The Odyssey of Homer
by Homer
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{Transcriber's note:

The spelling and hyphenation in the original are inconsistent, and have not been changed. A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected, as listed at the end of the etext. Greek has been transliterated and is indicated by plus signs, thus: Eranos.}









In a council of the Gods, Minerva calls their attention to Ulysses, still a wanderer. They resolve to grant him a safe return to Ithaca. Minerva descends to encourage Telemachus, and in the form of Mentes directs him in what manner to proceed. Throughout this book the extravagance and profligacy of the suitors are occasionally suggested.

Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed And genius versatile, who far and wide A Wand'rer, after Ilium overthrown, Discover'd various cities, and the mind And manners learn'd of men, in lands remote. He num'rous woes on Ocean toss'd, endured, Anxious to save himself, and to conduct His followers to their home; yet all his care Preserved them not; they perish'd self-destroy'd By their own fault; infatuate! who devoured 10 The oxen of the all-o'erseeing Sun, And, punish'd for that crime, return'd no more. Daughter divine of Jove, these things record, As it may please thee, even in our ears. The rest, all those who had perdition 'scaped By war or on the Deep, dwelt now at home; Him only, of his country and his wife Alike desirous, in her hollow grots Calypso, Goddess beautiful, detained Wooing him to her arms. But when, at length, 20 (Many a long year elapsed) the year arrived Of his return (by the decree of heav'n) To Ithaca, not even then had he, Although surrounded by his people, reach'd The period of his suff'rings and his toils. Yet all the Gods, with pity moved, beheld His woes, save Neptune; He alone with wrath Unceasing and implacable pursued Godlike Ulysses to his native shores. But Neptune, now, the AEthiopians fought, 30 (The AEthiopians, utmost of mankind, These Eastward situate, those toward the West) Call'd to an hecatomb of bulls and lambs. There sitting, pleas'd he banqueted; the Gods In Jove's abode, meantime, assembled all, 'Midst whom the Sire of heav'n and earth began. For he recall'd to mind AEgisthus slain By Agamemnon's celebrated son Orestes, and retracing in his thought That dread event, the Immortals thus address'd. 40 Alas! how prone are human-kind to blame The Pow'rs of Heav'n! From us, they say, proceed The ills which they endure, yet more than Fate Herself inflicts, by their own crimes incur. So now AEgisthus, by no force constrained Of Destiny, Atrides' wedded wife Took to himself, and him at his return Slew, not unwarn'd of his own dreadful end By us: for we commanded Hermes down The watchful Argicide, who bade him fear 50 Alike, to slay the King, or woo the Queen. For that Atrides' son Orestes, soon As grown mature, and eager to assume His sway imperial, should avenge the deed. So Hermes spake, but his advice moved not AEgisthus, on whose head the whole arrear Of vengeance heap'd, at last, hath therefore fall'n. Whom answer'd then Pallas caerulean-eyed. Oh Jove, Saturnian Sire, o'er all supreme! And well he merited the death he found; 60 So perish all, who shall, like him, offend. But with a bosom anguish-rent I view Ulysses, hapless Chief! who from his friends Remote, affliction hath long time endured In yonder wood-land isle, the central boss Of Ocean. That retreat a Goddess holds, Daughter of sapient Atlas, who the abyss Knows to its bottom, and the pillars high Himself upbears which sep'rate earth from heav'n. His daughter, there, the sorrowing Chief detains, 70 And ever with smooth speech insidious seeks To wean his heart from Ithaca; meantime Ulysses, happy might he but behold The smoke ascending from his native land, Death covets. Canst thou not, Olympian Jove! At last relent? Hath not Ulysses oft With victims slain amid Achaia's fleet Thee gratified, while yet at Troy he fought? How hath he then so deep incensed thee, Jove? To whom, the cloud-assembler God replied. 80 What word hath pass'd thy lips, Daughter belov'd? Can I forget Ulysses? Him forget So noble, who in wisdom all mankind Excels, and who hath sacrific'd so oft To us whose dwelling is the boundless heav'n? Earth-circling Neptune—He it is whose wrath Pursues him ceaseless for the Cyclops' sake Polypheme, strongest of the giant race, Whom of his eye Ulysses hath deprived. For Him, Thooesa bore, Nymph of the sea 90 From Phorcys sprung, by Ocean's mighty pow'r Impregnated in caverns of the Deep. E'er since that day, the Shaker of the shores, Although he slay him not, yet devious drives Ulysses from his native isle afar. Yet come—in full assembly his return Contrive we now, both means and prosp'rous end; So Neptune shall his wrath remit, whose pow'r In contest with the force of all the Gods Exerted single, can but strive in vain. 100 To whom Minerva, Goddess azure-eyed. Oh Jupiter! above all Kings enthroned! If the Immortals ever-blest ordain That wise Ulysses to his home return, Dispatch we then Hermes the Argicide, Our messenger, hence to Ogygia's isle, Who shall inform Calypso, nymph divine, Of this our fixt resolve, that to his home Ulysses, toil-enduring Chief, repair. Myself will hence to Ithaca, meantime, 110 His son to animate, and with new force Inspire, that (the Achaians all convened In council,) he may, instant, bid depart The suitors from his home, who, day by day, His num'rous flocks and fatted herds consume. And I will send him thence to Sparta forth, And into sandy Pylus, there to hear (If hear he may) some tidings of his Sire, And to procure himself a glorious name. This said, her golden sandals to her feet 120 She bound, ambrosial, which o'er all the earth And o'er the moist flood waft her fleet as air, Then, seizing her strong spear pointed with brass, In length and bulk, and weight a matchless beam, With which the Jove-born Goddess levels ranks Of Heroes, against whom her anger burns, From the Olympian summit down she flew, And on the threshold of Ulysses' hall In Ithaca, and within his vestibule Apparent stood; there, grasping her bright spear, 130 Mentes[1] she seem'd, the hospitable Chief Of Taphos' isle—she found the haughty throng The suitors; they before the palace gate With iv'ry cubes sported, on num'rous hides Reclined of oxen which themselves had slain. The heralds and the busy menials there Minister'd to them; these their mantling cups With water slaked; with bibulous sponges those Made clean the tables, set the banquet on, And portioned out to each his plenteous share. 140 Long ere the rest Telemachus himself Mark'd her, for sad amid them all he sat, Pourtraying in deep thought contemplative His noble Sire, and questioning if yet Perchance the Hero might return to chase From all his palace that imperious herd, To his own honour lord of his own home. Amid them musing thus, sudden he saw The Goddess, and sprang forth, for he abhorr'd To see a guest's admittance long delay'd; 150 Approaching eager, her right hand he seized, The brazen spear took from her, and in words With welcome wing'd Minerva thus address'd. Stranger, all hail! to share our cordial love Thou com'st; the banquet finish'd, thou shalt next Inform me wherefore thou hast here arrived. So saying, toward the spacious hall he moved, Follow'd by Pallas, and, arriving soon Beneath the lofty roof, placed her bright spear Within a pillar's cavity, long time 160 The armoury where many a spear had stood, Bright weapons of his own illustrious Sire. Then, leading her toward a footstool'd throne Magnificent, which first he overspread With linen, there he seated her, apart From that rude throng, and for himself disposed A throne of various colours at her side, Lest, stunn'd with clamour of the lawless band, The new-arrived should loth perchance to eat, And that more free he might the stranger's ear 170 With questions of his absent Sire address, And now a maiden charg'd with golden ew'r, And with an argent laver, pouring first Pure water on their hands, supplied them, next, With a resplendent table, which the chaste Directress of the stores furnish'd with bread And dainties, remnants of the last regale. Then, in his turn, the sewer[2] with sav'ry meats, Dish after dish, served them, of various kinds, And golden cups beside the chargers placed, 180 Which the attendant herald fill'd with wine. Ere long, in rush'd the suitors, and the thrones And couches occupied, on all whose hands The heralds pour'd pure water; then the maids Attended them with bread in baskets heap'd, And eager they assail'd the ready feast. At length, when neither thirst nor hunger more They felt unsatisfied, to new delights Their thoughts they turn'd, to song and sprightly dance, Enlivening sequel of the banquet's joys. 190 An herald, then, to Phemius' hand consign'd His beauteous lyre; he through constraint regaled The suitors with his song, and while the chords He struck in prelude to his pleasant strains, Telemachus his head inclining nigh To Pallas' ear, lest others should his words Witness, the blue-eyed Goddess thus bespake. My inmate and my friend! far from my lips Be ev'ry word that might displease thine ear! The song—the harp,—what can they less than charm 200 These wantons? who the bread unpurchased eat Of one whose bones on yonder continent Lie mould'ring, drench'd by all the show'rs of heaven, Or roll at random in the billowy deep. Ah! could they see him once to his own isle Restored, both gold and raiment they would wish Far less, and nimbleness of foot instead. But He, alas! hath by a wretched fate, Past question perish'd, and what news soe'er We hear of his return, kindles no hope 210 In us, convinced that he returns no more. But answer undissembling; tell me true; Who art thou? whence? where stands thy city? where Thy father's mansion? In what kind of ship Cam'st thou? Why steer'd the mariners their course To Ithaca, and of what land are they? For that on foot thou found'st us not, is sure. This also tell me, hast thou now arrived New to our isle, or wast thou heretofore My father's guest? Since many to our house 220 Resorted in those happier days, for he Drew pow'rful to himself the hearts of all. Then Pallas thus, Goddess caerulean-eyed. I will with all simplicity of truth Thy questions satisfy. Behold in me Mentes, the offspring of a Chief renown'd In war, Anchialus; and I rule, myself, An island race, the Taphians oar-expert. With ship and mariners I now arrive, Seeking a people of another tongue 230 Athwart the gloomy flood, in quest of brass For which I barter steel, ploughing the waves To Temesa. My ship beneath the woods Of Neius, at yonder field that skirts Your city, in the haven Rhethrus rides. We are hereditary guests; our Sires Were friends long since; as, when thou seest him next, The Hero old Laertes will avouch, Of whom, I learn, that he frequents no more The city now, but in sequester'd scenes 240 Dwells sorrowful, and by an antient dame With food and drink supplied oft as he feels Refreshment needful to him, while he creeps Between the rows of his luxuriant vines. But I have come drawn hither by report, Which spake thy Sire arrived, though still it seems The adverse Gods his homeward course retard. For not yet breathless lies the noble Chief, But in some island of the boundless flood Resides a prisoner, by barbarous force 250 Of some rude race detained reluctant there. And I will now foreshow thee what the Gods Teach me, and what, though neither augur skill'd Nor prophet, I yet trust shall come to pass. He shall not, henceforth, live an exile long From his own shores, no, not although in bands Of iron held, but will ere long contrive His own return; for in expedients, framed With wond'rous ingenuity, he abounds. But tell me true; art thou, in stature such, 260 Son of himself Ulysses? for thy face And eyes bright-sparkling, strongly indicate Ulysses in thee. Frequent have we both Conversed together thus, thy Sire and I, Ere yet he went to Troy, the mark to which So many Princes of Achaia steer'd. Him since I saw not, nor Ulysses me. To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. Stranger! I tell thee true; my mother's voice Affirms me his, but since no mortal knows 270 His derivation, I affirm it not. Would I had been son of some happier Sire, Ordain'd in calm possession of his own To reach the verge of life. But now, report Proclaims me his, whom I of all mankind Unhappiest deem.