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



HE shows from Hell his safe retreat
To th' isle Ææa, Circe's seat;
And how he scap'd the Sirens' calls,
With th' erring rocks, and waters' falls,
That Scylla and Charybdis break;
The Sun's stolen herds; and his sad wreak
Both of Ulysses' ship and men,
His own head 'scaping scarce the pain.


The rocks that err'd.
The Sirens' call.
The Sun's stolen herd.
The soldiers' fall.

UR ship now past the straits of th' ocean flood,
      She plow'd the broad sea's billows, and made good
      The isle Ææa, where the palace stands
      Of th' early riser with the rosy hands,
      Active Aurora, where she loves to dance,                         5
      And where the Sun doth his prime beams advance.
        When here arrived, we drew her up to land,
      And trod ourselves the re-saluted sand,
      Found on the shore fit resting for the night,
      Slept, and expected the celestial light.                        10
        Soon as the white-and-red-mix'd-finger'd Dame
      Had gilt the mountains with her saffron flame,
      I sent my men to Circe's house before,
      To fetch deceas'd Elpenor to the shore.
        Straight swell'd the high banks with fell'd heaps of trees,   15
      And, full of tears, we did due exsequies
      To our dead friend. Whose corse consum'd with fire,
      And honour'd arms, whose sepulchre entire,
      And over that a column raised, his oar,
      Curiously carved, to his desire before,                         20
      Upon the top of all his tomb we fixed.
      Of all rites fit his funeral pile was mix'd.
        Nor was our safe ascent from Hell concealed
      From Circe's knowledge; nor so soon revealed
      But she was with us, with her bread and food,                   25
      And ruddy wine, brought by her sacred brood
      Of woods and fountains. In the midst she stood,
      And thus saluted us: 'Unhappy men,
      That have, inform'd with all your senses, been
      In Pluto's dismal mansion! You shall die                        30
      Twice now, where others, that Mortality
      In her fair arms holds, shall but once decease.
      But eat and drink out all conceit of these,
      And this day dedicate to food and wine,
      The following night to sleep. When next shall shine             35
      The cheerful morning, you shall prove the seas.
      Your way, and every act ye must address,
      My knowledge of their order shall design,
      Lest with your own bad counsels ye incline
      Events as bad against ye, and sustain,                          40
      By sea and shore, the woful ends that reign
      In wilful actions.' Thus did she advise,
      And, for the time, our fortunes were so wise
      To follow wise directions. All that day
      We sat and feasted. When his lower way                          45
      The Sun had enter'd, and the Even the high,
      My friends slept on their gables; she and I
      (Led by her fair hand to a place apart,
      By her well-sorted) did to sleep convert
      Our timid powers; when all things Fate let fall                 50
      In our affair she asked; I told her all.
      To which she answer'd: 'These things thus took end.
      And now to those that I inform attend,
      Which you rememb'ring, God himself shall be
      The blessed author of your memory.                              55
         First to the Sirens ye shall come, that taint
      The minds of all men, whom they can acquaint
      With their attractions. Whomsoever shall,
      For want of knowledge moved, but hear the call
      Of any Siren, he will so despise                                60
      Both wife and children, for their sorceries,
      That never home turns his affection's stream,
      Nor they take joy in him, nor he in them.
      The Sirens will so soften with their song
      (Shrill, and in sensual appetite so strong)                     65
      His loose affections, that he gives them head.
      And then observe: They sit amidst a mead,
      And round about it runs a hedge or wall
      Of dead men's bones, their wither'd skins and all
      Hung all along upon it; and these men                           70
      Were such as they had fawn'd into their fen,
      And then their skins hung on their hedge of bones.
