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The Odyssey of Homer
by Homer
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FOOTNOTES:

[59] Hieron menos Alkinooio.

[60] Homer dates all the fictions of Ulysses from Crete, as if he meant to pass a similar censure on the Cretans to that quoted by St. Paul—kretes aei pseusai.



BOOK XIV

ARGUMENT

Ulysses arriving at the house of Eumaeus, is hospitably entertained, and spends the night there.

Leaving the haven-side, he turn'd his steps Into a rugged path, which over hills Mantled with trees led him to the abode By Pallas mention'd of his noble friend[61] The swine-herd, who of all Ulysses' train Watch'd with most diligence his rural stores. Him sitting in the vestibule he found Of his own airy lodge commodious, built Amidst a level lawn. That structure neat Eumaeus, in the absence of his Lord, 10 Had raised, himself, with stones from quarries hewn, Unaided by Laertes or the Queen. With tangled thorns he fenced it safe around, And with contiguous stakes riv'n from the trunks Of solid oak black-grain'd hemm'd it without. Twelve penns he made within, all side by side, Lairs for his swine, and fast-immured in each Lay fifty pregnant females on the floor. The males all slept without, less num'rous far, Thinn'd by the princely wooers at their feasts 20 Continual, for to them he ever sent The fattest of his saginated charge. Three hundred, still, and sixty brawns remained. Four mastiffs in adjoining kennels lay, Resembling wild-beasts nourish'd at the board Of the illustrious steward of the styes. Himself sat fitting sandals to his feet, Carved from a stain'd ox-hide. Four hinds he kept, Now busied here and there; three in the penns Were occupied; meantime, the fourth had sought 30 The city, whither, for the suitors' use, With no good will, but by constraint, he drove A boar, that, sacrificing to the Gods, Th' imperious guests might on his flesh regale. Soon as those clamorous watch-dogs the approach Saw of Ulysses, baying loud, they ran Toward him; he, as ever, well-advised, Squatted, and let his staff fall from his hand. Yet foul indignity he had endured Ev'n there, at his own farm, but that the swain, 40 Following his dogs in haste, sprang through the porch To his assistance, letting fall the hide. With chiding voice and vollied stones he soon Drove them apart, and thus his Lord bespake. Old man! one moment more, and these my dogs Had, past doubt, worried thee, who should'st have proved, So slain, a source of obloquy to me. But other pangs the Gods, and other woes To me have giv'n, who here lamenting sit My godlike master, and his fatted swine 50 Nourish for others' use, while he, perchance, A wand'rer in some foreign city, seeks Fit sustenance, and none obtains, if still Indeed he live, and view the light of day. But, old friend! follow me into the house, That thou, at least, with plenteous food refresh'd, And cheer'd with wine sufficient, may'st disclose Both who thou art, and all that thou hast borne. So saying, the gen'rous swine-herd introduced Ulysses, and thick bundles spread of twigs 60 Beneath him, cover'd with the shaggy skin Of a wild goat, of which he made his couch Easy and large; the Hero, so received, Rejoiced, and thus his gratitude express'd. Jove grant thee and the Gods above, my host, For such beneficence thy chief desire! To whom, Eumaeus, thou didst thus reply. My guest! I should offend, treating with scorn The stranger, though a poorer should arrive Than ev'n thyself; for all the poor that are, 70 And all the strangers are the care of Jove. Little, and with good will, is all that lies Within my scope; no man can much expect From servants living in continual fear Under young masters; for the Gods, no doubt, Have intercepted my own Lord's return, From whom great kindness I had, else, received, With such a recompense as servants gain From gen'rous masters, house and competence, And lovely wife from many a wooer won, 80 Whose industry should have requited well His goodness, with such blessing from the Gods As now attends me in my present charge. Much had I, therefore, prosper'd, had my Lord Grown old at home; but he hath died—I would That the whole house of Helen, one and all, Might perish too, for she hath many slain Who, like my master, went glory to win For Agamemnon in the fields of Troy. So saying, he girdled, quick, his tunic close, 90 And, issuing, sought the styes; thence bringing two Of the imprison'd herd, he slaughter'd both, Singed them, and slash'd and spitted them, and placed The whole well-roasted banquet, spits and all, Reeking before Ulysses; last, with flour He sprinkled them, and filling with rich wine His ivy goblet, to his master sat Opposite, whom inviting thus he said. Now, eat, my guest! such as a servant may I set before thee, neither large of growth 100 Nor fat; the fatted—those the suitors eat, Fearless of heav'n, and pitiless of man. Yet deeds unjust as theirs the blessed Gods Love not; they honour equity and right. Even an hostile band when they invade A foreign shore, which by consent of Jove They plunder, and with laden ships depart, Even they with terrours quake of wrath divine. But these are wiser; these must sure have learn'd From some true oracle my master's death, 110 Who neither deign with decency to woo, Nor yet to seek their homes, but boldly waste His substance, shameless, now, and sparing nought. Jove ne'er hath giv'n us yet the night or day When with a single victim, or with two They would content them, and his empty jars Witness how fast the squand'rers use his wine. Time was, when he was rich indeed; such wealth No Hero own'd on yonder continent, Nor yet in Ithaca; no twenty Chiefs 120 Could match with all their treasures his alone; I tell thee their amount. Twelve herds of his The mainland graze;[62] as many flocks of sheep; As many droves of swine; and hirelings there And servants of his own seed for his use, As many num'rous flocks of goats; his goats, (Not fewer than eleven num'rous flocks) Here also graze the margin of his fields Under the eye of servants well-approved, And ev'ry servant, ev'ry day, brings home 130 The goat, of all his flock largest and best. But as for me, I have these swine in charge, Of which, selected with exactest care From all the herd, I send the prime to them. He ceas'd, meantime Ulysses ate and drank Voracious, meditating, mute, the death Of those proud suitors. His repast, at length, Concluded, and his appetite sufficed, Eumaeus gave him, charged with wine, the cup From which he drank himself; he, glad, received 140 The boon, and in wing'd accents thus began. My friend, and who was he, wealthy and brave As thou describ'st the Chief, who purchased thee? Thou say'st he perish'd for the glory-sake Of Agamemnon. Name him; I, perchance, May have beheld the Hero. None can say But Jove and the inhabitants of heav'n That I ne'er saw him, and may not impart News of him; I have roam'd through many a clime. To whom the noble swine-herd thus replied. 150 Alas, old man! no trav'ler's tale of him Will gain his consort's credence, or his son's; For wand'rers, wanting entertainment, forge Falsehoods for bread, and wilfully deceive. No wand'rer lands in Ithaca, but he seeks With feign'd intelligence my mistress' ear; She welcomes all, and while she questions each Minutely, from her lids lets fall the tear Affectionate, as well beseems a wife Whose mate hath perish'd in a distant land. 160 Thou could'st thyself, no doubt, my hoary friend! (Would any furnish thee with decent vest And mantle) fabricate a tale with ease; Yet sure it is that dogs and fowls, long since, His skin have stript, or fishes of the Deep Have eaten him, and on some distant shore Whelm'd in deep sands his mould'ring bones are laid. So hath he perish'd; whence, to all his friends, But chiefly to myself, sorrow of heart; For such another Lord, gentle as he, 170 Wherever sought, I have no hope to find, Though I should wander even to the house Of my own father. Neither yearns my heart So feelingly (though that desiring too) To see once more my parents and my home, As to behold Ulysses yet again. Ah stranger; absent as he is, his name Fills me with rev'rence, for he lov'd me much, Cared for me much, and, though we meet no more, Holds still an elder brother's part in me. 180 Him answer'd, then, the Hero toil-inured. My friend! since his return, in thy account, Is an event impossible, and thy mind Always incredulous that hope rejects, I shall not slightly speak, but with an oath— Ulysses comes again; and I demand No more, than that the boon such news deserves, Be giv'n me soon as he shall reach his home. Then give me vest and mantle fit to wear, Which, ere that hour, much as I need them both, 190 I neither ask, nor will accept from thee. For him whom poverty can force aside From truth—I hate him as the gates of hell. Be Jove, of all in heav'n, my witness first, Then, this thy hospitable board, and, last, The household Gods of the illustrious Chief Himself, Ulysses, to whose gates I go, That all my words shall surely be fulfill'd. In this same year Ulysses shall arrive, Ere, this month closed, another month succeed, 200 He shall return, and punish all who dare Insult his consort and his noble son. To whom Eumaeus, thou didst thus reply. Old friend! that boon thou wilt ne'er earn from me; Ulysses comes no more. But thou thy wine Drink quietly, and let us find, at length, Some other theme; recall not this again To my remembrance, for my soul is grieved Oft as reminded of my honour'd Lord. Let the oath rest, and let Ulysses come 210 Ev'n as myself, and as Penelope, And as his ancient father, and his son Godlike Telemachus, all wish he may. Ay—there I feel again—nor cease to mourn His son Telemachus; who, when the Gods Had giv'n him growth like a young plant, and I Well hoped that nought inferior he should prove In person or in mind to his own sire, Hath lost, through influence human or divine, I know not how, his sober intellect, 220 And after tidings of his sire is gone To far-famed Pylus; his return, meantime, In ambush hidden the proud suitors wait, That the whole house may perish of renown'd Arcesias, named in Ithaca no more. But whether he have fallen or 'scaped, let him Rest also, whom Saturnian Jove protect! But come, my ancient guest! now let me learn Thy own afflictions; answer me in truth. Who, and whence art thou? in what city born? 230 Where dwell thy parents; in what kind of ship Cam'st thou? the mariners, why brought they thee To Ithaca? and of what land are they? For, that on foot thou found'st us not, is sure. Him answer'd, then, Ulysses, ever-wise. I will with truth resolve thee; and if here Within thy cottage sitting, we had wine And food for many a day, and business none But to regale at ease while others toiled, I could exhaust the year complete, my woes 240 Rehearsing, nor, at last, rehearse entire My sorrows by the will of heav'n sustained. I boast me sprung from ancestry renown'd In spacious Crete; son of a wealthy sire, Who other sons train'd num'rous in his house, Born of his wedded wife; but he begat Me on his purchased concubine, whom yet Dear as his other sons in wedlock born Castor Hylacides esteem'd and lov'd, For him I boast my father. Him in Crete, 250 While yet he liv'd, all reverenc'd as a God, So rich, so prosp'rous, and so blest was he With sons of highest praise. But death, the doom Of all, him bore to Pluto's drear abode, And his illustrious sons among themselves Portion'd his goods by lot; to me, indeed, They gave a dwelling, and but little more, Yet, for my virtuous qualities, I won A wealthy bride, for I was neither vain Nor base, forlorn as thou perceiv'st me now. 260 But thou canst guess, I judge, viewing the straw What once was in the ear. Ah! I have borne Much tribulation; heap'd and heavy woes. Courage and phalanx-breaking might had I From Mars and Pallas; at what time I drew, (Planning some dread exploit) an ambush forth Of our most valiant Chiefs, no boding fears Of death seized me, but foremost far of all I sprang to fight, and pierced the flying foe. Such was I once in arms. But household toils 270 Sustain'd for children's sake, and carking cares T' enrich a family, were not for me. My pleasures were the gallant bark, the din Of battle, the smooth spear and glitt'ring shaft, Objects of dread to others, but which me The Gods disposed to love and to enjoy. Thus diff'rent minds are diff'rently amused; For ere Achaia's fleet had sailed to Troy, Nine times was I commander of an host Embark'd against a foreign foe, and found 280 In all those enterprizes great success. From the whole booty, first, what pleased me most Chusing, and sharing also much by lot I rapidly grew rich, and had thenceforth Among the Cretans rev'rence and respect. But when loud-thund'ring Jove that voyage dire Ordain'd, which loos'd the knees of many a Greek, Then, to Idomeneus and me they gave The charge of all their fleet, which how to avoid We found not, so importunate the cry 290 Of the whole host impell'd us to the task. There fought we nine long years, and in the tenth (Priam's proud city pillag'd) steer'd again Our galleys homeward, which the Gods dispersed. Then was it that deep-planning Jove devised For me much evil. One short month, no more, I gave to joys domestic, in my wife Happy, and in my babes, and in my wealth, When the desire seiz'd me with sev'ral ships Well-rigg'd, and furnish'd all with gallant crews, 300 To sail for AEgypt; nine I fitted forth, To which stout mariners assembled fast. Six days the chosen partners of my voyage Feasted, to whom I num'rous victims gave For sacrifice, and for their own regale. Embarking on the sev'nth from spacious Crete, Before a clear breeze prosp'rous from the North We glided easily along, as down A river's stream; nor one of all my ships Damage incurr'd, but healthy and at ease 310 We sat, while gales well-managed urged us on. The fifth day thence, smooth-flowing Nile we reach'd, And safe I moor'd in the AEgyptian stream. Then, charging all my mariners to keep Strict watch for preservation of the ships, I order'd spies into the hill-tops; but they Under the impulse of a spirit rash And hot for quarrel, the well-cultur'd fields Pillaged of the AEgyptians, captive