thou trouble us throughout the night
Ranging the house? and linger’st thou a spy
Watching the women? Hence—got thee abroad
Glad of such fare as thou hast found, or soon
With torches beaten we will thrust thee forth.

   To whom Ulysses, frowning stern, replied.
Petulant woman! wherefore thus incensed
Inveigh’st thou against me? is it because
I am not sleek? because my garb is mean?
Because I beg? thanks to necessity—
I would not else. But such as I appear,
Such all who beg and all who wander are.
I also lived the happy owner once
Of such a stately mansion, and have giv’n
To num’rous wand’rers, whencesoe’er they came,
All that they needed; I was also served
By many, and enjoy’d all that denotes
The envied owner opulent and blest.
But Jove (for so it pleas’d him) hath reduced
My all to nothing. Therefore well beware
Thou also, mistress, lest a day arrive
When all these charms by which thou shin’st among
Thy sister-menials, fade; fear, too, lest her
Thou should’st perchance irritate, whom thou serv’st,
And lest Ulysses come, of whose return
Hope yet survives; but even though the Chief
Have perish’d, as ye think, and comes no more,
Consider yet his son, how bright the gifts
Shine of Apollo in the illustrious Prince
Telemachus; no woman, unobserved
By him, can now commit a trespass here;
His days of heedless infancy are past.

   He ended, whom Penelope discrete
O’erhearing, her attendant sharp rebuked.

   Shameless, audacious woman! known to me
Is thy great wickedness, which with thy life
Thou shalt atone; for thou wast well aware,
(Hearing it from myself) that I design’d
To ask this stranger of my absent Lord,
For whose dear sake I never cease to mourn.

   Then to her household’s governess she said.
Bring now a seat, and spread it with a fleece,
Eurynome! that, undisturb’d, the guest
May hear and answer all that I shall ask.

   She ended. Then the matron brought in haste
A polish’d seat, and spread it with a fleece,
On which the toil-accustom’d Hero sat,
And thus the chaste Penelope began.

   Stranger! my first enquiry shall be this—
Who art thou? whence? where born? and sprung from whom?

   Then answer thus Ulysses, wise, return’d.
O Queen! uncensurable by the lips
Of mortal man! thy glory climbs the skies
Unrivall’d, like the praise of some great King
Who o’er a num’rous people and renown’d
Presiding like a Deity, maintains
Justice and truth. The earth, under his sway,
Her produce yields abundantly; the trees
Fruit-laden bend; the lusty flocks bring forth;
The Ocean teems with finny swarms beneath
His just controul, and all the land is blest.
Me therefore, question of what else thou wilt
In thy own palace, but forbear to ask
From whom I sprang, and of my native land,
Lest thou, reminding me of those sad themes,
Augment my woes; for I have much endured;
Nor were it seemly, in another’s house,
To pass the hours in sorrow and in tears,
Wearisome when indulg’d with no regard
To time or place; thy train (perchance thyself)
Would blame me, and I should reproach incur
As one tear-deluged through excess of wine.

   Him answer’d then Penelope discrete.
The immortal Gods, O stranger, then destroy’d
My form, my grace, my beauty, when the Greeks
Whom my Ulysses follow’d, sail’d to Troy.
Could he, returning, my domestic charge
Himself intend, far better would my fame
Be so secured, and wider far diffused.
But I am wretched now, such storms of woe
The Gods have sent me; for as many Chiefs
As hold dominion in the neighbour isles
Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown’d
Zacynthus; others, also, rulers here
In pleasant Ithaca, me, loth to wed,
Woo ceaseless, and my household stores consume.
I therefore, neither guest nor suppliant heed,
Nor public herald more, but with regret
Of my Ulysses wear my soul away.
They, meantime, press my nuptials, which by art
I still procrastinate. Some God the thought
Suggested to me, to commence a robe
Of amplest measure and of subtlest woof,
Laborious task; which done, I thus address’d them.
Princes, my suitors! since the noble Chief
Ulysses is no more, enforce not now
My nuptials; wait till I shall finish first
A fun’ral robe (lest all my threads be marr’d)
Which for the ancient Hero I prepare
Laertes, looking for the mournful hour
When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest.
Else, I the censure dread of all my sex,
Should he, so wealthy, want at last a shroud.
Such was my speech; they, unsuspicious all,
With my request complied. Thenceforth, all day
I wove the ample web, and, by the aid
Of torches, ravell’d it again at night.
Three years by artifice I thus their suit
Eluded safe; but when the fourth arrived,
And the same season after many

  By PanEris using Melati.

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