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



THE peers of the Phaeacian State
A council call, to consolate
Ulysses with all means for home.
The council to a banquet come,
Invited by the king. Which done,
Assays for hurling of the stone
The youths make with the stranger king.
Demodocus, at feast, doth sing
Th’ adultery of the God of Arms
With Her that rules in amorous charms;
And after sings the entercourse
Of acts about th’ Epaean horse.


…. The council’s frame
At fleet applied.
In strifes of game
Ulysses tried.

OW when the rosy-finger’d Morn arose,

The sacred power Alcinous did dispose Did likewise rise; and, like him, left his ease The city-razer Laertiades. The Council at the navy was design’d; 5 To which Alcinous, with the sacred mind, Came first of all. On polish’d stones they sate, Near to the navy. To increase the state, Minerva took the herald’s form on her, That served Alcinous, studious to prefer 10 Ulysses’ suit for home. About the town She made quick way, and fill’d with the renown Of that design the ears of every man, Proclaiming thus: “Peers Phaeacensian! And men of council, all haste to the court, 15 To hear the stranger that made late resort To king Alcinous, long time lost at sea, And is in person like a Deity.” This all their powers set up, and spirit instill’d, And straight the court and seats with men were fill’d. 20 The whole state wonder’d at Laertes’ son, When they beheld him. Pallas put him on A supernatural and heavenly dress, Enlarged him with a height, and goodliness In breast and shoulders, that he might appear 25 Gracious, and grave, and reverend, and bear A perfect hand on his performance there In all the trials they resolv’d t’ impose. All met, and gather’d in attention close, Alcinous thus bespake them: “Dukes, and lords, 30 Hear me digest my hearty thoughts in words. This stranger here, whose travels found my court, I know not, nor can tell if his resort From east or west comes; but his suit is this: That to his country earth we would dismiss 35 His hither-forced person, and doth bear The mind to pass it under every peer; Whom I prepare, and stir up, making known My free desire of his deduction. Nor shall there ever any other man 40 That tries the goodness Phaeacensian In me, and my court’s entertainment, stay, Mourning for passage, under least delay. Come then, a ship into the sacred seas, New-built, now launch we; and from out our prease 45 Choose two and fifty youths, of all, the best To use an oar. All which see straight impress’d, And in their oar-bound seats. Let others hie Home to our court, commanding instantly The solemn preparation of a feast, 50 In which provision may for any guest Be made at my charge. Charge of these low things I give our youth. You, sceptre-bearing kings, Consort me home, and help with grace to use This guest of ours; no one man shall refuse. 55 Some other of you haste, and call to us The sacred singer, grave Demodocus, To whom hath God given song that can excite The heart of whom he listeth with delight.” This said, he led. The sceptre-bearers lent 60 Their free attendance; and with all speed went The herald for the sacred man in song. Youths two and fifty, chosen from the throng, Went, as was will’d, to the untam’d sea’s shore; Where come, they launch’d the ship, the mast it bore 65 Advanc’d, sails hoised, every seat his oar Gave with a leather thong. The deep moist then They further reach’d. The dry streets flow’d with men, That troop’d up to the king’s capacious court, Whose porticos were chok’d with the resort, 70 Whose walls were hung with men, young, old, thrust there In mighty concourse; for whose promis’d cheer Alcinous slew twelve sheep, eight white-tooth’d swine, Two crook-haunch’d beeves; which flay’d and dress’d, divine The show was of so many a jocund guest, 75 All set together at so set a feast. To whose accomplish’d state the herald then The lovely singer led; who past all mean The Muse affected, gave him good, and ill, His eyes put out, but put in soul at will. 80 His place was given him in a chair all grac’d With silver studs, and ‘gainst a pillar placed; Where, as the centre to the state, he rests, And round about the circle of the guests. The herald on a pin above his head 85 His soundful harp hung, to whose height he led His hand for taking of it down at will, A board set by with food, and forth did fill A bowl of wine, to drink at his desire. The rest then fell to feast, and, when the fire 90 Of appetite was quench’d, the Muse inflam’d The sacred singer. Of men highliest fam’d He sung