—Thy question is resolved. Then answer thus Pallas blue-eyed return'd. From no ignoble race, in future days, The Gods shall prove thee sprung, whom so endow'd With ev'ry grace Penelope hath borne. 280 But tell me true. What festival is this? This throng—whence are they? wherefore hast thou need Of such a multitude? Behold I here A banquet, or a nuptial? for these Meet not by contribution[3] to regale, With such brutality and din they hold Their riotous banquet! a wise man and good Arriving, now, among them, at the sight Of such enormities would much be wroth. To whom replied Telemachus discrete. 290 Since, stranger! thou hast ask'd, learn also this. While yet Ulysses, with his people dwelt, His presence warranted the hope that here Virtue should dwell and opulence; but heav'n Hath cast for us, at length, a diff'rent lot, And he is lost, as never man before. For I should less lament even his death, Had he among his friends at Ilium fall'n, Or in the arms of his companions died, Troy's siege accomplish'd. Then his tomb the Greeks 300 Of ev'ry tribe had built, and for his son, He had immortal glory atchieved; but now, By harpies torn inglorious, beyond reach Of eye or ear he lies; and hath to me Grief only, and unceasing sighs bequeath'd. Nor mourn I for his sake alone; the Gods Have plann'd for me still many a woe beside; For all the rulers of the neighbour isles, Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown'd Zacynthus, others also, rulers here 310 In craggy Ithaca, my mother seek 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 not long spare even me. To whom, with deep commiseration pang'd, Pallas replied. Alas! great need hast thou Of thy long absent father to avenge These num'rous wrongs; for could he now appear 320 There, at yon portal, arm'd with helmet, shield, And grasping his two spears, such as when first I saw him drinking joyous at our board, From Ilus son of Mermeris, who dwelt In distant Ephyre, just then return'd, (For thither also had Ulysses gone In his swift bark, seeking some pois'nous drug Wherewith to taint his brazen arrows keen, Which drug through fear of the eternal Gods Ilus refused him, and my father free 330 Gave to him, for he loved him past belief) Could now, Ulysses, clad in arms as then, Mix with these suitors, short his date of life To each, and bitter should his nuptials prove. But these events, whether he shall return To take just vengeance under his own roof, Or whether not, lie all in the Gods lap. Meantime I counsel thee, thyself to think By what means likeliest thou shalt expel These from thy doors. Now mark me: close attend. 340 To-morrow, summoning the Grecian Chiefs To council, speak to them, and call the Gods To witness that solemnity. Bid go The suitors hence, each to his own abode. Thy mother—if her purpose be resolved On marriage, let her to the house return Of her own potent father, who, himself, Shall furnish forth her matrimonial rites, And ample dow'r, such as it well becomes A darling daughter to receive, bestow. 350 But hear me now; thyself I thus advise. The prime of all thy ships preparing, mann'd With twenty rowers, voyage hence to seek Intelligence of thy long-absent Sire. Some mortal may inform thee, or a word,[4] Perchance, by Jove directed (safest source Of notice to mankind) may reach thine ear. First voyaging to Pylus, there enquire Of noble Nestor; thence to Sparta tend, To question Menelaus amber-hair'd, 360 Latest arrived of all the host of Greece. There should'st thou learn that still thy father lives, And hope of his return, although Distress'd, thou wilt be patient yet a year. But should'st thou there hear tidings that he breathes No longer, to thy native isle return'd, First heap his tomb; then with such pomp perform His funeral rites as his great name demands, And make thy mother's spousals, next, thy care. These duties satisfied, delib'rate last 370 Whether thou shalt these troublers of thy house By stratagem, or by assault, destroy. For thou art now no child, nor longer may'st Sport like one. Hast thou not the proud report Heard, how Orestes hath renown acquired With all mankind, his father's murtherer AEgisthus slaying, the deceiver base Who slaughter'd Agamemnon? Oh my friend! (For with delight thy vig'rous growth I view, And just proportion) be thou also bold, 380 And merit praise from ages yet to come. But I will to my vessel now repair, And to my mariners, whom, absent long, I may perchance have troubled. Weigh thou well My counsel; let not my advice be lost. To whom Telemachus discrete replied. Stranger! thy words bespeak thee much my friend, Who, as a father teaches his own son, Hast taught me, and I never will forget. But, though in haste thy voyage to pursue, 390 Yet stay, that in the bath refreshing first Thy limbs now weary, thou may'st sprightlier seek Thy gallant bark, charged with some noble gift Of finish'd workmanship, which thou shalt keep As my memorial ever; such a boon As men confer on guests whom much they love. Then Pallas thus, Goddess caerulean-eyed. Retard me not, for go I must; the gift Which liberal thou desirest to bestow, Give me at my return, that I may bear 400 The treasure home; and, in exchange, thyself Expect some gift equivalent from me. She spake, and as with eagle-wings upborne, Vanish'd incontinent, but him inspired With daring fortitude, and on his heart Dearer remembrance of his Sire impress'd Than ever. Conscious of the wond'rous change, Amazed he stood, and, in his secret thought Revolving all, believed his guest a God. The youthful Hero to the suitors then 410 Repair'd; they silent, listen'd to the song Of the illustrious Bard: he the return Deplorable of the Achaian host From Ilium by command of Pallas, sang. Penelope, Icarius' daughter, mark'd Meantime the song celestial, where she sat In the superior palace; down she came, By all the num'rous steps of her abode; Not sole, for two fair handmaids follow'd her. She then, divinest of her sex, arrived 420 In presence of that lawless throng, beneath The portal of her stately mansion stood, Between her maidens, with her lucid veil Her lovely features mantling. There, profuse She wept, and thus the sacred bard bespake. Phemius! for many a sorrow-soothing strain Thou know'st beside, such as exploits record Of Gods and men, the poet's frequent theme; Give them of those a song, and let themselves Their wine drink noiseless; but this mournful strain 430 Break off, unfriendly to my bosom's peace, And which of all hearts nearest touches mine, With such regret my dearest Lord I mourn, Rememb'ring still an husband praised from side To side, and in the very heart of Greece. Then answer thus Telemachus return'd. My mother! wherefore should it give thee pain If the delightful bard that theme pursue To which he feels his mind impell'd? the bard Blame not, but rather Jove, who, as he wills, 440 Materials for poetic art supplies. No fault is his, if the disastrous fate He sing of the Achaians, for the song Wins ever from the hearers most applause That has been least in use. Of all who fought At Troy, Ulysses hath not lost, alone, His day of glad return; but many a Chief Hath perish'd also. Seek thou then again Thy own apartment, spindle ply and loom, And task thy maidens; management belongs 450 To men of joys convivial, and of men Especially to me, chief ruler here. She heard astonish'd; and the prudent speech Reposing of her son deep in her heart, Again with her attendant maidens sought Her upper chamber. There arrived, she wept Her lost Ulysses, till Minerva bathed Her weary lids in dewy sleep profound. Then echoed through the palace dark-bedimm'd With evening shades the suitors boist'rous roar, 460 For each the royal bed burn'd to partake, Whom thus Telemachus discrete address'd. All ye my mother's suitors, though addict To contumacious wrangling fierce, suspend Your clamour, for a course to me it seems More decent far, when such a bard as this, Godlike, for sweetness, sings, to hear his song. To-morrow meet we in full council all, That I may plainly warn you to depart From this our mansion. Seek ye where ye may 470 Your feasts; consume your own; alternate feed Each at the other's cost; but if it seem Wisest in your account and best, to eat Voracious thus the patrimonial goods Of one man, rend'ring no account of all,[5] Bite to the roots; but know that I will cry Ceaseless to the eternal Gods, in hope That Jove, for retribution of the wrong, Shall doom you, where ye have intruded, there To bleed, and of your blood ask no account.[5] 480 He ended, and each gnaw'd his lip, aghast At his undaunted hardiness of speech. Then thus Antinoues spake, Eupithes' son. Telemachus! the Gods, methinks, themselves Teach thee sublimity, and to pronounce Thy matter fearless. Ah forbid it, Jove! That one so eloquent should with the weight Of kingly cares in Ithaca be charged, A realm, by claim hereditary, thine. Then prudent thus Telemachus replied. 490 Although my speech Antinoues may, perchance, Provoke thee, know that I am not averse From kingly cares, if Jove appoint me such. Seems it to thee a burthen to be fear'd By men above all others? trust me, no, There is no ill in royalty; the man So station'd, waits not long ere he obtain Riches and honour. But I grant that Kings Of the Achaians may no few be found In sea-girt Ithaca both young and old, 500 Of whom since great Ulysses is no more, Reign whoso may; but King, myself, I am In my own house, and over all my own Domestics, by Ulysses gained for me. To whom Eurymachus replied, the son Of Polybus. What Grecian Chief shall reign In sea-girt Ithaca, must be referr'd To the Gods' will, Telemachus! meantime Thou hast unquestionable right to keep Thy own, and to command in thy own house. 510 May never that man on her shores arrive, While an inhabitant shall yet be left In Ithaca, who shall by violence wrest Thine from thee. But permit me, noble Sir! To ask thee of thy guest. Whence came the man? What country claims him? Where are to be found His kindred and his patrimonial fields? Brings he glad tidings of thy Sire's approach Homeward? or came he to receive a debt Due to himself? How swift he disappear'd! 520 Nor opportunity to know him gave To those who wish'd it; for his face and air Him speak not of Plebeian birth obscure. Whom answered thus Telemachus discrete. Eurymachus! my father comes no more. I can no longer now tidings believe, If such arrive; nor he'd I more the song Of sooth-sayers whom my mother may consult. But this my guest hath known in other days My father, and he came from Taphos, son 530 Of brave Anchialus, Mentes by name, And Chief of the sea-practis'd Taphian race. So spake Telemachus, but in his heart Knew well his guest a Goddess from the skies. Then they to dance and heart-enlivening song Turn'd joyous, waiting the approach of eve, And dusky evening found them joyous still. Then each, to his own house retiring, sought Needful repose. Meantime Telemachus To his own lofty chamber, built in view 540 Of the wide hall, retired; but with a heart In various musings occupied intense. Sage Euryclea, bearing in each hand A torch, preceded him; her sire was Ops, Pisenor's son, and, in her early prime, At his own cost Laertes made her his, Paying with twenty beeves her purchase-price, Nor in less honour than his spotless wife He held her ever, but his consort's wrath Fearing, at no time call'd her to his bed. 550 She bore the torches, and with truer heart Loved him than any of the female train, For she had nurs'd him in his infant years. He open'd his broad chamber-valves, and sat On his couch-side: then putting off his vest Of softest texture, placed it in the hands Of the attendant dame discrete, who first Folding it with exactest care, beside His bed suspended it, and, going forth, Drew by its silver ring the portal close, 560 And fasten'd it with bolt and brace secure. There lay Telemachus, on finest wool Reposed, contemplating all night his course Prescribed by Pallas to the Pylian shore.


