The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 755 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3.
her father Jove ordered Mercury to go down to the earth to command Calypso to dismiss her guest.  The divine messenger tied fast to his feet his winged shoes, which bear him over land and seas, and took in his hand his golden rod, the ensign of his authority.  Then wheeling in many an airy round, he stayed not till he alighted on the firm top of the mountain Pieria:  thence he fetched a second circuit over the seas, kissing the waves in his flight with his feet, as light as any sea-mew fishing dips her wings, till he touched the isle Ogygia, and soared up from the blue sea to the grotto of the goddess, to whom his errand was ordained.

His message struck a horror, checked by love, through all the faculties of Calypso.  She replied to it incensed:  “You gods are insatiate past all that live, in all things which you affect; which makes you so envious and grudging.  It afflicts you to the heart, when any goddess seeks the love of a mortal man in marriage, though you yourselves without scruple link yourselves to women of the earth.  So it fared with you, when the delicious-fingered Morning shared Orion’s bed; you could never satisfy your hate and your jealousy, till you had incensed the chastity-loving dame, Diana, who leads the precise life, to come upon him by stealth in Ortygia, and pierce him through with her arrows.  And when rich-haired Ceres gave the reins to her affections, and took Iasion (well worthy) to her arms, the secret was not so cunningly kept but Jove had soon notice of it, and the poor mortal paid for his felicity with death, struck through with lightnings.  And now you envy me the possession of a wretched man, whom tempests have cast upon my shores, making him lawfully mine; whose ship Jove rent in pieces with his hot thunderbolts, killing all his friends.  Him I have preserved, loved, nourished, made him mine by protection, my creature, by every tie of gratitude, mine; have vowed to make him deathless like myself; him you will take from me.  But I know your power, and that it is vain for me to resist.  Tell your king that I obey his mandates.”

With an ill grace Calypso promised to fulfil the commands of Jove; and, Mercury departing, she went to find Ulysses, where he sat outside the grotto, not knowing of the heavenly message, drowned in discontent, not seeing any human probability of his ever returning home.

She said to him:  “Unhappy man, no longer afflict yourself with pining after your country, but build you a ship, with which you may return home; since it is the will of the gods:  who doubtless as they are greater in power than I, are greater in skill, and best can tell what is fittest for man.  But I call the gods, and my inward conscience, to witness, that I had no thought but what stood with thy safety, nor would have done or counselled any thing against thy good.  I persuaded thee to nothing which I should not have followed myself in thy extremity:  for my mind is innocent and simple.  O, if thou knewest what dreadful sufferings thou must yet endure, before ever thou reachest thy native land, thou wouldest not esteem so hardly of a goddess’s offer to share her immortality with thee; nor, for a few years enjoyment of a perishing Penelope, refuse an imperishable and never-dying life with Calypso.”

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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