Book 15

Telemachus, admonished by Minerva, takes leave of Menelaus, but ere he sails, is accosted by Theoclymenos, a prophet of Argos, whom at his earnest request he takes on board. In the meantime Eumæus relates to Ulysses the means by which he came to Ithaca. Telemachus arriving there, gives orders for the return of his bark to the city, and repairs himself to Eumæus.

   Meantime to Lacedæmon’s spacious vale
Minerva went, that she might summon thence
Ulysses’ glorious son to his own home.
Arrived, she found Telemachus reposed
And Nestor’s son beneath the vestibule
Of Menelaus, mighty Chief; she saw
Pisistratus in bands of gentle sleep
Fast-bound, but not Telemachus; his mind
No rest enjoy’d, by filial cares disturb’d
Amid the silent night, when, drawing near
To his couch side, the Goddess thus began.

   Thou canst no longer prudently remain
A wand’rer here, Telemachus! thy home
Abandon’d, and those haughty suitors left
Within thy walls; fear lest, partition made
Of thy possessions, they devour the whole,
And in the end thy voyage bootless prove.
Delay not; from brave Menelaus ask
Dismission hence, that thou may’st find at home
Thy spotless mother, whom her brethren urge
And her own father even now to wed
Eurymachus, in gifts and in amount
Of proffer’d dow’r superior to them all.
Some treasure, else, shall haply from thy house
Be taken, such as thou wilt grudge to spare.
For well thou know’st how woman is disposed;
Her whole anxiety is to encrease
His substance whom she weds; no care hath she
Of her first children, or remembers more
The buried husband of her virgin choice.
Returning then, to her of all thy train
Whom thou shalt most approve, the charge commit
Of thy concerns domestic, till the Gods
Themselves shall guide thee to a noble wife.
Hear also this, and mark it. In the frith
Samos the rude, and Ithaca between,
The chief of all her suitors thy return
In vigilant ambush wait, with strong desire
To slay thee, ere thou reach thy native shore,
But shall not, as I judge, till the earth hide
Many a lewd reveller at thy expence.
Yet, steer thy galley from those isles afar,
And voyage make by night; some guardian God
Shall save thee, and shall send thee prosp’rous gales.
Then, soon as thou attain’st the nearest shore
Of Ithaca, dispatching to the town
Thy bark with all thy people, seek at once
The swine-herd; for Eumæus is thy friend.
There sleep, and send him forth into the town
With tidings to Penelope, that safe
Thou art restored from Pylus home again.

   She said, and sought th’ Olympian heights sublime.
Then, with his heel shaking him, he awoke
The son of Nestor, whom he thus address’d.

   Rise, Nestor’s son, Pisistratus! lead forth
The steeds, and yoke them. We must now depart.

   To whom the son of Nestor thus replied.
Telemachus! what haste soe’er we feel,
We can by no means prudently attempt
To drive by night, and soon it will be dawn.
Stay, therefore, till the Hero, Atreus’ son,
Spear- practis’d Menelaus shall his gifts
Place in the chariot, and with kind farewell
Dismiss thee; for the guest in mem’ry holds
Through life, the host who treats him as a friend.

   Scarce had he spoken, when the golden dawn
Appearing, Menelaus, from the side
Of beauteous Helen ris’n, their bed approach’d,
Whose coming when Telemachus perceived,
Cloathing himself hastily in his vest
Magnificent, and o’er his shoulders broad
Casting his graceful mantle, at the door
He met the Hero, whom he thus address’d.

   Atrides, Menelaus, Chief renown’d!
Dismiss me hence to Ithaca again,
my native isle, for I desire to go.

   Him answer’d Menelaus famed in arms.
Telemachus! I will not long delay
Thy wish’d return. I disapprove alike
The host whose assiduity extreme
Distresses, and whose negligence offends;
The middle course is best; alike we err,
Him thrusting forth whose wish is to remain,
And hind’ring the impatient to depart.
This only is true kindness—To regale
The present guest, and speed him when he would.
Yet stay, till thou shalt see my splendid gifts
Placed in thy chariot, and till I command
My women from our present stores to spread
The table with a plentiful repast.
For both the honour of the guest demands,
And his convenience also, that he eat
Sufficient, ent’ring on a length of road.
But if through Hellas thou wilt take thy way
And traverse Argos, I will, then, myself
Attend thee; thou shalt journey with my steeds
Beneath thy yoke, and I will be thy guide
To many a city, whence we shall not go
Ungratified, but shall in each receive
Some gift at least, tripod, or charger bright,
Or golden chalice, or a pair of mules.


  By PanEris using Melati.

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