Chapman, George, trans. (1559?1634). The Odysseys of Homer, vol. 1. 1857.
THE SEVENTH BOOK OF HOMER'S ODYSSEYS.
- NAUSICAA arrives at town;
- And then Ulysses. He makes known
- His suit to Arete; who view
- Takes of his vesture, which she knew,
- And asks him from whose hands it came.
- He tells, with all the hapless frame
- Of his affairs in all the while
- Since he forsook Calypso's isle.
- .... The honour'd minds,
- And welcome things,
- Ulysses finds
- In Scheria's kings.
HUS pray'd the wise and God-observing man.
The Maid, by free force of her palfreys, wan
Access to town, and the renowned court
Reach'd of her father; where, within the port,
She stay'd her coach, and round about her came 5
Her brothers, made as of immortal frame,
Who yet disdain'd not, for her love, mean deeds,
But took from coach her mules, brought in her weeds.
And she ascends her chamber; where purvey'd
A quick fire was by her old chamber-maid, 10
Eurymedusa, th' Aperaean born,
And brought by sea from Apera t' adorn
The court of great Alcinous, because
He gave to all the blest Phaeacians laws,
And, like a heaven-born power in speech, acquired 15
The people's ears. To one then so admired,
Eurymedusa was esteem'd no worse
Than worth the gift, yet now, grown old, was nurse
To ivory-arm'd Nausicaa, gave heat
To all her fires, and dress'd her privy meat. 20
Then rose Ulysses, and made way to town;
Which ere he reach'd, a mighty mist was thrown
By Pallas round about him, in her care,
Lest, in the sway of envies popular,
Some proud Phaeacian might foul language pass, 25
Justle him up, and ask him what he was.
Ent'ring the lovely town yet, through the cloud
Pallas appear'd, and like a young wench show'd
Bearing a pitcher, stood before him so
As if objected purposely to know 30
What there he needed; whom he question'd thus:
"Know you not, daughter, where Alcinous,
That rules this town, dwells? I, a poor distress'd
Mere stranger here, know none I may request
To make this court known to me." She replied: 35
"Strange father, I will see you satisfied
In that request. My father dwells just by
The house you seek for; but go silently,
Nor ask, nor speak to any other, I
Shall be enough to show your way. The men 40
That here inhabit do not entertain
With ready kindness strangers, of what worth
Or state soever, nor have taken forth
Lessons of civil usage or respect
To men beyond them. They, upon their powers 45
Of swift ships building, top the wat'ry towers,
And Jove hath given them ships, for sail so wrought,
They cut a feather, and command a thought."
This said, she usher'd him, and after he
Trod in the swift steps of the Deity. 50
The free-sail'd seamen could not get a sight
Of our Ulysses yet, though he forthright
Both by their houses and their persons past,
Pallas about him such a darkness cast
By her divine power, and her reverend care, 55
She would not give the town-born cause to stare.
He wonder'd, as he past, to see the ports;
The shipping in them; and for all resorts
The goodly market-steads; and aisles beside
For the heroes; walls so large and wide; 60
Rampires so high, and of such strength withal,
It would with wonder any eye appall.
At last they reach'd the court, and Pallas said:
"Now, honour'd stranger, I will see obey'd
Your will, to show our ruler's house; 'tis here; 65
Where you shall find kings celebrating cheer.
Enter amongst them, nor admit a fear.
'More bold a man is, he prevails the more,
Though man nor place he ever saw before.'
You first shall find the queen in court, whose name 70
Is Arete, of parents born the same
That was the king her spouse; their pedigree
I can report. The great Earth-shaker, he
Of Periboea (that her sex out-shone,
And youngest daughter was t' Eurymedon, 75
Who of th' unmeasur'd-minded giants sway'd
Th' imperial sceptre, and the pride allay'd
Of men so impious with cold death, and died
Himself soon after) got the magnified
In mind, Nausithous; whom the kingdom's state 80
First held in supreme rule. Nausithous gat
Rhexenor, and Alcinous, now king.