the glories, and a poem penn’d, That in applause did ample heaven ascend. Whose subject was, the stern Contention 95 Betwixt Ulysses and great Thetis’ son, As, at a banquet sacred to the Gods, In dreadful language they express’d their odds. When Agamemnon sat rejoic’d in soul To hear the Greek peers jar in terms so foul; 100 For augur Phoebus in presage had told The king of men (desirous to unfold The war’s perplex’d end, and being therefore gone In heavenly Pythia to the porch of stone,) That then the end of all griefs should begin 105 ‘Twixt Greece, and Troy, when Greece (with strife to win That wish’d conclusion) in her kings should jar, And plead, if force or wit must end the war. This brave Contention did the poet sing, Expressing so the spleen of either king, 110 That his large purple weed Ulysses held Before his face and eyes, since thence distill’d Tears uncontain’d; which he obscur’d, in fear To let th’ observing presence note a tear. But, when his sacred song the mere divine 115 Had given an end, a goblet crown’d with wine Ulysses, drying his wet eyes, did seize, And sacrificed to those Gods that would please T’ inspire the poet with a song so fit To do him honour, and renown his wit. 120 His tears then stay’d. But when again began, By all the kings’ desires, the moving man, Again Ulysses could not choose but yield To that soft passion, which again, withheld, He kept so cunningly from sight, that none, 125 Except Alcinous himself alone, Discern’d him mov’d so much. But he sat next, And heard him deeply sigh; which his pretext Could not keep hid from him. Yet he conceal’d His utterance of it, and would have it held 130 From all the rest, brake off the song, and this Said to those oar-affecting peers of his: “Princes, and peers! We now are satiate With sacred song that fits a feast of state, With wine and food. Now then to field, and try 135 In all kinds our approv’d activity, That this our guest may give his friends to know, In his return, that we as little owe To fights and wrestlings, leaping, speed of race, As these our court-rites; and commend our grace 140 In all to all superior.” Forth he led, The peers and people troop’d up to their head. Nor must Demodocus be left within; Whose harp the herald hung upon the pin, His hand in his took, and abroad he brought 145 The heavenly poet, out the same way wrought That did the princes, and what they would see With admiration, with his company They wish’d to honour. To the place of game These throng’d; and after routs of other came, 150 Of all sort, infinite. Of youths that strove, Many and strong rose to their trial’s love. Up rose Acroneus, and Ocyalus, Elatreus, Prymneus, and Anchialus, Nauteus, Eretmeus, Thoon, Proreus, 155 Ponteus, and the strong Amphialus Son to Tectonides Polyneus. Up rose to these the great Euryalus, In action like the Homicide of War. Naubolides, that was for person far 160 Past all the rest, but one he could not pass, Nor any thought improve, Laodamas. Up Anabesineus then arose; And three sons of the Sceptre-state, and those Were Halius, the fore-praised Laodamas, 165 And Clytoneus like a God in grace. These first the foot-game tried, and from the lists Took start together. Up the dust in mists They hurl’d about, as in their speed they flew; But Clytoneus first of all the crew 170 A stitch’s length in any fallow field Made good his pace; when, where the judges yield The prise and praise, his glorious speed arriv’d. Next, for the boisterous wrestling game they striv’d; At which Euryalus the rest outshone. 175 At leap Amphialus. At the hollow stone Elatreus excell’d. At buffets, last, Laodamas, the king’s fair son, surpast. When all had striv’d in these assays their fill, Laodamas said: “Come friends, let’s prove what skill 180 This stranger hath attain’d to in our sport. Methinks, he must be of the native sort, His calves, thighs, hands, and well-knit shoulders show That Nature disposition did bestow To fit with fact their form. Nor wants he prime. 