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· BOOK I.
| At length their rage the hostile powers restrain,
All but the ruthless monarch of the main.
But now the god, remote, a heavenly guest,
In Æthiopia graced the genial feast,
(A race divided, whom with sloping rays The Poem opens within forty-eight days of the arrival The rising and descending sun surveys ;)
of Ulysses in his dominions. He had now remained
With hecatombs and prayer in pomp preferr'd, parture from thence, and his return to his native Distant he lay: while in the bright abodes country. For this purpose it is concluded to send Of high Olympus, Jove convened the gods: Mercury to Calypso, and Pallas immediately descends The assembly thus the sire supreme addrest, to Ithaca. She holds a conference with Telemachus, Ægysthus' fate revolving in his breast, in the shape of Mentes, king of the Taphians; in whom young Orestes to the dreary coast which she advises him to take a journey in quest of Or Pluto sent, a blood-polluted ghost.
40 his father Ulysses, to Pylos and Sparta, where Nestor
Perverse mankind! whose wills, created free, and Menelaus yet reigned; then, after having visibly displayed her divinity, disappears. The suitors of Pe Charge all their woes on absolute decree; nelope make great entertainments, and riot in her All to the dooming gods their guilt translate, palace till night. Phemius sings to them the return And follies are miscall'd the crimes of fate. of the Grecians, till Penelope puts a stop to the song. When to his lust Ægysthus gave the rein, Some words arise between the suitors and Telema. Did fate, or we, the adulterous act constrain? chus, who summons the council to meet the day fol. Did fate, or we, when great Atrides died, lowing
Urge the bold traitor to the regicide?
Sincere from royal blood, and faith profaned, 50
To warn the wretch, that young Orêstes, grown The man, for wisdom's various arts renown'd, To manly years, should re-assert the throne. Long exercised in woes, oh Muse ! resound. Yet, impotent of mind, and uncontrollid, Who, when his arms had wrought the destined fall He plunged into the gulf which heaven foretold Of sacred Troy, and razed her heaven-built wall, Here paused the god: and pensive thus replies Wandering from clime to clime, observant stray'd, Minerva, graceful with her azure eyes. Their manners noted, and their states survey'd. O thou ! from whom the whole creation springs, On stormy seas unnumber'd toils he bore,
The source of power on earth derived to kings! Safe with his friends to gain his natal shore: His death was equal to the direful deed; Vain toils ! their impious folly dared to prey So may the man of blood be doom'd to bleed : 60 On herds devoted to the god of day;
10 But grief and rage alternate wound my breast
The blameless hero from his wish'd-for home
The wonders of the deep expanded lie;
The eterna columns which on earth he rears An exile from his dear paternal coast,
End in the starry vault, and prop the spheres,) 70 Deplored his absent queen and empire lost. 20 By his fair daughter is the chief confined, Calypso in her caves constrain'd his stay
Who soothes to dear delight his anxious mind : With sweet, reluctant, amorous delay:
Successless all her soft caresses prove,
To see the smoke from his loved palace rise,
While the dear isle in distant prospect lies, Where yet new labours his arrival wait;
With what contentment could he close his eyes .
And will Omnipotence neglect to save
With rival art, and ardour in their mien, The suffering virtue of the wise and brave? At chess they vie, to captivate the queen; Must he, whose altars on the Phrygian shore 80 Divining of their loves. Attending nigh, With frequent rites, and pure, avow'd thy power, A menial train the flowing bowl supply: Be doom'd the worst of human ills to prove, Others, apart, the spacious hall prepare, Unbless'd, abandon’d to the wrath of Jove? And form the costly feast with busy care. Daughter! what words have pass'd thy lips un There young Telemachus, his bloomy face weigh’d?
Glowing celestial sweet, with godlike grace (Replied the Thunderer to the martial maid :) Amid the circle shines: but hope and fear, 150 Deem not unjustly by my doom opprest,
(Painful vicissitude !) his bosom tear. Of human race the wisest and the best.
Now, imaged in his mind, he sees restored Neptune, by prayer repentant rarely won,
In peace and joy the people's rightful lord; Afiets the chief, to avenge his giant son,
The proud oppressors fly the vengeful sword.
Affianced in my faith, a ready guest :
And to the dome the unknown celestial leads.
