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Why thus in silence? why with winning charms
Thus slow, to fly with rapture to his arms?
Stubborn the breast that with no transport glows,
When twice ten years are pass'd of mighty woes:
To softness lost, to spousal love unknown,
The gods have form'd that rigid heart of stone!"
"O my Telemachus!" the queen rejoin'd,
Distracting fears confound my labouring mind;
Powerless to speak, I scarce uplift my eyes,
Nor dare to question; doubts on doubts arise.
Oh! deign he, if Ulysses, to remove
These boding thoughts, and what he is, to prove!"
Pleas'd with her virtuous fears, the king replies,
"Indulge, my son, the cautions of the wise;
Time shall the truth to sure remembrance bring:
This garb of poverty belies the king;
No more. This day our deepest care requires,
Cautious to act what thought mature inspires.
If one man's blood, though mean, distain our
The homicide retreats to foreign lands; [hands,
By us, in heaps the illustrious peerage falls,
Th' important deed our whole attention calls."
"Be that thy care," Telemachus replies,
"The world conspires to speak Ulysses wise;
For wisdom all is thine! lo, I obey,
And dauntless follow where you lead the way;
Nor shalt thou in the day of danger find
Thy coward son degenerate lag behind."
"Then instant to the bath" (the monarch cries)
Bid the gay youth and sprightly virgins rise,
Thence all descend in pomp and proud array,
And bid the dome resound the mirthful lay;
While the swift lyrist airs of rapture sings,
And forms the dance responsive to the strings.
That hence th' eluded passengers may say,
Lo! the queen weds! we hear the spousal lay!
The suitors' death unknown, till we remove
Far from the court, and act inspir'd by Jove."
Thus spoke the king: th' observant train obey,
At once they bathe, and dress in proud array:
The lyrist strikes the string; gay youths advance,
And fair-zon'd damsels from the sprightly dance.
The voice attun'd to instrumental sounds,
Ascends the roof; the vaulted roof rebounds;
Not unobserved: the Greeks, eluded say,
"Lo the queen weds! we hear the spousal lay!
Inconstant! to admit the bridal hour."
Thus they-but nobly chaste she weds no more..
Meanwhile the weary'd king the bath ascends;
With faithful cares Eurynomè attends,
O'er every limb a shower of fragrance sheds :
Then, dress'd in pomp, magnificent he treads.
The warrior-goddess gives his frame to shine
With majesty enlarg'd, and grace divine.
Back from bis brows in wavy ringlets fly
His thick large locks of hyacinthine dye.
As by some artist, to whom Vulcan gives
His heavenly skill, a breathing image lives;
By Pallas taught, he frames the wondrous mould,
And the pale silver glows with fusile gold:
So Pallas his heroic form improves
With bloom divine, and like a god he moves;
More high he treads and issuing forth in state,
Radiant before his gazing consort sate.
And, "Oh my queen!" he cries, "what power above
Has steel'd that heart, averse to spousal love!
Canst thou, Penelope, when Heaven restores
Thy lost Ulysses to his native shores,
Canst thou, oh cruel! unconcern'd survey
Thy lost Ulysses, on this signal day?
Haste, Euryclea, and dispatchful spread-
For me, and me alone, th'imperial bed :
My weary nature craves the balm of rest:
But Heaven with adamant has arm'd her breast."
"Ah! no;" she cries, "a tender heart I beat,
A foe to pride; no adamant is there;
And now, ev'n now it melts! for sure I see
Once more Ulysses, my belov'd, in thee!
Fix'd in my soul, as when he sail'd to Troy,
His image dwells: then haste the bed of joy!
Haste, from the bridal bower the bed translate,
Fram'd by his hand, and be it dress'd in state!"
Thus speaks the queen, still dubious, with dis-
Touch'd at her words, the king with warmth replies;
"Alas, for this! what mortal strength can move
The enormous burthen, who but Heaven above?
