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BOOK VIII

You will thus see how much my ships excel all others, and what magnificent oarsmen my sailors are.” NOW WHEN THE CHILD of morning, rosy-fingered Then was Ulysses glad and prayed aloud saying, Dawn, appeared, Alcinous and Ulysses both rose,

“Father Jove, grant that Alcinous may do all as he and Alcinous led the way to the Phaecian place of has said, for so he will win an imperishable name assembly, which was near the ships. When they got among mankind, and at the same time I shall re-there they sat down side by side on a seat of pol-turn to my country.”

ished stone, while Minerva took the form of one of Thus did they converse. Then Arete told her maids Alcinous’ servants, and went round the town in to set a bed in the room that was in the gatehouse, order to help Ulysses to get home. She went up to and make it with good red rugs, and to spread cov-the citizens, man by man, and said, “Aldermen and erlets on the top of them with woollen cloaks for town councillors of the Phaeacians, come to the 86

The Odyssey – Book VIII assembly all of you and listen to the stranger who indeed, no one who ever yet came to my house has has just come off a long voyage to the house of King been able to complain of me for not speeding on Alcinous; he looks like an immortal god.” his way soon enough. Let us draw a ship into the With these words she made them all want to sea- one that has never yet made a voyage—and come, and they flocked to the assembly till seats man her with two and fifty of our smartest young and standing room were alike crowded. Every one sailors. Then when you have made fast your oars was struck with the appearance of Ulysses, for each by his own seat, leave the ship and come to Minerva had beautified him about the head and my house to prepare a feast. I will find you in ev-shoulders, making him look taller and stouter than erything. I am giving will these instructions to the he really was, that he might impress the Phaecians young men who will form the crew, for as regards favourably as being a very remarkable man, and you aldermen and town councillors, you will join might come off well in the many trials of skill to me in entertaining our guest in the cloisters. I can which they would challenge him. Then, when they take no excuses, and we will have Demodocus to were got together, Alcinous spoke: sing to us; for there is no bard like him whatever he

“Hear me,” said he, “aldermen and town council-may choose to sing about.”

lors of the Phaeacians, that I may speak even as I Alcinous then led the way, and the others followed am minded. This stranger, whoever he may be, has after, while a servant went to fetch Demodocus. The found his way to my house from somewhere or other fifty-two picked oarsmen went to the sea shore as either East or West. He wants an escort and wishes they had been told, and when they got there they to have the matter settled. Let us then get one ready drew the ship into the water, got her mast and sails for him, as we have done for others before him; inside her, bound the oars to the thole-pins with 87

The Odyssey – Book VIII twisted thongs of leather, all in due course, and spread The company then laid their hands upon the good the white sails aloft. They moored the vessel a little things that were before them, but as soon as they way out from land, and then came on shore and went had had enough to eat and drink, the muse inspired to the house of King Alcinous. The outhouses, yards, Demodocus to sing the feats of heroes, and more and all the precincts were filled with crowds of men especially a matter that was then in the mouths of in great multitudes both old and young; and Alcinous all men, to wit, the quarrel between Ulysses and killed them a dozen sheep, eight full grown pigs, and Achilles, and the fierce words that they heaped on two oxen. These they skinned and dressed so as to one another as they gat together at a banquet. But provide a magnificent banquet.

Agamemnon was glad when he heard his chieftains A servant presently led in the famous bard quarrelling with one another, for Apollo had fore-Demodocus, whom the muse had dearly loved, but told him this at Pytho when he crossed the stone to whom she had given both good and evil, for floor to consult the oracle. Here was the beginning though she had endowed him with a divine gift of of the evil that by the will of Jove fell both Danaans song, she had robbed him of his eyesight. Pontonous and Trojans.

set a seat for him among the guests, leaning it up Thus sang the bard, but Ulysses drew his purple against a bearing-post. He hung the lyre for him on mantle over his head and covered his face, for he a peg over his head, and showed him where he was was ashamed to let the Phaeacians see that he was to feel for it with his hands. He also set a fair table weeping. When the bard left off singing he wiped with a basket of victuals by his side, and a cup of the tears from his eyes, uncovered his face, and, wine from which he might drink whenever he was taking his cup, made a drink-offering to the gods; so disposed.

but when the Phaeacians pressed Demodocus to 88

The Odyssey – Book VIII sing further, for they delighted in his lays, then Ponteus, Proreus, Thoon, Anabesineus, and Ulysses again drew his mantle over his head and Amphialus son of Polyneus son of Tecton. There wept bitterly. No one noticed his distress except was also Euryalus son of Naubolus, who was like Alcinous, who was sitting near him, and heard the Mars himself, and was the best looking man among heavy sighs that he was heaving. So he at once said, the Phaecians except Laodamas. Three sons of

“Aldermen and town councillors of the Phaeacians, Alcinous, Laodamas, Halios, and Clytoneus, com-we have had enough now, both of the feast, and of peted also.

the minstrelsy that is its due accompaniment; let The foot races came first. The course was set out us proceed therefore to the athletic sports, so that for them from the starting post, and they raised a our guest on his return home may be able to tell his dust upon the plain as they all flew forward at the friends how much we surpass all other nations as same moment. Clytoneus came in first by a long boxers, wrestlers, jumpers, and runners.” way; he left every one else behind him by the length With these words he led the way, and the others of the furrow that a couple of mules can plough in followed after. A servant hung Demodocus’s lyre a fallow field. They then turned to the painful art on its peg for him, led him out of the cloister, and of wrestling, and here Euryalus proved to be the set him on the same way as that along which all the best man. Amphialus excelled all the others in jump-chief men of the Phaeacians were going to see the ing, while at throwing the disc there was no one sports; a crowd of several thousands of people fol-who could approach Elatreus. Alcinous’s son lowed them, and there were many excellent com-Laodamas was the best boxer, and he it was who petitors for all the prizes. Acroneos, Ocyalus, presently said, when they had all been diverted with Elatreus, Nauteus, Prymneus, Anchialus, Eretmeus, the games, “Let us ask the stranger whether he ex-89

The Odyssey – Book VIII cels in any of these sports; he seems very power-Ulysses answered, “Laodamas, why do you taunt fully built; his thighs, claves, hands, and neck are me in this way? my mind is set rather on cares than of prodigious strength, nor is he at all old, but he contests; I have been through infinite trouble, and has suffered much lately, and there is nothing like am come among you now as a suppliant, praying your the sea for making havoc with a man, no matter king and people to further me on my return home.” how strong he is.”

