Lest 1 imprint my vengeance in thy blood ;
Old as I am, should once my fury burii.
How would'st thou fly, nor ev'n in thought return ?''
** Mere womaa-glutton !*' (thus the churl re-
*' A tongue so AipiMmt, with a throat so wide !
Why cease I, gods ! to dash those teeth away'
Like some wild boar's, that, greedy of his prey.
Uproots the bcaVded com ? Rise, try the fight.
Gird well thy loins, approach and feel my might :
Sure of defeat, before the peers engage ;
Unequal fight, when youth contends with age !"
Thus in a wordy war their tdngues display
More fierce intents, preluding to the fray ;
Antinous hears, and, in a jovial vein,
Thos with loud laughter to the suitor-train :
" This happy day in mirth, my friends, employ,
And, lo ! the gods conspire to crown our joy.
See ready for the fight, and nand to hand,
Yon surly mendicants contentious stand ;
Why urge we not to blows ? " Wei I pleased they spring
Swift from their seats, and thickening form a ring.
To whom Antinous : *' Lo ! enrich'd with blood,
A kid's well-fatted entrails, (tasteful food)
On glowing embers lie^ on him bestow
The choicest portion who subdues his foe ;
Grant him nnrivaU'd in these walls to stay.
The sole attendant on the genial day "
The lords applaud : Ulysses then with art.
And fears well-feign'd.disguis'd his dauntless heart r
" Worn as I am with age, decay'd with woe,
Say, is it baseness to decline the foe ?
Haid conflict ! when calamity and age
With vigorous youth, unknown to cares, engage !
Yet, feauful of disgrace, to try the day
Imperious hunger bids, and I obe^ ;
But swear, impartial arbiters of right.
Swear to stand neuter, while we cope in fight."
The peers assent : when straight his sacred head
Telemarhus uprais'd, and. sternly sacid :
** 5)tran^r, if prompted to chastise the wrong
Of this bold insolent ; confide, be strong !
Th* iqjurious Qret-k, that dares attempt a blov.
That inisUmt makes Telemachus his foe ;
And these my friends^ shall guanl the sacred ties
Of hospitality, for they are wise."
Then, girding bis strong loins, the king preptret
To close in combat, and bis body bares |
^ AntiiioiiB.aiul Emymachiis*
Broad spread bis shoulders, and his nerront thigfat
fiy just degrees, like well-tura'd columns, rise:
Ample his chest, his arms are round and long.
And each strong joint Minerva knits more strong
(Attendant on her chief) : the suitor-crowd
With wonder gaze, and gazing speak aloud ;
*' Inis ! alas ! shall Irus be no more ?
Black fste impends, and this th* avenging hour ! ,
Godi 1 how his nerves a matchless strength proclaim,^
Swell o'er his well-strunglimb8,and brace his frame?f
Then, pale with fears, and sickening at the
They dragged th' unwilling Irus to the fight;
From his black visage fled the coward blood,
And his flesh trembled as aghast he stood, flight f
"Oh, that such baseness should disgrace th»
O hide it, death, in everlasting night !*'
(Exclaims Antinous) " Can a vigorous foe
Meanly decliai' to combat age and woe ?
But hear me, wretch ! if rcx:reant in the fray.
That huge bulk yield this ill-contested day :
Jnstant thou sail'st, to Echetus resign'd ;
A tyrant, fiercest of the tyrant kind.
Who casts thy mangled ears and nose a prey '
To hungry dog^, and lops the man away."
While with indignant scorn he sternly spoke
In every joint the trembling Irus shook ;
Now front to front each frowning champion stands^
And poises high in air his adverse hands.
The chief yet doubts, or to the shades below
To fell the giant at one vengeful blow.
Or save his life ; and soon his life to save '
The king resolves, for mercy sways the brare*
That instant Irus bis huge arm extendi.
Full on the shoulder the rude weight desceodi;
The sage Ulysses, fearful to disclose
The hero latent in the man of woet,
Check'd half his might ; yet rising to the stroke.
His jaw-bone dash'd, the crashing jaw-bone broke;
Down diuppM he stupid from the stunnmg wound ;
His feet, extended, quivering beat the ground ;
Hit mouth and nostrils spout a purple flood :
His teeth, all shatter'd, rush immix'd with bloocL
The peers transported, as dutstretch'd he lies.
