Part 8 out of 9
And, to confirm my faith, propitious Jove!
Vouchsafe the sanction of a sign above."
Whilst lowly thus the chief adoring bows,
The pitying god his guardian aid avows.
Loud from a sapphire sky his thunder sounds;
With springing hope the hero's heart rebounds.
Soon, with consummate joy to crown his prayer,
An omen'd voice invades his ravish'd ear.
Beneath a pile that close the dome adjoin'd,
Twelve female slaves the gift of Ceres grind;
Task'd for the royal board to bolt the bran
From the pure flour (the growth and strength of man)
Discharging to the day the labour due,
Now early to repose the rest withdrew;
One maid unequal to the task assign'd,
Still turn'd the toilsome mill with anxious mind;
And thus in bitterness of soul divined:
"Father of gods and men, whose thunders roll
O'er the cerulean vault, and shake the pole:
Whoe'er from Heaven has gain'd this rare ostent
(Of granted vows a certain signal sent),
In this blest moment of accepted prayer,
Piteous, regard a wretch consumed with care!
Instant, O Jove! confound the suitor-train,
For whom o'ertoil'd I grind the golden grain:
Far from this dome the lewd devourers cast,
And be this festival decreed their last!"
Big with their doom denounced in earth and sky,
Ulysses' heart dilates with secret joy.
Meantime the menial train with unctious wood
Heap'd high the genial hearth, Vulcanian food:
When, early dress'd, advanced the royal heir;
With manly grasp he waved a martial spear;
A radiant sabre graced his purple zone,
And on his foot the golden sandal shone.
His steps impetuous to the portal press'd;
And Euryclea thus he there address'd:
"Say thou to whom my youth its nurture owes,
Was care for due refection and repose
Bestow'd the stranger-guest? Or waits he grieved,
His age not honour'd, nor his wants relieved?
Promiscuous grace on all the queen confers
(In woes bewilder'd, oft the wisest errs).
The wordy vagrant to the dole aspires,
And modest worth with noble scorn retires."
She thus: "O cease that ever-honour'd name
To blemish now: it ill deserves your blame,
A bowl of generous wine sufficed the guest;
In vain the queen the night refection press'd;
Nor would he court repose in downy state,
Unbless'd, abandon'd to the rage of Fate!
A hide beneath the portico was spread,
And fleecy skins composed an humble bed;
A downy carpet cast with duteous care,
Secured him from the keen nocturnal air."
His cornel javelin poised with regal port,
To the sage Greeks convened in Themis' court,
Forth-issuing from the dome the prince repair'd;
Two dogs of chase, a lion-hearted guard,
Behind him sourly stalked. Without delay
The dame divides the labour of the day;
Thus urging to the toil the menial train;
"What marks of luxury the marble stain
Its wonted lustre let the floor regain;
The seats with purple clothe in order due;
And let the abstersive sponge the board renew;
Let some refresh the vase's sullied mould;
Some bid the goblets boast their native gold;
Some to the spring, with each a jar, repair,
And copious waters pure for bathing bear;
Dispatch! for soon the suitors will essay
The lunar feast-rites to the god of day."
She said: with duteous haste a bevy fair
Of twenty virgins to the spring repair;
With varied toils the rest adorn the dome.
Magnificent, and blithe, the suitors come.
Some wield the sounding axe; the dodder'd oaks
Divide, obedient to the forceful strokes.
Soon from the fount, with each a brimming urn
(Eumaeus in their train), the maids return.
Three porkers for the feast, all brawny-chined,
He brought; the choicest of the tusky-kind;
In lodgments first secure his care he viewed,
Then to the king this friendly speech renew'd:
"Now say sincere, my guest! the suitor-train
Still treat thy worth with lordly dull disdain;
Or speaks their deed a bounteous mind humane?"
"Some pitying god (Ulysses sad replied)
With vollied vengeance blast their towering pride!
No conscious blush, no sense of right, restrains
The tides of lust that swell the boiling veins;
From vice to vice their appetites are toss'd,
All cheaply sated at another's cost!"
While thus the chief his woes indignant told,
Melanthius, master of the bearded fold,
The goodliest goats of all the royal herd
Spontaneous to the suitors' feast preferr'd;
Two grooms assistant bore the victims bound;
With quavering cries the vaulted roofs resound;
And to the chief austere aloud began
The wretch unfriendly to the race of man:
"Here vagrant, still? offensive to my lords!
Blows have more energy than airy words;
These arguments I'll use: nor conscious shame,
Nor threats, thy bold intrusion will reclaim.
On this high feast the meanest vulgar boast
A plenteous board! Hence! seek another host!"
Rejoinder to the churl the king disdain'd,
But shook his head, and rising wrath restrain'd.
From Cephanelia 'cross the surgy main
Philaetius late arrived, a faithful swain.
A steer ungrateful to the bull's embrace.
And goats he brought, the pride of all their race;
Imported in a shallop not his own;
The dome re-echoed to the mingl'd moan.
Straight to the guardian of the bristly kind
He thus began, benevolent of mind:
"What guest is he, of such majestic air?
His lineage and paternal clime declare:
Dim through the eclipse of fate, the rays divine
Of sovereign state with faded splendour shine.
If monarchs by the gods are plunged in woe,
To what abyss are we foredoom'd to go!"
Then affable he thus the chief address'd,
Whilst with pathetic warmth his hand he press'd:
"Stranger, may fate a milder aspect show,
And spin thy future with a whiter clue!
O Jove! for ever death to human cries;
The tyrant, not the father of the skies!
Unpiteous of the race thy will began!
The fool of fate, thy manufacture, man,
With penury, contempt, repulse, and care,
The galling load of life is doom'd to bear.
Ulysses from his state a wanderer still,
Upbraids thy power, thy wisdom, or thy will!
O monarch ever dear!-O man of woe!
Fresh flow my tears, and shall for ever flow!
Like thee, poor stranger guest, denied his home,
Like thee: in rags obscene decreed to roam!
Or, haply perish'd on some distant coast,
In stygian gloom he glides, a pensive ghost!
Oh, grateful for the good his bounty gave,
I'll grieve, till sorrow sink me to the grave!
His kind protecting hand my youth preferr'd,
The regent of his Cephalenian herd;
With vast increase beneath my care it spreads:
A stately breed! and blackens far the meads.
Constrain'd, the choicest beeves I thence import,
To cram these cormorants that crowd his court:
Who in partition seek his realm to share;
Nor human right nor wrath divine revere,
Since here resolved oppressive these reside,
Contending doubts my anxious heart divide:
Now to some foreign clime inclined to fly,
And with the royal herd protection buy;
Then, happier thoughts return the nodding scale,
Light mounts despair, alternate hopes prevail:
In opening prospects of ideal joy,
My king returns; the proud usurpers die."
To whom the chief: "In thy capacious mind
Since daring zeal with cool debate is join'd,
Attend a deed already ripe in fate:
Attest, O Jove! the truth I now relate!
This sacred truth attest, each genial power,
Who bless the board, and guard this friendly bower!
Before thou quit the dome (nor long delay)
Thy wish produced in act, with pleased survey,
Thy wondering eyes shall view: his rightful reign
By arms avow'd Ulysses shall regain,
And to the shades devote the suitor-train."
"O Jove supreme! (the raptured swain replies,)
With deeds consummate soon the promised joys!
These aged nerves, with new-born vigour strung,
In that blest cause should emulate the young."
Assents Eumaeus to the prayer address'd;
And equal ardours fire his loyal breast.
Meantime the suitors urge the prince's fate,
And deathful arts employ the dire debate:
When in his airy tour, the bird of Jove
Truss'd with his sinewy pounce a trembling dove;
Sinister to their hope! This omen eyed
Amphinomus, who thus presaging cried:
"The gods from force and fraud the prince defend;
O peers! the sanguinary scheme suspend:
Your future thought let sable fate employ;
And give the present hour to genial joy."
From council straight the assenting peerage ceased,
And in the dome prepared the genial feast.
Disrobed, their vests apart in order lay,
Then all with speed succinct the victims slay:
With sheep and shaggy goats the porkers bled,
And the proud steer was on the marble spread.
With fire prepared, they deal the morsels round,
Wine, rosy-bright, the brimming goblets crown'd,
By sage Eumaeus borne; the purple tide
Melanthius from an ample jar supplied:
High canisters of bread Philaetius placed;
And eager all devour the rich repast.
Disposed apart, Ulysses shares the treat;
A trivet table, and ignobler seat,
The prince appoints; but to his sire assigns
The tasteful inwards, and nectareous wines.
"Partake, my guest (he cried), without control
The social feast, and drain the cheering bowl:
Dread not the railer's laugh, nor ruffian's rage;
No vulgar roof protects thy honour'd age;
This dome a refuge to thy wrongs shall be,
From my great sire too soon devolved to me!
Your violence and scorn, ye suitors, cease,
Lest arms avenge the violated peace."
Awed by the prince, so haughty, brave, and young,
Rage gnaw'd the lip, amazement chain'd the tongue.
"Be patient, peers! (at length Antinous cries,)
The threats of vain imperious youth despise:
Would Jove permit the meditated blow,
That stream of eloquence should cease to flow."
Without reply vouchsafed, Antinous ceased:
Meanwhile the pomp of festival increased:
By heralds rank'd; in marshall'd order move
The city tribes, to pleased Apollo's grove:
Beneath the verdure of which awful shade,
The lunar hecatomb they grateful laid;
Partook the sacred feast, and ritual honours paid.
But the rich banquet, in the dome prepared
(An humble sideboard set) Ulysses shared.