Then Euryalus reviled him outright and said, “I

“You are quite right, Laodamas,” replied Euryalus, gather, then, that you are unskilled in any of the

“go up to your guest and speak to him about it many sports that men generally delight in. I sup-yourself.”

pose you are one of those grasping traders that go When Laodamas heard this he made his way into about in ships as captains or merchants, and who the middle of the crowd and said to Ulysses, “I hope, think of nothing but of their outward freights and Sir, that you will enter yourself for some one or homeward cargoes. There does not seem to be much other of our competitions if you are skilled in any of the athlete about you.”

of them—and you must have gone in for many a

“For shame, Sir,” answered Ulysses, fiercely, “you one before now. There is nothing that does any one are an insolent fellow—so true is it that the gods do so much credit all his life long as the showing him-not grace all men alike in speech, person, and un-self a proper man with his hands and feet. Have a derstanding. One man may be of weak presence, try therefore at something, and banish all sorrow but heaven has adorned this with such a good con-from your mind. Your return home will not be long versation that he charms every one who sees him; delayed, for the ship is already drawn into the wa-his honeyed moderation carries his hearers with him ter, and the crew is found.” so that he is leader in all assemblies of his fellows, 90

The Odyssey – Book VIII and wherever he goes he is looked up to. Another as it sped gracefully from his hand, and flew be-may be as handsome as a god, but his good looks yond any mark that had been made yet. Minerva, are not crowned with discretion. This is your case.

in the form of a man, came and marked the place No god could make a finer looking fellow than you where it had fallen. “A blind man, Sir,” said she, are, but you are a fool. Your ill-judged remarks have

“could easily tell your mark by groping for it- it is made me exceedingly angry, and you are quite mis-so far ahead of any other. You may make your mind taken, for I excel in a great many athletic exercises; easy about this contest, for no Phaeacian can come indeed, so long as I had youth and strength, I was near to such a throw as yours.” among the first athletes of the age. Now, however, I Ulysses was glad when he found he had a friend am worn out by labour and sorrow, for I have gone among the lookers-on, so he began to speak more through much both on the field of battle and by pleasantly. “Young men,” said he, “come up to that the waves of the weary sea; still, in spite of all this throw if you can, and I will throw another disc as I will compete, for your taunts have stung me to heavy or even heavier. If anyone wants to have a the quick.”

bout with me let him come on, for I am exceedingly So he hurried up without even taking his cloak angry; I will box, wrestle, or run, I do not care what off, and seized a disc, larger, more massive and much it is, with any man of you all except Laodamas, but heavier than those used by the Phaeacians when not with him because I am his guest, and one can-disc-throwing among themselves. Then, swinging it not compete with one’s own personal friend. At least back, he threw it from his brawny hand, and it made I do not think it a prudent or a sensible thing for a a humming sound in the air as he did so. The guest to challenge his host’s family at any game, Phaeacians quailed beneath the rushing of its flight especially when he is in a foreign country. He will 91

The Odyssey – Book VIII cut the ground from under his own feet if he does; Phaecians might beat me, for I have been brought but I make no exception as regards any one else, for down very low at sea; my provisions ran short, and I want to have the matter out and know which is therefore I am still weak.”

the best man. I am a good hand at every kind of They all held their peace except King Alcinous, athletic sport known among mankind. I am an ex-who began, “Sir, we have had much pleasure in hear-cellent archer. In battle I am always the first to bring ing all that you have told us, from which I undera man down with my arrow, no matter how many stand that you are willing to show your prowess, as more are taking aim at him alongside of me.

having been displeased with some insolent remarks Philoctetes was the only man who could shoot bet-that have been made to you by one of our athletes, ter than I could when we Achaeans were before Troy and which could never have been uttered by any and in practice. I far excel every one else in the one who knows how to talk with propriety. I hope whole world, of those who still eat bread upon the you will apprehend my meaning, and will explain face of the earth, but I should not like to shoot to any be one of your chief men who may be dining against the mighty dead, such as Hercules, or with yourself and your family when you get home, Eurytus the Cechalian-men who could shoot against that we have an hereditary aptitude for accomplish-the gods themselves. This in fact was how Eurytus ments of all kinds. We are not particularly remark-came prematurely by his end, for Apollo was angry able for our boxing, nor yet as wrestlers, but we are with him and killed him because he challenged him singularly fleet of foot and are excellent sailors. We as an archer. I can throw a dart farther than any are extremely fond of good dinners, music, and danc-one else can shoot an arrow. Running is the only ing; we also like frequent changes of linen, warm point in respect of which I am afraid some of the baths, and good beds, so now, please, some of you 92

The Odyssey – Book VIII who are the best dancers set about dancing, that bed, so the sun, who saw what they were about, our guest on his return home may be able to tell his told Vulcan. Vulcan was very angry when he heard friends how much we surpass all other nations as such dreadful news, so he went to his smithy brood-sailors, runners, dancers, minstrels. Demodocus has ing mischief, got his great anvil into its place, and left his lyre at my house, so run some one or other began to forge some chains which none could ei-of you and fetch it for him.” ther unloose or break, so that they might stay there On this a servant hurried off to bring the lyre in that place. When he had finished his snare he from the king’s house, and the nine men who had went into his bedroom and festooned the bed-posts been chosen as stewards stood forward. It was their all over with chains like cobwebs; he also let many business to manage everything connected with the hang down from the great beam of the ceiling. Not sports, so they made the ground smooth and marked even a god could see them, so fine and subtle were a wide space for the dancers. Presently the servant they. As soon as he had spread the chains all over came back with Demodocus’s lyre, and he took his the bed, he made as though he were setting out for place in the midst of them, whereon the best young the fair state of Lemnos, which of all places in the dancers in the town began to foot and trip it so world was the one he was most fond of. But Mars nimbly that Ulysses was delighted with the merry kept no blind look out, and as soon as he saw him twinkling of their feet.

start, hurried off to his house, burning with love Meanwhile the bard began to sing the loves of for Venus.

Mars and Venus, and how they first began their Now Venus was just come in from a visit to her intrigue in the house of Vulcan. Mars made Venus father Jove, and was about sitting down when Mars many presents, and defiled King Vulcan’s marriage came inside the house, an said as he took her hand 93

The Odyssey – Book VIII in his own, “Let us go to the couch of Vulcan: he is the pair together asleep on my bed. It makes me not at home, but is gone off to Lemnos among the furious to look at them. They are very fond of one Sintians, whose speech is barbarous.” another, but I do not think they will lie there longer She was nothing loth, so they went to the couch than they can help, nor do I think that they will to take their rest, whereon they were caught in the sleep much; there, however, they shall stay till her toils which cunning Vulcan had spread for them, father has repaid me the sum I gave him for his and could neither get up nor stir hand or foot, but baggage of a daughter, who is fair but not honest.” found too late that they were in a trap. Then Vulcan On this the gods gathered to the house of Vulcan.

came up to them, for he had turned back before Earth-encircling Neptune came, and Mercury the reaching Lemnos, when his scout the sun told him bringer of luck, and King Apollo, but the goddesses what was going on. He was in a furious passion, stayed at home all of them for shame. Then the giv-and stood in the vestibule making a dreadful noise ers of all good things stood in the doorway, and the as he shouted to all the gods.

blessed gods roared with inextinguishable laughter,

“Father Jove,” he cried, “and all you other blessed as they saw how cunning Vulcan had been, whereon gods who live for ever, come here and see the ri-one would turn towards his neighbour saying: diculous and disgraceful sight that I will show you.

