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To whom Minerva—. Be thy soul at rest; And know, whatever Heaven ordains, is best. To fame I sent him, to acquire renown: To other regions is his virtue known. Secure he sits, near great Atrides placed; With friendships strengthen'd, and with honours
graced. But, lo! an ambush waits his
passage Fierce foes insidious intercept the shore: In vain! far sooner all the murderous brood This injured land shall fatten with their blood.' She spake, then touch'd him with her power
ful wand: The skin shrunk up, and wither'd at her hand : A swift old age o'er all his members spread; A sudden frost was sprinkled on his head; Nor longer in the heavy eyeball shined The glance divine, forth beaming from the mind. His robe, which spots indelible besmear, In rags
dishonest flutters with the air : A stag's torn hide is lapp'd around his reins ; A rugged staff his trembling hand sustains; And at his side a wretched scrip was hung, Wide-patch'd, and knotted to a twisted thong. So look’d the chief, so moved! to mortal eyes Object uncouth! a man of miseries! While Pallas, cleaving the wide fields of air, To Sparta flies, Telemachus her care.
THE CONVERSATION WITH EUMÆUS. Ulysses arrives in disguise at the house of Eumæus, where he
is received, entertained, and lodged, with the utmost hospitality. The several discourses of that faithful old servant, with the feigned story told by Ulysses to conceal bimself, and other conversations on various subjects, take up this entire book.
But he, deep musing, o'er the mountains stray'd
Through mazy thickets of the woodland shade,
And cavern'd ways, the shaggy coast along,
With cliffs and nodding forests overhung.
Eumæus at his silvan lodge he sought,
A faithful servant, and without a fault.
Ulysses found him busied, as he sat
Before the threshold of his rustic gate;
Around the mansion in a circle shone
A rural portico of rugged stone
(In absence of his lord, with honest toil
His own industrious hands had raised the pile):
The wall was stone from neighbouring quarries
Encircled with a fence of native thorn, [borne,
And strong with pales, by many a weary stroke
Of stubborn labour hewn from heart of oak;
Frequent and thick. Within the space were rear'd
Twelve ample cells, the lodgments of his herd.
Full fifty pregnant females each contain'd;
The males without (a smaller race) remain’d;
Doom'd to supply the suitors' wasteful feast,
A stock by daily luxury decreased;
Now scarce four hundred left. These to defend,
Four savage dogs, a watchful guard, attend.
Here set Eumæus, and his cares applied
To form strong buskins of well-season'd hide.
Of four assistants who his labour share,
Three now were absent on the rural care;
The fourth drove victims to the suitor train :
But be, of ancient faith, a simple swain,
Sigh’d, while he furnish'd the luxurious board,
And wearied Heaven with wishes for his lord.
Soon as Ulysses near the enclosure drew,
mouths the furious mastiffs flew: Down sat the sage; and cautious to withstand, Let fall the offensive truncheon from his hand. Sudden the master runs; aloud he calls; And from his hasty hand the leather falls; With showers of stones he drives them far
away; The scattering dogs around at distance bay.
• Unhappy stranger! (thus the faithful swain Began with accents gracious and humane) What sorrow had been mine, if at my gate Thy reverend
had met a shameful fate! Enough of woes already have I known; Enough my master's sorrows and my own. While here (ungrateful task!) his herds I feed, Ordain’d for lawless rioters to bleed; Perhaps, supported at another's board, Far from his country roams my hapless lord; Or sigh'd in exile forth his latest breath, Now cover'd with the eternal shade of death!
• But enter this my homely roof, and see Our woods not void of hospitality:
Then tell me whence thou art; and what the share
Of woes and wanderings thou wert born to bear.'
He said; and seconding the kind request,
With friendly step precedes his unknown guest;
A shaggy goat's soft hide beneath him spread,
And with fresh rushes heap'd an ample bed.
Joy touch'd the hero's tender soul, to find
So just reception from a heart so kind:
*And oh, ye gods! with all your blessings grace
(He thus broke forth) this friend of human race!'
The swain replied—- It never was our guise
To slight the poor, or aught humane despise;
For Jove unfolds our hospitable door,
'Tis Jove that sends the stranger and the poor.
Little, alas! is all the good I can;
A man oppress'd, dependent, yet a man:
Accept such treatment as a swain affords,
Slave to the insolence of youthful lords!
Far hence is by unequal gods removed
That man of bounties, loving and beloved !
To whom whate'er his slave enjoys is owed,
And more, had Fate allow'd, had been bestow'd:
But Fate condemn’d him to a foreign shore;
Much have I sorrow'd, but my master more.
Now cold he lies, to death’s embrace resign’d:
Ah, perish Helen! perish all her kind!
For whose cursed cause, in Agamemnon's name,
He trod so fatally the paths of fame.'
His vest succinct then girding round his waist,
Forth rush'd the swain with hospitable haste,
Straight to the lodgments of his herd he run,
Where the fat porkers slept beneath the sun;
Of two, his cutlass launch'd the spouting blood;
These quarter’d, singed, and fix'd on forks of wood,
All hasty on the hissing coáls he threw;
And smoking back the tasteful viands drew,
Broachers and all; and on the board display'd
The ready meal, before Ulysses laid,
With flour imbrown'd; next mingled wine yet new,
And luscious as the bee's nectareous dew:
Then sat companion of the friendly feast,
With open look; and thus bespoke his guest-
Take with free welcome what our hands pre-
pare, Such food as falls to simple servants' share; The best our lords consume; those thoughtless
Rich without bounty, guilty without fears!
Yet sure the gods their impious acts detest,
And honour justice and the righteous breast.
Pirates and conquerors, of harden'd mind,
The foes of peace, and scourges of mankind,
To whom offending men are made a prey
When Jove in vengeance gives a land
E’en these, when of their ill-got spoils possess’d,
Find sure tormentors in the guilty breast;
Some voice of God close whispering from within,
“ Wretch! this is villany, and this is sin.”
But these, no doubt, some oracle explore,
That tells, the great Ulysses is no more.
Hence springs their confidence, and from our sighs
Their rapine strengthens, and their riots rise:
Constant as Jove the night and day bestows,
Bleeds a whole hecatomb, a vintage flows.
None match'd this hero's wealth, of all who reign
O'er the fair islands of the neighbouring main;
Nor all the monarchs whose far dreaded sway
The wide-extended continents obey: