Now Dawn arose from her couch from beside lordly Tithonus, to bear light to the immortals and to mortal men. And the gods were sitting down to council, and among them Zeus, who thunders on high, whose might is supreme.To them Athena was recounting the many woes of Odysseus, as she called them to mind; for it troubled her that he abode in the dwelling of the nymph: “Father Zeus, and ye other blessed gods that are forever, never henceforward let sceptred king with a ready heart be kind and gentle, nor let him heed righteousness in his mind;but let him ever be harsh, and work unrighteousness, seeing that no one remembers divine Odysseus of the people whose lord he was; yet gentle was he as a father. He verily abides in an island suffering grievous pains, in the halls of the nymph Calypso, whokeeps him perforce; and he cannot return to his own land, for he has at hand no ships with oars and no comrades to send him on his way over the broad back of the sea. And now again they are minded to slay his well-loved son on his homeward way; for he went in quest of tidings of his fatherto sacred Pylos and to goodly Lacedaemon.” Then Zeus, the cloud-gatherer, answered her, and said: “My child, what a word has escaped the barrier of thy teeth! Didst thou not thyself devise this plan, that verily Odysseus might take vengeance on these men at his coming?But concerning Telemachus, do thou guide him in thy wisdom, for thou canst, that all unscathed he may reach his native land, and the wooers may come back in their ship baffled in their purpose.” He spoke, and said to Hermes, his dear son:“Hermes, do thou now, seeing that thou art at other times our messenger,declare to the fair-tressed nymph our fixed resolve, even the return of Odysseus of the steadfast heart, that he may return with guidance neither of gods nor of mortal men, but that on a stoutly-bound raft, suffering woes, he may come on the twentieth day to deep-soiled Scheria,the land of the Phaeacians, who are near of kin to the gods. These shall heartily shew him all honor, as if he were a god, and shall send him in a ship to his dear native land, after giving him stores of bronze and gold and raiment, more than Odysseus would ever have won for himself from Troy,if he had returned unscathed with his due share of the spoil. For in this wise it is his fate to see his friends, and reach his high-roofed house and his native land.” So he spoke, and the messenger, Argeiphontes, failed not to hearken. Straightway he bound beneath his feet his beautiful sandals,immortal, golden, which were wont to bear him over the waters of the sea and over the boundless land swift as the blasts of the wind. And he took the wand wherewith he lulls to sleep the eyes of whom he will, while others again he awakens even out of slumber. With this in his hand the strong Argeiphontes flew.
On to Pieria he stepped from the upper air, and swooped down upon the sea, and then sped over the wave like a bird, the cormorant, which in quest of fish over the dread gulfs of the unresting sea wets its thick plumage in the brine. In such wise did Hermes ride upon the multitudinous waves.But when he had reached the island which lay afar, then forth from the violet sea he came to land, and went his way until he came to a great cave, wherein dwelt the fair-tressed nymph; and he found her within. A great fire was burning on the hearth, and from afar over the isle there was a fragranceof cleft cedar and juniper, as they burned; but she within was singing with a sweet voice as she went to and fro before the loom, weaving with a golden shuttle. Round about the cave grew a luxuriant wood, alder and poplar and sweet-smelling cypress,wherein birds long of wing were wont to nest, owls and falcons and sea-crows with chattering tongues, who ply their business on the sea. And right there about the hollow cave ran trailing a garden vine, in pride of its prime, richly laden with clusters.And fountains four in a row were flowing with bright water hard by one another, turned one this way, one that. And round about soft meadows of violets and parsley were blooming. There even an immortal, who chanced to come, might gaze and marvel, and delight his soul;and there the messenger Argeiphontes stood and marvelled. But when he had marvelled in his heart at all things, straightway he went into the wide cave; nor did Calypso, the beautiful goddess, fail to know him, when she saw him face to face; for not unknown arethe immortal gods to one another, even though one dwells in a home far away. But the great-hearted Odysseus he found not within; for he sat weeping on the shore, as his wont had been, racking his soul with tears and groans and griefs, and he would look over the unresting sea, shedding tears.And Calypso, the beautiful goddess, questioned Hermes, when she had made him sit on a bright shining chair: “Why, pray, Hermes of the golden wand, hast thou come, an honorable guest and welcome? heretofore thou hast not been wont to come. Speak what is in thy mind; my heart bids me fulfil it,if fulfil it I can, and it is a thing that hath fulfillment. But follow me further, that I may set before thee entertainment.”
