a God
Encount’ring her, should with delight survey.
Her feet are twelve, all fore-feet; six her necks
Of hideous length, each clubb’d into a head
Terrific, and each head with fangs is arm’d
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 rav’ning 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 seaman’s boast that e’er he slipp’d
Her cavern by, unharm’d. In ev’ry 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-leav’d, and here
Charybdis dire ingulphs the sable flood.
Each day she thrice disgorges, and each day
Thrice swallows it. Ah! well forewarn’d, beware
What time she swallows, that thou come not nigh,
For not himself, Neptune, could snatch thee thence.
Close passing Scylla’s rock, shoot swift thy bark
Beyond it, since the loss of six alone
Is better far than shipwreck made of all.

   So Circe spake, to whom I thus replied.
Tell me, O Goddess, next, and tell me true!
If, chance, from fell Charybdis I escape,
May I not also save from Scylla’s force
My people; should the monster threaten them?

   I said, and quick the Goddess in return.
Unhappy! can exploits and toils of war
Still please thee? yield’st 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 should’st thou linger putting on thy arms
Beside the rock, beware, lest darting forth
Her num’rous heads, she seize with ev’ry 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 num’rous of the Sun;
Sev’n 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 train’d them to an age
Proportion’d to that charge, their mother sent
Into Thrinacia, there to dwell and keep
Inviolate their father’s 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 should’st 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 destroy’d.

   She ended, and the golden morning dawn’d.
Then, all-divine, her graceful steps she turn’d
Back through the isle, and, at the beach arrived,
I summon’d all my followers to ascend
The bark again, and cast the hawsers loose.
They, at my voice, embarking, fill’d in ranks
The seats, and rowing, thresh’d 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 clear’d) untoiling sat,
While managed gales sped swift the bark along.
Then, with dejected heart, thus I began.

   Oh friends! (for it is needful that not one
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, forewarn’d.
She bids us, first, avoid the dang’rous song
Of the sweet Sirens and their flow’ry 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 loos’d 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.

   Thus with distinct precaution I prepared
My people; rapid in her course, meantime,
My gallant bark approach’d 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 slumber’d, lull’d by pow’r divine.
Up-sprang my people, and the folded sails
Bestowing in the hold, sat to their oars,
Which with their polish’d blades whiten’d the Deep.
I, then, with edge of steel sev’ring 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 Hyperion’s all-pervading beams.
With that soft liniment I fill’d 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, thresh’d 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
Approach’d, and, thus, harmonious they began.


  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.