The Odyssey by Homer. - HTML preview
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“‘Can you show me,’ said I, ‘some stratagem by as a shepherd among his sheep. The moment you means of which I may catch this old god without see that he is asleep seize him; put forth all your his suspecting it and finding me out? For a god is strength and hold him fast, for he will do his very not easily caught- not by a mortal man.’
utmost to get away from you. He will turn himself
“‘Stranger,’ said she, ‘I will make it all quite clear into every kind of creature that goes upon the earth, to you. About the time when the sun shall have and will become also both fire and water; but you reached mid heaven, the old man of the sea comes must hold him fast and grip him tighter and tighter, up from under the waves, heralded by the West wind till he begins to talk to you and comes back to what that furs the water over his head. As soon as he has he was when you saw him go to sleep; then you come up he lies down, and goes to sleep in a great may slacken your hold and let him go; and you can sea cave, where the seals—Halosydne’s chickens as ask him which of the gods it is that is angry with they call them- come up also from the grey sea, and you, and what you must do to reach your home go to sleep in shoals all round him; and a very strong over the seas.’
and fish-like smell do they bring with them. Early
“Having so said she dived under the waves, to-morrow morning I will take you to this place whereon I turned back to the place where my ships 46
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were ranged upon the shore; and my heart was fragrant that it killed the smell of the seals.
clouded with care as I went along. When I reached
“We waited the whole morning and made the best my ship we got supper ready, for night was falling, of it, watching the seals come up in hundreds to and camped down upon the beach.
bask upon the sea shore, till at noon the old man of
“When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, the sea came up too, and when he had found his fat appeared, I took the three men on whose prowess seals he went over them and counted them. We were of all kinds I could most rely, and went along by the among the first he counted, and he never suspected sea-side, praying heartily to heaven. Meanwhile the any guile, but laid himself down to sleep as soon as goddess fetched me up four seal skins from the bot-he had done counting. Then we rushed upon him tom of the sea, all of them just skinned, for she with a shout and seized him; on which he began at meant playing a trick upon her father. Then she once with his old tricks, and changed himself first dug four pits for us to lie in, and sat down to wait into a lion with a great mane; then all of a sudden till we should come up. When we were close to her, he became a dragon, a leopard, a wild boar; the next she made us lie down in the pits one after the other, moment he was running water, and then again di-and threw a seal skin over each of us. Our ambus-rectly he was a tree, but we stuck to him and never cade would have been intolerable, for the stench of lost hold, till at last the cunning old creature be-the fishy seals was most distressing—who would go came distressed, and said, Which of the gods was to bed with a sea monster if he could help it?-but it, Son of Atreus, that hatched this plot with you here, too, the goddess helped us, and thought of for snaring me and seizing me against my will? What something that gave us great relief, for she put some do you want?’
ambrosia under each man’s nostrils, which was so
“‘You know that yourself, old man,’ I answered, 47
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‘you will gain nothing by trying to put me off. It is and I left behind us when we set sail from Troy because I have been kept so long in this island, and have got home safely, or whether any one of them see no sign of my being able to get away. I am los-came to a bad end either on board his own ship or ing all heart; tell me, then, for you gods know ev-among his friends when the days of his fighting were erything, which of the immortals it is that is hin-done.’
dering me, and tell me also how I may sail the sea
“‘Son of Atreus,’ he answered, ‘why ask me? You so as to reach my home?’
had better not know what I can tell you, for your
“Then,’ he said, ‘if you would finish your voyage eyes will surely fill when you have heard my story.
and get home quickly, you must offer sacrifices to Many of those about whom you ask are dead and Jove and to the rest of the gods before embarking; gone, but many still remain, and only two of the for it is decreed that you shall not get back to your chief men among the Achaeans perished during their friends, and to your own house, till you have re-return home. As for what happened on the field of turned to the heaven fed stream of Egypt, and of-battle- you were there yourself. A third Achaean fered holy hecatombs to the immortal gods that leader is still at sea, alive, but hindered from re-reign in heaven. When you have done this they will turning. Ajax was wrecked, for Neptune drove him let you finish your voyage.’
on to the great rocks of Gyrae; nevertheless, he let
“I was broken hearted when I heard that I must him get safe out of the water, and in spite of all go back all that long and terrible voyage to Egypt; Minerva’s hatred he would have escaped death, if nevertheless, I answered, ‘I will do all, old man, that he had not ruined himself by boasting. He said the you have laid upon me; but now tell me, and tell gods could not drown him even though they had me true, whether all the Achaeans whom Nestor tried to do so, and when Neptune heard this large 48
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talk, he seized his trident in his two brawny hands, Agamemnon did not give him the slip and prepare and split the rock of Gyrae in two pieces. The base war; when, therefore, this man saw Agamemnon go remained where it was, but the part on which Ajax by, he went and told Aegisthus who at once began was sitting fell headlong into the sea and carried to lay a plot for him. He picked twenty of his brav-Ajax with it; so he drank salt water and was drowned.
est warriors and placed them in ambuscade on one
“‘Your brother and his ships escaped, for Juno pro-side the cloister, while on the opposite side he pretected him, but when he was just about to reach pared a banquet. Then he sent his chariots and the high promontory of Malea, he was caught by a horsemen to Agamemnon, and invited him to the heavy gale which carried him out to sea again sorely feast, but he meant foul play. He got him there, all against his will, and drove him to the foreland where unsuspicious of the doom that was awaiting him, Thyestes used to dwell, but where Aegisthus was and killed him when the banquet was over as though then living. By and by, however, it seemed as though he were butchering an ox in the shambles; not one he was to return safely after all, for the gods backed of Agamemnon’s followers was left alive, nor yet the wind into its old quarter and they reached home; one of Aegisthus’, but they were all killed there in whereon Agamemnon kissed his native soil, and the cloisters.’
shed tears of joy at finding himself in his own coun-
“Thus spoke Proteus, and I was broken hearted try.
as I heard him. I sat down upon the sands and wept;
“‘Now there was a watchman whom Aegisthus I felt as though I could no longer bear to live nor kept always on the watch, and to whom he had look upon the light of the sun. Presently, when I promised two talents of gold. This man had been had had my fill of weeping and writhing upon the looking out for a whole year to make sure that ground, the old man of the sea said, ‘Son of Atreus, 49
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do not waste any more time in crying so bitterly; it for in Elysium there falls not rain, nor hail, nor snow, can do no manner of good; find your way home as but Oceanus breathes ever with a West wind that fast as ever you can, for Aegisthus be still alive, and sings softly from the sea, and gives fresh life to all even though Orestes has beforehand with you in men. This will happen to you because you have kilting him, you may yet come in for his funeral.’
married Helen, and are Jove’s son-in-law.’
“On this I took comfort in spite of all my sorrow,
“As he spoke he dived under the waves, whereon I and said, ‘I know, then, about these two; tell me, turned back to the ships with my companions, and therefore, about the third man of whom you spoke; my heart was clouded with care as I went along.
is he still alive, but at sea, and unable to get home?
When we reached the ships we got supper ready, for or is he dead? Tell me, no matter how much it may night was falling, and camped down upon the beach.
When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn
“‘The third man,’ he answered, ‘is Ulysses who appeared, we drew our ships into the water, and put dwells in Ithaca. I can see him in an island sorrow-our masts and sails within them; then we went on ing bitterly in the house of the nymph Calypso, board ourselves, took our seats on the benches, and who is keeping him prisoner, and he cannot reach smote the grey sea with our oars. I again stationed his home for he has no ships nor sailors to take him my ships in the heaven-fed stream of Egypt, and of-over the sea. As for your own end, Menelaus, you fered hecatombs that were full and sufficient. When shall not die in Argos, but the gods will take you to I had thus appeased heaven’s anger, I raised a bar-the Elysian plain, which is at the ends of the world.
row to the memory of Agamemnon that his name There fair-haired Rhadamanthus reigns, and men might live for ever, after which I had a quick passage lead an easier life than any where else in the world, home, for the gods sent me a fair wind.
