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• What words are these, and what imprudence (Thuş interposed the martial maid divine) (thine ? Forgetful youth! but know the power above With ease can save each object of his love; Wide as his will, extends his boundless grace; Nor lost in time, nor circumscribed by place. Happier his lot, who, many sorrows past, Long labouring gains his natal shore at last; Than who, too speedy, hastes to end his life By some stern ruffian, or adulterous wife. Death only is the lot which none can miss, And all is possible to Heaven, but this. The best, the dearest favourite of the sky Must taste that cup, for man is born to die.'
Thus check’d, replied Ulysses' prudent heirMentor, no more the mournful thought forbear; For he no more must draw his country's breath, Already snatch'd by Fate, and the black doom
of death! Pass we to other subjects; and engage On themes remote the venerable sage (Who thrice has seen the perishable kind Of men decay, and through three ages shined, Like gods majestic, and like gods in mind): For much he knows, and just conclusions draws From various precedents, and various laws. O son of Neleus! awful Nestor, tell How he, the mighty Agamemnon, fell; By what strange fraud, Egysthus wrought, relate, (By force he could not) such a hero's fate. Lived Menelaüs not in Greece? or where Was then the martial brother's pious care? Condemn’d perhaps some foreign shore to tread; Or sure Egysthus had not dared the deed.'
To whom the full of days— Illustrious youth, Attend (though partly thou hast guess’d) the For had the martial Menelaüs found [truth: The ruffian breathing yet on Argive ground; Nor earth had hid his carcass from the skies, Nor Grecian virgins shriek d his obsequies, But fowls obscene dismember'd his remains, And dogs had torn him on the naked plains. While us the works of bloody Mars employ'd, The wanton youth inglorious peace enjoy'd; He, stretch'd at ease in Argos' calm recess (Whose stately steeds luxuriant pastures bless), With flattery's insinuating art Sooth'd the frail queen, and poison'd all her heart. At first with worthy shame and decent pride The royal dame his lawless suit denied. For virtue's image yet possess'd her mind, Taught by a master of the tuneful kind : Atrides, parting for the Trojan war, Consign’d the youthful consort to his care. True to his charge, the bard preserved her long In honour's limits; such the
song. But when the gods these objects of their hate Dragg’d to destruction, by the links of Fate; The bard they banish'd from his native soil, And left all helpless in a desert isle: There he, the sweetest of the sacred train, Sung dying to the rocks, but sung in vain. Then virtue was no more; her guard away, She fell, to lust a voluntary prey. E'en to the temple stalk'd the’ adulterous spouse, With impious thanks, and mockery of vows, With images, with garments, and with gold; And odorous fumes from loaded altars roll’d.
· Meantime from flaming Troy we cut the way, With Menelaüs, through the curling sea. But when to Sunium's sacred point we came, Crown'd with the temple of the’ Athenian dame; Atrides' pilot, Phrontes, there expired (Phrontes of all the sons of men admired To steer the bounding bark with steady toil, When the storm thickens, and the billows boil); While yet he exercised the steerman's art, Apollo touch'd him with his gentle dart; E’en with the rudder in his hand he fell, To pay
whose honours to the shades of hell, We check'd our haste, by pious office bound, And laid our old companion in the ground. And now the rites discharged, our course we
keep Far on the gloomy bosom of the deep: Soon as Malæa's misty tops arise, Sudden the Thunderer blackens all the skies, And the winds whistle, and the surges roll Mountains on mountains, and obscure the pole. The tempest scatters, and divides our fleet; Part the storm urges on the coast of Crete, Where, winding round the rich Cydonian plain, The streams of Jardan issue to the main. There stands a rock, high, eminent, and steep, Whose shaggy brow o'erhangs the shady deep, And views Gortyna on the western side ; On this rough Auster drove the' impetuous tide: With broken force the billows rollid
away, And heaved the fleet into the neighbouring bay'; Thus saved from death, they gain’d the Phæstan
shores, With shatter'd vessels, and disabled oars :
But five tall barks the winds and waters toss'd
years the traitor rich Mycenæ sway'd,
beware! nor idly stand Too long a stranger to thy native land; Lest heedless absence wear thy wealth away, While lawless feasters in thy palace sway; Perhaps may seize thy realm, and share the spoil; And thou return, with disappointed toil, From thy vain journey, to a rifled isle. Howe'er, my friend, indulge one labour more, And seek Atrides on the Spartan shore. He, wandering long, a wider circle made, And many-languaged nations has survey'd; And measured tracts unknown to other ships, Amid the monstrous wonders of the deeps (A length of ocean and unbounded sky, Which scarce the sea-fowl in a year o'erfly): Go then; to Sparta take the watery way, Thy ship and sailors but for orders stay; Or if by land thou choose thy course to bend, My steeds, my chariots, and my sons attend :
Thee to Atrides they shall safe convey, Guides of thy road, companions of thy way. Urge him with truth to frame his free replies ; And sure he will; for Menelaüs is wise.'
Thus while he speaks, the ruddy sun descends, And twilight gray her evening shade extends. Then thus the blue-eyed maid-O full of days! Wise are thy words, and just are all thy ways. Now immolate the tongues, and mix the wine, Sacred to Neptune and the powers
divine. The lamp of day is quench'd beneath the deep, And soft approach the balmy hours of sleep: Nor fits it to prolong the heavenly feast, Timeless, indecent, but retire to rest.'
So spake Jove's daughter, the celestial maid, The sober train attended and obey’d. The sacred heralds on their hands around Pour'd the full urns; the youths the goblets
crown'd: From bowl to bowl the holy beverage flows; While to the final sacrifice they rose. The tongues they cast upon the fragrant flame, And pour
above the consecrated stream. And now, their thirst by copious draughts allay'd, The youthful hero and the’ Athenian maid Propose departure from the finish'd rite, And in their hollow bark to pass the night: But this the hospitable sage denied : • Forbid it, Jove! and all the gods! (he cried) Thus from
walls the much-loved son to send Of such a hero, and of such a friend! Me, as some needy peasant would ye leave, Whom Heaven denies the blessing to relieve? Me would you leave, who boast imperial sway, When beds of royal state invite your stay?