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



ULYSSES' way to Hell appears;
Where he the grave Tiresias hears;
Enquires his own and others' fates;
His mother sees, and th' after states
In which were held by sad decease
Heroes, and Heroesses,
A number, that at Troy waged war;
As Ajax that was still at jar
With Ithacus, for th' arms he lost;
And with the great Achilles' ghost.


.... Ulysses here
Invokes the dead.
The lives appear
Hereafter led.

RRIVED now at our ship, we launch'd, and set
      Our mast up, put forth sail, and in did get
      Our late-got cattle. Up our sails, we went,
      My wayward fellows mourning now th' event.
      A good companion yet, a foreright wind,                          5
      Circe (the excellent utterer of her mind)
      Supplied our murmuring consorts with, that was
      Both speed and guide to our adventurous pass.
      All day our sails stood to the winds, and made
      Our voyage prosp'rous. Sun then set, and shade                  10
      All ways obscuring, on the bounds we fell
      Of deep Oceanus, where people dwell
      Whom a perpetual cloud obscures outright,
      To whom the cheerful sun lends never light,
      Nor when he mounts the star-sustaining heaven,                  15
      Nor when he stoops earth, and sets up the even,
      But night holds fix'd wings, feather'd all with banes,
      Above those most unblest Cimmerians.
      Here drew we up our ship, our sheep withdrew,
      And walk'd the shore till we attain'd the view                  20
      Of that sad region Circe had foreshow'd;
      And then the sacred offerings to be vow'd
      Eurylochus and Persimedes bore.
      When I my sword drew, and earth's womb did gore
      Till I a pit digg'd of a cubit round,                           25
      Which with the liquid sacrifice we crown'd,
      First honey mix'd with wine, then sweet wine neat,
      Then water pour'd in, last the flour of wheat.
      Much I importuned then the weak-neck'd dead,
      And vow'd, when I the barren soil should tread                  30
      Of cliffy Ithaca, amidst my hall
      To kill a heifer, my clear best of all,
      And give in off'ring, on a pile composed
      Of all the choice goods my whole house enclosed.
      And to Tiresias himself, alone,                                 35
      A sheep coal-black, and the selectest one
      Of all my flocks. When to the Powers beneath,
      The sacred nation that survive with death,
      My prayers and vows had done devotions fit,
      I took the off'rings, and upon the pit                          40
      Bereft their lives. Out gush'd the sable blood,
      And round about me fled out of the flood
      The souls of the deceas'd. There cluster'd then
      Youths, and their wives, much-suffering aged men,
      Soft tender virgins that but new came there                     45
      By timeless death, and green their sorrows were.
      There men at arms, with armours all embrew'd,
      Wounded with lances, and with faulchions hew'd,
      In numbers, up and down the ditch, did stalk,
      And threw unmeasured cries about their walk,                    50
      So horrid that a bloodless fear surprised
      My daunted spirits. Straight then I advised
      My friends to flay the slaughter'd sacrifice,
      Put them in fire, and to the Deities,
      Stern Pluto and Persephone, apply                               55
      Exciteful prayers. Then drew I from my thigh
      My well-edged sword, stept in, and firmly stood
      Betwixt the prease of shadows and the blood,
      And would not suffer any one to dip
      Within our offering his unsolid lip,                            60
      Before Tiresias that did all controul.
      The first that press'd in was Elpenor's soul,
      His body in the broad-way'd earth as yet
      Unmourn'd, unburied by us, since we swet
      With other urgent labours. Yet his smart                        65
      I wept to see, and rued it from my heart,
      Enquiring how he could before me be
      That came by ship? He, mourning, answer'd me:
      'In Circe's house, the spite some spirit did bear,
      And the unspeakable good liquor there,                          70
      Hath been my bane; for, being to descend
      A ladder much in height, I did not tend
      My way well down, but forwards made a proof
      To tread the rounds, and from the very roof
      Fell on my neck, and brake it; and this made                    75
      My soul thus visit this infernal shade.
      And here, by them that next thyself are dear,
      Thy wife, and father, that a little one
      Gave food to thee, and by thy only son
      At home behind thee left, Telemachus,                           80
      Do not depart by stealth, and leave me thus,
      Unmourn'd, unburied, lest neglected I
      Bring on thyself th' incensed Deity.
      I know that, sail'd from hence, thy ship must touch
      On th' isle Ææa; where vouchsafe thus much,                   85
      Good king, that, landed, thou wilt instantly
      Bestow on me thy royal memory
      To this grace, that my body, arms and all,
      May rest consumed in fiery funeral;
      And on the foamy shore a sepulchre                              90
      Erect to me, that after times may hear
      Of one so hapless. Let me these implore,
      And fix upon my sepulchre the oar
      With which alive I shook the aged seas,
      And had of friends the dear societies.'                         95
        I told the wretched soul I would fulfill
      And execute to th' utmost point his will;
      And, all the time we sadly talk'd, I still
      My sword above the blood held, when aside
      The idol of my friend still amplified                          100
      His plaint, as up and down the shades he err'd.
