Page images


Are still at hand; and this, reveal'd, must be
Death to yourselves, eternal chains to me.
! Your vessel loaded, and your traffic past,
Dispatch a wary messenger with haste:
Then gold and costly treasures will I bring,
And more, the infant offspring of the king.
Him, child-like wandering forth, I'll lead away,
(A noble prize!) and to your ship convey.'
"Thus spoke the dame, and homeward took the
A year they trathic, and their vessel load,
Their stores complete, and ready now to weigh,
A spy was sent their summons to convey:
An artist to my father's palace came,
With gold and amber chains, elaborate frame:
Each female eye the glittering links employ,
They turn, review, and cheapen every toy.
He took the occasion, as they stood intent,
Gave her the sign, and to his vessel went.
She straight pursued, and seiz'd my willing arm;
I followed smiling, innocent of harm.
Three golden goblets in the porch she found
(The guests not enter'd, but the table crown'd);
Hid in her fraudful bosom, these she bore:
Now set the Sun, and darkened all the shore,
Arriving then, where tilting on the tides
Prepar'd to lanch the freighted vessel rides ;
Aboard they heave us, mount their decks, and
With level oar along the glassy deep.


Six calmy days and six smooth nights we sail,
And constant Jove supplied the gentle gale.
The seventh, the fraudful wretch, (no cause de-
Touch'd by Diana's vengeful arrow, died. [scried)
Down dropp'd the caitiff-corse, a worthless load,
Down to the deep; there roll'd, the future food
Of fierce sea-wolves, and monsters of the flood,
An helpless infant, I remain'd behind;
Thence borne to Ithaca by wave and wind;
Sold to Laertes, by divine command,
And now adopted to a foreign land.”

To him the king: "Reciting thus thy cares,
My secret soul in all thy sorrows shares :
But one choice blessing (such is Jove's high will)
Has sweeten'd all thy bitter draught of ill:
Torn from thy country to no hapless end,
The gods have, in a master, given a friend.
Whatever frugal Nature needs is thine,
(For she needs little) daily bread and wine.
While I, so many wanderings past and woes,
Live but on what thy poverty bestows."

So pass'd in pleasing dialogue away
The night; then down to short repose they lay;
Till radiant rose the messenger of day,
While in the port of Ithaca, the band
Of young Telemachus approach'd the land;
The sails they loos'd, they lash'd the mast aside,
And cast their anchors, and the cables tied:
Then on the breezy shore descending join
In grateful banquet o'er the rosy wine.
"Now each his course
When thus the prince:
I to the fields, and to the city you,
Long absent hence, I dedicate this day
My swains to visit, and the works survey.
Expect me with the morn, to pay the skies
Our debt of safe return, in feast and sacrifice."
"But who shall lend,
Then Theoclymenus:
Meantime, protection to thy stranger-friend?
Straight to the queen and palace shall I fly,
Or, yet more distant, to some lord apply?”
The prince return'd: "Renown'd in days of yore
Has stood our father's hospitable door ;

No other roof a stranger should receive,
No other hands than ours the,welcome give.
But in my absence riot fills the place,
Nor bears the modest queen a stranger's face ;
From noiseful revel far remote she flies,
But rarely seen, or seen with weeping eyes.
No-let Enrymachus receive my guest,
Of nature courteous, and by far the best;
He wooes the queen with more respectful flame,
And emulates her former husband's fame :
With what success, 'tis Jove's alone to know,
And the hop'd nuptials turn to joy or woe."

Thus speaking, on the right up-soar'd in air
The hawk, Apollo's swift-wing'd messenger;
His deathful pounces tore a trembling dove;
The clotted feathers, scatter'd from above,
Between the hero and the vessel pour
Thick plumage, mingled with a sanguine shower
Th' observing augur took the prince aside,
Seiz'd by the hand, and thus prophetic cried :
"Yon bird that dexter cuts th' aerial road,
Rose ominous, nor flies without a god :
No race but thine shall Ithaca obey,

To thine, for ages, Heaven decrees the sway."
"Succeed the omen, gods!" (the youth rejoin'd)
Soon shall my bounties speak a grateful mind, .
And soon each envied happiness attend
The man, who calls Telemachus his friend."
Then to Peiræus-" Thou whom time has prov'd
A faithful servant, by thy prince belov'd!
Till we returning shall our guest demand,
Accept this charge with honour at our hand."

