Alfred John Church.

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remembrance any more ; for, indeed, my heart
is filled with sorrow, if any man put me in
mind of my lord. As for thine oath, let it be.
Earnestly do I pray that Ulysses may indeed
return ; for this is my desire, and the desire of
his wife, and of the old man Laertes, and of
Telemachus. And now I am troubled concern-
ing Telemachus also. I thought that he would
be no worse a man than his father; but some one,
whether it were god or man I know not, reft
him of his wits, and he went to Pylos, seeking


news of his father. And now the suitors lie
in wait for him, desiring that the race of
Ulysses may perish utterly out of the land.
Yet of him also I will say no more, whether
he die or escape by help of Zeus. Come now,
old man, and tell me who art thou, and
whence ? On what ship did thou come, for that
by ship thou earnest to Ithaca I do not doubt."

Then Ulysses answered : " Had we food and
wine to last us for a year, and could sit quietly
here and talk, while others go to their work,
so long I should be in telling thee fully all my
troubles that I have endured upon the earth.
But my tale is this :

" I am a Cretan, the son of one Castor, by a
slave woman. Now my father, while he lived,
did by me as by his other sons. But when he
died they divided his goods, and gave me but
a small portion, and took my dwelling from
me. Yet I won a rich wife for myself, for I
was brave and of good repute. No man would
sooner go to battle or to ambush than I, and
I loved ships and spears and arrows, which,
methinks, some men hate. Nine times did I


lead my followers in ships against strangers,
and the tenth time I went with Kin^ Idome-


neus to Troy. And when the city of Priam
had perished, I went back to my native coun-
try, and there for the space of one month I
tarried with my wife, and afterwards I sailed
with nine ships to Egypt. On the fifth day
for the gods gave us a prosperous voyage
we came to the river of Egypt. There did my
comrades work much wrong to the people of
the land, spoiling their fields, and leading into
captivity their wives and children ; nor would
they hearken to me when I would have stayed
them. Then the Egyptians gathered an army,
and came upon them, and slew some and took
others. And I, throwing down helmet and
spear and shield, hasted to the King of the
land, where he sat in his chariot, and prayed
that he would have mercy on me, which thing
he did. And with him I dw r elt for seven years,
gathering much wealth. But in the eighth
year there came a trader of Phoenicia, who
beguiled me, that I went with him to his
country. And there I tarried for a year ; and


afterwards he carried me in his ship to Libya,
meaning to sell me as a slave, but Zeus brake
the ship, so that I only was left alive. Nine
days did I float, keeping hold of the mast, and
on the tenth a wave cast me on the land of
Thresprotia, where King Pheidon kindly en-
treated me, giving me food and raiment.
There did I hear tell of Ulysses ; yea, and saw
the riches which he had gathered together,
which King Pheidon was keeping till he him-
self should come back from Dodona, from the
oracle of Zeus. Thence I sailed in a ship for
Dulichium, purposing to go to King Acastus,
but the sailors were minded to sell me for a
slave. Therefore they left me bound in the
ship, but themselves took their supper on the
shore. But in the meanwhile I brake my
bonds, the gods helping me, and leaping into
the sea, swam to the land, and hid myself in a
wood that was near."

Then said the swineherd : " Stranger, thou
hast stirred my heart with the tale of all that
thou hast suffered. But in this thing, I fear,
thou speakest not aright, saying that Ulysses


will return. Well I know that he was hated of
the gods, in that they neither smote him when
he was warring against the men of Troy, nor
afterwards among his friends, when the war
was ended. Then would the host have builded
for him a great barrow; and he would have
won great renown for himself and for his chil-
dren. But now he hath perished ingloriously
by the storms of the sea. As for me, I dwell
apart with the swine, and go not into the city,
save when Penelope bids me come, because
there have been brought, no man knows
whence, some tidings of my master. Then
all the people sit about the bringer of news,
and question him, both those who desire their
lord's return, and those who delight in devour-
ing his substance without recompense. But I
care not to ask questions, since the time when
a certain yEtolian cheated me with his story.
He too had slain a man, and had wandered
over many lands, and when he came to my
house, I dealt kindly with him. This fellow
said that he had seen my lord with Idomeneus,
King of Crete, and that he was mending his


ships which the storm had broken. Also he
said that he would come home when it was
summer, or, haply, harvest time, and would
bring much wealth with him. But thou, old
man, seek not to gain my favour with lies, nor
to comfort me with idle words. Such things


will not incline me to thee, but only the fear
of Zeus, and pity for thee."

