Book 13

Ulysses, having finished his narrative, and received additional presents from the Phæacians, embarks; he is conveyed in his sleep to Ithaca, and in his sleep is landed on that island. The ship that carried him is in her return transformed by Neptune to a rock.

Minerva meets him on the shore, enables him to recollect his country, which, till enlightened by her, he believed to be a country strange to him, and they concert together the means of destroying the suitors. The Goddess then repairs to Sparta to call thence Telemachus, and Ulysses, by her aid disguised like a beggar, proceeds towards the cottage of Eumæus.

   He ceas’d; the whole assembly silent sat,
Charm’d into ecstacy with his discourse
Throughout the twilight hall. Then, thus the King.

   Ulysses, since beneath my brazen dome
Sublime thou hast arrived, like woes, I trust,
Thou shalt not in thy voyage hence sustain
By tempests tost, though much to woe inured.
To you, who daily in my presence quaff
Your princely meed of gen’rous wine and hear
The sacred bard, my pleasure, thus I speak.
The robes, wrought gold, and all the other gifts
To this our guest, by the Phæacian Chiefs
Brought hither in the sumptuous coffer lie.
But come—present ye to the stranger, each,
An ample tripod also, with a vase
Of smaller size, for which we will be paid
By public impost; for the charge of all
Excessive were by one alone defray’d.

   So spake Alcinoüs, and his counsel pleased;
Then, all retiring, sought repose at home.
But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
Look’d rosy forth, each hasted to the bark
With his illustrious present, which the might
Of King Alcinoüs, who himself her sides
Ascended, safe beneath the seats bestowed,
Lest it should harm or hinder, while he toil’d
In rowing, some Phæacian of the crew.
The palace of Alcinoüs seeking next,
Together, they prepared a new regale.

   For them, in sacrifice, the sacred might
Of King Alcinoüs slew an ox to Jove
Saturnian, cloud-girt governor of all.
The thighs with fire prepared, all glad partook
The noble feast; meantime, the bard divine
Sang, sweet Demodocus, the people’s joy.
But oft Ulysses to the radiant sun
Turn’d wistful eyes, anxious for his decline,
Nor longer, now, patient of dull delay.
As when some hungry swain whose sable beeves
Have through the fallow dragg’d his pond’rous plow
All day, the setting sun views with delight
For supper’ sake, which with tir’d feet he seeks,
So welcome to Ulysses’ eyes appear’d
The sun-set of that eve; directing, then,
His speech to maritime Phæacia’s sons,
But to Alcinoüs chiefly, thus he said.

   Alcinoüs, o’er Phæacia’s realm supreme!
Libation made, dismiss ye me in peace,
And farewell all! for what I wish’d, I have,
Conductors hence, and honourable gifts
With which heav’n prosper me! and may the Gods
Vouchsafe to me, at my return, to find
All safe, my spotless consort and my friends!
May ye, whom here I leave, gladden your wives
And see your children blest, and may the pow’rs
Immortal with all good enrich you all,
And from calamity preserve the land!

   He ended, they unanimous, his speech
Applauded loud, and bade dismiss the guest
Who had so wisely spoken and so well.
Then thus Alcinoüs to his herald spake.

   Pontonoüs! charging high the beaker, bear
To ev’ry guest beneath our roof the wine,
That, pray’r preferr’d to the eternal Sire,
We may dismiss our inmate to his home.

   Then, bore Pontonoüs to ev’ry guest
The brimming cup; they, where they sat, perform’d
Libation due; but the illustrious Chief
Ulysses, from his seat arising, placed
A massy goblet in Areta’s hand,
To whom in accents wing’d, grateful, he said.

   Farewell, O Queen, a long farewell, till age
Arrive, and death, the appointed lot of all!
I go; but be this people, and the King
Alcinoüs, and thy progeny, thy joy
Yet many a year beneath this glorious roof!

   So saying, the Hero through the palace-gate
Issued, whom, by Alcinoüs’ command,
The royal herald to his vessel led.
Three maidens also of Areta’s train
His steps attended; one, the robe well-bleach’d
And tunic bore; the corded coffer, one;
And food the third, with wine of crimson hue.
Arriving where the galley

  By PanEris using Melati.

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