To this Peiræus: "Joyful I obey,
Well pleas'd the hospitable rites to pay,
The presence of thy guest shall best reward
(If long thy stay) the absence of my lord."

With that their anchors he commands to weigh,
Mount the tall bark, and lanch into the sea.
All with obedient haste forsake the shores,
And, plac'd in order, spread their equal oars.
Then from the deck the prince his sandals takes;
Pois'd in his hand the pointed javelin shakes.
They part; while, lessening from the hero's view,
Swift to the town the well-row'd galley flew :
The hero trod the margin of the main,

And reach'd the mansion of his faithful swain.





TELEMACHUS arriving at the lodge of Eumæus sends
him to carry Penelope the news of his return.
Minerva appearing to Ulysses commands him
The princes,
to discover himself to his son.
who had lain in ambush to intercept Telemachus
in his way, their project being defeated, return
to Ithaca.

Soon as the morning blush'd along the plains,
Ulysses and the monarch of the swains
Awake the sleeping fires, their meal prepare,
And forth to pasture send the bristly care,

The prince's near approach the dogs descry,
And fawning round his feet confess their joy.
Their gentle blandishment the king survey'd,
Heard his resounding step, and instant said:
"Some well-known friend, Eumæus, bends this
His steps I hear; the dogs familiar play." [way;
While yet he spoke, the prince advancing drew
Nigh to the lodge, and now appear'd in view.
Transported from his seat Eumæus sprung,
Dropp'd the full bowl, and round his bosom hung;
Kissing his cheek, his hand, while from his eye
The tears rain'd copious in a shower of joy.
As some fond sire, who ten long winters grieves,
From foreign climes an only son receives,
(Child of his age) with strong paternal joy
Forward he springs, and clasps the favourite boy:
So round the youth his arms Eumæus spread,
As if the grave had given him from the dead.
"And is it thou! my ever-dear delight!
Oh, art thou come to bless my longing sight!
Never, I never hop'd to view this day,
When o'er the waves you plough'd the desperate
Enter, my child! beyond my hopes restor'd,
Oh give these eyes to feast upon their lord!
Enter, oh seldom seen! for lawless powers
Too much detain thee from thy sylvan bowers."
The prince replied: "Eumæus, 1 obey;
To seek thee, friend, I hither took my way.
But say, if in the court the queen reside,
Severely chaste, or if commenc'd a bride?"


Thus he and thus the monarch of the swains: 66 Severely chaste Penelope remains ; But, lost to every joy, she wastes the day In tedious cares, and weeps the night away." He ended; and (receiving as they pass The javelin, pointed with a star of brass) They reach'd the dome; the dome with marble His seat Ulysses to the prince resign'd. [shin'd. "Not so" (exclaim'd the prince with decent grace) "For me, this house shall find an humbler place : T'usurp the honours due to silver hairs And reverend strangers, modest youth forbears." Instant the swain the spoils of beasts supplies, And bids the rural throne with oziers rise. There sate the prince: the feast Eumæus spread, And heap'd the shining canisters with bread. Thick o'er the board the plenteous viands lay, The frugal remnants of the former day. Then in a bowl he tempers generous wines, Around whose verge a mimic ivy twines. And now, the rage of thirst and hunger fled, Thus young Ulysses to Eumans said:

"Whence, father, from what shore this stranger, What vessel bore him o'er the watery way? [say, To human step our land impervious lies, And round the coast circumfluent oceans rise."