      Then my deceased mother's soul appear'd,
      Fair daughter of Autolycus, the great,
      Grave Anticlæa, whom, when forth I set
      For sacred Ilion, I had left alive.                            105
      Her sight much moved me, and to tears did drive
      My note of her decease; and yet not she
      (Though in my ruth she held the highest degree)
      Would I admit to touch the sacred blood,
      Till from Tiresias I had understood                            110
      What Circe told me. At the length did land
      Theban Tiresias' soul, and in his hand
      Sustain'd a golden sceptre, knew me well,
      And said: 'O man unhappy, why to hell
      Admitt'st thou dark arrival, and the light                     115
      The sun gives leav'st, to have the horrid sight
      Of this black region, and the shadows here?
      Now sheathe thy sharp sword, and the pit forbear,
      That I the blood may taste, and then relate
      The truth of those acts that affect thy fate.'                 120
        I sheath'd my sword, and left the pit, till he,
      The black blood tasting, thus instructed me:
      'Renown'd Ulysses! All unask'd I know
      That all the cause of thy arrival now
      Is to enquire thy wish'd retreat for home;                     125
      Which hardly God will let thee overcome,
      Since Neptune still will his opposure try,
      With all his laid-up anger, for the eye
      His loved son lost to thee. And yet through all
      Thy suffering course (which must be capital)                   130
      If both thine own affections, and thy friends,
      Thou wilt contain, when thy access ascends
      The three-fork'd island, having 'scaped the seas,
      Where ye shall find fed on the flowery leas
      Fat flocks, and oxen, which the sun doth own,                  135
      To whom are all things as well heard as shown,
      And never dare one head of those to slay,
      But hold unharmful on your wished way,
      Though through enough affliction, yet secure
      Your Fates shall land ye; but presage says sure,               140
      If once ye spoil them, spoil to all thy friends,
      Spoil to thy fleet, and if the justice ends
      Short of thyself, it shall be long before,
      And that length forced out with infliction's store,
      When, losing all thy fellows, in a sail                        145
      Of foreign built (when most thy Fates prevail
      In thy deliv'rance) thus th' event shall sort:
      Thou shalt find shipwrack raging in thy port,
      Proud men thy goods consuming, and thy wife
      Urging with gifts; give charge upon thy life.                  150
      But all these wrongs revenge shall end to thee,
      And force, or cunning, set with slaughter free
      Thy house of all thy spoilers. Yet again
      Thou shalt a voyage make, and come to men
      That know no sea, nor ships, nor oars that are                 155
      Wings to a ship, nor mix with any fare
      Salt's savoury vapour. Where thou first shalt land,
      This clear-given sign shall let thee understand,
      That there those men remain: Assume ashore
      Up to thy royal shoulder a ship oar,                           160
      With which, when thou shalt meet one on the way
      That will in county admiration say
      What dost thou with that wan upon thy neck?
      There fix that wan thy oar, and that shore deck
      With sacred rites to Neptune; slaughter there                  165
      A ram, a bull, and (who for strength doth bear
      The name of husband to a herd) a boar.
      And, coming home, upon thy natural shore,
      Give pious hecatombs to all the Gods,
      Degrees observed. And then the periods                         170
      Of all thy labours in the peace shall end
      Of easy death; which shall the less extend
      His passion to thee, that thy foe, the Sea,
      Shall not enforce it, but Death's victory
      Shall chance in only-earnest-pray-vow'd age,                   175
      Obtain'd at home, quite emptied of his rage,
      Thy subjects round about thee, rich and blest.
      And here hath Truth summ'd up thy vital rest.'
        I answer'd him: 'We will suppose all these
      Decreed in Deity; let it likewise please                       180
      Tiresias to resolve me, why so near
      The blood and me my mother's soul doth bear,
      And yet nor word, nor look, vouchsafe her son?
      Doth she not know me?' 'No,' said he, 'nor none
      Of all these spirits, but myself alone,                        185
      Knows anything till he shall taste the blood.
      But whomsoever you shall do that good,
      He will the truth of all you wish unfold;
      Who you envy it to will all withhold.'
        Thus said the kingly soul, and made retreat                  190
      Amidst the inner parts of Pluto's seat,
      When he had spoke thus by divine instinct.
      Still I stood firm, till to the blood's precinct
      My mother came, and drunk; and then she knew
      I was her son, had passion to renew                            195
      Her natural plaints, which thus she did pursue:
      'How is it, O my son, that you alive
      This deadly-darksome region underdive?
      'Twixt which, and earth, so many mighty seas,
      And horrid currents, interpose their prease,                   200
      Oceanus in chief? Which none (unless
      More help'd than you) on foot now can transgress.
      A well-built ship he needs that ventures there.
      Com'st thou from Troy but now, enforced to err
      All this time with thy soldiers? Nor hast seen,                205
      Ere this long day, thy country, and thy queen?'
