Ovid. Metamorphoses. More, Brookes, translator. Boston: Cornhill Publishing Co., 1922.

  1. The chiefs were seated, and the soldiers form
  2. a circle round them. Then Ajax, the approved
  3. lord of the seven-fold shield, arose and spoke.
  4. Impatient in his wrath, he looked with stern,
  5. set features, out over Sigaean shores,
  6. and over the fleet of ships upon the beach,
  7. and, stretching out his hands, he said,
  8. “We plead,
  9. O Jupiter, our cause before the ships,—
  10. Ulysses vies with me! He did not shrink
  11. from giving way before the flames of Hector,
  12. when I withstood them and I saved the fleet.
  13. 'Tis safer then to fight with lying words
  14. than with his hands. I am not prompt to speak,
  15. nor he to act. I am as good in war
  16. and deadly battle as he is in talk.
  17. Pelasgians, I do not suppose my deeds
  18. must here be mentioned: you have witnessed them
  19. but let Ulysses tell of deeds which he
  20. performed without a witness and which Night
  21. alone is conscious of. I own the prize
  22. we seek is great, but such a rival makes
  23. it small. To Ajax there s no cause for pride
  24. in having any prize, however great,
  25. for which Ulysses hoped. But he has won
  26. reward enough already. He can boast,
  27. when vanquished, that he strove with me.
  28. “I, even if my merit were in doubt
  29. should still excell in birth. I am the son
  30. of Telamon, who with great Hercules
  31. brought low the power of Troy and in the ship
  32. of Jason voyaged even to the Colchian shores.
  33. His father, Aeacus, now is a judge
  34. among the silent shades—where Sisyphus
  35. toils and is mocked forever with the stone.
  36. Great Jove himself calls Aeacus his son.
  37. Thus, Ajax is the third from Jupiter.
  38. But, Greeks, let not this line of my descent
  39. avail me, if I do not share it with
  40. my cousin, great Achilles. I demand
  41. these arms now due me as a cousin. Why
  42. should this one, from the blood of Sisyphus,
  43. and like him for his thefts and frauds, intrude
  44. the names of that loathed family upon
  45. honored descendants of brave Aeacus?
  46. “Will you deny me arms because I took
  47. arms earlier, no man prompting me,
  48. and call this man the better, who last of all
  49. took up arms, and, pretending he was mad,
  50. declined war, till the son of Naplius
  51. more shrewd than he (but to his future cost)
  52. discovered the contrivance of the fraud
  53. and had the coward dragged forth to the arms
  54. he had avoided. And shall this man have
  55. the world's best arms, who wanted none?
  56. Shall I lack honor and my cousin's gift
  57. because I faced the danger with the first?
  58. “Would that his madness had been real, or
  59. had been accepted as reality
  60. and that he never had attended us,
  61. as our companion to the Phrygian towers,
  62. this counsellor of evil! Then, good son
  63. of Poeas, Lemnos would not hold you now,
  64. exposed through guilt of ours! You, as men say,
  65. hidden in forest lairs, are moving with your groans
  66. the very rocks and asking for Ulysses
  67. what he so well deserves—what, if indeed
  68. there still are gods, you shall not ask in vain.
  69. And now, one of our leaders, he that was
  70. sworn to the same arms with ourselves! by whom
  71. the arrows of great Hercules are used,
  72. as his successor; broken by disease
  73. and famine, clothed with feathers, now must feed
  74. on birds and squander for his wretched fare
  75. the arrows destined for the wreck of Troy.
  76. “At least he lives, because he has not stayed
  77. too near Ulysses. Hapless Palamedes
  78. might wish that he too had been left behind,
  79. then he would live or would have met a death
  80. without dishonor. For this man, who well
  81. remembered the unfortunate discovery
  82. of his feigned madness, made a fraudulent
  83. attack on Palamedes, who he said
  84. betrayed the Grecian interest. He proved
  85. his false charge to the Greeks by showing them
  86. the gold which he himself hid in the ground.
  87. By exile or by death he has decreased
  88. the true strength of the Greeks. And so he fights,
  89. for such things men have cause to fear Ulysses!
  90. “Should he excel the faithful Nestor by
  91. his eloquence, I'd yet be well convinced
  92. the way he forsook Nestor was a crime,
  93. old Nestor, who implored in vain his aid,
  94. when he was hindered by his wounded steed
  95. and wearied with the years of his old age,
  96. was then deserted by that scheming man.
  97. The charge that I have made is strictly true,
  98. and the son of Tydeus knows it all too well;
  99. for he at that time called him by his name,
  100. rebuked him and upbraided his weak friend
  101. for coward flight.
