Chapman, George, trans. (1559?1634). The Odysseys of Homer, vol. 1. 1857.
THE EIGHTH BOOK OF HOMER'S ODYSSEYS.
- THE peers of the Phaeacian State
- A council call, to consolate
- Ulysses with all means for home.
- The council to a banquet come,
- Invited by the king. Which done,
- Assays for hurling of the stone
- The youths make with the stranger king.
- Demodocus, at feast, doth sing
- Th' adultery of the God of Arms
- With Her that rules in amorous charms;
- And after sings the entercourse
- Of acts about th' Epaean horse.
- .... The council's frame
- At fleet applied.
- In strifes of game
- Ulysses tried.
OW when the rosy-finger'd Morn arose,
The sacred power Alcinous did dispose
Did likewise rise; and, like him, left his ease
The city-razer Laertiades.
The Council at the navy was design'd; 5
To which Alcinous, with the sacred mind,
Came first of all. On polish'd stones they sate,
Near to the navy. To increase the state,
Minerva took the herald's form on her,
That served Alcinous, studious to prefer 10
Ulysses' suit for home. About the town
She made quick way, and fill'd with the renown
Of that design the ears of every man,
Proclaiming thus: "Peers Phaeacensian!
And men of council, all haste to the court, 15
To hear the stranger that made late resort
To king Alcinous, long time lost at sea,
And is in person like a Deity."
This all their powers set up, and spirit instill'd,
And straight the court and seats with men were fill'd. 20
The whole state wonder'd at Laertes' son,
When they beheld him. Pallas put him on
A supernatural and heavenly dress,
Enlarged him with a height, and goodliness
In breast and shoulders, that he might appear 25
Gracious, and grave, and reverend, and bear
A perfect hand on his performance there
In all the trials they resolv'd t' impose.
All met, and gather'd in attention close,
Alcinous thus bespake them: "Dukes, and lords, 30
Hear me digest my hearty thoughts in words.
This stranger here, whose travels found my court,
I know not, nor can tell if his resort
From east or west comes; but his suit is this:
That to his country earth we would dismiss 35
His hither-forced person, and doth bear
The mind to pass it under every peer;
Whom I prepare, and stir up, making known
My free desire of his deduction.
Nor shall there ever any other man 40
That tries the goodness Phaeacensian
In me, and my court's entertainment, stay,
Mourning for passage, under least delay.
Come then, a ship into the sacred seas,
New-built, now launch we; and from out our prease 45
Choose two and fifty youths, of all, the best
To use an oar. All which see straight impress'd,
And in their oar-bound seats. Let others hie
Home to our court, commanding instantly
The solemn preparation of a feast, 50
In which provision may for any guest
Be made at my charge. Charge of these low things
I give our youth. You, sceptre-bearing kings,
Consort me home, and help with grace to use
This guest of ours; no one man shall refuse. 55
Some other of you haste, and call to us
The sacred singer, grave Demodocus,
To whom hath God given song that can excite
The heart of whom he listeth with delight."
This said, he led. The sceptre-bearers lent 60
Their free attendance; and with all speed went
The herald for the sacred man in song.
Youths two and fifty, chosen from the throng,
Went, as was will'd, to the untam'd sea's shore;
Where come, they launch'd the ship, the mast it bore 65
Advanc'd, sails hoised, every seat his oar
Gave with a leather thong. The deep moist then
They further reach'd. The dry streets flow'd with men,
That troop'd up to the king's capacious court,
Whose porticos were chok'd with the resort, 70
Whose walls were hung with men, young, old, thrust there
In mighty concourse; for whose promis'd cheer
Alcinous slew twelve sheep, eight white-tooth'd swine,
Two crook-haunch'd beeves; which flay'd and dress'd, divine
The show was of so many a jocund guest, 75
All set together at so set a feast.
To whose accomplish'd state the herald then
The lovely singer led; who past all mean
The Muse affected, gave him good, and ill,
His eyes put out, but put in soul at will. 80
His place was given him in a chair all grac'd
With silver studs, and 'gainst a pillar placed;
Where, as the centre to the state, he rests,
And round about the circle of the guests.
The herald on a pin above his head 85
His soundful harp hung, to whose height he led
His hand for taking of it down at will,
A board set by with food, and forth did fill
A bowl of wine, to drink at his desire.
