Encountring her, should with delight survey.
Her feet are twelve, all fore-feet; six her necks
Of hideous length, each clubbd into a head
Terrific, and each head with fangs is armd
In triple row, thick planted, stored with death.
Plunged to her middle in the hollow den
She lurks, protruding from the black abyss
Her heads, with which the ravning monster dives
In quest of dolphins, dog-fish, or of prey
More bulky, such as in the roaring gulphs
Of Amphitrite without end abounds.
It is no seamans boast that eer he slippd
Her cavern by, unharmd. In evry mouth
She bears upcaught a mariner away.
The other rock, Ulysses, thou shalt find
Humbler, a bow-shot only from the first;
On this a wild fig grows broad-leavd, and here
Charybdis dire ingulphs the sable flood.
Each day she thrice disgorges, and each day
Thrice swallows it. Ah! well forewarnd, beware
What time she swallows, that thou come not nigh,
For not himself, Neptune, could snatch thee thence.
Close passing Scyllas rock, shoot swift thy bark
Beyond it, since the loss of six alone
Is better far than shipwreck made of all.
Tell me, O Goddess, next, and tell me true!
If, chance, from fell Charybdis I escape,
May I not also save from Scyllas force
My people; should the monster threaten them?
Unhappy! can exploits and toils of war
Still please thee? yieldst not to the Gods themselves?
She is no mortal, but a deathless pest,
Impracticable, savage, battle-proof.
Defence is vain; flight is thy sole resource.
For shouldst thou linger putting on thy arms
Beside the rock, beware, lest darting forth
Her numrous heads, she seize with evry mouth
A Greecian, and with others, even thee.
Pass therefore swift, and passing, loud invoke
Cratais, mother of this plague of man,
Who will forbid her to assail thee more.
Thou, next, shalt reach Thrinacia; there, the beeves
And fatted flocks graze numrous of the Sun;
Sevn herds; as many flocks of snowy fleece;
Fifty in each; they breed not, neither die,
Nor are they kept by less than Goddesses,
Lampetia fair, and Phäethusa, both
By nymph Neæra to Hyperion borne.
Them, soon as she had traind them to an age
Proportiond to that charge, their mother sent
Into Thrinacia, there to dwell and keep
Inviolate their fathers flocks and herds.
If, anxious for a safe return, thou spare
Those herds and flocks, though after much endured,
Ye may at last your Ithaca regain;
But shouldst thou violate them, I foretell
Destruction of thy ship and of thy crew,
And though thyself escape, thou shalt return
Late, in ill plight, and all thy friends destroyd.
Then, all-divine, her graceful steps she turnd
Back through the isle, and, at the beach arrived,
I summond all my followers to ascend
The bark again, and cast the hawsers loose.
They, at my voice, embarking, filld in ranks
The seats, and rowing, threshd the hoary flood.
And now, melodious Circe, nymph divine,
Sent after us a canvas-stretching breeze,
Pleasant companion of our course, and we
(The decks and benches cleard) untoiling sat,
While managed gales sped swift the bark along.
Then, with dejected heart, thus I began.
Or two alone the admonition hear
Of Circe, beauteous prophetess divine)
To all I speak, that whether we escape
Or perish, all may be, at least, forewarnd.
She bids us, first, avoid the dangrous song
Of the sweet Sirens and their flowry meads.
Me only she permits those strains to hear;
But ye shall bind me with coercion strong
Of cordage well-secured to the mast-foot,
And by no struggles to be loosd of mine.
But should I supplicate to be released
Or give such order, then, with added cords
Be it your part to bind me still the more.
My people; rapid in her course, meantime,
My gallant bark approachd the Sirens isle,
For brisk and favourable blew the wind.
Then fell the wind suddenly, and serene
A breathless calm ensued, while all around
The billows slumberd, lulld by powr divine.
Up-sprang my people, and the folded sails
Bestowing in the hold, sat to their oars,
Which with their polishd blades whitend the Deep.
I, then, with edge of steel sevring minute
A waxen cake, chafed it and moulded it
Between my palms; ere long the ductile mass
Grew warm, obedient to that ceaseless force,
And to Hyperions all-pervading beams.
With that soft liniment I filld the ears
Of my companions, man by man, and they
My feet and arms with strong coercion bound
Of cordage to the mast-foot well secured.
Then down they sat, and, rowing, threshd the brine.
But when with rapid course we had arrived
Within such distance as a voice may reach,
Not unperceived by them the gliding bark
Approachd, and, thus, harmonious they began.
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