תמונות בעמוד

No-long as life this mortal shall inspire,
Or as my children imitate their sire,
Here shall the wandering stranger find his home,
And hospitable rites adorn the dome.'

• Well hast thou spoke (the blue-eyed maid re-
Beloved old man! benevolent, as wise. [plies)
Be the kind dictates of thy heart obey’d,
And let thy words Telemachus persuade:
He to thy palace shall thy steps pursue;
I to the ship, to give the orders due,
Prescribe directions, and confirm the crew :
For I alone sustain their naval cares,
Who boast experience from these silver hairs;
All youths the rest, whom to this journey move
Like years, like tempers, and their prince's love.

. There in the vessel I shall pass the night : And soon as morning paints the fields of light, I go to challenge from the Caucons bold A debt, contracted in the days of old. But this thy guest, received with friendly care, Let thy strong coursers swift to Sparta bear; Prepare thy chariot at the dawn of day, And be thy son companion of his way.'

Then turning with the word, Minerva flies, And soars an eagle through the liquid skies : Vision divine! the throng'd spectators gaze In holy wonder fix'd, and still amaze. But chief the reverend sage admired; he took The hand of young Telemachus, and spoke

• happy youth! and favour'd of the skies, Distinguish'd care of guardian deities! Whose early years for future worth engage, No vulgar manhood, no ignoble age. For lo! none other of the court above Than she, the daughter of almighty Jove,

Pallas herself, the war-triumphant maid,
Confess' is thine, as once thy father's aid.
So guide me, goddess! so propitious shine
On me, my consort, and my royal line !
A yearling bullock to thy name shall smoke,
Untamed, unconscious of the galling yoke,
With ample forehead, and yet tender horns,
Whose budding honours ductile gold adorns.'

Submissive thus the hoary sire preferr'd
His holy vow: the favouring goddess heard.
Then slowly rising, o'er the sandy space
Precedes the father, follow'd by his race,
(A long procession) timely marching home
In comely order to the regal dome.
There when arrived, on thrones around him placed,
His sons and grandsons the wide circle graced.
To these the hospitable sage, in sign
Of social welcome, mix'd the


wine (Late from the mellowing cask restored to light, By ten long years refined, and rosy bright). To Pallas high the foaming bowl he crown'd, And sprinkled large libations on the ground. Each drinks a full oblivion of his cares, And to the gifts of balmy sleep repairs. Deep in a rich alcove the prince was laid, And slept beneath the pompous colonnade; Fast by his side Pisistratus lay spread, (In age his equal) on a splendid bed: But in an inner court, securely closed, The reverend Nestor and his queen reposed.

When now Aurora, daughter of the dawn,' With rosy lustre purpled o'er the lawn, The old man early rose, walk'd forth, and sat On polish'd stone before his palace gate:

[ocr errors]

grassy mead;

With unguents smooth the lucid marble shone,
Where ancient Neleus sat, a rustic throne;
But he descending to the’ infernal shade,
Sage Nestor fill'd it, and the sceptre sway'd.
His sons around him mild obeisance pay,
And duteous take the orders of the day.
First Echephron and Stratius quit their bed;
Then Perseus, Aretus, and Thrasymed;
The last Pisistratus arose from rest:
They came, and near him placed the stranger guest.
To these the senior thus declared his will:
My sons! the dictates of


sire fulfil. To Pallas, first of gods, prepare the feast, Who graced our rites, a more than mortal guest. Let one, dispatchful, bid some swain to lead A wellfed bullock from the One seek the harbour where the vessels moor, And bring thy friends, Telemachus! ashore; (Leave only two the galley to attend) Another to Laerceus must we send, Artist divine, whose skilful hands infold The victim's horn with circumfusile gold. The rest may here the pious duty share, And bid the handmaids for the feast prepare, The seats to range, the fragrant wood to bring, And limpid waters from the living spring.'

He said, and busy each his care bestow’d; Already at the gates the bullock low'd, Already came the Ithacensian crew, The dexterous smith the tools already drew; His ponderous hammer, and his anvil sound, And the strong tongs to turn the metal round. Nor was Minerva absent from the rite, She view'd her honours, and enjoy'd the sight.

With reverend hand the king presents the gold,
Which round the intorted horns the gilder rolld;
So wrought, as Pallas might with pride behold.
Young Aretus from forth his bridal bower
Brought the full laver, o'er their hands to pour,
And canisters of consecrated flour.
Stratius and Echephron the victim led;
The axe was held by warlike Thrasymed,
In act to strike: before him Perseus stood,
The vase extending to receive the blood.
The king himself initiates to the

Scatters with quivering hand the sacred flour,
And the stream sprinkles: from the curling brows
The hair collected in the fire he throws.
Soon as due vows on every part were paid,
And sacred wheat upon the victim laid,
Strong Thrasymed discharged the speeding blow
Full on his neck, and cut the nerves in two.
Down sunk the heavy beast: the females round,
Maids, wives, and matrons, mix a shrilling sound.
Nor scorn'd the queen the holy choir to join
(The first-born she, of old Clymenus' line;
In youth by Nestor loved, of spotless fame,
And loved in age, Eurydice by name). [death;
From earth they rear him, struggling now with
And Nestor's youngest stops the vents of breath.
The soul for ever flies : on all sides round
Streams the black blood, and smokes upon the

The beast they then divide, and disunite
The ribs and limbs, observant of the rite :
On these, in double cawls involved with art,
The choices morsels lay from every part.

The sacred sage before his altar stands,
Turns the burnt-offering with his holy hands,
And pours the wine, and bids the flames aspire:
The youths with instruments surround the fire.
The thighs now sacrificed, and entrails dress’d,
The'assistants part, transfix, and broil the rest.
While these officious tend the rites divine,
The last fair branch of the Nestorean line,
Sweet Polycaste, took the pleasing toil
To bathe the prince, and pour the fragrant oil.
O’er his fair limbs a flowery vest he threw,
And issued, like a god, to mortal view.
His former seat beside the king he found,
(His people's father with his peers around)
All placed at ease the holy banquet join,
And in the dazzling goblet laughs the wine.

The rage of thirst and hunger now suppress'd,
The monarch turns him to his royal guest;
And for the promised journey bids prepare
The smooth-hair’d horses, and the rapid car.
Observant of his word, the word scarce spoke,
The sons obey, and join them to the yoke.
Then bread and wine a ready handmaid brings,
And presents, such as suit the state of kings.
The glittering seat Telemachus ascends :
His faithful guide, Pisistratus attends ;
With hasty hand the ruling reins he drew:
He lash'd the coursers, and the coursers flew.
Beneath the bounding yoke alike they held
Their equal pace, and smoked along the field.
The towers of Pylos sink, its views decay,
Fields after fields fly back, till close of day:
Then sunk the sun, and darken'd all the way.

« הקודםהמשך »