Ulysses' arms, now long disused to blood. 170 Bid him, arrived in bright Calypso's court,
He led the goddess to the sovereign seat,
(A purple carpet spread the pavement wide ;)
With insolence, and wine, elate and loud :
The golden ewer a maid obsequious brings,
Replenish'd from the cool, translucent springs ; 180 Who crowd his palace, and with lawless power With copious water the bright vase supplies His herds and focks in feastful rites devour. A silver laver of capacious size: To distant Sparta, and the spacious waste ' They wash. The tables in fair order spread, Of sandy Pyle, the royal youth shall haste. They heap the glittering canisters with bread : There, warm with filial love, the cause inquire 120 Viands of various kinds allure the taste, That from his realm retards his god-like sire: of choicest sort and savour, rich repast ! Delivering early to the voice of fame,
Delicious wines the attending herald brought ; The promise of a great immortal name.
The gold gave lustre to the purple draught. She said : the sandals of celestial mould,
Lured with the vapour of the fragrant feast,
190 Fledged with ambrosial plumes, and rich with gold, In rush'd the suitors with voracious haste : Surround her feet: with these sublime she sails Marshall'd in order due, to each a sewer The aërial space, and mounts the winged gales : Presents, to bathe his hands, a radiant ewer. O'er earth and ocean wide prepared to soar,
Luxurious then they feast. Observant round Her dreaded arm a beamy javelin bore,
Gay stripling youths the brimming goblets crown'd Ponderous and vast ; which, when her fury burns, 130 The rage of hunger quell’d, they all advance, Proud tyrants humbles, and whole hosts o'erturns. And form to measured airs the mazy dance: From high Olympus prone her flight she bends, To Phemius was consign’d the chorded lyre, And in the realms of Ithaca descends.
Whose hand reluctant touch'd the warbling wire: Her lineaments divine, the grave disguise
Phemius, whose voice divine could sweetest sing Or Mentes' form conceald from human eyes High strains responsive to the vocal string. 206 (Mentes, the monarch of the Taphian land :)
Meanwhile, in whispers to his heavenly guest A glittering spear waved awful in her hand. His indignation thus the prince exprest. There in the portal placed the heaven-born maid, Indulge my rising grief, whilst these (my friend) Enormous riot and misrule survey'd.
With song and dance the pompous revel end. On hides of beeves, before the palace gate 140 Light is the dance, and doubly sweet the lays, (Sad spoils of luxury) the suitors sate.
When for the dear delight another pays.
And common turf, lie naked on the plain,
Thus manifest of right, I build my claim, Or doom'd to welter in the whelming main. 210 Sure founded on a fair maternal fame, Should he return, that troop so blithe and bold, Ulysses' son: but happier he, whom fate With purple robe inwrought, and stiff with gold, Hath placed beneath the storms which toss the great! Precipitant in fear would wing their flight,
Happier the son, whose hoary sire is blest 281 And curse their cumbrous pride's unwieldy weight. With humble affluence, and domestic rest! But, ah, I dream ! the appointed hour is fled; o Happier than I, to future empire born, And hope too long with vain delusion fed,
But dooin'd a father's wretched fate to mourn! Deaf to the rumour of fallacious fame,
To whom, with aspect mild, the guest divine : Gives to the roll of death his glorious name! Oh true descendant of a scepter'd line! With venial freedom let me now demand
The gods a glorious fate, from anguish free, Thy name, thy lineage, and paternal land; 220 To chaste Penelope's increase decree. Sincere, from whence began thy course, recite, But say, yon jovial troops so gaily drest, And to what ship I owe the friendly freight ? Is this a bridal or a friendly feast?
290 Now first to me this visit dost thou deign,
Or from their deed I rightlier may divine, Or number'd in my father's social train?
Unseemly flown with insolence and wine, All who deserved his choice, he made his own, Unwelcome revellers, whose lawless joy And, curious much to know, he far was known. Pains the sage ear, and hurts the sober eye?
My birth I boast (the blue-eyed virgin cries) Magnificence of old (the prince replied) From great Anchialus, renown'd and wise : Beneath our roof with virtue could reside; Mentes my name; I rule the Taphian race, Unblamed abundance crown'd the royal board, Whose bounds the deep circumfluent waves embrace: What time this dome revered her prudent lord; A duteous people, and industrious isle,
231 Who now (so heaven decrees) is doom'd to mourn, To naval arts inured, and stormy toil.
Bitter constraint, erroneous and forlorn.
