Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 20 Sep 2011 15:18 and updated at 20 Sep 2011 15:18


ody.01 "But there! It rests with heaven to determine whether he is to return, and take his revenge in his own house or no; I would, however, urge you to set about trying to get rid of these suitors at once. Take my advice, call the Achaean heroes in assembly to morrow lay your case before them, and call heaven to bear you witness. Bid the suitors take themselves off, each to his own place, and if your mother s mind is set on marrying again, let her go back to her father, who will find her a husband and provide her with all the marriage gifts that so dear a daughter may expect. As for yourself, let me prevail upon you to take the best ship you can get, with a crew of Twenty men, and go in quest of your father who has so long been missing. Some one may tell you something, or (and people often hear things in this way) some heaven sent message may direct you. First go to Pylos and ask Nestor; thence go on to Sparta and visit Menelaus, for he got home last of all the Achaeans; if you hear that your father is alive and on his way home, you can put up with the waste these suitors will make for yet another Twelve months. If on the other hand you hear of his death, come home at once, celebrate his funeral rites with all due pomp, build a barrow to his memory, and make your mother marry again. Then, having done all this, think it well over in your mind how, by fair means or foul, you may kill these suitors in your own house. You are too old to plead infancy any longer; have you not heard
ody.02 Then Telemachus said, Eurymachus", and you other suitors, I shall say no more, and entreat you no further, for the Gods and the people of Ithaca now know my story. Give me, then, a ship and a crew of Twenty men to take me hither and thither, and I will go to Sparta and to Pylos in quest of my father who has so long been missing. Some one may tell me something, or (and people often hear things in this way) some heaven sent message may direct me. If I can hear of him as alive and on his way home I will put up with the waste you suitors will make for yet another Twelve months. If on the other hand I hear of his death, I will return at once, celebrate his funeral rites with all due pomp, build a barrow to his memory, and make my mother marry again."
ody.02 Nurse", draw me off some of the best wine you have, after what you are keeping for my father s own drinking, in case, poor man, he should escape death, and find his way home again after all. Let me have Twelve jars, and see that they all have lids; also fill me some well sewn leathern bags with barley meal about Twenty measures in all. Get these things put together at once, and say nothing about it. I will take everything away this evening as soon as my mother has gone upstairs for the night. I am going to Sparta and to Pylos to see if I can hear anything about the return of my dear father.
ody.02 "Fear not, nurse," answered Telemachus, "my scheme is not without heaven s sanction; but swear that you will say nothing about all this to my mother, till I have been away some Ten or Twelve days, unless she hears of my having gone, and asks you; for I do not want her to spoil her beauty by crying."
ody.04 "And now for yourself stay here some Ten or Twelve days longer, and I will then speed you on your way. I will make you a noble present of a Chariot and Three Horses. I will also give you a beautiful chalice that so long as you live you may think of me whenever you make a drink offering to the immortal Gods."
ody.04 Son" of Atreus," replied Telemachus, "do not press me to stay longer; I should be contented to remain with you for another Twelve months; I find your conversation so delightful that I should never once wish myself at home with my parents; but my crew whom I have left at Pylos are already impatient, and you are detaining me from them. As for any present you may be disposed to make me, I had rather that it should he a piece of plate. I will take no Horses back with me to Ithaca, but will leave them to adorn your own stables, for you have much flat ground in your kingdom where lotus thrives, as also meadowsweet and wheat and barley, and oats with their white and spreading ears; whereas in Ithaca we have neither open fields nor racecourses, and the country is more fit for Goats than Horses, and I like it the better for that. None of our islands have much level ground, suitable for Horses, and Ithaca least of all."
ody.04 "Have we any idea, Antinous, on what day Telemachus returns from Pylos? He has a ship of mine, and I want it, to cross over to Elis: I have Twelve brood mares there with yearling Mule foals by their side not yet broken in, and I want to bring one of them over here and break him."