  102. “The gods above behold
  103. the affairs of men with justice. That same man
  104. who would not help a friend now calls for help;
  105. he who forsook a friend, should be forsaken,
  106. the law he made returns upon himself.
  107. He called aloud on his companions;
  108. I came and saw him trembling, pale with fear,
  109. and shuddering, at the thought of coming death.
  110. I held my shield above him where he lay,
  111. and that way saved the villain's dastard life,
  112. and little praise I have deserved for that.
  113. If you still wish to claim this armor, let
  114. us both return to that place and restore
  115. the enemy, your wound, and usual fear—
  116. there hide behind my shield, and under that
  117. contend with me! Yet, when I faced the foe,
  118. he, whom his wound had left no power to stand,
  119. forgot the wound and took to headlong flight.
  120. “Hector approached, and brought the gods with him
  121. to battle; and, wherever he rushed on,
  122. not only this Ulysses was alarmed,
  123. but even the valiant, for so great the fear
  124. he caused them. Hector, proud in his success
  125. in blood and slaughter, I then dared to meet
  126. and with a huge: stone from a distance hurled
  127. I laid him flat. When he demanded one
  128. to fight with, I engaged him quite alone,
  129. for you my Greek friends, prayed the lot
  130. might fall upon me, and your prayers prevailed.
  131. If you should ask me of this fight, I will
  132. declare I was not vanquished there by him.
  133. “Behold, the Trojans brought forth fire and sword
  134. and Jove, as well, against the Grecian fleet,
  135. where now has eloquent Ulysses gone?
  136. Truly, I did protect a thousand ships
  137. with my breast, saving the hopes of your return.—
  138. for all these many ships, award me arms!
  139. But, let me speak the truth, the arms will gain
  140. more fame than I, for they will share my glory.
  141. And they need Ajax, Ajax needs not them.
  1. Let the Ithacan compare with deeds like mine
  2. his sleeping Rhesus, his unwarlike Dolon,
  3. Helenus taken, and Pallas gained by theft—
  4. all done by night and all with Diomed.
  5. If you must give these arms for deeds so mean,
  6. then give the greater share to Diomed.
  7. “Why give arms to Ulysses, who by stealth
  8. and quite unarmed, has always done his work,
  9. deceiving his unwary enemy
  10. by stratagems? This brilliant helmet, rich
  11. with sparkling gold, will certainly betray
  12. his plans, and will discover him when hid.
  13. His soft Dulichian head beneath the helm
  14. of great Achilles will not bear the weight;
  15. Achilles' heavy spear from Pelion must
  16. be burdensome for his unwarlike hands:
  17. nor will the shield, graven with the vasty world
  18. beseem a dastard left hand, smooth for theft.
  19. “Why caitiff, will you beg them for a gift,
  20. which will but weaken you? If by mistake,
  21. the Grecian people should award you this,
  22. it would not fright the foe but offer spoils
  23. and that swift flight (in which alone you have
  24. excelled all others, dastard wretch!) would soon
  25. grow laggard, dragging such a weight. And that
  26. good shield of yours, which has but rarely felt
  27. a conflict, is unhurt; for mine, agape
  28. with wounds a thousand from swift-striking darts,
  29. a new one must be found.
  30. “In short, what need
  31. is there for words? Let us be tried in war.
  32. Let all the arms of brave Achilles now
  33. be thrown among the foe; order them all
  34. to be retrieved; and decorate for war
  35. whoever brings them back, a worthy prize.”
  36. Ajax, the son of Telamon, stopped speech,
  37. and murmuring among the multitude
  38. followed his closing words, until Ulysses,
  39. Laertian hero, stood up there and fixed
  40. his eyes a short time on the ground; then raised
  41. them towards the chiefs; and with his opening words,
  42. which they awaited, the grace of his art
  43. was not found wanting to his eloquence.
  44. “If my desire and yours could have prevailed,
  45. O noble Greeks, the man who should receive
  46. a prize so valued, would not be in doubt,
  47. and you would now enjoy your arms, and we
  48. enjoy you, great Achilles. Since unjust
  49. fate has denied him both to me and you,
  50. (and here he wiped his eyes dry with his hands,
  51. as though then shedding tears,) who could succeed
  52. the great Achilles better than the one
  53. through whom the great Achilles joined the Greeks?
  54. Let Ajax win no votes because he seems
  55. to be as stupid as the truth declares.