[1] We are told that Homer was under obligations to Mentes, who had frequently given him a passage in his ship to different countries which he wished to see, for which reason he has here immortalised him.

[2] Milton uses the word—Sewers and seneschals.

[3] Eranos, a convivial meeting, at which every man paid his proportion, at least contributed something; but it seems to have been a meeting at which strict sobriety was observed, else Pallas would not have inferred from the noise and riot of this, that it was not such a one.

[4] Ossa—a word spoken, with respect to the speaker, casually; but with reference to the inquirer supposed to be sent for his information by the especial appointment and providential favour of the Gods.

[5] There is in the Original an evident stress laid on the word Nepoinoi which is used in both places. It was a sort of Lex Talionis which Telemachus hoped might be put in force against them; and that Jove would demand no satisfaction for the lives of those who made him none for the waste of his property.



Telemachus having convened an assembly of the Greecians, publicly calls on the Suitors to relinquish the house of Ulysses. During the continuance of the Council he has much to suffer from the petulance of the Suitors, from whom, having informed them of his design to undertake a voyage in hope to obtain news of Ulysses, he asks a ship, with all things necessary for the purpose. He is refused, but is afterwards furnished with what he wants by Minerva, in the form of Mentor. He embarks in the evening without the privity of his mother, and the Goddess sails with him.