“Ill deeds do not prosper, and the weak confound Jove’s daughter Venus is always dishonouring me the strong. See how limping Vulcan, lame as he is, because I am lame. She is in love with Mars, who is has caught Mars who is the fleetest god in heaven; handsome and clean built, whereas I am a cripple-and now Mars will be cast in heavy damages.” but my parents are to blame for that, not I; they Thus did they converse, but King Apollo said to ought never to have begotten me. Come and see Mercury, “Messenger Mercury, giver of good things, 94

The Odyssey – Book VIII you would not care how strong the chains were, Thereon he loosed the bonds that bound them, would you, if you could sleep with Venus?” and as soon as they were free they scampered off,

“King Apollo,” answered Mercury, “I only wish Mars to Thrace and laughter-loving Venus to Cyprus I might get the chance, though there were three and to Paphos, where is her grove and her altar fra-times as many chains—and you might look on, grant with burnt offerings. Here the Graces hathed all of you, gods and goddesses, but would sleep her, and anointed her with oil of ambrosia such as with her if I could.”

the immortal gods make use of, and they clothed The immortal gods burst out laughing as they her in raiment of the most enchanting beauty.

heard him, but Neptune took it all seriously, and Thus sang the bard, and both Ulysses and the kept on imploring Vulcan to set Mars free again.

seafaring Phaeacians were charmed as they heard

“Let him go,” he cried, “and I will undertake, as him.

you require, that he shall pay you all the damages Then Alcinous told Laodamas and Halius to dance that are held reasonable among the immortal gods.” alone, for there was no one to compete with them.

“Do not,” replied Vulcan, “ask me to do this; a So they took a red ball which Polybus had made for bad man’s bond is bad security; what remedy could them, and one of them bent himself backwards and I enforce against you if Mars should go away and threw it up towards the clouds, while the other leave his debts behind him along with his chains?” jumped from off the ground and caught it with ease

“Vulcan,” said Neptune, “if Mars goes away with-before it came down again. When they had done out paying his damages, I will pay you myself.” So throwing the ball straight up into the air they be-Vulcan answered, “In this case I cannot and must gan to dance, and at the same time kept on throw-not refuse you.”

ing it backwards and forwards to one another, while 95

The Odyssey – Book VIII all the young men in the ring applauded and made will give the stranger all the satisfaction you require.

a great stamping with their feet. Then Ulysses said: He shall have sword, which is of bronze, all but the

“King Alcinous, you said your people were the hilt, which is of silver. I will also give him the scab-nimblest dancers in the world, and indeed they have bard of newly sawn ivory into which it fits. It will proved themselves to be so. I was astonished as I be worth a great deal to him.” saw them.”

As he spoke he placed the sword in the hands of The king was delighted at this, and exclaimed to Ulysses and said, “Good luck to you, father stranger; the Phaecians “Aldermen and town councillors, our if anything has been said amiss may the winds blow guest seems to be a person of singular judgement; it away with them, and may heaven grant you a let us give him such proof of our hospitality as he safe return, for I understand you have been long away may reasonably expect. There are twelve chief men from home, and have gone through much hardship.” among you, and counting myself there are thirteen; To which Ulysses answered, “Good luck to you contribute, each of you, a clean cloak, a shirt, and a too my friend, and may the gods grant you every talent of fine gold; let us give him all this in a lump happiness. I hope you will not miss the sword you down at once, so that when he gets his supper he have given me along with your apology.” may do so with a light heart. As for Euryalus he With these words he girded the sword about his will have to make a formal apology and a present shoulders and towards sundown the presents be-too, for he has been rude.”

gan to make their appearance, as the servants of Thus did he speak. The others all of them ap-the donors kept bringing them to the house of King plauded his saying, and sent their servants to fetch Alcinous; here his sons received them, and placed the presents. Then Euryalus said, “King Alcinous, I them under their mother’s charge. Then Alcinous 96

The Odyssey – Book VIII led the way to the house and bade his guests take the beautiful presents of gold and raiment which their seats.

the Phaeacians had brought. Lastly she added a

“Wife,” said he, turning to Queen Arete, “Go, cloak and a good shirt from Alcinous, and said to fetch the best chest we have, and put a clean cloak Ulysses:

and shirt in it. Also, set a copper on the fire and

“See to the lid yourself, and have the whole bound heat some water; our guest will take a warm bath; round at once, for fear any one should rob you by see also to the careful packing of the presents that the way when you are asleep in your ship.” the noble Phaeacians have made him; he will thus When Ulysses heard this he put the lid on the better enjoy both his supper and the singing that chest and made it fast with a bond that Circe had will follow. I shall myself give him this golden gob-taught him. He had done so before an upper ser-let—which is of exquisite workmanship—that he vant told him to come to the bath and wash him-may be reminded of me for the rest of his life when-self. He was very glad of a warm bath, for he had ever he makes a drink-offering to Jove, or to any of had no one to wait upon him ever since he left the the gods.”

house of Calypso, who as long as he remained with Then Arete told her maids to set a large tripod her had taken as good care of him as though he had upon the fire as fast as they could, whereon they been a god. When the servants had done washing set a tripod full of bath water on to a clear fire; they and anointing him with oil, and had given him a threw on sticks to make it blaze, and the water be-clean cloak and shirt, he left the bath room and came hot as the flame played about the belly of the joined the guests who were sitting over their wine.

tripod. Meanwhile Arete brought a magnificent Lovely Nausicaa stood by one of the bearing-posts chest her own room, and inside it she packed all supporting the roof if the cloister, and admired him 97

The Odyssey – Book VIII as she saw him pass. “Farewell stranger,” said she, the world, for the muse teaches them their songs

“do not forget me when you are safe at home again, and loves them.”

for it is to me first that you owe a ransom for hav-The servant carried the pork in his fingers over ing saved your life.”

to Demodocus, who took it and was very much And Ulysses said, “Nausicaa, daughter of great pleased. They then laid their hands on the good Alcinous, may Jove the mighty husband of Juno, things that were before them, and as soon as they grant that I may reach my home; so shall I bless had had to eat and drink, Ulysses said to you as my guardian angel all my days, for it was Demodocus, “Demodocus, there is no one in the you who saved me.”

world whom I admire more than I do you. You must When he had said this, he seated himself beside have studied under the Muse, Jove’s daughter, and Alcinous. Supper was then served, and the wine was under Apollo, so accurately do you sing the return mixed for drinking. A servant led in the favourite of the Achaeans with all their sufferings and adven-bard Demodocus, and set him in the midst of the tures. If you were not there yourself, you must have company, near one of the bearing-posts supporting heard it all from some one who was. Now, however, the cloister, that he might lean against it. Then change your song and tell us of the wooden horse Ulysses cut off a piece of roast pork with plenty of which Epeus made with the assistance of Minerva, fat (for there was abundance left on the joint) and and which Ulysses got by stratagem into the fort of said to a servant, “Take this piece of pork over to Troy after freighting it with the men who afterwards Demodocus and tell him to eat it; for all the pain sacked the city. If you will sing this tale aright I will his lays may cause me I will salute him none the tell all the world how magnificently heaven has less; bards are honoured and respected throughout endowed you.”

