honied fig, and unctuous olive smooth.

Those fruits, nor winter's cold nor summer's heat  140 Fear ever, fail not, wither not, but hang Perennial, whose unceasing zephyr breathes Gently on all, enlarging these, and those Maturing genial; , , in an endless course Pears after pears to full dimensions swell, Figs follow figs, grapes clust'ring grow again Where clusters grew, and (ev'ry apple stript) The boughs soon tempt the gath'rer as before.

There too, well-rooted, and of fruit profuse, His vineyard grows; , , part, wide-extended, basks,   150 In the sun's beams; , , the arid level glows; , , In part they gather, and in part they tread The wine-press, while, before the eye, the grapes Here put their blossom forth, there, gather fast Their blackness.

On the garden's verge extreme Flow'rs of all hues smile all the year, arranged With neatest art judicious, and amid The lovely scene two fountains welling forth, One visits, into ev'ry part diffus'd, The garden-ground, the other soft beneath   160 The threshold steals into the palace-court, Whence ev'ry citizen his vase supplies.

Such were the ample blessings on the house Of King Alcinoüs by the Gods bestow'd.

Ulysses wond'ring stood, and when, at length, Silent he had the whole fair scene admired, With rapid step enter'd the royal gate.

The Chiefs he found and Senators within Libation pouring to the vigilant spy Mercurius, whom with wine they worshipp'd last   170 Of all the Gods, and at the hour of rest.

Ulysses, toil-worn Hero, through the house Pass'd undelaying, by Minerva thick With darkness circumfus'd, till he arrived Where King Alcinoüs and Areta sat.

Around Areta's knees his arms he cast, And, in that moment, broken clear away The cloud all went, shed on him from above.

Dumb sat the guests, seeing the unknown Chief, And wond'ring gazed.

He thus his suit preferr'd.

  180 Areta, daughter of the Godlike Prince Rhexenor!

suppliant at thy knees I fall, Thy royal spouse imploring, and thyself, (After ten thousand toils) and these your guests, To whom heav'n grant felicity, and to leave Their treasures to their babes, with all the rights And honours, by the people's suffrage, theirs!

But oh vouchsafe me, who have wanted long And ardent wish'd my home, without delay Safe conduct to my native shores again!

   190 Such suit he made, and in the ashes sat At the hearth-side; , , they mute long time remain'd, Till, at the last, the antient Hero spake Echeneus, eldest of Phæacia's sons, With eloquence beyond the rest endow'd, Rich in traditionary lore, and wise In all, who thus, benevolent, began.

Not honourable to thyself, O King!

Is such a sight, a stranger on the ground At the hearth-side seated, and in the dust.

  200 Meantime, thy guests, expecting thy command, Move not; , , thou therefore raising by his hand The stranger, lead him to a throne, and bid The heralds mingle wine, that we may pour To thunder-bearing Jove, the suppliant's friend.

Then let the cat'ress for thy guest produce Supply, a supper from the last regale.

Soon as those words Alcinoüs heard, the King, Upraising by his hand the prudent Chief Ulysses from the hearth, he made him sit,   210 On a bright throne, displacing for his sake Laodamas his son, the virtuous youth Who sat beside him, and whom most he lov'd.

And now, a maiden charg'd with golden ew'r And with an argent laver, pouring, first, Pure water on his hands, supply'd him, next, With a resplendent table, which the chaste Directress of the stores furnish'd with bread And dainties, remnants of the last regale.

Then ate the Hero toil-inured, and drank,   220 And to his herald thus Alcinoüs spake.


mingling wine, bear it around To ev'ry guest in turn, that we may pour To thunder-bearer Jove, the stranger's friend, And guardian of the suppliant's sacred rights.

He said; , , Pontonoüs, as he bade, the wine Mingled delicious, and the cups dispensed With distribution regular to all.

When each had made libation, and had drunk Sufficient, then, Alcinoüs thus began.

   230 Phæacian Chiefs and Senators, I speak The dictates of my mind, therefore attend!

Ye all have feasted --To your homes and sleep.

We will assemble at the dawn of day More senior Chiefs, that we may entertain The stranger here, and to the Gods perform Due sacrifice; , , the convoy that he asks Shall next engage our thoughts, that free from pain And from vexation, by our friendly aid He may revisit, joyful and with speed,    240 His native shore, however far remote.

No inconvenience let him feel or harm, Ere his arrival; , , but, arrived, thenceforth He must endure whatever lot the Fates Spun for him in the moment of his birth.

But should he prove some Deity from heav'n Descended, then the Immortals have in view Designs not yet apparent; , , for the Gods Have ever from of old reveal'd themselves At our solemnities, have on our seats    250 Sat with us evident, and shared the feast; , , And even if a single traveller Of the Phæacians meet them, all reserve They lay aside; , , for with the Gods we boast As near affinity as do themselves The Cyclops, or the Giant race profane.

[26] To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.


think not so.

Resemblance none In figure or in lineaments I bear To the immortal tenants of the skies,    260 But to the sons of earth; , , if ye have known A man afflicted with a weight of woe Peculiar, let me be with him compared; , , Woes even passing his could I relate, And all inflicted on me by the Gods.

But let me eat, comfortless as I am, Uninterrupted; , , for no call is loud As that of hunger in the ears of man; , , Importunate, unreas'nable, it constrains His notice, more than all his woes beside.

  270 So, I much sorrow feel, yet not the less Hear I the blatant appetite demand Due sustenance, and with a voice that drowns E'en all my suff'rings, till itself be fill'd.

But expedite ye at the dawn of day My safe return into my native land, After much mis'ry; , , and let life itself Forsake me, may I but once more behold All that is mine, in my own lofty abode.

He spake, whom all applauded, and advised,   280 Unanimous, the guest's conveyance home, Who had so fitly spoken.

When, at length, All had libation made, and were sufficed, Departing to his house, each sought repose.

But still Ulysses in the hall remain'd, Where, godlike King, Alcinoüs at his side Sat, and Areta; , , the attendants clear'd Meantime the board, and thus the Queen white-arm'd, (Marking the vest and mantle, which he wore And which her maidens and herself had made)   290 In accents wing'd with eager haste began.


the first enquiry shall be mine; , , Who art, and whence?

From whom receiv'dst thou these?

Saidst not --I came a wand'rer o'er the Deep?

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

Oh Queen!

the task were difficult to unfold In all its length the story of my woes, For I have num'rous from the Gods receiv'd; , , But I will answer thee as best I may.

There is a certain isle, Ogygia, placed    300 Far distant in the Deep; , , there dwells, by man Alike unvisited, and by the Gods, Calypso, beauteous nymph, but deeply skill'd In artifice, and terrible in pow'r, Daughter of Atlas.

Me alone my fate Her miserable inmate made, when Jove Had riv'n asunder with his candent bolt My bark in the mid-sea.

There perish'd all The valiant partners of my toils, and I My vessel's keel embracing day and night    310 With folded arms, nine days was borne along.

But on the tenth dark night, as pleas'd the Gods, They drove me to Ogygia, where resides Calypso, beauteous nymph, dreadful in pow'r; , , She rescued, cherish'd, fed me, and her wish Was to confer on me immortal life, Exempt for ever from the sap of age.

But me her offer'd boon sway'd not.

Sev'n years I there abode continual, with my tears Bedewing ceaseless my ambrosial robes,    320 Calypso's gift divine; , , but when, at length, (Sev'n years elaps'd) the circling eighth arrived, She then, herself, my quick departure thence Advised, by Jove's own mandate overaw'd, Which even her had influenced to a change.

On a well-corded raft she sent me forth With num'rous presents; , , bread she put and wine On board, and cloath'd me in immortal robes; , , She sent before me also a fair wind Fresh-blowing, but not dang'rous.

Sev'nteen days   330 I sail'd the flood continual, and descried, On the eighteenth, your shadowy mountains tall When my exulting heart sprang at the sight, All wretched as I was, and still ordain'd To strive with difficulties many and hard From adverse Neptune; , , he the stormy winds Exciting opposite, my wat'ry way Impeded, and the waves heav'd to a bulk Immeasurable, such as robb'd me soon Deep-groaning, of the raft, my only hope; , ,   340 For her the tempest scatter'd, and myself This ocean measur'd swimming, till the winds And mighty waters cast me on your shore.

Me there emerging, the huge waves had dash'd Full on the land, where, incommodious most, The shore presented only roughest rocks, But, leaving it, I swam the Deep again, Till now, at last, a river's gentle stream Receiv'd me, by no rocks deform'd, and where No violent winds the shelter'd bank annoy'd.

  350 I flung myself on shore, exhausted, weak, Needing repose; , , ambrosial night came on, When from the Jove-descended stream withdrawn, I in a thicket lay'd me down on leaves Which I had heap'd together, and the Gods O'erwhelm'd my eye-lids with a flood of sleep.

There under wither'd leaves, forlorn, I slept All the long night, the morning and the noon, But balmy sleep, at the decline of day, Broke from me; , , then, your daughter's train I heard  360 Sporting, with whom she also sported, fair And graceful as the Gods.

To her I kneel'd.

She, following the dictates of a mind Ingenuous, pass'd in her behaviour all Which even ye could from an age like hers Have hoped; , , for youth is ever indiscrete.

She gave me plenteous food, with richest wine Refresh'd my spirit, taught me where to bathe, And cloath'd me as thou seest; , , thus, though a prey To many sorrows, I have told thee truth.

   370 To whom Alcinoüs answer thus return'd.

My daughter's conduct, I perceive, hath been In this erroneous, that she led thee not Hither, at once, with her attendant train, For thy first suit was to herself alone.

Thus then Ulysses, wary Chief, replied.

Blame not, O Hero, for so slight a cause Thy faultless child; , , she bade me follow them, But I refused, by fear and awe restrain'd, Lest thou should'st feel displeasure at that sight  380 Thyself; , , for we are all, in ev'ry clime, Suspicious, and to worst constructions prone.

So spake Ulysses, to whom thus the King.

I bear not, stranger!

in my breast an heart Causeless irascible; , , for at all times A temp'rate equanimity is best.

And oh, I would to heav'n, that, being such As now thou art, and of one mind with me, Thou would'st accept my daughter, would'st become My son-in-law, and dwell contented here!

   390 House would I give thee, and possessions too, Were such thy choice; , , else, if thou chuse it not, No man in all Phæacia shall by force Detain thee.

Jupiter himself forbid!

For proof, I will appoint thee convoy hence To-morrow; , , and while thou by sleep subdued Shalt on thy bed repose, they with their oars Shall brush the placid flood, till thou arrive At home, or at what place soe'er thou would'st, Though far more distant than Eubœa lies,    400 Remotest isle from us, by the report Of ours, who saw it when they thither bore Golden-hair'd Rhadamanthus o'er the Deep, To visit earth-born Tityus.

To that isle They went; , , they reach'd it, and they brought him thence Back to Phæacia, in one day, with ease.

Thou also shalt be taught what ships I boast Unmatch'd in swiftness, and how far my crews Excel, upturning with their oars the brine.

He ceas'd; , , Ulysses toil-inur'd his words   410 Exulting heard, and, praying, thus replied.

Eternal Father!

may the King perform His whole kind promise!

grant him in all lands A never-dying name, and grant to me To visit safe my native shores again!

Thus they conferr'd; , , and now Areta bade Her fair attendants dress a fleecy couch Under the portico, with purple rugs Resplendent, and with arras spread beneath, And over all with cloaks of shaggy pile.

   420 Forth went the maidens, bearing each a torch, And, as she bade, prepared in haste a couch Of depth commodious, then, returning, gave Ulysses welcome summons to repose.


thy couch is spread.

Hence to thy rest.

So they --Thrice grateful to his soul the thought Seem'd of repose.

There slept Ulysses, then, On his carv'd couch, beneath the portico, But in the inner-house Alcinoüs found His place of rest, and hers with royal state   430 Prepared, the Queen his consort, at his side.


[25] Καιροσέων δ' οθονεων ἀπολείβεται ὑγρον ἔλαιον.

Pope has given no translation of this line in the text of his work, but has translated it in a note.

It is variously interpreted by commentators; , , the sense which is here given of it is that recommended by Eustathius.

[26] The Scholiast explains the passage thus --We resemble the Gods in righteousness as much as the Cyclops and Giants resembled each other in impiety.

But in this sense of it there is something intricate and contrary to Homer's manner.

We have seen that they derived themselves from Neptune, which sufficiently justifies the above interpretation.



The Phæacians consult on the subject of Ulysses.

Preparation is made for his departure.

Antinoüs entertains them at his table.

Games follow the entertainment.

Demodocus the bard sings, first the loves of Mars and Venus, then the introduction of the wooden horse into Troy.

Ulysses, much affected by his song, is questioned by Alcinoüs, whence, and who he is, and what is the cause of his sorrow.

But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Blush'd in the East, then from his bed arose The sacred might of the Phæacian King.

Then uprose also, city-waster Chief, Ulysses, whom the King Alcinoüs Led forth to council at the ships convened.

There, side by side, on polish'd stones they sat Frequent; , , meantime, Minerva in the form Of King Alcinoüs' herald ranged the town, With purpose to accelerate the return    10 Of brave Ulysses to his native home, And thus to ev'ry Chief the Goddess spake.

Phæacian Chiefs and Senators, away!

Haste all to council on the stranger held, Who hath of late beneath Alcinoüs' roof Our King arrived, a wand'rer o'er the Deep, But, in his form, majestic as a God.

So saying, she roused the people, and at once The seats of all the senate-court were fill'd With fast-assembling throngs, no few of whom   20 Had mark'd Ulysses with admiring eyes.

Then, Pallas o'er his head and shoulders broad Diffusing grace celestial, his whole form Dilated, and to the statelier height advanced, That worthier of all rev'rence he might seem To the Phæacians, and might many a feat Atchieve, with which they should assay his force.

When, therefore, the assembly now was full, Alcinoüs, them addressing, thus began.

Phæacian Chiefs and Senators!

I speak    30 The dictates of my mind, therefore attend.

This guest, unknown to me, hath, wand'ring, found My palace, either from the East arrived, Or from some nation on our western side.

Safe conduct home he asks, and our consent Here wishes ratified, whose quick return Be it our part, as usual, to promote; , , For at no time the stranger, from what coast Soe'er, who hath resorted to our doors, Hath long complain'd of his detention here.

  40 Haste --draw ye down into the sacred Deep A vessel of prime speed, and, from among The people, fifty and two youths select, Approved the best; , , then, lashing fast the oars, Leave her, that at my palace ye may make Short feast, for which myself will all provide.

Thus I enjoin the crew; , , but as for those Of sceptred rank, I bid them all alike To my own board, that here we may regale The stranger nobly, and let none refuse.

   50 Call, too, Demodocus, the bard divine, To share my banquet, whom the Gods have blest With pow'rs of song delectable, unmatch'd By any, when his genius once is fired.

He ceas'd, and led the way, whom follow'd all The sceptred senators, while to the house An herald hasted of the bard divine.

Then, fifty mariners and two, from all The rest selected, to the coast repair'd, And, from her station on the sea-bank, launched   60 The galley down into the sacred Deep.

They placed the canvas and the mast on board, Arranged the oars, unfurl'd the shining sail, And, leaving her in depth of water moor'd, All sought the palace of Alcinoüs.

There, soon, the portico, the court, the hall Were fill'd with multitudes of young and old, For whose regale the mighty monarch slew Two beeves, twelve sheep, and twice four fatted brawns.

They slay'd them first, then busily their task   70 Administ'ring, prepared the joyous feast.

And now the herald came, leading with care The tuneful bard; , , dear to the muse was he, Who yet appointed him both good and ill; , , Took from him sight, but gave him strains divine.

For him, Pontonoüs in the midst disposed An argent-studded throne, thrusting it close To a tall column, where he hung his lyre Above his head, and taught him where it hung.

He set before him, next, a polish'd board    80 And basket, and a goblet fill'd with wine For his own use, and at his own command.

Then, all assail'd at once the ready feast, And when nor hunger more nor thirst they felt, Then came the muse, and roused the bard to sing Exploits of men renown'd; , , it was a song, In that day, to the highest heav'n extoll'd.

He sang of a dispute kindled between The son of Peleus, and Laertes'[27] son, Both seated at a feast held to the Gods.

   90 That contest Agamemnon, King of men, Between the noblest of Achaia's host Hearing, rejoiced; , , for when in Pytho erst He pass'd the marble threshold to consult The oracle of Apollo, such dispute The voice divine had to his ear announced; , , For then it was that, first, the storm of war Came rolling on, ordain'd long time to afflict Troy and the Greecians, by the will of Jove.

So sang the bard illustrious; , , then his robe   100 Of purple dye with both hands o'er his head Ulysses drew, behind its ample folds Veiling his face, through fear to be observed By the Phæacians weeping at the song; , , And ever as the bard harmonious ceased, He wiped his tears, and, drawing from his brows The mantle, pour'd libation to the Gods.

But when the Chiefs (for they delighted heard Those sounds) solicited again the bard, And he renew'd the strain, then cov'ring close   110 His count'nance, as before, Ulysses wept.

Thus, unperceiv'd by all, the Hero mourn'd, Save by Alcinoüs; , , he alone his tears, (Beside him seated) mark'd, and his deep sighs O'erhearing, the Phæacians thus bespake.

Phæacia's Chiefs and Senators, attend!

We have regaled sufficient, and the harp Heard to satiety, companion sweet And seasonable of the festive hour.

Now go we forth for honourable proof    120 Of our address in games of ev'ry kind, That this our guest may to his friends report, At home arriv'd, that none like us have learn'd To leap, to box, to wrestle, and to run.

So saying, he led them forth, whose steps the guests All follow'd, and the herald hanging high The sprightly lyre, took by his hand the bard Demodocus, whom he the self-same way Conducted forth, by which the Chiefs had gone Themselves, for that great spectacle prepared.

  130 They sought the forum; , , countless swarm'd the throng Behind them as they went, and many a youth Strong and courageous to the strife arose.

Upstood Acroneus and Ocyalus, Elatreus, Nauteus, Prymneus, after whom Anchialus with Anabeesineus Arose, Eretmeus, Ponteus, Proreus bold, Amphialus and Thöon.

Then arose, In aspect dread as homicidal Mars, Euryalus, and for his graceful form    140 (After Laodamas) distinguish'd most Of all Phæacia's sons, Naubolides.

Three also from Alcinoüs sprung, arose, Laodamas, his eldest; , , Halius, next, His second-born; , , and godlike Clytoneus.

Of these, some started for the runner's prize.

They gave the race its limits.

[28] All at once Along the dusty champaign swift they flew.

But Clytoneus, illustrious youth, outstripp'd All competition; , , far as mules surpass    150 Slow oxen furrowing the fallow ground, So far before all others he arrived Victorious, where the throng'd spectators stood.

Some tried the wrestler's toil severe, in which Euryalus superior proved to all.

In the long leap Amphialus prevail'd; , , Elatreus most successful hurled the quoit, And at the cestus, [29] last, the noble son Of Scheria's King, Laodamas excell'd.

When thus with contemplation of the games   160 All had been gratified, Alcinoüs' son Laodamas, arising, then address'd.


ask we now the stranger, if he boast Proficiency in aught.

His figure seems Not ill; , , in thighs, and legs, and arms he shews Much strength, and in his brawny neck; , , nor youth Hath left him yet, though batter'd he appears With num'rous troubles, and misfortune-flaw'd.

Nor know I hardships in the world so sure To break the strongest down, as those by sea.

  170 Then answer thus Euryalus return'd.

Thou hast well said, Laodamas; , , thyself Approaching, speak to him, and call him forth.

Which when Alcinoüs' noble offspring heard, Advancing from his seat, amid them all He stood, and to Ulysses thus began.

Stand forth, oh guest, thou also; , , prove thy skill (If any such thou hast) in games like ours, Which, likeliest, thou hast learn'd; , , for greater praise Hath no man, while he lives, than that he know   180 His feet to exercise and hands aright.

Come then; , , make trial; , , scatter wide thy cares, We will not hold thee long; , , the ship is launch'd Already, and the crew stand all prepared.

To whom replied the wily Chief renown'd Wherefore, as in derision, have ye call'd Me forth, Laodamas, to these exploits?

No games have I, but many a grief, at heart, And with far other struggles worn, here sit Desirous only of conveyance home,    190 For which both King and people I implore.

Then him Euryalus aloud reproach'd.

I well believ'd it, friend!

in thee the guise I see not of a man expert in feats Athletic, of which various are perform'd In ev'ry land; , , thou rather seem'st with ships Familiar; , , one, accustom'd to controul Some crew of trading mariners; , , well-learn'd In stowage, pilotage, and wealth acquired By rapine, but of no gymnastic pow'rs.

   200 To whom Ulysses, frowning dark, replied.

Thou hast ill spoken, sir, and like a man Regardless whom he wrongs.

Therefore the Gods Give not endowments graceful in each kind, Of body, mind, and utt'rance, all to one.

This man in figure less excels, yet Jove Crowns him with eloquence; , , his hearers charm'd Behold him, while with modest confidence He bears the prize of fluent speech from all, And in the streets is gazed on as a God!

   210 Another, in his form the Pow'rs above Resembles, but no grace around his words Twines itself elegant.

So, thou in form Hast excellence to boast; , , a God, employ'd To make a master-piece in human shape, Could but produce proportions such as thine; , , Yet hast thou an untutor'd intellect.

Thou much hast moved me; , , thy unhandsome phrase Hath roused my wrath; , , I am not, as thou say'st, A novice in these sports, but took the lead   220 In all, while youth and strength were on my side.

But I am now in bands of sorrow held, And of misfortune, having much endured In war, and buffeting the boist'rous waves.

Yet, though with mis'ry worn, I will essay My strength among you; , , for thy words had teeth Whose bite hath pinch'd and pain'd me to the proof.

He said; , , and mantled as he was, a quoit Upstarting, seized, in bulk and weight all those Transcending far, by the Phæacians used.

   230 Swiftly he swung, and from his vig'rous hand Sent it.

Loud sang the stone, and as it flew The maritime Phæacians low inclined Their heads beneath it; , , over all the marks, And far beyond them, sped the flying rock.

Minerva, in a human form, the cast Prodigious measur'd, and aloud exclaim'd.


the blind himself might with his hands Feel out the 'vantage here.

Thy quoit disdains Fellowship with a crowd, borne far beyond.

  240 Fear not a losing game; , , Phæacian none Will reach thy measure, much less overcast.

She ceased; , , Ulysses, hardy Chief, rejoiced That in the circus he had found a judge So favorable, and with brisker tone, As less in wrath, the multitude address'd.

Young men, reach this, and I will quickly heave Another such, or yet a heavier quoit.

Then, come the man whose courage prompts him forth To box, to wrestle with me, or to run; , ,    250 For ye have chafed me much, and I decline No strife with any here, but challenge all Phæacia, save Laodamas alone.

He is mine host.

Who combats with his friend?

To call to proof of hardiment the man Who entertains him in a foreign land, Would but evince the challenger a fool, Who, so, would cripple his own interest there.

As for the rest, I none refuse, scorn none, But wish for trial of you, and to match    260 In opposition fair my force with yours.

There is no game athletic in the use Of all mankind, too difficult for me; , , I handle well the polish'd bow, and first Amid a thousand foes strike whom I mark, Although a throng of warriors at my side Imbattled, speed their shafts at the same time.

Of all Achaia's sons who erst at Troy Drew bow, the sole who bore the prize from me Was Philoctetes; , , I resign it else    270 To none now nourish'd with the fruits of earth.

Yet mean I no comparison of myself With men of antient times, with Hercules, Or with Oechalian Eurytus, who, both, The Gods themselves in archery defied.

Soon, therefore, died huge Eurytus, ere yet Old age he reach'd; , , him, angry to be call'd To proof of archership, Apollo slew.

But if ye name the spear, mine flies a length By no man's arrow reach'd; , , I fear no foil   280 From the Phæacians, save in speed alone; , , For I have suffer'd hardships, dash'd and drench'd By many a wave, nor had I food on board At all times, therefore I am much unstrung.

He spake; , , and silent the Phæacians sat, Of whom alone Alcinoüs thus replied.

Since, stranger, not ungraceful is thy speech, Who hast but vindicated in our ears Thy question'd prowess, angry that this youth Reproach'd thee in the presence of us all,   290 That no man qualified to give his voice In public, might affront thy courage more; , , Now mark me, therefore, that in time to come, While feasting with thy children and thy spouse, Thou may'st inform the Heroes of thy land Even of our proficiency in arts By Jove enjoin'd us in our father's days.

We boast not much the boxer's skill, nor yet The wrestler's; , , but light-footed in the race Are we, and navigators well-inform'd.

   300 Our pleasures are the feast, the harp, the dance, Garments for change; , , the tepid bath; , , the bed.

Come, ye Phæacians, beyond others skill'd To tread the circus with harmonious steps, Come, play before us; , , that our guest, arrived In his own country, may inform his friends How far in seamanship we all excel, In running, in the dance, and in the song.


bring ye to Demodocus his lyre Clear-toned, left somewhere in our hall at home.

  310 So spake the godlike King, at whose command The herald to the palace quick return'd To seek the charming lyre.

Meantime arose Nine arbiters, appointed to intend The whole arrangement of the public games, To smooth the circus floor, and give the ring Its compass, widening the attentive throng.

Ere long the herald came, bearing the harp, With which Demodocus supplied, advanced Into the middle area, around whom    320 Stood blooming youths, all skilful in the dance.

With footsteps justly timed all smote at once The sacred floor; , , Ulysses wonder-fixt, The ceaseless play of twinkling[30] feet admired.

Then, tuning his sweet chords, Demodocus A jocund strain began, his theme, the loves Of Mars and Cytherea chaplet-crown'd; , , How first, clandestine, they embraced beneath The roof of Vulcan, her, by many a gift Seduced, Mars won, and with adult'rous lust   330 The bed dishonour'd of the King of fire.

The sun, a witness of their amorous sport, Bore swift the tale to Vulcan; , , he, apprized Of that foul deed, at once his smithy sought, In secret darkness of his inmost soul Contriving vengeance; , , to the stock he heav'd His anvil huge, on which he forged a snare Of bands indissoluble, by no art To be untied, durance for ever firm.

The net prepared, he bore it, fiery-wroth,   340 To his own chamber and his nuptial couch, Where, stretching them from post to post, he wrapp'd With those fine meshes all his bed around, And hung them num'rous from the roof, diffused Like spiders' filaments, which not the Gods Themselves could see, so subtle were the toils.

When thus he had encircled all his bed On ev'ry side, he feign'd a journey thence To Lemnos, of all cities that adorn The earth, the city that he favours most.

  350 Nor kept the God of the resplendent reins Mars, drowsy watch, but seeing that the famed Artificer of heav'n had left his home, Flew to the house of Vulcan, hot to enjoy The Goddess with the wreath-encircled brows.

She, newly from her potent Sire return'd The son of Saturn, sat.

Mars, ent'ring, seiz'd Her hand, hung on it, and thus urg'd his suit.

To bed, my fair, and let us love!

for lo!

Thine husband is from home, to Lemnos gone,   360 And to the Sintians, men of barb'rous speech.

He spake, nor she was loth, but bedward too Like him inclined; , , so then, to bed they went, And as they lay'd them down, down stream'd the net Around them, labour exquisite of hands By ingenuity divine inform'd.

Small room they found, so prison'd; , , not a limb Could either lift, or move, but felt at once Entanglement from which was no escape.

And now the glorious artist, ere he yet    370 Had reach'd the Lemnian isle, limping, return'd From his feign'd journey, for his spy the sun Had told him all.

With aching heart he sought His home, and, standing in the vestibule, Frantic with indignation roar'd to heav'n, And roar'd again, summoning all the Gods. -- Oh Jove!

and all ye Pow'rs for ever blest!

Here; , , hither look, that ye may view a sight Ludicrous, yet too monstrous to be borne, How Venus always with dishonour loads    380 Her cripple spouse, doating on fiery Mars!

And wherefore?

for that he is fair in form And sound of foot, I ricket-boned and weak.

Whose fault is this?

Their fault, and theirs alone Who gave me being; , , ill-employ'd were they Begetting me, one, better far unborn.

See where they couch together on my bed Lascivious!

ah, sight hateful to my eyes!

Yet cooler wishes will they feel, I ween, To press my bed hereafter; , , here to sleep    390 Will little please them, fondly as they love.

But these my toils and tangles will suffice To hold them here, till Jove shall yield me back Complete, the sum of all my nuptial gifts Paid to him for the shameless strumpet's sake His daughter, as incontinent as fair.

He said, and in the brazen-floor'd abode Of Jove the Gods assembled.

Neptune came Earth-circling Pow'r; , , came Hermes friend of man, And, regent of the far-commanding bow,    400 Apollo also came; , , but chaste reserve Bashful kept all the Goddesses at home.

The Gods, by whose beneficence all live, Stood in the portal; , , infinite arose The laugh of heav'n, all looking down intent On that shrewd project of the smith divine, And, turning to each other, thus they said.

Bad works speed ill.

The slow o'ertakes the swift.

So Vulcan, tardy as he is, by craft Hath outstript Mars, although the fleetest far   410 Of all who dwell in heav'n, and the light-heel'd Must pay the adult'rer's forfeit to the lame.

So spake the Pow'rs immortal; , , then the King Of radiant shafts thus question'd Mercury.

Jove's son, heaven's herald, Hermes, bounteous God!

Would'st -thou- such stricture close of bands endure For golden Venus lying at thy side?

Whom answer'd thus the messenger of heav'n Archer divine!

yea, and with all my heart; , , And be the bands which wind us round about   420 Thrice these innumerable, and let all The Gods and Goddesses in heav'n look on, So I may clasp Vulcan's fair spouse the while.

He spake; , , then laugh'd the Immortal Pow'rs again.

But not so Neptune; , , he with earnest suit The glorious artist urged to the release Of Mars, and thus in accents wing'd he said.

Loose him; , , accept my promise; , , he shall pay Full recompense in presence of us all.

Then thus the limping smith far-famed replied.

  430 Earth-circler Neptune, spare me that request.

Lame suitor, lame security.

[31] What bands Could I devise for thee among the Gods, Should Mars, emancipated once, escape, Leaving both debt and durance, far behind?

Him answer'd then the Shaker of the shores.

I tell thee, Vulcan, that if Mars by flight Shun payment, I will pay, myself, the fine.

To whom the glorious artist of the skies.

Thou must not, canst not, shalt not be refused.

  440 So saying, the might of Vulcan loos'd the snare, And they, detain'd by those coercive bands No longer, from the couch upstarting, flew, Mars into Thrace, and to her Paphian home The Queen of smiles, where deep in myrtle groves Her incense-breathing altar stands embow'r'd.

Her there, the Graces laved, and oils diffused O'er all her form, ambrosial, such as add Fresh beauty to the Gods for ever young, And cloath'd her in the loveliest robes of heav'n.

 450 Such was the theme of the illustrious bard.

Ulysses with delight that song, and all The maritime Phæacian concourse heard.

Alcinoüs, then, (for in the dance they pass'd All others) call'd his sons to dance alone, Halius and Laodamas; , , they gave The purple ball into their hands, the work Exact of Polybus; , , one, re-supine, Upcast it high toward the dusky clouds, The other, springing into air, with ease    460 Received it, ere he sank to earth again.

When thus they oft had sported with the ball Thrown upward, next, with nimble interchange They pass'd it to each other many a time, Footing the plain, while ev'ry youth of all The circus clapp'd his hands, and from beneath The din of stamping feet fill'd all the air.

Then, turning to Alcinoüs, thus the wise Ulysses spake: Alcinoüs!

mighty King!

Illustrious above all Phæacia's sons!

   470 Incomparable are ye in the dance, Ev'n as thou said'st.

Amazement-fixt I stand!

So he, whom hearing, the imperial might Exulted of Alcinoüs, and aloud To his oar-skill'd Phæacians thus he spake.

Phæacian Chiefs and Senators, attend!

Wisdom beyond the common stint I mark In this our guest; , , good cause in my account, For which we should present him with a pledge Of hospitality and love.

The Chiefs    480 Are twelve, who, highest in command, controul The people, and the thirteenth Chief am I.

Bring each a golden talent, with a vest Well-bleach'd, and tunic; , , gratified with these, The stranger to our banquet shall repair Exulting; , , bring them all without delay; , , And let Euryalus by word and gift Appease him, for his speech was unadvised.

He ceas'd, whom all applauded, and at once Each sent his herald forth to bring the gifts,   490 When thus Euryalus his Sire address'd.


o'er Phæacia's sons supreme!

I will appease our guest, as thou command'st.

This sword shall be his own, the blade all steel.

The hilt of silver, and the unsullied sheath Of iv'ry recent from the carver's hand, A gift like this he shall not need despise.

So saying, his silver-studded sword he gave Into his grasp, and, courteous, thus began.

Hail, honour'd stranger!

and if word of mine   500 Have harm'd thee, rashly spoken, let the winds Bear all remembrance of it swift away!

May the Gods give thee to behold again Thy wife, and to attain thy native shore, Whence absent long, thou hast so much endured!

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

Hail also thou, and may the Gods, my friend, Grant thee felicity, and may never want Of this thy sword touch thee in time to come, By whose kind phrase appeas'd my wrath subsides!

  510 He ended, and athwart his shoulders threw The weapon bright emboss'd.

Now sank the sun, And those rich gifts arrived, which to the house Of King Alcinoüs the heralds bore.

Alcinoüs' sons receiv'd them, and beside Their royal mother placed the precious charge.

The King then led the way, at whose abode Arrived, again they press'd their lofty thrones, And to Areta thus the monarch spake.

Haste, bring a coffer; , , bring thy best, and store  520 A mantle and a sumptuous vest within; , , Warm for him, next, a brazen bath, by which Refresh'd, and viewing in fair order placed The noble gifts by the Phæacian Lords Conferr'd on him, he may the more enjoy Our banquet, and the bard's harmonious song.

I give him also this my golden cup Splendid, elaborate; , , that, while he lives What time he pours libation forth to Jove And all the Gods, he may remember me.

   530 He ended, at whose words Areta bade Her maidens with dispatch place o'er the fire A tripod ample-womb'd; , , obedient they Advanced a laver to the glowing hearth, Water infused, and kindled wood beneath The flames encircling bright the bellied vase, Warm'd soon the flood within.

Meantime, the Queen Producing from her chamber-stores a chest All-elegant, within it placed the gold, And raiment, gifts of the Phæacian Chiefs,   540 With her own gifts, the mantle and the vest, And in wing'd accents to Ulysses said.

Now take, thyself, the coffer's lid in charge; , , Girdle it quickly with a cord, lest loss Befall thee on thy way, while thou perchance Shalt sleep secure on board the sable bark.

Which when Ulysses heard, Hero renown'd, Adjusting close the lid, he cast a cord Around it which with many a mazy knot He tied, by Circe taught him long before.

  550 And now, the mistress of the household charge Summon'd him to his bath; , , glad he beheld The steaming vase, uncustom'd to its use E'er since his voyage from the isle of fair Calypso, although, while a guest with her, Ever familiar with it, as a God.

Laved by attendant damsels, and with oil Refresh'd, he put his sumptuous tunic on And mantle, and proceeding from the bath To the symposium, join'd the num'rous guests; , ,   560 But, as he pass'd, the Princess all divine Beside the pillars of the portal, lost In admiration of his graceful form, Stood, and in accents wing'd him thus address'd.

Hail, stranger!

at thy native home arrived Remember me, thy first deliv'rer here.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.


daughter of the noble King Alcinoüs!

So may Jove, high-thund'ring mate Of Juno, grant me to behold again    570 My native land, and my delightful home, As, even there, I will present my vows To thee, adoring thee as I adore The Gods themselves, virgin, by whom I live!

He said, and on his throne beside the King Alcinoüs sat.

And now they portion'd out The feast to all, and charg'd the cups with wine, And introducing by his hand the bard Phæacia's glory, at the column's side The herald placed Demodocus again.

   580 Then, carving forth a portion from the loins Of a huge brawn, of which uneaten still Large part and delicate remain'd, thus spake Ulysses --Herald!

bear it to the bard For his regale, whom I will soon embrace In spite of sorrow; , , for respect is due And veneration to the sacred bard From all mankind, for that the muse inspires Herself his song, and loves the tuneful tribe.

He ended, and the herald bore his charge   590 To the old hero who with joy received That meed of honour at the bearer's hand.

Then, all, at once, assail'd the ready feast, And hunger now, and thirst both satisfied, Thus to Demodocus Ulysses spake.


I give thee praise above All mortals, for that either thee the muse Jove's daughter teaches, or the King, himself, Apollo; , , since thou so record'st the fate, With such clear method, of Achaia's host,   600 Their deeds heroic, and their num'rous toils, As thou hadst present been thyself, or learnt From others present there, the glorious tale.

Come, then, proceed; , , that rare invention sing, The horse of wood, which by Minerva's aid Epeus framed, and which Ulysses erst Convey'd into the citadel of Troy With warriors fill'd, who lay'd all Ilium waste.

These things rehearse regular, and myself Will, instant, publish in the ears of all   610 Thy fame, reporting thee a bard to whom Apollo free imparts celestial song.

He ended; , , then Apollo with full force Rush'd on Demodocus, and he began What time the Greeks, first firing their own camp Steer'd all their galleys from the shore of Troy.

Already, in the horse conceal'd, his band Around Ulysses sat; , , for Ilium's sons Themselves had drawn it to the citadel.

And there the mischief stood.

Then, strife arose   620 Among the Trojans compassing the horse, And threefold was the doubt; , , whether to cleave The hollow trunk asunder, or updrawn Aloft, to cast it headlong from the rocks, Or to permit the enormous image, kept Entire, to stand an off'ring to the Gods, Which was their destined course; , , for Fate had fix'd Their ruin sure, when once they had received Within their walls that engine huge, in which Sat all the bravest Greecians with the fate   630 Of Ilium charged, and slaughter of her sons.

He sang, how, from the horse effused, the Greeks Left their capacious ambush, and the town Made desolate.

To others, in his song, He gave the praise of wasting all beside, But told how, fierce as Mars, Ulysses join'd With godlike Menelaus, to the house Flew of Deiphobus; , , him there engaged In direst fight he sang, and through the aid Of glorious Pallas, conqu'ror over all.

   640 So sang the bard illustrious, at whose song Ulysses melted, and tear after tear Fell on his cheeks.

As when a woman weeps, Her husband, who hath fallen in defence Of his own city and his babes before The gates; , , she, sinking, folds him in her arms And, gazing on him as he pants and dies, Shrieks at the sight; , , meantime, the enemy Smiting her shoulders with the spear to toil Command her and to bondage far away,    650 And her cheek fades with horror at the sound; , , Ulysses, so, from his moist lids let fall, The frequent tear.

Unnoticed by the rest Those drops, but not by King Alcinoüs, fell Who, seated at his side, his heavy sighs Remark'd, and the Phæacians thus bespake.

Phæacian Chiefs and Senators attend!

Now let Demodocus enjoin his harp Silence, for not alike grateful to all His music sounds; , , during our feast, and since   660 The bard divine began, continual flow The stranger's sorrows, by remembrance caused Of some great woe which wraps his soul around.

Then, let the bard suspend his song, that all (As most befits th' occasion) may rejoice, Both guest and hosts together; , , since we make This voyage, and these gifts confer, in proof Of hospitality and unfeign'd love, Judging, with all wise men, the stranger-guest And suppliant worthy of a brother's place.

  670 And thou conceal not, artfully reserv'd, What I shall ask, far better plain declared Than smother'd close; , , who art thou?

speak thy name, The name by which thy father, mother, friends And fellow-citizens, with all who dwell Around thy native city, in times past Have known thee; , , for of all things human none Lives altogether nameless, whether good Or whether bad, but ev'ry man receives Ev'n in the moment of his birth, a name.

   680 Thy country, people, city, tell; , , the mark At which my ships, intelligent, shall aim, That they may bear thee thither; , , for our ships No pilot need or helm, as ships are wont, But know, themselves, our purpose; , , know beside All cities, and all fruitful regions well Of all the earth, and with dark clouds involv'd Plough rapid the rough Deep, fearless of harm, (Whate'er betide) and of disast'rous wreck.

Yet thus, long since, my father I have heard   690 Nausithoüs speaking; , , Neptune, he would say, Is angry with us, for that safe we bear Strangers of ev'ry nation to their home; , , And he foretold a time when he would smite In vengeance some Phæacian gallant bark Returning after convoy of her charge, And fix her in the sable flood, transform'd Into a mountain, right before the town.

So spake my hoary Sire, which let the God At his own pleasure do, or leave undone.

   700 But tell me truth, and plainly.

Where have been Thy wand'rings?

in what regions of the earth Hast thou arrived?

what nations hast thou seen, What cities?

say, how many hast thou found Harsh, savage and unjust?

how many, kind To strangers, and disposed to fear the Gods?