  56. Let not my talents, which were always used
  57. for service of the Greeks, increase my harm:
  58. and let this eloquence of mine (if such
  59. we call it) which is pleading now for me,
  60. as it has pleaded many times for you,
  61. awake no envy. Let each man show his best.
  62. “Now as for ancestors and noble birth
  63. and deeds we have not done ourselves, all these
  64. I hardly call them ours. But, if he boasts
  65. because he is the great grandson of Jove,
  66. the founder of my family, you know,
  67. is Jupiter; by birth I am just the same
  68. degree removed from Jupiter as he.
  69. Laertes is my father, my grandsire is
  70. Arcesius; and my great grandsire is Jove,
  71. and my line: has no banished criminal.
  72. My mother's grandsire, Mercury, would give
  73. me further claims of birth—on either side a god.
  74. “But not because my mother's line is better
  75. and not because my father certainly,
  76. is innocent of his own brother's blood,
  77. have I advanced my claim to own those arms.
  78. Let personal merit weigh the cause alone.
  79. Let Ajax win no credit from the fact
  80. that Telamon, was brother unto Peleus.
  81. Let not his merit be that he is near by blood,
  82. may honor of manhood weigh in your award!
  83. “But, if you seek the heir and next of kin,
  84. Peleus is father, and Pyrrhus is the son
  85. of great Achilles. Where is Ajax then?
  86. These arms might go to Phthia or to Scyros!
  87. Teucer might claim the prize because he is
  88. Achilles' cousin. Does he seek these arms?
  89. And, if he did, would you allow his claim?
  90. “Since then the contest lies in deeds alone,
  91. though I have done more than may be well told,
  92. I will recall them as they have occurred.
  93. “Achilles' Nereid mother, who foresaw
  94. his death, concealed her son by change of dress.
  95. By that disguise Ajax, among the rest,
  96. was well deceived. I showed with women's wares
  97. arms that might win the spirit of a man.
  98. The hero still wore clothing of a girl,
  99. when, as he held a shield and spear, I said
  100. ‘Son of a goddess! Pergama but waits
  101. to fall by you, why do you hesitate
  102. to assure the overthrow of mighty Troy?’
  103. With these bold words, I laid my hand on him—
  104. and to: brave actions I sent forth the brave:
  105. his deeds of Bravery are therefore mine
  106. it was my power that conquered Telephus,
  107. as he fought with his lance; it was through me
  108. that, vanquished and suppliant? he at last was healed.
  109. I caused the fall of Thebes; believe me, I
  110. took Lesbos, Tenedos, Chryse and Cilla—
  111. the cities of Apollo; and I took
  112. Scyros; think too, of the Lyrnesian wall
  113. as shaken by my hand, destroyed, and thrown
  114. down level with the ground. Let this suffice:
  115. I found the man who caused fierce Hector's death,
  116. through me the famous Hector now, lies low!
  117. And for those arms which made Achilles known
  118. I now demand these arms. To him alive
  119. I gave them—at his death they should be mine.
  120. “After the grief of one had reached all Greece,
  121. and ships a thousand, filled Euboean Aulis;
  122. the breezes long expected would not blow
  123. or adverse held the helpless fleet ashore.
  124. Then ruthless oracles gave their command,
  125. that Agamemnon should make sacrifice
  126. of his loved daughter and so satisfy
  127. Diana's cruel heart. The father stood
  128. up resolute, enraged against the gods,
  129. a parent even though a king. I turned,
  130. by tactful! words, a father's tender heart
  131. to the great issue of the public weal.
  132. I will confess it, and when I have confessed,
  133. may the son of Atreus pardon: I had to plead
  134. a difficult case before a partial judge.
  135. The people's good, his brother's, and stern duty,
  136. that followed his great office, won his ear,
  137. till royal honor outweighed claims of blood.
  138. I sought the mother, who could not be won
  139. by pleading but must be deceived by craft.
  140. Had Ajax gone to her, our thousand sails
  141. would still droop, waiting for the favoring breeze.
  142. “As a bold envoy I was even sent
  143. off to the towers of Ilium, and there
  144. I saw the senate-house of lofty Troy,
  145. and, fearless, entered it, while it was full
  146. of heroes. There, undaunted, I spoke for
  147. the cause which all the Greeks had given me.
  148. Accusing Paris, I demanded back
  149. the gold and stolen Helen, and I moved
  150. both Priam and Antenor. All the while
  151. Paris, his brothers, and their robber crew
  152. could scarce withhold their wicked hands from me.
  153. And all this, Menelaus, is well known to you:
  154. that was the first danger I shared with you.