      Sail by them therefore, thy companions
      Beforehand causing to stop every ear
      With sweet soft wax, so close that none may hear                75
      A note of all their charmings. Yet may you,
      If you affect it, open ear allow
      To try their motion; but presume not so
      To trust your judgment, when your senses go
      So loose about you, but give straight command                   80
      To all your men, to bind you foot and hand
      Sure to the mast, that you may safe approve
      How strong in instigation to their love
      Their rapting tunes are. If so much they move,
      That, spite of all your reason, your will stands                85
      To be enfranchised both of feet and hands,
      Charge all your men before to slight your charge,
      And rest so far from fearing to enlarge
      That much more sure they bind you. When your friends
      Have outsail'd these, the danger that transcends                90
      Rests not in any counsel to prevent,
      Unless your own mind finds the tract and bent
      Of that way that avoids it. I can say
      That in your course there lies a twofold way,
      The right of which your own, taught, present wit,               95
      And grace divine, must prompt. In general yet
      Let this inform you: Near these Sirens' shore
      Move two steep rocks, at whose feet lie and roar
      The black sea's cruel billows; the bless'd Gods
      Call them the Rovers. Their abhorr'd abodes                    100
      No bird can pass; no not the doves, whose fear
      Sire Jove so loves that they are said to bear
      Ambrosia to him, can their ravine 'scape,
      But one of them falls ever to the rape
      Of those sly rocks; yet Jove another still                     105
      Adds to the rest, that so may ever fill
      The sacred number. Never ship could shun
      The nimble peril wing'd there, but did run
      With all her bulk, and bodies of her men,
      To utter ruin. For the seas retain                             110
      Not only their outrageous æsture there,
      But fierce assistants of particular fear,
      And supernatural mischief, they expire,
      And those are whirlwinds of devouring fire
      Whisking about still. Th' Argive ship alone,                   115
      Which bore the care of all men, got her gone,
      Come from Areta. Yet perhaps even she
      Had wrack'd at those rocks, if the Deity,
      That lies by Jove's side, had not lent her hand
      To their transmission; since the man, that mann'd              120
      In chief that voyage, she in chief did love.
      Of these two spiteful rocks, the one doth shove
      Against the height of heaven her pointed brow.
      A black cloud binds it round, and never show
      Lends to the sharp point; not the clear blue sky               125
      Lets ever view it, not the summer's eye,
      Not fervent autumn's. None that death could end
      Could ever scale it, or, if up, descend,
      Though twenty hands and feet he had for hold,
      A polish'd ice-like glibness doth enfold                       130
      The rock so round, whose midst a gloomy cell
      Shrouds so far westward that it sees to hell.
      From this keep you as far, as from his bow
      An able young man can his shaft bestow.
      For here the whuling Scylla shrouds her face,                  135
      That breathes a voice at all parts no more base
      Than are a newly-kitten'd kitling's cries,
      Herself a monster yet of boundless size,
      Whose sight would nothing please a mortal's eyes,
      No nor the eyes of any God, if he                              140
      (Whom nought should fright) fell foul on her, and she
      Her full shape show'd. Twelve foul feet bear about
      Her ugly bulk. Six huge long necks look out
      Of her rank shoulders; every neck doth let
      A ghastly head out; every head three set,                      145
      Thick thrust together, of abhorred teeth,
      And every tooth stuck with a sable death.
        She lurks in midst of all her den, and streaks
      From out a ghastly whirlpool all her necks;
      Where, gloting round her rock, to fish she falls;              150
      And up rush dolphins, dogfish; somewhiles whales,
      If got within her when her rapine feeds;
      For ever-groaning Amphitrite breeds
      About her whirlpool an unmeasured store.
      No sea-man ever boasted touch of shore                         155
      That there touch'd with his ship, but still she fed
      Of him and his; a man for every head
      Spoiling his ship of. You shall then descry
      The other humbler rock, that moves so nigh
      Your dart may mete the distance. It receives                   160
      A huge wild fig-tree, curl'd with ample leaves,
      Beneath whose shades divine Charybdis sits,
      Supping the black deeps. Thrice a day her pits
      She drinking all dry, and thrice a day again
      All up she belches, baneful to sustain.                        165
      When she is drinking, dare not near her draught,
      For not the force of Neptune, if once caught,
      Can force your freedom. Therefore in your strife
      To 'scape Charybdis labour all for life
      To row near Scylla, for she will but have                      170
      For her six heads six men; and better save
      The rest, than all make off'rings to the wave.'
        This need she told me of my loss, when I
      Desired to know, if that Necessity,
      When I had 'scaped Charybdis' outrages,                        175
      My powers might not revenge, though not redress?
