Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Straight to my anxious thoughts the sound convey'd The words of Circe and the Theban shade ; 321 Warn’d by their awful voice these shores to shun, With cautious fears oppress’d, I thus begun:

« « Oh friends! oh ever exercised in care ! Hear Heaven's commands, and reverence what ye hear!

325 To fly these shores the prescient Theban shade And Circe warn! oh be their voice obey'd : Some mighty wo relentless Heaven forebodes : Fly these dire regions, and revere the gods !

“ While yet I spoke, a sudden sorrow ran 330 Through every breast, and spread from man to man, Till wrathful thus Eurylochus began:

“Oh cruel thou! some fury sure has steel'd * That stubborn soul, by toil untaught to yield ! From sleep debarr’d, we sink from woes to woes; And cruel, enviest thou a short repose ?

336 Still must we restless rove, new seas explore, The sun descending, and so near the shore ? And lo! the night begins her gloomy reign, And doubles all the terrors of the main.

340 Oft in the dead of night loud winds arise, Lash the wild surge, and bluster in the skies; Oh should the fierce southwest his rage display, And toss with rising storms the watery way, Though gods descend from heaven's aerial plain 345 To lend us aid, the gods descend in vain; Then while the night displays her awful shade, Sweet time of slumber! be the night obey'd ! Haste ye to land! and when the morning ray Sheds her bright beams, pursue the destined way.' A sudden joy in every bosom rose :

351 So willd some dem n, minister of woes !

“ To whom with grief: 'Oh swift to be undone, Constrain'd I act what wisdom bids me shun. But yonder herds and yonder flocks forbear; 355 Attest the heavens, and call the gods to hear:

HOM. Ill. --M

Content, an innocent repast display,
By Circe given, and fly the dangerous prey."

“ Thus I: and while to shore the vessel flies,
With hands uplifted they attest the skies; 360
Then, where a fountain's gurgling waters play,
They rush to land, and end in feasts the day :
They feed, they quaff; and now their hunger fled,
Sigh for their friends devour'd, and mourn the

dead, Nor cease the tears till each in slumber shares 365 A sweet forgetfulness of human cares.

“ Now far the night advanced her gloomy reign, And setting stars rollid down the azure plain : When, at the voice of Jove, wild whirlwinds rise, And clouds and double darkness veil the skies; 370 The moon, the stars, the bright ethereal host Seem as extinct, and all their splendours lost; The furious tempest roars with dreadful sound: Air thunders, rolls the ocean, groans the ground. All night it raged: when morning rose, to land 375 We haul'd our bark, and moor'd it on the strand, Where in a beauteous grotto's cool recess Dance the green Nereids of the neighbouring seas. “There while the wild winds whistled o'er the

main, Thus careful I address'd the listening train : 380 “Oh friends, be wise! nor dare the flocks de

stroy Of these fair pastures: if ye touch, ye die. Warn'd by the high command of Heaven, be awed; Holy the flocks, and dreadful is the god! That god who spreads the radiant beams of light, And views wide earth and heaven's unmeasured height.'

386 “And now the moon had run i er monthly round, The southeast blustering with a dreadful sound : Unhurt the beeves, untouch'd the woolly train, Low through the grove, or range the flowery plain :

6

[ocr errors]

Then fail'd our food; then fish we make our prey,
Or fowl that screaming haunt the watery way.
Till now, from sea or flood no succour found,
Famine and meager want besieged us round.
Pensive and pale, from grove to grove I stray'd, 395
From the loud storms to find a sylvan shade;
There o'er my hands the living wave I pour;
And Heaven and Heaven's immortal thrones adore,
To calm the roarings of the stormy main,
And grant me peaceful to my realms again. 400
Then o'er my eyes the gods soft slumber shed,
While thus Eurylochus, arising, said:

“. Oh friends, a thousand ways frail mortals lead
To the cold tomb, and dreadful all to tread;
But dreadful most, when by a slow decay 405
Pale hunger wastes the manly strength away.
Why cease ye then to implore the powers above,
And offer hecatombs to thundering Jove ?
Why seize ye not yon beeves, and fleecy prey ?
Arise unanimous; arise and slay!

