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



ULYSSES now relates to us
The grace he had with Æolus,
Great Guardian of the hollow Winds;
Which in a leather bag he binds,
And gives Ulysses; all but one,
Which Zephyr was, who fill’d alone
Ulysses’ sails. The bag once seen,
While he slept, by Ulysses’ men,
They thinking it did gold enclose,
To find it, all the winds did loose,
Who back flew to their Guard again.
Forth sail’d he; and did next attain
To where the Læstrygonians dwell.
Where he eleven ships lost, and fell
On the Ææan coast, whose shore
He sends Eurylochus t’ explore,
Dividing with him half his men.
Who go, and turn no more again,
All, save Eurylochus, to swine
By Circe turn’d. Their stays incline
Ulysses to their search; who got
Of Mercury an antidote,
Which moly was, ‘gainst Circe’s charms,
And so avoids his soldiers’ harms.
A year with Circe all remain,
And then their native forms regain.
On utter shores a time they dwell,
While Ithacus descends to hell.


…. Great Æolus,
And Circe, friends
Finds Ithacus;
And hell descends.

O the Æolian island we attain’d,

That swum about still on the sea, where reign’d The God-lov’d Æolus Hippotades. A wall of steel it had; and in the seas A wave-beat-smooth rock moved about the wall. 5 Twelve children in his house imperial Were born to him; of which six daughters were, And six were sons, that youth’s sweet flower did bear. His daughters to his sons he gave as wives; Who spent in feastful comforts all their lives, 10 Close seated by their sire and his grave spouse. Past number were the dishes that the house Made ever savour; and still full the hall As long as day shined; in the night-time, all Slept with their chaste wives, each his fair carved bed 15 Most richly furnish’d; and this life they led. We reach’d the city and fair roofs of these, Where, a whole month’s time, all things that might please The king vouchsafed us; of great Troy inquired, The Grecian fleet, and how the Greeks retired. 20 To all which I gave answer as behoved. The fit time come when I dismission moved, He nothing would deny me, but address’d My pass with such a bounty, as might best Teach me contentment; for he did enfold 25 Within an ox-hide, flayed at nine years old, All th’ airy blasts that were of stormy kinds. Saturnius made him Steward of his Winds, And gave him power to raise and to assuage. And these he gave me, curb’d thus of their rage, 30 Which in a glittering silver band I bound, And hung up in my ship, enclosed so round That no egression any breath could find; Only he left abroad the Western Wind, To speed our ships, and us with blasts secure. 35 But our securities made all unsure; Nor could he consummate our course alone, When all the rest had got egression; Which thus succeeded: Nine whole days and nights We sail’d in safety; and the tenth, the lights 40 Borne on our country earth we might descry, So near we drew; and yet even then fell I, Being overwatch’d, into a fatal sleep, For I would suffer no man else to keep The foot that ruled my vessel’s course, to lead 45 The faster home. My friends then Envy fed About the bag I hung up, and supposed That gold and silver I had there enclosed, As gift from Æolus, and said: ‘O heaven! What grace and grave price is by all men given 50 To our commander! Whatsoever coast Or town he comes to, how much he engrost Of fair and precious prey, and brought from Troy! We the same voyage went, and yet enjoy In our return these empty hands for all. 55 This bag, now, Æolus was so liberal To make a guest-gift to him; let us try Of what consists the fair-bound treasury, And how much gold and silver it contains.’ Ill counsel present approbation gains. 60 They oped the bag, and out the vapours brake, When instant tempest did our vessel take, That bore us back to sea, to mourn anew Our absent country. Up amazed I flew, And desperate things discoursed; if I should cast 65 Myself to ruin in the seas, or taste Amongst the living more moan, and sustain? Silent, I did so, and lay hid again Beneath the hatches, while an ill wind took My ships back to Æolia, my men strook 70 With woe enough. We pump’d and landed then, Took food, for all this; and of all my men I took a herald to me, and away Went to the court of Æolus, where they Were feasting still; he, wife, and children, set 75 Together close. We would not at their meat Thrust in; but humbly on the threshold sat. He then, amazed, my presence wonder’d at, And call’d to me: ‘Ulysses! How thus back Art thou arrived here? What foul spirit brake 80 Into thy bosom, to retire thee thus? We thought we had deduction curious Given thee before, to reach thy shore and home; Did it not like thee?’ I, even overcome With worthy sorrow, answer’d: ‘My ill men 85 Have done me mischief, and to them hath been My sleep th’ unhappy motive; but do you, Dearest of friends, deign succour to my vow. Your powers command it.’ Thus endeavour’d I With soft speech to repair my misery. 90 The rest with ruth sat dumb. But thus spake he: ‘Avaunt, and quickly quit my land of thee, Thou worst of all that breathe. It fits not me To convoy, and take in, whom Heavens expose. Away, and with thee go the worst of woes, 95 That seek’st my friendship, and the Gods thy foes.’ Thus he dismiss’d me sighing. Forth we sail’d, At heart afflicted. And now wholly fail’d The minds my men sustain’d, so spent they were With toiling at their oars, and worse did bear 100 Their growing labours; and they caused their grought By self-will’d follies; nor now ever thought To see their country more. Six nights and days We sail’d; the seventh we saw fair Lamos raise Her lofty towers, the Læstrigonian state 105 That bears her ports so far disterminate; Where shepherd shepherd calls out, he at home Is call’d out by the other that doth come From charge abroad, and then goes he to sleep, The other issuing; he whose turn doth keep 110 The night observance hath his double hire, Since day and night in equal length expire About that region, and the night’s watch weigh’d At twice the day’s ward, since the charge that’s laid Upon the nights-man (besides breach of sleep) 115 Exceeds the days-man’s; for one oxen keep, The other sheep. But when the haven we found, (Exceeding famous, and environ’d round With one continuate rock, which so much bent That both ends almost met, so prominent 120 They were, and made the haven’s mouth passing strait) Our whole fleet in we got; in whole receit Our ships lay anchor’d close. Nor needed we Fear harm on any stays, Tranquillity So purely sat there, that waves great nor small 125 Did ever rise to any height at all. And yet would I no entry make, but stay’d Alone without the haven, and thence survey’d, From out a lofty watch-tower raised there, The country round about; nor anywhere 130 The work of man or beast appear’d to me, Only a smoke from earth break I might see. I then made choice of two, and added more, A herald for associate, to explore What sort of men lived there. They went, and saw 135 A beaten way, through which carts used to draw Wood from the high hills to the town, and met A maid without the port, about to get Some near spring-water. She the daughter was Of mighty Læstrigonian Antiphas, 140 And to the clear spring call’d Artacia went, To which the whole town for their water sent. To her they came, and ask’d who govern’d there, And what the people whom he order’d were? She answer’d not, but led them through the port, 145 As making haste to show her father’s court. Where enter’d, they beheld, to their affright, A woman like a mountain-top in height, Who rush’d abroad, and from the counsel place Call’d home her horrid husband Antiphas. 150 Who, deadly minded, straight he snatch’d up one, And fell to supper. Both the rest were gone; And to the fleet came. Antiphas a cry Drave through the city; which heard, instantly This way and that innumerable sorts, 155 Not men, but giants, issued through the ports, And mighty flints from rocks tore, which they threw Amongst our ships; through which an ill noise flew Of shiver’d ships, and life-expiring men, That were, like fishes, by the monsters slain, 160 And borne to sad feast. While they slaughter’d these, That were engaged in all th’ advantages The close-mouth’d and most dead-calm haven could give, I, that without lay, made some means to live, My sword drew, cut my gables, and to oars 165 Set all my men; and, from the plagues those shores Let fly amongst us, we made haste to fly, My men close working as men loth to die. My ship flew freely off; but theirs that lay On heaps in harbours could enforce no way 170 Through these stern fates that had engaged them there. Forth our sad remnant sail’d, yet still retain’d The joys of men, that our poor few remain’d. Then to the isle Ææa we attain’d, Where fair-hair’d, dreadful, eloquent Circe reign’d, 175 Ææta’s sister both by dame and sire, Both daughters to Heaven’s man-enlightning Fire, And Perse, whom Oceanus begat. The ship-fit port here soon we landed at, Some God directing us. Two days, two nights, 180 We lay here pining in the fatal spights Of toil and sorrow; but the next third day When fair Aurora had inform’d, quick way I made out of my ship, my sword and lance Took for my surer guide, and made advance 185 Up to a prospect; I assay to see The works of men, or hear mortality Expire a voice. When I had climb’d a height, Rough and