      She answer'd: 'O unhappy! art thou yet
      Enflamed with war, and thirst to drink thy sweat?
      Not to the Gods give up both arms and will?
      She deathless is, and that immortal ill                        180
      Grave, harsh, outrageous, not to be subdued,
      That men must suffer till they be renew'd.
      Nor lives there any virtue that can fly
      The vicious outrage of their cruelty.
      Shouldst thou put arms on, and approach the rock,              185
      I fear six more must expiate the shock.
      Six heads six men ask still. Hoise sail, and fly,
      And, in thy flight, aloud on Cratis cry
      (Great Scylla's mother, who exposed to light
      The bane of men) and she will do such right                    190
      To thy observance, that she down will tread
      Her daughter's rage, nor let her show a head.
        From thenceforth then, for ever past her care,
      Thou shalt ascend the isle triangular,
      Where many oxen of the Sun are fed,                            195
      And fatted flocks. Of oxen fifty head
      In every herd feed, and their herds are seven;
      And of his fat flocks is their number even.
      Increase they yield not, for they never die.
      There every shepherdess a Deity.                               200
      Fair Phaethusa, and Lampetie,
      The lovely Nymphs are that their guardians be,
      Who to the daylight's lofty-going Flame
      Had gracious birthright from the heavenly Dame,
      Still young Neæra; who (brought forth and bred)               205
      Far off dismiss'd them, to see duly fed
      Their father's herds and flocks in Sicily.
      These herds and flocks if to the Deity
      Ye leave, as sacred things, untouch'd, and on
      Go with all fit care of your home, alone,                      210
      (Though through some suff'rance) you yet safe shall land
      In wished Ithaca. But if impious hand
      You lay on those herds to their hurts, I then
      Presage sure ruin to thy ship and men.
      If thou escap'st thyself, extending home                       215
      Thy long'd-for landing, thou shalt loaded come
      With store of losses, most exceeding late,
      And not consorted with a saved mate.'
        This said, the golden-throned Aurora rose,
      She her way went, and I did mine dispose                       220
      Up to my ship, weigh'd anchor, and away.
      When reverend Circe helped us to convey
      Our vessel safe, by making well inclined
      A seaman's true companion, a forewind,
      With which she fill'd our sails; when, fitting all             225
      Our arms close by us, I did sadly fall
      To grave relation what concern'd in fate
      My friends to know, and told them that the state
      Of our affairs' success, which Circe had
      Presaged to me alone, must yet be made                         230
      To one nor only two known, but to all;
      That, since their lives and deaths were left to fall
      In their elections, they might life elect,
      And give what would preserve it fit effect.
        I first inform'd them, that we were to fly                   235
      The heavenly-singing Sirens' harmony,
      And flower-adorned meadow; and that I
      Had charge to hear their song, but fetter'd fast
      In bands, unfavour'd, to th' erected mast,
      From whence, if I should pray, or use command,                 240
      To be enlarged, they should with much more band
      Contain my strugglings. This I simply told
      To each particular, nor would withhold
      What most enjoin'd mine own affection's stay,
      That theirs the rather might be taught t' obey.                245
        In mean time flew our ships, and straight we fetch'd
      The Siren's isle; a spleenless wind so stretch'd
      Her wings to waft us, and so urged our keel.
      But having reach'd this isle, we could not feel
      The least gasp of it, it was stricken dead,                    250
      And all the sea in prostrate slumber spread,
      The Sirens' devil charm'd all. Up then flew
      My friends to work, struck sail, together drew,
      And under hatches stow'd them, sat, and plied
      The polish'd oars, and did in curls divide                     255
      The white-head waters. My part then came on:
      A mighty waxen cake I set upon,
      Chopp'd it in fragments with my sword, and wrought
      With strong hand every piece, till all were soft.
      The great power of the sun, in such a beam                     260
      As then flew burning from his diadem,
      To liquefaction help'd us. Orderly
      I stopp'd their ears; and they as fair did ply
      My feet and hands with cords, and to the mast
      With other halsers made me soundly fast.                       265
        Then took they seat, and forth our passage strook,
      The foamy sea beneath their labour shook.
