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Chapman, George, trans. (1559?–1634).  The Odysseys of Homer, vol. 1.  1857.



RECEIVED now in the Spartan court,
Telemachus prefers report
To Menelaus of the throng
Of Wooers with him, and their wrong.
Atrides tells the Greeks’ retreat,
And doth a prophecy repeat
That Proteus made, by which he knew
His brother’s death; and then doth show
How with Calypso lived the sire
Of his young guest. The Wooers conspire
Their prince’s death. Whose treachery known,
Penelope in tears doth drown.
Whom Pallas by a dream doth cheer,
And in similitude appear
Of fair Iphthima, known to be
The sister of Penelope.


Here of the sire
The son doth hear.
The Wooers conspire.
The Mother’s fear.

N Lacedæmon now, the nurse of whales,

These two arriv’d, and found at festivals, With mighty concourse, the renowned king, His son and daughter jointly marrying. Alector’s daughter he did give his son, 5 Strong Megapenthes, who his life begun By Menelaus’ bondmaid; whom he knew In years when Helen could no more renew In issue like divine Hermione, Who held in all fair form as high degree 10 As golden Venus. Her he married now To great Achilles’ son, who was by vow Betrothed to her at Troy. And thus the Gods To constant loves give nuptial periods. Whose state here past, the Myrmidons’ rich town 15 (Of which she shar’d in the imperial crown) With horse and chariots he resign’d her to. Mean space, the high huge house with feast did flow Of friends and neighbours, joying with the king. Amongst whom did a heavenly poet sing, 20 And touch his harp. Amongst whom likewise danc’d Two, who in that dumb motion advanc’d, Would prompt the singer what to sing and play. All this time in the utter court did stay, With horse and chariot, Telemachus, 25 And Nestor’s noble son Pisistratus. Whom Eteoneus, coming forth, descried, And, being a servant to the king, most tried In care and his respect, he ran and cried: “Guests, Jove-kept Menelaus, two such men 30 As are for form of high Saturnius’ strain. Inform your pleasure, if we shall unclose Their horse from coach, or say they must dispose Their way to some such house, as may embrace Their known arrival with more welcome grace?” 35 He, angry, answer’d: “Thou didst never show Thyself a fool, Boethides, till now; But now, as if turn’d child, a childish speech Vents thy vain spirits. We ourselves now reach Our home by much spent hospitality 40 Of other men; nor know if Jove will try With other after-wants our state again; And therefore from our feast no more detain Those welcome guests, but take their steeds from coach, And with attendance guide in their approach.” 45 This said, he rush’d abroad, and call’d some more Tried in such service, that together bore Up to the guests, and took their steeds that swet Beneath their yokes from coach; at mangers set, Wheat and white barley gave them mix’d; and plac’d 50 Their chariot by a wall so clear, it cast A light quite through it. And then they led Their guests to the divine house; which so fed Their eyes at all parts with illustrious sights, That admiration seized them. Like the lights 55 The sun and moon gave, all the palace threw A lustre through it. Satiate with whose view, Down to the king’s most bright-kept baths they went; Where handmaids did their services present, Bath’d, balm’d them, shirts and well-napt weeds put on, 60 And by Atrides’ side set each his throne. Then did the handmaid-royal water bring, And to a laver, rich and glittering, Of massy gold, pour’d; which she plac’d upon A silver caldron, into which might run 65 The water as they wash’d. Then set she near A polish’d table, on which all the cheer The present could afford a reverend dame, That kept the larder, set. A cook then came, And divers dishes, borne thence, serv’d again; 70 Furnish’d the board with bowls of gold. And then, His right hand given the guests, Atrides said: “Eat, and be cheerful. Appetite allay’d, I long to ask, of what stock ye descend; For not from parents whose race nameless end 75 We must derive your offspring. Men obscure Could get none such as you. The portraiture Of Jove-sustain’d and sceptre-bearing kings Your either person in his presence brings.” An ox’s fat chine then they up did lift, 80 And set before the guests; which was a gift, Sent as an honour to the king’s own taste. They saw yet ’twas but to be eaten plac’d, And fell to it. But food and wine’s care past, Telemachus thus prompted Nestor’s son, 85 (His ear close laying, to be heard of none) “Consider, thou whom most my mind esteems, The brass-work here, how rich it is in beams, And how, besides, it makes the whole house sound; What gold, and amber, silver, ivory, round 90 Is wrought about it. Out of doubt, the hall Of Jupiter Olympius hath of all This state the like. How many infinites Take up to admiration all men’s sights!” Atrides over-heard, and said: “Lov’d son, 95 No mortal must affect contention With Jove, whose dwellings are of endless date. Perhaps of men some one may emulate, Or none, my house, or me; for I am one That many a grave extreme have undergone, 100 Much error felt by sea, and till th’ eighth year, Had never stay, but wander’d far and near, Cyprus, Phoenicia, and Sidonia, And fetch’d the far-off Æthiopia, Reach’d the Erembi of Arabia, 105 And Lybia, where with horns ewes yean their lambs, Which every full year ewes are three times dams, Where neither king, nor shepherd, want comes near Of cheese, or flesh, or sweet milk; all the year They ever milk their ewes. And here while I 110 Err’d, gathering means to live, one, murderously, Unwares, unseen, bereft my brother’s life, Chiefly betray’d by his abhorred wife. So hold I, not enjoying, what you see. And of your fathers, if they living be, 115 You must have heard this, since my sufferings were So great and famous; from this palace here (So rarely-well-built, furnished so well, And substanced with such a precious deal Of well-got treasure) banish’d by the doom 120 Of Fate, and erring as I had no home. And now I have, and use it, not to take Th’ entire delight it offers, but to make Continual wishes, that a triple part Of all it holds were wanting, so my heart 125 Were eas’d of sorrows, taken for their deaths That fell at Troy, by their revived breaths. And thus sit I here weeping, mourning still Each least man lost; and sometimes make mine ill, In paying just tears for their