It mocks the weak attempts of human hands;
But the whole Earth must move, if Heaven com-
Then hear sure evidence, while we display [mands,
Words seal'd with sacred truth, and truth obey:
This hand the wonder fram'd; an olive spread
Full in the court its ever verdant head.
Vast as some mighty column's bulk, on high
The huge trunk rose, and heav'd into the sky;
Around the tree I rais'd a nuptial bower,
And roof'd defensive of the storm and shower:
The spacious valve, with art inwrought, conjoins;
And the fair dome with polish'd marble shines.
I lopp'd the branchy head; aloft in twain
Sever'd the bole, and smooth'd the shining grain ;
Then posts, capacious of the frame, I raise,
And bore it, regular, from space to space:
Athwart the frame, at equal distance, lie
Thongs of tough hides, that boast a purple dye;
Then, polishing the whole, the finish'd mould
With silver shone, with elephant, and gold.
But if o'erturn'd by rude, ungovern'd hands,
Or still inviolate the olive stands,
'Tis thine, O queen, to say: and how impart,
If fears remain, or doubts distract thy heart?"
While yet he speaks, her powers of life decay,
She sickens, trembles, falls, and faints away:
At length recovering, to his arms she flew,
And strain'd him close, as to his breast she grew:
The tears pour'd down amain: and, "Oh!" she
"Let not against thys pouse thine anger rise! [cries,
Oh! vers'd in every turn of human art,
Forgive the weakness of a woman's heart!
The righteous powers, that mortal lots dispose,
Decree us to sustain a length of woes,
And from the flower of life, the bliss deny
To bloom together, fade away, and die.
Oh let me, let me not thine anger move,
That I forbore, thus, thus to speak my love
Thus in fond kisses, while the transport warms,
Pour out my soul, and die within thy arms!
I dreaded fraud ! Men, faithless men, betray
Our easy faith, and make the sex their prey:
Against the fondness of my heart I strove,
"Twas caution, O my lord! not want of love:
Like me had Helen fear'd, with wanton charms
Ere the fair mischief set two worlds in arms;
Ere Greece rose dreadful in th' avenging day;
Thus had she fear'd, she had not gone astray.
But Heaven, averse to Greece, in wrath decreed
That she should wander, and that Greece should
Blind to the ills that from injustice flow,[bleed:
She colour'd all our wretched lives with woe.
But why these sorrows when my lord arrives?
I yield! I yield! my own Ulysses lives!
The secrets of the bridal bed are known
To thee, to me, to Actoris alone,
My fathers' present in the spousal hour,
The sole atttendant on our genial bower).
Since what no eye has seen thy tongue reveal'd,
Hard and distrustful as I am, I yield."
Touch'd to the soul, the king with rapture hears,
Hangs round her neck, and speaks his joy in tears.
As to the shipwreck'd mariner, the shores
Delightful rise, when angry Neptune roars,
Then, when the surge in thunder mounts the sky,
And gulf'd in crowds at once the sailors die ;
If one more happy, while the tempest raves,
Outlives the tumults of conflicting waves,
All pale, with ooze deform'd, he views the strand,
And plunging forth with transport grasps the land:
The ravish'd queen with equal rapture glows,
Clasps her lov'd lord, and to his bosom grows.
Nor had they ended till the morning ray:
But Pallas backward held the rising day,
The wheels of night retarding, to detain
The gay Aurora in the wavy main :
Whose flaming steeds, emerging through the night,
Beam o'er the eastern hills with streaming light."
At length Ulysses with a sigh replies :
"Yet fate, yet cruel fate, repose denies ;
A labour long, and hard, remains behind;
By Heaven above, by Hell beneath enjoin'd:
For, to Tiresias through th' eternal gates
Of Hell I trod, to learn my future fates.
But end we here-The night demands repose,
Be deck'd the couch! and peace a while, my woes!"
To whom the queen: ""
Thy word we shall obey,
And deck the couch; far hence be woes away;
Since the just gods, who tread the starry plains,
Restore thee safe, since my Ulysses reigns.
