“Go first the master of thy herds to find,
True to his charge, a loyal swain and kind;
For thee he sighs; and to the loyal heir
And chaste Penelope extends his care.
At the Coracian rock he now resides,
Where Arethusa’s sable water glides;
The sable water and the copious mast
Swell the fat herd; luxuriant, large repast!
With him rest peaceful in the rural cell,
And all you ask his faithful tongue shall tell.
Me into other realms my cares convey,
To Sparta, still with female beauty gay;
For know, to Sparta thy loved offspring came,
To learn thy fortunes from the voice of Fame.”
At this the father, with a father’s care:
“Must he too suffer? he, O goddess! bear
Of wanderings and of woes a wretched share?
Through the wild ocean plough the dangerous way,
And leave his fortunes and his house a prey?
Why would’st not thou, O all-enlighten’d mind!
Inform him certain, and protect him, kind?”
To whom Minerva: “Be thy soul at rest;
And know, whatever heaven ordains is best.
To fame I sent him, to acquire renown;
To other regions is his virtue known;
Secure he sits, near great Atrides placed;
With friendships strengthen’d, and with honours graced,
But lo! an ambush waits his passage o’er;
Fierce foes insidious intercept the shore;
In vain; far sooner all the murderous brood
This injured land shall fatten with their blood.”
She spake, then touch’d him with her powerful
The skin shrunk up, and wither’d at her hand;
A swift old age o’er all his members spread;
A sudden frost was sprinkled on his head;
Nor longer in the heavy eye-ball shined
The glance divine, forth-beaming from the mind.
His robe, which spots indelible besmear,
In rags dishonest flutters with the air:
A stag’s torn hide is lapp’d around his reins;
A rugged staff his trembling hand sustains;
And at his side a wretched scrip was hung,
Wide-patch’d, and knotted to a twisted thong.
So looked the chief, so moved: to mortal eyes
Object uncouth! a man of miseries!
While Pallas, cleaving the wild fields of air,
To Sparta flies, Telemachus her care.
The conversation with Eumaeus.
Ulysses arrives in disguise at the house of Eumaeus, where he is received, entertained, and lodged with the utmost hospitality. The several discourses of that faithful old servant, with the feigned story told by Ulysses to conceal himself, and other conversations on various subjects, take up this entire book.