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“And now for yourself- stay here some ten or Ithaca we have neither open fields nor racecourses, twelve days longer, and I will then speed you on and the country is more fit for goats than horses, your way. I will make you a noble present of a chariot and I like it the better for that. None of our islands and three horses. I will also give you a beautiful have much level ground, suitable for horses, and chalice that so long as you live you may think of Ithaca least of all.”
me whenever you make a drink-offering to the im-Menelaus smiled and took Telemachus’s hand mortal gods.”
within his own. “What you say,” said he, “shows
“Son of Atreus,” replied Telemachus, “do not press that you come of good family. I both can, and will, me to stay longer; I should be contented to remain make this exchange for you, by giving you the fin-with you for another twelve months; I find your est and most precious piece of plate in all my house.
conversation so delightful that I should never once It is a mixing-bowl by Vulcan’s own hand, of pure wish myself at home with my parents; but my crew silver, except the rim, which is inlaid with gold.
whom I have left at Pylos are already impatient, Phaedimus, king of the Sidonians, gave it me in the and you are detaining me from them. As for any course of a visit which I paid him when I returned present you may be disposed to make me, I had thither on my homeward journey. I will make you a rather that it should he a piece of plate. I will take present of it.”
no horses back with me to Ithaca, but will leave Thus did they converse [and guests kept coming them to adorn your own stables, for you have much to the king’s house. They brought sheep and wine, flat ground in your kingdom where lotus thrives, as while their wives had put up bread for them to take also meadowsweet and wheat and barley, and oats with them; so they were busy cooking their dinners with their white and spreading ears; whereas in in the courts].
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Meanwhile the suitors were throwing discs or aim-Tell me also, did you let him have the ship of your ing with spears at a mark on the levelled ground in own free will because he asked you, or did he take front of Ulysses’ house, and were behaving with all it without yourleave?”
their old insolence. Antinous and Eurymachus, who
“I lent it him,” answered Noemon, “what else were their ringleaders and much the foremost among could I do when a man of his position said he was them all, were sitting together when Noemon son in a difficulty, and asked me to oblige him? I could of Phronius came up and said to Antinous, not possibly refuse. As for those who went with him
“Have we any idea, Antinous, on what day they were the best young men we have, and I saw Telemachus returns from Pylos? He has a ship of Mentor go on board as captain—or some god who mine, and I want it, to cross over to Elis: I have was exactly like him. I cannot understand it, for I twelve brood mares there with yearling mule foals saw Mentor here myself yesterday morning, and yet by their side not yet broken in, and I want to bring he was then setting out for Pylos.” one of them over here and break him.” Noemon then went back to his father’s house, They were astounded when they heard this, for but Antinous and Eurymachus were very angry.
they had made sure that Telemachus had not gone They told the others to leave off playing, and to to the city of Neleus. They thought he was only come and sit down along with themselves. When away somewhere on the farms, and was with the they came, Antinous son of Eupeithes spoke in an-sheep, or with the swineherd; so Antinous said, ger. His heart was black with rage, and his eyes
“When did he go? Tell me truly, and what young flashed fire as he said:
men did he take with him? Were they freemen or
“Good heavens, this voyage of Telemachus is a his own bondsmen—for he might manage that too?
very serious matter; we had made sure that it would 52
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come to nothing, but the young fellow has got away Did not your fathers tell you when you were children in spite of us, and with a picked crew too. He will how good Ulysses had been to them—never doing be giving us trouble presently; may Jove take him anything high-handed, nor speaking harshly to any-before he is full grown. Find me a ship, therefore, body? Kings may say things sometimes, and they may with a crew of twenty men, and I will lie in wait for take a fancy to one man and dislike another, but him in the straits between Ithaca and Samos; he Ulysses never did an unjust thing by anybody—which will then rue the day that he set out to try and get shows what bad hearts you have, and that there is no news of his father.”
such thing as gratitude left in this world.” Thus did he speak, and the others applauded his Then Medon said, “I wish, Madam, that this were saying; they then all of them went inside the buildings.
all; but they are plotting something much more It was not long ere Penelope came to know what dreadful now- may heaven frustrate their design.
the suitors were plotting; for a man servant, Medon, They are going to try and murder Telemachus as he overheard them from outside the outer court as they is coming home from Pylos and Lacedaemon, where were laying their schemes within, and went to tell his he has been to get news of his father.” mistress. As he crossed the threshold of her room Then Penelope’s heart sank within her, and for a long Penelope said: “Medon, what have the suitors sent time she was speechless; her eyes filled with tears, and you here for? Is it to tell the maids to leave their she could find no utterance. At last, however, she said, master’s business and cook dinner for them? I wish
“Why did my son leave me? What business had he to they may neither woo nor dine henceforward, neither go sailing off in ships that make long voyages over the here nor anywhere else, but let this be the very last ocean like sea-horses? Does he want to die without time, for the waste you all make of my son’s estate.
leaving any one behind him to keep up his name?” 53
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“I do not know,” answered Medon, “whether some think of giving me a call out of my bed, though you god set him on to it, or whether he went on his own all of you very well knew when he was starting. If I impulse to see if he could find out if his father was had known he meant taking this voyage, he would dead, or alive and on his way home.” have had to give it up, no matter how much he was Then he went downstairs again, leaving Penelope bent upon it, or leave me a corpse behind him- one in an agony of grief. There were plenty of seats in or other. Now, however, go some of you and call old the house, but she. had no heart for sitting on any Dolius, who was given me by my father on my one of them; she could only fling herself on the marriage, and who is my gardener. Bid him go at floor of her own room and cry; whereon all the maids once and tell everything to Laertes, who may be in the house, both old and young, gathered round able to hit on some plan for enlisting public sympa-her and began to cry too, till at last in a transport thy on our side, as against those who are trying to of sorrow she exclaimed,
exterminate his own race and that of Ulysses.”
“My dears, heaven has been pleased to try me Then the dear old nurse Euryclea said, “You may with more affliction than any other woman of my kill me, Madam, or let me live on in your house, which-age and country. First I lost my brave and lion-ever you please, but I will tell you the real truth. I hearted husband, who had every good quality un-knew all about it, and gave him everything he wanted der heaven, and whose name was great over all in the way of bread and wine, but he made me take Hellas and middle Argos, and now my darling son my solemn oath that I would not tell you anything is at the mercy of the winds and waves, without my for some ten or twelve days, unless you asked or hap-having heard one word about his leaving home. You pened to hear of his having gone, for he did not want hussies, there was not one of you would so much as you to spoil your beauty by crying. And now, Madam, 54
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wash your face, change your dress, and go upstairs orous throughout the covered cloister, and one of with your maids to offer prayers to Minerva, daugh-them said:
ter of Aegis-bearing Jove, for she can save him even
“The queen is preparing for her marriage with though he be in the jaws of death. Do not trouble one or other of us. Little does she dream that her Laertes: he has trouble enough already. Besides, I can-son has now been doomed to die.” not think that the gods hate die race of the race of the This was what they said, but they did not know son of Arceisius so much, but there will be a son left what was going to happen. Then Antinous said, to come up after him, and inherit both the house and
“Comrades, let there be no loud talking, lest some the fair fields that lie far all round it.” of it get carried inside. Let us be up and do that in With these words she made her mistress leave off silence, about which we are all of a mind.” crying, and dried the tears from her eyes. Penelope He then chose twenty men, and they went down washed her face, changed her dress, and went up-to their. ship and to the sea side; they drew the stairs with her maids. She then put some bruised vessel into the water and got her mast and sails barley into a basket and began praying to Minerva.
inside her; they bound the oars to the thole-pins
“Hear me,” she cried, “Daughter of Aegis-bearing with twisted thongs of leather, all in due course, Jove, unweariable. If ever Ulysses while he was here and spread the white sails aloft, while their fine ser-burned you fat thigh bones of sheep or heifer, bear vants brought them their armour. Then they made it in mind now as in my favour, and save my dar-the ship fast a little way out, came on shore again, ling son from the villainy of the suitors.” got their suppers, and waited till night should fall.