So saying, the goddess set before him a table laden with ambrosia, and mixed the ruddy nectar. So he drank and ate, the messenger Argeiphontes.But when he had dined and satisfied his soul with food, then he made answer, and addressed her, saying: “Thou, a goddess, dost question me, a god, upon my coming, and I will speak my word truly, since thou biddest me. It was Zeus who bade me come hither against my will.Who of his own will would speed over so great space of salt sea-water, great past telling? Nor is there at hand any city of mortals who offer to the gods sacrifice and choice hecatombs. But it is in no wise possible for any other god to evade or make void the will of Zeus, who bears the aegis.He says that there is here with thee a man most wretched above all those warriors who around the city of Priam fought for nine years, and in the tenth year sacked the city and departed homeward. But on the way they sinned against Athena, and she sent upon them an evil wind and long waves.There all the rest of his goodly comrades perished, but as for him, the wind and the wave, as they bore him, brought him hither. Him now Zeus bids thee to send on his way with all speed, for it is not his fate to perish here far from his friends, but it is still his lot to see his friends and reachhis high-roofed house and his native land.” So he spoke, and Calypso, the beautiful goddess, shuddered, and she spoke, and addressed him with winged words: “Cruel are ye, O ye gods, and quick to envy above all others, seeing that ye begrudge goddesses that they should mate with menopenly, if any takes a mortal as her dear bed-fellow. Thus, when rosy-fingered Dawn took to herself Orion, ye gods that live at ease begrudged her, till in Ortygia chaste Artemis of the golden throne assailed him with her gentle[*](1) shafts and slew him.Thus too, when fair-tressed Demeter, yielding to her passion, lay in love with Iasion in the thrice-ploughed fallow land, Zeus was not long without knowledge thereof, but smote him with his bright thunder-bolt and slew him. And even so again do ye now begrudge me, O ye gods, that a mortal man should abide with me.Him I saved when he was bestriding the keel and all alone, for Zeus had smitten his swift ship with his bright thunder-bolt, and had shattered[*](2) it in the midst of the wine-dark sea. There all the rest of his goodly comrades perished, but as for him, the wind and the wave, as they bore him, brought him hither.Him I welcomed kindly and gave him food, and said that I would make him immortal and ageless all his days. But since it is in no wise possible for any other god to evade or make void the will of Zeus who bears the aegis, let him go his way, if Zeus thus orders and commands,over the unresting sea. But it is not I that shall give him convoy, for I have at hand no ships with oars and no men to send him on his way over the broad back of the sea. But with a ready heart will I give him counsel, and will hide naught, that all unscathed he may return to his native land.”
Then again the messenger Argeiphontes answered her: “Even so send him forth now, and beware of the wrath of Zeus, lest haply he wax wroth and visit his anger upon thee hereafter.” So saying, the strong Argeiphontes departed, and the queenly nymph went to the great-hearted Odysseus,when she had heard the message of Zeus. Him she found sitting on the shore, and his eyes were never dry of tears, and his sweet life was ebbing away, as he longed mournfully for his return, for the nymph was no longer pleasing in his sight. By night indeed he would sleep by her side perforcein the hollow caves, unwilling beside the willing nymph, but by day he would sit on the rocks and the sands, racking his soul with tears and groans and griefs, and he would look over the unresting sea, shedding tears. Then coming close to him, the beautiful goddess addressed him: “Unhappy man, sorrow no longer here, I pray thee, nor let thy life pine away; for even now with a ready heart will I send thee on thy way. Nay, come, hew with the axe long beams, and make a broad raft, and fasten upon it cross-planks for a deck well above it, that it may bear thee over the misty deep.And I will place therein bread and water and red wine to satisfy thy heart, to keep hunger from thee. And I will clothe thee with raiment, and will send a fair wind behind thee, that all unscathed thou mayest return to thy native land, if it be the will of the gods who hold broad heaven;for they are mightier than I both to purpose and to fulfil.” So she spoke, and much-enduring goodly Odysseus shuddered, and he spoke, and addressed her with winged words: “Some other thing, goddess, art thou planning in this, and not my sending, seeing that thou biddest me cross on a raft the great gulf of the sea,dread and grievous, over which not even the shapely, swift-faring ships pass, rejoicing in the wind of Zeus. But I will not set foot on a raft in thy despite, unless thou, goddess, wilt bring thyself to swear a mighty oath that thou wilt not plot against me any fresh mischief to my hurt.” So he spoke, but Calypso, the beautiful goddess, smiled, and stroked him with her hand, and spoke, and addressed him: “Verily thou art a knave, and not stunted in wit, that thou hast bethought thee to utter such a word. Now therefore let earth be witness to this, and the broad heaven above,and the down-flowing water of the Styx, which is the greatest and most dread oath for the blessed gods, that I will not plot against thee any fresh mischief to thy hurt. Nay, I have such thoughts in mind, and will give such counsel, as I should devise for mine own self, if such need should come on me.For I too have a mind that is righteous, and the heart in this breast of mine is not of iron, but hath compassion.”
So saying, the beautiful goddess led the way quickly, and he followed in the footsteps of the goddess. And they came to the hollow cave, the goddess and the man,and he sat down upon the chair from which Hermes had arisen, and the nymph set before him all manner of food to eat and drink, of such sort as mortal men eat. But she herself sat over against divine Odysseus, and before her the handmaids set ambrosia and nectar.So they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them. But when they had their fill of food and drink, Calypso, the beautiful goddess, was the first to speak, and said: “Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices,would'st thou then fare now forthwith home to thy dear native land! Yet, even so fare thee well. Howbeit if in thy heart thou knewest all the measure of woe it is thy fate to fulfil before thou comest to thy native land thou wouldest abide here and keep this house with me, and wouldest be immortal, for all thy desire to seethy wife for whom thou longest day by day. Surely not inferior to her do I declare myself to be either in form or stature, for in no wise is it seemly that mortal women should vie with immortals in form or comeliness.” Then Odysseus of many wiles answered her, and said:“Mighty goddess, be not wroth with me for this. I know full well of myself that wise Penelope is meaner to look upon than thou in comeliness and in stature, for she is a mortal, while thou art immortal and ageless. But even so I wish and long day by dayto reach my home, and to see the day of my return. And if again some god shall smite me on the wine-dark sea, I will endure it, having in my breast a heart that endures affliction. For ere this I have suffered much and toiled much amid the waves and in war; let this also be added unto that.” So he spoke, and the sun set and darkness came on. And the two went into the innermost recess of the hollow cave, and took their joy of love, abiding each by the other's side.
As soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, straightway Odysseus put on a cloak and a tunic,and the nymph clothed herself in a long white robe, finely woven and beautiful, and about her waist she cast a fair girdle of gold, and on her head a veil above. Then she set herself to plan the sending of the great-hearted Odysseus. She gave him a great axe, well fitted to his hands,an axe of bronze, sharpened on both sides; and in it was a beautiful handle of olive wood, securely fastened; and thereafter she gave him a polished adze. Then she led the way to the borders of the island where tall trees were standing, alder and popular and fir, reaching to the skies,long dry and well-seasoned, which would float for him lightly. But when she had shewn him where the tall trees grew, Calypso, the beautiful goddess, returned homewards, but he fell to cutting timbers, and his work went forward apace. Twenty trees in all did he fell, and trimmed them with the axe;then he cunningly smoothed them all and made them straight to the line. Meanwhile Calypso, the beautiful goddess, brought him augers; and he bored all the pieces and fitted them to one another, and with pegs and morticings did he hammer it together. Wide as a man well-skilled in carpentry marks out the curve of the hull of a freight-ship,broad of beam, even so wide did Odysseus make his raft. And he set up the deck-beams, bolting them to the close-set ribs, and laboured on; and he finished the raft with long gunwales. In it he set a mast and a yard-arm, fitted to it,and furthermore made him a steering-oar, wherewith to steer. Then he fenced in the whole from stem to stern with willow withes to be a defence against the wave, and strewed much brush thereon.[*](1) Meanwhile Calypso, the beautiful goddess, brought him cloth to make him a sail, and he fashioned that too with skill.And he made fast in the raft braces and halyards and sheets, and then with levers[*](2) forced it down into the bright sea.
Now the fourth day came and all his work was done. And on the fifth the beautiful Calypso sent him on his way from the island after she had bathed him and clothed him in fragrant raiment.On the raft the goddess put a skin of dark wine, and another, a great one, of water, and provisions, too, in a wallet. Therein she put abundance of dainties to satisfy his heart, and she sent forth a gentle wind and warm. Gladly then did goodly Odysseus spread his sail to the breeze;and he sat and guided his raft skilfully with the steering-oar, nor did sleep fall upon his eyelids, as he watched the Pleiads, and late-setting Bootes, and the Bear, which men also call the Wain, which ever circles where it is and watches Orion,and alone has no part in the baths of Ocean. For this star Calypso, the beautiful goddess, had bidden him to keep on the left hand as he sailed over the sea. For seventeen days then he sailed over the sea, and on the eighteenth appeared the shadowy mountainsof the land of the Phaeacians, where it lay nearest to him; and it shewed like unto a shield in the misty deep. But the glorious Earth-shaker, as he came back from the Ethiopians,[*](1) beheld him from afar, from the mountains of the Solymi: for Odysseus was seen of him sailing over the sea; and he waxed the more wroth in spirit,and shook his head, and thus he spoke to his own heart: “Out on it! Surely the gods have changed their purpose regarding Odysseus, while I was among the Ethiopians. And lo, he is near to the land of the Phaeacians, where it is his fate to escape from the great bonds of the woe which has come upon him.Aye, but even yet, methinks, I shall drive him to surfeit of evil.” So saying, he gathered the clouds, and seizing his trident in his hands troubled the sea, and roused all blasts of all manner of winds, and hid with clouds land and sea alike; and night rushed down from heaven.Together the East Wind and the South Wind dashed, and the fierce-blowing West Wind and the North Wind, born in the bright heaven, rolling before him a mighty wave. Then were the knees of Odysseus loosened and his heart melted, and deeply moved he spoke to his own mighty spirit: “Ah me, wretched that I am! What is to befall me at the last?I fear me that verily all that the goddess said was true, when she declared that on the sea, before ever I came to my native land, I should fill up my measure of woes; and lo, all this now is being brought to pass. In such wise does Zeus overcast the broad heaven with clouds, and has stirred up the sea, and the blastsof all manner of winds sweep upon me; now is my utter destruction sure. Thrice blessed those Danaans, aye, four times blessed, who of old perished in the wide land of Troy, doing the pleasure of the sons of Atreus. Even so would that I had died and met my fate on that day when the throngsof the Trojans hurled upon me bronze-tipped spears, fighting around the body of the dead son of Peleus. Then should I have got funeral rites, and the Achaeans would have spread my fame, but now by a miserable death was it appointed me to be cut off.”