Rhexenor (whose seed did no male fruit spring,
And whom the silver-bow-grac'd Phoebus slew
Young in the court) his shed blood did renew 85
In only Arete, who now is spouse
To him that rules the kingdom in this house,
And is her uncle king Alcinous,
Who honours her past equal. She may boast
More honour of him than the honour'd most 90
Of any wife in earth can of her lord,
How many more soever, realms afford,
That keep house under husbands. Yet no more
Her husband honours her, than her blest store
Of gracious children. All the city cast 95
Eyes on her as a Goddess, and give taste
Of their affections to her in their prayers,
Still as she decks the streets; for, all affairs
Wrapt in contention, she dissolves to men.
Whom she affects, she wants no mind to deign 100
Goodness enough. If her heart stand inclin'd
To your dispatch, hope all you wish to find,
Your friends, your longing family, and all
That can within your most affections fall."
This said, away the grey-eyed Goddess flew 105
Along th' untamed sea, left the lovely hue
Scheria presented, out flew Marathon,
And ample-streeted Athens lighted on;
Where to the house, that casts so thick a shade,
Of Erectheus she ingression made. 110
Ulysses to the lofty-builded court
Of king Alcinous made bold resort;
Yet in his heart cast many a thought, before
The brazen pavement of the rich court bore
His enter'd person. Like heaven's two main lights, 115
The rooms illustrated both days and nights.
On every side stood firm a wall of brass,
Even from the threshold to the inmost pass,
Which bore a roof up that all sapphire was.
The brazen thresholds both sides did enfold 120
Silver pilasters, hung with gates of gold;
Whose portal was of silver; over which
A golden cornice did the front enrich.
On each side, dogs, of gold and silver framed,
The house's guard stood; which the Deity lamed 125
With knowing inwards had inspired, and made
That death nor age should their estates invade.
Along the wall stood every way a throne,
From th' entry to the lobby, every one
Cast over with a rich-wrought cloth of state. 130
Beneath which the Phaeacian princes sate
At wine and food, and feasted all the year.
Youths forged of gold, at every table there,
Stood holding flaming torches, that, in night,
Gave through the house each honour'd guest his light. 135
And, to encounter feast with housewifery,
In one room fifty women did apply
Their several tasks. Some apple-colour'd corn
Ground in fair querns, and some did spindles turn,
Some work in looms; no hand least rest receives, 140
But all had motion, apt as aspen leaves.
And from the weeds they wove, so fast they laid,
And so thick thrust together thread by thread,
That th' oil, of which the wool had drunk his fill,
Did with his moisture in light dews distill. 145
As much as the Phaeacian men excell'd
All other countrymen in art to build
A swift-sail'd ship; so much the women there,
For work of webs, past other women were.
Past mean, by Pallas' means, they understood 150
The grace of good works; and had wits as good.
Without the hall, and close upon the gate,
A goodly orchard-ground was situate,
Of near ten acres; about which was led
A lofty quickset. In it flourished 155
High and broad fruit trees, that pomegranates bore,
Sweet figs, pears, olives; and a number more
Most useful plants did there produce their store,
Whose fruits the hardest winter could not kill,
Nor hottest summer wither. There was still 160
Fruit in his proper season all the year.
Sweet Zephyr breathed upon them blasts that were
Of varied tempers. These he made to bear
Ripe fruits, these blossoms. Pear grew after pear,
Apple succeeded apple, grape the grape, 165
Fig after fig came; time made never rape
Of any dainty there. A spritely vine
Spread here his root, whose fruit a hot sunshine
Made ripe betimes; here grew another green.
Here some were gathering, here some pressing seen. 170
A large-allotted several each fruit had;
And all th' adorn'd grounds their appearance made
In flower and fruit, at which the king did aim
To the precisest order he could claim.
