Homer, translated by Alexander Pope
Part 3 out of 9
And bid thee cease his absence to deplore."
To whom the queen (whilst yet in pensive mind
Was in the silent gates of sleep confined):
"O sister to my soul forever dear,
Why this first visit to reprove my fear?
How in a realm so distant should you know
From what deep source ceaseless sorrows flow?
To all my hope my royal lord is lost,
His country's buckler, and the Grecian boast;
And with consummate woe to weigh me down,
The heir of all his honours and his crown,
My darling son is fled! an easy prey
To the fierce storms, or men more fierce than they;
Who, in a league of blood associates sworn,
Will intercept the unwary youth's return."
"Courage resume (the shadowy form replied);
In the protecting care of Heaven confide;
On him attends the blue eyed martial maid :
What earthly can implore a surer aid?
Me now the guardian goddess deigns to send,
To bid thee patient his return attend."
The queen replies: "If in the blest abodes,
A goddess, thou hast commerce with the gods;
Say, breathes my lord the blissful realm of light,
Or lies he wrapp'd in ever-during night?"
"Inquire not of his doom, (the phantom cries,)
I speak not all the counsel of the skies;
Nor must indulge with vain discourse, or long,
The windy satisfaction of the tongue."
Swift through the valves the visionary fair
Repass'd, and viewless mix'd with common air.
The queen awakes, deliver'd of her woes;
With florid joy her heart dilating glows:
The vision, manifest of future fate,
Makes her with hope her son's arrival wait.
Meantime the suitors plough the watery plain,
Telemachus in thought already slain!
When sight of lessening Ithaca was lost
Their sail directed for the Samian coast
A small but verdant isle appear'd in view,
And Asteris the advancing pilot knew;
An ample port the rocks projected form,
To break the rolling waves and ruffling storm:
That safe recess they gain with happy speed,
And in close ambush wait the murderous deed.
THE DEPARTURE OF ULYSSES FROM CALYPSO
Pallas in a council of the gods complains of the detention of
Ulysses in the Island of Calypso: whereupon Mercury is sent to
command his removal. The seat of Calypso described. She consents
with much difficulty; and Ulysses builds a vessel with his own
hands, in which he embarks. Neptune overtakes him with a terrible
tempest, in which he is shipwrecked, and in the last danger of
death; till Lencothea, a sea-goddess, assists him, and, after
innumerable perils, he gets ashore on Phaeacia.
The saffron morn, with early blushes spread,
Now rose refulgent from Tithonus' bed;
With new-born day to gladden mortal sight,
And gild the courts of heaven with sacred light.
Then met the eternal synod of the sky,
Before the god, who thunders from on high,
Supreme in might, sublime in majesty.
Pallas, to these, deplores the unequal fates
Of wise Ulysses and his toils relates:
Her hero's danger touch'd the pitying power,
The nymph's seducements, and the magic bower.
Thus she began her plaint: "Immortal Jove!
And you who fill the blissful seats above!
Let kings no more with gentle mercy sway,
Or bless a people willing to obey,
But crush the nations with an iron rod,
And every monarch be the scourge of God.
If from your thoughts Ulysses you remove,
Who ruled his subjects with a father's love,
Sole in an isle, encircled by the main,
Abandon'd, banish'd from his native reign,
Unbless'd he sighs, detained by lawless charms,
And press'd unwilling in Calypso's arms.
Nor friends are there, nor vessels to convey,
Nor oars to cut the immeasurable way.
And now fierce traitors, studious to destroy
His only son, their ambush'd fraud employ;
Who, pious, following his great father's fame,
To sacred Pylos and to Sparta came."
"What words are these? (replied the power who forms
The clouds of night, and darkens heaven with storms;)
Is not already in thy soul decreed,
The chief's return shall make the guilty bleed?
What cannot Wisdom do? Thou may'st restore
The son in safety to his native shore;
While the fell foes, who late in ambush lay,
With fraud defeated measure back their way."
Then thus to Hermes the command was given:
"Hermes, thou chosen messenger of heaven!
Go, to the nymph be these our orders borne
'Tis Jove's decree, Ulysses shall return:
The patient man shall view his old abodes,
Nor helped by mortal hand, nor guiding gods
In twice ten days shall fertile Scheria find,
Alone, and floating to the wave and wind.
The bold Phaecians there, whose haughty line
Is mixed with gods, half human, half divine,
The chief shall honour as some heavenly guest,
And swift transport him to his place of rest,
His vessels loaded with a plenteous store
Of brass, of vestures, and resplendent ore
(A richer prize than if his joyful isle
Received him charged with Ilion's noble spoil),
His friends, his country, he shall see, though late:
Such is our sovereign will, and such is fate."
He spoke. The god who mounts the winged winds
Fast to his feet the golden pinions binds,
That high through fields of air his flight sustain
O'er the wide earth, and o'er the boundless main:
He grasps the wand that causes sleep to fly,
Or in soft slumber seals the wakeful eye;
Then shoots from heaven to high Pieria's steep,
And stoops incumbent on the rolling deep.
So watery fowl, that seek their fishy food,
With wings expanded o'er the foaming flood,
Now sailing smooth the level surface sweep,
Now dip their pinions in the briny deep;
Thus o'er the word of waters Hermes flew,
Till now the distant island rose in view:
Then, swift ascending from the azure wave,
he took the path that winded to the cave.
Large was the grot, in which the nymph he found
(The fair-hair'd nymph with every beauty crown'd).
The cave was brighten'd with a rising blaze;
Cedar and frankincense, an odorous pile,
Flamed on the hearth, and wide perfumed the isle;
While she with work and song the time divides,
And through the loom the golden shuttle guides.
Without the grot a various sylvan scene
Appear'd around, and groves of living green;
Poplars and alders ever quivering play'd,
And nodding cypress form'd a fragrant shade:
On whose high branches, waving with the storm,
The birds of broadest wing their mansions form,--
The chough, the sea-mew, the loquacious crow,--
and scream aloft, and skim the deeps below.
Depending vines the shelving cavern screen.
With purple clusters blushing through the green.
Four limped fountains from the clefts distil:
And every fountain pours a several rill,
In mazy windings wandering down the hill:
Where bloomy meads with vivid greens were crown'd,
And glowing violets threw odours round.
A scene, where, if a god should cast his sight,
A god might gaze, and wander with delight!
Joy touch'd the messenger of heaven: he stay'd
Entranced, and all the blissful haunts surveyed.
Him, entering in the cave, Calypso knew;
For powers celestial to each other's view
Stand still confess'd, though distant far they lie
To habitants of earth, or sea, or sky.
But sad Ulysses, by himself apart,
Pour'd the big sorrows of his swelling heard;
All on the lonely shore he sate to weep,
And roll'd his eyes around the restless deep:
Toward his loved coast he roll'd his eyes in vain,
Till, dimm'd with rising grief, they stream'd again.
Now graceful seated on her shining throne,
To Hermes thus the nymph divine begun:
"God of the golden wand! on what behest
Arrivest thou here, an unexpected guest?
Loved as thou art, thy free injunctions lay;
'Tis mine with joy and duty to obey.
Till now a stranger, in a happy hour
Approach, and taste the dainties of my bower."
Thus having spoke, the nymph the table spread
(Ambrosial cates, with nectar rosy-red);
Hermes the hospitable rite partook,
Divine refection! then, recruited, spoke:
"What moves this journey from my native sky,
A goddess asks, nor can a god deny.
Hear then the truth. By mighty Jove's command
Unwilling have I trod this pleasing land:
For who, self-moved, with weary wing would sweep
Such length of ocean and unmeasured deep;
A world of waters! far from all the ways
Where men frequent, or sacred altars blaze!
But to Jove's will submission we must pay;
What power so great to dare to disobey?
A man, he says, a man resides with thee,
Of all his kind most worn with misery.
The Greeks, (whose arms for nine long year employ'd
Their force on Ilion, in the tenth destroy'd,)
At length, embarking in a luckless hour,
With conquest proud, incensed Minerva's power:
Hence on the guilty race her vengeance hurl'd,
With storms pursued them through the liquid world.
There all his vessels sunk beneath the wave!
There all his dear companions found their grave!
Saved from the jaws of death by Heaven's decree,
The tempest drove him to these shores and thee.
Him, Jove now orders to his native lands
Straight to dismiss: so destiny commands:
Impatient Fate his near return attends,
And calls him to his country, and his friends."
E'en to her inmost soul the goddess shook;
Then thus her anguish, and her passion broke:
"Ungracious gods! with spite and envy cursed!
Still to your own ethereal race the worst!
Ye envy mortal and immortal joy,
And love, the only sweet of life destroy,
Did ever goddess by her charms engage
A favour'd mortal, and not feel your rage?
So when Aurora sought Orion's love,
Her joys disturbed your blissful hours above,
Till, in Ortygia Dian's winged dart
Had pierced the hapless hunter to the heart,
So when the covert of the thrice-eared field
Saw stately Ceres to her passion yield,
Scarce could Iasion taste her heavenly charms,
But Jove's swift lightning scorched him in her arms.
And is it now my turn, ye mighty powers!
Am I the envy of your blissful bowers?
A man, an outcast to the storm and wave,
It was my crime to pity, and to save;
When he who thunders rent his bark in twain,
And sunk his brave companions in the main,
Alone, abandon'd, in mid-ocean tossed,
The sport of winds, and driven from every coast,
Hither this man of miseries I led,
Received the friendless, and the hungry fed;
Nay promised (vainly promised) to bestow
Immortal life, exempt from age and woe.
'Tis past-and Jove decrees he shall remove;
Gods as we are, we are but slaves to Jove.