98

The Odyssey – Book VIII The bard inspired of heaven took up the story at raging like Mars along with Menelaus to the house the point where some of the Argives set fire to their of Deiphobus. It was there that the fight raged most tents and sailed away while others, hidden within furiously, nevertheless by Minerva’s help he was the horse, were waiting with Ulysses in the Trojan victorious.

place of assembly. For the Trojans themselves had All this he told, but Ulysses was overcome as he drawn the horse into their fortress, and it stood there heard him, and his cheeks were wet with tears. He while they sat in council round it, and were in three wept as a woman weeps when she throws herself on minds as to what they should do. Some were for the body of her husband who has fallen before his breaking it up then and there; others would have it own city and people, fighting bravely in defence of dragged to the top of the rock on which the fortress his home and children. She screams aloud and flings stood, and then thrown down the precipice; while her arms about him as he lies gasping for breath yet others were for letting it remain as an offering and dying, but her enemies beat her from behind and propitiation for the gods. And this was how about the back and shoulders, and carry her off they settled it in the end, for the city was doomed into slavery, to a life of labour and sorrow, and the when it took in that horse, within which were all beauty fades from her cheeks—even so piteously the bravest of the Argives waiting to bring death did Ulysses weep, but none of those present per-and destruction on the Trojans. Anon he sang how ceived his tears except Alcinous, who was sitting the sons of the Achaeans issued from the horse, and near him, and could hear the sobs and sighs that he sacked the town, breaking out from their ambus-was heaving. The king, therefore, at once rose and cade. He sang how they over ran the city hither said:

and thither and ravaged it, and how Ulysses went

“Aldermen and town councillors of the Phaeacians, 99

The Odyssey – Book VIII let Demodocus cease his song, for there are those name whatever, for people’s fathers and mothers present who do not seem to like it. From the mo-give them names as soon as they are born. Tell me ment that we had done supper and Demodocus be-also your country, nation, and city, that our ships gan to sing, our guest has been all the time groaning may shape their purpose accordingly and take you and lamenting. He is evidently in great trouble, so there. For the Phaeacians have no pilots; their ves-let the bard leave off, that we may all enjoy oursels have no rudders as those of other nations have, selves, hosts and guest alike. This will be much more but the ships themselves understand what it is that as it should be, for all these festivities, with the es-we are thinking about and want; they know all the cort and the presents that we are making with so cities and countries in the whole world, and can much good will, are wholly in his honour, and any traverse the sea just as well even when it is covered one with even a moderate amount of right feeling with mist and cloud, so that there is no danger of knows that he ought to treat a guest and a suppliant being wrecked or coming to any harm. Still I do as though he were his own brother.

remember hearing my father say that Neptune was

“Therefore, Sir, do you on your part affect no more angry with us for being too easy-going in the mat-concealment nor reserve in the matter about which ter of giving people escorts. He said that one of I shall ask you; it will be more polite in you to give these days he should wreck a ship of ours as it was me a plain answer; tell me the name by which your returning from having escorted some one, and bury father and mother over yonder used to call you, our city under a high mountain. This is what my and by which you were known among your used to say, but whether the god will carry out his neighbours and fellow-citizens. There is no one, threat or no is a matter which he will decide for neither rich nor poor, who is absolutely without any himself.

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“And now, tell me and tell me true. Where have man has. There is nothing better or more delightful you been wandering, and in what countries have than when a whole people make merry together, you travelled? Tell us of the peoples themselves, with the guests sitting orderly to listen, while the and of their cities- who were hostile, savage and table is loaded with bread and meats, and the cup-uncivilized, and who, on the other hand, hospitable bearer draws wine and fills his cup for every man.

and humane. Tell us also why you are made un-This is indeed as fair a sight as a man can see. Now, happy on hearing about the return of the Argive however, since you are inclined to ask the story of Danaans from Troy. The gods arranged all this, and my sorrows, and rekindle my own sad memories in sent them their misfortunes in order that future respect of them, I do not know how to begin, nor generations might have something to sing about.

yet how to continue and conclude my tale, for the Did you lose some brave kinsman of your wife’s hand of heaven has been laid heavily upon me.

when you were before Troy? a son-in-law or father-

“Firstly, then, I will tell you my name that you in-law- which are the nearest relations a man has too may know it, and one day, if I outlive this time outside his own flesh and blood? or was it some of sorrow, may become my there guests though I brave and kindly-natured comrade- for a good friend live so far away from all of you. I am Ulysses son of is as dear to a man as his own brother?” Laertes, reknowned among mankind for all manner of subtlety, so that my fame ascends to heaven. I BOOK IX

live in Ithaca, where there is a high mountain called Neritum, covered with forests; and not far from it AND ULYSSES ANSWERED, “King Alcinous, it is a good there is a group of islands very near to one another-thing to hear a bard with such a divine voice as this Dulichium, Same, and the wooded island of 101

The Odyssey – Book IX

Zacynthus. It lies squat on the horizon, all highest had better make off at once, but my men very fool-up in the sea towards the sunset, while the others ishly would not obey me, so they stayed there drink-lie away from it towards dawn. It is a rugged island, ing much wine and killing great numbers of sheep but it breeds brave men, and my eyes know none and oxen on the sea shore. Meanwhile the Cicons that they better love to look upon. The goddess cried out for help to other Cicons who lived inland.

Calypso kept me with her in her cave, and wanted These were more in number, and stronger, and they me to marry her, as did also the cunning Aeaean were more skilled in the art of war, for they could goddess Circe; but they could neither of them per-fight, either from chariots or on foot as the occa-suade me, for there is nothing dearer to a man than sion served; in the morning, therefore, they came his own country and his parents, and however splen-as thick as leaves and bloom in summer, and the did a home he may have in a foreign country, if it hand of heaven was against us, so that we were hard be far from father or mother, he does not care about pressed. They set the battle in array near the ships, it. Now, however, I will tell you of the many haz-and the hosts aimed their bronze-shod spears at one ardous adventures which by Jove’s will I met with another. So long as the day waxed and it was still on my return from Troy.

morning, we held our own against them, though

“When I had set sail thence the wind took me they were more in number than we; but as the sun first to Ismarus, which is the city of the Cicons.

went down, towards the time when men loose their There I sacked the town and put the people to the oxen, the Cicons got the better of us, and we lost sword. We took their wives and also much booty, half a dozen men from every ship we had; so we got which we divided equitably amongst us, so that none away with those that were left.

might have reason to complain. I then said that we

“Thence we sailed onward with sorrow in our 102

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hearts, but glad to have escaped death though we reached the land of the Lotus-eater, who live on a had lost our comrades, nor did we leave till we had food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we thrice invoked each one of the poor fellows who landed to take in fresh water, and our crews got had perished by the hands of the Cicons. Then Jove their mid-day meal on the shore near the ships.

raised the North wind against us till it blew a hurri-When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my cane, so that land and sky were hidden in thick company to see what manner of men the people of clouds, and night sprang forth out of the heavens.

the place might be, and they had a third man under We let the ships run before the gale, but the force them. They started at once, and went about among of the wind tore our sails to tatters, so we took them the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave down for fear of shipwreck, and rowed our hardest them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious towards the land. There we lay two days and two that those who ate of it left off caring about home, nights suffering much alike from toil and distress and did not even want to go back and say what had of mind, but on the morning of the third day we happened to them, but were for staying and munch-again raised our masts, set sail, and took our places, ing lotus with the Lotus-eater without thinking fur-letting the wind and steersmen direct our ship. I ther of their return; nevertheless, though they wept should have got home at that time unharmed had bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made not the North wind and the currents been against them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest me as I was doubling Cape Malea, and set me off to go on board at once, lest any of them should my course hard by the island of Cythera.

taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home,

“I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of so they took their places and smote the grey sea nine days upon the sea, but on the tenth day we with their oars.

