There sullen lions sternly seem to roar,
The bear to growl to foam the tusky boar;
There war and havoc and destruction stood,
And vengeful murder red with human blood.
Thus terribly adorned the figures shine,
Inimitably wrought with skill divine.
The mighty good advanced with awful look,
And, turning his grim visage, sternly spoke:
“’O exercise in grief! by arts refined;
O taught to bear the wrongs of base mankind!
Such, such was I! Still toss’d from care to care,
While in your world I drew the vital air!
E’en I, who from the Lord of Thunders rose,
Bore toils and dangers, and a weight of woes;
To a base monarch still a slave confined,
(The hardest bondage to a generous mind!)
Down to these worlds I trod the dismal way,
And dragg’d the three-mouth’d dog to upper day
E’en hell I conquer’d, through the friendly aid
Of Maia’s offspring, and the martial maid.
“Thus he, nor deign’d for our reply to
But, turning, stalk’d with giant-strides away.
“Curious to view the kings of ancient days,
The mighty dead that live in endless praise,
Resolved I stand; and haply had survey’d
The godlike Theseus, and Pirithous’ shade;
But swarms of spectres rose from deepest hell,
With bloodless visage, and with hideous yell.
They scream, they shriek; and groans and dismal sounds
Stun my scared ears, and pierce hell’s utmost bounds.
No more my heart the dismal din sustains,
And my cold blood hangs shivering in my veins;
Lest Gorgon, rising from the infernal lakes,
With horrors arm’d, and curls of hissing snakes,
Should fix me stiffen’d at the monstrous sight,
A stony image, in eternal night!
Straight from the direful coast to purer air
I speed my flight, and to my mates repair.
My mates ascend the ship; they strike their oars;
The mountains lessen, and retreat the shores;
Swift o’er the waves we fly; the freshening gales
Sing through the shrouds, and stretch the swelling sails.”
The SIRENE, Scylla, and Charybdis.
He relates how, after his return from the shades, he was sent by Circe on his voyage, by the coast of the Sirens, and by the strait of Scylla and Charybdis: the manner in which he escaped those dangers: how, being cast on the island Trinacria, his companions destroyed the oxen of the Sun: the vengeance that followed; how all perished by shipwreck except himself, who, swimming on the mast of the ship, arrived on the island of Calypso. With which his narration concludes.
“Thus o’er the rolling surge the vessel
Till from the waves the AEaean hills arise.
Here the gay Morn resides in radiant bowers,
Here keeps here revels with the dancing Hours;
Here Phoebus, rising in the ethereal way,
Through heaven’s bright portals pours the beamy day.
At once we fix our halsers on the land.
At once descend, and press the desert sand:
There, worn and wasted, lose our cares in sleep,
To the hoarse murmurs of the rolling deep.