Go then he must (he must, if he ordain,
Try all those dangers, all those deeps, again);
But never, never shall Calypso send
To toils like these her husband and her friend.
What ships have I, what sailors to convey,
What oars to cut the long laborious way?
Yet I'll direct the safest means to go;
That last advice is all I can bestow."
To her the power who hears the charming rod;
"Dismiss the man, nor irritate the god;
Prevent the rage of him who reigns above,
For what so dreadful as the wrath of Jove?"
Thus having said, he cut the cleaving sky,
And in a moment vanished from her eye,
The nymph, obedient to divine command,
To seek Ulysses, paced along the sand,
Him pensive on the lonely beach she found,
With streaming eyes in briny torrents drown'd,
And inly pining for his native shore;
For now the soft enchantress pleased no more;
For now, reluctant, and constrained by charms,
Absent he lay in her desiring arms,
In slumber wore the heavy night away,
On rocks and shores consumed the tedious day;
There sate all desolate, and siqhed alone,
With echoing sorrows made the mountains groan.
And roll'd his eyes o'er all the restless main,
Till, dimmed with rising grief, they streamed again.
Here, on his musing mood the goddess press'd,
Approaching soft, and thus the chief address'd:
"Unhappy man! to wasting woes a prey,
No more in sorrows languish life away:
Free as the winds I give thee now to rove:
Go, fell the timber of yon lofty grove,
And form a raft, and build the rising ship,
Sublime to bear thee o'er the gloomy deep.
To store the vessel let the care be mine,
With water from the rock and rosy wine,
And life-sustaining bread, and fair array,
And prosperous gales to waft thee on the way.
These, if the gods with my desire comply
(The gods, alas, more mighty far than I,
And better skill'd in dark events to come),
In peace shall land thee at thy native home."
With sighs Ulysses heard the words she spoke,
Then thus his melancholy silence broke:
"Some other motive, goddess! sways thy mind
(Some close design, or turn of womankind),
Nor my return the end, nor this the way,
On a slight raft to pass the swelling sea,
Huge, horrid, vast! where scarce in safety sails
The best-built ship, though Jove inspires the gales.
The bold proposal how shall I fulfil,
Dark as I am, unconscious of thy will?
Swear, then, thou mean'st not what my soul forebodes;
Swear by the solemn oath that binds the gods."
Him, while he spoke, with smiles Calypso eyed,
And gently grasp'd his hand, and thus replied:
"This shows thee, friend, by old experience taught,
And learn'd in all the wiles of human thought,
How prone to doubt, how cautious, are the wise!
But hear, O earth, and hear, ye sacred skies!
And thou, O Styx! whose formidable floods
Glide through the shades, and bind the attesting gods!
No form'd design, no meditated end,
Lurks in the counsel of thy faithful friend;
Kind the persuasion, and sincere my aim;
The same my practice, were my fate the same.
Heaven has not cursed me with a heart of steel,
But given the sense to pity, and to feel."
Thus having said, the goddess marched before:
He trod her footsteps in the sandy shore.
At the cool cave arrived, they took their state;
He filled the throne where Mercury had sate.
For him the nymph a rich repast ordains,
Such as the mortal life of man sustains;
Before herself were placed the the cates divine,
Ambrosial banquet and celestial wine.
Their hunger satiate, and their thirst repress'd,
Thus spoke Calypso to her godlike guest:
"Ulysses! (with a sigh she thus began;)
O sprung from gods! in wisdom more than man!
Is then thy home the passion of thy heart?
Thus wilt thou leave me, are we thus to part?
Farewell! and ever joyful mayst thou be,
Nor break the transport with one thought of me.
But ah, Ulysses! wert thou given to know
What Fate yet dooms these still to undergo,
Thy heart might settle in this scene of ease.
And e'en these slighted charms might learn to please.
A willing goddess, and immortal life.
Might banish from thy mind an absent wife.
Am I inferior to a mortal dame?
Less soft my feature less august my frame?
Or shall the daughters of mankind compare
Their earth born beauties with the heavenly fair?"
"Alas! for this (the prudent man replies)
Against Ulysses shall thy anger rise?
Loved and adored, O goddess as thou art,
Forgive the weakness of a human heart.
Though well I see thy graces far above
The dear, though mortal, object of my love,
Of youth eternal well the difference know,
And the short date of fading charms below;
Yet every day, while absent thus I roam,
I languish to return and die at home.
Whate'er the gods shall destine me to bear;
In the black ocean or the watery war,
'Tis mine to master with a constant mind;
Inured to perils, to the worst resign'd,
By seas, by wars, so many dangers run;
Still I can suffer; their high will he done!"
Thus while he spoke, the beamy sun descends,
And rising night her friendly shade extends,
To the close grot the lonely pair remove,
And slept delighted with the gifts of love.
When rose morning call'd them from their rest,
Ulysses robed him in the cloak and vest.
The nymph's fair head a veil transparent graced,
Her swelling loins a radiant zone embraced
With flowers of gold; an under robe, unbound,
In snowy waves flow'd glittering on the ground.
Forth issuing thus, she gave him first to wield
A weighty axe with truest temper steeled,
And double-edged; the handle smooth and plain,
Wrought of the clouded olive's easy grain;
And next, a wedge to drive with sweepy sway
Then to the neighboring forest led the way.
On the lone island's utmost verge there stood
Of poplars, pine, and firs, a lofty wood,
Whose leafless summits to the skies aspire,
Scorch'd by the sun, or seared by heavenly fire
(Already dried). These pointing out to view,
The nymph just show'd him, and with tears withdrew.
Now toils the hero: trees on trees o'erthrown
Fall crackling round him, and the forests groan:
Sudden, full twenty on the plain are strow'd,
And lopp'd and lighten'd of their branchy load.
At equal angles these disposed to join,
He smooth'd and squared them by the rule and line,
(The wimbles for the work Calypso found)
With those he pierced them and with clinchers bound.
Long and capacious as a shipwright forms
Some bark's broad bottom to out-ride the storms,
So large he built the raft; then ribb'd it strong
From space to space, and nail'd the planks along;
These form'd the sides: the deck he fashion'd last;
Then o'er the vessel raised the taper mast,
With crossing sail-yards dancing in the wind;
And to the helm the guiding rudder join'd
(With yielding osiers fenced, to break the force
Of surging waves, and steer the steady course).
Thy loom, Calypso, for the future sails
Supplied the cloth, capacious of the gales.
With stays and cordage last he rigged the ship,
And, roll'd on levers, launch'd her in the deep.
Four days were pass'd, and now the work complete,
Shone the fifth morn, when from her sacred seat
The nymph dismiss'd him (odorous garments given),
And bathed in fragrant oils that breathed of heaven:
Then fill'd two goatskins with her hands divine,
With water one, and one with sable wine:
Of every kind, provisions heaved aboard;
And the full decks with copious viands stored.
The goddess, last, a gentle breeze supplies,
To curl old Ocean, and to warm the skies.
And now, rejoicing in the prosperous gales,
With beating heart Ulysses spreads his sails;
Placed at the helm he sate, and mark'd the skies,
Nor closed in sleep his ever-watchful eyes.
There view'd the Pleiads, and the Northern Team,
And great Orion's more refulgent beam.
To which, around the axle of the sky,
The Bear, revolving, points his golden eye:
Who shines exalted on the ethereal plain,
Nor bathes his blazing forehead in the main.
Far on the left those radiant fires to keep
The nymph directed, as he sail'd the deep.
Full seventeen nights he cut the foaming way:
The distant land appear'd the following day:
Then swell'd to sight Phaeacia's dusky coast,
And woody mountains, half in vapours lost;
That lay before him indistinct and vast,
Like a broad shield amid the watery waste.
But him, thus voyaging the deeps below,
From far, on Solyme's aerial brow,
The king of ocean saw, and seeing burn'd
(From AEthiopia's happy climes return'd);
The raging monarch shook his azure head,
And thus in secret to his soul he said:
"Heavens! how uncertain are the powers on high!
Is then reversed the sentence of the sky,
In one man's favour; while a distant guest
I shared secure the AEthiopian feast?
Behold how near Phoenecia's land he draws;
The land affix'd by Fate's eternal laws
To end his toils. Is then our anger vain?
No; if this sceptre yet commands the main."
He spoke, and high the forky trident hurl'd,
Rolls clouds on clouds, and stirs the watery world,
At once the face of earth and sea deforms,
Swells all the winds, and rouses all the storms.
Down rushed the night: east, west, together roar;
And south and north roll mountains to the shore.
Then shook the hero, to despair resign'd,
And question'd thus his yet unconquer'd mind;
"Wretch that I am! what farther fates attend
This life of toils, and what my destined end?
Too well, alas! the island goddess knew
On the black sea what perils should ensue.
New horrors now this destined head inclose;
Untill'd is yet the measure of my woes;
With what a cloud the brows of heaven are crown'd;
What raging winds! what roaring waters round!
'Tis Jove himself the swelling tempest rears;
Death, present death, on every side appears.
Happy! thrice happy! who, in battle slain,
Press'd in Atrides' cause the Trojan plain!
Oh! had I died before that well-fought wall!
Had some distinguish'd day renown'd my fall
(Such as was that when showers of javelins fled
From conquering Troy around Achilles dead),
All Greece had paid me solemn funerals then,
And spread my glory with the sons of men.
A shameful fate now hides my hapless head,
Unwept, unnoted, and for ever dead!"
A mighty wave rush'd o'er him as he spoke,
The raft is cover'd, and the mast is broke;
Swept from the deck and from the rudder torn,
Far on the swelling surge the chief was borne;
While by the howling tempest rent in twain
Flew sail and sail-yards rattling o'er the main.
