The Odyssey of Homer (Cowper)/Book XXIV
And now Cyllenian Hermes summon’d forth
The spirits of the suitors; waving wide
The golden wand of pow’r to seal all eyes
In slumber, and to ope them wide again,
He drove them gibb’ring down into the shades,111
As when the bats within some hallow’d cave
Flit squeaking all around, for if but one
Fall from the rock, the rest all follow him,
In such connexion mutual they adhere,
So, after bounteous Mercury, the ghosts,
Troop’d downward gibb’ring all the dreary way.111
The Ocean’s flood and the Leucadian rock,
The Sun’s gate also and the land of Dreams
They pass’d, whence, next, into the meads they came
Of Asphodel, by shadowy forms possess’d,
Simulars of the dead. They found the souls
Of brave Pelides there, and of his friend
Patroclus, of Antilochus renown’d,
And of the mightier Ajax, for his form
And bulk (Achilles sole except) of all
The sons of the Achaians most admired.
These waited on Achilles. Then, appear’d
The mournful ghost of Agamemnon, son
Of Atreus, compass’d by the ghosts of all
Who shared his fate beneath Ægisthus’ roof,
And him the ghost of Peleus’ son bespake.
Atrides! of all Heroes we esteem’d
Thee dearest to the Gods, for that thy sway
Extended over such a glorious host
At Ilium, scene of sorrow to the Greeks.
But Fate, whose ruthless force none may escape
Of all who breathe, pursued thee from the first.
Thou should’st have perish’d full of honour, full
Of royalty, at Troy; so all the Greeks
Had rais’d thy tomb, and thou hadst then bequeath’d
Great glory to thy son; but Fate ordain’d
A death, oh how deplorable! for thee.
To whom Atrides’ spirit thus replied.
Blest son of Peleus, semblance of the Gods,
At Ilium, far from Argos, fall’n! for whom
Contending, many a Trojan, many a Chief
Of Greece died also, while in eddies whelm’d
Of dust thy vastness spread the plain,112 nor thee
The chariot aught or steed could int’rest more!
All day we waged the battle, nor at last
Desisted, but for tempests sent from Jove.
At length we bore into the Greecian fleet
Thy body from the field; there, first, we cleansed
With tepid baths and oil’d thy shapely corse,
Then placed thee on thy bier, while many a Greek
Around thee wept, and shore his locks for thee.
Thy mother, also, hearing of thy death
With her immortal nymphs from the abyss
Arose and came; terrible was the sound
On the salt flood; a panic seized the Greeks,
And ev’ry warrior had return’d on board
That moment, had not Nestor, ancient Chief,
Illumed by long experience, interposed,
His counsels, ever wisest, wisest proved
Then also, and he thus address’d the host.
Sons of Achaia; fly not; stay, ye Greeks!
Thetis arrives with her immortal nymphs
From the abyss, to visit her dead son.
So he; and, by his admonition stay’d,
The Greeks fled not. Then, all around thee stood
The daughters of the Ancient of the Deep,
Mourning disconsolate; with heav’nly robes
They clothed thy corse, and all the Muses nine
Deplored thee in full choir with sweetest tones
Responsive, nor one Greecian hadst thou seen
Dry-eyed, such grief the Muses moved in all.
Full sev’nteen days we, day and night, deplored
Thy death, both Gods in heav’n and men below,
But, on the eighteenth day, we gave thy corse
Its burning, and fat sheep around thee slew
Num’rous, with many a pastur’d ox moon-horn’d.
We burn’d thee clothed in vesture of the Gods,
With honey and with oil feeding the flames
Abundant, while Achaia’s Heroes arm’d,
Both horse and foot, encompassing thy pile,
Clash’d on their shields, and deaf’ning was the din.
But when the fires of Vulcan had at length
Consumed thee, at the dawn we stored thy bones
In unguent and in undiluted wine;
For Thetis gave to us a golden vase
Twin-ear’d, which she profess’d to have received
From Bacchus, work divine of Vulcan’s hand.