[ocr errors]

The swain returns: "A tale of sorrows hear: In spacious Crete he drew his natal air, Long doom'd to wander o'er the land and main, For Heaven has wove his thread of life with pain. Half-breathless 'scaping to the land he flew From Thesprot mariners, a murderous crew. To thee, my son, the suppliant I resign, I gave him my protection, grant him thine." "Hard task," he cries, "thy virtue gives thy Willing to aid, unable to defend. [friend, Can strangers safely in the court reside, 'Midst the swell'd insolence of lust and pride? Ev'n I unsafe: the queen in doubt to wed, Or pay due honours to the nuptial bed :

Perhaps she weds regardless of her fame,
Deaf to the mighty Ulyssaan name.
However, stranger, from our grace receive
Such honours as befit a prince to give;
Sandals, a sword, and robes, respect to prove,
And safe to sail with ornaments of love.
Till then, thy guest amid the rural train,
Far from the court, from danger far, detain.
'Tis mine with food the hungry to supply,
And clothe the naked from th' inclement sky.
Here dwell in safety from the suitors' wrongs,
And the rude insults of ungovern'd tongues.
For, should'st thou suffer, powerless to relieve,
I must behold it, and can only grieve.
The brave encompass'd by an hostile train,
O'erpower'd by numbers, is but brave in vain."

To whom, while anger in his bosom glows, With warmth replies the man of mighty woes: "Since audience mild is deign'd, permit my tongue

At once to pity and resent thy wrong.

My heart weeps blood to see a soul so brave
Live to base insolence of power a slave.

But tell me, dost thou, prince, dost thou behold,
And hear, their midnight revels uncontrol'd?
Say, do thy subjects in bold faction rise,
Or priests in fabled oracles advise?

Or are thy brothers, who should aid thy power,
Turn'd mean deserters in the needful hour?
Oh! that I were from great Ulysses sprung,
Or that these wither'd nerves like thine were strung;
Or, Heavens! might he return! (and soon appear
He shall, I trust: a hero scorns despair!)
Might he return, I yield my life a prey
To my worst foe, if that avenging day

Be not their last: but should I lose my life
Oppress'd by numbers in the glorious strife,
I choose the nobler part, and yield my breath,
Rather than bear dishonour, worse than death;
Than see the hand of violence invade
The reverend stranger, and the spotless maid;
Than see the wealth of kings consum'd in waste,
The drunkard revel, and the gluttons feast."

Thus he, with anger flashing from his eye;
Sincere the youthful hero made reply:
"Nor leagued in factious arms my subjects rise,
Nor priests in fabled oracles advise;

Nor are my brothers who should aid my power
Turn'd mean deserters in the needful hour.
Ah me! I boast no brother; Heaven's dread king
Gives from our stock an only branch to spring:
Alone Laertes reign'd Arcesius' heir,
Alone Ulysses drew the vital air,
And I alone the bed connubial grac'd,
An unblest offspring of a sire unblest!
Each neighbouring realm, conducive to our woe,
Sends forth her peers, and every peer a foe:
The court proud Samos and Dulichium fiils.
And lofty Zacinth crown'd with shady hills,
Ev'n Ithaca and all her lords invade

Th' imperial sceptre, and the regal bed:
The queen, averse to love, yet aw'd by power,
Seems half to yield, yet flies the bridal hour!
Meantime their licence uncontrol'd I bear;
Ev'n now they envy me the vital air:
But Heaven will sure revenge, and gods there are.
"But go, Eumæus! to the queen impart
Our safe return, and ease a mother's heart.
Yet secret go; for numerous are my foes,
And here at least I may in peace repose."

To whom the swain: "I hear, and I obey:
But old Laertes weeps his life away,
And deems thee lost: shall I my speed employ
To bless his age; a messenger of joy?
The mournful hour that tore his son away
Sent the sad sire in solitude to stray;
Yet, busied with his slaves, to ease his woe,
He dress'd the vine, and bade the garden blow,
Nor food nor wine refus'd: but since the day
That you to Pylos plough'd the watery way,
Nor wine nor food he tastes; but sunk in woes,
Wild springs the vine, no more the garden blows:
Shut from the walks of men to pleasure lost,
Pensive and pale he wanders, half a ghost."
"Wretched old man!" (with tears the prince

"Yet cease to go-what man so blest but mourns?
Were every wish indulg'd by favouring skies,
This hour should give Ulysses to my eyes.
But to the queen with speed dispatchful bear
Our safe return, and back with speed repair:
And let same handmaid of her train resort
To good Laertes in his rural court."