With bursts of laughter rend the vaulted skies ! .
Then dragg'd along, all bleeding from the wound.
His length of carcase trailing prints the ground j
Rais'd on his feet, again he reels, he falls.
Till propp'd, reclining on the palace walls :
Then to his band a staff the victor gave.
And thus with just reproach addrets'd the slave i
'* There, terrible, affright the dogs, and reign
A dreaded tyrant o'er the beastlal train I
But mercy to the poor and stranger show.
Lest Heaven in vengeance send some mightier woe.^
Scornful he spoke, and o'er his shoulder fiung
llie hroad-piatchM scrip ; the ^rip in tatters hung
Ill'join'd, and knotted to a twisted throng,
llien, turning short, disdain'd a furth* r stay ;,
But to the palace measur'd back the way.
iliere as he rested, gathering in a ring
The peers with smilesaddress'd their unknown krogs
.** Stranger, may Jove and all th' aerial poweif^
With every blessing crown thy happy hours !
Our freedom to thy prowess'd arm we owe
From bold intrusion of thy coward fo<' :
Instant the flying sail the slavt? shall wing
To Echetus, the monster of a king." "
While pleasM he hears, Antinous bears the food^
A kid's well-fatted entrails, rich with blood :
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The brea^ ^rom e«nf stere of shinmi; mould
Ampbinoos ; anil wines that laugh in gold :
** And, oh !'' (he mildly cries) ** may Heaven display
A beam of glory o*er thy futare day !
Alas ! the brave too oft is doomM to bear
The gripes of poverty, and stinfrs of care.'*
■To whom with thoofiht mature the king replies :
** The tongue spealu wisely, when the soul is wise ;
Such was thy father ; in imperial state,
Creat without vice, that oft attends tht great t
Nor from the sire art thoa, the son, declniM ;
Then hear my words, and grave them in thy mmd !
Of all that breathes, or grovellins creeps on earth,
Most vain is mai^ ! jcalam^tous by birth :
ToH)ay. with power elate, in strength h^ blooms ;
The haughty creature op that power presumes :
Anon from Heaven a sad reverse he fccis ;
Untaught to bear, 'pinst Heaven the wretch rebels.
For man b changeliil, as his blifs or woe ;
Too high when prosperous, when distressed too Ipw.
There was a day, when with the scornful great
I sweird In pomp and arrogance of state ;
Proud of the power that to high birth belongs ;
And us'd that power to justify my wrongs.
Thcp let not man be proud ; but, firm of mind.
Bear €^e best humbly, and the worst resign^ :
JSp dumb when Heaven afflicts -, unlike yon train
Of haughty spoilers, insolently vain ;
Who make their queen and all her wealth a
But vengeance and Uljrsses wing their way.
Oh iqay'st thou, favou|^d by some goardiap power.
Far, far be distant in that de^ful hour !
For sure I am, if stem Ulysses breathe.
These lawless riots end in blood and death.'*
Then to the gods the rosv juice he pours.
And the drained goblet to the' chief restores.
Stung to the soul, o'ercast with hol^ dre^,
^e shook the graceful honours of his bead ; «
His boding mind the future woe forestalls i
In vain ! by great Telemachus he falls.
For Pallas seals his doom : all sad he turns
To jom the ptters ; resumes his throne, and mourns.
Meantime Minerva with instinctive fires
Thy soul, Penelope, from Heaven inspires :
With teUering hapes the suitors to betray.
And seem to* meet, vet fly, the bridal day :
Thy husband's wojader, apd thy son's, to raise ;
And crown the mother and the wife with praise.
Tben, while the 8tream}ng sorrow dims her eyes.
Thus with a transietii smile the matron cries :
*« Eurynom^ I to go whei^ riot reigns
I feel an impulse, though my'jfopl disdahis;
..To my lov'd son the snares of death to show,
A94 in the traitor-friend unmask the foe ;
Who, smooth of tongue, in purpose insincere,
ikiifes fraud in smiles, while death is ainbush'd
« Go, warn thy son, nor be the wamto| vain/'
(Keply'd the pagest of the royal train)
** But bath'd; anointed, and adom'd, descend;
Powerftil of charms, bid every grace attend;
The tide of flowin|[ tears a- while suppress 5
Tears but indulge the sorrow, not repress.
