תמונות בעמוד

Loud laugh the rest, e'en Neptune laughs aloud, Yet sues importunate to loose the god: • And free (he cries), O Vulcan! free from shame Thy captives; I ensure the penal claim.'

Will Neptune (Vulcan then) the faithless trust? He suffers who gives surety for the' unjust: But

say, if that lewd scandal of the sky, To liberty restored, perfidious fly; Say, wilt thou bear the mulct?' He instant cries, • The mulct I bear, if Mars perfidious flies.'

To whom appeased —No more I urge delay! When Neptune sues, my part is to obey.' Then to the snares his force the god applies; They burst; and Mars to Thrace indignant flies. To the soft Cyprian shores the goddess moves, To visit Paphos and her blooming groves, Where to the power an hundred altars rise, And breathing odours scent the balmy skies: Conceald she bathes in consecrated bowers, The Graces unguents shed, ambrosial showers, Unguents that charm the gods!. she last assumes Herwondrous robes; and full the goddess blooms.

Thus sung the bard: Ulysses hears with joy, And loud applauses rend the vaulted sky.

Then to the sports his sons the king commands: Each blooming youth before the monarch stands, In dance unmatch'd! A wondrous ball is brought (The work of Polybus, divinely wrought), This youth with strength enormous bids it fly, And bending backward whirls it to the sky; His brother springing with an active bound, At distance intercepts it from the ground: The ball dismiss'd, in dance they skim the strand, Turn and return, and scarce imprint the sand.

The'assembly, gazes with astonish'd

eyes, And sends in shouts applauses to the skies.

Then thus Ulysses— Happy king, whose name The brightest shines in all the rolls of fame: In subjects happy! with surprise I gaze; Thy praise was just; their skill transcends thy praise.'

[hears, Pleased with his people's fame the monarch And thus benevolent accosts the

peers • Since wisdom's sacred guidance he pursues, Give to the stranger-guest a stranger's dues : Twelve princes in our realm dominion share, O'er whom supreme, imperial power I bear: Bring gold, a pledge of love; a talent bring, A vest, a robe; and imitate your king: Be swift to give; that he this night may share The social feast of joy, with joy sincere. And thou, Euryalus, redeem thy wrong: A generous heart repairs a slanderous tongue.'

The'assenting peers, obedient to the king, In haste their heralds send the gifts to bring. Then thus Euryalus-Oprince, whose sway Rules this bless'd realm, repentant I obey! Be his this sword, whose blade of brass displays A ruddy gleam; whose hilt, a silver blaze; Whose ivory sheath, inwrought with curious pride, Adds graceful terror to the wearer's side.'

He said, and to his hand the sword consign'd; * And if (he cried) my words affect thy mind, Far from thy mind those words, ye whirlwinds,

bear, And scatter them, ye storms, in empty air ! Crown, Oye Heavens, with joy his peaceful hours, And grant him to his spouse and native shores!'

· And bless'd be thou, my friend (Ulysses cries), Crown him with every joy, ye favouring skies! To thy calm hours continued peace afford, And never, never mayst thou want this sword !'

He said, and o'er his shoulder flung the blade. Now o’er the earth ascends the evening shade: The precious gifts the’illustrious heralds bear, And to the court the’embodied peers repair. Before the queen Alcinoüs' sons unfold The vests, the robes, and heaps of shining gold; Then to the radiant thrones they move in state: Aloft, the king in pomp imperial sat.

Thence to the queen— O partner of our reign, O sole beloved! command thy menial train A polish'd chest and stately robes to bear, And healing waters for the bath prepare: That, ed, our guest may bid his sorrows cease, Hear the sweet song, and taste the feast in peace. A bowl that flames with gold, of wondrous frame, Ourself we give, memorial of our name; To raise in offerings to almighty Jove, And every god that treads the courts above.'

Instant the queen, observant of the king, Commands her train a spacious vase to bring; The spacious vase with ample streams suffice, Heap high the wood, and bid the flames arise. The flames climb round it with a fierce embrace, The fuming waters bubble o’er the blaze. Herself the chest prepares: in order rollid The robes, thevests are ranged, and heaps of gold: And adding a rich dress inwrought with art, A gift expressive of her bounteous heart, Thus spoke to Ithacus—* To guard with bands Insolvable these gifts, thy care demands;

[ocr errors]

Lest, in thy slumbers on the watery main,
The hand of rapine make our bounty vain.'

Then bending with full force, around he rolld
A labyrinth of bands in fold on fold,
Closed with Circæan art. A train attends
Around the bath : the bath the king ascends
(Untasted joy, since that disastrous hour
He sail'd, ill fated, from Calypso's bower,
Where, happy as the gods that range the sky,
He feasted every sense, with every joy):
He bathes; the damsels with officious toil
Shed sweets, shed unguents, in a shower of oil:
Then o'er his limbs a gorgeous robe he spreads,
And to the feast magnificently treads.
Full where the dome its shining valves expands,
Nausicaa blooming as a goddess stands,
With wondering eyes the hero she survey'd,
And graceful thus began the royal maid -
• Hail, godlike stranger! and when Heaven re-

To thy fond wish thy long-expected shores,
This, ever grateful, in remembrance bear,
To me thou owest, to me, the vital air.'

O royal maid (Ulysses straight returns),
Whose worth the splendours of thy race adorns,
So may dread Jove, whose arm in vengeance forms
The writhen bolt,and blackens heaven with storms,
Restore me safe, through weary wanderings toss'd,
To my dear country's ever pleasing coast,
As while the spirit in his bosom glows,
To thee, my goddess, I address my vows:
My life, thy gift 1 boast! -He said and sat,
Fast by Alcinoüs, on a throne of state.

Now each partakes the feast, the wine prepares,
Portions the food, and each his portion shares.
The bard an herald guides: the gazing throng
Pay low obeisance as he moves along:
Beneath a sculptured arch he sits enthroned,
The peers encircling form an awful round.
Then from the chine Ulysses carves with art
Delicious food, an honorary part;
• This let the master of the lyre receive,
A pledge of love! 'tis all a wretch can give.
Lives there a man beneath the spacious skies,
Who sacred honours to the bard denies?
The Muse the bard inspires, exalts his mind;
The Muse indulgent loves the’ harmonious kind.'

The herald to his hand the charge conveys, Not fond of flattery, nor unpleased with praise.

When now the rage of hunger was allay'd, Thus to the lyrist wise Ulysses said • O more than man! thy soul the Muse inspires, Or Phoebus animates with all his fires: For who, by Phoebus uninform’d, could know The woe of Greece, and sing so well the woe? Just to the tale, as present at the fray, Or taught the labours of the dreadful day! The song recalls past horrors to my eyes, And bids proud Ilion from her ashes rise. Once more harmonious strike the sounding string, The' Epæan fabric, framed by Pallas, sing: How stern Ulysses, furious to destroy, With latent heroes sack'd imperial Troy. If faithful thou record the tale of fame, The god himself inspires thy breast with flame: And mine shall be the task, henceforth, to raise In every land thy monument of praise.'

« הקודםהמשך »