Say also, from what secret grief of heart Thy sorrows flow, oft as thou hear'st the fate Of the Achaians, or of Ilium sung?

That fate the Gods prepared; , , they spin the thread  710 Of man's destruction, that in after days The bard may make the sad event his theme.

Perish'd thy father or thy brother there?

Or hast thou at the siege of Ilium lost Father-in-law, or son-in-law?

for such Are next and dearest to us after those Who share our own descent; , , or was the dead Thy bosom-friend, whose heart was as thy own?

For worthy as a brother of our love The constant friend and the discrete I deem.



[27] Agamemnon having inquired at Delphos, at what time the Trojan war would end, was answered that the conclusion of it should happen at a time when a dispute should arise between two of his principal commanders.

That dispute occurred at the time here alluded to, Achilles recommending force as most likely to reduce the city, and Ulysses stratagem.

[28] Τοισι δ' απο νυσοης τετατο δρομος --This expression is by the commentators generally understood to be significant of the effort which they made at starting, but it is not improbable that it relates merely to the measurement of the course, otherwise, καρπαλιμως επετοντο will be tautologous.

[29] In boxing.

[30] The Translator is indebted to Mr Grey for an epithet more expressive of the original (Μαρμαρυγας) than any other, perhaps, in all our language.

See the Ode on the Progress of Poetry.

"To brisk notes in cadence beating, Glance their -many-twinkling- feet"

[31] The original line has received such a variety of interpretations, that a Translator seems free to choose.

It has, however, a proverbial turn, which I have endeavoured to preserve, and have adopted the sense of the words which appears best to accord with what immediately follows.

Vulcan pleads his own inability to enforce the demand, as a circumstance that made Neptune's promise unacceptable.



Ulysses discovers himself to the Phæacians, and begins the history of his adventures.

He destroys Ismarus, city of the Ciconians; , , arrives among the Lotophagi; , , and afterwards at the land of the Cyclops.

He is imprisoned by Polypheme in his cave, who devours six of his companions; , , intoxicates the monster with wine, blinds him while he sleeps, and escapes from him.

Then answer, thus, Ulysses wise return'd.



illustrious above all Phæacia's sons, pleasant it is to hear A bard like this, sweet as the Gods in song.

The world, in my account, no sight affords More gratifying than a people blest With cheerfulness and peace, a palace throng'd With guests in order ranged, list'ning to sounds Melodious, and the steaming tables spread With plenteous viands, while the cups, with wine   10 From brimming beakers fill'd, pass brisk around.

No lovelier sight know I.

But thou, it seems, Thy thoughts hast turn'd to ask me whence my groans And tears, that I may sorrow still the more.

What first, what next, what last shall I rehearse, On whom the Gods have show'r'd such various woes?

Learn first my name, that even in this land Remote I may be known, and that escaped From all adversity, I may requite Hereafter, this your hospitable care    20 At my own home, however distant hence.

I am Ulysses, fear'd in all the earth For subtlest wisdom, and renown'd to heaven, The offspring of Laertes; , , my abode Is sun-burnt Ithaca; , , there waving stands The mountain Neritus his num'rous boughs, And it is neighbour'd close by clust'ring isles All populous; , , thence Samos is beheld, Dulichium, and Zacynthus forest-clad.

Flat on the Deep she lies, farthest removed   30 Toward the West, while, situate apart, Her sister islands face the rising day; , , Rugged she is, but fruitful nurse of sons Magnanimous; , , nor shall these eyes behold, Elsewhere, an object dear and sweet as she.

Calypso, beauteous Goddess, in her grot Detain'd me, wishing me her own espoused; , , Ææan Circe also, skill'd profound In potent arts, within her palace long Detain'd me, wishing me her own espoused; , ,    40 But never could they warp my constant mind.

So much our parents and our native soil Attract us most, even although our lot Be fair and plenteous in a foreign land.

But come --my painful voyage, such as Jove Gave me from Ilium, I will now relate.

From Troy the winds bore me to Ismarus, City of the Ciconians; , , them I slew, And laid their city waste; , , whence bringing forth Much spoil with all their wives, I portion'd it   50 With equal hand, and each received a share.

Next, I exhorted to immediate flight My people; , , but in vain; , , they madly scorn'd My sober counsel, and much wine they drank, And sheep and beeves slew num'rous on the shore.

Meantime, Ciconians to Ciconians call'd, Their neighbours summoning, a mightier host And braver, natives of the continent, Expert, on horses mounted, to maintain Fierce fight, or if occasion bade, on foot.

  60 Num'rous they came as leaves, or vernal flow'rs At day-spring.

Then, by the decree of Jove, Misfortune found us.

At the ships we stood Piercing each other with the brazen spear, And till the morning brighten'd into noon, Few as we were, we yet withstood them all; , , But, when the sun verged westward, then the Greeks Fell back, and the Ciconian host prevail'd.

Six warlike Greecians from each galley's crew Perish'd in that dread field; , , the rest escaped.

  70 Thus, after loss of many, we pursued Our course, yet, difficult as was our flight, Went not till first we had invoked by name Our friends, whom the Ciconians had destroy'd.

But cloud-assembler Jove assail'd us soon With a tempestuous North-wind; , , earth alike And sea with storms he overhung, and night Fell fast from heav'n.

Their heads deep-plunging oft Our gallies flew, and rent, and rent again Our tatter'd sail-cloth crackled in the wind.

  80 We, fearing instant death, within the barks Our canvas lodg'd, and, toiling strenuous, reach'd At length the continent.

Two nights we lay Continual there, and two long days, consumed With toil and grief; , , but when the beauteous morn Bright-hair'd, had brought the third day to a close, (Our masts erected, and white sails unfurl'd) Again we sat on board; , , meantime, the winds Well managed by the steersman, urged us on.

And now, all danger pass'd, I had attain'd   90 My native shore, but, doubling in my course Malea, waves and currents and North-winds Constrain'd me devious to Cythera's isle.

Nine days by cruel storms thence was I borne Athwart the fishy Deep, but on the tenth Reach'd the Lotophagi, a race sustain'd On sweetest fruit alone.

There quitting ship, We landed and drew water, and the crews Beside the vessels took their ev'ning cheer.

When, hasty, we had thus our strength renew'd,   100 I order'd forth my people to inquire (Two I selected from the rest, with whom I join'd an herald, third) what race of men Might there inhabit.

They, departing, mix'd With the Lotophagi; , , nor hostile aught Or savage the Lotophagi devised Against our friends, but offer'd to their taste The lotus; , , of which fruit what man soe'er Once tasted, no desire felt he to come With tidings back, or seek his country more,   110 But rather wish'd to feed on lotus still With the Lotophagi, and to renounce All thoughts of home.

Them, therefore, I constrain'd Weeping on board, and dragging each beneath The benches, bound him there.

Then, all in haste, I urged my people to ascend again Their hollow barks, lest others also, fed With fruit of lotus, should forget their home.

They quick embark'd, and on the benches ranged In order, thresh'd with oars the foamy flood.

  120 Thence, o'er the Deep proceeding sad, we reach'd The land at length, where, giant-sized[32] and free From all constraint of law, the Cyclops dwell.

They, trusting to the Gods, plant not, or plough, But earth unsow'd, untill'd, brings forth for them All fruits, wheat, barley, and the vinous grape Large cluster'd, nourish'd by the show'rs of Jove.

No councils they convene, no laws contrive, But in deep caverns dwell, found on the heads Of lofty mountains, judging each supreme    130 His wife and children, heedless of the rest.

In front of the Cyclopean haven lies A level island, not adjoining close Their land, nor yet remote, woody and rude.

There, wild goats breed numberless, by no foot Of man molested; , , never huntsman there, Inured to winter's cold and hunger, roams The dreary woods, or mountain-tops sublime; , , No fleecy flocks dwell there, nor plough is known, But the unseeded and unfurrow'd soil,    140 Year after year a wilderness by man Untrodden, food for blatant goats supplies.

For no ships crimson-prow'd the Cyclops own, Nor naval artizan is there, whose toil Might furnish them with oary barks, by which Subsists all distant commerce, and which bear Man o'er the Deep to cities far remote Who might improve the peopled isle, that seems Not steril in itself, but apt to yield, In their due season, fruits of ev'ry kind.

  150 For stretch'd beside the hoary ocean lie Green meadows moist, where vines would never fail; , , Light is the land, and they might yearly reap The tallest crops, so unctuous is the glebe.

Safe is its haven also, where no need Of cable is or anchor, or to lash The hawser fast ashore, but pushing in His bark, the mariner might there abide Till rising gales should tempt him forth again.

At bottom of the bay runs a clear stream    160 Issuing from a cove hemm'd all around With poplars; , , down into that bay we steer'd Amid the darkness of the night, some God Conducting us; , , for all unseen it lay, Such gloom involved the fleet, nor shone the moon From heav'n to light us, veil'd by pitchy clouds.

Hence, none the isle descried, nor any saw The lofty surge roll'd on the strand, or ere Our vessels struck the ground; , , but when they struck, Then, low'ring all our sails, we disembark'd,   170 And on the sea-beach slept till dawn appear'd.

Soon as Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Look'd rosy forth, we with admiring eyes The isle survey'd, roaming it wide around.

Meantime, the nymphs, Jove's daughters, roused the goats Bred on the mountains, to supply with food The partners of my toils; , , then, bringing forth Bows and long-pointed javelins from the ships, Divided all into three sep'rate bands We struck them, and the Gods gave us much prey.

  180 Twelve ships attended me, and ev'ry ship Nine goats received by lot; , , myself alone Selected ten.

All day, till set of sun, We eating sat goat's flesh, and drinking wine Delicious, without stint; , , for dearth was none Of ruddy wine on board, but much remain'd, With which my people had their jars supplied What time we sack'd Ciconian Ismarus.

Thence looking forth toward the neighbour-land Where dwell the Cyclops, rising smoke we saw,   190 And voices heard, their own, and of their flocks.

Now sank the sun, and (night o'ershadowing all) We slept along the shore; , , but when again The rosy-finger'd daughter of the dawn Look'd forth, my crews convened, I thus began.

Companions of my course!

here rest ye all, Save my own crew, with whom I will explore This people, whether wild, they be, unjust, And to contention giv'n, or well-disposed To strangers, and a race who fear the Gods.

  200 So speaking, I embark'd, and bade embark My followers, throwing, quick, the hawsers loose.

They, ent'ring at my word, the benches fill'd Well-ranged, and thresh'd with oars the foamy flood.

Attaining soon that neighbour-land, we found At its extremity, fast by the sea, A cavern, lofty, and dark-brow'd above With laurels; , , in that cavern slumb'ring lay Much cattle, sheep and goats, and a broad court Enclosed it, fenced with stones from quarries hewn,  210 With spiry firs, and oaks of ample bough.

Here dwelt a giant vast, who far remote His flocks fed solitary, converse none Desiring, sullen, savage, and unjust.

Monster, in truth, he was, hideous in form, Resembling less a man by Ceres' gift Sustain'd, than some aspiring mountain-crag Tufted with wood, and standing all alone.

Enjoining, then, my people to abide Fast by the ship which they should closely guard,  220 I went, but not without a goat-skin fill'd With sable wine which I had erst received From Maron, offspring of Evanthes, priest Of Phœbus guardian god of Ismarus, Because, through rev'rence of him, we had saved Himself, his wife and children; , , for he dwelt Amid the grove umbrageous of his God.

He gave me, therefore, noble gifts; , , from him Sev'n talents I received of beaten gold, A beaker, argent all, and after these    230 No fewer than twelve jars with wine replete, Rich, unadult'rate, drink for Gods; , , nor knew One servant, male or female, of that wine In all his house; , , none knew it, save himself, His wife, and the intendant of his stores.

Oft as they drank that luscious juice, he slaked A single cup with twenty from the stream, And, even then, the beaker breath'd abroad A scent celestial, which whoever smelt, Thenceforth no pleasure found it to abstain.

  240 Charged with an ample goat-skin of this wine I went, and with a wallet well supplied, But felt a sudden presage in my soul That, haply, with terrific force endued, Some savage would appear, strange to the laws And privileges of the human race.

Few steps convey'd us to his den, but him We found not; , , he his flocks pastur'd abroad.

His cavern ent'ring, we with wonder gazed Around on all; , , his strainers hung with cheese   250 Distended wide; , , with lambs and kids his penns Close-throng'd we saw, and folded separate The various charge; , , the eldest all apart, Apart the middle-aged, and the new-yean'd Also apart.

His pails and bowls with whey Swam all, neat vessels into which he milk'd.

Me then my friends first importuned to take A portion of his cheeses, then to drive Forth from the sheep-cotes to the rapid bark His kids and lambs, and plow the brine again.

  260 But me they moved not, happier had they moved!

I wish'd to see him, and to gain, perchance, Some pledge of hospitality at his hands, Whose form was such, as should not much bespeak When he appear'd, our confidence or love.

Then, kindling fire, we offer'd to the Gods, And of his cheeses eating, patient sat Till home he trudged from pasture.

Charged he came With dry wood bundled, an enormous load Fuel by which to sup.

Loud crash'd the thorns   270 Which down he cast before the cavern's mouth, To whose interior nooks we trembling flew.

At once he drove into his spacious cave His batten'd flock, all those which gave him milk, But all the males, both rams and goats, he left Abroad, excluded from the cavern-yard.

Upheaving, next, a rocky barrier huge To his cave's mouth, he thrust it home.

That weight Not all the oxen from its place had moved Of twenty and two wains; , , with such a rock   280 Immense his den he closed.

Then down he sat, And as he milk'd his ewes and bleating goats All in their turns, her yeanling gave to each; , , Coagulating, then, with brisk dispatch, The half of his new milk, he thrust the curd Into his wicker sieves, but stored the rest In pans and bowls --his customary drink.

His labours thus perform'd, he kindled, last, His fuel, and discerning -us-, enquired, Who are ye, strangers?

from what distant shore   290 Roam ye the waters?

traffic ye?

or bound To no one port, wander, as pirates use, At large the Deep, exposing life themselves, And enemies of all mankind beside?

He ceased; , , we, dash'd with terrour, heard the growl Of his big voice, and view'd his form uncouth, To whom, though sore appall'd, I thus replied.

Of Greece are we, and, bound from Ilium home, Have wander'd wide the expanse of ocean, sport For ev'ry wind, and driven from our course,   300 Have here arrived; , , so stood the will of Jove.

We boast ourselves of Agamemnon's train, The son of Atreus, at this hour the Chief Beyond all others under heav'n renown'd, So great a city he hath sack'd and slain Such num'rous foes; , , but since we reach, at last, Thy knees, we beg such hospitable fare, Or other gift, as guests are wont to obtain.

Illustrious lord!

respect the Gods, and us Thy suitors; , , suppliants are the care of Jove   310 The hospitable; , , he their wrongs resents And where the stranger sojourns, there is he.

I ceas'd, when answer thus he, fierce, return'd.


either thou art fool, or hast arrived Indeed from far, who bidd'st me fear the Gods Lest they be wroth.

The Cyclops little heeds Jove Ægis-arm'd, or all the Pow'rs of heav'n.

Our race is mightier far; , , nor shall myself, Through fear of Jove's hostility, abstain From thee or thine, unless my choice be such.

  320 But tell me now.

Where touch'd thy gallant bark Our country, on thy first arrival here?

Remote or nigh?

for I would learn the truth.

So spake he, tempting me; , , but, artful, thus I answer'd, penetrating his intent.

My vessel, Neptune, Shaker of the shores, At yonder utmost promontory dash'd In pieces, hurling her against the rocks With winds that blew right thither from the sea, And I, with these alone, escaped alive.

   330 So I, to whom, relentless, answer none He deign'd, but, with his arms extended, sprang Toward my people, of whom seizing two At once, like whelps against his cavern-floor He dash'd them, and their brains spread on the ground.

These, piece-meal hewn, for supper he prepared, And, like a mountain-lion, neither flesh Nor entrails left, nor yet their marrowy bones.

We, viewing that tremendous sight, upraised Our hands to Jove, all hope and courage lost.

  340 When thus the Cyclops had with human flesh Fill'd his capacious belly, and had quaff'd Much undiluted milk, among his flocks Out-stretch'd immense, he press'd his cavern-floor.

Me, then, my courage prompted to approach The monster with my sword drawn from the sheath, And to transfix him where the vitals wrap The liver; , , but maturer thoughts forbad.

For so, we also had incurred a death Tremendous, wanting pow'r to thrust aside   350 The rocky mass that closed his cavern-mouth By force of hand alone.

Thus many a sigh Heaving, we watch'd the dawn.

But when, at length, Aurora, day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd Look'd forth, then, kindling fire, his flocks he milk'd In order, and her yeanling kid or lamb Thrust under each.

When thus he had perform'd His wonted task, two seizing, as before, He slew them for his next obscene regale.

His dinner ended, from the cave he drove    360 His fatted flocks abroad, moving with ease That pond'rous barrier, and replacing it As he had only closed a quiver's lid.

Then, hissing them along, he drove his flocks Toward the mountain, and me left, the while, Deep ruminating how I best might take Vengeance, and by the aid of Pallas win Deathless renown.

This counsel pleas'd me most.

Beside the sheep-cote lay a massy club Hewn by the Cyclops from an olive stock,    370 Green, but which dried, should serve him for a staff.

To us consid'ring it, that staff appear'd Tall as the mast of a huge trading bark, Impell'd by twenty rowers o'er the Deep.

Such seem'd its length to us, and such its bulk.

Part amputating, (an whole fathom's length) I gave my men that portion, with command To shave it smooth.

They smooth'd it, and myself, Shaping its blunt extremity to a point, Season'd it in the fire; , , then cov'ring close   380 The weapon, hid it under litter'd straw, For much lay scatter'd on the cavern-floor.

And now I bade my people cast the lot Who of us all should take the pointed brand, And grind it in his eye when next he slept.

The lots were cast, and four were chosen, those Whom most I wish'd, and I was chosen fifth.

At even-tide he came, his fleecy flocks Pasturing homeward, and compell'd them all Into his cavern, leaving none abroad,    390 Either through some surmise, or so inclined By influence, haply, of the Gods themselves.

The huge rock pull'd into its place again At the cave's mouth, he, sitting, milk'd his sheep And goats in order, and her kid or lamb Thrust under each; , , thus, all his work dispatch'd, Two more he seiz'd, and to his supper fell.

I then, approaching to him, thus address'd The Cyclops, holding in my hands a cup Of ivy-wood, well-charg'd with ruddy wine.

  400 Lo, Cyclops!

this is wine.

Take this and drink After thy meal of man's flesh.

Taste and learn What precious liquor our lost vessel bore.

I brought it hither, purposing to make Libation to thee, if to pity inclined Thou would'st dismiss us home.

But, ah, thy rage Is insupportable!

thou cruel one!

Who, thinkest thou, of all mankind, henceforth Will visit -thee-, guilty of such excess?

I ceas'd.

He took and drank, and hugely pleas'd[33]  410 With that delicious bev'rage, thus enquir'd.

Give me again, and spare not.

Tell me, too, Thy name, incontinent, that I may make Requital, gratifying also thee With somewhat to thy taste.

We Cyclops own A bounteous soil, which yields -us- also wine From clusters large, nourish'd by show'rs from Jove; , , But this --this is from above --a stream Of nectar and ambrosia, all divine!

He ended, and received a second draught,   420 Like measure.

Thrice I bore it to his hand, And, foolish, thrice he drank.

But when the fumes Began to play around the Cyclops' brain, With show of amity I thus replied.


thou hast my noble name enquired, Which I will tell thee.

Give me, in return, The promised boon, some hospitable pledge.

My name is Outis, [34] Outis I am call'd At home, abroad; , , wherever I am known.

So I; , , to whom he, savage, thus replied.

  430 Outis, when I have eaten all his friends, Shall be my last regale.

Be that thy boon.

He spake, and, downward sway'd, fell resupine, With his huge neck aslant.

All-conqu'ring sleep Soon seized him.

From his gullet gush'd the wine With human morsels mingled, many a blast Sonorous issuing from his glutted maw.

Then, thrusting far the spike of olive-wood Into the embers glowing on the hearth, I heated it, and cheer'd my friends, the while,   440 Lest any should, through fear, shrink from his part.

But when that stake of olive-wood, though green, Should soon have flamed, for it was glowing hot, I bore it to his side.

Then all my aids Around me gather'd, and the Gods infused Heroic fortitude into our hearts.

They, seizing the hot stake rasp'd to a point, Bored his eye with it, and myself, advanced To a superior stand, twirled it about.

As when a shipwright with his wimble bores   450 Tough oaken timber, placed on either side Below, his fellow-artists strain the thong Alternate, and the restless iron spins, So, grasping hard the stake pointed with fire, We twirl'd it in his eye; , , the bubbling blood Boil'd round about the brand; , , his pupil sent A scalding vapour forth that sing'd his brow, And all his eye-roots crackled in the flame.

As when the smith an hatchet or large axe Temp'ring with skill, plunges the hissing blade   460 Deep in cold water, (whence the strength of steel) So hiss'd his eye around the olive-wood.

The howling monster with his outcry fill'd The hollow rock, and I, with all my aids, Fled terrified.

He, plucking forth the spike From his burnt socket, mad with anguish, cast The implement all bloody far away.

Then, bellowing, he sounded forth the name Of ev'ry Cyclops dwelling in the caves Around him, on the wind-swept mountain-tops; , ,   470 They, at his cry flocking from ev'ry part, Circled his den, and of his ail enquired.

What grievous hurt hath caused thee, Polypheme!

Thus yelling to alarm the peaceful ear Of night, and break our slumbers?

Fear'st thou lest Some mortal man drive off thy flocks?

or fear'st Thyself to die by cunning or by force?

Them answer'd, then, Polypheme from his cave.

Oh, friends!

I die!

and Outis gives the blow.

To whom with accents wing'd his friends without.

 480 If no man[35] harm thee, but thou art alone, And sickness feel'st, it is the stroke of Jove, And thou must bear it; , , yet invoke for aid Thy father Neptune, Sovereign of the floods.

So saying, they went, and in my heart I laugh'd That by the fiction only of a name, Slight stratagem!

I had deceived them all.

Then groan'd the Cyclops wrung with pain and grief, And, fumbling, with stretch'd hands, removed the rock From his cave's mouth, which done, he sat him down  490 Spreading his arms athwart the pass, to stop Our egress with his flocks abroad; , , so dull, It seems, he held me, and so ill-advised.

I, pondering what means might fittest prove To save from instant death, (if save I might) My people and myself, to ev'ry shift Inclined, and various counsels framed, as one Who strove for life, conscious of woe at hand.

To me, thus meditating, this appear'd The likeliest course.

The rams well-thriven were,  500 Thick-fleeced, full-sized, with wool of sable hue.

These, silently, with osier twigs on which The Cyclops, hideous monster, slept, I bound, Three in one leash; , , the intermediate rams Bore each a man, whom the exterior two Preserved, concealing him on either side.

Thus each was borne by three, and I, at last, The curl'd back seizing of a ram, (for one I had reserv'd far stateliest of them all) Slipp'd underneath his belly, and both hands   510 Enfolding fast in his exub'rant fleece, Clung ceaseless to him as I lay supine.

We, thus disposed, waited with many a sigh The sacred dawn; , , but when, at length, aris'n, Aurora, day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd Again appear'd, the males of all his flocks Rush'd forth to pasture, and, meantime, unmilk'd, The wethers bleated, by the load distress'd Of udders overcharged.

Their master, rack'd With pain intolerable, handled yet    520 The backs of all, inquisitive, as they stood, But, gross of intellect, suspicion none Conceiv'd of men beneath their bodies bound.

And now (none left beside) the ram approach'd With his own wool burthen'd, and with myself, Whom many a fear molested.

Polypheme The giant stroak'd him as he sat, and said, My darling ram!

why latest of the flock Com'st thou, whom never, heretofore, my sheep Could leave behind, but stalking at their head,   530 Thou first was wont to crop the tender grass, First to arrive at the clear stream, and first With ready will to seek my sheep-cote here At evening; , , but, thy practice chang'd, thou com'st, Now last of all.

Feel'st thou regret, my ram!

Of thy poor master's eye, by a vile wretch Bored out, who overcame me first with wine, And by a crew of vagabonds accurs'd, Followers of Outis, whose escape from death Shall not be made to-day?


that thy heart   540 Were as my own, and that distinct as I Thou could'st articulate, so should'st thou tell, Where hidden, he eludes my furious wrath.

Then, dash'd against the floor his spatter'd brain Should fly, and I should lighter feel my harm From Outis, wretch base-named and nothing-worth.

So saying, he left him to pursue the flock.

When, thus drawn forth, we had, at length, escaped Few paces from the cavern and the court, First, quitting my own ram, I loos'd my friends,   550 Then, turning seaward many a thriven ewe Sharp-hoof'd, we drove them swiftly to the ship.

Thrice welcome to our faithful friends we came From death escaped, but much they mourn'd the dead.

I suffer'd not their tears, but silent shook My brows, by signs commanding them to lift The sheep on board, and instant plow the main.

They, quick embarking, on the benches sat Well ranged, and thresh'd with oars the foamy flood; , , But distant now such length as a loud voice   560 May reach, I hail'd with taunts the Cyclops' ear.


when thou devouredst in thy cave With brutal force my followers, thou devour'dst The followers of no timid Chief, or base, Vengeance was sure to recompense that deed Atrocious.


who wast not afraid To eat the guest shelter'd beneath thy roof!

Therefore the Gods have well requited thee.

I ended; , , he, exasp'rate, raged the more, And rending from its hold a mountain-top,   570 Hurl'd it toward us; , , at our vessel's stern Down came the mass, nigh sweeping in its fall The rudder's head.

The ocean at the plunge Of that huge rock, high on its refluent flood Heav'd, irresistible, the ship to land.

I seizing, quick, our longest pole on board, Back thrust her from the coast and by a nod In silence given, bade my companions ply Strenuous their oars, that so we might escape.

Procumbent, [36] each obey'd, and when, the flood   580 Cleaving, we twice that distance had obtain'd, [37] Again I hail'd the Cyclops; , , but my friends Earnest dissuaded me on ev'ry side.

Ah, rash Ulysses!

why with taunts provoke The savage more, who hath this moment hurl'd A weapon, such as heav'd the ship again To land, where death seem'd certain to us all?

For had he heard a cry, or but the voice Of one man speaking, he had all our heads With some sharp rock, and all our timbers crush'd  590 Together, such vast force is in his arm.

So they, but my courageous heart remain'd Unmoved, and thus again, incensed, I spake.


should any mortal man inquire To whom thy shameful loss of sight thou ow'st, Say, to Ulysses, city-waster Chief, Laertes' son, native of Ithaca.

I ceas'd, and with a groan thus he replied.

Ah me!

an antient oracle I feel Accomplish'd.

Here abode a prophet erst,    600 A man of noblest form, and in his art Unrivall'd, Telemus Eurymedes.

He, prophesying to the Cyclops-race, Grew old among us, and presaged my loss Of sight, in future, by Ulysses' hand.

I therefore watch'd for the arrival here, Always, of some great Chief, for stature, bulk And beauty prais'd, and cloath'd with wond'rous might.

But now --a dwarf, a thing impalpable, A shadow, overcame me first by wine,    610 Then quench'd my sight.

Come hither, O my guest!

Return, Ulysses!

hospitable cheer Awaits thee, and my pray'rs I will prefer To glorious Neptune for thy prosp'rous course; , , For I am Neptune's offspring, and the God Is proud to be my Sire; , , he, if he please, And he alone can heal me; , , none beside Of Pow'rs immortal, or of men below.

He spake, to whom I answer thus return'd.

I would that of thy life and soul amerced,   620 I could as sure dismiss thee down to Hell, As none shall heal thine eye --not even He.

So I; , , then pray'd the Cyclops to his Sire With hands uprais'd towards the starry heav'n.

Hear, Earth-encircler Neptune, azure-hair'd!

If I indeed am thine, and if thou boast Thyself my father, grant that never more Ulysses, leveller of hostile tow'rs, Laertes' son, of Ithaca the fair, Behold his native home!

but if his fate    630 Decree him yet to see his friends, his house, His native country, let him deep distress'd Return and late, all his companions lost, Indebted for a ship to foreign aid, And let affliction meet him at his door.

He spake, and Ocean's sov'reign heard his pray'r.

Then lifting from the shore a stone of size Far more enormous, o'er his head he whirl'd The rock, and his immeasurable force Exerting all, dismiss'd it.

Close behind    640 The ship, nor distant from the rudder's head, Down came the mass.

The ocean at the plunge Of such a weight, high on its refluent flood Tumultuous, heaved the bark well nigh to land.

But when we reach'd the isle where we had left Our num'rous barks, and where my people sat Watching with ceaseless sorrow our return, We thrust our vessel to the sandy shore, Then disembark'd, and of the Cyclops' sheep Gave equal share to all.

To me alone    650 My fellow-voyagers the ram consign'd In distribution, my peculiar meed.

Him, therefore, to cloud-girt Saturnian Jove I offer'd on the shore, burning his thighs In sacrifice; , , but Jove my hallow'd rites Reck'd not, destruction purposing to all My barks, and all my followers o'er the Deep.

Thus, feasting largely, on the shore we sat Till even-tide, and quaffing gen'rous wine; , , But when day fail'd, and night o'ershadow'd all,   660 Then, on the shore we slept; , , and when again Aurora rosy daughter of the Dawn, Look'd forth, my people, anxious, I enjoin'd To climb their barks, and cast the hawsers loose.

They all obedient, took their seats on board Well-ranged, and thresh'd with oars the foamy flood.

Thus, 'scaping narrowly, we roam'd the Deep With aching hearts and with diminish'd crews.


[32] So the Scholium interprets in this place, the word ὑπερθιαλος.

[33] Λινως

[34] Clarke, who has preserved this name in his marginal version, contends strenuously, and with great reason, that Outis ought not to be translated, and in a passage which he quotes from the -Acta eruditorum-, we see much fault found with Giphanius and other interpreters of Homer for having translated it.

It is certain that in Homer the word is declined not as ουτις-τινος which signifies no man, but as ουτις-τιδος making ουτιν in the accusative, consequently as a proper name.

It is sufficient that the ambiguity was such as to deceive the friends of the Cyclops.

Outis is said by some (perhaps absurdly) to have been a name given to Ulysses on account of his having larger ears than common.

[35] Outis, as a -name- could only denote him who bore it; , , but as a -noun-, it signifies -no man-, which accounts sufficiently for the ludicrous mistake of his brethren.

[36] προπεσοντες  -- -- --Olli certamine summo Procumbunt.


[37] The seeming incongruity of this line with line 560, is reconciled by supposing that Ulysses exerted his voice, naturally loud, in an extraordinary manner on this second occasion.

See Clarke.



Ulysses, in pursuit of his narrative, relates his arrival at the island of Æolus, his departure thence, and the unhappy occasion of his return thither.

The monarch of the winds dismisses him at last with much asperity.

He next tells of his arrival among the Læstrygonians, by whom his whole fleet, together with their crews, are destroyed, his own ship and crew excepted.

Thence he is driven to the island of Circe.

By her the half of his people are transformed into swine.

Assisted by Mercury, he resists her enchantments himself, and prevails with the Goddess to recover them to their former shape.

In consequence of Circe's instructions, after having spent a complete year in her palace, he prepares for a voyage to the infernal regions.

We came to the Æolian isle; , , there dwells Æolus, son of Hippotas, belov'd By the Immortals, in an isle afloat.

A brazen wall impregnable on all sides Girds it, and smooth its rocky coast ascends.

His children, in his own fair palace born, Are twelve; , , six daughters, and six blooming sons.

He gave his daughters to his sons to wife; , , They with their father hold perpetual feast And with their royal mother, still supplied   10 With dainties numberless; , , the sounding dome Is fill'd with sav'ry odours all the day, And with their consorts chaste at night they sleep On stateliest couches with rich arras spread.

Their city and their splendid courts we reach'd.

A month complete he, friendly, at his board Regaled me, and enquiry made minute Of Ilium's fall, of the Achaian fleet, And of our voyage thence.

I told him all.

But now, desirous to embark again,    20 I ask'd dismission home, which he approved, And well provided for my prosp'rous course.

He gave me, furnish'd by a bullock slay'd In his ninth year, a bag; , , ev'ry rude blast Which from its bottom turns the Deep, that bag Imprison'd held; , , for him Saturnian Jove Hath officed arbiter of all the winds, To rouse their force or calm them, at his will.

He gave me them on board my bark, so bound With silver twine that not a breath escaped,   30 Then order'd gentle Zephyrus to fill Our sails propitious.

Order vain, alas!

So fatal proved the folly of my friends.

Nine days continual, night and day we sail'd, And on the tenth my native land appear'd.

Not far remote my Ithacans I saw Fires kindling on the coast; , , but me with toil Worn, and with watching, gentle sleep subdued; , , For constant I had ruled the helm, nor giv'n That charge to any, fearful of delay.

   40 Then, in close conference combined, my crew Each other thus bespake --He carries home Silver and gold from Æolus received, Offspring of Hippotas, illustrious Chief -- And thus a mariner the rest harangued.

Ye Gods!

what city or what land soe'er Ulysses visits, how is he belov'd By all, and honour'd!

many precious spoils He homeward bears from Troy; , , but we return, (We who the self-same voyage have perform'd)   50 With empty hands.

Now also he hath gain'd This pledge of friendship from the King of winds.

But come --be quick --search we the bag, and learn What stores of gold and silver it contains.

So he, whose mischievous advice prevailed.

They loos'd the bag; , , forth issued all the winds, And, caught by tempests o'er the billowy waste, Weeping they flew, far, far from Ithaca.

I then, awaking, in my noble mind Stood doubtful, whether from my vessel's side   60 Immersed to perish in the flood, or calm To endure my sorrows, and content to live.

I calm endured them; , , but around my head Winding my mantle, lay'd me down below, While adverse blasts bore all my fleet again To the Æolian isle; , , then groan'd my people.

We disembark'd and drew fresh water there, And my companions, at their galley's sides All seated, took repast; , , short meal we made, When, with an herald and a chosen friend,    70 I sought once more the hall of Æolus.

Him banqueting with all his sons we found, And with his spouse; , , we ent'ring, on the floor Of his wide portal sat, whom they amazed Beheld, and of our coming thus enquired.



by what adverse Pow'r Repuls'd hast thou arrived?

we sent thee hence Well-fitted forth to reach thy native isle, Thy palace, or what place soe'er thou would'st.

So they --to whom, heart-broken, I replied.

  80 My worthless crew have wrong'd me, nor alone My worthless crew, but sleep ill-timed, as much.

Yet heal, O friends, my hurt; , , the pow'r is yours!

So I their favour woo'd.

Mute sat the sons, But thus their father answer'd.

Hence --be gone -- Leave this our isle, thou most obnoxious wretch Of all mankind.

I should, myself, transgress, Receiving here, and giving conduct hence To one detested by the Gods as thou.

Away --for hated by the Gods thou com'st.

   90 So saying, he sent me from his palace forth, Groaning profound; , , thence, therefore, o'er the Deep We still proceeded sorrowful, our force Exhausting ceaseless at the toilsome oar, And, through our own imprudence, hopeless now Of other furth'rance to our native isle.

Six days we navigated, day and night, The briny flood, and on the seventh reach'd The city erst by Lamus built sublime, Proud Læstrygonia, with the distant gates.

  100 The herdsman, there, driving his cattle home, [38] Summons the shepherd with his flocks abroad.

The sleepless there might double wages earn, Attending, now, the herds, now, tending sheep, For the night-pastures, and the pastures grazed By day, close border, both, the city-walls.

To that illustrious port we came, by rocks Uninterrupted flank'd on either side Of tow'ring height, while prominent the shores And bold, converging at the haven's mouth   110 Leave narrow pass.

We push'd our galleys in, Then moor'd them side by side; , , for never surge There lifts its head, or great or small, but clear We found, and motionless, the shelter'd flood.

Myself alone, staying my bark without, Secured her well with hawsers to a rock At the land's point, then climb'd the rugged steep, And spying stood the country.

Labours none Of men or oxen in the land appear'd, Nor aught beside saw we, but from the earth   120 Smoke rising; , , therefore of my friends I sent Before me two, adding an herald third, To learn what race of men that country fed.

Departing, they an even track pursued Made by the waggons bringing timber down From the high mountains to the town below.

Before the town a virgin bearing forth Her ew'r they met, daughter of him who ruled The Læstrygonian race, Antiphatas.

Descending from the gate, she sought the fount   130 Artacia; , , for their custom was to draw From that pure fountain for the city's use.

Approaching they accosted her, and ask'd What King reign'd there, and over whom he reign'd.

She gave them soon to know where stood sublime The palace of her Sire; , , no sooner they The palace enter'd, than within they found, In size resembling an huge mountain-top, A woman, whom they shudder'd to behold.

She forth from council summon'd quick her spouse   140 Antiphatas, who teeming came with thoughts Of carnage, and, arriving, seized at once A Greecian, whom, next moment, he devoured.

With headlong terrour the surviving two Fled to the ships.

Then sent Antiphatas His voice through all the town, and on all sides, Hearing that cry, the Læstrygonians flock'd Numberless, and in size resembling more The giants than mankind.

They from the rocks Cast down into our fleet enormous stones,   150 A strong man's burthen each; , , dire din arose Of shatter'd galleys and of dying men, Whom spear'd like fishes to their home they bore, A loathsome prey.

While them within the port They slaughter'd, I, (the faulchion at my side Drawn forth) cut loose the hawser of my ship, And all my crew enjoin'd with bosoms laid Prone on their oars, to fly the threaten'd woe.

They, dreading instant death tugg'd resupine Together, and the galley from beneath    160 Those beetling[39] rocks into the open sea Shot gladly; , , but the rest all perish'd there.

Proceeding thence, we sigh'd, and roamed the waves, Glad that we lived, but sorrowing for the slain.

We came to the Ææan isle; , , there dwelt The awful Circe, Goddess amber-hair'd, Deep-skill'd in magic song, sister by birth Of the all-wise Æætes; , , them the Sun, Bright luminary of the world, begat On Perse, daughter of Oceanus.

    170 Our vessel there, noiseless, we push'd to land Within a spacious haven, thither led By some celestial Pow'r.

We disembark'd, And on the coast two days and nights entire Extended lay, worn with long toil, and each The victim of his heart-devouring woes.

Then, with my spear and with my faulchion arm'd, I left the ship to climb with hasty steps An airy height, thence, hoping to espie Some works of man, or hear, perchance, a voice.

  180 Exalted on a rough rock's craggy point I stood, and on the distant plain, beheld Smoke which from Circe's palace through the gloom Of trees and thickets rose.

That smoke discern'd, I ponder'd next if thither I should haste, Seeking intelligence.

Long time I mused, But chose at last, as my discreter course, To seek the sea-beach and my bark again, And, when my crew had eaten, to dispatch Before me, others, who should first enquire.

  190 But, ere I yet had reach'd my gallant bark, Some God with pity viewing me alone In that untrodden solitude, sent forth An antler'd stag, full-sized, into my path.

His woodland pastures left, he sought the stream, For he was thirsty, and already parch'd By the sun's heat.

Him issuing from his haunt, Sheer through the back beneath his middle spine, I wounded, and the lance sprang forth beyond.

Moaning he fell, and in the dust expired.

  200 Then, treading on his breathless trunk, I pluck'd My weapon forth, which leaving there reclined, I tore away the osiers with my hands And fallows green, and to a fathom's length Twisting the gather'd twigs into a band, Bound fast the feet of my enormous prey, And, flinging him athwart my neck, repair'd Toward my sable bark, propp'd on my lance, Which now to carry shoulder'd as before Surpass'd my pow'r, so bulky was the load.

  210 Arriving at the ship, there I let fall My burthen, and with pleasant speech and kind, Man after man addressing, cheer'd my crew.

My friends!

we suffer much, but shall not seek The shades, ere yet our destined hour arrive.

Behold a feast!

and we have wine on board -- Pine not with needless famine!

rise and eat.

I spake; , , they readily obey'd, and each Issuing at my word abroad, beside The galley stood, admiring, as he lay,    220 The stag, for of no common bulk was he.

At length, their eyes gratified to the full With that glad spectacle, they laved their hands, And preparation made of noble cheer.

That day complete, till set of sun, we spent Feasting deliciously without restraint, And quaffing generous wine; , , but when the sun Went down, and darkness overshadow'd all, Extended, then, on Ocean's bank we lay; , , And when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,    230 Look'd rosy forth, convening all my crew To council, I arose, and thus began.

My fellow-voyagers, however worn With num'rous hardships, hear!

for neither West Know ye, nor East, where rises, or where sets The all-enlight'ning sun.

But let us think, If thought perchance may profit us, of which Small hope I see; , , for when I lately climb'd Yon craggy rock, plainly I could discern The land encompass'd by the boundless Deep.