  1. “I need not linger over the many things
  2. which by my counsel and my bravery
  3. I have accomplished through this long-drawn war.
  4. “A long time, after the first battle clash,
  5. the foe lay quiet within city walls,
  6. giving no challenge for an open fight—
  7. he stood nine years of siege before we fought
  8. what were you doing all that tedious time,
  9. what use were you, good only in a fight?
  10. If you will make inquiry of my deeds:
  11. I fashioned ambuscades for enemies;
  12. and circled our defenses with a trench;
  13. I cheered allies so they might all endure
  14. with patient minds a long, protracted war;
  15. I showed how our own army might subsist
  16. and how it could be armed; and I was sent
  17. wherever the necessity required.
  18. “Then, at the wish of Jove, our king, deceive
  19. by A false dream, bids us give up the war—
  20. he could excuse his order by the cause.
  21. Let Ajax tell him Troy must be laid low
  22. or let him fight—at least he can do that!
  23. Why does he fail to stop the fugitives?
  24. Why not take arms and tell the wavering crowd
  25. to rally round him? Would that be too much
  26. for one who never speaks except to boast?
  27. But now words fail me: Ajax turns and flees!
  28. I witnessed it and was ashamed to see
  29. you turn disgraced, preparing sails for flight.
  30. With exclamations and without delay,
  31. I said, ‘What are you doing? O my friends,
  32. has madness seized you that you will quit Troy,
  33. which is as good as taken? What can you
  34. bear home, after ten years, but your disgrace?’
  35. “With these commanding words, which grief itself
  36. gave eloquence, I brought resisting Greeks
  37. back from their purposed flight. Atrides called
  38. together his allies, all terror struck.
  39. Even then, Ajax the son of Telamon
  40. dared not vouchsafe one word. But impudent
  41. Thersites hurled vile words against the kings,
  42. and, thanks to me, he did not miss reproof.
  43. I rose and spoke to my disheartened friends,
  44. reviving their lost courage with my words
  45. from that time forth, whatever deeds this man,
  46. my rival, may have done, belong to me.
  47. 'Twas I who stayed his flight and brought him back.
  48. “Which of the noble Greeks has given you praise
  49. or sought your company? Yet Diomed
  50. has shared his deeds with me and praises me,
  51. and, while Ulysses is with him, is brave
  52. and confident. 'Tis worthy of regard,
  53. when out of many thousands of the Greeks,
  54. a man becomes the choice of Diomed!
  55. “It was not lot that ordered me to go;
  56. and yet, despising dangers of the night,
  57. despising dangers of the enemy,
  58. I slew one, Dolon, of the Phrygian race,
  59. who dared to do the very things we dared,
  60. but not before I had prevailed on him
  61. to tell me everything, by which I learned
  62. perfidious actions which Troy had designed.
  63. “Of such things now, I had discovered all
  64. that should be found out, and I might have then
  65. returned to enjoy the praise I had deserved.
  66. But not content with that, I sought the tent
  67. of Rhesus, and within his camp I slew
  68. him and his proved attendants. Having thus
  69. gained as a conqueror my own desires,
  70. I drove back in a captured chariot,—
  71. a joyous triumph. Well, deny me, then.
  72. The arms of him whose steeds the enemy
  73. demanded as the price of one night's aid.
  74. Ajax himself has been more generous.
  75. “Why should I name Sarpedon's Lycian troops
  76. among whom I made havoc with my sword?
  77. I left Coeranos dead and streaming blood,
  78. with the sword I killed Alastor, Chromius,
  79. Alcander, Prytanis, Halius, and Noemon,
  80. Thoon and Charops with Chersidamas,
  81. and Ennomus—all driven by cruel fate,
  82. not reckoning humbler men whom I laid low,
  83. battling beneath the shadow of the city walls.
  84. And fellow citizens, I have my wounds
  85. honorable in the front. Do not believe
  86. my word alone. Look for yourselves and see!”
  87. Then with one hand, he drew his robe aside.
  88. “Here is a breast,” he cried, “that bled for you!
  89. But Ajax never shed a drop of blood
  90. to aid his friends, in all these many years,
  91. and has a body free of any wound.
  92. “What does it prove, if he declares that he
  93. fought for our ships against both Troy and Jove?
  94. I grant he did, for it is not my wont
  95. with malice to belittle other's deeds.
  96. But let him not claim for himself alone
  97. an honor in which all may have a share,
  98. let him concede some credit due to you.
  99. Disguised within the fear inspiring arms
  100. of great Achilles, Actor's son drove back
  101. the host of Trojans from our threatened fleet
  102. or ships and Ajax would have burned together.
