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The Interview of Telemachus and Nestor. Telemachus, guided by Pallas in the shape of Mentor, arrives in the morning at Pylos, where Nestor and his sons are sacrificing on the sea-shore to Neptune. Telemachus declares the occasion of his coming; and Nestor relates what past in their return from Troy, how their fleets were separated, and he never since heard of Ulysses. They discourse concerning the death of Agamemnon, the revenge of Orestes, and the injuries of the suitors. Nestor advises him to go to Sparta, and inquire further of Menelaus. The sacrifice ending with the night, Minerva vanishes from them in the form of an eagle: Telemachus is lodged in the palace. The next morning they sacrifice a bullock to Minerva; and Telemachus proceeds on his journey to Sparta, attended by Pisistratus.

The scene lies on the sea-shore of Pylos.




THE sacred sun, above the waters rais'd,

Thro' Heaven's eternal, brazen portals blaz'd;
And wide o'er earth diffus'd his cheering ray,
To gods and men to give the golden day.
Now on the coast of Pyle the vessel falls,
Before old Neleus' venerable walls.
There, suppliant to the monarch of the flood,
At nine green theatres the Pylians stood,
Each held five hundred (a deputed train),
At each, nine oxen on the sand lay slain.
They taste the entrails, and the altars load
With smoking thighs, an offering to the god.
Full for the port the Ithacensians stand,
And furl their sails, and issue on the land.
Telemachus already prest the shore;
Not first, the power of wisdom march'd before,
And ere the sacrificing throng he join'd,
Admonish'd thus his well-attending mind.
Proceed, my son! this youthful shame expel;
An honest business never blush to tell.
To learn what fates thy wretched sire detain,
We past the wide, immeasurable main.

Meet then the senior far renown'd for sense,
With reverend awe, but decent confidence:
"Urge him with truth to frame his fair replies;
And sure he will: for wisdom never lies.

Oh tell me, Mentor! tell me, faithful guide
(The youth with prudent modesty reply'd),
How shall I meet, or how accost the sage,
Unskill'd in speech, nor yet mature of age?







Awful th' approach, and hard the task appears,
To question wisely men of riper years.

To whom the martial goddess thus rejoin'd. Search, for some thoughts, thy own suggesting mind;

And others, dictated by heavenly power,
Shall rise spontaneous in the needful hour.
For nought unprosperous shall thy ways attend,




Born with good omens, and with Heaven thy friend.
She spoke, and led the way with swiftest speed:
As swift, the youth pursu'd the way she led;
And join'd the band before the sacred fire,
Where sate, encompast with his sons, the sire.
The youth of Pylos, some on pointed wood
Transfix'd the fragments, some prepar'd the food:
In friendly throngs they gather to embrace
Their unknown guests, and at the banquet place.
Pisistratus was first to grasp their hands,
And spread soft hides upon the yellow sands;
Along the shore th' illustrious pair he led,
Where Nestor sate with youthful Thrasymed.
To each a portion of the feast he bore,
And held the golden goblet foaming o'er;
Then first approaching to the elder guest,
The latent goddess in these words addrest.
Whoe'er thou art, whom fortune brings to keep
These rites of Neptune, monarch of the deep,
Thee first it fits, oh stranger! to prepare
The due libation and the solemn prayer:
Then give thy friend to shed the sacred wine:



Though much thy younger, and his years like mine,
He too, I deem, implores the powers divine:
For all mankind alike require their grace,


All born to want; a miserable race!

He spake, and to her hand preferr'd the bowl:

A secret pleasure touch'd Athena's soul,


To see the preference due to sacred age
Regarded ever by the just and sage.

Of Ocean's king she then implores the grace.

Oh thou! whose arms this ample globe embrace,

Fulfil our wish, and let thy glory shine


On Nestor first, and Nestor's royal line;

Next grant the Pylian states their just desires,
Pleas'd with their hecatomb's ascending fires;
Last deign Telemachus and me to bless,
And crown our voyage with desir'd success.
Thus she; and having paid the rite divine,
Gave to Ulysses' son the rosy wine.
Suppliant he pray'd. And now the victims drest
They draw, divide, and celebrate the feast.
The banquet done, the narrative old man,
Thus mild, the pleasing conference began.
Now, gentle guests! the genial banquet o'er,
It fits to ask ye, what your native shore,
And whence your race? on what adventure, say,
Thus far you wander through the watery way?
Relate, if business, or the thirst of gain,
Engage your journey o'er the pathless main:
Where savage pirates seek through seas unknown
The lives of others, venturous of their own.




Urg'd by the precepts by the goddess given, And fill'd with confidence infus'd from Heaven, The youth, whom Pallas destin'd to be wise And fam'd among the sons of men, replies. Inquir'st thou, father! from what coast we came? (Oh grace and glory of the Grecian name!) From where high Ithaca o'erlooks the floods, Brown with o'er-arching shades and pendent woods,



Us to these shores our filial duty draws,
A private sorrow, not a public cause.
My sire I seek, where'er the voice of fame
Has told the glories of his noble name,
The great Ulysses; fam'd from shore to shore
For valour much, for hardy suffering more.
Long time with thee before proud Ilion's wall
In arms he fought: with thee beheld her fall.
Of all the chiefs, this hero's fate alone
Has Jove reserv'd, unheard-of, and unknown;
Whether in fields by hostile fury slain,
Or sunk by tempests in the gulfy main?
Of this to learn, opprest with tender fears,
Lo, at thy knee his suppliant son appears.




If or thy certain eye, or curious ear,

Have learnt his fate, the whole dark story clear:

And, oh! whate'er heaven destin'd to betide,


Let neither flattery smooth, nor pity hide.
Prepar'd I stand: he was but born to try
The lot of man; to suffer and to die.
Oh then, if ever through the ten years' war
The wise, the good Ulysses claim'd thy care;
If e'er he join'd thy council, or thy sword,
True in his deed, and constant to his word;
Far as thy mind though backward tine can see,
Search all thy stores of faithful memory:
'Tis sacred truth I ask, and ask of thee.

To him experienc'd Nestor thus rejoin'd:


O friend! what sorrows dost thou bring to mind!
Shall I the long, laborious scene review,
And open all the wounds of Greece anew?
What toils by sea! where dark in quest of
Dauntless we rov'd; Achilles led the way:
What toils by land! where mixt in fatal fight
Such numbers fell, such heroes sunk to night:
There Ajax great, Achilles there the brave,
There wise Patroclus, fill an early grave:
There too my son-ah, once my best delight,
Once swift of foot, and terrible in fight;
In whom stern courage with soft virtue join'd,
A faultless body, and a blameless mind:
Antilochus-What more can I relate?
How trace the tedious series of our fate?
Not added years on years my task could close,
The long historian of my country's woes:
Back to thy native islands might'st thou sail,
And leave half-heard the melancholy tale.
Nine painful years on that detested shore;
What stratagems we form'd, what toils we bore!
Still labouring on, till scarce at last we found
Great Jove propitious, and our conquest crown'd.
Far o'er the rest thy mighty father shin'd,
In wit, in prudence, and in force of mind.
Art thou the son of that illustrious sire?








With joy I grasp thee, and with love admire.

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