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So like your voices, and your words so wise,
Who finds thee younger must consult his eyes.
Thy sire and I were one; nor vary'd ought
In public sentence, or in private thought;
Alike to council or th' assembly came,
With equal souls, and sentiments the same.
But when (by wisdom won) proud Ilion burn'd,
And in their ships the conquering Greeks re-



'Twas God's high will the victors to divide,
And turn th' event, confounding human pride:
Some he destroy'd, some scatter'd as the dust
(Not all were prudent, and not all were just).
Then Discord, sent by Pallas from above,
Stern daughter of the great avenger Jove,
The brother-kings inspir'd with fell debate;
Who call'd to council all th' Achaian state,
But call'd untimely (not the sacred rite
Observ'd, nor heedful of the setting light,
Nor herald sworn the session to proclaim).
Sour with debauch, a reeling tribe they came.



To these the cause of meeting they explain,

And Menelaüs moves to cross the main;
Not so the king of men: he will'd to stay,
The sacred rites and hecatombs to pay,
And calm Minerva's wrath. Oh blind to fate!


The gods not lightly change their love, or hate.
With ireful taunts each other they oppose,
Till in loud tumult all the Greeks arose.
Now different counsels every breast divide,
Each burns with rancour to the adverse side:
Th' unquiet night strange projects entertain'd
(So Jove, that urg'd us to our fate, ordain'd).
We, with the rising morn our ships unmoor'd,
And brought our captives and our stores aboard;
But half the people with respect obey'd

The king of men, and at his bidding stay'd.
Now on the wings of winds our course we keep



(For God had smooth'd the waters of the deep); 190 For Tenedos we spread our eager oars, There land, and pay due victims to the powers:

To bless our safe return, we join in prayer;

But angry Jove dispers'd our vows in air,

And rais'd new discord. Then (so Heaven decreed)

Ulysses first and Nestor disagreed:


Wise as he was, by various counsels sway'd,

He there, though late, to please the monarch, stay'd. But I, determin'd, stem the foamy floods,

Warn'd of the coming fury of the gods.

With us, Tydides fear'd, and urg'd his haste:
And Menelaüs came, but came the last.
He join'd our vessels in the Lesbian bay,
While yet we doubted of our watery way;
If to the right to urge the pilot's toil
(The safer road), beside the Psyrian isle;
Or the straight course to rocky Chios plough,
And anchor under Mimas' shaggy brow.
We sought direction of the power divine:
The god propitious gave the guiding sign;
Through the mid seas he bid our navy steer,
And in Eubea shun the woes we fear.
The whistling winds already wak'd the sky';
Before the whistling winds the vessels fly,
With rapid swiftness cut the liquid way,
And reach Gerestus at the point of day.
There hecatombs of bulls, to Neptune slain,
High-flaming please the monarch of the main.
The fourth day shone, when all their labours o'er,
Tydides' vessels touch'd the wish'd-for shore.
But I to Pylos scud before the gales,

The gods still breathing on my swelling sails;
Separate from all, I safely landed here;
Their fates or fortunes never reach'd my ear.
Yet what I learn'd, attend; as here I sate,
And ask'd each voyager each hero's fate;
Curious to know, and willing to relate.

Safe reach'd the Myrmidons their native land,
Beneath Achilles' warlike son's command.







Those, whom the heir of great Apollo's art, 230
Brave Philoctetes, taught to wing the dart;
And those whom Idomen from Ilion's plain
Had led, securely crost the dreadful main.

How Agamemnon touch'd his Argive coast,
And how his life by fraud and force he lost,
And how the murderer paid his forfeit breath;
What lands so distant from that scene of death
But trembling heard the fame? and heard, admire
How well the son appeas'd his slaughter'd sire!
Ev'n to th' unhappy, that unjustly bleed,
Heaven gives posterity, t' avenge the deed.
So fell Ægysthus; so may'st thou, my friend
(On whom the virtues of thy sire descend),
Make future times thy equal act adore,
And be what brave Orestes was before!




The prudent youth reply'd: O thou the grace

And lasting glory of the Grecian race!

Just was the vengeance, and to latest days
Shall long posterity resound the praise.
Some god this arm with equal prowess bless!
And the proud suitors shall its force confess;
Injurious men! who while my soul is sore
Of fresh affronts, are meditating more.
But Heaven denies this honour to my hand,
Nor shall my father re-possess the land:
The father's fortune never to return,



And the sad son's to suffer and to mourn!