  240 The isle is flat, and in the midst I saw Dun smoke ascending from an oaken bow'r.

So I, whom hearing, they all courage lost, And at remembrance of Antiphatas The Læstrygonian, and the Cyclops' deeds, Ferocious feeder on the flesh of man, Mourn'd loud and wept, but tears could nought avail.

Then numb'ring man by man, I parted them In equal portions, and assign'd a Chief To either band, myself to these, to those   250 Godlike Eurylochus.

This done, we cast The lots into the helmet, and at once Forth sprang the lot of bold Eurylochus.

He went, and with him of my people march'd Twenty and two, all weeping; , , nor ourselves Wept less, at separation from our friends.

Low in a vale, but on an open spot, They found the splendid house of Circe, built With hewn and polish'd stones; , , compass'd she dwelt By lions on all sides and mountain-wolves   260 Tamed by herself with drugs of noxious pow'rs.

Nor were they mischievous, but as my friends Approach'd, arising on their hinder feet, Paw'd them in blandishment, and wagg'd the tail.

As, when from feast he rises, dogs around Their master fawn, accustom'd to receive The sop conciliatory from his hand, Around my people, so, those talon'd wolves And lions fawn'd.

They, terrified, that troop Of savage monsters horrible beheld.

   270 And now, before the Goddess' gates arrived, They heard the voice of Circe singing sweet Within, while, busied at the loom, she wove An ample web immortal, such a work Transparent, graceful, and of bright design As hands of Goddesses alone produce.

Thus then Polites, Prince of men, the friend Highest in my esteem, the rest bespake.

Ye hear the voice, comrades, of one who weaves An ample web within, and at her task    280 So sweetly chaunts that all the marble floor Re-echoes; , , human be she or divine I doubt, but let us call, that we may learn.

He ceas'd; , , they call'd; , , soon issuing at the sound, The Goddess open'd wide her splendid gates, And bade them in; , , they, heedless, all complied, All save Eurylochus, who fear'd a snare.

She, introducing them, conducted each To a bright throne, then gave them Pramnian wine, With grated cheese, pure meal, and honey new,   290 But medicated with her pois'nous drugs Their food, that in oblivion they might lose The wish of home.

She gave them, and they drank, -- When, smiting each with her enchanting wand, She shut them in her sties.

In head, in voice, In body, and in bristles they became All swine, yet intellected as before, And at her hand were dieted alone With acorns, chestnuts, and the cornel-fruit, Food grateful ever to the grovelling swine.

  300 Back flew Eurylochus toward the ship, To tell the woeful tale; , , struggling to speak, Yet speechless, there he stood, his heart transfixt With anguish, and his eyes deluged with tears.

Me boding terrours occupied.

At length, When, gazing on him, all had oft enquired, He thus rehearsed to us the dreadful change.

Renown'd Ulysses!

as thou bad'st, we went Through yonder oaks; , , there, bosom'd in a vale, But built conspicuous on a swelling knoll   310 With polish'd rock, we found a stately dome.

Within, some Goddess or some woman wove An ample web, carolling sweet the while.

They call'd aloud; , , she, issuing at the voice, Unfolded, soon, her splendid portals wide, And bade them in.

Heedless they enter'd, all, But I remain'd, suspicious of a snare.

Ere long the whole band vanish'd, none I saw Thenceforth, though, seated there, long time I watch'd.

He ended; , , I my studded faulchion huge    320 Athwart my shoulder cast, and seized my bow, Then bade him lead me thither by the way Himself had gone; , , but with both hands my knees He clasp'd, and in wing'd accents sad exclaim'd.

My King!

ah lead me not unwilling back, But leave me here; , , for confident I judge That neither thou wilt bring another thence, Nor come thyself again.

Haste --fly we swift With these, for we, at least, may yet escape.

So he, to whom this answer I return'd.

   330 Eurylochus!

abiding here, eat thou And drink thy fill beside the sable bark; , , I go; , , necessity forbids my stay.

So saying, I left the galley and the shore.

But ere that awful vale ent'ring, I reach'd The palace of the sorceress, a God Met me, the bearer of the golden wand, Hermes.

He seem'd a stripling in his prime, His cheeks cloath'd only with their earliest down, For youth is then most graceful; , , fast he lock'd   340 His hand in mine, and thus, familiar, spake.


whither, wand'ring o'er the hills, Stranger to all this region, and alone, Go'st thou?

Thy people --they within the walls Are shut of Circe, where as swine close-pent She keeps them.

Comest thou to set them free?

I tell thee, never wilt thou thence return Thyself, but wilt be prison'd with the rest.

Yet hearken --I will disappoint her wiles, And will preserve thee.

Take this precious drug; , ,   350 Possessing this, enter the Goddess' house Boldly, for it shall save thy life from harm.


I reveal to thee the cruel arts Of Circe; , , learn them.

She will mix for thee A potion, and will also drug thy food With noxious herbs; , , but she shall not prevail By all her pow'r to change thee; , , for the force Superior of this noble plant, my gift, Shall baffle her.

Hear still what I advise.

When she shall smite thee with her slender rod,   360 With faulchion drawn and with death-threat'ning looks Rush on her; , , she will bid thee to her bed Affrighted; , , then beware.

Decline not thou Her love, that she may both release thy friends, And may with kindness entertain thyself.

But force her swear the dreaded oath of heav'n That she will other mischief none devise Against thee, lest she strip thee of thy might, And, quenching all thy virtue, make thee vile.

So spake the Argicide, and from the earth   370 That plant extracting, placed it in my hand, Then taught me all its pow'rs.

Black was the root, Milk-white the blossom; , , Moly is its name In heav'n; , , not easily by mortal man Dug forth, but all is easy to the Gods.

Then, Hermes through the island-woods repair'd To heav'n, and I to Circe's dread abode, In gloomy musings busied as I went.

Within the vestibule arrived, where dwelt The beauteous Goddess, staying there my steps,   380 I call'd aloud; , , she heard me, and at once Issuing, threw her splendid portals wide, And bade me in.

I follow'd, heart-distress'd.

Leading me by the hand to a bright throne With argent studs embellish'd, and beneath Footstool'd magnificent, she made me sit.

Then mingling for me in a golden cup My bev'rage, she infused a drug, intent On mischief; , , but when I had drunk the draught Unchanged, she smote me with her wand, and said.

  390 Hence --seek the sty.

There wallow with thy friends.

She spake; , , I drawing from beside my thigh My faulchion keen, with death-denouncing looks Rush'd on her; , , she with a shrill scream of fear Ran under my rais'd arm, seized fast my knees, And in wing'd accents plaintive thus began.



thy city and thy birth declare.

Amazed I see thee with that potion drench'd, Yet uninchanted; , , never man before Once pass'd it through his lips, and liv'd the same; , ,  400 But in thy breast a mind inhabits, proof Against all charms.

Come then --I know thee well.

Thou art Ulysses artifice-renown'd, Of whose arrival here in his return From Ilium, Hermes of the golden wand Was ever wont to tell me.

Sheath again Thy sword, and let us, on my bed reclined, Mutual embrace, that we may trust thenceforth Each other, without jealousy or fear.

The Goddess spake, to whom I thus replied.

  410 O Circe!

canst thou bid me meek become And gentle, who beneath thy roof detain'st My fellow-voyagers transform'd to swine?

And, fearing my escape, invit'st thou me Into thy bed, with fraudulent pretext Of love, that there, enfeebling by thy arts My noble spirit, thou may'st make me vile?

No --trust me --never will I share thy bed Till first, O Goddess, thou consent to swear The dread all-binding oath, that other harm   420 Against myself thou wilt imagine none.

I spake.

She swearing as I bade, renounced All evil purpose, and (her solemn oath Concluded) I ascended, next, her bed Magnificent.

Meantime, four graceful nymphs Attended on the service of the house, Her menials, from the fountains sprung and groves, And from the sacred streams that seek the sea.

Of these, one cast fine linen on the thrones, Which, next, with purple arras rich she spread; , ,   430 Another placed before the gorgeous seats Bright tables, and set on baskets of gold.

The third, an argent beaker fill'd with wine Delicious, which in golden cups she served; , , The fourth brought water, which she warm'd within An ample vase, and when the simm'ring flood Sang in the tripod, led me to a bath, And laved me with the pleasant stream profuse Pour'd o'er my neck and body, till my limbs Refresh'd, all sense of lassitude resign'd.

  440 When she had bathed me, and with limpid oil Anointed me, and cloathed me in a vest And mantle, next, she led me to a throne Of royal state, with silver studs emboss'd, And footstool'd soft beneath; , , then came a nymph With golden ewer charged and silver bowl, Who pour'd pure water on my hands, and placed The polish'd board before me, which with food Various, selected from her present stores, The cat'ress spread, then, courteous, bade me eat.

 450 But me it pleas'd not; , , with far other thoughts My spirit teem'd, on vengeance more intent.

Soon, then, as Circe mark'd me on my seat Fast-rooted, sullen, nor with outstretch'd hands Deigning to touch the banquet, she approach'd, And in wing'd accents suasive thus began.

Why sits Ulysses like the Dumb, dark thoughts His only food?

loaths he the touch of meat, And taste of wine?

Thou fear'st, as I perceive, Some other snare, but idle is that fear,    460 For I have sworn the inviolable oath.

She ceas'd, to whom this answer I return'd.

How can I eat?

what virtuous man and just, O Circe!

could endure the taste of wine Or food, till he should see his prison'd friends Once more at liberty?

If then thy wish That I should eat and drink be true, produce My captive people; , , let us meet again.

So I; , , then Circe, bearing in her hand Her potent rod, went forth, and op'ning wide   470 The door, drove out my people from the sty, In bulk resembling brawns of the ninth year.

They stood before me; , , she through all the herd Proceeding, with an unctuous antidote Anointed each, and at the wholesome touch All shed the swinish bristles by the drug Dread Circe's former magic gift, produced.

Restored at once to manhood, they appear'd More vig'rous far, and sightlier than before.

They knew me, and with grasp affectionate   480 Hung on my hand.

Tears follow'd, but of joy, And with loud cries the vaulted palace rang.

Even the awful Goddess felt, herself, Compassion, and, approaching me, began.

Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!

Hence to the shore, and to thy gallant bark; , , First, hale her safe aground, then, hiding all Your arms and treasures in the caverns, come Thyself again, and hither lead thy friends.

So spake the Goddess, and my gen'rous mind   490 Persuaded; , , thence repairing to the beach, I sought my ship; , , arrived, I found my crew Lamenting miserably, and their cheeks With tears bedewing ceaseless at her side.

As when the calves within some village rear'd Behold, at eve, the herd returning home From fruitful meads where they have grazed their fill, No longer in the stalls contain'd, they rush With many a frisk abroad, and, blaring oft, With one consent, all dance their dams around,   500 So they, at sight of me, dissolved in tears Of rapt'rous joy, and each his spirit felt With like affections warm'd as he had reach'd Just then his country, and his city seen, Fair Ithaca, where he was born and rear'd.

Then in wing'd accents tender thus they spake.

Noble Ulysses!

thy appearance fills Our soul with transports, such as we should feel Arrived in safety on our native shore.

Speak --say how perish'd our unhappy friends?

  510 So they; , , to whom this answer mild I gave.

Hale we our vessel first ashore, and hide In caverns all our treasures and our arms, Then, hasting hence, follow me, and ere long Ye shall behold your friends, beneath the roof Of Circe banqueting and drinking wine Abundant, for no dearth attends them there.

So I; , , whom all with readiness obey'd, All save Eurylochus; , , he sought alone To stay the rest, and, eager, interposed.

  520 Ah whither tend we, miserable men?

Why covet ye this evil, to go down To Circe's palace?

she will change us all To lions, wolves or swine, that we may guard Her palace, by necessity constrain'd.

So some were pris'ners of the Cyclops erst, When, led by rash Ulysses, our lost friends Intruded needlessly into his cave, And perish'd by the folly of their Chief.

He spake, whom hearing, occupied I stood   530 In self-debate, whether, my faulchion keen Forth-drawing from beside my sturdy thigh, To tumble his lopp'd head into the dust, Although he were my kinsman in the bonds Of close affinity; , , but all my friends As with one voice, thus gently interposed.

Noble Ulysses!

we will leave him here Our vessel's guard, if such be thy command, But us lead thou to Circe's dread abode.

So saying, they left the galley, and set forth   540 Climbing the coast; , , nor would Eurylochus Beside the hollow bark remain, but join'd His comrades by my dreadful menace awed.

Meantime the Goddess, busily employ'd, Bathed and refresh'd my friends with limpid oil, And clothed them.

We, arriving, found them all Banqueting in the palace; , , there they met; , , These ask'd, and those rehearsed the wond'rous tale, And, the recital made, all wept aloud Till the wide dome resounded.

Then approach'd   550 The graceful Goddess, and address'd me thus.

Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!

Provoke ye not each other, now, to tears.

I am not ignorant, myself, how dread Have been your woes both on the fishy Deep, And on the land by force of hostile pow'rs.

But come --Eat now, and drink ye wine, that so Your freshen'd spirit may revive, and ye Courageous grow again, as when ye left The rugged shores of Ithaca, your home.

   560 For now, through recollection, day by day, Of all your pains and toils, ye are become Spiritless, strengthless, and the taste forget Of pleasure, such have been your num'rous woes.

She spake, whose invitation kind prevail'd, And won us to her will.

There, then, we dwelt The year complete, fed with delicious fare Day after day, and quaffing gen'rous wine.

But when (the year fulfill'd) the circling hours Their course resumed, and the successive months   570 With all their tedious days were spent, my friends, Summoning me abroad, thus greeted me.


recollect thy country, if indeed The fates ordain thee to revisit safe That country, and thy own glorious abode.

So they; , , whose admonition I receiv'd Well-pleas'd.

Then, all the day, regaled we sat At Circe's board with sav'ry viands rare, And quaffing richest wine; , , but when, the sun Declining, darkness overshadow'd all,    580 Then, each within the dusky palace took Custom'd repose, and to the Goddess' bed Magnificent ascending, there I urged My earnest suit, which gracious she receiv'd, And in wing'd accents earnest thus I spake.

O Circe!

let us prove thy promise true; , , Dismiss us hence.

My own desires, at length, Tend homeward vehement, and the desires No less of all my friends, who with complaints Unheard by thee, wear my sad heart away.

   590 So I; , , to whom the Goddess in return.

Laertes' noble son, Ulysses famed For deepest wisdom!

dwell not longer here, Thou and thy followers, in my abode Reluctant; , , but your next must be a course Far diff'rent; , , hence departing, ye must seek The dreary house of Ades and of dread Persephone there to consult the Seer Theban Tiresias, prophet blind, but blest With faculties which death itself hath spared.

  600 To him alone, of all the dead, Hell's Queen Gives still to prophesy, while others flit Mere forms, the shadows of what once they were.

She spake, and by her words dash'd from my soul All courage; , , weeping on the bed I sat, Reckless of life and of the light of day.

But when, with tears and rolling to and fro Satiate, I felt relief, thus I replied.

O Circe!

with what guide shall I perform This voyage, unperform'd by living man?

   610 I spake, to whom the Goddess quick replied.

Brave Laertiades!

let not the fear To want a guide distress thee.

Once on board, Your mast erected, and your canvas white Unfurl'd, sit thou; , , the breathing North shall waft Thy vessel on.

But when ye shall have cross'd The broad expanse of Ocean, and shall reach The oozy shore, where grow the poplar groves And fruitless willows wan of Proserpine, Push thither through the gulphy Deep thy bark,   620 And, landing, haste to Pluto's murky abode.

There, into Acheron runs not alone Dread Pyriphlegethon, but Cocytus loud, From Styx derived; , , there also stands a rock, At whose broad base the roaring rivers meet.

There, thrusting, as I bid, thy bark ashore, O Hero!

scoop the soil, op'ning a trench Ell-broad on ev'ry side; , , then pour around Libation consecrate to all the dead, First, milk with honey mixt, then luscious wine,   630 Then water, sprinkling, last, meal over all.

Next, supplicate the unsubstantial forms Fervently of the dead, vowing to slay, (Return'd to Ithaca) in thy own house, An heifer barren yet, fairest and best Of all thy herds, and to enrich the pile With delicacies such as please the shades; , , But, in peculiar, to Tiresias vow A sable ram, noblest of all thy flocks.

When thus thou hast propitiated with pray'r   640 All the illustrious nations of the dead, Next, thou shalt sacrifice to them a ram And sable ewe, turning the face of each Right toward Erebus, and look thyself, Meantime, askance toward the river's course.

Souls num'rous, soon, of the departed dead Will thither flock; , , then, strenuous urge thy friends, Flaying the victims which thy ruthless steel Hath slain, to burn them, and to sooth by pray'r Illustrious Pluto and dread Proserpine.

   650 While thus is done, thou seated at the foss, Faulchion in hand, chace thence the airy forms Afar, nor suffer them to approach the blood, Till with Tiresias thou have first conferr'd.

Then, glorious Chief!

the Prophet shall himself Appear, who will instruct thee, and thy course Delineate, measuring from place to place Thy whole return athwart the fishy flood.

While thus she spake, the golden dawn arose, When, putting on me my attire, the nymph    660 Next, cloath'd herself, and girding to her waist With an embroider'd zone her snowy robe Graceful, redundant, veil'd her beauteous head.

Then, ranging the wide palace, I aroused My followers, standing at the side of each -- Up!

sleep no longer!

let us quick depart, For thus the Goddess hath, herself, advised.

So I, whose early summons my brave friends With readiness obey'd.

Yet even thence I brought not all my crew.

There was a youth,   670 Youngest of all my train, Elpenor; , , one Not much in estimation for desert In arms, nor prompt in understanding more, Who overcharged with wine, and covetous Of cooler air, high on the palace-roof Of Circe slept, apart from all the rest.

Awaken'd by the clamour of his friends Newly arisen, he also sprang to rise, And in his haste, forgetful where to find The deep-descending stairs, plunged through the roof.

 680 With neck-bone broken from the vertebræ Outstretch'd he lay; , , his spirit sought the shades.

Then, thus to my assembling friends I spake.

Ye think, I doubt not, of an homeward course, But Circe points me to the drear abode Of Proserpine and Pluto, to consult The spirit of Tiresias, Theban seer.

I ended, and the hearts of all alike Felt consternation; , , on the earth they sat Disconsolate, and plucking each his hair,   690 Yet profit none of all their sorrow found.

But while we sought my galley on the beach With tepid tears bedewing, as we went, Our cheeks, meantime the Goddess to the shore Descending, bound within the bark a ram And sable ewe, passing us unperceived.

For who hath eyes that can discern a God Going or coming, if he shun the view?


[38] It is supposed by Eustathius that the pastures being infested by gad flies and other noxious insects in the day-time, they drove their sheep a-field in the morning, which by their wool were defended from them, and their cattle in the evening, when the insects had withdrawn.

It is one of the few passages in Homer that must lie at the mercy of conjecture.

[39] The word has the authority of Shakspeare, and signifies overhanging.



Ulysses relates to Alcinoüs his voyage to the infernal regions, his conference there with the prophet Tiresias concerning his return to Ithaca, and gives him an account of the heroes, heroines, and others whom he saw there.

Arriving on the shore, and launching, first, Our bark into the sacred Deep, we set Our mast and sails, and stow'd secure on board The ram and ewe, then, weeping, and with hearts Sad and disconsolate, embark'd ourselves.

And now, melodious Circe, nymph divine, Sent after us a canvas-stretching breeze, Pleasant companion of our course, and we (The decks and benches clear'd) untoiling sat, While managed gales sped swift the bark along.

  10 All day, with sails distended, e'er the Deep She flew, and when the sun, at length, declined, And twilight dim had shadow'd all the ways, Approach'd the bourn of Ocean's vast profound.

The city, there, of the Cimmerians stands With clouds and darkness veil'd, on whom the sun Deigns not to look with his beam-darting eye, Or when he climbs the starry arch, or when Earthward he slopes again his west'ring wheels, [40] But sad night canopies the woeful race.

   20 We haled the bark aground, and, landing there The ram and sable ewe, journey'd beside The Deep, till we arrived where Circe bade.

Here, Perimedes' son Eurylochus Held fast the destined sacrifice, while I Scoop'd with my sword the soil, op'ning a trench Ell-broad on ev'ry side, then pour'd around Libation consecrate to all the dead, First, milk with honey mixt, then luscious wine, Then water, sprinkling, last, meal over all.

  30 This done, adoring the unreal forms And shadows of the dead, I vow'd to slay, (Return'd to Ithaca) in my own abode, An heifer barren yet, fairest and best Of all my herds, and to enrich the pile With delicacies, such as please the shades.

But, in peculiar, to the Theban seer I vow'd a sable ram, largest and best Of all my flocks.

When thus I had implored With vows and pray'r, the nations of the dead,   40 Piercing the victims next, I turn'd them both To bleed into the trench; , , then swarming came From Erebus the shades of the deceased, Brides, youths unwedded, seniors long with woe Oppress'd, and tender girls yet new to grief.

Came also many a warrior by the spear In battle pierced, with armour gore-distain'd, And all the multitude around the foss Stalk'd shrieking dreadful; , , me pale horror seized.

I next, importunate, my people urged,    50 Flaying the victims which myself had slain, To burn them, and to supplicate in pray'r Illustrious Pluto and dread Proserpine.

Then down I sat, and with drawn faulchion chased The ghosts, nor suffer'd them to approach the blood, Till with Tiresias I should first confer.

The spirit, first, of my companion came, Elpenor; , , for no burial honours yet Had he received, but we had left his corse In Circe's palace, tombless, undeplored,    60 Ourselves by pressure urged of other cares.

Touch'd with compassion seeing him, I wept, And in wing'd accents brief him thus bespake.


how cam'st thou into the realms Of darkness?

Hast thou, though on foot, so far Outstripp'd my speed, who in my bark arrived?

So I, to whom with tears he thus replied.

Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!

Fool'd by some dæmon and the intemp'rate bowl, I perish'd in the house of Circe; , , there    70 The deep-descending steps heedless I miss'd, And fell precipitated from the roof.

With neck-bone broken from the vertebræ Outstretch'd I lay; , , my spirit sought the shades.

But now, by those whom thou hast left at home, By thy Penelope, and by thy fire, The gentle nourisher of thy infant growth, And by thy only son Telemachus I make my suit to thee.

For, sure, I know That from the house of Pluto safe return'd,   80 Thou shalt ere long thy gallant vessel moor At the Ææan isle.


there arrived Remember me.

Leave me not undeplored Nor uninhumed, lest, for my sake, the Gods In vengeance visit thee; , , but with my arms (What arms soe'er I left) burn me, and raise A kind memorial of me on the coast, Heap'd high with earth; , , that an unhappy man May yet enjoy an unforgotten name.

Thus do at my request, and on my hill    90 Funereal, plant the oar with which I row'd, While yet I lived a mariner of thine.

He spake, to whom thus answer I return'd.

Poor youth!

I will perform thy whole desire.

Thus we, there sitting, doleful converse held, With outstretch'd faulchion, I, guarding the blood, And my companion's shadowy semblance sad Meantime discoursing me on various themes.

The soul of my departed mother, next, Of Anticleia came, daughter of brave    100 Autolycus; , , whom, when I sought the shores Of Ilium, I had living left at home.

Seeing her, with compassion touch'd, I wept, Yet even her, (although it pain'd my soul) Forbad, relentless, to approach the blood, Till with Tiresias I should first confer.

Then came the spirit of the Theban seer Himself, his golden sceptre in his hand, Who knew me, and, enquiring, thus began.

Why, hapless Chief!

leaving the cheerful day,   110 Arriv'st thou to behold the dead, and this Unpleasant land?

but, from the trench awhile Receding, turn thy faulchion keen away, That I may drink the blood, and tell thee truth.

He spake; , , I thence receding, deep infix'd My sword bright-studded in the sheath again.

The noble prophet then, approaching, drank The blood, and, satisfied, address'd me thus.

Thou seek'st a pleasant voyage home again, Renown'd Ulysses!

but a God will make    120 That voyage difficult; , , for, as I judge, Thou wilt not pass by Neptune unperceiv'd, Whose anger follows thee, for that thou hast Deprived his son Cyclops of his eye.

At length, however, after num'rous woes Endur'd, thou may'st attain thy native isle, If thy own appetite thou wilt controul And theirs who follow thee, what time thy bark Well-built, shall at Thrinacia's shore arrive, [41] Escaped from perils of the gloomy Deep.

   130 There shall ye find grazing the flocks and herds Of the all-seeing and all-hearing Sun, Which, if attentive to thy safe return, Thou leave unharm'd, though after num'rous woes, Ye may at length arrive in Ithaca.

But if thou violate them, I denounce Destruction on thy ship and all thy band, And though thyself escape, late shalt thou reach Thy home and hard-bested, [42] in a strange bark, All thy companions lost; , , trouble beside    140 Awaits thee there, for thou shalt find within Proud suitors of thy noble wife, who waste Thy substance, and with promis'd spousal gifts Ceaseless solicit her to wed; , , yet well Shalt thou avenge all their injurious deeds.

That once perform'd, and ev'ry suitor slain Either by stratagem, or face to face, In thy own palace, bearing, as thou go'st, A shapely oar, journey, till thou hast found A people who the sea know not, nor eat    150 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.

Well thou shalt know them; , , this shall be the sign -- When thou shalt meet a trav'ler, who shall name The oar on thy broad shoulder borne, a van, [43] There, deep infixing it within the soil, Worship the King of Ocean with a bull, A ram, and a lascivious boar, then seek Thy home again, and sacrifice at home    160 An hecatomb to the Immortal Gods, Adoring each duly, and in his course.

So shalt thou die in peace a gentle death, Remote from Ocean; , , it shall find thee late, In soft serenity of age, the Chief Of a blest people. --I have told thee truth.

He spake, to whom I answer thus return'd.


thou, I doubt not, hast reveal'd The ordinance of heav'n.

But tell me, Seer!

And truly.

I behold my mother's shade; , ,    170 Silent she sits beside the blood, nor word Nor even look vouchsafes to her own son.

How shall she learn, prophet, that I am her's?

So I, to whom Tiresias quick replied.

The course is easy.

Learn it, taught by me.

What shade soe'er, by leave of thee obtain'd, Shall taste the blood, that shade will tell thee truth; , , The rest, prohibited, will all retire.

When thus the spirit of the royal Seer Had his prophetic mind reveal'd, again    180 He enter'd Pluto's gates; , , but I unmoved Still waited till my mother's shade approach'd; , , She drank the blood, then knew me, and in words Wing'd with affection, plaintive, thus began.

My son!

how hast thou enter'd, still alive, This darksome region?

Difficult it is For living man to view the realms of death.

Broad rivers roll, and awful floods between, But chief, the Ocean, which to pass on foot, Or without ship, impossible is found.

   190 Hast thou, long wand'ring in thy voyage home From Ilium, with thy ship and crew arrived, Ithaca and thy consort yet unseen?

She spake, to whom this answer I return'd.

My mother!

me necessity constrain'd To Pluto's dwelling, anxious to consult Theban Tiresias; , , for I have not yet Approach'd Achaia, nor have touch'd the shore Of Ithaca, but suff'ring ceaseless woe Have roam'd, since first in Agamemnon's train   200 I went to combat with the sons of Troy.

But speak, my mother, and the truth alone; , , What stroke of fate slew -thee-?

Fell'st thou a prey To some slow malady?

or by the shafts Of gentle Dian suddenly subdued?

Speak to me also of my ancient Sire, And of Telemachus, whom I left at home; , , Possess I still unalienate and safe My property, or hath some happier Chief Admittance free into my fortunes gain'd,    210 No hope subsisting more of my return?

The mind and purpose of my wedded wife Declare thou also.

Dwells she with our son Faithful to my domestic interests, Or is she wedded to some Chief of Greece?

I ceas'd, when thus the venerable shade.

Not so; , , she faithful still and patient dwells Thy roof beneath; , , but all her days and nights Devoting sad to anguish and to tears.

Thy fortunes still are thine; , , Telemachus    220 Cultivates, undisturb'd, thy land, and sits At many a noble banquet, such as well Beseems the splendour of his princely state, For all invite him; , , at his farm retired Thy father dwells, nor to the city comes, For aught; , , nor bed, nor furniture of bed, Furr'd cloaks or splendid arras he enjoys, But, with his servile hinds all winter sleeps In ashes and in dust at the hearth-side, Coarsely attired; , , again, when summer comes,   230 Or genial autumn, on the fallen leaves In any nook, not curious where, he finds There, stretch'd forlorn, nourishing grief, he weeps Thy lot, enfeebled now by num'rous years.

So perish'd I; , , such fate I also found; , , Me, neither the right-aiming arch'ress struck, Diana, with her gentle shafts, nor me Distemper slew, my limbs by slow degrees But sure, bereaving of their little life,   240 But long regret, tender solicitude, And recollection of thy kindness past, These, my Ulysses!

fatal proved to me.

She said; , , I, ardent wish'd to clasp the shade Of my departed mother; , , thrice I sprang Toward her, by desire impetuous urged, And thrice she flitted from between my arms, Light as a passing shadow or a dream.

Then, pierced by keener grief, in accents wing'd With filial earnestness I thus replied.

   250 My mother, why elud'st thou my attempt To clasp thee, that ev'n here, in Pluto's realm, We might to full satiety indulge Our grief, enfolded in each other's arms?

Hath Proserpine, alas!

only dispatch'd A shadow to me, to augment my woe?

Then, instant, thus the venerable form.

Ah, son!

thou most afflicted of mankind!

On thee, Jove's daughter, Proserpine, obtrudes No airy semblance vain; , , but such the state   260 And nature is of mortals once deceased.

For they nor muscle have, nor flesh, nor bone; , , All those (the spirit from the body once Divorced) the violence of fire consumes, And, like a dream, the soul flies swift away.

But haste thou back to light, and, taught thyself These sacred truths, hereafter teach thy spouse.

Thus mutual we conferr'd.

Then, thither came, Encouraged forth by royal Proserpine, Shades female num'rous, all who consorts, erst,   270 Or daughters were of mighty Chiefs renown'd.

About the sable blood frequent they swarm'd.

But I, consid'ring sat, how I might each Interrogate, and thus resolv'd.

My sword Forth drawing from beside my sturdy thigh, Firm I prohibited the ghosts to drink The blood together; , , they successive came; , , Each told her own distress; , , I question'd all.

There, first, the high-born Tyro I beheld; , , She claim'd Salmoneus as her sire, and wife   280 Was once of Cretheus, son of Æolus.

Enamour'd of Enipeus, stream divine, Loveliest of all that water earth, beside His limpid current she was wont to stray, When Ocean's God, (Enipeus' form assumed) Within the eddy-whirling river's mouth Embraced her; , , there, while the o'er-arching flood, Uplifted mountainous, conceal'd the God And his fair human bride, her virgin zone He loos'd, and o'er her eyes sweet sleep diffused.

 290 His am'rous purpose satisfied, he grasp'd Her hand, affectionate, and thus he said.

Rejoice in this my love, and when the year Shall tend to consummation of its course, Thou shalt produce illustrious twins, for love Immortal never is unfruitful love.

Rear them with all a mother's care; , , meantime, Hence to thy home.

Be silent.

Name it not.

For I am Neptune, Shaker of the shores.

So saying, he plunged into the billowy Deep.

  300 She pregnant grown, Pelias and Neleus bore, Both, valiant ministers of mighty Jove.

In wide-spread Iäolchus Pelias dwelt, Of num'rous flocks possess'd; , , but his abode Amid the sands of Pylus Neleus chose.

To Cretheus wedded next, the lovely nymph Yet other sons, Æson and Pheres bore, And Amythaon of equestrian fame.

I, next, the daughter of Asopus saw, Antiope; , , she gloried to have known    310 Th' embrace of Jove himself, to whom she brought A double progeny, Amphion named And Zethus; , , they the seven-gated Thebes Founded and girded with strong tow'rs, because, Though puissant Heroes both, in spacious Thebes Unfenced by tow'rs, they could not dwell secure.

Alcmena, next, wife of Amphitryon I saw; , , she in the arms of sov'reign Jove The lion-hearted Hercules conceiv'd, And, after, bore to Creon brave in fight    320 His daughter Megara, by the noble son Unconquer'd of Amphitryon espoused.

The beauteous Epicaste[44] saw I then, Mother of Oedipus, who guilt incurr'd Prodigious, wedded, unintentional, To her own son; , , his father first he slew, Then wedded her, which soon the Gods divulged.

He, under vengeance of offended heav'n, In pleasant Thebes dwelt miserable, King Of the Cadmean race; , , she to the gates    330 Of Ades brazen-barr'd despairing went, Self-strangled by a cord fasten'd aloft To her own palace-roof, and woes bequeath'd (Such as the Fury sisters execute Innumerable) to her guilty son.

There also saw I Chloris, loveliest fair, Whom Neleus woo'd and won with spousal gifts Inestimable, by her beauty charm'd She youngest daughter was of Iasus' son, Amphion, in old time a sov'reign prince    340 In Minuëian Orchomenus, And King of Pylus.

Three illustrious sons She bore to Neleus, Nestor, Chromius, And Periclymenus the wide-renown'd, And, last, produced a wonder of the earth, Pero, by ev'ry neighbour prince around In marriage sought; , , but Neleus her on none Deign'd to bestow, save only on the Chief Who should from Phylace drive off the beeves (Broad-fronted, and with jealous care secured)   350 Of valiant Iphicles.

One undertook That task alone, a prophet high in fame, Melampus; , , but the Fates fast bound him there In rig'rous bonds by rustic hands imposed.

At length (the year, with all its months and days Concluded, and the new-born year begun) Illustrious Iphicles releas'd the seer, Grateful for all the oracles resolved, [45] Till then obscure.

So stood the will of Jove.

Next, Leda, wife of Tyndarus I saw,    360 Who bore to Tyndarus a noble pair, Castor the bold, and Pollux cestus-famed.

They pris'ners in the fertile womb of earth, Though living, dwell, and even there from Jove High priv'lege gain; , , alternate they revive And die, and dignity partake divine.

The comfort of Aloëus, next, I view'd, Iphimedeia; , , she th' embrace profess'd Of Neptune to have shared, to whom she bore Two sons; , , short-lived they were, but godlike both,  370 Otus and Ephialtes far-renown'd.

Orion sole except, all-bounteous Earth Ne'er nourish'd forms for beauty or for size To be admired as theirs; , , in his ninth year Each measur'd, broad, nine cubits, and the height Was found nine ells of each.

Against the Gods Themselves they threaten'd war, and to excite The din of battle in the realms above.

To the Olympian summit they essay'd To heave up Ossa, and to Ossa's crown    380 Branch-waving Pelion; , , so to climb the heav'ns.

Nor had they failed, maturer grown in might, To accomplish that emprize, but them the son[46] Of radiant-hair'd Latona and of Jove Slew both, ere yet the down of blooming youth Thick-sprung, their cheeks or chins had tufted o'er.

Phædra I also there, and Procris saw, And Ariadne for her beauty praised, Whose sire was all-wise Minos.

Theseus her From Crete toward the fruitful region bore   390 Of sacred Athens, but enjoy'd not there, For, first, she perish'd by Diana's shafts In Dia, Bacchus witnessing her crime.

[47] Mæra and Clymene I saw beside, And odious Eriphyle, who received The price in gold of her own husband's life.

But all the wives of Heroes whom I saw, And all their daughters can I not relate; , , Night, first, would fail; , , and even now the hour Calls me to rest either on board my bark,   400 Or here; , , meantime, I in yourselves confide, And in the Gods to shape my conduct home.

He ceased; , , the whole assembly silent sat, Charm'd into ecstacy by his discourse Throughout the twilight hall, till, at the last, Areta iv'ry arm'd them thus bespake.


how appears he in your eyes This stranger, graceful as he is in port, In stature noble, and in mind discrete?

My guest he is, but ye all share with me    410 That honour; , , him dismiss not, therefore, hence With haste, nor from such indigence withhold Supplies gratuitous; , , for ye are rich, And by kind heav'n with rare possessions blest.

The Hero, next, Echeneus spake, a Chief Now ancient, eldest of Phæacia's sons.

Your prudent Queen, my friends, speaks not beside Her proper scope, but as beseems her well.

Her voice obey; , , yet the effect of all Must on Alcinoüs himself depend.

    420 To whom Alcinoüs, thus, the King, replied.

I ratify the word.

So shall be done, As surely as myself shall live supreme O'er all Phæacia's maritime domain.

Then let the guest, though anxious to depart, Wait till the morrow, that I may complete The whole donation.

His safe conduct home Shall be the gen'ral care, but mine in Chief, To whom dominion o'er the rest belongs.

Him answer'd, then, Ulysses ever-wise.

   430 Alcinoüs!


exalted high o'er all Phæacia's sons!

should ye solicit, kind, My stay throughout the year, preparing still My conduct home, and with illustrious gifts Enriching me the while, ev'n that request Should please me well; , , the wealthier I return'd, The happier my condition; , , welcome more And more respectable I should appear In ev'ry eye to Ithaca restored.

To whom Alcinoüs answer thus return'd.

   440 Ulysses!

viewing thee, no fears we feel Lest thou, at length, some false pretender prove, Or subtle hypocrite, of whom no few Disseminated o'er its face the earth Sustains, adepts in fiction, and who frame Fables, where fables could be least surmised.

Thy phrase well turn'd, and thy ingenuous mind Proclaim -thee- diff'rent far, who hast in strains Musical as a poet's voice, the woes Rehears'd of all thy Greecians, and thy own.

  450 But say, and tell me true.

Beheld'st thou there None of thy followers to the walls of Troy Slain in that warfare?


the night is long -- A night of utmost length; , , nor yet the hour Invites to sleep.

Tell me thy wond'rous deeds, For I could watch till sacred dawn, could'st thou So long endure to tell me of thy toils.

Then thus Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.


high exalted over all Phæacia's sons!

the time suffices yet    460 For converse both and sleep, and if thou wish To hear still more, I shall not spare to unfold More pitiable woes than these, sustain'd By my companions, in the end destroy'd; , , Who, saved from perils of disast'rous war At Ilium, perish'd yet in their return, Victims of a pernicious woman's crime.

[48] Now, when chaste Proserpine had wide dispers'd Those female shades, the spirit sore distress'd Of Agamemnon, Atreus' son, appear'd; , ,    470 Encircled by a throng, he came; , , by all Who with himself beneath Ægisthus' roof Their fate fulfill'd, perishing by the sword.

He drank the blood, and knew me; , , shrill he wail'd And querulous; , , tears trickling bathed his cheeks, And with spread palms, through ardour of desire He sought to enfold me fast, but vigour none, Or force, as erst, his agile limbs inform'd.

I, pity-moved, wept at the sight, and him, In accents wing'd by friendship, thus address'd.

  480 Ah glorious son of Atreus, King of men!

What hand inflicted the all-numbing stroke Of death on thee?

Say, didst thou perish sunk By howling tempests irresistible Which Neptune raised, or on dry land by force Of hostile multitudes, while cutting off Beeves from the herd, or driving flocks away, Or fighting for Achaia's daughters, shut Within some city's bulwarks close besieged?

I ceased, when Agamemnon thus replied.

   490 Ulysses, noble Chief, Laertes' son For wisdom famed!

I neither perish'd sunk By howling tempests irresistible Which Neptune raised, nor on dry land received From hostile multitudes the fatal blow, But me Ægisthus slew; , , my woeful death Confed'rate with my own pernicious wife He plotted, with a show of love sincere Bidding me to his board, where as the ox Is slaughter'd at his crib, he slaughter'd -me-.

  500 Such was my dreadful death; , , carnage ensued Continual of my friends slain all around, Num'rous as boars bright-tusk'd at nuptial feast, Or feast convivial of some wealthy Chief.

Thou hast already witness'd many a field With warriors overspread, slain one by one, But that dire scene had most thy pity moved, For we, with brimming beakers at our side, And underneath full tables bleeding lay.

Blood floated all the pavement.

Then the cries   510 Of Priam's daughter sounded in my ears Most pitiable of all.

Cassandra's cries, Whom Clytemnestra close beside me slew.

Expiring as I lay, I yet essay'd To grasp my faulchion, but the trayt'ress quick Withdrew herself, nor would vouchsafe to close My languid eyes, or prop my drooping chin Ev'n in the moment when I sought the shades.

So that the thing breathes not, ruthless and fell As woman once resolv'd on such a deed    520 Detestable, as my base wife contrived, The murther of the husband of her youth.

I thought to have return'd welcome to all, To my own children and domestic train; , , But she, past measure profligate, hath poured Shame on herself, on women yet unborn, And even on the virtuous of her sex.

He ceas'd, to whom, thus, answer I return'd.


how severely hath the thund'rer plagued The house of Atreus even from the first,    530 By female counsels!

we for Helen's sake Have num'rous died, and Clytemnestra framed, While thou wast far remote, this snare for thee!

So I, to whom Atrides thus replied.

Thou, therefore, be not pliant overmuch To woman; , , trust her not with all thy mind, But half disclose to her, and half conceal.