        I answer'd: 'That a necessary end
      To this infernal state made me contend;
      That from the wise Tiresias Theban soul
      I might an oracle involv'd unroll;                             210
      For I came nothing near Achaia yet,
      Nor on our loved earth happy foot had set,
      But, mishaps suffering, err'd from coast to coast,
      Ever since first the mighty Grecian host
      Divine Atrides led to Ilion,                                   215
      And I his follower to set war upon
      The rapeful Trojans; and so pray'd she would
      The fate of that ungentle death unfold,
      That forced her thither; if some long disease,
      Or that the spleen of her that arrows please,                  220
      Diana, envious of most eminent dames,
      Had made her th' object of her deadly aims?
      My father's state and sons I sought, if they
      Kept still my goods? Or they became the prey
      Of any other, holding me no more                               225
      In power of safe return? Or if my store
      My wife had kept together with her son?
      If she her first mind held, or had been won
      By some chief Grecian from my love and bed?'
        All this she answer'd: 'That affliction fed                  230
      On her blood still at home, and that to grief
      She all the days and darkness of her life
      In tears had consecrate. That none possest
      My famous kingdom's throne, but th' interest
      My son had in it still he held in peace,                       235
      A court kept like a prince, and his increase
      Spent in his subjects' good, administ'ring laws
      With justice, and the general applause
      A king should merit, and all call'd him king.
      My father kept the upland, labouring,                          240
      And shunn'd the city, used no sumptuous beds,
      Wonder'd-at furnitures, nor wealthy weeds,
      But in the winter strew'd about the fire
      Lay with his slaves in ashes, his attire
      Like to a beggar's; when the summer came,                      245
      And autumn all fruits ripen'd with his flame,
      Where grape-charged vines made shadows most abound,
      His couch with fall'n leaves made upon the ground,
      And here lay he, his sorrow's fruitful state
      Increasing as he faded for my fate;                            250
      And now the part of age that irksome is
      Lay sadly on him. And that life of his
      She led, and perish'd in; not slaughter'd by
      The Dame that darts lov'd, and her archery;
      Nor by disease invaded, vast and foul,                         255
      That wastes the body, and sends out the soul
      With shame and horror; only in her moan,
      For me and my life, she consum'd her own.
        She thus, when I had great desire to prove
      My arms the circle where her soul did move.                    260
      Thrice proved I, thrice she vanish'd like a sleep,
      Or fleeting shadow, which struck much more deep
      The wounds my woes made, and made ask her why
      She would my love to her embraces fly,
      And not vouchsafe that even in hell we might                   265
      Pay pious Nature her unalter'd right,
      And give Vexation here her cruel fill?
      Should not the Queen here, to augment the ill
      Of every suff'rance, which her office is,
      Enforce thy idol to afford me this?                            270
        'O son,' she answer'd, 'of the race of men
      The most unhappy, our most equal Queen
      Will mock no solid arms with empty shade,
      Nor suffer empty shades again t' invade
      Flesh, bones, and nerves; nor will defraud the fire            275
      Of his last dues, that, soon as spirits expire
      And leave the white bone, are his native right,
      When, like a dream, the soul assumes her flight.
      The light then of the living with most haste,
      O son, contend to. This thy little taste                       280
      Of this state is enough; and all this life
      Will make a tale fit to be told thy wife.'
        This speech we had; when now repair'd to me
      More female spirits, by Persephone
      Driven on before her. All th' heroes' wives,                   285
      And daughters, that led there their second lives,
      About the black blood throng'd. Of whom yet more
      My mind impell'd me to inquire, before
      I let them altogether taste the gore,
      For then would all have been dispersed, and gone               290
      Thick as they came. I, therefore, one by one
      Let taste the pit, my sword drawn from my thigh,
      And stand betwixt them made, when, severally,
      All told their stocks. The first, that quench'd her fire,
      Was Tyro, issued of a noble sire.                              295
      She said she sprung from pure Salmoneus' bed,
      And Cretheus, son of Æolus, did wed;
      Yet the divine flood Enipeus loved,
      Who much the most fair stream of all floods moved.
      Near whose streams Tyro walking, Neptune came,                 300
      Like Enipeus, and enjoy'd the dame.
      Like to a hill, the blue and snaky flood
      Above th' immortal and the mortal stood,
      And hid them both, as both together lay,
      Just where his current falls into the sea.                     305
      Her virgin waist dissolved, she slumber'd then;
      But when the God had done the work of men,
      Her fair hand gently wringing, thus he said:
      'Woman! rejoice in our combined bed,
      For when the year hath run his circle round                    310
      (Because the Gods' loves must in fruit abound)
      My love shall make, to cheer thy teeming moans,
      Thy one dear burden bear two famous sons;
      Love well, and bring them up. Go home, and see
      That, though of more joy yet I shall be free,                  315
      Thou dost not tell, to glorify thy birth;
      Thy love is Neptune, shaker of the earth.'