But Ulysses answered, " Verily, thou art
slow 7 of heart to believe. Even with an oath
have I not persuaded thee. But come, let us
make an agreement together, and the gods
shall be our witnesses. If thy lord shall re-
turn, then shalt thou give me a mantle and a
tunic, and send me on my way, whither I desire
to go. But if he come not back according to
my word, then let thy men throw me down
from a great rock, that others may fear to

Then the swineherd said : " Much credit,
truly, should I gain among men, if, having
entertained thee in my house, I should turn
and slay thee ; and with a good heart, here-
after, should I pray to Zeus. But it is time


for supper, and I would that my men were
returned that we might make ready a meal."

While he spake, the swine and the swine-
herds drew near; and Eumaeus called to his
fellows, saying: " Bring the best of the swine,
for I would entertain a guest who comes from
far. Verily, we endure much toil for these
beasts, while others devour them, and make no

So they brought a hog of five years old ; and
the swineherd kindled a fire, and when he had
cast bristles from the hog into the fire, to do
honour to the gods, he slew the beast, and made
ready the flesh. Seven portions he made ; one
he set apart for the nymphs and for Hermes,
and of the rest he gave one to each. But
Ulysses had the chief portion, even the chine.

Then was Ulysses glad, and spake, saying,
" Eumaeus, mayest thou be as dear to Zeus,
even as thou hast dealt kindly with me."

And Eumaeus answered : " Eat, stranger,
and make merry with what thou hast. The
gods give some things, and some things they


Now the night was cold, and it rained with-
out ceasing, for the west wind, that ever
bringeth rain, was blowing ; and Ulysses was
minded to try the swineherd, whether he
would give him his own mantle, or bid another
do so. Therefore, when they were about to
sleep, he said :

" Listen to me ; for wine, that ever driveth
the wits out of a man, bids me speak. O that
I was young, and my strength unbroken, as in
the days when we fought before the city of Troy.

" Once upon a time we laid an ambush near
to the city of Troy. And Menelaiis and
Ulysses and I were the leaders of it. In the
reeds we sat, and the night was cold, and
the snow lay upon our shields. Now all the
others had cloaks, but I had left mine behind
at the ships. So, when the night was three
parts spent, I spake to Ulysses, ' Here am I
without a cloak ; soon, methinks, shall I perish
with the cold.' Soon did he bethink him of a
remedy, for he was ever ready with counsel.
Therefore he said : ' Hush, lest some one hear
thee ; ' and to the others, ' I have been warned


in a dream. We are very far from the ships,
and in peril. Wherefore, let some one run to
the ships, to King Agamemnon, that he send
more men to help.' Then Thoas, son of
Andraemon, rose up and ran, casting off his
cloak ; and this I took, and slept warmly
therein. Were I this night such as then I
was, I should not lack such kindness even now."

Then said Eumaeus : " This is well spoken,
old man. Thou shalt have a cloak to cover
thee. But in the morning thou must put on
thy own rags again. Yet, perchance, when
the son of Ulysses shall come, he will give
thee new garments."

Thereupon he arose, and set a bed for
Ulysses, making it with sheepskins and goat-
skins, near to the fire ; and when Ulysses lay
down, he cast a thick cloak over him, that he
had in store, if any great storm should arise.
But he himself slept beside the boars, to guard
them; and Ulysses was glad to see that he
was very careful for his master's substance,
even though he was so long time away.




Now all this time Telemachus tarried in
Sparta with King Menelaiis, and the son of
Nestor was with him. To him, therefore,
Athene went. Nestor's son she found over-
come with slumber, but Telemachus could not
sleep for thoughts of his father. Athene stood
near him, and spake, saying :