410 And if the gods ordain a safe return, To Phoebus shrines shall rise, and altars burn. But, should the powers that o'er mankind preside Decree to plunge us in the whelming tide, Better to rush at once to shades below,

415 Than linger life away, and nourish wo!'

• Thus he: the beeves around securely stray,
When swift to ruin they invade the prey;
They seize, they kill!-but for the rite divine,
The barley fail'd, and for libations wine.
Swift from the oak they strip the shady pride ;
And verdant leaves the flowery cake supplied.

“ With prayer they now address the ethereal train,
Slay the selected beeves, and flay the slain :
The thighs, with fat involved, divide with art, 425
Strew'd o'er with morsels cut from every part,
Water, instead of wine, is brought in urns,
And pour'd profanely as the victim burns,

420

The thighs thus offer'd, and the entrails dress'd, 429 They roast the fragments, and prepare the feast.

“'Twas then soft slumber fled my troubled brain; Back to the bark I speed along the main. When lo! an odour from the feast exhales, Spreads o'er the coast, and scents the tainted gales ; A chilly fear congeal'd my vital blood,

435 And thus, obtesting Heaven, I mourn'd aloud :

“Oh sire of men and gods, immortal Jove ! Oh all ye blissful powers that reign above! Why were my cares beguiled in short repose ? Oh fatal slumber, paid with lasting woes! 440 A deed so dreadful all the gods alarms, Vengeance is on the wing, and Heaven in arms!'

“ Meantime Lampetie mounts the aerial way, And kindles into rage the god of day: 6. Vengeance, ye powers,' he cries, and thou whose hand

445 Aims the red bolt, and hurls the writhen brand ! Slain are those herds which I with pride survey, When through the ports of heaven I pour the day, Or deep in ocean plunge the burning ray. Vengeance, ye gods ! or I the skies forego, 450 And bear the lamp of heaven to shades below.' “ To whom the thundering Power : 'Oh source of

day! Whose radiant lamp adorns the azure way, Still may thy beams through heaven's bright portals

rise, The joy of earth, and glory of the skies; 455 Lo! my red arm I bare, my thunders guide, To dash the offenders in the whelming tide.'

“ To fair Calypso, from the bright abodes, Hermes convey'd these counsels of the gods.

“ Meantime from man to man my tongue exclaims, My wrath is kindled, and my soul in flames. 461 In vain! I view perform'd the direful deed, Beeves, slain by heaps, along the ocean bleed.

a

* Now Heaven gave signs of wrath; along the ground

464 Crept the raw hides, and with a bellowing sound Roard the dead limbs; the burning entrails groan'd. Six guilty days my wretched mates employ In impious feasting, and unhallow'd joy; The seventh arose, and now the sire of gods Rein'd the rough storms, and calm’d the tossing floods :

470 With speed the bark we climb; the spacious sails Loosed from the yards invite the impelling gales. Pass'd sight of shore, along the surge we bound, And all above is sky, and ocean all around; When lo! a murky cloud the Thunderer forms 475 Full o'er our heads, and blackens heaven with storms. Night dwells o'er all the deep: and now outflies The gloomy west, and whistles in the skies. The mountain billows roar! the furious blast Howls o'er the shroud, and rends it from the mast: The mast gives way, and crackling as it bends, 481 Tears up the deck; then all at once descends : The pilot, by the tumbling ruin slain, Dash'd from the helm, falls headlong in the main. Then Jove in anger bids his thunders roll, 485 And forky lightnings flash from pole to pole: Fierce at our heads his deadly bolt he aims, Red with uncommon wrath, and wrapp'd in flames; Full on the bark it fell; now high, now low, Toss'd and retoss'd, it reeld beneath the blow; 490 At once into the main the crew it shook : Sulphureous odours rose, and smouldering smoke. Like fowl that haunt the floods, they sink, they rise, Now lost, now seen, with shrieks and dreadful cries; And strive to gain the bark; but Jove denies. 495 Firm at the helm I stand, when fierce the main Rush'd with dire noise, and dash'd the sides in

twain ; Again impetuous drove the furious blast, Snapt the strong helm, and bore to sea the mast.

« ПредишнаНапред »