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With dulcet beverage this the beaker crown'd, |Rush to their mothers with unruly joy,
So round me press d, exulting at my sight,
Ah master! ever honour'd, ever dear!
(These tender words on every side I hear) A vest and tunic o'er me next she threw,
What other joy can equal thy return? Fresh from the bath, and dropping balmy dew; 430 Not that loved country for whose sight we mourn, Then led and placed me on the sovereign seat, The soil that nursed us, and that gave us breath: With carpets spread; a footstool at my feet. But ah! relate our lost companions' death.
500 The golden ewer a nymph obsequious brings, I answer'd cheerfully. Haste, your galley moor Replenish'd from the cool translucent springs, And bring our treasures and our arms ashore: With copious water the bright vase supplies Those in yon hollow caverns let us lay; A silver laver of capacious size.
Then rise and follow where I lead the way. I wash'd. The table in fair order spread,
Your fellows live: believe your eyes, and come They heap the glittering canisters with bread; To taste the joys of Circe's sacred dome. Viands of various kinds allure the taste,
With ready speed the joyful crew obey : Of choicest sort and savour, rich repast! 440 Alone Eurylochus persuades their stay. Circe in vain invites the feast to share;
Whither (he cried) ah whither will ye run ? Absent I ponder, and absorpt in care:
Seek ye to meet those evils ye should shun? 510 While scenes of woe rose anxious in my breast, Will you the terrors of the dome explore, The queen beheld me, and these words addrest : In swine to grovel, or in lions roar, Why sits Ulysses silent and apart,
Or, wolf-like, howl away the midnight hour Some hoard of grief close harbour'd at his heart? In dreadful watch around the magic bower? Untouch'd before thee stand the cates divine, Remember Cyclops, and his bloody deed; And unregarded laughs the rosy wine.
The leader's rashness made the soldiers bleed. Can yet a doubt or any dread remain,
I heard incensed, and first resolved to speed When sworn that oath which never can be vair? 450 My flying falchion at the rebel's head.
I answer'd-Goddess ! human is my breast, Dear as he was, by ties of kindred bound, By justice sway'd, by tender pity pressid : This hand had stretch'd him breathless on the III fits it me, whose friends are sunk to beasts,
ground, To quaff thy bowls, or riot in thy feasts.
But all at once my interposing train
521 Me wouldst thou please ? for them thy cares employ, For mercy pleaded, nor could plead in vain. And them to me restore, and me to joy.
Leave here the man who dares his prince desert, With that she parted; in her potent hand Leave to repentance and his own sad heart, She bore the virtue of the magic wand.
To guard the ship. Seek we the sacred shades Then, hastening to the sties, set wide the door, Of Circe's palace, where Ulysses leads. Urged forth, and drove the bristly herd before; 460 This with one voice declared, the rising train Inwieldy, out they rush'd with general cry, Left the black vessel by the murmuring main. Enormous beasts dishonest to the eye.
Shame touch'd Eurylochus's alter'd breast, Now touch'd by counter-charms they change again, He fear'd my threats, and follow'd with the rest. 530 And stand majestic, and recall'd to men.
Meanwhile the goddess, with indulgent cares Those hairs of late that bristled every part, And social joys, the late transform'd repairs ; Fall off, miraculous effect of art!
The bath, the feast, their fainting soul renews; Till all the form in full proportion rise
Rich in refulgent robes, and dropping balmy dews : More young, more large, more grateful to my eyes. Brightening with joy, their eager eyes behold They saw, they knew me, and with eager pace Each other's face, and each his story told; Clung to their master in a long embrace: 470 Then gushing tears the narrative confound, Sad, pleasing sight! with tears each eye ran o'er, And with their sobs the vaulted roof resound. And sobs of joy re-echoed through the bower: When hush'd their passion, thus the goddess cries: Even Circe wept, her adamantine heart
Ulysses, taught by labours to be wise,
540 Felt pity enter, and sustain'd her part.
Let this short memory of grief suffice.
She said. Obedient to her high command Exiles and wanderers now, where'er ye go
Her kind entreaty moved the general breast;
But when the seasons, bllowing in their train, These to the rest ; but to the seer must bleed
These solemn vows and holy offerings paid
Is this, Ulysses, our inglorious lot? 560 Be next thy care the sable sheep to place And is the name of Ithaca forgot ?
Full o'er the pit, and hellward turn their face: Shall never the dear land in prospect rise,
But from the infernal rite thine eye withdraw, 620 Or the loved palace glitter in our eyes?