Yet, from thy consort's hand no bloody death, My friend, hast thou to fear; , , for passing wise Icarius' daughter is, far other thoughts,   540 Intelligent, and other plans, to frame.

Her, going to the wars we left a bride New-wedded, and thy boy hung at her breast, Who, man himself, consorts ere now with men A prosp'rous youth; , , his father, safe restored To his own Ithaca, shall see him soon, And -he- shall clasp his father in his arms As nature bids; , , but me, my cruel one Indulged not with the dear delight to gaze On my Orestes, for she slew me first.

   550 But listen; , , treasure what I now impart.

[49] Steer secret to thy native isle; , , avoid Notice; , , for woman merits trust no more.

Now tell me truth.

Hear ye in whose abode My son resides?

dwells he in Pylus, say, Or in Orchomenos, or else beneath My brother's roof in Sparta's wide domain?

For my Orestes is not yet a shade.

So he, to whom I answer thus return'd.

Atrides, ask not me.

Whether he live,    560 Or have already died, I nothing know; , , Mere words are vanity, and better spared.

Thus we discoursing mutual stood, and tears Shedding disconsolate.

The shade, meantime, Came of Achilles, Peleus' mighty son; , , Patroclus also, and Antilochus Appear'd, with Ajax, for proportion just And stature tall, (Pelides sole except) Distinguish'd above all Achaia's sons.

The soul of swift Æacides at once    570 Knew me, and in wing'd accents thus began.

Brave Laertiades, for wiles renown'd!

What mightier enterprise than all the past Hath made thee here a guest?

rash as thou art!

How hast thou dared to penetrate the gloom Of Ades, dwelling of the shadowy dead, Semblances only of what once they were?

He spake, to whom I, answ'ring, thus replied.

O Peleus' son!


bravest far Of all Achaia's race!

I here arrived    580 Seeking Tiresias, from his lips to learn, Perchance, how I might safe regain the coast Of craggy Ithaca; , , for tempest-toss'd Perpetual, I have neither yet approach'd Achaia's shore, or landed on my own.

But as for thee, Achilles!

never man Hath known felicity like thine, or shall, Whom living we all honour'd as a God, And who maintain'st, here resident, supreme Controul among the dead; , , indulge not then,   590 Achilles, causeless grief that thou hast died.

I ceased, and answer thus instant received.

Renown'd Ulysses!

think not death a theme Of consolation; , , I had rather live The servile hind for hire, and eat the bread Of some man scantily himself sustain'd, Than sov'reign empire hold o'er all the shades.

But come --speak to me of my noble boy; , , Proceeds he, as he promis'd, brave in arms, Or shuns he war?

Say also, hast thou heard   600 Of royal Peleus?

shares he still respect Among his num'rous Myrmidons, or scorn In Hellas and in Phthia, for that age Predominates in his enfeebled limbs?

For help is none in me; , , the glorious sun No longer sees me such, as when in aid Of the Achaians I o'erspread the field Of spacious Troy with all their bravest slain.

Oh might I, vigorous as then, repair[50] For one short moment to my father's house,   610 They all should tremble; , , I would shew an arm, Such as should daunt the fiercest who presumes To injure -him-, or to despise his age.

Achilles spake, to whom I thus replied.

Of noble Peleus have I nothing heard; , , But I will tell thee, as thou bidd'st, the truth Unfeign'd of Neoptolemus thy son; , , For him, myself, on board my hollow bark From Scyros to Achaia's host convey'd.

Oft as in council under Ilium's walls    620 We met, he ever foremost was in speech, Nor spake erroneous; , , Nestor and myself Except, no Greecian could with him compare.

Oft, too, as we with battle hemm'd around Troy's bulwarks, from among the mingled crowd Thy son sprang foremost into martial act, Inferior in heroic worth to none.

Beneath him num'rous fell the sons of Troy In dreadful fight, nor have I pow'r to name Distinctly all, who by his glorious arm    630 Exerted in the cause of Greece, expired.

Yet will I name Eurypylus, the son Of Telephus, an Hero whom his sword Of life bereaved, and all around him strew'd The plain with his Cetean warriors, won To Ilium's side by bribes to women giv'n.

[51] Save noble Memnon only, I beheld No Chief at Ilium beautiful as he.

Again, when we within the horse of wood Framed by Epeüs sat, an ambush chos'n    640 Of all the bravest Greeks, and I in trust Was placed to open or to keep fast-closed The hollow fraud; , , then, ev'ry Chieftain there And Senator of Greece wiped from his cheeks The tears, and tremors felt in ev'ry limb; , , But never saw I changed to terror's hue -His- ruddy cheek, no tears wiped -he- away, But oft he press'd me to go forth, his suit With pray'rs enforcing, griping hard his hilt And his brass-burthen'd spear, and dire revenge   650 Denouncing, ardent, on the race of Troy.

At length, when we had sack'd the lofty town Of Priam, laden with abundant spoils He safe embark'd, neither by spear or shaft Aught hurt, or in close fight by faulchion's edge, As oft in war befalls, where wounds are dealt Promiscuous at the will of fiery Mars.

So I; , , then striding large, the spirit thence Withdrew of swift Æacides, along The hoary mead pacing, [52] with joy elate   660 That I had blazon'd bright his son's renown.

The other souls of men by death dismiss'd Stood mournful by, sad uttering each his woes; , , The soul alone I saw standing remote Of Telamonian Ajax, still incensed That in our public contest for the arms Worn by Achilles, and by Thetis thrown Into dispute, my claim had strongest proved, Troy and Minerva judges of the cause.

Disastrous victory!

which I could wish    670 Not to have won, since for that armour's sake The earth hath cover'd Ajax, in his form And martial deeds superior far to all The Greecians, Peleus' matchless son except.

I, seeking to appease him, thus began.

O Ajax, son of glorious Telamon!

Canst thou remember, even after death, Thy wrath against me, kindled for the sake Of those pernicious arms?

arms which the Gods Ordain'd of such dire consequence to Greece,   680 Which caused thy death, our bulwark!

Thee we mourn With grief perpetual, nor the death lament Of Peleus' son, Achilles, more than thine.

Yet none is blameable; , , Jove evermore With bitt'rest hate pursued Achaia's host, And he ordain'd thy death.


approach, That thou may'st hear the words with which I seek To sooth thee; , , let thy long displeasure cease!

Quell all resentment in thy gen'rous breast!

I spake; , , nought answer'd he, but sullen join'd   690 His fellow-ghosts; , , yet, angry as he was, I had prevail'd even on him to speak, Or had, at least, accosted him again, But that my bosom teem'd with strong desire Urgent, to see yet others of the dead.

There saw I Minos, offspring famed of Jove; , , His golden sceptre in his hand, he sat Judge of the dead; , , they, pleading each in turn, His cause, some stood, some sat, filling the house Whose spacious folding-gates are never closed.

  700 Orion next, huge ghost, engaged my view, Droves urging o'er the grassy mead, of beasts Which he had slain, himself, on the wild hills, With strong club arm'd of ever-during brass.

There also Tityus on the ground I saw Extended, offspring of the glorious earth; , , Nine acres he o'erspread, and, at his side Station'd, two vultures on his liver prey'd, Scooping his entrails; , , nor sufficed his hands To fray them thence; , , for he had sought to force   710 Latona, illustrious concubine of Jove, What time the Goddess journey'd o'er the rocks Of Pytho into pleasant Panopeus.

Next, suff'ring grievous torments, I beheld Tantalus; , , in a pool he stood, his chin Wash'd by the wave; , , thirst-parch'd he seem'd, but found Nought to assuage his thirst; , , for when he bow'd His hoary head, ardent to quaff, the flood Vanish'd absorb'd, and, at his feet, adust The soil appear'd, dried, instant, by the Gods.

  720 Tall trees, fruit-laden, with inflected heads Stoop'd to him, pomegranates, apples bright, The luscious fig, and unctuous olive smooth; , , Which when with sudden grasp he would have seized, Winds hurl'd them high into the dusky clouds.

There, too, the hard-task'd Sisyphus I saw, Thrusting before him, strenuous, a vast rock.

[53] With hands and feet struggling, he shoved the stone Up to a hill-top; , , but the steep well-nigh Vanquish'd, by some great force repulsed, [54] the mass  730 Rush'd again, obstinate, down to the plain.

Again, stretch'd prone, severe he toiled, the sweat Bathed all his weary limbs, and his head reek'd.

The might of Hercules I, next, survey'd; , , His semblance; , , for himself their banquet shares With the Immortal Gods, and in his arms Enfolds neat-footed Hebe, daughter fair Of Jove, and of his golden-sandal'd spouse.

Around him, clamorous as birds, the dead Swarm'd turbulent; , , he, gloomy-brow'd as night,   740 With uncased bow and arrow on the string Peer'd terrible from side to side, as one Ever in act to shoot; , , a dreadful belt He bore athwart his bosom, thong'd with gold.

There, broider'd shone many a stupendous form, Bears, wild boars, lions with fire-flashing eyes, Fierce combats, battles, bloodshed, homicide.

The artist, author of that belt, none such Before, produced, or after.

Me his eye No sooner mark'd, than knowing me, in words   750 By sorrow quick suggested, he began.

Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!

Ah, hapless Hero!

thou art, doubtless, charged, Thou also, with some arduous labour, such As in the realms of day I once endured.

Son was I of Saturnian Jove, yet woes Immense sustain'd, subjected to a King Inferior far to me, whose harsh commands Enjoin'd me many a terrible exploit.

He even bade me on a time lead hence    760 The dog, that task believing above all Impracticable; , , yet from Ades him I dragg'd reluctant into light, by aid Of Hermes, and of Pallas azure-eyed.

So saying, he penetrated deep again The abode of Pluto; , , but I still unmoved There stood expecting, curious, other shades To see of Heroes in old time deceased.

And now, more ancient worthies still, and whom I wish'd, I had beheld, Pirithoüs    770 And Theseus, glorious progeny of Gods, But nations, first, numberless of the dead Came shrieking hideous; , , me pale horror seized, Lest awful Proserpine should thither send The Gorgon-head from Ades, sight abhorr'd!

I, therefore, hasting to the vessel, bade My crew embark, and cast the hawsers loose.

They, quick embarking, on the benches sat.

Down the Oceanus[55] the current bore My galley, winning, at the first, her way   780 With oars, then, wafted by propitious gales.


[40] Milton.

[41] The shore of Scilly commonly called Trinacria, but -Euphonicè- by Homer, Thrinacia.

[42] The expression is used by Milton, and signifies --Beset with many difficulties.

[43] Mistaking the oar for a corn-van.

A sure indication of his ignorance of maritime concerns.

[44] By the Tragedians called --Jocasta.

[45] Iphicles had been informed by the Oracles that he should have no children till instructed by a prophet how to obtain them; , , a service which Melampus had the good fortune to render him.

[46] Apollo.

[47] Bacchus accused her to Diana of having lain with Theseus in his temple, and the Goddess punished her with death.

[48] Probably meaning Helen.

[49] This is surely one of the most natural strokes to be found in any Poet.

Convinced, for a moment, by the virtues of Penelope, he mentioned her with respect; , , but recollecting himself suddenly, involves even her in his general ill opinion of the sex, begotten in him by the crimes of Clytemnestra.

[50] Another most beautiful stroke of nature.

Ere yet Ulysses has had opportunity to answer, the very thought that Peleus may possibly be insulted, fires him, and he takes the whole for granted.

Thus is the impetuous character of Achilles sustained to the last moment!

[51] Γυναίων εινεκα δώρων --Priam is said to have influenced by gifts the wife and mother of Eurypylus, to persuade him to the assistance of Troy, he being himself unwilling to engage.

The passage through defect of history has long been dark, and commentators have adapted different senses to it, all conjectural.

The Ceteans are said to have been a people of Mysia, of which Eurypylus was King.

[52] Κατ' ασφοδελον λειμωνα --Asphodel was planted on the graves and around the tombs of the deceased, and hence the supposition that the Stygian plain was clothed with asphodel.


[53] Βασαζοντα must have this sense interpreted by what follows.

To attempt to make the English numbers expressive as the Greek is a labour like that of Sisyphus.

The Translator has done what he could.

[54] It is now, perhaps, impossible to ascertain with precision what Homer meant by the word κραταιίς, which he uses only here, and in the next book, where it is the name of Scylla's dam. --Αναιδης --is also of very doubtful explication.

[55] The two first lines of the following book seem to ascertain the true meaning of the conclusion of this, and to prove sufficiently that by Ὠκεανὸς here Homer could not possibly intend any other than a river.

In those lines he tells us in the plainest terms that -the ship left the stream of the river Oceanus, and arrived in the open sea-.

Diodorus Siculus informs us that Ὠκεανὸς had been a name anciently given to the Nile.

See Clarke.



Ulysses, pursuing his narrative, relates his return from the shades to Circe's island, the precautions given him by that Goddess, his escape from the Sirens, and from Scylla and Charybdis; , , his arrival in Sicily, where his companions, having slain and eaten the oxen of the Sun, are afterward shipwrecked and lost; , , and concludes the whole with an account of his arrival, alone, on the mast of his vessel, at the island of Calypso.

And now, borne seaward from the river-stream Of the Oceanus, we plow'd again The spacious Deep, and reach'd th' Ææan isle, Where, daughter of the dawn, Aurora takes Her choral sports, and whence the sun ascends.

We, there arriving, thrust our bark aground On the smooth beach, then landed, and on shore Reposed, expectant of the sacred dawn.

But soon as day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd Look'd forth again, sending my friends before,   10 I bade them bring Elpenor's body down From the abode of Circe to the beach.

Then, on the utmost headland of the coast We timber fell'd, and, sorrowing o'er the dead, His fun'ral rites water'd with tears profuse.

The dead consumed, and with the dead his arms, We heap'd his tomb, and the sepulchral post Erecting, fix'd his shapely oar aloft.

Thus, punctual, we perform'd; , , nor our return From Ades knew not Circe, but attired    20 In haste, ere long arrived, with whom appear'd Her female train with plenteous viands charged, And bright wine rosy-red.

Amidst us all Standing, the beauteous Goddess thus began.

Ah miserable!

who have sought the shades Alive!

while others of the human race Die only once, appointed twice to die!

Come --take ye food; , , drink wine; , , and on the shore All day regale, for ye shall hence again At day-spring o'er the Deep; , , but I will mark   30 Myself your future course, nor uninform'd Leave you in aught, lest, through some dire mistake, By sea or land new mis'ries ye incur.

The Goddess spake, whose invitation kind We glad accepted; , , thus we feasting sat Till set of sun, and quaffing richest wine; , , But when the sun went down and darkness fell, My crew beside the hawsers slept, while me The Goddess by the hand leading apart, First bade me sit, then, seated opposite,    40 Enquired, minute, of all that I had seen, And I, from first to last, recounted all.

Then, thus the awful Goddess in return.

Thus far thy toils are finish'd.

Now attend!

Mark well my words, of which the Gods will sure Themselves remind thee in the needful hour.

First shalt thou reach the Sirens; , , they the hearts Enchant of all who on their coast arrive.

The wretch, who unforewarn'd approaching, hears The Sirens' voice, his wife and little-ones   50 Ne'er fly to gratulate his glad return, But him the Sirens sitting in the meads Charm with mellifluous song, while all around The bones accumulated lie of men Now putrid, and the skins mould'ring away.

But, pass them thou, and, lest thy people hear Those warblings, ere thou yet approach, fill all Their ears with wax moulded between thy palms; , , But as for thee --thou hear them if thou wilt.

Yet let thy people bind thee to the mast    60 Erect, encompassing thy feet and arms With cordage well-secured to the mast-foot, So shalt thou, raptur'd, hear the Sirens' song.

But if thou supplicate to be released, Or give such order, then, with added cords Let thy companions bind thee still the more.

When thus thy people shall have safely pass'd The Sirens by, think not from me to learn What course thou next shalt steer; , , two will occur; , , Delib'rate chuse; , , I shall describe them both.

  70 Here vaulted rocks impend, dash'd by the waves Immense of Amphitrite azure-eyed; , , The blessed Gods those rocks, Erratic, call.

Birds cannot pass them safe; , , no, not the doves Which his ambrosia bear to Father Jove, But even of those doves the slipp'ry rock Proves fatal still to one, for which the God Supplies another, lest the number fail.

No ship, what ship soever there arrives, Escapes them, but both mariners and planks   80 Whelm'd under billows of the Deep, or, caught By fiery tempests, sudden disappear.

Those rocks the billow-cleaving bark alone The Argo, further'd by the vows of all, Pass'd safely, sailing from Ææta's isle; , , Nor she had pass'd, but surely dash'd had been On those huge rocks, but that, propitious still To Jason, Juno sped her safe along.

These rocks are two; , , one lifts his summit sharp High as the spacious heav'ns, wrapt in dun clouds   90 Perpetual, which nor autumn sees dispers'd Nor summer, for the sun shines never there; , , No mortal man might climb it or descend, Though twice ten hands and twice ten feet he own'd, For it is levigated as by art.

Down scoop'd to Erebus, a cavern drear Yawns in the centre of its western side; , , Pass it, renown'd Ulysses!

but aloof So far, that a keen arrow smartly sent Forth from thy bark should fail to reach the cave.

 100 There Scylla dwells, and thence her howl is heard Tremendous; , , shrill her voice is as the note Of hound new-whelp'd, but hideous her aspect, Such as no mortal man, nor ev'n a God Encount'ring her, should with delight survey.

Her feet are twelve, all fore-feet; , , six her necks Of hideous length, each clubb'd into a head Terrific, and each head with fangs is arm'd In triple row, thick planted, stored with death.

Plunged to her middle in the hollow den    110 She lurks, protruding from the black abyss Her heads, with which the rav'ning monster dives In quest of dolphins, dog-fish, or of prey More bulky, such as in the roaring gulphs Of Amphitrite without end abounds.

It is no seaman's boast that e'er he slipp'd Her cavern by, unharm'd.

In ev'ry mouth She bears upcaught a mariner away.

The other rock, Ulysses, thou shalt find Humbler, a bow-shot only from the first; , ,    120 On this a wild fig grows broad-leav'd, and here Charybdis dire ingulphs the sable flood.

Each day she thrice disgorges, and each day Thrice swallows it.


well forewarn'd, beware What time she swallows, that thou come not nigh, For not himself, Neptune, could snatch thee thence.

Close passing Scylla's rock, shoot swift thy bark Beyond it, since the loss of six alone Is better far than shipwreck made of all.

So Circe spake, to whom I thus replied.

  130 Tell me, O Goddess, next, and tell me true!

If, chance, from fell Charybdis I escape, May I not also save from Scylla's force My people; , , should the monster threaten them?

I said, and quick the Goddess in return.


can exploits and toils of war Still please thee?

yield'st not to the Gods themselves?

She is no mortal, but a deathless pest, Impracticable, savage, battle-proof.

Defence is vain; , , flight is thy sole resource.

  140 For should'st thou linger putting on thy arms Beside the rock, beware, lest darting forth Her num'rous heads, she seize with ev'ry mouth A Greecian, and with others, even thee.

Pass therefore swift, and passing, loud invoke Cratais, mother of this plague of man, Who will forbid her to assail thee more.

Thou, next, shalt reach Thrinacia; , , there, the beeves And fatted flocks graze num'rous of the Sun; , , Sev'n herds; , , as many flocks of snowy fleece; , ,   150 Fifty in each; , , they breed not, neither die, Nor are they kept by less than Goddesses, Lampetia fair, and Phäethusa, both By nymph Neæra to Hyperion borne.

Them, soon as she had train'd them to an age Proportion'd to that charge, their mother sent Into Thrinacia, there to dwell and keep Inviolate their father's flocks and herds.

If, anxious for a safe return, thou spare Those herds and flocks, though after much endured,  160 Ye may at last your Ithaca regain; , , But should'st thou violate them, I foretell Destruction of thy ship and of thy crew, And though thyself escape, thou shalt return Late, in ill plight, and all thy friends destroy'd.

She ended, and the golden morning dawn'd.

Then, all-divine, her graceful steps she turn'd Back through the isle, and, at the beach arrived, I summon'd all my followers to ascend The bark again, and cast the hawsers loose.

  170 They, at my voice, embarking, fill'd in ranks The seats, and rowing, thresh'd the hoary flood.

And now, melodious Circe, nymph divine, Sent after us a canvas-stretching breeze, Pleasant companion of our course, and we (The decks and benches clear'd) untoiling sat, While managed gales sped swift the bark along.

Then, with dejected heart, thus I began.

Oh friends!

(for it is needful that not one Or two alone the admonition hear     180 Of Circe, beauteous prophetess divine) To all I speak, that whether we escape Or perish, all may be, at least, forewarn'd.

She bids us, first, avoid the dang'rous song Of the sweet Sirens and their flow'ry meads.

Me only she permits those strains to hear; , , But ye shall bind me with coercion strong Of cordage well-secured to the mast-foot, And by no struggles to be loos'd of mine.

But should I supplicate to be released    190 Or give such order, then, with added cords Be it your part to bind me still the more.

Thus with distinct precaution I prepared My people; , , rapid in her course, meantime, My gallant bark approach'd the Sirens' isle, For brisk and favourable blew the wind.

Then fell the wind suddenly, and serene A breathless calm ensued, while all around The billows slumber'd, lull'd by pow'r divine.

Up-sprang my people, and the folded sails   200 Bestowing in the hold, sat to their oars, Which with their polish'd blades whiten'd the Deep.

I, then, with edge of steel sev'ring minute A waxen cake, chafed it and moulded it Between my palms; , , ere long the ductile mass Grew warm, obedient to that ceaseless force, And to Hyperion's all-pervading beams.

With that soft liniment I fill'd the ears Of my companions, man by man, and they My feet and arms with strong coercion bound   210 Of cordage to the mast-foot well secured.

Then down they sat, and, rowing, thresh'd the brine.

But when with rapid course we had arrived Within such distance as a voice may reach, Not unperceived by them the gliding bark Approach'd, and, thus, harmonious they began.

Ulysses, Chief by ev'ry tongue extoll'd, Achaia's boast, oh hither steer thy bark!

Here stay thy course, and listen to our lay!

These shores none passes in his sable ship   220 Till, first, the warblings of our voice he hear, Then, happier hence and wiser he departs.

All that the Greeks endured, and all the ills Inflicted by the Gods on Troy, we know, Know all that passes on the boundless earth.

So they with voices sweet their music poured Melodious on my ear, winning with ease My heart's desire to listen, and by signs I bade my people, instant, set me free.

But they incumbent row'd, and from their seats   230 Eurylochus and Perimedes sprang With added cords to bind me still the more.

This danger past, and when the Sirens' voice, Now left remote, had lost its pow'r to charm, Then, my companions freeing from the wax Their ears, deliver'd me from my restraint.

The island left afar, soon I discern'd Huge waves, and smoke, and horrid thund'rings heard.

All sat aghast; , , forth flew at once the oars From ev'ry hand, and with a clash the waves   240 Smote all together; , , check'd, the galley stood, By billow-sweeping oars no longer urged, And I, throughout the bark, man after man Encouraged all, addressing thus my crew.

We meet not, now, my friends, our first distress.

This evil is not greater than we found When the huge Cyclops in his hollow den Imprison'd us, yet even thence we 'scaped, My intrepidity and fertile thought Opening the way; , , and we shall recollect    250 These dangers also, in due time, with joy.

Come, then --pursue my counsel.

Ye your seats Still occupying, smite the furrow'd flood With well-timed strokes, that by the will of Jove We may escape, perchance, this death, secure.

To thee the pilot thus I speak, (my words Mark thou, for at thy touch the rudder moves) This smoke, and these tumultuous waves avoid; , , Steer wide of both; , , yet with an eye intent On yonder rock, lest unaware thou hold    260 Too near a course, and plunge us into harm.

So I; , , with whose advice all, quick, complied.

But Scylla I as yet named not, (that woe Without a cure) lest, terrified, my crew Should all renounce their oars, and crowd below.

Just then, forgetful of the strict command Of Circe not to arm, I cloath'd me all In radiant armour, grasp'd two quiv'ring spears, And to the deck ascended at the prow, Expecting earliest notice there, what time   270 The rock-bred Scylla should annoy my friends.

But I discern'd her not, nor could, although To weariness of sight the dusky rock I vigilant explored.

Thus, many a groan Heaving, we navigated sad the streight, For here stood Scylla, while Charybdis there With hoarse throat deep absorb'd the briny flood.

Oft as she vomited the deluge forth, Like water cauldron'd o'er a furious fire The whirling Deep all murmur'd, and the spray   280 On both those rocky summits fell in show'rs.

But when she suck'd the salt wave down again, Then, all the pool appear'd wheeling about Within, the rock rebellow'd, and the sea Drawn off into that gulph disclosed to view The oozy bottom.

Us pale horror seized.

Thus, dreading death, with fast-set eyes we watch'd Charybdis; , , meantime, Scylla from the bark Caught six away, the bravest of my friends.

With eyes, that moment, on my ship and crew   290 Retorted, I beheld the legs and arms Of those whom she uplifted in the air; , , On me they call'd, my name, the last, last time Pronouncing then, in agony of heart.

As when from some bold point among the rocks The angler, with his taper rod in hand, Casts forth his bait to snare the smaller fry, He swings away remote his guarded line, [56] Then jerks his gasping prey forth from the Deep, So Scylla them raised gasping to the rock,   300 And at her cavern's mouth devour'd them loud- Shrieking, and stretching forth to me their arms In sign of hopeless mis'ry.

Ne'er beheld These eyes in all the seas that I have roam'd, A sight so piteous, nor in all my toils.

From Scylla and Charybdis dire escaped, We reach'd the noble island of the Sun Ere long, where bright Hyperion's beauteous herds Broad-fronted grazed, and his well-batten'd flocks.

I, in the bark and on the sea, the voice    310 Of oxen bellowing in hovels heard, And of loud-bleating sheep; , , then dropp'd the word Into my memory of the sightless Seer, Theban Tiresias, and the caution strict Of Circe, my Ææan monitress, Who with such force had caution'd me to avoid The island of the Sun, joy of mankind.

Thus then to my companions, sad, I spake.

Hear ye, my friends!

although long time distress'd, The words prophetic of the Theban seer    320 And of Ææan Circe, whose advice Was oft repeated to me to avoid This island of the Sun, joy of mankind.

There, said the Goddess, dread your heaviest woes, Pass the isle, therefore, scudding swift away.

I ceased; , , they me with consternation heard, And harshly thus Eurylochus replied.

Ulysses, ruthless Chief!

no toils impair Thy strength, of senseless iron thou art form'd, Who thy companions weary and o'erwatch'd    330 Forbidd'st to disembark on this fair isle, Where now, at last, we might with ease regale.

Thou, rash, command'st us, leaving it afar, To roam all night the Ocean's dreary waste; , , But winds to ships injurious spring by night, And how shall we escape a dreadful death If, chance, a sudden gust from South arise Or stormy West, that dash in pieces oft The vessel, even in the Gods' despight?

Prepare we rather now, as night enjoins,    340 Our evening fare beside the sable bark, In which at peep of day we may again Launch forth secure into the boundless flood.

He ceas'd, whom all applauded.

Then I knew That sorrow by the will of adverse heav'n Approach'd, and in wing'd accents thus replied.

I suffer force, Eurylochus!

and yield O'er-ruled by numbers.

Come, then, swear ye all A solemn oath, that should we find an herd Or num'rous flock, none here shall either sheep   350 Or bullock slay, by appetite profane Seduced, but shall the viands eat content Which from immortal Circe we received.

I spake; , , they readily a solemn oath Sware all, and when their oath was fully sworn, Within a creek where a fresh fountain rose They moor'd the bark, and, issuing, began Brisk preparation of their evening cheer.

But when nor hunger now nor thirst remain'd Unsated, recollecting, then, their friends   360 By Scylla seized and at her cave devour'd, They mourn'd, nor ceased to mourn them, till they slept.

The night's third portion come, when now the stars Had travers'd the mid-sky, cloud-gath'rer Jove Call'd forth a vehement wind with tempest charged, Menacing earth and sea with pitchy clouds Tremendous, and the night fell dark from heav'n.

But when Aurora, daughter of the day, Look'd rosy forth, we haled, drawn inland more, Our bark into a grot, where nymphs were wont   370 Graceful to tread the dance, or to repose.

Convening there my friends, I thus began.

My friends!

food fails us not, but bread is yet And wine on board.

Abstain we from the herds, Lest harm ensue; , , for ye behold the flocks And herds of a most potent God, the Sun!

Whose eye and watchful ear none may elude.

So saying, I sway'd the gen'rous minds of all.

A month complete the South wind ceaseless blew, Nor other wind blew next, save East and South,   380 Yet they, while neither food nor rosy wine Fail'd them, the herds harm'd not, through fear to die.

But, our provisions failing, they employed Whole days in search of food, snaring with hooks Birds, fishes, of what kind soe'er they might.

By famine urged.

I solitary roam'd Meantime the isle, seeking by pray'r to move Some God to shew us a deliv'rance thence.

When, roving thus the isle, I had at length Left all my crew remote, laving my hands    390 Where shelter warm I found from the rude blast, I supplicated ev'ry Pow'r above; , , But they my pray'rs answer'd with slumbers soft Shed o'er my eyes, and with pernicious art Eurylochus, the while, my friends harangued.

My friends!

afflicted as ye are, yet hear A fellow-suff'rer.

Death, however caused, Abhorrence moves in miserable man, But death by famine is a fate of all Most to be fear'd.

Come --let us hither drive   400 And sacrifice to the Immortal Pow'rs The best of all the oxen of the Sun, Resolving thus --that soon as we shall reach Our native Ithaca, we will erect To bright Hyperion an illustrious fane, Which with magnificent and num'rous gifts We will enrich.

But should he chuse to sink Our vessel, for his stately beeves incensed, And should, with him, all heav'n conspire our death, I rather had with open mouth, at once,    410 Meeting the billows, perish, than by slow And pining waste here in this desert isle.

So spake Eurylochus, whom all approved.

Then, driving all the fattest of the herd Few paces only, (for the sacred beeves Grazed rarely distant from the bark) they stood Compassing them around, and, grasping each Green foliage newly pluck'd from saplings tall, (For barley none in all our bark remain'd) Worshipp'd the Gods in pray'r.

Pray'r made, they slew And flay'd them, and the thighs with double fat   421 Investing, spread them o'er with slices crude.

No wine had they with which to consecrate The blazing rites, but with libation poor Of water hallow'd the interior parts.

Now, when the thighs were burnt, and each had shared His portion of the maw, and when the rest All-slash'd and scored hung roasting at the fire, Sleep, in that moment, suddenly my eyes Forsaking, to the shore I bent my way.

   430 But ere the station of our bark I reach'd, The sav'ry steam greeted me.

At the scent I wept aloud, and to the Gods exclaim'd.

Oh Jupiter, and all ye Pow'rs above!

With cruel sleep and fatal ye have lull'd My cares to rest, such horrible offence Meantime my rash companions have devised.

Then, flew long-stoled Lampetia to the Sun At once with tidings of his slaughter'd beeves, And he, incensed, the Immortals thus address'd.

  440 Jove, and ye everlasting Pow'rs divine!

Avenge me instant on the crew profane Of Laertiades; , , Ulysses' friends Have dared to slay my beeves, which I with joy Beheld, both when I climb'd the starry heav'ns, And when to earth I sloped my "westring wheels," But if they yield me not amercement due And honourable for my loss, to Hell I will descend and give the ghosts my beams.

Then, thus the cloud-assembler God replied.

  450 Sun!

shine thou still on the Immortal Pow'rs, And on the teeming earth, frail man's abode.

My candent bolts can in a moment reach And split their flying bark in the mid-sea.

These things Calypso told me, taught, herself, By herald Hermes, as she oft affirm'd.

But when, descending to the shore, I reach'd At length my bark, with aspect stern and tone I reprimanded them, yet no redress Could frame, or remedy --the beeves were dead.

  460 Soon follow'd signs portentous sent from heav'n.

The skins all crept, and on the spits the flesh Both roast and raw bellow'd, as with the voice Of living beeves.

Thus my devoted friends Driving the fattest oxen of the Sun, Feasted six days entire; , , but when the sev'nth By mandate of Saturnian Jove appeared, The storm then ceased to rage, and we, again Embarking, launch'd our galley, rear'd the mast, And gave our unfurl'd canvas to the wind.

  470 The island left afar, and other land Appearing none, but sky alone and sea, Right o'er the hollow bark Saturnian Jove Hung a cærulean cloud, dark'ning the Deep.

Not long my vessel ran, for, blowing wild, Now came shrill Zephyrus; , , a stormy gust Snapp'd sheer the shrouds on both sides; , , backward fell The mast, and with loose tackle strew'd the hold; , , Striking the pilot in the stern, it crush'd His scull together; , , he a diver's plunge    480 Made downward, and his noble spirit fled.

Meantime, Jove thund'ring, hurl'd into the ship His bolts; , , she, smitten by the fires of Jove, Quaked all her length; , , with sulphur fill'd she reek'd, And o'er her sides headlong my people plunged Like sea-mews, interdicted by that stroke Of wrath divine to hope their country more.

But I, the vessel still paced to and fro, Till, fever'd by the boist'rous waves, her sides Forsook the keel now left to float alone.

  490 Snapp'd where it join'd the keel the mast had fall'n, But fell encircled with a leathern brace, Which it retain'd; , , binding with this the mast And keel together, on them both I sat, Borne helpless onward by the dreadful gale.

And now the West subsided, and the South Arose instead, with mis'ry charged for me, That I might measure back my course again To dire Charybdis.

All night long I drove, And when the sun arose, at Scylla's rock    500 Once more, and at Charybdis' gulph arrived.

It was the time when she absorb'd profound The briny flood, but by a wave upborne I seized the branches fast of the wild-fig.

[57] To which, bat-like, I clung; , , yet where to fix My foot secure found not, or where to ascend, For distant lay the roots, and distant shot The largest arms erect into the air, O'ershadowing all Charybdis; , , therefore hard I clench'd the boughs, till she disgorg'd again   510 Both keel and mast.

Not undesired by me They came, though late; , , for at what hour the judge, After decision made of num'rous strifes[58] Between young candidates for honour, leaves The forum for refreshment' sake at home, Then was it that the mast and keel emerged.

Deliver'd to a voluntary fall, Fast by those beams I dash'd into the flood, And seated on them both, with oary palms Impell'd them; , , nor the Sire of Gods and men   520 Permitted Scylla to discern me more, Else had I perish'd by her fangs at last.

Nine days I floated thence, and, on the tenth Dark night, the Gods convey'd me to the isle Ogygia, habitation of divine Calypso, by whose hospitable aid And assiduity, my strength revived.

But wherefore this?

ye have already learn'd That hist'ry, thou and thy illustrious spouse; , , I told it yesterday, and hate a tale    530 Once amply told, then, needless, traced again.


[56] They passed the line through a pipe of horn, to secure it against the fishes' bite.

[57] See line 120.

[58] He had therefore held by the fig-tree from sunrise till afternoon.



Ulysses, having finished his narrative, and received additional presents from the Phæacians, embarks; , , he is conveyed in his sleep to Ithaca, and in his sleep is landed on that island.

The ship that carried him is in her return transformed by Neptune to a rock.

Minerva meets him on the shore, enables him to recollect his country, which, till enlightened by her, he believed to be a country strange to him, and they concert together the means of destroying the suitors.

The Goddess then repairs to Sparta to call thence Telemachus, and Ulysses, by her aid disguised like a beggar, proceeds towards the cottage of Eumæus.

He ceas'd; , , the whole assembly silent sat, Charm'd into ecstacy with his discourse Throughout the twilight hall.

Then, thus the King.

Ulysses, since beneath my brazen dome Sublime thou hast arrived, like woes, I trust, Thou shalt not in thy voyage hence sustain By tempests tost, though much to woe inured.

To you, who daily in my presence quaff Your princely meed of gen'rous wine and hear The sacred bard, my pleasure, thus I speak.

  10 The robes, wrought gold, and all the other gifts To this our guest, by the Phæacian Chiefs Brought hither in the sumptuous coffer lie.

But come --present ye to the stranger, each, An ample tripod also, with a vase Of smaller size, for which we will be paid By public impost; , , for the charge of all Excessive were by one alone defray'd.

So spake Alcinoüs, and his counsel pleased; , , Then, all retiring, sought repose at home.

  20 But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Look'd rosy forth, each hasted to the bark With his illustrious present, which the might Of King Alcinoüs, who himself her sides Ascended, safe beneath the seats bestowed, Lest it should harm or hinder, while he toil'd In rowing, some Phæacian of the crew.

The palace of Alcinoüs seeking next, Together, they prepared a new regale.

For them, in sacrifice, the sacred might[59]   30 Of King Alcinoüs slew an ox to Jove Saturnian, cloud-girt governor of all.

The thighs with fire prepared, all glad partook The noble feast; , , meantime, the bard divine Sang, sweet Demodocus, the people's joy.

But oft Ulysses to the radiant sun Turn'd wistful eyes, anxious for his decline, Nor longer, now, patient of dull delay.

As when some hungry swain whose sable beeves Have through the fallow dragg'd his pond'rous plow  40 All day, the setting sun views with delight For supper' sake, which with tir'd feet he seeks, So welcome to Ulysses' eyes appear'd The sun-set of that eve; , , directing, then, His speech to maritime Phæacia's sons, But to Alcinoüs chiefly, thus he said.

Alcinoüs, o'er Phæacia's realm supreme!

Libation made, dismiss ye me in peace, And farewell all!

for what I wish'd, I have, Conductors hence, and honourable gifts    50 With which heav'n prosper me!

and may the Gods Vouchsafe to me, at my return, to find All safe, my spotless consort and my friends!

May ye, whom here I leave, gladden your wives And see your children blest, and may the pow'rs Immortal with all good enrich you all, And from calamity preserve the land!

He ended, they unanimous, his speech Applauded loud, and bade dismiss the guest Who had so wisely spoken and so well.

   60 Then thus Alcinoüs to his herald spake.


charging high the beaker, bear To ev'ry guest beneath our roof the wine, That, pray'r preferr'd to the eternal Sire, We may dismiss our inmate to his home.

Then, bore Pontonoüs to ev'ry guest The brimming cup; , , they, where they sat, perform'd Libation due; , , but the illustrious Chief Ulysses, from his seat arising, placed A massy goblet in Areta's hand,     70 To whom in accents wing'd, grateful, he said.

Farewell, O Queen, a long farewell, till age Arrive, and death, the appointed lot of all!

I go; , , but be this people, and the King Alcinoüs, and thy progeny, thy joy Yet many a year beneath this glorious roof!

So saying, the Hero through the palace-gate Issued, whom, by Alcinoüs' command, The royal herald to his vessel led.

Three maidens also of Areta's train    80 His steps attended; , , one, the robe well-bleach'd And tunic bore; , , the corded coffer, one; , , And food the third, with wine of crimson hue.

Arriving where the galley rode, each gave Her charge to some brave mariner on board, And all was safely stow'd.

Meantime were spread Linen and arras on the deck astern, For his secure repose.

And now the Chief Himself embarking, silent lay'd him down.

Then, ev'ry rower to his bench repair'd; , ,    90 They drew the loosen'd cable from its hold In the drill'd rock, and, resupine, at once With lusty strokes upturn'd the flashing waves.

-His- eye-lids, soon, sleep, falling as a dew, Closed fast, death's simular, in sight the same.

She, as four harness'd stallions o'er the plain Shooting together at the scourge's stroke, Toss high their manes, and rapid scour along, So mounted she the waves, while dark the flood Roll'd after her of the resounding Deep.

   100 Steady she ran and safe, passing in speed The falcon, swiftest of the fowls of heav'n; , , With such rapidity she cut the waves, An hero bearing like the Gods above In wisdom, one familiar long with woe In fight sustain'd, and on the perilous flood, Though sleeping now serenely, and resign'd To sweet oblivion of all sorrow past.

The brightest star of heav'n, precursor chief Of day-spring, now arose, when at the isle   110 (Her voyage soon perform'd) the bark arrived.

There is a port sacred in Ithaca To Phorcys, hoary ancient of the Deep, Form'd by converging shores, prominent both And both abrupt, which from the spacious bay Exclude all boist'rous winds; , , within it, ships (The port once gain'd) uncabled ride secure.

An olive, at the haven's head, expands Her branches wide, near to a pleasant cave Umbrageous, to the nymphs devoted named    120 The Naiads.

In that cave beakers of stone And jars are seen; , , bees lodge their honey there; , , And there, on slender spindles of the rock The nymphs of rivers weave their wond'rous robes.

Perennial springs water it, and it shows A twofold entrance; , , ingress one affords To mortal man, which Northward looks direct, But holier is the Southern far; , , by that No mortal enters, but the Gods alone.

Familiar with that port before, they push'd   130 The vessel in; , , she, rapid, plow'd the sands With half her keel, such rowers urged her on.