loss, my joy. 130 Sometimes I breathe my woes, for in annoy The pleasure soon admits satiety. But all these men’s wants wet not so mine eye, Though much they move me, as one sole man’s miss, For which my sleep and meat even loathsome is 135 In his renew’d thought, since no Greek hath won Grace for such labours as Laertes’ son Hath wrought and suffer’d, to himself nought else But future sorrows forging, to me hells For his long absence, since I cannot know 140 If life or death detain him; since such woe For his love, old Laertes, his wise wife, And poor young son sustains, whom new with life He left as sireless.” This speech grief to tears (Pour’d from the son’s lids on the earth) his ears, 145 Told of the father, did excite; who kept His cheeks dry with his red weed as he wept, His both hands used therein. Atrides then Began to know him, and did strife retain, If he should let himself confess his sire, 150 Or with all fitting circumstance enquire. While this his thoughts disputed, forth did shine, Like to the golden distaff-deck’d Divine, From her bed’s high and odoriferous room, Helen. To whom, of an elaborate loom, 155 Adresta set a chair; Alcippe brought A piece of tapestry of fine wool wrought; Phylo a silver cabinet conferr’d, Given by Alcandra, nuptially endear’d To lord Polybius, whose abode in Thebes 160 Th’ Ægyptian city was, where wealth in heaps His famous house held, out of which did go, In gift t’ Atrides, silver bath-tubs two, Two tripods, and of fine gold talents ten. His wife did likewise send to Helen then 165 Fair gifts, a distaff that of gold was wrought, And that rich cabinet that Phylo brought, Round, and with gold ribb’d, now of fine thread full; On which extended (crown’d with finest wool, Of violet gloss) the golden distaff lay. 170 She took her state-chair, and a foot-stool’s stay Had for her feet; and of her husband thus Ask’d to know all things: “Is it known to us, King Menelaus, whom these men commend Themselves for, that our court now takes to friend? 175 I must affirm, be I deceived or no, I never yet saw man nor woman so Like one another, as this man is like Ulysses’ son. With admiration strike His looks my thoughts, that they should carry now 180 Power to persuade me thus, who did but know, When newly he was born, the form they bore. But ’tis his father’s grace, whom more and more His grace resembles, that makes me retain Thought that he now is like Telemachus, then 185 Left by his sire, when Greece did undertake Troy’s bold war for my impudency’s sake.” He answer’d: “Now wife, what you think I know, The true cast of his father’s eye doth show In his eyes order. Both his head and hair, 190 His hands and feet, his very father’s are. Of whom, so well remember’d, I should now Acknowledge for me his continual flow Of cares and perils, yet still patient. But I should too much move him, that doth vent 195 Such bitter tears for that which hath been spoke, Which, shunning soft show, see how he would cloak, And with his purple weed his weepings hide.” Then Nestor’s son, Pisistratus, replied: “Great pastor of the people, kept of God! 200 He is Ulysses’ son, but his abode Not made before here, and he modest too, He holds it an indignity to do A deed so vain, to use the boast of words, Where your words are on wing; whose voice affords 205 Delight to us as if a God did break The air amongst us, and vouchsafe to speak. But me my father, old duke Nestor, sent To be his consort hither; his content Not to be heighten’d so as with your sight, 210 In hope that therewith words and actions might Inform his comforts from you, since he is Extremely grieved and injured by the miss Of his great father; suffering even at home, And few friends found to help him overcome 215 His too weak suff’rance, now his sire is gone; Amongst the people, not afforded one To check the miseries that mate him thus. And this the state is of Telemachus.” “O Gods,” said he, “how certain, now, I see 220 My house enjoys that friend’s son, that for me Hath undergone so many willing fights! Whom I resolved, past all the Grecian knights, To hold in love, if our return by seas The far-off Thunderer did ever please 225 To grant our wishes. And to his respect A palace and a city to erect, My vow had bound me; whither bringing then His riches, and his son, and all his men, From barren Ithaca, (some one sole town 230 Inhabited about him batter’d down) All should in Argos live. And there would I Ease him of rule, and take the empery Of all on me. And often here would we, Delighting, loving either’s company, 235 Meet and converse; whom nothing should divide, Till death’s black veil did each all over hide. But this perhaps hath been a mean to take Even God himself with envy; who did make Ulysses therefore only the unblest, 240 That should not reach his loved country’s rest.” These woes made every one with woe in love; Even Argive Helen wept, the seed of Jove; Ulysses’ son wept; Atreus’ son did weep; And Nestor’s son his eyes in tears did steep, 245 But his tears fell not from the present cloud That from Ulysses was exhaled, but flow’d From brave Antilochus’ remember’d due, Whom the renown’d Son of the Morning slew, Which yet he thus excused: “O Atreus’ son! 250 Old Nestor says, there lives not such a one Amongst all mortals as Atrides is For deathless wisdom. ‘Tis a praise of his, Still given in your remembrance, when at home Our speech concerns you. Since then overcome 255 You please to be with sorrow, even to tears, That are in wisdom so exempt from peers, Vouchsafe the like effect in me excuse, If it be lawful, I affect no use Of tears thus after meals; at least, at night; 260 But when the morn brings forth, with tears, her light, It shall not then impair me to bestow My tears on any worthy’s overthrow. It is the only rite that wretched men Can do dead friends, to cut hair, and complain. 265 But Death my brother took, whom none could call The Grecian coward, you best knew of all. I was not there, nor saw, but men report Antilochus excell’d the common sort For footmanship, or for the chariot race, 270 Or in the fight for hardy hold of place.” “O friend,” said he, “since thou hast spoken so, At all parts as one wise should say and do, And like one far beyond thyself in years, Thy words shall bounds be to our former tears. 