Ah, dearest nurse, sagacious as thou art,
Thou little knowst to scan the counsels wise
Of the eternal Gods. But let us seek
My son, however, that I may behold
The suitors dead, and him by whom they died.
In her descent, whether to interrogate
Her Lord apart, or whether to imprint,
At once, his hands with kisses and his brows.
Oerpassing light the portal-step of stone
She enterd. He sat opposite, illumed
By the hearths sprightly blaze, and close before
A pillar of the dome, waiting with eyes
Downcast, till viewing him, his noble spouse
Should speak to him; but she sat silent long,
Her faculties in mute amazement held.
By turns she riveted her eyes on his,
And, seeing him so foul attired, by turns
She recognized him not; then spake her son
Telemachus, and her silence thus reprovd.
Obdurate mother! wherefore thus aloof
Shunnst thou my father, neither at his side
Sitting affectionate, nor uttring word?
Another wife lives not who could endure
Such distance from her husband new-returnd
To his own country in the twentieth year,
After much hardship; but thy heart is still
As ever, less impressible than stone,
I am all wonder, O my son; my soul
Is stunnd within me; powr to speak to him
Or to interrogate him have I none,
Or evn to look on him; but if indeed
He be Ulysses, and have reachd his home,
I shall believe it soon, by proof convinced
Of signs known only to himself and me.
And in wingd accents thus spake to his son.
To sift and prove me; she will know me soon
More certainly; she sees me ill-attired
And squalid now; therefore she shews me scorn,
And no belief hath yet that I am he.
But we have need, thou and myself, of deep
Deliberation. If a man have slain
One only citizen, who leaves behind
Few interested to avenge his death,
Yet, flying, he forsakes both friends and home;
But we have slain the noblest Princes far
Of Ithaca, on whom our city most
Depended; therefore, I advise thee, think!
Proclaims thee shrewdest of mankind, with whom
In ingenuity may none compare.
Lead thou; to follow thee shall be our part
With prompt alacrity; nor shall, I judge,
Courage be wanting to our utmost force.
To me the safest counsel and the best
Seems this. First wash yourselves, and put ye on
Your tunics; bid ye, next, the maidens take
Their best attire, and let the bard divine
Harping melodious play a sportive dance,
That, whether passenger or neighbour near,
All may imagine nuptials held within.
So shall not loud report that we have slain
All those, alarm the city, till we gain
Our woods and fields, where, once arrivd, such plans
We will devise, as Jove shall deign to inspire.
First laved themselves, then put their tunics on;
The damsels also dressd, and the sweet bard,
Harping melodious, kindled strong desire
In all, of jocund song and graceful dance.
The palace under all its vaulted roof
Remurmurd to the feet of sportive youths
And cinctured maidens, while no few abroad,
Hearing such revelry within, remarkd
Ah fickle and unworthy fair! too frail
Always to keep inviolate the house
Of her first Lord, and wait for his return.
What had befalln. Eurynome, meantime,
With bath and unction servd the illustrious Chief
Ulysses, and he saw himself attired
Royally once again in his own house.
Then, Pallas over all his features shed
Superior beauty, dignified his form
With added amplitude, and pourd his curls
Like hyacinthine flowrs down from his brows.
As when some artist by Minerva made
And Vulcan, wise to execute all tasks
Ingenious, borders silver with a wreath
Of gold, accomplishing a graceful work,
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