300 Freighted with iron from my native land,
Better the chief, on llion's hostile plain,
Had fallen surrounded with his warlike train;
New to his friends' embrace, bad breathed his last ! Far from your capital my ship resides
Then grateful Greece with streaming eyes would At Reithrus, and secure at anchor rides;
raise Where waving groves on airy Neron grow,
Historic marbles to record his praise ; Supremely tall, and shade the deeps below. 240 His praise, eternal on the faithful stone, Thence to revisit your imperial dome,
Had with transmissive honour graced his son. An old hereditary guest I come:
Now snatch'd by harpies to the dreary coast, Your father's friend. Laertes can relate
Sunk is the hero, and his glory lost :
310 Our faith unspotted, and its early date;
Vanish'd at once! unheard of, and unknown!
Nor for a dear lost father only flow
With friendly speed, induced erring fame, Dulichium, and Zacynthus' sylvan reign: To hail Ulysses' safe return, I came;
Even with presumptuous hope her bed to ascend, But still the frown of some celestial power
The lords of Ithaca their right pretend.
320 With envious joy retards the blissful hour.
She seems attentive to their pleaded vows, Let not your soul be sunk in sad despair :
Her heart detesting what her ear allows. He lives, he breathes this heavenly vital air, They, vain expectants of the bridal lour, Among a savage race, whose shelfy bounds My stores in riotous expense devour, With ceaseless roar the foaming deep surrounds. In feast and dance the minhful months employ, The thoughts which roll within my ravish'd breast, And meditate my doom to crown their joy. To me, no seer, the inspiring gods suggest; 260 With tender pity touch'd, the goddess cried: Nor skill'd, nor studious, with prophetic eye Soon may kind heaven a sure relief provide, To judge the winged omens of the sky.
Soon may your sire discharge the vengeance due Yet hear this certain speech, nor deem it vain; And all your wrongs the proud oppressors rue.
330 Though adamantine bonds ahe chief restrain, Oh! in that portal should the chief appear, The dire restraint his wisdom will defeat,
Each hand tremendous with a brazen spear,
In radiant panoply his limbs incased
When social mirth unbent his serions soul,
O'er the full banquet, and the sprightly bowl:) The same his features, if the same his years. 270 He then from Ephyré the fair domain Such was the face on which I dwelt with joy, Of Ilus, sprung from Jason's royal strain, Ere Greece assembled stemm'd the tides to Troy; Measured a length of seas, a toilsome length, in vain But, parting then for that detested shore,
For, voyaging to learn the direful art
34C Our eyes, unhappy! never greeted more.
To taint with deadly drugs the barbed dart,
| Nus refused to impart the baneful trust :
With friendlier zeal my father's soul was fired, | I shall revisit; and that pledge receive;
Abrupt, with eagle-speed she cut the sky;
Wonder and joy alternate fire his breast:
Heroic thoughts, infused, his heart dilate: But of his wish'd return the care resign; 350 Revolving much his father's doubtful fate. Be future vengeance to the powers divine.
At length, composed, he join'd the suitor-throng; My sentence hear: with stern distaste avow'd, Hush'd in attention to the warbled song.
420 To their own districts drive the suitor-crowd : His tender theme the charming lyrist chose When next the morning warms the purple east, Minerva's anger, and the dreadful woes Convoke the peerage, and the gods attest;
Which voyaging from Troy the victors bore, The sorrows of your inmost soul relate;
While storms vindictive intercept the shore. And form sure plans, to save the sinking state. The shrilling airs the vaulted roof rebounds, Should second love a pleasing flame inspire, Reflecting to the queen the silver sounds. And the chaste queen connubial rites require; With grief renew'd the weeping fair descends ; Dismiss'd with honour, let her hence repair 360 Their sovereign's step a virgin train attends ; To great Icarius, whose paternal care
A veil, of richest texture wrought, she wears, Will guide her passion, and reward her choice And silent to the joyous hall repairs.
