Then thus Ulysses: “Thou whom first in
As first in virtue, these thy realms obey;
How sweet the products of a peaceful reign!
The heaven-taught poet and enchanting strain;
The well-filled palace, the perpetual feast,
A land rejoicing, and a people bless’d!
How goodly seems it ever to employ
Man’s social days in union and in joy;
The plenteous hoard high-heap’d with cates divine,
And o’er the foaming bowl the laughing wine!
“Amid these joys, why seels thy mind to know
The unhappy series of a wanderer’s woe?
Rememberance sad, whose image to review,
Alas, I must open all my wounds anew!
And oh, what first, what last shall I relate,
Of woes unnumbered sent by Heaven and Fate?
“Know first the man (though now a wretch distress’d)
Who hopes thee, monarch, for his future guest.
Behold Ulysses! no ignoble name,
Earth sounds my wisdom and high heaven my fame.
“My native soil is Ithaca the fair,
Where high Neritus waves his woods in air;
Dulichium, Same and Zaccynthus crown’d
With shady mountains spread their isles around.
(These to the north and night’s dark regions run,
Those to Aurora and the rising sun).
Low lies our isle, yet bless’d in fruitful stores;
Strong are her sons, though rocky are her shores;
And none, ah none no lovely to my sight,
Of all the lands that heaven o’erspreads with light.
In vain Calypso long constrained my stay,
With sweet, reluctant, amorous delay;
With all her charms as vainly Circe strove,
And added magic to secure my love.
In pomps or joys, the palace or the grot,
My country’s image never was forgot;
My absent parents rose before my sight,
And distant lay contentment and delight.
“Hear, then, the woes which mighty Jove ordain’d
To wait my passage from the Trojan land.
The winds from Ilion to the Cicons’ shore,
Beneath cold Ismarus our vessels bore.
We boldly landed on the hostile place,
And sack’d the city, and destroy’d the race,
Their wives made captive, their possessions shared,
And every soldier found a like reward
I then advised to fly; not so the rest,
Who stay’d to revel, and prolong the feast:
The fatted sheep and sable bulls they slay,
And bowls flow round, and riot wastes the day.
Meantime the Cicons, to their holds retired,
Call on the Cicons, with new fury fired;
With early morn the gather’d country swarms,
And all the continent is bright with arms;
Thick as the budding leaves or rising flowers
O’erspread the land, when spring descends in showers:
All expert soldiers, skill’d on foot to dare,
Or from the bounding courser urge the war.
Now fortune changes (so the Fates ordain);
Our hour was come to taste our share of pain.
Close at the ships the bloody fight began,
Wounded they wound, and man expires on man.
Long as the morning sun increasing bright