Long-press'd, he heaved beneath the weighty wave,
Clogg'd by the cumbrous vest Calypso gave;
At length, emerging, from his nostrils wide
And gushing mouth effused the briny tide;
E'en then not mindless of his last retreat,
He seized the raft, and leap'd into his seat,
Strong with the fear of death. In rolling flood,
Now here, now there, impell'd the floating wood
As when a heap of gather'd thorns is cast,
Now to, now fro, before the autumnal blast;
Together clung, it rolls around the field;
So roll'd the float, and so its texture held:
And now the south, and now the north, bear sway,
And now the east the foamy floods obey,
And now the west wind whirls it o'er the sea.
The wandering chief with toils on toils oppress'd,
Leucothea saw, and pity touch'd her breast.
(Herself a mortal once, of Cadmus' strain,
But now an azure sister of the main)
Swift as a sea-mew springing from the flood,
All radiant on the raft the goddess stood;
Then thus address'd him: "Thou whom heaven decrees
To Neptune's wrath, stern tyrant of the seas!
(Unequal contest!) not his rage and power,
Great as he is, such virtue shall devour.
What I suggest, thy wisdom will perform:
Forsake thy float, and leave it to the storm;
Strip off thy garments; Neptune's fury brave
With naked strength, and plunge into the wave.
To reach Phaeacia all thy nerves extend,
There Fate decrees thy miseries shall end.
This heavenly scarf beneath thy bosom bind,
And live; give all thy terrors to the wind.
Soon as thy arms the happy shore shall gain,
Return the gift, and cast it in the main:
Observe my orders, and with heed obey,
Cast it far off, and turn thy eyes away."
With that, her hand the sacred veil bestows,
Then down the deeps she dived from whence she rose;
A moment snatch'd the shining form away,
And all was covered with the curling sea.
Struck with amaze, yet still to doubt inclined,
He stands suspended, and explores his mind:
"What shall I do? unhappy me! who knows
But other gods intend me other woes?
Whoe'er thou art, I shall not blindly join
Thy pleaded reason, but consult with mine:
For scarce in ken appears that distant isle
Thy voice foretells me shall conclude my toil.
Thus then I judge: while yet the planks sustain
The wild waves' fury, here I fix'd remain:
But, when their texture to the tempest yields,
I launch adventurous on the liquid fields,
Join to the help of gods the strength of man,
And take this method, since the best I can."
While thus his thoughts an anxious council hold,
The raging god a watery mountain roll'd;
Like a black sheet the whelming billows spread,
Burst o'er the float, and thunder'd on his head.
Planks, beams, disparted fly; the scatter'd wood
Rolls diverse, and in fragments strews the flood.
So the rude Boreas, o'er the field new-shorn,
Tosses and drives the scatter'd heaps of corn.
And now a single beam the chief bestrides:
There poised a while above the bounding tides,
His limbs discumbers of the clinging vest,
And binds the sacred cincture round his breast:
Then prone an ocean in a moment flung,
Stretch'd wide his eager arms, and shot the seas along.
All naked now, on heaving billows laid,
Stern Neptune eyed him, and contemptuous said:
"Go, learn'd in woes, and other foes essay!
Go, wander helpless on the watery way;
Thus, thus find out the destined shore, and then
(If Jove ordains it) mix with happier men.
Whate'er thy fate, the ills our wrath could raise
Shall last remember'd in thy best of days."
This said, his sea-green steeds divide the foam,
And reach high Aegae and the towery dome.
Now, scarce withdrawn the fierce earth-shaking power,
Jove's daughter Pallas watch'd the favouring hour.
Back to their caves she bade the winds to fly;
And hush'd the blustering brethren of the sky.
The drier blasts alone of Boreas away,
And bear him soft on broken waves away;
With gentle force impelling to that shore,
Where fate has destined he shall toil no more.
And now, two nights, and now two days were pass'd,
Since wide he wander'd on the watery waste;
Heaved on the surge with intermitting breath,
And hourly panting in the arms of death.
The third fair morn now blazed upon the main;
Then glassy smooth lay all the liquid plain;
The winds were hush'd, the billows scarcely curl'd,
And a dead silence still'd the watery world;
When lifted on a ridgy wave he spies
The land at distance, and with sharpen'd eyes.
As pious children joy with vast delight
When a loved sire revives before their sight
(Who, lingering along, has call'd on death in vain,
Fix'd by some demon to his bed of pain,
Till heaven by miracle his life restore);
So joys Ulysses at the appearing shore;
And sees (and labours onward as he sees)
The rising forests, and the tufted trees.
And now, as near approaching as the sound
Of human voice the listening ear may wound,
Amidst the rocks he heard a hollow roar
Of murmuring surges breaking on the shore;
Nor peaceful port was there, nor winding bay,
To shield the vessel from the rolling sea,
But cliffs and shaggy shores, a dreadful sight!
All rough with rocks, with foamy billows white.
Fear seized his slacken'd limbs and beating heart,
As thus he communed with his soul apart;
"Ah me! when, o'er a length of waters toss'd,
These eyes at last behold the unhoped-for coast,
No port receives me from the angry main,
But the loud deeps demand me back again.
Above, sharp rocks forbid access; around
Roar the wild waves; beneath, is sea profound!
No footing sure affords the faithless sand,
To stem too rapid, and too deep to stand.
If here I enter, my efforts are vain,
Dash'd on the cliffs, or heaved into the main;
Or round the island if my course I bend,
Where the ports open, or the shores descend,
Back to the seas the rolling surge may sweep,
And bury all my hopes beneath the deep.
Or some enormous whale the god may send
(For many such an Amphitrite attend);
Too well the turns of mortal chance I know,
And hate relentless of my heavenly foe."
While thus he thought, a monstrous wave upbore
The chief, and dash'd him on the craggy shore;
Torn was his skin, nor had the ribs been whole,
But Instant Pallas enter'd in his soul.
Close to the cliff with both his hands he clung,
And stuck adherent, and suspended hung;
Till the huge surge roll'd off; then backward sweep
The refluent tides, and plunge him in the deep.
As when the polypus, from forth his cave
Torn with full force, reluctant beats the wave,
His ragged claws are stuck with stones and sands;
So the rough rock had shagg'd Ulysses hands,
And now had perish'd, whelm'd beneath the main,
The unhappy man; e'en fate had been in vain;
But all-subduing Pallas lent her power,
And prudence saved him in the needful hour.
Beyond the beating surge his course he bore,
(A wider circle, but in sight of shore),
With longing eyes, observing, to survey
Some smooth ascent, or safe sequester'd bay.
Between the parting rocks at length he spied
A failing stream with gentler waters glide;
Where to the seas the shelving shore declined,
And form'd a bay impervious to the wind.
To this calm port the glad Ulysses press'd,
And hail'd the river, and its god address'd:
"Whoe'er thou art, before whose stream unknown
I bend, a suppliant at thy watery throne,
Hear, azure king! nor let me fly in vain
To thee from Neptune and the raging main
Heaven hears and pities hapless men like me,
For sacred even to gods is misery:
Let then thy waters give the weary rest,
And save a suppliant, and a man distress'd."
He pray'd, and straight the gentle stream subsides,
Detains the rushing current of his tides, -
Before the wanderer smooths the watery way,
And soft receives him from the rolling sea.
That moment, fainting as he touch'd the shore,
He dropp'd his sinewy arms: his knees no more
Perform'd their office, or his weight upheld:
His swoln heart heaved; his bloated body swell'd:
From mouth and nose the briny torrent ran;
And lost in lassitude lay all the man,
Deprived of voice, of motion, and of breath;
The soul scarce waking in the arms of death.
Soon as warm life its wonted office found,
The mindful chief Leucothea's scarf unbound;
Observant of her word, he turn'd aside
HIs head, and cast it on the rolling tide.
Behind him far, upon the purple waves,
The waters waft it, and the nymph receives.
Now parting from the stream, Ulysses found
A mossy bank with pliant rushes crown'd;
The bank he press'd, and gently kiss'd the ground;
Where on the flowery herb as soft he lay,
Thus to his soul the sage began to say:
"What will ye next ordain, ye powers on high!
And yet, ah yet, what fates are we to try?
Here by the stream, if I the night out-wear,
Thus spent already, how shall nature bear
The dews descending, and nocturnal air;
Or chilly vapours breathing from the flood
When morning rises?--If I take the wood,
And in thick shelter of innumerous boughs
Enjoy the comfort gentle sleep allows;
Though fenced from cold, and though my toil be pass'd,
What savage beasts may wander in the waste?
Perhaps I yet may fall a bloody prey
To prowling bears, or lions in the way."
Thus long debating in himself he stood:
At length he took the passage to the wood,
Whose shady horrors on a rising brow
Waved high, and frown'd upon the stream below.
There grew two olives, closest of the grove,
With roots entwined, the branches interwove;
Alike their leaves, but not alike they smiled
With sister-fruits; one fertile, one was wild.
Nor here the sun's meridian rays had power,
Nor wind sharp-piercing, nor the rushing shower;
The verdant arch so close its texture kept:
Beneath this covert great Ulysses crept.
Of gather'd leaves an ample bed he made
(Thick strewn by tempest through the bowery shade);
Where three at least might winter's cold defy,
Though Boreas raged along the inclement sky.
This store with joy the patient hero found,
And, sunk amidst them, heap'd the leaves around.
As some poor peasant, fated to reside
Remote from neighbours in a forest wide,
Studious to save what human wants require,
In embers heap'd, preserves the seeds of fire:
Hid in dry foliage thus Ulysses lies,
Till Pallas pour'd soft slumbers on his eyes;
And golden dreams (the gift of sweet repose)
Lull'd all his cares, and banish'd all his woes.