Aurora, rosy daughter of the dawn, Now ting'd the East, when habited again, Uprose Ulysses' offspring from his bed. Athwart his back his faulchion keen he flung, His sandals bound to his unsullied feet, And, godlike, issued from his chamber-door. At once the clear-voic'd heralds he enjoin'd To call the Greeks to council; they aloud Gave forth the summons, and the throng began. When all were gather'd, and the assembly full, 10 Himself, his hand arm'd with a brazen spear, Went also; nor alone he went; his hounds Fleet-footed follow'd him, a faithful pair. O'er all his form Minerva largely shed Majestic grace divine, and, as he went, The whole admiring concourse gaz'd on him, The seniors gave him place, and down he sat On his paternal Throne. Then grave arose The Hero, old AEgyptius; bow'd with age Was he, and by experience deep-inform'd. 20 His son had with Ulysses, godlike Chief, On board his fleet to steed-fam'd Ilium gone, The warrior Antiphus, whom in his cave The savage Cyclops slew, and on his flesh At ev'ning made obscene his last regale. Three sons he had beside, a suitor one, Eurynomus; the other two, employ Found constant managing their Sire's concerns. Yet he forgat not, father as he was Of these, his absent eldest, whom he mourn'd 30 Ceaseless, and thus his speech, weeping, began. Hear me, ye men of Ithaca, my friends! Nor council here nor session hath been held Since great Ulysses left his native shore. Who now convenes us? what especial need Hath urged him, whether of our youth he be, Or of our senators by age matured? Have tidings reach'd him of our host's return, Which here he would divulge? or brings he aught Of public import on a diff'rent theme? 40 I deem him, whosoe'er he be, a man Worthy to prosper, and may Jove vouchsafe The full performance of his chief desire! He ended, and Telemachus rejoiced In that good omen. Ardent to begin, He sat not long, but, moving to the midst, Received the sceptre from Pisenor's hand, His prudent herald, and addressing, next, The hoary Chief AEgyptius, thus began. Not far remote, as thou shalt soon thyself 50 Perceive, oh venerable Chief! he stands, Who hath convened this council. I, am He. I am in chief the suff'rer. Tidings none Of the returning host I have received, Which here I would divulge, nor bring I aught Of public import on a different theme, But my own trouble, on my own house fall'n, And two-fold fall'n. One is, that I have lost A noble father, who, as fathers rule Benign their children, govern'd once yourselves; 60 The other, and the more alarming ill, With ruin threatens my whole house, and all My patrimony with immediate waste. Suitors, (their children who in this our isle Hold highest rank) importunate besiege My mother, though desirous not to wed, And rather than resort to her own Sire Icarius, who might give his daughter dow'r, And portion her to whom he most approves, (A course which, only named, moves their disgust) 70 They chuse, assembling all within my gates Daily to make my beeves, my sheep, my goats Their banquet, and to drink without restraint My wine; whence ruin threatens us and ours; For I have no Ulysses to relieve Me and my family from this abuse. Ourselves are not sufficient; we, alas! Too feeble should be found, and yet to learn How best to use the little force we own; Else, had I pow'r, I would, myself, redress 80 The evil; for it now surpasses far All suff'rance, now they ravage uncontroul'd, Nor show of decency vouchsafe me more. Oh be ashamed[6] yourselves; blush at the thought Of such reproach as ye shall sure incur From all our neighbour states, and fear beside The wrath of the Immortals, lest they call Yourselves one day to a severe account. I pray you by Olympian Jove, by her Whose voice convenes all councils, and again 90 Dissolves them, Themis, that henceforth ye cease, That ye permit me, oh my friends! to wear My days in solitary grief away, Unless Ulysses, my illustrious Sire, Hath in his anger any Greecian wrong'd, Whose wrongs ye purpose to avenge on me, Inciting these to plague me. Better far Were my condition, if yourselves consumed My substance and my revenue; from you I might obtain, perchance, righteous amends 100 Hereafter; you I might with vehement suit O'ercome, from house to house pleading aloud For recompense, till I at last prevail'd. But now, with darts of anguish ye transfix My inmost soul, and I have no redress. He spake impassion'd, and to earth cast down His sceptre, weeping. Pity at that sight Seiz'd all the people; mute the assembly sat Long time, none dared to greet Telemachus With answer rough, till of them all, at last, 110 Antinoues, sole arising, thus replied. Telemachus, intemp'rate in harangue, High-sounding orator! it is thy drift To make us all odious; but the offence Lies not with us the suitors; she alone Thy mother, who in subtlety excels, And deep-wrought subterfuge, deserves the blame. It is already the third year, and soon Shall be the fourth, since with delusive art Practising on their minds, she hath deceived 120 The Greecians; message after message sent Brings hope to each, by turns, and promise fair, But she, meantime, far otherwise intends. Her other arts exhausted all, she framed This stratagem; a web of amplest size And subtlest woof beginning, thus she spake. Princes, my suitors! since the noble Chief Ulysses is no more, press not as yet My nuptials, wait till I shall finish, first, A fun'ral robe (lest all my threads decay) 130 Which for the antient Hero I prepare, Laertes, looking for the mournful hour When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest; Else I the censure dread of all my sex, Should he, so wealthy, want at last a shroud. So spake the Queen, and unsuspicious, we With her request complied. Thenceforth, all day She wove the ample web, and by the aid Of torches ravell'd it again at night. Three years by such contrivance she deceived 140 The Greecians; but when (three whole years elaps'd) The fourth arriv'd, then, conscious of the fraud, A damsel of her train told all the truth, And her we found rav'ling the beauteous work. Thus, through necessity she hath, at length, Perform'd the task, and in her own despight. Now therefore, for the information clear Of thee thyself, and of the other Greeks, We answer. Send thy mother hence, with charge That him she wed on whom her father's choice 150 Shall fall, and whom she shall, herself, approve. But if by long procrastination still She persevere wearing our patience out, Attentive only to display the gifts By Pallas so profusely dealt to her, Works of surpassing skill, ingenious thought, And subtle shifts, such as no beauteous Greek (For aught that we have heard) in antient times E'er practised, Tyro, or Alcemena fair, Or fair Mycene, of whom none in art 160 E'er match'd Penelope, although we yield To this her last invention little praise, Then know, that these her suitors will consume So long thy patrimony and thy goods, As she her present purpose shall indulge, With which the Gods inspire her. Great renown She to herself insures, but equal woe And devastation of thy wealth to thee; For neither to our proper works at home Go we, of that be sure, nor yet elsewhere, 170 Till him she wed, to whom she most inclines. Him prudent, then, answer'd Telemachus. Antinoues! it is not possible That I should thrust her forth against her will, Who both produced and reared me. Be he dead, Or still alive, my Sire is far remote, And should I, voluntary, hence dismiss My mother to Icarius, I must much Refund, which hardship were and loss to me. So doing, I should also wrath incur 180 From my offended Sire, and from the Gods Still more; for she, departing, would invoke Erynnis to avenge her, and reproach Beside would follow me from all mankind. That word I, therefore, never will pronounce. No, if ye judge your treatment at her hands Injurious to you, go ye forth yourselves, Forsake my mansion; seek where else ye may Your feasts; consume your own; alternate feed Each at the other's cost. But if it seem 190 Wisest in your account and best to eat Voracious thus the patrimonial goods Of one man, rend'ring no account of all, Bite to the roots; but know that I will cry Ceaseless to the eternal Gods, in hope That Jove, in retribution of the wrong, Shall doom you, where ye have intruded, there To bleed, and of your blood ask no account. So spake Telemachus, and while he spake, The Thund'rer from a lofty mountain-top 200 Turn'd off two eagles; on the winds, awhile, With outspread pinions ample side by side They floated; but, ere long, hov'ring aloft, Right o'er the midst of the assembled Chiefs They wheel'd around, clang'd all their num'rous plumes, And with a downward look eyeing the throng, Death boded, ominous; then rending each The other's face and neck, they sprang at once Toward the right, and darted through the town. Amazement universal, at that sight, 210 Seized the assembly, and with anxious thought Each scann'd the future; amidst whom arose The Hero Halitherses, antient Seer, Offspring of Mastor; for in judgment he Of portents augural, and in forecast Unerring, his coevals all excell'd, And prudent thus the multitude bespake. Ye men of Ithaca, give ear! hear all! Though chief my speech shall to the suitors look, For, on their heads devolved, comes down the woe. 220 Ulysses shall not from his friends, henceforth, Live absent long, but, hasting to his home, Comes even now, and as he comes, designs A bloody death for these, whose bitter woes No few shall share, inhabitants with us Of pleasant Ithaca; but let us frame Effectual means maturely to suppress Their violent deeds, or rather let themselves Repentant cease; and soonest shall be best. Not inexpert, but well-inform'd I speak 230 The future, and the accomplishment announce Of all which when Ulysses with the Greeks Embark'd for Troy, I to himself foretold. I said that, after many woes, and loss Of all his people, in the twentieth year, Unknown to all, he should regain his home, And my prediction shall be now fulfill'd. Him, then, Eurymachus thus answer'd rough The son of Polybus. Hence to thy house, Thou hoary dotard! there, prophetic, teach 240 Thy children to escape woes else to come. Birds num'rous flutter in the beams of day, Not all predictive. Death, far hence remote Hath found Ulysses, and I would to heav'n That, where he died, thyself had perish'd too. Thou hadst not then run o'er with prophecy As now, nor provocation to the wrath Giv'n of Telemachus, in hope to win, Perchance, for thine some favour at his hands. But I to thee foretell, skilled as thou art 250 In legends old, (nor shall my threat be vain) That if by artifice thou move to wrath A younger than thyself, no matter whom, Woe first the heavier on himself shall fall, Nor shalt thou profit him by thy attempt, And we will charge thee also with a mulct, Which thou shalt pay with difficulty, and bear The burthen of it with an aching heart. As for Telemachus, I him advise, Myself, and press the measure on his choice 260 Earnestly, that he send his mother hence To her own father's house, who shall, himself, Set forth her nuptial rites, and shall endow His daughter sumptuously, and as he ought. For this expensive wooing, as I judge, Till then shall never cease; since we regard No man—no—not Telemachus, although In words exub'rant; neither fear we aught Thy vain prognostics, venerable sir! But only hate thee for their sake the more. 270 Waste will continue and disorder foul Unremedied, so long as she shall hold The suitors in suspense, for, day by day, Our emulation goads us to the strife, Nor shall we, going hence, seek to espouse Each his own comfort suitable elsewhere. To whom, discrete, Telemachus replied. Eurymachus, and ye the suitor train Illustrious, I