The rest then fell to feast, and, when the fire 90
Of appetite was quench'd, the Muse inflam'd
The sacred singer. Of men highliest fam'd
He sung the glories, and a poem penn'd,
That in applause did ample heaven ascend.
Whose subject was, the stern Contention 95
Betwixt Ulysses and great Thetis' son,
As, at a banquet sacred to the Gods,
In dreadful language they express'd their odds.
When Agamemnon sat rejoic'd in soul
To hear the Greek peers jar in terms so foul; 100
For augur Phoebus in presage had told
The king of men (desirous to unfold
The war's perplex'd end, and being therefore gone
In heavenly Pythia to the porch of stone,)
That then the end of all griefs should begin 105
'Twixt Greece, and Troy, when Greece (with strife to win
That wish'd conclusion) in her kings should jar,
And plead, if force or wit must end the war.
This brave Contention did the poet sing,
Expressing so the spleen of either king, 110
That his large purple weed Ulysses held
Before his face and eyes, since thence distill'd
Tears uncontain'd; which he obscur'd, in fear
To let th' observing presence note a tear.
But, when his sacred song the mere divine 115
Had given an end, a goblet crown'd with wine
Ulysses, drying his wet eyes, did seize,
And sacrificed to those Gods that would please
T' inspire the poet with a song so fit
To do him honour, and renown his wit. 120
His tears then stay'd. But when again began,
By all the kings' desires, the moving man,
Again Ulysses could not choose but yield
To that soft passion, which again, withheld,
He kept so cunningly from sight, that none, 125
Except Alcinous himself alone,
Discern'd him mov'd so much. But he sat next,
And heard him deeply sigh; which his pretext
Could not keep hid from him. Yet he conceal'd
His utterance of it, and would have it held 130
From all the rest, brake off the song, and this
Said to those oar-affecting peers of his:
"Princes, and peers! We now are satiate
With sacred song that fits a feast of state,
With wine and food. Now then to field, and try 135
In all kinds our approv'd activity,
That this our guest may give his friends to know,
In his return, that we as little owe
To fights and wrestlings, leaping, speed of race,
As these our court-rites; and commend our grace 140
In all to all superior." Forth he led,
The peers and people troop'd up to their head.
Nor must Demodocus be left within;
Whose harp the herald hung upon the pin,
His hand in his took, and abroad he brought 145
The heavenly poet, out the same way wrought
That did the princes, and what they would see
With admiration, with his company
They wish'd to honour. To the place of game
These throng'd; and after routs of other came, 150
Of all sort, infinite. Of youths that strove,
Many and strong rose to their trial's love.
Up rose Acroneus, and Ocyalus,
Elatreus, Prymneus, and Anchialus,
Nauteus, Eretmeus, Thoon, Proreus, 155
Ponteus, and the strong Amphialus
Son to Tectonides Polyneus.
Up rose to these the great Euryalus,
In action like the Homicide of War.
Naubolides, that was for person far 160
Past all the rest, but one he could not pass,
Nor any thought improve, Laodamas.
Up Anabesineus then arose;
And three sons of the Sceptre-state, and those
Were Halius, the fore-praised Laodamas, 165
And Clytoneus like a God in grace.
These first the foot-game tried, and from the lists
Took start together. Up the dust in mists
They hurl'd about, as in their speed they flew;
But Clytoneus first of all the crew 170
A stitch's length in any fallow field
Made good his pace; when, where the judges yield
The prise and praise, his glorious speed arriv'd.
Next, for the boisterous wrestling game they striv'd;
At which Euryalus the rest outshone. 175
At leap Amphialus. At the hollow stone
Elatreus excell'd. At buffets, last,
Laodamas, the king's fair son, surpast.
When all had striv'd in these assays their fill,
Laodamas said: "Come friends, let's prove what skill 180
This stranger hath attain'd to in our sport.
Methinks, he must be of the native sort,
His calves, thighs, hands, and well-knit shoulders show
That Nature disposition did bestow
To fit with fact their form. Nor wants he prime. 185
But sour affliction, made a mate with time,
Makes time the more seen. Nor imagine I,
A worse thing to enforce debility
Than is the sea, though nature ne'er so strong
Knits one together." "Nor conceive you wrong," 190
Replied Euryalus, "but prove his blood
With what you question." In the midst then stood
Renown'd Laodamas, and prov'd him thus:
"Come, stranger father, and assay with us
Your powers in these contentions. If your show 195
Be answer'd with your worth, 'tis fit that you
Should know these conflicts. Nor doth glory stand
On any worth more, in a man's command,
Than to be strenuous both of foot and hand.