Pallas appearing in a dream in to Nausicaa (the daughter of
Alcinous, king of Phaeacia, commands her to descend to the river,
and wash the robes of state, in preparation for her nuptials.
Nausicaa goes with her handmaidens to the river; where, while the
garments are spread on the bank, they divert themselves in sports.
Their voices awaken Ulysses, who, addressing himself to the
princess, is by her relieved and clothed, and receives directions
in what manner to apply to the king and queen of the island.
While thus the weary wanderer sunk to rest,
And peaceful slumbers calmed his anxious breast,
The martial maid from heavens aerial height
Swift to Phaeacia wing'd her rapid flight,
In elder times the soft Phaeacian train
In ease possess'd the wide Hyperian plain;
Till the Cyclopean race in arms arose
A lawless nation of gigantic foes;
Then great Nausithous from Hyperia far,
Through seas retreating from the sounds of war,
The recreant nation to fair Scheria led,
Where never science rear'd her laurell'd head;
There round his tribes a strength of wall he raised;
To heaven the glittering domes and temples blazed;
Just to his realms, he parted grounds from grounds,
And shared the lands, and gave the lands their bounds.
Now in the silent grave the monarch lay,
And wise Alcinous held the legal sway.
To his high palace through the fields of air
The goddess shot; Ulysses was her care.
There, as the night in silence roll'd away,
A heaven of charms divine Nausicaa lay:
Through the thick gloom the shining portals blaze;
Two nymphs the portals guard, each nymph a Grace,
Light as the viewless air the warrior maid
Glides through the valves, and hovers round her head;
A favourite virgin's blooming form she took,
From Dymas sprung, and thus the vision spoke:
"Oh Indolent! to waste thy hours away!
And sleep'st thou careless of the bridal day!
Thy spousal ornament neglected lies;
Arise, prepare the bridal train, arise!
A just applause the cares of dress impart,
And give soft transport to a parent's heart.
Haste, to the limpid stream direct thy way,
When the gay morn unveils her smiling ray;
Haste to the stream! companion of thy care,
Lo, I thy steps attend, thy labours share.
Virgin, awake! the marriage hour is nigh,
See from their thrones thy kindred monarchs sigh!
The royal car at early dawn obtain,
And order mules obedient to the rein;
For rough the way, and distant rolls the wave,
Where their fair vests Phaeacian virgins lave,
In pomp ride forth; for pomp becomes the great
And majesty derives a grace from state."
Then to the palaces of heaven she sails,
Incumbent on the wings of wafting gales;
The seat of gods; the regions mild of peace,
Full joy, and calm eternity of ease.
There no rude winds presume to shake the skies,
No rains descend, no snowy vapours rise;
But on immortal thrones the blest repose;
The firmament with living splendours glows.
Hither the goddess winged the aerial way,
Through heaven's eternal gates that blazed with day.
Now from her rosy car Aurora shed
The dawn, and all the orient flamed with red.
Up rose the virgin with the morning light,
Obedient to the vision of the night.
The queen she sought, the queen her hours bestowed
In curious works; the whirling spindle glow'd
With crimson threads, while busy damsels call
The snowy fleece, or twist the purpled wool.
Meanwhile Phaeacia's peers in council sate;
From his high dome the king descends in state;
Then with a filial awe the royal maid
Approach'd him passing, and submissive said:
"Will my dread sire his ear regardful deign,
And may his child the royal car obtain?
Say, with my garments shall I bend my way?
Where through the vales the mazy waters stray?
A dignity of dress adorns the great,
And kings draw lustre from the robe of state.
Five sons thou hast; three wait the bridal day.
And spotless robes become the young and gay;
So when with praise amid the dance they shine,
By these my cares adorn'd that praise is mine."
Thus she: but blushes ill-restrain'd betray
Her thoughts intentive on the bridal day,
The conscious sire the dawning blush survey'd,
And, smiling, thus bespoke the blooming maid
"My child, my darling joy, the car receive;
That, and whate'er our daughter asks, we give."
Swift at the royal nod the attending train
The car prepare, the mules incessant rein,
The blooming virgin with despatchful cares
Tunics, and stoles, and robes imperial, bears.
The queen, assiduous to her train assigns
The sumptuous viands, and the flavorous wines.
The train prepare a cruse of curious mould,
A cruse of fragrance, form'd of burnish'd gold;
Odour divine! whose soft refreshing streams
Sleek the smooth skin, and scent the snowy limbs.
Now mounting the gay seat, the silken reins
Shine in her hand; along the sounding plains
Swift fly the mules; nor rode the nymph alone;
Around, a bevy of bright damsels shone.
They seek the cisterns where Phaeacian dames
Wash their fair garments in the limpid streams;
Where, gathering into depth from falling rills,
The lucid wave a spacious bason fills.
The mules, unharness'd, range beside the main,
Or crop the verdant herbage of the plain.
Then emulous the royal robes they lave,
And plunge the vestures in the cleansing wave
(The vestures cleansed o'erspread the shelly sand,
Their snowy lustre whitens all the strand);
Then with a short repast relieve their toil,
And o'er their limbs diffuse ambrosial oil;
And while the robes imbibe the solar ray,
O'er the green mead the sporting virgins play
(Their shining veils unbound). Along the skies,
Toss'd and retoss'd, the ball incessant flies.
They sport, they feast; Nausicaa lifts her voice,
And, warbling sweet, makes earth and heaven rejoice.
As when o'er Erymanth Diana roves,
Or wide Tuygetus' resounding groves ;
A sylvan train the huntress queen surrounds,
Her rattling quiver from her shoulders sounds:
Fierce in the sport, along the mountain's brow
They bay the boar, or chase the bounding roe;
High o'er the lawn, with more majestic pace,
Above the nymphs she treads with stately grace;
Distinguish'd excellence the goddess proves;
Exults Latona as the virgin moves.
With equal grace Nausicaa trod the plain,
And shone transcendent o'er the beauteous train.
Meantime (the care and favourite of the skies
Wrapp'd in imbowering shade, Ulysses lies,
His woes forgot! but Pallas now address'd
To break the bands of all-composing rest.
Forth from her snowy hand Nausicaa threw
The various ball; the ball erroneous flew
And swam the stream; loud shrieks the virgin train,
And the loud shriek redoubles from the main.
Waked by the shrilling sound, Ulysses rose,
And, to the deaf woods wailing, breathed his woes:
"Ah me! on what inhospitable coast,
On what new region is Ulysses toss'd;
Possess'd by wild barbarians fierce in arms;
Or men, whose bosom tender pity warms?
What sounds are these that gather from he shores?
The voice of nymphs that haunt the sylvan bowers,
The fair-hair'd Dryads of the shady wood;
Or azure daughters of the silver flood;
Or human voice? but issuing from the shades,
Why cease I straight to learn what sound invades?"
Then, where the grove with leaves umbrageous bends,
With forceful strength a branch the hero rends;
Around his loins the verdant cincture spreads
A wreathy foliage and concealing shades.
As when a lion in the midnight hours,
Beat by rude blasts, and wet with wintry showers,
Descends terrific from the mountains brow;
With living flames his rolling eye balls glow;
With conscious strength elate, he bends his way,
Majestically fierce, to seize his prey
(The steer or stag;) or, with keen hunger bold,
Spring o'er the fence and dissipates the fold.
No less a terror, from the neighbouring groves
(Rough from the tossing surge) Ulysses moves;
Urged on by want, and recent from the storms;
The brackish ooze his manly grace deforms.
Wide o'er the shore with many a piercing cry
To rocks, to caves, the frightened virgins fly;
All but the nymph; the nymph stood fix'd alone,
By Pallas arm'd with boldness not her own.
Meantime in dubious thought the king awaits,
And, self-considering, as he stands, debates;
Distant his mournful story to declare,
Or prostrate at her knee address the prayer.
But fearful to offend, by wisdom sway'd,
At awful distance he accosts the maid:
"If from the skies a goddess, or if earth
(Imperial virgin) boast thy glorious birth,
To thee I bend! If in that bright disguise
Thou visit earth, a daughter of the skies,
Hail, Dian, hail! the huntress of the groves
So shines majestic, and so stately moves,
So breathes an air divine! But if thy race
Be mortal, and this earth thy native place,
Blest is the father from whose loins you sprung,
Blest is the mother at whose breast you hung.
Blest are the brethren who thy blood divide,
To such a miracle of charms allied:
Joyful they see applauding princes gaze,
When stately in the dance you swim the harmonious maze.
But blest o'er all, the youth with heavenly charms,
Who clasps the bright perfection in his arms!
Never, I never view'd till this blast hour
Such finish'd grace! I gaze, and I adore!
Thus seems the palm with stately honours crown'd
By Phoebus' altars; thus o'erlooks the ground;
The pride of Delos. (By the Delian coast,
I voyaged, leader of a warrior-host,
But ah, how changed I from thence my sorrow flows;
O fatal voyage, source of all my woes;)
Raptured I stood, and as this hour amazed,
With reverence at the lofty wonder gazed:
Raptured I stand! for earth ne'er knew to bear
A plant so stately, or a nymph so fair.
Awed from access, I lift my suppliant hands;
For Misery, O queen! before thee stands.
Twice ten tempestuous nights I roll'd, resign'd
To roaring blows, and the warring wind;
Heaven bade the deep to spare; but heaven, my foe,
Spares only to inflict some mightier woe.
Inured to cares, to death in all its forms;
Outcast I rove, familiar with the storms.
Once more I view the face of human kind:
Oh let soft pity touch thy generous mind!
Unconscious of what air I breathe, I stand
Naked, defenceless on a narrow land.
