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When lo! appear'd along the dusky coasts,
• Now swift I waved my falchion o'er the blood; Back started the pale throngs, and trembling
stood. Round the black trench the gore untasted flows, Till awful from the shades Tiresias rose. * There wandering through the gloom, I first
angry power Elpenor led
wind ?” * The ghost replied: "To hell my doom I owe, Demons accursed, dire ministers of woe!
My feet, through wine unfaithful to their weight,
mournful shade! Due to thy ghost, shall to thy ghost be paid.”
• Still as I spoke, the phantom seem'd to moan, Tear follow'd tear, and
groan. But as my waving sword the blood surrounds, The shade withdrew, and mutter'd empty sounds.
• There as the wondrous visions I survey'd, All pale ascends my royal mother's shade: A queen, to Troy she saw our legions pass ; Now a thin form is all Anticlea was ! Struck at the sight I melt with filial woe, And down my cheek the pious sorrows flow:
Yet as I shook my falchion o'er the blood,
When lo! the mighty Theban I behold;
Why, mortal, wander’st thou from cheerful
While yet he spoke, the prophet I obey'd, And in the scabbard plunged the glittering blade. Eager he quaff’d the gore, and then express’d Dark things to come, the counsels of his breast.
“ Weary of light, Ulysses here explores A prosperous voyage to his native shores : But know--by me unerring Fates disclose New trains of dangers, and new scenes of woes; I see! I see, thy bark by Neptune toss'd, For injured Cyclops, and his eyeball lost! Yet to thy woes the gods decree an end, If Heaven thou please; and how to please attend ! Where on Trinacrian rocks the ocean roars, Graze numerous herds along the verdant shores; Though hunger press, yet fly the dangerous prey, The herds are sacred to the god of day, Who all surveys with his extensive eye, Above, below, on earth, and in the sky! Rob not the god, and so propitious gales Attend thy voyage, and impel thy sails ; But if his herds ye seize, beneath the waves I see thy friends o'erwhelm'd in liquid graves !
The direful wreck Ulysses scarce survives !
“ Unerring truths, O man, my lips relate; This is thy life to come, and this is Fate.”
“ To whom unmoved—“If this the gods prepare, What Heaven ordains, the wise with courage bear. But say, why yonder on the lonely strands, Unmindful of her son, Anticlea stands? Why to the ground she bends her downcast eye? Why is she silent, while her son is nigh?
The latent cause, O sacred seer, reveal ?”
“ Nor this (replies the seer) will I conceal. Know; to the spectres, that thy beverage taste, The scenes of life recur, and actions pass’d; They, seal’d with truth, return the sure reply; The rest, repell’d, a train oblivious fly.”
* The phantom prophet ceased, and sunk from To the black palace of eternal night. [sight
• Still in the dark abodes of death I stood, When near Anticlea moved, and drank the blood. Straight all the mother in her soul awakes, And, owning her Ulysses, thus she speaks“ Comest thou, my son, alive, to realms beneath, The dolesome realms of darkness and of death; Comest thou alive from pure, etherial day? Dire is the region, dismal is the way! Here lakes profound, there floods oppose their
waves, There the wide sea with all his billows raves! Or (since to dust proud Troy submits her towers) Comest thou a wanderer from the Phrygian shores? Or say, since honour callid thee to the field, Hast thou thy Ithaca, thy bride, beheld ?”
“ Source of my life (I cried), from earth I Ay To seek Tiresias in the nether sky, To learn my doom; for, toss'd from woe to woe, In every land Ulysses finds a foe: Nor have these eyes beheld my native shores, Since in the dust proud Troy submits her towers.
But, when thy soul from her sweet mansion
fled, Say, what distemper gave thee to the dead? Has life's fair lamp declined by slow decays, Or swift expired it in a sudden blaze?