275 O he is questionless a right born son, That of his father hath not only won The person but the wisdom; and that sire Complete himself that hath a son entire, Jove did not only his full fate adorn, 280 When he was wedded, but when he was born. As now Saturnius, through his life’s whole date, Hath Nestor’s bliss raised to as steep a state, Both in his age to keep in peace his house, And to have children wise and valorous. 285 But let us not forget our rear feast thus. Let some give water here. Telemachus! The morning shall yield time to you and me To do what fits, and reason mutually.” This said, the careful servant of the king, 290 Asphalion, pour’d on th’ issue of the spring; And all to ready feast set ready hand. But Helen now on new device did stand, Infusing straight a medicine to their wine, That, drowning cares and angers, did decline 295 All thought of ill. Who drunk her cup could shed All that day not a tear, no not if dead That day his father or his mother were, Not if his brother, child, or chiefest dear, He should see murder’d then before his face. 300 Such useful medicines, only borne in grace Of what was good, would Helen ever have. And this juice to her Polydamna gave The wife of Thoon, all Ægyptian born, Whose rich earth herbs of medicine do adorn 305 In great abundance. Many healthful are, And many baneful. Every man is there A good physician out of Nature’s grace, For all the nation sprung of Paeon’s race. When Helen then her medicine had infus’d, 310 She bad pour wine to it, and this speech us’d: “Atrides, and these good men’s sons, great Jove Makes good and ill one after other move, In all things earthly; for he can do all. The woes past, therefore, he so late let fall, 315 The comforts he affords us let us take; Feast, and, with fit discourses, merry make. Nor will I other use. As then our blood Griev’d for Ulysses’, since he was so good, Since he was good, let us delight to hear 320 How good he was, and what his sufferings were; Though every fight, and every suffering deed, Patient Ulysses underwent, exceed My woman’s power to number, or to name. But what he did, and suffer’d, when he came 325 Amongst the Trojans, where ye Grecians all Took part with suff’rance, I in part can call To your kind memories. How with ghastly wounds Himself he mangled, and the Trojan bounds, Thrust thick with enemies, adventur’d on, 330 His royal shoulders having cast upon Base abject weeds, and enter’d like a slave. Then, beggar-like, he did of all men crave, And such a wretch was, as the whole Greek fleet Brought not besides. And thus through every street 335 He crept discovering, of no one man known. And yet through all this difference, I alone Smoked his true person, talk’d with him; but he Fled me with wiles still. Nor could we agree, Till I disclaim’d him quite; and so (as mov’d 340 With womanly remorse of one that prov’d So wretched an estate, whate’er he were) Won him to take my house. And yet even there, Till freely I, to make him doubtless, swore A powerful oath, to let him reach the shore 345 Of ships and tents before Troy understood, I could not force on him his proper good. But then I bath’d and sooth’d him, and he then Confess’d, and told me all; and, having slain A number of the Trojan guards, retired, 350 And reach’d the fleet, for sleight and force admired. Their husbands’ deaths by him the Trojan wives Shriek’d for; but I made triumphs for their lives, For then my heart conceiv’d, that once again I should reach home; and yet did still retain 355 Woe for the slaughters Venus made for me, When both my husband, my Hermione, And bridal room, she robb’d of so much right, And drew me from my country with her sleight, Though nothing under heaven I here did need, 360 That could my fancy or my beauty feed.” Her husband said: “Wife! what you please to tell Is true at all parts, and becomes you well; And I myself, that now may say have seen The minds and manners of a world of men, 365 And great heroes, measuring many a ground, Have never, by these eyes that light me, found One with a bosom so to be beloved, As that in which th’ accomplish’d spirit moved Of patient Ulysses. What, brave man, 370 He both did act, and suffer, when he wan The town of Ilion, in the brave-built horse, When all we chief states of the Grecian force Were hous’d together, bringing Death and Fate Amongst the Trojans, you, wife, may relate; 375 For you, at last, came to us; God, that would The Trojans’ glory give, gave charge you should Approach the engine; and Deiphobus, The god-like, follow’d. Thrice ye circled us With full survey of it; and often tried 380 The hollow crafts that in it were implied. When all the voices of their wives in it You took on you with voice so like and fit, And every man by name so visited, That I, Ulysses, and king Diomed, 385 (Set in the midst, and hearing how you call’d) Tydides, and myself (as half appall’d With your remorseful plaints) would passing fain Have broke our silence, rather than again Endure, respectless, their so moving cries. 390 But Ithacus our strongest phantasies Contain’d within us from the slenderest noise, And every man there sat without a voice. Anticlus only would have answer’d thee, But his speech Ithacus incessantly 395 With strong hand held in, till, Minerva’s call Charging thee off, Ulysses sav’d us all.” Telemachus replied: “Much greater is My grief, for hearing this high praise of his. For all this doth not his sad death divert, 400 Nor can, though in him swell’d an iron heart. Prepare, and lead then, if you please, to rest: Sleep, that we hear not, will content us best.” Then Argive Helen made her handmaid go, And put fair bedding in the portico, 405 Lay purple blankets on, rugs warm and soft, And cast an arras coverlet aloft. They torches took, made haste, and made the bed; When both the guests were to their lodgings led Within a portico without the house. 