if thy courage and thy manly mind
Prompt thee to banish this man hence, no force
Fear thou beside, for who smites thee, shall find
Yet other foes to cope with; I am here
In the host’s office, and the royal Chiefs
Eurymachus and Antinoüs, alike
Discrete, accord unanimous with me.

   He ceas’d, whom all approved. Then, with his rags
Ulysses braced for decency his loins
Around, but gave to view his brawny thighs
Proportion’d fair, and stripp’d his shoulders broad,
His chest and arms robust; while, at his side,
Dilating more the Hero’s limbs and more
Minerva stood; the assembly with fixt eyes
Astonish’d gazed on him, and, looking full
On his next friend, a suitor thus remark’d.

   Irus shall be in Irus found no more.
He hath pull’d evil on himself. What thewes
And what a haunch the senior’s tatters hid!

   So he—meantime in Irus’ heart arose
Horrible tumult; yet, his loins by force
Girding, the servants dragg’d him to the fight
Pale, and his flesh all quiv’ring as he came;
Whose terrors thus Antinoüs sharp rebuked.

   Now, wherefore liv’st, and why wast ever born
Thou mountain-mass of earth! if such dismay
Shake thee at thought of combat with a man
Ancient as he, and worn with many woes?
But mark, I threaten not in vain; should he
O’ercome thee, and in force superior prove,
To Echetus thou go’st; my sable bark
Shall waft thee to Epirus, where he reigns
Enemy of mankind; of nose and ears
He shall despoil thee with his ruthless steel,
And tearing by the roots the parts away
That mark thy sex, shall cast them to the dogs.

   He said; His limbs new terrors at that sound
Shook under him; into the middle space
They led him, and each raised his hands on high.
Then doubtful stood Ulysses toil-inured,
Whether to strike him lifeless to the earth
At once, or fell him with a managed blow.
To smite with managed force at length he chose
As wisest, lest, betray’d by his own strength,
He should be known. With elevated fists
Both stood; him Irus on the shoulder struck,
But he his adversary on the neck
Pash’d close beneath his ear; he split the bones,
And blood in sable streams ran from his mouth.
With many an hideous yell he dropp’d, his teeth
Chatter’d, and with his heels he drumm’d the ground.
The wooers, at that sight, lifting their hands
In glad surprize, laugh’d all their breath away.
Then, through the vestibule, and right across
The court, Ulysses dragg’d him by the foot
Into the portico, where propping him
Against the wall, and giving him his staff,
In accents wing’d he bade him thus farewell.

   There seated now, dogs drive and swine away,
Nor claim (thyself so base) supreme controul
O’er other guests and mendicants, lest harm
Reach thee, hereafter, heavier still than this.

   So saying, his tatter’d wallet o’er his back
He threw suspended by its leathern twist,
And tow’rd the threshold turning, sat again,
They laughing ceaseless still, the palace-door
Re-enter’d, and him, courteous, thus bespake.

   Jove, and all Jove’s assessors in the skies
Vouchsafe thee, stranger, whatsoe’er it be,
Thy heart’s desire! who hast our ears reliev’d
From that insatiate beggar’s irksome tone.
Soon to Epirus he shall go dispatch’d
To Echetus the King, pest of mankind.

   So they, to whose propitious words the Chief
Listen’d delighted. Then Antinoüs placed
The paunch before him, and Amphinomus
Two loaves, selected from the rest; he fill’d
A goblet also, drank to him, and said,

   My father, hail! O stranger, be thy lot
Hereafter blest, though adverse now and hard!

   To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
To me, Amphinomus, endued thou seem’st
With much discretion, who art also son
Of such a sire, whose fair report I know,
Dulichian Nysus, opulent and good.
Fame speaks thee his, and thou appear’st a man
Judicious; hear me, therefore; mark me well.
Earth nourishes, of all that breathe or creep,
No creature weak as man; for while the Gods
Grant him prosperity and health, no fear
Hath he, or thought, that he shall ever mourn;
But when the Gods with evils unforeseen
Smite him, he bears them with a grudging mind;
For such as the complexion of his lot
By the appointment of the Sire of all,
Such is the colour of the mind of man.
I, too, have been familiar in my day
With wealth and ease, but I

  By PanEris using Melati.

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