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My task is done ; the mansion you inquire | The polish'd ore, reflecting every ray,
130 Appears before you : enter, and admire.
Blazed on the banquets with a double day. High-throned, and feasting, there thou shalt behold, Full fifty handmaids form the household train; The scepter'd rulers. Fear not, but be bold : Some turn the mill, or sift the golden grain; A decent boldness ever meets with friends,
Some ply the loom ; their busy fingers move Succeeds, and even a stranger recommends. Like poplar leaves when Zephyr fans the grove First to the queen prefer a suppliant's claim, Not more renown'd the men of Scheria's isle Alcinois' queen, Aretè is her name,
70 For sailing arts and all the naval toil, The same her parents, nd her power the same. Than works of female skill: their women's pride, For know, from Ocean's god Nausithoüs sprung, The flying shuttle through the threads to guide: And Peribæa, beautiful and young :
Pallas to these her double gifts irnparts,
110 (Eurymedon's last hope, who ruled of old
Inventive genius, and industrious arts.
From storms defended and inclement skies.
Here the blue fig with luscious juice o'erflows, The first by Phoebus' burning arrows fired, With deeper red the full pomegranate glows, New from his nuptials, hapless youth! expired. The branch here bends beneath the weighty pear, No son survived : Aretė heir'd his state,
And verdant olives flourish round the year. 150 And her Alcinoüs chose his royal mate.
The balmy spirit of the western gale With honours yet to womankind unknown,
Eternal breathes on fruits, untaught to fail: This queen he graces, and divides the throne : Each dropping pear a following pear supplies, In equal tenderness her sons conspire
On apples apples, figs on figs arise : And all the children emulate their sire.
The same mild season gives the blooms to blow, When through the streets she gracious deigns to The buds to harden, and the fruits to grow. move,
90 Here order'd vines in equal ranks appear, (The public wonder and the public love,)
With all the united labours of the year; The tongues of all with transport sound her praise, Some to unload the fertile branches run,
160 The eyes of all, as on a goddess, gaze.
Some dry the blackening clusters in the sun,
The groaning presses foam with floods of wine. In virtue rich; in blessing others, bless'd.
Here are the vines in early flower descried, Go then secure, thy humble suit prefer,
Here grapes discolour'd on the sunny side, And owe thy country and thy friends to her. And there in autumn's richest purple dyed.
With that the goddess deign'd no longer stay, Beds of all various herbs, for ever green, But o'er the world of waters wing'd her way: 100 In beauteous order terminate the scene. Forsaking Scheria's ever-pleasing shore,
Two plenteous fountains the whole prospect crown'd: The winds to Marathon the virgin bore;
This through the gardens leads its streams around, Thence, where proud Athens rears her towery head, Visits each plant, and waters all the ground; 171 With opening streets and shining structures spread, While that in pipes beneath the palace flows, She pass'd, delighted with the well-known seats ; And thence its current on the town bestows : And to Erectheus' sacred dome retreats.
To various use their various streams they bring, Meanwhile Ulysses at the palace waits, The people one, and one supplies the king. There stops, and anxious with his soul debates, Such were the glories which the gods ordain'd Fix'd in amaze before the royal gates.
To grace Alcino üs, and his happy land. The front appear'd with radiant splendors gay, 110 Even from the chief who men and nations knew Bright as the lamp of night, or orb of day. The unwonted scene surprise and rapture drew: The walls were massy brass : the cornice high In pleasing thought he ran the prospect o'er, Blue metals crown'd, in colours of the sky: Then hasty enter'd at the lofty door. Rich plates of gold the folding doors incase ; Night now approaching, in the palace stand, The pillars silver, on a brazen base ;
With goblets crown'd, the rulers of the land; Silver the lintels deep-projecting o'er,
Prepared for rest, and offering to the god* And gold, the ringlets that command the door. Who bears the virtue of the sleepy rod. Two rows of stately dogs on either hand,
Unseen he glided through the joyous crowd, In sculptured gold and laboured silver stand. With darkness circled, and an ambient cloud. These Vulcan form'd with art divine, to wait 120 Direct to great Alcinoüs' throne he came, Immortal guardians at Alcinois' gate ;
And prostrate fell before the imperial dame. Alive each animated frame appeare,
Then from around him dropp'd the veil of night ; 190
Low at her knees, the much-enduring man)
To thee, thy consort, and this royal train,
Then must he suffer what the Fates ordain; To all that share the blessings of your reign, For Fate has wove the thread of life with pain ! A suppliant bends : oh pity human woe!