Come then, make proof with us, discharge your mind 200
Of discontentments; for not far behind
Comes your deduction, ship is ready now,
And men, and all things." "Why," said he, "dost thou
Mock me, Laodamas, and these strifes bind
My powers to answer? I am more inclin'd 205
To cares than conflict. Much sustain'd I have,
And still am suffering. I come here to crave,
In your assemblies, means to be dismiss'd,
And pray both kings and subjects to assist."
Euryalus an open brawl began, 210
And said: "I take you, sir, for no such man
As fits these honour'd strifes. A number more
Strange men there are that I would choose before.
To one that loves to lie a ship-board much,
Or is the prince of sailors; or to such 215
As traffic far and near, and nothing mind
But freight, and passage, and a foreright wind;
Or to a victualler of a ship; or men
That set up all their powers for rampant gain;
I can compare, or hold you like to be: 220
But, for a wrestler, or of quality
Fit for contentions noble, you abhor
From worth of any such competitor."
Ulysses, frowning, answer'd: "Stranger, far
Thy words are from the fashions regular 225
Of kind, or honour. Thou art in thy guise
Like to a man that authors injuries.
I see, the Gods to all men give not all
Manly addiction, wisdom, words that fall,
Like dice, upon the square still. Some man takes 230
Ill form from parents, but God often makes
That fault of form up with observ'd repair
Of pleasing speech, that makes him held for fair,
That makes him speak securely, makes him shine
In an assembly with a grace divine. 235
Men take delight to see how evenly lie
His words asteep in honey modesty.
Another, then, hath fashion like a God,
But in his language he is foul and broad.
And such art thou. A person fair is given, 240
But nothing else is in thee sent from heaven;
For in thee lurks a base and earthy soul,
And t' hast compell'd me, with a speech most foul,
To be thus bitter. I am not unseen
In these fair strifes, as thy words overween, 245
But in the first rank of the best I stand;
At least I did, when youth and strength of hand
Made me thus confident, but now am worn
With woes and labours, as a human born
To bear all anguish. Suffer'd much I have. 250
The war of men, and the inhuman wave,
Have I driven through at all parts. But with all
My waste in sufferance, what yet may fall
In my performance, at these strifes I'll try.
Thy speech hath mov'd, and made my wrath run high." 255
This said, with robe and all, he grasp'd a stone,
A little graver than was ever thrown
By these Phaeacians in their wrestling rout,
More firm, more massy; which, turn'd round about,
He hurried from him with a hand so strong 260
It sung, and flew, and over all the throng,
That at the others' marks stood, quite it went;
Yet down fell all beneath it, fearing spent
The force that drave it flying from his hand,
As it a dart were, or a walking wand; 265
And far past all the marks of all the rest
His wing stole way; when Pallas straight impress'd
A mark at fall of it, resembling then
One of the navy-given Phraeacian men,
And thus advanc'd Ulysses: "One, though blind, 270
O stranger, groping, may thy stone's fall find,
For not amidst the rout of marks it fell,
But far before all. Of thy worth think well,
And stand in all strifes. No Phaeacian here
This bound can either better or come near." 275
Ulysses joy'd to hear that one man yet
Used him benignly, and would truth abet
In those contentions; and then thus smooth
He took his speech down: "Reach me that now, youth,
You shall, and straight, I think, have one such more, 280
And one beyond it too. And now, whose core
Stands sound and great within him, since ye have
Thus put my spleen up, come again and brave
The guest ye tempted, with such gross disgrace,
At wrestling, buffets, whirlbat, speed of race; 285
At all, or either, I except at none,
But urge the whole state of you; only one,
I will not challenge in my forced boast,
And that's Laodamas, for he's mine host.
And who will fight, or wrangle, with his friend? 290
Unwise he is, and base, that will contend
With him that feeds him, in a foreign place;
And takes all edge off from his own sought grace.
None else except I here, nor none despise,
But wish to know, and prove his faculties, 295
That dares appear now. No strife ye can name
Am I unskill'd in; reckon any game
Of all that are, as many as there are
In use with men. For archery I dare
Affirm myself not mean. Of all a troop 300
I'll make the first foe with mine arrow stoop,
Though with me ne'er so many fellows bend
Their bows at mark'd men, and affect their end.