185 But sour affliction, made a mate with time, Makes time the more seen. Nor imagine I, A worse thing to enforce debility Than is the sea, though nature ne’er so strong Knits one together.” “Nor conceive you wrong,” 190 Replied Euryalus, “but prove his blood With what you question.” In the midst then stood Renown’d Laodamas, and prov’d him thus: “Come, stranger father, and assay with us Your powers in these contentions. If your show 195 Be answer’d with your worth, ’tis fit that you Should know these conflicts. Nor doth glory stand On any worth more, in a man’s command, Than to be strenuous both of foot and hand. Come then, make proof with us, discharge your mind 200 Of discontentments; for not far behind Comes your deduction, ship is ready now, And men, and all things.” “Why,” said he, “dost thou Mock me, Laodamas, and these strifes bind My powers to answer? I am more inclin’d 205 To cares than conflict. Much sustain’d I have, And still am suffering. I come here to crave, In your assemblies, means to be dismiss’d, And pray both kings and subjects to assist.” Euryalus an open brawl began, 210 And said: “I take you, sir, for no such man As fits these honour’d strifes. A number more Strange men there are that I would choose before. To one that loves to lie a ship-board much, Or is the prince of sailors; or to such 215 As traffic far and near, and nothing mind But freight, and passage, and a foreright wind; Or to a victualler of a ship; or men That set up all their powers for rampant gain; I can compare, or hold you like to be: 220 But, for a wrestler, or of quality Fit for contentions noble, you abhor From worth of any such competitor.” Ulysses, frowning, answer’d: “Stranger, far Thy words are from the fashions regular 225 Of kind, or honour. Thou art in thy guise Like to a man that authors injuries. I see, the Gods to all men give not all Manly addiction, wisdom, words that fall, Like dice, upon the square still. Some man takes 230 Ill form from parents, but God often makes That fault of form up with observ’d repair Of pleasing speech, that makes him held for fair, That makes him speak securely, makes him shine In an assembly with a grace divine. 235 Men take delight to see how evenly lie His words asteep in honey modesty. Another, then, hath fashion like a God, But in his language he is foul and broad. And such art thou. A person fair is given, 240 But nothing else is in thee sent from heaven; For in thee lurks a base and earthy soul, And t’ hast compell’d me, with a speech most foul, To be thus bitter. I am not unseen In these fair strifes, as thy words overween, 245 But in the first rank of the best I stand; At least I did, when youth and strength of hand Made me thus confident, but now am worn With woes and labours, as a human born To bear all anguish. Suffer’d much I have. 250 The war of men, and the inhuman wave, Have I driven through at all parts. But with all My waste in sufferance, what yet may fall In my performance, at these strifes I’ll try. Thy speech hath mov’d, and made my wrath run high.” 255 This said, with robe and all, he grasp’d a stone, A little graver than was ever thrown By these Phaeacians in their wrestling rout, More firm, more massy; which, turn’d round about, He hurried from him with a hand so strong 260 It sung, and flew, and over all the throng, That at the others’ marks stood, quite it went; Yet down fell all beneath it, fearing spent The force that drave it flying from his hand, As it a dart were, or a walking wand; 265 And far past all the marks of all the rest His wing stole way; when Pallas straight impress’d A mark at fall of it, resembling then One of the navy-given Phraeacian men, And thus advanc’d Ulysses: “One, though blind, 270 O stranger, groping, may thy stone’s fall find, For not amidst the rout of marks it fell, But far before all. Of thy worth think well, And stand in all strifes. No Phaeacian here This bound can either better or come near.” 275 Ulysses joy’d to hear that one man yet Used him benignly, and would truth abet In those contentions; and then thus smooth He took his speech down: “Reach me that now, youth, You shall, and straight, I think, have one such more, 280 And one beyond it too. And now, whose core Stands sound and great within him, since ye have Thus put my spleen up, come again and brave The guest ye tempted, with such gross disgrace, At wrestling, buffets, whirlbat, speed of race; 285 At all, or either, I except at none, But urge the whole state of you; only one, I will not challenge in my forced boast, And that’s Laodamas, for he’s mine host. And who will fight, or wrangle, with his friend? 