She cried aloud as she spoke, and the goddess But Penelope lay in her own room upstairs un-heard her prayer; meanwhile the suitors were clam-able to eat or drink, and wondering whether her 55
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brave son would escape, or be overpowered by the then, to leave off crying and refrain from all the sad wicked suitors. Like a lioness caught in the toils thoughts that torture me? I, who have lost my brave with huntsmen hemming her in on every side she and lion-hearted husband, who had every good thought and thought till she sank into a slumber, quality under heaven, and whose name was great and lay on her bed bereft of thought and motion.
over all Hellas and middle Argos; and now my dar-Then Minerva bethought her of another matter, ling son has gone off on board of a ship—a foolish and made a vision in the likeness of Penelope’s sis-fellow who has never been used to roughing it, nor ter Iphthime daughter of Icarius who had married to going about among gatherings of men. I am even Eumelus and lived in Pherae. She told the vision to more anxious about him than about my husband; I go to the house of Ulysses, and to make Penelope am all in a tremble when I think of him, lest some-leave off crying, so it came into her room by the thing should happen to him, either from the people hole through which the thong went for pulling the among whom he has gone, or by sea, for he has door to, and hovered over her head, saying, many enemies who are plotting against him, and
“You are asleep, Penelope: the gods who live at are bent on killing him before he can return home.” ease will not suffer you to weep and be so sad. Your Then the vision said, “Take heart, and be not so son has done them no wrong, so he will yet come much dismayed. There is one gone with him whom back to you.”
many a man would be glad enough to have stand Penelope, who was sleeping sweetly at the gates by his side, I mean Minerva; it is she who has com-of dreamland, answered, “Sister, why have you come passion upon you, and who has sent me to bear here? You do not come very often, but I suppose you this message.”
that is because you live such a long way off. Am I,
“Then,” said Penelope, “if you are a god or have 56
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been sent here by divine commission, tell me also BOOK V
about that other unhappy one—is he still alive, or is he already dead and in the house of Hades?” AND NOW, AS DAWN ROSE from her couch beside And the vision said, “I shall not tell you for certain Tithonus—harbinger of light alike to mortals and whether he is alive or dead, and there is no use in immortals—the gods met in council and with them, idle conversation.”
Jove the lord of thunder, who is their king. Thereon Then it vanished through the thong-hole of the Minerva began to tell them of the many sufferings door and was dissipated into thin air; but Penelope of Ulysses, for she pitied him away there in the rose from her sleep refreshed and comforted, so vivid house of the nymph Calypso.
had been her dream.
“Father Jove,” said she, “and all you other gods Meantime the suitors went on board and sailed that live in everlasting bliss, I hope there may never their ways over the sea, intent on murdering be such a thing as a kind and well-disposed ruler Telemachus. Now there is a rocky islet called Asteris, any more, nor one who will govern equitably. I hope of no great size, in mid channel between Ithaca and they will be all henceforth cruel and unjust, for there Samos, and there is a harbour on either side of it is not one of his subjects but has forgotten Ulysses, where a ship can lie. Here then the Achaeans placed who ruled them as though he were their father.
themselves in ambush.
There he is, lying in great pain in an island where dwells the nymph Calypso, who will not let him go; and he cannot get back to his own country, for he can find neither ships nor sailors to take him over the sea. Furthermore, wicked people are now trying 57
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to murder his only son Telemachus, who is coming from Troy, if he had had had all his prize money home from Pylos and Lacedaemon, where he has and had got home without disaster. This is how we been to see if he can get news of his father.” have settled that he shall return to his country and
“What, my dear, are you talking about?” replied his friends.”
her father, “did you not send him there yourself, Thus he spoke, and Mercury, guide and guard-because you thought it would help Ulysses to get ian, slayer of Argus, did as he was told. Forthwith home and punish the suitors? Besides, you are per-he bound on his glittering golden sandals with which fectly able to protect Telemachus, and to see him he could fly like the wind over land and sea. He safely home again, while the suitors have to come took the wand with which he seals men’s eyes in hurry-skurrying back without having killed him.” sleep or wakes them just as he pleases, and flew When he had thus spoken, he said to his son Mer-holding it in his hand over Pieria; then he swooped cury, “Mercury, you are our messenger, go therefore down through the firmament till he reached the level and tell Calypso we have decreed that poor Ulysses of the sea, whose waves he skimmed like a cormo-is to return home. He is to be convoyed neither by rant that flies fishing every hole and corner of the gods nor men, but after a perilous voyage of twenty ocean, and drenching its thick plumage in the spray.
days upon a raft he is to reach fertile Scheria, the He flew and flew over many a weary wave, but when land of the Phaeacians, who are near of kin to the at last he got to the island which was his journey’s gods, and will honour him as though he were one end, he left the sea and went on by land till he of ourselves. They will send him in a ship to his came to the cave where the nymph Calypso lived.
own country, and will give him more bronze and He found her at home. There was a large fire burn-gold and raiment than he would have brought back ing on the hearth, and one could smell from far the 58
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fragrant reek of burning cedar and sandal wood. As ocean with tears in his eyes, groaning and breaking for herself, she was busy at her loom, shooting her his heart for sorrow. Calypso gave Mercury a seat golden shuttle through the warp and singing beau-and said: “Why have you come to see me, Mer-tifully. Round her cave there was a thick wood of cury—honoured, and ever welcome—for you do not alder, poplar, and sweet smelling cypress trees, visit me often? Say what you want; I will do it for wherein all kinds of great birds had built their nests-be you at once if I can, and if it can be done at all; owls, hawks, and chattering sea-crows that occupy but come inside, and let me set refreshment before their business in the waters. A vine loaded with you.
grapes was trained and grew luxuriantly about the As she spoke she drew a table loaded with am-mouth of the cave; there were also four running brosia beside him and mixed him some red nectar, rills of water in channels cut pretty close together, so Mercury ate and drank till he had had enough, and turned hither and thither so as to irrigate the and then said:
beds of violets and luscious herbage over which they
“We are speaking god and goddess to one another, flowed. Even a god could not help being charmed one another, and you ask me why I have come here, with such a lovely spot, so Mercury stood still and and I will tell you truly as you would have me do.
looked at it; but when he had admired it sufficiently Jove sent me; it was no doing of mine; who could he went inside the cave.
possibly want to come all this way over the sea where Calypso knew him at once- for the gods all know there are no cities full of people to offer me sacri-each other, no matter how far they live from one fices or choice hecatombs? Nevertheless I had to another- but Ulysses was not within; he was on the come, for none of us other gods can cross Jove, nor sea-shore as usual, looking out upon the barren transgress his orders. He says that you have here 59
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the most ill-starred of alf those who fought nine Iasion with his thunder-bolts. And now you are years before the city of King Priam and sailed home angry with me too because I have a man here. I in the tenth year after having sacked it. On their found the poor creature sitting all alone astride of a way home they sinned against Minerva, who raised keel, for Jove had struck his ship with lightning and both wind and waves against them, so that all his sunk it in mid ocean, so that all his crew were brave companions perished, and he alone was car-drowned, while he himself was driven by wind and ried hither by wind and tide. Jove says that you are waves on to my island. I got fond of him and cher-to let this by man go at once, for it is decreed that ished him, and had set my heart on making him he shall not perish here, far from his own people, immortal, so that he should never grow old all his but shall return to his house and country and see days; still I cannot cross Jove, nor bring his coun-his friends again.”
sels to nothing; therefore, if he insists upon it, let Calypso trembled with rage when she heard this, the man go beyond the seas again; but I cannot
“You gods,” she exclaimed, to be ashamed of your-send him anywhere myself for I have neither ships selves. You are always jealous and hate seeing a god-nor men who can take him. Nevertheless I will dess take a fancy to a mortal man, and live with readily give him such advice, in all good faith, as him in open matrimony. So when rosy-fingered will be likely to bring him safely to his own country.” Dawn made love to Orion, you precious gods were
“Then send him away,” said Mercury, “or Jove all of you furious till Diana went and killed him in will be angry with you and punish you”’
Ortygia. So again when Ceres fell in love with Iasion, On this he took his leave, and Calypso went out and yielded to him in a thrice ploughed fallow field, to look for Ulysses, for she had heard Jove’s mes-Jove came to hear of it before so long and killed sage. She found him sitting upon the beach with 60
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his eyes ever filled with tears, and dying of sheer this; you cannot be really meaning to help me home home-sickness; for he had got tired of Calypso, and when you bid me do such a dreadful thing as put to though he was forced to sleep with her in the cave sea on a raft. Not even a well-found ship with a fair by night, it was she, not he, that would have it so.
wind could venture on such a distant voyage: noth-As for the day time, he spent it on the rocks and on ing that you can say or do shall mage me go on the sea-shore, weeping, crying aloud for his despair, board a raft unless you first solemnly swear that and always looking out upon the sea. Calypso then you mean me no mischief.”