" It is not well, Telemachus, that thou
shouldest tarry longer away from thy home, for
there are some who spoil and devour thy sub-
stance. Come, therefore, rouse thy host Mene-
laiis, and pray him that he send thee on thy
way, if haply thou mayest yet find thy mother
in her home. For her father and her brethren
are instant with her that she should take Eu-
rymachus for her husband, seeing that he hath
far surpassed all the other suitors in his gifts.
Take heed, therefore, lest she take some treas-


ure from thy house, for the heart of a woman
is ever set on increasing the wealth of him who


shall take her to wife, but of her children, and
of him that was her husband before, she taketh
no thought. Go, then, and put thy substance
into the hands of some woman in thy house-
hold whom thou judges! to be most trusty,
until the gods find thee a wife. Hearken also


to another matter. The bravest of the suitors
lie in wait for thee in the strait that is between
Ithaca and Samos, desirous to slay thee before
thou shalt come again to thy home. Keep thy
ship, therefore, far from the place, and sail both
by night and by day, and- one of the gods shall
send thee a fair breeze. Also, when thou com-
est to the land of Ithaca, send thy ship and
thy company to the city, but seek thyself the
swineherd Eumaeus, for he hath been ever true
to thee. Rest there the night, and bid him go
to the city on the day following, and carry tid-
ings to thy mother of thy safe return."

Then Telemachus woke the son of Nestor,
touching him with his heel, and saying :
" Awake, son of Nestor, bring up thy horses,


and yoke them to the chariot, that we may go
upon our way."

But Peisistratus made answer : " We may
not drive through the darkness, how ea^er

o o

soever we be to depart. Soon will it be dawn.
Tarry thou till Menelatis shall bring his gifts
and set them on the car, and send thee on thy
way, for a guest should take thought of the
host that showeth him kindness."

And when the morning was come, and
Menelatis was risen from his bed, Telemachus
spake to him, saying, " Menelaus, send me
now with all speed to my own country, for I
am greatly desirous to go there."

To him Menelaus made answer : " I will not
keep thee long, seeing that thou desirest to
return ; it were shame in a host to be over
gracious or lacking in grace. To be moderate
is better, neither speeding him that would fain
stay nor keeping him that would fain depart.
But stay till I bring my gifts and set them in
the chariot. Let me also bid the women pre-
pare the meal in my hall, for it is both honour
to me and a profit to you that ye should eat


well before ye set forth on a far journey. But
if thou wilt go further through the land, even
to Hellas and Argos, then let me go with thee ;
to many cities will we go, and none will send
us empty away."

But Telemachus said : " Not so, Menelaus ;
rather would I go back straightway to mine
own land, for I left none to watch over my
goods. It were ill done were I to perish seek-
ing my father, or to lose some precious posses-
sion out of my house."

Then Menelaus bade his wife and the maids
prepare the meal, and his squire he bade kindle
a fire and roast flesh ; and he himself went to
his treasury, and Helen and Megapenthes with
him. He himself took therefrom a double cup,
and bade Megapenthes bear a mixing-bowl of
silver ; as for Helen, she took from her coffers
a robe that she had wrought with her own


hands. The fairest it was of all, and shone as
shines a star, and it lay beneath all the rest.
Then said Menelaus : " Take this mixing-


bowl ; it is wrought of silver, but the lips are
finished with gold ; Hephaestus wrought it


with his own hands, and the King of the
Sidonians gave it me. This cup also I give

And beautiful Helen came, holding the robe
in her hands, and spake, saying: " Take, dear
child, this memorial of Helen's handiwork;
keep it against thy marriage day, for thy
bride to wear. Meanwhile, let thy mother
have charge of it. And now mayest thou
return with joy to thy native country and thy
home ! "

Then they sat down to eat and drink ; and
when they had finished, then did Telemachus
and Nestor's son yoke the horses and climb
into the chariot.

But Menelaiis came forth brinmnor wine in a

o o

cup of gold, that they might pour out an offer-
ing to the gods before they departed. And he
stood before the horses, and spake, saying :

" Farewell, gallant youths, and salute Nestor
for me ; verily, he was as a father to me, when
we were waging war against Troy."

To him Telemachus made answer : " That
will we do ; and may the gocls grant that I


find my father at home and tell him what
grace I have found in thy sight ! '

But even as he spake there flew forth at his
right hand an eagle, carrying a goose in his
claws, that he had snatched from the yard, and
men and women followed it with loud shout-
ing. Across the horses it flew, still going to the
right ; and they were glad when they saw it.

