Homer, creator; Murray, A. T. (Augustus Taber), 1866-1940, translator
This song the famous minstrel sang. But the heart of Odysseus was melted and tears wet his cheeks beneath his eyelids. And as a woman wails and flings herself about her dear husband, who has fallen in front of his city and his people,seeking toward off from his city and his children the pitiless day; and as she beholds him dying and gasping for breath, she clings to him and shrieks aloud, while the foe behind her smite her back and shoulders with their spears, and lead her away to captivity to bear toil and woe,while with most pitiful grief her cheeks are wasted: even so did Odysseus let fall pitiful tears from beneath his brows. Now from all the rest he concealed the tears that he shed, but Alcinous alone marked him and took heed,for he sat by him and heard him groaning heavily. And straightway he spoke among the Phaeacians, lovers of the oar: “Hear me, leaders and counsellors of the Phaeacians, and let Demodocus now check his clear-toned lyre, for in no wise to all alike does he give pleasure with this song. Ever since we began to sup and the divine minstrel was moved to sing,from that time yon stranger has never ceased from sorrowful lamentation; surely, methinks, grief has encompassed his heart. Nay, let the minstrel cease, that we may all make merry, hosts and guest alike, since it is better thus. Lo, for the sake of the honored stranger all these things have been made ready,his sending and the gifts of friendship which we give him of our love. Dear as a brother is the stranger and the suppliant to a man whose wits have never so short a range. Therefore do not thou longer hide with crafty thought whatever I shall ask thee;to speak out plainly is the better course.
Tell me the name by which they were wont to call thee in thy home, even thy mother and thy father and other folk besides, thy townsmen and the dwellers round about. For there is no one of all mankind who is nameless, be he base man or noble, when once he has been born, but parents bestow names on all when they give them birth.And tell me thy country, thy people, and thy city, that our ships may convey thee thither, discerning the course by their wits. For the Phaeacians have no pilots, nor steering-oars such as other ships have, but their ships of themselves understand the thoughts and minds of men,and they know the cities and rich fields of all peoples, and most swiftly do they cross over the gulf of the sea, hidden in mist and cloud, nor ever have they fear of harm or ruin. Yet this story I once heard thus told by my fatherNausithous, who was wont to say that Poseidon was wroth with us because we give safe convoy to all men. He said that someday, as a well-built ship of the Phaeacians was returning from a convoy over the misty deep, Poseidon would smite her and would fling a great mountain about our city.[*](1)So that old man spoke, and these things the god will haply bring to pass, or will leave unfulfilled, as may be his good pleasure. But come, now, tell me this and declare it truly: whither thou hast wandered and to what countries of men thou hast come; tell me of the people and of their well-built cities,both of those who are cruel and wild and unjust, and of those who love strangers and fear the gods in their thoughts. And tell me why thou dost weep and wail in spirit as thou hearest the doom of the Argive Danaans and of Ilios. This the gods wrought, and spun the skein of ruinfor men, that there might be a song for those yet to be born. Did some kinsman of thine fall before Ilios, some good, true man, thy daughter's husband or thy wife's father, such as are nearest to one after one's own kin and blood? Or was it haply some comrade dear to thy heart,some good, true man? For no whit worse than a brother is a comrade who has an understanding heart.”
