CONTENTS      BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD

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


THE TENTH BOOK OF HOMER'S ODYSSEYS.

THE ARGUMENT.

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

ANOTHER ARGUMENT.

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


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

         FINIS DECIMI LIBRI HOM. ODYSS.


CONTENTS      BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD


 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors