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Say 'twas Ulysses; 'twas his deed, declare,
Laertes' son, of Ithaca the fair;

Ulysses, far in fighting fields renown'd,


Before whose arm Troy tumbled to the ground.

Th' astonish'd savage with a roar replies: O heav'ns! O faith of ancient prophecies! This, Telemus Eurymedes foretold,

(The mighty seer who on these hills grew old; Skill'd the dark fates of mortals to declare,


And learn'd in all wing'd omens of the air)
Long since he menac'd, such was fate's command
And nam'd Ulysses as the destin'd hand.
I deem'd some godlike giant to behold,


Or lofty hero, haughty, brave, and bold;
Not this weak pigmy-wretch, of mean design,
Who not by strength subdu'd me, but by wine.
But come, accept our gifts, and join to pray 605-
Great Neptune's blessing on the watʼry way:
For his I am, and I the lineage own:

Th' immortal father no less boasts the son.
His pow'r can heal me, and relight my eye;
And only his, of all the gods on high.


Oh! could this arm (I thus aloud rejoin'd) From that vast bulk dislodge thy bloody mind,

And send thee howling to the realms of night! As sure, as Neptune cannot give thee sight.

Thus I while raging he repeats his cries, 615 With hands uplifted to the starry skies: Hear me, O Neptune! thou whose arms are hurl'd From shore to shore, and gird the solid world. If thine I am, nor thou my birth disown, And if th' unhappy Cyclop be thy son; Let not Ulysses breathe his native air, Laertes' son, of Ithaca the fair.

If to review his country be his fate,



Be it through toils and suff'rings, long and late;
His lost companions let him first deplore;
Some vessel, not his own, transport him o'er;
And when at home from foreign suff'rings freed,
More near and deep, domestic woes succeed!

With imprecations thus he fill'd the air, 629 And angry Neptune heard th' unrighteous pray'r. A larger rock then heaving from the plain,

He whirl'd it round: it sung across the main;
It fell, and brush'd the stern: the billows roar,
Shake at the weight, and refluent beat the shore.
With all our force we kept aloof to sea,

And gain'd the island where our vessels lay.

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Our sight the whole collected navy cheer'd,
Who, waiting long, by turns had hop'd and fear'd.
There disembarking on the green sea-side,

We land our cattle, and the spoil divide:
Of these due shares to ev'ry sailor fall;

The master ram was voted mine by all:

And him (the guardian of Ulysses' fate)

With pious mind to heav'n I consecrate.



But the great god, whose thunder rends the skies,
Averse, beholds the smoking sacrifice;
And sees me wand'ring still from coast to coast,
And all my vessels, all my people, lost!

While thoughtless we indulge the genial rite,
As plenteous cates and flowing bowls invite; 650
Till ev'ning Phoebus roll'd away the light:
Stretch'd on the shore in careless ease we rest,
Till ruddy morning purpled o'er the east.
Then from their anchors all our ships unbind,
And mount the decks, and call the willing wind.
Now rang'd in order on our banks, we sweep 656
With hasty strokes the hoarse-resounding deep;
Blind to the future, pensive with our fears,
Glad for the living, for the dead in tears.




V. 3. How sweet the products of a peaceful reign, &c.] This passage has given great joy to the critics, as it has afforded them the ill-natured pleasure of railing, and the satisfaction of believ ing they have found a fault in a good writer. It is fitter, say they, for the mouth of Epicurus than for the sage Ulysses, to extol the pleasures of feasting and drinking in this manner: he whom the poet proposes as the standard of human wisdom, says Rapin, suffers himself to be made drunk by the Phæacians. But it may rather be imagined, that the critic was not very sober when he made the reflection; for there is not the least appearance of a reason for that imputation. Plato, indeed, in his third book de Repub. writes, that what Ulysses here speaks is no very proper example of temperance; but every body knows that Plato, with respect to Homer, wrote with great partiality. Athenæus in his twelfth book gives us the following interpretation: Ulysses accommodates his discourse to the present occasion; he in appear. ance approves of the voluptuous lives of the Phæacians, and having heard Alcinous before say, that feasting and singing, &c. was their supreme delight, he by a seasonable flattery seems to comply with their inclinations; it being the most proper method to attain his desires of being conveyed to his own country, He compares Ulysses to the polypus, which is fabled to assume the colour of every rock to which he approaches: thus Sophocles,

Νοει ύφος ανδρι σωμα Πολύπο, όπως
Πέτρα τραπεσθαι γνήσια φρονηματα.

That is, 'In your accesses to mankind observe the polypus, and adapt yourself to the humour of the person to whom you apply.' Eustathius observes that this passage has been condemned, but he defends it after the very same way with Athenæus.

It is not impossible but that there may be some compliance with the nature and manners of the Phæacians, especially because Ulysses is always described as an artful man, not without some mixture of dissimulation: but it is no difficult matter to take the passage literally, and to give it an irreproachable sense. Ulysses had gone through innumerable calamities, he had lived to see a great part of Europe and Asia laid desolate by a bloody war; and after so many troubles, he arrives among a nation that was unacquainted with all the miseries of war, where all the people were happy, and passed their lives with ease and pleasures: this calm life fills him with admiration, and he artfully praises what he found praise-worthy in it; namely, the entertainments and music, and passes over the gallantries of the people, as Dacier observes, without any mention. Maximus Tyrius fully vindicates Homer. It is my opinion, says that author, that the poet, by representing these guests in the midst of their entertainments, delighted with the song and music, intended to recommend a more noble pleasure than eating and drinking, such a pleasure as a wise man may imitate, by approving the better part, and rejecting the worse, and choosing to please the car rather than the belly. 12 Dissert.

If we understand the passage otherwise, the meaning may be this: I am persuaded, says Ulysses, that the most agreeable end which a king can propose, is to see a whole nation in universal joy, when music and feasting are in every house, when plenty is on every table, and wines to entertain every guest: this to me appears a state of the greatest felicity.

In this sense Ulysses pays Alcinous a very agreeable compliment; as it is certainly the most glorious aim of a king to make his subjects happy, and diffuse an universal joy through his dominions: he must be a rigid censor indeed who blames such pleasures as these, which have nothing contrary in them to virtue and strict morality; especially as they here bear a beautiful op. position to all the horrors which Ulysses had seen in the wars of Troy, and shew Phæacia as happy as Troy was miserable. I will only add, that this agrees with the oriental way of speaking; and in

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