Two fountains graced the garden; of which, one 175
Pour'd out a winding stream that over-run
The grounds for their use chiefly, th' other went
Close by the lofty palace gate, and lent
The city his sweet benefit. And thus
The Gods the court deck'd of Alcinous. 180
Patient Ulysses stood a while at gaze,
But, having all observed, made instant pace
Into the court; where all the peers he found,
And captains of Phaeacia, with cups crown'd,
Offering to sharp-eyed Hermes, to whom last 185
They used to sacrifice, when sleep had cast
His inclination through their thoughts. But these
Ulysses past, and forth went; nor their eyes
Took note of him, for Pallas stopp'd the light
With mists about him, that, unstay'd, he might 190
First to Alcinous, and Arete,
Present his person; and, of both them, she,
By Pallas counsel, was to have the grace
Of foremost greeting. Therefore his embrace
He cast about her knee. And then off flew 195
The heavenly air that hid him. When his view,
With silence and with admiration strook
The court quite through; but thus he silence broke:
"Divine Rhexenor's offspring, Arete,
To thy most honour'd husband, and to thee, 200
A man whom many labours have distress'd
Is come for comfort, and to every guest.
To all whom heaven vouchsafe delightsome lives,
And after to your issue that survives
A good resignment of the goods ye leave, 205
With all the honour that yourselves receive
Amongst your people. Only this of me
Is the ambition; that I may but see
(By your vouchsaf'd means, and betimes vouchsaf'd)
My country earth; since I have long been left 210
To labours, and to errors, barr'd from end,
And far from benefit of any friend."
He said no more, but left them dumb with that,
Went to the hearth, and in the ashes sat,
Aside the fire. At last their silence brake, 215
And Echineus, th' old heroe, spake;
A man that all Phaeacians pass'd in years,
And in persuasive eloquence all the peers,
Knew much, and used it well; and thus spake he:
"Alcinous! It shews not decently, 220
Nor doth your honour what you see admit,
That this your guest should thus abjectly sit,
His chair the earth, the hearth his cushion,
Ashes as if apposed for food. A throne,
Adorn'd with due rites, stands you more in hand 225
To see his person placed in, and command
That instantly your heralds fill in wine,
That to the God that doth in lightnings shine
We may do sacrifice; for he is there,
Where these his reverend suppliants appear. 230
Let what you have within be brought abroad,
To sup the stranger. All these would have show'd
This fit respect to him, but that they stay
For your precedence, that should grace the way."
When this had added to the well-inclined 235
And sacred order of Alcinous' mind,
Then of the great-in-wit the hand he seiz'd,
And from the ashes his fair person raised,
Advanced him to a well-adorned throne,
And from his seat raised his most loved son, 240
Laodamas, that next himself was set,
To give him place. The handmaid then did get
An ewer of gold, with water fill'd, which placed
Upon a caldron, all with silver graced,
She pour'd out on their hands. And then was spread 245
A table, which the butler set with bread,
As others served with other food the board,
In all the choice the present could afford.
Ulysses meat and wine took; and then thus
The king the herald call'd: "Pontonous! 250
Serve wine through all the house, that all may pay
Rites to the Lightner, who is still in way
With humble suppliants, and them pursues
With all benign and hospitable dues."
Pontonous gave act to all he will'd, 255
And honey-sweetness-giving-minds wine fill'd,
Disposing it in cups for all to drink.
All having drunk what either's heart could think
Fit for due sacrifice, Alcinous said:
"Hear me, ye dukes that the Phaeacians lead, 260
And you our counsellors, that I may now
Discharge the charge my mind suggests to you,
For this our guest: Feast past, and this night's sleep,
Next morn, our senate summon'd, we will keep
Justs, sacred to the Gods, and this our guest 265
Receive in solemn court with fitting feast;
Then think of his return, that, under hand
Of our deduction, his natural land
(Without more toil or care, and with delight,
And that soon given him, how far hence dissite 270
Soever it can be) he may ascend;
And in the mean time without wrong attend,
Or other want, fit means to that ascent.
What, after, austere Fates shall make th' event
Of his life's thread, now spinning, and began 275
When his pain'd mother freed his root of man,
He must endure in all kinds. If some God
Perhaps abides with us in his abode,
And other things will think upon than we,
The Gods' wills stand, who ever yet were free 280
Of their appearance to us, when to them
We offer'd hecatombs of fit esteem,
And would at feast sit with us, even where we
Order'd our session. They would likewise be
Encount'rers of us, when in way alone 285
About his fit affairs went any one.