Even as thus he spoke the great wave smote him from on high, rushing upon him with terrible might, and around it whirled his raft.Far from the raft he fell, and let fall the steering-oar from his hand; but his mast was broken in the midst by the fierce blast of tumultuous winds that came upon it, and far in the sea sail and yardarm fell. As for him, long time did the wave hold him in the depths, nor could herise at once from beneath the onrush of the mighty wave, for the garments which beautiful Calypso had given him weighed him down. At length, however, he came up, and spat forth from his mouth the bitter brine which flowed in streams from his head. Yet even so he did not forget his raft, in evil case though he was,but sprang after it amid the waves, and laid hold of it, and sat down in the midst of it, seeking to escape the doom of death; and a great wave ever bore him this way and that along its course. As when in autumn the North Wind bears the thistle-tufts over the plain, and close they cling to one another,so did the winds bear the raft this way and that over the sea. Now the South Wind would fling it to the North Wind to be driven on, and now again the East Wind would yield it to the West Wind to drive. But the daughter of Cadmus, Ino of the fair ankles, saw him, even Leucothea, who of old was a mortal of human speech,but now in the deeps of the sea has won a share of honor from the gods. She was touched with pity for Odysseus, as he wandered and was in sore travail, and she rose up from the deep like a sea-mew on the wing, and sat on the stoutly-bound raft, and spoke, saying: “Unhappy man, how is it that Poseidon, the earth-shaker,has conceived such furious wrath against thee, that he is sowing for thee the seeds of many evils? Yet verily he shall not utterly destroy thee for all his rage. Nay, do thou thus; and methinks thou dost not lack understanding. Strip off these garments, and leave thy raft to be driven by the winds, but do thou swim with thy hands and so strive to reachthe land of the Phaeacians, where it is thy fate to escape. Come, take this veil, and stretch it beneath thy breast. It is immortal; there is no fear that thou shalt suffer aught or perish. But when with thy hands thou hast laid hold of the land, loose it from thee, and cast it into the wine-dark seafar from the land, and thyself turn away.” So saying, the goddess gave him the veil, and herself plunged again into the surging deep, like a sea-mew; and the dark wave hid her. Then the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus pondered,and deeply moved he spoke to his own mighty spirit: “Woe is me! Let it not be that some one of the immortals is again weaving a snare for me, that she bids me leave my raft. Nay, but verily I will not yet obey, for afar off mine eyes beheld the land, where she said I was to escape.But this will I do, and meseems that this is best: as long as the timbers hold firm in their fastenings, so long will I remain here and endure to suffer affliction; but when the wave shall have shattered the raft to pieces, I will swim, seeing that there is naught better to devise.”
While he pondered thus in mind and heart, Poseidon, the earth-shaker, made to rise up a great wave, dread and grievous, arching over from above, and drove it upon him. And as when a strong wind tosses a heap of straw that is dry, and some it scatters here, some there,even so the wave scattered the long timbers of the raft. But Odysseus bestrode one plank, as though he were riding a horse, and stripped off the garments which beautiful Calypso had given him. Then straightway he stretched the veil beneath his breast, and flung himself headlong into the sea with hands outstretched,ready to swim. And the lord, the earth-shaker, saw him, and he shook his head, and thus he spoke to his own heart: “So now, after thou hast suffered many ills, go wandering over the deep, till thou comest among the folk fostered of Zeus. Yet even so, methinks, thou shalt not make any mock at thy suffering.” So saying, he lashed his fair-maned horses, and came to Aegae, where is his glorious palace. But Athena, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel. She stayed the paths of the other winds, and bade them all cease and be lulled to rest;but she roused the swift North Wind, and broke the waves before him, to the end that Zeus-born Odysseus might come among the Phaeacians, lovers of the oar, escaping from death and the fates. Then for two nights and two days he was driven about over the swollen waves, and full often his heart forboded destruction.But when fair-tressed Dawn brought to its birth the third day, then the wind ceased and there was a windless calm, and he caught sight of the shore close at hand, casting a quick glance forward, as he was raised up by a great wave. And even as when most welcome to his children appears the lifeof a father who lies in sickness, bearing grievous pains, long while wasting away, and some cruel god assails him, but then to their joy the gods free him from his woe, so to Odysseus did the land and the wood seem welcome; and he swam on, eager to set foot on the land.But when he was as far away as a man's voice carries when he shouts, and heard the boom of the sea upon the reefs—for the great wave thundered against the dry land, belching upon it in terrible fashion, and all things were wrapped in the foam of the sea; for there were neither harbors where ships might ride, nor road-steads,but projecting headlands, and reefs, and cliffs—then the knees of Odysseus were loosened and his heart melted, and deeply moved he spoke to his own mighty spirit:
“Ah me, when Zeus has at length granted me to see the land beyond my hopes, and lo, I have prevailed to cleave my way and to cross this gulf,nowhere doth there appear a way to come forth from the grey sea. For without are sharp crags, and around them the wave roars foaming, and the rock runs up sheer, and the water is deep close in shore, so that in no wise is it possible to plant both feet firmly and escape ruin.Haply were I to seek to land, a great wave may seize me and dash me against the jagged rock, and so shall my striving be in vain. But if I swim on yet further in hope to find shelving beaches[*](1) and harbors of the sea, I fear me lest the storm-wind may catch me up again,and bear me, groaning heavily, over the teeming deep; or lest some god may even send forth upon me some great monster from out the sea—and many such does glorious Amphitrite breed. For I know that the glorious Earth-shaker is filled with wrath against me.” While he pondered thus in mind and heart,a great wave bore him against the rugged shore. There would his skin have been stripped off and his bones broken, had not the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, put a thought in his mind. On he rushed and seized the rock with both hands, and clung to it, groaning, until the great wave went by.Thus then did he escape this wave, but in its backward flow it once more rushed upon him and smote him, and flung him far out in the sea. And just as, when a cuttlefish is dragged from its hole, many pebbles cling to its suckers, even so from his strong handswere bits of skin stripped off against the rocks; and the great wave covered him. Then verily would hapless Odysseus have perished beyond his fate, had not flashing-eyed Athena given him prudence. Making his way forth from the surge where it belched upon the shore, he swam outside, looking ever toward the land in hope to findshelving beaches and harbors of the sea. But when, as he swam, he came to the mouth of a fair-flowing river, where seemed to him the best place, since it was smooth of stones, and besides there was shelter from the wind, he knew the river as he flowed forth, and prayed to him in his heart: “Hear me, O king, whosoever thou art. As to one greatly longed-for[*](1) do I come to thee, seeking to escape from out the sea from the threats of Poseidon. Reverend even in the eyes of the immortal gods is that man who comes as a wanderer, even as I have now come to thy stream and to thy knees, after many toils.Nay, pity me, O king, for I declare that I am thy suppliant.”
