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BOOK XV.

Çüe argument.
The Return OF TeleMACh U.S.

The goddess Minerva commands Telemachus in a vision to return to Ithaca. Pisistratus and he take leave of Menelaús, and arrive at Pylos : where they part; and Telemachus sets sail, after having received on board Theoclymenus the soothsayer. The scene then changes to the cottage of Eumaeus, who entertains Ulysses with a recital of his adventures. In the meantime Telemachus arrives on the coast; and, sending the vessel to the town, proceeds by himself to the lodge of Eumaeus.

Now had Minerva reach'd those ample plains,
Famed for the dance, where Menelaús reigns.
Anxious she flies to great Ulysses’ heir,
His instant voyage challenged all her care.
Beneath the royal portico display'd,
With Nestor’s son, Telemachus was laid:
In sleep profound the son of Nestor lies;
Not thine, Ulysses! care unseal’d his eyes:
Restless he grieved, with various fears oppress'd,
And all thy fortunes roll'd within his breast.
When, “O Telemachus! (the goddess said)
Too long in vain, too widely hast thou stray'd :
Thus leaving careless thy paternal right
The robbers’ prize, the prey to lawless might.
On fond pursuits neglectful while you roam,
E’en now the hand of rapine sacks the dome.

Hence to Atrides; and his leave implore
To launch thy vessel for thy natal shore:
Fly, whilst thy mother virtuous yet withstands
Her kindred's wishes, and her sire's commands.
Through both, Eurymachus pursues the dame;
And with the noblest gifts asserts his claim.
Hence therefore, while thy stores thy own remain,
Thou know'st the practice of the female train;
Lost in the children of the present spouse,
They slight the pledges of their former vows:
Their love is always with the lover pass'd;
Still the succeeding flame expels the last.
Let o'er thy house some chosen maid preside,
Till Heaven decrees to bless thee in a bride.
But now thy more attentive ears incline;
Observe the warnings of a power divine :
For thee their snares the suitor lords shall lay
In Samos' sands, or straits of Ithaca:
To seize thy life shall lurk the murderous band,
Ere yet thy footsteps press thy native land.

No sooner far their riot and their lust
All-covering earth shall bury deep in dust!
Then distant from the scatter'd islands steer,
Nor let the night retard thy full career;
Thy heavenly guardian shall instruct the gales
To smooth thy passage, and supply thy sails:
And when at Ithaca thy labour ends,
Send to the town thy vessel with thy friends;
But seek thou first the master of the swine
(For still to thee his loyal thoughts incline),
There pass the night: while he his course pursues
To bring Penelope the wish'd-for news,
That thou safe sailing from the Pylian strand
Art come to bless her in thy native land.’

Thus spoke the goddess; and resumed her flight To the pure regions of eternal light. Meanwhile Pisistratus he gently shakes, And with these words the slumbering youth awakes— “Rise, son of Nestor! for the road prepare, And join the harness'd coursers to the car.” ‘What cause (he cried) can justify our flight, To tempt the dangers of forbidding night? Here wait we rather, till approaching day Shall prompt our speed, and point the ready way. Northink of flight before the Spartan king Shall bid farewell, and bounteous presents bring; Gifts, which, to distant ages safely stored, The sacred act of friendship shall record.” Thus he. But when the dawn bestreak'd the east, The king from Helen rose, and sought his guest. As soon as his approach the hero knew, The splendid mantle round him first he threw, Then o'er his ample shoulders whirl'd the cloak, Respectful met the monarch, and bespoke— “Hail, great Atrides, favour'd of high Jove! Let not thy friends in vain for licence move. Swift let us measure back the watery way, Nor check our speed, impatient of delay.” “If with desire so strong thy bosom glows, Ill (said the king) should I thy wish oppose; For oft in others freely I reprove The ill-timed efforts of officious love; Who love too much, hate in the like extreme, And both the golden mean alike condemn. Alike he thwarts the hospitable end, Who drives the free, or stays the hasty, friend;

True friendship's laws are by this rule express'd,
Welcome the coming, speed the parting, guest,
Yet stay, my friends, and in your chariot take
The noblest presents that our love can make:
Meantime commit we to our women's care
Some choice domestic viands to prepare:
The traveller, rising from the banquet gay,
Eludes the labours of the tedious way.
Then if a wider course shall rather please -
Through spacious Argos,and the realms of Greece,
Atrides in his chariot shall attend ;
Himself thy convoy to each royal friend.
No prince will let Ulysses’ heir remove
Without some pledge, some monument of love:
These will the caldron, these the tripod give,
From those the well-pair'd mules we shall receive,
Or bowl emboss'd whose golden figures live.’
To whom the youth, for prudence famed, re-
plied—
“O monarch, care of Heaven! thy people's pride!
No friend in Ithaca my place supplies;
No powerful hands are there, no watchful eyes:
My stores exposed, and fenceless house, demand
The speediest succour from my guardian hand;
Lest in a search too anxious and too vain
Of one lost joy, I lose what yet remain.”
His purpose when the generous warrior heard,
He charged the household cates to be prepared.
Now with the dawn, from his adjoining home,
Was Boethoedes Eteoneus come;
Swift as the word he forms the rising blaze,
And o'er the coals the smoking fragments lays.
Meantime the king, his son, and Helen, went
Where the rich wardrobe breathed a costly scent.
The king selected from the glittering rows
A bowl: the prince a silver beaker chose.
The beauteous queen revolved with careful eyes
Her various textures of unnumber'd dies,
And chose the largest; with no vulgar art
Her own fair hands embroider'd every part:
Beneath the rest it lay divinely bright,
Like radiant Hesper o'er the gems of night.
Then with each gift they hasten’d to their guest,
And thus the king Ulysses’ heir address'd—
‘Since fix’d are thy resolves, may thundering
With happiest omens thy desires approve! [Jove
This silver bowl, whose costly margins shine
Enchased with gold, this valued gift be thine:
To me this present, of Vulcanian frame,
From Sidon's hospitable monarch came;
To thee we now consign the precious load,
The pride of kings, and labour of a god.’
Then gave the cup; while Megapenthesbrought
The silver vase with living sculpture wrought.
The beauteous queen, advancing next, display'd
The shining veil, and thus endearing said—
‘Accept, dear youth, this monument of love,
Long since, in better days, by Helen wove:
Safe in thy mother's care the vesture lay,
To deck thy pride, and grace thy nuptial day.
Meantime mayst thou with happiest speed regain
Thy stately palace, and thy wide domain.”
She said, and gave the veil:—with grateful look
The prince the variegated present took. [pass'd,
And now, when through the royal dome they
High on a throne the king each stranger placed.
A golden ewer the attendant damsel brings,
Replete with water from the crystal springs;

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