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" Thus, great Atrides! thus Ulysses drove The shades thou seest, from yon fair realms above; Our mangled bodies now deform’d with gore, Cold and neglected, spread the marble floor. 215 No friend to bathe our wounds! or tears to shed O'er the pale corse! the honours of the dead."
“Oh bless'd Ulysses !” thus the king express'd His sudden rapture, “in thy consort bless'd! Not more thy wisdom than her virtue shined; 220 Not more thy patience than her constant mind. Icarius' daughter, glory of the past, And model to the future age, shall last : The gods, to honour her fair fame, shall raise (Their great reward) a poet in her praise. 225 Not such, oh Tyndarus! thy daughter's deed, By whose dire hand her king and husband bled ; Her shall the muse to infamy prolong, Example dread, and theme of tragic song ! The general sex shall suffer in her shame, 230 And ev’n the best that bears a woman's name.
Thus in the regions of eternal shade Conferr'd the mournful phantoms of the dead; While from the town, Ulysses and his band Pass'd to Laertes' cultivated land.
235 The ground himself had purchased with his pain, And labour made the rugged soil a plain. There stood his mansion of the rural sort, With useful buildings round the lowly court; Where the few servants that divide his care 240 Took their laborious rest, and homely fare ; And one Sicilian matron, old and sage, With constant duty tends his drooping age.
Here now arriving, to his rustic band And martial son, Ulysses gave command. 245 “ Enter the house, and of the bristly swine Select the largest to the powers divine. Alone, and unattended, let me try If yet I share the old man's memory : If those dim eyes can yet Ulysses know, 250
(Their light and dearest object long ago,) Now changed with time, with absence, and with wo." Then to his train he gives his spear and shield; The house they enter; and he seeks the field, Through rows of shade, with various fruitage crown'd,
But all alone the hoary king he found ;
Beneath a neighbouring tree, the chief divine 270 Gazed o'er his sire, retracing every line, The ruins of himself! now worn away With age, yet still majestic in decay! Sudden his eyes released their watery store; The much-enduring man could bear no more. Doubtful he stood, if instant to embrace
275 His aged limbs, to kiss his reverend face, With eager transport to disclose the whole, And pour at once the torrent of his soul. Not so: his judgment takes the winding way Of question distant, and of soft essay;
280 More gentle methods on weak age employs; And moves the sorrows, to enhance the joys. Then, to his sire with beating heart he moves, And with a tender pleasantry reproves; Who digging round the plant still hangs his head, 285 Nor aught remits the work, while thus he said :
“Great is thy skill, oh father! great thy toil, Thy careful hand is stamp'd on all the soil,
Thy squadron'd vineyards well thy art declare,
320 Twelve cloaks, twelve vests, twelve tunics stiff with
gold; A bowl, that rich with polish'd silver flames, And, skill'd in female works, four lovely dames."
At this the father, with a father's fears : (His venerable eyes bedimm'd with tears :) 325
“ This is the land; but ah! thy gifts are lost,
“But, tell me who thou art ? and what thy race? Thy town, thy parents, and thy native place ? Or, if a merchant in pursuit of gain,
350 What port received thy vessel from the main ? Or comest thou single, or attend thy train ?"
Then thus the son: “From Alybas I came, My palace there ; Eperitus my name. Not vulgar born; from Aphidas, the king 355 Of Polyphemon's royal line, I spring. Some adverse demon from Sicania bore Our wandering course, and drove us on your shore ; Far from the town, an unfrequented bay Relieved our wearied vessel from the sea. 360 Five years have circled since these eyes pursued Ulysses parting through the sable flood;
Prosperous he saild with dexter auguries,
Quick through the father's heart these accents ran; Grief seized at once, and wrapp'd up all the man : Deep from his soul he sigh'd, and sorrowing spread A cloud of ashes on his hoary head.
370 Trembling with agonies of strong delight Stood the great son, heart-wounded with the sight: He ran, he seized him with a quick embrace, With thousand kisses wander'd o'er his face. “I, I am he; oh father, rise! behold
375 Thy son, with twenty winters now grown old; Thy son, so long desired, so long detain'd, Restored, and breathing in his native land: These floods of sorrow, oh my sire, restrain! The vengeance is complete ; the suitor train, 380 Stretch'd in our palace, by these hands lie slain."
Amazed, Laertes: “Give some certain sign, If such thou art, to manifest thee mine." “Lo here the wound," he cries, “received of yore, The scar indented by the tusky boar,
385 When, by thyself, and by Anticlea sent, To old Autolycus's realms I went. Yet by another sign thy offspring know; The several trees you gave me long ago, While, yet a child, these fields I loved to trace, 390 And trod thy footsteps with unequal pace ; To every plant in order as we came, Well-pleased, you told its nature and its name, Whate'er my childish fancy ask'd, bestow'd; Twelve pear-trees, bowing with their pendant load, And ten, that red with blushing apples glow'd; 396 Full fifty purple figs; and many a row of various vines that then began to blow, A future vintage! when the hours produce Their latent buds, and Sol exalts the juice." 400