The Odyssey eBook

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

’Therewith he departed again into the house of Hades, but I abode there still, if perchance some one of the hero folk besides might come, who died in old time.  Yea and I should have seen the men of old, whom I was fain to look on, Theseus and Peirithous, renowned children of the gods.  But ere that might be the myriad tribes of the dead thronged up together with wondrous clamour:  and pale fear gat hold of me, lest the high goddess Persephone should send me the head of the Gorgon, that dread monster, from out of Hades.

’Straightway then I went to the ship, and bade my men mount the vessel, and loose the hawsers.  So speedily they went on board, and sat upon the benches.  And the wave of the flood bore the barque down the stream of Oceanus, we rowing first, and afterwards the fair wind was our convoy.

Book XII

Odysseus, his passage by the Sirens, and by Scylla and Charybdis.  The sacrilege committed by his men in the isle Thrinacia.  The destruction of his ships and men.  How he swam on a plank nine days together, and came to Ogygia, where he stayed seven years with Calypso.

’Now after the ship had left the stream of the river Oceanus, and was come to the wave of the wide sea, and the isle Aeaean, where is the dwelling place of early Dawn and her dancing grounds, and the land of sunrising, upon our coming thither we beached the ship in the sand, and ourselves too stept ashore on the sea beach.  There we fell on sound sleep and awaited the bright Dawn.

’So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, I sent forth my fellows to the house of Circe to fetch the body of the dead Elpenor.  And speedily we cut billets of wood and sadly we buried him, where the furthest headland runs out into the sea, shedding big tears.  But when the dead man was burned and the arms of the dead, we piled a barrow and dragged up thereon a pillar, and on the topmost mound we set the shapen oar.

’Now all that task we finished, and our coming from out of Hades was not unknown to Circe, but she arrayed herself and speedily drew nigh, and her handmaids with her bare flesh and bread in plenty and dark red wine.  And the fair goddess stood in the midst and spake in our ears, saying: 

’"Men overbold, who have gone alive into the house of Hades, to know death twice, while all men else die once for all.  Nay come, eat ye meat and drink wine here all day long; and with the breaking of the day ye shall set sail, and myself I will show you the path and declare each thing, that ye may not suffer pain or hurt through any grievous ill-contrivance by sea or on the land.”

’So spake she, and our lordly souls consented thereto.  Thus for that time we sat the livelong day, until the going down of the sun, feasting on abundant flesh and on sweet wine.  Now when the sun sank and darkness came on, my company laid them to rest by the hawsers of the ship.  Then she took me by the hand and led me apart from my dear company, and made me to sit down and laid herself at my feet, and asked all my tale.  And I told her all in order duly.  Then at the last the Lady Circe spake unto me, saying: 

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.