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“We sailed hence, always in much distress, till we Cyclopes have no ships, nor yet shipwrights who came to the land of the lawless and inhuman Cyc-could make ships for them; they cannot therefore lopes. Now the Cyclopes neither plant nor plough, go from city to city, or sail over the sea to one but trust in providence, and live on such wheat, another’s country as people who have ships can do; barley, and grapes as grow wild without any kind of if they had had these they would have colonized tillage, and their wild grapes yield them wine as the the island, for it is a very good one, and would yield sun and the rain may grow them. They have no everything in due season. There are meadows that laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves in some places come right down to the sea shore, on the tops of high mountains; each is lord and well watered and full of luscious grass; grapes would master in his family, and they take no account of do there excellently; there is level land for plough-their neighbours.

ing, and it would always yield heavily at harvest

“Now off their harbour there lies a wooded and time, for the soil is deep. There is a good harbour fertile island not quite close to the land of the Cyc-where no cables are wanted, nor yet anchors, nor lopes, but still not far. It is overrun with wild goats, need a ship be moored, but all one has to do is to that breed there in great numbers and are never dis-beach one’s vessel and stay there till the wind be-turbed by foot of man; for sportsmen—who as a comes fair for putting out to sea again. At the head rule will suffer so much hardship in forest or among of the harbour there is a spring of clear water com-mountain precipices—do not go there, nor yet again ing out of a cave, and there are poplars growing all is it ever ploughed or fed down, but it lies a wilder-round it.

ness untilled and unsown from year to year, and

“Here we entered, but so dark was the night that has no living thing upon it but only goats. For the some god must have brought us in, for there was 104

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nothing whatever to be seen. A thick mist hung all and this had not yet run out. While we were feast-round our ships; the moon was hidden behind a mass ing we kept turning our eyes towards the land of of clouds so that no one could have seen the island if the Cyclopes, which was hard by, and saw the smoke he had looked for it, nor were there any breakers to of their stubble fires. We could almost fancy we tell us we were close in shore before we found our-heard their voices and the bleating of their sheep selves upon the land itself; when, however, we had and goats, but when the sun went down and it came beached the ships, we took down the sails, went on dark, we camped down upon the beach, and next ashore and camped upon the beach till daybreak.

morning I called a council.

“When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn,

“‘Stay here, my brave fellows,’ said I, ‘all the rest appeared, we admired the island and wandered all of you, while I go with my ship and exploit these over it, while the nymphs Jove’s daughters roused people myself: I want to see if they are uncivilized the wild goats that we might get some meat for our savages, or a hospitable and humane race.’

dinner. On this we fetched our spears and bows and

“I went on board, bidding my men to do so also arrows from the ships, and dividing ourselves into and loose the hawsers; so they took their places three bands began to shoot the goats. Heaven sent and smote the grey sea with their oars. When we us excellent sport; I had twelve ships with me, and got to the land, which was not far, there, on the each ship got nine goats, while my own ship had face of a cliff near the sea, we saw a great cave over-ten; thus through the livelong day to the going down hung with laurels. It was a station for a great many of the sun we ate and drank our fill,—and we had sheep and goats, and outside there was a large yard, plenty of wine left, for each one of us had taken with a high wall round it made of stones built into many jars full when we sacked the city of the Cicons, the ground and of trees both pine and oak. This 105

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was the abode of a huge monster who was then away keeper: when he drank it he mixed twenty parts of from home shepherding his flocks. He would have water to one of wine, and yet the fragrance from nothing to do with other people, but led the life of the mixing-bowl was so exquisite that it was impos-an outlaw. He was a horrid creature, not like a hu-sible to refrain from drinking. I filled a large skin man being at all, but resembling rather some crag with this wine, and took a wallet full of provisions that stands out boldly against the sky on the top of with me, for my mind misgave me that I might have a high mountain.

to deal with some savage who would be of great

“I told my men to draw the ship ashore, and stay strength, and would respect neither right nor law.

where they were, all but the twelve best among them,

“We soon reached his cave, but he was out who were to go along with myself. I also took a shepherding, so we went inside and took stock of goatskin of sweet black wine which had been given all that we could see. His cheese-racks were loaded me by Maron, Apollo son of Euanthes, who was with cheeses, and he had more lambs and kids than priest of Apollo the patron god of Ismarus, and lived his pens could hold. They were kept in separate within the wooded precincts of the temple. When flocks; first there were the hoggets, then the oldest we were sacking the city we respected him, and of the younger lambs and lastly the very young ones spared his life, as also his wife and child; so he made all kept apart from one another; as for his dairy, all me some presents of great value—seven talents of the vessels, bowls, and milk pails into which he fine gold, and a bowl of silver, with twelve jars of milked, were swimming with whey. When they saw sweet wine, unblended, and of the most exquisite all this, my men begged me to let them first steal flavour. Not a man nor maid in the house knew some cheeses, and make off with them to the ship; about it, but only himself, his wife, and one house-they would then return, drive down the lambs and 106

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kids, put them on board and sail away with them.

all in due course, and then let each of them have It would have been indeed better if we had done so her own young. He curdled half the milk and set it but I would not listen to them, for I wanted to see aside in wicker strainers, but the other half he the owner himself, in the hope that he might give poured into bowls that he might drink it for his me a present. When, however, we saw him my poor supper. When he had got through with all his work, men found him ill to deal with.

he lit the fire, and then caught sight of us, whereon

“We lit a fire, offered some of the cheeses in sac-he said:

rifice, ate others of them, and then sat waiting till

“‘Strangers, who are you? Where do sail from?

the Cyclops should come in with his sheep. When Are you traders, or do you sail the as rovers, with he came, he brought in with him a huge load of dry your hands against every man, and every man’s firewood to light the fire for his supper, and this he hand against you?’

flung with such a noise on to the floor of his cave

“We were frightened out of our senses by his loud that we hid ourselves for fear at the far end of the voice and monstrous form, but I managed to say, cavern. Meanwhile he drove all the ewes inside, as

‘We are Achaeans on our way home from Troy, but well as the she-goats that he was going to milk, leav-by the will of Jove, and stress of weather, we have ing the males, both rams and he-goats, outside in been driven far out of our course. We are the people the yards. Then he rolled a huge stone to the mouth of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, who has won infi-of the cave- so huge that two and twenty strong nite renown throughout the whole world, by sack-four-wheeled waggons would not be enough to draw ing so great a city and killing so many people. We it from its place against the doorway. When he had therefore humbly pray you to show us some hospi-so done he sat down and milked his ewes and goats, tality, and otherwise make us such presents as visi-107

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tors may reasonably expect. May your excellency and those who are with me escaped the jaws of fear the wrath of heaven, for we are your suppli-death.’

ants, and Jove takes all respectable travellers under

“The cruel wretch vouchsafed me not one word his protection, for he is the avenger of all suppli-of answer, but with a sudden clutch he gripped up ants and foreigners in distress.’

two of my men at once and dashed them down upon

“To this he gave me but a pitiless answer, the ground as though they had been puppies. Their

‘Stranger,’ said he, ‘you are a fool, or else you know brains were shed upon the ground, and the earth nothing of this country. Talk to me, indeed, about was wet with their blood. Then he tore them limb fearing the gods or shunning their anger? We Cyc-from limb and supped upon them. He gobbled them lopes do not care about Jove or any of your blessed up like a lion in the wilderness, flesh, bones, mar-gods, for we are ever so much stronger than they. I row, and entrails, without leaving anything uneaten.

shall not spare either yourself or your companions As for us, we wept and lifted up our hands to heaven out of any regard for Jove, unless I am in the humour on seeing such a horrid sight, for we did not know for doing so. And now tell me where you made your what else to do; but when the Cyclops had filled ship fast when you came on shore. Was it round his huge paunch, and had washed down his meal of the point, or is she lying straight off the land?’