Observant of the prince's high behest,
His menial train attend the stranger-guest;
Whom Pallas with unpardoning fury fired,
By lordly pride and keen reproach inspired.
A Samian peer, more studious than the rest
Of vice, who teem'd with many a dead-born jest;
And urged, for title to a consort queen,
Unnumber'd acres arable and green
(Otesippus named); this lord Ulysses eyed,
And thus burst out the imposthumate with pride:
"The sentence I propose, ye peers, attend:
Since due regard must wait the prince's friend,
Let each a token of esteem bestow:
This gift acquits the dear respect I owe;
With which he nobly may discharge his seat,
And pay the menials for a master's treat."
He said: and of the steer before him placed,
That sinewy fragment at Ulysses cast,
Where to the pastern-bone, by nerves combined,
The well-horn'd foot indissolubly join'd;
Which whizzing high, the wall unseemly sign'd.
The chief indignant grins a ghastly smile;
Revenge and scorn within his bosom boil:
When thus the prince with pious rage inflamed:
"Had not the inglorious wound thy malice aim'd
Fall'n guiltless of the mark, my certain spear
Had made thee buy the brutal triumph dear:
Nor should thy sire a queen his daughter boast;
The suitor, now, had vanish'd in a ghost:
No more, ye lewd compeers, with lawless power
Invade my dome, my herds and flocks devour:
For genuine worth, of age mature to know,
My grape shall redden, and my harvest grow
Or, if each other's wrongs ye still support,
With rapes and riot to profane my court;
What single arm with numbers can contend?
On me let all your lifted swords descend,
And with my life such vile dishonours end."
A long cessation of discourse ensued,
By gentler Agelaus thus renew'd:
"A just reproof, ye peers! your rage restrain
From the protected guest, and menial train:
And, prince! to stop the source of future ill,
Assent yourself, and gain the royal will.
Whilst hope prevail'd to see your sire restored,
Of right the queen refused a second lord:
But who so vain of faith, so blind to fate,
To think he still survives to claim the state?
Now press the sovereign dame with warm desire
To wed, as wealth or worth her choice inspire:
The lord selected to the nuptial joys
Far hence will lead the long-contested prize:
Whilst in paternal pomp with plenty bless'd,
You reign, of this imperial dome possess'd."
Sage and serene Telemachus replies:
" By him at whose behest the thunder flies,
And by the name on earth I most revere,
By great Ulysses and his woes I swear!
(Who never must review his dear domain;
Enroll'd, perhaps, in Pluto's dreary train),
Whene'er her choice the royal dame avows,
My bridal gifts shall load the future spouse:
But from this dome my parent queen to chase!
From me, ye gods! avert such dire disgrace."
But Pallas clouds with intellectual gloom
The suitors' souls, insensate of their doom!
A mirthful frenzy seized the fated crowd;
The roofs resound with causeless laughter loud;
Floating in gore, portentous to survey!
In each discolour'd vase the viands lay;
Then down each cheek the tears spontaneous flow
And sudden sighs precede approaching woe.
In vision wrapp'd, the Hyperesian seer
Uprose, and thus divined the vengeance near:
"O race to death devote! with Stygian shade
Each destin'd peer impending fates invade;
With tears your wan distorted cheeks are drown'd;
With sanguine drops the walls are rubied round:
Thick swarms the spacious hall with howling ghosts,
To people Orcus, and the burning coasts!
Nor gives the sun his golden orb to roll,
But universal night usurps the pole!"
Yet warn'd in vain, with laughter loud elate
The peers reproach the sure divine of Fate;
And thus Eurymachus: "The dotard's mind
To every sense is lost, to reason blind;
Swift from the dome conduct the slave away;
Let him in open air behold the day."
"Tax not (the heaven-illumined seer rejoin'd)
Of rage, or folly, my prophetic mind,
No clouds of error dim the ethereal rays,
Her equal power each faithful sense obeys.
Unguided hence my trembling steps I bend,
Far hence, before yon hovering deaths descend;
Lest the ripe harvest of revenge begun,
I share the doom ye suitors cannot shun."
This said, to sage Piraeus sped the seer,
His honour'd host, a welcome inmate there.
O'er the protracted feast the suitors sit,
And aim to wound the prince with pointless wit:
Cries one, with scornful leer and mimic voice,
"Thy charity we praise, but not thy choice;
Why such profusion of indulgence shown
To this poor, timorous, toil-detesting drone?
That others feeds on planetary schemes,
And pays his host with hideous noon-day dreams.
But, prince! for once at least believe a friend;
To some Sicilian mart these courtiers send,
Where, if they yield their freight across the main,
Dear sell the slaves! demand no greater gain."
Thus jovial they; but nought the prince replies;
Full on his sire he roll'd his ardent eyes:
Impatient straight to flesh his virgin-sword;
From the wise chief he waits the deathful word.
Nigh in her bright alcove, the pensive queen
To see the circle sate, of all unseen.
Sated at length they rise, and bid prepare
An eve-repast, with equal cost and care:
But vengeful Pallas, with preventing speed,
A feast proportion'd to their crimes decreed;
A feast of death, the feasters doom'd to bleed!
THE BENDING OF ULYSSES' BOW.
Penelope, to put an end to the solicitation of the suitors,
proposes to marry the person who shall first bend the bow of
Ulysses, and shoot through the ringlets. After their attempts have
proved ineffectual, Ulysses, taking Eumaeus and Philaetius apart,
discovers himself to them; then returning, desires leave to try
his strength at the bow, which, though refused with indignation by
the suitors, Penelope and Telemachus cause it to be delivered to
his hands. He bends it immediately, and shoots through all the
rings. Jupiter at the same instant thunders from heaven; Ulysses
accepts the omen, and gives a sign to Telemachus, who stands ready
armed at his side.
And Pallas now, to raise the rivals' fires,
With her own art Penelope inspires
Who now can bend Ulysses' bow, and wing
The well-aim'd arrow through the distant ring,
Shall end the strife, and win the imperial dame:
But discord and black death await the game!
The prudent queen the lofty stair ascends:
At distance due a virgin-train attends;
A brazen key she held, the handle turn'd,
With steel and polish'd elephant adorn'd:
Swift to the inmost room she bent her way,
Where, safe reposed, the royal treasures lay:
There shone high heap'd the labour'd brass and ore,
And there the bow which great Ulysses bore;
And there the quiver, where now guiltless slept
Those winged deaths that many a matron wept.
This gift, long since when Sparta's shore he trod,
On young Ulysses Iphitus bestowed:
Beneath Orsilochus' roof they met;
One loss was private, one a public debt;
Messena's state from Ithaca detains
Three hundred sheep, and all the shepherd swains;
And to the youthful prince to urge the laws,
The king and elders trust their common cause.
But Iphitus, employed on other cares,
Search'd the wide country for his wandering mares,
And mules, the strongest of the labouring kind;
Hapless to search; more hapless still to find!
For journeying on to Hercules, at length
That lawless wretch, that man of brutal strength,
Deaf to Heaven's voice, the social rites transgress'd;
And for the beauteous mares destroy'd his guest.
He gave the bow; and on Ulysses' part
Received a pointed sword, and missile dart:
Of luckless friendship on a foreign shore
Their first, last pledges! for they met no more.
The bow, bequeath'd by this unhappy hand,
Ulysses bore not from his native land;
Nor in the front of battle taught to bend,
But kept in dear memorial of his friend.
Now gently winding up the fair ascent,
By many an easy step the matron went;
Then o'er the pavement glides with grace divine
(With polish'd oak the level pavements shine);
The folding gates a dazzling light display'd,
With pomp of various architrave o'erlaid.
The bolt, obedient to the silken string,
Forsakes the staple as she pulls the ring;
The wards respondent to the key turn round;
The bars fall back; the flying valves resound;
Loud as a bull makes hill and valley ring,
So roar'd the lock when it released the spring.
She moves majestic through the wealthy room,
Where treasured garments cast a rich perfume;
There from the column where aloft it hung,
Reach'd in its splendid case, the bow unstrung;
Across her knees she laid the well-known bow,
And pensive sate, and tears began to flow.
To full satiety of grief she mourns,
Then silent to the joyous hall returns,
To the proud suitors bears in pensive state
The unbended bow, and arrows winged with fate.
Behind, her train the polish'd coffer brings,
Which held the alternate brass and silver rings.
Full in the portal the chaste queen appears,
And with her veil conceals the coming tears:
On either side awaits a virgin fair;
While thus the matron, with majestic air:
"Say you, when these forbidden walls inclose,
For whom my victims bleed, my vintage flows:
If these neglected, faded charms can move?
Or is it but a vain pretence, you love?
If I the prize, if me you seek to wife,
Hear the conditions, and commence the strife.
Who first Ulysses' wondrous bow shall bend,
And through twelve ringlets the fleet arrow send;
Him will I follow, and forsake my home,
For him forsake this loved, this wealthy dome,
Long, long the scene of all my past delight,
And still to last, the vision of my night!"
Graceful she said, and bade Eumaeus show
The rival peers the ringlets and the bow.
From his full eyes the tears unbidden spring,
Touch'd at the dear memorials of his king.
Philaetius too relents, but secret shed
The tender drops. Antinous saw, and said:
"Hence to your fields, ye rustics! hence away,
Nor stain with grief the pleasures of the day;
Nor to the royal heart recall in vain
The sad remembrance of a perish'd man.
Enough her precious tears already flow--
Or share the feast with due respect; or go
To weep abroad, and leave to us the bow,
No vulgar task! Ill suits this courtly crew
That stubborn horn which brave Ulysses drew.