Then Odysseus, of many wiles, answered him, and said: “Lord Alcinous, renowned above all men, verily this is a good thing, to listen to a minstrel such as this man is, like unto the gods in voice.For myself I declare that there is no greater fulfillment of delight than when joy possesses a whole people, and banqueters in the halls listen to a minstrel as they sit in order due, and by them tables are laden with bread and meat, and the cup-bearer draws wine from the bowland bears it round and pours it into the cups. This seems to my mind the fairest thing there is. But thy heart is turned to ask of my grievous woes, that I may weep and groan the more. What, then, shall I tell thee first, what last?for woes full many have the heavenly gods given me. First now will I tell my name, that ye, too, may know it, and that I hereafter, when I have escaped from the pitiless day of doom, may be your host, though I dwell in a home that is afar. I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, whoam known among men for all manner of wiles,[*](1) and my fame reaches unto heaven. But I dwell in clear-seen Ithaca, wherein is a mountain, Neriton, covered with waving forests, conspicuous from afar; and round it lie many isles hard by one another, Dulichium, and Same, and wooded Zacynthus. Ithaca itself lies close in to the mainland[*](1) the furthest toward the gloom,[*](2) but the others lie apart toward the Dawn and the sun—a rugged isle, but a good nurse of young men; and for myself no other thing can I see sweeter than one's own land. Of a truth Calypso, the beautiful goddess, sought to keep me by herin her hollow caves, yearning that I should be her husband; and in like manner Circe would fain have held me back in her halls, the guileful lady of Aeaea, yearning that I should be her husband; but they could never persuade the heart within my breast. So true is it that naught is sweeter than a man's own land and his parents,even though it be in a rich house that he dwells afar in a foreign land away from his parents. But come, let me tell thee also of my woeful home-coming, which Zeus laid upon me as I came from Troy. “From Ilios the wind bore me and brought me to the Cicones,to Ismarus. There I sacked the city and slew the men; and from the city we took their wives and great store of treasure, and divided them among us, that so far as lay in me no man might go defrauded of an equal share. Then verily I gave command that we should flee with swift foot, but the others in their great folly did not hearken.But there much wine was drunk, and many sheep they slew by the shore, and sleek kine of shambling gait.
Meanwhile the Cicones went and called to other Cicones who were their neighbors, at once more numerous and braver than they—men that dwelt inland and were skilledat fighting with their foes from chariots, and, if need were, on foot. So they came in the morning, as thick as leaves or flowers spring up in their season; and then it was that an evil fate from Zeus beset us luckless men, that we might suffer woes full many. They set their battle in array and fought by the swift ships, and each side hurled at the other with bronze-tipped spears. Now as long as it was morn and the sacred day was waxing, so long we held our ground and beat them off, though they were more than we. But when the sun turned to the time for the unyoking of oxen, then the Cicones prevailed and routed the Achaeans,and six of my well-greaved comrades perished from each ship; but the rest of us escaped death and fate. “Thence we sailed on, grieved at heart, glad to have escaped from death, though we had lost our dear comrades; nor did I let my curved ships pass ontill we had called thrice on each of those hapless comrades of ours who died on the plain, cut down by the Cicones. But against our ships Zeus, the cloud-gatherer, roused the North Wind with a wondrous tempest, and hid with clouds the land and the sea alike, and night rushed down from heaven.Then the ships were driven headlong, and their sails were torn to shreds by the violence of the wind. So we lowered the sails and stowed them aboard, in fear of death, and rowed the ships hurriedly toward the land. There for two nights and two days continuouslywe lay, eating our hearts for weariness and sorrow. But when now fair-tressed Dawn brought to its birth the third day, we set up the masts and hoisted the white sails, and took our seats, and the wind and the helmsmen steered the ships. And now all unscathed should I have reached my native land,but the wave and the current and the North Wind beat me back as I was rounding Malea, and drove me from my course past Cythera.
“Thence for nine days' space I was borne by direful winds over the teeming deep; but on the tenth we set foot on the land of the Lotus-eaters, who eat a flowery food.There we went on shore and drew water, and straightway my comrades took their meal by the swift ships. But when we had tasted food and drink, I sent forth some of my comrades to go and learn who the men were, who here ate bread upon the earth;two men I chose, sending with them a third as a herald. So they went straightway and mingled with the Lotus-eaters, and the Lotus-eaters did not plan death for my comrades, but gave them of the lotus to taste. And whosoever of them ate of the honey-sweet fruit of the lotus,had no longer any wish to bring back word or to return, but there they were fain to abide among the Lotus-eaters, feeding on the lotus, and forgetful of their homeward way. These men, therefore, I brought back perforce to the ships, weeping, and dragged them beneath the benches and bound them fast in the hollow ships;and I bade the rest of my trusty comrades to embark with speed on the swift ships, lest perchance anyone should eat of the lotus and forget his homeward way. So they went on board straightway and sat down upon the benches, and sitting well in order smote the grey sea with their oars. “Thence we sailed on, grieved at heart, and we came to the land of the Cyclopes, an overweening and lawless folk, who, trusting in the immortal gods, plant nothing with their hands nor plough; but all these things spring up for them without sowing or ploughing,wheat, and barley, and vines, which bear the rich clusters of wine, and the rain of Zeus gives them increase. Neither assemblies for council have they, nor appointed laws, but they dwell on the peaks of lofty mountains in hollow caves, and each one is lawgiverto his children and his wives, and they reck nothing one of another.