And twins even from their birth are misery and man! 'Tis what the happy to the unhappy owe.
But if, descended from the Olympian bower, A wretched exile to his country send,
200 Gracious approach us some immortal power;
The solemn sacrifice call'd down the guest : 270 Your people blessing, by your people bless'd! Then manifest of heaven the vision stood,
Then to the genial earth he bow'd his face, And to our eyes familiar was the god. And humbled in the ashes took his place.
Oft with some favour'd traveller they stray, Silence ensued. The eldest first began,
And shine before him all the desert way, Echeneus sage, a venerable man,
With social intercourse, and face to face, Whose well-taught mind the present age surpass'd The friends and guardians of our pious race. And join'd to that the experience of the last. 210 So near approach we their celestial kind, Fit words attended on his weighty sense,
By justice, truth, and probity of mind; And mild persuasion flow'd in eloquence.
As our dire neighbours of Cyclopean birth Oh sight (he cried) dishonest and unjust! Match in fierce wrong the giant sons of earth. 280 A guest, a stranger, seated in the dust!
Let no such thought (with modest grace rejoin'd
Alas ! a mortal, like thyself, am I;
220 How much inferior in the gifts of mind! To Jove, who guides the wanderer on his way; Alas, a mortal! most oppress'd of those Then set the genial banquet in his view,
Whom Fate has loaded with a weight of woes ; And give the stranger-guest a stranger's due. By a sad train of miseries alone His sage advice the listening king obeys,
Distinguish'd long, and second now to none ! 290 He stretch'd his hand the prudent chief to raise, By heaven's high will compellid from shore to shore; And from his seat Laodamas removed,
With heaven's high will prepared to suffer more. (The monarch's offspring, and his best beloved ;) What histories of toil could I declare ! There next his side the godlike hero sate ;
But still long-wearied nature wants repair; With stars of silver shone the bed of state.
Spent with fatigue, and shrunk with pining fast, The golden ewer a beauteous handmaid brings, 230 My craving bowels still require repast. Replenish'd from the cool translucent springs, Howe'er the noble, suffering mind may grieve Whose polish'd vase with copious stream sup Its load of anguish, and disdain to live, plies
Necessity demands our daily bread; A silver laver of capacious size.
Hunger is insolent, and will be fed.
300 The table next in regal order spread,
But tinish, oh ye peers! what you propose, The glittering canisters are heap'd with bread; And let the morrow's dawn conclude my woes. Viands of various kinds invite the taste,
Pleased will I suffer all the gods ordain, of choicest sort and savour, rich repast !
To see my soil, my son, my friends, again. Thus feasting high, Alcinoüs gave the sign, That view vouchsafed, let instant death surprise And bade the herald pour the rosy wine.
With ever-during shade these happy eyes! Let all around the due libation pay
240 The assembled peers with general praise approved To Jove, who guides the wanderer on his way. His pleaded reason, and the suit he moved.
He said. Pontonous heard the king's command ; Each drinks a full oblivion of his cares,
Remain'd: beside him, on a splendid throne,
The queen, on nearer view, the guest survey'd, Now pleased and satiate from the social rite Robed in the garments her own hands had made; Repair we to the blessings of the night;
Not without wonder seen. Then thus began,
Camest thou not hither, wondrous stranger! say, Pious observe our hospitable laws,
From lands remote, and o'er a length of sea ? 319
Hard is the task, oh princess ! you impose,
Where dwells Calypso, dreadful in her charma !
Remote from gods or men she holds her reign, 330 Whate'er is honest, stranger, I approve,
And would to Phæbus, Pallas and to Jove,
Such as thou art, thy thought and mine were one, Unbless'd! to tread that interdicted shore : Nor thou unwilling to be call'd my son. 400 When Jove tremendous in the sable deeps
In such alliance couldst thou wish to join, Launch'd his red lightning at our scatter'd ships ; A palace stored with treasures should be thine Then, all my fleet, and all my followers lost, But if reluctant, who shall force thy stay? Sole on a plank, on boiling surges toss'd,
Jove bids to set the stranger on his way, Heaven drove my wreck the Ogygian isle to find, And ships shall wait thee with the morning ray. Full nine days floating to the wave and wind. Till then, let slumber close thy careful eyes; Met by the goddess there with open arms, 340 The wakeful mariners shall watch the skies, She bribed my stay with more than human charms; And seize the moment when the breezes rise : Nay, promised, vainly promised, to bestow Then gently waft thee to the pleasing shore, Immortal life, exempt from age and woe:
Where thy soul rests, and labour is no more. 410 But all her blandishments successless prove, Far as Eubea though thy country lay, To banish from my breast my country's love. Our ships with ease transport thee in a day. I stay reluctant seven continued years,
Thither of old, earth's giant son* to view, And water her ambrosial couch with tears.
On wings of winds with Rhadamanth they flew; The eighth she voluntary moves to part,
This land, from whence their morning course begun; Or urged by Jove, or her own changeful heart. Saw them returning with the setting sun. A raft was formed to cross the surging sea; 350 Your eyes shall witness and confirm my tale, Herself supplied the stores and rich array,
Our youth how dextrous and how fleet our sail, And gave the gales to waft me on the way. When justly timed with equal sweep they row, In seventeen days appear'd your pleasing coast, And ocean whitens in long tracks below. 420 And woody mountains half in vapours lost.
Thus he. No word the experienced man replies, Joy touch'd my soul: my soul was joy'd in vain ; But thus to heaven (and heavenward lifts his eyes :) For angry Neptune roused the raging main; Oh Jove! oh father! what the king accords The wild winds whistle, and the billows roar; Do thou make perfect ! sacred be his words ! The splitting raft the furious tempest tore; Wide o'er the world Alcinous glory shine ! And storms vindictive intercept the shore. Let fame be his, and ah! my country mine! Soon as their rage subsides, the seas I brave 360 Meanwhile Aretè, for the hour of rest, With naked force, and shoot along the wave, Ordains the fleecy couch and covering vest ; To reach this isle ; but there my hopes were lost, Bids her fair train the purple quilts prepare, The surge impelled me on a craggy coast.
And the thick carpets spread with busy care. 430 I chose the safer sea, and chanced to find
With torches blazing in their hands they past, A river's mouth impervious to the wind,
And finish'd all their queen's command with haste;
Alcinous calls a council, in which it is resolved to transLike thee in beauty, nor in virtue less.
port Ulysses into his country. After which, splendid Who from such youth could hope considerate care ? entertainments are made, where the celebrated musi. In youth and beauty wisdom is but rare !
cian and poet Demodocus plays and sings to the She gave me life, relieved with just supplies 380 guests. They next proceed to the games, the race, the My wants, and lent these robes that strike your
wrestling, the discus, &c. where Ulysses casts a proeyes.
digious length, to the admiration of all the spectators. This is the truth: and oh, ye powers on high!
They return again to the banquet, and Demodocus
sings the loves of Mars and Venus. Ulysses, after a Forbid that want should sink me to a lie.
compliment to the poet, desires him to sing the introTo this the king: Our daughter but express'd duction of the wooden horse into Troy: which subject Her cares imperfect to our godlike guest.
provoking his tears, Alcinous inquires of his guest his Suppliant to her, since first he chose to pray,
name, parentage, and fortunes. Why not herself did she conduct the way, And with her handmaids to our court convey ?
BOOK VIII. Hero and king! (Ulysses thus replied)
Now fair Aurora lifts her golden ray, Nor blame her faultless, nor suspect of pride : 390 And all the ruddy orient flames with day : She bade me follow in the attendant train;
Alcinous, and the chief, with dawning light, But fear and reverence did my steps detain, Rose instant from the slumbers of the night! Lest rash suspicion might alarm thy mind :
Then to the council seat they bend their way,
And fill the shining thrones along the bay.
Meanwhile Minerva, in her guardian care, For heaven foretold the contest, when he trod
Curious to learn the counsels of the sky,
Nobles and chiefs who rule Phæacia's states, Touch'd at the song, Ulysses straight resign'd The king in council your attendance waits; To soft affliction all his manly mind :
80 A prince of grace divine your aid implores, Before his eyes the purple vest he drew, O'er unknown seas arrived from unknown shores. Industrious to conceal the falling dew :
She spoke, and sudden with tumultuous sounds But when the music paused, he ceased to shed Of thronging multitudes the shore rebounds: The flowing tear, and raised his drooping head; At once the seats they fill; and every eye
And, lifting to the gods a goblet crown'd, Gazed, as before some brother of the sky.