led Their wives and little ones, and slew the men. 320 Soon was the city alarm'd, and at the cry Down came the citizens, by dawn of day, With horse and foot, and with the gleam of arms Filling the plain. Then Jove with panic dread Struck all my people; none found courage more To stand, for mischiefs swarm'd on ev'ry side. There, num'rous by the glittering spear we fell Slaughter'd, while others they conducted thence Alive to servitude. But Jove himself My bosom with this thought inspired, (I would 330 That, dying, I had first fulfill'd my fate In AEgypt, for new woes were yet to come!) Loosing my brazen casque, and slipping off My buckler, there I left them on the field, Then cast my spear away, and seeking, next, The chariot of the sov'reign, clasp'd his knees, And kiss'd them. He, by my submission moved, Deliver'd me, and to his chariot-seat Raising, convey'd me weeping to his home. With many an ashen spear his warriors sought 340 To slay me, (for they now grew fiery wroth) But he, through fear of hospitable Jove, Chief punisher of wrong, saved me alive. Sev'n years I there abode, and much amass'd Among the AEgyptians, gifted by them all; But, in the eighth revolving year, arrived A shrewd Phoenician, in all fraud adept, Hungry, and who had num'rous harm'd before, By whom I also was cajoled, and lured T' attend him to Phoenicia, where his house 350 And his possessions lay; there I abode A year complete his inmate; but (the days And months accomplish'd of the rolling year, And the new seasons ent'ring on their course) To Lybia then, on board his bark, by wiles He won me with him, partner of the freight Profess'd, but destin'd secretly to sale, That he might profit largely by my price. Not unsuspicious, yet constrain'd to go, With this man I embark'd. A cloudless gale 360 Propitious blowing from the North, our ship Ran right before it through the middle sea, In the offing over Crete; but adverse Jove Destruction plann'd for them and death the while. For, Crete now left afar, and other land Appearing none, but sky alone and sea, Right o'er the hollow bark Saturnian Jove A cloud caerulean hung, dark'ning the Deep. Then, thund'ring oft, he hurl'd into the bark His bolts; she smitten by the fires of Jove, 370 Quaked all her length; with sulphur fill'd she reek'd, And, o'er her sides precipitated, plunged Like gulls the crew, forbidden by that stroke Of wrath divine to hope their country more. But Jove himself, when I had cast away All hope of life, conducted to my arms The strong tall mast, that I might yet escape. Around that beam I clung, driving before The stormy blast. Nine days complete I drove, And, on the tenth dark night, the rolling flood 380 Immense convey'd me to Thesprotia's shore. There me the Hero Phidon, gen'rous King Of the Thesprotians, freely entertained; For his own son discov'ring me with toil Exhausted and with cold, raised me, and thence Led me humanely to his father's house, Who cherish'd me, and gave me fresh attire. There heard I of Ulysses, whom himself Had entertain'd, he said, on his return To his own land; he shew'd me also gold, 390 Brass, and bright steel elab'rate, whatsoe'er Ulysses had amass'd, a store to feed A less illustrious family than his To the tenth generation, so immense His treasures in the royal palace lay. Himself, he said, was to Dodona gone, There, from the tow'ring oaks of Jove to ask Counsel divine, if openly to land (After long absence) in his opulent realm Of Ithaca, be best, or in disguise. 400 To me the monarch swore, in his own hall Pouring libation, that the ship was launch'd, And the crew ready for his conduct home. But me he first dismiss'd, for, as it chanced, A ship lay there of the Thesprotians, bound To green Dulichium's isle. He bade the crew Bear me to King Acastus with all speed; But them far other thoughts pleased more, and thoughts Of harm to me, that I might yet be plunged In deeper gulphs of woe than I had known. 410 For, when the billow-cleaving bark had left The land remote, framing, combined, a plot Against my liberty, they stripp'd my vest And mantle, and this tatter'd raiment foul Gave me instead, which thy own eyes behold. At even-tide reaching the cultur'd coast Of Ithaca, they left me bound on board With tackle of the bark, and quitting ship Themselves, made hasty supper on the shore. But me, meantime, the Gods easily loos'd 420 By their own pow'r, when, with wrapper vile Around my brows, sliding into the sea At the ship's stern, I lay'd me on the flood. With both hands oaring thence my course, I swam Till past all ken of theirs; then landing where Thick covert of luxuriant trees I mark'd, Close couchant down I lay; they mutt'ring loud, Paced to and fro, but deeming farther search Unprofitable, soon embark'd again. Thus baffling all their search with ease, the Gods 430 Conceal'd and led me thence to the abode Of a wise man, dooming me still to live. To whom, Eumaeus, thou didst thus reply, Alas! my most compassionable guest! Thou hast much moved me by this tale minute Of thy sad wand'rings and thy num'rous woes. But, speaking of Ulysses, thou hast pass'd All credence; I at least can give thee none. Why, noble as thou art, should'st thou invent Palpable falsehoods? as for the return 440 Of my regretted Lord, myself I know That had he not been hated by the Gods Unanimous, he had in battle died At Troy, or (that long doubtful war, at last, Concluded,) in his people's arms at home. Then universal Greece had raised his tomb, And he had even for his son atchiev'd Immortal glory; but alas! by beaks Of harpies torn, unseemly sight, he lies. Here is my home the while; I never seek 450 The city, unless summon'd by discrete Penelope to listen to the news Brought by some stranger, whencesoe'er arrived. Then, all, alike inquisitive, attend, Both who regret the absence of our King, And who rejoice gratuitous to gorge His property; but as for me, no joy Find I in list'ning after such reports, Since an AEtolian cozen'd me, who found (After long wand'ring over various lands 460 A fugitive for blood) my lone retreat. Him warm I welcom'd, and with open arms Receiv'd, who bold affirm'd that he had seen My master with Idomeneus at Crete His ships refitting shatter'd by a storm, And that in summer with his godlike band He would return, bringing great riches home, Or else in autumn. And thou ancient guest Forlorn! since thee the Gods have hither led, Seek not to gratify me with untruths 470 And to deceive me, since for no such cause I shall respect or love thee, but alone By pity influenced, and the fear of Jove. To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied. Thou hast, in truth, a most incredulous mind, Whom even with an oath I have not moved, Or aught persuaded. Come then—let us make In terms express a cov'nant, and the Gods Who hold Olympus, witness to us both! If thy own Lord at this thy house arrive, 480 Thou shalt dismiss me decently attired In vest and mantle, that I may repair Hence to Dulichium, whither I would go. But, if thy Lord come not, then, gath'ring all Thy servants, headlong hurl me from a rock, That other mendicants may fear to lie. To whom the generous swine-herd in return. Yes, stranger! doubtless I should high renown Obtain for virtue among men, both now And in all future times, if, having first 490 Invited thee, and at my board regaled, I, next, should slay thee; then my pray'rs would mount, Past question, swiftly to Saturnian Jove. But the hour calls to supper, and, ere long, The partners of my toils will come prepared To spread the board with no unsav'ry cheer. Thus they conferr'd. And now the swains arrived, Driving their charge, which fast they soon enclosed Within their customary penns, and loud The hubbub was of swine prison'd within. 500 Then call'd the master to his rustic train. Bring ye the best, that we may set him forth Before my friend from foreign climes arrived, With whom ourselves will also feast, who find The bright-tusk'd multitude a painful charge, While others, at no cost of theirs, consume Day after day, the profit of our toils. So saying, his wood for fuel he prepared, And dragging thither a well-fatted brawn Of the fifth year his servants held him fast 510 At the hearth-side. Nor failed the master swain T' adore the Gods, (for wise and good was he) But consecration of the victim, first, Himself performing, cast into the fire The forehead bristles of the tusky boar, Then pray'd to all above, that, safe, at length, Ulysses might regain his native home. Then lifting an huge shive that lay beside The fire, he smote the boar, and dead he fell, Next, piercing him, and scorching close his hair, 520 They carv'd him quickly, and Eumaeus spread Thin slices crude taken from ev'ry limb O'er all his fat, then other slices cast, Sprinkling them first with meal, into the fire. The rest they slash'd and scored, and roasted well, And placed it, heap'd together, on the board. Then rose the good Eumaeus to his task Of distribution, for he understood The hospitable entertainer's part. Sev'n-fold partition of the banquet made, 530 He gave, with previous pray'r, to Maia's son[63] And to the nymphs one portion of the whole, Then served his present guests, honouring first Ulysses with the boar's perpetual chine; By that distinction just his master's heart He gratified, and thus the Hero spake. Eumaeus! be thou as belov'd of Jove As thou art dear to me, whom, though attired So coarsely, thou hast served with such respect! To whom, Eumaeus, thou didst thus reply. 540 Eat, noble stranger! and refreshment take Such as thou may'st; God[64] gives, and God denies At his own will, for He is Lord of all. He said, and to the everlasting Gods The firstlings sacrificed of all, then made Libation, and the cup placed in the hands Of city-spoiler Laertiades Sitting beside his own allotted share. Meantime, Mesaulius bread dispensed to all, Whom, in the absence of his Lord, himself 550 Eumaeus had from Taphian traders bought With his own proper goods, at no expence Either to old Laertes or the Queen. And now, all stretch'd their hands toward the feast Reeking before them, and when hunger none Felt more or thirst, Mesaulius clear'd the board. Then, fed to full satiety, in haste Each sought his couch. Black came a moonless night, And Jove all night descended fast in show'rs, With howlings of the ever wat'ry West. 560 Ulysses, at that sound, for trial sake Of his good host, if putting off his cloak He would accommodate him, or require That service for him at some other hand, Addressing thus the family, began. Hear now, Eumaeus, and ye other swains His fellow-lab'rers! I shall somewhat boast, By wine befool'd, which forces ev'n the wise To carol loud, to titter and to dance, And words to utter, oft, better suppress'd. 570 But since I have begun, I shall proceed, Prating my fill. Ah might those days return With all the youth and strength that I enjoy'd, When in close ambush, once, at Troy we lay! Ulysses, Menelaus, and myself Their chosen coadjutor, led the band. Approaching to the city's lofty wall Through the thick bushes and the reeds that gird The bulwarks, down we lay flat in the marsh, Under our arms, then Boreas blowing loud, 580 A rueful night came on, frosty and charged With snow that blanch'd us thick as morning rime, And ev'ry shield with ice was crystall'd o'er. The rest with cloaks and vests well cover'd, slept Beneath their bucklers; I alone my cloak, Improvident, had left behind, no thought Conceiving of a season so severe; Shield and belt, therefore, and nought else had I. The night, at last, nigh spent, and all the stars Declining in their course, with elbow thrust 590 Against Ulysses' side I roused the Chief, And thus address'd him ever prompt to hear. Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd! I freeze to death. Help me, or I am lost. No cloak have I; some evil daemon, sure, Beguil'd me of all prudence, that I came Thus sparely clad; I shall, I must expire. So I; he, ready as he was in arms And counsel both, the remedy at once Devised, and thus, low-whisp'ring, answer'd me. 600 Hush! lest perchance some other hear—He said, And leaning on his elbow, spake aloud. My friends! all hear—a monitory dream Hath reach'd me, for we lie far from the ships. Haste, therefore, one of you, with my request To Agamemnon, Atreus' son, our Chief, That he would reinforce us from the camp. He spake, and at the word, Andraemon's son Thoas arose, who, casting off his cloak, Ran thence toward the ships, and folded warm 610 Within it, there lay I till dawn appear'd. Oh for the vigour of such youth again! Then, some good peasant here, either for love Or for respect, would cloak a man like me, Whom, now, thus sordid in attire ye scorn. To whom, Eumaeus, thou didst thus reply. My ancient guest! I cannot but approve Thy narrative, nor hast thou utter'd aught Unseemly, or that needs excuse. No want Of raiment, therefore, or of aught beside 620 Needful to solace penury like thine, Shall harm thee here; yet, at the peep of dawn Gird thy own tatters to thy loins again; For we have no great store of cloaks to boast, Or change of vests, but singly one for each. But when Ulysses' son shall once arrive, He will himself with vest and mantle both Cloath thee, and send thee whither most thou would'st. So saying, he rose, and nearer made his couch To the hearth-side, spreading it thick with skins 630 Of sheep and goats; then lay the Hero down, O'er whom a shaggy mantle large he threw, Which oft-times served him with a change, when rough The winter's blast and terrible arose. So was Ulysses bedded, and the youths Slept all beside him; but the master-swain Chose not his place of rest so far remote From his rude charge, but to the outer court With his nocturnal furniture, repair'd, Gladd'ning Ulysses' heart that one so true 640 In his own absence kept his rural stores. Athwart his sturdy shoulders, first, he flung His faulchion keen, then wrapp'd him in a cloak Thick-woven, winter-proof; he lifted, next, The skin of a well-thriven goat, in bulk Surpassing others, and his javelin took Sharp-pointed, with which dogs he drove and men. Thus arm'd, he sought his wonted couch beneath A hollow rock where the herd slept, secure From the sharp current of the Northern blast. 650

