Verse > Alexander Pope > Complete Poetical Works
Alexander Pope (1688–1744).  Complete Poetical Works.  1903.
Translations from Homer
The Odyssey (partial)
Book XV. The Return of Telemachus
The Argument
  The Goddess Minerva commands Telemachus in a vision to return to Ithaca. Pisistratus and he take leave of Menelaüs, and arrive at Pylos, where they part; Telemachus sets sail, after having received on broad Theoclymenus the soothsayer. The scene then changes to the cottage of Eumæus, who entertains Ulysses with a recital of his adventures. In the meantime Telemachus arrives on the coast, and, sending the vessel to the town, proceeds by himself to the lodge of Eumæus.

  NOW had Minerva reach’d those ample plains,
Famed for the dance, where Menelaüs reigns;
Anxious she flies to great Ulysses’ heir,
His instant voyage challenged all her care.
Beneath the royal portico display’d,        5
With Nestor’s son Telemachus was laid;
In sleep profound the son of Nestor lies;
Not thine, Ulysses! Care unseal’d his eyes:
Restless he griev’d, with various fears oppress’d
And all thy fortunes roll’d within his breast        10
When ‘O Telemachus!’ (the goddess said)
‘Too long in vain, too widely hast thou stray’d,
Thus leaving careless thy paternal right
The robbers prize, the prey to lawless might,
On fond pursuits neglectful while you roam,        15
Ev’n now the hand of rapine sacks the dome.
Hence to Atrides; and his leave implore
To launch thy vessel for thy natal shore:
Fly, whilst thy mother virtuous yet withstands
Her kindred’s wishes, and her sire’s commands;        20
Thro’ both, Eurymachus pursues the dame,
And with the noblest gifts asserts his claim.
Hence therefore, while thy stores thy own remain;
Thou know’st the practice of the female train;
Lost in the children of the present spouse,        25
They slight the pledges of their former vows;
Their love is always with the lover past;
Still the succeeding flame expels the last.
Let o’er thy house some chosen maid preside,
Till Heav’n decrees to bless thee in a bride.        30
But now thy more attentive ears incline,
Observe the warnings of a Power divine;
For thee their snares the suitor lords shall lay
In Samos sands, or straits of Ithaca;
To seize thy life shall lurk the murd’rous band,        35
Ere yet thy footsteps press thy native land.
No—sooner far their riot and their lust
All-cov’ring earth shall lurk the murd’rous band,
Then distant from the scatter’d islands steer,
Nor let the night retard thy fall career;        40
Thy heav’nly guardian shall instruct the gales
To smooth thy passage and supply thy sails:
And when at Ithaca thy labour ends,
Send to the town the vessel with thy friends;
But seek thou first the master of the swine,        45
(For still to thee his loyal thoughts incline);
There pass the night; while he his course pursues
To bring Penelope the wish’d-for news,
That thou, safe sailing from the Pylian strand,
Art come to bless her in thy native land.’        50
  Thus spoke the Goddess, and resumed her flight
To the pure regions of eternal light.
Meanwhile Pisistratus he gently shakes,
And with these words the slumb’ring youth awakes:
  ‘Rise, son of Nestor; for the road prepare,        55
And join the harness’d coursers to the car.’
  ‘What cause,’ he cried, ‘can justify our flight
To tempt the dangers of forbidding night?
Here wait we rather, till approaching day
Shall prompt our speed, and point the ready way.        60
Nor think of flight before the Spartan King
Shall bid farewell, and bounteous presents bring;
Gifts, which to distant ages safely stor’d,
The sacred act of friendship shall record.’
  Thus he. But when the dawn bestreak’d the east,        65
The King from Helen rose, and sought his guest.
As soon as his approach the Hero knew,
The splendid mantle round him first he threw,
Then o’er his ample shoulders whirl’d the cloak,
Respectful met the Monarch, and bespoke:        70
  ‘Hail, great Atrides, favour’d of high Jove!
Let not thy friends in vain for license move.