Thus he and Nestor took the word: My son,
Is it then true, as distant rumours run,
That crowds of rivals for thy mother's charms
Thy palace fill with insults and alarms?
Say, is the fault, through tame submission, thine?
Or, leagu'd against thee, do thy people join,
Mov'd by some oracle, or voice divine?
And yet who knows, but ripening lies in fate
An hour of vengeance for th' afflicted state;
When great Ulysses shall suppress these harms,
Ulysses singly, or all Greece in arms.
But if Athena, war's triumphant maid,
The happy son will, as the father, aid




(Whose fame and safety was her constant care
In every danger and in every war:
Never on man did heavenly favour shine
With rays so strong, distinguish'd, and divine,

As those with which Minerva mark'd thy sire), 275

So might she love thee, so thy soul inspire!

Soon should their hopes in humble dust be laid,
And long oblivion of the bridal bed.

Ah! no such hope (the prince with sighs replies)
Can touch my breast; that blessing Heaven denies.
Ev'n by celestial favour were it given,



Fortune or fate would cross the will of Heaven.
What words are these, and what imprudence thine?
(Thus interpos'd the martial maid divine)
Forgetful youth! but know, the Power above
With ease can save each object of his love;
Wide as his will, extends his boundless grace:
Nor lost in time, nor circumscrib'd by place.
Happier his lot, who, many sorrows past,
Long labouring gains his natal shore at last;
Than who, too speedy, hastes to end his life
By some stern ruffian, or adulterous wife.
Death only is the lot which none can miss,
And all is possible to Heaven, but this.
The best, the dearest favourite of the sky
Must taste that cup, for man is born to die.



Thus check'd, reply'd Ulysses' prudent heir: Mentor, no more-the mournful thought forbear; For he no more must draw his country's breath, Already snatch'd by fate, and the black doom of death! Pass we to other subjects; and engage

On themes remote the venerable sage


(Who thrice has seen the perishable kind

Of men decay, and through three ages shin'd

Like gods majestic, and like gods in mind);


For much he knows, and just conclusions draws,

From various precedents, and various laws.

O son of Neleus! awful Nestor, tell

How he, the mighty Agamemnon, fell;

By what strange fraud Ægysthus wrought, relate 310
(By force he could not) such a hero's fate:
Liv'd Menelaüs not in Greece? or where
Was then the martial brother's pious care?
Condemn'd perhaps some foreign shore to tread;
Or sure Ægysthus had not dar'd the deed.


To whom the full of days. Illustrious youth,
Attend (though partly thou hast guest) the truth,
For had the martial Menelaus found
The ruffian breathing yet on Argive ground;
Nor earth had hid his carcass from the skies,
Nor Grecian virgins shriek'd his obsequies,
But fowls obscene dismember'd his remains,
And dogs had torn him on the naked plains.
While us the works of bloody Mars employ'd,
The wanton youth inglorious peace enjoy'd ;
He, stretch'd at ease in Argos' calm recess
(Whose stately steeds luxuriant pastures bless),
With flattery's insinuating art





Sooth'd the frail queen, and poison'd all her heart.
At first, with worthy shame and decent pride,
The royal dame his lawless suit deny'd.
For virtue's image yet possest her mind,
Taught by a master of the tuneful kind :
Atrides, parting for the Trojan war,
Consign'd the youthful consort to his care.
True to his charge, the bard preserv'd her long
In honour's limits; such the power of song.
But when the gods these objects of their hate
Dragg'd to destruction, by the links of fate;
The bard they banish'd from his native soil,
And left all helpless in a desert isle:
There he, the sweetest of the sacred train,
Sung dying to the rocks, but sung in vain.
Then virtue was no more; her guard away,
She fell, to lust a voluntary prey.

Ev'n to the temple stalk'd th' adulterous spouse,
With impious thanks, and mockery of vows,
With images, with garments, and with gold;
And odorous fumes from loaded altars roll'd.



Meantime from flaming Troy we cut the way, 350 With Menelaüs, through the curling sea.

But when to Sunium's sacred point we came,
Crown'd with the temple of th' Athenian dame;
Atrides' pilot, Phrontes, there expir'd
(Phrontes, of all the sons of men admir'd
To steer the bounding bark with steady toil,
When the storm thickens, and the billows boil);


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