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Instant her circling wand the goddess waves, To hogs transforms them, and the sty receives. No more was seen the human form divine; Head, face, and members bristle into swine:: Still cursed with sense, their minds remain alone, And their own voice affrights them when they
groan. Meanwhile the goddess in disdain bestows The mast and acorn, brutal food! and strows The fruits of cornel, as their feast, around; Now prone and groveling on unsavoury ground.
Eurylochus with pensive steps and slow, Aghast returns; the messenger of woe, And bitter fate. To speak he made essay, In vain essay’d, nor would his tongue obey, His swelling heart denied the words their way: But speaking tears the want of words supply, And the full soul bursts copious from his eye. Affrighted, anxious for our fellows' fates, We press to hear what sadly he relates.
“We went, Ulysses! (such was thy command) Through the lone thicket, and the desert land. A palace in a woody vale we found Brown with dark forests, and with shades around. A voice celestial echoed from the dome, Or nymph, or goddess, chanting to the loom. Access we sought, nor was access denied: Radiant she came; the portals open’d wide: The goddess mild invites the guests to stay: They blindly follow where she leads the way. I only wait behind, of all the train: I waited long, and eyed the doors in vain : The rest are vanish’d, none repass’d the gate; And not a man appears to tell their fate.”
• I heard, and instant o'er my
shoulders flung The belt in which my weighty falchion hung (A beamy blade); then seized the bended bow, And bade him guide the way, resolved to go. He, prostrate falling, with both hands embraced My knees, and weeping thus his suit address'd—
“ O king beloved of Jove! thy servant spare, And ah, thyself the rash attempt forbear! Never, alas! thou never shalt return, Or see the wretched for whose loss we mourn. With what remains from certain ruin fly, And save the few not fated yet to die."
• I answer'd stern" Inglorious then remain, Here feast and loiter, and desert thy train. Alone, unfriended, will I tempt my way; The laws of Fate compel, and I obey."
* This said, and scornful turning from the shore My haughty step, I stalk'd the valley o'er. Till now approaching nigh the magic bower, Where dwelt the enchantress skill'd in herbs of
power; A form divine forth issued from the wood (Immortal Hermes with the golden rod), In human semblance. On his bloomy face Youth smiled celestial, with each opening grace. He seized my hand, and gracious thus began
Ah, whither roam’st thou? much enduring man!
enclosure lies, All lost their form, and habitants of styes. Think’st thou by wit to model their escape ? Sooner shalt thou, a stranger to thy shape,
Before thy eyes
Fall prone their equal: tirst thy danger know,
name, to mortals hard to find, But all is easy to the etherial kind. This Hermes gave, then gliding off the glade Shot to Olympus from the woodland shade.
While full of thought, revolving fates to come, I speed my passage to the enchanted dome : Arrived, before the lofty gates I stay’d; The lofty gates the goddess wide display'd;
She leads before, and to the feast invites ;
feet. She mix'd the potion, fraudulent of soul; The poison mantled in the golden bowl. I took, and quaff’d it, confident in Heaven: Then waved the wand, and then the word was
given. “ Hence to thy fellows! (dreadful she began) Go, be a beast!”-I heard, and yet was man.
• Then sudden whirling, like a waving flame, My beamy falchion, I assault the dame. Struck with unusual fear, she trembling cries, She faints, she falls; she lifts her weeping eyes, " What art thou? say! from whence, from
whom O more than human! tell thy race, thy name. Amazing strength, these poisons to sustain! Not mortal thou, nor mortal is thy brain. Or art thou he, the man to come (foretold By Hermes powerful with the wand of gold), The man from Troy, who wander'd ocean round; The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd, Ulysses? oh! thy threatening fury cease, Sheath thy bright sword, and join our hands in
peace; Let mutual joys our mutual trust combine, And love, and love-born confidence be thine.”
“ And how, dread Circè! (furious I rejoin) Can love and love-born confidence be mine, Beneath thy charms when my companions groan, Transform'd to beasts, with accents not their own : O thou of fraudful heart! shall I be led To share thy feast-rites, or ascend thy bed,
That, all unarm’d, thy vengeance may have vent,
woods, Or the fair offspring of the sacred floods. One o'er the couches painted carpets threw, Whose purple lustre glow'd against the view : White linen lay beneath. Another placed The silver stands with golden flaskets graced : With dulcet beverage this the beaker crown'd, Fair in the midst, with gilded cups around: That in the tripod o'er the kindled pile The water pours; the bubbling waters boil: An ample vase receives the smoking wave; And, in the bath prepared, my limbs I lave : Reviving sweets repair the mind's decay, And take the painful sense of toil away. A vest and tunic o'er me next she threw, Fresh from the bath and dropping balmy dew; Then led and placed me on the sovereign seat, With carpets spread ; a footstool at my feet. The golden ewer a nymph obsequious brings, Replenish'd from the cool translucent springs ; With copious water the bright vase supplies A silver laver of capacious size.