The Odyssey eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 428 pages of information about The Odyssey.

’Then I spake among my men as they went on their way, saying:  “Ye deem now, I see, that ye are going to your own dear country; but Circe hath showed us another way, even to the dwelling of Hades and of dread Persephone, to seek to the spirit of Theban Teiresias.”

’Even so I spake, but their heart within them was broken, and they sat them down even where they were, and made lament and tore their hair.  Howbeit no help came of their weeping.

’But as we were now wending sorrowful to the swift ship and the sea-banks, shedding big tears, Circe meanwhile had gone her ways and made fast a ram and a black ewe by the dark ship, lightly passing us by:  who may behold a god against his will, whether going to or fro?’

Book XI

  Odysseus, his descent into hell, and discourses with the
  ghosts of the deceased heroes.

’Now when we had gone down to the ship and to the sea, first of all we drew the ship unto the fair salt water and placed the mast and sails in the black ship, and took those sheep and put them therein, and ourselves too climbed on board, sorrowing, and shedding big tears.  And in the wake of our dark-prowed ship she sent a favouring wind that filled the sails, a kindly escort,—­even Circe of the braided tresses, a dread goddess of human speech.  And we set in order all the gear throughout the ship and sat us down; and the wind and the helmsman guided our barque.  And all day long her sails were stretched in her seafaring; and the sun sank and all the ways were darkened.

’She came to the limits of the world, to the deep-flowing Oceanus.  There is the land and the city of the Cimmerians, shrouded in mist and cloud, and never does the shining sun look down on them with his rays, neither when he climbs up the starry heavens, nor when again he turns earthward from the firmament, but deadly night is outspread over miserable mortals.  Thither we came and ran the ship ashore and took out the sheep; but for our part we held on our way along the stream of Oceanus, till we came to the place which Circe had declared to us.

’There Perimedes and Eurylochus held the victims, but I drew my sharp sword from my thigh, and dug a pit, as it were a cubit in length and breadth, and about it poured a drink-offering to all the dead, first with mead and thereafter with sweet wine, and for the third time with water.  And I sprinkled white meal thereon, and entreated with many prayers the strengthless heads of the dead, and promised that on my return to Ithaca I would offer in my halls a barren heifer, the best I had, and fill the pyre with treasure, and apart unto Teiresias alone sacrifice a black ram without spot, the fairest of my flock.  But when I had besought the tribes of the dead with vows and prayers, I took the sheep and cut their throats over the trench, and the dark blood flowed forth, and lo, the spirits of the dead that be departed gathered

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.