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The Odyssey of Homer   By: (750? BC - 650? BC)

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{Transcriber's note:

The spelling and hyphenation in the original are inconsistent, and have not been changed. A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected, as listed at the end of the etext. Greek has been transliterated and is indicated by plus signs, thus: Eranos.}

THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER Translated by WILLIAM COWPER

LONDON: PUBLISHED by J·M·DENT·&·SONS·LTD AND IN NEW YORK BY E·P·DUTTON & CO

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

COUNTESS DOWAGER SPENCER

THE FOLLOWING TRANSLATION OF THE ODYSSEY, A POEM THAT EXHIBITS IN THE CHARACTER OF ITS HEROINE AN EXAMPLE OF ALL DOMESTIC VIRTUE, IS WITH EQUAL PROPRIETY AND RESPECT INSCRIBED BY HER LADYSHIP'S MOST DEVOTED SERVANT, THE AUTHOR.

THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH BLANK VERSE

BOOK I

ARGUMENT

In a council of the Gods, Minerva calls their attention to Ulysses, still a wanderer. They resolve to grant him a safe return to Ithaca. Minerva descends to encourage Telemachus, and in the form of Mentes directs him in what manner to proceed. Throughout this book the extravagance and profligacy of the suitors are occasionally suggested.

Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed And genius versatile, who far and wide A Wand'rer, after Ilium overthrown, Discover'd various cities, and the mind And manners learn'd of men, in lands remote. He num'rous woes on Ocean toss'd, endured, Anxious to save himself, and to conduct His followers to their home; yet all his care Preserved them not; they perish'd self destroy'd By their own fault; infatuate! who devoured 10 The oxen of the all o'erseeing Sun, And, punish'd for that crime, return'd no more. Daughter divine of Jove, these things record, As it may please thee, even in our ears. The rest, all those who had perdition 'scaped By war or on the Deep, dwelt now at home; Him only, of his country and his wife Alike desirous, in her hollow grots Calypso, Goddess beautiful, detained Wooing him to her arms. But when, at length, 20 (Many a long year elapsed) the year arrived Of his return (by the decree of heav'n) To Ithaca, not even then had he, Although surrounded by his people, reach'd The period of his suff'rings and his toils. Yet all the Gods, with pity moved, beheld His woes, save Neptune; He alone with wrath Unceasing and implacable pursued Godlike Ulysses to his native shores. But Neptune, now, the Æthiopians fought, 30 (The Æthiopians, utmost of mankind, These Eastward situate, those toward the West) Call'd to an hecatomb of bulls and lambs. There sitting, pleas'd he banqueted; the Gods In Jove's abode, meantime, assembled all, 'Midst whom the Sire of heav'n and earth began. For he recall'd to mind Ægisthus slain By Agamemnon's celebrated son Orestes, and retracing in his thought That dread event, the Immortals thus address'd. 40 Alas! how prone are human kind to blame The Pow'rs of Heav'n! From us, they say, proceed The ills which they endure, yet more than Fate Herself inflicts, by their own crimes incur. So now Ægisthus, by no force constrained Of Destiny, Atrides' wedded wife Took to himself, and him at his return Slew, not unwarn'd of his own dreadful end By us: for we commanded Hermes down The watchful Argicide, who bade him fear 50 Alike, to slay the King, or woo the Queen. For that Atrides' son Orestes, soon As grown mature, and eager to assume His sway imperial, should avenge the deed. So Hermes spake, but his advice moved not Ægisthus, on whose head the whole arrear Of vengeance heap'd, at last, hath therefore fall'n. Whom answer'd then Pallas cærulean eyed. Oh Jove, Saturnian Sire, o'er all supreme! And well he merited the death he found; 60 So perish all, who shall, like him, offend... Continue reading book >>




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