  103. “Unmindful of the king, the chiefs, and me,
  104. he dreams that he alone dared to engage
  105. in single fight with Hector—he the ninth
  106. to volunteer and chosen just by lot.
  107. But yet, O brave chief! What availed the fight?
  108. Hector returned, not injured by a wound.
  109. “Ah, bitter fate, with how much grief I am
  110. compelled to recollect the time, when brave
  111. Achilles, bulwark of the Greeks, was slain.
  112. Nor tears, nor grief, nor fear, could hinder me:
  113. I carried his dead body from the ground,
  114. uplifted on these shoulders, I repeat,
  115. upon these shoulders from that ground
  116. I bore off dead Achilles, and those arms
  117. which now I want to bear away again.
  118. I have the strength to walk beneath their weight,
  119. I have a mind to understand their worth.
  120. Did the hero's mother, goddess of the sea,
  121. win for her son these arms, made by a god,
  122. a work of wondrous art, to have them clothe
  123. a rude soldier, who has no mind at all?
  124. He never could be made to understand
  125. the rich engravings, pictured on the shield—
  126. the ocean, earth, and stars in lofty skies;
  127. the Pleiades, and Hyades, the Bear,
  128. which touches not the ocean, far beyond
  129. the varied planets, and the fire-bright sword
  130. of high Orion. He demands a prize,
  131. which, if he had it, would be lost on him.
  132. “What of his taunting me, because I shrank
  133. from hardships of this war and I was slow
  134. to join the expedition? Does he not see,
  135. that he reviles the great Achilles too?
  136. Was my pretense a crime? then so was his.
  137. Was our delay a fault? mine was the less,
  138. for I came sooner; me a loving wife
  139. detained from war, a loving mother him.
  140. Some hours we gave to them, the rest to you.
  141. Why should I be alarmed, if now I am
  142. unable to defend myself against
  143. this accusation, which is just the same
  144. as you have brought against so great a man?
  145. Yet he was found by the dexterity
  146. of me, Ulysses, and Ulysses was
  147. not found by the dexterity of Ajax.
  148. “It is no wonder that he pours on me
  149. reproaches of his silly tongue, because
  150. he charges you with what is worthy shame.
  151. Am I depraved because this Palamedes has
  152. improperly been charged with crime by me?
  153. Then was it honorable for all of you,
  154. if you condemned him? Only think, that he,
  155. the son of Naplius, made no defence
  156. against the crime, so great, so manifest:
  157. nor did you only hear the charges brought
  158. against him, but you saw the proof yourselves,
  159. and in the gold his villainy was shown.
  1. “Nor am I to be blamed, if Vulcan's isle
  2. of Lemnos has become the residence
  3. of Philoctetes. Greeks, defend yourselves,
  4. for you agreed to it! Yes, I admit
  5. I urged him to withdraw from toils of war
  6. and those of travel and attempt by rest
  7. to ease his cruel pain. He took my advice
  8. and lives! The advice was not alone well meant
  9. (that would have been enough) but it was wise.
  10. Because our prophets have declared, he must
  11. lead us, if we may still maintain our hope
  12. for Troy's destruction—therefore, you must not
  13. intrust that work to me. Much better, send
  14. the son of Telamon. His eloquence
  15. will overcome the hero's rage, most fierce
  16. from his disease and anger: or else his
  17. invention of some wile will skilfully
  18. deliver him to us.—The Simois
  19. will first flow backward, Ida stand without
  20. its foliage, and Achaia promise aid
  21. to Troy itself; ere, lacking aid from me,
  22. the craft of stupid Ajax will avail.
  23. “Though, Philoctetes, you should be enraged
  24. against your friends, against the king and me;
  25. although you curse and everlastingly
  26. devote my head to harm; although you wish,
  27. to ease your anguish, that I may be given
  28. into your power, that you may shed my blood;
  29. and though you wait your turn and chance at me;
  30. still I will undertake the quest and will
  31. try all my skill to bring you back with me.
  32. If my good fortune then will favor me,
  33. I shall obtain your arrows; as I made
  34. the Trojan seer my captive, as I learned
  35. the heavenly oracles and fate of Troy,
  36. and as I brought back through a host of foes
  37. Minerva's image from the citadel.
  38. “And is it possible, Ajax may now
  39. compare himself with me? Truly the Fates
  40. will hold Troy from our capture, if we leave
  41. the statue. Where is valiant Ajax now,
  42. where are the boasts of that tremendous man?
  43. Why are you trembling, while Ulysses dares
  44. to go beyond our guards and brave the night?