Nor let them cloak themselves in any care
To do us comfort, we as near them are,
As are the Cyclops, or the impious race
Of earthy giants, that would heaven outface." 290
Ulysses answer'd; "Let some other doubt
Employ your thoughts than what your words give out,
Which intimate a kind of doubt that I
Should shadow in this shape a Deity.
I bear no such least semblance, or in wit, 295
Virtue, or person. What may well befit
One of those mortals, whom you chiefly know
Bears up and down the burthen of the woe
Appropriate to poor man, give that to me;
Of whose moans I sit in the most degree, 300
And might say more, sustaining griefs that all
The Gods consent to; no one 'twixt their fall
And my unpitied shoulders letting down
The least diversion. Be the grace then shown,
To let me taste your free-given food in peace. 305
'Through greatest grief the belly must have ease.
Worse than an envious belly nothing is.'
It will command his strict necessities,
Of men most grieved in body or in mind,
That are in health, and will not give their kind 310
A desperate wound. When most with cause I grieve,
It bids me still, Eat, man, and drink, and live;
And this makes all forgot. Whatever ill
I ever bear it ever bids me fill.
But this ease is but forc'd, and will not last, 315
Till what the mind likes be as well embrac'd;
And therefore let me wish you would partake
In your late purpose; when the morn shall make
Her next appearance, deign me but the grace,
Unhappy man, that I may once embrace 320
My country earth. Though I be still thrust at
By ancient ills, yet make me but see that,
And then let life go, when withal I see
My high-roof'd large house, lands, and family."
This all approved; and each will'd every one, 325
Since he hath said so fairly, set him gone.
Feast past and sacrifice, to sleep all vow
Their eyes at either's house. Ulysses now
Was left here with Alcinous, and his queen,
The all-loved Arete. The handmaids then 330
The vessel of the banquet took away.
When Arete set eye on his array;
Knew both his out and under weed, which she
Made with her maids; and mused by what means he
Obtain'd their wearing; which she made request 335
To know, and wings gave to these speeches: "Guest!
First let me ask, what, and from whence you are?
And then, who grac'd you with the weeds you wear?
Said you not lately, you had err'd at seas,
And thence arrived here?" Laertides 340
To this thus answer'd: "'Tis a pain, O queen,
Still to be opening wounds wrought deep and green,
Of which the Gods have opened store in me;
Yet your will must be served. Far hence, at sea,
There lies an isle, that bears Ogygia's name, 345
Where Atlas' daughter, the ingenious dame,
Fair-hair'd Calypso lives; a Goddess grave,
And with whom men nor Gods society have;
Yet I, past man unhappy, lived alone,
By Heaven's wrath forced, her house companion. 350
For Jove had with a fervent lightning cleft
My ship in twain, and far at black sea left
Me and my soldiers; all whose lives I lost.
I in mine arms the keel took, and was tost
Nine days together up from wave to wave. 355
The tenth grim night, the angry Deities drave
Me and my wrack on th' isle, in which doth dwell
Dreadful Calypso; who exactly well
Received and nourish'd me, and promise made
To make me deathless, nor should age invade 360
My powers with his deserts through all my days.
All moved not me, and therefore, on her stays,
Seven years she made me lie; and there spent I
The long time, steeping in the misery
Of ceaseless tears the garments I did wear, 365
From her fair hand. The eighth revolved year
(Or by her changed mind, or by charge of Jove)
She gave provok'd way to my wish'd remove,
And in a many-jointed ship, with wine
Dainty in savour, bread, and weeds divine, 370
Sign'd, with a harmless and sweet wind, my pass.
Then seventeen days at sea I homeward was,
And by the eighteenth the dark hills appear'd
That your earth thrusts up. Much my heart was cheer'd,
Unhappy man, for that was but a beam, 375
To show I yet had agonies extreme
To put in suff'rance, which th' Earth-shaker sent,
Crossing my way with tempests violent,
Unmeasured seas up-lifting, nor would give
The billows leave to let my vessel live 380
The least time quiet, that even sigh'd to bear
Their bitter outrage, which, at last, did tear
Her sides in pieces, set on by the winds.