Swift let us measure back the wat’ry way,
Nor check our speed, impatient of delay.’
  ‘If with desire so strong thy bosom glows,        75
Ill,’ said the King, ‘should I thy wish oppose:
For oft in others freely I reprove
The ill-timed efforts of officious love;
Who love too much, hate in the like extreme,
And both the golden mean alike condemn.        80
Alike he thwarts the hospitable end,
Who drives the free, or stays the hasty friend:
True friendship’s laws are by this rule express’d,
Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.
Yet stay, my friends, and in your chariot take        85
The noblest presents that our love can make;
Meantime commit we to our women’s care
Some choice domestic viands to prepare;
The trav’ler, rising from the banquet gay,
Eludes the labours of the tedious way.        90
Then if a wider course shall rather please,
Thro’ spacious Argos and the realms of Greece,
Atrides in his chariot shall attend;
Himself thy convoy to each royal friend.
No Prince will let Ulysses’ heir remove        95
Without some pledge, some monument of love:
These will the cauldron, these the tripod give;
From those the well-pair’d mules we shall receive,
Or bowl emboss’d whose golden figures live.’
  To whom the youth, for prudence famed, replied:        100
‘O Monarch, Care of Heav’n! thy people’s pride!
No friend in Ithaca my place supplies,
No powerful hands are there, no watchful eyes:
My stores exposed and fenceless house demand
The speediest succour from my guardian hand;        105
Lest, in a search too anxious and too vain
Of one lost joy, I lose what yet remain.’
  His purpose when the gen’rous Warrior heard,
He charged the household cates to be prepared.
Now with the dawn, from his adjoining home,        110
Was Bœthœdes Eteoneus come;
Swift at the word he forms the rising blaze,
And o’er the coals the smoking fragments lays.
  Meantime the King, his son, and Helen went
Where the rich wardrobe breathed a costly scent.        115
The King selected from the glitt’ring rows
A bowl; the Prince a silver beaker chose.
The beauteous Queen revolv’d with careful eyes
Her various textures of unnumber’d dyes,
And chose the largest; with no vulgar art        120
Her own fair hands embroider’d every part:
Beneath the rest it lay divinely bright,
Like radiant Hesper o’er the gems of night.
Then with each gift they hasten’d to their guest,
And thus the King Ulysses’ heir address’d:        125
‘Since fix’d are thy resolves, may thund’ring Jove
With happiest omens thy desires approve!
This silver bowl, whose costly margins shine
Enchased with gold, this valued gift be thine;
To me this present, of Vulcanian frame,        130
From Sidon’s hospitable Monarch came;
To thee we now consign the precious load,
The pride of Kings, and labour of a God.’
  Then gave the cup, while Megapenthe brought
The silver vase with living sculpture wrought.        135
The beauteous Queen, advancing next, display’d
The shining veil, and thus endearing said:
  ‘Accept, dear youth, this monument of love,
Long since, in better days, by Helen wove:
Safe in thy mother’s care the vesture lay,        140
To deck thy bride, and grace thy nuptial day.
Meantime may’st thou with happiest speed regain
Thy stately palace, and thy wide domain.’
  She said, and gave the veil; with grateful look
The Prince the variegated present took.        145
And now, when thro’ the royal dome they pass’d,
High on a throne the King each stranger placed.
A golden ewer th’ attendant damsel brings,
Replete with water from the crystal springs;
With copious streams the shining vase supplies        150
A silver laver of capacious size.
They wash. The tables in fair order spread,
The glitt’ring canisters are crown’d with bread;
Viands of various kinds allure the taste,
Of choicest sort and savour; rich repast!        155
Whilst Eteoneus portions out the shares,
Atrides’ son the purple draught prepares.
And now (each sated with the genial feast,
And the short rage of thirst and hunger ceas’d),
Ulysses’ son, with his illustrious friend,        160
The horses join, the polish’d car ascend.
Along the court the fiery steeds rebound,
And the wide portal echoes to the sound.