290 Unwise he is, and base, that will contend With him that feeds him, in a foreign place; And takes all edge off from his own sought grace. None else except I here, nor none despise, But wish to know, and prove his faculties, 295 That dares appear now. No strife ye can name Am I unskill’d in; reckon any game Of all that are, as many as there are In use with men. For archery I dare Affirm myself not mean. Of all a troop 300 I’ll make the first foe with mine arrow stoop, Though with me ne’er so many fellows bend Their bows at mark’d men, and affect their end. Only was Philoctetes with his bow Still my superior, when we Greeks would show 305 Our archery against our foes of Troy. But all, that now by bread frail life enjoy, I far hold my inferiors. Men of old, None now alive shall witness me so bold, To vaunt equality with, such men as these, 310 Oechalian Eurytus, Hercules, Who with their bows durst with the Gods contend; And therefore caught Eurytus soon his end, Nor died at home, in age, a reverend man, But by the great incensed Delphian 315 Was shot to death, for daring competence With him in all an archer’s excellence. A spear I’ll hurl as far as any man Shall shoot a shaft. How at a race I can Bestir my feet, I only yield to fear, 320 And doubt to meet with my superior here. So many seas so too much have misused My limbs for race, and therefore have diffused A dissolution through my loved knees.” This said, he still’d all talking properties; 325 Alcinous only answer’d: “O my guest, In good part take we what you have been prest With speech to answer. You would make appear Your virtues therefore, that will still shine where Your only look is. Yet must this man give 330 Your worth ill language; when, he does not live In sort of mortals (whencesoe’er he springs, That judgment hath to speak becoming things) That will deprave your virtues. Note then now My speech, and what my love presents to you, 335 That you may tell heroes, when you come To banquet with your wife and birth at home, (Mindful of our worth) what deservings Jove Hath put on our parts likewise, in remove From sire to son, as an inherent grace 340 Kind, and perpetual. We must needs give place To other countrymen, and freely yield We are not blameless in our fights of field, Buffets, nor wrestlings; but in speed of feet, And all the equipage that fits a fleet, 345 We boast us best; for table ever spread With neighbour feasts, for garments varied, For poesy, music, dancing, baths, and beds. And now, Phaeacians, you that bear your heads And feet with best grace in enamouring dance, 350 Enflame our guest here, that he may advance Our worth past all the world’s to his home friends, As well for the unmatch’d grace that commends Your skill in footing of a dance, as theirs That fly a race best. And so, all affairs, 355 At which we boast us best, he best may try, As sea-race, land-race, dance, and poesy. Some one with instant speed to court retire, And fetch Demodocus’s soundful lyre.” This said the God-graced king; and quick resort 360 Pontonous made for that fair harp to court. Nine of the lot-choos’d public rulers rose, That all in those contentions did dispose, Commanding a most smooth ground, and a wide, And all the people in fair game aside. 365 Then with the rich harp came Pontonous, And in the midst took place Demodocus. About him then stood forth the choice young men, That on man’s first youth made fresh entry then, Had art to make their natural motion sweet, 370 And shook a most divine dance from their feet, That twinkled star-like, mov’d as swift, and fine, And beat the air so thin, they made it shine. Ulysses wonder’d at it, but amaz’d He stood in mind to hear the dance so phras’d. 375 For, as they danc’d, Demodocus did sing, The bright-crown’d Venus’ love with Battle’s King; As first they closely mixed in th’ house of fire. What worlds of gifts won her to his desire, Who then the night-and-day-bed did defile 380 Of good king Vulcan. But in little while The Sun their mixture saw, and came and told. The bitter news did by his ears take hold Of Vulcan’s heart. Then to his forge he went, And in his shrewd mind deep stuff did invent. 385 His mighty anvil in the stock he put, And forged a net that none could lose or cut, That when it had them it might hold them fast. Which having finish’d, he made utmost haste Up to the dear room where his wife he woo’d, 390 And, madly wrath with Mars, he all bestrow’d The bed, and bed-posts, all the beam above That cross’d the chamber; and a circle strove Of his device to wrap in all the room. And ’twas as pure, as of a spider’s loom 395 The woof before ’tis woven. No man nor God Could set his eye on it, a sleight so odd His art show’d in it. All his craft bespent About the bed, he feign’d as if he went To well-built Lemnos, his most loved town 400 Of all towns earthly; nor left this unknown To golden-bridle-using Mars, who kept No blind watch over him, but, seeing stept His rival so aside, he hasted home With fair-wreath’d Venus’ love stung, who was come 405 New from the