FOOTNOTES:

[61] Dios hyphorbos.—The swineherd's was therefore in those days, and in that country, an occupation honourable as well as useful. Barnes deems the epithet dios significant of his noble birth. Vide Clarke in loco.

[62] It may be proper to suggest that Ulysses was lord of part of the continent opposite to Ithaca—viz.—of the peninsula Nericus or Leuca, which afterward became an island, and is now called Santa Maura. F.

[63] Mercury.

[64] Theos—without a relative, and consequently signifying GOD in the abstract, is not unfrequently found in Homer, though fearing to give offence to serious minds unacquainted with the original, I have not always given it that force in the translation. But here, the sentiment is such as fixes the sense intended by the author with a precision that leaves no option. It is observable too, that dynatai gar apanta—is an ascription of power such as the poet never makes to his Jupiter.



BOOK XV

ARGUMENT

Telemachus, admonished by Minerva, takes leave of Menelaus, but ere he sails, is accosted by Theoclymenos, a prophet of Argos, whom at his earnest request he takes on board. In the meantime Eumaeus relates to Ulysses the means by which he came to Ithaca. Telemachus arriving there, gives orders for the return of his bark to the city, and repairs himself to Eumaeus.

Meantime to Lacedaemon's spacious vale Minerva went, that she might summon thence Ulysses' glorious son to his own home. Arrived, she found Telemachus reposed And Nestor's son beneath the vestibule Of Menelaus, mighty Chief; she saw Pisistratus in bands of gentle sleep Fast-bound, but not Telemachus; his mind No rest enjoy'd, by filial cares disturb'd Amid the silent night, when, drawing near 10 To his couch side, the Goddess thus began. Thou canst no longer prudently remain A wand'rer here, Telemachus! thy home Abandon'd, and those haughty suitors left Within thy walls; fear lest, partition made Of thy possessions, they devour the whole, And in the end thy voyage bootless prove. Delay not; from brave Menelaus ask Dismission hence, that thou may'st find at home Thy spotless mother, whom her brethren urge 20 And her own father even now to wed Eurymachus, in gifts and in amount Of proffer'd dow'r superior to them all. Some treasure, else, shall haply from thy house Be taken, such as thou wilt grudge to spare. For well thou know'st how woman is disposed; Her whole anxiety is to encrease His substance whom she weds; no care hath she Of her first children, or remembers more The buried husband of her virgin choice. 30 Returning then, to her of all thy train Whom thou shalt most approve, the charge commit Of thy concerns domestic, till the Gods Themselves shall guide thee to a noble wife. Hear also this, and mark it. In the frith Samos the rude, and Ithaca between, The chief of all her suitors thy return In vigilant ambush wait, with strong desire To slay thee, ere thou reach thy native shore, But shall not, as I judge, till the earth hide 40 Many a lewd reveller at thy expence. Yet, steer thy galley from those isles afar, And voyage make by night; some guardian God Shall save thee, and shall send thee prosp'rous gales. Then, soon as thou attain'st the nearest shore Of Ithaca, dispatching to the town Thy bark with all thy people, seek at once The swine-herd; for Eumaeus is thy friend. There sleep, and send him forth into the town With tidings to Penelope, that safe 50 Thou art restored from Pylus home again. She said, and sought th' Olympian heights sublime. Then, with his heel shaking him, he awoke The son of Nestor, whom he thus address'd. Rise, Nestor's son, Pisistratus! lead forth The steeds, and yoke them. We must now depart. To whom the son of Nestor thus replied. Telemachus! what haste soe'er we feel, We can by no means prudently attempt To drive by night, and soon it will be dawn. 60 Stay, therefore, till the Hero, Atreus' son, Spear-practis'd Menelaus shall his gifts Place in the chariot, and with kind farewell Dismiss thee; for the guest in mem'ry holds Through life, the host who treats him as a friend. Scarce had he spoken, when the golden dawn Appearing, Menelaus, from the side Of beauteous Helen ris'n, their bed approach'd, Whose coming when Telemachus perceived, Cloathing himself hastily in his vest 70 Magnificent, and o'er his shoulders broad Casting his graceful mantle, at the door He met the Hero, whom he thus address'd. Atrides, Menelaus, Chief renown'd! Dismiss me hence to Ithaca again, My native isle, for I desire to go. Him answer'd Menelaus famed in arms. Telemachus! I will not long delay Thy wish'd return. I disapprove alike The host whose assiduity extreme 80 Distresses, and whose negligence offends; The middle course is best; alike we err, Him thrusting forth whose wish is to remain, And hind'ring the impatient to depart. This only is true kindness—To regale The present guest, and speed him when he would. Yet stay, till thou shalt see my splendid gifts Placed in thy chariot, and till I command My women from our present stores to spread The table with a plentiful repast. 90 For both the honour of the guest demands, And his convenience also, that he eat Sufficient, ent'ring on a length of road. But if through Hellas thou wilt take thy way And traverse Argos, I will, then, myself Attend thee; thou shalt journey with my steeds Beneath thy yoke, and I will be thy guide To many a city, whence we shall not go Ungratified, but shall in each receive Some gift at least, tripod, or charger bright, 100 Or golden chalice, or a pair of mules. To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. Atrides, Menelaus, Chief renown'd! I would at once depart, (for guardian none Of my possessions have I left behind) Lest, while I seek my father, I be lost Myself, or lose what I should grudge to spare. Which when the valiant Menelaus heard, He bade his spouse and maidens spread the board At once with remnants of the last regale. 110 Then Eteoneus came, Boetheus' son Newly aris'n, for nigh at hand he dwelt, Whom Menelaus bade kindle the fire By which to dress their food, and he obey'd. He next, himself his fragrant chamber sought, Not sole, but by his spouse and by his son Attended, Megapenthes. There arrived Where all his treasures lay, Atrides, first, Took forth, himself, a goblet, then consign'd To his son's hand an argent beaker bright. 120 Meantime, beside her coffers Helen stood Where lay her variegated robes, fair works Of her own hand. Producing one, in size And in magnificence the chief, a star For splendour, and the lowest placed of all, Loveliest of her sex, she bore it thence. Then, all proceeding through the house, they sought Telemachus again, whom reaching, thus The Hero of the golden locks began. May Jove the Thunderer, dread Juno's mate, 130 Grant thee, Telemachus! such voyage home As thy own heart desires! accept from all My stores selected as the richest far And noblest gift for finish'd beauty—This. I give thee wrought elaborate a cup, Itself all silver, bound with lip of gold. It is the work of Vulcan, which to me The Hero Phaedimus imparted, King Of the Sidonians, when, on my return, Beneath his roof I lodg'd. I make it thine. 140 So saying, the Hero, Atreus' son, the cup Placed in his hands, and Megapenthes set Before him, next, the argent beaker bright; But lovely Helen drawing nigh, the robe Presented to him, whom she thus address'd. I also give thee, oh my son, a gift, Which seeing, thou shalt think on her whose hands Wrought it; a present on thy nuptial day For thy fair spouse; meantime, repose it safe In thy own mother's keeping. Now, farewell! 150 Prosp'rous and happy be thy voyage home! She ceas'd, and gave it to him, who the gift Accepted glad, and in the chariot-chest Pisistratus the Hero all disposed, Admiring them the while. They, following, next, The Hero Menelaus to his hall Each on his couch or on his throne reposed. A maiden, then, with golden ewer charged And silver bowl, pour'd water on their hands, And spread the polish'd table, which with food 160 Various, selected from her present stores, The mistress of the household charge supplied. Boetheus' son stood carver, and to each His portion gave, while Megapenthes, son Of glorious Menelaus, serv'd the cup. Then, all with outstretch'd hands the feast assail'd, And when nor hunger more nor thirst of wine They felt, Telemachus and Nestor's son Yoked the swift steeds, and, taking each his seat In the resplendent chariot, drove at once 170 Right through the sounding portico abroad. But Menelaus, Hero amber-hair'd, A golden cup bearing with richest wine Replete in his right hand, follow'd them forth, That not without libation first perform'd They might depart; he stood before the steeds, And drinking first, thus, courteous, them bespake. Health to you both, young friends! and from my lips Like greeting bear to Nestor, royal Chief, For he was ever as a father kind 180 To me, while the Achaians warr'd at Troy. To whom Telemachus discrete replied. And doubtless, so we will; at our return We will report to him, illustrious Prince! Thy ev'ry word. And oh, I would to heav'n That reaching Ithaca, I might at home Ulysses hail as sure, as I shall hence Depart, with all benevolence by thee Treated, and rich in many a noble gift. While thus he spake, on his right hand appear'd 190 An eagle; in his talons pounced he bore A white-plumed goose domestic, newly ta'en From the house-court. Ran females all and males Clamorous after him; but he the steeds Approaching on the right, sprang into air. That sight rejoicing and with hearts reviv'd They view'd, and thus Pisistratus his speech Amid them all to Menelaus turn'd. Now, Menelaus, think, illustrious Chief! If us, this omen, or thyself regard. 200 While warlike Menelaus musing stood What answer fit to frame, Helen meantime, His spouse long-stoled preventing him, began. Hear me; for I will answer as the Gods Teach me, and as I think shall come to pass. As he, descending from his place of birth The mountains, caught our pamper'd goose away, So shall Ulysses, after many woes And wand'rings to his home restored, avenge His wrongs, or even now is at his home 210 For all those suitors sowing seeds of woe. To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. Oh grant it Jove, Juno's high-thund'ring mate! So will I, there arrived, with vow and pray'r Thee worship, as thou wert, thyself, divine. He said, and lash'd the coursers; fiery they And fleet, sprang through the city to the plain. All day the yoke on either side they shook, Journeying swift; and now the setting sun To gloomy evening had resign'd the roads, 220 When they to Pherae came, and in the house Of good Diocles slept, their lib'ral host, Whose sire Orsilochus from Alpheus sprang. But when Aurora, daughter of the Dawn, Look'd rosy from the East, yoking their steeds, They in the sumptuous chariot sat again. Forth through the vestibule they drove, and through The sounding portico, when Nestor's son Plied brisk the scourge, and willing flew the steeds. Thus whirl'd along, soon they approach'd the gates 230 Of Pylus, when Telemachus, his speech Turning to his companion, thus began. How, son of Nestor! shall I win from thee Not promise only, but performance kind Of my request? we are not bound alone To friendship by the friendship of our sires, But by equality of years, and this Our journey shall unite us still the more. Bear me not, I intreat thee, noble friend! Beyond the ship, but drop me at her side, 240 Lest ancient Nestor, though against my will, Detain me in his palace through desire To feast me, for I dread the least delay. He spake; then mused Pisistratus how best He might effect the wishes of his friend, And thus at length resolved; turning his steeds With sudden deviation to the shore He sought the bark, and placing in the stern Both gold and raiment, the illustrious gifts Of Menelaus, thus, in accents wing'd 250 With ardour, urged Telemachus away. Dispatch, embark, summon thy crew on board, Ere my arrival notice give of thine To the old King; for vehement I know His temper, neither will he let thee hence, But, hasting hither, will himself enforce Thy longer stay, that thou may'st not depart Ungifted; nought will fire his anger more. So saying, he to the Pylian city urged His steeds bright-maned, and at the palace-gate 260 Arrived of Nestor speedily; meantime Telemachus exhorted thus his crew. My gallant friends! set all your tackle, climb The sable bark, for I would now return. He spake; they heard him gladly, and at once All fill'd the benches. While his voyage he Thus expedited, and beside the stern To Pallas sacrifice perform'd and pray'd, A stranger, born remote, who had escaped From Argos, fugitive for blood, a seer 270 And of Melampus' progeny, approach'd. Melampus, in old time, in Pylus dwelt, Mother of flocks, alike for wealth renown'd And the magnificence of his abode. He, flying from the far-famed Pylian King, The mighty Neleus[65], migrated at length Into another land, whose wealth, the while, Neleus by force possess'd a year complete. Meantime, Melampus in the house endured Of Phylacus imprisonment and woe, 280 And burn'd with wrath for Neleus' daughter sake By fell Erynnis kindled in his heart. But, 'scaping death, he drove the lowing beeves From Phylace to Pylus, well avenged His num'rous injuries at Neleus' hands Sustain'd, and gave into his brother's arms King Neleus' daughter fair, the promis'd bride. To Argos steed-renown'd he journey'd next, There destin'd to inhabit and to rule Multitudes of Achaians. In that land 290 He married, built a palace, and became Father of two brave sons, Antiphates And Mantius; to Antiphates was born The brave Oicleus; from Oicleus sprang Amphiaraues, demagogue renown'd, Whom with all tenderness, and as a friend Alike the Thund'rer and Apollo prized; Yet reach'd he not the bounds of hoary age. But by his mercenary consort's arts[66] Persuaded, met his destiny at Thebes. 300 He 'gat Alcmaeon and Amphilocus. Mantius was also father of two sons, Clytus and Polyphides. Clytus pass'd From earth to heav'n, and dwells among the Gods, Stol'n by Aurora for his beauty's sake. But (brave Amphiaraues once deceased) Phoebus exalted Polyphides far Above all others in the prophet's part. He, anger'd by his father, roam'd away To Hyperesia, where he dwelt renown'd 310 Throughout all lands the oracle of all. His son, named Theoclymenus, was he Who now approach'd; he found Telemachus Libation off'ring in his bark, and pray'r, And in wing'd accents ardent him address'd. Ah, friend! since sacrificing in this place I find thee, by these sacred rites and those Whom thou ador'st, and by thy own dear life, And by the lives of these thy mariners I beg true answer; hide not what I ask. 320 Who art thou? whence? where born? and sprung from whom? To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. I will inform thee, stranger! and will solve Thy questions with much truth. I am by birth Ithacan, and Ulysses was my sire. But he hath perish'd by a woeful death, And I, believing it, with these have plow'd The ocean hither, int'rested to learn A father's fate long absent from his home. Then answer'd godlike Theoclymenus. 