right hardly accessible, I might Behold from Circe’s house, that in a grove 190 Set thick with trees stood, a bright vapour move. I then grew curious in my thought to try Some fit inquiry, when so spritely fly I saw the yellow smoke; but my discourse A first retiring to my ship gave force, 195 To give my men their dinner, and to send (Before th’ adventure of myself) some friend. Being near my ship, of one so desolate Some God had pity, and would recreate My woes a little, putting up to me 200 A great and high-palm’d hart, that (fatally, Just in my way, itself to taste a flood) Was then descending; the sun heat had sure Importuned him, besides the temperature His natural heat gave. Howsoever, I 205 Made up to him, and let my javelin fly, That struck him through the mid-part of his chine, And made him, braying, in the dust confine His flying forces. Forth his spirit flew; When I stept in, and from the death’s wound drew 210 My shrewdly-bitten lance; there let him lie Till I, of cut-up osiers, did imply A withe a fathom long, with which his feet I made together in a sure league meet, Stoop’d under him, and to my neck I heaved 215 The mighty burden, of which I received A good part on my lance, for else I could By no means with one hand alone uphold (Join’d with one shoulder) such a deathful load. And so, to both my shoulders, both hands stood 220 Needful assistants; for it was a deer Goodly-well-grown. When (coming something near Where rode my ships) I cast it down, and rear’d My friends with kind words; whom by name I cheer’d, In note particular, and said: ‘See friends, 225 We will not yet to Pluto’s house; our ends Shall not be hasten’d, though we be declined In cause of comfort, till the day designed By Fate’s fix’d finger. Come, as long as food Or wine lasts in our ship, let’s spirit our blood, 230 And quit our care and hunger both in one.’ This said, they frolick’d, came, and look’d upon With admiration the huge-bodied beast; And when their first-served eyes had done their feast, They wash’d, and made a to-be-strived-for meal 235 In point of honour. On which all did dwell The whole day long. And, to our venison’s store, We added wine till we could wish no more. Sun set, and darkness up, we slept, till light Put darkness down; and then did I excite 240 My friends to counsel, uttering this: ‘Now, friends, Afford unpassionate ear; though ill Fate lends So good cause to your passion, no man knows The reason whence and how the darkness grows; The reason how the morn is thus begun; 245 The reason how the man-enlight’ning sun Dives under earth; the reason how again He rears his golden head. Those counsels, then, That pass our comprehension, we must leave To him that knows their causes; and receive 250 Direction from him in our acts, as far As he shall please to make them regular, And stoop them to our reason. In our state What then behoves us? Can we estimate, With all our counsels, where we are? Or know 255 (Without instruction, past our own skills) how, Put off from hence, to steer our course the more? I think we cannot. We must then explore These parts for information; in which way We thus far are: Last morn I might display 260 (From off a high-rais’d cliff) an island lie Girt with th’ unmeasured sea, and is so nigh That in the midst I saw the smoke arise Through tufts of trees. This rests then to advise, Who shall explore this?’ This struck dead their hearts, 265 Rememb’ring the most execrable parts That Læstrigonian Antiphas had play’d, And that foul Cyclop that their fellows bray’d Betwixt his jaws; which moved them so, they cried. But idle tears had never wants supplied. 270 I in two parts divided all, and gave To either part his captain. I must have The charge of one; and one of God-like look, Eurylochus, the other. Lots we shook, Put in a casque together, which of us 275 Should lead th’ attempt; and ’twas Eurylochus. He freely went, with two and twenty more; All which took leave with tears; and our eyes wore The same wet badge of weak humanity. These in a dale did Circe’s house descry, 280 Of bright stone built, in a conspicuous way. Before her gates hill-wolves, and lions, lay; Which with her virtuous drugs so tame she made, That wolf nor lion would one man invade With any violence, but all arose, 285 Their huge long tails wagg’d, and in fawns would close, As loving dogs, when masters bring them home Relics of feast, in all observance come, And soothe their entries with their fawns and bounds, All guests still bringing some scraps for their hounds; 290 So, on these men, the wolves and lions ramp’d, Their horrid paws set up. Their spirits were damp’d To see such monstrous kindness, stay’d at gate, And