court of her most mighty Sire. Mars enter’d, wrung her hand, and the retire Her husband made to Lemnos told, and said: “Now, love, is Vulcan gone, let us to bed, He’s for the barbarous Sintians.” Well appay’d 410 Was Venus with it; and afresh assay’d Their old encounter. Down they went; and straight About them cling’d the artificial sleight Of most wise Vulcan; and were so ensnar’d, That neither they could stir their course prepar’d 415 In any limb about them, nor arise. And then they knew, they would no more disguise Their close conveyance, but lay, forc’d, stone still. Back rush’d the both-foot-cook’d, but straight in skill, From his near scout-hole turn’d, nor ever went 420 To any Lemnos, but the sure event Left Phoebus to discover, who told all. Then home hopp’d Vulcan, full of grief and gall, Stood in the portal, and cried out so high, That all the Gods heard: “Father of the sky 425 And every other deathless God,” said he, “Come all, and a ridiculous object see, And yet not sufferable neither. Come, And witness how, when still I step from home, Lame that I am, Jove’s daughter doth profess 430 To do me all the shameful offices, Indignities, despites, that can be thought; And loves this all-things-making-come-to-nought, Since he is fair forsooth, foot-sound, and I Took in my brain a little, legg’d awry; 435 And no fault mine, but all my parent’s fault, Who should not get, if mock me, with my halt. But see how fast they sleep, while I, in moan, Am only made an idle looker on. One bed their turn serves, and it must be mine; 440 I think yet, I have made their self-loves shine. They shall no more wrong me, and none perceive; Nor will they sleep together, I believe, With too hot haste again. Thus both shall lie In craft, and force, till the extremity 445 Of all the dower I gave her sire (to gain A dogged set-fac’d girl, that will not stain Her face with blushing, though she shame her head) He pays me back. She’s fair, but was no maid.” While this long speech was making, all were come 450 To Vulcan’s wholly-brazen-founded home, Earth-shaking Neptune, useful Mercury, And far-shot Phoebus. No She-Deity, For shame, would show there. All the give-good Gods Stood in the portal, and past periods 455 Gave length to laughters, all rejoic’d to see That which they said, that no impiety Finds good success at th’ end. “And now,” said one, “The slow outgoes the swift. Lame Vulcan, known To be the slowest of the Gods, outgoes 460 Mars the most swift. And this is that which grows To greatest justice: that adult’ry’s sport, Obtain’d by craft, by craft of other sort (And lame craft too) is plagued, which grieves the more, That sound limbs turning lame the lame restore.” 465 This speech amongst themselves they entertain’d, When Phoebus thus ask’d Hermes: “Thus enchain’d Wouldst thou be Hermes, to be thus disclosed? Though with thee golden Venus were reposed?” He soon gave that an answer: “O,” said he, 470 “Thou king of archers, would ’twere thus with me. Though thrice so much shame; nay, though infinite Were pour’d about me, and that every light, In great heaven shining, witness’d all my harms, So golden Venus slumber’d in mine arms.” 475 The Gods again laugh’d; even the Wat’ry State Wrung out a laughter, but propitiate Was still for Mars, and pray’d the God of Fire He would dissolve him, offering the desire He made to Jove to pay himself, and said, 480 All due debts should be by the Gods repaid. “Pay me, no words,” said he, “where deeds lend pain, Wretched the words are given for wretched men. How shall I bind you in th’ Immortals’ sight, If Mars be once loos’d, nor will pay his right?” 485 “Vulcan,” said he, “if Mars should fly, nor see Thy right repaid, it should be paid by me.” “Your word, so given, I must accept,” said he. Which said, he loos’d them. Mars then rush’d from sky, And stoop’d cold Thrace. The laughing Deity 490 For Cyprus was, and took her Paphian state, Where she a grove, ne’er cut, had consecrate, All with Arabian odours fum’d, and hath An altar there, at which the Graces bathe, And with immortal balms besmooth her skin, 495 Fit for the bliss Immortals solace in; Deck’d her in to-be-studied attire, And apt to set beholders’ hearts on fire. This sung the sacred muse, whose notes and words The dancers’ feet kept as his hands his cords. 