I well remember (for I gazed him o'er
While yet a child), what majesty he bore!
And still (all infant as I was) retain
The port, the strength, the grandeur of the man."
He said, but in his soul fond joys arise,
And his proud hopes already win the prize.
To speed the flying shaft through every ring,
Wretch! is not thine: the arrows of the king
Shall end those hopes, and fate is on the wing!
Then thus Telemachus: "Some god I find
With pleasing frenzy has possess'd my mind;
When a loved mother threatens to depart,
Why with this ill-timed gladness leaps my heart?
Come then, ye suitors! and dispute a prize
Richer than all the Achaian state supplies,
Than all proud Argos, or Mycaena knows,
Than all our isles or continents inclose;
A woman matchless, and almost divine,
Fit for the praise of every tongue but mine.
No more excuses then, no more delay;
Haste to the trial--Lo! I lead the way.
"I too may try, and if this arm can wing
The feather'd arrow through the destined ring,
Then if no happier night the conquest boast,
I shall not sorrow for a mother lost;
But, bless'd in her, possess those arms alone,
Heir of my father's strength, as well as throne."
He spoke; then rising, his broad sword unbound,
And cast his purple garment on the ground.
A trench he open'd: in a line he placed.
The level axes, and the points made fast
(His perfect skill the wondering gazers eyed,
The game as yet unseen, as yet untried).
Then, with a manly pace, he took his stand:
And grasp'd the bow, and twang'd it in his hand.
Three times, with beating heart, he made essay:
Three times, unequal to the task, gave way;
A modest boldness on his cheek appear'd:
And thrice he hoped, and thrice again he fear'd.
The fourth had drawn it. The great sire with joy
Beheld, but with a sign forbade the boy.
His ardour straight the obedient prince suppress'd,
And, artful, thus the suitor-train address'd:
"O lay the cause on youth yet immature!
(For heaven forbid such weakness should endure!)
How shall this arm, unequal to the bow,
Retort an insult, or repel a foe?
But you! whom Heaven with better nerves has bless'd,
Accept the trial, and the prize contest."
He cast the bow before him, and apart
Against the polish'd quiver propp'd the dart.
Resuming then his seat, Eupithes' son,
The bold Antinous, to the rest begun:
"From where the goblet first begins to flow,
From right to left in order take the bow;
And prove your several strengths." The princes heard
And first Leiodes, blameless priest'd, appear'd:
The eldest born of Oenops' noble race,
Who next the goblet held his holy place:
He, only he, of all the suitor throng,
Their deeds detested, and abjured the wrong.
With tender hands the stubborn horn he strains,
The stubborn horn resisted all his pains!
Already in despair he gives it o'er:
"Take it who will (he cries), I strive no more,
What numerous deaths attend this fatal bow!
What souls and spirits shall it send below!
Better, indeed, to die, and fairly give
Nature her debt, than disappointed live,
With each new sun to some new hope a prey,
Yet still to-morrow falser than to-day.
How long in vain Penelope we sought!
This bow shall ease us of that idle thought,
And send us with some humbler wife to live,
Whom gold shall gain, or destiny shall give."
Thus speaking, on the floor the bow he placed
(With rich inlay the various floor was graced):
At distance far the feather'd shaft he throws,
And to the seat returns from whence he rose.
To him Antinous thus with fury said:
"What words ill-omen'd from thy lips have fled?
Thy coward-function ever is in fear!
Those arms are dreadful which thou canst not bear,
Why should this bow be fatal to the brave?
Because the priest is born a peaceful slave.
Mark then what others can." He ended there,
And bade Melanthius a vast pile prepare;
He gives it instant flame, then fast beside
Spreads o'er an ample board a bullock's hide.
With melted lard they soak the weapon o'er,
Chafe every knot, and supple every pore.
Vain all their art, and all their strength as vain;
The bow inflexible resists their pain.
The force of great Eurymachus alone
And bold Antinous, yet untired, unknown:
Those only now remain'd; but those confess'd
Of all the train the mightiest and the best.
Then from the hall, and from the noisy crew,
The masters of the herd and flock withdrew.
The king observes them, he the hall forsakes,
And, past the limits of the court, o'ertakes.
Then thus with accent mild Ulysses spoke:
"Ye faithful guardians of the herd and flock!
Shall I the secret of my breast conceal,
Or (as my soul now dictates) shall I tell?
Say, should some favouring god restore again
The lost Ulysses to his native reign,
How beat your hearts? what aid would you afford
To the proud suitors, or your ancient lord?"
Philaetius thus: "O were thy word not vain!
Would mighty Jove restore that man again!
These aged sinews, with new vigour strung,
In his blest cause should emulate the young."
With equal vows Eumaeus too implored
Each power above, with wishes for his lord.
He saw their secret souls, and thus began:
"Those vows the gods accord; behold the man!
Your own Ulysses! twice ten years detain'd
By woes and wanderings from this hapless land:
At length he comes; but comes despised, unknown,
And finding faithful you, and you alone.
All else have cast him from their very thought,
E'en in their wishes and their prayers forgot!
Hear then, my friends: If Jove this arm succeed,
And give yon impious revellers to bleed,
My care shall be to bless your future lives
With large possessions and with faithful wives;
Fast by my palace shall your domes ascend,
And each on young Telemachus attend,
And each be call'd his brother and my friend.
To give you firmer faith, now trust your eye;
Lo! the broad scar indented on my thigh,
When with Autolycus' sons, of yore,
On Parnass' top I chased the tusky boar."
His ragged vest then drawn aside disclosed
The sign conspicuous, and the scar exposed:
Eager they view'd, with joy they stood amazed
With tearful eyes o'er all their master gazed:
Around his neck their longing arms they cast,
His head, his shoulders, and his knees embraced;
Tears followed tears; no word was in their power;
In solemn silence fell the kindly shower.
The king too weeps, the king too grasps their hands;
And moveless, as a marble fountain, stands.
Thus had their joy wept down the setting sun,
But first the wise man ceased, and thus begun:
"Enough--on other cares your thought employ,
For danger waits on all untimely joy.
Full many foes and fierce, observe us near;
Some may betray, and yonder walls may hear.
Re-enter then, not all at once, but stay
Some moments you, and let me lead the way.
To me, neglected as I am I know
The haughty suitors will deny the bow;
But thou, Eumaeus, as 'tis borne away,
Thy master's weapon to his hand convey.
At every portal let some matron wait,
And each lock fast the well-compacted gate:
Close let them keep, whate'er invades their ear;
Though arms, or shouts, or dying groans they hear.
To thy strict charge, Philaetius, we consign
The court's main gate: to guard that pass be thine."
This said, he first return'd; the faithful swains
At distance follow, as their king ordains.
Before the flame Eurymachus now stands,
And turns the bow, and chafes it with his hands
Still the tough bow unmoved. The lofty man
Sigh'd from his mighty soul, and thus began:
"I mourn the common cause: for, oh, my friends,
On me, on all, what grief, what shame attends!
Not the lost nuptials can affect me more
(For Greece has beauteous dames on every shore),
But baffled thus! confess'd so far below
Ulysses' strength, as not to bend his bow!
How shall all ages our attempt deride!
Our weakness scorn!" Antinous thus replied:
"Not so, Eurymachus: that no man draws
The wondrous bow, attend another cause.
Sacred to Phoebus is the solemn day,
Which thoughtless we in games would waste away:
Till the next dawn this ill-timed strife forego,
And here leave fixed the ringlets in a row.
Now bid the sewer approach, and let us join
In due libations, and in rites divine,
So end our night: before the day shall spring,
The choicest offerings let Melanthius bring:
Let then to Phoebus' name the fatted thighs
Feed the rich smokes high curling to the skies.
So shall the patron of these arts bestow
(For his the gift) the skill to bend the bow."
They heard well pleased: the ready heralds bring
The cleansing waters from the limpid spring:
The goblet high with rosy wine they crown'd,
In order circling to the peers around.
That rite complete, uprose the thoughtful man,
And thus his meditated scheme began:
"If what I ask your noble minds approve,
Ye peers and rivals in the royal love!
Chief, if it hurt not great Antinous' ear
(Whose sage decision I with wonder hear),
And if Eurymachus the motion please:
Give Heaven this day and rest the bow in peace.
To-morrow let your arms dispute the prize,
And take it he, the favour'd of the skies!
But, since till then this trial you delay,
Trust it one moment to my hands to-day:
Fain would I prove, before your judging eyes,
What once I was, whom wretched you despise:
If yet this arm its ancient force retain;
Or if my woes (a long-continued train)
And wants and insults, make me less than man."
Rage flash'd in lightning from the suitors' eyes,
Yet mixed with terror at the bold emprise.
Antinous then: "O miserable guest!
Is common sense quite banish'd from thy breast?
Sufficed it not, within the palace placed,
To sit distinguish'd, with our presence graced,
Admitted here with princes to confer,
A man unknown, a needy wanderer?
To copious wine this insolence we owe,
And much thy betters wine can overthrow:
The great Eurytian when this frenzy stung,
Pirithous' roofs with frantic riot rung;
Boundless the Centaur raged; till one and all
The heroes rose, and dragg'd him from the hall;
His nose they shorten'd, and his ears they slit,
And sent him sober'd home, with better wit.
Hence with long war the double race was cursed,
Fatal to all, but to the aggressor first.
Such fate I prophesy our guest attends,
If here this interdicted bow he bends:
Nor shall these walls such insolence contain:
The first fair wind transports him o'er the main,
Where Echetus to death the guilty brings
(The worst of mortals, e'en the worst of kings).