330 I also am a wand'rer, having slain A man of my own tribe; brethren and friends Num'rous had he in Argos steed-renown'd, And pow'rful are the Achaians dwelling there. From them, through terrour of impending death, I fly, a banish'd man henceforth for ever. Ah save a suppliant fugitive! lest death O'ertake me, for I doubt not their pursuit. Whom thus Telemachus answer'd discrete. I shall not, be assured, since thou desir'st 340 To join me, chace thee from my bark away. Follow me, therefore, and with us partake, In Ithaca, what best the land affords. So saying, he at the stranger's hand received His spear, which on the deck he lay'd, then climb'd Himself the bark, and, seated in the stern, At his own side placed Theoclymenus. They cast the hawsers loose; then with loud voice Telemachus exhorted all to hand The tackle, whom the sailors prompt obey'd. 350 The tall mast heaving, in its socket deep They lodg'd it, and its cordage braced secure, Then, straining at the halyards, hoised the sail. Fair wind, and blowing fresh through aether pure Minerva sent them, that the bark might run Her nimblest course through all the briny way. Now sank the sun, and dusky ev'ning dimm'd The waves, when, driven by propitious Jove, His bark stood right for Pherae; thence she stretch'd To sacred Elis where the Epeans rule, 360 And through the sharp Echinades he next Steer'd her, uncertain whether fate ordain'd His life or death, surprizal or escape. Meantime Ulysses and the swine-herd ate Their cottage-mess, and the assistant swains Theirs also; and when hunger now and thirst Had ceased in all, Ulysses thus began, Proving the swine-herd, whether friendly still, And anxious for his good, he would intreat His stay, or thence hasten him to the town. 370 Eumaeus, and all ye his servants, hear! It is my purpose, lest I wear thee out, Thee and thy friends, to seek at early dawn The city, there to beg—But give me first Needful instructions, and a trusty guide Who may conduct me thither; there my task Must be to roam the streets; some hand humane Perchance shall give me a small pittance there, A little bread, and a few drops to drink. Ulysses' palace I shall also seek, 380 And to discrete Penelope report My tidings; neither shall I fail to mix With those imperious suitors, who, themselves Full-fed, may spare perhaps some boon to me. Me shall they find, in whatsoe'er they wish Their ready servitor, for (understand And mark me well) the herald of the skies, Hermes, from whom all actions of mankind Their grace receive and polish, is my friend, So that in menial offices I fear 390 No rival, whether I be called to heap The hearth with fuel, or dry wood to cleave, To roast, to carve, or to distribute wine, As oft the poor are wont who serve the great. To whom, Eumaeus! at those words displeased, Thou didst reply. Gods! how could such a thought Possess thee, stranger? surely thy resolve Is altogether fixt to perish there, If thou indeed hast purposed with that throng To mix, whose riot and outrageous acts 400 Of violence echo through the vault of heav'n. None, such as thou, serve them; their servitors Are youths well-cloak'd, well-vested; sleek their heads, And smug their countenances; such alone Are their attendants, and the polish'd boards Groan overcharg'd with bread, with flesh, with wine. Rest here content; for neither me nor these Thou weariest aught, and when Ulysses' son Shall come, he will with vest and mantle fair Cloath thee, and send thee whither most thou would'st. 410 To whom Ulysses, toil-inured. I wish thee, O Eumaeus! dear to Jove As thou art dear to me, for this reprieve Vouchsafed me kind, from wand'ring and from woe! No worse condition is of mortal man Than his who wanders; for the poor man, driv'n By woe and by misfortune homeless forth, A thousand mis'ries, day by day, endures. Since thou detain'st me, then, and bidd'st me wait His coming, tell me if the father still 420 Of famed Ulysses live, whom, going hence, He left so nearly on the verge of life? And lives his mother? or have both deceased Already, and descended to the shades? To whom the master swine-herd thus replied. I will inform thee, and with strictest truth, Of all that thou hast ask'd. Laertes lives, But supplication off'ring to the Gods Ceaseless, to free him from a weary life, So deeply his long-absent son he mourns, 430 And the dear consort of his early youth, Whose death is his chief sorrow, and hath brought Old age on him, or ere its date arrived. She died of sorrow for her glorious son, And died deplorably;[67] may never friend Of mine, or benefactor die as she! While yet she liv'd, dejected as she was, I found it yet some solace to converse With her, who rear'd me in my childish days, Together with her lovely youngest-born 440 The Princess Ctimena; for side by side We grew, and I, scarce honour'd less than she. But soon as our delightful prime we both Attain'd, to Samos her they sent, a bride, And were requited with rich dow'r; but me Cloath'd handsomely with tunic and with vest, And with fair sandals furnish'd, to the field She order'd forth, yet loved me still the more. I miss her kindness now; but gracious heav'n Prospers the work on which I here attend; 450 Hence have I food, and hence I drink, and hence Refresh, sometimes, a worthy guest like thee. But kindness none experience I, or can, From fair Penelope (my mistress now) In word or action, so is the house curs'd With that lewd throng. Glad would the servants be Might they approach their mistress, and receive Advice from her; glad too to eat and drink, And somewhat bear each to his rural home, For perquisites are ev'ry servant's joy. 460 Then answer thus, Ulysses wise return'd. Alas! good swain, Eumaeus, how remote From friends and country wast thou forced to roam Ev'n in thy infancy! But tell me true. The city where thy parents dwelt, did foes Pillage it? or did else some hostile band Surprizing thee alone, on herd or flock Attendant, bear thee with them o'er the Deep, And sell thee at this Hero's house, who pay'd Doubtless for thee no sordid price or small? 470 To whom the master swine-herd in reply. Stranger! since thou art curious to be told My story, silent listen, and thy wine At leisure quaff. The nights are longest now, And such as time for sleep afford, and time For pleasant conf'rence; neither were it good That thou should'st to thy couch before thy hour, Since even sleep is hurtful, in excess. Whoever here is weary, and desires Early repose, let him depart to rest, 480 And, at the peep of day, when he hath fed Sufficiently, drive forth my master's herd; But we with wine and a well-furnish'd board Supplied, will solace mutually derive From recollection of our sufferings past; For who hath much endured, and wander'd far, Finds the recital ev'n of sorrow sweet. Now hear thy question satisfied; attend! There is an island (thou hast heard, perchance, Of such an isle) named Syria;[68] it is placed 490 Above Ortigia, and a dial owns[69] True to the tropic changes of the year. No great extent she boasts, yet is she rich In cattle and in flocks, in wheat and wine. No famine knows that people, or disease Noisome, of all that elsewhere seize the race Of miserable man; but when old age Steals on the citizens, Apollo, arm'd With silver bow and bright Diana come, Whose gentle shafts dismiss them soon to rest. 500 Two cities share between them all the isle, And both were subject to my father's sway Ctesius Ormenides, a godlike Chief. It chanced that from Phoenicia, famed for skill In arts marine, a vessel thither came By sharpers mann'd, and laden deep with toys. Now, in my father's family abode A fair Phoenician, tall, full-sized, and skill'd In works of elegance, whom they beguiled. While she wash'd linen on the beach, beside 510 The ship, a certain mariner of those Seduced her; for all women, ev'n the wise And sober, feeble prove by love assail'd. Who was she, he enquired, and whence? nor she Scrupled to tell at once her father's home. I am of Sidon,[70] famous for her works In brass and steel; daughter of Arybas, Who rolls in affluence; Taphian pirates thence Stole me returning from the field, from whom This Chief procured me at no little cost. 520 Then answer thus her paramour return'd. Wilt thou not hence to Sidon in our ship, That thou may'st once more visit the abode Of thy own wealthy parents, and themselves? For still they live, and still are wealthy deem'd. To whom the woman. Even that might be, Would ye, ye seamen, by a solemn oath Assure me of a safe conveyance home. Then sware the mariners as she required, And, when their oath was ended, thus again 530 The woman of Phoenicia them bespake. Now, silence! no man, henceforth, of you all Accost me, though he meet me on the road, Or at yon fountain; lest some tattler run With tidings home to my old master's ear, Who, with suspicion touch'd, may me confine In cruel bonds, and death contrive for you. But be ye close; purchase your stores in haste; And when your vessel shall be freighted full, Quick send me notice, for I mean to bring 540 What gold soever opportune I find, And will my passage cheerfully defray With still another moveable. I nurse The good man's son, an urchin shrewd, of age To scamper at my side; him will I bring, Whom at some foreign market ye shall prove Saleable at what price soe'er ye will. So saying, she to my father's house return'd. They, there abiding the whole year, their ship With purchased goods freighted of ev'ry kind, 550 And when, her lading now complete, she lay For sea prepared, their messenger arrived To summon down the woman to the shore. A mariner of theirs, subtle and shrewd, Then, ent'ring at my father's gate, produced A splendid collar, gold with amber strung. My mother (then at home) with all her maids Handling and gazing on it with delight, Proposed to purchase it, and he the nod Significant, gave unobserv'd, the while, 560 To the Phoenician woman, and return'd. She, thus informed, leading me by the hand Went forth, and finding in the vestibule The cups and tables which my father's guests Had used, (but they were to the forum gone For converse with their friends assembled there) Convey'd three cups into her bosom-folds, And bore them off, whom I a thoughtless child Accompanied, at the decline of day, When dusky evening had embrown'd the shore. 570 We, stepping nimbly on, soon reach'd the port Renown'd, where that Phoenician vessel lay. They shipp'd us both, and all embarking cleav'd Their liquid road, by favourable gales, Jove's gift, impell'd. Six days we day and night Continual sailed, but when Saturnian Jove Now bade the sev'nth bright morn illume the skies, Then, shaft-arm'd Dian struck the woman dead. At once she pitch'd headlong into the bilge Like a sea-coot, whence heaving her again, 580 The seamen gave her to be fishes' food, And I survived to mourn her. But the winds And rolling billows them bore to the coast Of Ithaca, where with his proper goods Laertes bought me. By such means it chanced That e'er I saw the isle in which I dwell. To whom Ulysses, glorious Chief, replied. Eumaeus! thou hast moved me much, thy woes Enumerating thus at large. But Jove Hath neighbour'd all thy evil with this good, 590 That after num'rous sorrows thou hast reach'd The house of a kind master, at whose hands Thy sustenance is sure, and here thou lead'st A tranquil life; but I have late arrived, City after city of the world explored. Thus mutual they conferr'd, nor leisure found Save for short sleep, by morning soon surprized. Meantime the comrades of Telemachus Approaching land, cast loose the sail, and lower'd Alert the mast, then oar'd the vessel in. 600 The anchors heav'd aground,[71] and hawsers tied Secure, themselves, forth-issuing on the shore, Breakfast prepared, and charged their cups with wine. When neither hunger now, nor thirst remained Unsatisfied, Telemachus began. Push ye the sable bark without delay Home to the city. I will to the field Among my shepherds, and, (my rural works Survey'd,) at eve will to the town return. To-morrow will I set before you wine 610 And plenteous viands, wages of your toil. To whom the godlike Theoclymenus. Whither must I, my son? who, of the Chiefs Of rugged Ithaca, shall harbour me? Shall I to thine and to thy mother's house? Then thus Telemachus, discrete, replied. I would invite thee to proceed at once To our abode, since nought should fail thee there Of kind reception, but it were a course Now not adviseable; for I must myself, 620 Be absent, neither would my mother's eyes Behold thee, so unfrequent she appears Before the suitors, shunning whom, she sits Weaving continual at the palace-top. But I will name to thee another Chief Whom thou may'st seek, Eurymachus, the son Renown'd of prudent Polybus, whom all The people here reverence as a God. Far noblest of them all is he, and seeks More ardent than his rivals far, to wed 630 My mother, and to fill my father's throne. But, He who dwells above, Jove only knows If some disastrous day be not ordain'd For them, or ere those nuptials shall arrive. While thus he spake, at his right hand appear'd, Messenger of Apollo, on full wing, A falcon; in his pounces clench'd he bore A dove, which rending, down he pour'd her plumes Between the galley and Telemachus. Then, calling him apart, the prophet lock'd 640 His hand in his, and thus explain'd the sign. Not undirected by the Gods his flight On our right hand, Telemachus! this hawk Hath wing'd propitious; soon as I perceived I knew him ominous—In all the isle No family of a more royal note Than yours is found, and yours shall still prevail. Whom thus Telemachus answer'd discrete. Grant heav'n, my guest! that this good word of thine Fail not, and soon thou shalt such bounty share 650 And friendship at my hands, that, at first sight, Whoe'er shall meet thee shall pronounce thee blest. Then, to Piraeus thus, his friend approved. Piraeus, son of Clytius! (for of all My followers to the shore of Pylus, none More prompt than thou hath my desires perform'd) Now also to thy own abode conduct This stranger, whom with hospitable care Cherish and honour till myself arrive. To whom Piraeus answer'd, spear-renown'd. 660 Telemachus! however long thy stay, Punctual I will attend him, and no want Of hospitality shall he find with me. So saying, he climb'd the ship, then bade the crew Embarking also, cast the hawsers loose, And each, obedient, to his bench repair'd. Meantime Telemachus his sandals bound, And lifted from the deck his glitt'ring spear. Then, as Telemachus had bidden them, Son of divine Ulysses, casting loose 670 The hawsers, forth they push'd into the Deep And sought the city, while with nimble pace Proceeding thence, Telemachus attain'd The cottage soon where good Eumaeus slept, The swine-herd, faithful to his num'rous charge.