        Row'd on, in reach of an erected voice,
      The Sirens soon took note, without our noise,
      Tuned those sweet accents that made charms so strong,          270
      And these learn'd numbers made the Sirens' song:
        Come here, thou worthy of a world of praise,
      That dost so high the Grecian glory raise,
      Ulysses! stay thy ship, and that song hear
      That none past ever but it bent his ear,                       275
      But left him ravish'd, and instructed more
      By us, than any ever heard before.
      For we know all things whatsoever were
      In wide Troy labour'd; whatsoever there
      The Grecians and the Trojans both sustain'd                    280
      By those high issues that the Gods ordain'd.
      And whatsoever all the earth can show
      T' inform a knowledge of desert, we know.
        This they gave accent in the sweetest strain
      That ever open'd an enamour'd vein.                            285
      When my constrain'd heart needs would have mine ear
      Yet more delighted, force way forth, and hear.
      To which end I commanded with all sign
      Stern looks could make (for not a joint of mine
      Had power to stir) my friends to rise, and give                290
      My limbs free way. They freely strived to drive
      Their ship still on. When, far from will to loose,
      Eurylochus, and Perimedes rose
      To wrap me surer, and oppress'd me more
      With many a halser than had use before.                        295
      When, rowing on without the reach of sound,
      My friends unstopp'd their ears, and me unbound,
      And that isle quite we quitted. But again
      Fresh fears employ'd us. I beheld a main
      Of mighty billows, and a smoke ascend,                         300
      A horrid murmur hearing. Every friend
      Astonish'd sat; from every hand his oar
      Fell quite forsaken; with the dismal roar
      Were all things there made echoes; stone still stood
      Our ship itself, because the ghastly flood                     305
      Took all men's motions from her in their own.
      I through the ship went, labouring up and down
      My friends' recover'd spirits. One by one
      I gave good words, and said: That well were known
      These ills to them before, I told them all,                    310
      And that these could not prove more capital
      Than those the Cyclops block'd us up in, yet
      My virtue, wit, and heaven-help'd counsels set
      Their freedoms open. I could not believe
      But they remember'd it, and wish'd them give                   315
      My equal care and means now equal trust.
      The strength they had for stirring up they must
      Rouse and extend, to try if Jove had laid
      His powers in theirs up, and would add his aid
      To 'scape even that death. In particular then,                 320
      I told our pilot, that past other men
      He most must bear firm spirits, since he sway'd
      The continent that all our spirits convey'd,
      In his whole guide of her. He saw there boil
      The fiery whirlpools that to all our spoil                     325
      Inclosed a rock, without which he must steer,
      Or all our ruins stood concluded there.
        All heard me and obey'd, and little knew
      That, shunning that rock, six of them should rue
      The wrack another hid. For I conceal'd                         330
      The heavy wounds, that never would be heal'd,
      To be by Scylla open'd; for their fear
      Would then have robb'd all of all care to steer,
      Or stir an oar, and made them hide beneath,
      When they and all had died an idle death.                      335
      But then even I forgot to shun the harm
      Circe forewarn'd; who will'd I should not arm,
      Nor show myself to Scylla, lest in vain
      I ventured life. Yet could not I contain,
      But arm'd at all parts, and two lances took,                   340
      Up to the foredeck went, and thence did look
      That rocky Scylla would have first appear'd,
      And taken my life with the friends I fear'd.
        From thence yet no place could afford her sight,
      Though through the dark rock mine eye threw her light,         345
      And ransack'd all ways. I then took a strait
      That gave myself, and some few more, receipt
      'Twixt Scylla and Charybdis; whence we saw
      How horridly Charybdis' throat did draw
      The brackish sea up, which when all abroad                     350
      She spit again out, never caldron sod
      With so much fervour, fed with all the store
      That could enrage it; all the rock did roar
      With troubled waters; round about the tops
      Of all the steep crags flew the foamy drops.                   355
      But when her draught the sea and earth dissunder'd,
      The troubled bottoms turn'd up, and she thunder'd,
      Far under shore the swart sands naked lay.
      Whose whole stern sight the startled blood did fray
      From all our faces. And while we on her                        360
      Our eyes bestow'd thus to our ruin's fear,
      Six friends had Scylla snatch'd out of our keel,
      In whom most loss did force and virtue feel.