Better than that, if thou approve our cheer;
Cease the mad strife and share our bounty here."
To this the queen her just dislike express'd:
"'Tis impious, prince, to harm the stranger-guest,
Base to insult who bears a suppliant's name,
And some respect Telemachus may claim.
What if the immortals on the man bestow
Sufficient strength to draw the mighty bow?
Shall I, a queen, by rival chiefs adored,
Accept a wandering stranger for my lord?
A hope so idle never touch'd his brain:
Then ease your bosoms of a fear so vain.
Far be he banish'd from this stately scene
Who wrongs his princess with a thought so mean."
"O fair! and wisest of so fair a kind!
(Respectful thus Eurymachus rejoin'd,)
Moved by no weak surmise, but sense of shame,
We dread the all-arraigning voice of Fame:
We dread the censure of the meanest slave,
The weakest woman: all can wrong the brave.
'Behold what wretches to the bed pretend
Of that brave chief whose bow they could not bend!
In came a beggar of the strolling crew,
And did what all those princes could not do.'
Thus will the common voice our deed defame,
And thus posterity upbraid our name."
To whom the queen: "If fame engage your views,
Forbear those acts which infamy pursues;
Wrong and oppression no renown can raise;
Know, friend! that virtue is the path to praise.
The stature of our guest, his port, his face,
Speak him descended from no vulgar race.
To him the bow, as he desires, convey;
And to his hand if Phoebus give the day,
Hence, to reward his merit, be shall bear
A two-edged falchion and a shining spear,
Embroider'd sandals, a rich cloak and vest,
A safe conveyance to his port of rest."
"O royal mother! ever-honour'd name!
Permit me (cries Telemachus) to claim
A son's just right. No Grecian prince but I
Has power this bow to grant or to deny.
Of all that Ithaca's rough hills contain,
And all wide Elis' courser-breeding plain,
To me alone my father's arms descend;
And mine alone they are, to give or lend.
Retire, O queen! thy household task resume,
Tend, with thy maids, the labours of thy loom;
The bow, the darts, and arms of chivalry,
These cares to man belong, and most to me."
Mature beyond his years, the queen admired
His sage reply, and with her train retired;
There in her chamber as she sate apart,
Revolved his words, and placed them in her heart.
On her Ulysses then she fix'd her soul;
Down her fair cheek the tears abundant roll,
Till gentle Pallas, piteous of her cries,
In slumber closed her silver-streaming eyes.
Now through the press the bow Eumaeus bore,
And all was riot, noise, and wild uproar.
"Hold! lawless rustic! whither wilt thou go?
To whom, insensate, dost thou bear the bow?
Exiled for this to some sequester'd den,
Far from the sweet society of men,
To thy own dogs a prey thou shalt be made;
If Heaven and Phoebus lend the suitors aid."
Thus they. Aghast he laid the weapon down,
But bold Telemachus thus urged him on:
"Proceed, false slave, and slight their empty words:
What! hopes the fool to please so many lords?
Young as I am, thy prince's vengeful hand
Stretch'd forth in wrath shall drive thee from the land.
Oh! could the vigour of this arm as well
The oppressive suitors from my walls expel!
Then what a shoal of lawless men should go
To fill with tumult the dark courts below!"
The suitors with a scornful smile survey
The youth, indulging in the genial day.
Eumaeus, thus encouraged, hastes to bring
The strifeful bow and gives it to the king.
Old Euryclea calling them aside,
"Hear what Telemachus enjoins (he cried):
At every portal let some matron wait,
And each lock fast the well-compacted gate;
And if unusual sounds invade their ear,
If arms, or shouts, or dying groans they hear,
Let none to call or issue forth presume,
But close attend the labours of the loom."
Her prompt obedience on his order waits;
Closed in an instant were the palace gates.
In the same moment forth Philaetius flies,
Secures the court, and with a cable ties
The utmost gate (the cable strongly wrought
Of Byblos' reed, a ship from Egypt brought);
Then unperceived and silent at the board
His seat he takes, his eyes upon his lord.
And now his well-known bow the master bore,
Turn'd on all sides, and view'd it o'er and o'er;
Lest time or worms had done the weapon wrong,
Its owner absent, and untried so long.
While some deriding--"How he turns the bow!
Some other like it sure the man must know,
Or else would copy; or in bows he deals;
Perhaps he makes them, or perhaps he steals."
"Heaven to this wretch (another cried) be kind!
And bless, in all to which he stands inclined.
With such good fortune as he now shall find."
Heedless he heard them: but disdain'd reply;
The bow perusing with exactest eye.
Then, as some heavenly minstrel, taught to sing
High notes responsive to the trembling string,
To some new strain when he adapts the lyre,
Or the dumb lute refits with vocal wire,
Relaxes, strains, and draws them to and fro;
So the great master drew the mighty bow,
And drew with ease. One hand aloft display'd
The bending horns, and one the string essay'd.
From his essaying hand the string, let fly,
Twang'd short and sharp like the shrill swallow's cry.
A general horror ran through all the race,
Sunk was each heart, and pale was every face,
Signs from above ensued: the unfolding sky
In lightning burst; Jove thunder'd from on high.
Fired at the call of heaven's almighty Lord,
He snatch'd the shaft that glitter'd on the board
(Fast by, the rest lay sleeping in the sheath,
But soon to fly the messengers of death).
Now sitting as he was, the cord he drew,
Through every ringlet levelling his view:
Then notch'd the shaft, released, and gave it wing;
The whizzing arrow vanished from the string,
Sung on direct, and threaded every ring.
The solid gate its fury scarcely bounds;
Pierced through and through the solid gate resounds,
Then to the prince: "Nor have I wrought thee shame;
Nor err'd this hand unfaithful to its aim;
Nor prov'd the toil too hard; nor have I lost
That ancient vigour, once my pride and boast.
Ill I deserved these haughty peers' disdain;
Now let them comfort their dejected train,
In sweet repast their present hour employ,
Nor wait till evening for the genial joy:
Then to the lute's soft voice prolong the night;
Music, the banquet's most refined delight."
He said, then gave a nod; and at the word
Telemachus girds on his shining sword.
Fast by his father's side he takes his stand:
The beamy javelin lightens in his hand.
THE DEATH OF THE SUITORS.
Ulysses begins the slaughter of the suitors by the death of
Antinous. He declares himself, and lets fly his arrows at the
rest. Telemachus assists and brings arms for his father, himself,
Eumaeus, and Philaetius. Melanthius does the same for the wooers.
Minerva encourages Ulysses in the shape of Mentor. The suitors are
all slain, only Medon and Phemius are spared. Melanthius and the
unfaithful servants are executed. The rest acknowledge their
master with all demonstrations of joy.
Then fierce the hero o'er the threshold strode;
Stripp'd of his rags, he blazed out like a god.
Full in their face the lifted bow he bore,
And quiver'd deaths, a formidable store;
Before his feet the rattling shower he threw,
And thus, terrific, to the suitor-crew:
"One venturous game this hand hath won to-day,
Another, princes! yet remains to play;
Another mark our arrow must attain.
Phoebus, assist! nor be the labour vain."
Swift as the word the parting arrow sings,
And bears thy fate, Antinous, on its wings:
Wretch that he was, of unprophetic soul!
High in his hands he rear'd the golden bowl!
E'en then to drain it lengthen'd out his breath;
Changed to the deep, the bitter draught of death:
For fate who fear'd amidst a feastful band?
And fate to numbers, by a single hand?
Full through his throat Ulysses' weapon pass'd,
And pierced his neck. He falls, and breathes his last.
The tumbling goblet the wide floor o'erflows,
A stream of gore burst spouting from his nose;
Grim in convulsive agonies be sprawls:
Before him spurn'd the loaded table falls,
And spreads the pavement with a mingled flood
Of floating meats, and wine, and human blood.
Amazed, confounded, as they saw him fall,
Up rose he throngs tumultuous round the hall:
O'er all the dome they cast a haggard eye,
Each look'd for arms--in vain; no arms were nigh:
"Aim'st thou at princes? (all amazed they said;)
Thy last of games unhappy hast thou play'd;
Thy erring shaft has made our bravest bleed,
And death, unlucky guest, attends thy deed.
Vultures shall tear thee." Thus incensed they spoke,
While each to chance ascribed the wondrous stroke:
Blind as they were: for death e'en now invades
His destined prey, and wraps them all in shades.
Then, grimly frowning, with a dreadful look,
That wither'd all their hearts, Ulysses spoke:
"Dogs, ye have had your day! ye fear'd no more
Ulysses vengeful from the Trojan shore;
While, to your lust and spoil a guardless prey,
Our house, our wealth, our helpless handmaids lay:
Not so content, with bolder frenzy fired,
E'en to our bed presumptuous you aspired:
Laws or divine or human fail'd to move,
Or shame of men, or dread of gods above;
Heedless alike of infamy or praise,
Or Fame's eternal voice in future days;
The hour of vengeance, wretches, now is come;
Impending fate is yours, and instant doom."
Thus dreadful he. Confused the suitors stood,
From their pale cheeks recedes the flying blood:
Trembling they sought their guilty heads to hide.
Alone the bold Eurymachus replied:
"If, as thy words import (he thus began),
Ulysses lives, and thou the mighty man,
Great are thy wrongs, and much hast thou sustain'd
In thy spoil'd palace, and exhausted land;
The cause and author of those guilty deeds,
Lo! at thy feet unjust Antinous bleeds
Not love, but wild ambition was his guide;
To slay thy son, thy kingdom to divide,
These were his aims; but juster Jove denied.