Some joy remains : 6) thee a son is given,
Such as, in fondness, parepts ask of Heaven.'*
" Ah roe ? forbear," returns the queen," forbear;
Oh ! talk not. talk not of vain beauty's care : "'
^o more I bathe, since he no longer sees
Tl^ose charms,' for whom alohc I wii>h to please.
The day that bore Ulytset from this coa^t.
Blasted the little bloom these cheeks could boast^
But instant bid Autonoi descend.
Instant Hippodami our steps attend ;
111 suits it female virtue to be seen
Alone, indecent, in the walks of meiL**
Then, while Entsmomd the mandate bears.
From Heaven Mmerva sboou with guardian cares ;
O'er all her senses, as the couch she press'd.
She pours a pleasing, deep, ai|d deathlike rest.
With every beauty every feature arms.
Bids her cheeks glow, and lights np all her charas^
In her love-darting eyes awakes the fipes,
(Immortal gifts! to kindle soft dcsirin)
From limb to limb an air miyestic sheds,
And the pure ivory o'er her boaom spreads.
Such Venus shines, when with a measur*d bound
She sfnoothly glidiug swims th* harmonious round 2
When witli the Graces in the dance she move^
And fires the gazinff gods with ardent loves.
Then to the skies her flight Minerva bendq,
And to the queen the damsel-train descends ;
Wak'd at their steps, her flowing eyes unckMe ;
The tear she wipes, and thus renews her woes :
" Hi^'er 'tis well^ that sleep awhile can free.
With sqft forgetfVUness, a wretch like me ;
Oh ! were it giy'n to yield this transient breath.
Send, O Diana, send the sleep of death :
Why must I waste a tedious life in tears^
Nor bury in the silent grave my cares ?
O my Ulysses ! ever-honour'd name ;
For thee I mourn, till death dissolves my fime.*?
Thus wailing, slow and sadly she descends,
On either hand a damsel-train attends :
Full where the dome its shining valves expands,
Radiant before the gazing peers she stands ;
A veil translucent o'er her brow display'd.
Her beauty seems, and only seems, to shade :
Sudden she lightens in their dazzled eyes.
And sudden Qamcs in every bosom rise ;
They send their eager souk with every look,
Till'^jlence thus th' imperial matron broke :
^ Oh why I my son, why now no mbre appears
That warm^ <f soul that urg'd thy younger yean (
Thy riper days nip g]powing worth impart,
A man in stature', still a boy in heart I
Thy well.)aj;t frame unprofltably strong.
Speaks th<ie an hero fhmi'an hero sprung;
But the just gods in vain those gifts bcst^,
Oh wise alone ip form, and 'brave in show !
Heavens ! could a stranger fle^l oppression's hand
beneath thy roof, apd coul^'st thou tamely stand I
If thou the stranger'^ righteous cause decline.
His is the sufferance^ but the shame is thine."
To whom, with filial awe, the prince returns :
" That generous soul with jtist resentment bumi ;
Yet, Uught by time, my heart has leam'd to %\ofr
For others' good, and melt at others' woe :
But, impotent these riots to repel,
I b^r their outrage, though my soul rebel :
Helpless amid the snares (^ death I tread,
And numbers leagued in impious union dread i
But now no crime is theirs : this wrong proceeds
Prom Irus, and the guilty Irus bleeds.
Oh would to Jove ; or her whose arms display
The shield of Jove, or him who rules the day !
That yon proud suitors, who lioentioos tread
These courts, within these courts like Irus '>'^*,.
Whom loose head tottering, as with wine oppre«» «,
Obliquely drops, aid noddfaig knocks his breasti
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HOMER'S ODYSSEY. BOOK XVIII.
Powcirless t^ oiove, bis staggering feet deny '
The inward wretch the privilege to fly.*'
Then to the queen Ettryiiiachus replies :
" Oh ji^tly lov'd, and not more fair than wise !
Should Greece through all her hundred states
surrey [sway ;
Thy finish'd charms, all Greece would own thy
In riTa^ crowds contest the glorious prize.