Propitious to my wants a vest supply
To guard the wretched from the inclement sky:
So may the gods, who heaven and earth control,
Crown the chaste wishes of thy virtuous soul,
On thy soft hours their choicest blessings shed;
Blest with a husband be thy bridal bed;
Blest be thy husband with a blooming race,
And lasting union crown your blissful days.
The gods, when they supremely bless, bestow
Firm union on their favourites below;
Then envy grieves, with inly-pining hate;
The good exult, and heaven is in our state."
To whom the nymph: "O stranger, cease thy care;
Wise is thy soul, but man is bore to bear;
Jove weighs affairs of earth in dubious scales,
And the good suffers, while the bad prevails.
Bear, with a soul resign'd, the will of Jove;
Who breathes, must mourn: thy woes are from above.
But since thou tread'st our hospitable shore,
'Tis mine to bid the wretched grieve no more,
To clothe the naked, and thy way to guide.
Know, the Phaecian tribes this land divide;
From great Alcinous' royal loins I spring,
A happy nation, and a happy king."
Then to her maids: "Why, why, ye coward train,
These fears, this flight? ye fear, and fly in vain.
Dread ye a foe? dismiss that idle dread,
'Tis death with hostile step these shores to tread;
Safe in the love of heaven, an ocean flows
Around our realm, a barrier from the foes;
'Tis ours this son of sorrow to relieve,
Cheer the sad heart, nor let affliction grieve.
By Jove the stranger and the poor are sent;
And what to those we give to Jove is lent.
Then food supply, and bathe his fainting limbs
Where waving shades obscure the mazy streams."
Obedient to the call, the chief they guide
To the calm current of the secret tide;
Close by the stream a royal dress they lay,
A vest and robe, with rich embroidery gay;
Then unguents in a vase of gold supply,
That breathed a fragrance through the balmy sky.
To them the king: "No longer I detain
Your friendly care: retire, ye virgin train!
Retire, while from my wearied limbs I lave
The foul pollution of the briny wave.
Ye gods! since this worn frame refection know,
What scenes have I surveyed of dreadful view!
But, nymphs, recede! sage chastity denies
To raise the blush, or pain the modest eyes."
The nymphs withdrawn, at once into the tide
Active he bounds; the flashing waves divide
O'er all his limbs his hands the waves diffuse,
And from his locks compress the weedy ooze;
The balmy oil, a fragrant shower, be sheds;
Then, dressed, in pomp magnificently treads.
The warrior-goddess gives his frame to shine
With majesty enlarged, and air divine:
Back from his brows a length of hair unfurls,
His hyacinthine locks descend in wavy curls.
As by some artist, to whom Vulcan gives
His skill divine, a breathing statue lives;
By Pallas taught, he frames the wondrous mould,
And o'er the silver pours the fusile gold
So Pallas his heroic frame improves
With heavenly bloom, and like a god he moves.
A fragrance breathes around; majestic grace
Attends his steps: the astonished virgins gaze.
Soft he reclines along the murmuring seas,
Inhaling freshness from the fanning breeze.
The wondering nymph his glorious port survey'd,
And to her damsels, with amazement, said:
"Not without care divine the stranger treads
This land of joy; his steps some godhead leads:
Would Jove destroy him, sure he had been driven
Far from this realm, the favourite isle of heaven.
Late, a sad spectacle of woe, he trod
The desert sands, and now be looks a god.
Oh heaven! in my connubial hour decree
This man my spouse, or such a spouse as he!
But haste, the viands and the bowl provide."
The maids the viands and the bowl supplied:
Eager he fed, for keen his hunger raged,
And with the generous vintage thirst assuaged.
Now on return her care Nausicaa bends,
The robes resumes, the glittering car ascends,
Far blooming o'er the field; and as she press'd
The splendid seat, the listening chief address'd:
"Stranger, arise! the sun rolls down the day.
Lo, to the palace I direct thy way;
Where, in high state, the nobles of the land
Attend my royal sire, a radiant band
But hear, though wisdom in thy soul presides,
Speaks from thy tongue, and every action guides;
Advance at distance, while I pass the plain
Where o'er the furrows waves the golden grain;
Alone I reascend--With airy mounds
A strength of wall the guarded city bounds;
The jutting land two ample bays divides:
Full through the narrow mouths descend the tides;
The spacious basons arching rocks enclose,
A sure defence from every storm that blows.
Close to the bay great Neptune's fane adjoins;
And near, a forum flank'd with marble shines,
Where the bold youth, the numerous fleets to store,
Shape the broad sail, or smooth the taper oar:
For not the bow they bend, nor boast the skill
To give the feather'd arrow wings to kill;
But the tall mast above the vessel rear,
Or teach the fluttering sail to float in air.
They rush into the deep with eager joy,
Climb the steep surge, and through the tempest fly;
A proud, unpolish'd race--To me belongs
The care to shun the blast of slanderous tongues;
Lest malice, prone the virtuous to defame,
Thus with wild censure taint my spotless name:
'What stranger this whom thus Nausicaa leads!
Heavens, with what graceful majesty he treads!
Perhaps a native of some distant shore,
The future consort of her bridal hour:
Or rather some descendant of the skies;
Won by her prayer, the aerial bridegroom flies,
Heaven on that hour its choicest influence shed,
That gave a foreign spouse to crown her bed!
All, all the godlike worthies that adorn
This realm, she flies: Phaeacia is her scorn.'
And just the blame: for female innocence
Not only flies the guilt, but shuns the offence:
The unguarded virgin, as unchaste, I blame;
And the least freedom with the sex is shame,
Till our consenting sires a spouse provide,
And public nuptials justify the bride,
But would'st thou soon review thy native plain?
Attend, and speedy thou shalt pass the main:
Nigh where a grove with verdant poplars crown'd,
To Pallas sacred, shades the holy ground,
We bend our way; a bubbling fount distills
A lucid lake, and thence descends in rills;
Around the grove, a mead with lively green
Falls by degrees, and forms a beauteous scene;
Here a rich juice the royal vineyard pours;
And there the garden yields a waste of flowers.
Hence lies the town, as far as to the ear
Floats a strong shout along the waves of air.
There wait embower'd, while I ascend alone
To great Alcinous on his royal throne.
Arrived, advance, impatient of delay,
And to the lofty palace bend thy way:
The lofty palace overlooks the town,
From every dome by pomp superior known;
A child may point the way. With earnest gait
Seek thou the queen along the rooms of state;
Her royal hand a wondrous work designs,
Around a circle of bright damsels shines;
Part twist the threads, and part the wool dispose,
While with the purple orb the spindle glows.
High on a throne, amid the Scherian powers,
My royal father shares the genial hours:
But to the queen thy mournful tale disclose,
With the prevailing eloquence of woes:
So shalt thou view with joy thy natal shore,
Though mountains rise between and oceans roar."
She added not, but waving, as she wheel'd,
The silver scourge, it glitter'd o'er the field;
With skill the virgin guides the embroider'd rein,
Slow rolls the car before the attending train,
Now whirling down the heavens, the golden day
Shot through the western clouds a dewy ray;
The grove they reach, where, from the sacred shade,
To Pallas thus the pensive hero pray'd:
"Daughter of Jove! whose arms in thunder wield
The avenging bolt, and shake the dreadful shield;
Forsook by thee, in vain I sought thy aid
When booming billows closed above my bead;
Attend, unconquer'd maid! accord my vows,
Bid the Great hear, and pitying, heal my woes."
This heard Minerva, but forbore to fly
(By Neptune awed) apparent from the sky;
Stern god! who raged with vengeance, unrestrain'd.
Till great Ulysses hail'd his native land.
The court of Alcinous.
The princess Nausicaa returns to the city and Ulysses soon after
follows thither. He is met by Pallas in the form of a young
virgin, who guides him to the palace, and directs him in what
manner to address the queen Arete. She then involves him in a mist
which causes him to pass invisible. The palace and gardens of
Alcinous described. Ulysses falling at the feet of the queen, the
mist disperses, the Phaecians admire, and receive him with
respect. The queen inquiring by what means he had the garments he
then wore, be relates to her and Alcinous his departure from
Calypso, and his arrival in their dominions.
The same day continues, and the book ends with the night.
The patient heavenly man thus suppliant pray'd;
While the slow mules draws on the imperial maid;
Through the proud street she moves, the public gaze;
The turning wheel before the palace stays.
With ready love her brothers, gathering round,
Received the vestures, and the mules unbound.
She seeks the bridal bower: a matron there
The rising fire supplies with busy care,
Whose charms in youth her father's heart inflamed,
Now worn with age, Eurymedusa named;
The captive dame Phaeacian rovers bore,
Snatch'd from Epirus, her sweet native shore
(A grateful prize), and in her bloom bestow'd
On good Alcinous, honor'd as a god;
Nurse of Nausicaa from her infant years,
And tender second to a mother's cares.
Now from the sacred thicket where he lay,
To town Ulysses took the winding way.
Propitious Pallas, to secure her care,
Around him spread a veil of thicken'd air;
To shun the encounter of the vulgar crowd,
Insulting still, inquisitive and loud.
When near the famed Phaeacian walls he drew,
The beauteous city opening to his view,
His step a virgin met, and stood before:
A polish'd urn the seeming virgin bore,
And youthful smiled; but in the low disguise
Lay hid the goddess with the azure eyes.
"Show me, fair daughter (thus the chief demands),
The house of him who rules these happy lands
Through many woes and wanderings, do I come
To good Alcinous' hospitable dome.
Far from my native coast, I rove alone,
A wretched stranger, and of all unknown!"