ody.08 The king was delighted at this, and exclaimed to the Phaecians Aldermen" and town councillors, our guest seems to be a person of singular judgement; let us give him such proof of our hospitality as he may reasonably expect. There are Twelve chief men among you, and counting myself there are thirteen; contribute, each of you, a clean cloak, a shirt, and a talent of fine gold; let us give him all this in a lump down at once, so that when he gets his supper he may do so with a light heart. As for Euryalus he will have to make a formal apology and a present too, for he has been rude."
ody.09 "When the child of morning, rosy fingered Dawn, appeared, we admired the island and wandered all over it, while the nymphs Jove s daughters roused the wild Goats that we might get some meat for our dinner. On this we fetched our spears and bows and arrows from the ships, and dividing ourselves into Three bands began to shoot the Goats. Heaven sent us excellent sport; I had Twelve ships with me, and each ship got Nine Goats, while my own ship had ten; thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we ate and drank our fill, and we had plenty of wine left, for each one of us had taken many jars full when we sacked the city of the Cicons, and this had not yet run out. While we were feasting we kept turning our eyes towards the land of the Cyclopes, which was hard by, and saw the smoke of their stubble fires. We could almost fancy we heard their voices and the bleating of their Sheep and Goats, but when the sun went down and it came on dark, we camped down upon the beach, and next morning I called a council.
ody.09 "I told my men to draw the ship ashore, and stay where they were, all but the Twelve best among them, who were to go along with myself. I also took a Goatskin of sweet black wine which had been given me by Maron, Apollo son of Euanthes, who was priest of Apollo the patron God of Ismarus, and lived within the wooded precincts of the temple. When we were sacking the city we respected him, and spared his life, as also his wife and child; so he made me some presents of great value seven talents of fine gold, and a bowl of silver, with Twelve jars of sweet wine, unblended, and of the most exquisite flavour. Not a man nor maid in the house knew about it, but only himself, his wife, and one housekeeper: when he drank it he mixed Twenty parts of water to one of wine, and yet the fragrance from the mixing bowl was so exquisite that it was impossible to refrain from drinking. I filled a large skin with this wine, and took a wallet full of provisions with me, for my mind misgave me that I might have to deal with some savage who would be of great strength, and would respect neither right nor law.
ody.11 "The first I saw was Tyro. She was daughter of Salmoneus and wife of Cretheus the son of Aeolus. She fell in love with the river Enipeus who is much the most beautiful river in the whole world. Once when she was taking a walk by his side as usual, Neptune, disguised as her lover, lay with her at the mouth of the river, and a huge blue wave arched itself like a mountain over them to hide both Woman and God, whereon he loosed her virgin girdle and laid her in a deep slumber. When the God had accomplished the deed of love, he took her hand in his own and said, Tyro, rejoice in all good will; the embraces of the Gods are not fruitless, and you will have fine twins about this time Twelve months. Take great care of them. I am Neptune, so now go home, but hold your tongue and do not tell any one.
ody.11 And Ulysses answered, King" Alcinous, if you were to bid me to stay here for a whole Twelve months, and then speed me on my way, loaded with your noble gifts, I should obey you gladly and it would redound greatly to my advantage, for I should return fuller handed to my own people, and should thus be more respected and beloved by all who see me when I get back to Ithaca."
ody.12 Of these Two rocks the one reaches heaven and its peak is lost in a dark cloud. This never leaves it, so that the top is never clear not even in summer and early autumn. No man though he had Twenty hands and Twenty feet could get a foothold on it and climb it, for it runs sheer up, as smooth as though it had been polished. In the middle of it there is a large cavern, looking West and turned towards Erebus; you must take your ship this way, but the cave is so high up that not even the stoutest archer could send an arrow into it. Inside it Scylla sits and yelps with a voice that you might take to be that of a young hound, but in truth she is a dreadful monster and no one not even a God could face her without being terror struck. She has Twelve mis shapen feet, and Six necks of the most prodigious length; and at the end of each neck she has a frightful head with Three rows of teeth in each, all set very close together, so that they would crunch any one to death in a moment, and she sits deep within her shady cell thrusting out her heads and peering all round the rock, fishing for Dolphins or Dogfish or any larger monster that she can catch, of the thousands with which Amphitrite teems. No ship ever yet got past her without losing some men, for she shoots out all her heads at once, and carries off a man in each mouth.
