flank’d on either side
Of tow’ring height, while prominent the shores
And bold, converging at the haven’s mouth
Leave narrow pass. We push’d our galleys in,
Then moor’d them side by side; for never surge
There lifts its head, or great or small, but clear
We found, and motionless, the shelter’d flood.
Myself alone, staying my bark without,
Secured her well with hawsers to a rock
At the land’s point, then climb’d the rugged steep,
And spying stood the country. Labours none
Of men or oxen in the land appear’d,
Nor aught beside saw we, but from the earth
Smoke rising; therefore of my friends I sent
Before me two, adding an herald third,
To learn what race of men that country fed.
Departing, they an even track pursued
Made by the waggons bringing timber down
From the high mountains to the town below.
Before the town a virgin bearing forth
Her ew’r they met, daughter of him who ruled
The Læstrygonian race, Antiphatas.
Descending from the gate, she sought the fount
Artacia; for their custom was to draw
From that pure fountain for the city’s use.
Approaching they accosted her, and ask’d
What King reign’d there, and over whom he reign’d.
She gave them soon to know where stood sublime
The palace of her Sire; no sooner they
The palace enter’d, than within they found,
In size resembling an huge mountain-top,
A woman, whom they shudder’d to behold.
She forth from council summon’d quick her spouse
Antiphatas, who teeming came with thoughts
Of carnage, and, arriving, seized at once
A Greecian, whom, next moment, he devoured.
With headlong terrour the surviving two
Fled to the ships. Then sent Antiphatas
His voice through all the town, and on all sides,
Hearing that cry, the Læstrygonians flock’d
Numberless, and in size resembling more
The giants than mankind. They from the rocks
Cast down into our fleet enormous stones,
A strong man’s burthen each; dire din arose
Of shatter’d galleys and of dying men,
Whom spear’d like fishes to their home they bore,
A loathsome prey. While them within the port
They slaughter’d, I, (the faulchion at my side
Drawn forth) cut loose the hawser of my ship,
And all my crew enjoin’d with bosoms laid
Prone on their oars, to fly the threaten’d woe.
They, dreading instant death tugg’d resupine
Together, and the galley from beneath
Those beetling rocks into the open sea
Shot gladly; but the rest all perish’d there.
Proceeding thence, we sigh’d, and roamed the waves,
Glad that we lived, but sorrowing for the slain.
We came to the Ææan isle; there dwelt
The awful Circe, Goddess amber-hair’d,
Deep-skill’d in magic song, sister by birth
Of the all-wise Æætes; them the Sun,
Bright luminary of the world, begat
On Perse, daughter of Oceanus.
Our vessel there, noiseless, we push’d to land
Within a spacious haven, thither led
By some celestial Pow’r. We disembark’d,
And on the coast two days and nights entire
Extended lay, worn with long toil, and each
The victim of his heart-devouring woes.
Then, with my spear and with my faulchion arm’d,
I left the ship to climb with hasty steps
An airy height, thence, hoping to espie
Some works of man, or hear, perchance, a voice.
Exalted on a rough rock’s craggy point
I stood, and on the distant plain, beheld
Smoke which from Circe’s palace through the gloom
Of trees and thickets rose. That smoke discern’d,
I ponder’d next if thither I should haste,
Seeking intelligence. Long time I mused,
But chose at last, as my discreter course,
To seek the sea-beach and my bark again,
And, when my crew had eaten, to dispatch
Before me, others, who should first enquire.
But, ere I yet had reach’d my gallant bark,
Some God with pity viewing me alone
In that untrodden solitude, sent forth
An antler’d stag, full-sized, into my path.
His woodland pastures left, he sought the stream,
For he was thirsty, and already parch’d
By the sun’s heat. Him issuing from his haunt,
Sheer through the back beneath his middle spine,
I wounded, and the lance sprang forth beyond.
Moaning he fell, and in the dust expired.
Then, treading on his breathless trunk, I pluck’d
My weapon forth, which leaving there reclined,
I tore away the osiers with my hands
And fallows green, and to a fathom’s length
Twisting the gather’d twigs into a band,
Bound fast the feet of my enormous prey,
And, flinging him athwart my neck, repair’d
Toward my sable bark, propp’d on my lance,
Which now to carry shoulder’d as before
Surpass’d my pow’r, so bulky was the load.
Arriving at the ship, there I let fall
My burthen, and with pleasant speech and kind,
Man after man addressing, cheer’d my crew.

   My friends! we suffer much, but shall not seek
The shades, ere yet our destined hour arrive.
Behold a feast! and we have wine on board—
Pine not with needless famine! rise and eat.

   I spake; they readily obey’d, and each
Issuing at my word abroad, beside
The galley stood, admiring, as he lay,
The stag, for of no common bulk was he.
At length, their eyes gratified to the full
With that glad spectacle, they laved their hands,
And preparation made of noble cheer.
That day complete, till set of sun, we spent
Feasting deliciously without restraint,
And quaffing generous wine; but when the sun
Went down, and darkness overshadow’d all,
Extended, then, on Ocean’s bank we lay;
And when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
Look’d rosy forth, convening all my crew
To council, I arose, and thus began.


  By PanEris using Melati.

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