FOOTNOTES:

[65] Iphyclus the son of Phylacus had seized and detained cattle belonging to Neleus; Neleus ordered his nephew Melampus to recover them, and as security for his obedience seized on a considerable part of his possessions. Melampus attempted the service, failed, and was cast into prison; but at length escaping, accomplished his errand, vanquished Neleus in battle, and carried off his daughter Pero, whom Neleus had promised to the brother of Melampus, but had afterward refused her.

[66] His wife Eryphyle, bribed by Polynices, persuaded him, though aware that death awaited him at that city, to go to Thebes, where he fell accordingly.

[67] She is said to have hanged herself.

[68] Not improbably the isthmus of Syracuse, an island, perhaps, or peninsula at that period, or at least imagined to be such by Homer. The birth of Diana gave fame to Ortygia. F.

[69] Hothi tropai eelioio—The Translator has rendered the passage according to that interpretation of it to which several of the best expositors incline. Nothing can be so absurd as to suppose that Homer, so correct in his geography, could mean to place a Mediterranean island under the Tropic.

[70] A principal city of Phoenicia.

[71] The anchors were lodged on the shore, not plunged as ours.



BOOK XVI

ARGUMENT

Telemachus dispatches Eumaeus to the city to inform Penelope of his safe return from Pylus; during his absence, Ulysses makes himself known to his son. The suitors, having watched for Telemachus in vain, arrive again at Ithaca.

