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Three years thy house their lawless rule has seen,
435 Fond hopes to all, and all with hopes deceives."
To this Ulysses : “ Oh celestial maid ! Praised be thy counsel, and thy timely aid : Else had I seen my native walls in vain, Like great Atrides, just restored and slain. 440 Vouchsafe the means of vengeance to debate, And plan with all thy arts the scene of fate. Then, then be present, and my soul inspire, As when we wrapp'd Troy's heaven-built walls in
fire. Though leagued against me hundred heroes stand, Hundreds shall fall, if Pallas aid my hand." 446
She answered : “In the dreadful day of fight, Know, I am with thee, strong in all my might. If thou but equal to thyself be found, What gasping numbers then shall press the ground ! What human victims stain the feastful floor! 451 How wide the pavements float with guilty gore ! It fits thee now to wear a dark disguise, And secret walk unknown to mortal eyes. For this my hand shall wither every grace, 455 And every elegance of form and face, O'er thy smooth skin a bark of wrinkles spread, Turn hoar the auburn honours of thy head : Disfigure every limb with coarse attire, And in thy eyes extinguish all the fire ;
460 Add all the wants and the decays of life ; Estrange thee from thy own-thy son, thy wife : From the loathed object every sight shall turn, And the blind suitors their destruction scorn.
“ Go first the master of thy herds to find, 465 True to his charge, a loyal swain and kind : For thee he sighs; and to the royal heir And chaste Penelope extends his care.
At the Coracian rock he now resides,
475 To Sparta, still with female beauty gay: For know to Sparta thy loved offspring came, To learn thy fortunes from the voice of Fame."
At this the father, with a father's care : “ Must he too suffer ? he, oh goddess ! bear 480 Of wanderings and of woes a wretched share ? Through the wild ocean plough the dangerous way, And leave his fortunes and his house a prey ? Why wouldst not thou, oh all-enlightened mind! Inform him certain, and protect him, kind ?" 485
To whom Minerva: “Be thy soul at rest; And know, whatever Heaven ordains is best. To fame I sent him, to acquire renown; To other regions is his virtue known: Secure he sits, near great Atrides placed ; 490 With friendships strengthen'd, and with honours
The Conversation with Eumæus.
Ulysses arrives in disguise at the house of Eumæus, where he
is received, entertained, and lodged with the utmost hospitality-The several discourses of that faithful old servant, with the feigned story told by Ulysses to conceal himself, and other conversations on various subjects, take up this entire book.
But he, deep-musing, o'er the mountains stray'd
10 (In absence of his lord, with honest toil His own industrious hands had raised the pile.) The wall was stone from neighbouring quarries
borne, Encircled with a fence of native thorn, And strong with pales, by many a weary stroke 15 Of stubborn labour hewn from heart of oak; Frequent and thick. Within the space were rear'd Twelve ample cells, the lodgments of his herd. Full fifty pregnant females each contain'd; The males without (a smaller race) remain'd; 20
Doom'd to supply the suitors' wasteful feast,
30 Sigh’d, while he furnish'd the luxurious board, And wearied Heaven with wishes for his lord.
Soon as Ulysses near the enclosure drew, With open mouths the furious mastiffs flew: Down sat the sage, and cautious to withstand, 35 Let fall the offensive truncheon from his hand. Sudden, the master runs ; aloud he calls ; And from his hasty hand the leather falls ; With showers of stones he drives them far away; The scattering dogs around at distance bay. 40
“ Unhappy stranger !" thus the faithful swain Began with accent gracious and humane, " What sorrow had been mine, if at my gate Thy reverend age had met a shameful fate! Enough of woes already have I known;
45 Enough my master's sorrows and my own. While here (ungrateful task !) his herds I feed, Ordain'd for lawless rioters to bleed ; Perhaps, supported at another's board, Far from his country roams my hapless lord ! 50 Or sigh'd in exile forth his latest breath, Now cover'd with the eternal shade of death!
“ But enter this my homely roof, and see, Our woods not void of hospitality. Then tell me whence thou art, and what the share 55 Of woes and wanderings thou wert born to bear ?"
He said, and, seconding the kind request, With friendly step precedes his unknown guest.