410 Atrides, and his large-train-wearing spouse, The excellent of women, for the way, In a retired receit, together lay. The Morn arose; the king rose, and put on His royal weeds, his sharp sword hung upon 415 His ample shoulders, forth his chamber went, And did the person of a God present. Telemachus accosts him, who begun Speech of his journey’s proposition: “And what, my young Ulyssean heroe, 420 Provoked thee on the broad back of the sea, To visit Lacedaemon the divine? Speak truth, some public [good] or only thine?” “I come,” said he, “to hear, if any fame Breath’d of my father to thy notice came. 425 My house is sack’d, my fat works of the field Are all destroy’d; my house doth nothing yield But enemies, that kill my harmless sheep, And sinewy oxen, nor will ever keep Their steels without them. And these men are they 430 That woo my mother, most inhumanly Committing injury on injury. To thy knees therefore I am come, t’ attend Relation of the sad and wretched end My erring father felt, if witness’d by 435 Your own eyes, or the certain news that fly From others’ knowledges. For, more than is The usual heap of human miseries, His mother bore him to. Vouchsafe me then, Without all ruth of what I can sustain, 440 The plain and simple truth of all you know. Let me beseech so much, if ever vow Was made, and put in good effect to you, At Troy, where suff’rance bred you so much smart, Upon my father good Ulysses’ part, 445 And quit it now to me (himself in youth) Unfolding only the unclosed truth.” He, deeply sighing, answer’d him: “O shame, That such poor vassals should affect the fame To share the joys of such a worthy’s bed! 450 As when a hind, her calves late farrowed, To give suck, enters the bold lion’s den, He roots of hills and herby vallies then For food (there feeding) hunting; but at length Returning to his cavern, gives his strength 455 The lives of both the mother and her brood In deaths indecent; so the Wooers’ blood Must pay Ulysses’ powers as sharp an end. O would to Jove, Apollo, and thy friend The wise Minerva, that thy father were 460 As once he was, when he his spirits did rear Against Philomelides, in a fight Perform’d in well-built Lesbos, where, down-right He strook the earth with him, and gat a shout Of all the Grecians! O, if now full out 465 He were as then, and with the Wooers coped, Short-liv’d they all were, and their nuptials hoped Would prove as desperate. But, for thy demand Enforc’d with prayers, I’ll let thee understand The truth directly, nor decline a thought, 470 Much less deceive, or sooth thy search in ought; But what the old and still-true-spoken God, That from the sea breathes oracles abroad, Disclosed to me, to thee I’ll all impart, Nor hide one word from thy sollicitous heart. 475 I was in Ægypt, where a mighty time The Gods detained me, though my natural clime I never so desired, because their homes I did not greet with perfect hecatombs. For they will put men evermore in mind, 480 How much their masterly commandments bind. There is, besides, a certain island, called Pharos, that with the high-wav’d sea is wall’d, Just against Ægypt, and so much remote, As in a whole day, with a fore-gale smote, 485 A hollow ship can sail. And this isle bears A port most portly, where sea-passengers Put in still for fresh water, and away To sea again. Yet here the Gods did stay My fleet full twenty days; the winds, that are 490 Masters at sea, no prosp’rous puff would spare To put us off; and all my victuals here Had quite corrupted, as my men’s minds were, Had not a certain Goddess given regard, And pitied me in an estate so hard; 495 And ’twas Idothea, honour’d Proteus’ seed, That old sea-farer. Her mind I made bleed With my compassion, when (walk’d all alone, From all my soldiers, that were ever gone About the isle on fishing with hooks bent; 500 Hunger their bellies on her errand sent) She came close to me, spake, and thus began: ‘Of all men thou art the most foolish man, Or slack in business, or stay’st here of choice, And dost in all thy suff’rances rejoice, 505 That thus long liv’st detain’d here, and no end Canst give thy tarriance? Thou dost much offend The minds of all thy fellows.’ I replied: ‘Whoever thou art of the Deified, I must affirm, that no way with my will 510 I make abode here; but, it seems, some ill The Gods, inhabiting broad heaven, sustain Against my getting off. Inform me then, For Godheads all things know, what God is he That stays my passage from the fishy sea?’ 515 ‘Stranger,’ said she, ‘I’ll tell thee true: There lives An old sea-farer in these seas, that gives A true solution of all secrets here, Who deathless Proteus is, th’ Ægyptian peer, Who can the deeps of all the seas exquire, 520 Who Neptune’s priest is, and, they say, the sire That did beget me. Him, if any way Thou couldst inveigle, he would clear display Thy course from hence, and how far off doth lie Thy voyage’s whole scope through Neptune’s sky. 525 Informing thee, O God-preserved, beside, If thy desires would so be satisfied, Whatever good or ill hath got event, In all the time thy long and hard course spent, Since thy departure from thy house.’ This said; 530 Again I answer’d: ‘Make the sleights display’d Thy father useth, lest his foresight see, Or his foreknowledge taking note of me, He flies the fixt place of his used abode. ‘Tis hard for man to countermine with God.’ 535 She straight replied: ‘I’ll utter truth in all: When heaven’s supremest height the sun doth skall, The old Sea-tell-truth leaves the deeps, and hides Amidst a black storm, when the West Wind chides, In caves still sleeping. Round about him sleep 540 (With short feet swimming forth the foamy deep) The sea-calves, lovely Halosydnes call’d, From whom a noisome odour is exhaled, Got from the whirl-pools, on whose earth they lie. Here, when the morn illustrates all the sky, 545 I’ll guide, and seat thee in the fittest place For the performance thou hast now in chace. In mean time, reach thy fleet, and choose out three Of best exploit, to go as aids to thee. But now I’ll show thee all the old God’s sleights: 550 He first will number, and take all the sights Of those his guard, that on the shore arrives. When having view’d, and told them forth by fives, He takes place in their midst, and there doth sleep, Like to a shepherd midst his flock of sheep. 555 In his first sleep, call up your hardiest cheer, Vigour and violence, and hold him there, In spite of all his strivings to be gone. He then will turn himself to every one Of all things that in earth creep and respire, 560 In water swim, or shine in heavenly fire. Yet still hold you him firm, and much the more Press him from passing. But when, as before, When sleep first bound his powers, his form ye see, Then cease your force, and th’ old heroe free, 565 And then demand, which heaven-born it may be That so afflicts you, hindering your retreat, And free sea-passage to your native seat.’ This said, she div’d into the wavy seas, And I my course did to my ships address, 570 That on the sands stuck; where arriv’d, we made Our supper ready. Then th’ ambrosian shade Of night fell on us, and to sleep we fell. Rosy Aurora rose; we rose as well, And three of them on whom I most relied, 575 For firm at every force, I choosed, and hied Straight to the many-river-served seas; And all assistance ask’d the Deities. Mean time Idothea the sea’s broad breast Embrac’d, and brought for me, and all my rest, 580 Four of the sea-calves’ skins but newly flay’d, To work a wile which she had fashioned Upon her father. Then, within the sand A covert digging, when these calves should land, She sat expecting. We came close to her; 585 She plac’d us orderly, and made us wear Each one his calf’s skin. But we then must pass A huge exploit. The sea-calf’s savour was So passing sour, they still being bred at seas, It much afflicted us; for who can please 590 To lie by one of these same sea-bred whales? But she preserves us, and to memory calls A rare commodity; she fetch’d to us Ambrosia, that an air most odorous Bears still about it, which she nointed round 595 Our either nosthrils, and in it quite drown’d The nasty whale-smell. Then the great event The whole morn’s date, with spirits patient, We lay expecting. When bright noon did flame, Forth from the sea in shoals the sea-calves came, 600 And orderly, at last lay down and slept Along the sands. And then th’ old Sea-God crept From forth the deeps, and found his fat calves there, Survey’d, and number’d, and came never near The craft we used, but told us five for calves. 605 His temples then dis-eased with sleep he salves; And in rush’d we, with an abhorred cry, Cast all our hands about him manfully; And then th’ old Forger all his forms began: First was a lion with a mighty mane, 610 Then next a dragon, a pied panther then, A vast boar next, and suddenly did strain All into water. Last he was a tree, Curl’d all at top, and shot up to the sky. We, with resolv’d hearts, held him firmly still, 615 When th’ old one (held too straight for all his skill To extricate) gave words, and question’d me: ‘Which of the Gods, O Atreus’ son,’ said he, ‘Advised and taught thy fortitude this sleight, To take and hold me thus in my despite?’ 620 ‘What asks thy wish now?’ I replied. ‘Thou know’st. Why dost thou ask? What wiles are these thou show’st? I have within this isle been held for wind A wondrous time, and can by no means find An end to my retention. It hath spent 625 The very heart in me. Give thou then vent To doubts thus bound in me, ye Gods know all, Which of the Godheads doth so foully fall On my addression home, to stay me here, Avert me from my way, the fishy clear 630 Barr’d to my passage?’ He replied: ‘Of force, If to thy home thou wishest free recourse, To Jove, and all the other Deities, Thou must exhibit solemn sacrifice; And then the black sea for thee shall be clear, 635 Till thy lov’d country’s settled reach. But where Ask these rites thy performance? ‘Tis a fate To thee and thy affairs appropriate, That thou shalt never see thy friends, nor tread Thy country’s earth, nor see inhabited 640 Thy so magnificent house, till thou make good Thy voyage back to the Ægyptian flood, Whose waters fell from Jove, and there hast given To Jove, and all Gods housed in ample heaven, Devoted hecatombs, and then free ways 645 Shall open to thee, clear’d of all delays.’ This told he; and, methought, he brake my heart, In such a long and hard course to divert My hope for home, and charge my back retreat As far as Ægypt. I made answer yet: 650 “Father, thy charge I’ll perfect; but before Resolve me truly, if their natural shore All those Greeks, and their ships, do safe enjoy, That Nestor and myself left, when from Troy We first raised sail? Or whether any died 655 At sea a death unwish’d? Or, satisfied, When war was past, by friends embrac’d, in peace Resign’d their spirits?” He made answer: “Cease To ask so far. It fits thee not to be So cunning in thine own calamity. 660 Nor seek to learn what learn’d thou shouldst forget. Men’s knowledges have proper limits set, And should not prease into the mind of God. But ’twill not long be, as my thoughts abode, Before thou buy this curious skill with tears. 665 Many of those, whose states so tempt thine ears, Are stoop’d by death, and many left alive, One chief of which in strong hold doth survive, Amidst the broad sea. Two, in their retreat, Are done to death. I list not to repeat 670 Who fell at Troy, thyself was there in fight. But in return swift Ajax lost the light, In his long-oar’d ship. Neptune, yet, awhile Saft him unwrack’d, to the Gyraean isle, A mighty rock removing from his way. 675 And surely he had ‘scap’d the fatal day, In spite of Pallas, if to that foul deed He in her fane did, (when he ravished The Trojan prophetess) he had not here Adjoin’d an impious boast, that he would bear, 680 Despite the Gods, his ship safe through the waves Then raised against him. These his impious braves When Neptune heard, in his strong hand he took His massy trident, and so soundly strook The rock Gyraean, that in two it cleft; 685 Of which one fragment on the land he left, The other fell into the troubled seas, At which first rush’d Ajax Oiliades, And split his ship, and then himself afloat Swum on the rough waves of the world’s vast mote, 690 Till having drunk a salt cup for his sin, There perish’d he. Thy brother yet did win The wreath from death, while in the waves they strove, Afflicted by the reverend wife of Jove. But when the steep mount of the Malian shore 695 He seem’d to reach, a most tempestuous blore, Far to the fishy world that sighs so sore, Straight ravish’d him again as far away, As to th’ extreme bounds where the Agrians stay, Where first Thyestes dwelt, but then his son 700 Ægisthus Thyestiades lived. This done, When his return untouch’d appear’d again, Back turn’d the Gods the wind, and set him then Hard by his house. Then, full of joy, he left His ship, and close t’ his country earth he cleft, 705 Kiss’d it, and wept for joy, pour’d tear on tear, To set so wishedly his footing there. But see, a sentinel that all the year Crafty Ægisthus in a watchtower set To spy his landing, for reward as great 710 As two gold talents, all his powers did call To strict remembrance of his charge, and all Discharged at first sight, which at first he cast On Agamemnon, and with all his haste Inform’d Ægisthus. He an instant train 715 Laid for his slaughter: Twenty chosen men Of his plebeians he in ambush laid; His other men he charged to see purvey’d A feast; and forth, with horse and chariots graced, He rode t’ invite him, but in heart embraced 720 Horrible welcomes, and to death did bring, With treacherous slaughter, the unwary king, Received him at a feast, and, like an ox Slain at his manger, gave him bits and knocks. No one left of Atrides’ train, nor one 725 Saved to Ægisthus, but himself alone, All strew’d together there the bloody court.’ This said, my soul he sunk with his report, Flat on the sands I fell, tears spent their store, I light abhorr’d, my heart would live no more. 730 When dry of tears, and tired of tumbling there, Th’ old Tell-truth thus my daunted spirits did cheer: ‘No more spend tears nor time, O Atreus’ son, With ceaseless weeping never wish was won. Use uttermost assay to reach thy home, 735 And all unwares upon the murderer come, For torture, taking him thyself alive; Or let Orestes, that should far out-strive Thee in fit vengeance, quickly quit the light Of such a dark soul, and do thou the rite 740 Of burial to him with a funeral feast.’ With these last words I fortified my breast, In which again a generous spring began Of fitting comfort, as I was a man; But, as a brother, I must ever mourn. 745 Yet forth I went, and told him the return Of these I knew; but he had named a third, Held on the broad sea, still with life inspired, Whom I besought to know, though likewise dead, And I must mourn alike. He answered: 750 ‘He is Laertes’ son; whom I beheld In nymph Calypso’s palace, who compell’d His stay with her, and, since he could not see His country earth, he mourn’d incessantly. For he had neither ship instruct with oars, 755 Nor men to fetch him from those stranger shores. Where leave we him, and to thy self descend, Whom not in Argos Fate nor Death shall end, But the immortal ends of all the earth, So ruled by them that order death by birth, 760 The fields Elysian, Fate to thee will give; Where Rhadamanthus rules, and where men live A never-troubled life, where snow, nor showers, Nor irksome Winter spends his fruitless powers, But from the ocean Zephyr still resumes 765 A constant breath, that all the fields perfumes. Which, since thou marriedst Helen, are thy hire, And Jove himself is by her side thy sire.’ This said; he dived the deepsome watery heaps; I and my tried men took us to our ships, 770 And worlds of thoughts I varied with my steps. Arrived and shipp’d, the silent solemn night And sleep bereft us of our visual light. At morn, masts, sails, rear’d, we sat, left the shores, And beat the foamy ocean with our oars. 775 Again then we the Jove-fall’n flood did fetch, As far as Ægypt; where we did beseech The Gods with hecatombs; whose angers ceast, I tomb’d my brother that I might be blest. All rites perform’d, all haste I made for home, 780 And all the prosp’rous winds about were come, I had the passport now of every God, And here closed all these labours period. Here stay then till th’ eleventh or twelfth day’s light, And I’ll dismiss thee well, gifts exquisite 785 Preparing for thee, chariot, horses three, A cup of curious frame to serve for thee To serve th’ immortal Gods with sacrifice, Mindful of me while all suns light thy skies.” He answer’d: “Stay me not too long time here, 790 Though I could sit attending all the year. Nor should my house, nor parents, with desire, Take my affections from you, so on fire With love to hear you are my thoughts; but so My Pylian friends I shall afflict with woe, 795 Who mourn even this stay. Whatsoever be The gifts your grace is to bestow on me, Vouchsafe them such as I may bear and save For your sake ever. Horse, I list not have, To keep in Ithaca, but leave them here, 800 To your soil’s dainties, where the broad fields bear Sweet cypers grass, where men-fed lote doth flow, Where wheat-like spelt, and wheat itself, doth grow, Where barley, white, and spreading like a tree; But Ithaca hath neither ground to be, 805 For any length it comprehends, a race To try a horse’s speed, nor any place To make him fat in; fitter far to feed A cliff-bred goat, than raise or please a steed. Of all isles, Ithaca doth least provide 810 Or meads to feed a horse, or ways to ride.” He, smiling, said: “Of good blood art thou, son. What speech, so young! What observation Hast thou made of the world! I well am pleased To change my gifts to thee, as being confess’d 815 Unfit indeed, my store is such I may. Of all my house-gifts then, that up I lay For treasure there, I will bestow on thee The fairest, and of greatest price to me. I will bestow on thee a rich carv’d cup, 820 Of silver all, but all the brims wrought up With finest gold; it was the only thing That the heroical Sidonian king Presented to me, when we were to part At his receipt of me, and ’twas the art 825 Of that great Artist that of heaven is free; And yet even this will I bestow on thee.” This speech thus ended, guests came, and did bring Muttons, for presents, to the God-like king, And spirit-prompting wine, that strenuous makes. 830 Their riband-wreathed wives brought fruit and cakes. Thus in this house did these their feast apply; And in Ulysses’ house activity The Wooers practised; tossing of the spear, The stone, and hurling; thus delighted, where 835 They exercised such insolence before, Even in the court that wealthy pavements wore. Antinous did still their strifes decide, And he that was in person deified Eurymachus; both ring-leaders of all, 840 For in their virtues they were principal. These by Noemon, son to Phronius, Were sided now, who made the question thus: “Antinous! Does any friend here know, When this Telemachus returns, or no, 845 From sandy Pylos? He made bold to take My ship with him; of which, I now should make Fit use myself, and sail in her as far As spacious Elis, where of mine there are Twelve delicate mares, and under their sides go 850 Laborious mules, that yet did never know The yoke, nor labour; some of which should bear The taming now, if I could fetch them there.” This speech the rest admired, nor dream’d that he Neleian Pylos ever thought to see, 855 But was at field about his flocks’ survey, Or thought his herdsmen held him so away. Eupitheus son, Antinous, then replied: “When went he, or with what train dignified? Of his selected Ithacensian youth? 