While yet he spoke, impatient of delay,
He brac'd his sandals on, and strode away:
Then from the Heavens the martial goddess flies
Through the wide fields of air, and cleaves the skies;
In form a virgin in soft beauty's bloom,

Skill'd in th' illustrious labours of the loom.
Alone to Ithacus she stood display'd,
But unapparent as a viewless shade
Escap'd Telemachus (the powers above,
Seen or unseen, o'er earth at pleasure move):
The dogs intelligent confess the tread

Of power divine; and, howling, trembling, fled.
The goddess, beckoning, waves her deathless hands;
Dauntless the king before the goddess stands.
"Then why," (she said) "“O favour'd of the skies!
Why to thy godlike son this long disguise?
Stand forth reveal'd: with him thy cares employ
Against thy foes; be valiant, and destroy!
Lo! I descend in that avenging hour,
To combat by thy side, thy guardian power."
She said, and o'er him waves her wand of gold;
Imperial robes his manly limbs infold;
At once with grace divine his fame improves :
At once with majesty enlarg'd he moves:
Youth Bush'd his reddening cheek, and from his
A length of hair in sable ringlets flows;
His blackening chin receives a deeper shade;
Then from his eyes upsprung the warrior-maid.
The hero re-ascends: the prince o'er aw'd
Scarce lifts his eyes, and bows as to a god.
Then with surprise (surprise chastis'd by fears)
"How art thou chang'd!" (he cry'd) "a god



Far other vests thy limbs majestic grace,
Far other glories lighten from thy face!
If Heaven be tby abode, with pious care
Lo! I the ready sacrifice prepare:
Lo! gifts of labour'd gold adorn thy shrine,
To win thy grace: Oh save us, power divine !"
"Few are my days," Ulysses made reply,
"Nor I alas! descendant of the sky.
I am thy father. Oh my son! my son!
That father, for whose sake thy days have run
One scene of woe; to endless cares consign'd,
And outrag'd by the wrongs of base mankind."

Then rushing to his arms, he kiss'd his boy With the strong raptures of a parent's joy.

[blocks in formation]

He strain'd him close, as to his breast he grew. "Ah me!" (exclaims the prince with fond desire) "Thou art-no, thou can'st not be my sire. Heaven such illusion only can impose, By the false joy to aggravate my woes. Who but a god can change the general doom, And give to wither'd age a youthful bloom? Late, worn with years, in weeds obscene you trod;

Now, cloth'd in majesty, you move a god!"


Forbear," he cry'd; "for Heaven reserve that Give to thy father, but a father's claim: [name, Other Ulysses shalt thou never see,

I am Ulysses, I (my son) am he.
Twice ten sad years o'er earth and ocean tost,
'Tis given at length to view my native coast.
Pallas, unconquer'd maid, my frame surrounds
With grace divine; her power admits no bounds;
She o'er my limbs old age and wrinkles shed;
Now, strong as youth, magnificent I tread.
The gods with ease frail man depress or raise,
Exalt the lowly, or the proud debase."

He spoke, and sate. The prince with transport
Hung round his neck, while tears his cheek bedew :
Nor less the father pour'd a social flood!
They wept abundant, and they wept aloud,
As the bold eagle with fierce sorrow stung,
Or parent vulture, mourns her ravish'd young:
They cry, they scream, their unfledg'd brood a prey
To some rude churl, and borne by stealth away;
So they aloud: and tears in tides had run,
Their grief unfinish'd with the setting Sun:
But checking the full torrent in its flow,
The prince thus interrupts the solemn woe.
"What ship transported thee, O father, say,
And what bless'd hands have oar'd thee on the way?