Within that vase, Achilles, treasured lie
Thine and the bones of thy departed friend
Patroclus, but a sep’rate urn we gave
To those of brave Antilochus, who most
Of all thy friends at Ilium shared thy love
And thy respect, thy friend Patroclus slain.
Around both urns we piled a noble tomb,
(We warriors of the sacred Argive host)
On a tall promontory shooting far
Into the spacious Hellespont, that all
Who live, and who shall yet be born, may view
Thy record, even from the distant waves.
Then, by permission from the Gods obtain’d,
To the Achaian Chiefs in circus met
Thetis appointed games. I have beheld
The burial rites of many an Hero bold,
When, on the death of some great Chief, the youths
Girding their loins anticipate the prize,
But sight of those with wonder fill’d me most,
So glorious past all others were the games
By silver-footed Thetis giv’n for thee,
For thou wast ever favour’d of the Gods.
Thus, hast thou not, Achilles! although dead,
Foregone thy glory, but thy fair report
Is universal among all mankind;
But, as for me, what recompense had I,
My warfare closed? for whom, at my return,
Jove framed such dire destruction by the hands
Of fell Ægisthus and my murth’ress wife.
Thus, mutual, they conferr’d; meantime approach’d,
Swift messenger of heav’n, the Argicide,
Conducting thither all the shades of those
Slain by Ulysses. At that sight amazed
Both moved toward them. Agamemnon’s shade
Knew well Amphimedon, for he had been
Erewhile his father’s guest in Ithaca,
And thus the spirit of Atreus’ son began.
Amphimedon! by what disastrous chance,
Coœvals as ye seem, and of an air
Distinguish’d all, descend ye to the Deeps?
For not the chosen youths of a whole town
Should form a nobler band. Perish’d ye sunk
Amid vast billows and rude tempests raised
By Neptune’s pow’r? or on dry land through force
Of hostile multitudes, while cutting off
Beeves from the herd, or driving flocks away?
Or fighting for your city and your wives?
Resolve me? I was once a guest of yours.
Remember’st not what time at your abode
With godlike Menelaus I arrived,
That we might win Ulysses with his fleet
To follow us to Troy? scarce we prevail’d
At last to gain the city-waster Chief,
And, after all, consumed a whole month more
The wide sea traversing from side to side.
To whom the spirit of Amphimedon.
Illustrious Agamemnon, King of men!
All this I bear in mind, and will rehearse
The manner of our most disastrous end.
Believing brave Ulysses lost, we woo’d
Meantime his wife; she our detested suit
Would neither ratify nor yet refuse,
But, planning for us a tremendous death,
This novel stratagem, at last, devised.
Beginning, in her own recess, a web
Of slend’rest thread, and of a length and breadth
Unusual, thus the suitors she address’d.
Princes, my suitors! since the noble Chief
Ulysses is no more, enforce not yet
My nuptials; wait till I shall finish first
A fun’ral robe (lest all my threads decay)
Which for the ancient Hero I prepare,
Laertes, looking for the mournful hour
When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest;
Else, I the censure dread of all my sex,
Should he so wealthy, want at last a shroud.
So spake the Queen; we, unsuspicious all,
With her request complied. Thenceforth, all day
She wove the ample web, and by the aid
Of torches ravell’d it again at night.
Three years she thus by artifice our suit
Eluded safe, but when the fourth arrived,
And the same season, after many moons
And fleeting days, return’d, a damsel then
Of her attendants, conscious of the fraud,
Reveal’d it, and we found her pulling loose
The splendid web. Thus, through constraint, at length,
She finish’d it, and in her own despight.
