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Alexander Pope (1688–1744). Complete Poetical Works. 1903.

Translations from Homer

The Odyssey (partial). Book XV. The Return of Telemachus

  • The Argument
  • The Goddess Minerva commands Telemachus in a vision to return to Ithaca. Pisistratus and he take leave of Menelaüs, and arrive at Pylos, where they part; Telemachus sets sail, after having received on broad Theoclymenus the soothsayer. The scene then changes to the cottage of Eumæus, who entertains Ulysses with a recital of his adventures. In the meantime Telemachus arrives on the coast, and, sending the vessel to the town, proceeds by himself to the lodge of Eumæus.

  • NOW had Minerva reach’d those ample plains,

    Famed for the dance, where Menelaüs reigns;

    Anxious she flies to great Ulysses’ heir,

    His instant voyage challenged all her care.

    Beneath the royal portico display’d,

    With Nestor’s son Telemachus was laid;

    In sleep profound the son of Nestor lies;

    Not thine, Ulysses! Care unseal’d his eyes:

    Restless he griev’d, with various fears oppress’d

    And all thy fortunes roll’d within his breast

    When ‘O Telemachus!’ (the goddess said)

    ‘Too long in vain, too widely hast thou stray’d,

    Thus leaving careless thy paternal right

    The robbers prize, the prey to lawless might,

    On fond pursuits neglectful while you roam,

    Ev’n now the hand of rapine sacks the dome.

    Hence to Atrides; and his leave implore

    To launch thy vessel for thy natal shore:

    Fly, whilst thy mother virtuous yet withstands

    Her kindred’s wishes, and her sire’s commands;

    Thro’ both, Eurymachus pursues the dame,

    And with the noblest gifts asserts his claim.

    Hence therefore, while thy stores thy own remain;

    Thou know’st the practice of the female train;

    Lost in the children of the present spouse,

    They slight the pledges of their former vows;

    Their love is always with the lover past;

    Still the succeeding flame expels the last.

    Let o’er thy house some chosen maid preside,

    Till Heav’n decrees to bless thee in a bride.

    But now thy more attentive ears incline,

    Observe the warnings of a Power divine;

    For thee their snares the suitor lords shall lay

    In Samos sands, or straits of Ithaca;

    To seize thy life shall lurk the murd’rous band,

    Ere yet thy footsteps press thy native land.

    No—sooner far their riot and their lust

    All-cov’ring earth shall lurk the murd’rous band,

    Then distant from the scatter’d islands steer,

    Nor let the night retard thy fall career;

    Thy heav’nly guardian shall instruct the gales

    To smooth thy passage and supply thy sails:

    And when at Ithaca thy labour ends,

    Send to the town the vessel with thy friends;

    But seek thou first the master of the swine,

    (For still to thee his loyal thoughts incline);

    There pass the night; while he his course pursues

    To bring Penelope the wish’d-for news,

    That thou, safe sailing from the Pylian strand,

    Art come to bless her in thy native land.’

    Thus spoke the Goddess, and resumed her flight

    To the pure regions of eternal light.

    Meanwhile Pisistratus he gently shakes,

    And with these words the slumb’ring youth awakes:

    ‘Rise, son of Nestor; for the road prepare,

    And join the harness’d coursers to the car.’

    ‘What cause,’ he cried, ‘can justify our flight

    To tempt the dangers of forbidding night?

    Here wait we rather, till approaching day

    Shall prompt our speed, and point the ready way.

    Nor think of flight before the Spartan King

    Shall bid farewell, and bounteous presents bring;

    Gifts, which to distant ages safely stor’d,

    The sacred act of friendship shall record.’

    Thus he. But when the dawn bestreak’d the east,

    The King from Helen rose, and sought his guest.

    As soon as his approach the Hero knew,

    The splendid mantle round him first he threw,

    Then o’er his ample shoulders whirl’d the cloak,

    Respectful met the Monarch, and bespoke:

    ‘Hail, great Atrides, favour’d of high Jove!

    Let not thy friends in vain for license move.

    Swift let us measure back the wat’ry way,

    Nor check our speed, impatient of delay.’