"All, all" (Ulysses instant made reply) I tell thee all, my child, my only joy! Phæacians bore me to the port assign'd, A nation ever to the stranger kind; Wrapp'd in th' embrace of sleep, the faithful train O'er seas convey'd me to my native reign; Embroider'd vestures, gold, and brass, are laid Conceal'd in caverns in the sylvan shade. Hither, intent the rival rout to slay, And plan the scene of death, I bend my way: So Pallas wills-but thou, my son, explain The names and numbers of th' audacious train; "Tis mine to judge if better to employ Assistant force, or singly to destroy."


"O'er earth' (returns the prince)" resounds thy Thy well-tried wisdom, and thy martial fame, Yet at thy words I start, in wonder lost; Can we engage, not decads, but an host? Can we alone in furious battle stand, Against that numerous and determin'd band? Hear then their numbers: from Dulichium came Twice twenty-six, all peers of mighty name, Six are their menial train: twice twelve the boast Of Samos; twenty from Zacynthus coast: And twelve our country's pride: to these belong Medon and Phemius skill'd in heavenly song. Two sewers from day to day the revels wait, Exact of taste, and serve the feast in state. With such a foe th' unequal fight to try, Were by false courage unreveng'd to die. Then what assistant powers you boast, relate, Ere yet we mingle in the stern debate."

[ocr errors]

"Mark well my voice," Ulysses straight replies: "What need of aids, if favour'd by the skies? If shielded to the dreadful fight we move, By mighty Pallas, and by thundering Jove." "Sufficient they" (Telemachus rejoin'd) · Against the banded powers of all mankind: They, high entbron'd above the rolling clouds, Wither the strength of man, and awe the gods." "Such aids expect," he cries, "when strong in We rise terrific to the task of fight. [might But thou, when morn salutes th' aërial plain, The court revisit and the lawless train : Me thither in disguise Eumæus leads, An aged mendicant in tatter'd weeds. There, if base scorn insult my reverend age; Bear it my son! repress thy rising rage. If outrag'd, cease that outrage to repel; Bear it my son! howe'er thy heart rebel. Yet strive by prayer and counsel to restrain Their lawless insults, though thou strive in vain : For wicked cars are deaf to wisdom's call, [fall. And vengeance strikes whom Heaven has doom'd to Once more attend: when she' whose power inspires The thinking mind, my soul to vengeance fires; I give the sign that instant, from beneath, Aloft convey the instruments of death, Armour and arms; and if mistrust arise, Thus veil the truth in plausible disguise : "These glittering weapons, ere he sail'd to Troy,

Ulysses view'd with stern heroic joy:

Then, beaming o'er th' illumin'd wall they shone :
Now dust dishonours, all their lustre gone.

I bear them hence (so Jove my soul inspires)
From the pollution of the fuming fires;
Lest, when the bowl inflames, in vengeful mood
Ye rush to arms, and stain the feast with blood:
Oft ready swords in luckless hour incite
The hand of wrath, and arm it for the fight.'

"Such be the plea, and by the plea deceive:
For Jove infatuates all, and all believe.
Yet leave for each of us a sword to wield,
A pointed javelin, and a fenceful shield,
But by my blood that in thy bosom glows,
By that regard, a son his father owes ;
The secret, that thy father lives, retain
Lock'd in thy bosom from the household train
Hide it from all; even from Eumæus hide,
From my dear father, and my dearer bride.
One care remains, to note the loyal few
Whose faith yet lasts among the menial crew;
And, noting, ere we rise in vengeance, prove
Who loves his prince; for sure you merit love."
To whom the youth: "To emulate I aim
The brave and wise, and my great father's fame.
But re-consider, since the wisest err,
Vengeance resolv'd, 'tis dangerous to defer.
What length of time must we consume in vain,
Too curious to explore the menial train?
While the proud foes, industrious to destroy
Thy wealth in riot, the delay enjoy.
Suffice it in this exigence alone

To mark the damsels that attend the throne;
Dispers'd the youth resides; their faith to prove
Jove grants henceforth, if thou hast spoke from

While in debate they waste the hours away, Th' associates of the prince repass'd the bay;


With speed they guide the vessel to the shores ;
With speed debarking land the naval stores;
Then, faithful to their charge, to Clytius bear,
And trusts the presents to his friendly care.
Swift to the queen a herald flies t'impart
Her son's return, and case a parent's heart;
Lest, a sad prey to ever-musing cares,
Pale grief destroy what time awhile forbears.
Th' uncautious herald with impatience burns,
And cries aloud: "Thy son, O queen, returns:
Eumæus sage approach'd the imperial throne,
And breath'd his mandate to her ear alone,
Then measur'd back the way-The suitor band,
Stung to the soul, abash'd, confounded, stand;
And issuing from the dome, before the gate,
With clouded looks, a pale assembly sate.

