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THE ARRIVAL OF ULYSSES IN ITHACA.
Ulysses takes his leave of Alcinous and Arete, and
embarks in the evening. Next morning the ship arrives at Ithaca; where the sailors, as Ulysses is yet sleeping, lay him on the shore with all his treasures. On their return, Neptune changes their ship into a rock... In the meantime Ulysses awaking, knows not his native Ithaca, by reason of a mist which Pallas had cast round him. He breaks into loud lamentations; till the goddess appearing to him in the form of a shepherd, discovers the country to him, and points out the particular places. He then tells a feigned story of his adventures, upon which she manifests herself, and they consult together of the measures to be taken to destroy the suitors. To conceal his return, and disguise his person the more effectually, she changes him into the figure of an old beggur.
He ceas'd; but left so pleasing on their ear His voice, that listening still they seem'd to hear. A pause of silence hush'd the shady rooms: The grateful conference then the king resumes.
Whatever toils the great Ulysses pass'd, Beneath this happy roof they end at last;
No longer now from shore to shore to roam,
Now did the rosy-finger'd morn arise, And shed her sacred light along the skies. Down to the haven and the ships in haste They bore the treasures, and in safety plac'd. The king himself the vases rang'd with care; Then bade his followers to the feast repair. A victim ox beneath the sacred hand Of great Alcinous falls, and stains the sand. To Jove the eternal, (power above all powers!) Who wings the winds, and darkens heaven with
showers! The flames ascend: 'till evening they prolong The rites, more sacred made by heavenly song: For in the midst, with public honours grac'd, Thy lyre divine, Demodocus! was plac'd. All, but Ulysses, heard with fix'd delight: He sat, and ey'd the sun, and wish'd the night; Slow seem'd the sun to move, the hours to roll, His native home deep imag’d in his soul. As the tir'd ploughman, spent with stubborn toil, Whose oxen long have torn the furrow'd soil,
Sees with delight the sun's declining ray,
prov'd Benign, and instant his dismission moy'd. The monarch to Pontonous gave the sign, To fill the goblet high with rosy wine: Great Jove the father, first (he cried) implore; Then send the stranger to his native shore.
The luscious wine the obedient herald brought; Around the mansion flow'd the purple draught: Each from his seat to each immortal pours, Whom glory circles in the Olympian bowers. Ulysses sole with air majestic stands, The bowl presenting to Arete's hands; Then thus: O queen, farewell! be still possess' Of dear remembrance, blessing still and bless'd!