of Jove
They plunder, and with laden ships depart,
Even they with terrours quake of wrath divine.
But these are wiser; these must sure have learn’d
From some true oracle my master’s death,
Who neither deign with decency to woo,
Nor yet to seek their homes, but boldly waste
His substance, shameless, now, and sparing nought.
Jove ne’er hath giv’n us yet the night or day
When with a single victim, or with two
They would content them, and his empty jars
Witness how fast the squand’rers use his wine.
Time was, when he was rich indeed; such wealth
No Hero own’d on yonder continent,
Nor yet in Ithaca; no twenty Chiefs
Could match with all their treasures his alone;
I tell thee their amount. Twelve herds of his
The mainland graze; as many flocks of sheep;
As many droves of swine; and hirelings there
And servants of his own seed for his use,
As many num’rous flocks of goats; his goats,
(Not fewer than eleven num’rous flocks)
Here also graze the margin of his fields
Under the eye of servants well-approved,
And ev’ry servant, ev’ry day, brings home
The goat, of all his flock largest and best.
But as for me, I have these swine in charge,
Of which, selected with exactest care
From all the herd, I send the prime to them.

   He ceas’d, meantime Ulysses ate and drank
Voracious, meditating, mute, the death
Of those proud suitors. His repast, at length,
Concluded, and his appetite sufficed,
Eumæus gave him, charged with wine, the cup
From which he drank himself; he, glad, received
The boon, and in wing’d accents thus began.

   My friend, and who was he, wealthy and brave
As thou describ’st the Chief, who purchased thee?
Thou say’st he perish’d for the glory-sake
Of Agamemnon. Name him; I, perchance,
May have beheld the Hero. None can say
But Jove and the inhabitants of heav’n
That I ne’er saw him, and may not impart
News of him; I have roam’d through many a clime.

   To whom the noble swine-herd thus replied.
Alas, old man! no trav’ler’s tale of him
Will gain his consort’s credence, or his son’s;
For wand’rers, wanting entertainment, forge
Falsehoods for bread, and wilfully deceive.
No wand’rer lands in Ithaca, but he seeks
With feign’d intelligence my mistress’ ear;
She welcomes all, and while she questions each
Minutely, from her lids lets fall the tear
Affectionate, as well beseems a wife
Whose mate hath perish’d in a distant land.
Thou could’st thyself, no doubt, my hoary friend!
(Would any furnish thee with decent vest
And mantle) fabricate a tale with ease;
Yet sure it is that dogs and fowls, long since,
His skin have stript, or fishes of the Deep
Have eaten him, and on some distant shore
Whelm’d in deep sands his mould’ring bones are laid.
So hath he perish’d; whence, to all his friends,
But chiefly to myself, sorrow of heart;
For such another Lord, gentle as he,
Wherever sought, I have no hope to find,
Though I should wander even to the house
Of my own father. Neither yearns my heart
So feelingly (though that desiring too)
To see once more my parents and my home,
As to behold Ulysses yet again.
Ah stranger; absent as he is, his name
Fills me with rev’rence, for he lov’d me much,
Cared for me much, and, though we meet no more,
Holds still an elder brother’s part in me.

   Him answer’d, then, the Hero toil-inured.
My friend! since his return, in thy account,
Is an event impossible, and thy mind
Always incredulous that hope rejects,
I shall not slightly speak, but with an oath—
Ulysses comes again; and I demand
No more, than that the boon such news deserves,
Be giv’n me soon as he shall reach his home.
Then give me vest and mantle fit to wear,
Which, ere that hour, much as I need them both,
I neither ask, nor will accept from thee.
For him whom poverty can force aside
From truth—I hate him as the gates of hell.
Be Jove, of all in heav’n, my witness first,
Then, this thy hospitable board, and, last,
The household Gods of the illustrious Chief
Himself, Ulysses, to whose gates I go,
That all my words shall surely be fulfill’d.
In this same year Ulysses shall arrive,
Ere, this month closed, another month succeed,
He shall return, and punish all who dare
Insult his consort and his noble son.

   To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
Old friend! that boon thou wilt ne’er earn from me;
Ulysses comes no more. But thou thy wine
Drink quietly, and let us find, at length,
Some other theme; recall not this again
To my remembrance, for my soul is grieved
Oft as reminded of my honour’d Lord.
Let the oath rest, and let Ulysses come
Ev’n as myself, and as Penelope,
And as his ancient father, and his son
Godlike Telemachus, all wish he may.
Ay—there I feel again—nor cease to mourn
His son Telemachus; who, when the Gods
Had giv’n him growth like a young plant, and I
Well hoped that nought inferior he should prove
In person or in mind to his own sire,
Hath lost, through influence human or divine,
I know not how, his sober intellect,
And after tidings of his sire is gone
To far-famed Pylus; his return, meantime,
In ambush hidden the proud suitors

  By PanEris using Melati.

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