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.
made in his person (yet that was not much) perplexed her that she knew not what to think, and for joy she could not believe, and yet for joy she would not but believe, and, above all, that sudden change from a beggar to a king troubled her, and wrought uneasy scruples in her mind.  But Telemachus, seeing her strangeness, blamed her, and called her an ungentle and tyrannous mother! and said that she shewed a too great curiousness of modesty, to abstain from embracing his father, and to have doubts of his person, when to all present it was evident that he was the very real and true Ulysses.

Then she mistrusted no longer, but ran and fell upon Ulysses’s neck, and said, “Let not my husband be angry, that I held off so long with strange delays; it is the gods, who severing us for so long time, have caused this unseemly distance in me.  If Menelaus’s wife had used half my caution, she would never have taken so freely to a stranger’s bed; and she might have spared us all these plagues which have come upon us through her shameless deed.”

These words with which Penelope excused herself, wrought more affection in Ulysses than if upon a first sight she had given up herself implicitly to his embraces; and he wept for joy to possess a wife so discreet, so answering to his own staid mind, that had a depth of wit proportioned to his own, and one that held chaste virtue at so high a price; and he thought the possession of such a one cheaply purchased with the loss of all Circe’s delights, and Calypso’s immortality of joys; and his long labours and his severe sufferings past seemed as nothing, now they were crowned with the enjoyment of his virtuous and true wife Penelope.  And as sad men at sea whose ship has gone to pieces nigh shore, swimming for their lives, all drenched in foam and brine, crawl up to some poor patch of land, which they take possession of with as great a joy as if they had the world given them in fee, with such delight did this chaste wife cling to her lord restored, till the dark night fast coming on reminded her of that more intimate and happy union when in her long-widowed bed she should once again clasp a living Ulysses.

So from that time the land had rest from the suitors.  And the happy Ithacans with songs and solemn sacrifices of praise to the gods celebrated the return of Ulysses:  for he that had been so long absent was returned to wreak the evil upon the heads of the doers; in the place where they had done the evil, there wreaked he his vengeance upon them.





(Written 1808. 1st Edition 1809.  Text of 2nd Edition 1809)




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