At length Eurymachus: "Our hopes are vain;
Telemachus in triumph sails the main.
Haste, near the mast the swelling shroud display;
Haste, to our ambush'd friends the news convey.'

Scarce had he spoke, when, turning to the strand, Amphinomus survey'd th' associate band; Full to the bay within the winding shores With gather'd sails they stood, and lifted oars. 'O friends!" he cry'd, "elate with rising joy, See to the port secure the vessel fly! Some god has told them, or themselves survey The bark escap'd; and measure back their way." Swift at the word descending to the shores, They moor the vessel and unlade the stores: Then moving from the strand, apart they sate, And full and frequent, form'd a dire debate.

"Lives then the boy?" "He lives," (Autinous

"The care of gods and favourite of the skies.
All night we watch'd, till with her orient wheels
Aurora flam'd above the eastern hills,
And from the lofty brow of rocks by day
Took in the ocean with a broad survey.
Yet safe he sails! the powers celestial give
To shun the hidden snares of death, and live.
But die he shall, and thus condemn'd to bleed,
Be now the scene of instant death decreed :
Hope ye success? undaunted crush the foe.
Is he not wise? know this, and strike the blow.
Wait ye till he to arms in council draws
The Greeks, averse too justly to our cause?
Strike ere, the states conven'd, the foe betray
Our murderous ambush on the watery way.
Or choose ye vagrant from their rage to fly
Outcasts of earth, to breathe an unknown sky?
The brave prevent misfortunes; then be brave,
And bury future danger in his grave.
Returns he? ambush'd we'll his walk invade,
Or where he hides in solitude and shade :
And give the palace to the queen a dower,
Or him she blesses in the bridal hour.
But if submissive you resign the sway,
Slaves to a boy; go, flatter and obey.
Retire we instant to our native reign,

Nor be the wealth of kings consum'd in vain ;
Then wed whom choice approves: the queen be


To some blest prince, the prince decreed by Heaven."
Abash'd, the suitor train his voice attends;
Till from his throne Amphinomus ascends,
Who o'er Dulichium stretch'd his spacious reign,
A land of plenty, blest with every grain :
Chief of the numbers who the queen address'd,
And though displeasing, yet displeasing least.

Soft were his words; his actions wisdom sway'd; Graceful awhile he paus'd, then mildly said: "O friends, forbear! and be the thought withstood:

'Tis horrible to shed imperial blood!

Consult we first th' allseeing powers above,
And the sure oracles of righteous Jove.
If they assent, ev'n by his hand he dies;
If they forbid, I war not with the skies."
He said; the rival train his voice approv'd,
And rising instant to the palace mov'd.
Arriv'd, with wild tumultuous noise they sate,
Recumbent on the shining thrones of state.

Then Medon, conscious of their dire debates,
The murderous council to the queen relates.
Touch'd at the dreadful story she descends:
Her hasty steps a damsel-train attends.
Full where the dome its shining valves expands,
Sudden before the rival powers she stands :
And, veiling decent with a modest shade
Her cheek, indignant to Antinous said:

"O void of faith! of all bad men the worst!
Renown'd for wisdom, by th' abuse accurs'd!
Mistaking fame proclaims thy generous mind!
Thy deeds denote thee of the basest kind.
Wretch to destroy a prince that friendship gives,
While in his guest his murderer he receives:
Nor dread superior Jove, to whom belong
The cause of suppliants, and revenge of wrong.
Hast thou forgot (ingrateful as thou art)
Who sav'd thy father with a friendly part?
Lawless he ravag'd with his martial powers
The Taphian pirates on Threspotia's shores;
Enrag'd, his life, his treasures they demand;
Ulysses sav'd him from th' avengers' hand.
And would'st thou evil for his good repay?
His bed dishonour and his house betray?
Afflict his queen? and with a murderous hand
Destroy his heir?-but cease, 'tis I command."
"Far hence those fears," (Eurymachus re