The King precedes; a bowl with fragrant wine
(Libation destin’d to the Powers divine)        165
His right hand held: before the steeds he stands,
Then, mix’d with prayers, he utters these commands:
  ‘Farewell, and prosper, Youths! let Nestor know
What grateful thoughts still in this bosom glow,
For all the proofs of his paternal care,        170
Thro’ the long dangers of the ten years’ war.’
  ‘Ah! doubt not our report’ (the Prince rejoin’d)
‘Of all the virtues of thy gen’rous mind.
And oh! return’d might we Ulysses meet!
To him thy presents show, thy words repeat:        175
How will each speech his grateful wonder raise!
How will each gift indulge us in thy praise!’
  Scarce ended thus the Prince, when on the right
Advanc’d the bird of Jove: auspicious sight!
A milk-white fowl his clinching talons bore,        180
With care domestic pamper’d at the floor.
Peasants in vain with threat’ning cries pursue,
In solemn speed the bird majestic flew
Full dexter to the car: the prosp’rous sight
Fill’d ev’ry breast with wonder and delight.        185
  But Nestor’s son the cheerful silence broke,
And in these words the Spartan Chief bespoke:
‘Say if to us the Gods these omens send,
Or fates peculiar to thyself portend?’
  Whilst yet the Monarch paus’d, with doubts oppress’d,        190
The beauteous Queen reliev’d his lab’ring breast:
‘Hear me’ (she cried), ‘to whom the Gods have given
To read this sign, and mystic sense of Heav’n.
As thus the plumy sov’reign of the air
Left on the mountain’s brow his callow care,        195
And wander’d thro’ the wide ethereal way
To pour his wrath on you luxurious prey;
So shall thy godlike father, toss’d in vain
Thro’ all the dangers of the boundless main,
Arrive (or is perchance already come),        200
From slaughter’d gluttons to release the dome.’
  ‘Oh! if this promis’d bliss by thund’ring Jove’
(The Prince replied) ‘stand fix’d in Fate above;
To thee, as to some God, I ’ll temples raise,
And crown thy altars with the costly blaze.’        205
  He said; and, bending o’er his chariot, flung
Athwart the fiery steeds the smarting thong;
The bounding shafts upon the harness play,
Till night descending intercepts the way.
To Diocles at Pheræ they repair,        210
Whose boasted sire was sacred Alpheus’ heir;
With him all night the youthful strangers stay’d,
Nor found the hospitable rites unpaid.
But soon as Morning from her orient bed
Had tinged the mountains with her earliest red,        215
They join’d the steeds, and on the chariot sprung;
The brazen portals in their passage rung.
  To Pylos soon they came; when thus begun
To Nestor’s heir Ulysses’ godlike son:
  ‘Let not Pisistratus in vain be press’d,        220
Nor unconsenting hear his friend’s request;
His friend by long hereditary claim,
In toils his equal, and in years the same.
No farther from our vessel, I implore,
The coursers drive; but lash them to the shore.        225
Too long thy father would his friend detain;
I dread his proffer’d kindness urged in vain.’
  The Hero paus’d, and ponder’d this request,
While love and duty warr’d within his breast.
At length resolv’d, he turn’d his ready hand,        230
And lash’d his panting coursers to the strand.
There, while within the poop with care he stor’d
The regal presents of the Spartan lord,
‘With speed begone’ (said he); ‘call every mate,
Ere yet to Nestor I the tale relate:        235
’T is true, the fervour of his gen’rous heart
Brooks no repulse, nor couldst thou soon depart:
Himself will seek thee here, nor wilt thou find,
In words alone, the Pylian Monarch kind.
But when, arrived, he thy return shall know,        240
How will his breast with honest fury glow!’
This said, the sounding strokes his horses fire,
And soon he reach’d the palace of his sire.
  ‘Now’ (cried Telemachus) ‘with speedy care
Hoist ev’ry sail, and ev’ry oar prepare!’        245
Swift as the word his willing mates obey,
And seize their seats, impatient for the sea.