It was the hour of dawn, when in the cot Kindling fresh fire, Ulysses and his friend Noble Eumaeus dress'd their morning fare, And sent the herdsmen with the swine abroad. Seeing Telemachus, the watchful dogs Bark'd not, but fawn'd around him. At that sight, And at the sound of feet which now approach'd, Ulysses in wing'd accents thus remark'd. Eumaeus! certain, either friend of thine Is nigh at hand, or one whom well thou know'st; 10 Thy dogs bark not, but fawn on his approach Obsequious, and the sound of feet I hear. Scarce had he ceased, when his own son himself Stood in the vestibule. Upsprang at once Eumaeus wonder-struck, and from his hand Let fall the cups with which he was employ'd Mingling rich wine; to his young Lord he ran, His forehead kiss'd, kiss'd his bright-beaming eyes And both his hands, weeping profuse the while, As when a father folds in his embrace 20 Arrived from foreign lands in the tenth year His darling son, the offspring of his age, His only one, for whom he long hath mourn'd, So kiss'd the noble peasant o'er and o'er Godlike Telemachus, as from death escaped, And in wing'd accents plaintive thus began. Light of my eyes, thou com'st; it is thyself, Sweetest Telemachus! I had no hope To see thee more, once told that o'er the Deep Thou hadst departed for the Pylian coast. 30 Enter, my precious son; that I may sooth My soul with sight of thee from far arrived, For seldom thou thy feeders and thy farm Visitest, in the city custom'd much To make abode, that thou may'st witness there The manners of those hungry suitors proud. To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. It will be so. There is great need, my friend! But here, for thy sake, have I now arrived, That I may look on thee, and from thy lips 40 Learn if my mother still reside at home, Or have become spouse of some other Chief, Leaving untenanted Ulysses' bed To be by noisome spiders webb'd around. To whom the master swine-herd in return. Not so, she, patient still as ever, dwells Beneath thy roof, but all her cheerless days Despairing wastes, and all her nights in tears. So saying, Eumaeus at his hand received His brazen lance, and o'er the step of stone 50 Enter'd Telemachus, to whom his sire Relinquish'd, soon as he appear'd, his seat, But him Telemachus forbidding, said— Guest, keep thy seat; our cottage will afford Some other, which Eumaeus will provide. He ceased, and he, returning at the word, Reposed again; then good Eumaeus spread Green twigs beneath, which, cover'd with a fleece, Supplied Ulysses' offspring with a seat. He, next, disposed his dishes on the board 60 With relicts charged of yesterday; with bread, Alert, he heap'd the baskets; with rich wine His ivy cup replenish'd; and a seat Took opposite to his illustrious Lord Ulysses. They toward the plenteous feast Stretch'd forth their hands, (and hunger now and thirst Both satisfied) Telemachus, his speech Addressing to their gen'rous host, began. Whence is this guest, my father? How convey'd Came he to Ithaca? What country boast 70 The mariners with whom he here arrived? For, that on foot he found us not, is sure. To whom Eumaeus, thou didst thus reply. I will with truth answer thee, O my son! He boasts him sprung from ancestry renown'd In spacious Crete, and hath the cities seen Of various lands, by fate ordain'd to roam. Ev'n now, from a Thesprotian ship escaped, He reach'd my cottage—but he is thy own; I yield him to thee; treat him as thou wilt; 80 He is thy suppliant, and depends on thee. Then thus, Telemachus, discrete, replied. Thy words, Eumaeus, pain my very soul. For what security can I afford To any in my house? myself am young, Nor yet of strength sufficient to repel An offer'd insult, and my mother's mind In doubtful balance hangs, if, still with me An inmate, she shall manage my concerns, Attentive only to her absent Lord 90 And her own good report, or shall espouse The noblest of her wooers, and the best Entitled by the splendour of his gifts. But I will give him, since I find him lodg'd A guest beneath thy roof, tunic and cloak, Sword double-edged, and sandals for his feet, With convoy to the country of his choice. Still, if it please thee, keep him here thy guest, And I will send him raiment, with supplies Of all sorts, lest he burthen thee and thine. 100 But where the suitors come, there shall not he With my consent, nor stand exposed to pride And petulance like theirs, lest by some sneer They wound him, and through him, wound also me; For little is it that the boldest can Against so many; numbers will prevail. Him answer'd then Ulysses toil-inured. Oh amiable and good! since even I Am free to answer thee, I will avow My heart within me torn by what I hear 110 Of those injurious suitors, who the house Infest of one noble as thou appear'st. But say—submittest thou to their controul Willingly, or because the people, sway'd By some response oracular, incline Against thee? Thou hast brothers, it may chance, Slow to assist thee—for a brother's aid Is of importance in whatever cause. For oh that I had youth as I have will, Or that renown'd Ulysses were my sire, 120 Or that himself might wander home again. Whereof hope yet remains! then might I lose My head, that moment, by an alien's hand, If I would fail, ent'ring Ulysses' gate, To be the bane and mischief of them all. But if alone to multitudes opposed I should perchance be foiled; nobler it were With my own people, under my own roof To perish, than to witness evermore Their unexampled deeds, guests shoved aside, 130 Maidens dragg'd forcibly from room to room, Casks emptied of their rich contents, and them Indulging glutt'nous appetite day by day Enormous, without measure, without end. To whom, Telemachus, discrete, replied. Stranger! thy questions shall from me receive True answer. Enmity or hatred none Subsists the people and myself between, Nor have I brothers to accuse, whose aid Is of importance in whatever cause, 140 For Jove hath from of old with single heirs Our house supplied; Arcesias none begat Except Laertes, and Laertes none Except Ulysses, and Ulysses me Left here his only one, and unenjoy'd. Thence comes it that our palace swarms with foes; For all the rulers of the neighbour isles, Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown'd Zacynthus, others also rulers here In craggy Ithaca, my mother seek 150 In marriage, and my household stores consume. But neither she those nuptial rites abhorr'd Refuses absolute, nor yet consents To end them; they my patrimony waste Meantime, and will destroy me also soon, As I expect, but heav'n disposes all. Eumaeus! haste, my father! bear with speed News to Penelope that I am safe, And have arrived from Pylus; I will wait Till thou return; and well beware that none Hear thee beside, for I have many foes. To whom Eumaeus, thou didst thus reply. It is enough. I understand. Thou speak'st To one intelligent. But say beside, Shall I not also, as I go, inform Distress'd Laertes? who while yet he mourn'd Ulysses only, could o'ersee the works, And dieted among his menials oft As hunger prompted him, but now, they say, Since thy departure to the Pylian shore, 170 He neither eats as he was wont, nor drinks, Nor oversees his hinds, but sighing sits And weeping, wasted even to the bone. Him then Telemachus answer'd discrete. Hard though it be, yet to his tears and sighs Him leave we now. We cannot what we would. For, were the ordering of all events Referr'd to our own choice, our first desire Should be to see my father's glad return. But once thy tidings told, wander not thou 180 In quest of Him, but hither speed again. Rather request my mother that she send Her household's governess without delay Privately to him; she shall best inform The ancient King that I have safe arrived. He said, and urged him forth, who binding on His sandals, to the city bent his way. Nor went Eumaeus from his home unmark'd By Pallas, who in semblance of a fair Damsel, accomplish'd in domestic arts, 190 Approaching to the cottage' entrance, stood Opposite, by Ulysses plain discern'd, But to his son invisible; for the Gods Appear not manifest alike to all. The mastiffs saw her also, and with tone Querulous hid themselves, yet bark'd they not. She beckon'd him abroad. Ulysses saw The sign, and, issuing through the outer court, Approach'd her, whom the Goddess thus bespake. Laertes' progeny, for wiles renown'd! 200 Disclose thyself to thy own son, that, death Concerting and destruction to your foes, Ye may the royal city seek, nor long Shall ye my presence there desire in vain, For I am ardent to begin the fight. Minerva spake, and with her rod of gold Touch'd him; his mantle, first, and vest she made Pure as new-blanch'd; dilating, next, his form, She gave dimensions ampler to his limbs; Swarthy again his manly hue became, 210 Round his full face, and black his bushy chin. The change perform'd, Minerva disappear'd, And the illustrious Hero turn'd again Into the cottage; wonder at that sight Seiz'd on Telemachus; askance he look'd, Awe-struck, not unsuspicious of a God, And in wing'd accents eager thus began. Thou art no longer, whom I lately saw, Nor are thy cloaths, nor is thy port the same. Thou art a God, I know, and dwell'st in heav'n. 220 Oh, smile on us, that we may yield thee rites Acceptable, and present thee golden gifts Elaborate; ah spare us, Pow'r divine! To whom Ulysses, Hero toil-inured. I am no God. Why deem'st thou me divine? I am thy father, for whose sake thou lead'st A life of woe, by violence oppress'd. So saying, he kiss'd his son, while from his cheeks Tears trickled, tears till then, perforce restrained. Telemachus, (for he believed him not 230 His father yet) thus, wond'ring, spake again. My father, said'st thou? no. Thou art not He, But some Divinity beguiles my soul With mock'ries to afflict me still the more; For never mortal man could so have wrought By his own pow'r; some interposing God Alone could render thee both young and old, For old thou wast of late, and foully clad, But wear'st the semblance, now, of those in heav'n! To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied. 240 Telemachus! it is not well, my son! That thou should'st greet thy father with a face Of wild astonishment, and stand aghast. Ulysses, save myself, none comes, be sure. Such as thou seest, after ten thousand woes Which I have borne, I visit once again My native country in the twentieth year. This wonder Athenaean Pallas wrought, She cloath'd me even with what form she would, For so she can. Now poor I seem and old, 250 Now young again, and clad in fresh attire. The Gods who dwell in yonder heav'n, with ease Dignify or debase a mortal man. So saying, he sat. Then threw Telemachus His arms around his father's neck, and wept. Desire intense of lamentation seized On both; soft murmurs utt'ring, each indulged His grief, more frequent wailing than the bird, (Eagle, or hook-nail'd vulture) from whose nest Some swain hath stol'n her yet unfeather'd young. 