    ‘If with desire so strong thy bosom glows,

    Ill,’ said the King, ‘should I thy wish oppose:

    For oft in others freely I reprove

    The ill-timed efforts of officious love;

    Who love too much, hate in the like extreme,

    And both the golden mean alike condemn.

    Alike he thwarts the hospitable end,

    Who drives the free, or stays the hasty friend:

    True friendship’s laws are by this rule express’d,

    Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.

    Yet stay, my friends, and in your chariot take

    The noblest presents that our love can make;

    Meantime commit we to our women’s care

    Some choice domestic viands to prepare;

    The trav’ler, rising from the banquet gay,

    Eludes the labours of the tedious way.

    Then if a wider course shall rather please,

    Thro’ spacious Argos and the realms of Greece,

    Atrides in his chariot shall attend;

    Himself thy convoy to each royal friend.

    No Prince will let Ulysses’ heir remove

    Without some pledge, some monument of love:

    These will the cauldron, these the tripod give;

    From those the well-pair’d mules we shall receive,

    Or bowl emboss’d whose golden figures live.’

    To whom the youth, for prudence famed, replied:

    ‘O Monarch, Care of Heav’n! thy people’s pride!

    No friend in Ithaca my place supplies,

    No powerful hands are there, no watchful eyes:

    My stores exposed and fenceless house demand

    The speediest succour from my guardian hand;

    Lest, in a search too anxious and too vain

    Of one lost joy, I lose what yet remain.’

    His purpose when the gen’rous Warrior heard,

    He charged the household cates to be prepared.

    Now with the dawn, from his adjoining home,

    Was Bœthœdes Eteoneus come;

    Swift at the word he forms the rising blaze,

    And o’er the coals the smoking fragments lays.

    Meantime the King, his son, and Helen went

    Where the rich wardrobe breathed a costly scent.

    The King selected from the glitt’ring rows

    A bowl; the Prince a silver beaker chose.

    The beauteous Queen revolv’d with careful eyes

    Her various textures of unnumber’d dyes,

    And chose the largest; with no vulgar art

    Her own fair hands embroider’d every part:

    Beneath the rest it lay divinely bright,

    Like radiant Hesper o’er the gems of night.

    Then with each gift they hasten’d to their guest,

    And thus the King Ulysses’ heir address’d:

    ‘Since fix’d are thy resolves, may thund’ring Jove

    With happiest omens thy desires approve!

    This silver bowl, whose costly margins shine

    Enchased with gold, this valued gift be thine;

    To me this present, of Vulcanian frame,

    From Sidon’s hospitable Monarch came;

    To thee we now consign the precious load,

    The pride of Kings, and labour of a God.’

    Then gave the cup, while Megapenthe brought

    The silver vase with living sculpture wrought.

    The beauteous Queen, advancing next, display’d

    The shining veil, and thus endearing said:

    ‘Accept, dear youth, this monument of love,

    Long since, in better days, by Helen wove:

    Safe in thy mother’s care the vesture lay,

    To deck thy bride, and grace thy nuptial day.

    Meantime may’st thou with happiest speed regain

    Thy stately palace, and thy wide domain.’

    She said, and gave the veil; with grateful look

    The Prince the variegated present took.

    And now, when thro’ the royal dome they pass’d,

    High on a throne the King each stranger placed.

    A golden ewer th’ attendant damsel brings,

    Replete with water from the crystal springs;

    With copious streams the shining vase supplies

    A silver laver of capacious size.

    They wash. The tables in fair order spread,

    The glitt’ring canisters are crown’d with bread;

    Viands of various kinds allure the taste,

    Of choicest sort and savour; rich repast!

    Whilst Eteoneus portions out the shares,

    Atrides’ son the purple draught prepares.

    And now (each sated with the genial feast,

    And the short rage of thirst and hunger ceas’d),

    Ulysses’ son, with his illustrious friend,

    The horses join, the polish’d car ascend.

    Along the court the fiery steeds rebound,

    And the wide portal echoes to the sound.