Descending from the well-bench'd bark ashore, They lifted forth Ulysses first, with all His splendid couch complete, then, lay'd him down Still wrapt in balmy slumber on the sands.

His treasures, next, by the Phæacian Chiefs At his departure given him as the meed Due to his wisdom, at the olive's foot They heap'd, without the road, lest, while he slept  140 Some passing traveller should rifle them.

Then homeward thence they sped.

Nor Ocean's God His threats forgot denounced against divine Ulysses, but with Jove thus first advised.

Eternal Sire!

I shall no longer share Respect and reverence among the Gods, Since, now, Phæacia's mortal race have ceas'd To honour me, though from myself derived.

It was my purpose, that by many an ill Harass'd, Ulysses should have reach'd his home,   150 Although to intercept him, whose return Thyself had promis'd, ne'er was my intent.

But him fast-sleeping swiftly o'er the waves They have conducted, and have set him down In Ithaca, with countless gifts enrich'd, With brass, and tissued raiment, and with gold; , , Much treasure!

more than he had home convey'd Even had he arrived with all his share Allotted to him of the spoils of Troy.

To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.

  160 What hast thou spoken, Shaker of the shores, Wide-ruling Neptune?

Fear not; , , thee the Gods Will ne'er despise; , , dangerous were the deed To cast dishonour on a God by birth More ancient, and more potent far than they.

But if, profanely rash, a mortal man Should dare to slight thee, to avenge the wrong Some future day is ever in thy pow'r.

Accomplish all thy pleasure, thou art free.

Him answer'd, then, the Shaker of the shores.

  170 Jove cloud-enthroned!

that pleasure I would soon Perform, as thou hast said, but that I watch Thy mind continual, fearful to offend.

My purpose is, now to destroy amid The dreary Deep yon fair Phæacian bark, Return'd from safe conveyance of her freight; , , So shall they waft such wand'rers home no more, And she shall hide their city, to a rock Transform'd of mountainous o'ershadowing size.

Him, then, Jove answer'd, gath'rer of the clouds.

 180 Perform it, O my brother, and the deed Thus done, shall best be done --What time the people Shall from the city her approach descry, Fix her to stone transform'd, but still in shape A gallant bark, near to the coast, that all May wonder, seeing her transform'd to stone Of size to hide their city from the view.

These words once heard, the Shaker of the shores Instant to Scheria, maritime abode Of the Phæacians, went.

Arrived, he watch'd.

  190 And now the flying bark full near approach'd, When Neptune, meeting her, with out-spread palm Depress'd her at a stroke, and she became Deep-rooted stone.

Then Neptune went his way.

Phæacia's ship-ennobled sons meantime Conferring stood, and thus, in accents wing'd, Th' amazed spectator to his fellow spake.


who hath sudden check'd the vessel's course Homeward?

this moment she was all in view.

Thus they, unconscious of the cause, to whom   200 Alcinoüs, instructing them, replied.

Ye Gods!

a prophecy now strikes my mind With force, my father's.

He was wont to say -- Neptune resents it, that we safe conduct Natives of ev'ry region to their home.

He also spake, prophetic, of a day When a Phæacian gallant bark, return'd After conveyance of a stranger hence, Should perish in the dreary Deep, and changed To a huge mountain, cover all the town.

   210 So spake my father, all whose words we see This day fulfill'd.

Thus, therefore, act we all Unanimous; , , henceforth no longer bear The stranger home, when such shall here arrive; , , And we will sacrifice, without delay, Twelve chosen bulls to Neptune, if, perchance, He will commiserate us, and forbear To hide our town behind a mountain's height.

He spake, they, terrified, the bulls prepared.

Thus all Phæacia's Senators and Chiefs    220 His altar compassing, in pray'r adored The Ocean's God.

Meantime, Ulysses woke, Unconscious where; , , stretch'd on his native soil He lay, and knew it not, long-time exiled.

For Pallas, progeny of Jove, a cloud Drew dense around him, that, ere yet agnized By others, he might wisdom learn from her, Neither to citizens, nor yet to friends Reveal'd, nor even to his own espoused, Till, first, he should avenge complete his wrongs  230 Domestic from those suitors proud sustained.

All objects, therefore, in the Hero's eyes Seem'd alien, foot-paths long, commodious ports, Heav'n-climbing rocks, and trees of amplest growth.

Arising, fixt he stood, his native soil Contemplating, till with expanded palms Both thighs he smote, and, plaintive, thus began.

Ah me!

what mortal race inhabits here?

Rude are they, contumacious and unjust, Or hospitable, and who fear the Gods?

   240 Where now shall I secrete these num'rous stores?

Where wander I, myself?

I would that still Phæacians own'd them, and I had arrived In the dominions of some other King Magnanimous, who would have entertain'd And sent me to my native home secure!

Now, neither know I where to place my wealth, Nor can I leave it here, lest it become Another's prey.


Phæacia's Chiefs Not altogether wise I deem or just,    250 Who have misplaced me in another land, Promis'd to bear me to the pleasant shores Of Ithaca, but have not so perform'd.

Jove, guardian of the suppliant's rights, who all Transgressors marks, and punishes all wrong, Avenge me on the treach'rous race! --but hold -- I will revise my stores, so shall I know If they have left me here of aught despoiled.

So saying, he number'd carefully the gold, The vases, tripods bright, and tissued robes,   260 But nothing miss'd of all.

Then he bewail'd His native isle, with pensive steps and slow Pacing the border of the billowy flood, Forlorn; , , but while he wept, Pallas approach'd, In form a shepherd stripling, girlish fair In feature, such as are the sons of Kings; , , A sumptuous mantle o'er his shoulders hung Twice-folded, sandals his nice feet upbore, And a smooth javelin glitter'd in his hand.

Ulysses, joyful at the sight, his steps    270 Turn'd brisk toward her, whom he thus address'd.

Sweet youth!

since thee, of all mankind, I first Encounter in this land unknown, all hail!

Come not with purposes of harm to me!

These save, and save me also.

I prefer To thee, as to some God, my pray'r, and clasp Thy knees a suppliant.

Say, and tell me true, What land?

what people?

who inhabit here?

Is this some isle delightful, or a shore Of fruitful main-land sloping to the sea?

  280 Then Pallas, thus, Goddess cærulean-eyed.


thou sure art simple, or hast dwelt Far distant hence, if of this land thou ask.

It is not, trust me, of so little note, But known to many, both to those who dwell Toward the sun-rise, and to others placed Behind it, distant in the dusky West.

Rugged it is, not yielding level course To the swift steed, and yet no barren spot, However small, but rich in wheat and wine; , ,   290 Nor wants it rain or fertilising dew, But pasture green to goats and beeves affords, Trees of all kinds, and fountains never dry.

Ithaca therefore, stranger, is a name Known ev'n at Troy, a city, by report, At no small distance from Achaia's shore.

The Goddess ceased; , , then, toil-enduring Chief Ulysses, happy in his native land, (So taught by Pallas, progeny of Jove) In accents wing'd her answ'ring, utter'd prompt   300 Not truth, but figments to truth opposite, For guile, in him, stood never at a pause.

O'er yonder flood, even in spacious Crete[60] I heard of Ithaca, where now, it seems, I have, myself, with these my stores arrived; , , Not richer stores than, flying thence, I left To my own children; , , for from Crete I fled For slaughter of Orsilochus the swift, Son of Idomeneus, whom none in speed Could equal throughout all that spacious isle.

  310 His purpose was to plunder me of all My Trojan spoils, which to obtain, much woe I had in battle and by storms endured, For that I would not gratify his Sire, Fighting beside him in the fields of Troy, But led a diff'rent band.

Him from the field Returning homeward, with my brazen spear I smote, in ambush waiting his return At the road-side, with a confed'rate friend.

Unwonted darkness over all the heav'ns    320 That night prevailed, nor any eye of man Observed us, but, unseen, I slew the youth.

No sooner, then, with my sharp spear of life I had bereft him, than I sought a ship Mann'd by renown'd Phæacians, whom with gifts Part of my spoils, and by requests, I won.

I bade them land me on the Pylian shore, Or in fair Elis by th' Epeans ruled, But they, reluctant, were by violent winds Driv'n devious thence, for fraud they purposed none.

 330 Thus through constraint we here arrived by night, And with much difficulty push'd the ship Into safe harbour, nor was mention made Of food by any, though all needed food, But, disembark'd in haste, on shore we lay.

I, weary, slept profound, and they my goods Forth heaving from the bark, beside me placed The treasures on the sea-beach where I slept, Then, reimbarking, to the populous coast Steer'd of Sidonia, and me left forlorn.

   340 He ceased; , , then smiled Minerva azure-eyed And stroaked his cheek, in form a woman now, Beauteous, majestic, in all elegant arts Accomplish'd, and with accents wing'd replied.

Who passes thee in artifice well-framed And in imposture various, need shall find Of all his policy, although a God.

Canst thou not cease, inventive as thou art And subtle, from the wiles which thou hast lov'd Since thou wast infant, and from tricks of speech  350 Delusive, even in thy native land?

But come, dismiss we these ingenious shifts From our discourse, in which we both excel; , , For thou of all men in expedients most Abound'st and eloquence, and I, throughout All heav'n have praise for wisdom and for art.

And know'st thou not thine Athenæan aid, Pallas, Jove's daughter, who in all thy toils Assist thee and defend?

I gave thee pow'r T' engage the hearts of all Phæacia's sons,   360 And here arrive ev'n now, counsels to frame Discrete with thee, and to conceal the stores Giv'n to thee by the rich Phæacian Chiefs On my suggestion, at thy going thence.

I will inform thee also what distress And hardship under thy own palace-roof Thou must endure; , , which, since constraint enjoins, Bear patiently, and neither man apprize Nor woman that thou hast arrived forlorn And vagabond, but silent undergo     370 What wrongs soever from the hands of men.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

O Goddess!

thou art able to elude, Wherever met, the keenest eye of man, For thou all shapes assum'st; , , yet this I know Certainly, that I ever found thee kind, Long as Achaia's Heroes fought at Troy; , , But when (the lofty tow'rs of Priam laid In dust) we re-embark'd, and by the will Of heav'n Achaia's fleet was scatter'd wide,   380 Thenceforth, O daughter wise of Jove, I thee Saw not, nor thy appearance in my ship Once mark'd, to rid me of my num'rous woes, But always bearing in my breast a heart With anguish riv'n, I roam'd, till by the Gods Relieved at length, and till with gracious words Thyself didst in Phæacia's opulent land Confirm my courage, and becam'st my guide.

But I adjure thee in thy father's name -- O tell me truly, (for I cannot hope    390 That I have reach'd fair Ithaca; , , I tread Some other soil, and thou affirm'st it mine To mock me merely, and deceive) oh say -- Am I in Ithaca?

in truth, at home?

Thus then Minerva the cærulean-eyed.

Such caution in thy breast always prevails Distrustful; , , but I know thee eloquent, With wisdom and with ready thought endued, And cannot leave thee, therefore, thus distress'd For what man, save Ulysses, new-return'd    400 After long wand'rings, would not pant to see At once his home, his children, and his wife?

But thou preferr'st neither to know nor ask Concerning them, till some experience first Thou make of her whose wasted youth is spent In barren solitude, and who in tears Ceaseless her nights and woeful days consumes.

I ne'er was ignorant, but well foreknew That not till after loss of all thy friends Thou should'st return; , , but loth I was to oppose   410 Neptune, my father's brother, sore incensed For his son's sake deprived of sight by thee.

But, I will give thee proof --come now --survey These marks of Ithaca, and be convinced.

This is the port of Phorcys, sea-born sage; , , That, the huge olive at the haven's head; , , Fast by it, thou behold'st the pleasant cove Umbrageous, to the nymphs devoted named The Naiads; , , this the broad-arch'd cavern is Where thou wast wont to offer to the nymphs   420 Many a whole hecatomb; , , and yonder stands The mountain Neritus with forests cloath'd.

So saying, the Goddess scatter'd from before His eyes all darkness, and he knew the land.

Then felt Ulysses, Hero toil-inured, Transport unutterable, seeing plain Once more his native isle.

He kiss'd the glebe, And with uplifted hands the nymphs ador'd.

Nymphs, Naiads, Jove's own daughters!

I despair'd To see you more, whom yet with happy vows   430 I now can hail again.

Gifts, as of old, We will hereafter at your shrines present, If Jove-born Pallas, huntress of the spoils, Grant life to me, and manhood to my son.

Then Pallas, blue-eyed progeny of Jove.

Take courage; , , trouble not thy mind with thoughts Now needless.

Haste --delay not --far within This hallow'd cave's recess place we at once Thy precious stores, that they may thine remain, Then muse together on thy wisest course.

   440 So saying, the Goddess enter'd deep the cave Caliginous, and its secret nooks explored From side to side; , , meantime, Ulysses brought All his stores into it, the gold, the brass, And robes magnificent, his gifts received From the Phæacians; , , safe he lodg'd them all, And Pallas, daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd, Closed fast, herself, the cavern with a stone.

Then, on the consecrated olive's root Both seated, they in consultation plann'd   450 The deaths of those injurious suitors proud, And Pallas, blue-eyed Goddess, thus began.

Laertes' noble son, Ulysses!

think By what means likeliest thou shalt assail Those shameless suitors, who have now controuled Three years thy family, thy matchless wife With language amorous and with spousal gifts Urging importunate; , , but she, with tears Watching thy wish'd return, hope gives to all By messages of promise sent to each,    460 Framing far other purposes the while.

Then answer thus Ulysses wise return'd.

Ah, Agamemnon's miserable fate Had surely met me in my own abode, But for thy gracious warning, pow'r divine!

Come then --Devise the means; , , teach me, thyself, The way to vengeance, and my soul inspire With daring fortitude, as when we loos'd Her radiant frontlet from the brows of Troy.

Would'st thou with equal zeal, O Pallas!

aid   470 Thy servant here, I would encounter thrice An hundred enemies, let me but perceive Thy dread divinity my prompt ally.

Him answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.

And such I will be; , , not unmark'd by me, (Let once our time of enterprize arrive) Shalt thou assail them.

Many, as I judge, Of those proud suitors who devour thy wealth Shall leave their brains, then, on thy palace floor.

But come.


I will disguise thee so   480 That none shall know thee!

I will parch the skin On thy fair body; , , I will cause thee shed Thy wavy locks; , , I will enfold thee round In such a kirtle as the eyes of all Shall loath to look on; , , and I will deform With blurring rheums thy eyes, so vivid erst; , , So shall the suitors deem thee, and thy wife, And thy own son whom thou didst leave at home, Some sordid wretch obscure.

But seek thou first Thy swine-herd's mansion; , , he, alike, intends   490 Thy good, and loves, affectionate, thy son And thy Penelope; , , thou shalt find the swain Tending his herd; , , they feed beneath the rock Corax, at side of Arethusa's fount, On acorns dieted, nutritious food To them, and drinking of the limpid stream.

There waiting, question him of thy concerns, While I from Sparta praised for women fair Call home thy son Telemachus, a guest With Menelaus now, whom to consult    500 In spacious Lacedæmon he is gone, Anxious to learn if yet his father lives.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

And why, alas!

all-knowing as thou art, Him left'st thou ignorant?

was it that he, He also, wand'ring wide the barren Deep, Might suffer woe, while these devour his wealth?

Him answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.

Grieve thou not much for him.

I sent him forth Myself, that there arrived, he might acquire   510 Honour and fame.

No suff'rings finds he there, But in Atrides' palace safe resides, Enjoying all abundance.

Him, in truth, The suitors watch close ambush'd on the Deep, Intent to slay him ere he reach his home, But shall not as I judge, till of themselves The earth hide some who make thee, now, a prey.

So saying, the Goddess touch'd him with a wand.

At once o'er all his agile limbs she parch'd The polish'd skin; , , she wither'd to the root   520 His wavy locks; , , and cloath'd him with the hide Deform'd of wrinkled age; , , she charged with rheums His eyes before so vivid, and a cloak And kirtle gave him, tatter'd, both, and foul, And smutch'd with smoak; , , then, casting over all An huge old deer-skin bald, with a long staff She furnish'd him, and with a wallet patch'd On all sides, dangling by a twisted thong.

Thus all their plan adjusted, diff'rent ways They took, and she, seeking Ulysses' son,   530 To Lacedæmon's spacious realm repair'd.


[59] Ἱερον μενος Αλκινοοιο.

[60] Homer dates all the fictions of Ulysses from Crete, as if he meant to pass a similar censure on the Cretans to that quoted by St. Paul --κρητες αει ψευσαι.



Ulysses arriving at the house of Eumæus, is hospitably entertained, and spends the night there.

Leaving the haven-side, he turn'd his steps Into a rugged path, which over hills Mantled with trees led him to the abode By Pallas mention'd of his noble friend[61] The swine-herd, who of all Ulysses' train Watch'd with most diligence his rural stores.

Him sitting in the vestibule he found Of his own airy lodge commodious, built Amidst a level lawn.

That structure neat Eumæus, in the absence of his Lord,    10 Had raised, himself, with stones from quarries hewn, Unaided by Laertes or the Queen.

With tangled thorns he fenced it safe around, And with contiguous stakes riv'n from the trunks Of solid oak black-grain'd hemm'd it without.

Twelve penns he made within, all side by side, Lairs for his swine, and fast-immured in each Lay fifty pregnant females on the floor.

The males all slept without, less num'rous far, Thinn'd by the princely wooers at their feasts   20 Continual, for to them he ever sent The fattest of his saginated charge.

Three hundred, still, and sixty brawns remained.

Four mastiffs in adjoining kennels lay, Resembling wild-beasts nourish'd at the board Of the illustrious steward of the styes.

Himself sat fitting sandals to his feet, Carved from a stain'd ox-hide.

Four hinds he kept, Now busied here and there; , , three in the penns Were occupied; , , meantime, the fourth had sought   30 The city, whither, for the suitors' use, With no good will, but by constraint, he drove A boar, that, sacrificing to the Gods, Th' imperious guests might on his flesh regale.

Soon as those clamorous watch-dogs the approach Saw of Ulysses, baying loud, they ran Toward him; , , he, as ever, well-advised, Squatted, and let his staff fall from his hand.

Yet foul indignity he had endured Ev'n there, at his own farm, but that the swain,   40 Following his dogs in haste, sprang through the porch To his assistance, letting fall the hide.

With chiding voice and vollied stones he soon Drove them apart, and thus his Lord bespake.

Old man!

one moment more, and these my dogs Had, past doubt, worried thee, who should'st have proved, So slain, a source of obloquy to me.

But other pangs the Gods, and other woes To me have giv'n, who here lamenting sit My godlike master, and his fatted swine    50 Nourish for others' use, while he, perchance, A wand'rer in some foreign city, seeks Fit sustenance, and none obtains, if still Indeed he live, and view the light of day.

But, old friend!

follow me into the house, That thou, at least, with plenteous food refresh'd, And cheer'd with wine sufficient, may'st disclose Both who thou art, and all that thou hast borne.

So saying, the gen'rous swine-herd introduced Ulysses, and thick bundles spread of twigs   60 Beneath him, cover'd with the shaggy skin Of a wild goat, of which he made his couch Easy and large; , , the Hero, so received, Rejoiced, and thus his gratitude express'd.

Jove grant thee and the Gods above, my host, For such beneficence thy chief desire!

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

My guest!

I should offend, treating with scorn The stranger, though a poorer should arrive Than ev'n thyself; , , for all the poor that are,   70 And all the strangers are the care of Jove.

Little, and with good will, is all that lies Within my scope; , , no man can much expect From servants living in continual fear Under young masters; , , for the Gods, no doubt, Have intercepted my own Lord's return, From whom great kindness I had, else, received, With such a recompense as servants gain From gen'rous masters, house and competence, And lovely wife from many a wooer won,    80 Whose industry should have requited well His goodness, with such blessing from the Gods As now attends me in my present charge.

Much had I, therefore, prosper'd, had my Lord Grown old at home; , , but he hath died --I would That the whole house of Helen, one and all, Might perish too, for she hath many slain Who, like my master, went glory to win For Agamemnon in the fields of Troy.

So saying, he girdled, quick, his tunic close,   90 And, issuing, sought the styes; , , thence bringing two Of the imprison'd herd, he slaughter'd both, Singed them, and slash'd and spitted them, and placed The whole well-roasted banquet, spits and all, Reeking before Ulysses; , , last, with flour He sprinkled them, and filling with rich wine His ivy goblet, to his master sat Opposite, whom inviting thus he said.

Now, eat, my guest!

such as a servant may I set before thee, neither large of growth   100 Nor fat; , , the fatted --those the suitors eat, Fearless of heav'n, and pitiless of man.

Yet deeds unjust as theirs the blessed Gods Love not; , , they honour equity and right.

Even an hostile band when they invade A foreign shore, which by consent of Jove They plunder, and with laden ships depart, Even they with terrours quake of wrath divine.

But these are wiser; , , these must sure have learn'd From some true oracle my master's death,    110 Who neither deign with decency to woo, Nor yet to seek their homes, but boldly waste His substance, shameless, now, and sparing nought.

Jove ne'er hath giv'n us yet the night or day When with a single victim, or with two They would content them, and his empty jars Witness how fast the squand'rers use his wine.

Time was, when he was rich indeed; , , such wealth No Hero own'd on yonder continent, Nor yet in Ithaca; , , no twenty Chiefs    120 Could match with all their treasures his alone; , , I tell thee their amount.

Twelve herds of his The mainland graze; , , [62] as many flocks of sheep; , , As many droves of swine; , , and hirelings there And servants of his own seed for his use, As many num'rous flocks of goats; , , his goats, (Not fewer than eleven num'rous flocks) Here also graze the margin of his fields Under the eye of servants well-approved, And ev'ry servant, ev'ry day, brings home   130 The goat, of all his flock largest and best.

But as for me, I have these swine in charge, Of which, selected with exactest care From all the herd, I send the prime to them.

He ceas'd, meantime Ulysses ate and drank Voracious, meditating, mute, the death Of those proud suitors.

His repast, at length, Concluded, and his appetite sufficed, Eumæus gave him, charged with wine, the cup From which he drank himself; , , he, glad, received   140 The boon, and in wing'd accents thus began.

My friend, and who was he, wealthy and brave As thou describ'st the Chief, who purchased thee?

Thou say'st he perish'd for the glory-sake Of Agamemnon.

Name him; , , I, perchance, May have beheld the Hero.

None can say But Jove and the inhabitants of heav'n That I ne'er saw him, and may not impart News of him; , , I have roam'd through many a clime.

To whom the noble swine-herd thus replied.

  150 Alas, old man!

no trav'ler's tale of him Will gain his consort's credence, or his son's; , , For wand'rers, wanting entertainment, forge Falsehoods for bread, and wilfully deceive.

No wand'rer lands in Ithaca, but he seeks With feign'd intelligence my mistress' ear; , , She welcomes all, and while she questions each Minutely, from her lids lets fall the tear Affectionate, as well beseems a wife Whose mate hath perish'd in a distant land.

  160 Thou could'st thyself, no doubt, my hoary friend!

(Would any furnish thee with decent vest And mantle) fabricate a tale with ease; , , Yet sure it is that dogs and fowls, long since, His skin have stript, or fishes of the Deep Have eaten him, and on some distant shore Whelm'd in deep sands his mould'ring bones are laid.

So hath he perish'd; , , whence, to all his friends, But chiefly to myself, sorrow of heart; , , For such another Lord, gentle as he,    170 Wherever sought, I have no hope to find, Though I should wander even to the house Of my own father.

Neither yearns my heart So feelingly (though that desiring too) To see once more my parents and my home, As to behold Ulysses yet again.

Ah stranger; , , absent as he is, his name Fills me with rev'rence, for he lov'd me much, Cared for me much, and, though we meet no more, Holds still an elder brother's part in me.

  180 Him answer'd, then, the Hero toil-inured.

My friend!

since his return, in thy account, Is an event impossible, and thy mind Always incredulous that hope rejects, I shall not slightly speak, but with an oath -- Ulysses comes again; , , and I demand No more, than that the boon such news deserves, Be giv'n me soon as he shall reach his home.

Then give me vest and mantle fit to wear, Which, ere that hour, much as I need them both,   190 I neither ask, nor will accept from thee.

For him whom poverty can force aside From truth --I hate him as the gates of hell.

Be Jove, of all in heav'n, my witness first, Then, this thy hospitable board, and, last, The household Gods of the illustrious Chief Himself, Ulysses, to whose gates I go, That all my words shall surely be fulfill'd.

In this same year Ulysses shall arrive, Ere, this month closed, another month succeed,   200 He shall return, and punish all who dare Insult his consort and his noble son.

To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

Old friend!

that boon thou wilt ne'er earn from me; , , Ulysses comes no more.

But thou thy wine Drink quietly, and let us find, at length, Some other theme; , , recall not this again To my remembrance, for my soul is grieved Oft as reminded of my honour'd Lord.

Let the oath rest, and let Ulysses come    210 Ev'n as myself, and as Penelope, And as his ancient father, and his son Godlike Telemachus, all wish he may.

Ay --there I feel again --nor cease to mourn His son Telemachus; , , who, when the Gods Had giv'n him growth like a young plant, and I Well hoped that nought inferior he should prove In person or in mind to his own sire, Hath lost, through influence human or divine, I know not how, his sober intellect,    220 And after tidings of his sire is gone To far-famed Pylus; , , his return, meantime, In ambush hidden the proud suitors wait, That the whole house may perish of renown'd Arcesias, named in Ithaca no more.

But whether he have fallen or 'scaped, let him Rest also, whom Saturnian Jove protect!

But come, my ancient guest!

now let me learn Thy own afflictions; , , answer me in truth.

Who, and whence art thou?

in what city born?

  230 Where dwell thy parents; , , in what kind of ship Cam'st thou?

the mariners, why brought they thee To Ithaca?

and of what land are they?

For, that on foot thou found'st us not, is sure.

Him answer'd, then, Ulysses, ever-wise.

I will with truth resolve thee; , , and if here Within thy cottage sitting, we had wine And food for many a day, and business none But to regale at ease while others toiled, I could exhaust the year complete, my woes   240 Rehearsing, nor, at last, rehearse entire My sorrows by the will of heav'n sustained.

I boast me sprung from ancestry renown'd In spacious Crete; , , son of a wealthy sire, Who other sons train'd num'rous in his house, Born of his wedded wife; , , but he begat Me on his purchased concubine, whom yet Dear as his other sons in wedlock born Castor Hylacides esteem'd and lov'd, For him I boast my father.

Him in Crete,    250 While yet he liv'd, all reverenc'd as a God, So rich, so prosp'rous, and so blest was he With sons of highest praise.

But death, the doom Of all, him bore to Pluto's drear abode, And his illustrious sons among themselves Portion'd his goods by lot; , , to me, indeed, They gave a dwelling, and but little more, Yet, for my virtuous qualities, I won A wealthy bride, for I was neither vain Nor base, forlorn as thou perceiv'st me now.

  260 But thou canst guess, I judge, viewing the straw What once was in the ear.


I have borne Much tribulation; , , heap'd and heavy woes.

Courage and phalanx-breaking might had I From Mars and Pallas; , , at what time I drew, (Planning some dread exploit) an ambush forth Of our most valiant Chiefs, no boding fears Of death seized -me-, but foremost far of all I sprang to fight, and pierced the flying foe.

Such was I once in arms.

But household toils   270 Sustain'd for children's sake, and carking cares T' enrich a family, were not for me.

My pleasures were the gallant bark, the din Of battle, the smooth spear and glitt'ring shaft, Objects of dread to others, but which me The Gods disposed to love and to enjoy.

Thus diff'rent minds are diff'rently amused; , , For ere Achaia's fleet had sailed to Troy, Nine times was I commander of an host Embark'd against a foreign foe, and found   280 In all those enterprizes great success.

From the whole booty, first, what pleased me most Chusing, and sharing also much by lot I rapidly grew rich, and had thenceforth Among the Cretans rev'rence and respect.

But when loud-thund'ring Jove that voyage dire Ordain'd, which loos'd the knees of many a Greek, Then, to Idomeneus and me they gave The charge of all their fleet, which how to avoid We found not, so importunate the cry    290 Of the whole host impell'd us to the task.

There fought we nine long years, and in the tenth (Priam's proud city pillag'd) steer'd again Our galleys homeward, which the Gods dispersed.

Then was it that deep-planning Jove devised For me much evil.

One short month, no more, I gave to joys domestic, in my wife Happy, and in my babes, and in my wealth, When the desire seiz'd me with sev'ral ships Well-rigg'd, and furnish'd all with gallant crews,  300 To sail for Ægypt; , , nine I fitted forth, To which stout mariners assembled fast.

Six days the chosen partners of my voyage Feasted, to whom I num'rous victims gave For sacrifice, and for their own regale.

Embarking on the sev'nth from spacious Crete, Before a clear breeze prosp'rous from the North We glided easily along, as down A river's stream; , , nor one of all my ships Damage incurr'd, but healthy and at ease    310 We sat, while gales well-managed urged us on.

The fifth day thence, smooth-flowing Nile we reach'd, And safe I moor'd in the Ægyptian stream.

Then, charging all my mariners to keep Strict watch for preservation of the ships, I order'd spies into the hill-tops; , , but they Under the impulse of a spirit rash And hot for quarrel, the well-cultur'd fields Pillaged of the Ægyptians, captive led Their wives and little ones, and slew the men.

  320 Soon was the city alarm'd, and at the cry Down came the citizens, by dawn of day, With horse and foot, and with the gleam of arms Filling the plain.

Then Jove with panic dread Struck all my people; , , none found courage more To stand, for mischiefs swarm'd on ev'ry side.

There, num'rous by the glittering spear we fell Slaughter'd, while others they conducted thence Alive to servitude.

But Jove himself My bosom with this thought inspired, (I would   330 That, dying, I had first fulfill'd my fate In Ægypt, for new woes were yet to come!) Loosing my brazen casque, and slipping off My buckler, there I left them on the field, Then cast my spear away, and seeking, next, The chariot of the sov'reign, clasp'd his knees, And kiss'd them.

He, by my submission moved, Deliver'd me, and to his chariot-seat Raising, convey'd me weeping to his home.

With many an ashen spear his warriors sought   340 To slay me, (for they now grew fiery wroth) But he, through fear of hospitable Jove, Chief punisher of wrong, saved me alive.

Sev'n years I there abode, and much amass'd Among the Ægyptians, gifted by them all; , , But, in the eighth revolving year, arrived A shrewd Phœnician, in all fraud adept, Hungry, and who had num'rous harm'd before, By whom I also was cajoled, and lured T' attend him to Phœnicia, where his house   350 And his possessions lay; , , there I abode A year complete his inmate; , , but (the days And months accomplish'd of the rolling year, And the new seasons ent'ring on their course) To Lybia then, on board his bark, by wiles He won me with him, partner of the freight Profess'd, but destin'd secretly to sale, That he might profit largely by my price.

Not unsuspicious, yet constrain'd to go, With this man I embark'd.

A cloudless gale   360 Propitious blowing from the North, our ship Ran right before it through the middle sea, In the offing over Crete; , , but adverse Jove Destruction plann'd for them and death the while.

For, Crete now left afar, and other land Appearing none, but sky alone and sea, Right o'er the hollow bark Saturnian Jove A cloud cærulean hung, dark'ning the Deep.

Then, thund'ring oft, he hurl'd into the bark His bolts; , , she smitten by the fires of Jove,   370 Quaked all her length; , , with sulphur fill'd she reek'd, And, o'er her sides precipitated, plunged Like gulls the crew, forbidden by that stroke Of wrath divine to hope their country more.

But Jove himself, when I had cast away All hope of life, conducted to my arms The strong tall mast, that I might yet escape.

Around that beam I clung, driving before The stormy blast.

Nine days complete I drove, And, on the tenth dark night, the rolling flood   380 Immense convey'd me to Thesprotia's shore.

There me the Hero Phidon, gen'rous King Of the Thesprotians, freely entertained; , , For his own son discov'ring me with toil Exhausted and with cold, raised me, and thence Led me humanely to his father's house, Who cherish'd me, and gave me fresh attire.

There heard I of Ulysses, whom himself Had entertain'd, he said, on his return To his own land; , , he shew'd me also gold,    390 Brass, and bright steel elab'rate, whatsoe'er Ulysses had amass'd, a store to feed A less illustrious family than his To the tenth generation, so immense His treasures in the royal palace lay.

Himself, he said, was to Dodona gone, There, from the tow'ring oaks of Jove to ask Counsel divine, if openly to land (After long absence) in his opulent realm Of Ithaca, be best, or in disguise.

   400 To me the monarch swore, in his own hall Pouring libation, that the ship was launch'd, And the crew ready for his conduct home.

But me he first dismiss'd, for, as it chanced, A ship lay there of the Thesprotians, bound To green Dulichium's isle.

He bade the crew Bear me to King Acastus with all speed; , , But them far other thoughts pleased more, and thoughts Of harm to me, that I might yet be plunged In deeper gulphs of woe than I had known.

  410 For, when the billow-cleaving bark had left The land remote, framing, combined, a plot Against my liberty, they stripp'd my vest And mantle, and this tatter'd raiment foul Gave me instead, which thy own eyes behold.

At even-tide reaching the cultur'd coast Of Ithaca, they left me bound on board With tackle of the bark, and quitting ship Themselves, made hasty supper on the shore.

But me, meantime, the Gods easily loos'd    420 By their own pow'r, when, with wrapper vile Around my brows, sliding into the sea At the ship's stern, I lay'd me on the flood.

With both hands oaring thence my course, I swam Till past all ken of theirs; , , then landing where Thick covert of luxuriant trees I mark'd, Close couchant down I lay; , , they mutt'ring loud, Paced to and fro, but deeming farther search Unprofitable, soon embark'd again.

Thus baffling all their search with ease, the Gods  430 Conceal'd and led me thence to the abode Of a wise man, dooming me still to live.

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply, Alas!

my most compassionable guest!

Thou hast much moved me by this tale minute Of thy sad wand'rings and thy num'rous woes.

But, speaking of Ulysses, thou hast pass'd All credence; , , I at least can give thee none.

Why, noble as thou art, should'st thou invent Palpable falsehoods?

as for the return    440 Of my regretted Lord, myself I know That had he not been hated by the Gods Unanimous, he had in battle died At Troy, or (that long doubtful war, at last, Concluded,) in his people's arms at home.

Then universal Greece had raised his tomb, And he had even for his son atchiev'd Immortal glory; , , but alas!

by beaks Of harpies torn, unseemly sight, he lies.

Here is my home the while; , , I never seek    450 The city, unless summon'd by discrete Penelope to listen to the news Brought by some stranger, whencesoe'er arrived.

Then, all, alike inquisitive, attend, Both who regret the absence of our King, And who rejoice gratuitous to gorge His property; , , but as for me, no joy Find I in list'ning after such reports, Since an Ætolian cozen'd me, who found (After long wand'ring over various lands    460 A fugitive for blood) my lone retreat.

Him warm I welcom'd, and with open arms Receiv'd, who bold affirm'd that he had seen My master with Idomeneus at Crete His ships refitting shatter'd by a storm, And that in summer with his godlike band He would return, bringing great riches home, Or else in autumn.

And thou ancient guest Forlorn!

since thee the Gods have hither led, Seek not to gratify me with untruths    470 And to deceive me, since for no such cause I shall respect or love thee, but alone By pity influenced, and the fear of Jove.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

Thou hast, in truth, a most incredulous mind, Whom even with an oath I have not moved, Or aught persuaded.

Come then --let us make In terms express a cov'nant, and the Gods Who hold Olympus, witness to us both!

If thy own Lord at this thy house arrive,   480 Thou shalt dismiss me decently attired In vest and mantle, that I may repair Hence to Dulichium, whither I would go.

But, if thy Lord come not, then, gath'ring all Thy servants, headlong hurl me from a rock, That other mendicants may fear to lie.

To whom the generous swine-herd in return.

Yes, stranger!

doubtless I should high renown Obtain for virtue among men, both now And in all future times, if, having first   490 Invited thee, and at my board regaled, I, next, should slay thee; , , then my pray'rs would mount, Past question, swiftly to Saturnian Jove.

But the hour calls to supper, and, ere long, The partners of my toils will come prepared To spread the board with no unsav'ry cheer.

Thus they conferr'd.

And now the swains arrived, Driving their charge, which fast they soon enclosed Within their customary penns, and loud The hubbub was of swine prison'd within.

   500 Then call'd the master to his rustic train.

Bring ye the best, that we may set him forth Before my friend from foreign climes arrived, With whom ourselves will also feast, who find The bright-tusk'd multitude a painful charge, While others, at no cost of theirs, consume Day after day, the profit of our toils.

So saying, his wood for fuel he prepared, And dragging thither a well-fatted brawn Of the fifth year his servants held him fast   510 At the hearth-side.

Nor failed the master swain T' adore the Gods, (for wise and good was he) But consecration of the victim, first, Himself performing, cast into the fire The forehead bristles of the tusky boar, Then pray'd to all above, that, safe, at length, Ulysses might regain his native home.

Then lifting an huge shive that lay beside The fire, he smote the boar, and dead he fell, Next, piercing him, and scorching close his hair,  520 They carv'd him quickly, and Eumæus spread Thin slices crude taken from ev'ry limb O'er all his fat, then other slices cast, Sprinkling them first with meal, into the fire.

The rest they slash'd and scored, and roasted well, And placed it, heap'd together, on the board.

Then rose the good Eumæus to his task Of distribution, for he understood The hospitable entertainer's part.

Sev'n-fold partition of the banquet made,   530 He gave, with previous pray'r, to Maia's son[63] And to the nymphs one portion of the whole, Then served his present guests, honouring first Ulysses with the boar's perpetual chine; , , By that distinction just his master's heart He gratified, and thus the Hero spake.


be thou as belov'd of Jove As thou art dear to me, whom, though attired So coarsely, thou hast served with such respect!

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

  540 Eat, noble stranger!

and refreshment take Such as thou may'st; , , God[64] gives, and God denies At his own will, for He is Lord of all.

He said, and to the everlasting Gods The firstlings sacrificed of all, then made Libation, and the cup placed in the hands Of city-spoiler Laertiades Sitting beside his own allotted share.

Meantime, Mesaulius bread dispensed to all, Whom, in the absence of his Lord, himself   550 Eumæus had from Taphian traders bought With his own proper goods, at no expence Either to old Laertes or the Queen.

And now, all stretch'd their hands toward the feast Reeking before them, and when hunger none Felt more or thirst, Mesaulius clear'd the board.

Then, fed to full satiety, in haste Each sought his couch.

Black came a moonless night, And Jove all night descended fast in show'rs, With howlings of the ever wat'ry West.

   560 Ulysses, at that sound, for trial sake Of his good host, if putting off his cloak He would accommodate him, or require That service for him at some other hand, Addressing thus the family, began.

Hear now, Eumæus, and ye other swains His fellow-lab'rers!

I shall somewhat boast, By wine befool'd, which forces ev'n the wise To carol loud, to titter and to dance, And words to utter, oft, better suppress'd.

  570 But since I have begun, I shall proceed, Prating my fill.

Ah might those days return With all the youth and strength that I enjoy'd, When in close ambush, once, at Troy we lay!

Ulysses, Menelaus, and myself Their chosen coadjutor, led the band.

Approaching to the city's lofty wall Through the thick bushes and the reeds that gird The bulwarks, down we lay flat in the marsh, Under our arms, then Boreas blowing loud,   580 A rueful night came on, frosty and charged With snow that blanch'd us thick as morning rime, And ev'ry shield with ice was crystall'd o'er.

The rest with cloaks and vests well cover'd, slept Beneath their bucklers; , , I alone my cloak, Improvident, had left behind, no thought Conceiving of a season so severe; , , Shield and belt, therefore, and nought else had I.

The night, at last, nigh spent, and all the stars Declining in their course, with elbow thrust   590 Against Ulysses' side I roused the Chief, And thus address'd him ever prompt to hear.

Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!

I freeze to death.

Help me, or I am lost.

No cloak have I; , , some evil dæmon, sure, Beguil'd me of all prudence, that I came Thus sparely clad; , , I shall, I must expire.

So I; , , he, ready as he was in arms And counsel both, the remedy at once Devised, and thus, low-whisp'ring, answer'd me.

  600 Hush!

lest perchance some other hear --He said, And leaning on his elbow, spake aloud.

My friends!

all hear --a monitory dream Hath reach'd me, for we lie far from the ships.

Haste, therefore, one of you, with my request To Agamemnon, Atreus' son, our Chief, That he would reinforce us from the camp.

He spake, and at the word, Andræmon's son Thoas arose, who, casting off his cloak, Ran thence toward the ships, and folded warm   610 Within it, there lay I till dawn appear'd.

Oh for the vigour of such youth again!

Then, some good peasant here, either for love Or for respect, would cloak a man like me, Whom, now, thus sordid in attire ye scorn.