The goddess answer'd: "Father, I obey,
And point the wandering traveller his way:
Well known to me the palace you inquire,
For fast beside it dwells my honour'd sire:
But silent march, nor greet the common train
With question needless, or inquiry vain;
A race of ragged mariners are these,
Unpolish'd men, and boisterous as their seas
The native islanders alone their care,
And hateful he who breathes a foreign air.
These did the ruler of the deep ordain
To build proud navies, and command the main;
On canvas wings to cut the watery way;
No bird so light, no thought so swift as they."
Thus having spoke, the unknown celestial leads:
The footsteps of the duty he treads,
And secret moves along the crowded space,
Unseen of all the rude Phaeacian race.
(So Pallas order'd, Pallas to their eyes
The mist objected, and condensed the skies.)
The chief with wonder sees the extended streets,
The spreading harbours, and the riding fleets;
He next their princes' lofty domes admires,
In separate islands, crown'd with rising spires;
And deep entrenchments, and high walls of stone.
That gird the city like a marble zone.
At length the kingly palace-gates he view'd;
There stopp'd the goddess, and her speech renew'd;
"My task is done: the mansion you inquire
Appears before you: enter, and admire.
High-throned, and feasting, there thou shalt behold
The sceptred rulers. Fear not, but be bold:
A decent boldness ever meets with friends,
Succeeds, and even a stranger recommends
First to the queen prefer a suppliant's claim,
Alcinous' queen, Arete is her name.
The same her parents, and her power the same.
For know, from ocean's god Nausithous sprung,
And Peribaea, beautiful and young
(Eurymedon's last hope, who ruled of old
The race of giants, impious, proud, and bold:
Perish'd the nation in unrighteous war,
Perish'd the prince, and left this only heir),
Who now, by Neptune's amorous power compress'd,
Produced a monarch that his people bless'd, `
Father and prince of the Phaeacian name;
From him Rhexenor and Alcinous came.
The first by Phoebus' hurtling arrows fired,
New from his nuptials, hapless youth! expired.
No son survived; Arete heir'd his state,
And her, Alcinous chose his royal mate.
With honours yet to womankind unknown.
This queen he graces, and divides the throne;
In equal tenderness her sons conspire,
And all the children emulate their sire.
When through the streets she gracious deigns to move
(The public wonder and the public love),
The tongues of all with transport sound her praise,
The eyes of all, as on a goddess, gaze.
She feels the triumph of a generous breast;
To heal divisions, to relieve the oppress'd;
In virtue rich; in blessing others, bless'd.
(to then secure, thy humble suit prefer
And owe thy country and tby friends to her."
With that the goddess deign'd no longer stay,
But o'er the world of waters wing'd her way;
Forsaking Scheria's ever-pleasing shore,
The winds to Marathon the virgin bore:
Thence, where proud Athens rears her towery head,
With opening streets and shining structures spread,
She pass'd, delighted with the well-known seats;
And to Erectheus' sacred dome retreats.
Meanwhile Ulysses at the palace waits,
There stops, and anxious with his soul debates,
Fix'd in amaze before the royal gates.
The front appear'd with radiant splendours gay,
Bright as the lamp of night, or orb of day,
The walls were massy brass: the cornice high
Blue metals crown'd in colours of the sky,
Rich plates of gold the folding doors incase;
The pillars silver, on a brazen base;
Silver the lintels deep-projecting o'er,
And gold the ringlets that command the door.
Two rows of stately dogs, on either hand,
In sculptured gold and labour'd silver stood
These Vulcan form'd with art divine, to wait
Immortal guardians at Alcinous' gate;
Alive each animated frame appears,
And still to live beyond the power of years,
Fair thrones within from space to space were raised,
Where various carpets with embroidery blessed,
The work of matrons: these the princes press'd.
Day following day, a long-continued feast,
Refulgent pedestals the walls surround,
Which boys of gold with illuming torches crown'd;
The polish'd oar, reflecting every ray,
Blazed on the banquets with a double day.
Full fifty handmaids form the household train;
Some turn the mill, or sift the golden grain;
Some ply the loom; their busy fingers move
Like poplar-leaves when Zephyr fans the grove.
Not more renown'd the men of Scheria's isle
For sailing arts and all the naval toil,
Than works of female skill their women's pride,
The flying shuttle through the threads to guide:
Pallas to these her double gifts imparts,
Incentive genius, and industrious arts.
Close to the gates a spacious garden lies,
From storms defended and inclement skies.
Four acres was the allotted space of ground,
Fenced with a green enclosure all around.
Tall thriving trees confess'd the fruitful mould:
The reddening apple ripens here to gold.
Here the blue fig with luscious juice o'erflows,
With deeper red the full pomegranate glows;
The branch here bends beneath the weighty pear,
And verdant olives flourish round the year,
The balmy spirit of the western gale
Eternal breathes on fruits, unthought to fail:
Each dropping pear a following pear supplies,
On apples apples, figs on figs arise:
The same mild season gives the blooms to blow,
The buds to harden, and the fruits to grow.
Here order'd vines in equal ranks appear,
With all the united labours of the year;
Some to unload the fertile branches run,
Some dry the blackening clusters in the sun,
Others to tread the liquid harvest join:
The groaning presses foam with floods of wine
Here are the vines in early flower descried,
Here grapes discolour'd on the sunnyside,
And there in autumn's richest purple dyed,
Beds of all various herbs, for ever green,
In beauteous order terminate the scene.
Two plenteous fountains the whole prospect crown'd
This through the gardens leads its streams around
Visits each plant, and waters all the ground;
While that in pipes beneath the palace flows,
And thence its current on the town bestows:
To various use their various streams they bring,
The people one, and one supplies the king.
Such were the glories which the gods ordain'd,
To grace Alcinous, and his happy land.
E'en from the chief whom men and nations knew,
The unwonted scene surprise and rapture drew;
In pleasing thought he ran the prospect o'er,
Then hasty enter'd at the lofty door.
Night now approaching, in the palace stand,
With goblets crown'd, the rulers of the land;
Prepared for rest, and offering to the god
Who bears the virtue of the sleepy rod,
Unseen he glided through the joyous crowd,
With darkness circled, and an ambient cloud.
Direct to great Alcinous' throne he came,
And prostrate fell before the imperial dame.
Then from around him dropp'd the veil of night;
Sudden he shines, and manifest to sight.
The nobles gaze, with awful fear oppress'd;
Silent they gaze, and eye the godlike guest.
"Daughter of great Rhexenor! (thus began,
Low at her knees, the much-enduring man)
To thee, thy consort, and this royal train,
To all that share the blessings of your reign,
A suppliant bends: oh pity human woe!
'Tis what the happy to the unhappy owe.
A wretched exile to his country send,
Long worn with griefs, and long without a friend
So may the gods your better days increase,
And all your joys descend on all your race;
So reign for ever on your country's breast,
Your people blessing, by your people bless'd!"
Then to the genial hearth he bow'd his face,
And humbled in the ashes took his place.
Silence ensued. The eldest first began,
Echeneus sage, a venerable man!
Whose well-taught mind the present age surpass'd,
And join'd to that the experience of the last.
Fit words attended on his weighty sense,
And mild persuasion flow'd in eloquence.
"Oh sight (he cried) dishonest and unjust!
A guest, a stranger, seated in the dust!
To raise the lowly suppliant from the ground
Befits a monarch. Lo! the peers around
But wait thy word, the gentle guest to grace,
And seat him fair in some distinguish'd place.
Let first the herald due libation pay
To Jove, who guides the wanderer on his way:
Then set the genial banquet in his view,
And give the stranger-guest a stranger's due."
His sage advice the listening king obeys,
He stretch'd his hand the prudent chief to raise,
And from his seat Laodamas removed
(The monarch's offspring, and his best-beloved);
There next his side the godlike hero sate;
With stars of silver shone the bed of state.
The golden ewer a beauteous handmaid brings,
Replenish'd from the cool translucent springs,
Whose polish'd vase with copious streams supplies
A silver layer of capacious size.
The table next in regal order spread,
The glittering canisters are heap'd with bread:
Viands of various kinds invite the taste,
Of choicest sort and savour, rich repast!
Thus feasting high, Alcinous gave the sign,
And bade the herald pour the rosy wine;
"Let all around the due libation pay
To Jove, who guides the wanderer on his way."
He said. Pontonous heard the king's command;
The circling goblet moves from hand to hand;
Each drinks the juice that glads the heart of man.
Alcinous then, with aspect mild, began:
"Princes and peers, attend; while we impart
To you the thoughts of no inhuman heart.
Now pleased and satiate from the social rite
Repair we to the blessings of the night;
But with the rising day, assembled here,
Let all the elders of the land appear,
Pious observe our hospitable laws,
And Heaven propitiate in the stranger's cause;
Then join'd in council, proper means explore
Safe to transport him to the wished-for shore
(How distant that, imports us not to know,
Nor weigh the labour, but relieve the woe).
Meantime, nor harm nor anguish let him bear
This interval, Heaven trusts him to our care
But to his native land our charge resign'd,
Heaven's is his life to come, and all the woes behind.
Then must he suffer what the Fates ordain;
For Fate has wove the thread of life with pain?
And twins, e'en from the birth, are Misery and Man!
But if, descended from the Olympian bower,
Gracious approach us some immortal power;
If in that form thou comest a guest divine:
Some high event the conscious gods design.
As yet, unbid they never graced our feast,
The solemn sacrifice call'd down the guest;
Then manifest of Heaven the vision stood,
And to our eyes familiar was the god.
Oft with some favour'd traveller they stray,
And shine before him all the desert way;
With social intercourse, and face to face,
The friends and guardians of our pious race.
So near approach we their celestial kind,
By justice, truth, and probity of mind;
As our dire neighbours of Cyclopean birth
Match in fierce wrong the giant-sons of earth."