He pour'd a pure libation to the ground. Pallas with grace divine his form improves,
Transported with the song, the listening train More high he treads, and more enlarged he moves ; Again with loud applause demand the strain : She sheds celestial bloom, regard to draw, 21 Again Ulysses veil'd his pensive head, And gives a dignity of mien to awe:
Again unmann'd, a shower of sorrow shed; 90 With strength the future prize of fame to play, Conceal’d he wept: the king observed alone And gather all the honours of the day.
The silent tear and heard the secret groan; Then from his glittering throne Alcinoiis rose : Then to the bard aloud-O cease to sing ; Attend, he cried, while we our will disclose. Dumb be thy voice, and mute the harmonious string; Your present aid this godlike stranger craves, Enough the feast has pleased, enough the power Toss’d by rude tempest through a war of waves : Of heavenly song has crown'd the genial hour! Perhaps from realms that view the rising day, Incessant in the games your strength display, Or nations subject to the western ray.
30 Contest, ye brave, the honours of the day; Then grant, what here all sons of woe obtain ; That pleased the admiring stranger may proclaim (For here affliction never pleads in vain :)
In distant regions the Phæacian fame:
100 Be chosen youths prepared, expert to try
None wield the gauntlet with so dire a sway, The vast profound, and bid the vessel Ay:
Or swifter in the race devour the way; Launch the tall bark, and order ever oar;
None in the leap spring with so strong a bound, Then in our court indulge the genial hour : Or firmer, in the wrestling, press the ground. Instant, you sailors, to this task attend;
Thus spoke the king: the attending peers obey; Swift to the palace, all ye peers, ascend;
In state they move, Alcinoüs leads the way:
40 High on a column in the palace hung; Taught by the gods to please, when high he sings And, guided by a herald's guardian cares, The vocal lay, responsive to the strings.
Majestic to the lists of fame repairs.
110 Thus spoke the prince : the attending peers obey; Now swarms the populace: a countless throng, In state they move; Alcinoiis leads the way: Youth and hoar age ; and man drives man along. Swift to Demodocus the herald flies,
The games begin: ambitious of the prize, At once the sailors to their charge arise ;
Acroneus, Thoon, and Eretmeus rise; They launch the vessel, and unfurl the sails, The prize Ocyalus and Prymneus claim, And stretch the swelling canvas to the gales; Anchialus and Ponteus, chiefs of fame. Then to the palace move: a gathering throng, There Proreus, Nantes, Eratreus, appear, Youth, and white age, tumultuous pour along. 50 And famed Amphialus, Polyneus' heir; Now all accesses to the dome are fill'd;
Euryalus, like Mars terrific rose, Eight boars, the choicest of the herd, are kill'd! When clad in wrath he withers hosts of foes ; 120 Two beeves, twelve fatlings, from the flock they bring Naubolides with grace unequall'd shone, To crown the feast ; so wills the bounteous king. Or equall'd by Laodamas alone. The herald now arrives, and guides along
With these came forth Ambasineus the strong; The sacred master of celestial song :
And three brave sons, from great Alcinoüs sprung. Dear to the Muse! who gave his days to flow
Ranged in a line the ready racers stand, With mighty blessings, mix'd with mighty woe; Start from the goal, and vanish o'er the strand: With clouds of darkness quench'd his visual ray,
Swift as on wings of winds, upborne they fiy, But gave him skill to raise the lofty lay.
60 And drifts of rising dust involve the sky. High on a radiant throne sublime in state,
Before the rest, what space the hinds allow Encircled by huge multitudes, he sate:
Between the mule and ox, from plough to plough, 130 With silver shone the throne : his lyre well strung Clytonius sprung: he wing'd the rapid way, To rapturous sounds, at hand Pontonous hung : And bore the unrivall'd honours of the day. Before his seat a polish'd table shines,
With fierce embrace the brawny wrestlers join : And a full goblet foams with generous wines : The conquest, great Euryalus, is thine. His food a herald bore: and now they fed; Amphialus spring forward with a bound, And now the rage of craving hunger fled.
