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“ On him and his may the bright god of day
That base, inhospitable blow repay !"
The nurse replies : “ If Jove receive my prayer,
Not one survives to breathe to-morrow's air.”

All, all are foes, and mischief is their end; 590
Antinous most to gloomy death a friend,”
Replies the queen: "the stranger begg’d their grace,
And melting pity soften'd every face;
From every other hand redress he found,
But fell Antinous answer'd with a wound."

595 Amid her maids thus spoke the prudent queen, Then bade Eumæus call the pilgrim in. “ Much of the experienced man I long to hear, If or his certain eye, or listening ear, Have learn'd the fortunes of my wandering lord.” Thus she, and good Eumæus took the word. 601

“ A private audience if thy grace impart, The stranger's words may ease the royal heart. His sacred eloquence in balm distils, And the sooth'd heart with secret pleasure fills. 605 Three days have spent their beams, three nights

have run Their silent journey, since his tale begun, Unfinish'd yet; and yet I thirst to hear ! As when some heaven-taught poet charms the ear, (Suspending sorrow with celestial strain 610 Breathed from the gods to soften human pain,) Time steals away with unregarded wing, And the soul hears him, though he cease to sing.

“ Ulysses late he saw, on Cretan ground, (His father's guest,) for Minos' birth renown'd. 615 He now but waits the wind, to waft him o'er, With boundless treasure, from Thesprotia's shore."

To this the qeeen: “The wanderer let me hear, While yon luxurious race indulge their cheer, Devour the grazing ox, and browsing goat, 620 And turn my generous vintage down their throat. For where's an arm, like thine, Ulysses, strong, To curb wild riot, and to punish wrong?"

She spoke. Telemachus then sneezed aloud; Constrain'd, his nostril echo'd through the crowd. The smiling queen the happy onen bless'd: 626 “So may these impious fall, by fate oppress'd !" Then to Eumæus: “Bring the stranger, fly! And if my questions meet a true reply, Graced with a decent robe he shall retire,

630 A gift in season which his wants require.”

Thus spoke Penelope. Eumæus flies In duteous haste, and to Ulysses cries; “The queen invites thee, venerable guest ! A secret instinct moves her troubled breast, 635 Of her long-absent lord from thee to gain Some light, and soothe her soul's eternal pain. If true, if faithful thou, her grateful mind Of decent robes a present has design'd; So finding favour in the royal eye,

640 Thy other wants her subjects shall supply."

« Fair truth alone,” the patient man replied, “ My words shall dictate, and my lips shall guide. To him, to me, one common lot was given, In equal woes, alas ! involved by Heaven. 645 Much of his fates I know; but check'd by fear I stand; the hand of violence is here : Here boundless wrongs the starry skies invade, And injured suppliants seek in vain for aid. Let for a space the pensive queen attend, 650 Nor claim my story till the sun descend; Then in such robes as suppliants may require, Composed and cheerful by the genial fire, When loud uproar and lawless riot cease, Shall her pleased ear receive my words in peace.”

Swift to the queen returns the gentle swain : 656 “ And say,” she cries, “ does fear, or shame, detain The cautious stranger? With the begging kind Shame suits but ill.” Eumæus thus rejoin'd: “He only asks a more propitious hour,

660 And shuns (who would not?) wicked men in power;

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At evening mild (meet season to confer)
By turns to question, and by turns to hear."

** Whoe'er this guest,” the prudent queen replies, “ His every step and every thought is wise. 665 For men like these on earth ye shall not find In all the miscreant race of human kind."

Thus she. Eumæus all her words attends, And, parting, to the suitor powers descends; There seeks Telemachus, and thus apart 670 In whispers breathes the fondness of his heart:

“ The time, my lord, invites me to repair Hence to the lodge; my charge demands my care. These sons of murder thirst thy life to take; Oh guard it, guard it, for thy servant's sake!" 675 “ Thanks to my friend,” he cries; “ but now the

hour
Of night draws on, go seek the rural bower:
But first refresh ; and at the dawn of day
Hither a victim to the gods convey.
Our life to Heaven's immortal powers we trust, 680
Safe in their care, for Heaven protects the just.

Observant of his voice, Eumæus sat
And fed recumbent on a chair of state.
Then instant rose, and as he moved along,
Twas riot all amid the suitor throng;

685
They feast, they dance, and raise the mirthful song.
Till now, declining toward the close of day,
The sun obliquely shot his dewy ray,

BOOK XVII I.

ARGUMENT.

The Fight of Ulysses and Irus.

The beggar Irus insults Ulysses; the suitors promote the quar

rel, in which Irus is worsted, and miserably handled-Pe. nelope descends, and receives the presents of the suitorsThe dialogue of Ulysses with Eurymachus.

WHILE fix'd in thought the pensive hero sat,
A mendicant approach'd the royal gate;
A surly vagrant of the giant kind,
The stain of manhood, of a coward mind :
From feast to feast, insatiate to devour

5
He flew, attendant on the genial hour.
Him on his mother's knees, when babe he lay,
She named Arnæus on his natal day;
But Irus his associates call'd the boy,
Practised the common messenger to fly;

10 Irus, a name expressive of the employ.

From his own roof with meditated blows, He strove to drive the man of mighty woes. “ Hence, dotard ! hence, and timely speed thy way, Lest dragg’d in vengeance thou repent thy stay ; 15 See how with nods assent yon princely train ! But honouring age, in mercy I refrain; In peace away ! lest if persuasions fail, This arm with blows more eloquent prevail."

To whom with stern regard : “ Oh insolence, 20 Indecently to rail without offence! What bounty gives without a rival share ; I ask, what harmis not thee, to breathe this air :

Alike on alms we both precarious live:
And canst thou envy when the great relieve? 25
Know from the bounteous heavens all riches flow,
And what man gives, the gods by man bestow;
Proud as thou art, henceforth no more be proud,
Lest I imprint my vengeance in thy blood;
Old as I am, should once my sury burn,

30 How wouldst thou fly, nor ev'n in thought return !"

“Mere woman-glutton !” thus the churl replied: “ A tongue so flippant, with a throat so wide! Why cease I, gods! to dash those teeth away, Like some wild boar's, that greedy of his prey 35 Uproots the bearded corn? Rise, try the fight, Gird well thy loins, approach, and feel my might: Sure of defeat, before the peers engage; Unequal fight, when youth contends with age !"

Thus in a wordy war their tongues display 40 More fierce intents, preluding to the fray ; Antinous hears, and in a jovial vein, Thus with loud laughter to the suitor train :

“This happy day in mirth, my friends, employ, And lo! the gods conspire to crown our joy. 45 See ready for the fight, and hand to hand, Yon surly mendicants contentious stand: Why urge we not to blows ?" Well pleased they

spring Swift from their seats, and thickening form a ring.

To whom Antinous: “Lo! enrich'd with blood, A kid's well-fatted entrails, (tasteful food,) 51 On glowing embers lie; on him bestow The choicest portion who subdues his foe; Grant him unrivall'd in these walls to stay, The sole attendant on the genial day.”

55 The lords applaud : Ulysses then with art, And fears well feign'd, disguised his dauntless heart:

“ Worn as I am with age, decay'd with wo? Say, is it baseness to decline the foe? Hard conflict! when calamity and age

60 With vigorous youth, unknown to cares, engage!

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