"O prudent princess! bid thy soul confide.
Breathes there a man who dares that hero slay,
While I behold the golden light of day?
No: by the righteous powers of Heaven I swear,
His blood in vengeance smokes upon my spear.
Ulysses, when my infant days I led,
With wine suffic'd me, and with dainties fed:
My generous soul abhors th' ungrateful part,
And my friend's son lives dearest to my heart.
Then fear no mortal arm; if Heaven destroy,
We must resign: for man is born to die."

Thus smooth he ended, yet his death conspir'd:
Then sorrowing, with sad step the queen retir'd,
With streaming eyes all comfortless deplor'd,
Touch'd with the dear remembrance of her lord:
Nor ceas'd till Pallas bid her sorrows fly,
And in soft slumber seal'd her flowing eye.
And now Eumæus, at the evening hour,
Came late returning to his sylvan bower.
Ulysses and his son had dress'd with art
A yearling boar, and gave the gods their part,
Holy repast! that instant from the skies
The martial goddess to Ulysses flies:
She waves her golden wand, and re-assumes
From every feature every grace that blooms;
At once his vestures change; at once she sheds
Age o'er his limbs, that tremble as he treads;
Lest to the queen the swain with transport fly,
Unable to 'contain th' unruly joy.


When near he drew the prince breaks forth: "Proclaim

What tidings, friend? what speaks the voice of Say if the suitors measure back the main, [fame? Or still in ambush thirst for blood in vain ?"

"Whether," he cries, "they measure back the Or still in ambush thirst in vain for blood, [flood, Escap'd my care: where lawless suitors sway, Thy mandate borne, my soul disdain'd to stay. But from th' Hermaan height I cast a view, Where to the port a bark high bounding flew ; Her freight a shining band: with martial air Each pois'd his shield, and each advanc'd his spear: And, if aright these searching eyes survey, Th' eluded suitors stem the watery way. "}

The prince, well pleas'd to disappoint their wiles, Steals on his sire a glance, and secret smiles. And now, a short repast prepar'd, they fed, Till the keen rage of craving hunger fled, Then to repose withdrawn, apart they lay, And in soft sleep forgot the cares of day.




TELEMACHUS returning to the city relates to Penelope the sum of his travels. Ulysses is conducted by Eumæus to the palace, where his old dog Argus acknowledges his master, after an absence of twenty years, and dies with joy. Eumæus returns into the country, and Ulysses remains among the suitors whose behaviour is described.

Soon as Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
Sprinkled with roseate light the dewy lawn;
In haste the prince arose, prepar'd to part;
His hand impatient grasps the pointed dart;
Fair on his feet the polish'd sandals shine,
And thus he greets the master of the swine:

"My friend, adieu; let this short stay suffice;
I haste to meet my mother's longing eyes,
And end her tears, her sorrows, and her sighs.
But thou, attentive, what we order heed;
This hapless stranger to the city lead;
And bless the hand that stretches forth the bread.
By public bounty let him there be fed,
To wipe the tears from all afflicted eyes,
My will may covet, but my power denies.
If this raise anger in the stranger's thought,
The pain of anger punishes the fault:
The very truth I undisgu s'd declare;
For what so easy as to be sincere?"

To this Ulysses: "What the prince requires Of swift removal, seconds my desires. To want like mine the peopled town can yield More hopes of comfort than the lonely field, Nor fits my age to till the labour'd lands, Or stoop to tasks a rural lord demands. Adieu! but, since this ragged garb can bear So ill th' inclemencies of morning air, A few hours' space permit me here to stay; My steps Eumæus shall to town convey, With riper beams when Phœbus warms the day."


« PreviousContinue »