In a council of the Gods, Minerva calls their attention to Ulysses, still a wanderer. They resolve to grant him a safe return to Ithaca. Minerva descends to encourage Telemachus, and in the form of Mentes directs him in what manner to proceed. Throughout this book the extravagance and profligacy of the suitors are occasionally suggested.
And genius versatile, who far and wide
A Wandrer, after Ilium overthrown,
Discoverd various cities, and the mind
And manners learnd of men, in lands remote.
He numrous woes on Ocean tossd, endured,
Anxious to save himself, and to conduct
His followers to their home; yet all his care
Preserved them not; they perishd self-destroyd
By their own fault; infatuate! who devoured
The oxen of the all-oerseeing Sun,
And, punishd for that crime, returnd no more.
Daughter divine of Jove, these things record,
As it may please thee, even in our ears.
By war or on the Deep, dwelt now at home;
Him only, of his country and his wife
Alike desirous, in her hollow grots
Calypso, Goddess beautiful, detained
Wooing him to her arms. But when, at length,
(Many a long year elapsed) the year arrived
Of his return (by the decree of heavn)
To Ithaca, not even then had he,
Although surrounded by his people, reachd
The period of his suffrings and his toils.
Yet all the Gods, with pity moved, beheld
His woes, save Neptune; He alone with wrath
Unceasing and implacable pursued
Godlike Ulysses to his native shores.
But Neptune, now, the Æthiopians fought,
(The Æthiopians, utmost of mankind,
These Eastward situate, those toward the West)
Calld to an hecatomb of bulls and lambs.
There sitting, pleasd he banqueted; the Gods
In Joves abode, meantime, assembled all,
Midst whom the Sire of heavn and earth began.
For he recalld to mind Ægisthus slain
By Agamemnons celebrated son
Orestes, and retracing in his thought
That dread event, the Immortals thus addressd.
The Powrs of Heavn! From us, they say, proceed
The ills which they endure, yet more than Fate
Herself inflicts, by their own crimes incur.
So now Ægisthus, by no force constrained
Of Destiny, Atrides wedded wife
Took to himself, and him at his return
Slew, not unwarnd of his own dreadful end
By us: for we commanded Hermes down
The watchful Argicide, who bade him fear
Alike, to slay the King, or woo the Queen.
For that Atrides son Orestes, soon
As grown mature, and eager to assume
His sway imperial, should avenge the deed.
So Hermes spake, but his advice moved not
Ægisthus, on whose head the whole arrear
Of vengeance heapd, at last, hath therefore falln.
Oh Jove, Saturnian Sire, oer all supreme!
And well he merited the death he found;
So perish all, who shall, like him, offend.
But with a bosom anguish-rent I view
Ulysses, hapless Chief! who from his friends
Remote, affliction hath long time endured
In yonder wood-land isle, the central boss
Of Ocean. That retreat a Goddess holds,
Daughter of sapient Atlas, who the abyss
Knows to its bottom, and the pillars high
Himself upbears which seprate earth from heavn.
His daughter, there, the sorrowing Chief detains,
And ever with smooth speech insidious seeks
To wean his heart from Ithaca; meantime
Ulysses, happy might he but behold
The smoke ascending from his native land,
Death covets. Canst thou not, Olympian Jove!
At last relent? Hath not Ulysses oft
With victims slain amid Achaias fleet
Thee gratified, while yet at Troy he fought?
How hath he then so deep incensed thee, Jove?
What word hath passd thy lips, Daughter belovd?
Can I forget Ulysses? Him forget
So noble, who in wisdom all mankind
Excels, and who hath sacrificd so oft
To us whose dwelling is the boundless heavn?
Earth-circling NeptuneHe it is whose wrath
Pursues him ceaseless for the Cyclops sake
Polypheme, strongest of the giant race,
Whom of his eye Ulysses hath deprived.
For Him, Thoösa bore, Nymph of the sea
From Phorcys sprung, by Oceans mighty powr
Impregnated in caverns of the Deep.
Eer since that day, the Shaker of the shores,
Although he slay him not, yet devious drives
Ulysses from his native isle afar.
Yet comein full assembly his return
Contrive we now, both means and prosprous end;
So Neptune shall his wrath remit, whose powr
In contest with the force of all the Gods
Exerted single, can but strive in vain.
Oh Jupiter! above all Kings enthroned!
If the Immortals ever- blest ordain
That wise Ulysses to his home return,
Dispatch we then Hermes the Argicide,
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