have spoken: ye shall hear No more this supplication urged by me. 280 The Gods, and all the Greeks, now know the truth. But give me instantly a gallant bark With twenty rowers, skill'd their course to win To whatsoever haven; for I go To sandy Pylus, and shall hasten thence To Lacedemon, tidings to obtain Of my long-absent Sire, or from the lips Of man, or by a word from Jove vouchsafed Himself, best source of notice to mankind. If, there inform'd that still my father lives, 290 I hope conceive of his return, although Distress'd, I shall be patient yet a year. But should I learn, haply, that he survives No longer, then, returning, I will raise At home his tomb, will with such pomp perform His fun'ral rites, as his great name demands, And give my mother's hand to whom I may. This said, he sat, and after him arose Mentor, illustrious Ulysses' friend, To whom, embarking thence, he had consign'd 300 All his concerns, that the old Chief might rule His family, and keep the whole secure. Arising, thus the senior, sage, began. Hear me, ye Ithacans! be never King Henceforth, benevolent, gracious, humane Or righteous, but let every sceptred hand Rule merciless, and deal in wrong alone, Since none of all his people, whom he sway'd With such paternal gentleness and love, Remembers the divine Ulysses more! 310 That the imperious suitors thus should weave The web of mischief and atrocious wrong, I grudge not; since at hazard of their heads They make Ulysses' property a prey, Persuaded that the Hero comes no more. But much the people move me; how ye sit All mute, and though a multitude, yourselves, Opposed to few, risque not a single word To check the license of these bold intruders! Then thus Liocritus, Evenor's son. 320 Injurious Mentor! headlong orator! How dar'st thou move the populace against The suitors? Trust me they should find it hard, Numerous as they are, to cope with us, A feast the prize. Or should the King himself Of Ithaca, returning, undertake T' expell the jovial suitors from his house, Much as Penelope his absence mourns, His presence should afford her little joy; For fighting sole with many, he should meet 330 A dreadful death. Thou, therefore, speak'st amiss. As for Telemachus, let Mentor him And Halytherses furnish forth, the friends Long valued of his Sire, with all dispatch; Though him I judge far likelier to remain Long-time contented an enquirer here, Than to perform the voyage now proposed. Thus saying, Liocritus dissolved in haste The council, and the scattered concourse sought Their sev'ral homes, while all the suitors flock'd 340 Thence to the palace of their absent King. Meantime, Telemachus from all resort Retiring, in the surf of the gray Deep First laved his hands, then, thus to Pallas pray'd. O Goddess! who wast yesterday a guest Beneath my roof, and didst enjoin me then A voyage o'er the sable Deep in quest Of tidings of my long regretted Sire! Which voyage, all in Ithaca, but most The haughty suitors, obstinate impede, 350 Now hear my suit and gracious interpose! Such pray'r he made; then Pallas, in the form, And with the voice of Mentor, drawing nigh, In accents wing'd, him kindly thus bespake. Telemachus! thou shalt hereafter prove Nor base, nor poor in talents. If, in truth, Thou have received from heav'n thy father's force Instill'd into thee, and resemblest him In promptness both of action and of speech, Thy voyage shall not useless be, or vain. 360 But if Penelope produced thee not His son, I, then, hope not for good effect Of this design which, ardent, thou pursuest. Few sons their fathers equal; most appear Degenerate; but we find, though rare, sometimes A son superior even to his Sire. And since thyself shalt neither base be found Nor spiritless, nor altogether void Of talents, such as grace thy royal Sire, I therefore hope success of thy attempt. 370 Heed not the suitors' projects; neither wise Are they, nor just, nor aught suspect the doom Which now approaches them, and in one day Shall overwhelm them all. No long suspense Shall hold thy purposed enterprise in doubt, Such help from me, of old thy father's friend, Thou shalt receive, who with a bark well-oar'd Will serve thee, and myself attend thee forth. But haste, join thou the suitors, and provide, In sep'rate vessels stow'd, all needful stores, 380 Wine in thy jars, and flour, the strength of man, In skins close-seam'd. I will, meantime, select Such as shall voluntary share thy toils. In sea-girt Ithaca new ships and old Abound, and I will chuse, myself, for thee The prime of all, which without more delay We will launch out into the spacious Deep. Thus Pallas spake, daughter of Jove; nor long, So greeted by the voice divine, remain'd Telemachus, but to his palace went 390 Distress'd in heart. He found the suitors there Goats slaying in the hall, and fatted swine Roasting; when with a laugh Antinoues flew To meet him, fasten'd on his hand, and said, Telemachus, in eloquence sublime, And of a spirit not to be controul'd! Give harbour in thy breast on no account To after-grudge or enmity, but eat, Far rather, cheerfully as heretofore, And freely drink, committing all thy cares 400 To the Achaians, who shall furnish forth A gallant ship and chosen crew for thee, That thou may'st hence to Pylus with all speed, Tidings to learn of thy illustrious Sire. To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. Antinoues! I have no heart to feast With guests so insolent, nor can indulge The pleasures of a mind at ease, with you. Is't not enough, suitors, that ye have used My noble patrimony as your own 410 While I was yet a child? now, grown mature, And competent to understand the speech Of my instructors, feeling, too, a mind Within me conscious of augmented pow'rs, I will attempt your ruin, be assured, Whether at Pylus, or continuing here. I go, indeed, (nor shall my voyage prove Of which I speak, bootless or vain) I go An humble passenger, who neither bark Nor rowers have to boast my own, denied 420 That honour (so ye judg'd it best) by you. He said, and from Antinoues' hand his own Drew sudden. Then their delicate repast The busy suitors on all sides prepar'd, Still taunting as they toil'd, and with sharp speech Sarcastic wantoning, of whom a youth, Arrogant as his fellows, thus began. I see it plain, Telemachus intends Our slaughter; either he will aids procure From sandy Pylus, or will bring them arm'd 430 From Sparta; such is his tremendous drift. Even to fruitful Ephyre, perchance, He will proceed, seeking some baneful herb Which cast into our cup, shall drug us all. To whom some haughty suitor thus replied. Who knows but that himself, wand'ring the sea From all his friends and kindred far remote, May perish like Ulysses? Whence to us Should double toil ensue, on whom the charge To parcel out his wealth would then devolve, 440 And to endow his mother with the house For his abode whom she should chance to wed. So sported they; but he, ascending sought His father's lofty chamber, where his heaps He kept of brass and gold, garments in chests, And oils of fragrant scent, a copious store. There many a cask with season'd nectar fill'd The grape's pure juice divine, beside the wall Stood orderly arranged, waiting the hour (Should e'er such hour arrive) when, after woes 450 Num'rous, Ulysses should regain his home. Secure that chamber was with folding doors Of massy planks compact, and night and day, Within it antient Euryclea dwelt, Guardian discrete of all the treasures there, Whom, thither call'd, Telemachus address'd. Nurse! draw me forth sweet wine into my jars, Delicious next to that which thou reserv'st For our poor wand'rer; if escaping death At last, divine Ulysses e'er return. 460 Fill twelve, and stop them close; pour also meal Well mill'd (full twenty measures) into skins Close-seam'd, and mention what thou dost to none. Place them together; for at even-tide I will convey them hence, soon as the Queen, Retiring to her couch, shall seek repose. For hence to Sparta will I take my course, And sandy Pylus, tidings there to hear (If hear I may) of my lov'd Sire's return. He ceas'd, then wept his gentle nurse that sound 470 Hearing, and in wing'd accents thus replied. My child! ah, wherefore hath a thought so rash Possess'd thee? whither, only and belov'd, Seek'st thou to ramble, travelling, alas! To distant climes? Ulysses is no more; Dead lies the Hero in some land unknown, And thou no sooner shalt depart, than these Will plot to slay thee, and divide thy wealth. No, stay with us who love thee. Need is none That thou should'st on the barren Deep distress 480 Encounter, roaming without hope or end. Whom, prudent, thus answer'd Telemachus. Take courage, nurse! for not without consent Of the Immortals I have thus resolv'd. But swear, that till eleven days be past, Or twelve, or, till enquiry made, she learn Herself my going, thou wilt not impart Of this my purpose to my mother's ear, Lest all her beauties fade by grief impair'd. He ended, and the antient matron swore 490 Solemnly by the Gods; which done, she fill'd With wine the vessels and the skins with meal, And he, returning, join'd the throng below. Then Pallas, Goddess azure-eyed, her thoughts Elsewhere directing, all the city ranged In semblance of Telemachus, each man Exhorting, at the dusk of eve, to seek The gallant ship, and from Noemon, son Renown'd of Phronius, ask'd, herself, a bark, Which soon as ask'd, he promis'd to supply. 500 Now set the sun, and twilight dimm'd the ways, When, drawing down his bark into the Deep, He gave her all her furniture, oars, arms And tackle, such as well-built galleys bear, Then moor'd her in the bottom of the bay. Meantime, his mariners in haste repair'd Down to the shore, for Pallas urged them on. And now on other purposes intent, The Goddess sought the palace, where with dews Of slumber drenching ev'ry suitor's eye, 510 She fool'd the drunkard multitude, and dash'd The goblets from their idle hands away. They through the city reeled, happy to leave The dull carousal, when the slumb'rous weight Oppressive on their eye-lids once had fall'n. Next, Pallas azure-eyed in Mentor's form And with the voice of Mentor, summoning Telemachus abroad, him thus bespake. Telemachus! already at their oars Sit all thy fellow-voyagers, and wait 520 Thy coming; linger not, but haste away. This said, Minerva led him thence, whom he With nimble steps follow'd, and on the shore Arrived, found all his mariners prepared, Whom thus the princely voyager address'd. Haste, my companions! bring we down the stores Already sorted and set forth; but nought My mother knows, or any of her train Of this design, one matron sole except. He spake, and led them; they, obedient, brought 530 All down, and, as Ulysses' son enjoin'd, Within the gallant bark the charge bestow'd. Then, led by Pallas, went the prince on board, Where down they sat, the Goddess in the stern, And at her side Telemachus. The crew Cast loose the hawsers, and embarking, fill'd The benches. Blue-eyed Pallas from the West Call'd forth propitious breezes; fresh they curled The sable Deep, and, sounding, swept the waves. He loud-exhorting them, his people bade 540 Hand, brisk, the tackle; they, obedient, reared The pine-tree mast, which in its socket deep They lodg'd, then strain'd the cordage, and with thongs Well-twisted, drew the shining sail aloft. A land-breeze fill'd the canvas, and the flood Roar'd as she went against the steady bark That ran with even course her liquid way. The rigging, thus, of all the galley set, Their beakers crowning high with wine, they hail'd The ever-living Gods, but above all 550 Minerva, daughter azure-eyed of Jove. Thus, all night long the galley, and till dawn Had brighten'd into day, cleaved swift the flood.