went close up to him said:
Calypso smiled at this and caressed him with her
“My poor fellow, you shall not stay here grieving hand: “You know a great deal,” said she, “but you and fretting your life out any longer. I am going to are quite wrong here. May heaven above and earth send you away of my own free will; so go, cut some below be my witnesses, with the waters of the river beams of wood, and make yourself a large raft with Styx—and this is the most solemn oath which a an upper deck that it may carry you safely over the blessed god can take—that I mean you no sort of sea. I will put bread, wine, and water on board to harm, and am only advising you to do exactly what save you from starving. I will also give you clothes, I should do myself in your place. I am dealing with and will send you a fair wind to take you home, if you quite straightforwardly; my heart is not made the gods in heaven so will it- for they know more of iron, and I am very sorry for you.” about these things, and can settle them better than When she had thus spoken she led the way rapI can.”
idly before him, and Ulysses followed in her steps; Ulysses shuddered as he heard her. “Now god-so the pair, goddess and man, went on and on till dess,” he answered, “there is something behind all they came to Calypso’s cave, where Ulysses took 61
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the seat that Mercury had just left. Calypso set meat Penelope is nothing like so tall or so beautiful as and drink before him of the food that mortals eat; yourself. She is only a woman, whereas you are an but her maids brought ambrosia and nectar for her-immortal. Nevertheless, I want to get home, and self, and they laid their hands on the good things can think of nothing else. If some god wrecks me that were before them. When they had satisfied when I am on the sea, I will bear it and make the themselves with meat and drink, Calypso spoke, best of it. I have had infinite trouble both by land saying:
and sea already, so let this go with the rest.”
“Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, so you would start Presently the sun set and it became dark, whereon home to your own land at once? Good luck go with the pair retired into the inner part of the cave and you, but if you could only know how much suffer-went to bed.
ing is in store for you before you get back to your When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, own country, you would stay where you are, keep appeared, Ulysses put on his shirt and cloak, while house along with me, and let me make you immor-the goddess wore a dress of a light gossamer fabric, tal, no matter how anxious you may be to see this very fine and graceful, with a beautiful golden girdle wife of yours, of whom you are thinking all the time about her waist and a veil to cover her head. She at day after day; yet I flatter myself that at am no once set herself to think how she could speed whit less tall or well-looking than she is, for it is Ulysses on his way. So she gave him a great bronze not to be expected that a mortal woman should axe that suited his hands; it was sharpened on both compare in beauty with an immortal.” sides, and had a beautiful olive-wood handle fitted
“Goddess,” replied Ulysses, “do not be angry with firmly on to it. She also gave him a sharp adze, and me about this. I am quite aware that my wife then led the way to the far end of the island where 62
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the largest trees grew—alder, poplar and pine, that In four days he had completed the whole work, reached the sky—very dry and well seasoned, so as and on the fifth Calypso sent him from the island to sail light for him in the water. Then, when she after washing him and giving him some clean clothes.
had shown him where the best trees grew, Calypso She gave him a goat skin full of black wine, and anwent home, leaving him to cut them, which he soon other larger one of water; she also gave him a wallet finished doing. He cut down twenty trees in all and full of provisions, and found him in much good meat.
adzed them smooth, squaring them by rule in good Moreover, she made the wind fair and warm for him, workmanlike fashion. Meanwhile Calypso came back and gladly did Ulysses spread his sail before it, while with some augers, so he bored holes with them and he sat and guided the raft skilfully by means of the fitted the timbers together with bolts and rivets. He rudder. He never closed his eyes, but kept them fixed made the raft as broad as a skilled shipwright makes on the Pleiads, on late-setting Bootes, and on the the beam of a large vessel, and he filed a deck on top Bear- which men also call the wain, and which turns of the ribs, and ran a gunwale all round it. He also round and round where it is, facing Orion, and alone made a mast with a yard arm, and a rudder to steer never dipping into the stream of Oceanus—for Ca-with. He fenced the raft all round with wicker hurdles lypso had told him to keep this to his left. Days as a protection against the waves, and then he threw seven and ten did he sail over the sea, and on the on a quantity of wood. By and by Calypso brought eighteenth the dim outlines of the mountains on the him some linen to make the sails, and he made these nearest part of the Phaeacian coast appeared, rising too, excellently, making them fast with braces and like a shield on the horizon.
sheets. Last of all, with the help of levers, he drew But King Neptune, who was returning from the the raft down into the water.
Ethiopians, caught sight of Ulysses a long way off, 63
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from the mountains of the Solymi. He could see black is Jove making heaven with his clouds, and him sailing upon the sea, and it made him very what a sea the winds are raising from every quarter angry, so he wagged his head and muttered to him-at once. I am now safe to perish. Blest and thrice self, saying, heavens, so the gods have been chang-blest were those Danaans who fell before Troy in the ing their minds about Ulysses while I was away in cause of the sons of Atreus. Would that had been Ethiopia, and now he is close to the land of the killed on the day when the Trojans were pressing me Phaeacians, where it is decreed that he shall escape so sorely about the dead body of Achilles, for then I from the calamities that have befallen him. Still, he should have had due burial and the Achaeans would shall have plenty of hardship yet before he has done have honoured my name; but now it seems that I with it.”
shall come to a most pitiable end.” Thereon he gathered his clouds together, grasped As he spoke a sea broke over him with such ter-his trident, stirred it round in the sea, and roused rific fury that the raft reeled again, and he was car-the rage of every wind that blows till earth, sea, and ried overboard a long way off. He let go the helm, sky were hidden in cloud, and night sprang forth and the force of the hurricane was so great that it out of the heavens. Winds from East, South, North, broke the mast half way up, and both sail and yard and West fell upon him all at the same time, and a went over into the sea. For a long time Ulysses was tremendous sea got up, so that Ulysses’ heart began under water, and it was all he could do to rise to the to fail him. “Alas,” he said to himself in his dismay, surface again, for the clothes Calypso had given him
“what ever will become of me? I am afraid Calypso weighed him down; but at last he got his head above was right when she said I should have trouble by sea water and spat out the bitter brine that was run-before I got back home. It is all coming true. How ning down his face in streams. In spite of all this, 64
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however, he did not lose sight of his raft, but swam better luck awaits you. And here, take my veil and as fast as he could towards it, got hold of it, and put it round your chest; it is enchanted, and you climbed on board again so as to escape drowning.
can come to no harm so long as you wear it. As The sea took the raft and tossed it about as Au-soon as you touch land take it off, throw it back as tumn winds whirl thistledown round and round far as you can into the sea, and then go away again.” upon a road. It was as though the South, North, With these words she took off her veil and gave it East, and West winds were all playing battledore him. Then she dived down again like a sea-gull and and shuttlecock with it at once.
vanished beneath the dark blue waters.
When he was in this plight, Ino daughter of But Ulysses did not know what to think. “Alas,” Cadmus, also called Leucothea, saw him. She had he said to himself in his dismay, “this is only some formerly been a mere mortal, but had been since one or other of the gods who is luring me to ruin by raised to the rank of a marine goddess. Seeing in advising me to will quit my raft. At any rate I will what great distress Ulysses now was, she had com-not do so at present, for the land where she said I passion upon him, and, rising like a sea-gull from should be quit of all troubles seemed to be still a the waves, took her seat upon the raft.
good way off. I know what I will do—I am sure it
“My poor good man,” said she, “why is Neptune will be best—no matter what happens I will stick so furiously angry with you? He is giving you a great to the raft as long as her timbers hold together, but deal of trouble, but for all his bluster he will not when the sea breaks her up I will swim for it; I do kill you. You seem to be a sensible person, do then not see how I can do any better than this.” as I bid you; strip, leave your raft to drive before While he was thus in two minds, Neptune sent a the wind, and swim to the Phaecian coast where terrible great wave that seemed to rear itself above his 65
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head till it broke right over the raft, which then went death staring him in the face; but when the third to pieces as though it were a heap of dry chaff tossed day broke, the wind fell and there was a dead calm about by a whirlwind. Ulysses got astride of one plank without so much as a breath of air stirring. As he and rode upon it as if he were on horseback; he then rose on the swell he looked eagerly ahead, and could took off the clothes Calypso had given him, bound see land quite near. Then, as children rejoice when Ino’s veil under his arms, and plunged into the sea-their dear father begins to get better after having meaning to swim on shore. King Neptune watched for a long time borne sore affliction sent him by him as he did so, and wagged his head, muttering to some angry spirit, but the gods deliver him from himself and saying, “‘There now, swim up and down evil, so was Ulysses thankful when he again saw as you best can till you fall in with well-to-do people.
land and trees, and swam on with all his strength I do not think you will be able to say that I have let that he might once more set foot upon dry ground.
you off too lightly.” On this he lashed his horses and When, however, he got within earshot, he began to drove to Aegae where his palace is.
hear the surf thundering up against the rocks, for But Minerva resolved to help Ulysses, so she the swell still broke against them with a terrific roar.
bound the ways of all the winds except one, and Everything was enveloped in spray; there were no made them lie quite still; but she roused a good harbours where a ship might ride, nor shelter of stiff breeze from the North that should lay the wa-any kind, but only headlands, low-lying rocks, and ters till Ulysses reached the land of the Phaeacians mountain tops.
where he would be safe.