860 Prest men, or bond men, were they? Tell the truth. Could he effect this? Let me truly know. To gain thy vessel did he violence show, And used her ‘gainst thy will? or had her free, When fitting question he had made with thee?” 865 Noemon answer’d: “I did freely give My vessel to him. Who deserves to live That would do other, when such men as he Did in distress ask? He should churlish be That would deny him. Of our youth the best 870 Amongst the people, to the interest His charge did challenge in them, giving way, With all the tribute all their powers could pay. Their captain, as he took the ship, I knew, Who Mentor was, or God. A Deity’s shew 875 Mask’d in his likeness. But, to think ’twas he, I much admire, for I did clearly see, But yester-morning, God-like Mentor here; Yet th’ other evening he took shipping there, And went for Pylos.” Thus went he for home, 880 And left the rest with envy overcome; Who sat, and pastime left. Eupitheus son, Sad, and with rage his entrails overrun, His eyes like flames, thus interposed his speech: “Strange thing! An action of how proud a reach 885 Is here committed by Telemachus! A boy, a child, and we, a sort of us, Vow’d ‘gainst his voyage, yet admit it thus! With ship and choice youth of our people too! But let him on, and all his mischief do, 890 Jove shall convert upon himself his powers, Before their ill presum’d he brings on ours. Provide me then a ship, and twenty men To give her manage, that, against again He turns for home, on th’ Ithacensian seas, 895 Or cliffy Samian, I may interprease, Way-lay, and take him, and make all his craft Sail with his ruin for his father saft.” This all applauded, and gave charge to do, Rose, and to greet Ulysses’ house did go. 900 But long time past not, ere Penelope Had notice of their far-fetch’d treachery. Medon the herald told her, who had heard Without the hall how they within conferr’d, And hasted straight to tell it to the queen, 905 Who, from the entry having Medon seen, Prevents him thus: “Now herald, what affair Intend the famous Wooers, in your repair? To tell Ulysses’ maids that they must cease From doing our work, and their banquets dress? 910 I would to heaven, that, leaving wooing me, Nor ever troubling other company, Here might the last feast be, and most extreme, That ever any shall address for them. They never meet but to consent in spoil, 915 And reap the free fruits of another’s toil. O did they never, when they children were, What to their fathers was Ulysses, hear? Who never did ‘gainst any one proceed With unjust usage, or in word or deed? 920 ‘Tis yet with other kings another right, One to pursue with love, another spite; He still yet just, nor would, though might, devour, Nor to the worst did ever taste of power. But their unrul’d acts show their minds’ estate. 925 Good turns received once, thanks grow out of date.” Medon, the learn’d in wisdom, answer’d her: “I wish, O queen, that their ingratitudes were Their worst ill towards you; but worse by far, And much more deadly, their endeavours are, 930 Which Jove will fail them in. Telemachus Their purpose is, as he returns to us, To give their sharp steels in a cruel death; Who now is gone to learn, if fame can breathe News of his sire, and will the Pylian shore, 935 And sacred Sparta, in his search explore.” This news dissolv’d to her both knees and heart, Long silence held her ere one word would part, Her eyes stood full of tears, her small soft voice All late use lost; that yet at last had choice 940 Of wonted words, which briefly thus she used: “Why left my son his mother? Why refused His wit the solid shore, to try the seas, And put in ships the trust of his distress, That are at sea to men unbridled horse, 945 And run, past rule, their far-engaged course, Amidst a moisture past all mean unstaid? No need compell’d this. Did he it, afraid To live and leave posterity his name?” “I know not,” he replied, “if th’ humour came 950 From current of his own instinct, or flow’d From others’ instigations; but he vow’d Attempt to Pylos, or to see descried His sire’s return, or know what death he died.” This said, he took him to Ulysses’ house 955 After the Wooers; the Ulyssean spouse, Run through with woes, let Torture seize her mind, Nor in her choice of state chairs stood inclined To take her seat, but th’ abject threshold chose Of her fair chamber for her loath’d repose, 960 And mourn’d most wretch-like. Round about her fell Her handmaids, join’d in a continuate yell. From every corner of the palace, all Of all degrees tuned to her comfort’s fall Their own dejections; to whom her complaint 965 She thus enforc’d: “The Gods, beyond constraint Of any measure, urge these tears on me; Nor was there ever dame of my degree So past degree grieved. First, a lord so good, That had such hardy spirits in his blood, 970 That all the virtues was adorn’d withal, That all the Greeks did their superior call, To part with thus, and lose! And now a son, So worthily belov’d, a course to run Beyond my knowledge; whom rude tempests have 975 Made far from home his most inglorious grave! Unhappy wenches, that no one of all (Though in the reach of every one must fall His taking ship) sustain’d the careful mind, To call me from my bed, who this design’d 980 And most vow’d course in him had either stay’d, How much soever hasted, or dead laid He should have left me. Many a man I have, That would have call’d old Dolius my slave, (That keeps my orchard, whom my father gave 985 At my departure) to have run, and told Laertes this; to try if he could hold From running through the people, and from tears, In telling them of these vow’d murderers; That both divine Ulysses’ hope, and his, 990 Resolv’d to end in their conspiracies.” His nurse then, Euryclea, made reply: “Dear sovereign, let me with your own hands die, Or cast me off here, I’ll not keep from thee One word of what I know. He trusted me 995 With all his purpose, and I gave him all The bread and wine for which he pleased to call. But then a mighty oath he made me swear, Not to report it to your royal ear Before the twelfth day either should appear, 1000 Or you should ask me when you heard him gone. Impair not then your beauties with your moan, But wash, and put untear-stain’d garments on, Ascend your chamber with your ladies here, And pray the seed of goat-nurs’d Jupiter, 1005 Divine Athenia, to