So he spoke, and the god straightway stayed his stream, and checked the waves, and made a calm before him, and brought him safely to the mouth of the river. And he let his two knees bend and his strong hands fall, for his spirit was crushed by the sea.And all his flesh was swollen, and sea water flowed in streams up through his mouth and nostrils. So he lay breathless and speechless, with scarce strength to move; for terrible weariness had come upon him. But when he revived, and his spirit returned again into his breast, then he loosed from him the veil of the goddess and let it fall into the river that murmured seaward;and the great wave bore it back down the stream, and straightway Ino received it in her hands. But Odysseus, going back from the river, sank down in the reeds and kissed the earth, the giver of grain; and deeply moved he spoke to his own mighty spirit: “Ah, woe is me! what is to befall me? What will happen to me at the last? If here in the river bed I keep watch throughout the weary night, I fear that together the bitter frost and the fresh dew may overcome me, when from feebleness I have breathed forth my spirit; and the breeze from the river blows cold in the early morning.But if I climb up the slope to the shady wood and lie down to rest in the thick brushwood, in the hope that the cold and weariness might leave me, and if sweet sleep comes over me, I fear me lest I become a prey and spoil to wild beasts.” Then, as he pondered, this thing seemed to him the better:he went his way to the wood and found it near the water in a clear space; and he crept beneath two bushes that grew from the same spot, one of thorn and one of olive. Through these the strength of the wet winds could never blow, nor the rays of the bright sun beat,nor could the rain pierce through them, so closely did they grow, intertwining one with the other. Beneath these Odysseus crept and straightway gathered with his hands a broad bed, for fallen leaves were there in plenty, enough to shelter two men or threein winter-time, however bitter the weather. And the much-enduring goodly Odysseus saw it, and was glad, and he lay down in the midst, and heaped over him the fallen leaves. And as a man hides a brand beneath the dark embers in an outlying farm, a man who has no neighbors,and so saves a seed of fire, that he may not have to kindle it from some other source, so Odysseus covered himself with leaves. And Athena shed sleep upon his eyes, that it might enfold his lids and speedily free him from toilsome weariness.
So he lay there asleep, the much-enduring goodly Odysseus, overcome with sleep and weariness; but Athena went to the land and city of the Phaeacians. These dwelt of old in spacious Hypereiahard by the Cyclopes, men overweening in pride who plundered them continually and were mightier than they. From thence Nausithous, the godlike, had removed them, and led and settled them in Scheria far from men that live by toil. About the city he had drawn a wall, he had built housesand made temples for the gods, and divided the ploughlands; but he, ere now, had been stricken by fate and had gone to the house of Hades, and Alcinous was now king, made wise in counsel by the gods. To his house went the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, to contrive the return of great-hearted Odysseus.She went to a chamber, richly wrought, wherein slept a maiden like the immortal goddesses in form and comeliness, Nausicaa, the daughter of great-hearted Alcinous; hard by slept two hand-maidens, gifted with beauty by the Graces, one on either side of the door-posts, and the bright doors were shut. But like a breath of air the goddess sped to the couch of the maiden, and stood above her head, and spoke to her, taking the form of the daughter of Dymas, famed for his ships, a girl who was of like age with Nausicaa, and was dear to her heart. Likening herself to her, the flashing-eyed Athena spoke and said: “Nausicaa, how comes it that thy mother bore thee so heedless? Thy bright raiment is lying uncared for; yet thy marriage is near at hand, when thou must needs thyself be clad in fair garments, and give other such to those who escort thee. It is from things like these, thou knowest, that good report goeth up among men,and the father and honored mother rejoice. Nay, come, let us go to wash them at break of day, for I will follow with thee to aid thee, that thou mayest with speed make thee ready; for thou shalt not long remain a maiden. Even now thou hast suitors in the land, the noblestof all the Phaeacians, from whom is thine own lineage. Nay, come, bestir thy noble father early this morning that he make ready mules and a wagon for thee, to bear the girdles and robes and bright coverlets. And for thyself, too, it is far more seemlyto go thus than on foot, for the washing tanks are far from the city.” So saying, the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, departed to Olympus, where, they say, is the abode of the gods that stands fast forever. Neither is it shaken by winds nor ever wet with rain, nor does snow fall upon it, but the airis outspread clear and cloudless, and over it hovers a radiant whiteness. Therein the blessed gods are glad all their days, and thither went the flashing-eyed one, when she had spoken all her word to the maiden.