      This said, he plunged into the sea; and she,
      Begot with child by him, the light let see
      Great Pelias, and Neleus, that became                          320
      In Jove's great ministry of mighty fame.
      Pelias in broad Iolcus held his throne,
      Wealthy in cattle; th' other royal son
      Ruled sandy Pylos. To these issue more
      This queen of women to her husband bore,                       325
      Æson, and Pheres, and Amythaon
      That for his fight on horseback stoop'd to none.
        Next her, I saw admir'd Antiope,
      Asopus' daughter, who (as much as she
      Boasted attraction of great Neptune's love)                    330
      Boasted to slumber in the arms of Jove,
      And two sons, likewise at one burden bore
      To that her all-controlling paramour,
      Amphion, and fair Zethus; that first laid
      Great Thebes' foundations, and strong walls convey'd           335
      About her turrets, that seven ports enclosed.
      For though the Thebans much in strength reposed,
      Yet had not they the strength to hold their own,
      Without the added aids of wood and stone.
        Alcmena next I saw, that famous wife                         340
      Was to Amphytrio, and honour'd life
      Gave to the lion-hearted Hercules,
      That was of Jove's, embrace the great increase.
        I saw, besides, proud Creon's daughter there,
      Bright Megara, that nuptial yoke did wear                      345
      With Jove's great son, who never field did try
      But bore to him the sower of victory.
        The mother then of Oedipus I saw,
      Fair Epicasta, that, beyond all law,
      Her own son married, ignorant of kind,                         350
      And he, as darkly taken in his mind,
      His mother wedded, and his father slew.
      Whose blind act Heaven exposed at length to view,
      And he in all-loved Thebes the supreme state
      With much moan managed, for the heavy fate                     355
      The Gods laid on him. She made violent flight
      To Pluto's dark house from the loathed light,
      Beneath a steep beam strangled with a cord,
      And left her son, in life, pains as abhorr'd
      As all the Furies pour'd on her in hell.                       360
      Then saw I Chloris, that did so excell
      In answering beauties, that each part had all.
      Great Neleus married her, when gifts not small
      Had won her favour, term'd by name of dower.
      She was of all Amphion's seed the flower;                      365
      Amphion, call'd Iasides, that then
      Ruled strongly, Myniæan Orchomen,
      And now his daughter ruled the Pylian throne,
      Because her beauty's empire overshone.
      She brought her wife-awed husband, Neleus,                     370
      Nestor much honour'd, Periclymenus,
      And Chromius, sons with sovereign virtues graced;
      But after brought a daughter that surpass'd,
      Rare-beautied Pero, so for form exact
      That Nature to a miracle was rack'd                            375
      In her perfections, blazed with th' eyes of men;
      That made of all the country's hearts a chain,
      And drew them suitors to her. Which her sire
      Took vantage of, and, since he did aspire
      To nothing more than to the broad-brow'd herd                  380
      Of oxen, which the common fame so rear'd,
      Own'd by Iphiclus, not a man should be
      His Pero's husband, that from Phylace
      Those never-yet-driven oxen could not drive.
      Yet these a strong hope held him to achieve,                   385
      Because a prophet, that had never err'd,
      Had said, that only he should be preferr'd
      To their possession. But the equal fate
      Of God withstood his stealth; inextricate
      Imprisoning bands, and sturdy churlish swains                  390
      That were the herdsmen, who withheld with chains
      The stealth attempter; which was only he
      That durst abet the act with prophecy,
      None else would undertake it, and he must;
      The king would needs a prophet should be just.                 395
      But when some days and months expired were,
      And all the hours had brought about the year,
      The prophet did so satisfy the king
      (Iphiclus, all his cunning questioning)
      That he enfranchised him; and, all worst done,                 400
      Jove's counsel made th' all-safe conclusion.
        Then saw I Leda, link'd in nuptial chain
      With Tyndarus, to whom she did sustain
      Sons much renown'd for wisdom; Castor one,
      That past for use of horse comparison;                         405
      And Pollux, that excell'd in whirlbat fight;
      Both these the fruitful earth bore, while the light
      Of life inspired them; after which, they found
      Such grace with Jove, that both lived under ground,
      By change of days; life still did one sustain,                 410
      While th' other died; the dead then lived again,
      The living dying; both of one self date
      Their lives and deaths made by the Gods and Fate.
        Iphimedia after Leda came,
      That did derive from Neptune too the name                      415
      Of father to two admirable sons.
      Life yet made short their admirations,
      Who God-opposed Otus had to name,
      And Ephialtes far in sound of fame.
      The prodigal earth so fed them, that they grew                 420
      To most huge stature, and had fairest hue
      Of all men, but Orion, under heaven.
      At nine years old nine cubits they were driven
      Abroad in breadth, and sprung nine fathoms high.