Then said Nestor's son: " Think, Menelaus!
Did Zeus send this sign to us or thee? '

But while Menelaus pondered the matter,
Helen spake, saying: " Hear me when I say
what the gods have put in my heart. Even as
this eagle came down from the hill where he
was bred, and snatched away the goose from
the house, so shall Ulysses come back to his
home after many wanderings, and take ven-
geance; yea, even now he is there, devising evil
for the suitors."

And Telemachus cried aloud, " May Zeus
so ordain it ! '

Then they departed and sped across the
plain. That night they tarried at Pherae ; but
when they came the next day to Pylos, Telem-


achus said to Peisistratus : " Son of Nestor,
wilt thou be as a friend to me, and do my bid-
ding ? Leave me at my ship ; take me not
past, lest the old man, thy father, keep me out
of his kindness against my will, for, indeed, I
am desirous to go home."

And Nestor's son did so. He turned his
horses towards the shore and the ship. And
coming there, he took out the gifts, and laid
them in the hinder part of the ship. This
done, he called Telemachus and said : " Climb
now into thy ship, and depart, ere I can reach
my home. Well I know that my father will
come down, and bid thee return with him to his
house ; nor, indeed, if he find thee here, will he
go back without thee, so wilful is he of heart."

And Telemachus bade his companions climb
on to the ship ; and they did so.

But while he was making ready, and pray-
ing, and making a burnt offering to Athene,
came one who had slain a man, and was flee-
ing from Argos. A soothsayer he was, Theo-
clymenus by name, and he was of the lineage
of Melampus. (This Melampus stole the oxen


of Phylaeus that he might win the daughter of
Neleus for his brother.)

This man stood by the ship, and said, " Tell
me truly who thou art, and from what city
thou comest."

Telemachus made answer: " Stranger, I will


tell thee all. I am of Ithaca, and my father is
Ulysses. I have gone forth with my ship, that
I may hear tidings of him."

Then said the soothsayer: "I have fled from
my country, because I slew one of my own
kindred. Take me, therefore, on board thy
ship, for the avengers, even now, are following
hard after me."

To him Telemachus made reply: "If thou
desirest to come, I will not drive thee away.
Come with us to Ithaca, and I will give thee
of such things as I have."


So they departed ; and Athene sent a wind
that blew from behind, and they sped on their

Meanwhile Ulysses sat with the swineherd
and his men, and supped. And Ulysses, will-
ing to try the man's temper, said : " In the


morning I would fain go to the city, for I
would not be burdensome to thee. Let me
rather go to the city if, perchance, some one
there may give me a cup of water and a morsel
of bread. Verily, to the house of Ulysses
would I go, if haply the suitors might give
me a meal. Well could I serve them. No
man can light a fire, or cleave wood, or carve
flesh, or pour out wine, better than I."

" Nay," said the swineherd, " thou hadst best
not go among the suitors, so proud and law-
less are they. They that serve them are not
such as thou. They are young, and fair, and
gaily clad, and their heads are anointed with oil.
Abide rather here; thou art not burdensome to
us ; and when the son of Ulysses shall come, he
will give thee, may be, a mantle and a tunic."

Ulysses answered : " Now may Zeus bless
thee for thy kindness in that thou makest me
cease from my wanderings. Surely, nothing
is more grievous to a man than to wander ; but
hunger compels him. Tell me now about the
mother of Ulysses and about his father. Are
they yet alive ? '


Then said the swineherd : " I will tell thee
all. Laertes, the father of Ulysses, yet lives;
yet doth he daily pray to die, such sorrow hath
he for his son, who is far away from his home,
and for his wife, that is dead. Verily, it was
her death that brought him to old age before

o o

his time. And it was of grief for her son that
she died. Much kindness did I receive at her
hands, while she yet lived ; but now I lack it.
As for my lady Penelope, a great trouble hath
fallen upon her house, even a plague of evil-
minded men."

Then said Ulysses to Eumaeus : " Tell me
now how it came to pass that thou didst wan-
der far from thy parents when thou wast yet a
little child. Did enemies sack the town in
which thy father dwelt, or did men find thee
by thyself, tending a flock or a herd, and sell
thee across the sea ? '

Then the swineherd told this tale :

" There is a certain island called Syria. Not

many men dwell there ; but it is a fertile land,

with many flocks, and plenty of corn and wine.

Never doth famine come there, nor wasting


disease, but when the men grow old Apollo slay-
eth them with his painless shafts, and the women
Artemis. There are two cities in the island,
and my father reigned over both.

