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On whose high branches, waving with the storm,
crown'd, And glowing violets threw odours round. A scene where if a god should cast his sight, 95 A god might gaze and wander with delight! Joy touch'd the messenger of heaven; he staid Entranced, and all the blissful haunts survey'd. Him, entering in the cave, Calypso knew; For powers celestial to each other's view 100 Stand still confess'd, though distant far they lie To habitants of earth, or sea, or sky. But sad Ulysses, by himself apart, Pour'd the big sorrows of his swelling heart; All on the lonely shore he sat to weep, 105 And roll’d his eyes around the restless deep; Towards his loved coast he roll’d his eyes in vain, Till, dimm'd with rising grief, they stream'd again.
Now graceful seated on her shining throne, To Hermes thus the nymph divine begun: 110 “ God of the silver wand! on what behest Arrivest thou here, an unexpected guest ? Loved as thou art, thy free injunctions lay; 'Tis mine, with joy and duty to obey. Till now a stranger, in a happy hour
115 Approach, and taste the dainties of my bower."
Thus having spoke, the nymph the table spread; (Ambrosial cates, with nectar rosy red ;) Hermes the hospitable rite partook, Divine refection! then, recruited, spoke :
“What moved this journey from my native sky, A goddess asks, nor can a god deny : Hear then the truth. By mighty Jove's command Unwilling have I trod this pleasing land; For who, self-moved, with weary wing would sweep Such length of ocean and unmeasured deep: 126 A world of waters ! far from all the ways Where men frequent, or sacred altars blaze ? But to Jove's will submission we must pay ; What power so great to dare to disobey ? 130 A man, he says, a man resides with thee, Of all his kind most worn with misery ; The Greeks, (whose arms for nine long years em
ploy'd Their force on Ilion, in the tenth destroy'd,) At length embarking in a luckless hour,
135 With conquest proud, incensed Minerva's power: Hence on the guilty race her vengeance hurld With storms pursued them through the liquid world. There all his vessels sunk beneath the wave! 139 There all his dear companions found their grave! Saved from the jaws of death by Heaven's decree, The tempest drove him to these shores and thee. Him, Jove now orders to his native lands Straight to dismiss ; so destiny commands: Impatient fate his near return attends,
145 And calls him to his country, and his friends.”
Ev'n to her inmost soul the goddess shook; Then thus her anguish and her passion broke:
Ungracious gods! with spite and envy cursed ! Still to your own ethereal race the worst ! 150 Ye envy mortal and immortal joy, And love, the only sweet of life, destroy. Did ever goddess by her charms engage A favour'd mortal, and not feel your rage ? So when Aurora sought Orion's love,
155 Her joys disturb'd your blissful hours above, Till, in Ortygia, Dian's winged dart Had pierced the hapless hunter to the heart.
So when the covert of the thrice-ear'd field
171 Received the friendless, and the hungry fed ; Nay promised, vainly promised, to bestow Immortal life, exempt from age and wo. 'Tis pass'd-and Jove decrees he shall remove ; 175 Gods as we are, we are but slaves to Jove. Go then he may: (he must, if he ordain, Try all those dangers, all those deeps again :) But never, never shall Calypso send To toil like these her husband and her friend. 180 What ships have I, what sailors to convey, What oars to cut the long laborious way? Yet I'll direct the safest means to go; That last advice is all I can bestow.”
To her the power who bears the charming rod : “ Dismiss the man, nor irritate the god; 186 Prevent the rage of him who reigns above, For what so dreadful as the wrath of Jove ?" Thus having said, he cut the cleaving sky, And in a moment vanish'd from her eye.
190 The nymph, obedient to divine command, To seek Ulysses, paced along the sand. Him pensive on the lonely beach she found, With streaming eyes in briny torrents drown'd, And inly pining for his native shore ;
195 For now the soft enchantress pleased no inore :
For now, reluctant, and constrain’d by charms,
Here on his musing mood the goddess press'd, Approaching soft; and thus the chief address'd : 206
Unhappy man! to wasting woes a prey, No more in sorrows languish life away: Free as the winds I give thee now to roveGo, fell the timber of yon lofty grove,
210 And form a raft, and build the rising ship, Sublime to bear thee o'er the gloomy deep. To store the vessel let the care be mine, With water from the rock, and rosy wine, And life-sustaining bread, and fair array, 215 And prosperous gales to wast thee on the way. These, if the gods with my desires comply, (The gods, alas! more nighty far than I, And better skill'd in dark events to come,) In peace shall land thee at thy native home." 220
With sighs Ulysses heard the words she spoke, Then thus his melancholy silence broke: “ Some other motive, goddess, sways thy mind; (Some close design, or turn of womankind ;) Nor my return the end, nor this the way, 225 On a slight raft to pass the swelling sea, Huge, horrid, vast! where scarce in safety sails The best built ship, though Jove inspire the gales. The bold proposal how shall I fulfil, Dark as I am, unconscious of thy will ?
230 Swear then thou mean'st not what my soul forebodes; Swear by the solemn oath that binds the gods."
Him, while he spoke, with smiles Calypso eyed, And gently grasp'd his hand, and thus replied :
6. This shows thee, friend, by old experience taught, And learned in all the wiles of human thought. 236 How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise ! But hear, oh earth, and hear, ye sacred skies ! And thou, oh Styx! whose formidable floods Glide through the shades, and bind the attesting gods!
240 No form’d design, no meditated end, Lurks in the counsel of thy faithful friend; Kind the persuasion, and sincere my aim; The same my practice, were my fate the same. Heaven has not cursed me with a heart of steel, 245 But given the sense to pity, and to feel.”
Thus having said, the goddess march'd before : He trod her footsteps in the sandy shore. At the cool cave arrived, they took their state; He fill'd the throne where Mercury had sat. 250 For him the nymph a rich repast ordains, Such as the mortal life of man sustains; Before herself were placed the cates divine, Ambrosial banquet, and celestial wine. Their hunger satiate, and their thirst repress'd, 255 Thus spoke Calypso to her godlike guest :
“Ulysses !" with a sigh she thus began; “ Oh sprung from gods! in wisdom more than man: Is then thy home the passion of thy heart? Thus wilt thou leave me, are we thus to part ? 260 Farewell! and ever joyful mayst thou be, Nor break the transport with one thought of me. But, ah, Ulysses! wert thou given to know What fate yet dooms thee yet to undergo; Thy heart might settle in this scene of ease, 265 And ev'n these slighted charms might learn to please. A willing goddess, and immortal life, Might banish from thy mind an absent wife. Am I inferior to a mortal dame ? Less soft my feature, less august my frame ? 270 Or shall the daughters of mankind compare Their earthborn beauties with the heavenly fair ?"