Only was Philoctetes with his bow
Still my superior, when we Greeks would show 305
Our archery against our foes of Troy.
But all, that now by bread frail life enjoy,
I far hold my inferiors. Men of old,
None now alive shall witness me so bold,
To vaunt equality with, such men as these, 310
Oechalian Eurytus, Hercules,
Who with their bows durst with the Gods contend;
And therefore caught Eurytus soon his end,
Nor died at home, in age, a reverend man,
But by the great incensed Delphian 315
Was shot to death, for daring competence
With him in all an archer's excellence.
A spear I'll hurl as far as any man
Shall shoot a shaft. How at a race I can
Bestir my feet, I only yield to fear, 320
And doubt to meet with my superior here.
So many seas so too much have misused
My limbs for race, and therefore have diffused
A dissolution through my loved knees."
This said, he still'd all talking properties; 325
Alcinous only answer'd: "O my guest,
In good part take we what you have been prest
With speech to answer. You would make appear
Your virtues therefore, that will still shine where
Your only look is. Yet must this man give 330
Your worth ill language; when, he does not live
In sort of mortals (whencesoe'er he springs,
That judgment hath to speak becoming things)
That will deprave your virtues. Note then now
My speech, and what my love presents to you, 335
That you may tell heroes, when you come
To banquet with your wife and birth at home,
(Mindful of our worth) what deservings Jove
Hath put on our parts likewise, in remove
From sire to son, as an inherent grace 340
Kind, and perpetual. We must needs give place
To other countrymen, and freely yield
We are not blameless in our fights of field,
Buffets, nor wrestlings; but in speed of feet,
And all the equipage that fits a fleet, 345
We boast us best; for table ever spread
With neighbour feasts, for garments varied,
For poesy, music, dancing, baths, and beds.
And now, Phaeacians, you that bear your heads
And feet with best grace in enamouring dance, 350
Enflame our guest here, that he may advance
Our worth past all the world's to his home friends,
As well for the unmatch'd grace that commends
Your skill in footing of a dance, as theirs
That fly a race best. And so, all affairs, 355
At which we boast us best, he best may try,
As sea-race, land-race, dance, and poesy.
Some one with instant speed to court retire,
And fetch Demodocus's soundful lyre."
This said the God-graced king; and quick resort 360
Pontonous made for that fair harp to court.
Nine of the lot-choos'd public rulers rose,
That all in those contentions did dispose,
Commanding a most smooth ground, and a wide,
And all the people in fair game aside. 365
Then with the rich harp came Pontonous,
And in the midst took place Demodocus.
About him then stood forth the choice young men,
That on man's first youth made fresh entry then,
Had art to make their natural motion sweet, 370
And shook a most divine dance from their feet,
That twinkled star-like, mov'd as swift, and fine,
And beat the air so thin, they made it shine.
Ulysses wonder'd at it, but amaz'd
He stood in mind to hear the dance so phras'd. 375
For, as they danc'd, Demodocus did sing,
The bright-crown'd Venus' love with Battle's King;
As first they closely mixed in th' house of fire.
What worlds of gifts won her to his desire,
Who then the night-and-day-bed did defile 380
Of good king Vulcan. But in little while
The Sun their mixture saw, and came and told.
The bitter news did by his ears take hold
Of Vulcan's heart. Then to his forge he went,
And in his shrewd mind deep stuff did invent. 385
His mighty anvil in the stock he put,
And forged a net that none could lose or cut,
That when it had them it might hold them fast.
Which having finish'd, he made utmost haste
Up to the dear room where his wife he woo'd, 390
And, madly wrath with Mars, he all bestrow'd
The bed, and bed-posts, all the beam above
That cross'd the chamber; and a circle strove
Of his device to wrap in all the room.
And 'twas as pure, as of a spider's loom 395
The woof before 'tis woven. No man nor God
Could set his eye on it, a sleight so odd
His art show'd in it. All his craft bespent
About the bed, he feign'd as if he went
To well-built Lemnos, his most loved town 400
Of all towns earthly; nor left this unknown
To golden-bridle-using Mars, who kept
No blind watch over him, but, seeing stept
His rival so aside, he hasted home
With fair-wreath'd Venus' love stung, who was come 405
New from the court of her most mighty Sire.