And back to Ocean glance with reverend awe. Melting I heard; yet till the sun's decline Sudden shall skim along the dusky glades Prolong'd the feast, and quaff”d the rosy wine: Thin airy shoals, and visionary shades. But when the shades came on at evening hour, Then give command the sacrifice to haste, And all lay slumbering in the dusky bower; Let the flay'd victims in the flames be cast, I came a suppliant to fair Circe's bed,
And sacred vows and mystic song applied The tender moment seized, and thus I said: To grisly Pluto and his gloomy bride. Be mindful, goddess of thy promise made; 570 Wide o'er the pool thy falchion waved around Must sad Ulysses ever be delay'd ?
Shall drive the spectres from forbidden ground: Around their lord my sad companions mourn, The sacred draught shall all the dead forbear, 640 Each breast beats homeward, anxious to return : Till awful from the shades arise the seer. If but a moment parted from thy eyes,
Let him, oraculous, the end, the way, Their tears flow round me, and my heart complies. The turns of all thy future fate, display,
Go then (she cried,) ah go! yet think not I, Thy pilgrimage to come, and remnant of thy day Not ('irce, but the Fates, your wish deny.
So speaking, from the ruddy orient shone Ah hope not yet to breathe thy native air ! The morn, conspicuous on her golden throne. Far other journey first demands thy care : The goddess with a radiant tunic dressid To tread the uncomfortable paths beneath, 580 My limbs, and o'er me cast a silken vest. And view the realms of darkness and of death. Long flowing robes, of purest white, array There seek the Theban bard, deprived of sight; The nymph, that added lustre to the day: Within, irradiate with prophetic light;
A tiar wreath'd her head with many a fold; To whom Persephonè, entire and whole,
Her waist was circled with a zone of gold. Gave to retain the unseparated soul:
Forth issuing then, from place to place I flew; The rest are forms of empty ether made: Rouse man by man, and animate my crew. Impassive semblance, and a flitting shade. Rise, rise, my mates! 'tis Circe gives command:
Struck at the word, my very heart was dead: Our journey calls us; haste, and quit the land. Pensive I sate; my tears bedew'd the bed; All rise and follow, yet depart not all, To hate the light and life my soul begun, 590 For Fate decreed one wretched man to fall. And saw that all was grief beneath the sun. A youth there was, Elpenor was he named, Composed at length, the gushing tears suppress'd, Not much for sense, nor much for courage famed; And my toss'd limbs now wearied into rest, The youngest of our band, a vulgar soul, 661 How shall I tread (I cried) ah, Circe; say, Born but to banquet, and to drain the bowl. The dark descent, and who shall guide the way? He, hot and careless, on a turret's height Can living eyes behold the realms below?
With sleep repair'd the long debauch of night : What bark to waft me, and what wind to blow? The sudden tumult stirr'd him where he lay,
Thy fated road (the magic power replied) And down he hasten'd, but forgot the way; Divine Ulysses ! asks no mortal guide.
Full headlong from the roof the sleeper fell, Rear but the mast, the spacious sail display, 600 And snapp'd the spinal joint and waked in hell. The northern winds shall wing thee on thy way. The rest crowd round me with an eager look, Soon shalt thou reach old Ocean's utmost ends, I met them with a sigh, and thus bespoke: 670 Where to the main the shelving shore descends; Already, friends! ye think your toils are o'er, The barren trees of Proserpine's black woods, Your hopes already touch your native shore : Poplars and willows trembling o'er the floods : Alas! far otherwise the nymph declares, There fix thy vessel in the lonely bay,
Far other journey first demands our cares; And enter there the kingdoms void of day: To tread the uncomfortable paths beneath, Where Phlegethon's loud torrents, rushing down, The dreary realms of darkness and of death ; Hiss in the flaming gulf of Acheron;
To seek Tiresias' awful shade below, And where, slow rolling from the Stygian bed, 610 And thence our fortunes and our fates to know. Cocytus' lamentable waters spread :
My sad companions heard in deep despair: Where the dark rock o'erhangs the infernal lake, Frantic they tore their manly growth of hair; 680 And mingling streams eternal murmurs make. To earth they fell : the tears began to rain; First draw thy falchion, and on every side
But tears in mortal miseries are vain. Trench the black earth a cubit long and wide: Sadly they fared along the sea-beat shore; To all the shades around libations pour,
Still heaved their hearts, and still their eyes ran And o'er the ingredients strew the hallow'd flour : o'er. New wine and milk, with honey temper’d, bring, The ready victims at our bark we found, And living water from the crystal spring.