But when the Queen produced, at length, her work
Finish’d, new-blanch’d, bright as the sun or moon,
Then came Ulysses, by some adverse God
Conducted, to a cottage on the verge
Of his own fields, in which his swine-herd dwells;
There also the illustrious Hero’s son
Arrived soon after, in his sable bark
From sandy Pylus borne; they, plotting both
A dreadful death for all the suitors, sought
Our glorious city, but Ulysses last,
And first Telemachus. The father came
Conducted by his swine-herd, and attired
In tatters foul; a mendicant he seem’d,
Time-worn, and halted on a staff. So clad,
And ent’ring on the sudden, he escaped
All knowledge even of our eldest there,
And we reviled and smote him; he although
Beneath his own roof smitten and reproach’d,
With patience suffer’d it awhile, but roused
By inspiration of Jove Ægis-arm’d
At length, in concert with his son convey’d
To his own chamber his resplendent arms,
There lodg’d them safe, and barr’d the massy doors
Then, in his subtlety he bade the Queen
A contest institute with bow and rings
Between the hapless suitors, whence ensued
Slaughter to all. No suitor there had pow’r
To overcome the stubborn bow that mock’d
All our attempts; and when the weapon huge
At length was offer’d to Ulysses’ hands,
With clamour’d menaces we bade the swain
Withhold it from him, plead he as he might;
Telemachus alone with loud command,
Bade give it him, and the illustrious Chief
Receiving in his hand the bow, with ease
Bent it, and sped a shaft through all the rings.
Then, springing to the portal steps, he pour’d
The arrows forth, peer’d terrible around,
Pierced King Antinoüs, and, aiming sure
His deadly darts, pierced others after him,
Till in one common carnage heap’d we lay.
Some God, as plain appear’d, vouchsafed them aid,
Such ardour urged them, and with such dispatch
They slew us on all sides; hideous were heard
The groans of dying men fell’d to the earth
With head-strokes rude, and the floor swam with blood.
Such, royal Agamemnon! was the fate
By which we perish’d, all whose bodies lie
Unburied still, and in Ulysses’ house,
For tidings none have yet our friends alarm’d
And kindred, who might cleanse from sable gore
Our clotted wounds, and mourn us on the bier,
Which are the rightful privilege of the dead.
Him answer’d, then, the shade of Atreus’ son.
Oh happy offspring of Laertes! shrewd
Ulysses! matchless valour thou hast shewn
Recov’ring thus thy wife; nor less appears
The virtue of Icarius’ daughter wise,
The chaste Penelope, so faithful found
To her Ulysses, husband of her youth.
His glory, by superior merit earn’d,
Shall never die, and the immortal Gods
Shall make Penelope a theme of song
Delightful in the ears of all mankind.
Not such was Clytemnestra, daughter vile
Of Tyndarus; she shed her husband’s blood,
And shall be chronicled in song a wife
Of hateful memory, by whose offence
Even the virtuous of her sex are shamed.
Thus they, beneath the vaulted roof obscure
Of Pluto’s house, conferring mutual stood.
Meantime, descending from the city-gates,
Ulysses, by his son and by his swains
Follow’d, arrived at the delightful farm
Which old Laertes had with strenuous toil
Himself long since acquired. There stood his house
Encompass’d by a bow’r in which the hinds
Who served and pleased him, ate, and sat, and slept.
An ancient woman, a Sicilian, dwelt
There also, who in that sequester’d spot
Attended diligent her aged Lord.
Then thus Ulysses to his followers spake.
Haste now, and, ent’ring, slay ye of the swine
The best for our regale; myself, the while,
Will prove my father, if his eye hath still
Discernment of me, or if absence long
Have worn the knowledge of me from his mind.
He said, and gave into his servants’ care
His arms; they swift proceeded to the house,
And to the fruitful grove himself as swift
To prove his father. Down he went at once
Into the spacious garden-plot, but found
Nor Dolius there, nor any of his sons
Or servants; they were occupied elsewhere,
And, with the ancient hind himself, employ’d
Collecting thorns with which to fence the grove.
