Of towring height, while prominent the shores
And bold, converging at the havens mouth
Leave narrow pass. We pushd our galleys in,
Then moord them side by side; for never surge
There lifts its head, or great or small, but clear
We found, and motionless, the shelterd flood.
Myself alone, staying my bark without,
Secured her well with hawsers to a rock
At the lands point, then climbd the rugged steep,
And spying stood the country. Labours none
Of men or oxen in the land appeard,
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 ewr 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 citys use.
Approaching they accosted her, and askd
What King reignd there, and over whom he reignd.
She gave them soon to know where stood sublime
The palace of her Sire; no sooner they
The palace enterd, than within they found,
In size resembling an huge mountain-top,
A woman, whom they shudderd to behold.
She forth from council summond 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 flockd
Numberless, and in size resembling more
The giants than mankind. They from the rocks
Cast down into our fleet enormous stones,
A strong mans burthen each; dire din arose
Of shatterd galleys and of dying men,
Whom speard like fishes to their home they bore,
A loathsome prey. While them within the port
They slaughterd, I, (the faulchion at my side
Drawn forth) cut loose the hawser of my ship,
And all my crew enjoind with bosoms laid
Prone on their oars, to fly the threatend woe.
They, dreading instant death tuggd resupine
Together, and the galley from beneath
Those beetling rocks into the open sea
Shot gladly; but the rest all perishd there.
Proceeding thence, we sighd, 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-haird,
Deep-skilld 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 pushd to land
Within a spacious haven, thither led
By some celestial Powr. We disembarkd,
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 armd,
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 rocks craggy point
I stood, and on the distant plain, beheld
Smoke which from Circes palace through the gloom
Of trees and thickets rose. That smoke discernd,
I ponderd 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 reachd my gallant bark,
Some God with pity viewing me alone
In that untrodden solitude, sent forth
An antlerd stag, full-sized, into my path.
His woodland pastures left, he sought the stream,
For he was thirsty, and already parchd
By the suns 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 pluckd
My weapon forth, which leaving there reclined,
I tore away the osiers with my hands
And fallows green, and to a fathoms length
Twisting the gatherd twigs into a band,
Bound fast the feet of my enormous prey,
And, flinging him athwart my neck, repaird
Toward my sable bark, proppd on my lance,
Which now to carry shoulderd as before
Surpassd my powr, 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, cheerd my crew.
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.
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 overshadowd all,
Extended, then, on Oceans bank we lay;
And when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
Lookd rosy forth, convening all my crew
To council, I arose, and thus began.
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