  Meantime the Prince with sacrifice adores
Minerva, and her guardian aid implores;
When lo! a wretch ran breathless to the shore,        250
New from his crime; and reeking yet with gore.
A seer he was, from great Melampus sprung,
Melampus, who in Pylos flourish’d long,
Till, urged by wrongs, a foreign realm he chose,
Far from the hateful cause of all his woes.        255
Neleus his treasures one long year detains:
As long he groan’d in Phylacus’s chains:
Meantime, what anguish and what rage combin’d,
For lovely Pero rack’d his lab’ring mind!
Yet ’scaped he death: and, vengeful of his wrong,        260
To Pylos drove the lowing herds along:
Then (Neleus vanquish’d, and consign’d the fair
To Bias’ arms) he sought a foreign air;
Argos the rich for his retreat he chose;
There form’d his empire: there his palace rose.        265
From him Antiphates and Mantius came;
The first begot Oïcleus great in fame,
And he Amphiaraüs, immortal name!
The people’s saviour, and divinely wise,
Belov’d by Jove, and him who gilds the skies;        270
Yet short his date of life! by female pride he dies.
From Mantius Clitus, whom Aurora’s love
Snatch’d for his beauty to the thrones above;
And Polyphides, on whom Phœbus shone
With fullest rays, Amphiaraüs now gone;        275
In Hyperesia’s groves he made abode,
And taught mankind the counsels of the God.
From him sprung Theoclymenus, who found
(The sacred wine yet foaming on the ground)
Telemachus: whom, as to Heav’n he press’d        280
His ardent vows, the stranger thus address’d:
  ‘O thou! that thy happy course prepare
With pure libations and with solemn prayer;
By that dread Power to whom thy vows are paid;
By all the lives of these; thy own dear head,        285
Declare sincerely to no foe’s demand
Thy name, thy lineage, and paternal land.’
  ‘Prepare, then,’ said Telemachus, ‘to know
A tale from falsehood free, not free from woe.
From Ithaca, of royal birth I came,        290
And great Ulysses (ever-honour’d name!)
Once was my sire, tho’ now for ever lost,
In Stygian gloom he glides a pensive ghost!
Whose fate inquiring thro’ the world we rove:
The last, the wretched proof of filial love.’        295
  The stranger then: ‘Nor shall I aught conceal,
But the dire secret of my fate reveal.
Of my own tribe an Argive wretch I slew;
Whose powerful friends the luckless deed pursue
With unrelenting rage, and force from home        300
The blood-stain’d exile, ever doom’d to roam.
But bear, oh bear me o’er you azure flood;
Receive the suppliant! spare my destin’d blood!’
  ‘Stranger’ (replied the Prince), ‘securely rest
Affianc’d in our faith; henceforth our guest.’        305
Thus affable, Ulysses’ godlike heir
Takes from the stranger’s hand the glitt’ring spear:
He climbs the ship, ascends the stern with haste,
And by his side the guest accepted placed.
The Chief his order gives: th’ obedient band        310
With due observance wait the Chief’s command.
With speed the mast they rear, with speed unbind
The spacious sheet, and stretch it to the wind.
Minerva calls; the ready gales obey
With rapid speed to whirl them o’er the sea.        315
Crunus they pass’d, next Chalcis roll’d away,
When thick’ning darkness closed the doubtful day;
The silver Phæa’s glitt’ring rills they lost,
And skimm’d along by Elis’ sacred coast.
Then cautious thro’ the rocky reaches wind,        320
And, turning sudden, shun the death design’d.
  Meantime, the King, Eumæus, and the rest,
Sate in the cottage, at their rural feast:
The banquet pass’d, and satiate ev’ry man,
To try his host, Ulysses thus began:        325
  ‘Yet one night more, my friends, indulge your guest;
The last I purpose in your walls to rest;
To-morrow for myself I must provide,
And only ask your counsel, and a guide;
Patient to roam the street, by hunger led,        330
And bless the friendly hand that gives me bread.