430 With wealthy dower, and bridal gifts of price. There from the portal, with her mild command, Then let this dictate of my love prevail :
Thus gently checks the minstrel's tuneful band : Instant, to foreign realms prepare to sail,
Phemius ! let acts of gods, and heroes old, To learn your father's fortunes : Fame may prove, What ancient bards in hall and bower have told, Or omen'd voice (the messenger of Jove)
Attemper'd to the lyre, your voice employ: Propitious to the search. Direct your toil
Such the pleased ear will drink with silent joy. Through the wide ocean first to sandy Pyle; But, oh! forbear that dear disastrous name, Of Nestor, hoary sage, his doom demand : 370 To sorrow sacred, and secure of fame: Thence speed your voyage to the Spartan strand ? My bleeding bosom sickens at the sound, For young Atrides to the Achaian coast
And every piercing note inflicts a wound. Arrived the last of all the victor host.
Why, dearest object of my duteous love, If yet Ulysses views the light, forbear,
(Replied the prince) will you the bard reprove? Till the fleet hours restore the circling year. Ofi, Jove's ethereal rays (resistless fire) But if his soul hath wing'd the destined flight, The chanter's soul and raptured song inspire ; Inhabitant of deep disastrous night;
Instinct divine! nor blame severe his choice, Homeward with pious speed repass the main, Warbling the Grecian woes with harp and voice To the pale shade funereal rites ordain,
For novel lays attract our ravish'd ears ; Plant the fair column o'er the vacant grave,
380 But old, the mind with inattention hears ; A hero's honours let the hero have.
Patient permit the sadly pleasing strain ; With decent grief the royal dead deplored, Familiar now with grief, your tears refrain, For the chaste queen select an equal lord.
And in the public woe forget your own; Then let revenge your daring mind employ, You weep not for a perish'd lord alone. By fraud or force the suitor-train destroy,
What Greeks now wandering in the Stygian gloom, And starting into manhood, scorn the boy. With your Ulysses shared an equal doom : Hast thou not heard how young Orestes, fired Your widow'd hours, apart, with female toil With great revenge, immortal praise acquired ? And various labours of the loom beguile : His virgin-sword, Ægysthus' veins imbrued; There rule, from palace-cares remote and free; The murderer fell, and blood atoned for blood. 390 That care to man belongs, and most to me. O greatly bless'd with every blooming grace! Mature beyond his years, the queen admires With equal steps the paths of glory trace:
His sage reply, and with her train retires. Join to that royal youth's your rival name, Then swelling sorrows burst their former bounds, And shine eternal in the sphere of fame.-
With echoing grief afresh the dome resounds; But my associates now my stay deplore,
Till Pallas, piteous of her plaintive cries, Impatient on the hoarse-resounding shore.
In slumber closed her silver-streaming eyes. Thou, heedful of advice, secure proceed;
Meantime, rekindled at the royal charms, My praise the precept is, be thine the deed. Tumultuous love each beating bosom warms;
The counsel of my friend (the youth rejoin'd) Intemperate rage a wordy war began;
Obey that sweet compulsion, nor profane
With dissonance the smooth melodious strain. And the rich pledge of plighted faith receive, Pacific now prolong the jovial feast; Worthy the heir of Ithaca to give.
But when the dawn reveals the rosy east, Defer the promised boon (the goddess cries, I, 10 the peers assembled, shall propose Celestial azure brightening in her eyes,)
The firm resolve, I here to few disclose : And let me now regain the Reithrian port:
No longer live the cankers of my court; From Temesè return'd, your royal court 4101 All to their several states with speed resort
Waste in wild riot what your land allows,
Sole with Telemachus her service ends, There ply the early feast, and late carouse. 480 A child she nursed him, and a man attends.) But if, to honour lost, 'tis still decreed
Whilst to his couch himself the prince addrest, For you my bowl shall flow, my flock shall bleed; The duteous dame received the purple vest; 550 Judge and revenge my right, impartial Jove ! The purple vest with decent care disposed, By him and all the immortal thrones above The silver ring she pull’d, the door reclosed ; (A sacred oath,) each proud oppressor slain, The bolt, obedient to the silken cord, Shall with inglorious gore this marble stain. To the strong staple's inmost depth restored,
Awed by the prince, thus haughty, bold, and young, Secured the valves. There wrapt in silent shade, Rage gnaw'd the lip, and wonder chain'd the tongue. Pensive, the rules the goddess gave, he weigh’d; Silence at length the gay Antinoüis broke, Stretch'd on the downy fleece, no rest he knows, Constrain'd a smile, and thus ambiguous spoke : 490 And in his raptured soul the vision glows. What god to your untutor’d youth affords This headlong torrent of amazing words? May Jove delay thy reign, and cumber late So bright a genius with the toils of state.
