Like pirates, who with mischief charged and woe
To foreign States, oft hazard life themselves?
Telemachus. For Pallas had his heart
With manly courage armd, that he might ask
From Nestor tidings of his absent Sire,
And win, himself, distinction and renown.
Thou askest whence we are. I tell thee whence.
From Ithaca, by the umbrageous woods
Of Neritus oerhung, by private need,
Not public, urged, we come. My errand is
To seek intelligence of the renownd
Ulysses; of my noble father, praisd
For dauntless courage, whom report proclaims
Conqueror, with thine aid, of sacred Troy.
We have already learnd where other Chiefs
Who fought at Ilium, died; but Jove conceals
Even the death of my illustrious Sire
In dull obscurity; for none hath heard
Or confident can answer, where he dyd;
Whether he on the continent hath falln
By hostile hands, or by the waves oerwhelmd
Of Amphitrite, welters in the Deep.
For this cause, at thy knees suppliant, I beg
That thou wouldst tell me his disastrous end,
If either thou beheldst that dread event
Thyself, or from some wanderer of the Greeks
Hast heard it: for my father at his birth
Was, sure, predestind to no common woes.
Neither through pity, or oerstraind respect
Flatter me, but explicit all relate
Which thou hast witnessd. If my noble Sire
Eer gratified thee by performance just
Of word or deed at Ilium, where ye fell
So numrous slain in fight, oh, recollect
Now his fidelity, and tell me true.
Young friend! since thou remindst me, speaking thus,
Of all the woes which indefatigable
We sons of the Achaians there sustaind,
Both those which wandring on the Deep we bore
Wherever by Achilles led in quest
Of booty, and the many woes beside
Which under royal Priams spacious walls
We sufferd, know, that there our bravest fell.
There warlike Ajax lies, there Peleus son;
There, too, Patroclus, like the Gods themselves
In council, and my son beloved there,
Brave, virtuous, swift of foot, and bold in fight,
Antilochus. Nor are these sorrows all;
What tongue of mortal man could all relate?
Shouldst thou, abiding here, five years employ
Or six, enquiring of the woes endured
By the Achaians, ere thou shouldst have learnd
The whole, thou wouldst depart, tird of the tale.
For we, nine years, stratagems of all kinds
Devised against them, and Saturnian Jove
Scarce crownd the difficult attempt at last.
There, no competitor in wiles well-plannd
Ulysses found, so far were all surpassd
In shrewd invention by thy noble Sire,
If thou indeed art his, as sure thou art,
Whose sight breeds wonder in me, and thy speech
His speech resembles more than might be deemd
Within the scope of years so green as thine.
There, never in opinion, or in voice
Illustrious Ulysses and myself
Divided were, but, one in heart, contrived
As best we might, the benefit of all.
But after Priams lofty city sackd,
And the departure of the Greeks on board
Their barks, and when the Gods had scatterd them,
Then Jove imagind for the Argive host
A sorrowful return; for neither just
Were all, nor prudent, therefore many found
A fate disastrous through the vengeful ire
Of Jove-born Pallas, who between the sons
Of Atreus sharp contention interposed.
They both, irregularly, and against
Just order, summoning by night the Greeks
To council, of whom many came with wine
Oppressd, promulgated the cause for which
They had convened the people. Then it was
That Menelaus bade the general host
Their thoughts bend homeward oer the sacred Deep,
Which Agamemnon in no sort approved.
His counsel was to slay them yet at Troy,
That so he might assuage the dreadful wrath
Of Pallas, first, by sacrifice and prayr.
Vain hope! he little thought how ill should speed
That fond attempt, for, once provokd, the Gods
Are not with ease conciliated again.
Thus stood the brothers, altercation hot
Maintaining, till at length, uprose the Greeks
With deafning clamours, and with diffring minds.
We slept the night, but teeming with disgust
Mutual, for Jove great woe prepard for all.
At dawn of day we drew our gallies down
Into the sea, and, hasty, put on board
The spoils and female captives. Half the host,
With Agamemnon, son of Atreus, stayd
Supreme commander, and, embarking, half
Pushd forth. Swift course we made, for Neptune smoothd
The waves before us of the monstrous Deep.
At Tenedos arrivd, we there performd
Sacrifice to the Gods, ardent to reach
Our native land, but unpropitious Jove,
Not yet designing our arrival there,
Involved us in dissension fierce again.
For all the crews, followers of the King,
Thy noble Sire, to gratify our Chief,
The son of Atreus, chose a diffrent course,
And steerd their oary barks again to Troy.
But I, assured that evil from the Gods
Impended, gathring all my gallant fleet,
Fled thence in haste, and warlike Diomede
Exhorting his attendants, also fled.
At length, the Hero Menelaus joind
Our fleets at Lesbos; there he found us held
In deep deliberation on the length
Of way before us, whether we should steer
Above the craggy Chios to the isle
Psyria, that island holding on our left,
Or under Chios by the wind-swept heights
Of Mimas. Then we
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|