There in Ulysses roof I may relate
Ulysses’ wand’rings to his royal mate;
Or, mingling with the suitors’ haughty train,
Not undeserving some support obtain.        335
Hermes to me his various gifts imparts,
Patron of industry and manual arts:
Few can with me in dext’rous works contend,
The pyre to build, the stubborn oak to rend;
To return the tasteful viand o’er the flame;        340
Or foam the goblet with a purple stream.
Such are the tasks of men of mean estate,
Whom fortune dooms to serve the rich and great.’
  ‘Alas! (Eumæus with a sigh rejoin’d)
‘How sprung a thought so monstrous in thy mind?        345
If on that godless race thou would’st attend,
Fate owes thee sure a miserable end!
Their wrongs and blasphemies ascend the sky,
And pull descending vengeance from on high.
Not such, my friend, the servants of their feast;        350
A blooming train in rich embroid’ry dress’d!
With earth’s whole tribute the bright table bends,
And smiling round celestial youth attends.
Stay, then; no eye askance beholds thee here;
Sweet is thy converse to each social ear:        355
Well pleas’d, and pleasing, in our cottage rest,
Till good Telemachus accepts his guest
With genial gifts, and change of fair attires,
And safe conveys thee where thy soul desires.’
  To him the man of woes: ‘O gracious Jove        360
Reward this stranger’s hospitable love!
Who knows the son of sorrow to relieve,
Cheers the sad heart, nor lets affliction grieve.
Of all the ills unhappy mortals know,
A life of wand’rings is the greatest woe:        365
On all their weary ways wait Care and Pain,
And Pine and Penury, a meagre train.
To such a man since harbour you afford,
Relate the farther fortunes of your lord;
What cares his mother’s tender breast engage,        370
And sire forsaken on the verge of age;
Beneath the sun prolong they yet their breath,
Or range the house of darkness and of death?’
  To whom the swain: ‘Attend what you inquire;
Laërtes lives, the miserable sire;        375
Lives, but implores of ev’ry Power to lay
The burden down, and wishes for the day.
Torn from his offspring in the eve of life,
Torn from th’ embraces of his tender wife,
Sole, and all comfortless, he wastes away        380
Old age, untimely posting ere his day.
She too, sad mother! for Ulysses lost
Pined out her bloom, and vanish’d to a ghost
(So dire a fate, ye righteous Gods! avert
From ev’ry friendly, ev’ry feeling heart);        385
While yet she was, tho’ clouded o’er with grief,
Her pleasing converse minister’d relief:
With Ctimene, her youngest daughter, bred,
One roof contain’d us, and one table fed.
But when the softly-stealing pace of time        390
Crept on from childhood into youthful prime,
To Samos isle she sent the wedded fair;
Me to the fields, to tend the rural care;
Array’d in garments her own hands had wove,
Nor less the darling object of her love.        395
Her hapless death my brighter days o’ercast,
Yet Providence deserts me not at last:
My present labours food and drink procure,
And more, the pleasure to relieve the poor.
Small is the comfort from the Queen to hear        400
Unwelcome news, or vex the royal ear;
Blank and discontenanc’d the servants stand,
Nor dare to question where the proud command:
No profit springs beneath usurping powers;
Want feeds not there, where Luxury devours,        405
Nor harbours charity where riot reigns:
Proud are the Lords, and wretched are the Swains.’
  The suff’ring Chief at this began to melt;
And, ‘O Eumæus! thou’ (he cries) ‘hast felt
The spite of Fortune too! her cruel hand        410
Snatch’d the an infant from thy native land!
Snatch’d from thy parents’ arms, thy parents’ eyes,
To early wants! a man of miseries!
The whole sad story, from its first, declare:
Sunk the fair city by the rage of war,        415
Where once thy parents dwelt? or did they keep,
In humbler life, the lowing herds and sheep?
So left perhaps to tend the fleecy train,
Rude pirates seiz’d, and shipp’d thee o’er the main?
Doom’d a fair prize to grace some Prince’s board,        420
The worthy purchase of a foreign Lord.’
