תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Then lose the cares of life in pleasing rest.-
Soon as the morn reveals the roseate east,
With sails we wing the masts, our anchors weigh,
Unmoor the fleet, and rush into the sea.
Ranged on the banks, beneath our equal oars
White curl'd the waves, and the vex'd ocean roars.
Then steering backward from the Pharian isle,
We gain the stream of Jove-descended Nile:
There quit the ships, ạnd on the destined shore
With ritual hecatombs the gods adore :
Their wrath atoned, to Agamemnon's name
A cenotaph I raise of deathless fame.
These rites to piety and grief discharged,
The friendly gods a springing gale enlarged:
The fleet swift tilting o’er the surges flew,
Till Grecian cliffs appear’d, a blissful view!

Thy patient ear hath heard me long relate
A story, fruitful of disastrous fate:
And now, young prince, indulge my fond request;
Be Sparta honour'd with his royal guest,
Till from his eastern goal the joyous sun
His twelfth diurnal race begins to run.
Meantime my train the friendly gifts prepare,
Three sprightly coursers, and a polish'd car:
With these, a goblet of capacious mould,
Figured with art, to dignify the gold
(Form’d for libation to the gods),, shall prove
A pledge and monument of sacred love.'

*My quick return (young Ithacus rejoin'd) Damps the warm wishes of my raptured mind: Did not

my
fate
my

needful haste constrain, Charm'd by your speech, so graceful and humane, Lost in delight the circling year would roll, While deep attention fix'd my listening soul. .

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But now to Pyle permit my destined way,
My loved associates chide my long delay:
In dear remembrance of your royal grace,
I take the present of the promised vase;
The coursers for the champaign sports, retain ;
That gift our barren rocks will render vain :
Horrid with cliffs, our meagre land allows
Thin herbage for the mountain goat to browse,
But neither mead nor plain supplies, to feed
The sprightly courser, or indulge his speed:
To sea-surrounded realms the gods assign
Small tract of fertile lawn, the least to mine.'

His hand the king with tender passion press’d,
And smiling, thus the royal youth address'd-
• O early worth! a soul so wise, and young,
Proclaims you from the sage Ulysses sprung.
Selected from my stores, of matchless price,
An urn shall recompense your prudent choice;
Not mean the massy mould of silver, graced
By Vulcan's art, the verge with gold enchased :
A pledge the sceptred power of Sidon gave,
When to his realm I plough’d the orient wave.'

Thus they alternate; while with artful care The menial train the regal feast prepare : The firstlings of the flock are doom'd to die; Rich fragrant wines the cheering bowl supply; A female band the gift of Ceres bring; And the gilt roofs with genial triumph ring.

Meanwhile, in Ithaca, the suitor powers In active games divide their jovial hours: In areas varied with mosaic art, Some whirl the disk, and some the javelin dart. Aside, sequester'd from the vast resort, Antinoüs sat spectator of the sport;

[ocr errors]

With great Eurymachus, of worth confess’d,
And high descent, superior to the rest;
Whom young Noëmon lowly thus address'd-

My ship equipp'd within the neighbouring port,
The prince, departing for the Pylian court,
Requested for his speed; but courteous, say
When steers he home, or why this long delay?
For Elis I should sail with utmost speed,
To’import twelve mares with their luxurious feed,
And twelve young mules, a strong laborious race,
New to the plough, unpractised in the trace.'

Unknowing of the course to Pyle design'd,
A sudden horror seized on either mind :
The prince in rural bower they fondly thought,
Numbering his flocks and herds, not far remote.

Relate (Antinoüs cries), devoid of guile,
When spread the prince his sail for distant Pyle?
Did chosen chiefs across the gulfy main
Attend his voyage, or domestic train?
Spontaneous did you speed his secret course,
Or was the vessel seized by fraud or force ?'

. With willing duty, not reluctant mind,
(Noëmon cried) the vessel was resign’d.
Who, in the balance, with the great affairs
Of courts, presume to weigh their private cares?
With him, the peerage next in power to you;
And Mentor, captain of the lordly crew,
Or some celestial in his reverend form,
Safe from the secret rock and adverse storm,
Pilots the course : for when the glimmering ray
Of yester dawn disclosed the tender day,
Mentor himself I saw, and much admired.—
Then ceased the youth, and from the court retired.

Confounded and appalld, the' unfinish'd game
The suitors quit, and all to council came:

1

Antinoüs first the assembled peers address’d, Rage sparkling in his eyes, and burning in his

breast. « () shame to manhood! shall one daring boy The scheme of all our happiness destroy? Fly unperceived, seducing half the flower Of nobles, and invite a foreign power? The ponderous engine raised to crush us all, Recoiling, on his head is sure to fall. Instant prepare me, on the neighbouring strand, With twenty chosen mates a vessel mann'd; For ambush'd close beneath the Samian shore His ship returning shall my spies explore : He soon his rashness shall with life atone, Seek for his father's fate, but find his own.'

With vast applause the sentence all approve; Then rise, and to the feastful hall remove: Swift to the queen the herald Medon ran, Who heard the consult of the dire divan: Before her dome the royal matron stands, And thus the message of his haste demands

• What will the suitors ? must my servant train
The' allotted labours of the day refrain,
For them to form some exquisite repast?
Heaven grant this festival may prove their last !
Or if they still must live, from me remove
The double plague of luxury and love !
Forbear, ye sons of insolence! forbear,
In riot to consume a wretched heir.
In the young soul illustrious thought to raise,
Were ye not tutor'd with Ulysses' praise?
Have not your fathers oft my

lord defined,
Gentle of speech, beneficent of mind ?
Some kings with arbitrary rage devour,
Or in their tyrant-minions vest the power:

Ulysses let no partial favours fall,
The people's parent, he protected all :
But absent now, perfidious and ingrate!
His stores ye ravage, and usurp

his state.
He thus-'O were the woes you speak the worst;
They form a deed more odious and accursed;
More dreadful than your boding soul divines;
But pitying Jove avert the dire designs !
The darling object of your royal care
Is mark’ to perish in a deathful snare;
Before he anchors in his native port,
From Pyle resailing and the Spartan court;
Horrid to speak! in ambush is decreed
The hope and heir of Ithaca to bleed !'

Sudden she sunk beneath the weighty woes, The vital streams a chilling horror froze : The big round tear stands trembling in her eye, And on her tongue imperfect accents die. At length, in tender language, interwove With sighs, she thus express'd her anxious love:

Why rashly would my son his fate explore, Ride the wild waves, and quit the safer shore? Did he, with all the greatly wretched, crave A blank oblivion, and a friendly grave?'

: 'Tis not (replied the sage) to Medon given To know, if some inhabitant of heaven In his young breast the daring thought inspired; Or if, alone with filial duty fired, The winds and waves he tempts in early bloom, Studious to learn his absent father's doom.'

The sage retired : unable to control The mighty griefs that swell her labouring soul, Rolling convulsive on the floor, is seen The piteous object of a prostrate queen,

« הקודםהמשך »