    The King precedes; a bowl with fragrant wine

    (Libation destin’d to the Powers divine)

    His right hand held: before the steeds he stands,

    Then, mix’d with prayers, he utters these commands:

    ‘Farewell, and prosper, Youths! let Nestor know

    What grateful thoughts still in this bosom glow,

    For all the proofs of his paternal care,

    Thro’ the long dangers of the ten years’ war.’

    ‘Ah! doubt not our report’ (the Prince rejoin’d)

    ‘Of all the virtues of thy gen’rous mind.

    And oh! return’d might we Ulysses meet!

    To him thy presents show, thy words repeat:

    How will each speech his grateful wonder raise!

    How will each gift indulge us in thy praise!’

    Scarce ended thus the Prince, when on the right

    Advanc’d the bird of Jove: auspicious sight!

    A milk-white fowl his clinching talons bore,

    With care domestic pamper’d at the floor.

    Peasants in vain with threat’ning cries pursue,

    In solemn speed the bird majestic flew

    Full dexter to the car: the prosp’rous sight

    Fill’d ev’ry breast with wonder and delight.

    But Nestor’s son the cheerful silence broke,

    And in these words the Spartan Chief bespoke:

    ‘Say if to us the Gods these omens send,

    Or fates peculiar to thyself portend?’

    Whilst yet the Monarch paus’d, with doubts oppress’d,

    The beauteous Queen reliev’d his lab’ring breast:

    ‘Hear me’ (she cried), ‘to whom the Gods have given

    To read this sign, and mystic sense of Heav’n.

    As thus the plumy sov’reign of the air

    Left on the mountain’s brow his callow care,

    And wander’d thro’ the wide ethereal way

    To pour his wrath on you luxurious prey;

    So shall thy godlike father, toss’d in vain

    Thro’ all the dangers of the boundless main,

    Arrive (or is perchance already come),

    From slaughter’d gluttons to release the dome.’

    ‘Oh! if this promis’d bliss by thund’ring Jove’

    (The Prince replied) ‘stand fix’d in Fate above;

    To thee, as to some God, I ’ll temples raise,

    And crown thy altars with the costly blaze.’

    He said; and, bending o’er his chariot, flung

    Athwart the fiery steeds the smarting thong;

    The bounding shafts upon the harness play,

    Till night descending intercepts the way.

    To Diocles at Pheræ they repair,

    Whose boasted sire was sacred Alpheus’ heir;

    With him all night the youthful strangers stay’d,

    Nor found the hospitable rites unpaid.

    But soon as Morning from her orient bed

    Had tinged the mountains with her earliest red,

    They join’d the steeds, and on the chariot sprung;

    The brazen portals in their passage rung.

    To Pylos soon they came; when thus begun

    To Nestor’s heir Ulysses’ godlike son:

    ‘Let not Pisistratus in vain be press’d,

    Nor unconsenting hear his friend’s request;

    His friend by long hereditary claim,

    In toils his equal, and in years the same.

    No farther from our vessel, I implore,

    The coursers drive; but lash them to the shore.

    Too long thy father would his friend detain;

    I dread his proffer’d kindness urged in vain.’

    The Hero paus’d, and ponder’d this request,

    While love and duty warr’d within his breast.

    At length resolv’d, he turn’d his ready hand,

    And lash’d his panting coursers to the strand.

    There, while within the poop with care he stor’d

    The regal presents of the Spartan lord,

    ‘With speed begone’ (said he); ‘call every mate,

    Ere yet to Nestor I the tale relate:

    ’T is true, the fervour of his gen’rous heart

    Brooks no repulse, nor couldst thou soon depart:

    Himself will seek thee here, nor wilt thou find,

    In words alone, the Pylian Monarch kind.

    But when, arrived, he thy return shall know,

    How will his breast with honest fury glow!’

    This said, the sounding strokes his horses fire,

    And soon he reach’d the palace of his sire.

    ‘Now’ (cried Telemachus) ‘with speedy care

    Hoist ev’ry sail, and ev’ry oar prepare!’

    Swift as the word his willing mates obey,

    And seize their seats, impatient for the sea.