But what those perils Heaven decrees, impart ;
Knowledge may grieve, but fear distracts the heart.
To this the king: "Ah! why must I disclose
A dreadful story of approaching woes?
Why in this hour of transport wound thy ears,
When thou must learn what I must speak with tears?
Heaven, by the Theban ghost, thy spouse decrees,
Torn from thy arms, to sail a length of seas;
From realm to realm a nation to explore
Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar,
Nor saw gay vessel stem the surgy plain,
A painted wonder, flying on the main ;
An oar my hand must bear; a shepherd eyes
The unknown instrument with strange surprise,
And calls a corn-van: this upon the plain
I fix, and hail the monarch of the main;
Then bathe his altars with the mingled gore
Of victims vow'd, a ram, a bull, a boar:
Thence swift resailing to my native shores,
Due victims slay to all th' ethereal powers.
Then Heaven decrees in peace to end my days,
And steal myself from life by slow decays:
Unknown to pain, in agc resign my breath,
When late stern Neptune points the shaft of death;
To the dark grave retiring as to rest;
My people blessing, by my people bless'd. [play
"Such future scenes th' all-righteous powers dis-
By their dread seer', and such my future day."
To whom thus firm of soul: If ripe for death, And full of days, thou gently yield thy breath: Tiresias.
While Heaven a kind release from ills foreshows;
Triumph, thou happy victor of thy woes!"
But Euryclea with dispatchful care,
And sage Eurynomè, the couch prepare:
Instant they bid the blazing torch display
Around the dome an artificial day;
Then to repose her steps the matron bends,
And to the queen Eurynomè descends;
A torch she bears, to light with guiding fires
The royal pair; she guides them, and retires
Then instant his fair spouse Ulysses led
To the chaste love-rites of the nuptial bed.
And now the blooming youths and sprightly fain
Cease the gay dance, and to their rest repair;
But in discourse the king and consort lay,
While the soft hours stole unperceiv'd away:
Intent he hears Penelope disclose
A mournful story of domestic woes,
His servants' insults, his invaded bed,
How his whole flocks and herds exhausted bled,
His generous wines dishonour'd shed in vain,
And the wild riots of the suitor train.
The king alternate a dire tale relates,
Of wars, of triumphs, and disastrous fates;
All he unfolds; his listening spouse turns pale
With pleasing horrour at the dreadful tale!
Sleepless devours each word; and hears how slain
Cicons on Cicons swell th' ensanguin'd plain;
How to the land of Lote unbless'd he sails;
And images the rills, and flowery vales!
How, dash'd like dogs, his friends the Cyclops tore,
(Not unreveng'd) and quaff'd the spouting gore;
How, the loud storms in prison bound, he sails
From friendly Æolus with prosperous gales;
Yet fate withstands! a sudden tempest roars,
And whirls him groaning from his native shores:
How, on the barbarous Læstrigonian coast,
By savage hands his fleet and friends he lost;
How scarce himself surviv'd; he paints the bower,
The spells of Circe, and her magic power;
His dreadful journey to the realms beneath,
To seek Tiresias in the vales of death;
How in the doleful mansions he survey'd
His royal mother, pale Anticlea's shade;
And friends in battle slain, heroic ghosts!
Then how, unarm'd, he pass'd the Syren-coasts,
The justling rocks where fierce Charybdis raves,
And howling Scylla whirls her thundering waves,
The cave of Death! How his companions slay
The oxen sacred to the god of day,
Till Jove in wrath the rattling tempest guides,
And whelms th' offenders in the roaring tides:
How, struggling through the surge, he reach'd the
Of fair Ogygia, and Calypso's bowers; [shores
Where the gay blooming nymph constrain'd his stay,
With sweet, reluctant, amorous delay;"
And promis'd, vainly promis'd, to bestow
Immortal life, exempt from age and woe:
How, sav'd from storms, Phæacia's coasts He trod,
By great Alcinous honour'd as a god,
Who gave him last his country to behold;
With change of raiment, brass, and heaps of gold,
He ended, sinking into sleep, and shares
A sweet forgetfulness of all his cares.