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

My ancient guest!

I cannot but approve Thy narrative, nor hast thou utter'd aught Unseemly, or that needs excuse.

No want Of raiment, therefore, or of aught beside   620 Needful to solace penury like thine, Shall harm thee here; , , yet, at the peep of dawn Gird thy own tatters to thy loins again; , , For -we- have no great store of cloaks to boast, Or change of vests, but singly one for each.

But when Ulysses' son shall once arrive, He will himself with vest and mantle both Cloath thee, and send thee whither most thou would'st.

So saying, he rose, and nearer made his couch To the hearth-side, spreading it thick with skins  630 Of sheep and goats; , , then lay the Hero down, O'er whom a shaggy mantle large he threw, Which oft-times served him with a change, when rough The winter's blast and terrible arose.

So was Ulysses bedded, and the youths Slept all beside him; , , but the master-swain Chose not his place of rest so far remote From his rude charge, but to the outer court With his nocturnal furniture, repair'd, Gladd'ning Ulysses' heart that one so true   640 In his own absence kept his rural stores.

Athwart his sturdy shoulders, first, he flung His faulchion keen, then wrapp'd him in a cloak Thick-woven, winter-proof; , , he lifted, next, The skin of a well-thriven goat, in bulk Surpassing others, and his javelin took Sharp-pointed, with which dogs he drove and men.

Thus arm'd, he sought his wonted couch beneath A hollow rock where the herd slept, secure From the sharp current of the Northern blast.



[61] Δῖος ὑφορβος. --The swineherd's was therefore in those days, and in that country, an occupation honourable as well as useful.

Barnes deems the epithet δῖος significant of his noble birth.

Vide Clarke in loco.

[62] It may be proper to suggest that Ulysses was lord of part of the continent opposite to Ithaca --viz. --of the peninsula Nericus or Leuca, which afterward became an island, and is now called Santa Maura.


[63] Mercury.

[64] Θεος --without a relative, and consequently signifying GOD in the abstract, is not unfrequently found in Homer, though fearing to give offence to serious minds unacquainted with the original, I have not always given it that force in the translation.

But here, the sentiment is such as fixes the sense intended by the author with a precision that leaves no option.

It is observable too, that δυναται γαρ απαντα --is an ascription of power such as the poet never makes to his Jupiter.



Telemachus, admonished by Minerva, takes leave of Menelaus, but ere he sails, is accosted by Theoclymenos, a prophet of Argos, whom at his earnest request he takes on board.

In the meantime Eumæus relates to Ulysses the means by which he came to Ithaca.

Telemachus arriving there, gives orders for the return of his bark to the city, and repairs himself to Eumæus.

Meantime to Lacedæmon's spacious vale Minerva went, that she might summon thence Ulysses' glorious son to his own home.

Arrived, she found Telemachus reposed And Nestor's son beneath the vestibule Of Menelaus, mighty Chief; , , she saw Pisistratus in bands of gentle sleep Fast-bound, but not Telemachus; , , his mind No rest enjoy'd, by filial cares disturb'd Amid the silent night, when, drawing near    10 To his couch side, the Goddess thus began.

Thou canst no longer prudently remain A wand'rer here, Telemachus!

thy home Abandon'd, and those haughty suitors left Within thy walls; , , fear lest, partition made Of thy possessions, they devour the whole, And in the end thy voyage bootless prove.

Delay not; , , from brave Menelaus ask Dismission hence, that thou may'st find at home Thy spotless mother, whom her brethren urge   20 And her own father even now to wed Eurymachus, in gifts and in amount Of proffer'd dow'r superior to them all.

Some treasure, else, shall haply from thy house Be taken, such as thou wilt grudge to spare.

For well thou know'st how woman is disposed; , , Her whole anxiety is to encrease His substance whom she weds; , , no care hath she Of her first children, or remembers more The buried husband of her virgin choice.

   30 Returning then, to her of all thy train Whom thou shalt most approve, the charge commit Of thy concerns domestic, till the Gods Themselves shall guide thee to a noble wife.

Hear also this, and mark it.

In the frith Samos the rude, and Ithaca between, The chief of all her suitors thy return In vigilant ambush wait, with strong desire To slay thee, ere thou reach thy native shore, But shall not, as I judge, till the earth hide   40 Many a lewd reveller at thy expence.

Yet, steer thy galley from those isles afar, And voyage make by night; , , some guardian God Shall save thee, and shall send thee prosp'rous gales.

Then, soon as thou attain'st the nearest shore Of Ithaca, dispatching to the town Thy bark with all thy people, seek at once The swine-herd; , , for Eumæus is thy friend.

There sleep, and send him forth into the town With tidings to Penelope, that safe    50 Thou art restored from Pylus home again.

She said, and sought th' Olympian heights sublime.

Then, with his heel shaking him, he awoke The son of Nestor, whom he thus address'd.

Rise, Nestor's son, Pisistratus!

lead forth The steeds, and yoke them.

We must now depart.

To whom the son of Nestor thus replied.


what haste soe'er we feel, We can by no means prudently attempt To drive by night, and soon it will be dawn.

  60 Stay, therefore, till the Hero, Atreus' son, Spear-practis'd Menelaus shall his gifts Place in the chariot, and with kind farewell Dismiss thee; , , for the guest in mem'ry holds Through life, the host who treats him as a friend.

Scarce had he spoken, when the golden dawn Appearing, Menelaus, from the side Of beauteous Helen ris'n, their bed approach'd, Whose coming when Telemachus perceived, Cloathing himself hastily in his vest    70 Magnificent, and o'er his shoulders broad Casting his graceful mantle, at the door He met the Hero, whom he thus address'd.

Atrides, Menelaus, Chief renown'd!

Dismiss me hence to Ithaca again, My native isle, for I desire to go.

Him answer'd Menelaus famed in arms.


I will not long delay Thy wish'd return.

I disapprove alike The host whose assiduity extreme     80 Distresses, and whose negligence offends; , , The middle course is best; , , alike we err, Him thrusting forth whose wish is to remain, And hind'ring the impatient to depart.

This only is true kindness --To regale The present guest, and speed him when he would.

Yet stay, till thou shalt see my splendid gifts Placed in thy chariot, and till I command My women from our present stores to spread The table with a plentiful repast.

   90 For both the honour of the guest demands, And his convenience also, that he eat Sufficient, ent'ring on a length of road.

But if through Hellas thou wilt take thy way And traverse Argos, I will, then, myself Attend thee; , , thou shalt journey with my steeds Beneath thy yoke, and I will be thy guide To many a city, whence we shall not go Ungratified, but shall in each receive Some gift at least, tripod, or charger bright,   100 Or golden chalice, or a pair of mules.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.

Atrides, Menelaus, Chief renown'd!

I would at once depart, (for guardian none Of my possessions have I left behind) Lest, while I seek my father, I be lost Myself, or lose what I should grudge to spare.

Which when the valiant Menelaus heard, He bade his spouse and maidens spread the board At once with remnants of the last regale.

  110 Then Eteoneus came, Boetheus' son Newly aris'n, for nigh at hand he dwelt, Whom Menelaus bade kindle the fire By which to dress their food, and he obey'd.

He next, himself his fragrant chamber sought, Not sole, but by his spouse and by his son Attended, Megapenthes.

There arrived Where all his treasures lay, Atrides, first, Took forth, himself, a goblet, then consign'd To his son's hand an argent beaker bright.

  120 Meantime, beside her coffers Helen stood Where lay her variegated robes, fair works Of her own hand.

Producing one, in size And in magnificence the chief, a star For splendour, and the lowest placed of all, Loveliest of her sex, she bore it thence.

Then, all proceeding through the house, they sought Telemachus again, whom reaching, thus The Hero of the golden locks began.

May Jove the Thunderer, dread Juno's mate,   130 Grant thee, Telemachus!

such voyage home As thy own heart desires!

accept from all My stores selected as the richest far And noblest gift for finish'd beauty --This.

I give thee wrought elaborate a cup, Itself all silver, bound with lip of gold.

It is the work of Vulcan, which to me The Hero Phædimus imparted, King Of the Sidonians, when, on my return, Beneath his roof I lodg'd.

I make it thine.

  140 So saying, the Hero, Atreus' son, the cup Placed in his hands, and Megapenthes set Before him, next, the argent beaker bright; , , But lovely Helen drawing nigh, the robe Presented to him, whom she thus address'd.

I also give thee, oh my son, a gift, Which seeing, thou shalt think on her whose hands Wrought it; , , a present on thy nuptial day For thy fair spouse; , , meantime, repose it safe In thy own mother's keeping.

Now, farewell!

  150 Prosp'rous and happy be thy voyage home!

She ceas'd, and gave it to him, who the gift Accepted glad, and in the chariot-chest Pisistratus the Hero all disposed, Admiring them the while.

They, following, next, The Hero Menelaus to his hall Each on his couch or on his throne reposed.

A maiden, then, with golden ewer charged And silver bowl, pour'd water on their hands, And spread the polish'd table, which with food   160 Various, selected from her present stores, The mistress of the household charge supplied.

Boetheus' son stood carver, and to each His portion gave, while Megapenthes, son Of glorious Menelaus, serv'd the cup.

Then, all with outstretch'd hands the feast assail'd, And when nor hunger more nor thirst of wine They felt, Telemachus and Nestor's son Yoked the swift steeds, and, taking each his seat In the resplendent chariot, drove at once   170 Right through the sounding portico abroad.

But Menelaus, Hero amber-hair'd, A golden cup bearing with richest wine Replete in his right hand, follow'd them forth, That not without libation first perform'd They might depart; , , he stood before the steeds, And drinking first, thus, courteous, them bespake.

Health to you both, young friends!

and from my lips Like greeting bear to Nestor, royal Chief, For he was ever as a father kind     180 To me, while the Achaians warr'd at Troy.

To whom Telemachus discrete replied.

And doubtless, so we will; , , at our return We will report to him, illustrious Prince!

Thy ev'ry word.

And oh, I would to heav'n That reaching Ithaca, I might at home Ulysses hail as sure, as I shall hence Depart, with all benevolence by thee Treated, and rich in many a noble gift.

While thus he spake, on his right hand appear'd  190 An eagle; , , in his talons pounced he bore A white-plumed goose domestic, newly ta'en From the house-court.

Ran females all and males Clamorous after him; , , but he the steeds Approaching on the right, sprang into air.

That sight rejoicing and with hearts reviv'd They view'd, and thus Pisistratus his speech Amid them all to Menelaus turn'd.

Now, Menelaus, think, illustrious Chief!

If us, this omen, or thyself regard.

   200 While warlike Menelaus musing stood What answer fit to frame, Helen meantime, His spouse long-stoled preventing him, began.

Hear me; , , for I will answer as the Gods Teach me, and as I think shall come to pass.

As he, descending from his place of birth The mountains, caught our pamper'd goose away, So shall Ulysses, after many woes And wand'rings to his home restored, avenge His wrongs, or even now is at his home    210 For all those suitors sowing seeds of woe.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.

Oh grant it Jove, Juno's high-thund'ring mate!

So will I, there arrived, with vow and pray'r Thee worship, as thou wert, thyself, divine.

He said, and lash'd the coursers; , , fiery they And fleet, sprang through the city to the plain.

All day the yoke on either side they shook, Journeying swift; , , and now the setting sun To gloomy evening had resign'd the roads,   220 When they to Pheræ came, and in the house Of good Diocles slept, their lib'ral host, Whose sire Orsilochus from Alpheus sprang.

But when Aurora, daughter of the Dawn, Look'd rosy from the East, yoking their steeds, They in the sumptuous chariot sat again.

Forth through the vestibule they drove, and through The sounding portico, when Nestor's son Plied brisk the scourge, and willing flew the steeds.

Thus whirl'd along, soon they approach'd the gates  230 Of Pylus, when Telemachus, his speech Turning to his companion, thus began.

How, son of Nestor!

shall I win from thee Not promise only, but performance kind Of my request?

we are not bound alone To friendship by the friendship of our sires, But by equality of years, and this Our journey shall unite us still the more.

Bear me not, I intreat thee, noble friend!

Beyond the ship, but drop me at her side,   240 Lest ancient Nestor, though against my will, Detain me in his palace through desire To feast me, for I dread the least delay.

He spake; , , then mused Pisistratus how best He might effect the wishes of his friend, And thus at length resolved; , , turning his steeds With sudden deviation to the shore He sought the bark, and placing in the stern Both gold and raiment, the illustrious gifts Of Menelaus, thus, in accents wing'd    250 With ardour, urged Telemachus away.

Dispatch, embark, summon thy crew on board, Ere my arrival notice give of thine To the old King; , , for vehement I know His temper, neither will he let thee hence, But, hasting hither, will himself enforce Thy longer stay, that thou may'st not depart Ungifted; , , nought will fire his anger more.

So saying, he to the Pylian city urged His steeds bright-maned, and at the palace-gate   260 Arrived of Nestor speedily; , , meantime Telemachus exhorted thus his crew.

My gallant friends!

set all your tackle, climb The sable bark, for I would now return.

He spake; , , they heard him gladly, and at once All fill'd the benches.

While his voyage he Thus expedited, and beside the stern To Pallas sacrifice perform'd and pray'd, A stranger, born remote, who had escaped From Argos, fugitive for blood, a seer    270 And of Melampus' progeny, approach'd.

Melampus, in old time, in Pylus dwelt, Mother of flocks, alike for wealth renown'd And the magnificence of his abode.

He, flying from the far-famed Pylian King, The mighty Neleus[65], migrated at length Into another land, whose wealth, the while, Neleus by force possess'd a year complete.

Meantime, Melampus in the house endured Of Phylacus imprisonment and woe,    280 And burn'd with wrath for Neleus' daughter sake By fell Erynnis kindled in his heart.

But, 'scaping death, he drove the lowing beeves From Phylace to Pylus, well avenged His num'rous injuries at Neleus' hands Sustain'd, and gave into his brother's arms King Neleus' daughter fair, the promis'd bride.

To Argos steed-renown'd he journey'd next, There destin'd to inhabit and to rule Multitudes of Achaians.

In that land    290 He married, built a palace, and became Father of two brave sons, Antiphates And Mantius; , , to Antiphates was born The brave Oïcleus; , , from Oïcleus sprang Amphiaraüs, demagogue renown'd, Whom with all tenderness, and as a friend Alike the Thund'rer and Apollo prized; , , Yet reach'd he not the bounds of hoary age.

But by his mercenary consort's arts[66] Persuaded, met his destiny at Thebes.

   300 He 'gat Alcmæon and Amphilocus.

Mantius was also father of two sons, Clytus and Polyphides.

Clytus pass'd From earth to heav'n, and dwells among the Gods, Stol'n by Aurora for his beauty's sake.

But (brave Amphiaraüs once deceased) Phœbus exalted Polyphides far Above all others in the prophet's part.

He, anger'd by his father, roam'd away To Hyperesia, where he dwelt renown'd    310 Throughout all lands the oracle of all.

His son, named Theoclymenus, was he Who now approach'd; , , he found Telemachus Libation off'ring in his bark, and pray'r, And in wing'd accents ardent him address'd.

Ah, friend!

since sacrificing in this place I find thee, by these sacred rites and those Whom thou ador'st, and by thy own dear life, And by the lives of these thy mariners I beg true answer; , , hide not what I ask.

   320 Who art thou?


where born?

and sprung from whom?

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.

I will inform thee, stranger!

and will solve Thy questions with much truth.

I am by birth Ithacan, and Ulysses was my sire.

But he hath perish'd by a woeful death, And I, believing it, with these have plow'd The ocean hither, int'rested to learn A father's fate long absent from his home.

Then answer'd godlike Theoclymenus.

   330 I also am a wand'rer, having slain A man of my own tribe; , , brethren and friends Num'rous had he in Argos steed-renown'd, And pow'rful are the Achaians dwelling there.

From them, through terrour of impending death, I fly, a banish'd man henceforth for ever.

Ah save a suppliant fugitive!

lest death O'ertake me, for I doubt not their pursuit.

Whom thus Telemachus answer'd discrete.

I shall not, be assured, since thou desir'st   340 To join me, chace thee from my bark away.

Follow me, therefore, and with us partake, In Ithaca, what best the land affords.

So saying, he at the stranger's hand received His spear, which on the deck he lay'd, then climb'd Himself the bark, and, seated in the stern, At his own side placed Theoclymenus.

They cast the hawsers loose; , , then with loud voice Telemachus exhorted all to hand The tackle, whom the sailors prompt obey'd.

  350 The tall mast heaving, in its socket deep They lodg'd it, and its cordage braced secure, Then, straining at the halyards, hoised the sail.

Fair wind, and blowing fresh through æther pure Minerva sent them, that the bark might run Her nimblest course through all the briny way.

Now sank the sun, and dusky ev'ning dimm'd The waves, when, driven by propitious Jove, His bark stood right for Pheræ; , , thence she stretch'd To sacred Elis where the Epeans rule,    360 And through the sharp Echinades he next Steer'd her, uncertain whether fate ordain'd His life or death, surprizal or escape.

Meantime Ulysses and the swine-herd ate Their cottage-mess, and the assistant swains Theirs also; , , and when hunger now and thirst Had ceased in all, Ulysses thus began, Proving the swine-herd, whether friendly still, And anxious for his good, he would intreat His stay, or thence hasten him to the town.

  370 Eumæus, and all ye his servants, hear!

It is my purpose, lest I wear thee out, Thee and thy friends, to seek at early dawn The city, there to beg --But give me first Needful instructions, and a trusty guide Who may conduct me thither; , , there my task Must be to roam the streets; , , some hand humane Perchance shall give me a small pittance there, A little bread, and a few drops to drink.

Ulysses' palace I shall also seek,    380 And to discrete Penelope report My tidings; , , neither shall I fail to mix With those imperious suitors, who, themselves Full-fed, may spare perhaps some boon to me.

Me shall they find, in whatsoe'er they wish Their ready servitor, for (understand And mark me well) the herald of the skies, Hermes, from whom all actions of mankind Their grace receive and polish, is my friend, So that in menial offices I fear     390 No rival, whether I be called to heap The hearth with fuel, or dry wood to cleave, To roast, to carve, or to distribute wine, As oft the poor are wont who serve the great.

To whom, Eumæus!

at those words displeased, Thou didst reply.


how could such a thought Possess thee, stranger?

surely thy resolve Is altogether fixt to perish there, If thou indeed hast purposed with that throng To mix, whose riot and outrageous acts    400 Of violence echo through the vault of heav'n.

None, such as thou, serve -them-; , , their servitors Are youths well-cloak'd, well-vested; , , sleek their heads, And smug their countenances; , , such alone Are their attendants, and the polish'd boards Groan overcharg'd with bread, with flesh, with wine.

Rest here content; , , for neither me nor these Thou weariest aught, and when Ulysses' son Shall come, he will with vest and mantle fair Cloath thee, and send thee whither most thou would'st.

 410 To whom Ulysses, toil-inured.

I wish thee, O Eumæus!

dear to Jove As thou art dear to me, for this reprieve Vouchsafed me kind, from wand'ring and from woe!

No worse condition is of mortal man Than his who wanders; , , for the poor man, driv'n By woe and by misfortune homeless forth, A thousand mis'ries, day by day, endures.

Since thou detain'st me, then, and bidd'st me wait His coming, tell me if the father still    420 Of famed Ulysses live, whom, going hence, He left so nearly on the verge of life?

And lives his mother?

or have both deceased Already, and descended to the shades?

To whom the master swine-herd thus replied.

I will inform thee, and with strictest truth, Of all that thou hast ask'd.

Laertes lives, But supplication off'ring to the Gods Ceaseless, to free him from a weary life, So deeply his long-absent son he mourns,    430 And the dear consort of his early youth, Whose death is his chief sorrow, and hath brought Old age on him, or ere its date arrived.

She died of sorrow for her glorious son, And died deplorably; , , [67] may never friend Of mine, or benefactor die as she!

While yet she liv'd, dejected as she was, I found it yet some solace to converse With her, who rear'd me in my childish days, Together with her lovely youngest-born    440 The Princess Ctimena; , , for side by side We grew, and I, scarce honour'd less than she.

But soon as our delightful prime we both Attain'd, to Samos her they sent, a bride, And were requited with rich dow'r; , , but me Cloath'd handsomely with tunic and with vest, And with fair sandals furnish'd, to the field She order'd forth, yet loved me still the more.

I miss her kindness now; , , but gracious heav'n Prospers the work on which I here attend; , ,   450 Hence have I food, and hence I drink, and hence Refresh, sometimes, a worthy guest like thee.

But kindness none experience I, or can, From fair Penelope (my mistress now) In word or action, so is the house curs'd With that lewd throng.

Glad would the servants be Might they approach their mistress, and receive Advice from her; , , glad too to eat and drink, And somewhat bear each to his rural home, For perquisites are ev'ry servant's joy.

   460 Then answer thus, Ulysses wise return'd.


good swain, Eumæus, how remote From friends and country wast thou forced to roam Ev'n in thy infancy!

But tell me true.

The city where thy parents dwelt, did foes Pillage it?

or did else some hostile band Surprizing thee alone, on herd or flock Attendant, bear thee with them o'er the Deep, And sell thee at this Hero's house, who pay'd Doubtless for -thee- no sordid price or small?

  470 To whom the master swine-herd in reply.


since thou art curious to be told My story, silent listen, and thy wine At leisure quaff.

The nights are longest now, And such as time for sleep afford, and time For pleasant conf'rence; , , neither were it good That thou should'st to thy couch before thy hour, Since even sleep is hurtful, in excess.

Whoever here is weary, and desires Early repose, let him depart to rest,    480 And, at the peep of day, when he hath fed Sufficiently, drive forth my master's herd; , , But we with wine and a well-furnish'd board Supplied, will solace mutually derive From recollection of our sufferings past; , , For who hath much endured, and wander'd far, Finds the recital ev'n of sorrow sweet.

Now hear thy question satisfied; , , attend!

There is an island (thou hast heard, perchance, Of such an isle) named Syria; , , [68] it is placed   490 Above Ortigia, and a dial owns[69] True to the tropic changes of the year.

No great extent she boasts, yet is she rich In cattle and in flocks, in wheat and wine.

No famine knows that people, or disease Noisome, of all that elsewhere seize the race Of miserable man; , , but when old age Steals on the citizens, Apollo, arm'd With silver bow and bright Diana come, Whose gentle shafts dismiss them soon to rest.

  500 Two cities share between them all the isle, And both were subject to my father's sway Ctesius Ormenides, a godlike Chief.

It chanced that from Phœnicia, famed for skill In arts marine, a vessel thither came By sharpers mann'd, and laden deep with toys.

Now, in my father's family abode A fair Phœnician, tall, full-sized, and skill'd In works of elegance, whom they beguiled.

While she wash'd linen on the beach, beside   510 The ship, a certain mariner of those Seduced her; , , for all women, ev'n the wise And sober, feeble prove by love assail'd.

Who was she, he enquired, and whence?

nor she Scrupled to tell at once her father's home.

I am of Sidon, [70] famous for her works In brass and steel; , , daughter of Arybas, Who rolls in affluence; , , Taphian pirates thence Stole me returning from the field, from whom This Chief procured me at no little cost.

  520 Then answer thus her paramour return'd.

Wilt thou not hence to Sidon in our ship, That thou may'st once more visit the abode Of thy own wealthy parents, and themselves?

For still they live, and still are wealthy deem'd.

To whom the woman.

Even that might be, Would ye, ye seamen, by a solemn oath Assure me of a safe conveyance home.

Then sware the mariners as she required, And, when their oath was ended, thus again   530 The woman of Phœnicia them bespake.

Now, silence!

no man, henceforth, of you all Accost me, though he meet me on the road, Or at yon fountain; , , lest some tattler run With tidings home to my old master's ear, Who, with suspicion touch'd, may -me- confine In cruel bonds, and death contrive for -you-.

But be ye close; , , purchase your stores in haste; , , And when your vessel shall be freighted full, Quick send me notice, for I mean to bring   540 What gold soever opportune I find, And will my passage cheerfully defray With still another moveable.

I nurse The good man's son, an urchin shrewd, of age To scamper at my side; , , him will I bring, Whom at some foreign market ye shall prove Saleable at what price soe'er ye will.

So saying, she to my father's house return'd.

They, there abiding the whole year, their ship With purchased goods freighted of ev'ry kind,   550 And when, her lading now complete, she lay For sea prepared, their messenger arrived To summon down the woman to the shore.

A mariner of theirs, subtle and shrewd, Then, ent'ring at my father's gate, produced A splendid collar, gold with amber strung.

My mother (then at home) with all her maids Handling and gazing on it with delight, Proposed to purchase it, and he the nod Significant, gave unobserv'd, the while,    560 To the Phœnician woman, and return'd.

She, thus informed, leading me by the hand Went forth, and finding in the vestibule The cups and tables which my father's guests Had used, (but they were to the forum gone For converse with their friends assembled there) Convey'd three cups into her bosom-folds, And bore them off, whom I a thoughtless child Accompanied, at the decline of day, When dusky evening had embrown'd the shore.

  570 We, stepping nimbly on, soon reach'd the port Renown'd, where that Phœnician vessel lay.

They shipp'd us both, and all embarking cleav'd Their liquid road, by favourable gales, Jove's gift, impell'd.

Six days we day and night Continual sailed, but when Saturnian Jove Now bade the sev'nth bright morn illume the skies, Then, shaft-arm'd Dian struck the woman dead.

At once she pitch'd headlong into the bilge Like a sea-coot, whence heaving her again,   580 The seamen gave her to be fishes' food, And I survived to mourn her.

But the winds And rolling billows them bore to the coast Of Ithaca, where with his proper goods Laertes bought me.

By such means it chanced That e'er I saw the isle in which I dwell.

To whom Ulysses, glorious Chief, replied.


thou hast moved me much, thy woes Enumerating thus at large.

But Jove Hath neighbour'd all thy evil with this good,   590 That after num'rous sorrows thou hast reach'd The house of a kind master, at whose hands Thy sustenance is sure, and here thou lead'st A tranquil life; , , but I have late arrived, City after city of the world explored.

Thus mutual they conferr'd, nor leisure found Save for short sleep, by morning soon surprized.

Meantime the comrades of Telemachus Approaching land, cast loose the sail, and lower'd Alert the mast, then oar'd the vessel in.

  600 The anchors heav'd aground, [71] and hawsers tied Secure, themselves, forth-issuing on the shore, Breakfast prepared, and charged their cups with wine.

When neither hunger now, nor thirst remained Unsatisfied, Telemachus began.

Push ye the sable bark without delay Home to the city.

I will to the field Among my shepherds, and, (my rural works Survey'd,) at eve will to the town return.

To-morrow will I set before you wine    610 And plenteous viands, wages of your toil.

To whom the godlike Theoclymenus.

Whither must I, my son?

who, of the Chiefs Of rugged Ithaca, shall harbour me?

Shall I to thine and to thy mother's house?

Then thus Telemachus, discrete, replied.

I would invite thee to proceed at once To our abode, since nought should fail thee there Of kind reception, but it were a course Now not adviseable; , , for I must myself,    620 Be absent, neither would my mother's eyes Behold thee, so unfrequent she appears Before the suitors, shunning whom, she sits Weaving continual at the palace-top.

But I will name to thee another Chief Whom thou may'st seek, Eurymachus, the son Renown'd of prudent Polybus, whom all The people here reverence as a God.

Far noblest of them all is he, and seeks More ardent than his rivals far, to wed    630 My mother, and to fill my father's throne.

But, He who dwells above, Jove only knows If some disastrous day be not ordain'd For them, or ere those nuptials shall arrive.

While thus he spake, at his right hand appear'd, Messenger of Apollo, on full wing, A falcon; , , in his pounces clench'd he bore A dove, which rending, down he pour'd her plumes Between the galley and Telemachus.

Then, calling him apart, the prophet lock'd   640 His hand in his, and thus explain'd the sign.

Not undirected by the Gods his flight On our right hand, Telemachus!

this hawk Hath wing'd propitious; , , soon as I perceived I knew him ominous --In all the isle No family of a more royal note Than yours is found, and yours shall still prevail.

Whom thus Telemachus answer'd discrete.

Grant heav'n, my guest!

that this good word of thine Fail not, and soon thou shalt such bounty share   650 And friendship at my hands, that, at first sight, Whoe'er shall meet thee shall pronounce thee blest.

Then, to Piræus thus, his friend approved.

Piræus, son of Clytius!

(for of all My followers to the shore of Pylus, none More prompt than thou hath my desires perform'd) Now also to thy own abode conduct This stranger, whom with hospitable care Cherish and honour till myself arrive.

To whom Piræus answer'd, spear-renown'd.

  660 Telemachus!

however long thy stay, Punctual I will attend him, and no want Of hospitality shall he find with me.

So saying, he climb'd the ship, then bade the crew Embarking also, cast the hawsers loose, And each, obedient, to his bench repair'd.

Meantime Telemachus his sandals bound, And lifted from the deck his glitt'ring spear.

Then, as Telemachus had bidden them, Son of divine Ulysses, casting loose    670 The hawsers, forth they push'd into the Deep And sought the city, while with nimble pace Proceeding thence, Telemachus attain'd The cottage soon where good Eumæus slept, The swine-herd, faithful to his num'rous charge.


[65] Iphyclus the son of Phylacus had seized and detained cattle belonging to Neleus; , , Neleus ordered his nephew Melampus to recover them, and as security for his obedience seized on a considerable part of his possessions.

Melampus attempted the service, failed, and was cast into prison; , , but at length escaping, accomplished his errand, vanquished Neleus in battle, and carried off his daughter Pero, whom Neleus had promised to the brother of Melampus, but had afterward refused her.

[66] His wife Eryphyle, bribed by Polynices, persuaded him, though aware that death awaited him at that city, to go to Thebes, where he fell accordingly.

[67] She is said to have hanged herself.

[68] Not improbably the isthmus of Syracuse, an island, perhaps, or peninsula at that period, or at least imagined to be such by Homer.

The birth of Diana gave fame to Ortygia.


[69] Ὅθι τροπαὶ ἠελίοιο --The Translator has rendered the passage according to that interpretation of it to which several of the best expositors incline.

Nothing can be so absurd as to suppose that Homer, so correct in his geography, could mean to place a Mediterranean island under the Tropic.

[70] A principal city of Phœnicia.

[71] The anchors were lodged on the shore, not plunged as ours.



Telemachus dispatches Eumæus to the city to inform Penelope of his safe return from Pylus; , , during his absence, Ulysses makes himself known to his son.

The suitors, having watched for Telemachus in vain, arrive again at Ithaca.

It was the hour of dawn, when in the cot Kindling fresh fire, Ulysses and his friend Noble Eumæus dress'd their morning fare, And sent the herdsmen with the swine abroad.

Seeing Telemachus, the watchful dogs Bark'd not, but fawn'd around him.

At that sight, And at the sound of feet which now approach'd, Ulysses in wing'd accents thus remark'd.


certain, either friend of thine Is nigh at hand, or one whom well thou know'st; , ,   10 Thy dogs bark not, but fawn on his approach Obsequious, and the sound of feet I hear.

Scarce had he ceased, when his own son himself Stood in the vestibule.

Upsprang at once Eumæus wonder-struck, and from his hand Let fall the cups with which he was employ'd Mingling rich wine; , , to his young Lord he ran, His forehead kiss'd, kiss'd his bright-beaming eyes And both his hands, weeping profuse the while, As when a father folds in his embrace    20 Arrived from foreign lands in the tenth year His darling son, the offspring of his age, His only one, for whom he long hath mourn'd, So kiss'd the noble peasant o'er and o'er Godlike Telemachus, as from death escaped, And in wing'd accents plaintive thus began.

Light of my eyes, thou com'st; , , it is thyself, Sweetest Telemachus!

I had no hope To see thee more, once told that o'er the Deep Thou hadst departed for the Pylian coast.

   30 Enter, my precious son; , , that I may sooth My soul with sight of thee from far arrived, For seldom thou thy feeders and thy farm Visitest, in the city custom'd much To make abode, that thou may'st witness there The manners of those hungry suitors proud.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.

It will be so.

There is great need, my friend!

But here, for thy sake, have I now arrived, That I may look on thee, and from thy lips   40 Learn if my mother still reside at home, Or have become spouse of some other Chief, Leaving untenanted Ulysses' bed To be by noisome spiders webb'd around.

To whom the master swine-herd in return.

Not so, she, patient still as ever, dwells Beneath thy roof, but all her cheerless days Despairing wastes, and all her nights in tears.

So saying, Eumæus at his hand received His brazen lance, and o'er the step of stone   50 Enter'd Telemachus, to whom his sire Relinquish'd, soon as he appear'd, his seat, But him Telemachus forbidding, said -- Guest, keep thy seat; , , our cottage will afford Some other, which Eumæus will provide.

He ceased, and he, returning at the word, Reposed again; , , then good Eumæus spread Green twigs beneath, which, cover'd with a fleece, Supplied Ulysses' offspring with a seat.

He, next, disposed his dishes on the board   60 With relicts charged of yesterday; , , with bread, Alert, he heap'd the baskets; , , with rich wine His ivy cup replenish'd; , , and a seat Took opposite to his illustrious Lord Ulysses.

They toward the plenteous feast Stretch'd forth their hands, (and hunger now and thirst Both satisfied) Telemachus, his speech Addressing to their gen'rous host, began.

Whence is this guest, my father?

How convey'd Came he to Ithaca?

What country boast    70 The mariners with whom he here arrived?

For, that on foot he found us not, is sure.

To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

I will with truth answer thee, O my son!

He boasts him sprung from ancestry renown'd In spacious Crete, and hath the cities seen Of various lands, by fate ordain'd to roam.

Ev'n now, from a Thesprotian ship escaped, He reach'd my cottage --but he is thy own; , , I yield him to thee; , , treat him as thou wilt; , ,   80 He is thy suppliant, and depends on thee.

Then thus, Telemachus, discrete, replied.

Thy words, Eumæus, pain my very soul.

For what security can I afford To any in my house?

myself am young, Nor yet of strength sufficient to repel An offer'd insult, and my mother's mind In doubtful balance hangs, if, still with me An inmate, she shall manage my concerns, Attentive only to her absent Lord     90 And her own good report, or shall espouse The noblest of her wooers, and the best Entitled by the splendour of his gifts.

But I will give him, since I find him lodg'd A guest beneath thy roof, tunic and cloak, Sword double-edged, and sandals for his feet, With convoy to the country of his choice.

Still, if it please thee, keep him here thy guest, And I will send him raiment, with supplies Of all sorts, lest he burthen thee and thine.

  100 But where the suitors come, there shall not he With my consent, nor stand exposed to pride And petulance like theirs, lest by some sneer They wound him, and through him, wound also me; , , For little is it that the boldest can Against so many; , , numbers will prevail.

Him answer'd then Ulysses toil-inured.

Oh amiable and good!

since even I Am free to answer thee, I will avow My heart within me torn by what I hear    110 Of those injurious suitors, who the house Infest of one noble as thou appear'st.

But say --submittest thou to their controul Willingly, or because the people, sway'd By some response oracular, incline Against thee?

Thou hast brothers, it may chance, Slow to assist thee --for a brother's aid Is of importance in whatever cause.

For oh that I had youth as I have will, Or that renown'd Ulysses were my sire,    120 Or that himself might wander home again.

Whereof hope yet remains!

then might I lose My head, that moment, by an alien's hand, If I would fail, ent'ring Ulysses' gate, To be the bane and mischief of them all.

But if alone to multitudes opposed I should perchance be foiled; , , nobler it were With my own people, under my own roof To perish, than to witness evermore Their unexampled deeds, guests shoved aside,   130 Maidens dragg'd forcibly from room to room, Casks emptied of their rich contents, and them Indulging glutt'nous appetite day by day Enormous, without measure, without end.

To whom, Telemachus, discrete, replied.


thy questions shall from me receive True answer.

Enmity or hatred none Subsists the people and myself between, Nor have I brothers to accuse, whose aid Is of importance in whatever cause,    140 For Jove hath from of old with single heirs Our house supplied; , , Arcesias none begat Except Laertes, and Laertes none Except Ulysses, and Ulysses me Left here his only one, and unenjoy'd.

Thence comes it that our palace swarms with foes; , , For all the rulers of the neighbour isles, Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown'd Zacynthus, others also rulers here In craggy Ithaca, my mother seek     150 In marriage, and my household stores consume.

But neither she those nuptial rites abhorr'd Refuses absolute, nor yet consents To end them; , , they my patrimony waste Meantime, and will destroy me also soon, As I expect, but heav'n disposes all.


haste, my father!

bear with speed News to Penelope that I am safe, And have arrived from Pylus; , , I will wait Till thou return; , , and well beware that none Hear thee beside, for I have many foes.

To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

It is enough.

I understand.

Thou speak'st To one intelligent.

But say beside, Shall I not also, as I go, inform Distress'd Laertes?

who while yet he mourn'd Ulysses only, could o'ersee the works, And dieted among his menials oft As hunger prompted him, but now, they say, Since thy departure to the Pylian shore,    170 He neither eats as he was wont, nor drinks, Nor oversees his hinds, but sighing sits And weeping, wasted even to the bone.

Him then Telemachus answer'd discrete.

Hard though it be, yet to his tears and sighs Him leave we now.

We cannot what we would.

For, were the ordering of all events Referr'd to our own choice, our first desire Should be to see my father's glad return.

But once thy tidings told, wander not thou   180 In quest of Him, but hither speed again.

Rather request my mother that she send Her household's governess without delay Privately to him; , , she shall best inform The ancient King that I have safe arrived.

He said, and urged him forth, who binding on His sandals, to the city bent his way.

Nor went Eumæus from his home unmark'd By Pallas, who in semblance of a fair Damsel, accomplish'd in domestic arts,    190 Approaching to the cottage' entrance, stood Opposite, by Ulysses plain discern'd, But to his son invisible; , , for the Gods Appear not manifest alike to all.

The mastiffs saw her also, and with tone Querulous hid themselves, yet bark'd they not.

She beckon'd him abroad.

Ulysses saw The sign, and, issuing through the outer court, Approach'd her, whom the Goddess thus bespake.

Laertes' progeny, for wiles renown'd!

   200 Disclose thyself to thy own son, that, death Concerting and destruction to your foes, Ye may the royal city seek, nor long Shall ye my presence there desire in vain, For I am ardent to begin the fight.

Minerva spake, and with her rod of gold Touch'd him; , , his mantle, first, and vest she made Pure as new-blanch'd; , , dilating, next, his form, She gave dimensions ampler to his limbs; , , Swarthy again his manly hue became,    210 Round his full face, and black his bushy chin.

The change perform'd, Minerva disappear'd, And the illustrious Hero turn'd again Into the cottage; , , wonder at that sight Seiz'd on Telemachus; , , askance he look'd, Awe-struck, not unsuspicious of a God, And in wing'd accents eager thus began.

Thou art no longer, whom I lately saw, Nor are thy cloaths, nor is thy port the same.

Thou art a God, I know, and dwell'st in heav'n.

  220 Oh, smile on us, that we may yield thee rites Acceptable, and present thee golden gifts Elaborate; , , ah spare us, Pow'r divine!

To whom Ulysses, Hero toil-inured.

I am no God.

Why deem'st thou me divine?

I am thy father, for whose sake thou lead'st A life of woe, by violence oppress'd.

So saying, he kiss'd his son, while from his cheeks Tears trickled, tears till then, perforce restrained.

Telemachus, (for he believed him not    230 His father yet) thus, wond'ring, spake again.

My father, said'st thou?


Thou art not He, But some Divinity beguiles my soul With mock'ries to afflict me still the more; , , For never mortal man could so have wrought By his own pow'r; , , some interposing God Alone could render thee both young and old, For old thou wast of late, and foully clad, But wear'st the semblance, now, of those in heav'n!

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

   240 Telemachus!

it is not well, my son!

That thou should'st greet thy father with a face Of wild astonishment, and stand aghast.

Ulysses, save myself, none comes, be sure.

Such as thou seest, after ten thousand woes Which I have borne, I visit once again My native country in the twentieth year.

This wonder Athenæan Pallas wrought, She cloath'd me even with what form she would, For so she can.

Now poor I seem and old,    250 Now young again, and clad in fresh attire.

The Gods who dwell in yonder heav'n, with ease Dignify or debase a mortal man.

So saying, he sat.

Then threw Telemachus His arms around his father's neck, and wept.

Desire intense of lamentation seized On both; , , soft murmurs utt'ring, each indulged His grief, more frequent wailing than the bird, (Eagle, or hook-nail'd vulture) from whose nest Some swain hath stol'n her yet unfeather'd young.

 260 So from their eyelids they big drops distill'd Of tend'rest grief, nor had the setting sun Cessation of their weeping seen, had not Telemachus his father thus address'd.

What ship convey'd thee to thy native shore, My father!

and what country boast the crew?

For, that on foot thou not arriv'dst, is sure.

Then thus divine Ulysses toil-inured.