      When looking to my ship, and lending eye
      To see my friends' estates, their heels turn'd high,           365
      And hands cast up, I might discern, and hear
      Their calls to me for help, when now they were
      To try me in their last extremities.
      And as an angler med'cine for surprise
      Of little fish sits pouring from the rocks,                    370
      From out the crook'd horn of a fold-bred ox,
      And then with his long angle hoists them high
      Up to the air, then slightly hurls them by,
      When helpless sprawling on the land they lie;
      So easily Scylla to her rock had rapt                          375
      My woeful friends, and so unhelp'd entrapt
      Struggling they lay beneath her violent rape,
      Who in their tortures, desperate of escape,
      Shriek'd as she tore, and up their hands to me
      Still threw for sweet life. I did never see,                   380
      In all my suff'rance ransacking the seas,
      A spectacle so full of miseries.
        Thus having fled these rocks (these cruel dames
      Scylla, Charybdis) where the King of flames
      Hath offerings burn'd to him our ship put in,                  385
      The island that from all the earth doth win
      The epithet 'Faultless', where the broad-of-head
      And famous oxen for the Sun are fed,
      With many fat flocks of that high-gone God.
      Set in my ship, mine ear reach'd where we rode                 390
      The bellowing of oxen, and the bleat
      Of fleecy sheep, that in my memory's seat
      Put up the forms that late had been impress'd
      By dread Ææan Circe, and the best
      Of souls and prophets, the blind Theban seer,                  395
      The wise Tiresias, who was grave decreer
      Of my return's whole means; of which this one
      In chief he urg'd--that I should always shun
      The island of the man-delighting Sun.
      When, sad at heart for our late loss, I pray'd                 400
      My friends to hear fit counsel (though dismay'd
      With all ill fortunes) which was given to me
      By Circe's and Tiresias' prophecy,--
      That I should fly the isle where was ador'd
      The Comfort of the world, for ills abhorr'd                    405
      Were ambush'd for us there; and therefore will'd
      They should put off and leave the isle. This kill'd
      Their tender spirits; when Eurylochus
      A speech that vex'd me utter'd, answering thus:
        'Cruel Ulysses! Since thy nerves abound                      410
      In strength, the more spent, and no toils confound
      Thy able limbs, as all beat out of steel,
      Thou ablest us too, as unapt to feel
      The teeth of Labour and the spoil of Sleep,
      And therefore still wet waste us in the deep,                  415
      Nor let us land to eat, but madly now
      In night put forth, and leave firm land to strow
      The sea with errors. All the rabid flight
      Of winds that ruin ships are bred in night.
      Who is it that can keep off cruel Death,                       420
      If suddenly should rush out th' angry breath
      Of Notus, or the eager-spirited West,
      That cuff ships dead, and do the Gods their best?
      Serve black Night still with shore, meat, sleep, and ease.
      And offer to the Morning for the seas.'                        425
        This all the rest approved, and then knew I
      That past all doubt the Devil did apply
      His slaught'rous works. Nor would they be withheld;
      I was but one, nor yielded but compell'd.
      But all that might contain them I assay'd,                     430
      A sacred oath on all their powers I laid,
      That if with herds or any richest flocks
      We chanc'd t' encounter, neither sheep nor ox
      We once should touch, nor (for that constant ill
      That follows folly) scorn advice and kill,                     435
      But quiet sit us down and take such food
      As the immortal Circe had bestow'd.
        They swore all this in all severest sort;
      And then we anchor'd in the winding port
      Near a fresh river, where the long'd-for shore                 440
      They all flew out to, took in victuals store,
      And, being full, thought of their friends, and wept
      Their loss by Scylla, weeping till they slept.
        In Night's third part, when stars began to stoop,
      The Cloud-assembler put a tempest up.                          445
      A boist'rous spirit he gave it, drave out all
      His flocks of clouds, and let such darkness fall
      That Earth and Seas, for fear, to hide were driven,
      For with his clouds he thrust out Night from heaven.
        At Morn we drew our ships into a cave,                       450
      In which the Nymphs that Phoebus' cattle drave
      Fair dancing-rooms had, and their seats of state.