  45. In spite of hostile swords, he goes within
  46. not only the strong walls of Troy but even
  47. the citadel, lifts up the goddess from
  48. her shrine, and takes her through the enemy!
  49. If I had not done this, Telamon's son
  50. would bear his shield of seven bull hides in vain.
  51. That night I gained the victory over Troy—
  52. 'Twas then I won our war with Pergama,
  53. because I made it possible to win.
  54. “Stop hinting by your look and muttered words
  55. that Diomed was my partner in the deed.
  56. The praise he won is his. You, certainly
  57. fought not alone, when you held up your shield
  58. to save the allied fleet: a multitude
  59. was with you, but a single man gave me
  60. his valued help.
  61. “And if he did not know
  62. a fighting man can not gain victory
  63. so surely as the wise man, that the prize
  64. is given to something rarer than a brave right hand,
  65. he would himself be a contender now
  66. for these illustrious arms. Ajax the less
  67. would have come forward too, so would the fierce
  68. Eurypylus, so would Andraemon's son.
  69. Nor would Idomeneus withhold his claim,
  70. nor would his countryman Meriones.
  71. Yes, Menelaus too would seek the prize.
  72. All these brave men, my equals in the field,
  73. have yielded to my wisdom.
  74. “Your right hand
  75. is valuable in war, your temper stands
  76. in need of my direction. You have strength
  77. without intelligence; I look out for
  78. the future. You are able in the fight;
  79. I help our king to find the proper time.
  80. Your body may give service, and my mind
  81. must point the way: and just as much as he
  82. who guides the ship must be superior
  83. to him who rows it; and we all agree
  84. the general is greater than the soldier; so,
  85. do I excel you. In the body lives
  86. an intellect much rarer than a hand,
  87. by that we measure human excellence.
  88. “O chieftains, recompense my vigilance!
  89. For all these years of anxious care, award
  90. this honor to my many services.
  91. Our victory is in sight; I have removed
  92. the opposing fates and, opening wide the way
  93. to capture Pergama, have captured it.
  94. Now by our common hopes, by Troy's high walls
  95. already tottering and about to fall,
  96. and by the gods that I won from the foe,
  97. by what remains for wisdom to devise
  98. or what may call for bold and fearless deeds—
  99. if you think any hope is left for Troy,
  100. remember me! Or, if you do not give
  101. these arms to me, then give them all to her!”
  102. And he pointed to Minerva's fateful head.
  103. The assembled body of the chiefs was moved;
  104. and then, appeared the power of eloquence:
  105. the fluent man received, amid applause,
  106. the arms of the brave man. His rival, who
  107. so often when alone, stood firm against
  108. great Hector and the sword, and flames and Jove,
  109. stood not against a single passion, wrath.
  110. The unconquerable was conquered by his grief.
  111. He drew his sword, and said:—“This is at least
  112. my own; or will Ulysses also claim
  113. this, for himself. I must use this against
  114. myself—the blade which often has been wet,
  115. dripping with blood of Phrygians I have slain,.
  116. Will drip with his own master's:blood,
  117. lest any man but Ajax vanquish Ajax.”
  118. Saying this, he turned toward the vital spot
  119. in his own breast, which never had felt a wound,
  120. the fated sword and plunged it deeply in.
  121. though many sought to aid, no hand had strength
  122. to draw that steel—deep driven. The blood itself
  123. unaided drove it out. The ensanguined earth
  124. sprouted from her green turf that purple flower
  125. which grew of old from Hyacinthine blood.
  126. Its petals now are charged with double freight—
  127. the warrior's name, Apollo's cry of woe.
  1. The conqueror, Ulysses, now set sail,
  2. for Lemnos, country of Hypsipyle,
  3. and for the land of Thoas, famed afar,
  4. those regions infamous in olden days,
  5. where women slew their husbands. So he went
  6. that he might capture and bring back with him
  7. the arrows of brave Hercules. When these
  8. were given back to the Greeks, their lord with them,
  9. a final hand at last prevailed to end
  10. that long fought war. Both Troy and Priam fell,
  11. and Priam's wretched wife lost all she had,
  12. until at last she lost her human form.
  13. Her savage barkings frightened foreign lands,
  14. where the long Hellespont is narrowed down.
  15. Great Troy was burning: while the fire still raged,
  16. Jove's altar drank old Priam's scanty blood.
  17. The priestess of Apollo then, alas!
  18. Was dragged by her long hair, while up towards heaven
  19. she lifted supplicating hands in vain.
  20. The Trojan matrons, clinging while they could
  21. to burning temples and ancestral gods,
  22. victorious Greeks drag off as welcome spoil.