In that umbrageous spot he found alone
Laertes, with his hoe clearing a plant;
Sordid his tunic was, with many a patch
Mended unseemly; leathern were his greaves,
Thong-tied and also patch’d, a frail defence
Against sharp thorns, while gloves secured his hands
From briar-points, and on his head he bore
A goat-skin casque, nourishing hopeless woe.
No sooner then the Hero toil-inured
Saw him age-worn and wretched, than he paused
Beneath a lofty pear-tree’s shade to weep.
There standing much he mused, whether, at once,
Kissing and clasping in his arms his sire,
To tell him all, by what means he had reach’d
His native country, or to prove him first.
At length, he chose as his best course, with words
Of seeming strangeness to accost his ear,
And, with that purpose, moved direct toward him.
He, stooping low, loosen’d the earth around
A garden-plant, when his illustrious son
Now, standing close beside him, thus began.
Old sir! thou art no novice in these toils
Of culture, but thy garden thrives; I mark
In all thy ground no plant, fig, olive, vine,
Pear-tree or flow’r-bed suff’ring through neglect.
But let it not offend thee if I say
That thou neglect’st thyself, at the same time
Oppress’d with age, sun-parch’d and ill-attired.
Not for thy inactivity, methinks,
Thy master slights thee thus, nor speaks thy form
Or thy surpassing stature servile aught
In thee, but thou resemblest more a King.
Yes—thou resemblest one who, bathed and fed,
Should softly sleep; such is the claim of age.
But tell me true—for whom labourest thou,
And whose this garden? answer me beside,
For I would learn; have I indeed arrived
In Ithaca, as one whom here I met
Ev’n now assured me, but who seem’d a man
Not overwise, refusing both to hear
My questions, and to answer when I ask’d
Concerning one in other days my guest
And friend, if he have still his being here,
Or have deceas’d and journey’d to the shades.
For I will tell thee; therefore mark. Long since
A stranger reach’d my house in my own land,
Whom I with hospitality receiv’d,
Nor ever sojourn’d foreigner with me
Whom I lov’d more. He was by birth, he said,
Ithacan, and Laertes claim’d his sire,
Son of Arcesias. Introducing him
Beneath my roof, I entertain’d him well,
And proved by gifts his welcome at my board.
I gave him seven talents of wrought gold,
A goblet, argent all, with flow’rs emboss’d,
Twelve single cloaks, twelve carpets, mantles twelve
Of brightest lustre, with as many vests,
And added four fair damsels, whom he chose
Himself, well born and well accomplish’d all.
Then thus his ancient sire weeping replied.
Stranger! thou hast in truth attain’d the isle
Of thy enquiry, but it is possess’d
By a rude race, and lawless. Vain, alas!
Were all thy num’rous gifts; yet hadst thou found
Him living here in Ithaca, with gifts
Reciprocated he had sent thee hence,
Requiting honourably in his turn
Thy hospitality. But give me quick
Answer and true. How many have been the years
Since thy reception of that hapless guest
My son? for mine, my own dear son was he.
But him, far distant both from friends and home,
Either the fishes of the unknown Deep
Have eaten, or wild beasts and fowls of prey,
Nor I, or she who bare him, was ordain’d
To bathe his shrouded body with our tears,
Nor his chaste wife, well-dow’r’d Penelope
To close her husband’s eyes, and to deplore
His doom, which is the privilege of the dead.
But tell me also thou, for I would learn,
Who art thou? whence? where born? and sprung from whom?
The bark in which thou and thy godlike friends
Arrived, where is she anchor’d on our coast?
Or cam’st thou only passenger on board
Another’s bark, who landed thee and went?
To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
I will with all simplicity relate
What thou hast ask’d. Of Alybas am I,
Where in much state I dwell, son of the rich
Apheidas royal Polypemon’s son,
And I am named Eperitus; by storms
Driven from Sicily I have arrived,
And yonder, on the margin of the field
That skirts your city, I have moor’d my bark.