ody.13 This was how they talked, but they knew nothing about it; and Alcinous said, "I remember now the old prophecy of my father. He said that Neptune would be angry with us for taking every one so safely over the sea, and would one day wreck a Phaeacian ship as it was returning from an escort, and bury our city under a high mountain. This was what my old father used to say, and now it is all coming true. Now therefore let us all do as I say; in the first place we must leave off giving people escorts when they come here, and in the next let us sacrifice Twelve picked Bulls to Neptune that he may have mercy upon us, and not bury our city under the high mountain." When the people heard this they were afraid and got ready the Bulls.
ody.14 ULYSSES now left the haven, and took the rough track up through the wooded country and over the crest of the mountain till he reached the place where Minerva had said that he would find the swineherd, who was the most thrifty servant he had. He found him sitting in front of his hut, which was by the yards that he had built on a site which could be seen from far. He had made them spacious and fair to see, with a free ran for the Pigs all round them; he had built them during his master s absence, of stones which he had gathered out of the ground, without saying anything to Penelope or Laertes, and he had fenced them on top with thorn bushes. Outside the yard he had run a strong fence of oaken posts, split, and set pretty close together, while inside lie had built Twelve sties near one another for the sows to lie in. There were Fifty Pigs wallowing in each sty, all of them breeding sows; but the boars slept outside and were much fewer in number, for the suitors kept on eating them, and die swineherd had to send them the best he had continually. There were Three hundred and Sixty Boar Pigs, and the herdsman s Four hounds, which were as fierce as wolves, slept always with them. The swineherd was at that moment cutting out a pair of sandals from a good stout ox hide. Three of his men were out herding the Pigs in one place or another, and he had sent the fourth to town with a Boar that he had been forced to send the suitors that they might sacrifice it and have their fill of
ody.14 "Fall to, stranger," said he, "on a dish of servant s pork. The fat Pigs have to go to the suitors, who eat them up without shame or scruple; but the blessed Gods love not such shameful doings, and respect those who do what is lawful and right. Even the fierce free booters who go raiding on other people s land, and Jove gives them their spoil even they, when they have filled their ships and got home again live conscience stricken, and look fearfully for judgement; but some God seems to have told these people that Ulysses is dead and gone; they will not, therefore, go back to their own homes and make their offers of marriage in the usual way, but waste his estate by force, without fear or stint. Not a day or night comes out of heaven, but they sacrifice not one victim nor Two only, and they take the run of his wine, for he was exceedingly rich. No other great man either in Ithaca or on the mainland is as rich as he was; he had as much as Twenty men put together. I will tell you what he had. There are Twelve herds of Cattle upon the mainland, and as many flocks of Sheep, there are also twelve droves of Pigs, while his own men and hired strangers feed him Twelve widely spreading herds of Goats. Here in Ithaca he runs even large flocks of Goats on the far end of the island, and they are in the charge of excellent Goatherds. Each one of these sends the suitors the best Goat in the flock every day. As for myself, I am in charge of the Pigs that you see here, and I have to
ody.14 And Ulysses answered, "I will tell you all about it. If there were meat and wine enough, and we could stay here in the hut with nothing to do but to eat and drink while the others go to their work, I could easily talk on for a whole Twelve months without ever finishing the story of the sorrows with which it has pleased heaven to visit me.