      They threaten'd to give battle to the sky,                     425
      And all th' Immortals. They were setting on
      Ossa upon Olympus, and upon
      Steep Ossa leavy Pelius, that even
      They might a highway make with lofty heaven;
      And had perhaps perform'd it, had they lived                   430
      Till they were striplings; but Jove's son deprived
      Their limbs of life, before th' age that begins
      The flower of youth, and should adorn their chins.
        Phædra and Procris, with wise Minos' flame,
      Bright Ariadne, to the offering came.                          435
      Whom whilome Theseus made his prise from Crete,
      That Athens' sacred soil might kiss her feet,
      But never could obtain her virgin flower,
      Till, in the sea-girt Dia, Dian's power
      Detain'd his homeward haste, where (in her fane,               440
      By Bacchus witness'd) was the fatal wane
      Of her prime glory. Mæra, Clymene,
      I witness'd there; and loath'd Eriphyle,
      That honour'd gold more than she loved her spouse.
        But, all th' heroesses in Pluto's house                      445
      That then encounter'd me, exceeds my might
      To name or number, and ambrosian night
      Would quite be spent, when now the formal hours
      Present to sleep our all-disposed powers,
      If at my ship, or here. My home-made vow                       450
      I leave for fit grace to the Gods and you."
        This said; the silence his discourse had made
      With pleasure held still through the house's shade,
      When white-arm'd Arete this speech began:
      "Phæacians! How appears to you this man,                      455
      So goodly person'd, and so match'd with mind?
      My guest he is, but all you stand combin'd
      In the renown he doth us. Do not then
      With careless haste dismiss him, nor the main
      Of his dispatch to one so needy maim,                          460
      The Gods' free bounty gives us all just claim
      To goods enow." This speech, the oldest man
      Of any other Phæacensian,
      The grave heroe, Echineus, gave
      All approbation, saying: "Friends! ye have                     465
      The motion of the wise queen in such words
      As have not miss'd the mark, with which accords
      My clear opinion. But Alcinous,
      In word and work must be our rule." He thus;
      And then Alcinous said: "This then must stand,                 470
      If while I live I rule in the command
      Of this well-skill'd-in-navigation state:
      Endure then, guest, though most importunate
      Be your affects for home. A little stay
      If your expectance bear, perhaps it may                        475
      Our gifts make more complete. The cares of all
      Your due deduction asks; but principal
      I am therein the ruler." He replied:
      "Alcinous, the most duly glorified
      With rule of all of all men, if you lay                        480
      Commandment on me of a whole year's stay,
      So all the while your preparations rise,
      As well in gifts as time, ye can devise
      No better wish for me; for I shall come
      Much fuller handed, and more honour'd, home,                   485
      And dearer to my people, in whose loves
      The richer evermore the better proves."
        He answer'd: "There is argued in your sight
      A worth that works not men for benefit,
      Like prollers or impostors; of which crew,                     490
      The gentle black earth feeds not up a few,
      Here and there wanderers, blanching tales and lies,
      Of neither praise, nor use. You move our eyes
      With form, our minds with matter, and our ears
      With elegant oration, such as bears                            495
      A music in the order'd history
      It lays before us. Not Demodocus
      With sweeter strains hath used to sing to us
      All the Greek sorrows, wept out in your own.
      But say: Of all your worthy friends, were none                 500
      Objected to your eyes that consorts were
      To Ilion with you, and served destiny there?
      This night is passing long, unmeasur'd, none
      Of all my household would to bed yet; on,
      Relate these wondrous things. Were I with you,                 505
      If you would tell me but your woes, as now,
      Till the divine Aurora show'd her head,
      I should in no night relish thought of bed."
        "Most eminent king," said he, "times all must keep,
      There's time to speak much, time as much to sleep,             510
      But would you hear still, I will tell you still,
      And utter more, more miserable ill
      Of friends than yet, that scaped the dismal wars,
      And perish'd homewards, and in household jars
      Waged by a wicked woman. The chaste Queen,                     515
      No sooner made these lady ghosts unseen,
      Here and there flitting, but mine eye-sight won
      The soul of Agamemnon, Atreus' son,
      Sad, and about him all his train of friends,
      That in Ægisthus' house endured their ends                    520
      With his stern fortune. Having drunk the blood,
      He knew me instantly, and forth a flood
      Of springing tears gush'd; out he thrust his hands,
      With will t' embrace me, but their old commands
      Flow'd not about him, nor their weakest part.                  525
      I wept to see, and moan'd him from my heart,
      And ask'd: 'O Agamemnon! King of men!
      What sort of cruel death hath render'd slain
      Thy royal person? Neptune in thy fleet
      Heaven and his hellish billows making meet,                    530
      Rousing the winds? Or have thy men by land
      Done thee this ill, for using thy command,
      Past their consents, in diminution
      Of those full shares their worths by lot had won
      Of sheep or oxen? Or of any town,                              535
      In covetous strife, to make their rights thine own
      In men or women prisoners?' He replied:
      'By none of these in any right I died,
      But by Ægisthus and my murderous wife
      (Bid to a banquet at his house) my life                        540
      Hath thus been reft me, to my slaughter led
      Like to an ox pretended to be fed.
