תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Together clung, it rolls around the field;
So rollid the float, and so its texture held :
And now the south, and now the north, bears

sway,
And now the east the foamy floods obey,
And now the west wind whirls it o'er the sea.
The wandering chief, with toils on toils op-

press’d, Leucothea saw,

and pity touch'd her breast (Herself a mortal once, of Cadmus' strain, But now an azure sister of the main): Swift as a seamew springing from the flood, All radiant on the raft the goddess stood; Then thus address'd him— Thou, whom Heaven

decrees To Neptune's wrath, stern tyrant of the seas, (Unequal contest!) not his

rage

and treat as he is, such virtue shall devour. What I suggest thy wisdom will perform: Forsake thy float, and leave it to the storm; Strip off thy garments; Neptune's fury brave With naked strength, and plunge into the wave. To reach Phæacia all thy nerves extend: There Fate decrees thy miseries shall end. This heavenly scarf beneath thy bosom bind, And live; give all thy terrors to the wind. Soon as thy arms the happy shore shall gain, Return the gift, and cast it in the main; Observe my orders, and with heed obey, Cast it far off, and turn thy eyes away.'

With that, her hand the sacred veil bestows, Then down the deeps she dived from whence

power,

she rose;

A moment snatch'd the shining form away,
And all was cover'd with the curling sea.

Struck with amaze, yet still to doubt inclined, He stands suspended, and explores his mind. • What shall I do? Unhappy me! who knows But other gods intend me other woes? Whoe'er thou art, I shall not blindly join Thy pleaded reason, but consult with mine: For scarce in ken appears that distant isle Thy voice foretells me shall conclude

my

toil. Thus then I judge: while yet the planks sustain The wild waves' fury, here I fix'd remain; But when their texture to the tempest yields, I launch adventurous on the liquid fields, Join to the help of gods the strength of man, And take this method, since the best I can.'

While thus his thoughts an anxious council hold, The raging god a watery mountain rolld; Like a black sheet the whelming billows spread, Burst o'er the float, and thunder'd on his head. Planks, beams, disparted fly: the scatter'd wood Rolls diverse, and in fragments strows the flood. So the rude Boreas, o'er the field new shorn, Tosses and drives the scatter'd heaps of corn, And now a single beam the chief bestrides; There, poised a while above the bounding tides, His limbs discumbers of the clinging vest, And binds the sacred cincture round his breast: Then prone on ocean in a moment flung, Stretch'd wide his eager arms, and shot the seas All naked now, on heaving billows laid, salong. Stern Neptune eyed him, and contemptuous said —

•Go, learn’d in woes, and other woes essay! Go, wander helpless on the watery way: Thus, thus find out the destined shore, and then (If Jove ordains it) mix with happier men.

Whate'er thy fate, the ills our wrath could raise Shall last remember'd in thy best of days.'

This said, his seagreen steeds divide the foam, And reach high Ægæ and the towery dome. Now, scarce withdrawn the fierce earth-shaking power,

[hour, Jove's daughter, Pallas, watch'd the favouring Back to their caves she bade the winds to fly, And hush'd the blustering brethren of the sky. The drier blasts alone of Boreas sway, And bear him soft on broken waves away; With gentle force impelling to that shore Where Fate had destined he shall toil no more. And now two nights, and now two days were

pass’d, Since wide he wander'd on the watery waste; Heaved on the surge with intermitting breath, And hourly panting in the arms of death: The third fair morn now blazed

upon

the main; Then glassy smooth lay all the liquid plain, The winds were hush'd, the billows scarcely curl'd, And a dread silence still'd the watery world. When, lifted on a ridgy wave, he spies The land at distance, and with sharpen'd eyes, As pious children joy with vast delight When a loved sire revives before their sight (Who lingering long has callid on death in vain, Fix'd by some demon to the bed of pain, Till Heaven by miracle his life restore), So joys Ulysses at the' appearing shore; And sees (and labours onward as he sees) The rising forests, and the tufted trees. And now, as near approaching as the sound Of human voice the listening ear may wound,

Amidst the rocks he hears a hollow roar
Of murmuring surges breaking on the shore:
Nor peaceful port was there, nor winding bay,
To shield the vessel from the rolling sea,
But cliffs, and shaggy shores, a dreadful sight!
All rough with rocks, with foamy billows white.
Fear seized his slacken'd limbs and beating heart,
As thus he communed with his soul apart-

• Ah me! when o'er a length of waters toss'd,
These eyes at last behold the’unhoped-for coast,
No port receives me from the angry main,
But the loud deeps demand me back again.
Above sharp rocks forbid access; around
Roar the wild waves: beneath is sea profound!
No footing sure affords the faithless sand,
To stem too rapid, and too deep to stand.
If here I enter, my efforts are vain,
Dash'd on the cliffs, or heaved into the main;
Or round the island if my course I bend,
Where the ports open, or the shores descend,
Back to the seas the rolling surge may sweep,
And bury all my hopes beneath the deep:
Or some enormous whale the god may send
(For many such on Amphitrite attend):
Too well the turns of mortal chance I know,
And hate relentless of my heavenly foe.'

While thus he thought, a monstrous wave upbore The chief, and dash'd him on the craggy shore: Torn was his skin, nor had the ribs been whole, But instant Pallas enter'd in his soul. Close to the cliff with both his hands he clung, And stuck adherent, and suspended hung; Till the huge surge rollid off; then, backward sweep The refluent tides, and plunge him in the deep.

As when the polypus, from forth his cave
Torn with full force, reluctant beats the wave,
His ragged claws are stuck with stones and sands;
So the rough rock had shagg'd Ulysses' hands.
And now had perish’d, whelm'd beneath the main,
The’unhappy man; e'en fate had been in vain ;
But all subduing Pallas lent her

power,
And prudence saved him in the needful hour.
Beyond the beating surge his course he bore
(A wider circle, but in sight of shore),
With longing eyes, observing, to survey
Some smooth ascent, or safe-sequester’d-bay.
Between the parting rocks at length he spied
A falling stream with gentler waters glide;
Where to the seas the shelving shore declined,
And form'd a bay, impervious to the wind.
To this calm port the glad Ulysses press'd,
And hail'd the river, and its god address'd-
• Whoe'er thou art, before whose streams un-

known I bend, a suppliant at thy watery throne, Hear, azure king! nor let me fly in vain To thee from Neptune and the raging main. Heaven hears and pities hapless men like me, For sacred e’en to gods is misery: Let then thy waters give the weary rest, And save a suppliant, and a man distress’d.'

He pray’d, and straight the gentle stream subDetains the rushing current of his tides, (sides, Before the wanderer smooths the watery way, And soft receives him from the rolling sea. That moment, fainting as he touch'd the shore, He dropp'd his sinewy arms: his knees no more

« הקודםהמשך »