Soon as soft slumber eas'd the toils of day,
Minerva rushes through the aërial way,
And bids Aurora, with her golden wheels,
Flame from the ocean o'er the eastern hills:
Uprose Ulysses from the genial bed,
And thus with thought mature the monarch said':
"My queen! my consort! through a length of The empty forms of men inhabit there,
We drank the cup of sorrow mix'd with tears,
Thou, for thy lord: while me th' immortal powers
Detain'd reluctant from my native shores.
Now, blest again by Heaven, the queen display,
And rule our palace with an equal sway:
Be it my care, by loans, or martial toils,
To throng my empty folds with gifts or spoils.
But now I haste to bless Laertes' eyes
With sight of his Ulysses ere he dies;
The good old man, to wasting woes a prey,
Weeps a sad life in solitude away.
But hear, tho' wise! This morning shall unfold
The deathful scene; on heroes, heroes roll'd.
Thou with thy maids within the palace stay,
From all the scene of tumult far away."
He spoke, and sheath'd in arms incessant flies To wake his son, and bid his friends arise. "To arms!" aloud he cries; his friends obey, With glittering arms their manly limbs array, And pass the city gate; Ulysses leads the way. Now flames the rosy dawn, but Pallas shrouds The latent warriors in a veil of clouds.
THE Souls of the suitors are conducted by Mercury to the infernal shades. Ulysses in the country goes to the retirement of his father Laertes; he finds him busied in his garden all alone: the manner of his discovery to him is beautifully described. They return together to his lodge, and the king is acknowledged by Dolius and the servants. The Ithacensians, led by Eupithes, the father of Antinous, rise against Ulysses, who gives them battle, in which Eupithes is killed by Laertes: and the goddess Pallas makes a lasting peace between Ulysses and his subjects, which concludes the Odyssey.
CYLLENIUS now to Pluto's dreary reign
Conveys the dead, a lamentable train!
The golden wand, that causes sleep to fly,
Or in soft slumber seals the wakeful eye,
That drives the ghosts to realms of night or day;
Points out the long uncomfortable way.
Trembling the spectres glide, and plaintive vent
Thin, hollow screams, along the deep descent.
As in the cavern of some rifted den,
Where flock nocturnal bats, and birds obscene;
Cluster'd they hang, till at some sudden shock,
They move, and murmurs run thro' all the rock;
So cowering fled the sable heaps of ghosts,
And such a scream fill'd all the dismal coasts.
And now they reach'd the Earth's remotest ends,
And now the gates where evening Sol descends,
And Leuca's rock, and Ocean's utmost streams,
And now pervade the dusky land of Dreams,
And rest at last, where souls unbodied dwell
In ever-flowing meads of Asphodel
Impassive semblance, images of air!
Nought else are all that shin'd on Earth before;
Ajax and great Achilles are no more!
Yet, still a master ghost, the rest he aw'd,
The rest ador'd him, towering as he trod;
Still at his side in Nestor's son survey'd,
And lov'd Patroclus still attends his shade.
New as they were to that infernal shore,
The suitors stopp'd, and gaz'd the hero o'er,
When, moving slow, the regal form they view'd
Of great Atrides; him in pomp pursued
And solemn sadness through the gloom of Hell,
The train of those who by Egysthus fell.
"O mighty chief!" Pelides thus began, "Honour'd by Jove above the lot of man! King of a hundred kings! to whom resign'd The strongest, bravest, greatest of mankind. Com'st thou the first to view this dreary state? And was the noblest the first mark of fate? Condemn'd to pay the great arrear so soon, The lot, which all lament, and none can shun; Oh! better hadst thou sunk in Trojan ground, With all thy full-blown honours cover'd round! Then grateful Greece with streaming eyes might Historic marbles to record thy praise: Thy praise eternal on the faithful stone Had with transmissive glories grac'd thy son. But heavier fates were destin'd to attend : What man is happy, till he knows his end ?"