Mars enter'd, wrung her hand, and the retire
Her husband made to Lemnos told, and said:
"Now, love, is Vulcan gone, let us to bed,
He's for the barbarous Sintians." Well appay'd 410
Was Venus with it; and afresh assay'd
Their old encounter. Down they went; and straight
About them cling'd the artificial sleight
Of most wise Vulcan; and were so ensnar'd,
That neither they could stir their course prepar'd 415
In any limb about them, nor arise.
And then they knew, they would no more disguise
Their close conveyance, but lay, forc'd, stone still.
Back rush'd the both-foot-cook'd, but straight in skill,
From his near scout-hole turn'd, nor ever went 420
To any Lemnos, but the sure event
Left Phoebus to discover, who told all.
Then home hopp'd Vulcan, full of grief and gall,
Stood in the portal, and cried out so high,
That all the Gods heard: "Father of the sky 425
And every other deathless God," said he,
"Come all, and a ridiculous object see,
And yet not sufferable neither. Come,
And witness how, when still I step from home,
Lame that I am, Jove's daughter doth profess 430
To do me all the shameful offices,
Indignities, despites, that can be thought;
And loves this all-things-making-come-to-nought,
Since he is fair forsooth, foot-sound, and I
Took in my brain a little, legg'd awry; 435
And no fault mine, but all my parent's fault,
Who should not get, if mock me, with my halt.
But see how fast they sleep, while I, in moan,
Am only made an idle looker on.
One bed their turn serves, and it must be mine; 440
I think yet, I have made their self-loves shine.
They shall no more wrong me, and none perceive;
Nor will they sleep together, I believe,
With too hot haste again. Thus both shall lie
In craft, and force, till the extremity 445
Of all the dower I gave her sire (to gain
A dogged set-fac'd girl, that will not stain
Her face with blushing, though she shame her head)
He pays me back. She's fair, but was no maid."
While this long speech was making, all were come 450
To Vulcan's wholly-brazen-founded home,
Earth-shaking Neptune, useful Mercury,
And far-shot Phoebus. No She-Deity,
For shame, would show there. All the give-good Gods
Stood in the portal, and past periods 455
Gave length to laughters, all rejoic'd to see
That which they said, that no impiety
Finds good success at th' end. "And now," said one,
"The slow outgoes the swift. Lame Vulcan, known
To be the slowest of the Gods, outgoes 460
Mars the most swift. And this is that which grows
To greatest justice: that adult'ry's sport,
Obtain'd by craft, by craft of other sort
(And lame craft too) is plagued, which grieves the more,
That sound limbs turning lame the lame restore." 465
This speech amongst themselves they entertain'd,
When Phoebus thus ask'd Hermes: "Thus enchain'd
Wouldst thou be Hermes, to be thus disclosed?
Though with thee golden Venus were reposed?"
He soon gave that an answer: "O," said he, 470
"Thou king of archers, would 'twere thus with me.
Though thrice so much shame; nay, though infinite
Were pour'd about me, and that every light,
In great heaven shining, witness'd all my harms,
So golden Venus slumber'd in mine arms." 475
The Gods again laugh'd; even the Wat'ry State
Wrung out a laughter, but propitiate
Was still for Mars, and pray'd the God of Fire
He would dissolve him, offering the desire
He made to Jove to pay himself, and said, 480
All due debts should be by the Gods repaid.
"Pay me, no words," said he, "where deeds lend pain,
Wretched the words are given for wretched men.
How shall I bind you in th' Immortals' sight,
If Mars be once loos'd, nor will pay his right?" 485
"Vulcan," said he, "if Mars should fly, nor see
Thy right repaid, it should be paid by me."
"Your word, so given, I must accept," said he.
Which said, he loos'd them. Mars then rush'd from sky,
And stoop'd cold Thrace. The laughing Deity 490
For Cyprus was, and took her Paphian state,
Where she a grove, ne'er cut, had consecrate,
All with Arabian odours fum'd, and hath
An altar there, at which the Graces bathe,
And with immortal balms besmooth her skin, 495
Fit for the bliss Immortals solace in;
Deck'd her in to-be-studied attire,
And apt to set beholders' hearts on fire.
This sung the sacred muse, whose notes and words
The dancers' feet kept as his hands his cords. 500
Ulysses much was pleased, and all the crew.