  ‘If then my fortunes can delight my friend,
A story fruitful of events attend:
Another’s sorrow may thy ear enjoy,
And wine the lengthen’d intervals employ.        425
Long nights the now declining year bestows;
A part we consecrate to soft repose,
A part in pleasing talk we entertain;
For too much rest itself becomes a pain.
Let those, whom sleep invites, the call obey,        430
Their cares resuming with the dawning day:
Here let us feast, and to the feast be join’d
Discourse, the sweeter banquet of the mind;
Review the series of our lives, and taste
The melancholy joy of evils pass’d:        435
For he who much has suffer’d, much will know,
And pleas’d remembrance builds delight on woe.
  ‘Above Ortygia lies an isle of fame,
Far hence remote, and Syria is the name
(There curious eyes inscribed with wonder trace        440
The sun’s diurnal, and his annual race);
Not large, but fruitful; stored with grass, to keep
The bell’wing oxen and the bleating sheep;
Her sloping hills the mantling vines adorn,
And her rich valleys wave with golden corn.        445
No want, no famine, the glad natives know,
Nor sink by sickness to the shades below;
But when a length of years unnerves the strong,
Apollo comes, and Cynthia comes along.
They bend the silver bow with tender skill,        450
And, void of pain, the silent arrows kill.
Two equal tribes this fertile land divide,
Where two fair cities rise with equal pride,
But both in constant peace one Prince obey,
And Ctesius there, my father, holds the sway.        455
Freighted, it seems, with toys of ev’ry sort,
A ship of Sidon anchor’d in our port;
What time it chanc’d the palace entertain’d,
Skill’d in rich works, a woman of their land:
This nymph, where anchor’d the Phœnician train,        460
To wash her robes descending to the main,
A smooth-tongued sailor won her to his mind
(For love deceives the best of womankind).
A sudden trust from sudden liking grew;
She told her name, her race, and all she knew.        465
“I too” (she cried) “from glorious Sidon came.
My father Arybas, of wealthy fame;
But, snatch’d by pirates from my native place,
The Taphians sold me to this man’s embrace.”
  ‘“Haste then” (the false designing youth replied),        470
“Haste to thy country; love shall be thy guide;
Haste to thy father’s house, thy father’s breast,
For still he lives, and lives with riches blest.”
  ‘“Swear first” (she cried), “ye Sailors! to restore
A wretch in safety to her native shore.”        475
Swift as she ask’d, the read sailors swore.
She then proceeds: “Now let our compact made
Be nor by signal nor by word betray’d,
Nor near me any of your crew descried,
By road frequented, or by fountain side:        480
Be silence still our guard. The Monarch’s spies
(For watchful age is ready to surmise)
Are still at hand; and this reveal’d, must be
Death to yourselves, eternal chains to me.
Your vessel loaded, and your traffic pass’d,        485
Despatch a wary messenger with haste;
Then gold and costly treasures will I bring,
And more, the infant-offspring of the King.
Him, childlike wand’ring forth, I ’ll lead away
(A noble prize!) and to your ship convey.”        490
  ‘Thus spoke the dame, and homeward took the road.
A year they traffic, and their vessel load.
Their stores complete, and ready now to weigh,
A spy was sent their summons to convey:
An artist to my father’s palace came,        495
With gold and amber chains, elab’rate frame:
Each female eye the glitt’ring links employ;
They turn, review, and cheapen ev’ry toy.
He took th’ occasion, as they stood intent,
Gave her the sign, and to his vessel went.        500
She straight pursued, and seiz’d my willing arm;
I follow’d smiling, innocent of harm.
Three golden goblets in the porch she found
(The guests not enter’d, but the table crown’d);
Hid in her fraudful bosom these she bore:        505
Now set the sun, and darken’d all the shore.
Arriving then, where, tilting on the tides,
Prepared to launch the freighted vessel rides,
Abroad they heave us, mount their decks, and sweep
With level oar along the glassy deep.        510
Six calmy days and six smooth nights we sail,
And constant Jove supplied the gentle gale.