"O son of Peleus! greater than mankind !” (Thus Agamemnon's kingly shade rejoin'd) "Thrice happy thou! to press the martial plain 'Midst heaps of heroes in thy quarrel slain : In clouds of smoke rais'd by the noble fray, Great and terrific ev'n in death you lay, And deluges of blood flow'd round you every way, Nor ceas'd the strife, till Jove himself oppos'd, And all in tempests the dire evening clos'd. Then to the fleet we bore thy honour'd load, And decent on the funeral bed bestow'd. Then unguents sweet and tepid streams we shed; Tears flow'd from every eye, and o'er the dead Each clipt the curling honours of his head. Struck at the news thy azure mother came; The sea-green sisters waited on the dame: A voice of loud lament through all the main Was heard and terrour seiz'd the Grecian train: Back to their ships the frighted bost had fled; But Nestor spoke, they listen'd, and obey'd. (From old experience Nestor's counsel springs, And long vicissitudes of human things.)
Forbear your flight! fair Thetis from the main, To mourn Achilles, leads her azure train.' Around thee stand the daughters of the deep, Robe thee in heavenly vests, and round thee weep,. Round thee, the Muses, with alternate strain, In ever-consecrating verse, complain. Each warlike Greek the moving music hears, And iron-hearted heroes melt in tears. Till seventeen nights and seventeen days return'd, All that was mortal or immortal mourn'd. To flames we gave thee, the succeeding day, And fatted sheep and sable oxen slay; With oils and honey blaze th' augmented fires, And, like a god adorn'd, thy earthly part expires Unnumber'd warriors round the burning pile Urge the fleet courser's or the racer's toil; Thick clouds of dust o'er all the circle rise, And the mix'd clamour thunders in the skies.
Soon as absorpt in all-embracing flame
Sunk what was mortal of thy mighty name,
We then collect, thy snowy bones, and place
With wines and unguents in a golden vase
(The vase to Thetis Bacchus gave of old,
And Vulcan's art enrich'd the sculptur'd gold.)
There we thy relics, great Achilles! blend
With dear Patroclus, thy departed friend :
In the same urn a separate space contains
Thy next belov'd, Antilochus' remains.
Now all the sons of warlike Greece surround
Thy destin'd tomb, and cast a mighty mound:
High on the shore the growing hill we raise,
That wide th' extended Hellespont surveys;
Where all, from age to age, who pass the coast,
May point Achilles' tomb, and hail the mighty
Thetis herself to all our peers proclaims
Heroic prizes and exequial games;
The gods assented; and around thee lay
Rich spoils and gifts, that blaz'd against the day.
Oft have I seen, with solemn funeral games,
Heroes and kings committed to the flames;
But strength of youth, or valour of the brave,
With nobler contest ne'er renown'd a grave.
Such were the games by azure Thetis given,
And such thy honours, O belov'd of Heaven!
Dear to mankind thy fame survives, nor fades
Its bloom eternal in the Stygian shades.
But what to me avail my honours gone,
Successful toils, and battles bravely won?
Doom'd by stern Jove at home to end my life,
By curst Ægysthus, and a faithless wife!"
Thus they; while Hermes o'er the dreary plain
Led the sad numbers by Ulysses slain.
On each majestic form they cast a view,
And timorous pass'd, and awfully withdrew.
But Agamemnon, through the gloomy shade,
His ancient host Amphimedon survey'd :
"Son of Melanthius!" (he began) "oh say!
What cause compell'd so many, and so gay,
To tread the downward, melancholy way?
Say, could one city yield a troop so fair?
Were all these partners of one native air?
Or did the rage of stormy Neptune sweep
Your lives at once, and whelm beneath the deep?
Did nightly thieves, or pirates' cruel bands,
Drench with your blood your pillag'd country's
Or well-defending some beleaguer'd wall,
Say, for the public did ye greatly fall?