  23. Astyanax was hurled down from the very tower
  24. from which he often had looked forth and seen
  25. his father, by his mother pointed out,
  26. when Hector fought for honor and his country's weal.
  27. Now Boreas counsels to depart. The sails,
  28. moved by a prosperous breeze, resound and wave—
  29. the Trojan women cry,—“Farewell to Troy!
  30. Ah, we are hurried off! ” and, falling down,
  31. they kiss the soil, and leave the smoking roofs
  32. of their loved native land. The last to go
  33. on board the fleet was Hecuba, a sight
  34. most pitiful. She was found among the tombs
  35. of her lost sons. While she embraced each urn
  36. and fondly kissed their bones, Ulysses came
  37. with ruthless hands and bore her off, his prize
  38. she in her bosom took away the urn
  39. of Hector only, and upon his grave
  40. she left some white hair taken from her head,
  41. a meager gift, her white hair and her tears.
  42. Across the strait from Troy, there is a land
  43. claimed by Bistonian men, and in that land
  44. was a rich palace, built there by a king
  45. named Polymnestor. To him the Phrygian king
  46. in secret gave his youngest son to rear,
  47. his Polydorus, safe from Troy and war,
  48. a prudent course, if he had not sent gold
  49. arousing greed, incitement to a crime.
  50. Soon, when the fortunes of the Trojans fell,
  51. that wicked king of Thrace took his own sword,
  52. and pierced the throat of his poor foster son
  53. and then, as if the deed could be concealed,
  54. if he removed the body, hurled the boy
  55. from a wild cliff into the waves below.
  56. Until the sea might be more calm, and gales
  57. of wind might be subdued, Atrides moored
  58. his fleet of ships upon the Thracian shore;
  59. there, from wide gaping earth, Achilles rose,
  60. as large as when he lived, with look as fierce,
  61. as when his sword once threatened Agamemnon.
  62. “Forgetting me do you depart, O Greeks?”
  63. He said, “And is your grateful! memory
  64. of all my worth interred with my bones?
  65. Do not do so. And that my sepulchre
  66. may have due worship, let Polyxena
  67. be immolated to appease the ghost:
  68. of dead Achilles.” Fiercely so he spoke.
  69. The old friends of Achilles all obeyed
  70. his unforgiving shade; and instantly
  71. the noble and unhappy virgin—brave,
  72. more like a man than woman—was torn from
  73. her mother's bosom, cherished more by her,
  74. since widowed and alone. And then they led
  75. the virgin as a sacrifice from there
  76. up to the cruel altar. When the maid
  77. observed the savage rites prepared for her,
  78. and when she noticed Neoptolemus
  79. stand by her with his cruel sword in hand,
  80. his fixed eyes on her countenance; she said:—
  81. “Do not delay my generous gift of blood,
  82. with no resistance thrust the ready steel
  83. into my throat or breast!” And then she laid
  84. both throat and bosom bare. “Polyxena
  85. would never wish to live in slavery.
  86. And such rites win no favor from a god.
  87. Only I fondly wish my mother might
  88. not know that I have died. My love of her
  89. takes from my joy in death and gives me fear.
  90. Not my death truly, but her own sad life
  91. should be the most lamented in her tears.
  92. Now let your men stand back, that I may go
  93. with dignity down to the Stygian shades,
  94. and, if my plea is just, let no man's hand
  95. touch my pure virgin body. A nobler gift
  96. to him, whoever he may be, whom you
  97. desire to placate with my death today,
  98. shall be a free maid's blood. But, if my words—
  99. my parting wish, has power to touch your hearts,
  100. (King Priam's daughter, not a captive, pleads)
  101. freely return my body to my mother,
  102. let her not pay with gold for the sad right
  103. to bury me—but only with her tears!
  104. Yes, when she could, she also paid with gold.”
  105. After she said these words, the people could
  106. no more restrain their tears; but no one saw
  107. her shed one tear. Even the priest himself,
  108. reluctantly and weeping, drove the steel
  109. into her proffered breast. On failing knees
  110. she sank down to the earth; but still maintained
  111. a countenance undaunted to the last:
  112. and, even unto death, it was her care
  113. to cover all that ought to be concealed,
  114. and save the value of chaste modesty.
  115. The Trojan matrons took her and recalled,
  116. lamenting, all the sons of Priam dead,
  117. the wealth of blood one house had shed for all.
  118. And they bewailed the chaste Polyxena
  119. and you, her mother, only lately called
  120. a royal mother and a royal wife,—
  121. the soul of Asia's fair prosperity,;
  122. now lowest fallen in all the wreck of Troy.