    Meantime the Prince with sacrifice adores

    Minerva, and her guardian aid implores;

    When lo! a wretch ran breathless to the shore,

    New from his crime; and reeking yet with gore.

    A seer he was, from great Melampus sprung,

    Melampus, who in Pylos flourish’d long,

    Till, urged by wrongs, a foreign realm he chose,

    Far from the hateful cause of all his woes.

    Neleus his treasures one long year detains:

    As long he groan’d in Phylacus’s chains:

    Meantime, what anguish and what rage combin’d,

    For lovely Pero rack’d his lab’ring mind!

    Yet ’scaped he death: and, vengeful of his wrong,

    To Pylos drove the lowing herds along:

    Then (Neleus vanquish’d, and consign’d the fair

    To Bias’ arms) he sought a foreign air;

    Argos the rich for his retreat he chose;

    There form’d his empire: there his palace rose.

    From him Antiphates and Mantius came;

    The first begot Oïcleus great in fame,

    And he Amphiaraüs, immortal name!

    The people’s saviour, and divinely wise,

    Belov’d by Jove, and him who gilds the skies;

    Yet short his date of life! by female pride he dies.

    From Mantius Clitus, whom Aurora’s love

    Snatch’d for his beauty to the thrones above;

    And Polyphides, on whom Phœbus shone

    With fullest rays, Amphiaraüs now gone;

    In Hyperesia’s groves he made abode,

    And taught mankind the counsels of the God.

    From him sprung Theoclymenus, who found

    (The sacred wine yet foaming on the ground)

    Telemachus: whom, as to Heav’n he press’d

    His ardent vows, the stranger thus address’d:

    ‘O thou! that thy happy course prepare

    With pure libations and with solemn prayer;

    By that dread Power to whom thy vows are paid;

    By all the lives of these; thy own dear head,

    Declare sincerely to no foe’s demand

    Thy name, thy lineage, and paternal land.’

    ‘Prepare, then,’ said Telemachus, ‘to know

    A tale from falsehood free, not free from woe.

    From Ithaca, of royal birth I came,

    And great Ulysses (ever-honour’d name!)

    Once was my sire, tho’ now for ever lost,

    In Stygian gloom he glides a pensive ghost!

    Whose fate inquiring thro’ the world we rove:

    The last, the wretched proof of filial love.’

    The stranger then: ‘Nor shall I aught conceal,

    But the dire secret of my fate reveal.

    Of my own tribe an Argive wretch I slew;

    Whose powerful friends the luckless deed pursue

    With unrelenting rage, and force from home

    The blood-stain’d exile, ever doom’d to roam.

    But bear, oh bear me o’er you azure flood;

    Receive the suppliant! spare my destin’d blood!’

    ‘Stranger’ (replied the Prince), ‘securely rest

    Affianc’d in our faith; henceforth our guest.’

    Thus affable, Ulysses’ godlike heir

    Takes from the stranger’s hand the glitt’ring spear:

    He climbs the ship, ascends the stern with haste,

    And by his side the guest accepted placed.

    The Chief his order gives: th’ obedient band

    With due observance wait the Chief’s command.

    With speed the mast they rear, with speed unbind

    The spacious sheet, and stretch it to the wind.

    Minerva calls; the ready gales obey

    With rapid speed to whirl them o’er the sea.

    Crunus they pass’d, next Chalcis roll’d away,

    When thick’ning darkness closed the doubtful day;

    The silver Phæa’s glitt’ring rills they lost,

    And skimm’d along by Elis’ sacred coast.

    Then cautious thro’ the rocky reaches wind,

    And, turning sudden, shun the death design’d.

    Meantime, the King, Eumæus, and the rest,

    Sate in the cottage, at their rural feast:

    The banquet pass’d, and satiate ev’ry man,

    To try his host, Ulysses thus began:

    ‘Yet one night more, my friends, indulge your guest;

    The last I purpose in your walls to rest;

    To-morrow for myself I must provide,

    And only ask your counsel, and a guide;

    Patient to roam the street, by hunger led,

    And bless the friendly hand that gives me bread.