The sev’nth, the fraudful wretch (no cause descried),
Touch’d by Diana’s vengeful arrow, died.
Down dropp’d the caitiff-corse, a worthless load,        515
Down to the deep; there roll’d, the future food
Of fierce sea-wolves, and monsters of the flood.
A helpless infant I remain’d behind;
Thence borne to Ithaca by wave and wind;
Sold to Laërtes by divine command,        520
And now adopted to a foreign land.’
  To him the King: ‘Reciting thus thy cares,
My secret soul in all thy sorrow shares;
But one choice blessing (such is Jove’s high will)
Has sweeten’d all thy bitter draught of ill:        525
Torn from thy country to no hapless end,
The Gods have, in a master, giv’n a friend.
Whatever frugal nature needs is thine
(For she needs little), daily bread and wine.
While I, so many wand’rings past and woes,        530
Live but on what thy poverty bestows.’
  So pass’d in pleasing dialogue away
The night; then down to short repose they lay;
Till radiant rose the messenger of day.
While in the port of Ithaca, the band        535
Of young Telemachus approach’d the land;
Their sails they loos’d, they lash’d the mast aside,
And cast their anchors, and the cables tied:
Then on the breezy shore, descending, join
In grateful banquet o’er the rosy wine.        540
When thus the Prince: ‘Now each his course pursue:
I to the fields, and to the city you.
Long absent hence, I dedicate this day
My swains to visit, and the works survey.
Expect me with the morn, to pay the skies        545
Our debt of safe return in feast and sacrifice.’
  Then Theoclymenus: ‘But who shall lend,
Meantime, protection to thy stranger friend?
Straight to the Queen and Palace shall I fly,
Or, yet more distant, to some Lord apply?’        550
  The Prince return’d: ‘Renown’d in days of yore
Has stood our father’s hospitable door;
No other roof a stranger should receive,
No other hands than ours the welcome give.
But in my absence riot fills the place,        555
Nor bears the modest Queen a stranger’s face;
From noiseful revel far remote she flies,
But rarely seen, or seen with weeping eyes.
No—let Eurymachus receive my guest,
Of nature courteous, and by far the best;        560
He woos the Queen with more respectful flame,
And emulates her former husband’s fame:
With what success, ’t is Jove’s alone to know,
And the hoped nuptials turn to joy or woe.’
  Thus speaking, on the right upsoar’d in air        565
The hawk, Apollo’s swift-wing’d messenger:
His deathful pounces tore a trembling dove;
The clotted feathers, scatter’d from above,
Between the hero and the vessel pour
Thick plumage, mingled with a sanguine shower.        570
  Th’ observing augur took the Prince aside,
Seiz’d by the hand, and thus prophetic cried:
‘Yon bird, that dexter cuts th’ aërial road,
Rose ominous, nor flies without a God:
No race but thine shall Ithaca obey;        575
To thine, for ages, Heav’n decrees the sway.’
  ‘Succeed the omens, Gods!’ (the youth rejoin’d)
‘Soon shall my bounties speak a grateful mind,
And soon each envied happiness attend
The man who calls Telemachus his friend.’        580
Then to Peiræus: ‘Thou whom time has prov’d
A faithful servant, by thy Prince belov’d!
Till we returning shall our guest demand,
Accept this charge with honour, at our hand.’
  To this Peiræus: ‘Joyful I obey,        585
Well pleas’d the hospitable rites to pay.
The presence of thy guest shall best reward
(If long thy stay) the absence of my lord.’
  With that, their anchors he commands to weigh,
Mount the tall bark, and launch into the sea.        590
All with obedient haste forsake the shores,
And, placed in order, spread their equal oars.
Then from the deck the Prince his sandals takes;
Pois’d in his hand the pointed jav’lin shakes.
They part; while, less’ning from the hero’s view,        595
Swift to the town the well-row’d galley flew:
The hero trod the margin of the main,
And reach’d the mansion of his faithful swain.

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