The wakeful mariners shall watch the skies,
And seize the moment when the breezes rise:
Then gently waft thee to the pleasing shore,
Where thy soul rests, and labour is no more.
Far as Euboea though thy country lay,
Our ships with ease transport thee in a day.
Thither of old, earth’s giant son to view,
On wings of wind with Rhadamanth they flew;
This land, from whence their morning course begun,
Saw them returning with the setting sun.
Your eyes shall witness and confirm my tale,
Our youth how dexterous, and how fleet our sail,
When justly timed with equal sweep they row,
And ocean whitens in long tracks below.”
Thus he. No word the experienced man replies,
But thus to heaven (and heavenward lifts his eyes):
“O Jove! O father! what the king accords
Do thou make perfect! sacred be his words!
Wide o’er the world Alcinous’ glory shine!
Let fame be his, and ah! my country mine!”
Meantime Arete, for the hour of rest,
Ordains the fleecy couch, and covering vest;
Bids her fair train the purple quilts prepare,
And the thick carpets spread with busy care.
With torches blazing in their hands they pass’d,
And finish’d all their queen’s command with haste:
Then gave the signal to the willing guest:
He rose with pleasure, and retired to rest.
There, soft extended, to the murmuring sound
Of the high porch, Ulysses sleeps profound!
Within, released from cares, Alcinous lies;
And fast beside were closed Arete’s eyes.
Alcinous calls a council, in which it is resolved to transport Ulysses into his country. After which splendid entertainments are made, where the celebrated musician and poet, Demodocus, plays and sings to the guests. They next proceed to the games, the race, the wrestling, discus, &c., where Ulysses casts a prodigious length, to the admiration of all the spectators. They return again to the banquet and Demodocus sings the loves of Mars and Venus. Ulysses, after a compliment to the poet, desires him to sing the introduction of the wooden horse into Troy, which subject provoking his tears, Alcinous inquires of his guest his name, parentage, and fortunes.
Now fair Aurora lifts her golden ray,
And all the ruddy orient flames with day:
Alcinous, and the chief, with dawning light,
Rose instant from the slumbers of the night;
Then to the council-seat they bend their way,
And fill the shining thrones along the bay.
Meanwhile Minerva, in her guardian care,
Shoots from the starry vault through fields of air;
In form, a herald of the king, she flies
From peer to peer, and thus incessant cries;
“Nobles and chiefs who rule Phaeacia’s
The king in council your attendance waits;
A prince of grace divine your aid implores,
O’er unknown seas arrived from unknown shores.”