The sable ewe and ram, together bound Then the wan shades and feeble ghosts implore, 620 For swift as thought the goddess had been there, With promised offerings on thy native shore; And thence had glided, viewless as the air: A barren cow, the stateliest of the isle,
The paths of gods what mortal can survey? And, heap'd with various wealth, a blazing pile : Who eyes their motion ? who shall trace their way?
When lo ! appear'd along the dusky coasts,
Thin, airy shoals of visionary ghosts :
Fair pensive youths, and soft enamour'd maids :
And wither'd elders, pale and wrinkled shades ; 50 Clysses continues his narration. How he arrived at Ghastly with wounds the forms of warriors slain
the land of the Cimmerians, and what ceremonies he Stalk'd with majestic port, a martial train : performed to invoke the dead. The manner of his These and a thousand more swarm'do'erthe ground, descent, and the apparition of the shades: his conver- And all the dire assembly shriek'd around. sation with Elpenor, and with Tiresias, who informs Astonish'd at the sight, aghast I stood, him in a prophetic manner of his fortunes to come. And a cold fear ran shivering through my blood; He meets his mother Anticlea, from whom he learns Straight I command the sacrifice to haste, the state of his family. He sees the shades of the ancient heroines, afterwards of the heroes, and con
Straight the flay'd victims to the flames are cast, verses in particular with Agamemnon and Achilles. And mutter'd vows, and mystic song applied Ajax keeps at a sullen distance, and disdains to an. To grisly Pluto, and his gloomy bride.
60 swer him. He then beholds Tityus, Tantalus, Sysiphus, Now swift I waved my falchion o'er the blood ; Hercules; till he is deterred from further curiosity by Back started the pale throngs, and trembling stood. the apparition of horrid spectres, and the cries of the Round the black trench the gore untasted flows, wicked in torments.
Till awful from the shades Tiresias rose.
There wandering through the gloom I first survey'd,
New to the realms of death, Elpenor's shade :
Sad at the sight I stand, deep fix'd in woe:
To glide in shades, and wander with the dead ? A freshning breeze the magic power* supplied, How could thy soul, by realms and seas disjoin'd, While the winged vessel flew along the tide; Outfly the nimble sail, and leave the lagging wind ? Our oars we shipp'd: all day the swelling sails The ghost replied: To hell my doom I owe, Full from the guiding pilot catch'd the gales. 10 Dæmous accurst, dire ministers of woe!
Now sunk the sun from his aërial height, My feet, through wine unfaithful to their weight,
There in a lonely land, and gloomy cells, [mounds But lend me aid, I now conjure thee lend,
By the soft tie and sacred name of friend!
By loved Telemachus's blooming years ! Unhappy race! whom endless night invades,
For well I know that soon the heavenly powers Clouds the dull air, and wraps them round in shades. Will give thee back to day, and Circe's shores ;
The ship we moor on these obscure abodes : 21 There pious on my cold remains attend,
And the possession of a peaceful grave. 90 The victims, vow'd to each Tartarean power
But if, unheard, in vain compassion plead,
Revere the gods, the gods avenge the dead !
The tomb with manly arms and trophies grace,
To whom with tears: These rites, oh mournful O'er these was strew'd the consecrated flour,
shade, And on the surface shone the holy store.
Due to thy ghost, shall to thy ghost be paid. Now the wan shades we hail, the infernal gods, Still as I spoke the phantom seem'd to moan, 100 To speed our course, and waft us o'er the foods : Tear follow'd tear, and groan succeeded groan. So shall a barren heifer from the stall
But, as my waving sword the blood surrounds, · Beneath the knife upon your altars fall;
The shade withdrew, and mutter'd empty sounds. So in our palace, at our safe return,
There as the wondrous visions I survey'd, Rich with unnumber'd gifts the pile shall burn; 40 All pale ascends my royal mother's shade : So shall a ram, the largest of the breed,
A queen, to Troy she saw our legions pass ; Black as these regions, to Tiresias bleed.
Now a thin form is all Anticlea was ! Thus solemn rites and holy vows we paid Struck at the sight I melt with filial woe, To all the phantom nations of the dead.
And down my cheek the pious sorrows flow: Then died the sheep: a purple torrent flow'd, Yet as I shook my falchion o'er the blood, 110 And all the caverns smoked with streaming blood. Regardless of her son the parent stood.
When lo! the mighty Theban I behold; * Circe.