      So miserably fell I, and with me
      My friends lay massacred, as when you see
      At any rich man's nuptials, shot, or feast,                    545
      About his kitchen white-tooth'd swine lie drest.
      The slaughters of a world of men thine eyes,
      Both private, and in prease of enemies,
      Have personally witness'd; but this one
      Would all thy parts have broken into moan,                     550
      To see how strew'd about our cups and cates,
      As tables set with feast, so we with fates,
      All gash'd and slain lay, all the floor embrued
      With blood and brain. But that which most I rued,
      Flew from the heavy voice that Priam's seed,                   555
      Cassandra, breath'd, whom, she that wit doth feed
      With baneful crafts, false Clytemnestra, slew,
      Close sitting by me; up my hands I threw
      From earth to heaven, and tumbling on my sword
      Gave wretched life up; when the most abhorr'd,                 560
      By all her sex's shame, forsook the room,
      Nor deign'd, though then so near this heavy home,
      To shut my lips, or close my broken eyes.
      Nothing so heap'd is with impieties,
      As such a woman that would kill her spouse                     565
      That married her a maid. When to my house
      I brought her, hoping of her love in heart,
      To children, maids, and slaves. But she (in th' art
      Of only mischief hearty) not alone
      Cast on herself this foul aspersion,                           570
      But loving dames, hereafter, to their lords
      Will bear, for good deeds, her bad thoughts and words.'
        'Alas,' said I, 'that Jove should hate the lives
      Of Atreus' seed so highly for their wives!
      For Menelaus' wife a number fell,                              575
      For dangerous absence thine sent thee to hell.'
        'For this,' he answer'd, 'be not thou more kind
      Than wise to thy wife. Never all thy mind
      Let words express to her. Of all she knows,
      Curbs for the worst still, in thyself repose.                  580
      But thou by thy wife's wiles shalt lose no blood,
      Exceeding wise she is, and wise in good.
      Icarius' daughter, chaste Penelope,
      We left a young bride, when for battle we
      Forsook the nuptial peace, and at her breast                   585
      Her first child sucking, who, by this hour, blest,
      Sits in the number of surviving men.
      And his bliss she hath, that she can contain,
      And her bliss thou hast, that she is so wise.
      For, by her wisdom, thy returned eyes                          590
      Shall see thy son, and he shall greet his sire
      With fitting welcomes; when in my retire,
      My wife denies mine eyes my son's dear sight,
      And, as from me, will take from him the light,
      Before she adds one just delight to life,                      595
      Or her false wit one truth that fits a wife.
      For her sake therefore let my harms advise,
      That though thy wife be ne'er so chaste and wise,
      Yet come not home to her in open view,
      With any ship or any personal show,                            600
      But take close shore disguised, nor let her know,
      For 'tis no world to trust a woman now.
      But what says Fame? Doth my son yet survive,
      In Orchomen, or Pylos? Or doth live
      In Sparta with his uncle? Yet I see                            605
      Divine Orestes is not here with me.'
        I answer'd, asking: 'Why doth Atreus' son
      Enquire of me, who yet arrived where none
      Could give to these news any certain wings?
      And 'tis absurd to tell uncertain things.'                     610
        Such sad speech past us; and as thus we stood,
      With kind tears rendering unkind fortunes good,
      Achilles' and Patroclus' soul appear'd,
      And his soul, of whom never ill was heard,
      The good Antilochus, and the soul of him                       615
      That all the Greeks past both for force and limb
      Excepting the unmatch'd Æacides,
      Illustrious Ajax. But the first of these
      That saw, acknowledged, and saluted me,
      Was Thetis' conquering son, who (heavily                       620
      His state here taking) said: 'Unworthy breath!
      What act yet mightier imagineth
      Thy vent'rous spirit? How dost thou descend
      These under regions, where the dead man's end
      Is to be look'd on, and his foolish shade?'                    625
        I answer'd him: 'I was induced t' invade
      These under parts, most excellent of Greece,
      To visit wise Tiresias, for advice
      Of virtue to direct my voyage home
      To rugged Ithaca; since I could come                           630
      To note in no place, where Achaia stood,
      And so lived ever, tortured with the blood
      In man's vain veins. Thou therefore, Thetis' son,
      Hast equall'd all, that ever yet have won
      The bliss the earth yields, or hereafter shall.                635
      In life thy eminence was ador'd of all,
      Even with the Gods; and now, even dead, I see
      Thy virtues propagate thy empery
      To a renew'd life of command beneath;
      So great Achilles triumphs over death.'                        640
      This comfort of him this encounter found:
      'Urge not my death to me, nor rub that wound,
      I rather wish to live in earth a swain,
      Or serve a swain for hire, that scarce can gain
      Bread to sustain him, than, that life once gone,               645
      Of all the dead sway the imperial throne.
