Book 5

Mercury bears to Calypso a command from Jupiter that she dismiss Ulysses. She, after some remonstrances, promises obedience, and furnishes him with instruments and materials, with which he constructs a raft. He quits Calypso’s island; is persecuted by Neptune with dreadful tempests, but by the assistance of a sea nymph, after having lost his raft, is enabled to swim to Phæacia.

   Aurora from beside her glorious mate
Tithonus now arose, light to dispense
Through earth and heav’n, when the assembled Gods
In council sat, o’er whom high-thund’ring Jove
Presided, mightiest of the Pow’rs above.
Amid them, Pallas on the num’rous woes
Descanted of Ulysses, whom she saw
With grief, still prison’d in Calypso’s isle.

   Jove, Father, hear me, and ye other Pow’rs
Who live for ever, hear! Be never King
Henceforth to gracious acts inclined, humane,
Or righteous, but let ev’ry sceptred hand
Rule merciless, and deal in wrong alone,
Since none of all his people whom he sway’d
With such paternal gentleness and love
Remembers, now, divine Ulysses more.
He, in yon distant isle a suff’rer lies
Of hopeless sorrow, through constraint the guest
Still of the nymph Calypso, without means
Or pow’r to reach his native shores again,
Alike of gallant barks and friends depriv’d,
Who might conduct him o’er the spacious Deep.
Nor is this all, but enemies combine
To slay his son ere yet he can return
From Pylus, whither he hath gone to learn
There, or in Sparta, tidings of his Sire.

   To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.
What word hath pass’d thy lips, daughter belov’d?
Hast thou not purpos’d that arriving soon
At home, Ulysses shall destroy his foes?
Guide thou Telemachus, (for well thou canst)
That he may reach secure his native coast,
And that the suitors baffled may return.

   He ceas’d, and thus to Hermes spake, his son.
Hermes! (for thou art herald of our will
At all times) to yon bright-hair’d nymph convey
Our fix’d resolve, that brave Ulysses thence
Depart, uncompanied by God or man.
Borne on a corded raft, and suff’ring woe
Extreme, he on the twentieth day shall reach,
Not sooner, Scherie the deep-soil’d, possess’d
By the Phæacians, kinsmen of the Gods.
They, as a God shall reverence the Chief,
And in a bark of theirs shall send him thence
To his own home, much treasure, brass and gold
And raiment giving him, to an amount
Surpassing all that, had he safe return’d,
He should by lot have shared of Ilium’s spoil.
Thus Fate appoints Ulysses to regain
His country, his own palace, and his friends.

   He ended, nor the Argicide refused,
Messenger of the skies; his sandals fair,
Ambrosial, golden, to his feet he bound,
Which o’er the moist wave, rapid as the wind,
Bear him, and o’er th’ illimitable earth,
Then took his rod with which, at will, all eyes
He closes soft, or opes them wide again.
So arm’d, forth flew the valiant Argicide.
Alighting on Pieria, down he stoop’d
To Ocean, and the billows lightly skimm’d
In form a sew-mew, such as in the bays
Tremendous of the barren Deep her food
Seeking, dips oft in brine her ample wing.
In such disguise o’er many a wave he rode,
But reaching, now, that isle remote, forsook
The azure Deep, and at the spacious grot,
Where dwelt the amber-tressed nymph arrived,
Found her within. A fire on all the hearth
Blazed sprightly, and, afar-diffused, the scent
Of smooth-split cedar and of cypress- wood
Odorous, burning, cheer’d the happy isle.
She, busied at the loom, and plying fast
Her golden shuttle, with melodious voice
Sat chaunting there; a grove on either side,
Alder and poplar, and the redolent branch
Wide- spread of Cypress, skirted dark the cave.
There many a bird of broadest pinion built
Secure her nest, the owl, the kite, and daw
Long-tongued, frequenter of the sandy shores.
A garden-vine luxuriant on all sides
Mantled the spacious cavern, cluster-hung
Profuse; four fountains of serenest lymph
Their sinuous course pursuing side by side,
Stray’d all around, and ev’ry where appear’d
Meadows of softest verdure, purpled o’er
With violets; it was a scene to fill
A God from heav’n with wonder and delight.
Hermes, Heav’n’s messenger, admiring stood
That sight, and having all survey’d, at length
Enter’d the grotto; nor the lovely nymph
Him knew not soon as seen, for not unknown
Each to the other the Immortals are,
How far soever sep’rate their abodes.
Yet found he not within the mighty Chief
Ulysses; he sat weeping on the shore,
Forlorn, for there his custom was with groans
Of sad regret t’ afflict his breaking heart.
Looking continual o’er the barren Deep.
Then thus Calypso, nymph divine, the God
Question’d, from her resplendent throne august.


  By PanEris using Melati.

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