" Now there was in my father's house a cer-
tain Phoenician woman. Tall she was, and
fair, and skilful in handiwork. And there
came to the island certain Phoenicians in a
ship, with merchandise of women's ornaments
and the like. These men beguiled the woman
that was in my father's house. One of them
asked her who she was and whence she came,
and she said to him: ' I come from Sidon, and
my father's name is Arybas. But the sea-
robbers, the Taphians, stole me away, as I
came home from the fields, and carried me
across the sea, and sold me to my master for
a goodly price.' Then the man said : ' Wilt
thou return with us, and see again thy home,
and thy father and thy mother, for they yet
live, and are reputed to be wealthy ? ' The
woman answered : ' That I would gladly do,
if ye will swear to me to bring me back to
my home.' Then they sware to her as she


desired. Thereupon the woman said: 'Hold
now your peace, and let none speak to me,
or greet me, if ye chance to meet me in the
city or at the well, lest haply some one tell
the matter to my master. Then would he put
me in bonds and would slay you. But when
your ship is fully freighted, then send a mes-
sage to me in my master's house. Then will
I come with all the treasure on which I can
lay my hands. And there is another thing
which also I would gladly pay for my passage.
I am nurse to my master's son, a little boy that
runs abroad with me. Him will I bring on
board your ship, and ye can sell him for a
great price.'

" For a whole year did these strangers abide
in the land, gathering much wealth. And at
the end of the year, they sent a message to the
Phoenician woman. In this wise they sent it.
There came one of them to my father's house,
having with him a chain of gold strung with
balls of amber. And while my mother and the
maidens in the hall were handling the chain
and bargaining for it, he nodded silently to the


woman, and after awhile departed. Then the
woman took me by the hand, and led me forth.
And as she went she found three goblets,
where the guests of my father had been feast-
ing. These she took up, and hid in her bosom,
and I followed her, knowing nothing. So we
went down to the ship, and it was now night.
Then did the Phoenicians take us on board,
and set sail, and Zeus sent a favourable wind.
For six days they sailed, and on the seventh
Artemis slew the woman with her shafts, and
she fell into the hold. The men cast her forth
to be the prey of the fishes, but I was left in
sadness. Then the wind carried them to Ithaca.
There Laertes bought me. So came I hither."

Then said Ulysses : " The gods have given
thee good as well as evil, for they have brought
thee to the house of a kindly man."

After this the two lay down and slept.




TELEMACHUS in his ship came safe to the
island of Ithaca, at the place that was nearest
to the swineherd's house. There they beached
the ship, and made it fast with anchors at the
fore part and hawsers at the stern, and they
landed, and made ready a meal.

When they had now had enough of meat
and drink, Telemachus said : " Take now the
ship to the city. I will come thither in the
evening, having first seen my farm ; and then
I will pay you your wages."

Then said Theoclymenus : " Whither shall
I go, my son ? To the house of any other man
in Ithaca, or to the house of thy mother ? '

Telemachus made answer : " At other times
I would bid thee go to our own house, for there
is no lack of entertainment in it ; but now thou
wouldest fare but ill, for I shall not be there,


and my mother will see no one, but sits apart
in her chamber, and weaves at her web. Go,
therefore, to the house of Eurymachus. He is
the best of all the suitors, and most honoured of
the people. But what his end and the end of
his fellows will be, I know not."

Even as he spake a bird flew upon his
right ; a hawk it was, holding a dove in her
talons. The hawk plucked the dove of its
feathers, and shed them down to the ground
between Theoclymenus and the ship.

Then the seer called Telemachus aside, and
said to him : " This flying of the bird was of


the gods' doing. There is no more kingly
house than yours in Ithaca ; right soon shall
ye have the mastery."

Then Telemachus spake to Peiraeus, whom
he trusted more than any of his companions
besides, saying, " Take this stranger home
with thee, and treat him well till I come."

Peiraeus answered, " Though thou tarry a
long while, Telemachus, yet shall he not lack
good cheer."

After this the ship went on to the city, and


Telemachus went up to the herdsman's house.

Now the herdsman and Ulysses had kindled
a fire, and were making ready breakfast.

And Ulysses heard the steps of a man, and,

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Online LibraryAlfred John ChurchThe story of the Odyssey → online text (page 9 of 15)