or bright-hair’d
Diana pierce me with a shaft, that while
Ulysses yet engages all my thoughts,
My days concluded, I might ’scape the pain
Of gratifying some inferior Chief!
This is supportable, when (all the day
To sorrow giv’n) the mourner sleeps at night;
For sleep, when it hath once the eyelids veil’d,
All reminiscence blots of all alike,
Both good and ill; but me the Gods afflict
Not seldom ev’n in dreams, and at my side,
This night again, one lay resembling him;
Such as my own Ulysses when he join’d
Achaia’s warriors; my exulting heart
No airy dream believed it, but a truth.

   While thus she spake, in orient gold enthroned
Came forth the morn; Ulysses, as she wept,
Heard plain her lamentation; him that sound
Alarm’d; he thought her present, and himself
Known to her. Gath’ring hastily the cloak
His cov’ring, and the fleeces, them he placed
Together on a throne within the hall,
But bore the bull’s-hide forth into the air.
Then, lifting high his hands to Jove, he pray’d.

   Eternal Sire! if over moist and dry
Ye have with good-will sped me to my home
After much suff’ring, grant me from the lips
Of some domestic now awake, to hear
Words of propitious omen, and thyself
Vouchsafe me still some other sign abroad.

   Such pray’r he made, and Jove omniscient heard.
Sudden he thunder’d from the radiant heights
Olympian; glad, Ulysses heard the sound.
A woman, next, a labourer at the mill
Hard by, where all the palace-mills were wrought,
Gave him the omen of propitious sound.
Twelve maidens, day by day, toil’d at the mills,
Meal grinding, some, of barley, some, of wheat,
Marrow of man. The rest (their portion ground)
All slept; she only from her task as yet
Ceas’d not, for she was feeblest of them all;
She rested on her mill, and thus pronounced
The happy omen by her Lord desired.

   Jove, Father, Governor of heav’n and earth!
Loud thou hast thunder’d from the starry skies
By no cloud veil’d; a sign propitious, giv’n
To whom I know not; but oh grant the pray’r
Of a poor bond-woman! appoint their feast
This day, the last that in Ulysses’ house
The suitors shall enjoy, for whom I drudge,
With aching heart and trembling knees their meal
Grinding continual. Feast they here no more!

   She ended, and the list’ning Chief received
With equal joy both signs; for well he hoped
That he should punish soon those guilty men.
And now the other maidens in the hall
Assembling, kindled on the hearth again
Th’ unwearied blaze; then, godlike from his couch
Arose Telemachus, and, fresh-attired,
Athwart his shoulders his bright faulchion slung,
Bound his fair sandals to his feet, and took
His sturdy spear pointed with glitt’ring brass;
Advancing to the portal, there he stood,
And Euryclea thus, his nurse, bespake.

   Nurse! have ye with respectful notice serv’d
Our guest? or hath he found a sordid couch
E’en where he might? for, prudent though she be,
My mother, inattentive oft, the worse
Treats kindly, and the better sends away.

   Whom Euryclea answer’d, thus, discrete.
Blame not, my son! who merits not thy blame.
The guest sat drinking till he would no more,
And ate, till, question’d, he replied—Enough.
But when the hour of sleep call’d him to rest,
She gave commandment to her female train
To spread his couch. Yet he, like one forlorn,
And, through despair, indiff’rent to himself,
Both bed and rugs refused, and in the porch
On skins of sheep and on an undress’d hide
Reposed, where we threw cov’ring over him. .

   She ceas’d, and, grasping his bright-headed spear,
Forth went the Prince attended, as he went,
By his fleet hounds; to the assembled Greeks
In council with majestic gait he moved,
And Euryclea, daughter wise of Ops,
Pisenor’s son, call’d to the serving-maids.

   Haste ye! be diligent! sweep the palace-floor
And sprinkle it; then give the sumptuous seats
Their purple coverings. Let others cleanse
With sponges all the tables, wash and rince
The beakers well, and goblets rich-emboss’d;
Run others to the fountain, and bring thence
Water with speed. The suitors will not long
Be absent, but will early come to-day,
For this day is a public festival.

   So she; whom all, obedient, heard; forth went
Together, twenty to the crystal fount,
While in their sev’ral provinces the rest
Bestirr’d them brisk at home. Then enter’d all
The suitors, and began cleaving the wood.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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