rode, each gave
Her charge to some brave mariner on board,
And all was safely stow’d. Meantime were spread
Linen and arras on the deck astern,
For his secure repose. And now the Chief
Himself embarking, silent lay’d him down.
Then, ev’ry rower to his bench repair’d;
They drew the loosen’d cable from its hold
In the drill’d rock, and, resupine, at once
With lusty strokes upturn’d the flashing waves.
His eye-lids, soon, sleep, falling as a dew,
Closed fast, death’s simular, in sight the same.
She, as four harness’d stallions o’er the plain
Shooting together at the scourge’s stroke,
Toss high their manes, and rapid scour along,
So mounted she the waves, while dark the flood
Roll’d after her of the resounding Deep.
Steady she ran and safe, passing in speed
The falcon, swiftest of the fowls of heav’n;
With such rapidity she cut the waves,
An hero bearing like the Gods above
In wisdom, one familiar long with woe
In fight sustain’d, and on the perilous flood,
Though sleeping now serenely, and resign’d
To sweet oblivion of all sorrow past.
The brightest star of heav’n, precursor chief
Of day-spring, now arose, when at the isle
(Her voyage soon perform’d) the bark arrived.

   There is a port sacred in Ithaca
To Phorcys, hoary ancient of the Deep,
Form’d by converging shores, prominent both
And both abrupt, which from the spacious bay
Exclude all boist’rous winds; within it, ships
(The port once gain’d) uncabled ride secure.
An olive, at the haven’s head, expands
Her branches wide, near to a pleasant cave
Umbrageous, to the nymphs devoted named
The Naiads. In that cave beakers of stone
And jars are seen; bees lodge their honey there;
And there, on slender spindles of the rock
The nymphs of rivers weave their wond’rous robes.
Perennial springs water it, and it shows
A twofold entrance; ingress one affords
To mortal man, which Northward looks direct,
But holier is the Southern far; by that
No mortal enters, but the Gods alone.
Familiar with that port before, they push’d
The vessel in; she, rapid, plow’d the sands
With half her keel, such rowers urged her on.
Descending from the well-bench’d bark ashore,
They lifted forth Ulysses first, with all
His splendid couch complete, then, lay’d him down
Still wrapt in balmy slumber on the sands.
His treasures, next, by the Phæacian Chiefs
At his departure given him as the meed
Due to his wisdom, at the olive’s foot
They heap’d, without the road, lest, while he slept
Some passing traveller should rifle them.
Then homeward thence they sped. Nor Ocean’s God
His threats forgot denounced against divine
Ulysses, but with Jove thus first advised.

   Eternal Sire! I shall no longer share
Respect and reverence among the Gods,
Since, now, Phæacia’s mortal race have ceas’d
To honour me, though from myself derived
It was my purpose, that by many an ill
Harass’d, Ulysses should have reach’d his home,
Although to intercept him, whose return
Thyself had promis’d, ne’er was my intent.
But him fast-sleeping swiftly o’er the waves
They have conducted, and have set him down
In Ithaca, with countless gifts enrich’d,
With brass, and tissued raiment, and with gold;
Much treasure! more than he had home convey’d
Even had he arrived with all his share
Allotted to him of the spoils of Troy.

   To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.
What hast thou spoken, Shaker of the shores,
Wide-ruling Neptune? Fear not; thee the Gods
Will ne’er despise; dangerous were the deed
To cast dishonour on a God by birth
More ancient, and more potent far than they.
But if, profanely rash, a mortal man
Should dare to slight thee, to avenge the wrong
Some future day is ever in thy pow’r.
Accomplish all thy pleasure, thou art free.

   Him answer’d, then, the Shaker of the shores.
Jove cloud-enthroned! that pleasure I would soon
Perform, as thou hast said, but that I watch
Thy mind continual, fearful to offend.
My purpose is, now to destroy amid
The dreary Deep yon fair Phæacian bark,
Return’d from safe conveyance of her freight;
So shall they waft such wand’rers home no more,
And she shall hide their city, to a rock
Transform’d of mountainous o’ershadowing size.

   Him, then, Jove answer’d, gath’rer of the clouds.
Perform it, O my brother, and the deed
Thus done, shall best be done—What time the people
Shall from the city her approach descry,
Fix her to stone transform’d, but still in shape
A gallant bark, near to the coast, that all
May wonder, seeing her transform’d to stone
Of size to hide their city from the view.


  By PanEris using Melati.

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