Ulysses’ heart now began to fail him, and he said Thereon he floated about for two nights and two despairingly to himself, “Alas, Jove has let me see days in the water, with a heavy swell on the sea and land after swimming so far that I had given up all 66
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hope, but I can find no landing place, for the coast sea-tearing his hands as the suckers of a polypus is rocky and surf-beaten, the rocks are smooth and are torn when some one plucks it from its bed, and rise sheer from the sea, with deep water close under the stones come up along with it even so did the them so that I cannot climb out for want of foot-rocks tear the skin from his strong hands, and then hold. I am afraid some great wave will lift me off the wave drew him deep down under the water.
my legs and dash me against the rocks as I leave the Here poor Ulysses would have certainly perished water—which would give me a sorry landing. If, on even in spite of his own destiny, if Minerva had not the other hand, I swim further in search of some helped him to keep his wits about him. He swam shelving beach or harbour, a hurricane may carry seaward again, beyond reach of the surf that was me out to sea again sorely against my will, or heaven beating against the land, and at the same time he may send some great monster of the deep to attack kept looking towards the shore to see if he could me; for Amphitrite breeds many such, and I know find some haven, or a spit that should take the waves that Neptune is very angry with me.” aslant. By and by, as he swam on, he came to the While he was thus in two minds a wave caught mouth of a river, and here he thought would be the him and took him with such force against the rocks best place, for there were no rocks, and it afforded that he would have been smashed and torn to pieces shelter from the wind. He felt that there was a cur-if Minerva had not shown him what to do. He rent, so he prayed inwardly and said: caught hold of the rock with both hands and clung
“Hear me, O King, whoever you may be, and save to it groaning with pain till the wave retired, so he me from the anger of the sea-god Neptune, for I ap-was saved that time; but presently the wave came proach you prayerfully. Any one who has lost his way on again and carried him back with it far into the has at all times a claim even upon the gods, wherefore 67
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in my distress I draw near to your stream, and cling to watches of the night, I am so exhausted that the the knees of your riverhood. Have mercy upon me, O
bitter cold and damp may make an end of me—for king, for I declare myself your suppliant.” towards sunrise there will be a keen wind blowing Then the god stayed his stream and stilled the from off the river. If, on the other hand, I climb the waves, making all calm before him, and bringing hill side, find shelter in the woods, and sleep in him safely into the mouth of the river. Here at last some thicket, I may escape the cold and have a good Ulysses’ knees and strong hands failed him, for the night’s rest, but some savage beast may take advan-sea had completely broken him. His body was all tage of me and devour me.”
swollen, and his mouth and nostrils ran down like In the end he deemed it best to take to the woods, a river with sea-water, so that he could neither and he found one upon some high ground not far breathe nor speak, and lay swooning from sheer from the water. There he crept beneath two shoots exhaustion; presently, when he had got his breath of olive that grew from a single stock—the one an and came to himself again, he took off the scarf ungrafted sucker, while the other had been grafted.
that Ino had given him and threw it back into the No wind, however squally, could break through the salt stream of the river, whereon Ino received it into cover they afforded, nor could the sun’s rays pierce her hands from the wave that bore it towards her.
them, nor the rain get through them, so closely did Then he left the river, laid himself down among the they grow into one another. Ulysses crept under rushes, and kissed the bounteous earth.
these and began to make himself a bed to lie on, for
“Alas,” he cried to himself in his dismay, “what there was a great litter of dead leaves lying about—
ever will become of me, and how is it all to end? If enough to make a covering for two or three men I stay here upon the river bed through the long even in hard winter weather. He was glad enough 68
The Odyssey – Book VI to see this, so he laid himself down and heaped the of Hades, and King Alcinous, whose counsels were leaves all round him. Then, as one who lives alone inspired of heaven, was now reigning. To his house, in the country, far from any neighbor, hides a brand then, did Minerva hie in furtherance of the return as fire-seed in the ashes to save himself from having of Ulysses.
to get a light elsewhere, even so did Ulysses cover She went straight to the beautifully decorated bed-himself up with leaves; and Minerva shed a sweet room in which there slept a girl who was as lovely sleep upon his eyes, closed his eyelids, and made as a goddess, Nausicaa, daughter to King Alcinous.
him lose all memories of his sorrows.
Two maid servants were sleeping near her, both very pretty, one on either side of the doorway, which BOOK VI
was closed with well-made folding doors. Minerva took the form of the famous sea captain Dymas’s SO HERE ULYSSES SLEPT, overcome by sleep and toil; daughter, who was a bosom friend of Nausicaa and but Minerva went off to the country and city of just her own age; then, coming up to the girl’s bed-the Phaecians—a people who used to live in the side like a breath of wind, she hovered over her head fair town of Hypereia, near the lawless Cyclopes.
Now the Cyclopes were stronger than they and plun-
“Nausicaa, what can your mother have been dered them, so their king Nausithous moved them about, to have such a lazy daughter? Here are your thence and settled them in Scheria, far from all other clothes all lying in disorder, yet you are going to be people. He surrounded the city with a wall, built married almost immediately, and should not only houses and temples, and divided the lands among be well dressed yourself, but should find good his people; but he was dead and gone to the house clothes for those who attend you. This is the way 69
The Odyssey – Book VI to get yourself a good name, and to make your fa-By and by morning came and woke Nausicaa, who ther and mother proud of you. Suppose, then, that began wondering about her dream; she therefore we make tomorrow a washing day, and start at day-went to the other end of the house to tell her father break. I will come and help you so that you may and mother all about it, and found them in their have everything ready as soon as possible, for all own room. Her mother was sitting by the fireside the best young men among your own people are spinning her purple yarn with her maids around courting you, and you are not going to remain a her, and she happened to catch her father just as he maid much longer. Ask your father, therefore, to was going out to attend a meeting of the town coun-have a waggon and mules ready for us at daybreak, cil, which the Phaeacian aldermen had convened.
to take the rugs, robes, and girdles; and you can She stopped him and said:
ride, too, which will be much pleasanter for you
“Papa dear, could you manage to let me have a than walking, for the washing-cisterns are some way good big waggon? I want to take all our dirty clothes from the town.”
to the river and wash them. You are the chief man When she had said this Minerva went away to here, so it is only right that you should have a clean Olympus, which they say is the everlasting home shirt when you attend meetings of the council.
of the gods. Here no wind beats roughly, and nei-Moreover, you have five sons at home, two of them ther rain nor snow can fall; but it abides in everlast-married, while the other three are good-looking ing sunshine and in a great peacefulness of light, bachelors; you know they always like to have clean wherein the blessed gods are illumined for ever and linen when they go to a dance, and I have been ever. This was the place to which the goddess went thinking about all this.”
when she had given instructions to the girl.
She did not say a word about her own wedding, 70
The Odyssey – Book VI for she did not like to, but her father knew and times enough pure water to wash any quantity of said, “You shall have the mules, my love, and what-linen, no matter how dirty. Here they unharnessed ever else you have a mind for. Be off with you, and the mules and turned them out to feed on the sweet the men shall get you a good strong waggon with a juicy herbage that grew by the water side. They took body to it that will hold all your clothes.” the clothes out of the waggon, put them in the wa-On this he gave his orders to the servants, who ter, and vied with one another in treading them in got the waggon out, harnessed the mules, and put the pits to get the dirt out. After they had washed them to, while the girl brought the clothes down them and got them quite clean, they laid them out from the linen room and placed them on the waggon.
by the sea side, where the waves had raised a high Her mother prepared her a basket of provisions with beach of shingle, and set about washing themselves all sorts of good things, and a goat skin full of wine; and anointing themselves with olive oil. Then they the girl now got into the waggon, and her mother got their dinner by the side of the stream, and waited gave her also a golden cruse of oil, that she and her for the sun to finish drying the clothes. When they women might anoint themselves. Then she took the had done dinner they threw off the veils that cov-whip and reins and lashed the mules on, whereon ered their heads and began to play at ball, while they set off, and their hoofs clattered on the road.