[6] The reader is to be reminded that this is not an assembly of the suitors only, but a general one, which affords Telemachus an opportunity to apply himself to the feelings of the Ithacans at large.



Telemachus arriving at Pylus, enquires of Nestor concerning Ulysses. Nestor relates to him all that he knows or has heard of the Greecians since their departure from the siege of Troy, but not being able to give him any satisfactory account of Ulysses, refers him to Menelaus. At evening Minerva quits Telemachus, but discovers herself in going. Nestor sacrifices to the Goddess, and the solemnity ended, Telemachus sets forth for Sparta in one of Nestor's chariots, and accompanied by Nestor's son, Pisistratus.

The sun, emerging from the lucid waves, Ascended now the brazen vault with light For the inhabitants of earth and heav'n, When in their bark at Pylus they arrived, City of Neleus. On the shore they found The people sacrificing; bulls they slew Black without spot, to Neptune azure-hair'd. On ranges nine of seats they sat; each range Received five hundred, and to each they made Allotment equal of nine sable bulls. 10 The feast was now begun; these eating sat The entrails, those stood off'ring to the God The thighs, his portion, when the Ithacans Push'd right ashore, and, furling close the sails, And making fast their moorings, disembark'd. Forth came Telemachus, by Pallas led, Whom thus the Goddess azure-eyed address'd. Telemachus! there is no longer room For bashful fear, since thou hast cross'd the flood With purpose to enquire what land conceals 20 Thy father, and what fate hath follow'd him. Advance at once to the equestrian Chief Nestor, within whose bosom lies, perhaps, Advice well worthy of thy search; entreat Himself, that he will tell thee only truth, Who will not lye, for he is passing wise. To whom Telemachus discrete replied. Ah Mentor! how can I advance, how greet A Chief like him, unpractis'd as I am In manag'd phrase? Shame bids the youth beware 30 How he accosts the man of many years. But him the Goddess answer'd azure-eyed, Telemachus! Thou wilt, in part, thyself Fit speech devise, and heav'n will give the rest; For thou wast neither born, nor hast been train'd To manhood, under unpropitious Pow'rs. So saying, Minerva led him thence, whom he With nimble steps attending, soon arrived Among the multitude. There Nestor sat, And Nestor's sons, while, busily the feast 40 Tending, his num'rous followers roasted, some, The viands, some, transfix'd them with the spits. They seeing guests arrived, together all Advanced, and, grasping courteously their hands, Invited them to sit; but first, the son Of Nestor, young Pisistratus, approach'd, Who, fast'ning on the hands of both, beside The banquet placed them, where the beach was spread With fleeces, and where Thrasymedes sat His brother, and the hoary Chief his Sire. 50 To each a portion of the inner parts He gave, then fill'd a golden cup with wine, Which, tasted first, he to the daughter bore Of Jove the Thund'rer, and her thus bespake. Oh guest! the King of Ocean now adore! For ye have chanced on Neptune's festival; And, when thou hast, thyself, libation made Duly, and pray'r, deliver to thy friend The gen'rous juice, that he may also make Libation; for he, doubtless, seeks, in prayer 60 The Immortals, of whose favour all have need. But, since he younger is, and with myself Coeval, first I give the cup to thee. He ceas'd, and to her hand consign'd the cup, Which Pallas gladly from a youth received So just and wise, who to herself had first The golden cup presented, and in pray'r Fervent the Sov'reign of the Seas adored. Hear, earth-encircler Neptune! O vouchsafe To us thy suppliants the desired effect 70 Of this our voyage; glory, first, bestow On Nestor and his offspring both, then grant To all the Pylians such a gracious boon As shall requite their noble off'ring well. Grant also to Telemachus and me To voyage hence, possess'd of what we sought When hither in our sable bark we came. So Pallas pray'd, and her own pray'r herself Accomplish'd. To Telemachus she gave The splendid goblet next, and in his turn 80 Like pray'r Ulysses' son also preferr'd. And now (the banquet from the spits withdrawn) They next distributed sufficient share To each, and all were sumptuously regaled. At length, (both hunger satisfied and thirst) Thus Nestor, the Gerenian Chief, began. Now with more seemliness we may enquire, After repast, what guests we have received. Our guests! who are ye? Whence have ye the waves Plough'd hither? Come ye to transact concerns 90 Commercial, or at random roam the Deep Like pirates, who with mischief charged and woe To foreign States, oft hazard life themselves? Him answer'd, bolder now, but still discrete, Telemachus. For Pallas had his heart With manly courage arm'd, that he might ask From Nestor tidings of his absent Sire, And win, himself, distinction and renown. Oh Nestor, Neleus' son, glory of Greece! Thou askest whence we are. I tell thee whence. 100 From Ithaca, by the umbrageous woods Of Neritus o'erhung, by private need, Not public, urged, we come. My errand is To seek intelligence of the renown'd Ulysses; of my noble father, prais'd For dauntless courage, whom report proclaims Conqueror, with thine aid, of sacred Troy. We have already learn'd where other Chiefs Who fought at Ilium, died; but Jove conceals Even the death of my illustrious Sire 110 In dull obscurity; for none hath heard Or confident can answer, where he dy'd; Whether he on the continent hath fall'n By hostile hands, or by the waves o'erwhelm'd Of Amphitrite, welters in the Deep. For this cause, at thy knees suppliant, I beg That thou would'st tell me his disast'rous end, If either thou beheld'st that dread event Thyself, or from some wanderer of the Greeks Hast heard it: for my father at his birth 120 Was, sure, predestin'd to no common woes. Neither through pity, or o'erstrain'd respect Flatter me, but explicit all relate Which thou hast witness'd. If my noble Sire E'er gratified thee by performance just Of word or deed at Ilium, where ye fell So num'rous slain in fight, oh, recollect Now his fidelity, and tell me true. Then Nestor thus Gerenian Hero old. Young friend! since thou remind'st me, speaking thus, 130 Of all the woes which indefatigable We sons of the Achaians there sustain'd, Both those which wand'ring on the Deep we bore Wherever by Achilles led in quest Of booty, and the many woes beside Which under royal Priam's spacious walls We suffer'd, know, that there our bravest fell. There warlike Ajax lies, there Peleus' son; There, too, Patroclus, like the Gods themselves In council, and my son beloved there, 140 Brave, virtuous, swift of foot, and bold in fight, Antilochus. Nor are these sorrows all; What tongue of mortal man could all relate? Should'st thou, abiding here, five years employ Or six, enquiring of the woes endured By the Achaians, ere thou should'st have learn'd The whole, thou would'st depart, tir'd of the tale. For we, nine years, stratagems of all kinds Devised against them, and Saturnian Jove Scarce crown'd the difficult attempt at last. 150 There, no competitor in wiles well-plann'd Ulysses found, so far were all surpass'd In shrewd invention by thy noble Sire, If thou indeed art his, as sure thou art, Whose sight breeds wonder in me, and thy speech His speech resembles more than might be deem'd Within the scope of years so green as thine. There, never in opinion, or in voice Illustrious Ulysses and myself Divided were, but, one in heart, contrived 160 As best we might, the benefit of all. But after Priam's lofty city sack'd, And the departure of the Greeks on board Their barks, and when the Gods had scatter'd them, Then Jove imagin'd for the Argive host A sorrowful return; for neither just Were all, nor prudent, therefore many found A fate disast'rous through the vengeful ire Of Jove-born Pallas, who between the sons Of Atreus sharp contention interposed. 170 They both, irregularly, and against Just order, summoning by night the Greeks To council, of whom many came with wine Oppress'd, promulgated the cause for which They had convened the people. Then it was That Menelaus bade the general host Their thoughts bend homeward o'er the sacred Deep, Which Agamemnon in no sort approved. His counsel was to slay them yet at Troy, That so he might assuage the dreadful wrath 180 Of Pallas, first, by sacrifice and pray'r. Vain hope! he little thought how ill should speed That fond attempt, for, once provok'd, the Gods Are not with ease conciliated again. Thus stood the brothers, altercation hot Maintaining, till at length, uprose the Greeks With deaf'ning clamours, and with diff'ring minds. We slept the night, but teeming with disgust Mutual, for Jove great woe prepar'd for all. At dawn of day we drew our gallies down 190 Into the sea, and, hasty, put on board The spoils and female captives. Half the host, With Agamemnon, son of Atreus, stay'd Supreme commander, and, embarking, half Push'd forth. Swift course we made, for Neptune smooth'd The waves before us of the monstrous Deep. At Tenedos arriv'd, we there perform'd Sacrifice to the Gods, ardent to reach Our native land, but unpropitious Jove, Not yet designing our arrival there, 200 Involved us in dissension fierce again. For all the crews, followers of the King, Thy noble Sire, to gratify our Chief, The son of Atreus, chose a diff'rent course, And steer'd their oary barks again to Troy. But I, assured that evil from the Gods Impended, gath'ring all my gallant fleet, Fled thence in haste, and warlike Diomede Exhorting his attendants, also fled. At length, the Hero Menelaus join'd 210 Our fleets at Lesbos; there he found us held In deep deliberation on the length Of way before us, whether we should steer Above the craggy Chios to the isle Psyria, that island holding on our left, Or under Chios by the wind-swept heights Of Mimas. Then we ask'd from Jove a sign, And by a sign vouchsafed he bade us cut The wide sea to Euboea sheer athwart, So soonest to escape the threat'ned harm. 220 Shrill sang the rising gale, and with swift prows Cleaving the fishy flood, we reach'd by night Geraestus, where arrived, we burn'd the thighs Of num'rous bulls to Neptune, who had safe Conducted us through all our perilous course. The fleet of Diomede in safety moor'd On the fourth day at Argos, but myself Held on my course to Pylus, nor the wind One moment thwarted us, or died away, When Jove had once commanded it to blow. 230 Thus, uninform'd, I have arrived, my son! Nor of the Greecians, who are saved have heard, Or who have perish'd; but what news soe'er I have obtain'd, since my return, with truth I will relate, nor aught conceal from thee. The spear-famed Myrmidons, as rumour speaks, By Neoptolemus, illustrious son Of brave Achilles led, have safe arrived; Safe, Philoctetes, also son renown'd Of Paeas; and Idomeneus at Crete 240 Hath landed all his followers who survive The bloody war, the waves have swallow'd none. Ye have yourselves doubtless, although remote, Of Agamemnon heard, how he return'd, And how AEgisthus cruelly contrived For him a bloody welcome, but himself Hath with his own life paid the murth'rous deed. Good is it, therefore, if a son survive The slain, since Agamemnon's son hath well Avenged his father's death, slaying, himself, 250 AEgisthus, foul assassin of his Sire. Young friend! (for pleas'd thy vig'rous youth I view, And just proportion) be thou also bold, That thine like his may be a deathless name. Then, prudent, him answer'd Telemachus. Oh Nestor, Neleus' son, glory of Greece! And righteous was that vengeance; his renown Achaia's sons shall far and wide diffuse, To future times transmitting it in song. Ah! would that such ability the Gods 260 Would grant to me, that I, as well, the deeds Might punish of our suitors, whose excess Enormous, and whose bitter taunts I feel Continual, object of their subtle hate. But not for me such happiness the Gods Have twined into my thread; no, not for me Or for my father. Patience is our part. To whom Gerenian Nestor thus replied. Young friend! (since thou remind'st me of that theme) Fame here reports that num'rous suitors haunt 270 Thy palace for thy mother's sake, and there Much evil perpetrate in thy despight. But say, endur'st thou willing their controul Imperious, or because the people, sway'd By some response oracular, incline Against thee? But who knows? the time may come When to his home restored, either alone, Or aided by the force of all the Greeks, Ulysses may avenge the wrong; at least, Should Pallas azure-eyed thee love, as erst 280 At Troy, the scene of our unnumber'd woes, She lov'd Ulysses (for I have not known The Gods assisting so apparently A mortal man, as him Minerva there) Should Pallas view thee also with like love And kind solicitude, some few of those Should dream, perchance, of wedlock never more. Then answer thus Telemachus return'd. That word's accomplishment I cannot hope; It promises too much; the thought alone 290 O'erwhelms me; an event so fortunate Would, unexpected on my part, arrive, Although the Gods themselves should purpose it. But Pallas him answer'd caerulean-eyed. Telemachus! what word was that which leap'd The iv'ry guard[7] that should have fenced it in? A God, so willing, could with utmost ease Save any man, howe'er remote. Myself, I had much rather, many woes endured, Revisit home, at last, happy and safe, 300 Than, sooner coming, die in my own house, As Agamemnon perish'd by the arts Of base AEgisthus and the subtle Queen. Yet not the Gods themselves can save from death All-levelling, the man whom