This would the king have varied with a new
And pleasing measure, and performed by
Two, with whom none would strive in dancery;
And those his sons were, that must therefore dance 505
Alone, and only to the harp advance,
Without the words. And this sweet couple was
Young Halius, and divine Laodamas;
Who danc'd a ball dance. Then the rich-wrought ball,
That Polybus had made, of purple all, 510
They took to hand. One threw it to the sky,
And then danc'd back; the other, capering high,
Would surely catch it ere his foot touch'd ground,
And up again advanc'd it, and so found
The other cause of dance; and then did he 515
Dance lofty tricks, till next it came to be
His turn to catch, and serve the other still.
When they had kept it up to either's will,
They then danced ground tricks, oft mix'd hand in hand,
And did so gracefully their change command, 520
That all the other youth that stood at pause,
With deaf'ning shouts, gave them the great applause.
Then said Ulysses: "O, past all men here
Clear, not in power, but in desert as clear,
You said your dancers did the world surpass, 525
And they perform it clear, and to amaze."
This won Alcinous' heart, and equal prize
He gave Ulysses, saying: "Matchless wise,
Princes and rulers, I perceive our guest,
And therefore let our hospitable best 530
In fitting gifts be given him: Twelve chief kings
There are that order all the glorious things
Of this our kingdom; and, the thirteenth, I
Exist, as crown to all. Let instantly
Be thirteen garments given him, and of gold 535
Precious, and fine, a talent. While we hold
This our assembly, be all fetch'd, and given,
That to our feast prepar'd, as to his heaven,
Our guest may enter. And, that nothing be
Left unperform'd that fits his dignity, 540
Euryalus shall here conciliate
Himself with words and gifts, since past our rate
He gave bad language." This did all commend
And give in charge; and every king did send
His herald for his gift. Euryalus, 545
Answering for his part, said: "Alcinous!
Our chief of all, since you command, I will
To this our guest by all means reconcile,
And give him this entirely-metall'd sword,
The handle massy silver, and the board 550
That gives it cover all of ivory,
New, and in all kinds worth his quality."
This put he straight into his hand, and said:
"Frolic, O guest and father; if words fled
Have been offensive, let swift whirlwinds take 555
And ravish them from thought. May all Gods make
Thy wife's sight good to thee, in quick retreat
To all thy friends, and best-loved breeding seat,
Their long miss quitting with the greater joy;
In whose sweet vanish all thy worst annoy." 560
"And frolic thou to all height, friend," said he,
"Which heaven confirm with wish'd felicity;
Nor ever give again desire to thee
Of this sword's use, which with affects so free,
In my reclaim, thou hast bestow'd on me." 565
This said, athwart his shoulders he put on
The right fair sword; and then did set the sun.
When all the gifts were brought, which back again
(With king Alcinous in all the train)
Were by the honour'd heralds borne to court; 570
Which his fair sons took, and from the resort
Laid by their reverend mother. Each his throne
Of all the peers (which yet were overshone
In king Alcinous' command) ascended;
Whom he to pass as much in gifts contended, 575
And to his queen said: "Wife! See brought me here
The fairest cabinet I have, and there
Impose a well-cleans'd in, and utter, weed.
A caldron heat with water, that with speed
Our guest well bath'd, and all his gifts made sure, 580
It may a joyful appetite procure
To his succeeding feast, and make him hear
The poet's hymn with the securer ear.
To all which I will add my bowl of gold,
In all frame curious, to make him hold 585
My memory always dear, and sacrifice
With it at home to all the Deities."
Then Arete her maids charg'd to set on
A well-sized caldron quickly. Which was done,
Clear water pour'd in, flame made so entire, 590
It gilt the brass, and made the water fire.
In mean space, from her chamber brought the queen
A wealthy cabinet, where, pure and clean,
She put the garments, and the gold bestow'd
By that free state, and then the other vow'd 595
By her Alcinous, and said: "Now, guest,
Make close and fast your gifts, lest, when you rest
A-ship-board sweetly, in your way you meet
Some loss, that less may make your next sleep sweet."
This when Ulysses heard, all sure he made, 600
Enclosed and bound safe; for the saving trade
The reverend-for-her-wisdom, Circe, had
In foreyears taught him. Then the handmaid bad
His worth to bathing; which rejoic'd his heart,
For since he did with his Calypso part, 605
He had no hot baths; none had favour'd him,
Nor been so tender of his kingly limb.