My son!

I will explicit all relate.

Conducted by Phæacia's maritime sons    270 I came, a race accustom'd to convey Strangers who visit them across the Deep.

Me, o'er the billows in a rapid bark Borne sleeping, on the shores of Ithaca They lay'd; , , rich gifts they gave me also, brass, Gold in full bags, and beautiful attire, Which, warn'd from heav'n, I have in caves conceal'd.

By Pallas prompted, hither I repair'd That we might plan the slaughter of our foes, Whose numbers tell me now, that I may know   280 How pow'rful, certainly, and who they are, And consultation with my dauntless heart May hold, if we be able to contend Ourselves with all, or must have aid beside.

Then, answer thus his son, discrete, return'd.

My father!

thy renown hath ever rung In thy son's ears, and by report thy force In arms, and wisdom I have oft been told.

But terribly thou speak'st; , , amazement-fixt I hear; , , can two a multitude oppose,    290 And valiant warriors all?

for neither ten Are they, nor twenty, but more num'rous far.

Learn, now, their numbers.

Fifty youths and two Came from Dulichium; , , they are chosen men, And six attendants follow in their train; , , From Samos twenty youths and four arrive, Zacynthus also of Achaia's sons Sends twenty more, and our own island adds, Herself, her twelve chief rulers; , , Medon, too, Is there the herald, and the bard divine,   300 With other two, intendants of the board.

Should we within the palace, we alone, Assail them all, I fear lest thy revenge Unpleasant to thyself and deadly prove, Frustrating thy return.

But recollect -- Think, if thou canst, on whose confed'rate arm Strenuous on our behalf we may rely.

To him replied his patient father bold.

I will inform thee.


Weigh well my words.

Will Pallas and the everlasting Sire    310 Alone suffice?

or need we other aids?

Then answer thus Telemachus return'd.

Good friends indeed are they whom thou hast named, Though throned above the clouds; , , for their controul Is universal both in earth and heav'n.

To whom Ulysses, toil-worn Chief renown'd.

Not long will they from battle stand aloof, When once, within my palace, in the strength Of Mars, to sharp decision we shall urge The suitors.

But thyself at early dawn    320 Our mansion seek, that thou may'st mingle there With that imperious throng; , , me in due time Eumæus to the city shall conduct, In form a miserable beggar old.

But should they with dishonourable scorn Insult me, thou unmov'd my wrongs endure, And should they even drag me by the feet Abroad, or smite me with the spear, thy wrath Refraining, gently counsel them to cease From such extravagance; , , but well I know    330 That cease they will not, for their hour is come.

And mark me well; , , treasure what now I say Deep in thy soul.

When Pallas shall, herself, Suggest the measure, then, shaking my brows, I will admonish thee; , , thou, at the sign, Remove what arms soever in the hall Remain, and in the upper palace safe Dispose them; , , should the suitors, missing them, Perchance interrogate thee, then reply Gently --I have removed them from the smoke; , ,   340 For they appear no more the arms which erst Ulysses, going hence to Ilium, left, But smirch'd and sullied by the breath of fire.

This weightier reason (thou shalt also say) Jove taught me; , , lest, intoxicate with wine, Ye should assault each other in your brawls, Shaming both feast and courtship; , , for the view Itself of arms incites to their abuse.

Yet leave two faulchions for ourselves alone, Two spears, two bucklers, which with sudden force  350 Impetuous we will seize, and Jove all-wise Their valour shall, and Pallas, steal away.

This word store also in remembrance deep -- If mine in truth thou art, and of my blood, Then, of Ulysses to his home returned Let none hear news from thee, no, not my sire Laertes, nor Eumæus, nor of all The menials any, or ev'n Penelope, That thou and I, alone, may search the drift Of our domestic women, and may prove    360 Our serving-men, who honours and reveres And who contemns us both, but chiefly thee So gracious and so worthy to be loved.

Him then thus answer'd his illustrious son.

Trust me, my father!

thou shalt soon be taught That I am not of drowsy mind obtuse.

But this I think not likely to avail Or thee or me; , , ponder it yet again; , , For tedious were the task, farm after farm To visit of those servants, proving each,   370 And the proud suitors merciless devour Meantime thy substance, nor abstain from aught.

Learn, if thou wilt, (and I that course myself Advise) who slights thee of the female train, And who is guiltless; , , but I would not try From house to house the men, far better proved Hereafter, if in truth by signs from heav'n Inform'd, thou hast been taught the will of Jove.

Thus they conferr'd.

The gallant bark, meantime, Reach'd Ithaca, which from the Pylian shore   380 Had brought Telemachus with all his band.

Within the many-fathom'd port arrived His lusty followers haled her far aground, Then carried thence their arms, but to the house Of Clytius the illustrious gifts convey'd.

Next to the royal mansion they dispatch'd An herald charg'd with tidings to the Queen, That her Telemachus had reach'd the cot Of good Eumæus, and the bark had sent Home to the city; , , lest the matchless dame   390 Should still deplore the absence of her son.

They, then, the herald and the swine-herd, each Bearing like message to his mistress, met, And at the palace of the godlike Chief Arriving, compass'd by the female throng Inquisitive, the herald thus began.

Thy son, O Queen!

is safe; , , ev'n now return'd.

Then, drawing nigh to her, Eumæus told His message also from her son received, And, his commission punctually discharged,   400 Leaving the palace, sought his home again.

Grief seized and anguish, at those tidings, all The suitors; , , issuing forth, on the outside Of the high wall they sat, before the gate, When Polybus' son, Eurymachus, began.

My friends!

his arduous task, this voyage, deem'd By us impossible, in our despight Telemachus hath atchieved.


launch we forth A sable bark, our best, which let us man With mariners expert, who, rowing forth    410 Swiftly, shall summon our companions home.

Scarce had he said, when turning where he sat, Amphinomus beheld a bark arrived Just then in port; , , he saw them furling sail, And seated with their oars in hand; , , he laugh'd Through pleasure at that sight, and thus he spake.

Our message may be spared.


they arrive.

Either some God inform'd them, or they saw, Themselves, the vessel of Telemachus Too swiftly passing to be reach'd by theirs.

  420 He spake; , , they, rising, hasted to the shore.

Alert they drew the sable bark aground, And by his servant each his arms dispatch'd To his own home.

Then, all, to council those Assembling, neither elder of the land Nor youth allow'd to join them, and the rest Eupithes' son, Antinoüs, thus bespake.


how the Gods have rescued him!

all day Perch'd on the airy mountain-top, our spies Successive watch'd; , , and, when the sun declined,   430 We never slept on shore, but all night long Till sacred dawn arose, plow'd the abyss, Hoping Telemachus, that we might seize And slay him, whom some Deity hath led, In our despight, safe to his home again.

But frame we yet again means to destroy Telemachus; , , ah --let not Him escape!

For end of this our task, while he survives, None shall be found, such prudence he displays And wisdom, neither are the people now    440 Unanimous our friends as heretofore.

Come, then --prevent him, ere he call the Greeks To council; , , for he will not long delay, But will be angry, doubtless, and will tell Amid them all, how we in vain devised His death, a deed which they will scarce applaud, But will, perhaps, punish and drive us forth From our own country to a distant land. -- Prevent him, therefore, quickly; , , in the field Slay him, or on the road; , , so shall his wealth   450 And his possessions on ourselves devolve Which we will share equally, but his house Shall be the Queen's, and his whom she shall wed.

Yet, if not so inclined, ye rather chuse That he should live and occupy entire His patrimony, then, no longer, here Assembled, let us revel at his cost, But let us all with spousal gifts produced From our respective treasures, woo the Queen, Leaving her in full freedom to espouse    460 Who proffers most, and whom the fates ordain.

He ceased; , , the assembly silent sat and mute.

Then rose Amphinomus amid them all, Offspring renown'd of Nisus, son, himself, Of King Aretias.

He had thither led The suitor train who from the pleasant isle Corn-clad of green Dulichium had arrived, And by his speech pleased far beyond them all Penelope, for he was just and wise, And thus, well-counselling the rest, began.

  470 Not I, my friends!

far be the thought from me To slay Telemachus!

it were a deed Momentous, terrible, to slay a prince.

First, therefore, let us counsel ask of heav'n, And if Jove's oracle that course approve, I will encourage you, and will myself Be active in his death; , , but if the Gods Forbid it, then, by my advice, forbear.

So spake Amphinomus, whom all approved.

Arising then, into Ulysses' house    480 They went, where each his splendid seat resumed.

A novel purpose occupied, meantime, Penelope; , , she purposed to appear Before her suitors, whose design to slay Telemachus she had from Medon learn'd, The herald, for his ear had caught the sound.

Toward the hall with her attendant train She moved, and when, most graceful of her sex, Where sat the suitors she arrived, between The columns standing of the stately dome,   490 And covering with her white veil's lucid folds Her features, to Antinoüs thus she spake.

Antinoüs, proud, contentious, evermore To mischief prone!

the people deem thee wise Past thy compeers, and in all grace of speech Pre-eminent, but such wast never thou.


why is it thy dark design To slay Telemachus?

and why with scorn Rejectest thou the suppliant's pray'r, [72] which Jove Himself hath witness'd?

Plots please not the Gods.

 500 Know'st not that thy own father refuge found Here, when he fled before the people's wrath Whom he had irritated by a wrong Which, with a band of Taphian robbers joined, He offer'd to the Thesprots, our allies?

They would have torn his heart, and would have laid All his delights and his possessions waste, But my Ulysses slaked the furious heat Of their revenge, whom thou requitest now Wasting his goods, soliciting his wife,    510 Slaying his son, and filling me with woe.

But cease, I charge thee, and bid cease the rest.

To whom the son of Polybus replied, Eurymachus. --Icarius' daughter wise!

Take courage, fair Penelope, and chace These fears unreasonable from thy mind!

The man lives not, nor shall, who while I live, And faculty of sight retain, shall harm Telemachus, thy son.

For thus I say, And thus will I perform; , , his blood shall stream   520 A sable current from my lance's point That moment; , , for the city-waster Chief Ulysses, oft, me placing on his knees, Hath fill'd my infant grasp with sav'ry food, And giv'n me ruddy wine.

I, therefore, hold Telemachus of all men most my friend, Nor hath he death to fear from hand of ours.

Yet, if the Gods shall doom him, die he must.

So he encouraged her, who yet, himself, Plotted his death.

She, re-ascending, sought   530 Her stately chamber, and, arriving there, Deplored with tears her long-regretted Lord Till Athenæan Pallas azure-eyed Dews of soft slumber o'er her lids diffused.

And now, at even-tide, Eumæus reach'd Ulysses and his son.

A yearling swine Just slain they skilfully for food prepared, When Pallas, drawing nigh, smote with her wand Ulysses, at the stroke rend'ring him old, And his apparel sordid as before,    540 Lest, knowing him, the swain at once should seek Penelope, and let the secret forth.

Then foremost him Telemachus address'd.

Noble Eumæus!

thou art come; , , what news Bring'st from the city?

Have the warrior band Of suitors, hopeless of their ambush, reach'd The port again, or wait they still for me?

To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

No time for such enquiry, nor to range, Curious, the streets had I, but anxious wish'd   550 To make my message known, and to return.

But, as it chanced, a nimble herald sent From thy companions, met me on the way, Who reach'd thy mother first.

Yet this I know, For this I saw.

Passing above the town Where they have piled a way-side hill of stones To Mercury, I beheld a gallant bark Ent'ring the port; , , a bark she was of ours, The crew were num'rous, and I mark'd her deep- Laden with shields and spears of double edge.

  560 Theirs I conjectured her, and could no more.

He spake, and by Eumæus unperceived, Telemachus his father eyed and smiled.

Their task accomplish'd, and the table spread, They ate, nor any his due portion miss'd, And hunger, now, and thirst both sated, all To rest repair'd, and took the gift of sleep.


[72] Alluding probably to entreaties made to him at some former time by herself and Telemachus, that he would not harm them.




Telemachus returns to the city, and relates to his mother the principal passages of his voyage; , , Ulysses, conducted by Eumæus, arrives there also, and enters among the suitors, having been known only by his old dog Argus, who dies at his feet.

The curiosity of Penelope being excited by the account which Eumæus gives her of Ulysses, she orders him immediately into her presence, but Ulysses postpones the interview till evening, when the suitors having left the palace, there shall be no danger of interruption.

Eumæus returns to his cottage.

Now look'd Aurora from the East abroad, When the illustrious offspring of divine Ulysses bound his sandals to his feet; , , He seiz'd his sturdy spear match'd to his gripe, And to the city meditating quick Departure now, the swine-herd thus bespake.


I seek the city, to convince My mother of my safe return, whose tears, I judge, and lamentation shall not cease Till her own eyes behold me.

But I lay    10 On thee this charge.

Into the city lead, Thyself, this hapless guest, that he may beg Provision there, a morsel and a drop From such as may, perchance, vouchsafe the boon.

I cannot, vext and harass'd as I am, Feed all, and should the stranger take offence, The worse for him.

Plain truth is my delight.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

Nor is it my desire to be detained.

Better the mendicant in cities seeks    20 His dole, vouchsafe it whosoever may, Than in the villages.

I am not young, Nor longer of an age that well accords With rural tasks, nor could I all perform That it might please a master to command.

Go then, and when I shall have warm'd my limbs Before the hearth, and when the risen sun Shall somewhat chase the cold, thy servant's task Shall be to guide me thither, as thou bidd'st, For this is a vile garb; , , the frosty air    30 Of morning would benumb me thus attired, And, as ye say, the city is remote.

He ended, and Telemachus in haste Set forth, his thoughts all teeming as he went With dire revenge.

Soon in the palace-courts Arriving, he reclined his spear against A column, and proceeded to the hall.

Him Euryclea, first, his nurse, perceived, While on the variegated seats she spread Their fleecy cov'ring; , , swift with tearful eyes   40 She flew to him, and the whole female train Of brave Ulysses swarm'd around his son, Clasping him, and his forehead and his neck Kissing affectionate; , , then came, herself, As golden Venus or Diana fair, Forth from her chamber to her son's embrace, The chaste Penelope; , , with tears she threw Her arms around him, his bright-beaming eyes And forehead kiss'd, and with a murmur'd plaint Maternal, in wing'd accents thus began.

   50 Thou hast return'd, light of my eyes!

my son!

My lov'd Telemachus!

I had no hope To see thee more when once thou hadst embark'd For Pylus, privily, and with no consent From me obtain'd, news seeking of thy sire.

But haste; , , unfold.

Declare what thou hast seen.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.

Ah mother!

let my sorrows rest, nor me From death so lately 'scaped afflict anew, But, bathed and habited in fresh attire,    60 With all the maidens of thy train ascend To thy superior chamber, there to vow A perfect hecatomb to all the Gods, When Jove shall have avenged our num'rous wrongs.

I seek the forum, there to introduce A guest, my follower from the Pylian shore, Whom sending forward with my noble band, I bade Piræus to his own abode Lead him, and with all kindness entertain The stranger, till I should myself arrive.

  70 He spake, nor flew his words useless away.

She, bathed and habited in fresh attire, Vow'd a full hecatomb to all the Gods, Would Jove but recompense her num'rous wrongs.

Then, spear in hand, went forth her son, two dogs Fleet-footed following him.

O'er all his form Pallas diffused a dignity divine, And ev'ry eye gazed on him as he pass'd.

The suitors throng'd him round, joy on their lips And welcome, but deep mischief in their hearts.

  80 He, shunning all that crowd, chose to himself A seat, where Mentor sat, and Antiphus, And Halytherses, long his father's friends Sincere, who of his voyage much enquired.

Then drew Piræus nigh, leading his guest Toward the forum; , , nor Telemachus Stood long aloof, but greeted his approach, And was accosted by Piræus thus.


send thy menial women to bring home The precious charge committed to my care,    90 Thy gifts at Menelaus' hands received.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.


wait; , , for I not yet foresee The upshot.

Should these haughty ones effect My death, clandestine, under my own roof, And parcel my inheritance by lot, I rather wish those treasures thine, than theirs.

But should I with success plan for them all A bloody death, then, wing'd with joy, thyself Bring home those presents to thy joyful friend.

  100 So saying, he led the anxious stranger thence Into the royal mansion, where arrived, Each cast his mantle on a couch or throne, And plung'd his feet into a polish'd bath.

There wash'd and lubricated with smooth oils, From the attendant maidens each received Tunic and shaggy mantle.

Thus attired, Forth from the baths they stepp'd, and sat again.

A maiden, next, with golden ewer charged, And silver bowl, pour'd water on their hands,   110 And spread the polish'd table, which with food Of all kinds, remnants of the last regale, The mistress of the household charge supplied.

Meantime, beside a column of the dome His mother, on a couch reclining, twirl'd Her slender threads.

They to the furnish'd board Stretch'd forth their hands, and, hunger now and thirst Both satisfied, Penelope began.


I will ascend again, And will repose me on my woeful bed; , ,    120 For such it hath been, and with tears of mine Ceaseless bedew'd, e'er since Ulysses went With Atreus' sons to Troy.

For not a word Thou would'st vouchsafe me till our haughty guests Had occupied the house again, of all That thou hast heard (if aught indeed thou hast) Of thy long-absent father's wish'd return.

Her answer'd then Telemachus discrete.

Mother, at thy request I will with truth Relate the whole.

At Pylus shore arrived    130 We Nestor found, Chief of the Pylian race.

Receiving me in his august abode, He entertain'd me with such welcome kind As a glad father shews to his own son Long-lost and newly found; , , so Nestor me, And his illustrious offspring, entertain'd, But yet assured me that he nought had heard From mortal lips of my magnanimous sire, Whether alive or dead; , , with his own steeds He sent me, and with splendid chariot thence   140 To spear-famed Menelaus, Atreus' son.

There saw I Helen, by the Gods' decree Auth'ress of trouble both to Greece and Troy.

The Hero Menelaus then enquired What cause had urged me to the pleasant vale Of Lacedæmon; , , plainly I rehearsed The occasion, and the Hero thus replied.

Ye Gods!

they are ambitious of the bed Of a brave man, however base themselves.

But, as it chances when the hart hath laid   150 Her fawns new-yean'd and sucklings yet, to rest In some resistless lion's den, she roams, Meantime, the hills, and in the grassy vales Feeds heedless, but the lion to his lair Returning soon, both her and hers destroys, So shall thy father, brave Ulysses, them.



and Apollo!

oh that such As erst in well-built Lesbos, where he strove With Philomelides, whom wrestling, flat He threw, when all Achaia's sons rejoiced,   160 Ulysses, now, might mingle with his foes!

Short life and bitter nuptials should be theirs, But thy enquiries neither indirect Will I evade, nor give thee false reply, But all that from the Ancient of the Deep[73] I have received will utter, hiding nought.

The God declared that he had seen thy sire In a lone island, sorrowing, and detain'd An inmate in the grotto of the nymph Calypso, wanting also means by which    170 To reach the country of his birth again, For neither gallant barks nor friends had he To speed his passage o'er the boundless waves.

So Menelaus spake, the spear-renown'd.

My errand thus accomplish'd, I return'd -- And by the Gods with gales propitious blest, Was wafted swiftly to my native shore.

He spake, and tumult in his mother's heart So speaking, raised.

Consolatory, next, The godlike Theoclymenus began.

    180 Consort revered of Laertiades!

Little the Spartan knew, but list to me, For I will plainly prophesy and sure.

Be Jove of all in heav'n my witness first, Then this thy hospitable board, and, last, The household Gods of the illustrious Chief Ulysses, at whose hearth I have arrived, [74] That, even now, within his native isle Ulysses somewhere sits, or creeps obscure, Witness of these enormities, and seeds    190 Sowing of dire destruction for his foes; , , So sure an augury, while on the deck Reclining of the gallant bark, I saw, And with loud voice proclaim'd it to thy son.

Him answer'd then Penelope discrete.

Grant heav'n, my guest, that this good word of thine Fail not!

then shalt thou soon such bounty share And friendship at my hands, that at first sight Whoe'er shall meet thee shall pronounce thee blest.

Thus they conferr'd.

Meantime the suitors hurl'd  200 The quoit and lance on the smooth area spread Before Ulysses' gate, the custom'd scene Of their contentions, sports, and clamours rude.

But when the hour of supper now approach'd, And from the pastures on all sides the sheep Came with their wonted drivers, Medon then (For he of all the heralds pleas'd them most, And waited at the board) them thus address'd.

Enough of play, young princes!

ent'ring now The house, prepare we sedulous our feast,   210 Since in well-timed refreshment harm is none.

He spake, whose admonition pleas'd.

At once All, rising, sought the palace; , , there arrived, Each cast his mantle off, which on his throne Or couch he spread, then, brisk, to slaughter fell Of many a victim; , , sheep and goats and brawns They slew, all fatted, and a pastur'd ox, Hast'ning the banquet; , , nor with less dispatch Ulysses and Eumæus now prepared To seek the town, when thus the swain began.

  220 My guest!

since thy fixt purpose is to seek This day the city as my master bade, Though I, in truth, much rather wish thee here A keeper of our herds, yet, through respect And rev'rence of his orders, whose reproof I dread, for masters seldom gently chide, I would be gone.

Arise, let us depart, For day already is far-spent, and soon The air of even-tide will chill thee more.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

   230 It is enough.

I understand.

Thou speak'st To one intelligent.

Let us depart, And lead, thyself, the way; , , but give me, first, (If thou have one already hewn) a staff To lean on, for ye have described the road Rugged, and ofttimes dang'rous to the foot.

So saying, his tatter'd wallet o'er his back He cast, suspended by a leathern twist, Eumæus gratified him with a staff, And forth they went, leaving the cottage kept   240 By dogs and swains.

He city-ward his King Led on, in form a squalid beggar old, Halting, and in unseemly garb attired.

But when, slow-travelling the craggy way, They now approach'd the town, and had attain'd The marble fountain deep, which with its streams Pellucid all the citizens supplied, (Ithacus had that fountain framed of old With Neritus and Polyctor, over which A grove of water-nourish'd alders hung    250 Circular on all sides, while cold the rill Ran from the rock, on whose tall summit stood The altar of the nymphs, by all who pass'd With sacrifice frequented, still, and pray'r) Melantheus, son of Dolius, at that fount Met them; , , the chosen goats of ev'ry flock, With two assistants, from the field he drove, The suitors' supper.

He, seeing them both, In surly accent boorish, such as fired Ulysses with resentment, thus began.

   260 Ay --this is well --The villain leads the vile -- Thus evermore the Gods join like to like.

Thou clumsy swine-herd, whither would'st conduct This morsel-hunting mendicant obscene, Defiler base of banquets?

many a post Shall he rub smooth that props him while he begs Lean alms, sole object of his low pursuit, Who ne'er to sword or tripod yet aspired.

Would'st thou afford him to me for a guard Or sweeper of my stalls, or to supply    270 My kids with leaves, he should on bulkier thewes Supported stand, though nourish'd but with whey.

But no such useful arts hath he acquired, Nor likes he work, but rather much to extort From others food for his unsated maw.

But mark my prophecy, for it is true, At famed Ulysses' house should he arrive, His sides shall shatter many a footstool hurl'd Against them by the offended princes there.

He spake, and drawing nigh, with his rais'd foot,  280 Insolent as he was and brutish, smote Ulysses' haunch, yet shook not from his path The firm-set Chief, who, doubtful, mused awhile Whether to rush on him, and with his staff To slay him, or uplifting him on high, Downward to dash him headlong; , , but his wrath Restraining, calm he suffer'd the affront.

Him then Eumæus with indignant look Rebuking, rais'd his hands, and fervent pray'd.

Nymphs of the fountains, progeny of Jove!

  290 If e'er Ulysses on your altar burn'd The thighs of fatted lambs or kidlings, grant This my request.

O let the Hero soon, Conducted by some Deity, return!

So shall he quell that arrogance which safe Thou now indulgest, roaming day by day The city, while bad shepherds mar the flocks.

To whom the goat-herd answer thus return'd Melantheus.


how rare a speech The subtle cur hath framed!

whom I will send   300 Far hence at a convenient time on board My bark, and sell him at no little gain.

I would, that he who bears the silver bow As sure might pierce Telemachus this day In his own house, or that the suitors might, As that same wand'rer shall return no more!

He said, and them left pacing slow along, But soon, himself, at his Lord's house arrived; , , There ent'ring bold, he with the suitors sat Opposite to Eurymachus, for him     310 He valued most.

The sewers his portion placed Of meat before him, and the maiden, chief Directress of the household gave him bread.

And now, Ulysses, with the swain his friend Approach'd, when, hearing the harmonious lyre, Both stood, for Phemius had begun his song.

He grasp'd the swine-herd's hand, and thus he said.

This house, Eumæus!

of Ulysses seems Passing magnificent, and to be known With ease for his among a thousand more.

   320 One pile supports another, and a wall Crested with battlements surrounds the court; , , Firm, too, the folding doors all force of man Defy; , , but num'rous guests, as I perceive, Now feast within; , , witness the sav'ry steam Fast-fuming upward, and the sounding harp, Divine associate of the festive board.

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

Thou hast well-guess'd; , , no wonder, thou art quick On ev'ry theme; , , but let us well forecast    330 This business.

Wilt thou, ent'ring first, thyself, The splendid mansion, with the suitors mix, Me leaving here?

or shall I lead the way While thou remain'st behind?

yet linger not, Lest, seeing thee without, some servant strike Or drive thee hence.

Consider which were best.

Him answer'd, then, the patient Hero bold.

It is enough.

I understand.

Thou speak'st To one intelligent.

Lead thou the way Me leaving here, for neither stripes nor blows   340 To me are strange.

Much exercised with pain In fight and on the Deep, I have long since Learn'd patience.

Follow, next, what follow may!

But, to suppress the appetite, I deem Impossible; , , the stomach is a source Of ills to man, an avaricious gulph Destructive, which to satiate, ships are rigg'd, Seas travers'd, and fierce battles waged remote.

Thus they discoursing stood; , , Argus the while, Ulysses' dog, uplifted where he lay    350 His head and ears erect.

Ulysses him Had bred long since, himself, but rarely used, Departing, first, to Ilium.

Him the youths In other days led frequent to the chace Of wild goat, hart and hare; , , but now he lodg'd A poor old cast-off, of his Lord forlorn, Where mules and oxen had before the gate Much ordure left, with which Ulysses' hinds Should, in due time, manure his spacious fields.

There lay, with dog-devouring vermin foul   360 All over, Argus; , , soon as he perceived Long-lost Ulysses nigh, down fell his ears Clapp'd close, and with his tail glad sign he gave Of gratulation, impotent to rise And to approach his master as of old.

Ulysses, noting him, wiped off a tear Unmark'd, and of Eumæus quick enquired.

I can but wonder seeing such a dog Thus lodg'd, Eumæus!

beautiful in form He is, past doubt, but whether he hath been   370 As fleet as fair I know not; , , rather such Perchance as masters sometimes keep to grace Their tables, nourish'd more for shew than use.

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

He is the dog of one dead far remote.

But had he now such feat-performing strength As when Ulysses left him, going hence To Ilium, in one moment thou shouldst mark, Astonish'd, his agility and force.

He never in the sylvan deep recess    380 The wild beast saw that 'scaped him, and he track'd Their steps infallible; , , but he hath now No comfort, for (the master dead afar) The heedless servants care not for his dog.

Domestics, missing once their Lord's controul, Grow wilful, and refuse their proper tasks; , , For whom Jove dooms to servitude, he takes At once the half of that man's worth away.

He said, and, ent'ring at the portal, join'd The suitors.

Then his destiny released    390 Old Argus, soon as he had lived to see Ulysses in the twentieth year restored.

Godlike Telemachus, long ere the rest, Marking the swine-herd's entrance, with a nod Summon'd him to approach.

Eumæus cast His eye around, and seeing vacant there The seat which the dispenser of the feast Was wont to occupy while he supplied The num'rous guests, planted it right before Telemachus, and at his table sat,    400 On which the herald placed for him his share Of meat, and from the baskets gave him bread.

Soon after -him-, Ulysses enter'd slow The palace, like a squalid beggar old, Staff-propp'd, and in loose tatters foul attired.

Within the portal on the ashen sill He sat, and, seeming languid, lean'd against A cypress pillar by the builder's art Polish'd long since, and planted at the door.

Then took Telemachus a loaf entire    410 Forth from the elegant basket, and of flesh A portion large as his two hands contained, And, beck'ning close the swine-herd, charged him thus.

These to the stranger; , , whom advise to ask Some dole from ev'ry suitor; , , bashful fear Ill suits the mendicant by want oppress'd.

He spake; , , Eumæus went, and where he sat Arriving, in wing'd accents thus began.

Telemachus, oh stranger, sends thee these, And counsels thee to importune for more    420 The suitors, one by one; , , for bashful fear Ill suits the mendicant by want oppress'd.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

Jove, King of all, grant ev'ry good on earth To kind Telemachus, and the complete Accomplishment of all that he desires!

He said, and with both hands outspread, the mess Receiving as he sat, on his worn bag Disposed it at his feet.

Long as the bard Chaunted, he ate, and when he ceas'd to eat,   430 Then also ceas'd the bard divine to sing.

And now ensued loud clamour in the hall And tumult, when Minerva, drawing nigh To Laertiades, impell'd the Chief Crusts to collect, or any pittance small At ev'ry suitor's hand, for trial's sake Of just and unjust; , , yet deliv'rance none From evil she design'd for any there.

From left to right[75] his progress he began Petitioning, with outstretch'd hands, the throng,  440 As one familiar with the beggar's art.

They, pitying, gave to him, but view'd him still With wonder, and enquiries mutual made Who, and whence was he?

Then the goat-herd rose Melanthius, and th' assembly thus address'd.

Hear me, ye suitors of th' illustrious Queen!

This guest, of whom ye ask, I have beheld Elsewhere; , , the swine-herd brought him; , , but himself I know not, neither who nor whence he is.

So he; , , then thus Antinoüs stern rebuked   450 The swine-herd.

Ah, notorious as thou art, Why hast thou shewn this vagabond the way Into the city?

are we not enough Infested with these troublers of our feasts?

Deem'st it a trifle that such numbers eat At thy Lord's cost, and hast thou, therefore, led This fellow hither, found we know not where?

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.


though of high degree, thou speak'st Not wisely.

What man to another's house    460 Repairs to invite him to a feast, unless He be of those who by profession serve The public, prophet, healer of disease, Ingenious artist, or some bard divine Whose music may exhilarate the guests?

These, and such only, are in ev'ry land Call'd to the banquet; , , none invites the poor, Who much consume, and no requital yield.

But thou of all the suitors roughly treat'st Ulysses' servants most, and chiefly me; , ,    470 Yet thee I heed not, while the virtuous Queen Dwells in this palace, and her godlike son.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.


answer not verbose a man like him.

Antinoüs hath a tongue accustom'd much To tauntings, and promotes them in the rest.

Then, turning to Antinoüs, quick he said -- Antinoüs!

as a father for his son Takes thought, so thou for me, who bidd'st me chase The stranger harshly hence; , , but God forbid![76]   480 Impart to him.

I grudge not, but myself Exhort thee to it; , , neither, in this cause, Fear thou the Queen, or in the least regard Whatever menial throughout all the house Of famed Ulysses.


within thy breast Dwells no such thought; , , thou lov'st not to impart To others, but to gratify thyself.

To whom Antinoüs answer thus return'd.

High-soaring and intemp'rate in thy speech How hast thou said, Telemachus?

Would all   490 As much bestow on him, he should not seek Admittance here again three months to come.

So saying, he seized the stool which, banqueting, He press'd with his nice feet, and from beneath The table forth advanced it into view.

The rest all gave to him, with bread and flesh Filling his wallet, and Ulysses, now, Returning to his threshold, there to taste The bounty of the Greeks, paused in his way Beside Antinoüs, whom he thus address'd.

   500 Kind sir!

vouchsafe to me!

for thou appear'st Not least, but greatest of the Achaians here, And hast a kingly look.

It might become Thee therefore above others to bestow, So should I praise thee wheresoe'er I roam.

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    510 The envied owner opulent and blest.

But Jove (for so it pleas'd him) hath reduced My all to nothing, prompting me, in league With rovers of the Deep, to sail afar To Ægypt, for my sure destruction there.

Within th' Ægyptian stream my barks well-oar'd I station'd, and, enjoining strict my friends To watch them close-attendant at their side, Commanded spies into the hill-tops; , , but they, Under the impulse of a spirit rash    520 And hot for quarrel, the well-cultur'd fields Pillaged of the Ægyptians, captive led Their wives and little-ones, and slew the men.

Ere long, the loud alarm their city reach'd.

Down came the citizens, by dawn of day, With horse and foot and with the gleam of arms Filling the plain.

Then Jove with panic dread Struck all my people; , , none found courage more To stand, for mischiefs swarm'd on ev'ry side.

There, num'rous by the glitt'ring spear we fell   530 Slaughter'd, while others they conducted thence Alive to servitude; , , but me they gave To Dmetor, King in Cyprus, Jasus' son; , , He entertained me liberally, and thence This land I reach'd, but poor and woe-begone.

Then answer thus Antinoüs harsh return'd.

What dæmon introduced this nuisance here, This troubler of our feast?

stand yonder, keep Due distance from my table, or expect To see an Ægypt and a Cyprus worse    540 Than those, bold mendicant and void of shame!

Thou hauntest each, and, inconsid'rate, each Gives to thee, because gifts at other's cost Are cheap, and, plentifully serv'd themselves, They squander, heedless, viands not their own.

To whom Ulysses while he slow retired.


how illib'ral with that specious form!

Thou wouldst not grant the poor a grain of salt From thy own board, who at another's fed So nobly, canst thou not spare a crust to me.

  550 He spake; , , then raged Antinoüs still the more, And in wing'd accents, louring, thus replied.

Take such dismission now as thou deserv'st, Opprobrious!

hast thou dared to scoff at me?

So saying, he seized his stool, and on the joint Of his right shoulder smote him; , , firm as rock He stood, by no such force to be displaced, But silent shook his brows, and dreadful deeds Of vengeance ruminating, sought again His seat the threshold, where his bag full-charged  560 He grounded, and the suitors thus address'd.

Hear now, ye suitors of the matchless Queen, My bosom's dictates.

Trivial is the harm, Scarce felt, if, fighting for his own, his sheep Perchance, or beeves, a man receive a blow.

But me Antinoüs struck for that I ask'd Food from him merely to appease the pangs Of hunger, source of num'rous ills to man.

If then the poor man have a God t' avenge His wrongs, I pray to him that death may seize   570 Antinoüs, ere his nuptial hour arrive!

To whom Antinoüs answer thus return'd, Son of Eupithes.

Either seated there Or going hence, eat, stranger, and be still; , , Lest for thy insolence, by hand or foot We drag thee forth, and thou be flay'd alive.

He ceased, whom all indignant heard, and thus Ev'n his own proud companions censured him.


thou didst not well to smite The wretched vagabond.

O thou art doom'd    580 For ever, if there be a God in heav'n; , , [77] For, in similitude of strangers oft, The Gods, who can with ease all shapes assume, Repair to populous cities, where they mark The outrageous and the righteous deeds of men.

So they, for whose reproof he little cared.

But in his heart Telemachus that blow Resented, anguish-torn, yet not a tear He shed, but silent shook his brows, and mused Terrible things.

Penelope, meantime,    590 Told of the wand'rer so abused beneath Her roof, among her maidens thus exclaim'd.

So may Apollo, glorious archer, smite Thee also.

Then Eurynome replied, Oh might our pray'rs prevail, none of them all Should see bright-charioted Aurora more.

Her answer'd then Penelope discrete.


they are odious all, for that alike All teem with mischief; , , but Antinoüs' looks Remind me ever of the gloom of death.

   600 A stranger hath arrived who, begging, roams The house, (for so his penury enjoins) The rest have giv'n him, and have fill'd his bag With viands, but Antinoüs hath bruised His shoulder with a foot-stool hurl'd at him.

While thus the Queen conversing with her train In her own chamber sat, Ulysses made Plenteous repast.

Then, calling to her side Eumæus, thus she signified her will.

Eumæus, noble friend!

bid now approach    610 Yon stranger.

I would speak with him, and ask If he has seen Ulysses, or have heard Tidings, perchance, of the afflicted Chief, For much a wand'rer by his garb he seems.

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

Were those Achaians silent, thou shouldst hear, O Queen!

a tale that would console thy heart.

Three nights I housed him, and within my cot Three days detain'd him, (for his ship he left A fugitive, and came direct to me)    620 But half untold his hist'ry still remains.

As when his eye one fixes on a bard From heav'n instructed in such themes as charm The ear of mortals, ever as he sings The people press, insatiable, to hear, So, in my cottage, seated at my side, That stranger with his tale enchanted me.

Laertes, he affirms, hath been his guest Erewhile in Crete, where Minos' race resides, And thence he hath arrived, after great loss,   630 A suppliant to the very earth abased; , , He adds, that in Thesprotia's neighbour realm He of Ulysses heard, both that he lives, And that he comes laden with riches home.

To whom Penelope, discrete, replied.

Haste; , , call him.

I would hear, myself, his tale.

Meantime, let these, or in the palace gate Sport jocular, or here; , , their hearts are light, For their possessions are secure; , , -their- wine None drinks, or eats -their- viands, save their own,  640 While my abode, day after day, themselves Haunting, my beeves and sheep and fatted goats Slay for the banquet, and my casks exhaust Extravagant, whence endless waste ensues; , , For no such friend as was Ulysses once Have I to expel the mischief.

But might he Revisit once his native shores again, Then, aided by his son, he should avenge, Incontinent, the wrongs which now I mourn.

Then sneezed Telemachus with sudden force,   650 That all the palace rang; , , his mother laugh'd, And in wing'd accents thus the swain bespake.

Haste --bid him hither --hear'st thou not the sneeze Propitious of my son?

oh might it prove A presage of inevitable death To all these revellers!

may none escape!

Now mark me well.

Should the event his tale Confirm, at my own hands he shall receive Mantle and tunic both for his reward.

She spake; , , he went, and where Ulysses sat   660 Arriving, in wing'd accents thus began.

Penelope, my venerable friend!

Calls thee, the mother of Telemachus.

Oppress'd by num'rous troubles, she desires To ask thee tidings of her absent Lord.

And should the event verify thy report, Thy meed shall be (a boon which much thou need'st) Tunic and mantle; , , but she gives no more; , , Thy sustenance thou must, as now, obtain, [78] Begging it at their hands who chuse to give.

  670 Then thus Ulysses, Hero toil-inured.


readily I can relate Truth, and truth only, to the prudent Queen Icarius' daughter; , , for of him I know Much, and have suff'red sorrows like his own.

But dread I feel of this imperious throng Perverse, whose riot and outrageous acts Of violence echo through the vault of heav'n.

And, even now, when for no fault of mine Yon suitor struck me as I pass'd, and fill'd   680 My flesh with pain, neither Telemachus Nor any interposed to stay his arm.

Now, therefore, let Penelope, although Impatient, till the sun descend postpone Her questions; , , then she may enquire secure When comes her husband, and may nearer place My seat to the hearth-side, for thinly clad Thou know'st I am, whose aid I first implored.

He ceas'd; , , at whose reply Eumæus sought Again the Queen, but ere he yet had pass'd   690 The threshold, thus she greeted his return.

Com'st thou alone, Eumæus?

why delays The invited wand'rer?

dreads he other harm?

Or sees he aught that with a bashful awe Fills him?

the bashful poor are poor indeed.

To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.

He hath well spoken; , , none who would decline The rudeness of this contumelious throng Could answer otherwise; , , thee he entreats To wait till sun-set, and that course, O Queen,   700 Thou shalt thyself far more commodious find, To hold thy conf'rence with the guest, alone.

Then answer thus Penelope return'd.

The stranger, I perceive, is not unwise, Whoe'er he be, for on the earth are none Proud, insolent, and profligate as these.

So spake the Queen.

Then (all his message told) The good Eumæus to the suitors went Again, and with his head inclined toward Telemachus, lest others should his words    710 Witness, in accents wing'd him thus address'd.

Friend and kind master!

I return to keep My herds, and to attend my rural charge, Whence we are both sustain'd.

Keep thou, meantime, All here with vigilance, but chiefly watch For thy own good, and save -thyself- from harm; , , For num'rous here brood mischief, whom the Gods Exterminate, ere yet their plots prevail!

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.

So be it, father!

and (thy evening-mess    720 Eaten) depart; , , to-morrow come again, Bringing fair victims hither; , , I will keep, I and the Gods, meantime, all here secure.

He ended; , , then resumed once more the swain His polish'd seat, and, both with wine and food Now satiate, to his charge return'd, the court Leaving and all the palace throng'd with guests; , , They (for it now was evening) all alike Turn'd jovial to the song and to the dance.


[73] Proteus.

[74] The hearth was the altar on which the lares or household-gods were worshipped.

[75] That he might begin auspiciously.

Wine was served in the same direction.


