Telemachus having convened an assembly of the Greecians, publicly calls on the Suitors to relinquish the house of Ulysses. During the continuance of the Council he has much to suffer from the petulance of the Suitors, from whom, having informed them of his design to undertake a voyage in hope to obtain news of Ulysses, he asks a ship, with all things necessary for the purpose. He is refused, but is afterwards furnished with what he wants by Minerva, in the form of Mentor. He embarks in the evening without the privity of his mother, and the Goddess sails with him.
Now tingd the East, when habited again,
Uprose Ulysses offspring from his bed.
Athwart his back his faulchion keen he flung,
His sandals bound to his unsullied feet,
And, godlike, issued from his chamber-door.
At once the clear-voicd heralds he enjoind
To call the Greeks to council; they aloud
Gave forth the summons, and the throng began.
When all were gatherd, and the assembly full,
Himself, his hand armd with a brazen spear,
Went also; nor alone he went; his hounds
Fleet- footed followd him, a faithful pair.
Oer all his form Minerva largely shed
Majestic grace divine, and, as he went,
The whole admiring concourse gazd on him,
The seniors gave him place, and down he sat
On his paternal Throne. Then grave arose
The Hero, old Ægyptius; bowd with age
Was he, and by experience deep-informd.
His son had with Ulysses, godlike Chief,
On board his fleet to steed-famd Ilium gone,
The warrior Antiphus, whom in his cave
The savage Cyclops slew, and on his flesh
At evning made obscene his last regale.
Three sons he had beside, a suitor one,
Eurynomus; the other two, employ
Found constant managing their Sires concerns.
Yet he forgat not, father as he was
Of these, his absent eldest, whom he mournd
Ceaseless, and thus his speech, weeping, began.
Nor council here nor session hath been held
Since great Ulysses left his native shore.
Who now convenes us? what especial need
Hath urged him, whether of our youth he be,
Or of our senators by age matured?
Have tidings reachd him of our hosts return,
Which here he would divulge? or brings he aught
Of public import on a diffrent theme?
I deem him, whosoeer he be, a man
Worthy to prosper, and may Jove vouchsafe
The full performance of his chief desire!
In that good omen. Ardent to begin,
He sat not long, but, moving to the midst,
Received the sceptre from Pisenors hand,
His prudent herald, and addressing, next,
The hoary Chief Ægyptius, thus began.
Perceive, oh venerable Chief! he stands,
Who hath convened this council. I, am He.
I am in chief the suffrer. Tidings none
Of the returning host I have received,
Which here I would divulge, nor bring I aught
Of public import on a different theme,
But my own trouble, on my own house falln,
And two-fold falln. One is, that I have lost
A noble father, who, as fathers rule
Benign their children, governd once yourselves;
The other, and the more alarming ill,
With ruin threatens my whole house, and all
My patrimony with immediate waste.
Suitors, (their children who in this our isle
Hold highest rank) importunate besiege
My mother, though desirous not to wed,
And rather than resort to her own Sire
Icarius, who might give his daughter dowr,
And portion her to whom he most approves,
(A course which, only named, moves their disgust)
They chuse, assembling all within my gates
Daily to make my beeves, my sheep, my goats
Their banquet, and to drink without restraint
My wine; whence ruin threatens us and ours;
For I have no Ulysses to relieve
Me and my family from this abuse.
Ourselves are not sufficient; we, alas!
Too feeble should be found, and yet to learn
How best to use the little force we own;
Else, had I powr, I would, myself, redress
The evil; for it now surpasses far
All suffrance, now they ravage uncontrould,
Nor show of decency vouchsafe me more.
Oh be ashamed yourselves; blush at the thought
Of such reproach as ye shall sure incur
From all our neighbour states, and fear beside
The wrath of the Immortals, lest they call
Yourselves one day to a severe account.
I pray you by Olympian Jove, by her
Whose voice convenes all councils, and again
Dissolves them, Themis, that henceforth ye cease,
That ye permit me, oh my friends! to wear
My days in solitary grief away,
Unless Ulysses, my illustrious Sire,
Hath in his anger any Greecian wrongd,
Whose wrongs ye purpose to avenge on me,
Inciting these to plague me. Better far
Were my condition, if yourselves consumed
My substance and my revenue; from you
I might obtain, perchance, righteous amends
Hereafter; you I might with vehement suit
Oercome, from house to house pleading aloud
For recompense, till I at last prevaild.
But now, with darts of anguish ye transfix
My inmost soul, and I have no redress.
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