"Let no such thought (with modest grace rejoin'd
The prudent Greek) possess the royal mind.
Alas! a mortal, like thyself, am I;
No glorious native of yon azure sky:
In form, ah how unlike their heavenly kind!
How more inferior in the gifts of mind!
Alas, a mortal! most oppress'd of those
Whom Fate has loaded with a weight of woes;
By a sad train of Miseries alone
Distinguish'd long, and second now to none!
By Heaven's high will compell'd from shore to shore;
With Heaven's high will prepared to suffer more.
What histories of toil could I declare!
But still long-wearied nature wants repair;
Spent with fatigue, and shrunk with pining fast,
My craving bowels still require repast.
Howe'er the noble, suffering mind may grieve
Its load of anguish, and disdain to live,
Necessity demands our daily bread;
Hunger is insolent, and will be fed.
But finish, oh ye peers! what you propose,
And let the morrow's dawn conclude my woes.
Pleased will I suffer all the gods ordain,
To see my soil, my son, my friends again.
That view vouchsafed, let instant death surprise
With ever-during shade these happy eyes!"
The assembled peers with general praise approved
His pleaded reason, and the suit he moved.
Each drinks a full oblivion of his cares,
And to the gifts of balmy sleep repairs,
Ullysses in the regal walls alone
Remain'd: beside him, on a splendid throne,
Divine Arete and Alcinous shone.
The queen, an nearer view, the guest survey'd,
Rob'd in the garments her own hands had made,
Not without wonder seen. Then thus began,
Her words addressing to the godlike man:
"Camest thou hither, wondrous stranger I say,
From lands remote and o'er a lemgth of sea?
Tell, then, whence art thou? whence, that princely air?
And robes like these, so recent and so fair?"
"Hard is the task, O princess! you impose
(Thus sighing spoke the man of many woes),
The long, the mournful series to relate
Of all my sorrows sent by Heaven and Fate!
Yet what you ask, attend. An island lies
Beyond these tracts, and under other skies,
Ogygia named, in Ocean's watery arms;
Where dwells Calypso, dreadful in her charms!
Remote from gods or men she holds her reign,
Amid the terrors of a rolling main.
Me, only me, the hand of fortune bore,
Unblest! to tread that interdicted shore:
When Jove tremendous in the sable deeps
Launch'd his red lightning at our scattered ships;
Then, all my fleet and all my followers lost.
Sole on a plank on boiling surges toss'd,
Heaven drove my wreck the Ogygian Isle to find,
Full nine days floating to the wave and wind.
Met by the goddess there with open arms,
She bribed my stay with more than human charms;
Nay, promised, vainly promised, to bestow
Immortal life, exempt from age and woe;
But all her blandishments successless prove,
To banish from my breast my country's love.
I stay reluctant seven continued years,
And water her ambrosial couch with tears,
The eighth she voluntary moves to part,
Or urged by Jove, or her own changeful heart.
A raft was formed to cross the surging sea;
Herself supplied the stores and rich array,
And gave the gales to waft me on my way,
In seventeen days appear'd your pleasing coast,
And woody mountains half in vapours lost.
Joy touched my soul; my soul was joy'd in vain,
For angry Neptune roused the raging main;
The wild winds whistle, and the billows roar;
The splitting raft the furious tempest tore;
And storms vindictive intercept the shore.
Soon as their rage subsides, the seas I brave
With naked force, and shoot along the wave,
To reach this isle; but there my hopes were lost,
The surge impell'd me on a craggy coast.
I chose the safer sea, and chanced to find
A river's mouth impervious to the wind,
And clear of rocks. I fainted by the flood;
Then took the shelter of the neighbouring wood.
'Twas night, and, covered in the foliage deep,
Jove plunged my senses in the death of sleep.
All night I slept, oblivious of my pain:
Aurora dawned and Phoebus shined in vain,
Nor, till oblique he sloped his evening ray,
Had Somnus dried the balmy dews away.
Then female voices from the shore I heard:
A maid amidst them, goddess-like appear'd;
To her I sued, she pitied my distress;
Like thee in beauty, nor in virtue less.
Who from such youth could hope considerate care?
In youth and beauty wisdom is but rare!
She gave me life, relieved with just supplies
My wants, and lent these robes that strike your eyes.
This is the truth: and oh, ye powers on high!
Forbid that want should sink me to a lie."
To this the king: "Our daughter but express'd
Her cares imperfect to our godlike guest.
Suppliant to her, since first he chose to pray,
Why not herself did she conduct the way,
And with her handmaids to our court convey?"
"Hero and king (Ulysses thus replied)
Nor blame her faultless nor suspect of pride:
She bade me follow in the attendant train;
But fear and reverence did my steps detain,
Lest rash suspicion might alarm thy mind:
Man's of a jealous and mistaken kind."
"Far from my soul (he cried) the gods efface
All wrath ill-grounded, and suspicion base!
Whate'er is honest, stranger, I approve,
And would to Phoebus, Pallas, and to Jove,
Such as thou art, thy thought and mine were one,
Nor thou unwilling to be called my son.
In such alliance couldst thou wish to join,
A palace stored with treasures should be thine.
But if reluctant, who shall force thy stay?
Jove bids to set the stranger on his way,
And ships shall wait thee with the morning ray.
Till then, let slumber cross thy careful eyes:
The wakeful mariners shall watch the skies,
And seize the moment when the breezes rise:
Then gently waft thee to the pleasing shore,
Where thy soul rests, and labour is no more.
Far as Euboea though thy country lay,
Our ships with ease transport thee in a day.
Thither of old, earth's giant son to view,
On wings of wind with Rhadamanth they flew;
This land, from whence their morning course begun,
Saw them returning with the setting sun.
Your eyes shall witness and confirm my tale,
Our youth how dexterous, and how fleet our sail,
When justly timed with equal sweep they row,
And ocean whitens in long tracks below."
Thus he. No word the experienced man replies,
But thus to heaven (and heavenward lifts his eyes):
"O Jove! O father! what the king accords
Do thou make perfect! sacred be his words!
Wide o'er the world Alcinous' glory shine!
Let fame be his, and ah! my country mine!"
Meantime Arete, for the hour of rest,
Ordains the fleecy couch, and covering vest;
Bids her fair train the purple quilts prepare,
And the thick carpets spread with busy care.
With torches blazing in their hands they pass'd,
And finish'd all their queen's command with haste:
Then gave the signal to the willing guest:
He rose with pleasure, and retired to rest.
There, soft extended, to the murmuring sound
Of the high porch, Ulysses sleeps profound!
Within, released from cares, Alcinous lies;
And fast beside were closed Arete's eyes.
Alcinous calls a council, in which it is resolved to transport
Ulysses into his country. After which splendid entertainments are
made, where the celebrated musician and poet, Demodocus, plays and
sings to the guests. They next proceed to the games, the race, the
wrestling, discus, &c., where Ulysses casts a prodigious length,
to the admiration of all the spectators. They return again to the
banquet and Demodocus sings the loves of Mars and Venus. Ulysses,
after a compliment to the poet, desires him to sing the
introduction of the wooden horse into Troy, which subject
provoking his tears, Alcinous inquires of his guest his name,
parentage, and fortunes.
Now fair Aurora lifts her golden ray,
And all the ruddy orient flames with day:
Alcinous, and the chief, with dawning light,
Rose instant from the slumbers of the night;
Then to the council-seat they bend their way,
And fill the shining thrones along the bay.
Meanwhile Minerva, in her guardian care,
Shoots from the starry vault through fields of air;
In form, a herald of the king, she flies
From peer to peer, and thus incessant cries;
"Nobles and chiefs who rule Phaeacia's states,
The king in council your attendance waits;
A prince of grace divine your aid implores,
O'er unknown seas arrived from unknown shores."
She spoke, and sudden with tumultuous sounds
Of thronging multitudes the shore rebounds:
At once the seats they fill; and every eye
Glazed, as before some brother of the sky.
Pallas with grace divine his form improves,
More high he treads, and more enlarged he moves:
She sheds celestial bloom, regard to draw;
And gives a dignity of mien, to awe;
With strength, the future prize of fame to play,
And gather all the honours of the day.
Then from his glittering throne Alcinous rose;
"Attend (he cried) while we our will disclose.
Your present aid this godlike stranger craves,
Toss'd by rude tempest through a war of waves;
Perhaps from realms that view the rising day,
Or nations subject to the western ray.
Then grant, what here all sons of wine obtain
(For here affliction never pleads in vain);
Be chosen youth prepared, expert to try
The vast profound and hid the vessel fly;
Launch the tall back, and order every oar;
Then in our court indulge the genial hour.
Instant, you sailors to this task attend;
Swift to the palace, all ye peers ascend;
Let none to strangers honours due disclaim:
Be there Demodocus the bard of fame,
Taught by the gods to please, when high he sings
The vocal lay, responsive to the strings."
Thus spoke the prince; the attending peers obey;
In state they move; Alcinous heads the way
Swift to Demodocus the herald flies,
At once the sailors to their charge arise;
They launch the vessel, and unfurl the sails,
And stretch the swelling canvas to the gales;
Then to the palace move: a gathering throng,
Youth, and white age, tumultuous pour along.
Now all accesses to the dome are fill'd;
Eight boars, the choicest of the herd, are kill'd;
Two beeves, twelve fatlings, from the flock they bring
To crown the feast; so wills the bounteous king,
The herald now arrives, and guides along
The sacred master of celestial song;
Dear to the Muse! who gave his days to flow
With mighty blessings, mix'd with mighty woe;
With clouds of darkness quench'd his visnal ray,
But gave him skill to raise the lofty lay.