Superior in the leap, a length of ground. Then, fir'd by all the Muse, aloud he sings From Elatreus' strong arm the discus flies, The mighty deeds of demigods and kings: 70 And sings with unmatch'd force along the skies. From that fierce wrath the noble song arose, And Laodam whirls high, with dreadful sway, That made Ulysses and Achilles foes :
The gloves of death, victorious in the fray. 140 How o'er the feast they doom the fall of Troy : While thus the peerage in the games contends, The stern debate Atrides hears with joy:
In act to speak Laodamas ascends.
O friends, he cries, the stranger seems well skill'd Then striding forward with a furious bound, To try the illustrious labours of the field:
He wrench'd a rocky fragment from the ground, 210 I deem him brave: then grant the brave man's claim, By far more ponderous and more huge by far, Invite the hero to his share of fame.
Than what Phæacia's sons discharged in air. What nervous arins he boasts ! how firm his tread! Fierce from his arm the enormous load he flings; His limbs how turn'd! how broad his shoulders Sonorous through the shaded air it sings; spread!
Couch'd to the earth, tempestuous as it flies, By age unbroke !- but all-consuming care
The crowd gaze upward while it cleaves the skies. Destroys perhaps the strength that time would Beyond all marks, with many a giddy round spare:
Down-rushing, it upturns a hill of ground.
Even he who sightless wants his visual ray
Vouchsafes the reverend stranger to display Securely bid the strongest of the train
She spoke; and momentary mounts the sky:
Still, further still, I bid the discus fly. Short is the time, and lo! even now the gales Stand forth, ye champions, who the gauntlet wield, Call thee aboard, and stretch the swelling sails. Or ye, the swiftest racers of the field!
To whom with sighs Ulysses gave reply: Stand forth, ye wrestlers, who these pastimes grace! Ah why the ill-suiting pastime must I try ?
I wield the gauntlet, and I run the race.
Shall I with brave Laodamas contend?
A friend is sacred, and I style him friend. 240 Who suppliant to the king and peers, implores Ungenerous were the man, and base of heart, A speedy voyage to his native shores.
Who takes the kind, and pays the ungrateful part; Wide wanders, Laodam, thy erring tongue, Chiefly the man, in foreign realms confined, The sports of glory to the brave belong,
Base to his friend, to his own interest blind : (Retorts Euryalus :) he boasts no claim
All, all your heroes I this day defy; Among the great, unlike the sons of Fame. Give me a man, that we our might may try. A wandering merchant he frequents the main; Expert in every art, I boast the skill Some mean sea-farer in pursuit of gain; 180 To give the feather'd arrow wings to kill : Studious of freight, in naval trade well skill'd, Should a whole host at once discharge the bow, But dreads the athletic labours of the field.
My well-aim'd shaft with death prevents the foe: 250 Incensed Ulysses with a frown replies
Alone superior in the field of Troy, O forward to proclaim thy soul unwise!
Great Philoctetes taught the shaft to fly. With partial hands the gods their gifts dispense ; From all the sons of earth unrivall'd praise Some greatly think, some speak with manly sense; I justly claim; but yield to better days, Here heaven an elegance of form denies,
To those famed days when great Alcides rose, But wisdom the defect of form supplies:
And Eurytus, who bade the gods be foes : This man with energy of thought controuls, (Vain Eurytus, whose art became his crime, And steals with modest violence our souls; 190 Swept from the earth, he perish'd in his prime; He speaks reservedly, but he speaks with force, Sudden the irremeable way he trod, Nor can one word be changed but for a worse; Who boldly durst defy the bowyer god.) 260 In public more than mortal he appears,
In fighting fields as far the spear I throw
Abash'd, the numbers hear the godlike man,
Well hast thou speke, and well thy generous tongue A post of honour with the sons of Fame.
With decent pride refutes a public wrong:
270 Such was my boast while vigour crown'd my days ; Warm are thy words but warm without oflence; Now care surrounds me, and my force decays; Fear only fools, secure in men of sense: Inured a melancholy part to bear,
Thy worth is known. Then hear our country's claim, In scenes of death, by tempest and by war. And bear to heroes our heroic fame : Yet thus by woes impair’d, no more I wave In distant realms our glorious deeds display, To prove the hero-slander stings the brave. Repeat them frequent in the genial day;