Six days and nights they drove along, and on the seventh day they put in to Lamos, a port of the Laestrygonians. So spacious this harbour was, that it held with ease all their fleet, which rode at anchor, safe from any storms, all but the ship in which Ulysses was embarked. He, as if prophetic of the mischance which followed, kept still without the harbour, making fast his bark to a rock at the land’s point, which he climbed with purpose to survey the country. He saw a city with smoke ascending from the roofs, but neither ploughs going, nor oxen yoked, nor any sign of agricultural works. Making choice of two men, he sent them to the city to explore what sort of inhabitants dwelt there. His messengers had not gone far before they met a damsel, of stature surpassing human, who was coming to draw water from a spring. They asked her who dwelt in that land. She made no reply, but led them in silence to her father’s palace. He was a monarch and named Antiphas. He and all his people were giants. When they entered the palace, a woman, the mother of the damsel, but far taller than she, rushed abroad and called for Antiphas. He came, and snatching up one of the two men, made as if he would devour him. The other fled. Antiphas raised a mighty shout, and instantly, this way and that, multitudes of gigantic people issued out at the gates, and making for the harbour, tore up huge pieces of the rocks, and flung them at the ships which lay there, all which they utterly overwhelmed and sank; and the unfortunate bodies of men which floated, and which the sea did not devour, these cannibals thrust through with harpoons, like fishes, and bore them off to their dire feast. Ulysses with his single bark that had never entered the harbour escaped; that bark which was now the only vessel left of all the gallant navy that had set sail with him from Troy. He pushed off from the shore, cheering the sad remnant of his men, whom horror at the sight of their countrymen’s fate had almost turned to marble.
The house of Circe.—Men changed into beasts.—The voyage to hell.—The banquet of the dead.
On went the single ship till it came to the island of AEaea, where Circe the dreadful daughter of the Sun dwelt. She was deeply skilled in magic, a haughty beauty, and had hair like the Sun. The Sun was her parent, and begot her and her brother AEastes (such another as herself) upon Perse, daughter to Oceanus.
Here a dispute arose among Ulysses’s men, which of them should go ashore and explore the country; for there was a necessity that some should go to procure water and provisions, their stock of both being nigh spent: but their hearts failed them when they called to mind the shocking fate of their fellows whom the Laestrygonians had eaten, and those which the foul Cyclop Polyphemus had crushed between his jaws; which moved them so tenderly in the recollection