      But say, and of my son some comfort yield,
      If he goes on in first fights of the field,
      Or lurks for safety in the obscure rear?
      Or of my father if thy royal ear                               650
      Hath been advertised, that the Phthian throne
      He still commands, as greatest Myrmidon?
      Or that the Phthian and Thessalian rage
      (Now feet and hands are in the hold of age)
      Despise his empire? Under those bright rays,                   655
      In which heaven's fervour hurls about the days,
      Must I no more shine his revenger now,
      Such as of old the Ilion overthrow
      Witness'd my anger, th' universal host
      Sending before me to this shady coast,                         660
      In fight for Grecia. Could I now resort,
      (But for some small time) to my father's court,
      In spirit and power as then, those men should find
      My hands inaccessible, and of fire my mind,
      That durst with all the numbers they are strong                665
      Unseat his honour, and suborn his wrong.'
        This pitch still flew his spirit, though so low,
      And this I answer'd thus: 'I do not know
      Of blameless Peleus any least report,
      But of your son, in all the utmost sort,                       670
      I can inform your care with truth, and thus:
        From Scyros princely Neoptolemus
      By fleet I convey'd to the Greeks, where he
      Was chief, at both parts, when our gravity
      Retired to council, and our youth to fight.                    675
      In council still so fiery was Conceit
      In his quick apprehension of a cause,
      That first he ever spake, nor past the laws
      Of any grave stay, in his greatest haste.
      None would contend with him, that counsell'd last,             680
      Unless illustrious Nestor, he and I
      Would sometimes put a friendly contrary
      On his opinion. In our fights, the prease
      Of great or common, he would never cease,
      But far before fight ever. No man there,                       685
      For force, he forced. He was slaughterer
      Of many a brave man in most dreadful fight.
      But one and other whom he reft of light,
      In Grecian succour, I can neither name,
      Nor give in number. The particular fame                        690
      Of one man's slaughter yet I must not pass;
      Eurypylus Telephides he was,
      That fell beneath him, and with him the falls
      Of such huge men went, that they show'd like whales
      Rampired about him. Neoptolemus                                695
      Set him so sharply, for the sumptuous
      Favours of mistresses he saw him wear;
      For past all doubt his beauties had no peer
      Of all that mine eyes noted, next to one,
      And that was Memnon, Tithon's Sun-like son.                    700
      Thus far, for fight in public, may a taste
      Give of his eminence. How far surpast
      His spirit in private, where he was not seen,
      Nor glory could be said to praise his spleen,
      This close note I excerpted. When we sat                       705
      Hid in Epeus' horse, no optimate
      Of all the Greeks there had the charge to ope
      And shut the stratagem but I. My scope
      To note then each man's spirit in a strait
      Of so much danger, much the better might                       710
      Be hit by me, than others, as, provoked,
      I shifted place still, when, in some I smoked
      Both privy tremblings, and close vent of tears,
      In him yet not a soft conceit of theirs
      Could all my search see, either his wet eyes                   715
      Ply'd still with wipings, or the goodly guise,
      His person all ways put forth, in least part,
      By any tremblings, show'd his touch'd-at heart.
      But ever he was urging me to make
      Way to their sally, by his sign to shake                       720
      His sword hid in his scabbard, or his lance
      Loaded with iron, at me. No good chance
      His thoughts to Troy intended. In th' event,
      High Troy depopulate, he made ascent
      To his fair ship, with prise and treasure store,               725
      Safe, and no touch away with him he bore
      Of far-off hurl'd lance, or of close-fought sword,
      Whose wounds for favours war doth oft afford,
      Which he (though sought) miss'd in war's closest wage.
      In close fights Mars doth never fight, but rage.'              730
        This made the soul of swift Achilles tread
      A march of glory through the herby mead,
      For joy to hear me so renown his son;
      And vanish'd stalking. But with passion
      Stood th' other souls struck, and each told his bane.          735
      Only the spirit Telamonian
      Kept far off, angry for the victory
      I won from him at fleet; though arbitry
      Of all a court of war pronounced it mine,
      And Pallas' self. Our prise were th' arms divine               740
      Of great Æacides, proposed t' our fames
      By his bright Mother, at his funeral games.
      I wish to heaven I ought not to have won;
      Since for those arms so high a head so soon
      The base earth cover'd, Ajax, that of all                      745
      The host of Greece had person capital,
      And acts as eminent, excepting his
      Whose arms those were, in whom was nought amiss.
      I tried the great soul with soft words, and said:
      'Ajax! Great son of Telamon, array'd                           750
      In all our glories! What! not dead resign
      Thy wrath for those curst arms? The Powers divine
      In them forged all our banes, in thine own one,
      In thy grave fall our tower was overthrown.
      We mourn, for ever maim'd, for thee as much                    755
      As for Achilles; nor thy wrong doth touch,
      In sentence, any but Saturnius' doom;
      In whose hate was the host of Greece become
      A very horror; who express'd it well
      In signing thy fate with this timeless hell.                   760
      Approach then, king of all the Grecian merit,
      Repress thy great mind, and thy flamy spirit,
      And give the words I give thee worthy ear.'