Five years have pass’d since thy Ulysses left,
Unhappy Chief! my country; yet the birds
At his departure hovered on the right,
And in that sign rejoicing, I dismiss’d
Him thence rejoicing also, for we hoped
To mix in social intercourse again,
And to exchange once more pledges of love.
He spake; then sorrow as a sable cloud
Involved Laertes; gath’ring with both hands
The dust, he pour’d it on his rev’rend head
With many a piteous groan. Ulysses’ heart
Commotion felt, and his stretch’d nostrils throbb’d
With agony close-pent, while fixt he eyed
His father; with a sudden force he sprang
Toward him, clasp’d, and kiss’d him, and exclaim’d.
My father! I am he. Thou seest thy son
Absent these twenty years at last return’d.
But bid thy sorrow cease; suspend henceforth
All lamentation; for I tell thee true,
(And the occasion bids me briefly tell thee)
I have slain all the suitors at my home,
And all their taunts and injuries avenged.
Then answer thus Laertes quick return’d.
If thou hast come again, and art indeed
My son Ulysses, give me then the proof
Indubitable, that I may believe.
To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
View, first, the scar which with his iv’ry tusk
A wild boar gave me, when at thy command
And at my mother’s, to Autolycus
Her father, on Parnassus, I repair’d
Seeking the gifts which, while a guest of yours,
He promis’d should be mine. Accept beside
This proof. I will enum’rate all the trees
Which, walking with thee in this cultured spot
(Boy then) I begg’d, and thou confirm’dst my own.
We paced between them, and thou mad’st me learn
The name of each. Thou gav’st me thirteen pears,113
Ten apples,113 thirty figs,113 and fifty ranks
Didst promise me of vines, their alleys all
Corn-cropp’d between. There, oft as sent from Jove
The influences of the year descend,
Grapes of all hues and flavours clust’ring hang.
He said; Laertes, conscious of the proofs
Indubitable by Ulysses giv’n,
With fault’ring knees and fault’ring heart both arms
Around him threw. The Hero toil-inured
Drew to his bosom close his fainting sire,
Who, breath recov’ring, and his scatter’d pow’rs
Of intellect, at length thus spake aloud.
Ye Gods! oh then your residence is still
On the Olympian heights, if punishment
At last hath seized on those flagitious men.
But terrour shakes me, lest, incensed, ere long
All Ithaca flock hither, and dispatch
Swift messengers with these dread tidings charged
To ev’ry Cephallenian state around.
Him answer’d then Ulysses ever-wise.
Courage! fear nought, but let us to the house
Beside the garden, whither I have sent
Telemachus, the herdsman, and the good
Eumæus to prepare us quick repast.
So they conferr’d, and to Laertes’ house
Pass’d on together; there arrived, they found
Those three preparing now their plenteous feast,
And mingling sable wine; then, by the hands
Of his Sicilian matron, the old King
Was bathed, anointed, and attired afresh,
And Pallas, drawing nigh, dilated more
His limbs, and gave his whole majestic form
Encrease of amplitude. He left the bath.
His son, amazed as he had seen a God
Alighted newly from the skies, exclaim’d.
My father! doubtless some immortal Pow’r
Hath clothed thy form with dignity divine.
Then thus replied his venerable sire.
Jove! Pallas! Phœbus! oh that I possess’d
Such vigour now, as when in arms I took
Nericus, continental city fair,
With my brave Cephallenians! oh that such
And arm’d as then, I yesterday had stood
Beside thee in thy palace, combating
Those suitors proud, then had I strew’d the floor
With num’rous slain, to thy exceeding joy.
Such was their conference; and now, the task
Of preparation ended, and the feast
Set forth, on couches and on thrones they sat,
And, ranged in order due, took each his share.
Then, ancient Dolius, and with him, his sons
Arrived toil-worn, by the Sicilian dame
Summon’d, their cat’ress, and their father’s kind
Attendant ever in his eve of life.
They, seeing and recalling soon to mind
Ulysses, in the middle mansion stood
Wond’ring, when thus Ulysses with a voice
Of some reproof, but gentle, them bespake.