    There in Ulysses roof I may relate

    Ulysses’ wand’rings to his royal mate;

    Or, mingling with the suitors’ haughty train,

    Not undeserving some support obtain.

    Hermes to me his various gifts imparts,

    Patron of industry and manual arts:

    Few can with me in dext’rous works contend,

    The pyre to build, the stubborn oak to rend;

    To return the tasteful viand o’er the flame;

    Or foam the goblet with a purple stream.

    Such are the tasks of men of mean estate,

    Whom fortune dooms to serve the rich and great.’

    ‘Alas! (Eumæus with a sigh rejoin’d)

    ‘How sprung a thought so monstrous in thy mind?

    If on that godless race thou would’st attend,

    Fate owes thee sure a miserable end!

    Their wrongs and blasphemies ascend the sky,

    And pull descending vengeance from on high.

    Not such, my friend, the servants of their feast;

    A blooming train in rich embroid’ry dress’d!

    With earth’s whole tribute the bright table bends,

    And smiling round celestial youth attends.

    Stay, then; no eye askance beholds thee here;

    Sweet is thy converse to each social ear:

    Well pleas’d, and pleasing, in our cottage rest,

    Till good Telemachus accepts his guest

    With genial gifts, and change of fair attires,

    And safe conveys thee where thy soul desires.’

    To him the man of woes: ‘O gracious Jove

    Reward this stranger’s hospitable love!

    Who knows the son of sorrow to relieve,

    Cheers the sad heart, nor lets affliction grieve.

    Of all the ills unhappy mortals know,

    A life of wand’rings is the greatest woe:

    On all their weary ways wait Care and Pain,

    And Pine and Penury, a meagre train.

    To such a man since harbour you afford,

    Relate the farther fortunes of your lord;

    What cares his mother’s tender breast engage,

    And sire forsaken on the verge of age;

    Beneath the sun prolong they yet their breath,

    Or range the house of darkness and of death?’

    To whom the swain: ‘Attend what you inquire;

    Laërtes lives, the miserable sire;

    Lives, but implores of ev’ry Power to lay

    The burden down, and wishes for the day.

    Torn from his offspring in the eve of life,

    Torn from th’ embraces of his tender wife,

    Sole, and all comfortless, he wastes away

    Old age, untimely posting ere his day.

    She too, sad mother! for Ulysses lost

    Pined out her bloom, and vanish’d to a ghost

    (So dire a fate, ye righteous Gods! avert

    From ev’ry friendly, ev’ry feeling heart);

    While yet she was, tho’ clouded o’er with grief,

    Her pleasing converse minister’d relief:

    With Ctimene, her youngest daughter, bred,

    One roof contain’d us, and one table fed.

    But when the softly-stealing pace of time

    Crept on from childhood into youthful prime,

    To Samos isle she sent the wedded fair;

    Me to the fields, to tend the rural care;

    Array’d in garments her own hands had wove,

    Nor less the darling object of her love.

    Her hapless death my brighter days o’ercast,

    Yet Providence deserts me not at last:

    My present labours food and drink procure,

    And more, the pleasure to relieve the poor.

    Small is the comfort from the Queen to hear

    Unwelcome news, or vex the royal ear;

    Blank and discontenanc’d the servants stand,

    Nor dare to question where the proud command:

    No profit springs beneath usurping powers;

    Want feeds not there, where Luxury devours,

    Nor harbours charity where riot reigns:

    Proud are the Lords, and wretched are the Swains.’

    The suff’ring Chief at this began to melt;

    And, ‘O Eumæus! thou’ (he cries) ‘hast felt

    The spite of Fortune too! her cruel hand

    Snatch’d the an infant from thy native land!

    Snatch’d from thy parents’ arms, thy parents’ eyes,

    To early wants! a man of miseries!

    The whole sad story, from its first, declare:

    Sunk the fair city by the rage of war,

    Where once thy parents dwelt? or did they keep,

    In humbler life, the lowing herds and sheep?

    So left perhaps to tend the fleecy train,

    Rude pirates seiz’d, and shipp’d thee o’er the main?

    Doom’d a fair prize to grace some Prince’s board,

    The worthy purchase of a foreign Lord.’