“Now there is a level[*](1) isle that stretches aslant outside the harbor, neither close to the shore of the land of the Cyclopes, nor yet far off, a wooded isle. Therein live wild goats innumerable, for the tread of men scares them not away,nor are hunters wont to come thither, men who endure toils in the woodland as they course over the peaks of the mountains. Neither with flocks is it held, nor with ploughed lands, but unsown and untilled all the days it knows naught of men, but feeds the bleating goats.For the Cyclopes have at hand no ships with vermilion cheeks,[*](2) nor are there ship-wrights in their land who might build them well-benched ships, which should perform all their wants, passing to the cities of other folk, as men often cross the sea in ships to visit one another—craftsmen, who would have made of this isle also a fair settlement. For the isle is nowise poor, but would bear all things in season. In it are meadows by the shores of the grey sea, well-watered meadows and soft, where vines would never fail, and in it level ploughland, whencethey might reap from season to season harvests exceeding deep, so rich is the soil beneath; and in it, too, is a harbor giving safe anchorage, where there is no need of moorings, either to throw out anchor-stones or to make fast stern cables, but one may beach one's ship and wait until the sailors' minds bid them put out, and the breezes blow fair.Now at the head of the harbor a spring of bright water flows forth from beneath a cave, and round about it poplars grow. Thither we sailed in, and some god guided us through the murky night; for there was no light to see, but a mist lay deep about the ships and the moonshowed no light from heaven, but was shut in by clouds. Then no man's eyes beheld that island, nor did we see the long waves rolling on the beach, until we ran our well-benched ships on shore. And when we had beached the ships we lowered all the sailsand ourselves went forth on the shore of the sea, and there we fell asleep and waited for the bright Dawn. “As soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, we roamed throughout the isle marvelling at it; and the nymphs, the daughters of Zeus who bears the aegis, rousedthe mountain goats, that my comrades might have whereof to make their meal. Straightway we took from the ships our curved bows and long javelins, and arrayed in three bands we fell to smiting; and the god soon gave us game to satisfy our hearts. The ships that followed me were twelve, and to eachnine goats fell by lot, but for me alone they chose out ten.
“So then all day long till set of sun we sat feasting on abundant flesh and sweet wine. For not yet was the red wine spent from out our ships, but some was still left; for abundant storehad we drawn in jars for each crew when we took the sacred citadel of the Cicones. And we looked across to the land of the Cyclopes, who dwelt close at hand, and marked the smoke, and the voice of men, and of the sheep, and of the goats. But when the sun set and darkness came on, then we lay down to rest on the shore of the sea.And as soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, I called my men together and spoke among them all: “‘Remain here now, all the rest of you, my trusty comrades, but I with my own ship and my own company will go and make trial of yonder men, to learn who they are,whether they are cruel, and wild, and unjust, or whether they love strangers and fear the gods in their thoughts.’ “So saying, I went on board the ship and bade my comrades themselves to embark, and to loose the stern cables. So they went on board straightway and sat down upon the benches,and sitting well in order smote the grey sea with their oars. But when we had reached the place, which lay close at hand, there on the land's edge hard by the sea we saw a high cave, roofed over with laurels, and there many flocks, sheep and goats alike, were wont to sleep. Round about ita high court was built with stones set deep in the earth, and with tall pines and high-crested oaks. There a monstrous man was wont to sleep, who shepherded his flocks alone and afar, and mingled not with others, but lived apart, with his heart set on lawlessness.For he was fashioned a wondrous monster, and was not like a man that lives by bread, but like a wooded peak of lofty mountains, which stands out to view alone, apart from the rest.