      I urged my friends then, that, to shun their fate,
      They would observe their oath, and take the food
      Our ship afforded, nor attempt the blood                       455
      Of those fair herds and flocks, because they were
      The dreadful God's that all could see and hear.
        They stood observant, and in that good mind
      Had we been gone; but so adverse the wind
      Stood to our passage, that we could not go.                    460
      For one whole month perpetually did blow
      Impetuous Notus, not a breath's repair
      But his and Eurus' ruled in all the air.
      As long yet as their ruddy wine and bread
      Stood out amongst them, so long not a head                     465
      Of all those oxen fell in any strife
      Amongst those students for the gut and life;
      But when their victuals fail'd they fell to prey,
      Necessity compell'd them then to stray
      In rape of fish and fowl; whatever came                        470
      In reach of hand or hook, the belly's flame
      Afflicted to it. I then fell to prayer,
      And (making to a close retreat repair,
      Free from both friends and winds) I wash'd my hands,
      And all the Gods besought, that held commands                  475
      In liberal heaven, to yield some mean to stay
      Their desperate hunger, and set up the way
      Of our return restrain'd. The Gods, instead
      Of giving what I pray'd for--power of deed--
      A deedless sleep did on my lids distill,                       480
      For mean to work upon my friends their fill.
      For whiles I slept there waked no mean to curb
      Their headstrong wants; which he that did disturb
      My rule in chief at all times, and was chief
      To all the rest in counsel to their grief,                     485
      Knew well, and of my present absence took
      His fit advantage, and their iron strook
      At highest heat. For, feeling their desire
      In his own entrails, to allay the fire
      That Famine blew in them, he thus gave way                     490
      To that affection: 'Hear what I shall say,
      Though words will staunch no hunger, every death
      To us poor wretches that draw temporal breath
      You know is hateful; but, all know, to die
      The death of Famine is a misery                                495
      Past all death loathsome. Let us, therefore, take
      The chief of this fair herd, and offerings make
      To all the Deathless that in broad heaven live,
      And in particular vow, if we arrive
      In natural Ithaca, to straight erect                           500
      A temple to the Haughty in aspect,
      Rich and magnificent, and all within
      Deck it with relics many and divine.
      If yet he stands incens'd, since we have slain
      His high-brow'd herd, and, therefore, will sustain             505
      Desire to wrack our ship, he is but one,
      And all the other Gods that we atone
      With our divine rites will their suffrage give
      To our design'd return, and let us live.
      If not, and all take part, I rather crave                      510
      To serve with one sole death the yawning wave,
      Than in a desert island lie and sterve,
      And with one pin'd life many deaths observe.'
        All cried 'He counsels nobly,' and all speed
      Made to their resolute driving; for the feed                   515
      Of those coal-black, fair, broad-brow'd, sun-loved beeves
      Had place close by our ships. They took the lives
      Of sence, most eminent; about their fall
      Stood round, and to the States Celestial
      Made solemn vows; but other rites their ship                   520
      Could not afford them, they did, therefore, strip
      The curl'd-head oak of fresh young leaves, to make
      Supply of service for their barley-cake.
      And on the sacredly enflamed, for wine,
      Pour'd purest water, all the parts divine                      525
      Spitting and roasting; all the rites beside
      Orderly using. Then did light divide
      My low and upper lids; when, my repair
      Made near my ship, I met the delicate air
      Their roast exhaled; out instantly I cried,                    530
      And said: 'O Jove, and all ye Deified,
      Ye have oppress'd me with a cruel sleep,
      While ye conferr'd on me a loss as deep
      As Death descends to. To themselves alone
      My rude men left ungovern'd, they have done                    535
      A deed so impious, I stand well assured,
      That you will not forgive though ye procured.'
        Then flew Lampetie with the ample robe
      Up to her father with the golden globe,
      Ambassadress t' inform him that my men                         540
      Had slain his oxen. Heart-incensed then,
      He cried: 'Revenge me, Father, and the rest
      Both ever-living and for ever blest!
      Ulysses' impious men have drawn the blood
      Of those my oxen that it did me good                           545
      To look on, walking all my starry round,
      And when I trod earth all with meadows crown'd.
      Without your full amends I'll leave heaven quite,
      Dis and the dead adorning with my light.'