    ‘If then my fortunes can delight my friend,

    A story fruitful of events attend:

    Another’s sorrow may thy ear enjoy,

    And wine the lengthen’d intervals employ.

    Long nights the now declining year bestows;

    A part we consecrate to soft repose,

    A part in pleasing talk we entertain;

    For too much rest itself becomes a pain.

    Let those, whom sleep invites, the call obey,

    Their cares resuming with the dawning day:

    Here let us feast, and to the feast be join’d

    Discourse, the sweeter banquet of the mind;

    Review the series of our lives, and taste

    The melancholy joy of evils pass’d:

    For he who much has suffer’d, much will know,

    And pleas’d remembrance builds delight on woe.

    ‘Above Ortygia lies an isle of fame,

    Far hence remote, and Syria is the name

    (There curious eyes inscribed with wonder trace

    The sun’s diurnal, and his annual race);

    Not large, but fruitful; stored with grass, to keep

    The bell’wing oxen and the bleating sheep;

    Her sloping hills the mantling vines adorn,

    And her rich valleys wave with golden corn.

    No want, no famine, the glad natives know,

    Nor sink by sickness to the shades below;

    But when a length of years unnerves the strong,

    Apollo comes, and Cynthia comes along.

    They bend the silver bow with tender skill,

    And, void of pain, the silent arrows kill.

    Two equal tribes this fertile land divide,

    Where two fair cities rise with equal pride,

    But both in constant peace one Prince obey,

    And Ctesius there, my father, holds the sway.

    Freighted, it seems, with toys of ev’ry sort,

    A ship of Sidon anchor’d in our port;

    What time it chanc’d the palace entertain’d,

    Skill’d in rich works, a woman of their land:

    This nymph, where anchor’d the Phœnician train,

    To wash her robes descending to the main,

    A smooth-tongued sailor won her to his mind

    (For love deceives the best of womankind).

    A sudden trust from sudden liking grew;

    She told her name, her race, and all she knew.

    “I too” (she cried) “from glorious Sidon came.

    My father Arybas, of wealthy fame;

    But, snatch’d by pirates from my native place,

    The Taphians sold me to this man’s embrace.”

    ‘“Haste then” (the false designing youth replied),

    “Haste to thy country; love shall be thy guide;

    Haste to thy father’s house, thy father’s breast,

    For still he lives, and lives with riches blest.”

    ‘“Swear first” (she cried), “ye Sailors! to restore

    A wretch in safety to her native shore.”

    Swift as she ask’d, the read sailors swore.

    She then proceeds: “Now let our compact made

    Be nor by signal nor by word betray’d,

    Nor near me any of your crew descried,

    By road frequented, or by fountain side:

    Be silence still our guard. The Monarch’s spies

    (For watchful age is ready to surmise)

    Are still at hand; and this reveal’d, must be

    Death to yourselves, eternal chains to me.

    Your vessel loaded, and your traffic pass’d,

    Despatch a wary messenger with haste;

    Then gold and costly treasures will I bring,

    And more, the infant-offspring of the King.

    Him, childlike wand’ring forth, I ’ll lead away

    (A noble prize!) and to your ship convey.”

    ‘Thus spoke the dame, and homeward took the road.

    A year they traffic, and their vessel load.

    Their stores complete, and ready now to weigh,

    A spy was sent their summons to convey:

    An artist to my father’s palace came,

    With gold and amber chains, elab’rate frame:

    Each female eye the glitt’ring links employ;

    They turn, review, and cheapen ev’ry toy.

    He took th’ occasion, as they stood intent,

    Gave her the sign, and to his vessel went.

    She straight pursued, and seiz’d my willing arm;

    I follow’d smiling, innocent of harm.

    Three golden goblets in the porch she found

    (The guests not enter’d, but the table crown’d);

    Hid in her fraudful bosom these she bore:

    Now set the sun, and darken’d all the shore.

    Arriving then, where, tilting on the tides,

    Prepared to launch the freighted vessel rides,

    Abroad they heave us, mount their decks, and sweep

    With level oar along the glassy deep.