Since cold in death the offender lies, oh spare
Thy suppliant people, and receive their prayer!
Brass, gold, and treasures, shall the spoil defray,
Two hundred oxen every prince shall pay:
The waste of years refunded in a day.
Till then thy wrath is just." Ulysses burn'd
With high disdain, and sternly thus return'd:
"All, all the treasure that enrich'd our throne
Before your rapines, join'd with all your own,
If offer'd, vainly should for mercy call;
'Tis you that offer, and I scorn them all;
Your blood is my demand, your lives the prize,
Till pale as yonder wretch each suitor lies.
Hence with those coward terms; or fight or fly;
This choice is left you, to resist or die:
And die I trust ye shall." He sternly spoke:
With guilty fears the pale assembly shook.
Alone Eurymachus exhorts the train:
"Yon archer, comrades, will not shoot in vain;
But from the threshold shall his darts be sped,
(Whoe'er he be), till every prince lie dead?
Be mindful of yourselves, draw forth your swords,
And to his shafts obtend these ample boards
(So need compels). Then, all united, strive
The bold invader from his post to drive:
The city roused shall to our rescue haste,
And this mad archer soon have shot his last."
Swift as he spoke, he drew his traitor sword,
And like a lion rush'd against his lord:
The wary chief the rushing foe repress'd,
Who met the point and forced it in his breast:
His falling hand deserts the lifted sword,
And prone he falls extended o'er the board!
Before him wide, in mix'd effusion roll
The untasted viands, and the jovial bowl.
Full through his liver pass'd the mortal wound,
With dying rage his forehead beats the ground;
He spurn'd the seat with fury as he fell,
And the fierce soul to darkness dived, and hell.
Next bold Amphinomus his arm extends
To force the pass; the godlike man defends.
Thy spear, Telemachus, prevents the attack,
The brazen weapon driving through his back.
Thence through his breast its bloody passage tore;
Flat falls he thundering on the marble floor,
And his crush'd forehead marks the stone with gore.
He left his javelin in the dead, for fear
The long encumbrance of the weighty spear
To the fierce foe advantage might afford,
To rash between and use the shorten'd sword.
With speedy ardour to his sire he flies,
And, "Arm, great father! arm (in haste he cries).
Lo, hence I run for other arms to wield,
For missive javelins, and for helm and shield;
Fast by our side let either faithful swain
In arms attend us, and their part sustain."
"Haste, and return (Ulysses made reply)
While yet the auxiliar shafts this hand supply;
Lest thus alone, encounter'd by an host,
Driven from the gate, the important past be lost."
With speed Telemachus obeys, and flies
Where piled in heaps the royal armour lies;
Four brazen helmets, eight refulgent spears,
And four broad bucklers to his sire he bears:
At once in brazen panoply they shone.
At once each servant braced his armour on;
Around their king a faithful guard they stand.
While yet each shaft flew deathful from his hand:
Chief after chief expired at every wound,
And swell'd the bleeding mountain on the ground.
Soon as his store of flying fates was spent.
Against the wall he set the bow unbent;
And now his shoulders bear the massy shield,
And now his hands two beamy javelins wield:
He frowns beneath his nodding plume, that play'd
O'er the high crest, and cast a dreadful shade.
There stood a window near, whence looking down
From o'er the porch appear'd the subject town.
A double strength of valves secured the place,
A high and narrow; but the only pass:
The cautious king, with all-preventing care,
To guard that outlet, placed Eumaeus there;
When Agelaus thus: "Has none the sense
To mount yon window, and alarm from thence
The neighbour-town? the town shall force the door,
And this bold archer soon shall shoot no more."
Melanthius then: "That outlet to the gate
So near adjoins, that one may guard the strait.
But other methods of defence remain;
Myself with arms can furnish all the train;
Stores from the royal magazine I bring,
And their own darts shall pierce the prince and king."
He said; and mounting up the lofty stairs,
Twelve shields, twelve lances, and twelve helmets bears:
All arm, and sudden round the hall appears
A blaze of bucklers, and a wood of spears.
The hero stands oppress'd with mighty woe,
On every side he sees the labour grow;
"Oh cursed event! and oh unlook'd for aid!
Melanthius or the women have betray'd--
Oh my dear son!"--The father with a sigh
Then ceased; the filial virtue made reply;
"Falsehood is folly, and 'tis just to own
The fault committed: this was mine alone;
My haste neglected yonder door to bar,
And hence the villain has supplied their war.
Run, good Eumaeus, then, and (what before
I thoughtless err'd in) well secure that door:
Learn, if by female fraud this deed were done,
Or (as my thought misgives) by Dolius' son."
While yet they spoke, in quest of arms again
To the high chamber stole the faithless swain,
Not unobserved. Eumaeus watchful eyed,
And thus address'd Ulysses near his side:
"The miscreant we suspected takes that way;
Him, if this arm be powerful, shall I slay?
Or drive him hither, to receive the meed
From thy own hand, of this detested deed?"
"Not so (replied Ulysses); leave him there,
For us sufficient is another care;
Within the structure of this palace wall
To keep enclosed his masters till they fall.
Go you, and seize the felon; backward bind
His arms and legs, and fix a plank behind:
On this his body by strong cords extend,
And on a column near the roof suspend:
So studied tortures his vile days shall end."
The ready swains obey'd with joyful haste,
Behind the felon unperceived they pass'd,
As round the room in quest of arms he goes
(The half-shut door conceal'd his lurking foes):
One hand sustain'd a helm, and one the shield
Which old Laertes wont in youth to wield,
Cover'd with dust, with dryness chapp'd and worn,
The brass corroded, and the leather torn.
Thus laden, o'er the threshold as he stepp'd,
Fierce on the villain from each side they leap'd,
Back by the hair the trembling dastard drew,
And down reluctant on the pavement threw.
Active and pleased the zealous swains fulfil
At every point their master's rigid will;
First, fast behind, his hands and feet they bound,
Then straighten'd cords involved his body round;
So drawn aloft, athwart the column tied,
The howling felon swung from side to side.
Eumaeus scoffing then with keen disdain:
"There pass thy pleasing night, O gentle swain!
On that soft pillow, from that envied height,
First may'st thou see the springing dawn of light;
So timely rise, when morning streaks the east,
To drive thy victims to the suitors' feast."
This said, they, left him, tortured as he lay,
Secured the door, and hasty strode away:
Each, breathing death, resumed his dangerous post
Near great Ulysses; four against an host,
When lo! descending to her hero's aid,
Jove's daughter, Pallas, War's triumphant maid:
In Mentor's friendly form she join'd his side:
Ulysses saw, and thus with transport cried:
"Come, ever welcome, and thy succour lend;
O every sacred name in one, my friend!
Early we loved, and long our loves have grown;
Whate'er through life's whole series I have done,
Or good, or grateful, now to mind recall,
And, aiding this one hour, repay it all."
Thus he; but pleasing hopes his bosom warm
Of Pallas latent in the friendly form.
The adverse host the phantom-warrior eyed,
And first, loud-threatening, Agelaus cried:
"Mentor, beware, nor let that tongue persuade
Thy frantic arm to lend Ulysses aid;
Our force successful shall our threat make good,
And with the sire and son commix thy blood.
What hopest thou here? Thee first the sword shall slay,
Then lop thy whole posterity away;
Far hence thy banish'd consort shall we send;
With his thy forfeit lands and treasures blend;
Thus, and thus only, shalt thou join thy friend."
His barbarous insult even the goddess fires,
Who thus the warrior to revenge inspires:
"Art thou Ulysses? where then shall we find
The patient body and the constant mind?
That courage, once the Trojans' daily dread,
Known nine long years, and felt by heroes dead?
And where that conduct, which revenged the lust
Of Priam's race, and laid proud Troy in dust?
If this, when Helen was the cause, were done;
What for thy country now, thy queen, thy son?
Rise then in combat, at my side attend;
Observe what vigour gratitude can lend,
And foes how weak, opposed against a friend!"
She spoke; but willing longer to survey
The sire and son's great acts withheld the day!
By farther toils decreed the brave to try,
And level poised the wings of victory;
Then with a change of form eludes their sight,
Perch'd like a swallow on a rafter's height,
And unperceived enjoys the rising fight.
Damastor's son, bold Agelaus, leads,
The guilty war, Eurynomus succeeds;
With these, Pisander, great Polyctor's son,
Sage Polybus, and stern Amphimedon,
With Demoptolemus: these six survive:
The best of all the shafts had left alive.
Amidst the carnage, desperate as they stand,
Thus Agelaus roused the lagging band:
"The hour has come, when yon fierce man no more
With bleeding princes shall bestrew the floor;
Lo! Mentor leaves him with an empty boast;
The four remain, but four against an host.
Let each at once discharge the deadly dart,
One sure of six shall reach Ulysses' heart:
The rest must perish, their great leader slain:
Thus shall one stroke the glory lost regain."
Then all at once their mingled lances threw,
And thirsty all of one man's blood they flew;
In vain! Minerva turned them with her breath,
And scattered short, or wide, the points of death!
With deaden'd sound one on the threshold falls,
One strikes the gate, one rings against the walls:
The storm passed innocent. The godlike man
Now loftier trod, and dreadful thus began:
"'Tis now (brave friends) our turn, at once to throw,
(So speed them Heaven) our javelins at the foe.
That impious race to all their past misdeeds
Would add our blood, injustice still proceeds."