human flesh with a drink of neat milk, he stretched

“He said this to draw me out, but I was too cun-himself full length upon the ground among his ning to be caught in that way, so I answered with a sheep, and went to sleep. I was at first inclined to lie; ‘Neptune,’ said I, ‘sent my ship on to the rocks seize my sword, draw it, and drive it into his vitals, at the far end of your country, and wrecked it. We but I reflected that if I did we should all certainly were driven on to them from the open sea, but I be lost, for we should never be able to shift the 108

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stone which the monster had put in front of the a staff as soon as it should be dry. It was so huge door. So we stayed sobbing and sighing where we that we could only compare it to the mast of a were till morning came.

twenty-oared merchant vessel of large burden, and

“When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, able to venture out into open sea. I went up to this appeared, he again lit his fire, milked his goats and club and cut off about six feet of it; I then gave this ewes, all quite rightly, and then let each have her piece to the men and told them to fine it evenly off own young one; as soon as he had got through with at one end, which they proceeded to do, and lastly all his work, he clutched up two more of my men, I brought it to a point myself, charring the end in and began eating them for his morning’s meal. Pres-the fire to make it harder. When I had done this I ently, with the utmost ease, he rolled the stone away hid it under dung, which was lying about all over from the door and drove out his sheep, but he at the cave, and told the men to cast lots which of once put it back again- as easily as though he were them should venture along with myself to lift it and merely clapping the lid on to a quiver full of ar-bore it into the monster’s eye while he was asleep.

rows. As soon as he had done so he shouted, and The lot fell upon the very four whom I should have cried ‘Shoo, shoo,’ after his sheep to drive them on chosen, and I myself made five. In the evening the to the mountain; so I was left to scheme some way wretch came back from shepherding, and drove his of taking my revenge and covering myself with glory.

flocks into the cave- this time driving them all in-

“In the end I deemed it would be the best plan to side, and not leaving any in the yards; I suppose do as follows. The Cyclops had a great club which some fancy must have taken him, or a god must was lying near one of the sheep pens; it was of green have prompted him to do so. As soon as he had put olive wood, and he had cut it intending to use it for the stone back to its place against the door, he sat 109

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down, milked his ewes and his goats all quite rightly, glad to have. We have wine even in this country, and then let each have her own young one; when for our soil grows grapes and the sun ripens them, he had got through with all this work, he gripped but this drinks like nectar and ambrosia all in one.’

up two more of my men, and made his supper off

“I then gave him some more; three times did I fill them. So I went up to him with an ivy-wood bowl the bowl for him, and three times did he drain it of black wine in my hands:

without thought or heed; then, when I saw that the

“‘Look here, Cyclops,’ said I, you have been eat-wine had got into his head, I said to him as plausi-ing a great deal of man’s flesh, so take this and drink bly as I could: ‘Cyclops, you ask my name and I some wine, that you may see what kind of liquor will tell it you; give me, therefore, the present you we had on board my ship. I was bringing it to you promised me; my name is Noman; this is what my as a drink-offering, in the hope that you would take father and mother and my friends have always compassion upon me and further me on my way called me.’

home, whereas all you do is to go on ramping and

“But the cruel wretch said, ‘Then I will eat all raving most intolerably. You ought to be ashamed Noman’s comrades before Noman himself, and will yourself; how can you expect people to come see keep Noman for the last. This is the present that I you any more if you treat them in this way?’

will make him.’

“He then took the cup and drank. He was so de-As he spoke he reeled, and fell sprawling face up-lighted with the taste of the wine that he begged wards on the ground. His great neck hung heavily me for another bowl full. ‘Be so kind,’ he said, ‘as backwards and a deep sleep took hold upon him. Pres-to give me some more, and tell me your name at ently he turned sick, and threw up both wine and the once. I want to make you a present that you will be gobbets of human flesh on which he had been gorg-110

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ing, for he was very drunk. Then I thrust the beam of eous yells made the cave ring again. We ran away in a wood far into the embers to heat it, and encouraged fright, but he plucked the beam all besmirched with my men lest any of them should turn faint-hearted.

gore from his eye, and hurled it from him in a frenzy When the wood, green though it was, was about to of rage and pain, shouting as he did so to the other blaze, I drew it out of the fire glowing with heat, and Cyclopes who lived on the bleak headlands near him; my men gathered round me, for heaven had filled their so they gathered from all quarters round his cave when hearts with courage. We drove the sharp end of the they heard him crying, and asked what was the mat-beam into the monster’s eye, and bearing upon it with ter with him.

all my weight I kept turning it round and round as

“‘What ails you, Polyphemus,’ said they, ‘that you though I were boring a hole in a ship’s plank with an make such a noise, breaking the stillness of the night, auger, which two men with a wheel and strap can and preventing us from being able to sleep? Surely keep on turning as long as they choose. Even thus did no man is carrying off your sheep? Surely no man we bore the red hot beam into his eye, till the boiling is trying to kill you either by fraud or by force?

blood bubbled all over it as we worked it round and

“But Polyphemus shouted to them from inside round, so that the steam from the burning eyeball the cave, ‘Noman is killing me by fraud! Noman is scalded his eyelids and eyebrows, and the roots of the killing me by force!’

eye sputtered in the fire. As a blacksmith plunges an

“‘Then,’ said they, ‘if no man is attacking you, axe or hatchet into cold water to temper it—for it is you must be ill; when Jove makes people ill, there is this that gives strength to the iron—and it makes a no help for it, and you had better pray to your fa-great hiss as he does so, even thus did the Cyclops’

ther Neptune.’

eye hiss round the beam of olive wood, and his hid-

“Then they went away, and I laughed inwardly at 111

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the success of my clever stratagem, but the Cyclops, thick wool under his belly, and flung on patiently groaning and in an agony of pain, felt about with to his fleece, face upwards, keeping a firm hold on his hands till he found the stone and took it from it all the time.

the door; then he sat in the doorway and stretched

“Thus, then, did we wait in great fear of mind till his hands in front of it to catch anyone going out morning came, but when the child of morning, rosy-with the sheep, for he thought I might be foolish fingered Dawn, appeared, the male sheep hurried enough to attempt this.

out to feed, while the ewes remained bleating about

“As for myself I kept on puzzling to think how I the pens waiting to be milked, for their udders were could best save my own life and those of my com-full to bursting; but their master in spite of all his panions; I schemed and schemed, as one who knows pain felt the backs of all the sheep as they stood that his life depends upon it, for the danger was upright, without being sharp enough to find out very great. In the end I deemed that this plan would that the men were underneath their bellies. As the be the best. The male sheep were well grown, and ram was going out, last of all, heavy with its fleece carried a heavy black fleece, so I bound them noise-and with the weight of my crafty self; Polyphemus lessly in threes together, with some of the withies laid hold of it and said:

on which the wicked monster used to sleep. There

“‘My good ram, what is it that makes you the last was to be a man under the middle sheep, and the to leave my cave this morning? You are not wont to two on either side were to cover him, so that there let the ewes go before you, but lead the mob with a were three sheep to each man. As for myself there run whether to flowery mead or bubbling fountain, was a ram finer than any of the others, so I caught and are the first to come home again at night; but hold of him by the back, esconced myself in the now you lag last of all. Is it because you know your 112

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master has lost his eye, and are sorry because that oars. Then, when I had got as far out as my voice wicked Noman and his horrid crew have got him would reach, I began to jeer at the Cyclops.

down in his drink and blinded him? But I will have

“‘Cyclops,’ said I, ‘you should have taken better his life yet. If you could understand and talk, you measure of your man before eating up his comrades would tell me where the wretch is hiding, and I would in your cave. You wretch, eat up your visitors in dash his brains upon the ground till they flew all your own house? You might have known that your over the cave. I should thus have some satisfaction sin would find you out, and now Jove and the other for the harm a this no-good Noman has done me.’

gods have punished you.’

