only to her absent Lord
And her own good report, or shall espouse
The noblest of her wooers, and the best
Entitled by the splendour of his gifts.
But I will give him, since I find him lodg’d
A guest beneath thy roof, tunic and cloak,
Sword double-edged, and sandals for his feet,
With convoy to the country of his choice.
Still, if it please thee, keep him here thy guest,
And I will send him raiment, with supplies
Of all sorts, lest he burthen thee and thine.
But where the suitors come, there shall not he
With my consent, nor stand exposed to pride
And petulance like theirs, lest by some sneer
They wound him, and through him, wound also me;
For little is it that the boldest can
Against so many; numbers will prevail.

   Him answer’d then Ulysses toil-inured.
Oh amiable and good! since even I
Am free to answer thee, I will avow
My heart within me torn by what I hear
Of those injurious suitors, who the house
Infest of one noble as thou appear’st.
But say—submittest thou to their controul
Willingly, or because the people, sway’d
By some response oracular, incline
Against thee? Thou hast brothers, it may chance,
Slow to assist thee—for a brother’s aid
Is of importance in whatever cause.
For oh that I had youth as I have will,
Or that renown’d Ulysses were my sire,
Or that himself might wander home again.
Whereof hope yet remains! then might I lose
My head, that moment, by an alien’s hand,
If I would fail, ent’ring Ulysses’ gate,
To be the bane and mischief of them all.
But if alone to multitudes opposed
I should perchance be foiled; nobler it were
With my own people, under my own roof
To perish, than to witness evermore
Their unexampled deeds, guests shoved aside,
Maidens dragg’d forcibly from room to room,
Casks emptied of their rich contents, and them
Indulging glutt’nous appetite day by day
Enormous, without measure, without end.

   To whom, Telemachus, discrete, replied.
Stranger! thy questions shall from me receive
True answer. Enmity or hatred none
Subsists the people and myself between,
Nor have I brothers to accuse, whose aid
Is of importance in whatever cause,
For Jove hath from of old with single heirs
Our house supplied; Arcesias none begat
Except Laertes, and Laertes none
Except Ulysses, and Ulysses me
Left here his only one, and unenjoy’d.
Thence comes it that our palace swarms with foes;
For all the rulers of the neighbour isles,
Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown’d
Zacynthus, others also rulers here
In craggy Ithaca, my mother seek
In marriage, and my household stores consume.
But neither she those nuptial rites abhorr’d
Refuses absolute, nor yet consents
To end them; they my patrimony waste
Meantime, and will destroy me also soon,
As I expect, but heav’n disposes all.

   Eumæus! haste, my father! bear with speed
News to Penelope that I am safe,
And have arrived from Pylus; I will wait
Till thou return; and well beware that none
Hear thee beside, for I have many foes.

   To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
It is enough. I understand. Thou speak’st
To one intelligent. But say beside,
Shall I not also, as I go, inform
Distress’d Laertes? who while yet he mourn’d
Ulysses only, could o’ersee the works,
And dieted among his menials oft
As hunger prompted him, but now, they say,
Since thy departure to the Pylian shore,
He neither eats as he was wont, nor drinks,
Nor oversees his hinds, but sighing sits
And weeping, wasted even to the bone.

   Him then Telemachus answer’d discrete.
Hard though it be, yet to his tears and sighs
Him leave we now. We cannot what we would.
For, were the ordering of all events
Referr’d to our own choice, our first desire
Should be to see my father’s glad return.
But once thy tidings told, wander not thou
In quest of Him, but hither speed again.
Rather request my mother that she send
Her household’s governess without delay
Privately to him; she shall best inform
The ancient King that I have safe arrived.

   He said, and urged him forth, who binding on
His sandals, to the city bent his way.
Nor went Eumæus from his home unmark’d
By Pallas, who in semblance of a fair
Damsel, accomplish’d in domestic arts,
Approaching to the cottage’ entrance, stood
Opposite, by Ulysses plain discern’d,
But to his son invisible; for the Gods
Appear not manifest alike to all.
The mastiffs saw her also, and with tone
Querulous hid themselves, yet bark’d they not.
She beckon’d him abroad. Ulysses saw
The sign, and, issuing through the outer court,
Approach’d her, whom the Goddess thus bespake.


  By PanEris using Melati.

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