preserve your son, And she will save him from confusion. Th’ old king, to whom your hopes stand so inclin’d For his grave counsels, you perhaps may find Unfit affected, for his age’s sake. 1010 But heaven-kings wax not old, and therefore make Fit prayers to them; for my thoughts never will Believe the heavenly Powers conceit so ill The seed of righteous Arcesiades, To end it utterly, but still will please 1015 In some place evermore some one of them To save, and deck him with a diadem, Give him possession of erected tow’rs, And far-stretch’d fields, crown’d all of fruits and flow’rs.” This eas’d her heart, and dried her humorous eyes, 1020 When having wash’d, and weeds of sacrifice Pure, and unstain’d with her distrustful tears, Put on, with all her women-ministers Up to a chamber of most height she rose, And cakes of salt and barley did impose 1025 Within a wicker basket; all which broke In decent order, thus she did invoke: “Great Virgin of the goat-preserved God, If ever the inhabited abode Of wise Ulysses held the fatted thighs 1030 Of sheep and oxen, made thy sacrifice By his devotion, hear me, nor forget His pious services, but safe see set His dear son on these shores, and banish hence These Wooers past all mean in insolence.” 1035 This said, she shriek’d, and Pallas heard her prayer. The Wooers broke with tumult all the air About the shady house; and one of them, Whose pride his youth had made the more extreme, Said: “Now the many-wooer-honour’d queen 1040 Will surely satiate her delayful spleen, And one of us in instant nuptials take. Poor dame, she dreams not, what design we make Upon the life and slaughter of her son.” So said he; but so said was not so done; 1045 Whose arrogant spirit in a vaunt so vain Antinous chid, and said: “For shame, contain These braving speeches. Who can tell who hears? Are we not now in reach of others’ ears? If our intentions please us, let us call 1050 Our spirits up to them, and let speeches fall. By watchful danger men must silent go. What we resolve on, let’s not say, but do.” This said, he choos’d out twenty men, that bore Best reckoning with him, and to ship and shore 1055 All hasted, reach’d the ship, launch’d, rais’d the mast, Put sails in, and with leather loops made fast The oars; sails hoisted, arms their men did bring, All giving speed and form to everything. Then to the high deeps their rigg’d vessel driven, 1060 They supp’d, expecting the approaching even. Mean space, Penelope her chamber kept And bed, and neither eat, nor drank, nor slept, Her strong thoughts wrought so on her blameless son, Still in contention, if he should be done 1065 To death, or ‘scape the impious Wooers’ design. Look how a lion, whom men-troops combine To hunt, and close him in a crafty ring, Much varied thought conceives, and fear doth sting For urgent danger; so fared she, till sleep, 1070 All juncture of her joints and nerves did steep In his dissolving humour. When, at rest, Pallas her favours varied, and addressed An idol, that Iphthima did present In structure of her every lineament, 1075 Great-soul’d Icarius’ daughter, whom for spouse Eumelus took, that kept in Pheris’ house. This to divine Ulysses’ house she sent, To try her best mean how she might content Mournful Penelope, and make relent 1080 The strict addiction in her to deplore. This idol, like a worm, that less or more Contracts or strains her, did itself convey, Beyond the wards or windings of the key, Into the chamber, and, above her head 1085 Her seat assuming, thus she comforted Distress’d Penelope: “Doth sleep thus seize Thy powers, affected with so much dis-ease? The Gods, that nothing troubles, will not see Thy tears nor griefs, in any least degree, 1090 Sustain’d with cause, for they will guard thy son Safe to his wish’d and native mansion, Since he is no offender of their states, And they to such are firmer than their fates.” The wise Penelope receiv’d her thus, 1095 Bound with a slumber most delicious, And in the port of dreams: “O sister, why Repair you hither, since so far off lie Your house and household? You were never here Before this hour, and would you now give cheer 1100 To my so many woes and miseries, Affecting fitly all the faculties My soul and mind hold, having lost before A husband, that of all the virtues bore The palm amongst the Greeks, and whose renown 1105 So ample was that Fame the sound hath blown Through Greece and Argos to her very heart? And now again, a son, that did convert My whole powers to his love, by ship is gone; A tender plant, that yet was never grown 1110 To labour’s taste, nor the commerce of men; For whom more than my husband I complain, And lest he should at any suff’rance touch (Or in the sea, or by the men so much Estrang’d to him that must his consorts be) 1115 Fear and chill tremblings shake each joint of me. Besides, his danger sets on foes profess’d To way-lay his return, that have address’d Plots for his death.” The scarce-discerned Dream, Said: “Be of comfort, nor fears so extreme 1120 Let thus dismay thee; thou hast such a mate Attending thee, as some at any rate Would wish to purchase, for her power is great; Minerva pities thy delights’ defeat, Whose grace hath sent me to foretell thee these.” 1125 “If thou,” said she, “be of the Goddesses, And heardst her tell thee these, thou mayst as well From her tell all things else. Deign then to tell, If yet the man to all misfortunes born, My husband, lives, and sees the sun adorn 1130 The darksome earth, or hides his wretched head In Pluto’s house, and lives amongst the dead?” “I will not,” she replied, “my breath exhale In one continued and perpetual tale, Lives he or dies he. ‘Tis a filthy use, 1135 To be in vain and idle speech profuse.” This said, she, through the key-hole of the door, Vanish’d again into the open blore. Icarius’ daughter started from her sleep, And Joy’s fresh humour her lov’d breast did steep, 1140 When now so clear, in that first watch of night, She saw the seen Dream vanish from her sight. The Wooers’ ship the sea’s moist waves did ply, And thought the prince a haughty death should die. There lies a certain island in the sea, 1145 Twist rocky Samos and rough Ithaca, That cliffy is itself, and nothing great, Yet holds convenient havens that two ways let Ships in and out, call’d Asteris; and there The Wooers hoped to make their massacre. 1150 FINIS LIBRI QUARTI HOM. ODYSS.