“As spoke he drove the ram outside, but when we

“He got more and more furious as he heard me, were a little way out from the cave and yards, I first so he tore the top from off a high mountain, and got from under the ram’s belly, and then freed my flung it just in front of my ship so that it was within comrades; as for the sheep, which were very fat, by a little of hitting the end of the rudder. The sea constantly heading them in the right direction we quaked as the rock fell into it, and the wash of the managed to drive them down to the ship. The crew wave it raised carried us back towards the main-rejoiced greatly at seeing those of us who had es-land, and forced us towards the shore. But I snatched caped death, but wept for the others whom the Cy-up a long pole and kept the ship off, making signs clops had killed. However, I made signs to them by to my men by nodding my head, that they must nodding and frowning that they were to hush their row for their lives, whereon they laid out with a crying, and told them to get all the sheep on board will. When we had got twice as far as we were be-at once and put out to sea; so they went aboard, fore, I was for jeering at the Cyclops again, but the took their places, and smote the grey sea with their men begged and prayed of me to hold my tongue.

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“‘Do not,’ they exclaimed, ‘be mad enough to pro-I have been all along expecting some one of impos-voke this savage creature further; he has thrown one ing presence and superhuman strength, whereas he rock at us already which drove us back again to the turns out to be a little insignificant weakling, who mainland, and we made sure it had been the death of has managed to blind my eye by taking advantage us; if he had then heard any further sound of voices of me in my drink; come here, then, Ulysses, that I he would have pounded our heads and our ship’s tim-may make you presents to show my hospitality, and bers into a jelly with the rugged rocks he would have urge Neptune to help you forward on your jour-heaved at us, for he can throw them a long way.’

ney—for Neptune and I are father and son. He, if

“But I would not listen to them, and shouted out he so will, shall heal me, which no one else neither to him in my rage, ‘Cyclops, if any one asks you god nor man can do.’

who it was that put your eye out and spoiled your

“Then I said, ‘I wish I could be as sure of killing beauty, say it was the valiant warrior Ulysses, son you outright and sending you down to the house of of Laertes, who lives in Ithaca.’

Hades, as I am that it will take more than Neptune

“On this he groaned, and cried out, ‘Alas, alas, to cure that eye of yours.’

then the old prophecy about me is coming true.

“On this he lifted up his hands to the firmament of There was a prophet here, at one time, a man both heaven and prayed, saying, ‘Hear me, great Neptune; if I brave and of great stature, Telemus son of Eurymus, am indeed your own true-begotten son, grant that Ulysses who was an excellent seer, and did all the prophesy-may never reach his home alive; or if he must get back to ing for the Cyclopes till he grew old; he told me his friends at last, let him do so late and in sore plight after that all this would happen to me some day, and losing all his men [let him reach his home in another said I should lose my sight by the hand of Ulysses.

man’s ship and find trouble in his house.’]

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“Thus did he pray, and Neptune heard his prayer.

when the sun went down and it came on dark, we Then he picked up a rock much larger than the first, camped upon the beach. When the child of morn-swung it aloft and hurled it with prodigious force. It fell ing, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, I bade my men just short of the ship, but was within a little of hitting on board and loose the hawsers. Then they took their the end of the rudder. The sea quaked as the rock fell places and smote the grey sea with their oars; so we into it, and the wash of the wave it raised drove us on-sailed on with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have wards on our way towards the shore of the island.

escaped death though we had lost our comrades.

“When at last we got to the island where we had left the rest of our ships, we found our comrades BOOK X

lamenting us, and anxiously awaiting our return. We ran our vessel upon the sands and got out of her on THENCE WE WENT ON to the Aeoli island where lives to the sea shore; we also landed the Cyclops’ sheep, Aeolus son of Hippotas, dear to the immortal gods.

and divided them equitably amongst us so that none It is an island that floats (as it were) upon the sea, might have reason to complain. As for the ram, my iron bound with a wall that girds it. Now, Aeolus companions agreed that I should have it as an extra has six daughters and six lusty sons, so he made the share; so I sacrificed it on the sea shore, and burned sons marry the daughters, and they all live with its thigh bones to Jove, who is the lord of all. But he their dear father and mother, feasting and enjoying heeded not my sacrifice, and only thought how he every conceivable kind of luxury. All day long the might destroy my ships and my comrades.

atmosphere of the house is loaded with the savour

“Thus through the livelong day to the going down of roasting meats till it groans again, yard and all; of the sun we feasted our fill on meat and drink, but but by night they sleep on their well-made bed-115

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steads, each with his own wife between the blan-the tenth day our native land showed on the hori-kets. These were the people among whom we had zon. We got so close in that we could see the stubble now come.

fires burning, and I, being then dead beat, fell into

“Aeolus entertained me for a whole month asking a light sleep, for I had never let the rudder out of me questions all the time about Troy, the Argive my own hands, that we might get home the faster.

fleet, and the return of the Achaeans. I told him On this the men fell to talking among themselves, exactly how everything had happened, and when I and said I was bringing back gold and silver in the said I must go, and asked him to further me on my sack that Aeolus had given me. ‘Bless my heart,’

way, he made no sort of difficulty, but set about would one turn to his neighbour, saying, ‘how this doing so at once. Moreover, he flayed me a prime man gets honoured and makes friends to whatever ox-hide to hold the ways of the roaring winds, which city or country he may go. See what fine prizes he he shut up in the hide as in a sack—for Jove had is taking home from Troy, while we, who have trav-made him captain over the winds, and he could stir elled just as far as he has, come back with hands as or still each one of them according to his own plea-empty as we set out with- and now Aeolus has given sure. He put the sack in the ship and bound the him ever so much more. Quick- let us see what it all mouth so tightly with a silver thread that not even is, and how much gold and silver there is in the a breath of a side-wind could blow from any quar-sack he gave him.’

ter. The West wind which was fair for us did he

“Thus they talked and evil counsels prevailed. They alone let blow as it chose; but it all came to noth-loosed the sack, whereupon the wind flew howling ing, for we were lost through our own folly.

forth and raised a storm that carried us weeping out

“Nine days and nine nights did we sail, and on to sea and away from our own country. Then I awoke, 116

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and knew not whether to throw myself into the sea ing, till their father answered, ‘Vilest of mankind, or to live on and make the best of it; but I bore it, get you gone at once out of the island; him whom covered myself up, and lay down in the ship, while heaven hates will I in no wise help. Be off, for you the men lamented bitterly as the fierce winds bore come here as one abhorred of heaven. “And with these our fleet back to the Aeolian island.

words he sent me sorrowing from his door.