Old servant, sit and eat, banishing fear
And mute amazement; for, although provoked
By appetite, we have long time abstain’d,
Expecting ev’ry moment thy return.
He said; then Dolius with expanded arms
Sprang right toward Ulysses, seized his hand,
Kiss’d it, and in wing’d accents thus replied.
Oh master ever dear! since thee the Gods
Themselves in answer to our warm desires,
Have, unexpectedly, at length restored,
Hail, and be happy, and heav’n make thee such!
But say, and truly; knows the prudent Queen
Already thy return, or shall we send
Ourselves an herald with the joyful news?
To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
My ancient friend, thou may’st release thy mind
From that solicitude; she knows it well.
So he; then Dolius to his glossy seat
Return’d, and all his sons gath’ring around
Ulysses, welcom’d him and grasp’d his hand,
Then sat beside their father; thus beneath
Laertes’ roof they, joyful, took repast.
But Fame with rapid haste the city roam’d
In ev’ry part, promulging in all ears
The suitors’ horrid fate. No sooner heard
The multitude that tale, than one and all
Groaning they met and murmuring before
Ulysses’ gates. Bringing the bodies forth,
They buried each his friend, but gave the dead
Of other cities to be ferried home
By fishermen on board their rapid barks.
All hasted then to council; sorrow wrung
Their hearts, and, the assembly now convened,
Arising first Eupithes spake, for grief
Sat heavy on his soul, grief for the loss
Of his Antinoüs by Ulysses slain
Foremost of all, whom mourning, thus he said.
My friends! no trivial fruits the Greecians reap
Of this man’s doings. Those he took with him
On board his barks, a num’rous train and bold,
Then lost his barks, lost all his num’rous train,
And these, our noblest, slew at his return.
Come therefore—ere he yet escape by flight
To Pylus or to noble Elis, realm
Of the Epeans, follow him; else shame
Attends us and indelible reproach.
If we avenge not on these men the blood
Of our own sons and brothers, farewell then
All that makes life desirable; my wish
Henceforth shall be to mingle with the shades.
Oh then pursue and seize them ere they fly.
Thus he with tears, and pity moved in all.
Then, Medon and the sacred bard whom sleep
Had lately left, arriving from the house
Of Laertiades, approach’d; amid
The throng they stood; all wonder’d seeing them,
And Medon, prudent senior, thus began.
Hear me, my countrymen! Ulysses plann’d
With no disapprobation of the Gods
The deed that ye deplore. I saw, myself,
A Pow’r immortal at the Hero’s side,
In semblance just of Mentor; now the God,
In front apparent, led him on, and now,
From side to side of all the palace, urged
To flight the suitors; heaps on heaps they fell.
He said; then terrour wan seiz’d ev’ry cheek,
And Halitherses, Hero old, the son
Of Mastor, who alone among them all
Knew past, and future, prudent, thus began.
Now, O ye men of Ithaca! my words
Attentive hear! by your own fault, my friends,
This deed hath been perform’d; for when myself
And noble Mentor counsell’d you to check
The sin and folly of your sons, ye would not.
Great was their wickedness, and flagrant wrong
They wrought, the wealth devouring and the wife
Dishonouring of an illustrious Chief
Whom they deem’d destined never to return.
But hear my counsel. Go not, lest ye draw
Disaster down and woe on your own heads.
He ended; then with boist’rous roar (although
Part kept their seats) upsprang the multitude,
For Halitherses pleased them not, they chose
Eupithes’ counsel rather; all at once
To arms they flew, and clad in dazzling brass
Before the city form’d their dense array.
Leader infatuate at their head appear’d
Eupithes, hoping to avenge his son
Antinoüs, but was himself ordain’d
To meet his doom, and to return no more.
Then thus Minerva to Saturnian Jove.
Oh father! son of Saturn! Jove supreme!
