תמונות בעמוד
[ocr errors]

When he, whom living mighty realms obey'd, Shall want in death a shroud to grace his shade.”

Thus she: at once the generous train complies, Nor fraud mistrusts in virtue's fair disguise. The work she plied; but studious of delay, By night reversed the labours of the day. While thrice the Sun his annual journey made, The conscious lamp the midnight fraud survey'd

; Unheard, unseen, three years her arts prevail; The fourth, her maid unfolds the’amazing tale. We saw, as unperceived we took our stand, The backward labours of her faithless hand. Then urged, she perfects her illustrious toils; A wondrous monument of female wiles !

But you, O peers! and thou, O prince! give ear (I speak aloud, that every Greek may hear): Dismiss the queen; and if her sire approves, Let him espouse her to the peer she loves : Bid instant to prepare the bridal train, Nor let a race of princes wait in vain. Though with a grace divine her soul is bless'd, And all Minerva breathes within her breast, In wondrous arts than woman more renown'd, And more than woman with deep wisdom crown'd; Though Tyro nor Mýcene match her name, Nor great Alcmeda (the proad boasts of fame), Yet thus by Heaven adorn'd, by Heaven's decree, She shines with fatal excellence to thee: With thee, the bowl we drain, indulge the feast, Till righteous Heaven reclaim her stubborn breast. What though from pole to pole resounds her name! The son's destruction waits the mother's fame: For till she leaves thy court, it is decreed, Thy bowl to empty, and thy flock to bleed.'

While yet he speaks, Telemachus replies: * E'en Nature starts, and what ye ask denies. Thus, shall I thus repay a mother's cares, Who gave me life, and nursed


infant years? While sad on foreign shores Ulysses treads, Or glides a ghost with unapparent shades; How to Icarus in the bridal hour Shall I, by waste undone, refund the dower? How from my father should I vengeance dread! How would my mother curse my hated head! And while in wrath to vengeful fiends she cries, How from their hell would vengeful fiends arise! Abhorr’d by all, accursed

my name would

grow, The earth's disgrace, and humankind my foe. If this displease, why. urge ye here your stay? Haste from the court, ye spoilers, haste away: Waste in wild riot what


land allows, There ply the early feast, and late carouse. But if, to honour lost, 'tis still decreed For you my bowl shall flow, my flocks shall bleed; Judge and assert my right, impartial Jove! By him, and all the’immortal host above (A sacred oath), if Heaven the power supply, Vengeance I vow, and for your wrongs ye die.'

With that, two eagles from a mountain's height By Jove's command direct their rapid flight; Swift they descend, with wing to wing conjoin'd, Stretch their broad plumes, and float upon the wind. Above the’assembled peers they wheel on high, And clang their wings, and hovering beat the sky; With ardent eyes the rival train they threat, And shrieking loud, denounce approaching fate. They cuff, they tear; their cheeks and neck they rend,

[scend: And from their plumes huge drops of blood de

Then, sailing o'er the domes and towers, they fly Full toward the east, and mount into the sky,

The wondering rivals gaze with cares oppressid, And chilling horrors freeze in every breast. Till big with knowledge of approaching woes The prince of augurs, Halitherses, rose: Prescient he view'd the’aerial tracks, and drew A sure presage from every wing that flew.

Ye sons (he cried) of Ithaca, give ear, Hear all! but chiefly you, O rivals! hear. Destruction sure o'er all your heads impends; Ulysses comes, and death his steps attends. Nor to the great alone is death decreed; We, and our guilty Ithaca, must bleed. Why cease we then the wrath of Heaven to stay? Be humbled all, and lead, ye great! the way. For lo! my words no fancied woes relate: I speak from science, and the voice is fate. When great Ulysses sought the Phrygian

shores To shake with war proud Ilion's lofty towers, Deeds then undone

my faithful tongue foretold: Heaven seal’d my words,


you those deeds beI see (I cried) his woes, a countless train; [hold. I see his friends o'erwhelm'd beneath the main; How twice ten years from shore to shore he roams : Now twice ten years are pass’d,and now he comes!'

To whom Eurymachus_Fly, dotard, fly! With thy wise dreams, and fables of the sky. Go, prophesy at home; thy sons advise: Here thou art sage in vain-I better read the skies. Unnumber'd birds glide through the' aerial way, Vagrants of air, and unforeboding stray. Cold in the tomb, or in the deeps below, Ulysses lies: 0 wert thou laid as low!

Then would that busy head no broils suggest,
Nor fire to rage Telemachus's breast.
From him some bribe thy venal tongue requires,
And interest, not the god, thy voice inspires.
His guideless youth, if thy experienced age
Mislead fallacious into idle rage,
Vengeance deserved thy malice shall repress,
And but augment the wrongs thou wouldst redress.
Telemachus may bid the queen repair
To great Icarius, whose paternal care
Will guide her passion, and reward her choice
With wealthy dower, and bridal gifts of price.
Till she retires, determined we remain,
And both the prince and augur threat in vain:
His pride of words, and thy wild dream of fate,
Move not the brave, or only move their hate.
Threat on, O prince! elude the bridal day,
Threat on, till all thy stores in waste decay.
True, Greece affords a train of lovely dames,
In wealth and beauty worthy of our flames:
But never from this nobler suit we cease;
For wealth and beauty less than virtue please.'

To whom the youth — Since then in vain I tell My numerous woes, in silence let them dwell. But Heaven, and all the Greeks, have heard my

wrongs: To Heaven, and all the Greeks, redress belongs. Yet this I ask-nor be it ask'd in vain A bark to waft me o'er the rolling main; The realms of Pyle and Sparta to explore, And seek my royal sire from shore to shore: If, or to fame his doubtful fate be known, Or to be learn'd from oracles alone? If yet he lives, with patience I forbear Till the fleet hours restore the circling year :

But if already wandering in the train
Of empty shades, I measure back the main,
Plant the fair column o'er the mighty dead,
And yield his consort to the nuptial bed.'

He ceased; and while abash'd the peers attend,
Mentor arose, Ulysses' faithful friend:
[When fierce in arms he sought the scenes of war,
. My friend (he cried), my palace be thy care;
Years rollid on years my godlike sire decay,
Guard thou his age, and his behests obey.']
Stern as he rose, he cast his eyes around,
That flash'd with rage: and, as he spoke, he

frown'd: • O never, never more let king be just, Be mild in power, or faithful to his trust! Let tyrants govern with an iron rod, Oppress, destroy, and be the scourge of God; Since he who like a father held his reign, So soon forgot, was just and mild in vain! True, while my friend is grieved, his griefs I share; Yet now the rivals are my smallest care: They, for the mighty mischiefs they devise, Ere long shall pay—their forfeit lives the price. But against you, ye Greeks! ye coward train, Gods! how my soul is moved with just disdain! Dumb

ye all stand, and not one tongue affords His injured prince the little aid of words.'

While yet he spoke, Leocritus rejoin'd• O pride of words, and arrogance of mind! Wouldst thou to rise in arms the Greeks advise? Join all your powers ! in arms, ye Greeks, arise ! Yet would your powers in vain our strength

oppose; The valiant few o'ermatch an host of foes.

« הקודםהמשך »