[76] Here again Θεὸς occurs in the abstract.

[77] Ει δη που τις επουρανιος θεος εσι

Eustathius, and Clarke after him, understand an aposiopesis here, as if the speaker meant to say --what if there should be?

or --suppose there should be?

But the sentence seems to fall in better with what follows interpreted as above, and it is a sense of the passage not unwarranted by the opinion of other commentators.

See Schaufelbergerus.

[78] This seems added by Eumæus to cut off from Ulysses the hope that might otherwise tempt him to use fiction.



The beggar Irus arrives at the palace; , , a combat takes place between him and Ulysses, in which Irus is by one blow vanquished.

Penelope appears to the suitors, and having reminded them of the presents which she had a right to expect from them, receives a gift from each.

Eurymachus, provoked by a speech of Ulysses, flings a foot-stool at him, which knocks down the cup-bearer; , , a general tumult is the consequence, which continues, till by the advice of Telemachus, seconded by Amphinomus, the suitors retire to their respective homes.

Now came a public mendicant, a man Accustom'd, seeking alms, to roam the streets Of Ithaca; , , one never sated yet With food or drink; , , yet muscle had he none, Or strength of limb, though giant-built in show.

Arnæus was the name which at his birth His mother gave him, but the youthful band Of suitors, whom as messenger he served, All named him Irus.

He, arriving, sought To drive Ulysses forth from his own home,    10 And in rough accents rude him thus rebuked.

Forth from the porch, old man!

lest by the foot I drag thee quickly forth.

Seest not how all Wink on me, and by signs give me command To drag thee hence?

nor is it aught but shame That checks me.

Yet arise, lest soon with fists Thou force me to adjust our diff'rence.

To whom Ulysses, low'ring dark, replied.

Peace, fellow!

neither word nor deed of mine Wrongs thee, nor feel I envy at the boon,    20 However plentiful, which thou receiv'st.

The sill may hold us both; , , thou dost not well To envy others; , , thou appear'st like me A vagrant; , , plenty is the gift of heav'n.

But urge me not to trial of our fists, Lest thou provoke me, and I stain with blood Thy bosom and thy lips, old as I am.

So, my attendance should to-morrow prove More tranquil here; , , for thou should'st leave, I judge, Ulysses' mansion, never to return.

   30 Then answer'd Irus, kindling with disdain.


with what volubility of speech The table-hunter prates, like an old hag Collied with chimney-smutch!

but ah beware!

For I intend thee mischief, and to dash With both hands ev'ry grinder from thy gums, As men untooth a pig pilf'ring the corn.

Come --gird thee, that all here may view the strife -- But how wilt thou oppose one young as I?

Thus on the threshold of the lofty gate    40 They, wrangling, chafed each other, whose dispute The high-born youth Antinoüs mark'd; , , he laugh'd Delighted, and the suitors thus address'd.

Oh friends!

no pastime ever yet occurr'd Pleasant as this which, now, the Gods themselves Afford us.

Irus and the stranger brawl As they would box.

Haste --let us urge them on.

He said; , , at once loud-laughing all arose; , , The ill-clad disputants they round about Encompass'd, and Antinoüs thus began.

   50 Attend ye noble suitors to my voice.

Two paunches lie of goats here on the fire, Which fill'd with fat and blood we set apart For supper; , , he who conquers, and in force Superior proves, shall freely take the paunch Which he prefers, and shall with us thenceforth Feast always; , , neither will we here admit Poor man beside to beg at our repasts.

He spake, whom all approved; , , next, artful Chief Ulysses thus, dissembling, them address'd.

  60 Princes!

unequal is the strife between A young man and an old with mis'ry worn; , , But hunger, always counsellor of ill, Me moves to fight, that many a bruise received, I may be foil'd at last.

Now swear ye all A solemn oath, that none, for Irus' sake Shall, interposing, smite me with his fist Clandestine, forcing me to yield the prize.

He ceas'd, and, as he bade, all present swore A solemn oath; , , then thus, amid them all    70 Standing, Telemachus majestic spake.


if thy courage and thy manly mind Prompt thee to banish this man hence, no force Fear thou beside, for who smites thee, shall find Yet other foes to cope with; , , I am here In the host's office, and the royal Chiefs Eurymachus and Antinoüs, alike Discrete, accord unanimous with me.

He ceas'd, whom all approved.

Then, with his rags Ulysses braced for decency his loins    80 Around, but gave to view his brawny thighs Proportion'd fair, and stripp'd his shoulders broad, His chest and arms robust; , , while, at his side, Dilating more the Hero's limbs and more Minerva stood; , , the assembly with fixt eyes Astonish'd gazed on him, and, looking full On his next friend, a suitor thus remark'd.

Irus shall be in Irus found no more.

He hath pull'd evil on himself.

What thewes And what a haunch the senior's tatters hid!

  90 So he --meantime in Irus' heart arose Horrible tumult; , , yet, his loins by force Girding, the servants dragg'd him to the fight Pale, and his flesh all quiv'ring as he came; , , Whose terrors thus Antinoüs sharp rebuked.

Now, wherefore liv'st, and why wast ever born Thou mountain-mass of earth!

if such dismay Shake thee at thought of combat with a man Ancient as he, and worn with many woes?

But mark, I threaten not in vain; , , should he   100 O'ercome thee, and in force superior prove, To Echetus thou go'st; , , my sable bark Shall waft thee to Epirus, where he reigns Enemy of mankind; , , of nose and ears He shall despoil thee with his ruthless steel, And tearing by the roots the parts away[79] That mark thy sex, shall cast them to the dogs.

He said; , , -His- limbs new terrors at that sound Shook under him; , , into the middle space They led him, and each raised his hands on high.

  110 Then doubtful stood Ulysses toil-inured, Whether to strike him lifeless to the earth At once, or fell him with a managed blow.

To smite with managed force at length he chose As wisest, lest, betray'd by his own strength, He should be known.

With elevated fists Both stood; , , him Irus on the shoulder struck, But he his adversary on the neck Pash'd close beneath his ear; , , he split the bones, And blood in sable streams ran from his mouth.

  120 With many an hideous yell he dropp'd, his teeth Chatter'd, and with his heels he drumm'd the ground.

The wooers, at that sight, lifting their hands In glad surprize, laugh'd all their breath away.

Then, through the vestibule, and right across The court, Ulysses dragg'd him by the foot Into the portico, where propping him Against the wall, and giving him his staff, In accents wing'd he bade him thus farewell.

There seated now, dogs drive and swine away,   130 Nor claim (thyself so base) supreme controul O'er other guests and mendicants, lest harm Reach thee, hereafter, heavier still than this.

So saying, his tatter'd wallet o'er his back He threw suspended by its leathern twist, And tow'rd the threshold turning, sat again, They laughing ceaseless still, the palace-door Re-enter'd, and him, courteous, thus bespake.

Jove, and all Jove's assessors in the skies Vouchsafe thee, stranger, whatsoe'er it be,   140 Thy heart's desire!

who hast our ears reliev'd From that insatiate beggar's irksome tone.

Soon to Epirus he shall go dispatch'd To Echetus the King, pest of mankind.

So they, to whose propitious words the Chief Listen'd delighted.

Then Antinoüs placed The paunch before him, and Amphinomus Two loaves, selected from the rest; , , he fill'd A goblet also, drank to him, and said, My father, hail!

O stranger, be thy lot   150 Hereafter blest, though adverse now and hard!

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

To me, Amphinomus, endued thou seem'st With much discretion, who art also son Of such a sire, whose fair report I know, Dulichian Nysus, opulent and good.

Fame speaks thee his, and thou appear'st a man Judicious; , , hear me, therefore; , , mark me well.

Earth nourishes, of all that breathe or creep, No creature weak as man; , , for while the Gods   160 Grant him prosperity and health, no fear Hath he, or thought, that he shall ever mourn; , , But when the Gods with evils unforeseen Smite him, he bears them with a grudging mind; , , For such as the complexion of his lot By the appointment of the Sire of all, Such is the colour of the mind of man.

I, too, have been familiar in my day With wealth and ease, but I was then self-will'd, And many wrong'd, embolden'd by the thought   170 Of my own father's and my brethren's pow'r.

Let no man, therefore, be unjust, but each Use modestly what gift soe'er of heav'n.

So do not these.

These ever bent I see On deeds injurious, the possessions large Consuming, and dishonouring the wife Of one, who will not, as I judge, remain Long absent from his home, but is, perchance, Ev'n at the door.

Thee, therefore, may the Gods Steal hence in time!

ah, meet not his return   180 To his own country!

for they will not part, (He and the suitors) without blood, I think, If once he enter at these gates again!

He ended, and, libation pouring, quaff'd The generous juice, then in the prince's hand Replaced the cup; , , he, pensive, and his head Inclining low, pass'd from him; , , for his heart Forboded ill; , , yet 'scaped not even he, But in the snare of Pallas caught, his life To the heroic arm and spear resign'd    190 Of brave Telemachus.

Reaching, at length, The seat whence he had ris'n, he sat again.

Minerva then, Goddess, cærulean-eyed, Prompted Icarius' daughter to appear Before the suitors; , , so to expose the more Their drift iniquitous, and that herself More bright than ever in her husband's eyes Might shine, and in her son's.

Much mirth she feign'd, [80] And, bursting into laughter, thus began.

I wish, Eurynome!

(who never felt    200 That wish till now) though I detest them all, To appear before the suitors, in whose ears I will admonish, for his good, my son, Not to associate with that lawless crew Too much, who speak him fair, but foul intend.

Then answer thus Eurynome return'd.

My daughter!

wisely hast thou said and well.


bathe thee and anoint thy face, then give To thy dear son such counsel as thou wilt Without reserve; , , but shew not there thy cheeks   210 Sullied with tears, for profit none accrues From grief like thine, that never knows a change.

And he is now bearded, and hath attained That age which thou wast wont with warmest pray'r To implore the Gods that he might live to see.

Her answer'd then Penelope discrete.

Persuade not me, though studious of my good, To bathe, Eurynome!

or to anoint My face with oil; , , for all my charms the Gods Inhabitants of Olympus then destroy'd,    220 When he, embarking, left me.

Go, command Hippodamia and Autonöe That they attend me to the hall, and wait Beside me there; , , for decency forbids That I should enter to the men, alone.

She ceas'd, and through the house the ancient dame Hasted to summon whom she had enjoin'd.

But Pallas, Goddess of the azure eyes, Diffused, meantime, the kindly dew of sleep Around Icarius' daughter; , , on her couch    230 Reclining, soon as she reclin'd, she dozed, And yielded to soft slumber all her frame.

Then, that the suitors might admire her more, The glorious Goddess cloath'd her, as she lay, With beauty of the skies; , , her lovely face She with ambrosia purified, with such As Cytherea chaplet-crown'd employs Herself, when in the eye-ensnaring dance She joins the Graces; , , to a statelier height Beneath her touch, and ampler size she grew,   240 And fairer than the elephantine bone Fresh from the carver's hand.

These gifts conferr'd Divine, the awful Deity retired.

And now, loud-prattling as they came, arrived Her handmaids; , , sleep forsook her at the sound, She wiped away a tear, and thus she said.

Me gentle sleep, sad mourner as I am, Hath here involved.

O would that by a death As gentle chaste Diana would herself This moment set me free, that I might waste   250 My life no longer in heart-felt regret Of a lamented husband's various worth And virtue, for in Greece no Peer had he!

She said, and through her chambers' stately door Issuing, descended; , , neither went she sole, But with those two fair menials of her train.

Arriving, most majestic of her sex, In presence of the num'rous guests, beneath The portal of the stately dome she stood Between her maidens, with her lucid veil    260 Mantling her lovely cheeks.

Then, ev'ry knee Trembled, and ev'ry heart with am'rous heat Dissolv'd, her charms all coveting alike, While to Telemachus her son she spake.


thou art no longer wise As once thou wast, and even when a child.

For thriven as thou art, and at full size Arrived of man, so fair proportion'd, too, That ev'n a stranger, looking on thy growth And beauty, would pronounce thee nobly born,   270 Yet is thy intellect still immature.

For what is this?

why suffer'st thou a guest To be abused in thy own palace?


Know'st not that if the stranger seated here Endure vexation, the disgrace is thine?

Her answer'd, then, Telemachus discrete.

I blame thee not, my mother, that thou feel'st Thine anger moved; , , yet want I not a mind Able to mark and to discern between Evil and good, child as I lately was,    280 Although I find not promptitude of thought Sufficient always, overaw'd and check'd By such a multitude, all bent alike On mischief, of whom none takes part with me.

But Irus and the stranger have not fought, Urged by the suitors, and the stranger prov'd Victorious; , , yes --heav'n knows how much I wish That, (in the palace some, some in the court) The suitors all sat vanquish'd, with their heads Depending low, and with enfeebled limbs,    290 Even as that same Irus, while I speak, With chin on bosom propp'd at the hall-gate Sits drunkard-like, incapable to stand Erect, or to regain his proper home.

So they; , , and now addressing to the Queen His speech, Eurymachus thus interposed.

O daughter of Icarius!

could all eyes Throughout Iäsian Argos[81] view thy charms, Discrete Penelope!

more suitors still Assembling in thy courts would banquet here   300 From morn to eve; , , for thou surpassest far In beauty, stature, worth, all womankind.

To whom replied Penelope discrete.

The Gods, Eurymachus!

reduced to nought My virtue, beauty, stature, when the Greeks, Whom my Ulysses follow'd, sail'd to Troy.

Could he, returning, my domestic charge Himself intend, far better would my fame Be so secured, and wider far diffused.

But I am wretched now, such storms the Gods   310 Of woe have sent me.

When he left his home, Clasping my wrist with his right hand, he said.

My love!

for I imagine not that all The warrior Greeks shall safe from Troy return, Since fame reports the Trojans brave in fight, Skill'd in the spear, mighty to draw the bow, And nimble vaulters to the backs of steeds High-mettled, which to speediest issue bring The dreadful struggle of all-wasting war -- I know not, therefore, whether heav'n intend   320 My safe return, or I must perish there.

But manage thou at home.

Cherish, as now, While I am absent, or more dearly still My parents, and what time our son thou seest Mature, then wed; , , wed even whom thou wilt, And hence to a new home. --Such were his words, All which shall full accomplishment ere long Receive.

The day is near, when hapless I, Lost to all comfort by the will of Jove, Must meet the nuptials that my soul abhors.

  330 But this thought now afflicts me, and my mind Continual haunts.

Such was not heretofore The suitors' custom'd practice; , , all who chose To engage in competition for a wife Well-qualitied and well-endow'd, produced From their own herds and fatted flocks a feast For the bride's friends, and splendid presents made, But never ate as ye, at others' cost.

She ceased; , , then brave Ulysses toil-inured Rejoiced that, soothing them, she sought to draw   340 From each some gift, although on other views, And more important far, himself intent.

Then thus Antinoüs, Eupithes' son.

Icarius' daughter wise!

only accept Such gifts as we shall bring, for gifts demand That grace, nor can be decently refused; , , But to our rural labours, or elsewhere Depart not we, till first thy choice be made Of the Achaian, chief in thy esteem.

Antinoüs spake, whose answer all approved.

  350 Then each dispatch'd his herald who should bring His master's gift.

Antinoüs' herald, first A mantle of surpassing beauty brought, Wide, various, with no fewer clasps adorn'd Than twelve, all golden, and to ev'ry clasp Was fitted opposite its eye exact.

Next, to Eurymachus his herald bore A necklace of wrought gold, with amber rich Bestudded, ev'ry bead bright as a sun.

Two servants for Eurydamas produced    360 Ear-pendants fashion'd with laborious art, Broad, triple-gemm'd, of brilliant light profuse.

The herald of Polyctor's son, the prince Pisander, brought a collar to his Lord, A sumptuous ornament.

Each Greecian gave, And each a gift dissimilar from all.

Then, loveliest of her sex, turning away, She sought her chamber, whom her maidens fair Attended, charged with those illustrious gifts.

Then turn'd, they all to dance and pleasant song   370 Joyous, expecting the approach of ev'n.

Ere long the dusky evening came, and them Found sporting still.

Then, placing in the hall Three hearths that should illumine wide the house, They compass'd them around with fuel-wood Long-season'd and new-split, mingling the sticks With torches.

The attendant women watch'd And fed those fires by turns, to whom, himself, Their unknown Sov'reign thus his speech address'd.

Ye maidens of the long-regretted Chief    380 Ulysses!

to the inner-courts retire, And to your virtuous Queen, that following there Your sev'ral tasks, spinning and combing wool, Ye may amuse her; , , I, meantime, for these Will furnish light, and should they chuse to stay Till golden morn appear, they shall not tire My patience aught, for I can much endure.

He said; , , they, titt'ring, on each other gazed.

But one, Melantho with the blooming cheeks, Rebuked him rudely.

Dolius was her sire,    390 But by Penelope she had been reared With care maternal, and in infant years Supplied with many a toy; , , yet even she Felt not her mistress' sorrows in her heart, But, of Eurymachus enamour'd, oft His lewd embraces met; , , she, with sharp speech Reproachful, to Ulysses thus replied.

Why --what a brainsick vagabond art thou!

Who neither wilt to the smith's forge retire For sleep, nor to the public portico,    400 But here remaining, with audacious prate Disturb'st this num'rous company, restrain'd By no respect or fear; , , either thou art With wine intoxicated, or, perchance, Art always fool, and therefore babblest now.

Say, art thou drunk with joy that thou hast foiled The beggar Irus?

Tremble, lest a man Stronger than Irus suddenly arise, Who on thy temples pelting thee with blows Far heavier than his, shall drive thee hence   410 With many a bruise, and foul with thy own blood.

To whom Ulysses, frowning stern, replied.


Telemachus shall be inform'd This moment of thy eloquent harangue, That he may hew thee for it, limb from limb.

So saying, he scared the women; , , back they flew Into the house, but each with falt'ring knees Through dread, for they believ'd his threats sincere.

He, then illumin'd by the triple blaze, Watch'd close the lights, busy from hearth to hearth,  420 But in his soul, meantime, far other thoughts Revolved, tremendous, not conceived in vain.

Nor Pallas (that they might exasp'rate more Laertes' son) permitted to abstain From heart-corroding bitterness of speech Those suitors proud, of whom Eurymachus, Offspring of Polybus, while thus he jeer'd Ulysses, set the others in a roar.

Hear me, ye suitors of the illustrious Queen!

I shall promulge my thought.

This man, methinks,   430 Not unconducted by the Gods, hath reach'd Ulysses' mansion, for to me the light Of yonder torches altogether seems His own, an emanation from his head, Which not the smallest growth of hair obscures.

He ended; , , and the city-waster Chief Himself accosted next.

Art thou disposed To serve me, friend!

would I afford thee hire, A labourer at my farm?

thou shalt not want Sufficient wages; , , thou may'st there collect   440 Stones for my fences, and may'st plant my oaks, For which I would supply thee all the year With food, and cloaths, and sandals for thy feet.

But thou hast learn'd less creditable arts, Nor hast a will to work, preferring much By beggary from others to extort Wherewith to feed thy never-sated maw.

Then answer, thus, Ulysses wise return'd.

Forbear, Eurymachus; , , for were we match'd In work against each other, thou and I,    450 Mowing in spring-time, when the days are long, I with my well-bent sickle in my hand, Thou arm'd with one as keen, for trial sake Of our ability to toil unfed Till night, grass still sufficing for the proof. -- Or if, again, it were our task to drive Yoked oxen of the noblest breed, sleek-hair'd, Big-limb'd, both batten'd to the full with grass, Their age and aptitude for work the same Not soon to be fatigued, and were the field   460 In size four acres, with a glebe through which The share might smoothly slide, then should'st thou see How strait my furrow should be cut and true. -- Or should Saturnian Jove this day excite Here, battle, or elsewhere, and were I arm'd With two bright spears and with a shield, and bore A brazen casque well-fitted to my brows, Me, then, thou should'st perceive mingling in fight Amid the foremost Chiefs, nor with the crime Of idle beggary should'st upbraid me more.

  470 But thou art much a railer, one whose heart Pity moves not, and seem'st a mighty man And valiant to thyself, only because Thou herd'st with few, and those of little worth.

But should Ulysses come, at his own isle Again arrived, wide as these portals are, To thee, at once, too narrow they should seem To shoot thee forth with speed enough abroad.

He ceased --then tenfold indignation fired Eurymachus; , , he furrow'd deep his brow    480 With frowns, and in wing'd accents thus replied.

Wretch, I shall roughly handle thee anon, Who thus with fluent prate presumptuous dar'st Disturb this num'rous company, restrain'd By no respect or fear.

Either thou art With wine intoxicated, or, perchance, Art always fool, and therefore babblest now; , , Or thou art frantic haply with delight That thou hast foil'd yon vagabond obscure.

So saying, he seized a stool; , , but to the knees   490 Ulysses flew of the Dulichian Prince Amphinomus, and sat, fearing incensed Eurymachus; , , he on his better hand Smote full the cup-bearer; , , on the hall-floor Loud rang the fallen beaker, and himself Lay on his back clamouring in the dust.

Strait through the dusky hall tumult ensued Among the suitors, of whom thus, a youth, With eyes directed to the next, exclaim'd.

Would that this rambling stranger had elsewhere  500 Perish'd, or ever he had here arrived, Then no such uproar had he caused as this!

This doth the beggar; , , he it is for whom We wrangle thus, and may despair of peace Or pleasure more; , , now look for strife alone.

Then in the midst Telemachus upstood Majestic, and the suitors thus bespake.


ye are mad, and can no longer eat Or drink in peace; , , some dæmon troubles you.

But since ye all have feasted, to your homes   510 Go now, and, at your pleasure, to your beds; , , Soonest were best, but I thrust no man hence.

He ceased; , , they gnawing stood their lips, aghast With wonder that Telemachus in his speech Such boldness used.

Then rose Amphinomus, Brave son of Nisus offspring of the King Aretus, and the assembly thus address'd.

My friends!

let none with contradiction thwart And rude reply words rational and just; , , Assault no more the stranger, nor of all    520 The servants of renown'd Ulysses here Harm any.


Let the cup-bearer fill To all, that due libation made, to rest We may repair at home, leaving the Prince To accommodate beneath his father's roof The stranger, for he is the Prince's guest.

He ended, whose advice none disapproved.

The Hero Mulius then, Dulichian-born, And herald of Amphinomus, the cup Filling, dispensed it, as he stood, to all; , ,   530 They, pouring forth to the Immortals, quaff'd The luscious bev'rage, and when each had made Libation, and such measure as he would Of wine had drunk, then all to rest retired.


[79] Tradition says that Echetus, for a love-affair, condemned his daughter to lose her eyes, and to grind iron barley-grains, while her lover was doomed to suffer what Antinoüs threatens to Irus.


[80] This seems the sort of laughter intended by the word Αχρειον.

[81] From Iäsus, once King of Peloponnesus.



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.

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

This weightier reason (thou shalt also say) Some God suggested to me, --lest, 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, and, 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, Which, during his long absence, here have stood Till smoke hath sullied them.

For I have been An infant hitherto, but, 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.

Then, 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, doubtless, is within.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

   50 Soft!

ask no questions.

Give no vent to thought, Such is the custom of the Pow'rs divine.

Hence, thou, 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, Diana-like, 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, thus, 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, replied.

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, mistress, lest a day arrive When all these charms by which thou shin'st among Thy sister-menials, fade; , , fear, too, 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.

Shameless, 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, Eurynome!

that, undisturb'd, 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, wise, return'd.

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, returning, 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, Dulichium, and the forest-crown'd Zacynthus; , , others, also, rulers here In pleasant Ithaca, me, 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.

They, meantime, 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.

Princes, 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.

Else, I the censure dread of all my sex, Should he, so wealthy, want at last a shroud.

Such was my speech; , , they, unsuspicious all, With my request complied.

Thenceforth, all day I wove the ample web, and, 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.

Thus, 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, Yet, stranger, 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, ever-wise.

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.

Yet, though it pain me, I will tell thee all.

There is a land amid the sable flood Call'd Crete; , , fair, fruitful, 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, Cnossus; , , the city in which Minos reign'd, Who, 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.

I, the youngest-born, By my illustrious name, Æthon, 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.

He, landing, 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.

Him, therefore, 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, corn, 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, replied, and thus enquired again.

Now, stranger, I shall prove thee, as I judge, If thou, indeed, 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, ever-wise.

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, Yet, from my best remembrance, I will give A likeness of him, such as now I may.

A double cloak, thick-piled, 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, seeing, 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, myself, 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.

Henceforth, 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, ever-wise, replied.

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.

Ulysses, therefore, 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; , , for, 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.

Thus, therefore, 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!

then, soon shalt thou such bounty share And friendship at my hands, that, 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, well-warm'd, the golden morn's return.

Attend him also at the peep of day    400 With bath and unction, that, 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, unoiled, Ill-clad, 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, Ulysses, ever-wise.

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.

No; , , 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.

Euryclea, rise!

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, thyself, thy glorious son.

  460 Yet thus the God requites thee, cutting off All hope of thy return --oh ancient sir!

Him too, perchance, 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.

Yes, 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, ever-shrewd, replied.

Such close similitude, O ancient dame!

As thou observ'st between thy Lord and me, All, 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, then, 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, approaching, 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, and, 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.

Thyself, Autolycus!

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.

Ulysses, therefore, 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, Amphithea; , , 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.

They, 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.

Then, soon as day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd Aurora look'd abroad, forth went the hounds, And, 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, emerging, first smote on the fields.

The hunters reach'd the valley; , , foremost ran, Questing, the hounds; , , behind them, swift, the sons Came of Autolycus, with whom advanced The illustrious Prince Ulysses, pressing close The hounds, and brandishing his massy spear.

There, 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.

Ulysses, first, Rush'd on him, elevating his long spear Ardent to wound him; , , but, 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, then, 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, Whence, 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, thus, at length, she spake.

Thou art himself, Ulysses.

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.

Then, 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, Silence!

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, discrete.

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, myself,   620 Give thee to know of all the female train Who have dishonour'd thee, and who respect.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

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.

Thus, 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.

Then, prudent, thus Penelope began.

One question, stranger, 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, erring, 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.

Hear, 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, huge, hook-beak'd, 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, Arriving, found me weeping still, and still Complaining, that the eagle had at once Slain all my geese.

But, 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, But, 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, return'd, Death, 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, ever-wise.

   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, If, 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; , , attend.

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; , , him, 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, ever-wise.

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, Either, thyself, 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.


[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, opaque.


[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.



Ulysses, 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.

Theoclymenus, 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, And, 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.

Meantime, 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.

But, 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, Which, tractable, 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.

Then, 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, ever-wise.

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, Myself, 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, is, itself, distress.

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, and, noblest of her sex, Satiate at length with tears, her pray'r address'd First to Diana of the Pow'rs above.

Diana, 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!

or, oh that, as it flies, Snatching me through the pathless air, a storm Would whelm me deep in Ocean's restless tide!

So, 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, himself, appoints, 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; , , Ulysses, 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.

Then, 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; , , glad, Ulysses heard the sound.

A woman, next, 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, some, of barley, some, 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.

Jove, Father, 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; , , then, godlike from his couch  150 Arose Telemachus, and, fresh-attired, 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, bespake.


have ye with respectful notice serv'd Our guest?

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

for, prudent though she be, My mother, inattentive oft, the worse    160 Treats kindly, and the better sends away.

Whom Euryclea answer'd, thus, discrete.

Blame not, my son!

who merits not thy blame.

The guest sat drinking till he would no more, And ate, till, question'd, 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, And, 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, and, 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, obedient, heard; , , 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.

Meantime, 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?

Then, 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, driving, 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, then, drawing near, in terms Reproachful thus assail'd Ulysses' ear.

   210 How, stranger?

persever'st thou, begging, 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, and, silent, framed Terrible purposes.

Then, third, approach'd Chief o'er the herds, Philœtius; , , 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, Eumæus, 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; , , and, 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.

Thou, Jupiter, 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.

These, 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.

Me, therefore, 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, ever-wise, replied.

   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, that, ere thy going hence, Ulysses surely shall have reach'd his home, And thou shalt see him, if thou wilt, thyself, 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.

Meantime, 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.

Then, thus, 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.

Then, 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, Philœtius, 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, next, he set Before him, fill'd a golden goblet high, And thus, in presence of them all, began.

There seated now, drink as the suitors drink.

I will, myself, 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, sat, their lips, aghast With wonder that Telemachus in his speech Such boldness used.

Then spake Eupithes' son, Antinoüs, 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, Telemachus, 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, but, 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; , , attend!

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.

Ctesippus, thou art fortunate; , , the bone Struck not the stranger, for he shunn'd the blow; , , Else, I had surely thrust my glitt'ring lance Right through thee; , , then, 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, now, manifest.

Thou, therefore, Prince!

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, departing, find another home.

To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.

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, bodies, limbs; , , 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, they, hearing, laugh'd; , , 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, Eurymachus, 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, such, too, as none Shall 'scape of all the suitors, whose delight Is to insult the unoffending guest Received beneath this hospitable roof.

He said, and, issuing from the palace, sought Piræus' house, who gladly welcom'd him.

   450 Then all the suitors on each other cast A look significant, and, to provoke Telemachus the more, fleer'd at his guests.

Of whom a youth thus, insolent began.

No living wight, Telemachus, had e'er Guests such as thine.

Witness, 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, and, silent, look'd and look'd Toward his father, watching still the time When he should punish that licentious throng.

Meantime, Icarius' daughter, who had placed Her splendid seat opposite, heard distinct   470 Their taunting speeches.

They, with noisy mirth, Feasted deliciously, for they had slain Many a fat victim; , , but a sadder feast Than, soon, 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, Cleothera, Merope.

[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.

Minerva, now, 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.

First, 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, Whom, 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.

For, 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.

He, therefore, occupied in that concern, Meeting Ulysses there, gave him the bow Which, erst, huge Eurytus had borne, and which Himself had from his dying sire received.

Ulysses, 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, For, ere that hour arrived, the son of Jove Slew his own guest, the godlike Iphitus.

Thus came the bow into Ulysses' hands, Which, 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.

She, ascending, next, 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.

Then, 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, magnificent, which, doubtless, 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, thus, 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, meantime, the hope   110 Cherish'd, that he should bend, himself, 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, then, 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, while, heedless, 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, myself, 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, himself, 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.

Then, hasting to the portal, there he stood.

  150 Thrice, struggling, 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, return'd.

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.

Then, first, Leiodes, Œnop's son, arose.

He was their soothsayer, and ever sat Beside the beaker, inmost of them all.

To him alone, of all, licentious deeds Were odious, and, with indignation fired, He witness'd the excesses of the rest.

He then took foremost up the shaft and bow, And, station'd at the portal, strove to bend   180 But bent it not, fatiguing, first, 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, haply, at this moment, hopes That he shall wed whom long he hath desired,   190 Ulysses' wife, Penelope; , , let him Essay the bow, and, 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, next, 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, angry, thus reproved.

What word, Leiodes, 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, thyself, 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.

Hence, Melanthius, 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; , , next, 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, Antinoüs, 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, then, the faithful pair address'd.


and thou, Eumæus!

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.

Eumæus, also, fervently implored The Gods in pray'r, that they would render back Ulysses to his home.

He, then, convinced Of their unfeigning honesty, began.

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; , , then, soon as they had seen And surely recognized the mark, each cast His arms around Ulysses, wept, 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.

Now, 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, and, 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, but, 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.

Nor, 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, thus, 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.

Cup-bearer, attend!

Serve all with wine, that, first, 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, then, 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, then, artful to effect His shrewd designs, Ulysses thus began.

Hear, 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.

Meantime, 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, which, 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, also, 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, then, 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, thus, Penelope return'd.

No fair report, Eurymachus, attends Their names or can, who, 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; , , and, 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, Withdrew; , , 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, clamorous, reproved the deed, Of whom a youth, thus, 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; , , next, 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, perchance, a groan Or other noise made by the Princes shut Within the hall, let none look, curious, forth,   460 But each in quietness pursue her work.

So he; , , nor flew his words useless away, But she, incontinent, shut fast the doors.

Then, noiseless, 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.

He, now, 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, methinks, 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, insolent, replied.

   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, experienced.

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



Ulysses, 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.

Then, 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, thus, bespake.

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; , , he, 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.

Confusion, 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, Then, furious, to Ulysses thus they spake.

Thy arrow, stranger, 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, replied.

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, alone, 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, already, who was cause of all, Lies slain, Antinoüs; , , 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, himself, 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, eating, drinking here We have committed, we will yield thee, each, 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, replied, Eurymachus, 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; , , that, 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.

He, 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.

Then, with his faulchion drawn, Amphinomus Advanced to drive Ulysses from the door,    100 And fierce was his assault; , , but, 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, lest, had he stood Drawing it forth, some enemy, perchance, Should either pierce him with a sudden thrust Oblique, or hew him with a downright edge.

Swift, therefore, 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, ever-wise, replied.

Run; , , fetch them, while I yet have arrows left, Lest, single, I be justled from the door.

He said, and, 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, And, arming first himself, furnish'd with arms His two attendants.

Then, all clad alike In splendid brass, beside the dauntless Chief Ulysses, his auxiliars firm they stood.

He, while a single arrow unemploy'd Lay at his foot, right-aiming, 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, himself, 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, and, ascending, 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.

Father, this fault was mine, and be it charged On none beside; , , I left the chamber-door Unbarr'd, which, more attentive than myself, Their spy perceived.

But haste, Eumæus, 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, Melanthius, Dolius' son, have giv'n them arms.

Thus mutual they conferr'd; , , meantime, again Melanthius to the chamber flew in quest Of other arms.

Eumæus, as he went, Mark'd him, and to Ulysses' thus he spake.

Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!

Behold, 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, here, even in thy own house?

Then answer thus Ulysses shrewd return'd.

I, 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.

Now, 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, exclaim'd.

Help, Mentor!

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, first, Damastor's son, In accents harsh rebuked the Goddess thus.

Beware, 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; , , incensed, she turn'd Towards Ulysses, whom she thus reproved.

   260 Thou neither own'st the courage nor the force, Ulysses, now, 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.

Why, 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, first, Both of the sire and of his glorious son, But, springing in a swallow's form aloft, Perch'd on a rafter of the splendid roof.

Then, Agelaüs animated loud The suitors, whom Eurynomus also roused, Amphimedon, 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, thus, 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, all, 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; , , and, 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-, who, 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, quick, 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, Ulysses, 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; , , then, grasping still his spear, Ulysses pierced Damastor's son, and, next,   340 Telemachus, enforcing his long beam Sheer through his bowels and his back, transpierced Leiocritus, he prostrate smote the floor.

Then, 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.

But, 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, they, darting from above, Strike, seize, 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, Ulysses!

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, therefore, found.

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, replied.

Is that thy boast?

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

Then, doubtless, 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, Who, through compulsion, with his song regaled The suitors, a like dreadful death escaped.

Fast by the postern, harp in hand, he stood, Doubtful if, issuing, 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; , , then, between The beaker and an argent-studded throne He grounded his sweet lyre, and seizing fast The Hero's knees, him, suppliant, thus address'd.

I clasp thy knees, Ulysses!

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.

Ah, then, 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, thus, humane, he interposed.

Hold, 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, perchance, Unconscious, 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, and, in their folly scorn'd his son.

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied, 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, Myself, 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, For, throwing wide the portal, forth she came, And, 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.

She, 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, therefore, died.

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, thus, 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, and, meantime, Calling his son, Philœtius, 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, lamenting, and with tepid tears Show'ring the ground; , , with mutual labour, first, Bearing the bodies forth into the court,    520 They lodged them in the portico; , , meantime Ulysses, stern, enjoin'd them haste, and, urged By sad necessity, they bore all out.

With sponges and with water, next, 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.

Thus, order giv'n to all within, they, next, 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, entangled, 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, And, still indignant, lopp'd his hands and feet.

Then, 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, nurse, 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, thus, his nurse, replied.

  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, himself, 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.

He, 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, perhaps, 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, therefore, 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, Ulysses, Telemachus, 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.

Arise, Penelope!

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, Ulysses, 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, thus, 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.

Going, 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, meantime, The house with sulphur and with flames of fire, And hath, himself, sent me to bid thee down.

Follow me, then, that ye may give your hearts To gladness, both, 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, then, 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, Myself, to tell thee, but he, ever-wise, Compressing with both hands my lips, forbad.

Come, follow me.

My life shall be the pledge.

If I deceive thee, kill me as thou wilt.

To whom Penelope, discrete, replied.

   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, however, 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, And, 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, discrete, replied.

   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, Telemachus, 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, Yet, flying, he forsakes both friends and home; , , But we have slain the noblest Princes far   140 Of Ithaca, on whom our city most Depended; , , therefore, I advise thee, think!

Him, prudent, 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, ever-wise.

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

First wash yourselves, and put ye on Your tunics; , , bid ye, next, the maidens take Their best attire, and let the bard divine Harping melodious play a sportive dance, That, 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, where, once arriv'd, such plans  160 We will devise, as Jove shall deign to inspire.

He spake, and all, obedient, 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.

Eurynome, meantime, With bath and unction serv'd the illustrious Chief Ulysses, and he saw himself attired Royally once again in his own house.

Then, 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.

He, godlike, 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, nurse, 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, sir!

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

Penelope, 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, luxuriant, 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, next, 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; , , she, 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, perchance, 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, else, 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, perchance, escape The foamy flood, and, swimming, 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, meantime, 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.

But, thou hast spoken from the seer of Thebes Of arduous toils yet unperform'd; , , declare What toils?

Thou wilt disclose them, as I judge, Hereafter, and why not disclose them now?

To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.

   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, bearing, 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.

Beginning, he discoursed, how, 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, pitiless, 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.

How, 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.

How, 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.

Then, 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, himself, escaped.

How to Ogygia's isle he came, where dwelt The nymph Calypso, who, enamour'd, 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.

How, also, 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, Minerva, 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.

Thou, therefore, with thy maidens, sit retired In thy own chamber at the palace-top, Nor question ask, nor, curious, 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; , , accordingly, 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, So, 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, whence, next, 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.

Then, 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, fall'n!

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; , , there, first, 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, also, 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, interposed, His counsels, ever wisest, wisest proved Then also, and he thus address'd the host.

  60 Sons of Achaia; , , fly not; , , stay, ye Greeks!

Thetis arrives with her immortal nymphs From the abyss, to visit her dead son.

So he; , , and, by his admonition stay'd, The Greeks fled not.

Then, 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, But, 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, Achilles, 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.

Then, 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, When, 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.

Thus, hast thou not, Achilles!

although dead,   110 Foregone thy glory, but thy fair report Is universal among all mankind; , , But, 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.

Thus, mutual, 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, But, planning for us a tremendous death,    150 This novel stratagem, at last, devised.

Beginning, in her own recess, a web Of slend'rest thread, and of a length and breadth Unusual, thus the suitors she address'd.

Princes, 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, Laertes, looking for the mournful hour    160 When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest; , , Else, I the censure dread of all my sex, Should he so wealthy, want at last a shroud.

So spake the Queen; , , we, unsuspicious all, With her request complied.

Thenceforth, 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, return'd, a damsel then Of her attendants, conscious of the fraud, Reveal'd it, and we found her pulling loose The splendid web.

Thus, through constraint, at length, She finish'd it, and in her own despight.

But when the Queen produced, at length, her work Finish'd, new-blanch'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; , , they, 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, Time-worn, 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.

Then, springing to the portal steps, he pour'd The arrows forth, peer'd terrible around, Pierced King Antinoüs, and, 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.

Such, 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, then, 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.

Meantime, descending from the city-gates, Ulysses, 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, ate, 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, and, ent'ring, slay ye of the swine The best for our regale; , , myself, 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, And, 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, whether, 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, And, with that purpose, moved direct toward him.

He, 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, fig, olive, vine, 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, methinks,    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.

Vain, alas!

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, ever-wise, replied.

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, clasp'd, 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, ever-wise, replied.

View, first, 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.

There, oft as sent from Jove The influences of the year descend, Grapes of all hues and flavours clust'ring hang.

He said; , , Laertes, 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, Who, 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, lest, incensed, 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; , , then, by the hands Of his Sicilian matron, the old King Was bathed, anointed, 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, exclaim'd.

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, And, ranged in order due, took each his share.

Then, 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.

They, 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; , , for, 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, unexpectedly, at length restored, Hail, 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, ever-wise, replied.

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, joyful, 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, and, 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.

Then, Medon and the sacred bard whom sleep Had lately left, arriving from the house Of Laertiades, approach'd; , , 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, myself, 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, prudent, 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!

Then, 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, bespake.

Now, 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, discrete, replied.

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, And, 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.

Peace, 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, And, 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, incontinent, his smouldring bolt At Pallas' feet, and thus the Goddess spake.

  630 Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!

Forbear; , , abstain from slaughter; , , lest thyself Incur the anger of high thund'ring Jove.

So Pallas, whom Ulysses, glad, obey'd.

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.