Nausicaa sang for them. As the huntress Diana goes They pulled without flagging, and carried not only forth upon the mountains of Taygetus or Nausicaa and her wash of clothes, but the maids Erymanthus to hunt wild boars or deer, and the also who were with her.
wood-nymphs, daughters of Aegis-bearing Jove, take When they reached the water side they went to their sport along with her (then is Leto proud at the washing-cisterns, through which there ran at all seeing her daughter stand a full head taller than 71
The Odyssey – Book VI the others, and eclipse the loveliest amid a whole As he said this he crept from under his bush, and bevy of beauties), even so did the girl outshine her broke off a bough covered with thick leaves to hide handmaids.
his nakedness. He looked like some lion of the wil-When it was time for them to start home, and derness that stalks about exulting in his strength they were folding the clothes and putting them into and defying both wind and rain; his eyes glare as he the waggon, Minerva began to consider how Ulysses prowls in quest of oxen, sheep, or deer, for he is should wake up and see the handsome girl who was famished, and will dare break even into a well-fenced to conduct him to the city of the Phaeacians. The homestead, trying to get at the sheep—even such girl, therefore, threw a ball at one of the maids, which did Ulysses seem to the young women, as he drew missed her and fell into deep water. On this they all near to them all naked as he was, for he was in shouted, and the noise they made woke Ulysses, great want. On seeing one so unkempt and so be-who sat up in his bed of leaves and began to won-grimed with salt water, the others scampered off der what it might all be.
along the spits that jutted out into the sea, but the
“Alas,” said he to himself, “what kind of people daughter of Alcinous stood firm, for Minerva put have I come amongst? Are they cruel, savage, and courage into her heart and took away all fear from uncivilized, or hospitable and humane? I seem to her. She stood right in front of Ulysses, and he hear the voices of young women, and they sound doubted whether he should go up to her, throw him-like those of the nymphs that haunt mountain tops, self at her feet, and embrace her knees as a suppli-or springs of rivers and meadows of green grass. At ant, or stay where he was and entreat her to give any rate I am among a race of men and women. Let him some clothes and show him the way to the me try if I cannot manage to get a look at them.” town. In the end he deemed it best to entreat her 72
The Odyssey – Book VI from a distance in case the girl should take offence which has been the source of all my troubles. Never at his coming near enough to clasp her knees, so he yet did such a young plant shoot out of the ground addressed her in honeyed and persuasive language.
as that was, and I admired and wondered at it ex-
“O queen,” he said, “I implore your aid- but tell actly as I now admire and wonder at yourself. I dare me, are you a goddess or are you a mortal woman?
not clasp your knees, but I am in great distress; If you are a goddess and dwell in heaven, I can only yesterday made the twentieth day that I had been conjecture that you are Jove’s daughter Diana, for tossing about upon the sea. The winds and waves your face and figure resemble none but hers; if on have taken me all the way from the Ogygian island, the other hand you are a mortal and live on earth, and now fate has flung me upon this coast that I thrice happy are your father and mother—thrice may endure still further suffering; for I do not think happy, too, are your brothers and sisters; how proud that I have yet come to the end of it, but rather and delighted they must feel when they see so fair that heaven has still much evil in store for me.
a scion as yourself going out to a dance; most happy,
“And now, O queen, have pity upon me, for you however, of all will he be whose wedding gifts have are the first person I have met, and I know no one been the richest, and who takes you to his own else in this country. Show me the way to your town, home. I never yet saw any one so beautiful, neither and let me have anything that you may have brought man nor woman, and am lost in admiration as I hither to wrap your clothes in. May heaven grant behold you. I can only compare you to a young you in all things your heart’s desire- husband, house, palm tree which I saw when I was at Delos growing and a happy, peaceful home; for there is nothing near the altar of Apollo—for I was there, too, with better in this world than that man and wife should much people after me, when I was on that journey be of one mind in a house. It discomfits their en-73
The Odyssey – Book VI emies, makes the hearts of their friends glad, and ing to do with any other people. This is only some they themselves know more about it than any one.” poor man who has lost his way, and we must be To this Nausicaa answered, “Stranger, you appear kind to him, for strangers and foreigners in distress to be a sensible, well-disposed person. There is no are under Jove’s protection, and will take what they accounting for luck; Jove gives prosperity to rich can get and be thankful; so, girls, give the poor fel-and poor just as he chooses, so you must take what low something to eat and drink, and wash him in he has seen fit to send you, and make the best of it.
the stream at some place that is sheltered from the Now, however, that you have come to this our coun-wind.”
try, you shall not want for clothes nor for anything On this the maids left off running away and be-else that a foreigner in distress may reasonably look gan calling one another back. They made Ulysses for. I will show you the way to the town, and will sit down in the shelter as Nausicaa had told them, tell you the name of our people; we are called and brought him a shirt and cloak. They also Phaeacians, and I am daughter to Alcinous, in whom brought him the little golden cruse of oil, and told the whole power of the state is vested.” him to go wash in the stream. But Ulysses said, Then she called her maids and said, “Stay where
“Young women, please to stand a little on one side you are, you girls. Can you not see a man without that I may wash the brine from my shoulders and running away from him? Do you take him for a anoint myself with oil, for it is long enough since robber or a murderer? Neither he nor any one else my skin has had a drop of oil upon it. I cannot can come here to do us Phaeacians any harm, for wash as long as you all keep standing there. I am we are dear to the gods, and live apart on a land’s ashamed to strip before a number of good-looking end that juts into the sounding sea, and have noth-young women.”
The Odyssey – Book VI Then they stood on one side and went to tell the thought him plain, but now his appearance is like girl, while Ulysses washed himself in the stream and that of the gods who dwell in heaven. I should like scrubbed the brine from his back and from his broad my future husband to be just such another as he is, shoulders. When he had thoroughly washed him-if he would only stay here and not want to go away.
self, and had got the brine out of his hair, he However, give him something to eat and drink.” anointed himself with oil, and put on the clothes They did as they were told, and set food before which the girl had given him; Minerva then made Ulysses, who ate and drank ravenously, for it was him look taller and stronger than before, she also long since he had had food of any kind. Meanwhile, made the hair grow thick on the top of his head, Nausicaa bethought her of another matter. She got and flow down in curls like hyacinth blossoms; she the linen folded and placed in the waggon, she then glorified him about the head and shoulders as a yoked the mules, and, as she took her seat, she called skilful workman who has studied art of all kinds Ulysses:
under Vulcan and Minerva enriches a piece of sil-
“Stranger,” said she, “rise and let us be going back ver plate by gilding it—and his work is full of beauty.
to the town; I will introduce you at the house of Then he went and sat down a little way off upon my excellent father, where I can tell you that you the beach, looking quite young and handsome, and will meet all the best people among the Phaecians.
the girl gazed on him with admiration; then she But be sure and do as I bid you, for you seem to be said to her maids:
a sensible person. As long as we are going past the
“Hush, my dears, for I want to say something. I fields- and farm lands, follow briskly behind the believe the gods who live in heaven have sent this waggon along with the maids and I will lead the man to the Phaeacians. When I first saw him I way myself. Presently, however, we shall come to 75
The Odyssey – Book VI the town, where you will find a high wall running from some foreign vessel, for we have no neighbours; all round it, and a good harbour on either side with or some god has at last come down from heaven in a narrow entrance into the city, and the ships will answer to her prayers, and she is going to live with be drawn up by the road side, for every one has a him all the rest of her life. It would be a good thing place where his own ship can lie. You will see the if she would take herself of I for sh and find a hus-market place with a temple of Neptune in the band somewhere else, for she will not look at one middle of it, and paved with large stones bedded in of the many excellent young Phaeacians who are in the earth. Here people deal in ship’s gear of all kinds, with her.’ This is the kind of disparaging remark such as cables and sails, and here, too, are the places that would be made about me, and I could not com-where oars are made, for the Phaeacians are not a plain, for I should myself be scandalized at seeing nation of archers; they know nothing about bows any other girl do the like, and go about with men in and arrows, but are a sea-faring folk, and pride them-spite of everybody, while her father and mother were selves on their masts, oars, and ships, with which still alive, and without having been married in the they travel far over the sea.
face of all the world.