260 So from their eyelids they big drops distill'd Of tend'rest grief, nor had the setting sun Cessation of their weeping seen, had not Telemachus his father thus address'd. What ship convey'd thee to thy native shore, My father! and what country boast the crew? For, that on foot thou not arriv'dst, is sure. Then thus divine Ulysses toil-inured. My son! I will explicit all relate. Conducted by Phaeacia's maritime sons 270 I came, a race accustom'd to convey Strangers who visit them across the Deep. Me, o'er the billows in a rapid bark Borne sleeping, on the shores of Ithaca They lay'd; rich gifts they gave me also, brass, Gold in full bags, and beautiful attire, Which, warn'd from heav'n, I have in caves conceal'd. By Pallas prompted, hither I repair'd That we might plan the slaughter of our foes, Whose numbers tell me now, that I may know 280 How pow'rful, certainly, and who they are, And consultation with my dauntless heart May hold, if we be able to contend Ourselves with all, or must have aid beside. Then, answer thus his son, discrete, return'd. My father! thy renown hath ever rung In thy son's ears, and by report thy force In arms, and wisdom I have oft been told. But terribly thou speak'st; amazement-fixt I hear; can two a multitude oppose, 290 And valiant warriors all? for neither ten Are they, nor twenty, but more num'rous far. Learn, now, their numbers. Fifty youths and two Came from Dulichium; they are chosen men, And six attendants follow in their train; From Samos twenty youths and four arrive, Zacynthus also of Achaia's sons Sends twenty more, and our own island adds, Herself, her twelve chief rulers; Medon, too, Is there the herald, and the bard divine, 300 With other two, intendants of the board. Should we within the palace, we alone, Assail them all, I fear lest thy revenge Unpleasant to thyself and deadly prove, Frustrating thy return. But recollect— Think, if thou canst, on whose confed'rate arm Strenuous on our behalf we may rely. To him replied his patient father bold. I will inform thee. Mark. Weigh well my words. Will Pallas and the everlasting Sire 310 Alone suffice? or need we other aids? Then answer thus Telemachus return'd. Good friends indeed are they whom thou hast named, Though throned above the clouds; for their controul Is universal both in earth and heav'n. To whom Ulysses, toil-worn Chief renown'd. Not long will they from battle stand aloof, When once, within my palace, in the strength Of Mars, to sharp decision we shall urge The suitors. But thyself at early dawn 320 Our mansion seek, that thou may'st mingle there With that imperious throng; me in due time Eumaeus to the city shall conduct, In form a miserable beggar old. But should they with dishonourable scorn Insult me, thou unmov'd my wrongs endure, And should they even drag me by the feet Abroad, or smite me with the spear, thy wrath Refraining, gently counsel them to cease From such extravagance; but well I know 330 That cease they will not, for their hour is come. And mark me well; treasure what now I say Deep in thy soul. When Pallas shall, herself, Suggest the measure, then, shaking my brows, I will admonish thee; thou, at the sign, Remove what arms soever in the hall Remain, and in the upper palace safe Dispose them; should the suitors, missing them, Perchance interrogate thee, then reply Gently—I have removed them from the smoke; 340 For they appear no more the arms which erst Ulysses, going hence to Ilium, left, But smirch'd and sullied by the breath of fire. This weightier reason (thou shalt also say) Jove taught me; lest, intoxicate with wine, Ye should assault each other in your brawls, Shaming both feast and courtship; for the view Itself of arms incites to their abuse. Yet leave two faulchions for ourselves alone, Two spears, two bucklers, which with sudden force 350 Impetuous we will seize, and Jove all-wise Their valour shall, and Pallas, steal away. This word store also in remembrance deep— If mine in truth thou art, and of my blood, Then, of Ulysses to his home returned Let none hear news from thee, no, not my sire Laertes, nor Eumaeus, nor of all The menials any, or ev'n Penelope, That thou and I, alone, may search the drift Of our domestic women, and may prove 360 Our serving-men, who honours and reveres And who contemns us both, but chiefly thee So gracious and so worthy to be loved. Him then thus answer'd his illustrious son. Trust me, my father! thou shalt soon be taught That I am not of drowsy mind obtuse. But this I think not likely to avail Or thee or me; ponder it yet again; For tedious were the task, farm after farm To visit of those servants, proving each, 370 And the proud suitors merciless devour Meantime thy substance, nor abstain from aught. Learn, if thou wilt, (and I that course myself Advise) who slights thee of the female train, And who is guiltless; but I would not try From house to house the men, far better proved Hereafter, if in truth by signs from heav'n Inform'd, thou hast been taught the will of Jove. Thus they conferr'd. The gallant bark, meantime, Reach'd Ithaca, which from the Pylian shore 380 Had brought Telemachus with all his band. Within the many-fathom'd port arrived His lusty followers haled her far aground, Then carried thence their arms, but to the house Of Clytius the illustrious gifts convey'd. Next to the royal mansion they dispatch'd An herald charg'd with tidings to the Queen, That her Telemachus had reach'd the cot Of good Eumaeus, and the bark had sent Home to the city; lest the matchless dame 390 Should still deplore the absence of her son. They, then, the herald and the swine-herd, each Bearing like message to his mistress, met, And at the palace of the godlike Chief Arriving, compass'd by the female throng Inquisitive, the herald thus began. Thy son, O Queen! is safe; ev'n now return'd. Then, drawing nigh to her, Eumaeus told His message also from her son received, And, his commission punctually discharged, 400 Leaving the palace, sought his home again. Grief seized and anguish, at those tidings, all The suitors; issuing forth, on the outside Of the high wall they sat, before the gate, When Polybus' son, Eurymachus, began. My friends! his arduous task, this voyage, deem'd By us impossible, in our despight Telemachus hath atchieved. Haste! launch we forth A sable bark, our best, which let us man With mariners expert, who, rowing forth 410 Swiftly, shall summon our companions home. Scarce had he said, when turning where he sat, Amphinomus beheld a bark arrived Just then in port; he saw them furling sail, And seated with their oars in hand; he laugh'd Through pleasure at that sight, and thus he spake. Our message may be spared. Lo! they arrive. Either some God inform'd them, or they saw, Themselves, the vessel of Telemachus Too swiftly passing to be reach'd by theirs. 420 He spake; they, rising, hasted to the shore. Alert they drew the sable bark aground, And by his servant each his arms dispatch'd To his own home. Then, all, to council those Assembling, neither elder of the land Nor youth allow'd to join them, and the rest Eupithes' son, Antinoues, thus bespake. Ah! how the Gods have rescued him! all day Perch'd on the airy mountain-top, our spies Successive watch'd; and, when the sun declined, 430 We never slept on shore, but all night long Till sacred dawn arose, plow'd the abyss, Hoping Telemachus, that we might seize And slay him, whom some Deity hath led, In our despight, safe to his home again. But frame we yet again means to destroy Telemachus; ah—let not Him escape! For end of this our task, while he survives, None shall be found, such prudence he displays And wisdom, neither are the people now 440 Unanimous our friends as heretofore. Come, then—prevent him, ere he call the Greeks To council; for he will not long delay, But will be angry, doubtless, and will tell Amid them all, how we in vain devised His death, a deed which they will scarce applaud, But will, perhaps, punish and drive us forth From our own country to a distant land.— Prevent him, therefore, quickly; in the field Slay him, or on the road; so shall his wealth 450 And his possessions on ourselves devolve Which we will share equally, but his house Shall be the Queen's, and his whom she shall wed. Yet, if not so inclined, ye rather chuse That he should live and occupy entire His patrimony, then, no longer, here Assembled, let us revel at his cost, But let us all with spousal gifts produced From our respective treasures, woo the Queen, Leaving her in full freedom to espouse 460 Who proffers most, and whom the fates ordain. He ceased; the assembly silent sat and mute. Then rose Amphinomus amid them all, Offspring renown'd of Nisus, son, himself, Of King Aretias. He had thither led The suitor train who from the pleasant isle Corn-clad of green Dulichium had arrived, And by his speech pleased far beyond them all Penelope, for he was just and wise, And thus, well-counselling the rest, began. 470 Not I, my friends! far be the thought from me To slay Telemachus! it were a deed Momentous, terrible, to slay a prince. First, therefore, let us counsel ask of heav'n, And if Jove's oracle that course approve, I will encourage you, and will myself Be active in his death; but if the Gods Forbid it, then, by my advice, forbear. So spake Amphinomus, whom all approved. Arising then, into Ulysses' house 480 They went, where each his splendid seat resumed. A novel purpose occupied, meantime, Penelope; she purposed to appear Before her suitors, whose design to slay Telemachus she had from Medon learn'd, The herald, for his ear had caught the sound. Toward the hall with her attendant train She moved, and when, most graceful of her sex, Where sat the suitors she arrived, between The columns standing of the stately dome, 490 And covering with her white veil's lucid folds Her features, to Antinoues thus she spake. Antinoues, proud, contentious, evermore To mischief prone! the people deem thee wise Past thy compeers, and in all grace of speech Pre-eminent, but such wast never thou. Inhuman! why is it thy dark design To slay Telemachus? and why with scorn Rejectest thou the suppliant's pray'r,[72] which Jove Himself hath witness'd? Plots please not the Gods. 500 Know'st not that thy own father refuge found Here, when he fled before the people's wrath Whom he had irritated by a wrong Which, with a band of Taphian robbers joined, He offer'd to the Thesprots, our allies? They would have torn his heart, and would have laid All his delights and his possessions waste, But my Ulysses slaked the furious heat Of their revenge, whom thou requitest now Wasting his goods, soliciting his wife, 510 Slaying his son, and filling me with woe. But cease, I charge thee, and bid cease the rest. To whom the son of Polybus replied, Eurymachus.—Icarius' daughter wise! Take courage, fair Penelope, and chace These fears unreasonable from thy mind! The man lives not, nor shall, who while I live, And faculty of sight retain, shall harm Telemachus, thy son. For thus I say, And thus will I perform; his blood shall stream 520 A sable current from my lance's point That moment; for the city-waster Chief Ulysses, oft, me placing on his knees, Hath fill'd my infant grasp with sav'ry food, And giv'n me ruddy wine. I, therefore, hold Telemachus of all men most my friend, Nor hath he death to fear from hand of ours. Yet, if the Gods shall doom him, die he must. So he encouraged her, who yet, himself, Plotted his death. She, re-ascending, sought 530 Her stately chamber, and, arriving there, Deplored with tears her long-regretted Lord Till Athenaean Pallas azure-eyed Dews of soft slumber o'er her lids diffused. And now, at even-tide, Eumaeus reach'd Ulysses and his son. A yearling swine Just slain they skilfully for food prepared, When Pallas, drawing nigh, smote with her wand Ulysses, at the stroke rend'ring him old, And his apparel sordid as before, 540 Lest, knowing him, the swain at once should seek Penelope, and let the secret forth. Then foremost him Telemachus address'd. Noble Eumaeus! thou art come; what news Bring'st from the city? Have the warrior band Of suitors, hopeless of their ambush, reach'd The port again, or wait they still for me? To whom Eumaeus, thou didst thus reply. No time for such enquiry, nor to range, Curious, the streets had I, but anxious wish'd 550 To make my message known, and to return. But, as it chanced, a nimble herald sent From thy companions, met me on the way, Who reach'd thy mother first. Yet this I know, For this I saw. Passing above the town Where they have piled a way-side hill of stones To Mercury, I beheld a gallant bark Ent'ring the port; a bark she was of ours, The crew were num'rous, and I mark'd her deep- Laden with shields and spears of double edge. 560 Theirs I conjectured her, and could no more. He spake, and by Eumaeus unperceived, Telemachus his father eyed and smiled. Their task accomplish'd, and the table spread, They ate, nor any his due portion miss'd, And hunger, now, and thirst both sated, all To rest repair'd, and took the gift of sleep.