“When we reached it we went ashore to take in

“Thence we sailed sadly on till the men were worn water, and dined hard by the ships. Immediately out with long and fruitless rowing, for there was no after dinner I took a herald and one of my men and longer any wind to help them. Six days, night and went straight to the house of Aeolus, where I found day did we toil, and on the seventh day we reached him feasting with his wife and family; so we sat the rocky stronghold of Lamus—Telepylus, the city down as suppliants on the threshold. They were of the Laestrygonians, where the shepherd who is astounded when they saw us and said, ‘Ulysses, driving in his sheep and goats [to be milked] sa-what brings you here? What god has been ill-treat-lutes him who is driving out his flock [to feed] and ing you? We took great pains to further you on your this last answers the salute. In that country a man way home to Ithaca, or wherever it was that you who could do without sleep might earn double wanted to go to.’

wages, one as a herdsman of cattle, and another as

“Thus did they speak, but I answered sorrowfully, a shepherd, for they work much the same by night

‘My men have undone me; they, and cruel sleep, as they do by day.

have ruined me. My friends, mend me this mis-

“When we reached the harbour we found it land-chief, for you can if you will.’

locked under steep cliffs, with a narrow entrance

“I spoke as movingly as I could, but they said noth-between two headlands. My captains took all their 117

The Odyssey – Book X

ships inside, and made them fast close to one an-huge as a mountain, and they were horrified at the other, for there was never so much as a breath of sight of her.

wind inside, but it was always dead calm. I kept my

“She at once called her husband Antiphates from own ship outside, and moored it to a rock at the the place of assembly, and forthwith he set about very end of the point; then I climbed a high rock to killing my men. He snatched up one of them, and reconnoitre, but could see no sign neither of man began to make his dinner off him then and there, nor cattle, only some smoke rising from the ground.

whereon the other two ran back to the ships as fast So I sent two of my company with an attendant to as ever they could. But Antiphates raised a hue and find out what sort of people the inhabitants were.

cr y after them, and thousands of sturdy

“The men when they got on shore followed a level Laestrygonians sprang up from every quarter- ogres, road by which the people draw their firewood from not men. They threw vast rocks at us from the cliffs the mountains into the town, till presently they met as though they had been mere stones, and I heard a young woman who had come outside to fetch the horrid sound of the ships crunching up against water, and who was daughter to a Laestrygonian one another, and the death cries of my men, as the named Antiphates. She was going to the fountain Laestrygonians speared them like fishes and took Artacia from which the people bring in their water, them home to eat them. While they were thus kill-and when my men had come close up to her, they ing my men within the harbour I drew my sword, asked her who the king of that country might be, cut the cable of my own ship, and told my men to and over what kind of people he ruled; so she di-row with alf their might if they too would not fare rected them to her father’s house, but when they like the rest; so they laid out for their lives, and we got there they found his wife to be a giantess as were thankful enough when we got into open water 118

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out of reach of the rocks they hurled at us. As for men their dinners, and send some of them instead the others there was not one of them left.

of going myself.

“Thence we sailed sadly on, glad to have escaped

“When I had nearly got back to the ship some death, though we had lost our comrades, and came god took pity upon my solitude, and sent a fine to the Aeaean island, where Circe lives a great and antlered stag right into the middle of my path. He cunning goddess who is own sister to the magician was coming down his pasture in the forest to drink Aeetes- for they are both children of the sun by of the river, for the heat of the sun drove him, and Perse, who is daughter to Oceanus. We brought our as he passed I struck him in the middle of the back; ship into a safe harbour without a word, for some the bronze point of the spear went clean through him, god guided us thither, and having landed we there and he lay groaning in the dust until the life went out for two days and two nights, worn out in body and of him. Then I set my foot upon him, drew my spear mind. When the morning of the third day came I from the wound, and laid it down; I also gathered took my spear and my sword, and went away from rough grass and rushes and twisted them into a fathom the ship to reconnoitre, and see if I could discover or so of good stout rope, with which I bound the four signs of human handiwork, or hear the sound of feet of the noble creature together; having so done I voices. Climbing to the top of a high look-out I hung him round my neck and walked back to the espied the smoke of Circe’s house rising upwards ship leaning upon my spear, for the stag was much amid a dense forest of trees, and when I saw this I too big for me to be able to carry him on my shoulder, doubted whether, having seen the smoke, I would steadying him with one hand. As I threw him down not go on at once and find out more, but in the end in front of the ship, I called the men and spoke I deemed it best to go back to the ship, give the cheeringly man by man to each of them. ‘Look here 119

The Odyssey – Book X

my friends,’ said I, ‘we are not going to die so much saw smoke rising from out of a thick forest of trees.’

before our time after all, and at any rate we will not

“Their hearts sank as they heard me, for they re-starve so long as we have got something to eat and membered how they had been treated by the drink on board.’ On this they uncovered their heads Laestrygonian Antiphates, and by the savage ogre upon the sea shore and admired the stag, for he was Polyphemus. They wept bitterly in their dismay, but indeed a splendid fellow. Then, when they had feasted there was nothing to be got by crying, so I divided their eyes upon him sufficiently, they washed their them into two companies and set a captain over hands and began to cook him for dinner.

each; I gave one company to Eurylochus, while I

“Thus through the livelong day to the going down took command of the other myself. Then we cast of the sun we stayed there eating and drinking our lots in a helmet, and the lot fell upon Eurylochus; fill, but when the sun went down and it came on so he set out with his twenty-two men, and they dark, we camped upon the sea shore. When the wept, as also did we who were left behind.

child of morning, fingered Dawn, appeared, I called

“When they reached Circe’s house they found it a council and said, ‘My friends, we are in very great built of cut stones, on a site that could be seen from difficulties; listen therefore to me. We have no idea far, in the middle of the forest. There were wild where the sun either sets or rises, so that we do not mountain wolves and lions prowling all round it-even know East from West. I see no way out of it; poor bewitched creatures whom she had tamed by nevertheless, we must try and find one. We are cer-her enchantments and drugged into subjection.

tainly on an island, for I went as high as I could They did not attack my men, but wagged their great this morning, and saw the sea reaching all round it tails, fawned upon them, and rubbed their noses to the horizon; it lies low, but towards the middle I lovingly against them. As hounds crowd round their 120

The Odyssey – Book X

master when they see him coming from dinner—

meal, and Pramnian but she drugged it with wicked for they know he will bring them something—even poisons to make them forget their homes, and when so did these wolves and lions with their great claws they had drunk she turned them into pigs by a stroke fawn upon my men, but the men were terribly fright-of her wand, and shut them up in her pigsties. They ened at seeing such strange creatures. Presently they were like pigs-head, hair, and all, and they grunted reached the gates of the goddess’s house, and as just as pigs do; but their senses were the same as they stood there they could hear Circe within, sing-before, and they remembered everything.

ing most beautifully as she worked at her loom,

“Thus then were they shut up squealing, and Circe making a web so fine, so soft, and of such dazzling threw them some acorns and beech masts such as colours as no one but a goddess could weave. On pigs eat, but Eurylochus hurried back to tell me this Polites, whom I valued and trusted more than about the sad fate of our comrades. He was so over-any other of my men, said, ‘There is some one in-come with dismay that though he tried to speak he side working at a loom and singing most beauti-could find no words to do so; his eyes filled with fully; the whole place resounds with it, let us call tears and he could only sob and sigh, till at last we her and see whether she is woman or goddess.’

forced his story out of him, and he told us what

“They called her and she came down, unfastened had happened to the others.