“Then I bade the rest of my trusty comrades to remain there by the ship and to guard the ship,but I chose twelve of the best of my comrades and went my way. With me I had a goat-skin of the dark, sweet wine, which Maro, son of Euanthes, had given me, the priest of Apollo, the god who used to watch over Ismarus. And he had given it me because we had protected him with his child and wifeout of reverence; for he dwelt in a wooded grove of Phoebus Apollo. And he gave me splendid gifts: of well-wrought gold he gave me seven talents, and he gave me a mixing-bowl all of silver; and besides these, wine, wherewith he filled twelve jars in all,wine sweet and unmixed, a drink divine. Not one of his slaves nor of the maids in his halls knew thereof, but himself and his dear wife, and one house-dame only. And as often as they drank that honey-sweet red wine he would fill one cup and pour it into twenty measures of water,and a smell would rise from the mixing-bowl marvellously sweet; then verily would one not choose to hold back. With this wine I filled and took with me a great skin, and also provision in a scrip; for my proud spirit had a foreboding that presently a man would come to me clothed in great might,a savage man that knew naught of justice or of law.[*](1) “Speedily we came to the cave, nor did we find him within, but he was pasturing his fat flocks in the fields. So we entered the cave and gazed in wonder at all things there. The crates were laden with cheeses, and the pens were crowdedwith lambs and kids. Each kind was penned separately: by themselves the firstlings, by themselves the later lambs, and by themselves again the newly weaned. And with whey were swimming all the well-wrought vessels, the milk-pails and the bowls into which he milked. Then my comrades spoke and besought me first of allto take of the cheeses and depart, and thereafter speedily to drive to the swift ship the kids and lambs from out the pens, and to sail over the salt water. But I did not listen to them—verily it would have been better far—to the end that I might see the man himself, and whether he would give me gifts of entertainment.Yet, as it fell, his appearing was not to prove a joy to my comrades.
“Then we kindled a fire and offered sacrifice, and ourselves, too, took of the cheeses and ate, and thus we sat in the cave and waited for him until he came back, herding his flocks. He bore a mighty weight of dry wood to serve him at supper time,and flung it down with a crash inside the cave, but we, seized with terror, shrank back into a recess of the cave. But he drove his fat flocks into the wide cavern—all those that he milked; but the males—the rams and the goats—he left without in the deep court.[*](1) Then he lifted on high and set in place the great door-stone, a mighty rock; two and twenty stout four-wheeled wagons could not lift it from the ground, such a towering mass of rock he set in the doorway. Thereafter he sat down and milked the ewes and bleating goatsall in turn, and beneath each dam he placed her young. Then presently he curdled half the white milk, and gathered it in wicker baskets and laid it away, and the other half he set in vessels that he might have it to take and drink, and that it might serve him for supper.But when he had busily performed his tasks, then he rekindled the fire, and caught sight of us, and asked: “‘Strangers, who are ye? Whence do ye sail over the watery ways? Is it on some business, or do ye wander at random over the sea, even as pirates, who wander,hazarding their lives and bringing evil to men of other lands?’ “So he spoke, and in our breasts our spirit was broken for terror of his deep voice and monstrous self; yet even so I made answer and spoke to him, saying: “‘We, thou must know, are from Troy, Achaeans, driven wanderingby all manner of winds over the great gulf of the sea. Seeking our home, we have come by another way, by other paths; so, I ween, Zeus was pleased to devise. And we declare that we are the men of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, whose fame is now mightiest under heaven,so great a city did he sack, and slew many people; but we on our part, thus visiting thee, have come as suppliants to thy knees, in the hope that thou wilt give us entertainment, or in other wise make some present, as is the due of strangers. Nay, mightiest one, reverence the gods; we are thy suppliants;and Zeus is the avenger of suppliants and strangers—Zeus, the strangers' god—who ever attends upon reverend strangers.’ “So I spoke, and he straightway made answer with pitiless heart: ‘A fool art thou, stranger, or art come from afar, seeing that thou biddest me either to fear or to shun the gods.For the Cyclopes reck not of Zeus, who bears the aegis, nor of the blessed gods, since verily we are better far than they. Nor would I, to shun the wrath of Zeus, spare either thee or thy comrades, unless my own heart should bid me. But tell me where thou didst moor thy well-wrought ship on thy coming.Was it haply at a remote part of the land, or close by? I fain would know.’
