So glorious past all others were the games
By silver-footed Thetis givn for thee,
For thou wast ever favourd of the Gods.
Thus, hast thou not, Achilles! although dead,
Foregone thy glory, but thy fair report
Is universal among all mankind;
But, as for me, what recompense had I,
My warfare closed? for whom, at my return,
Jove framed such dire destruction by the hands
Of fell Ægisthus and my murthress wife.
Swift messenger of heavn, the Argicide,
Conducting thither all the shades of those
Slain by Ulysses. At that sight amazed
Both moved toward them. Agamemnons shade
Knew well Amphimedon, for he had been
Erewhile his fathers guest in Ithaca,
And thus the spirit of Atreus son began.
Covals as ye seem, and of an air
Distinguishd all, descend ye to the Deeps?
For not the chosen youths of a whole town
Should form a nobler band. Perishd ye sunk
Amid vast billows and rude tempests raised
By Neptunes powr? or on dry land through force
Of hostile multitudes, while cutting off
Beeves from the herd, or driving flocks away?
Or fighting for your city and your wives?
Resolve me? I was once a guest of yours.
Rememberst not what time at your abode
With godlike Menelaus I arrived,
That we might win Ulysses with his fleet
To follow us to Troy? scarce we prevaild
At last to gain the city-waster Chief,
And, after all, consumed a whole month more
The wide sea traversing from side to side.
Illustrious Agamemnon, King of men!
All this I bear in mind, and will rehearse
The manner of our most disastrous end.
Believing brave Ulysses lost, we wood
Meantime his wife; she our detested suit
Would neither ratify nor yet refuse,
But, planning for us a tremendous death,
This novel stratagem, at last, devised.
Beginning, in her own recess, a web
Of slendrest thread, and of a length and breadth
Unusual, thus the suitors she addressd.
Ulysses is no more, enforce not yet
My nuptials; wait till I shall finish first
A funral robe (lest all my threads decay)
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.
With her request complied. Thenceforth, all day
She wove the ample web, and by the aid
Of torches revelld it again at night.
Three years she thus by artifice our suit
Eluded safe, but when the fourth arrived,
And the same season, after many moons
And fleeting days, returnd, a damsel then
Of her attendants, conscious of the fraud,
Reveald it, and we found her pulling loose
The splendid web. Thus, through constraint, at length,
She finishd it, and in her own despight.
But when the Queen produced, at length, her work
Finishd new-blanchd, bright as the sun or moon,
Then came Ulysses, by some adverse God
Conducted, to a cottage on the verge
Of his own fields, in which his swine-herd dwells;
There also the illustrious Heros son
Arrived soon after, in his sable bark
From sandy Pylus borne; they, plotting both
A dreadful death for all the suitors, sought
Our glorious city, but Ulysses last,
And first Telemachus. The father came
Conducted by his swine-herd, and attired
In tatters foul; a mendicant he seemd,
Time-worn, and halted on a staff. So clad,
And entring on the sudden, he escaped
All knowledge even of our eldest there,
And we reviled and smote him; he although
Beneath his own roof smitten and reproachd
With patience sufferd it awhile, but roused
By inspiration of Jove Ægis-armd
At length, in concert with his son conveyd
To his own chamber his resplendent arms,
There lodgd them safe, and barrd the massy doors
Then, in his subtlety he bade the Queen
A contest institute with bow and rings
Between the hapless suitors, whence ensued
Slaughter to all. No suitor there had powr
To overcome the stubborn bow that mockd
All our attempts; and when the weapon huge
At length was offerd to Ulysses hands,
With clamourd menaces we bade the swain
Withhold it from him, plead he as he might;
Telemachus alone with loud command,
Bade give it him, and the illustrious Chief
Receiving in his hand the bow, with ease
Bent it, and sped a shaft through all the rings.
Then, springing to the portal steps, he pourd
The arrows forth, peerd terrible around,
Pierced King Antinoüs, and, aiming sure
His deadly darts, pierced others after him,
Till in one common carnage heapd we lay.
Some God, as plain appeard, vouchsafed them aid,
Such ardour urged them, and with such dispatch
They slew us on all sides; hideous were heard
The groans of dying
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