Declare the purpose hidden in thy breast.
Wilt thou that this hostility proceed,
Or wilt thou grant them amity again?
To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.
Why asks my daughter? didst thou not design
Thyself, that brave Ulysses coming home
Should slay those profligates? act as thou wilt,
But thus I counsel, since the noble Chief
Hath slain the suitors, now let peace ensue
Oath-bound, and reign Ulysses evermore!
The slaughter of their brethren and their sons
To strike from their remembrance, shall be ours.
Let mutual amity, as at the first,
Unite them, and let wealth and peace abound.
So saying, he animated to her task
Minerva prompt before, and from the heights
Olympian down to Ithaca she flew.
Meantime Ulysses (for their hunger now
And thirst were sated) thus address’d his hinds.
Look ye abroad, lest haply they approach.
He said, and at his word, forth went a son
Of Dolius; at the gate he stood, and thence
Beholding all that multitude at hand,
In accents wing’d thus to Ulysses spake.
They come—they are already arrived—arm all!
Then, all arising, put their armour on,
Ulysses with his three, and the six sons
Of Dolius; Dolius also with the rest,
Arm’d and Laertes, although silver-hair’d,
Warriors perforce. When all were clad alike
In radiant armour, throwing wide the gates
They sallied, and Ulysses led the way.
Then Jove’s own daughter Pallas, in the form
And with the voice of Mentor, came in view,
Whom seeing Laertiades rejoiced,
And thus Telemachus, his son, bespake.
Now, oh my son! thou shalt observe, untold
By me, where fight the bravest. Oh shame not
Thine ancestry, who have in all the earth
Proof given of valour in all ages past.
To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
My father! if thou wish that spectacle,
Thou shalt behold thy son, as thou hast said,
In nought dishonouring his noble race.
Then was Laertes joyful, and exclaim’d,
What sun hath ris’n to-day?114 oh blessed Gods!
My son and grandson emulous dispute
The prize of glory, and my soul exults.
He ended, and Minerva drawing nigh
To the old King, thus counsell’d him. Oh friend
Whom most I love, son of Arcesias! pray’r
Preferring to the virgin azure-eyed,
And to her father Jove, delay not, shake
Thy lance in air, and give it instant flight.
So saying, the Goddess nerved his arm anew.
He sought in pray’r the daughter dread of Jove,
And, brandishing it, hurl’d his lance; it struck
Eupithes, pierced his helmet brazen-cheek’d
That stay’d it not, but forth it sprang beyond,
And with loud clangor of his arms he fell.
Then flew Ulysses and his noble son
With faulchion and with spear of double edge
To the assault, and of them all had left
None living, none had to his home return’d,
But that Jove’s virgin daughter with a voice
Of loud authority thus quell’d them all.
Peace, O ye men of Ithaca! while yet
The field remains undeluged with your blood.
So she, and fear at once paled ev’ry cheek.
All trembled at the voice divine; their arms
Escaping from the grasp fell to the earth,
And, covetous of longer life, each fled
Back to the city. Then Ulysses sent
His voice abroad, and with an eagle’s force
Sprang on the people; but Saturnian Jove,
Cast down, incontinent, his smouldring bolt
At Pallas’ feet, and thus the Goddess spake.
Laertes’ noble son, for wiles renown’d!
Forbear; abstain from slaughter; lest thyself
Incur the anger of high thund’ring Jove.
So Pallas, whom Ulysses, glad, obey’d.
Then faithful covenants of peace between
Both sides ensued, ratified in the sight
Of Pallas progeny of Jove, who seem’d,
In voice and form, the Mentor known to all.
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.
—Behemoth, biggest born of earth,
Upheav’d his vastness.
- ^ The fruit is here used for the tree that bore it, as it is in the Greek; the Latins used the same mode of expression, neither is it uncommon in our own language.
- ^ —So Cicero, who seems to translate it—Proh dii immortales! Quis hic illuxit dies! See Clarke in loco.