“I am afraid of the gossip and scandal that may
“If, therefore, you want my father to give you an be set on foot against me later on; for the people escort and to help you home, do as I bid you; you here are very ill-natured, and some low fellow, if he will see a beautiful grove of poplars by the road met us, might say, ‘Who is this fine-looking stranger side dedicated to Minerva; it has a well in it and a that is going about with Nausicaa? Where did she meadow all round it. Here my father has a field of End him? I suppose she is going to marry him. Per-rich garden ground, about as far from the town as a haps he is a vagabond sailor whom she has taken man’ voice will carry. Sit down there and wait for a 76
The Odyssey – Book VI while till the rest of us can get into the town and hoofs went up and down upon the road. She was reach my father’s house. Then, when you think we careful not to go too fast for Ulysses and the maids must have done this, come into the town and ask who were following on foot along with the waggon, the way to the house of my father Alcinous. You will so she plied her whip with judgement. As the sun have no difficulty in finding it; any child will point was going down they came to the sacred grove of it out to you, for no one else in the whole town has Minerva, and there Ulysses sat down and prayed anything like such a fine house as he has. When you to the mighty daughter of Jove.
have got past the gates and through the outer court,
“Hear me,” he cried, “daughter of Aegis-bearing go right across the inner court till you come to my Jove, unweariable, hear me now, for you gave no mother. You will find her sitting by the fire and spin-heed to my prayers when Neptune was wrecking ning her purple wool by firelight. It is a fine sight to me. Now, therefore, have pity upon me and grant see her as she leans back against one of the bearing-that I may find friends and be hospitably received posts with her maids all ranged behind her. Close to by the Phaecians.”
her seat stands that of my father, on which he sits Thus did he pray, and Minerva heard his prayer, and topes like an immortal god. Never mind him, but she would not show herself to him openly, for but go up to my mother, and lay your hands upon she was afraid of her uncle Neptune, who was still her knees if you would get home quickly. If you can furious in his endeavors to prevent Ulysses from gain her over, you may hope to see your own coun-getting home.
try again, no matter how distant it may be.” So saying she lashed the mules with her whip and they left the river. The mules drew well and their 77
The Odyssey – Book VII BOOK VII
came towards him in the likeness of a little girl carrying a pitcher. She stood right in front of him, and THUS, THEN, DID ULYSSES WAIT and pray; but the girl Ulysses said:
drove on to the town. When she reached her father’s
“My dear, will you be so kind as to show me the house she drew up at the gateway, and her broth-house of king Alcinous? I am an unfortunate for-ers- comely as the gods- gathered round her, took eigner in distress, and do not know one in your the mules out of the waggon, and carried the clothes town and country.”
into the house, while she went to her own room, Then Minerva said, “Yes, father stranger, I will where an old servant, Eurymedusa of Apeira, lit the show you the house you want, for Alcinous lives fire for her. This old woman had been brought by quite close to my own father. I will go before you sea from Apeira, and had been chosen as a prize for and show the way, but say not a word as you go, Alcinous because he was king over the Phaecians, and do not look at any man, nor ask him ques-and the people obeyed him as though he were a tions; for the people here cannot abide strangers, god. She had been nurse to Nausicaa, and had now and do not like men who come from some other lit the fire for her, and brought her supper for her place. They are a sea-faring folk, and sail the seas into her own room.
by the grace of Neptune in ships that glide along Presently Ulysses got up to go towards the town; like thought, or as a bird in the air.” and Minerva shed a thick mist all round him to On this she led the way, and Ulysses followed in hide him in case any of the proud Phaecians who her steps; but not one of the Phaecians could see met him should be rude to him, or ask him who he him as he passed through the city in the midst of was. Then, as he was just entering the town, she them; for the great goddess Minerva in her good 78
The Odyssey – Book VII will towards him had hidden him in a thick cloud reigned over the Phaecians. Nausithous had two of darkness. He admired their harbours, ships, places sons Rhexenor and Alcinous; Apollo killed the first of assembly, and the lofty walls of the city, which, of them while he was still a bridegroom and with-with the palisade on top of them, were very strik-out male issue; but he left a daughter Arete, whom ing, and when they reached the king’s house Alcinous married, and honours as no other woman Minerva said:
is honoured of all those that keep house along with
“This is the house, father stranger, which you their husbands.
would have me show you. You will find a number
“Thus she both was, and still is, respected be-of great people sitting at table, but do not be afraid; yond measure by her children, by Alcinous himself, go straight in, for the bolder a man is the more likely and by the whole people, who look upon her as a he is to carry his point, even though he is a stranger.
goddess, and greet her whenever she goes about the First find the queen. Her name is Arete, and she city, for she is a thoroughly good woman both in comes of the same family as her husband Alcinous.
head and heart, and when any women are friends They both descend originally from Neptune, who of hers, she will help their husbands also to settle was father to Nausithous by Periboea, a woman of their disputes. If you can gain her good will, you great beauty. Periboea was the youngest daughter may have every hope of seeing your friends again, of Eurymedon, who at one time reigned over the and getting safely back to your home and country.” giants, but he ruined his ill-fated people and lost Then Minerva left Scheria and went away over his own life to boot.
the sea. She went to Marathon and to the spacious
“Neptune, however, lay with his daughter, and streets of Athens, where she entered the abode of she had a son by him, the great Nausithous, who Erechtheus; but Ulysses went on to the house of 79
The Odyssey – Book VII Alcinous, and he pondered much as he paused a vants in the house, some of whom are always grind-while before reaching the threshold of bronze, for ing rich yellow grain at the mill, while others work the splendour of the palace was like that of the sun at the loom, or sit and spin, and their shuttles go, or moon. The walls on either side were of bronze backwards and forwards like the fluttering of aspen from end to end, and the cornice was of blue enamel.
leaves, while the linen is so closely woven that it The doors were gold, and hung on pillars of silver will turn oil. As the Phaecians are the best sailors in that rose from a floor of bronze, while the lintel the world, so their women excel all others in weav-was silver and the hook of the door was of gold.
ing, for Minerva has taught them all manner of use-On either side there stood gold and silver mas-ful arts, and they are very intelligent.
tiffs which Vulcan, with his consummate skill, had Outside the gate of the outer court there is a large fashioned expressly to keep watch over the palace garden of about four acres with a wall all round it.
of king Alcinous; so they were immortal and could It is full of beautiful trees—pears, pomegranates, never grow old. Seats were ranged all along the wall, and the most delicious apples. There are luscious here and there from one end to the other, with cov-figs also, and olives in full growth. The fruits never erings of fine woven work which the women of the rot nor fail all the year round, neither winter nor house had made. Here the chief persons of the summer, for the air is so soft that a new crop ripens Phaecians used to sit and eat and drink, for there before the old has dropped. Pear grows on pear, apple was abundance at all seasons; and there were golden on apple, and fig on fig, and so also with the grapes, figures of young men with lighted torches in their for there is an excellent vineyard: on the level ground hands, raised on pedestals, to give light by night to of a part of this, the grapes are being made into those who were at table. There are fifty maid ser-raisins; in another part they are being gathered; some 80
The Odyssey – Book VII are being trodden in the wine tubs, others further Arete and King Alcinous; then he laid his hands on have shed their blossom and are beginning to upon the knees of the queen, and at that moment show fruit, others again are just changing colour. In the miraculous darkness fell away from him and he the furthest part of the ground there are beautifully became visible. Every one was speechless with sur-arranged beds of flowers that are in bloom all the prise at seeing a man there, but Ulysses began at year round. Two streams go through it, the one once with his petition.
turned in ducts throughout the whole garden, while
“Queen Arete,” he exclaimed, “daughter of great the other is carried under the ground of the outer Rhexenor, in my distress I humbly pray you, as also court to the house itself, and the town’s people draw your husband and these your guests (whom may water from it. Such, then, were the splendours with heaven prosper with long life and happiness, and which the gods had endowed the house of king may they leave their possessions to their children, Alcinous.