ody.14 "I stayed there for Seven years and got together much money among the Egyptians, for they all gave me something; but when it was now going on for Eight years there came a certain Phoenician, a cunning rascal, who had already committed all sorts of villainy, and this man talked me over into going with him to Phoenicia, where his house and his possessions lay. I stayed there for a whole Twelve months, but at the end of that time when months and days had gone by till the same season had come round again, he set me on board a ship bound for Libya, on a pretence that I was to take a cargo along with him to that place, but really that he might sell me as a slave and take the money I fetched. I suspected his intention, but went on board with him, for I could not help it.
ody.16 To this Telemachus answered, Father", I have always heard of your renown both in the field and in council, but the task you talk of is a very great one: I am awed at the mere thought of it; Two men cannot stand against many and brave ones. There are not Ten suitors only, nor twice ten, but Ten many times over; you shall learn their number at once. There are Fifty Two chosen youths from Dulichium, and they have Six servants; from Same there are Twenty four; Twenty young Achaeans from Zacynthus, and Twelve from Ithaca itself, all of them well born. They have with them a servant Medon, a bard, and Two men who can carve at table. If we face such numbers as this, you may have bitter cause to rue your coming, and your revenge. See whether you cannot think of some one who would be willing to come and help us."
ody.18 The others applauded what Antinous had said, and each one sent his servant to bring his present. Antinous s man returned with a large and lovely dress most exquisitely embroidered. It had Twelve beautifully made brooch pins of pure gold with which to fasten it. Eurymachus immediately brought her a magnificent chain of gold and amber beads that gleamed like sunlight. Eurydamas s Two men returned with some earrings fashioned into Three brilliant pendants which glistened most beautifully; while king Pisander son of Polyctor gave her a necklace of the rarest workmanship, and every one else brought her a beautiful present of some kind.
ody.19 Then Ulysses answered, "madam, wife of Ulysses, since you persist in asking me about my family, I will answer, no matter what it costs me: people must expect to be pained when they have been exiles as long as I have, and suffered as much among as many peoples. Nevertheless, as regards your question I will tell you all you ask. There is a fair and fruitful island in mid ocean called Crete; it is thickly peopled and there are Nine cities in it: the people speak many different languages which overlap one another, for there are Achaeans, brave Eteocretans, Dorians of Three fold race, and noble Pelasgi. There is a great town there, Cnossus, where Minos reigned who every Nine years had a conference with Jove himself. Minos was father to Deucalion, whose son I am, for Deucalion had Two sons Idomeneus and myself. Idomeneus sailed for Troy, and I, who am the younger, am called Aethon; my brother, however, was at once the older and the more valiant of the two; hence it was in Crete that I saw Ulysses and showed him hospitality, for the winds took him there as he was on his way to Troy, carrying him out of his course from cape Malea and leaving him in Amnisus off the cave of Ilithuia, where the harbours are difficult to enter and he could hardly find shelter from the winds that were then xaging. As soon as he got there he went into the town and asked for Idomeneus, claiming to be his old and valued friend, but Idomeneus had already set sail for Troy some Ten or Twelve days earlier,
ody.19 o I took him to my own house and showed him every kind of hospitality, for I had abundance of everything. Moreover, I fed the men who were with him with barley meal from the public store, and got subscriptions of wine and Oxen for them to sacrifice to their heart s content. They stayed with me Twelve days, for there was a gale blowing from the North so strong that one could hardly keep one s feet on land. I suppose some unfriendly God had raised it for them, but on the thirteenth day the wind dropped, and they got away."
ody.19 And Penelope answered, Stranger", dreams are very curious and unaccountable things, and they do not by any means invariably come true. There are Two gates through which these unsubstantial fancies proceed; the one is of horn, and the other ivory. Those that come through the gate of ivory are fatuous, but those from the gate of horn mean something to those that see them. I do not think, however, that my own dream came through the gate of horn, though I and my son should be most thankful if it proves to have done so. Furthermore I say and lay my saying to your heart the coming dawn will usher in the ill omened day that is to sever me from the house of Ulysses, for I am about to hold a tournament of axes. My husband used to set up Twelve axes in the court, one in front of the other, like the stays upon which a ship is built; he would then go back from them and shoot an arrow through the whole twelve. I shall make the suitors try to do the same thing, and whichever of them can string the bow most easily, and send his arrow through all the Twelve axes, him will I follow, and quit this house of my lawful husband, so goodly and so abounding in wealth. But even so, I doubt not that I shall remember it in my dreams."