“So he spoke, tempting me, but he trapped me not because of my great cunning; and I made answer again in crafty words: “‘My ship Poseidon, the earth-shaker, dashed to pieces, casting her upon the rocks at the border of your land;for he brought her close to the headland, and the wind drove her in from the sea. But I, with these men here, escaped utter destruction.’ “So I spoke, but from his pitiless heart he made no answer, but sprang up and put forth his hands upon my comrades. Two of them at once he seized and dashed to the earth like puppies,and the brain flowed forth upon the ground and wetted the earth. Then he cut them limb from limb and made ready his supper, and ate them as a mountain-nurtured lion, leaving naught—ate the entrails, and the flesh, and the marrowy bones. And we with wailing held up our hands to Zeus,beholding his cruel deeds; and helplessness possessed our souls. But when the Cyclops had filled his huge maw by eating human flesh and thereafter drinking pure milk, he lay down within the cave, stretched out among the sheep. And I formed a plan in my great heartto steal near him, and draw my sharp sword from beside my thigh and smite him in the breast, where the midriff holds the liver, feeling for the place with my hand. But a second thought checked me, for right there should we, too, have perished in utter ruin. For we should not have been ableto thrust back with our hands from the high door the mighty stone which he had set there. So then, with wailing, we waited for the bright Dawn. “As soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, he rekindled the fire and milked his goodly flocks all in turn, and beneath each dam placed her young.Then, when he had busily performed his tasks, again he seized two men at once and made ready his meal. And when he had made his meal he drove his fat flocks forth from the cave, easily moving away the great door-stone; and then he put it in place again, as one might set the lid upon a quiver.Then with loud whistling the Cyclops turned his fat flocks toward the mountain, and I was left there, devising evil in the deep of my heart, if in any way I might take vengeance on him, and Athena grant me glory.
“Now this seemed to my mind the best plan. There lay beside a sheep-pen a great club of the Cyclops,a staff of green olive-wood, which he had cut to carry with him when dry; and as we looked at it we thought it as large as is the mast of a black ship of twenty oars, a merchantman, broad of beam, which crosses over the great gulf; so huge it was in length and in breadth to look upon.To this I came, and cut off therefrom about a fathom's length and handed it to my comrades, bidding them dress it down; and they made it smooth, and I, standing by, sharpened it at the point, and then straightway took it and hardened it in the blazing fire. Then I laid it carefully away, hiding it beneath the dung,which lay in great heaps throughout the cave. And I bade my comrades cast lots among them, which of them should have the hardihood with me to lift the stake and grind it into his eye when sweet sleep should come upon him. And the lot fell upon those whom I myself would fain have chosen;four they were, and I was numbered with them as the fifth. At even then he came, herding his flocks of goodly fleece, and straightway drove into the wide cave his fat flocks one and all, and left not one without in the deep court, either from some foreboding or because a god so bade him.Then he lifted on high and set in place the great door-stone, and sitting down he milked the ewes and bleating goats all in turn, and beneath each dam he placed her young. But when he had busily performed his tasks, again he seized two men at once and made ready his supper.Then I drew near and spoke to the Cyclops, holding in my hands an ivy[*](1) bowl of the dark wine: “‘Cyclops, take and drink wine after thy meal of human flesh, that thou mayest know what manner of drink this is which our ship contained. It was to thee that I was bringing it as a drink offering, in the hope that, touched with pity,thou mightest send me on my way home; but thou ragest in a way that is past all bearing. Cruel man, how shall any one of all the multitudes of men ever come to thee again hereafter, seeing that thou hast wrought lawlessness?’ “So I spoke, and he took the cup and drained it, and was wondrously pleased as he drank the sweet draught, and asked me for it again a second time: “‘Give it me again with a ready heart, and tell me thy name straightway, that I may give thee a stranger's gift whereat thou mayest be glad. For among the Cyclopes the earth, the giver of grain, bears the rich clusters of wine, and the rain of Zeus gives them increase; but this is a streamlet of ambrosia and nectar.’