To guide his steps he bore a staff of gold:
Awful he trod! majestic was his look!
They, seal'd with truth, return the sure reply; And from his holy lips these accents broke: The rest, repellid, a train oblivious fly.
Why, mortal, wanderest thou from cheerful day, The phantom-prophet ceased, and sunk from sight To tread the downward melancholy way? To the black palace of eternal night. What angry gods to these dark regions led
Still in the dark abodes of death I stood, Thee yet alive, companion of the dead ?
When near Anticlea moved, and drank the blood But sheath thy poniard, while my tongue relates 120 Straight all the mother in her soul awakes, Heaven's steadfast purpose, and thy future fates. And, owning her Ulysses, thus she speaks.
While yet he spoke, the prophet I obey'd, Comest thou, my son, alive, to realms beneath, 190 And in the scabbard plunged the glittering blade. The dolesome realms of darkness and of death ? Eager he quaff”d the gore, and then express'd Comest thou alive from pure, ethereal day? Dark things to come, the counsels of his breast : Dire is the region, dismal is the way; Weary of light, Ulysses here explores,
Here lakes profound, there floods oppose their A prosperous voyage to his native shores ;
waves, But know---by me unerring Fates disclose There the wide sea with all his billows raves! New trains of dangers, and new scenes of woes; Or (since to dust proud Troy submits her towers) I see, I see, thy bark by Neptune toss'd, 130 Comest thou a wanderer from the Phrygian shores ? For injured Cyclops, and his eye-ball lost ! Or say, since honour call'd thee to the field, Yet to thy woes the god decree an end,
Hast thou thy Ithaca, thy bride, beheld ? If heaven you please; and how to please attend ! Source of my life, I cried, from earth I fly Where on Trinacrian rocks the ocean roars, To seek Tiresias in the nether sky, Graze numerous herds along the verdant shores. To learn my doom; for, toss'd from woe to woe, Though hunger press, yet fly the dangerous prey, In every land Ulysses finds a foe: The herds are sacred to the god of day,
Nor have these eyes beheld my native shores, Who all surveys with his extensive eye
Since in the dust proud Troy submits her towers. Above, below, on earth, and in the sky !
But, when thy soul from her sweet mansion Rob not the god; and so propitious gales
fled, Attend thy voyage, and impel thy sails :
Say, what distemper gave thee to the dead? But, if his herds ye seize, beneath the waves Has life's fair lamp declined by slow decays, I see thy friends o'erwhelm'd in liquid graves ! Or swift expired it in a sudden blaze ? The direful wreck Ulysses scarce survives ! Say, if my sire, good old Laërtes, lives? 210 Ulysses at his country scarce arrives !
If yet Telemachus, my son, survives? Strangers thy guides! nor there thy labours end, Say, by his rule is my dominion awed, New foes arise, domestic ills attend !
Or crush'd by traitors with an iron rod? There foul adulterers to thy bride resort,
Say, if my spouse maintains her royal trust; And lordly gluttons riot in thy court.
Though tempted, chaste, and obstinately just ? But vengeance hastes amain: These eyes behold Or if no more her absent lord she wails, The deathful scene, princes on princes roll'd! 151 But the false woman o'er the wife prevails : That done, a people far from sea explore,
Thus I, and thus the parent shade returns: Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billow roar, Thee, ever thee, thy faithful consort mourns : Or saw gay vessel stem the watery plain,
Whether the night descends or day prevails, A painted wonder flying on the main.
Thee she by night, and thee by day bewails.
160 Thy sire in solitude foments his care :
No rich embroidery shines to grace his bed ;
And when the autumn takes his annual round,
Unerring truths, oh man my lips relate ; 170 Regardless of his years, abroad he lies,
His bed the leaves, his canopy the skies.
For thee, my son, I wept my life away;
For thee through hell's eternal dungeons stray. Why to the ground she bends her downcast eye ? Nor came my fate by lingering pains and slow, Why is she silent while her son is nigh?
Nor bent the silver-shafted queen her bow ; The latent cause, oh sacred seer, reveal !
No dire disease bereaved me of my breath; Nor this, replies the seer, will I conceal. Thou, thou, my son, wert my disease and death, Know, to the spectres, that thy beverage taste, 180 Unkindly with my love my son conspired, The scenes of life recur, and actions past : For thee I lived, for absent thee expired.