I yet through-swum the waves that your shore binds,
Till wind and water threw me up to it; 385
When, coming forth, a ruthless billow smit
Against huge rocks, and an accessless shore,
My mangl'd body. Back again I bore,
And swum till I was fall'n upon a flood,
Whose shores, methought, on good advantage stood 390
For my receipt, rock-free, and fenc'd from wind;
And this I put for, gathering up my mind.
Then the divine night came, and treading earth,
Close by the flood that had from Jove her birth,
Within a thicket I reposed; when round 395
I ruffled up fall'n leaves in heap; and found,
Let fall from heaven, a sleep interminate.
And here my heart, long time excruciate,
Amongst the leaves I rested all that night,
Even till the morning and meridian light. 400
The sun declining then, delightsome sleep
No longer laid my temples in his steep,
But forth I went, and on the shore might see
Your daughter's maids play. Like a Deity
She shined above them; and I pray'd to her, 405
And she in disposition did prefer
Noblesse, and wisdom, no more low than might
Become the goodness of a Goddess' height.
Nor would you therefore hope, supposed distrest
As I was then, and old, to find the least 410
Of any grace from her, being younger far.
'With young folks Wisdom makes her commerce rare.'
Yet she in all abundance did bestow
Both wine, that makes the blood in humans grow,
And food, and bath'd me in the flood, and gave 415
The weeds to me which now ye see me have.
This through my griefs I tell you, and 'tis true."
Alcinous answer'd: "Guest! my daughter knew
Least of what most you give her; nor became
The course she took, to let with every dame 420
Your person lackey; nor hath with them brought
Yourself home too; which first you had besought."
"O blame her not," said he, "heroical lord,
Nor let me hear against her worth a word.
She faultless is, and wish'd I would have gone 425
With all her women home, but I alone
Would venture my receipt here, having fear
And reverend awe of accidents that were
Of likely issue; both your wrath to move,
And to enflame the common people's love 430
Of speaking ill, to which they soon give place.
'We men are all a most suspicious race.'"
"My guest," said he, "I use not to be stirr'd
To wrath too rashly; and where are preferr'd
To men's conceits things that may both ways fail, 435
The noblest ever should the most prevail.
Would Jove our Father, Pallas, and the Sun,
That, were you still as now, and could but run
One fate with me, you would my daughter wed,
And be my son-in-law, still vow'd to lead 440
Your rest of life here! I a house would give,
And household goods, so freely you would live,
Confined with us. But 'gainst your will shall none
Contain you here, since that were violence done
To Jove our father. For your passage home, 445
That you may well know we can overcome
So great a voyage, thus it shall succeed:
To-morrow shall our men take all their heed,
While you securely sleep, to see the seas
In calmest temper, and, if that will please, 450
Show you your country and your house ere night,
Though far beyond Euboea be that sight.
And this Euboea, as our subjects say
That have been there and seen, is far away,
Farthest from us of all the parts they know; 455
And made the trial when they help'd to row
The gold-lock'd Rhadamanth, to give him view
Of earth-born Tityus; whom their speeds did show
In that far-off Euboea, the same day
They set from hence; and home made good their way 460
With ease again, and him they did convey.
Which I report to you, to let you see
How swift my ships are, and how matchlessly
My young Phaeacians with their oars prevail,
To beat the sea through, and assist a sail." 465
This cheer'd Ulysses, who in private pray'd:
"I would to Jove our Father, what he said,
He could perform at all parts; he should then
Be glorified for ever, and I gain
My natural country." This discourse they had; 470
When fair-arm'd Arete her handmaids bad
A bed make in the portico, and ply
With clothes, the covering tapestry,
The blankets purple; well-napp'd waistcoats too,
To wear for more warmth. What these had to do, 475
They torches took and did. The bed purvey'd,
They moved Ulysses for his rest, and said:
"Come guest, your bed is fit, now frame to rest."
Motion of sleep was gracious to their guest;
Which now he took profoundly, being laid 480
Within a loop-hole tower, where was convey'd
The sounding portico. The king took rest
In a retired part of the house; where drest
The queen her self a bed, and trundlebed,
And by her lord reposed her reverend head. 485
FINIS LIBRI SEPTIMI HOM. ODYSS.