ody.20 Thus did he pray. Jove heard his prayer and forthwith thundered high up among the from the splendour of Olympus, and Ulysses was glad when he heard it. At the same time within the house, a miller Woman from hard by in the mill room lifted up her voice and gave him another sign. There were Twelve miller Women whose business it was to grind wheat and barley which are the staff of life. The others had ground their task and had gone to take their rest, but this one had not yet finished, for she was not so strong as they were, and when she heard the thunder she stopped grinding and gave the sign to her master. Father" Jove," said she, "you who rule over heaven and earth, you have thundered from a clear sky without so much as a cloud in it, and this means something for somebody; grant the prayer, then, of me your poor servant who calls upon you, and let this be the very last day that the suitors dine in the house of Ulysses. They have worn me out with the labour of grinding meal for them, and I hope they may never have another dinner anywhere at all."
ody.21 MINERVA now put it in Penelope s mind to make the suitors try their skill with the bow and with the iron axes, in contest among themselves, as a means of bringing about their destruction. She went upstairs and got the store room key, which was made of bronze and had a handle of ivory; she then went with her maidens into the store room at the end of the house, where her husband s treasures of gold, bronze, and wrought iron were kept, and where was also his bow, and the quiver full of deadly arrows that had been given him by a friend whom he had met in Lacedaemon Iphitus the son of Eurytus. The Two fell in with one another in Messene at the house of Ortilochus, where Ulysses was staying in order to recover a debt that was owing from the whole people; for the Messenians had carried off Three hundred Sheep from Ithaca, and had sailed away with them and with their shepherds. In quest of these Ulysses took a long journey while still quite young, for his father and the other chieftains sent him on a mission to recover them. Iphitus had gone there also to try and get back Twelve brood mares that he had lost, and the Mule foals that were running with them. These mares were the death of him in the end, for when he went to the house of Jove s son, mighty Hercules, who performed such prodigies of valour, Hercules to his shame killed him, though he was his guest, for he feared not heaven s vengeance, nor yet respected his own table which he had set before Iphitus, but killed him in
ody.21 "Listen to me you suitors, who persist in abusing the hospitality of this house because its owner has been long absent, and without other pretext than that you want to marry me; this, then, being the prize that you are contending for, I will bring out the mighty bow of Ulysses, and whomsoever of you shall string it most easily and send his arrow through each one of Twelve axes, him will I follow and quit this house of my lawful husband, so goodly, and so abounding in wealth. But even so I doubt not that I shall remember it in my dreams."
ody.22 "I will tell you the truth, my son," answered Euryclea. "There are Fifty Women in the house whom we teach to do things, such as carding wool, and all kinds of household work. Of these, Twelve in all have misbehaved, and have been wanting in respect to me, and also to Penelope. They showed no disrespect to Telemachus, for he has only lately grown and his mother never permitted him to give orders to the female servants; but let me go upstairs and tell your wife all that has happened, for some God has been sending her to sleep."
ody.24 Seven talents of fine gold, and a cup of solid silver with flowers chased upon it. I gave him Twelve light cloaks, and as many pieces of tapestry; I also gave him Twelve cloaks of single fold, Twelve rugs, Twelve fair mantles, and an equal number of shirts. To all this I added Four good looking Women skilled in all useful arts, and I let him take his choice."

Arise Greece! from thy silent sleep, 2000 years long it is! Forget not, thy ancient culture, beautiful and marvelous it is!

Share:- Facebook