and all the honours conferred upon them by the So here Ulysses stood for a while and looked about state) to help me home to my own country as soon him, but when he had looked long enough he crossed as possible; for I have been long in trouble and away the threshold and went within the precincts of the from my friends.”
house. There he found all the chief people among Then he sat down on the hearth among the ashes the Phaecians making their drink-offerings to Mer-and they all held their peace, till presently the old cury, which they always did the last thing before hero Echeneus, who was an excellent speaker and going away for the night. He went straight through an elder among the Phaeacians, plainly and in all the court, still hidden by the cloak of darkness in honesty addressed them thus: which Minerva had enveloped him, till he reached
“Alcinous,” said he, “it is not creditable to you 81
The Odyssey – Book VII that a stranger should be seen sitting among the ashes make drink-offerings to Jove the lord of thunder, of your hearth; every one is waiting to hear what who is the protector of all well-disposed suppliants.” you are about to say; tell him, then, to rise and take Pontonous then mixed wine and water, and handed a seat on a stool inlaid with silver, and bid your ser-it round after giving every man his drink-offering.
vants mix some wine and water that we may make a When they had made their offerings, and had drunk drink-offering to Jove the lord of thunder, who takes each as much as he was minded, Alcinous said: all well-disposed suppliants under his protection; and
“Aldermen and town councillors of the let the housekeeper give him some supper, of what-Phaeacians, hear my words. You have had your sup-ever there may be in the house.” per, so now go home to bed. To-morrow morning I When Alcinous heard this he took Ulysses by the shall invite a still larger number of aldermen, and hand, raised him from the hearth, and bade him will give a sacrificial banquet in honour of our guest; take the seat of Laodamas, who had been sitting we can then discuss the question of his escort, and beside him, and was his favourite son. A maid ser-consider how we may at once send him back rejoic-vant then brought him water in a beautiful golden ing to his own country without trouble or inconve-ewer and poured it into a silver basin for him to nience to himself, no matter how distant it may be.
wash his hands, and she drew a clean table beside We must see that he comes to no harm while on his him; an upper servant brought him bread and of-homeward journey, but when he is once at home he fered him many good things of what there was in will have to take the luck he was born with for bet-the house, and Ulysses ate and drank. Then ter or worse like other people. It is possible, how-Alcinous said to one of the servants, “Pontonous, ever, that the stranger is one of the immortals who mix a cup of wine and hand it round that we may has come down from heaven to visit us; but in this 82
The Odyssey – Book VII case the gods are departing from their usual prac-my sorrows and dwell only on the due replenishing tice, for hitherto they have made themselves per-of itself. As for yourselves, do as you propose, and fectly clear to us when we have been offering them at break of day set about helping me to get home. I hecatombs. They come and sit at our feasts just shall be content to die if I may first once more be-like one of our selves, and if any solitary wayfarer hold my property, my bondsmen, and all the great-happens to stumble upon some one or other of them, ness of my house.”
they affect no concealment, for we are as near of Thus did he speak. Every one approved his say-kin to the gods as the Cyclopes and the savage gi-ing, and agreed that he should have his escort inas-ants are.”
much as he had spoken reasonably. Then when they Then Ulysses said: “Pray, Alcinous, do not take had made their drink-offerings, and had drunk each any such notion into your head. I have nothing of as much as he was minded they went home to bed the immortal about me, neither in body nor mind, every man in his own abode, leaving Ulysses in the and most resemble those among you who are the cloister with Arete and Alcinous while the servants most afflicted. Indeed, were I to tell you all that were taking the things away after supper. Arete was heaven has seen fit to lay upon me, you would say the first to speak, for she recognized the shirt, cloak, that I was still worse off than they are. Neverthe-and good clothes that Ulysses was wearing, as the less, let me sup in spite of sorrow, for an empty work of herself and of her maids; so she said, stomach is a very importunate thing, and thrusts
“Stranger, before we go any further, there is a ques-itself on a man’s notice no matter how dire is his tion I should like to ask you. Who, and whence are distress. I am in great trouble, yet it insists that I you, and who gave you those clothes? Did you not shall eat and drink, bids me lay aside all memory of say you had come here from beyond the sea?” 83
The Odyssey – Book VII And Ulysses answered, “It would be a long story end, and watered the good clothes she gave me with Madam, were I to relate in full the tale of my mis-my tears during the whole time; but at last when fortunes, for the hand of heaven has been laid heavy the eighth year came round she bade me depart of upon me; but as regards your question, there is an her own free will, either because Jove had told her island far away in the sea which is called ‘the she must, or because she had changed her mind.
Ogygian.’ Here dwells the cunning and powerful She sent me from her island on a raft, which she goddess Calypso, daughter of Atlas. She lives by provisioned with abundance of bread and wine.
herself far from all neighbours human or divine.
Moreover she gave me good stout clothing, and sent Fortune, however, me to her hearth all desolate and me a wind that blew both warm and fair. Days seven alone, for Jove struck my ship with his thunder-and ten did I sail over the sea, and on the eigh-bolts, and broke it up in mid-ocean. My brave com-teenth I caught sight of the first outlines of the rades were drowned every man of them, but I stuck mountains upon your coast—and glad indeed was to the keel and was carried hither and thither for I to set eyes upon them. Nevertheless there was the space of nine days, till at last during the dark-still much trouble in store for me, for at this point ness of the tenth night the gods brought me to the Neptune would let me go no further, and raised a Ogygian island where the great goddess Calypso great storm against me; the sea was so terribly high lives. She took me in and treated me with the ut-that I could no longer keep to my raft, which went most kindness; indeed she wanted to make me im-to pieces under the fury of the gale, and I had to mortal that I might never grow old, but she could swim for it, till wind and current brought me to not persuade me to let her do so.
“I stayed with Calypso seven years straight on
“There I tried to land, but could not, for it was a 84
The Odyssey – Book VII bad place and the waves dashed me against the me to do so, I have told you the whole truth.” rocks, so I again took to the sea and swam on till I Then Alcinous said, “Stranger, it was very wrong came to a river that seemed the most likely landing of my daughter not to bring you on at once to my place, for there were no rocks and it was sheltered house along with the maids, seeing that she was from the wind. Here, then, I got out of the water the first person whose aid you asked.” and gathered my senses together again. Night was
“Pray do not scold her,” replied Ulysses; “she is coming on, so I left the river, and went into a thicket, not to blame. She did tell me to follow along with where I covered myself all over with leaves, and the maids, but I was ashamed and afraid, for I presently heaven sent me off into a very deep sleep.
thought you might perhaps be displeased if you saw Sick and sorry as I was I slept among the leaves all me. Every human being is sometimes a little suspi-night, and through the next day till afternoon, when cious and irritable.”
I woke as the sun was westering, and saw your
“Stranger,” replied Alcinous, “I am not the kind daughter’s maid servants playing upon the beach, of man to get angry about nothing; it is always bet-and your daughter among them looking like a god-ter to be reasonable; but by Father Jove, Minerva, dess. I besought her aid, and she proved to be of an and Apollo, now that I see what kind of person you excellent disposition, much more so than could be are, and how much you think as I do, I wish you expected from so young a person—for young people would stay here, marry my daughter, and become are apt to be thoughtless. She gave me plenty of my son-in-law. If you will stay I will give you a house bread and wine, and when she had had me washed and an estate, but no one (heaven forbid) shall keep in the river she also gave me the clothes in which you here against your own wish, and that you may you see me. Now, therefore, though it has pained be sure of this I will attend to-morrow to the mat-85
The Odyssey – Book VIII ter of your escort. You can sleep during the whole Ulysses to wear. The maids thereon went out with voyage if you like, and the men shall sail you over torches in their hands, and when they had made smooth waters either to your own home, or wher-the bed they came up to Ulysses and said, “Rise, sir ever you please, even though it be a long way fur-stranger, and come with us for your bed is ready,” ther off than Euboea, which those of my people and glad indeed was he to go to his rest.
who saw it when they took yellow-haired So Ulysses slept in a bed placed in a room over the Rhadamanthus to see Tityus the son of Gaia, tell echoing gateway; but Alcinous lay in the inner part me is the furthest of any place—and yet they did of the house, with the queen his wife by his side.
the whole voyage in a single day without distressing themselves, and came back again afterwards.