“So he spoke, and again I handed him the flaming wine. Thrice I brought and gave it him, and thrice he drained it in his folly. But when the wine had stolen about the wits of the Cyclops, then I spoke to him with gentle words: “‘Cyclops, thou askest me of my glorious name, and Iwill tell it thee; and do thou give me a stranger's gift, even as thou didst promise. Noman is my name, Noman do they call me—my mother and my father, and all my comrades as well.’ “So I spoke, and he straightway answered me with pitiless heart: ‘Noman will I eat last among his comrades,and the others before him; this shall be thy gift.’ “He spoke, and reeling fell upon his back, and lay there with his thick neck bent aslant, and sleep, that conquers all, laid hold on him. And from his gullet came forth wine and bits of human flesh, and he vomited in his drunken sleep.Then verily I thrust in the stake under the deep ashes until it should grow hot, and heartened all my comrades with cheering words, that I might see no man flinch through fear. But when presently that stake of olive-wood was about to catch fire, green though it was, and began to glow terribly,then verily I drew nigh, bringing the stake from the fire, and my comrades stood round me and a god breathed into us great courage. They took the stake of olive-wood, sharp at the point, and thrust it into his eye, while I, throwing my weight upon it from above, whirled it round, as when a man bores a ship's timberwith a drill, while those below keep it spinning with the thong, which they lay hold of by either end, and the drill runs around unceasingly. Even so we took the fiery-pointed stake and whirled it around in his eye, and the blood flowed around the heated thing. And his eyelids wholly and his brows round about did the flame singeas the eyeball burned, and its roots crackled in the fire. And as when a smith dips a great axe or an adze in cold water amid loud hissing to temper it—for therefrom comes the strength of iron—even so did his eye hiss round the stake of olive-wood.Terribly then did he cry aloud, and the rock rang around; and we, seized with terror, shrank back, while he wrenched from his eye the stake, all befouled with blood, and flung it from him, wildly waving his arms. Then he called aloud to the Cyclopes, whodwelt round about him in caves among the windy heights, and they heard his cry and came thronging from every side, and standing around the cave asked him what ailed him: “‘What so sore distress is thine, Polyphemus, that thou criest out thus through the immortal night, and makest us sleepless?Can it be that some mortal man is driving off thy flocks against thy will, or slaying thee thyself by guile or by might?’ “‘Then from out the cave the mighty Polyphemus answered them: ‘My friends, it is Noman that is slaying me by guile and not by force.’
“And they made answer and addressed him with winged words:‘If, then, no man does violence to thee in thy loneliness, sickness which comes from great Zeus thou mayest in no wise escape. Nay, do thou pray to our father, the lord Poseidon.’ “So they spoke and went their way; and my heart laughed within me that my name and cunning device had so beguiled.But the Cyclops, groaning and travailing in anguish, groped with his hands and took away the stone from the door, and himself sat in the doorway with arms outstretched in the hope of catching anyone who sought to go forth with the sheep—so witless, forsooth, he thought in his heart to find me.But I took counsel how all might be the very best, if I might haply find some way of escape from death for my comrades and for myself. And I wove all manner of wiles and counsel, as a man will in a matter of life and death; for great was the evil that was nigh us. And this seemed to my mind the best plan.Rams there were, well-fed and thick of fleece, fine beasts and large, with wool dark as the violet. These I silently bound together with twisted withes on which the Cyclops, that monster with his heart set on lawlessness, was wont to sleep. Three at a time I took. The one in the middle in each case bore a man,and the other two went, one on either side, saving my comrades. Thus every three sheep bore a man. But as for me—there was a ram, far the best of all the flock; him I grasped by the back, and curled beneath his shaggy belly, lay there face upwardswith steadfast heart, clinging fast with my hands to his wondrous fleece. So then, with wailing, we waited for the bright dawn. “As soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, then the males of the flock hastened forth to pasture and the females bleated unmilked about the pens,for their udders were bursting. And their master, distressed with grievous pains, felt along the backs of all the sheep as they stood up before him, but in his folly he marked not this, that my men were bound beneath the breasts of his fleecy sheep. Last of all the flock the ram went forth,burdened with the weight of his fleece and my cunning self. And mighty Polyphemus, as he felt along his back, spoke to him, saying: “‘Good ram, why pray is it that thou goest forth thus through the cave the last of the flock? Thou hast not heretofore been wont to lag behind the sheep, but wast ever far the first to feed on the tender bloom of the grass,moving with long strides, and ever the first didst reach the streams of the river, and the first didst long to return to the fold at evening. But now thou art last of all. Surely thou art sorrowing for the eye of thy master, which an evil man blinded along with his miserable fellows, when he had overpowered my wits with wine,even Noman, who, I tell thee, has not yet escaped destruction. If only thou couldst feel as I do, and couldst get thee power of speech to tell me where he skulks away from my wrath, then should his brains be dashed on the ground here and there throughout the cave, when I had smitten him, and my heartshould be lightened of the woes which good-for-naught Noman has brought me.’