Thrice in my arms I strove her shade to bind, From the same fountain Amythaon rose, Thrice through my arm she slipt like empty wind, Pleased with the din of war, and noble shout of foes. Or dreams, the vain illusions of the mind. 250 There moved Antiopè, with haughty charms, Wild with despair I shed a copious tide
Who blest the Almighty Thunderer in her arms: Of flowing tears, and thus with sighs replied : Hence sprung Amphion, hence brave Zethus came,
Fliest thou, loved shade, while I thus fondly mourn! Founders of Thebes, and men of mighty name; 320 Turn to my arms, to my embraces turn !
Though bold in open field, they yet surround Is it, ye powers that smile at human harms! The town with walls, and mound inject on mound; Too great a bliss to weep within her arms ? Here ramparts stood, there towers rose high in air, Or has hell's queen an empty image sent
And here through seven wide portals rush'd the war. That wretched I might even my joys lament? There with soft step the fair Alcmena trod,
O son of woe, the pensive shade rejoin'd, Who bore Alcides to the thundering god : O most inured to grief of all mankind !
260 And Megara, who charmd the son of Jove, 'Tis not the queen of hell who thee deceives; And soften'd his stern soal to tender love. All, all are such, when life the body leaves :
Sullen and sour with discontented mien No more the substance of the man remains, Jocasta frown'd, the incestuous Theban queen ; 330 Nor bounds the blood along the purple veins : With her own son she join'd in nuptial bands, These the funereal flames in atoms bear,
Though father's blood imbrued his murderous hands : To wander with the wind in empty air :
The gods and men the dire offence detest, While the impassive soul reluctant flies,
The gods with all their furies rend his breast : Like a vain dream to these infernal skies.
In lofty Thebes he wore the imperial crown, But from the dark dominions speed thy way, A pompous wretch! accurst upon a throne. And climb the steep ascent to upper day, 270 The wife self
murder'd from a beam depends, To thy chaste bride the wondrous story tell, And her foul soul to blackest hell descends : The woes, the horrors, and the laws of hell. Thence to her son the choicest plagues she brings, Thus while she spoke, in swarms hell's empress And the fiends haunt him with a thousand stings. 340 brings
And now the beauteous Chloris I descry,
Tyro began, whom great Salmoneus bred, And Chromius last : but of the softer race,
One nymph alone, a miracle of grace.
350 For fair Enipeus, as from fruitful urns
Kings on their thrones for lovely Pero burn; He pours his watery store, the virgin burns : The sire denies, and kings rejected mourn. Smooth flows the gentle stream with wanton pride, To him alone the beauteous prize he yields, And in soft mazes rolls a silver tide.
Whose arm should ravish from Phylacian fields As on his banks the maid enamour'd roves, The herds of Iphyclus, detain'd in wrong; The monarch of the deep beholds and loves; Wild, furious herds, unconquerably strong! In her Enipeus' form and borrow'd charms, This dares a seer, but nought the seer prevails ; The amorous god descends into her arms : 290 In beauty's cause illustriously he fails. Around, a spacious arch of waves he throws, Twelve moons the foe the captive youth detains And high in air the liquid mountain rose:
In painful dungeons, and coercive chains; 360 Thus in surrounding floods conceal'd he proves The foe at last, from durance where he lay, The pleasing transport, and completes his loves. His art revering gave him back to day; Then, softly sighing, he the fair address'd, Won by prophetic knowledge, to fulfil And, as lie spoke, her tender hand he press'd. The steadfast purpose of the Almighty will. Hail, happy nymph! no vulgar births are owed With graceful port advancing now I spied To the prolific raptures of a god :
Leda the fair, the godlike Tyndar’s bride: Lo! when nine times the moon renews her horn, Hence Pollux sprung, who wields with furious sway Two brother heroes shall from thee be born; 300 The deathful gauntlet, matchless in the fray; Thy early care the future worthies claim, And Castor glorious on the embattled plain To point them to the arduous paths of fame; Curbs the proud steeds, reluctant to the rein : 370 But in thy breast the important truth conceal, By turns they visit this ethereal sky, Nor dare the secret of a god reveal :
And live alternate, and alternate die: For know, thou Neptune view'st! and at my nod In hell beneath, on earth, in heaven above, Earth trembles, and the waves confess their god. Reign the twin-gods, the favourite sons of Jove.
He added not, but mounting spurn’d the plain, There Ephimedia trod the gloomy plain,
Now in the time's full process forth she brings Hence Ephialtes, hence stern Otus sprung,
380 Then, fruitful, to her Cretheus' royal bed The wondrous youths had scarce nine winters told, She gallant Pheres and famed Æson bred: When high in air, tremendous to behold,