He spoke: at once their fiery lances flew:
Great Demoptolemus Ulysses slew;
Euryades received the prince's dart;
The goatherd's quiver'd in Pisander's heart;
Fierce Elatus by thine, Eumaeus, falls;
Their fall in thunder echoes round the walls.
The rest retreat: the victors now advance,
Each from the dead resumes his bloody lance.
Again the foe discharge the steely shower;
Again made frustrate by the virgin-power.
Some, turn'd by Pallas, on the threshold fall,
Some wound the gate, some ring against the wall;
Some weak, or ponderous with the brazen head,
Drop harmless on the pavement, sounding dead.
Then bold Amphimedon his javelin cast:
Thy hand, Telemachus, it lightly razed:
And from Ctesippus' arm the spear elanced:
On good Eumaeus' shield and shoulder glanced;
Not lessened of their force (so light the wound)
Each sung along and dropped upon the ground.
Fate doom'd thee next, Eurydamus, to bear,
Thy death ennobled by Ulysses' spear.
By the bold son Amphimedon was slain,
And Polybus renown'd, the faithful swain.
Pierced through the breast the rude Ctesippus bled,
And thus Philaetius gloried o'er the dead:
"There end thy pompous vaunts and high disdain;
O sharp in scandal, voluble and vain!
How weak is mortal pride! To Heaven alone
The event of actions and our fates are known:
Scoffer, behold what gratitude we bear:
The victim's heel is answered with this spear."
Ulysses brandish'd high his vengeful steel,
And Damastorides that instant fell:
Fast by Leocritus expiring lay,
The prince's javelin tore its bloody way
Through all his bowels: down he tumbled prone,
His batter'd front and brains besmear the stone.
Now Pallas shines confess'd; aloft she spreads
The arm of vengeance o'er their guilty heads:
The dreadful aegis blazes in their eye:
Amazed they see, they tremble, and they fly:
Confused, distracted, through he rooms they fling:
Like oxen madden'd by the breeze's sting,
When sultry days, and long, succeed the gentle spring,
Not half so keen fierce vultures of the chase
Stoop from the mountains on the feather'd race,
When, the wide field extended snares beset,
With conscious dread they shun the quivering net:
No help, no flight; but wounded every way,
Headlong they drop; the fowlers seize their prey.
On all sides thus they double wound on wound,
In prostrate heaps the wretches beat the ground,
Unmanly shrieks precede each dying groan,
And a red deluge floats the reaking stone.
Leiodes first before the victor falls:
The wretched augur thus for mercy calls:
"Oh gracious hear, nor let thy suppliant bleed;
Still undishonoured, or by word or deed,
Thy house, for me remains; by me repress'd
Full oft was check'd the injustice of the rest:
Averse they heard me when I counselled well,
Their hearts were harden'd, and they justly fell.
O spare an augur's consecrated head,
Nor add the blameless to the guilty dead."
"Priest as thou art! for that detested band
Thy lying prophecies deceived the land;
Against Ulysses have thy vows been made,
For them thy daily orisons were paid:
Yet more, e'en to our bed thy pride aspires:
One common crime one common fate requires."
Thus speaking, from the ground the sword he took
Which Agelaus' dying hand forsook:
Full through his neck the weighty falchion sped;
Along the pavement roll'd the muttering head.
Phemius alone the hand of vengeance spared,
Phemius the sweet, the heaven-instructed bard.
Beside the gate the reverend minstrel stands;
The lyre now silent trembling in his hands;
Dubious to supplicate the chief, or fly
To Jove's inviolable altar nigh,
Where oft Laertes holy vows had paid,
And oft Ulysses smoking victims laid.
His honour'd harp with care he first set down,
Between the laver and the silver throne;
Then prostrate stretch'd before the dreadful man,
Persuasive thus, with accent soft began:
"O king! to mercy be thy soul inclined,
And spare the poet's ever-gentle kind.
A deed like this thy future fame would wrong,
For dear to gods and men is sacred song.
Self-taught I sing; by Heaven, and Heaven alone,
The genuine seeds of poesy are sown:
And (what the gods bestow) the lofty lay
To gods alone and godlike worth we pay.
Save then the poet, and thyself reward!
'Tis thine to merit, mine is to record.
That here I sung, was force, and not desire;
This hand reluctant touch'd the warbling wire;
And let thy son attest, nor sordid pay,
Nor servile flattery, stain'd the moral lay."
The moving words Telemachus attends,
His sire approaches, and the bard defends.
"O mix not, father, with those impious dead
The man divine! forbear that sacred head;
Medon, the herald, too, our arms may spare,
Medon, who made my infancy his care;
If yet he breathes, permit thy son to give
Thus much to gratitude, and bid him live."
Beneath a table, trembling with dismay,
Couch'd close to earth, unhappy Medon lay,
Wrapp'd in a new-slain ox's ample hide;
Swift at the word he cast his screen aside,
Sprung to the prince, embraced his knee with tears,
And thus with grateful voice address'd his ears
"O prince! O friend! lo, here thy Medon stands
Ah stop the hero's unresisted hands,
Incensed too justly by that impious brood,
Whose guilty glories now are set in blood."
To whom Ulysses with a pleasing eye:
"Be bold, on friendship and my son rely;
Live, an example for the world to read,
How much more safe the good than evil deed:
Thou, with the heaven-taught bard, in peace resort
From blood and carnage to yon open court:
Me other work requires." With timorous awe
From the dire scene the exempted two withdraw,
Scarce sure of life, look round, and trembling move
To the bright altars of Protector Jove.
Meanwhile Ulysses search'd the dome, to find
If yet there live of all the offending kind.
Not one! complete the bloody tale he found,
All steep'd in blood, all gasping on the ground.
So, when by hollow shores the fisher-train
Sweep with their arching nets the roaring main,
And scarce the meshy toils the copious draught contain,
All naked of their element, and bare,
The fishes pant, and gasp in thinner air;
Wide o'er the sands are spread the stiffening prey,
Till the warm sun exhales their soul away.
And now the king commands his son to call
Old Euryclea to the deathful hall:
The son observant not a moment stays;
The aged governess with speed obeys;
The sounding portals instant they display;
The matron moves, the prince directs the way.
On heaps of death the stern Ulysses stood,
All black with dust, and cover'd thick with blood.
So the grim lion from the slaughter comes,
Dreadful lie glares, and terribly he foams,
His breast with marks of carnage painted o'er,
His jaws all dropping with the bull's black gore.
Soon as her eyes the welcome object met,
The guilty fall'n, the mighty deed complete;
A scream of joy her feeble voice essay'd;
The hero check'd her, and composedly said.
"Woman, experienced as thou art, control
Indecent joy, and feast thy secret soul.
To insult the dead is cruel and unjust;
Fate and their crime have sunk them to the dust.
Nor heeded these the censure of mankind,
The good and bad were equal in their mind
Justly the price of worthlessness they paid,
And each now wails an unlamented shade.
But thou sincere! O Euryclea, say,
What maids dishonour us, and what obey?"
Then she: "In these thy kingly walls remain
(My son) full fifty of the handmaid train,
Taught by my care to cull the fleece or weave,
And servitude with pleasing tasks deceive;
Of these, twice six pursue their wicked way,
Nor me, nor chaste Penelope obey;
Nor fits it that Telemachus command
(Young as he is) his mother's female band.
Hence to the upper chambers let me fly
Where slumbers soft now close the royal eye;
There wake her with the news"--the matron cried
"Not so (Ulysses, more sedate, replied),
Bring first the crew who wrought these guilty deeds."
In haste the matron parts: the king proceeds;
"Now to dispose the dead, the care remains
To you, my son, and you, my faithfull swains;
The offending females to that task we doom,
To wash, to scent, and purify the room;
These (every table cleansed, and every throne,
And all the melancholy labour done)
Drive to yon court, without the palace wall,
There the revenging sword shall smite them all;
So with the suitors let them mix in dust,
Stretch'd in a long oblivion of their lust."
He said: the lamentable train appear,
Each vents a groan, and drops a tender tear;
Each heaved her mournful burden, and beneath
The porch deposed the ghastly heap of death.
The chief severe, compelling each to move,
Urged the dire task imperious from above;
With thirsty sponge they rub the tables o'er
(The swains unite their toil); the walls, the floor,
Wash'd with the effusive wave, are purged of gore.
Once more the palace set in fair array,
To the base court the females take their way;
There compass'd close between the dome and wall
(Their life's last scene) they trembling wait their fall.
Then thus the prince: "To these shall we afford
A fate so pure as by the martial sword?
To these, the nightly prostitutes to shame,
And base revilers of our house and name?"
Thus speaking, on the circling wall he strung
A ship's tough cable from a column hung;
Near the high top he strain'd it strongly round,
Whence no contending foot could reach the ground.
Their heads above connected in a row,
They beat the air with quivering feet below:
Thus on some tree hung struggling in the snare,
The doves or thrushes flap their wings in air.
Soon fled the soul impure, and left behind
The empty corse to waver with the wind.
Then forth they led Melanthius, and began
Their bloody work; they lopp'd away the man,
Morsel for dogs! then trimm'd with brazen shears
The wretch, and shorten'd of his nose and ears;
His hands and feet last felt the cruel steel:
He roar'd, and torments gave his soul to hell.
They wash, and to Ulysses take their way:
So ends the bloody business of the day.
To Euryclea then address'd the king:
("Bring hither fire, and hither sulphur bring,
To purge the palace: then the queen attend,
And let her with her matron-train descend;
The matron-train, with all the virgin-band,
Assemble here, to learn their lord's command."