At once then came fair-throned Dawn and awakened Nausicaa of the beautiful robes, and straightway she marvelled at her dream,and went through the house to tell her parents, her father dear and her mother; and she found them both within. The mother sat at the hearth with her handmaidens, spinning the yarn of purple dye, and her father she met as he was going forth to join the glorious kingsin the place of council, to which the lordly Phaeacians called him. But she came up close to her dear father, and said: “Papa dear, wilt thou not make ready for me a wagon, high and stout of wheel, that I may take to the river for washing the goodly raiment of mine which is lying here soiled?Moreover for thyself it is seemly that when thou art at council with the princes thou shouldst have clean raiment upon thee; and thou hast five sons living in thy halls—two are wedded, but three are sturdy bachelors—and these ever wish to put on them freshly-washed raiment,when they go to the dance. Of all this must I take thought.” So she spoke, for she was ashamed to name gladsome[*](1) marriage to her father; but he understood all, and answered, saying: “Neither the mules do I begrudge thee, my child, nor aught beside. Go thy way; the slaves shall make ready for thee the wagon,high and stout of wheel and fitted with a box above.”[*](2) With this he called to the slaves, and they hearkened. Outside the palace they made ready the light-running mule wagon, and led up the mules and yoked them to it; and the maiden brought from her chamber the bright raiment,and placed it upon the polished car, while her mother put in a chest food of all sorts to satisfy the heart. Therein she put dainties, and poured wine in a goat-skin flask; and the maiden mounted upon the wagon. Her mother gave her also soft olive oil in a flask of gold,that she and her maidens might have it for the bath. Then Nausicaa took the whip and the bright reins, and smote the mules to start them; and there was a clatter of the mules as they sped on a main, bearing the raiment and the maiden; neither went she alone, for with her went her handmaids as well.
Now when they came to the beautiful streams of the river, where were the washing tanks that never failed—for abundant clear water welled up from beneath and flowed over, to cleanse garments however soiled—there they loosed the mules from under the wagon and drove them along the eddying riverto graze on the honey-sweet water-grass, and themselves took in their arms the raiment from the wagon, and bore it into the dark water, and trampled it in the trenches, busily vying each with each. Now when they had washed the garments, and had cleansed them of all the stains, they spread them out in rows on the shore of the sea wherethe waves dashing against the land washed the pebbles cleanest; and they, after they had bathed and anointed themselves richly with oil, took their meal on the river's banks, and waited for the clothing to dry in the bright sunshine. Then when they had had their joy of food, she and her handmaids,they threw off their head-gear and fell to playing at ball, and white-armed Nausicaa was leader in the song.[*](1) And even as Artemis, the archer, roves over the mountains, along the ridges of lofty Taygetus or Erymanthus, joying in the pursuit of boars and swift deer,and with her sport the wood-nymphs, the daughters of Zeus who bears the aegis, and Leto is glad at heart—high above them all Artemis holds her head and brows, and easily may she be known, though all are fair—so amid her handmaidens shone the maid unwed. But when she was about to yoke the mules, and fold the fair raiment, in order to return homeward, then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, took other counsel, that Odysseus might awake and see the fair-faced maid, who should lead him to the city of the Phaeacians.So then the princess tossed the ball to one of her maidens; the maiden indeed she missed, but cast it into a deep eddy, and thereat they cried aloud, and goodly Odysseus awoke, and sat up, and thus he pondered in mind and heart: “Woe is me! to the land of what mortals am I now come?Are they cruel, and wild, and unjust? or do they love strangers and fear the gods in their thoughts? There rang in my ears a cry as of maidens, of nymphs who haunt the towering peaks of the mountains, the springs that feed the rivers, and the grassy meadows!Can it be that I am somewhere near men of human speech? Nay, I will myself make trial and see.”
So saying the goodly Odysseus came forth from beneath the bushes, and with his stout hand he broke from the thick wood a leafy branch, that he might hold it about him and hide therewith his nakedness.Forth he came like a mountain-nurtured lion trusting in his might, who goes forth, beaten with rain and wind, but his two eyes are ablaze: into the midst of the kine he goes, or of the sheep, or on the track of the wild deer, and his belly bids him go even into the close-built fold, to make an attack upon the flocks.Even so Odysseus was about to enter the company of the fair-tressed maidens, naked though he was, for need had come upon him. But terrible did he seem to them, all befouled with brine, and they shrank in fear, one here, one there, along the jutting sand-spits. Alone the daughter of Alcinous kept her place, forin her heart Athena put courage, and took fear from her limbs. She fled not, but stood and faced him; and Odysseus pondered whether he should clasp the knees of the fair-faced maid, and make his prayer, or whether, standing apart as he was, he should beseech her with gentle words, in hope that she might show him the city and give him raiment.And, as he pondered, it seemed to him better to stand apart and beseech her with gentle words, lest the maiden's heart should be wroth with him if he clasped her knees; so straightway he spoke a gentle word and crafty: “I beseech thee, O queen,—a goddess art thou, or art thou mortal?If thou art a goddess, one of those who hold broad heaven, to Artemis, the daughter of great Zeus, do I liken thee most nearly in comeliness and in stature and in form. But if thou art one of mortals who dwell upon the earth, thrice-blessed then are thy father and thy honored mother,and thrice-blessed thy brethren. Full well, I ween, are their hearts ever warmed with joy because of thee, as they see thee entering the dance, a plant[*](1) so fair. But he again is blessed in heart above all others, who shall prevail with his gifts of wooing and lead thee to his home.For never yet have mine eyes looked upon a mortal such as thou, whether man or woman; amazement holds me as I look on thee.