most they love, When Fate ordains him once to his last sleep. To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied. Howe'er it interest us, let us leave This question, Mentor! He, I am assured, Returns no more, but hath already found 310 A sad, sad fate by the decree of heav'n. But I would now interrogate again Nestor, and on a different theme, for him In human rights I judge, and laws expert, And in all knowledge beyond other men; For he hath govern'd, as report proclaims, Three generations; therefore in my eyes He wears the awful impress of a God. Oh Nestor, son of Neleus, tell me true; What was the manner of Atrides' death, 320 Wide-ruling Agamemnon? Tell me where Was Menelaus? By what means contrived AEgisthus to inflict the fatal blow, Slaying so much a nobler than himself? Had not the brother of the Monarch reach'd Achaian Argos yet, but, wand'ring still In other climes, his long absence gave AEgisthus courage for that bloody deed? Whom answer'd the Gerenian Chief renown'd. My son! I will inform thee true; meantime 330 Thy own suspicions border on the fact. Had Menelaus, Hero, amber hair'd, AEgisthus found living at his return From Ilium, never on his bones the Greeks Had heap'd a tomb, but dogs and rav'ning fowls Had torn him lying in the open field Far from the town, nor him had woman wept Of all in Greece, for he had foul transgress'd. But we, in many an arduous task engaged, Lay before Ilium; he, the while, secure 340 Within the green retreats of Argos, found Occasion apt by flatt'ry to delude The spouse of Agamemnon; she, at first, (The royal Clytemnestra) firm refused The deed dishonourable (for she bore A virtuous mind, and at her side a bard Attended ever, whom the King, to Troy Departing, had appointed to the charge.) But when the Gods had purposed to ensnare AEgisthus, then dismissing far remote 350 The bard into a desart isle, he there Abandon'd him to rav'ning fowls a prey, And to his own home, willing as himself, Led Clytemnestra. Num'rous thighs he burn'd On all their hallow'd altars to the Gods, And hung with tap'stry, images, and gold Their shrines, his great exploit past hope atchiev'd. We (Menelaus and myself) had sailed From Troy together, but when we approach'd Sunium, headland of th' Athenian shore, 360 There Phoebus, sudden, with his gentle shafts Slew Menelaus' pilot while he steer'd The volant bark, Phrontis, Onetor's son, A mariner past all expert, whom none In steerage match'd, what time the tempest roar'd. Here, therefore, Menelaus was detained, Giving his friend due burial, and his rites Funereal celebrating, though in haste Still to proceed. But when, with all his fleet The wide sea traversing, he reach'd at length 370 Malea's lofty foreland in his course, Rough passage, then, and perilous he found. Shrill blasts the Thund'rer pour'd into his sails, And wild waves sent him mountainous. His ships There scatter'd, some to the Cydonian coast Of Crete he push'd, near where the Jardan flows. Beside the confines of Gortyna stands, Amid the gloomy flood, a smooth rock, steep Toward the sea, against whose leftward point Phaestus by name, the South wind rolls the surge 380 Amain, which yet the rock, though small, repells. Hither with part he came, and scarce the crews Themselves escaped, while the huge billows broke Their ships against the rocks; yet five he saved, Which winds and waves drove to the AEgyptian shore. Thus he, provision gath'ring as he went And gold abundant, roam'd to distant lands And nations of another tongue. Meantime, AEgisthus these enormities at home Devising, slew Atrides, and supreme 390 Rul'd the subjected land; sev'n years he reign'd In opulent Mycenae, but the eighth From Athens brought renown'd Orestes home For his destruction, who of life bereaved AEgisthus base assassin of his Sire. Orestes, therefore, the funereal rites Performing to his shameless mother's shade And to her lustful paramour, a feast Gave to the Argives; on which self-same day The warlike Menelaus, with his ships 400 All treasure-laden to the brink, arrived. And thou, young friend! from thy forsaken home Rove not long time remote, thy treasures left At mercy of those proud, lest they divide And waste the whole, rend'ring thy voyage vain. But hence to Menelaus is the course To which I counsel thee; for he hath come Of late from distant lands, whence to escape No man could hope, whom tempests first had driv'n Devious into so wide a sea, from which 410 Themselves the birds of heaven could not arrive In a whole year, so vast is the expanse. Go, then, with ship and shipmates, or if more The land delight thee, steeds thou shalt not want Nor chariot, and my sons shall be thy guides To noble Lacedemon, the abode Of Menelaus; ask from him the truth, Who will not lye, for he is passing wise. While thus he spake, the sun declined, and night Approaching, blue-eyed Pallas interposed. 420 O antient King! well hast thou spoken all. But now delay not. Cut ye forth the tongues,[8] And mingle wine, that (Neptune first invoked With due libation, and the other Gods) We may repair to rest; for even now The sun is sunk, and it becomes us not Long to protract a banquet to the Gods Devote, but in fit season to depart. So spake Jove's daughter; they obedient heard. The heralds, then, pour'd water on their hands, 430 And the attendant youths, filling the cups, Served them from left to right. Next all the tongues They cast into the fire, and ev'ry guest Arising, pour'd libation to the Gods. Libation made, and all with wine sufficed, Godlike Telemachus and Pallas both Would have return'd, incontinent, on board, But Nestor urged them still to be his guests. Forbid it, Jove, and all the Pow'rs of heav'n! That ye should leave me to repair on board 440 Your vessel, as I were some needy wretch Cloakless and destitute of fleecy stores Wherewith to spread the couch soft for myself, Or for my guests. No. I have garments warm An ample store, and rugs of richest dye; And never shall Ulysses' son belov'd, My frend's own son, sleep on a galley's plank While I draw vital air; grant also, heav'n, That, dying, I may leave behind me sons Glad to accommodate whatever guest! 450 Him answer'd then Pallas caerulean-eyed. Old Chief! thou hast well said, and reason bids Telemachus thy kind commands obey. Let him attend thee hence, that he may sleep Beneath thy roof, but I return on board Myself, to instruct my people, and to give All needful orders; for among them none Is old as I, but they are youths alike, Coevals of Telemachus, with whom They have embark'd for friendship's sake alone. 460 I therefore will repose myself on board This night, and to the Caucons bold in arms Will sail to-morrow, to demand arrears Long time unpaid, and of no small amount. But, since he is become thy guest, afford My friend a chariot, and a son of thine Who shall direct his way, nor let him want Of all thy steeds the swiftest and the best. So saying, the blue-eyed Goddess as upborne On eagle's wings, vanish'd; amazement seized 470 The whole assembly, and the antient King O'erwhelmed with wonder at that sight, the hand Grasp'd of Telemachus, whom he thus bespake. My friend! I prophesy that thou shalt prove Nor base nor dastard, whom, so young, the Gods Already take in charge; for of the Pow'rs Inhabitants of heav'n, none else was this Than Jove's own daughter Pallas, who among The Greecians honour'd most thy gen'rous Sire. But thou, O Queen! compassionate us all, 480 Myself, my sons, my comfort; give to each A glorious name, and I to thee will give For sacrifice an heifer of the year, Broad-fronted, one that never yet hath borne The yoke, and will incase her horns with gold. So Nestor pray'd, whom Pallas gracious heard. Then the Gerenian warrior old, before His sons and sons in law, to his abode Magnificent proceeded: they (arrived Within the splendid palace of the King) 490 On thrones and couches sat in order ranged, Whom Nestor welcom'd, charging high the cup With wine of richest sort, which she who kept That treasure, now in the eleventh year First broach'd, unsealing the delicious juice. With this the hoary Senior fill'd a cup, And to the daughter of Jove AEgis-arm'd Pouring libation, offer'd fervent pray'r. When all had made libation, and no wish Remain'd of more, then each to rest retired, 500 And Nestor the Gerenian warrior old Led thence Telemachus to a carved couch Beneath the sounding portico prepared. Beside him he bade sleep the spearman bold, Pisistratus, a gallant youth, the sole Unwedded in his house of all his sons. Himself in the interior palace lay, Where couch and cov'ring for her antient spouse The consort Queen had diligent prepar'd. But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, 510 Had tinged the East, arising from his bed, Gerenian Nestor issued forth, and sat Before his palace-gate on the white stones Resplendent as with oil, on which of old His father Neleus had been wont to sit, In council like a God; but he had sought, By destiny dismiss'd long since, the shades. On those stones therefore now, Nestor himself, Achaia's guardian, sat, sceptre in hand, Where soon his num'rous sons, leaving betimes 520 The place of their repose, also appeared, Echephron, Stratius, Perseus, Thrasymedes, Aretus and Pisistratus. They placed Godlike Telemachus at Nestor's side, And the Gerenian Hero thus began. Sons be ye quick—execute with dispatch My purpose, that I may propitiate first Of all the Gods Minerva, who herself Hath honour'd manifest our hallow'd feast. Haste, one, into the field, to order thence 530 An ox, and let the herdsman drive it home. Another, hasting to the sable bark Of brave Telemachus, bring hither all His friends, save two, and let a third command Laerceus, that he come to enwrap with gold The victim's horns. Abide ye here, the rest, And bid my female train (for I intend A banquet) with all diligence provide Seats, stores of wood, and water from the rock. He said, whom instant all obey'd. The ox 540 Came from the field, and from the gallant ship The ship-mates of the brave Telemachus; Next, charged with all his implements of art, His mallet, anvil, pincers, came the smith To give the horns their gilding; also came Pallas herself to her own sacred rites. Then Nestor, hoary warrior, furnish'd gold, Which, hammer'd thin, the artist wrapp'd around The victim's horns, that seeing him attired So costly, Pallas might the more be pleased. 550 Stratius and brave Echephron introduced The victim by his horns; Aretus brought A laver in one hand, with flow'rs emboss'd, And in his other hand a basket stored With cakes, while warlike Thrasymedes, arm'd With his long-hafted ax, prepared to smite The ox, and Perseus to receive the blood. The hoary Nestor consecrated first Both cakes and water, and with earnest pray'r To Pallas, gave the forelock to the flames. 560 When all had worshipp'd, and the broken cakes Sprinkled, then godlike Thrasymedes drew Close to the ox, and smote him. Deep the edge Enter'd, and senseless on the floor he fell. Then Nestor's daughters, and the consorts all Of Nestor's sons, with his own consort, chaste Eurydice, the daughter eldest-born Of Clymenus, in one shrill orison Vocif'rous join'd, while they, lifting the ox, Held him supported firmly, and the prince 570 Of men, Pisistratus, his gullet pierced. Soon as the sable blood had ceased, and life Had left the victim, spreading him abroad, With nice address they parted at the joint His thighs, and wrapp'd them in the double cawl, Which with crude slices thin they overspread. Nestor burn'd incense, and libation pour'd Large on the hissing brands, while him beside, Busy with spit and prong, stood many a youth Train'd to the task. The thighs consumed, each took His portion of the maw, then, slashing well 581 The remnant, they transpierced it with the spits Neatly, and held it reeking at the fire. Meantime the youngest of the daughters fair Of Nestor, beauteous Polycaste, laved, Anointed, and in vest and tunic cloathed Telemachus, who, so refresh'd, stepp'd forth From the bright laver graceful as a God, And took his seat at antient Nestor's side. The viands dress'd, and from the spits withdrawn, 590 They sat to share the feast, and princely youths Arising, gave them wine in cups of gold. When neither hunger now nor thirst remain'd Unsated, thus Gerenian Nestor spake. My sons, arise, lead forth the sprightly steeds, And yoke them, that Telemachus may go. So spake the Chief, to whose commands his sons, Obedient, yoked in haste the rapid steeds, And the intendant matron of the stores Disposed meantime within the chariot, bread 600 And wine, and dainties, such as princes eat. Telemachus into the chariot first Ascended, and beside him, next, his place Pisistratus the son of Nestor took, Then seiz'd the reins, and lash'd the coursers on. They, nothing loth, into the open plain Flew, leaving lofty Pylus soon afar. Thus, journeying, they shook on either side The yoke all day, and now the setting sun To dusky evening had resign'd the roads, 610 When they to Pherae came, and the abode Reach'd of Diocles, whose illustrious Sire Orsilochus from Alpheus drew his birth, And there, with kindness entertain'd, they slept. But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Look'd rosy from the East, yoking the steeds, They in their sumptuous chariot sat again. The son of Nestor plied the lash, and forth Through vestibule and sounding portico The royal coursers, not unwilling, flew. 620 A corn-invested land receiv'd them next, And there they brought their journey to a close, So rapidly they moved; and now the sun Went down, and even-tide dimm'd all the ways.