500 Ulysses much was pleased, and all the crew. This would the king have varied with a new And pleasing measure, and performed by Two, with whom none would strive in dancery; And those his sons were, that must therefore dance 505 Alone, and only to the harp advance, Without the words. And this sweet couple was Young Halius, and divine Laodamas; Who danc’d a ball dance. Then the rich-wrought ball, That Polybus had made, of purple all, 510 They took to hand. One threw it to the sky, And then danc’d back; the other, capering high, Would surely catch it ere his foot touch’d ground, And up again advanc’d it, and so found The other cause of dance; and then did he 515 Dance lofty tricks, till next it came to be His turn to catch, and serve the other still. When they had kept it up to either’s will, They then danced ground tricks, oft mix’d hand in hand, And did so gracefully their change command, 520 That all the other youth that stood at pause, With deaf’ning shouts, gave them the great applause. Then said Ulysses: “O, past all men here Clear, not in power, but in desert as clear, You said your dancers did the world surpass, 525 And they perform it clear, and to amaze.” This won Alcinous’ heart, and equal prize He gave Ulysses, saying: “Matchless wise, Princes and rulers, I perceive our guest, And therefore let our hospitable best 530 In fitting gifts be given him: Twelve chief kings There are that order all the glorious things Of this our kingdom; and, the thirteenth, I Exist, as crown to all. Let instantly Be thirteen garments given him, and of gold 535 Precious, and fine, a talent. While we hold This our assembly, be all fetch’d, and given, That to our feast prepar’d, as to his heaven, Our guest may enter. And, that nothing be Left unperform’d that fits his dignity, 540 Euryalus shall here conciliate Himself with words and gifts, since past our rate He gave bad language.” This did all commend And give in charge; and every king did send His herald for his gift. Euryalus, 545 Answering for his part, said: “Alcinous! Our chief of all, since you command, I will To this our guest by all means reconcile, And give him this entirely-metall’d sword, The handle massy silver, and the board 550 That gives it cover all of ivory, New, and in all kinds worth his quality.” This put he straight into his hand, and said: “Frolic, O guest and father; if words fled Have been offensive, let swift whirlwinds take 555 And ravish them from thought. May all Gods make Thy wife’s sight good to thee, in quick retreat To all thy friends, and best-loved breeding seat, Their long miss quitting with the greater joy; In whose sweet vanish all thy worst annoy.” 560 “And frolic thou to all height, friend,” said he, “Which heaven confirm with wish’d felicity; Nor ever give again desire to thee Of this sword’s use, which with affects so free, In my reclaim, thou hast bestow’d on me.” 565 This said, athwart his shoulders he put on The right fair sword; and then did set the sun. When all the gifts were brought, which back again (With king Alcinous in all the train) Were by the honour’d heralds borne to court; 570 Which his fair sons took, and from the resort Laid by their reverend mother. Each his throne Of all the peers (which yet were overshone In king Alcinous’ command) ascended; Whom he to pass as much in gifts contended, 575 And to his queen said: “Wife! See brought me here The fairest cabinet I have, and there Impose a well-cleans’d in, and utter, weed. A caldron heat with water, that with speed Our guest well bath’d, and all his gifts made sure, 580 It may a joyful appetite procure To his succeeding feast, and make him hear The poet’s hymn with the securer ear. To all which I will add my bowl of gold, In all frame curious, to make him hold 585 My memory always dear, and sacrifice With it at home to all the Deities.” Then Arete her maids charg’d to set on A well-sized caldron quickly. Which was done, Clear water pour’d in, flame made so entire, 590 It gilt the brass, and made the water fire. In mean space, from her chamber brought the queen A wealthy cabinet, where, pure and clean, She put the garments, and the gold bestow’d By that free state, and then the other vow’d 595 By her Alcinous, and said: “Now, guest, Make close and fast your gifts, lest, when you rest A-ship-board sweetly, in your way you meet Some loss, that less may make your next sleep sweet.” This when Ulysses heard, all sure he made, 600 Enclosed and bound safe; for the saving trade The reverend-for-her-wisdom, Circe, had In foreyears taught him. Then the handmaid bad His worth to bathing; which rejoic’d his heart, For since he did with his Calypso part, 605 He had no hot baths; none had favour’d him, Nor been so tender of his kingly limb. But all the time he spent in her abode, He lived respected as he were