        The Cloud-herd answer'd: 'Son! Thou shalt be ours,           550
      And light those mortals in that mine of flowers!
      My red-hot flash shall graze but on their ship,
      And eat it, burning, in the boiling deep.'
        This by Calypso I was told, and she
      Informed it from the verger Mercury.                           555
        Come to our ship, I chid and told by name
      Each man how impiously he was to blame.
      But chiding got no peace, the beeves were slain!
      When straight the Gods forewent their following pain
      With dire ostents. The hides the flesh had lost                560
      Crept all before them. As the flesh did roast,
      It bellow'd like the ox itself alive.
      And yet my soldiers did their dead beeves drive
      Through all these prodigies in daily feasts.
      Six days they banqueted and slew fresh beasts;                 565
      And when the seventh day Jove reduced the wind
      That all the month raged, and so in did bind
      Our ship and us, was turn'd and calmed, and we
      Launch'd, put up masts, sails hoised, and to sea.
        The island left so far that land nowhere                     570
      But only sea and sky had power t' appear,
      Jove fixed a cloud above our ship, so black
      That all the sea it darken'd. Yet from wrack
      She ran a good free time, till from the West
      Came Zephyr ruffling forth, and put his breast                 575
      Out in a singing tempest, so most vast
      It burst the gables that made sure our mast;
      Our masts came tumbling down, our cattle down
      Rush'd to the pump, and by our pilot's crown
      The main-mast pass'd his fall, pash'd all his skull,           580
      And all this wrack but one flaw made at full;
      Off from the stern the sternsman diving fell,
      And from his sinews flew his soul to hell.
      Together all this time Jove's thunder chid,
      And through and through the ship his lightning glid,           585
      Till it embraced her round; her bulk was fill'd
      With nasty sulphur, and her men were kill'd,
      Tumbled to sea, like sea-mews swum about,
      And there the date of their return was out.
        I toss'd from side to side still, till all broke             590
      Her ribs were with the storm, and she did choke
      With let-in surges; for the mast torn down
      Tore her up piecemeal, and for me to drown
      Left little undissolved. But to the mast
      There was a leather thong left, which I cast                   595
      About it and the keel, and so sat tost
      With baneful weather, till the West had lost
      His stormy tyranny. And then arose
      The South, that bred me more abhorred woes;
      For back again his blasts expell'd me quite                    600
      On ravenous Charybdis. All that night
      I totter'd up and down, till Light and I
      At Scylla's rock encounter'd, and the nigh
      Dreadful Charybdis. As I drave on these,
      I saw Charybdis supping up the seas,                           605
      And had gone up together, if the tree
      That bore the wild figs had not rescued me;
      To which I leap'd, and left my keel, and high
      Chamb'ring upon it did as close imply
      My breast about it as a reremouse could;                       610
      Yet might my feet on no stub fasten hold
      To ease my hands, the roots were crept so low
      Beneath the earth, and so aloft did grow
      The far-spread arms that, though good height I gat,
      I could not reach them. To the main bole flat                  615
      I, therefore, still must cling; till up again
      She belch'd my mast, and after that amain
      My keel came tumbling. So at length it chanced
      To me, as to a judge that long advanced
      To judge a sort of hot young fellows' jars,                    620
      At length time frees him from their civil wars,
      When glad he riseth and to dinner goes;
      So time, at length, released with joys my woes,
      And from Charybdis' mouth appear'd my keel.
      To which, my hand now loos'd and now my heel,                  625
      I altogether with a huge noise dropp'd,
      Just in her midst fell, where the mast was propp'd,
      And there row'd off with owers of my hands.
      God and man's Father would not from her sands
      Let Scylla see me, for I then had died                         630
      That bitter death that my poor friends supplied.
        Nine days at sea I hover'd; the tenth night
      In th' isle Ogygia, where, about the bright
      And right renown'd Calypso, I was cast
      By power of Deity; where I lived embraced                      635
      With love and feasts. But why should I relate
      Those kind occurrents? I should iterate
      What I in part to your chaste queen and you
      So late imparted. And, for me to grow
      A talker over of my tale again,                                640
      Were past my free contentment to sustain."


         Opus novem dierum.





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