“So saying, he sent the ram forth from him. And when we had gone a little way from the cave and the court, I first loosed myself from under the ram and set my comrades free. Speedily then we drove off those long-shanked sheep, rich with fat,turning full often to look about until we came to the ship. And welcome to our dear comrades was the sight of us who had escaped death, but for the others they wept and wailed; yet I would not suffer them to weep, but with a frown forbade each man. Rather I bade themto fling on board with speed the many sheep of goodly fleece, and sail over the salt water. So they went on board straightway and sat down upon the benches, and sitting well in order smote the grey sea with their oars. But when I was as far away as a man's voice carries when he shouts, then I spoke to the Cyclops with mocking words: “‘Cyclops, that man, it seems, was no weakling, whose comrades thou wast minded to devour by brutal strength in thy hollow cave. Full surely were thy evil deeds to fall on thine own head, thou cruel wretch, who didst not shrink from eating thy guests in thine own house. Therefore has Zeus taken vengeance on thee, and the other gods.’ “So I spoke, and he waxed the more wroth at heart, and broke off the peak of a high mountain and hurled it at us, and cast it in front of the dark-prowed ship.[*](1) And the sea surged beneath the stone as it fell,and the backward flow, like a flood from the deep, bore the ship swiftly landwards and drove it upon the shore. But I seized a long pole in my hands and shoved the ship off and along the shore,and with a nod of my head I roused my comrades, and bade them fall to their oars that we might escape out of our evil plight. And they bent to their oars and rowed. But when, as we fared over the sea, we were twice as far distant, then was I fain to call to the Cyclops, though round about me my comrades, one after another, sought to check me with gentle words: “‘Reckless one, why wilt thou provoke to wrath a savage man,who but now hurled his missile into the deep and drove our ship back to the land, and verily we thought that we had perished there? And had he heard one of us uttering a sound or speaking, he would have hurled a jagged rock and crushed our heads and the timbers of our ship, so mightily does he throw.’
“So they spoke, but they could not persuade my great-hearted spirit; and I answered him again with angry heart: “‘Cyclops, if any one of mortal men shall ask thee about the shameful blinding of thine eye, say that Odysseus, the sacker of cities, blinded it,even the son of Laertes, whose home is in Ithaca.’ “So I spoke, and he groaned and said in answer:‘Lo now, verily a prophecy uttered long ago is come upon me. There lived here a soothsayer, a good man and tall, Telemus, son of Eurymus, who excelled all men in soothsaying,and grew old as a seer among the Cyclopes. He told me that all these things should be brought to pass in days to come, that by the hands of Odysseus I should lose my sight. But I ever looked for some tall and comely man to come hither, clothed in great might,but now one that is puny, a man of naught and a weakling, has blinded me of my eye when he had overpowered me with wine. Yet come hither, Odysseus, that I may set before thee gifts of entertainment, and may speed thy sending hence, that the glorious Earth-shaker may grant it thee. For I am his son, and he declares himself my father; and he himself will heal me, if it be his good pleasure, but none other either of the blessed gods or of mortal men.’ “So he spoke, and I answered him and said:‘Would that I were able to rob thee of soul and life, and to send thee to the house of Hades,as surely as not even the Earth-shaker shall heal thine eye.’ “So I spoke, and he then prayed to the lord Poseidon, stretching out both his hands to the starry heaven: ‘Hear me, Poseidon, earth-enfolder, thou dark-haired god, if indeed I am thy son and thou declarest thyself my father;grant that Odysseus, the sacker of cities, may never reach his home, even the son of Laertes, whose home is in Ithaca; but if it is his fate to see his friends and to reach his well-built house and his native land, late may he come and in evil case, after losing all his comrades,in a ship that is another's; and may he find woes in his house.’