FOOTNOTES:

[72] Alluding probably to entreaties made to him at some former time by herself and Telemachus, that he would not harm them. Clarke.



BOOK XVII

ARGUMENT

Telemachus returns to the city, and relates to his mother the principal passages of his voyage; Ulysses, conducted by Eumaeus, arrives there also, and enters among the suitors, having been known only by his old dog Argus, who dies at his feet. The curiosity of Penelope being excited by the account which Eumaeus gives her of Ulysses, she orders him immediately into her presence, but Ulysses postpones the interview till evening, when the suitors having left the palace, there shall be no danger of interruption. Eumaeus returns to his cottage.

Now look'd Aurora from the East abroad, When the illustrious offspring of divine Ulysses bound his sandals to his feet; He seiz'd his sturdy spear match'd to his gripe, And to the city meditating quick Departure now, the swine-herd thus bespake. Father! I seek the city, to convince My mother of my safe return, whose tears, I judge, and lamentation shall not cease Till her own eyes behold me. But I lay 10 On thee this charge. Into the city lead, Thyself, this hapless guest, that he may beg Provision there, a morsel and a drop From such as may, perchance, vouchsafe the boon. I cannot, vext and harass'd as I am, Feed all, and should the stranger take offence, The worse for him. Plain truth is my delight. To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied. Nor is it my desire to be detained. Better the mendicant in cities seeks 20 His dole, vouchsafe it whosoever may, Than in the villages. I am not young, Nor longer of an age that well accords With rural tasks, nor could I all perform That it might please a master to command. Go then, and when I shall have warm'd my limbs Before the hearth, and when the risen sun Shall somewhat chase the cold, thy servant's task Shall be to guide me thither, as thou bidd'st, For this is a vile garb; the frosty air 30 Of morning would benumb me thus attired, And, as ye say, the city is remote. He ended, and Telemachus in haste Set forth, his thoughts all teeming as he went With dire revenge. Soon in the palace-courts Arriving, he reclined his spear against A column, and proceeded to the hall. Him Euryclea, first, his nurse, perceived, While on the variegated seats she spread Their fleecy cov'ring; swift with tearful eyes 40 She flew to him, and the whole female train Of brave Ulysses swarm'd around his son, Clasping him, and his forehead and his neck Kissing affectionate; then came, herself, As golden Venus or Diana fair, Forth from her chamber to her son's embrace, The chaste Penelope; with tears she threw Her arms around him, his bright-beaming eyes And forehead kiss'd, and with a murmur'd plaint Maternal, in wing'd accents thus began. 50 Thou hast return'd, light of my eyes! my son! My lov'd Telemachus! I had no hope To see thee more when once thou hadst embark'd For Pylus, privily, and with no consent From me obtain'd, news seeking of thy sire. But haste; unfold. Declare what thou hast seen. To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. Ah mother! let my sorrows rest, nor me From death so lately 'scaped afflict anew, But, bathed and habited in fresh attire, 60 With all the maidens of thy train ascend To thy superior chamber, there to vow A perfect hecatomb to all the Gods, When Jove shall have avenged our num'rous wrongs. I seek the forum, there to introduce A guest, my follower from the Pylian shore, Whom sending forward with my noble band, I bade Piraeus to his own abode Lead him, and with all kindness entertain The stranger, till I should myself arrive. 70 He spake, nor flew his words useless away. She, bathed and habited in fresh attire, Vow'd a full hecatomb to all the Gods, Would Jove but recompense her num'rous wrongs. Then, spear in hand, went forth her son, two dogs Fleet-footed following him. O'er all his form Pallas diffused a dignity divine, And ev'ry eye gazed on him as he pass'd. The suitors throng'd him round, joy on their lips And welcome, but deep mischief in their hearts. 80 He, shunning all that crowd, chose to himself A seat, where Mentor sat, and Antiphus, And Halytherses, long his father's friends Sincere, who of his voyage much enquired. Then drew Piraeus nigh, leading his guest Toward the forum; nor Telemachus Stood long aloof, but greeted his approach, And was accosted by Piraeus thus. Sir! send thy menial women to bring home The precious charge committed to my care, 90 Thy gifts at Menelaus' hands received. To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. Piraeus! wait; for I not yet foresee The upshot. Should these haughty ones effect My death, clandestine, under my own roof, And parcel my inheritance by lot, I rather wish those treasures thine, than theirs. But should I with success plan for them all A bloody death, then, wing'd with joy, thyself Bring home those presents to thy joyful friend. 100 So saying, he led the anxious stranger thence Into the royal mansion, where arrived, Each cast his mantle on a couch or throne, And plung'd his feet into a polish'd bath. There wash'd and lubricated with smooth oils, From the attendant maidens each received Tunic and shaggy mantle. Thus attired, Forth from the baths they stepp'd, and sat again. A maiden, next, with golden ewer charged, And silver bowl, pour'd water on their hands, 110 And spread the polish'd table, which with food Of all kinds, remnants of the last regale, The mistress of the household charge supplied. Meantime, beside a column of the dome His mother, on a couch reclining, twirl'd Her slender threads. They to the furnish'd board Stretch'd forth their hands, and, hunger now and thirst Both satisfied, Penelope began. Telemachus! I will ascend again, And will repose me on my woeful bed; 120 For such it hath been, and with tears of mine Ceaseless bedew'd, e'er since Ulysses went With Atreus' sons to Troy. For not a word Thou would'st vouchsafe me till our haughty guests Had occupied the house again, of all That thou hast heard (if aught indeed thou hast) Of thy long-absent father's wish'd return. Her answer'd then Telemachus discrete. Mother, at thy request I will with truth Relate the whole. At Pylus shore arrived 130 We Nestor found, Chief of the Pylian race. Receiving me in his august abode, He entertain'd me with such welcome kind As a glad father shews to his own son Long-lost and newly found; so Nestor me, And his illustrious offspring, entertain'd, But yet assured me that he nought had heard From mortal lips of my magnanimous sire, Whether alive or dead; with his own steeds He sent me, and with splendid chariot thence 140 To spear-famed Menelaus, Atreus' son. There saw I Helen, by the Gods' decree Auth'ress of trouble both to Greece and Troy. The Hero Menelaus then enquired What cause had urged me to the pleasant vale Of Lacedaemon; plainly I rehearsed The occasion, and the Hero thus replied. Ye Gods! they are ambitious of the bed Of a brave man, however base themselves. But, as it chances when the hart hath laid 150 Her fawns new-yean'd and sucklings yet, to rest In some resistless lion's den, she roams, Meantime, the hills, and in the grassy vales Feeds heedless, but the lion to his lair Returning soon, both her and hers destroys, So shall thy father, brave Ulysses, them. Jove! Pallas! and Apollo! oh that such As erst in well-built Lesbos, where he strove With Philomelides, whom wrestling, flat He threw, when all Achaia's sons rejoiced, 160 Ulysses, now, might mingle with his foes! Short life and bitter nuptials should be theirs, But thy enquiries neither indirect Will I evade, nor give thee false reply, But all that from the Ancient of the Deep[73] I have received will utter, hiding nought. The God declared that he had seen thy sire In a lone island, sorrowing, and detain'd An inmate in the grotto of the nymph Calypso, wanting also means by which 170 To reach the country of his birth again, For neither gallant barks nor friends had

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