BOOK II. Those toils (Telemachus serene replies)
ARGUMENT. Have charms, with all their weight, to allure the wise.
The council of Ithaca. Fast by the throne obsequious fame resides,
Telemachus, in the assembly of the lords of Ithaca, comAnd wealth incessant rolls her golden tides.
plains of the injustice done him by the suitors, and in. Nor let Antinoüs rage, if strong desire
sists upon their departure from his palace; appealing Of wealth and fame a youthful bosom fire; 500 to the princes, and exciting the people to declare Elect by Jove his delegate of sway,
against them. The suitors endeavour to justify their With joyous pride the summons I'd obey.
stay, at least till he shall send the queen to the court Whene'er Ulysses roams the realm of night,
of Icarius her father; which he refuses There ap. Should factious power dispute my lineal right,
pears a prodigy of two eagles in the sky, which an Some other Greeks a fairer claim may plead;
augur expounds to the ruin of the suitors. Telemachus
then demands a vessel to carry him to Pylos and To your pretence their title would precede.
Sparta, there to inquire of his father's fortunes. Pal. At least, the sceptre lost, I still should reign
las, in the shape of Mentor, (an ancient friend of Sole o'er my vassals, and domestic train.
Ulysses) helps him to a ship, assists him in preparing To this Eurymachus : To heaven alone
necessaries for the voyage, and embarks with him Refer the choice to fill the vacant throne. 510
that night; which concludes the second day from the Your patrimonial stores in peace possess ;
opening of the poem. Undoubted, all your filial claim confess :
The scene continues in the palace of Ulysses, in Ithaca. Your private right should impious power invade, The peers of Ithaca would arm in aid.
BOOK II. But say, that stranger guest who late withdrew,
Now reddening from the dawn, the morning-ray What and from whence ? his name and lineage show. Glow'd in the front of heaven, and gave the day. His grave demeanour and majestic grace
The youthful hero, with returning light, Speak him descended of no vulgar race:
Rose anxious from the inquietudes of night. Did he some loan of ancient right require,
A royal robe he wore with graceful pride, Or came fore-runner of your scepter'd sire ? 520
A two-edged falchion threaten’d by his side, Oh son of Polybus! the prince replies,
Embroider'd sandals glitter'd as he trod, No more my sire will glad these longing eyes :
And forth he moved majestic as a god, The queen's fond hope inventive rumour cheers,
Then by his heralds, restless of delay, Or vain diviners' dreams divert her fears.
To council calls the peers : the peers obey. 10 That stranger-guest the Taphian realm obeys,
Soon as in solemn form the assembly sate, A realm defended with encircling seas.
From his high dome himself descends in state. Mentes, an ever-honour'd name, of old
Bright in his hand a ponderous javelin shined;
Two dogs, a faithful guard, attend behind;
Pallas with grace divine his form improves,
530 And gazing crowds admire him as he moves. Meantime the lyre rejoins the sprightly lay ; His father's throne he fill'd : while distant stood Love-dittied airs, and dance, conclude the day. But when the star of eve with golden light
The hoary peers, and aged wisdom bow'd.
'Twas silence all. At last Ægyptius spoke ; Adorn'd the matron brow of sable night,
20 The mirthful train dispersing quit the court,
Ægyptius by his age and sorrows broke:
A length of days his soul with prudence crown'd, And to their several domes to rest resort.
A length of days that bent him to the ground. A towering structure to the palace join'd;
His eldest hope* in arms to llion came, To this his steps the thoughtful prince inclined:
By great Ulysses taught the path to fame; In his pavilion there, to sleep repairs;
But (hapless youth) the hideous Cyclops tore The lighted torch, the sage Eurycles bears ; 540 His quivering limbs, and quaff”d his spouting gore. (Daughter of Ops, the just Pisenor's son,
Three sons remain'd: to climb with baughty firés For twenty beeves by great Laertes won;
The royal bed, Eurynomus aspires; In rosy prime with charms attractive graced,
The rest with duteous love his griefs assuage, Honour'd by him, a gentle lord and chaste,
And ease the sire of half the cares of age.
30 With dear esteem : too wise, with jealous strife To taint the joys of sweet connubial life.