Inform thy guest; for such I was of yore,
When our triumphant navies touch'd your shore;
Forc'd a long month the wintery seas to bear,
To move the great Ulysses to the war."
"O king of men! I faithful shall relate"
(Reply'd Amphimedon) “our hapless fate.
Ulysses absent, our ambitious aim
With rival loves pursued his royal dame:
Her coy reserve, and prudence mix'd with pride,
Our common suit nor granted, nor deny'd;
But close with inward hate our deaths design'd;
Vers'd in all arts of wily womankind.
Her hand, laborious, in delusion spread
A spacious loom, and mix'd the various thread;
'Ye peers,' she cry'd, who press to gain my heart
Where dead Ulysses claims no more a part,
Yet a short space your rival suit suspend,
Till this funereal web my labours end:
Cease, till to good Laertes I bequeath
A task of grief, his ornaments of death:
Lest, when the Fates his royal ashes claim,
The Grecian matrons taint my spotless fame;
Should he, long honour'd with supreme command,
Want the last duties of a daughter's hand.' [plies,
"The fiction pleas'd: our generous train com-
Nor fraud mistrusts in virtue's fair disguise.
The work she ply'd; but, studious of delay,
Each following night revers'd the toils of day.
Unheard, unseen, three years her arts prevail;
The fourth, her maid reveal'd th' amazing tale,
And show'd, as unperceiv'd we took our stand,
The backward labours of her faithless hand.
Forc'd, she completes it; and before us lay
The mingled web, whose gold and silver ray
Display'd the radiance of the night and day.
"Just as she finish'd her illustrious toil,
Ill-fortune led Ulysses to our isle.
Far in a lonely nook, beside the sea,
At an old swineherd's rural lodge he lay
Thither his son from sandy Pyle repairs,
And speedy lands, and secretly confers.
They plan our future ruin, and resort
Confederate to the city and the court.
First came the son; the father next succeeds,
Clad like a beggar, whom Eumæus leads;
Propp'd on a staff, deform'd with age and care,
And hung with rags, that flutter'd in the air.
Who could Ulysses in that form behold ?
Scorn'd by the young, forgotten by the old,
Ill-us'd by all! to every wrong resign'd,
Patient he suffer'd with a constant mind.
But when, arising in his wrath t' obey
The will of Jove, he gave the vengeance way;
The scattered arms that hung around the dome
Careful he treasur'd in a private room:
Then to her suitors bade his queen propose
The archer's strife: the source of future woes,
And omen of our death! In vain we drew
The twanging string, and try'd the stubborn yew
To none it yields but great Ulysses' hands;
In vain we threat; Telemachus commands:
The bow he snatch'd, and in an instant bent;
Through every ring the victor arrow went.
Fierce on the threshold then in arms he stood:
Pour'd forth the darts that thirsted for our blood,
And frown'd before us, dreadful as a god!
First bleeds Antinous: thick the shafts resound;
And heaps on heaps the wretches strow the ground §
This way, and that, we turn, we fly, we fall;
Some god assisted, and unmann'd us all :
Ignoble cries precede the dying groans;
And batter'd brains and blood besmear the stones.
"Thus, great Atrides, thus Ulysses drove
The shades thou seest, from yon fair realms above.
Our mingled bodies, now deform'd with gore,
Cold and neglected, spread the marble floor,
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 shin'd; 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. Not such, O Tyndarus! thy daughter's deed: By whose dire hand her king and husband bied Her shall the Muse to infamy prolong, Example dread; and theme of tragic song ! :
The general sex shall suffer in her shame,
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.
The ground himself had purchas'd 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,
Took their laborious rest, and homely fare;
And one Sicilian matron, old and sage,
With constant duty tends bis drooping age.
Here now arriving, to his rustic band
And martial son, Ulysses gave command:
"Enter the house, and of the bristly swine
Select the largest to the powers divinę.
Alone, and unattended, let me try
If yet I share the old man's memory:
If those din eyes can yet Ulysses know,
(Their light and dearest object long ago)
Now chang'd with time, with absence, and with woe!"