a God. Cleans’d then and balm’d, fair shirt and robe put on, 610 Fresh come from bath, and to the feasters gone, Nausicaa, that from the Gods’ hands took The sovereign beauty of her blessed look, Stood by a well-carv’d column of the room, And through her eye her heart was overcome 615 With admiration of the port impress’d In his aspect, and said: “God save you, guest! Be cheerful, as in all the future state Your home will show you in your better fate. But yet, even then, let this remember’d be, 620 Your life’s price I lent, and you owe it me.” The varied-in-all-counsels gave reply: “Nausicaa! Flower of all this empery! So Juno’s husband, that the strife for noise Makes in the clouds, bless me with strife of joys, 625 In the desired day that my house shall show, As I, as I to a Goddess there shall vow, To thy fair hand that did my being give, Which I’ll acknowledge every hour I live.” This said, Alcinous plac’d him by his side. 630 Then took they feast, and did in parts divide The several dishes, fill’d out wine, and then The strived-for-for-his-worth of worthy men, And reverenc’d-of-the-state, Demodocus Was brought in by the good Pontonous. 635 In midst of all the guests they gave him place, Against a lofty pillar, when this grace The grac’d-with-wisdom did him: From the chine, That stood before him, of a white-tooth’d swine, Being far the daintiest joint, mixed through with fat, 640 He carv’d to him, and sent it where he sat By his old friend the herald, willing thus: “Herald, reach this to grave Demodocus, Say, I salute him, and his worth embrace. Poets deserve, past all the human race, 645 Reverend respect and honour, since the queen Of knowledge, and the supreme worth in men, The Muse, informs them, and loves all their race.” This reach’d the herald to him, who the grace Received encouraged; which, when feast was spent, 650 Ulysses amplified to this ascent: “Demodocus! I must prefer you far, Past all your sort, if, or the Muse of war, Jove’s daughter, prompts you, that the Greeks respects, Or if the Sun, that those of Troy affects. 655 For I have heard you, since my coming, sing The fate of Greece to an admired string. How much our suff’rance was, how much we wrought, How much the actions rose to when we fought. So lively forming, as you had been there, 660 Or to some free relater lent your ear. Forth then, and sing the wooden horse’s frame, Built by Epeus, by the martial Dame Taught the whole fabric; which, by force of sleight, Ulysses brought into the city’s height, 665 When he had stuff’d it with as many men As levell’d lofty Ilion with the plain. With all which if you can as well enchant, As with expression quick and elegant You sung the rest, I will pronounce you clear 670 Inspired by God, past all that ever were.” This said, even stirr’d by God up, he began, And to his song fell, past the form of man, Beginning where the Greeks aship-board went, And every chief had set on fire his tent, 675 When th’ other kings, in great Ulysses guide, In Troy’s vast market place the horse did hide, From whence the Trojans up to Ilion drew The dreadful engine. Where sat all arew Their kings about it; many counsels given 680 How to dispose it. In three ways were driven Their whole distractions. First, if they should feel The hollow wood’s heart, search’d with piercing steel; Or from the battlements drawn higher yet Deject it headlong; or that counterfeit 685 So vast and novel set on sacred fire, Vow’d to appease each anger’d Godhead’s ire. On which opinion, they, thereafter, saw, They then should have resolved; th’ unalter’d law Of fate presaging, that Troy then should end, 690 When th’ hostile horse she should receive to friend, For therein should the Grecian kings lie hid, To bring the fate and death they after did. He sung, besides, the Greeks’ eruption From those their hollow crafts, and horse forgone; 695 And how they made depopulation tread Beneath her feet so high a city’s head. In which affair, he sung in other place, That of that ambush some man else did race The Ilion towers than Laertiades; 700 But here he sung, that he alone did seize, With Menelaus, the ascended roof Of prince Deiphobus, and Mars-like proof Made of his valour, a most dreadful fight Daring against him; and there vanquish’d quite, 705 In little time, by great Minerva’s aid, All Ilion’s remnant, and Troy level laid. This the divine expressor did so give Both act and passion, that he made it live, And to Ulysses’ facts did breathe a fire 710 So deadly quick’ning, that it did inspire Old death with life, and render’d