But all the time he spent in her abode,
He lived respected as he were a God.
Cleans'd then and balm'd, fair shirt and robe put on, 610
Fresh come from bath, and to the feasters gone,
Nausicaa, that from the Gods' hands took
The sovereign beauty of her blessed look,
Stood by a well-carv'd column of the room,
And through her eye her heart was overcome 615
With admiration of the port impress'd
In his aspect, and said: "God save you, guest!
Be cheerful, as in all the future state
Your home will show you in your better fate.
But yet, even then, let this remember'd be, 620
Your life's price I lent, and you owe it me."
The varied-in-all-counsels gave reply:
"Nausicaa! Flower of all this empery!
So Juno's husband, that the strife for noise
Makes in the clouds, bless me with strife of joys, 625
In the desired day that my house shall show,
As I, as I to a Goddess there shall vow,
To thy fair hand that did my being give,
Which I'll acknowledge every hour I live."
This said, Alcinous plac'd him by his side. 630
Then took they feast, and did in parts divide
The several dishes, fill'd out wine, and then
The strived-for-for-his-worth of worthy men,
And reverenc'd-of-the-state, Demodocus
Was brought in by the good Pontonous. 635
In midst of all the guests they gave him place,
Against a lofty pillar, when this grace
The grac'd-with-wisdom did him: From the chine,
That stood before him, of a white-tooth'd swine,
Being far the daintiest joint, mixed through with fat, 640
He carv'd to him, and sent it where he sat
By his old friend the herald, willing thus:
"Herald, reach this to grave Demodocus,
Say, I salute him, and his worth embrace.
Poets deserve, past all the human race, 645
Reverend respect and honour, since the queen
Of knowledge, and the supreme worth in men,
The Muse, informs them, and loves all their race."
This reach'd the herald to him, who the grace
Received encouraged; which, when feast was spent, 650
Ulysses amplified to this ascent:
"Demodocus! I must prefer you far,
Past all your sort, if, or the Muse of war,
Jove's daughter, prompts you, that the Greeks respects,
Or if the Sun, that those of Troy affects. 655
For I have heard you, since my coming, sing
The fate of Greece to an admired string.
How much our suff'rance was, how much we wrought,
How much the actions rose to when we fought.
So lively forming, as you had been there, 660
Or to some free relater lent your ear.
Forth then, and sing the wooden horse's frame,
Built by Epeus, by the martial Dame
Taught the whole fabric; which, by force of sleight,
Ulysses brought into the city's height, 665
When he had stuff'd it with as many men
As levell'd lofty Ilion with the plain.
With all which if you can as well enchant,
As with expression quick and elegant
You sung the rest, I will pronounce you clear 670
Inspired by God, past all that ever were."
This said, even stirr'd by God up, he began,
And to his song fell, past the form of man,
Beginning where the Greeks aship-board went,
And every chief had set on fire his tent, 675
When th' other kings, in great Ulysses guide,
In Troy's vast market place the horse did hide,
From whence the Trojans up to Ilion drew
The dreadful engine. Where sat all arew
Their kings about it; many counsels given 680
How to dispose it. In three ways were driven
Their whole distractions. First, if they should feel
The hollow wood's heart, search'd with piercing steel;
Or from the battlements drawn higher yet
Deject it headlong; or that counterfeit 685
So vast and novel set on sacred fire,
Vow'd to appease each anger'd Godhead's ire.
On which opinion, they, thereafter, saw,
They then should have resolved; th' unalter'd law
Of fate presaging, that Troy then should end, 690
When th' hostile horse she should receive to friend,
For therein should the Grecian kings lie hid,
To bring the fate and death they after did.
He sung, besides, the Greeks' eruption
From those their hollow crafts, and horse forgone; 695
And how they made depopulation tread
Beneath her feet so high a city's head.
In which affair, he sung in other place,
That of that ambush some man else did race
The Ilion towers than Laertiades; 700
But here he sung, that he alone did seize,
With Menelaus, the ascended roof
Of prince Deiphobus, and Mars-like proof
Made of his valour, a most dreadful fight
Daring against him; and there vanquish'd quite, 705
In little time, by great Minerva's aid,
All Ilion's remnant, and Troy level laid.