Dispeopling realo)s to gaze upon thy eyes :
b woman ! loneliest of the lovely kind,
In body perfect, and complete in mind !*' [shore
** Ah me !'* returns the queen, '* when firom this
Ulysses sail'd, then beauty was no more !
The gods decreed these eyes no more should keep
Their wonted grace, but only serve to weep.
£hould be return, whate'er my beauties prove.
My virtues last ; my brightest charm is love.
Now, pief, thou all art mine ! the gods overcast
My soul witl^ woes, that long! ah long must laU I
Too fiuthfnlly my heart retains the day
That sadly tore my royal lord away :
He grasp'd my hand, and, ' O my spouse ! I leave
' Thy arms,' (he cried) * perhaps to find a grave :
Fame speaks the Trojans bold ; they boast the skill
To give the feather'd arrow wings to kill.
To dart the spear, and guide the rushing car
With dreadful inroad through the walks of war^
My sentence b gone forth, and 'tis decreed
Perhaps by righteous Heaven that I must bleed !
My &ther, mother, all I trust to thee ;
To them, to them transfer the love of me :
But, when my son grows man, the royal sway
Kesign, and happy be thy bridal day !'
Such were bis words; and Hymen now prepares
To light bis torch and give me up to cares ;
rk' afflictive hand of wrathful Jove to bear :
wretch the most complete' that breathes the
Fall'n even below the rights to woman due !
/Careless to please, with insolence ye woo !
The generous lovers, studious to succeed,
Bid their whole herds and flocks in banquets bleed ;
By precious gifts the vow sincere display :
You, only yon, make ber ye love your prey."
Well-pleas'd Ulysses hears his queen deceive
The suitor train, and raise a thirst to give :
False bo^s she kindles, but those hopes betray,
Axid promise, yet elude, the bridal day.
While yet she speaks, the gay Antinous' cries:
** Ofispring of kings, and more than woman wise !
TIs right ; 'tis man's prerogative to give.
And custom bids thee without shame receive ;
Yet never, 'nevej',' from thy dome we move.
Till Hymen lights the torch of spousal love.''
The peofs'dispatch tlyeir heralds, to convey
Thegifis<iflovcj with speed they take the way.
A robe Antinous gives of shining dyes,
The varying hues in ga^ confusion rise
Rich firom the artistes hand ! Twelve cla^ of gold
Close to the lessening loins the vest infold ;
"Down from the swellii^' waist the vest unbound
Floats in bri^t waves redundant o'er the ground,
il bracelet rich with go|d, with amber |ay^
That rtiot effulgence like the solar ray,
Borymachns presents : and ear-rings bright.
With triple stars, that cast a trembling Tight,
^isander bears a neckhice wrought with art :
And every peer, expressive of his heart,
A gift bestows: this done, the queen ascends^
4^1 sMt bkhlnd her damsel-tram atjtendf.
Then to the dance they form the vccal strain,
TtU Hesperus leads forth the starry train ;
And now he raises, as the day-light fades.
His golden circlet in the deepening shades :
Three vases heaped with copious £es display
O'er all the palace a fictitious d«y ;
Prom space tii space the torch wide-beaming bttms.
And sprightly damsels trim the rays by turns.
To whom the king : *< 111 suits your sex to stay
Alone with men ! ye modest maids, away ?
Go, with the queen the spindle guide; or cuU
(The partners of her cares) the silver wool ;
Be it my task the torches to sopply,
Ev'n till the morning lamp adorns the sky ;
Ev'n till the morning, with unwearied care,
Sleepless I watch ; for I have leam'd te bear.^
Scornful they heard: Melantho, fair and yonng^
(Meiantho from the loins of Dolius sprung.
Who with the queen her years an infant Icdl-
With the soft fondness of a daughter bred)
Chiefly derides : regardless of the cares
Her queen endures, pollnted joys she shares
Nocturnal with F.urymachus ! With eyes
That speak disdain, the wanton thus replies :
" Oh ! whither wanders thy distemper'd brain
Thou bold intruder on a princely train ?
Hence to the vagrant's rendezvous repair ;
Or shun in some black forge the midnight air*
Proceeds this boldness from a turn of sonl.