        All this no word drew from him, but less near
      The stern soul kept; to other souls he fled,                   765
      And glid along the river of the dead.
      Though anger moved him, yet he might have spoke,
      Since I to him. But my desires were strook
      With sight of other souls. And then I saw
      Minos, that minister'd to Death a law,                         770
      And Jove's bright son was. He was set, and sway'd
      A golden sceptre; and to him did plead
      A sort of others, set about his throne,
      In Pluto's wide-door'd house; when straight came on
      Mighty Orion, who was hunting there                            775
      The herds of those beasts he had slaughter'd here
      In desert hills on earth. A club he bore,
      Entirely steel, whose virtues never wore.
        Tityus I saw, to whom the glorious earth
      Open'd her womb, and gave unhappy birth.                       780
      Upwards, and flat upon the pavement, lay
      His ample limbs, that spread in their display
      Nine acres' compass. On his bosom sat
      Two vultures, digging, through his caul of fat,
      Into his liver with their crooked beaks;                       785
      And each by turns the concrete entrail breaks
      (As smiths their steel beat) set on either side.
      Nor doth he ever labour to divide
      His liver and their beaks, nor with his hand
      Offer them off, but suffers by command                         790
      Of th' angry Thund'rer, off'ring to enforce
      His love Latona, in the close recourse
      She used to Pytho through the dancing land,
      Smooth Panopæus. I saw likewise stand,
      Up to the chin, amidst a liquid lake,                          795
      Tormented Tantalus, yet could not slake
      His burning thirst. Oft as his scornful cup
      Th' old man would taste, so oft 'twas swallow'd up,
      And all the black earth to his feet descried,
      Divine power (plaguing him) the lake still dried.              800
      About his head, on high trees, clust'ring, hung
      Pears, apples, granates, olives ever young,
      Delicious figs, and many fruit trees more
      Of other burden; whose alluring store
      When th' old soul strived to pluck, the winds from sight,      805
      In gloomy vapours, made them vanish quite.
        There saw I Sisyphus in infinite moan,
      With both hands heaving up a massy stone,
      And on his tip-toes racking all his height,
      To wrest up to a mountain-top his freight;                     810
      When prest to rest it there, his nerves quite spent,
      Down rush'd the deadly quarry, the event
      Of all his torture new to raise again;
      To which straight set his never-rested pain.
      The sweat came gushing out from every pore,                    815
      And on his head a standing mist he wore,
      Reeking from thence, as if a cloud of dust
      Were raised about it. Down with these was thrust
      The idol of the force of Hercules,
      But his firm self did no such fate oppress,                    820
      He feasting lives amongst th' Immortal States,
      White-ankled Hebe and himself made mates
      In heavenly nuptials. Hebe, Jove's dear race,
      And Juno's whom the golden sandals grace.
      About him flew the clamours of the dead                        825
      Like fowls, and still stoop'd cuffing at his head.
      He with his bow, like Night, stalk'd up and down,
      His shaft still nock'd, and hurling round his frown
      At those vex'd hoverers, aiming at them still,
      And still, as shooting out, desire to still.                   830
      A horrid bawdrick wore he thwart his breast,
      The thong all gold, in which were forms imprest,
      Where art and miracle drew equal breaths,
      In bears, boars, lions, battles, combats, deaths.
      Who wrought that work did never such before,                   835
      Nor so divinely will do ever more.
      Soon as he saw, he knew me, and gave speech:
      'Son of Laertes, high in wisdom's reach,
      And yet unhappy wretch, for in this heart,
      Of all exploits achieved by thy desert,                        840
      Thy worth but works out some sinister fate,
      As I in earth did. I was generate
      By Jove himself, and yet past mean opprest
      By one my far inferior, whose proud hest
      Impos'd abhorred labours on my hand.                           845
      Of all which one was, to descend this strand,
      And hale the dog from thence. He could not think
      An act that danger could make deeper sink.
      And yet this depth I drew, and fetch'd as high,
      As this was low, the dog. The Deity                            850
      Of sleight and wisdom, as of downright power,
      Both stoop'd, and raised, and made me conqueror.'
        This said, he made descent again as low
      As Pluto's court; when I stood firm, for show
      Of more heroes of the times before,                            855
      And might perhaps have seen my wish of more,
      (As Theseus and Pirithous, derived
      From roots of Deity) but before th' achieved
      Rare sight of these, the rank-soul'd multitude
      In infinite flocks rose, venting sounds so rude,               860
      That pale Fear took me, lest the Gorgon's head
      Rush'd in amongst them, thrust up, in my dread,
      By grim Persephone. I therefore sent
      My men before to ship, and after went.
      Where, boarded, set, and launch'd, th' ocean wave              865
      Our oars and forewinds speedy passage gave.




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