Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Odysseus’ Speech to Nausicaa (from Odyssey VI)
By George Chapman (1559?–1634)
 
                        ALL in flight
The virgins scatter’d, frighted with this sight,
About the prominent windings of the flood.
All but Nausicaa fled; but she fast stood:
Pallas had put a boldness in her breast,        5
And in her fair limbs tender fear comprest.
And still she stood him, as resolved to know
What man he was; or out of what should grow
His strange repair to them. And here was he
Put to his wisdom; if her virgin knee        10
He should be bold, but kneeling, to embrace;
Or keep aloof, and try with words of grace,
In humblest suppliance, if he might obtain
Some cover for his nakedness, and gain
Her grace to show and guide him to the town.        15
The last he best thought, to be worth his own,
In weighing both well; to keep still aloof,
And give with soft words his desires their proof;
Lest, pressing so near as to touch her knee,
He might incense her maiden modesty.        20
This fair and fil’d speech then shew’d this was he:
  ‘Let me beseech, O queen, this truth of thee,
Are you of mortal, or the deified race?
If of the Gods, that th’ ample heavens embrace,
I can resemble you to none above        25
So near as to the chaste-born birth of Jove,
The beamy Cynthia. Her you full present,
In grace of every God-like lineament,
Her goodly magnitude, and all th’ address
You promise of her very perfectness.        30
If sprung of humans, that inhabit earth,
Thrice blest are both the authors of your birth;
Thrice blest your brothers, that in your deserts
Must, even to rapture, bear delighted hearts,
To see, so like the first trim of a tree,        35
Your form adorn a dance. But most blest he,
Of all that breathe, that hath the gift t’ engage
Your bright neck in the yoke of marriage,
And deck his house with your commanding merit.
I have not seen a man of so much spirit,        40
Nor man, nor woman, I did ever see,
At all parts equal to the parts in thee.
T’ enjoy your sight, doth admiration seize
My eyes, and apprehensive faculties.
Lately in Delos (with a charge of men        45
Arrived, that render’d me most wretched then,
Now making me thus naked) I beheld
The burthen of a palm, whose issue swell’d
About Apollo’s fane, and that put on
A grace like thee; for Earth had never none        50
Of all her sylvan issue so adorn’d.
Into amaze my very soul was turn’d,
To give it observation; as now thee
To view, O virgin, a stupidity
Past admiration strikes me, join’d with fear        55
To do a suppliant’s due, and press so near,
As to embrace thy knees.
 
 
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