Meantime the suitors plough the watery plain,
Telemachus in thought already slain!
When sight of lessening Ithaca was lost
Their sail directed for the Samian coast
A small but verdant isle appear’d in view,
And Asteris the advancing pilot knew;
An ample port the rocks projected form,
To break the rolling waves and ruffling storm:
That safe recess they gain with happy speed,
And in close ambush wait the murderous deed.
Pallas in a council of the gods complains of the detention of Ulysses in the Island of Calypso: whereupon Mercury is sent to command his removal. The seat of Calypso described. She consents with much difficulty; and Ulysses builds a vessel with his own hands, in which he embarks. Neptune overtakes him with a terrible tempest, in which he is shipwrecked, and in the last danger of death; till Lencothea, a sea-goddess, assists him, and, after innumerable perils, he gets ashore on Phaeacia.
The saffron morn, with early blushes spread,
Now rose refulgent from Tithonus’ bed;
With new-born day to gladden mortal sight,
And gild the courts of heaven with sacred light.
Then met the eternal synod of the sky,
Before the god, who thunders from on high,
Supreme in might, sublime in majesty.
Pallas, to these, deplores the unequal fates
Of wise Ulysses and his toils relates:
Her hero’s danger touch’d the pitying power,
The nymph’s seducements, and the magic bower.
Thus she began her plaint: “Immortal Jove!
And you who fill the blissful seats above!
Let kings no more with gentle mercy sway,
Or bless a people willing to obey,
But crush the nations with an iron rod,
And every monarch be the scourge of God.
If from your thoughts Ulysses you remove,
Who ruled his subjects with a father’s love,
Sole in an isle, encircled by the main,
Abandon’d, banish’d from his native reign,
Unbless’d he sighs, detained by lawless charms,
And press’d unwilling in Calypso’s arms.
Nor friends are there, nor vessels to convey,
Nor oars to cut the immeasurable way.
And now fierce traitors, studious to destroy
His only son, their ambush’d fraud employ;
Who, pious, following his great father’s fame,
To sacred Pylos and to Sparta came.”
“What words are these? (replied the power who
The clouds of night, and darkens heaven with storms;)
Is not already in thy soul decreed,
The chief’s return shall make the guilty bleed?
What cannot Wisdom do? Thou may’st restore
The son in safety to his native shore;
While the fell foes, who late in ambush lay,
With fraud defeated measure back their way.”