Then Euryclea: "Joyful I obey,
But cast those mean dishonest rags away;
Permit me first the royal robes to bring:
Ill suits this garb the shoulders of a king."
"Bring sulphur straight, and fire" (the monarch cries).
She hears, and at the word obedient flies.
With fire and sulphur, cure of noxious fumes,
He purged the walls, and blood-polluted rooms.
Again the matron springs with eager pace,
And spreads her lord's return from place to place.
They hear, rush forth, and instant round him stand,
A gazing throng, a torch in every hand.
They saw, they knew him, and with fond embrace
Each humbly kiss'd his knee, or hand, or face;
He knows them all, in all such truth appears,
E'en he indulges the sweet joy of tears.
Euryclea awakens Penelope with the news of Ulysses' return, and
the death of the suitors. Penelope scarcely credits her; but
supposes some god has punished them, and descends from her
department in doubt. At the first interview of Ulysses and
Penelope, she is quite unsatisfied. Minerva restores him to the
beauty of his youth; but the queen continues incredulous, till by
some circumstances she is convinced, and falls into all the
transports of passion and tenderness. They recount to each other
all that has passed during their long separation. The next morning
Ulysses, arming himself and his friends, goes from the city to
visit his father.
Then to the queen, as in repose she lay,
The nurse with eager rapture speeds her way:
The transports of her faithful heart supply
A sudden youth, and give her wings to fly.
"And sleeps my child? (the reverend matron cries)
Ulysses lives! arise, my child, arise!
At length appears the long-expected hour!
Ulysses comes! the suitors are no more!
No more they view the golden light of day!
Arise, and bless thee with the glad survey?"
Touch'd at her words, the mournful queen rejoin'd:
"Ah! whither wanders thy distemper'd mind?
The righteous powers, who tread the starry skies,
The weak enlighten, and confound the wise,
And human thought, with unresisted sway,
Depress or raise, enlarge or take away:
Truth, by their high decree, thy voice forsakes,
And folly with the tongue of wisdom speaks.
Unkind, the fond illusion to impose!
Was it to flatter or deride my woes?
Never did I sleep so sweet enjoy,
Since my dear lord left Ithaca for Troy.
Why must I wake to grieve, and curse thy shore,
O Troy?--may never tongue pronounce thee more!
Begone! another might have felt our rage,
But age is sacred, and we spare thy age."
To whom with warmth: "My soul a lie disdains;
Ulysses lives, thy own Ulysses reigns:
That stranger, patient of the suitors' wrongs,
And the rude license of ungovern'd tongues!
He, he is thine! Thy son his latent guest
Long knew, but lock'd the secret in his breast:
With well concerted art to end his woes,
And burst at once in vengeance on the foes."
While yet she spoke, the queen in transport sprung
Swift from the couch, and round the matron hung;
Fast from her eye descends the rolling tear:
"Say, once more say, is my Ulysses here?
How could that numerous and outrageous band
By one be slain, though by a hero's hand?"
"I saw it not (she cries), but heard alone,
When death was busy, a loud dying groan;
The damsel-train turn'd pale at every wound,
Immured we sate, and catch'd each passing sound;
When death had seized her prey, thy son attends,
And at his nod the damsel-train descends;
There terrible in arms Ulysses stood,
And the dead suitors almost swam in blood:
Thy heart had leap'd the hero to survey,
Stern as the surly lion o'er his prey,
Glorious in gore, now with sulphereous fire
The dome he purges, now the flame aspires;
Heap'd lie the dead without the palace walls--
Haste, daughter, haste, thy own Ulysses calls!
Thy every wish the bounteous gods bestow;
Enjoy the present good, and former woe.
Ulysses lives, his vanquish'd foes to see;
He lives to thy Telemachus and thee!"
"Ah, no! (with sighs Penelope rejoin'd,)
Excess of joy disturbs thy wandering mind;
How blest this happy hour, should he appear,
Dear to us all, to me supremely dear;
Ah, no! some god the suitors death decreed,
Some god descends, and by his hand they bleed;
Blind! to contemn the stranger's righteous cause,
And violate all hospitable laws!
The good they hated, and the powers defied!
But heaven is just, and by a god they died.
For never must Ulysses view this shore;
Never! the loved Ulysses is no more!"
"What words (the matron cries) have reach'd my ears?
Doubt we his presence, when he now appears!
Then hear conviction: Ere the fatal day
That forced Ulysses o'er the watery way,
A boar, fierce rushing in the sylvan war,
Plough'd half his thigh; I saw, I saw the scar,
And wild with transport had reveal'd the wound;
But ere I spoke, he rose, and check'd the sound.
Then, daughter, haste away! and if a lie
Flow from this tongue, then let thy servant die!"
To whom with dubious joy the queen replies:
"Wise is thy soul, but errors seize the wise;
The works of gods what mortal can survey?
Who knows their motives, who shall trace their way?
But learn we instant how the suitors trod
The paths of death, by man, or by a god."
Thus speaks the queen, and no reply attends,
But with alternate joy and fear descends;
At every step debates her lord to prove;
Or, rushing to his arms, confess her love!
Then gliding through the marble valves, in state
Opposed, before the shining sire she sate.
The monarch, by a column high enthroned,
His eye withdrew, and fix'd it on the ground;
Curious to hear his queen the silence break:
Amazed she sate, and impotent to speak;
O'er all the man her eyes she rolls in vain,
Now hopes, now fears, now knows, then doubts again.
At length Telemachus: "Oh, who can find
A woman like Penelope unkind?
Why thus in silence? why with winning charms
Thus slow to fly with rapture to his arms?
Stubborn the breast that with no transport glows,
When twice ten years are pass'd of mighty woes;
To softness lost, to spousal love unknown,
The gods have formed that rigid heart of stone!"
"O my Telemachus! (the queen rejoin'd,)
Distracting fears confound my labouring mind;
Powerless to speak. I scarce uplift my eyes,
Nor dare to question; doubts on doubts arise.
Oh deign he, if Ulysses, to remove
These boding thoughts, and what he is, to prove!"
Pleased with her virtuous fears, the king replies:
"Indulge, my son, the cautions of the wise;
Time shall the truth to sure remembrance bring:
This garb of poverty belies the king:
No more. This day our deepest care requires,
Cautious to act what thought mature inspires.
If one man's blood, though mean, distain our hands,
The homicide retreats to foreign lands;
By us, in heaps the illustrious peerage falls,
The important deed our whole attention calls."
"Be that thy care (Telemachus replies)
The world conspires to speak Ulysses wise;
For wisdom all is thine! lo, I obey,
And dauntless follow where you led the way;
Nor shalt thou in the day of danger find
Thy coward son degenerate lag behind."
"Then instant to the bath (the monarch cries),
Bid the gay youth and sprightly virgins rise,
Thence all descend in pomp and proud array,
And bid the dome resound the mirthful lay;
While the sweet lyrist airs of rapture sings,
And forms the dance responsive to the strings,
That hence the eluded passengers may say,
'Lo! the queen weds! we hear the spousal lay!'
The suitor's death, unknown, till we remove
Far from the court, and act inspired by Jove."
Thus spoke the king: the observant train obey,
At once they bathe, and dress in proud array:
The lyrist strikes the string; gay youths advance,
And fair-zoned damsels form the sprightly dance.
The voice, attuned to instrumental sounds,
Ascends the roof, the vaulted roof rebounds;
Not unobserved: the Greeks eluded say,
"Lo! the queen weds, we hear the spousal lay!
Inconstant! to admit the bridal hour."
Thus they--but nobly chaste she weds no more.
Meanwhile the wearied king the bath ascends;
With faithful cares Eurynome attends,
O'er every limb a shower of fragrance sheds;
Then, dress'd in pomp, magnificent he treads.
The warrior-goddess gives his frame to shine
With majesty enlarged, and grace divine.
Back from his brows in wavy ringlets fly
His thick large locks of hyacinthino dye.
As by some artist to whom Vulcan gives
His heavenly skill, a breathing image lives;
By Pallas taught, he frames the wondrous mould,
And the pale silver glows with fusile gold:
So Pallas his heroic form improves
With bloom divine, and like a god he moves!
More high he treads, and issuing forth in state,
Radiant before his gazing consort sate.
"And, O my queen! (he cries) what power above
Has steel'd that heart, averse to spousal love?
Canst thou, Penelope, when heaven restores
Thy lost Ulysses to his native shores,
Canst thou, O cruel! unconcern'd survey
Thy lost Ulysses, on this signal day?
Haste, Euryclea, and despatchful spread
For me, and me alone, the imperial bed,
My weary nature craves the balm of rest.
But Heaven with adamant has arm'd her breast."
"Ah no! (she cries) a tender heart I bear,
A foe to pride: no adamant is there;
And now, e'en now it melts! for sure I see
Once more Ulysses my beloved in thee!
Fix'd in my soul, as when he sailed to Troy,
His image dwells: then haste the bed of joy,
Haste, from the bridal bower the bed translate,
Fram'd by his hand, and be it dress'd in state!"
Thus speaks the queen, still dubious, with disguise
Touch'd at her words, the king with warmth replies
"Alas for this! what mortal strength can move
The enormous burden, who but Heaven above?
It mocks the weak attempts of human hands!
But the whole earth must move if Heaven commands
Then hear sure evidence, while we display
Words seal'd with sacred truth and truth obey:
This hand the wonder framed; an olive spread
Full in the court its ever verdant head.