High on a radiant throne sublime in state,
Encircled by huge multitudes, he sate;
With silver shone the throne; his lyre, well strung
To rapturous sounds, at hand Poutonous hung.
Before his seat a polish'd table shines,
And a full goblet foams with generous wines;
His food a herald bore; and now they fed;
And now the rage of craving hunger fled.
Then, fired by all the Muse, aloud he sings
The mighty deeds of demigods and kings;
From that fierce wrath the noble song arose,
That made Ulysses and Achilles foes;
How o'er the feast they doom the fall of Troy;
The stern debate Atrides hears with joy;
For Heaven foretold the contest, when he trod
The marble threshold of the Delphic god,
Curious to learn the counsels of the sky,
Ere yet he loosed the rage of war on Troy.
Touch'd at the song, Ulysses straight resign'd
To soft affliction all his manly mind.
Before his eyes the purple vest he drew,
Industrious to conceal the falling dew;
But when the music paused, he ceased to shed
The flowing tear, and raised his drooping head;
And, lifting to the gods a goblet crown'd,
He pour'd a pure libation to the ground.
Transported with the song, the listening train
Again with loud applause demand the strain;
Again Ulysses veil'd his pensive head.
Again unmann'd, a shower of sorrows shed;
Conceal'd he wept; the king observed alone
The silent tear, and heard the secret groan;
Then to the bard aloud--"O cease to sing,
Dumb be thy voice and mute the harmonious string;
Enough the feast has pleased, enough the power
Of heavenly song has crown'd the genial hour!
Incessant in the games your strength display,
Contest, ye brave the honours of the day!
That pleased the admiring stranger may proclaim
In distant regions the Phaeacian fame:
None wield the gauntlet with so dire a sway,
Or swifter in the race devour the way;
None in the leap spring with so strong a bound,
Or firmer, in the wrestling, press the ground."
Thus spoke the king; the attending peers obey;
In state they move, Alcinous lends the way;
His golden lyre Demodocus unstrung,
High on a column in the palace hung;
And guided by a herald's guardian cares,
Majestic to the lists of Fame repairs.
Now swarms the populace: a countless throng, -
Youth and boar age; and man drives man along.
The games begin; ambitious of the prize,
Acroneus, Thoon, and Eretmeus rise;
The prize Ocyalus and Prymneus claim,
Anchialus and Ponteus, chiefs of fame.
There Proreus, Nautes, Eratreus, appear
And famed Amphialus, Polyneus' heir;
Euryalus, like Mars terrific, rose,
When clad in wrath he withers hosts of foes;
Naubolides with grace unequall'd shone,
Or equall'd by Laodamas alone.
With these came forth Ambasineus the strong:
And three brave sons, from great Alcinous sprung.
Ranged in a line the ready racers stand,
Start from the goal, and vanish o'er the strand:
Swift as on wings of winds, upborne they fly,
And drifts of rising dust involve the sky.
Before the rest, what space the hinds allow
Between the mule and ox, from plough to plough,
Clytonius sprung: he wing'd the rapid way,
And bore the unrivall'd honours of the day.
With fierce embrace the brawny wrestlers join;
The conquest, great Euryalus, is thine.
Amphialus sprung forward with a bound,
Superior in the leap, a length of ground.
From Elatreus' strong arm the discus flies,
And sings with unmatch'd force along the skies.
And Laodam whirls high, with dreadful sway,
The gloves of death, victorious in the fray.
While thus the peerage in the games contends,
In act to speak, Laodamas ascends.
"O friends (he cries), the stranger seems well skill'd
To try the illustrious labours of the field:
I deem him brave: then grant the brave man's claim,
Invite the hero to his share of fame.
What nervous arms he boasts! how firm his tread!
His limbs how turn'd! how broad his shoulders spread!
By age unbroke!--but all-consuming care
Destroys perhaps the strength that time would spare:
Dire is the ocean, dread in all its forms!
Man must decay when man contends with storms."
"Well hast thou spoke (Euryalus replies):
Thine is the guest, invite him thou to rise."
Swift as the word, advancing from the crowd,
He made obeisance, and thus spoke aloud:
"Vouchsafes the reverend stranger to display
His manly worth, and share the glorious day?
Father, arise! for thee thy port proclaims
Expert to conquer in the solemn games.
To fame arise! for what more fame can yield
Than the swift race, or conflict of the field?
Steal from corroding care one transient day,
To glory give the space thou hast to stay;
Short is the time, and lo! e'en now the gales
Call thee aboard, and stretch the swelling sails."
To whom with sighs Ulysses gave reply:
"Ah why the ill-suiting pastime must I try?
To gloomy care my thoughts alone are free;
Ill the gay sorts with troubled hearts agree;
Sad from my natal hour my days have ran,
A much-afflicted, much-enduring man!
Who, suppliant to the king and peers, implores
A speedy voyage to his native shore."
"Wise wanders, Laodam, thy erring tongue
The sports of glory to the brave belong
(Retorts Euryalus): he bears no claim
Among the great, unlike the sons of Fame.
A wandering merchant he frequents the main
Some mean seafarer in pursuit of gain;
Studious of freight, in naval trade well skill'd,
But dreads the athletic labours of the field."
Incensed, Ulysses with a frown replies:
"O forward to proclaim thy soul unwise!
With partial hands the gods their gifts dispense;
Some greatly think, some speak with manly sense;
Here Heaven an elegance of form denies,
But wisdom the defect of form supplies;
This man with energy of thought controls,
And steals with modest violence our souls;
He speaks reservedly, but he speaks with force,
Nor can one word be changed but for a worse;
In public more than mortal he appears,
And as he moves, the praising crowd reveres;
While others, beauteous as the etherial kind,
The nobler portion went, a knowing mind,
In outward show Heaven gives thee to excel.
But Heaven denies the praise of thinking well
I'll bear the brave a rude ungovern'd tongue,
And, youth, my generous soul resents the wrong.
Skill'd in heroic exercise, I claim
A post of honour with the sons of Fame.
Such was my boast while vigour crown'd my days,
Now care surrounds me, and my force decays;
Inured a melancholy part to bear
In scenes of death, by tempest and by war
Yet thus by woes impair'd, no more I waive
To prove the hero--slander stings the brave."
Then gliding forward with a furious bound
He wrench'd a rocky fragment from the ground
By far more ponderous, and more huge by far
Than what Phaeacia's sons discharged in air.
Fierce from his arm the enormous load he flings;
Sonorous through the shaded air it sings;
Couch'd to the earth, tempestuous as it flies,
The crowd gaze upward while it cleaves the skies.
Beyond all marks, with many a giddy round
Down-rushing, it up-turns a hill of ground.
That Instant Pallas, bursting from a cloud,
Fix'd a distinguish'd mark, and cried aloud:
"E'en he who, sightless, wants his visual ray
May by his touch alone award the day:
Thy signal throw transcends the utmost bound
Of every champion by a length of ground:
Securely bid the strongest of the train
Arise to throw; the strongest throws in vain."
She spoke: and momentary mounts the sky:
The friendly voice Ulysses hears with joy.
Then thus aloud (elate with decent pride)
"Rise, ye Phaecians, try your force (he cried):
If with this throw the strongest caster vie,
Still, further still, I bid the discus fly.
Stand forth, ye champions, who the gauntlet wield,
Or ye, the swiftest racers of the field!
Stand forth, ye wrestlers, who these pastimes grace!
I wield the gauntlet, and I run the race.
In such heroic games I yield to none,
Or yield to brave Laodamas alone:
Shall I with brave Laodamas contend?
A friend is sacred, and I style him friend.
Ungenerous were the man, and base of heart,
Who takes the kind, and pays the ungrateful part:
Chiefly the man, in foreign realms confined,
Base to his friend, to his own interest blind:
All, all your heroes I this day defy;
Give me a man that we our might may try.
Expert in every art, I boast the skill
To give the feather'd arrow wings to kill;
Should a whole host at once discharge the bow,
My well-aim'd shaft with death prevents the foe:
Alone superior in the field of Troy,
Great Philoctetes taught the shaft to fly.
From all the sons of earth unrivall'd praise
I justly claim; but yield to better days,
To those famed days when great Alcides rose,
And Eurytus, who bade the gods be foes
(Vain Eurytus, whose art became his crime,
Swept from the earth, he perish'd in his prime:
Sudden the irremeable way he trod,
Who boldly durst defy the bowyer god).
In fighting fields as far the spear I throw
As flies an arrow from the well-drawn bow.
Sole in the race the contest I decline,
Stiff are my weary joints, and I resign;
By storms and hunger worn; age well may fail,
When storms and hunger doth at once assail."
Abash'd, the numbers hear the godlike man,
Till great Alcinous mildly thus began:
"Well hast thou spoke, and well thy generous tongue
With decent pride refutes a public wrong:
Warm are thy words, but warm without offence;
Fear only fools, secure in men of sense;
Thy worth is known. Then hear our country's claim,
And bear to heroes our heroic fame:
In distant realms our glorious deeds display,
Repeat them frequent in the genial day;
When, blest with ease, thy woes and wanderings end,
Teach them thy consort, bid thy sons attend;
How, loved of Jove, he crown'd our sires with praise,
How we their offspring dignify our race.
"Let other realms the deathful gauntlet wield,
Or boast the glories of the athletic field:
We in the course unrivall'd speed display,
Or through cerulean billows plough the way;
To dress, to dance, to sing, our sole delight,
The feast or bath by day, and love by night:
Rise, then, ye skill'd in measures; let him bear
Your fame to men that breathe a distant air;
And faithful say, to you the powers belong
To race, to sail, to dance, to chant the song.
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