    Six calmy days and six smooth nights we sail,

    And constant Jove supplied the gentle gale.

    The sev’nth, the fraudful wretch (no cause descried),

    Touch’d by Diana’s vengeful arrow, died.

    Down dropp’d the caitiff-corse, a worthless load,

    Down to the deep; there roll’d, the future food

    Of fierce sea-wolves, and monsters of the flood.

    A helpless infant I remain’d behind;

    Thence borne to Ithaca by wave and wind;

    Sold to Laërtes by divine command,

    And now adopted to a foreign land.’

    To him the King: ‘Reciting thus thy cares,

    My secret soul in all thy sorrow shares;

    But one choice blessing (such is Jove’s high will)

    Has sweeten’d all thy bitter draught of ill:

    Torn from thy country to no hapless end,

    The Gods have, in a master, giv’n a friend.

    Whatever frugal nature needs is thine

    (For she needs little), daily bread and wine.

    While I, so many wand’rings past and woes,

    Live but on what thy poverty bestows.’

    So pass’d in pleasing dialogue away

    The night; then down to short repose they lay;

    Till radiant rose the messenger of day.

    While in the port of Ithaca, the band

    Of young Telemachus approach’d the land;

    Their sails they loos’d, they lash’d the mast aside,

    And cast their anchors, and the cables tied:

    Then on the breezy shore, descending, join

    In grateful banquet o’er the rosy wine.

    When thus the Prince: ‘Now each his course pursue:

    I to the fields, and to the city you.

    Long absent hence, I dedicate this day

    My swains to visit, and the works survey.

    Expect me with the morn, to pay the skies

    Our debt of safe return in feast and sacrifice.’

    Then Theoclymenus: ‘But who shall lend,

    Meantime, protection to thy stranger friend?

    Straight to the Queen and Palace shall I fly,

    Or, yet more distant, to some Lord apply?’

    The Prince return’d: ‘Renown’d in days of yore

    Has stood our father’s hospitable door;

    No other roof a stranger should receive,

    No other hands than ours the welcome give.

    But in my absence riot fills the place,

    Nor bears the modest Queen a stranger’s face;

    From noiseful revel far remote she flies,

    But rarely seen, or seen with weeping eyes.

    No—let Eurymachus receive my guest,

    Of nature courteous, and by far the best;

    He woos the Queen with more respectful flame,

    And emulates her former husband’s fame:

    With what success, ’t is Jove’s alone to know,

    And the hoped nuptials turn to joy or woe.’

    Thus speaking, on the right upsoar’d in air

    The hawk, Apollo’s swift-wing’d messenger:

    His deathful pounces tore a trembling dove;

    The clotted feathers, scatter’d from above,

    Between the hero and the vessel pour

    Thick plumage, mingled with a sanguine shower.

    Th’ observing augur took the Prince aside,

    Seiz’d by the hand, and thus prophetic cried:

    ‘Yon bird, that dexter cuts th’ aërial road,

    Rose ominous, nor flies without a God:

    No race but thine shall Ithaca obey;

    To thine, for ages, Heav’n decrees the sway.’

    ‘Succeed the omens, Gods!’ (the youth rejoin’d)

    ‘Soon shall my bounties speak a grateful mind,

    And soon each envied happiness attend

    The man who calls Telemachus his friend.’

    Then to Peiræus: ‘Thou whom time has prov’d

    A faithful servant, by thy Prince belov’d!

    Till we returning shall our guest demand,

    Accept this charge with honour, at our hand.’

    To this Peiræus: ‘Joyful I obey,

    Well pleas’d the hospitable rites to pay.

    The presence of thy guest shall best reward

    (If long thy stay) the absence of my lord.’

    With that, their anchors he commands to weigh,

    Mount the tall bark, and launch into the sea.

    All with obedient haste forsake the shores,

    And, placed in order, spread their equal oars.

    Then from the deck the Prince his sandals takes;

    Pois’d in his hand the pointed jav’lin shakes.

    They part; while, less’ning from the hero’s view,

    Swift to the town the well-row’d galley flew:

    The hero trod the margin of the main,

    And reach’d the mansion of his faithful swain.