Vast as some mighty column's bulk, on high
The huge trunk rose, and heaved into the sky;
Around the tree I raised a nuptial bower,
And roof'd defensive of the storm and shower;
The spacious valve, with art inwrought conjoins;
And the fair dome with polished marble shines.
I lopp'd the branchy head: aloft in twain
Sever'd the bole, and smoothed the shining grain;
Then posts, capacious of the frame, I raise,
And bore it, regular, from space to space:
Athwart the frame, at equal distance lie
Thongs of tough hides, that boast a purple dye;
Then polishing the whole, the finished mould
With silver shone, with elephant, and gold.
But if o'erturn'd by rude, ungovern'd hands,
Or still inviolate the olive stands,
'Tis thine, O queen, to say, and now impart,
If fears remain, or doubts distract thy heart."
While yet he speaks, her powers of life decay;
She sickens, trembles, falls, and faints away.
At length recovering, to his arms she flew,
And strain'd him close, as to his breast she grew.
The tears pour'd down amain, and "O (she cries)
Let not against thy spouse thine anger rise!
O versed in every, turn of human art,
Forgive the weakness of a woman's heart!
The righteous powers, that mortal lot dispose,
Decree us to sustain a length of woes.
And from the flower of life the bliss deny
To bloom together, fade away, and die.
O let me, let me not thine anger move,
That I forbore, thus, thus to speak my love:
Thus in fond kisses, while the transport warms
Pour out my soul and die within thine arms!
I dreaded fraud! Men, faithless men, betray
Our easy faith, and make our sex their prey:
Against the fondness of my heart I strove:
'Twas caution, O my lord! not want of love.
Like me had Helen fear'd, with wanton charms
Ere the fair mischief set two worlds in arms;
Ere Greece rose dreadful in the avenging day;
Thus had she fear'd, she had not gone astray.
But Heaven, averse to Greece, in wrath decreed
That she should wander, and that Greece should bleed:
Blind to the ills that from injustice flow,
She colour'd all our wretched lives with woe.
But why these sorrows when my lord arrives?
I yield, I yield! my own Ulysses lives!
The secrets of the bridal bed are known
To thee, to me, to Actoris alone
(My father's present in the spousal hour,
The sole attendant on our genial bower).
Since what no eye hath seen thy tongue reveal'd,
Hard and distrustful as I am, I yield."
Touch'd to the soul, the king with rapture hears,
Hangs round her neck, and speaks his joy in tears.
As to the shipwreck'd mariner, the shores
Delightful rise, when angry Neptune roars:
Then, when the surge in thunder mounts the sky,
And gulf'd in crowds at once the sailors die;
If one, more happy, while the tempest raves,
Outlives the tumult of conflicting waves,
All pale, with ooze deform'd, he views the strand,
And plunging forth with transport grasps the land:
The ravish'd queen with equal rapture glows,
Clasps her loved lord, and to his bosom grows.
Nor had they ended till the morning ray,
But Pallas backward held the rising day,
The wheels of night retarding, to detain
The gay Aurora in the wavy main;
Whose flaming steeds, emerging through the night.
Beam o'er the eastern hills with streaming light.
At length Ulysses with a sigh replies:
"Yet Fate, yet cruel Fate repose denies;
A labour long, and hard, remains behind;
By heaven above, by hell beneath enjoin'd:
For to Tiresias through the eternal gates
Of hell I trode, to learn my future fates.
But end we here--the night demands repose,
Be deck'd the couch! and peace awhile, my woes!"
To whom the queen: "Thy word we shall obey,
And deck the couch; far hence be woes away:
Since the just gods, who tread the starry plains,
Restore thee safe, since my Ulysses reigns.
But what those perils heaven decrees, impart;
Knowledge may grieve, but fear distracts the heart."
To this the king: "Ah, why must I disclose
A dreadful story of approaching woes?
Why in this hour of transport wound thy ears,
When thou must learn what I must speak with tears?
Heaven, by the Theban ghost, thy spouse decrees,
Torn from thy arms, to sail a length of seas;
From realm to realm, a nation to explore
Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar,
Nor saw gay vessel storm the surgy plain,
A painted wonder, flying on the main:
An oar my hand must bear; a shepherd eyes
The unknown instrument with strange surprise,
And calls a corn-van; this upon the plain
I fix, and hail the monarch of the main;
Then bathe his altars with the mingled gore
Of victims vow'd, a ram, a bull, a boar;
Thence swift re-sailing to my native shores,
Due victims slay to all the ethereal powers.
Then Heaven decrees, in peace to end my days
And steal myself from life by slow decays!
Unknown to pain, in age resign my breath,
When late stern Neptune points the shaft of death;
To the dark grave retiring as to rest;
My people blessing, by my people bless'd.
Such future scenes the all-righteous powers display
By their dread seer, and such my future day."
To whom thus firm of soul: "If ripe for death,
And full of days, thou gently yield thy breath;
While Heaven a kind release from ills foreshows,
Triumph, thou happy victor of thy woes?"
But Euryclea, with dispatchful care,
And sage Eurynome, the couch prepare;
Instant they bid the blazing torch display
Around the dome and artificial day;
Then to repose her steps the matron bends,
And to the queen Eurynome descends;
A torch she bears, to light with guiding fires
The royal pair; she guides them, and retires
The instant his fair spouse Ulysses led
To the chaste love-rites of the nuptial bed.
And now the blooming youths and sprightly fair
Cease the gay dance, and to their rest repair;
But in discourse the king and consort lay,
While the soft hours stole unperceived away;
Intent he hears Penelope disclose
A mournful story of domestic woes,
His servants' insults, his invaded bed,
How his whole flocks and herds exhausted bled,
His generous wines dishonour'd shed in vain,
And the wild riots of the suitor-train.
The king alternate a dire tale relates,
Of wars, of triumphs, and disastrous fates;
All he unfolds; his listening spouse turns pale
With pleasing horror at the dreadful tale;
Sleepless devours each word; and hears how slain
Cicons on Cicons swell the ensanguined plain;
How to the land of Lote unbless'd he sails;
And images the rills and flowery vales!
How dash'd like dogs, his friends the Cyclops tore
(Not unrevenged), and quaff'd the spouting gore;
How the loud storms in prison bound, he sails
From friendly Aeolus with prosperous gales:
Yet fate withstands! a sudden tempest roars,
And whirls him groaning from his native shores:
How on the barbarous Laestrigonian coast,
By savage hands his fleet and friends lie lost;
How scarce himself survived: he paints the bower,
The spells of Circe, and her magic power;
His dreadful journey to the realms beneath,
To seek Tiresias in the vales of death;
How in the doleful mansions lie survey'd
His royal mother, pale Anticlea's shade;
And friends in battle slain, heroic ghosts!
Then how, unharm'd, he pass'd the Syren-coasts,
The justling rocks where fierce Charybdis raves,
And howling Scylla whirls her thunderous waves,
The cave of death! How his companions slay
The oxen sacred to the god of day.
Till Jove in wrath the rattling tempest guides,
And whelms the offenders in the roaring tides:
How struggling through the surge lie reach'd the shores
Of fair Ogygia and Calypso's bowers;
Where the bay blooming nymph constrain'd his stay,
With sweet, reluctant, amorous delay;
And promised, vainly promised, to bestow
Immortal life, exempt from age and woe:
How saved from storms Phaeacia's coast he trod,
By great Alcinous honour'd as a god,
Who gave him last his country to behold,
With change of raiment, brass, and heaps of gold
He ended, sinking into sleep, and shares
A sweet forgetfulness of all his cares.
Soon as soft slumber eased the toils of day,
Minerva rushes through the aerial way,
And bids Aurora with her golden wheels
Flame from the ocean o'er the eastern hills;
Uprose Ulysses from the genial bed,
And thus with thought mature the monarch said:
"My queen, my consort! through a length of years
We drank the cup of sorrow mix'd with tears;
Thou, for thy lord; while me the immortal powers
Detain'd reluctant from my native shores.
Now, bless'd again by Heaven, the queen display,
And rule our palace with an equal sway.
Be it my care, by loans, or martial toils,
To throng my empty folds with gifts or spoils.
But now I haste to bless Laertes' eyes
With sight of his Ulysses ere he dies;
The good old man, to wasting woes a prey,
Weeps a sad life in solitude away.
But hear, though wise! This morning shall unfold
The deathful scene, on heroes heroes roll'd.
Thou with thy maids within the palace stay,
From all the scene of tumult far away!"
He spoke, and sheathed in arms incessant flies
To wake his son, and bid his friends arise.
"To arms!" aloud he cries; his friends obey,
With glittering arms their manly limbs array,
And pass the city gate; Ulysses leads the way.
Now flames the rosy dawn, but Pallas shrouds
The latent warriors in a veil of clouds.
The souls of the suitors are conducted by Mercury to the infernal
shades. Ulysses in the country goes to the retirement of his
father, Laertes; he finds him busied in his garden all alone; the
manner of his discovery to him is beautifully described. They
return together to his lodge, and the king is acknowledged by
Dolius and the servants. The Ithacensians, led by Eupithes, the
father of Antinous, rise against Ulysses, who gives them battle in
which Eupithes is killed by Laertes: and the goddess Pallas makes
a lasting peace between Ulysses and his subjects, which concludes
Cylenius now to Pluto's dreary reign
Conveys the dead, a lamentable train!
The golden wand, that causes sleep to fly,
Or in soft slumber seals the wakeful eye,
That drives the ghosts to realms of night or day,
Points out the long uncomfortable way.
Trembling the spectres glide, and plaintive vent
Thin, hollow screams, along the deep descent.
As in the cavern of some rifted den,