Of a truth in Delos once I saw such a thing, a young shoot of a palm springing up beside the altar of Apollo—for thither, too, I went, and much people followed with me,on that journey on which evil woes were to be my portion;—even so, when I saw that, I marvelled long at heart, for never yet did such a tree spring up from the earth. And in like manner, lady, do I marvel at thee, and am amazed, and fear greatly to touch thy knees; but sore grief has come upon me.Yesterday, on the twentieth day, I escaped from the wine-dark sea, but ever until then the wave and the swift winds bore me from the island of Ogygia; and now fate has cast me ashore here, that here too, haply, I may suffer some ill. For not yet, methinks, will my troubles cease, but the gods ere that will bring many to pass.Nay, O queen, have pity; for it is to thee first that I am come after many grievous toils, and of the others who possess this city and land I know not one. Shew me the city, and give me some rag to throw about me, if thou hadst any wrapping for the clothes when thou camest hither.And for thyself, may the gods grant thee all that thy heart desires; a husband and a home may they grant thee, and oneness of heart—a goodly gift. For nothing is greater or better than this, when man and wife dwell in a home in one accord, a great grief to their foesand a joy to their friends; but they know it[*](1) best themselves.” Then white-armed Nausicaa answered him:“Stranger, since thou seemest to be neither an evil man nor a witless, and it is Zeus himself, the Olympian, that gives happy fortune to men, both to the good and the evil, to each man as he will;so to thee, I ween, he has given this lot, and thou must in any case endure it. But now, since thou hast come to our city and land, thou shalt not lack clothing or aught else of those things which befit a sore-tried suppliant when he cometh in the way. The city will I shew thee, and will tell thee the name of the people.The Phaeacians possess this city and land, and I am the daughter of great-hearted Alcinous, upon whom depend the might and power of the Phaeacians.” She spoke, and called to her fair-tressed handmaids:“Stand, my maidens. Whither do ye flee at the sight of a man?Ye do not think, surely, that he is an enemy? That mortal man lives not, or exists[*](1) nor shall ever be born who shall come to the land of the Phaeacians as a foeman, for we are very dear to the immortals. Far off we dwell in the surging sea,the furthermost of men, and no other mortals have dealings with us. Nay, this is some hapless wanderer that has come hither. Him must we now tend; for from Zeus are all strangers and beggars, and a gift, though small, is welcome. Come, then, my maidens, give to the stranger food and drink,and bathe him in the river in a spot where there is shelter from the wind.”
So she spoke, and they halted and called to each other. Then they set Odysseus in a sheltered place, as Nausicaa, the daughter of great-hearted Alcinous, bade, and beside him they put a cloak and a tunic for raiment,and gave him soft olive oil in the flask of gold, and bade him bathe in the streams of the river. Then among the maidens spoke goodly Odysseus: “Maidens, stand yonder apart, that by myself I may wash the brine from my shoulders, andanoint myself with olive oil; for of a truth it is long since oil came near my skin. But in your presence will I not bathe, for I am ashamed to make me naked in the midst of fair-tressed maidens.” So he said, and they went apart and told the princess. But with water from the river goodly Odysseus washed from his skinthe brine which clothed his back and broad shoulders, and from his head he wiped the scurf of the unresting sea. But when he had washed his whole body and anointed himself with oil, and had put on him the raiment which the unwedded maid had given him, then Athena, the daughter of Zeus, made himtaller to look upon and mightier, and from his head she made the locks to flow in curls like unto the hyacinth flower. And as when a man overlays silver with gold, a cunning workman whom Hephaestus and Pallas Athena have taught all manner of craft, and full of grace is the work he produces,even so the goddess shed grace upon his head and shoulders. Then he went apart and sat down on the shore of the sea, gleaming with beauty and grace; and the damsel marvelled at him, and spoke to her fair-tressed handmaids, saying: “Listen, white-armed maidens, that I may say somewhat.Not without the will of all the gods who hold Olympus does this man come among the godlike Phaeacians. Before he seemed to me uncouth, but now he is like the gods, who hold broad heaven. Would that a man such as he might be called my husband,dwelling here, and that it might please him here to remain. But come, my maidens; give to the stranger food and drink.” So she spoke, and they readily hearkened and obeyed, and set before Odysseus food and drink. Then verily did the much-enduring goodly Odysseus drink and eat,ravenously; for long had he been without taste of food.