This the divine expressor did so give
Both act and passion, that he made it live,
And to Ulysses' facts did breathe a fire 710
So deadly quick'ning, that it did inspire
Old death with life, and render'd life so sweet,
And passionate, that all there felt it fleet;
Which made him pity his own cruelty,
And put into that ruth so pure an eye 715
Of human frailty, that to see a man
Could so revive from death, yet no way can
Defend from death, his own quick powers it made
Feel there death's horrors, and he felt life fade
In tears his feeling brain swet; for, in things 720
That move past utterance, tears ope all their springs.
Nor are there in the powers that all life bears
More true interpreters of all than tears.
And as a lady mourns her sole-loved lord,
That fall'n before his city by the sword, 725
Fighting to rescue from a cruel fate
His town and children, and in dead estate
Yet panting seeing him, wraps him in her arms,
Weeps, shrieks, and pours her health into his arms,
Lies on him, striving to become his shield 730
From foes that still assail him, spears impell'd
Through back and shoulders, by whose points embrued,
They raise and lead him into servitude,
Labour, and languor; for all which the dame
Eats down her cheeks with tears, and feeds life's flame 735
With miserable suff'rance; so this king
Of tear-swet anguish op'd a boundless spring;
Nor yet was seen to any one man there
But king Alcinous, who sat so near
He could not 'scape him, sighs, so choked, so brake 740
From all his tempers; which the king did take
Both note and grave respect of, and thus spake:
"Hear me, Phaeacian counsellors and peers,
And cease Demodocus; perhaps all ears
Are not delighted with his song, for, ever 745
Since the divine Muse sung, our guest hath never
Contain'd from secret mournings. It may fall,
That something sung he hath been grieved withal,
As touching his particular. Forbear,
That feast may jointly comfort all hearts here, 750
And we may cheer our guest up; 'tis our best
In all due honour. For our reverend guest
Is all our celebration, gifts, and all,
His love hath added to our festival.
A guest, and suppliant too, we should esteem 755
Dear as our brother, one that doth but dream
He hath a soul, or touch but at a mind
Deathless and manly, should stand so inclined.
Nor cloak you longer with your curious wit,
Loved guest, what ever we shall ask of it. 760
It now stands on your honest state to tell,
And therefore give your name, nor more conceal
What of your parents, and the town that bears
Name of your native, or of foreigners
That near us border, you are call'd in fame. 765
There's no man living walks without a name,
Noble nor base, but had one from his birth
Imposed as fit as to be borne. What earth,
People, and city, own you, give to know.
Tell but our ships all, that your way must show. 770
For our ships know th' expressed minds of men,
And will so most intentively retain
Their scopes appointed, that they never err,
And yet use never any man to steer,
Nor any rudders have, as others need. 775
They know men's thoughts, and whither tends their speed,
And there will set them; for you cannot name
A city to them, nor fat soil, that Fame
Hath any notice given, but well they know,
And will fly to them, though they ebb and flow 780
In blackest clouds and nights; and never bear
Of any wrack or rock the slend'rest fear.
But this I heard my sire Nausithous say
Long since, that Neptune, seeing us convey
So safely passengers of all degrees, 785
Was angry with us; and upon our seas
A well-built ship we had, near harbour come
From safe deduction of some stranger home,
Made in his flitting billows stick stone still;
And dimm'd our city, like a mighty hill 790
With shade cast round about it. This report,
The old king made; in which miraculous sort,
If God had done such things, or left undone,
At his good pleasure be it. But now, on,
And truth relate us, both [from] whence you err'd, 795
And to what clime of men would be transferr'd,
With all their fair towns, be they as they are,
If rude, unjust, and all irregular,
Or hospitable, bearing minds that please
The mighty Deity. Which one of these 800
You would be set at, say, and you are there.
And therefore what afflicts you? Why, to hear
The fate of Greece and Ilion, mourn you so?
The Gods have done it; as to all they do
Destine destruction, that from thence may rise 805
A poem to instruct posterities.
Fell any kinsman before Ilion?
Some worthy sire-in-law, or like-near son,
Whom next our own blood and self-race we love?
Or any friend perhaps, in whom did move 810
A knowing soul, and no unpleasing thing?
Since such a good one is no underling
To any brother; for, what fits true friends,
True wisdom is, that blood and birth transcends.
FINIS LIBRI OCTAVI HOM. ODYSS.