Or flows licentious from the copious bow] }
Is it that vanquish'd Irus swelh thy mind ?
A foe may meet thee of a braver kind.
Who, shortening with a storm of blows thy stay
Shall send thee bowling all in blood away!'* '
To whom with frowns : ** O impudent in wrong !
Thy lord shall curb that insolence of tongue :
Know, to Telemachns I tell th' offence ;
The scourge, the scourge shall lash thee into sense.'*
With conscious shame t^ey hear the stem rebuke, .
Nor longer durst sustain the sovereign look.
Tlien to the servile task the monarch turns
His royal hands; each torch refulgent burns
With added day : meanwhile, in museful mood
Absorpt in thought, on vengeance fix d he stood.
And now the martial maid, by deeper wrongs
To rouse Ulysses, points the suitors tongues.
Scornful of age to Uunt the virtuous man ;
Thoughtless and gay, Eurymacbus began :
" Hear me" (he cries) "confederates and friends!
Some god, no doubt, this stranger kindly sends ;
The shining baldness of his head survey,
It aids our torch-light and reflects the ray. '*
Then to the king that levell'd haughty Troy,
" Say, if large hire can tempt thee to employ
Those hands in work ; to tend the rural trade.
To dress the walk, and form th' embowering shade ?
So food and raiment constant will 1 give :
But idly thus thy soul prefers to live.
And starve by strolling, not by work to thrive."
Tp whom incens'd : " Should we, O prince,
In rival tasks beneatb the burning rage
Of summer suns ; were both constrain'd to wield,
Foodless, the scythe along the burthen'd field;
Or should we laboqr, while the ploughshare wounds.
With steers of equal strength, th' allotted grounds :
Beneath my labours how thy wondering eyes
Might see the sable field at once arjse !
Should Jeve dire war unloose ; with spear and shield.
And nodding helm, I tread th' ensangnin'^ field.
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Fierce in the van ; then wooM^st thou, would'st
thou, — feay,—
Misname me, glutton, Sn that glorious day ?
No, thy ill.judging thoughts the brave disgrace;
'Tjs thou injurious art, not I am base.
Proud to seem brave among a coward train !
But know, thou art not valorous, but vain.
Gods! should the stem Ulysses rii«e in might.
These gates would seem too narrow for thy flight"
V'^hile yet he speaks, Eurymachus replies,
With indignation flasliing in his eyes :
" Slave, I with justice might deserve the wroog !
Should I not punish that opprobrious tongue, .
Irreverent to the great, and uncontroll'd,
Art thou from wine, or innate folly, bold ?
Perhaps these outrages from Irns flow,
A worthless triumph o*er a worthless foe !**
He said, and with full force a fwtstool threw :
WbirPd from his arm, with erring rage it flew;
Ulysses, cautious of the vengeful foe.
Stoops to the ground, and disappoints the blow.
Not so a youth who deals the goblet ronnd,
Full on his shoulder it inflicts a wound,
Dash'd ftpm bis hand the sounding goblet flies,
He shrieks, he reels, he falls, and breathless lies.
Then wild uproar aiyl clamour moqnts the sky»
T!H mutual thus the peers indignant cry :
*' Oh ! had this stranger simk to i^ms beneath,
To the black realms <3' darkness and of death,
Ere yet he (rod these shores ! to strife he draws
Peer against peer ; and what the weighty cause ?
A vagabond ! for him the great destroy,
In vile ignoble jars, the feast of joy."
To whom the stem Tclemachus uprose :
•'Gods! what wild folly from the goblet flows ?
Whence this unguarded openness of soul,
But from the license of the copious bowl ?
Or Heaven delusion sends : but hence, away !
Force I forbear, and without force obey."
Silent, abashM, they hear the stem rebuke.
Till thus Amphinomus the silence broke :
" Troe are his words, and he whom truth offends^
Not with Telemachus, but truth, contends ;
Let not the hand of violence invade
The revercfid strangf^r, or the 5p»)tless maid ;
Ketirc we hence, but crown with rosy wine
The flowin^? goblet to the powers olivine ;
Guard he his guest beneath whose roof he stands, .
This justice, this the social rite, demands."