But the white-armed Nausicaa took other counsel. She folded the raiment and put it in the fair wagon, and yoked the stout-hoofed mules, and mounted the car herself. Then she hailed Odysseus, and spoke and addressed him:“Rouse thee now, stranger, to go to the city, that I may escort thee to the house of my wise father, where, I tell thee, thou shalt come to know all the noblest of the Phaeacians. Only do thou thus, and, methinks, thou dost not lack understanding: so long as we are passing through the country and the tilled fields of men go thou quicklywith the handmaids behind the mules and the wagon, and I will lead the way. But when we are about to enter the city, around which runs a lofty wall,—a fair harbor lies on either side of the city and the entrance is narrow, and curved shipsare drawn up along the road, for they all have stations for their ships, each man one for himself. There, too, is their place of assembly about the fair temple of Poseidon, fitted with huge[*](1) stones set deep in the earth. Here the men are busied with the tackle of their black ships, with cables and sails, and here they shape the thin oar-blades. For the Phaeacians care not for bow or quiver, but for masts and oars of ships, and for the shapely ships, rejoicing in which they cross over the grey sea. It is their ungentle speech that I shun, lest hereafter some man should taunt me, for indeed there are insolent folk in the land,and thus might some baser fellow say, shall he meet us: ‘Who is this that follows Nausicaa, a comely man and tall, a stranger? Where did she find him? He will doubtless be a husband for her. Haply she has brought from his ship some wanderer of a folk that dwell afar—for none are near us—or some god, long prayed-for, has come down from heaven in answer to her prayers, and she will have him as her husband all her days. Better so, even if she has herself gone forth and found a husband from another people; for of a truth she scorns the Phaeacians here in the land, where she has wooers many and noble!’So will they say, and this would become a reproach to me. Yea, I would myself blame another maiden who should do such thing, and in despite of her dear father and mother, while yet they live, should consort with men before the day of open marriage.
Nay, stranger, do thou quickly hearken to my words, that with all speedthou mayest win from my father an escort and a return to thy land. Thou wilt find a goodly grove of Athena hard by the road, a grove of poplar trees. In it a spring wells up, and round about is a meadow. There is my father's park and fruitful vineyard, as far from the city as a man's voice carries when he shouts.Sit thou down there, and wait for a time, until we come to the city and reach the house of my father. But when thou thinkest that we have reached the house, then do thou go to the city of the Phaeacians and ask for the house of my father, great-hearted Alcinous.Easily may it be known, and a child could guide thee, a mere babe; for the houses of the Phaeacians are no wise built of such sort as is the palace of the lord Alcinous. But when the house and the court enclose thee, pass quickly through the great hall, till thou comestto my mother, who sits at the hearth in the light of the fire, spinning the purple yarn, a wonder to behold, leaning against a pillar, and her handmaids sit behind her. There, too, leaning against the selfsame pillar, is set the throne of my father, whereon he sits and quaffs his wine, like unto an immortal.Him pass thou by, and cast thy hands about my mother's knees, that thou mayest quickly see with rejoicing the day of thy return, though thou art come from never so far. If in her sight thou dost win favour, then there is hope that thou wilt see thy friends, and returnto thy well-built house and unto thy native land.” So saying, she smote the mules with the shining whip, and they quickly left the streams of the river. Well did they trot, well did they ply their ambling feet,[*](1) and she drove with care thatthe maidens and Odysseus might follow on foot, and with judgment did she ply the lash. Then the sun set, and they came to the glorious grove, sacred to Athena. There Odysseus sat him down, and straightway prayed to the daughter of great Zeus: “Hear me, child of aegis-bearing Zeus, unwearied one.Hearken now to my prayer, since aforetime thou didst not hearken when I was smitten, what time the glorious Earth-shaker smote me. Grant that I may come to the Phaeacians as one to be welcomed and to be pitied.” So he spoke in prayer, and Pallas Athena heard him; but she did not yet appear to him face to face, for she fearedher father's brother; but he furiously raged against godlike Odysseus, until at length he reached his own land.
So he prayed there, the much-enduring goodly Odysseus, while the two strong mules bore the maiden to the city. But when she had come to the glorious palace of her father, she halted the mules at the outer gate, and her brothersthronged about her, men like the immortals, and loosed the mules from the wagon, and bore the raiment within; and she herself went to her chamber. There a fire was kindled for her by her waiting-woman, Eurymedusa, an aged dame from Apeire. Long ago the curved ships had brought her from Apeire,and men had chosen her from the spoil as a gift of honor for Alcinous, for that he was king over all the Phaeacians, and the people hearkened to him as to a god. She it was who had reared the white-armed Nausicaa in the palace, and she it was who kindled the fire for her, and made ready her supper in the chamber. Then Odysseus roused himself to go to the city, and Athena,with kindly purpose, cast about him a thick mist, that no one of the great-hearted Phaeacians, meeting him, should speak mockingly to him, and ask him who he was. But when he was about to enter the lovely city, then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, met himin the guise of a young maiden carrying a pitcher, and she stood before him; and goodly Odysseus questioned her, saying: “My child, couldst thou not guide me to the house of him they call Alcinous, who is lord among the people here? For I am come hither a stranger sore-triedfrom afar, from a distant country; wherefore I know no one of the people who possess this city and land.” Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Then verily, Sir stranger, I will shew thee the palace as thou dost bid me, for it lies hard by the house of my own noble father.Only go thou quietly, and I will lead the way. But turn not thine eyes upon any man nor question any, for the men here endure not stranger-folk, nor do they give kindly welcome to him who comes from another land. They, indeed, trusting in the speed of their swift ships,cross over the great gulf of the sea, for this the Earth-shaker has granted them; and their ships are swift as a bird on the wing or as a thought.”