Book 10

Ulysses, in pursuit of his narrative, relates his arrival at the island of Æolus, his departure thence, and the unhappy occasion of his return thither. The monarch of the winds dismisses him at last with much asperity. He next tells of his arrival among the Læstrygonians, by whom his whole fleet, together with their crews, are destroyed, his own ship and crew excepted. Thence he is driven to the island of Circe. By her the half of his people are transformed into swine. Assisted by Mercury, he resists her enchantments himself, and prevails with the Goddess to recover them to their former shape. In consequence of Circe’s instructions, after having spent a complete year in her palace, he prepares for a voyage to the infernal regions.

   We came to the Æolian isle; there dwells
Æolus, son of Hippotas, belov’d
By the Immortals, in an isle afloat.
A brazen wall impregnable on all sides
Girds it, and smooth its rocky coast ascends.
His children, in his own fair palace born,
Are twelve; six daughters, and six blooming sons.
He gave his daughters to his sons to wife;
They with their father hold perpetual feast
And with their royal mother, still supplied
With dainties numberless; the sounding dome
Is fill’d with sav’ry odours all the day,
And with their consorts chaste at night they sleep
On stateliest couches with rich arras spread.
Their city and their splendid courts we reach’d.
A month complete he, friendly, at his board
Regaled me, and enquiry made minute
Of Ilium’s fall, of the Achaian fleet,
And of our voyage thence. I told him all.
But now, desirous to embark again,
I ask’d dismission home, which he approved,
And well provided for my prosp’rous course.
He gave me, furnish’d by a bullock slay’d
In his ninth year, a bag; ev’ry rude blast
Which from its bottom turns the Deep, that bag
Imprison’d held; for him Saturnian Jove
Hath officed arbiter of all the winds,
To rouse their force or calm them, at his will.
He gave me them on board my bark, so bound
With silver twine that not a breath escaped,
Then order’d gentle Zephyrus to fill
Our sails propitious. Order vain, alas!
So fatal proved the folly of my friends.
Nine days continual, night and day we sail’d,
And on the tenth my native land appear’d.
Not far remote my Ithacans I saw
Fires kindling on the coast; but me with toil
Worn, and with watching, gentle sleep subdued;
For constant I had ruled the helm, nor giv’n
That charge to any, fearful of delay.
Then, in close conference combined, my crew
Each other thus bespake—He carries home
Silver and gold from Æolus received,
Offspring of Hippotas, illustrious Chief—
And thus a mariner the rest harangued.
Ye Gods! what city or what land soe’er
Ulysses visits, how is he belov’d
By all, and honour’d! many precious spoils
He homeward bears from Troy; but we return,
(We who the self-same voyage have perform’d)
With empty hands. Now also he hath gain’d
This pledge of friendship from the King of winds.
But come—be quick—search we the bag, and learn
What stores of gold and silver it contains.
So he, whose mischievous advice prevailed.
They loos’d the bag; forth issued all the winds,
And, caught by tempests o’er the billowy waste,
Weeping they flew, far, far from Ithaca.
I then, awaking, in my noble mind
Stood doubtful, whether from my vessel’s side
Immersed to perish in the flood, or calm
To endure my sorrows, and content to live.
I calm endured them; but around my head
Winding my mantle, lay’d me down below,
While adverse blasts bore all my fleet again
To the Æolian isle; then groan’d my people.
We disembark’d and drew fresh water there,
And my companions, at their galley’s sides
All seated, took repast; short meal we made,
When, with an herald and a chosen friend,
I sought once more the hall of Æolus.
Him banqueting with all his sons we found,
And with his spouse; we ent’ring, on the floor
Of his wide portal sat, whom they amazed
Beheld, and of our coming thus enquired.
Return’d? Ulysses! by what adverse Pow’r
Repuls’d hast thou arrived? we sent thee hence
Well-fitted forth to reach thy native isle,
Thy palace, or what place soe’er thou would’st.
So they—to whom, heart-broken, I replied.
My worthless crew have wrong’d me, nor alone
My worthless crew, but sleep ill-timed, as much.
Yet heal, O friends, my hurt; the pow’r is yours!
So I their favour woo’d. Mute sat the sons,
But thus their father answer’d. Hence—be gone—
Leave this our isle, thou most obnoxious wretch
Of all mankind. I should, my self, transgress,
Receiving here, and giving conduct hence
To one detested by the Gods as thou.
Away—for hated by the Gods thou com’st.
So saying, he sent me from his palace forth,
Groaning profound; thence, therefore, o’er the Deep
We still proceeded sorrowful, our force
Exhausting ceaseless at the toilsome oar,
And, through our own imprudence, hopeless now
Of other furth’rance to our native isle.
Six days we navigated, day and night,
The briny flood, and on the seventh reach’d
The city erst by Lamus built sublime,
Proud Læstrygonia, with the distant gates.
The herdsman, there, driving his cattle home,
Summons the shepherd with his flocks abroad.
The sleepless there might double wages earn,
Attending, now, the herds, now, tending sheep,
For the night-pastures, and the pastures grazed
By day, close border, both, the city-walls.
To that illustrious port we came, by rocks

  By PanEris using Melati.

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