The peers assent: the goblet MuIijis crown'd
With purple juice, and bore in order round i
Each peer successive his libation pours
To the blest gods wf o flII th* aerial bowers;
Then, swill'd with wine, *ith noise the crowds obey,
And, rushing forth, tumultuous reel away.
THB DXSCOWtr 0¥ tJLYSSBS TO BUBrciEA.
VlYssis and his son remove the weapons out of the
armoury. Ulyss^, in conversation with Pe-
nelope, gives a flctitions account of bis adven*
tures ; then assures her, he had formerlj^ enter*
taioed her husband in Crete ; and describes ex-
actly his person and dress, affirms to hate heard
of him in Pheacia and Thesprotia, and that his
return is certain, and within a ponth. He then
goes to bathe, and is attended by Euryclea, who
discoveries him to be Ulysses by the scar upon
his leg, whfch he formerly received in hunting
the wild boar on Parnassus. The poet inserts a
digression, relating that accident, with all lis
Consulting secret with the blue-ey'd maid.
Still in the dome divine Ulysses stayed :
Revenge mature for act inflam'd his breast;
And thus the son the fervi?nt sire addressed :
'• Instant convey those steely stores of war *
To distant rooms, disposM with secret care:
The cause demanded by the suitor- train.
To soothe their frars, a specious reason feign: *
Say, since Ulysses leJFt his natal coast.
Obscene with smoke, their beamy lustre lost.
His arms deform'd, the roof they won't adorn :
From the glad walls inglorious lumber torn.
Suggest, that Jove the peaceful thought inspired.
Lest they by sight of swords to fury fir*d.
Dishonest wounds, or violence of soul,
I}efame the bridal feast, and friendly bowl.'*
The prince, obedient to the sage command.
To Euryclea thus : " The female band
In their apartments keep ; secure the doors :
These swaithy arms among the covert stores
Are seemlier hid; my thoughtless youth they -
ImbrownM with vapour of the smouldering flame.**
" In happy hour,** (pleased Euryclea cries)
Tutor*d by eariy woes, grow early wise !
Inspect with sbarpenM sight, and frugal care.
Your patrimonial wealth, a prudent heir.
But who the lighted taper will provide,
(The female train retir'd) your toils to guide ?"
** Without infringing hospitable rite.
This guest" (he cried) " shall bear the guiding
I cheer no lazy vagrants with repast; [light r
They share the meal that earn it ere they taste."
He said ; trom fomale ken she straight secures
The purposed deed, and guards the bolted doors;
Auxiliar to his son, Ulysses bears
The plumy-crested helms, and pointed spears.
With shields indented deep in glorious wars, j
Minerva viewless on her charge attends.
And with her golden lamp his toil befriends;
Not such the sickly beams, which, irasin^re.
Gild the cross vapour of this nether sphere !
A presenttlfity the prince confest,
And wrapt with ecstasy the sire addressed :
•"What miracle thus dazzles with surprise !
Distinct in rows the radiant columns rise :
The walla, whcreVr my wondering sight 1 tur%
And roofs, amidst a blaze of glory bum!
Some visitant of pure etherealrace, ^
With his bright presence deigns the dome to grace.
*' Becalm," replies the sire, *' to Jionc impart.
But oft i-evolve the vision in thy heart:
Celestials, mantled in excess of light, "
Can visit unapproach'd by mortal sight.
Seek thou repose ; whilst here I sole remain,
P explore the conduct of the female train i
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HOMER'S ODYSSEY. BOOK XIX.
The penite queen, perchance, detiret to knov .
The teriee of my toils, to soothe her woe."
With tapers ietning day- his train attends.
His Wight alcove tfa* obiNiuiofis youth aiu^ends :
Soft slnmherous shades his drooping: eye-lids close,
Till on her eastern throne Aurora flows.
Whilst, forming plans of deaths, Ulysses stay'd
In council secret with the martial maid ;
Attendant nymphs in beauteoiu order wait
The queen, descending from her bower of state.
Her cheeks the warmer blush of Venus wear,
CbastenM with coy I>iana*« pensive air.
An ivory seat with silver ringlets graced,
By fam'd IcBialius wrought, the menials placM :
With ivory silvered thick the foot- stool shone,
0*eT which the panther's various hide was thrown.