life so sweet, And passionate, that all there felt it fleet; Which made him pity his own cruelty, And put into that ruth so pure an eye 715 Of human frailty, that to see a man Could so revive from death, yet no way can Defend from death, his own quick powers it made Feel there death’s horrors, and he felt life fade In tears his feeling brain swet; for, in things 720 That move past utterance, tears ope all their springs. Nor are there in the powers that all life bears More true interpreters of all than tears. And as a lady mourns her sole-loved lord, That fall’n before his city by the sword, 725 Fighting to rescue from a cruel fate His town and children, and in dead estate Yet panting seeing him, wraps him in her arms, Weeps, shrieks, and pours her health into his arms, Lies on him, striving to become his shield 730 From foes that still assail him, spears impell’d Through back and shoulders, by whose points embrued, They raise and lead him into servitude, Labour, and languor; for all which the dame Eats down her cheeks with tears, and feeds life’s flame 735 With miserable suff’rance; so this king Of tear-swet anguish op’d a boundless spring; Nor yet was seen to any one man there But king Alcinous, who sat so near He could not ‘scape him, sighs, so choked, so brake 740 From all his tempers; which the king did take Both note and grave respect of, and thus spake: “Hear me, Phaeacian counsellors and peers, And cease Demodocus; perhaps all ears Are not delighted with his song, for, ever 745 Since the divine Muse sung, our guest hath never Contain’d from secret mournings. It may fall, That something sung he hath been grieved withal, As touching his particular. Forbear, That feast may jointly comfort all hearts here, 750 And we may cheer our guest up; ’tis our best In all due honour. For our reverend guest Is all our celebration, gifts, and all, His love hath added to our festival. A guest, and suppliant too, we should esteem 755 Dear as our brother, one that doth but dream He hath a soul, or touch but at a mind Deathless and manly, should stand so inclined. Nor cloak you longer with your curious wit, Loved guest, what ever we shall ask of it. 760 It now stands on your honest state to tell, And therefore give your name, nor more conceal What of your parents, and the town that bears Name of your native, or of foreigners That near us border, you are call’d in fame. 765 There’s no man living walks without a name, Noble nor base, but had one from his birth Imposed as fit as to be borne. What earth, People, and city, own you, give to know. Tell but our ships all, that your way must show. 770 For our ships know th’ expressed minds of men, And will so most intentively retain Their scopes appointed, that they never err, And yet use never any man to steer, Nor any rudders have, as others need. 775 They know men’s thoughts, and whither tends their speed, And there will set them; for you cannot name A city to them, nor fat soil, that Fame Hath any notice given, but well they know, And will fly to them, though they ebb and flow 780 In blackest clouds and nights; and never bear Of any wrack or rock the slend’rest fear. But this I heard my sire Nausithous say Long since, that Neptune, seeing us convey So safely passengers of all degrees, 785 Was angry with us; and upon our seas A well-built ship we had, near harbour come From safe deduction of some stranger home, Made in his flitting billows stick stone still; And dimm’d our city, like a mighty hill 790 With shade cast round about it. This report, The old king made; in which miraculous sort, If God had done such things, or left undone, At his good pleasure be it. But now, on, And truth relate us, both [from] whence you err’d, 795 And to what clime of men would be transferr’d, With all their fair towns, be they as they are, If rude, unjust, and all irregular, Or hospitable, bearing minds that please The mighty Deity. Which one of these 800 You would be set at, say, and you are there. And therefore what afflicts you? Why, to hear The fate of Greece and Ilion, mourn you so? The Gods have done it; as to all they do Destine destruction, that from thence may rise 805 A poem to instruct posterities. Fell any kinsman before Ilion? Some worthy sire-in-law, or like-near son, Whom next our own blood and self-race we love? Or any friend perhaps, in whom did move 810 A knowing soul, and no unpleasing thing? Since such a good one is no underling To any brother; for, what fits true friends, True wisdom is, that blood and birth transcends. FINIS LIBRI OCTAVI HOM. ODYSS.