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
And labour'd scenes of richest verdure round.
Nor aged Dolius, nor his sons, were there,
Nor servants, absent on another eare ;
To search the woods for sets of flowery thorn,
Their orchard bounds to strengthen and adorn.
But all alone the hoary king he found;
His habit coarse, but warmly wrapt around;
His head, that bow'd with many a pensive care,
Fenc'd with a double cap of goatskin hair;
His buskins old, in former service torn,
But well repair'd; and gloves against the thorn.
In this array the kingly gardener stood,
And clear'd a plant, encumber'd with its wood.
Beneath a neighbouring tree the chief divine
Gaz'd o'er his sire, retracing every line,
The ruins of himself! now worn away
With age, yet still majestic in decay!
Sudden his eyes releas'd their watery store;
The much-enduring man could bear no more.
Doubtful he stood, if instant to embrace
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:
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,
Nor aught rémits the work, while thus he said:
"Great is thy skill, O father! great thy toil,
Thy careful hand is stamp'd on all the soil,
Thy squadron'd vineyards well thy art declare,
The olive green, blue fig, and pendent pear;
And not one empty spot escapes thy care.
On every plant and tree thy cares are shown,
Nothing neglected, but thyself alone.
Forgive me, father, if this fault I blame;
Age so advane'd may some indulgence claim.
Not for thy sloth, I'deem thy lord unkind;
Nor speaks thy form a mean or servile mind':
I read a monarch in that princely air,
The same thy aspect, if the same thy care;
Soft sleep, fair garments, and the joys of wine,
These are the rights of age, and should be thine.
Who then thy master, say? and whose the land
So dress'd and manag'd by thy skilful hand?
But chief, oh tell me! (what I question most)
Is this the far-fam'd Ithacensián coast?
For so reported the first man I view'd,
(Some surly islander, of manners rude)
Nor further conference vouchsaf'd to stay;
Heedless he whistled, and pursued his way.
But thou! whom years have taught to understand,
Humanely hear, and answer my demand:
A friend I seek, a wise one and a brave,
Say, lives he yet, or moulders in the grave?
Time was (my fortunes then were at the best)
When at my house I lodg'd this foreign guest;
He said, from Ithaca's fair isle he came,
And old Laertés was his father's name.
To him, whatever to a guest is ow'd
I paid, and hospitable gifts bèstów'ď:
To him seven talents of pure oré I told,
Twelve cloaks, twelve vests, twelve tunics stiff with
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)
"This is the land; but ah! thy gifts are lost,
For godless men, and rude, possest the coast:
Sunk is the glory of this once-fam'd shore!
Thy ancient friend, O stranger, is no more!
Full recompense thy bounty else had borne;
For every good man yields a just return :
So civil rights demand; and who begins
The track of friendship, not pursuing, sins.
But tell me, stranger, be the truth confess'd,
What years have circled since thou saw'st that
That hapless guest, alas! for ever gone! [guest!
Wretch that he was! and that I am! my son!
If ever man to misery was born,
'Twas his to suffer, and 'tis mine to mourn!
Far from his friends, and from his native reign,
He lies a prey to monsters of the main,
Or savage beasts his mangled relics tear,
Or screaming vultures scatter through the air:
Nor could his mother funeral unguents shed;
Nor wail'd his father o'er th' untimely dead:
Nor his sad consort, on the mournful bier,
Seal'd his cold eyes, of dropp'd' a tender tear!
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,
What port receiv'd thy vessel from the main?'
Or com'st 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
Of Polypèmon's royal line, I spring.
Some adverse demon from Sicania bore
Our wandering course, and drove us on your share:
Far from the town, an unfrequented bay
Reliev'd our weary'd vessel from the sea.
Five years have circled since these eyes pursued
Ulysses parting through the sable flood;
Prosperous he sail'd, with dexter auguries,
And all the wing'd good omens of the skies.
Well hop'd we, then, to meet on this fair shore,
Whom Heaven, alas! decreed to meet no more."