[7] Erkos odonton. Prior, alluding to this expression, ludicrously renders it—

"When words like these in vocal breath Burst from his twofold hedge of teeth."

[8] It is said to have been customary in the days of Homer, when the Greeks retired from a banquet to their beds, to cut out the tongues of the victims, and offer them to the Gods in particular who presided over conversation.



Telemachus, with Pisistratus, arrives at the palace of Menelaus, from whom he receives some fresh information concerning the return of the Greecians, and is in particular told on the authority of Proteus, that his father is detained by Calypso. The suitors, plotting against the life of Telemachus, lie in wait to intercept him in his return to Ithaca. Penelope being informed of his departure, and of their designs to slay him, becomes inconsolable, but is relieved by a dream sent to her from Minerva.

In hollow Lacedaemon's spacious vale Arriving, to the house they drove direct Of royal Menelaus; him they found In his own palace, all his num'rous friends Regaling at a nuptial banquet giv'n Both for his daughter and the prince his son. His daughter to renown'd Achilles' heir He sent, to whom he had at Troy engaged To give her, and the Gods now made her his. With chariots and with steeds he sent her forth 10 To the illustrious city where the prince, Achilles' offspring, ruled the Myrmidons. But to his son he gave a Spartan fair, Alector's daughter; from an handmaid sprang That son to Menelaus in his age, Brave Megapenthes; for the Gods no child To Helen gave, made mother, once, of her Who vied in perfect loveliness of form With golden Venus' self, Hermione. Thus all the neighbour princes and the friends 20 Of noble Menelaus, feasting sat Within his spacious palace, among whom A sacred bard sang sweetly to his harp, While, in the midst, two dancers smote the ground With measur'd steps responsive to his song. And now the Heroes, Nestor's noble son And young Telemachus arrived within The vestibule, whom, issuing from the hall, The noble Eteoneus of the train Of Menelaus, saw; at once he ran 30 Across the palace to report the news To his Lord's ear, and, standing at his side, In accents wing'd with haste thus greeted him. Oh Menelaus! Heav'n descended Chief! Two guests arrive, both strangers, but the race Of Jove supreme resembling each in form. Say, shall we loose, ourselves, their rapid steeds, Or hence dismiss them to some other host? But Menelaus, Hero golden-hair'd, Indignant answer'd him. Boethe's son! 40 Thou wast not, Eteoneus, heretofore, A babbler, who now pratest as a child. We have ourselves arrived indebted much To hospitality of other men, If Jove shall, even here, some pause at last Of woe afford us. Therefore loose, at once, Their steeds, and introduce them to the feast. He said, and, issuing, Eteoneus call'd The brisk attendants to his aid, with whom He loos'd their foaming coursers from the yoke. 50 Them first they bound to mangers, which with oats And mingled barley they supplied, then thrust The chariot sidelong to the splendid wall.[9] Themselves he, next, into the royal house Conducted, who survey'd, wond'ring, the abode Of the heav'n-favour'd King; for on all sides As with the splendour of the sun or moon The lofty dome of Menelaus blazed. Satiate, at length, with wonder at that sight, They enter'd each a bath, and by the hands 60 Of maidens laved, and oil'd, and cloath'd again With shaggy mantles and resplendent vests, Sat both enthroned at Menelaus' side. And now a maiden charged with golden ew'r, And with an argent laver, pouring first Pure water on their hands, supplied them next With a bright table, which the maiden, chief In office, furnish'd plenteously with bread And dainties, remnants of the last regale. Then came the sew'r, who with delicious meats 70 Dish after dish, served them, and placed beside The chargers cups magnificent of gold, When Menelaus grasp'd their hands, and said. Eat and rejoice, and when ye shall have shared Our nuptial banquet, we will then inquire Who are ye both, for, certain, not from those Whose generation perishes are ye, But rather of some race of sceptred Chiefs Heav'n-born; the base have never sons like you. So saying, he from the board lifted his own 80 Distinguish'd portion, and the fatted chine Gave to his guests; the sav'ry viands they With outstretch'd hands assail'd, and when the force No longer now of appetite they felt, Telemachus, inclining close his head To Nestor's son, lest others should his speech Witness, in whisper'd words him thus address'd. Dearest Pisistratus, observe, my friend! How all the echoing palace with the light Of beaming brass, of gold and amber shines 90 Silver and ivory! for radiance such Th' interior mansion of Olympian Jove I deem. What wealth, how various, how immense Is here! astonish'd I survey the sight! But Menelaus, golden-hair'd, his speech O'erhearing, thus in accents wing'd replied My children! let no mortal man pretend Comparison with Jove; for Jove's abode And all his stores are incorruptible. But whether mortal man with me may vie 100 In the display of wealth, or whether not, This know, that after many toils endured, And perilous wand'rings wide, in the eighth year I brought my treasures home. Remote I roved To Cyprus, to Phoenice, to the shores Of AEgypt; AEthiopia's land I reach'd, Th' Erembi, the Sidonians, and the coasts Of Lybia, where the lambs their foreheads shew At once with horns defended, soon as yean'd. There, thrice within the year the flocks produce, 110 Nor master, there, nor shepherd ever feels A dearth of cheese, of flesh, or of sweet milk Delicious, drawn from udders never dry. While, thus, commodities on various coasts Gath'ring I roam'd, another, by the arts Of his pernicious spouse aided, of life Bereav'd my brother privily, and when least He fear'd to lose it. Therefore little joy To me results from all that I possess. Your fathers (be those fathers who they may) 120 These things have doubtless told you; for immense Have been my suff'rings, and I have destroy'd A palace well inhabited and stored With precious furniture in ev'ry kind; Such, that I would to heav'n! I own'd at home Though but the third of it, and that the Greeks Who perish'd then, beneath the walls of Troy Far from steed-pastured Argos, still survived. Yet while, sequester'd here, I frequent mourn My slaughter'd friends, by turns I sooth my soul 130 With tears shed for them, and by turns again I cease; for grief soon satiates free indulged. But of them all, although I all bewail, None mourn I so as one, whom calling back To memory, I both sleep and food abhor. For, of Achaia's sons none ever toiled Strenuous as Ulysses; but his lot Was woe, and unremitting sorrow mine For his long absence, who, if still he live, We know not aught, or be already dead. 140 Him doubtless, old Laertes mourns, and him Discrete Penelope, nor less his son Telemachus, born newly when he sail'd. So saying, he kindled in him strong desire To mourn his father; at his father's name Fast fell his tears to ground, and with both hands He spread his purple cloak before his eyes; Which Menelaus marking, doubtful sat If he should leave him leisure for his tears, Or question him, and tell him all at large. 150 While thus he doubted, Helen (as it chanced) Leaving her fragrant chamber, came, august As Dian, goddess of the golden bow. Adrasta, for her use, set forth a throne, Alcippe with soft arras cover'd it, And Philo brought her silver basket, gift Of fair Alcandra, wife of Polybus, Whose mansion in AEgyptian Thebes is rich In untold treasure, and who gave, himself, Ten golden talents, and two silver baths 160 To Menelaus, with two splendid tripods Beside the noble gifts which, at the hand Of his illustrious spouse, Helen receiv'd; A golden spindle, and a basket wheel'd, Itself of silver, and its lip of gold. That basket Philo, her own handmaid, placed At beauteous Helen's side, charged to the brim With slender threads, on which the spindle lay With wool of purple lustre wrapp'd around. Approaching, on her foot-stool'd throne she sat, 170 And, instant, of her royal spouse enquired. Know we, my Menelaus, dear to Jove! These guests of ours, and whence they have arrived? Erroneous I may speak, yet speak I must; In man or woman never have I seen Such likeness to another (wonder-fixt I gaze) as in this stranger to the son Of brave Ulysses, whom that Hero left New-born at home, when (shameless as I was) For my unworthy sake the Greecians sailed 180 To Ilium, with fierce rage of battle fir'd. Then Menelaus, thus, the golden-hair'd. I also such resemblance find in him As thou; such feet, such hands, the cast of eye[10] Similar, and the head and flowing locks. And even now, when I Ulysses named, And his great sufferings mention'd, in my cause, The bitter tear dropp'd from his lids, while broad Before his eyes his purple cloak he spread. To whom the son of Nestor thus replied. 190 Atrides! Menelaus! Chief renown'd! He is in truth his son, as thou hast said, But he is modest, and would much himself Condemn, if, at his first arrival here, He should loquacious seem and bold to thee, To whom we listen, captived by thy voice, As if some God had spoken. As for me, Nestor, my father, the Gerenian Chief Bade me conduct him hither, for he wish'd To see thee, promising himself from thee 200 The benefit of some kind word or deed. For, destitute of other aid, he much His father's tedious absence mourns at home. So fares Telemachus; his father strays Remote, and, in his stead, no friend hath he Who might avert the mischiefs that he feels. To whom the Hero amber-hair'd replied. Ye Gods! the offspring of indeed a friend Hath reach'd my house, of one who hath endured Arduous conflicts num'rous for my sake; 210 And much I purpos'd, had Olympian Jove Vouchsaf'd us prosp'rous passage o'er the Deep, To have receiv'd him with such friendship here As none beside. In Argos I had then Founded a city for him, and had rais'd A palace for himself; I would have brought The Hero hither, and his son, with all His people, and with all his wealth, some town Evacuating for his sake, of those Ruled by myself, and neighb'ring close my own. 220 Thus situate, we had often interchanged Sweet converse, nor had other cause at last Our friendship terminated or our joys, Than death's black cloud o'ershadowing him or me. But such delights could only envy move Ev'n in the Gods, who have, of all the Greeks, Amerc'd him only of his wish'd return. So saying, he kindled the desire to weep In ev'ry bosom. Argive Helen wept Abundant, Jove's own daughter; wept as fast 230 Telemachus and Menelaus both; Nor Nestor's son with tearless eyes remain'd, Calling to mind Antilochus[11] by the son[12] Illustrious of the bright Aurora slain, Rememb'ring whom, in accents wing'd he said. Atrides! antient Nestor, when of late Conversing with him, we remember'd thee, Pronounced thee wise beyond all human-kind. Now therefore, let not even my advice Displease thee. It affords me no delight 240 To intermingle tears with my repast, And soon, Aurora, daughter of the dawn, Will tinge the orient. Not that I account Due lamentation of a friend deceased Blameworthy, since, to sheer the locks and weep, Is all we can for the unhappy dead. I also have my grief, call'd to lament One, not the meanest of Achaia's sons, My brother; him I cannot but suppose To thee well-known, although unknown to me 250 Who saw him never;[13] but report proclaims Antilochus superior to the most, In speed superior, and in feats of arms. To whom, the Hero of the yellow locks. O friend belov'd! since nought which thou hast said Or recommended now, would have disgraced A man of years maturer far than thine, (For wise thy father is, and such art thou, And easy is it to discern the son Of such a father, whom Saturnian Jove 260 In marriage both and at his birth ordain'd To great felicity; for he hath giv'n To Nestor gradually to sink at home Into old age, and, while he lives, to see His sons past others wise, and skill'd in arms) The sorrow into which we sudden fell Shall pause. Come—now remember we the feast; Pour water on our hands, for we shall find, (Telemachus and I) no dearth of themes For mutual converse when the day shall dawn. 270 He ended; then, Asphalion, at his word, Servant of glorious Menelaus, poured Pure water on their hands, and they the feast Before them with keen appetite assail'd. But Jove-born Helen otherwise, meantime, Employ'd, into the wine of which they drank A drug infused, antidote to the pains Of grief and anger, a most potent charm For ills of ev'ry name. Whoe'er his wine So medicated drinks, he shall not pour 280 All day the tears down his wan cheek, although His father and his mother both were dead, Nor even though his brother or his son Had fall'n in battle, and before his eyes. Such drugs Jove's daughter own'd, with skill prepar'd, And of prime virtue, by the wife of Thone, AEgyptian Polydamna, giv'n her. For AEgypt teems with drugs, yielding no few Which, mingled with the drink, are good, and many Of baneful juice, and enemies to life. 290 There ev'ry man in skill medicinal Excels, for they are sons of Paeon all. That drug infused, she bade her servant pour The bev'rage forth, and thus her speech resumed. Atrides! Menelaus! dear to Jove! These also are the sons of Chiefs renown'd, (For Jove, as pleases him, to each

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