heard within the Goddess elevate A voice divine, as at her web she wrought, 295 Subtle, and glorious, and past earthly thought, As all the housewiferies of Deities are. To hear a voice so ravishingly rare, Polites (one exceeding dear to me, A prince of men, and of no mean degree 300 In knowing virtue, in all acts whose mind Discreet cares all ways used to turn, and wind) Was yet surprised with it, and said: ‘O friends, Some one abides within here, that commends The place to us, and breathes a voice divine, 305 As she some web wrought, or her spindle’s twine She cherish’d with her song; the pavement rings With imitation of the tunes she sings. Some woman, or some Goddess, ’tis. Assay To see with knocking.’ Thus said he, and they 310 Both knock’d, and call’d; and straight her shining gates She open’d, issuing, bade them in to cates. Led, and unwise, they follow’d; all but one, Which was Eurylochus, who stood alone Without the gates, suspicious of a sleight. 315 They enter’d, she made sit; and her deceit She cloak’d with thrones, and goodly chairs of state; Set herby honey, and the delicate Wine brought from Smyrna, to them; meal and cheese; But harmful venoms she commix’d with these, 320 That made their country vanish from their thought. Which eat, she touch’d them with a rod that wrought Their transformation far past human wonts; Swine’s snouts, swine’s bodies, took they, bristles, grunts, But still retain’d the souls they had before, 325 Which made them mourn their bodies’ change the more. She shut them straight in sties, and gave them meat, Oak-mast, and beech, and cornel fruit, they eat, Grovelling like swine on earth, in foulest sort. Eurylochus straight hasted the report 330 Of this his fellows’ most remorseful fate, Came to the ships, but so excruciate Was with his woe, he could not speak a word, His eyes stood full of tears, which show’d how stored His mind with moan remain’d. We all admired, 335 Ask’d what had chanced him, earnestly desired He would resolve us. At the last, our eyes Enflamed in him his fellows’ memories, And out his grief burst thus: ‘You will’d; we went Through those thick woods you saw; when a descent 340 Show’d us a fair house, in a lightsome ground, Where, at some work, we heard a heavenly sound Breathed from a Goddess’, or a woman’s, breast. They knock’d, she oped her bright gates; each her guest Her fair invitement made; nor would they stay, 345 Fools that they were, when she once led the way. I enter’d not, suspecting some deceit. When all together vanish’d, nor the sight Of any one (though long I look’d) mine eye Could any way discover.’ Instantly, 350 My sword and bow reach’d, I bad show the place, When down he fell, did both my knees embrace, And pray’d with tears thus: ‘O thou kept of God, Do not thyself lose, nor to that abode Lead others rashly; both thyself, and all 355 Thou ventur’st thither, I know well, must fall In one sure ruin. With these few then fly; We yet may shun the others’ destiny.’ I answer’d him: ‘Eurylochus! Stay thou, And keep the ship then, eat and drink; I now 360 Will undertake th’ adventure; there is cause In great Necessity’s unalter’d laws.’ This said, I left both ship and seas, and on Along the sacred valleys all alone Went in discovery, till at last I came 365 Where of the main-medicine-making Dame I saw the great house; where encounter’d me, The golden-rod-sustaining Mercury, Even entering Circe’s doors. He met me in A young man’s likeness, of the first-flower’d chin, 370 Whose form hath all the grace of one so young. He first call’d to me, then my hand he wrung, And said: ‘Thou no-place-finding-for-repose, Whither, alone, by these hill-confines, goes Thy erring foot? Th’ art entering Circe’s house, 375 Where, by her med’cines, black, and sorcerous, Thy soldiers all are shut in well-arm’d sties, And turn’d to swine. Art thou arrived with prize Fit for their ransoms? Thou com’st out no more, If once thou ent’rest, like thy men before 380 Made to remain here. But I’ll guard thee free, And save thee in her spite. Receive of me This fair and good receipt; with which once arm’d, Enter her roofs, for th’ art to all proof charm’d Against the ill day. I will tell thee all 385 Her baneful counsel: With a festival She’ll first receive thee, but will spice thy bread With flowery poisons; yet unaltered Shall thy firm form be, for this remedy Stands most approved ‘gainst all her sorcery, 390 Which thus particularly shun: When she Shall with her long rod strike thee, instantly Draw from thy thigh thy sword, and fly on her As to her slaughter. She, surprised with fear And love, at first, will bid thee to her bed. 395 Nor say the Goddess nay, that welcomed Thou may’st with all respect be, and procure Thy fellows’ freedoms. But before, make sure Her favours to thee; and the great oath take With which the blessed Gods assurance make 400 Of all they promise; that no prejudice (By stripping thee of form, and faculties) She may so much as once attempt on thee.’ This said, he gave his antidote to me, Which from the earth he pluck’d, and told me all 405 The virtue of it, with what Deities call The name it bears; and Moly they impose For name to it. The root is hard to loose From hold of earth by mortals; but God’s power Can all things do. ‘Tis black, but bears a flower 410 As white as milk. And thus flew Mercury Up to immense Olympus, gliding by The sylvan island. I made back my way To Circe’s house, my mind of my assay Much thought revolving. At her gates I stay’d 415 And call’d; she heard, and her bright doors display’d, Invited, led; I follow’d in, but traced With some distraction. In a throne she placed My welcome person; of a curious frame ‘Twas, and so bright I sat as in a flame; 420 A foot-stool added. In a golden bowl She then suborn’d a potion, in her soul Deform’d things thinking; for amidst the wine She mix’d her man-transforming medicine; Which when she saw I had devour’d, she then 425 No more observ’d me with her soothing vein, But struck me with her rod, and to her sty Bad, out, away, and with thy fellows lie. I drew my sword, and charged her, as I meant To take her life. When out she cried, and bent 430 Beneath my sword her knees, embracing mine, And, full of tears, said: ‘Who? Of what high line Art thou the issue? Whence? What shores sustain Thy native city? I amazed remain That, drinking these my venoms, th’ art not turn’d. 435 Never drunk any this cup but he mourn’d In other likeness, if it once had pass’d The ivory bounders of his tongue and taste. All but thyself are brutishly declined. Thy breast holds firm yet, and unchanged thy mind. 440 Thou canst be therefore none else but the man Of many virtues, Ithacensian, Deep-soul’d, Ulysses, who, I oft was told, By that sly God that bears the rod of gold, Was to arrive here in retreat from Troy. 445 Sheathe then thy sword, and let my bed enjoy So much a man, that when the bed we prove, We may believe in one another’s love.’ I then: ‘O Circe, why entreat’st thou me To mix in any human league with thee, 450 When thou my friends hast beasts turn’d; and thy bed Tender’st to me, that I might likewise lead A beast’s life with thee, soften’d, naked stripp’d, That in my blood thy banes may more be steep’d? I never will ascend thy bed, before, 455 I may affirm, that in heaven’s sight you swore The great oath of the Gods, that all attempt To do me ill is from your thoughts exempt.’ I said, she swore, when, all the oath-rites said, I then ascended her adorned bed, 460 But thus prepared: Four handmaids served her there, That daughters to her silver fountains were, To her bright-sea-observing sacred floods, And to her uncut consecrated woods. One deck’d the throne-tops with rich cloths of state, 465 And did with silks the foot-pace consecrate. Another silver tables set before The pompous throne, and golden dishes’ store Served in with several feast. A third fill’d wine. The fourth brought water, and made fuel shine 470 In ruddy fires beneath a womb of brass. Which heat, I bath’d; and odorous water was Disperpled lightly on my head and neck, That might my late heart-hurting sorrows check With the refreshing sweetness; and, for that, 475 Men sometimes may be something delicate. Bath’d, and adorn’d, she led me to a throne Of massy silver, and of fashion Exceeding curious. A fair foot-stool set, Water apposed, and every sort of meat 480 Set on th’ elaborately-polish’d board, She wish’d my taste employ’d; but not a word Would my ears taste of taste; my mind had food That must digest; eye meat would do me good. Circe (observing that I put no hand 485 To any banquet, having countermand From weightier cares the light cates could excuse) Bowing her near me, these wing’d words did use: ‘Why sits Ulysses like one dumb, his mind Lessening with languors? Nor to food inclin’d, 490 Nor wine? Whence comes it? Out of any fear Of more illusion? You must needs forbear That wrongful doubt, since you have heard me swear.’ ‘O Circe!’ I replied, ‘what man is he, Awed with the rights of true humanity, 495 That dares taste food or wine, before he sees His friends redeem’d from their deformities? If you be gentle, and indeed incline To let me taste the comfort of your wine, Dissolve the charms that their forced forms enchain, 500 And show me here my honour’d friends like men.’ This said, she left her throne, and took her rod, Went to her sty, and let my men abroad, Like swine of nine years old. They opposite stood, Observed their brutish form, and look’d for food; 505 When, with another medicine, every one All over smear’d, their bristles all were gone, Produced by malice of the other bane, And every one, afresh, look’d up a man, Both younger than they were, of stature more, 510 And all their forms much goodlier than before. All knew me, cling’d about me, and a cry Of pleasing mourning flew about so high The horrid roof resounded; and the queen Herself was moved to see our kind so keen, 515 Who bad me now bring ship and men ashore, Our arms, and goods in caves hid, and restore Myself to her, with all my other men. I granted, went, and oped the weeping vein In all my men; whose violent joy to see 520 My safe return was passing kindly free Of friendly tears, and miserably wept. You have not seen young heifers (highly kept, Fill’d full of daisies at the field, and driven Home to their hovels, all so spritely given 525 That no room can contain them, but about Bace by the dams, and let their spirits out In ceaseless bleating) of more jocund plight Than my kind friends, even crying out with sight Of my return so doubted; circled me 530 With all their welcomes, and as cheerfully Disposed their rapt minds, as if there they saw Their natural country, cliffy Ithaca, And even the roofs where they were bred and born, And vow’d as much, with tears: ‘O your return 535 As much delights us as in you had come Our country to us, and our natural home. But what unhappy fate hath reft our friends?’ I gave unlook’d for answer, that amends Made for their mourning, bad them first of all 540 Our ship ashore draw, then in caverns stall Our foody cattle, hide our mutual prize, ‘And then,’ said I, ‘attend me, that your eyes, In Circe’s sacred house, may see each friend Eating and drinking banquets out of end.’ 545 They soon obey’d; all but Eurylochus, Who needs would stay them all, and counsell’d thus: ‘O wretches! whither will ye? Why are you Fond of your mischiefs, and such gladness show For Circe’s house, that will transform ye all 550 To swine, or wolves, or lions? Never shall Our heads get out, if once within we be, But stay compell’d by strong necessity. So wrought the Cyclop, when t’ his cave our friends This bold one led on, and brought all their ends 555 By his one indiscretion. I for this Thought with my sword (that desperate head of his Hewn from his neck) to gash upon the ground His mangled body, though my blood was bound In near alliance to him. But the rest 560 With humble suit contain’d me, and request, That I would leave him with my ship alone, And to the sacred palace lead them on.’ I led them; nor Eurylochus would stay From their attendance on me, our late fray 565 Struck to his heart so. But mean time, my men, In Circe’s house, were all, in several bain, Studiously sweeten’d, smug’d with oil, and deck’d With in and out weeds, and a feast secret Served in before them; at which close we found 570 They all were set, cheer’d, and carousing round. When mutual sight had, and all thought on, then Feast was forgotten, and the moan again About the house flew, driven with wings of joy. But then spake Circe: ‘ Now, no more annoy. 575 I know myself what woes by sea, and shore, And men unjust have plagued enough before Your injured virtues. Here then feast as long, And be as cheerful, till ye grow as strong As when ye first forsook your country earth. 580 Ye now fare all like exiles; not a mirth, Flash’d in amongst ye, but is quench’d again With still-renew’d tears, though the beaten vein Of your distresses should, methink, be now Benumb with suff’rance.’ We did well allow 585 Her kind persuasions, and the whole year stay’d In varied feast with her. When, now array’d The world was with the spring, and orby hours Had gone the round again through herbs and flowers, The months absolved in order, till the days 590 Had run their full race in Apollo’s rays, My friends remember’d me of home, and said, If ever fate would sign my pass, delay’d It should be now no more. I heard them well, Yet that day spent in feast, till darkness fell, 595 And sleep his virtues through our vapours shed. When I ascended sacred Circe’s bed, Implored my pass, and her performed vow Which now my soul urged, and my soldiers now Afflicted me with tears to get them gone. 600 All these I told her, and she answer’d these: ‘Much skill’d Ulysses Laertiades! Remain no more against your wills with me, But take your free way; only this must be Perform’d before you steer your course for home: 605 You must the way to Pluto overcome, And stern Persephone, to form your pass, By th’ aged Theban soul Tiresias, The dark-brow’d prophet, whose soul yet can see Clearly, and firmly; grave Persephone, 610 Even dead, gave him a mind, that he alone Might sing truth’s solid wisdom, and not one Prove more than shade in his comparison.’ This broke my heart; I sunk into my bed, Mourn’d, and would never more be comforted 615 With light, nor life. But having now express’d My pains enough to her in my unrest, That so I might prepare her ruth, and get All I held fit for an affair so great, I said: ‘O Circe, who shall steer my course 620 To Pluto’s kingdom? Never ship had force To make that voyage.’ The divine-in-voice Said: ‘Seek no guide, raise you your mast, and hoise Your ship’s white sails, and then sit you at peace, The fresh North Spirit shall waft ye through the seas. 625 But, having past the ocean, you shall see A little shore, that to Persephone Puts up a consecrated wood, where grows Tall firs, and sallows that their fruits soon loose. Cast anchor in the gulfs, and go alone 630 To Pluto’s dark house, where, to Acheron Cocytus’ runs, and Pyriphlegethon, Cocytus born of Styx, and where a rock Of both the met floods bears the roaring shock. The dark heroe, great Tiresias, 635 Now coming near, to gain propitious pass, Dig of a cubit every way a pit, And pour to all that are deceas’d in it A solemn sacrifice. For which, first take Honey and wine, and their commixtion make; 640 Then sweet wine neat; and thirdly water pour; And lastly add to these the whitest flour. Then vow to all the weak necks of the dead Offerings a number; and, when thou shalt tread The Ithacensian shore, to sacrifice 645 A heifer never-tamed, and most of prize, A pile of all thy most esteemed goods Enflaming to the dear streams of their bloods; And, in secret rites, to Tiresias vow A ram coal-black at all parts, that doth flow 650 With fat and fleece, and all thy flocks doth lead. When the all-calling nation of the dead Thou thus hast pray’d to, offer on the place A ram and ewe all black; being turn’d in face To dreadful Erebus, thyself aside 655 The flood’s shore walking. And then, gratified With flocks of souls of men and dames deceas’d Shall all thy pious rites be. Straight address’d See then the offering that thy fellows slew, Flay’d, and imposed in fire; and all thy crew 660 Pray to the state of either Deity, Grave Pluto, and severe Persephone. Then draw thy sword, stand firm, nor suffer one Of all the faint shades of the dead and gone T’ approach the blood, till thou hast heard their king, 665 The wise Tiresias; who thy offering Will instantly do honour, thy home ways, And all the measure of them by the seas, Amply unfolding.’ This the Goddess, told; And then the Morning in her throne of gold 670 Survey’d the vast world; by whose orient light The Nymph adorn’d me with attires as bright, Her own hands putting on both shirt and weed, Robes fine, and curious, and upon my head An ornament that glitter’d like a flame, 675 Girt me in gold; and forth betimes I came Amongst my soldiers, roused them all from sleep, And bad them now no more observance keep Of ease, and feast, but straight a-shipboard fall, For now the Goddess had inform’d me all. 680 Their noble spirits agreed; nor yet so clear Could I bring all off, but Elpenor there His heedless life left. He was youngest man Of all my company, and one that wan Least fame for arms, as little for his brain; 685 Who (too much steep’d in wine, and so made fain To get refreshing by the cool of sleep, Apart his fellows, plunged in vapours deep, And they as high in tumult of their way) Suddenly waked and (quite out of the stay 690 A sober mind had given him) would descend A huge long ladder, forward, and an end Fell from the very roof, full pitching on The dearest joint his head was placed upon, Which, quite dissolved, let loose his soul to hell. 695 I to the rest, and Circe’s means did tell Of our return, as crossing clean the hope I gave them first, and said: ‘You think the scope Of our endeavours now is straight for home; No; Circe otherwise design’d, whose doom 700 Enjoin’d us first to greet the dreadful house Of austere Pluto and his glorious spouse, To take the counsel of Tiresias, The reverend Theban, to direct our pass.’ This brake their hearts, and grief made tear their hair. 705 But grief was never good at great affair; It would have way yet. We went woful on To ship and shore, where was arrived as soon Circe unseen, a black ewe and a ram Binding for sacrifice, and, as she came, 710 Vanish’d again unwitness’d by our eyes; Which grieved not us, nor check’d our sacrifice, For who would see God, loath to let us see, This way, or that bent; still his ways are free. FINIS DECIMI LIBRI HOM. ODYSS.