  123. The conquering Ulysses only claimed
  124. her his because she had brought Hector forth:
  125. and Hector hardly found a master for
  126. his mother. She continued to embrace
  127. the body of a soul so brave, and shed
  128. her tears, as she had shed them often before
  129. for country lost, for sons, for royal mate.
  130. She bathed her daughter's wounds with tears and kissed
  131. them with her lips and once more beat her breast.
  132. Her white hair streamed down in the clotting blood,
  133. she tore her breast, and this and more she said:
  1. “My daughter, what further sorrow can be mine?
  2. My daughter you lie dead, I see your wounds—
  3. they are indeed my own. Lest I should lose
  4. one child of mine without a cruel sword,
  5. you have your wound. I thought, because
  6. you were a woman, you were safe from swords.
  7. But you, a woman, felt the deadly steel.
  8. That same Achilles, who has given to death
  9. so many of your brothers, caused your death,
  10. the bane of Troy and the serpent by my nest!
  11. When Paris and when Phoebus with their shafts
  12. had laid him low, ‘Ah, now at least,’ I said,
  13. ‘Achilles will no longer cause me dread.’
  14. Yet even then he still was to be feared.
  15. For him I have been fertile! Mighty Troy
  16. now lies in ruin, and the public woe
  17. is ended in one vast calamity.
  18. For me alone the woe of Troy still lives.
  19. “But lately on the pinnacle of fame,
  20. surrounded by my powerful sons-in-law,
  21. daughters, and daughters-in-law, and strong
  22. in my great husband, I am exiled now,
  23. and destitute, and forced from the sad tombs
  24. of those I love, to wretched slavery,
  25. serving Penelope: who showing me
  26. to curious dames of Ithaca, will point
  27. and say, while I am bending to my task,
  28. ‘Look at that woman who was widely known,
  29. the mother of great Hector, once the wife
  30. of Priam!’ After so many have been lost,
  31. now you, last comfort of a mother's grief,
  32. must make atonement on the foeman's tomb.
  33. I bore a victim for my enemy.
  34. “Why do I live—an iron witted wretch?
  35. Why do I linger? Why does cruel age
  36. detain me? Why, pernicious deities,
  37. thus hold me to this earth, unless you will
  38. that I may weep at future funerals?
  39. After the fall of Troy, who would suppose
  40. King Priam could be happy? Blest in death,
  41. he has not seen my daughter's dreadful fate.
  42. He lost at once his kingdom and his life.
  43. “Can I imagine you, a royal maid,
  44. will soon be honored with due funeral rites,
  45. and will be buried in our family tomb?
  46. Such fortune comes no more to your sad house.
  47. A drift of foreign sand will be your grave,
  48. the parting gift will be your mother's tears.
  49. We have lost everything! But no, there is
  50. one reason why I should endure a while.
  51. His mother's dearest, now her only child,
  52. once youngest of that company of sons,
  53. my Polydorus lives here on these shores
  54. protected by the friendly Thracian king.
  55. Then why delay to bathe these cruel wounds,
  56. her dear face spattered with the dreadful blood?”
  57. So Hecuba went wailing towards the shore
  58. with aged step and tearing her gray hair.
  59. At last the unhappy mother said, “Give me
  60. an urn; O, Trojan women!” for, she wished
  61. to dip up salt sea water. But just then,
  62. she saw the corpse of her last son, thrown out
  63. upon the shore; her Polydorus, killed,
  64. disfigured with deep wounds of Thracian swords.
  65. The Trojan women cried aloud, and she
  66. was struck dumb with her agony, which quite
  67. consumed both voice and tears within her heart—
  68. rigid and still she seemed as a hard rock.
  69. And now she gazes at the earth in front
  70. now lifts her haggard face up toward the skies,
  71. now scans that body lying stark and dead,
  72. now scans his wounds and most of all the wounds.
  73. She arms herself and draws up all her wrath.
  74. It burned as if she still held regal power
  75. she gave up all life to the single thought
  76. of quick revenge. Just as a lioness
  77. rages when plundered of her suckling cub
  78. and follows on his trail the unseen foe,
  79. so, Hecuba with rage mixed in her grief
  80. forgetful of her years, not her intent,
  81. went hastily to Polymnestor, who
  82. contrived this dreadful murder, and desired
  83. an interview, pretending it was her wish
  84. to show him hidden gold, for her lost son.
  85. The Odrysian king believed it all:
  86. accustomed to the love of gain, he went
  87. with her, in secret, to the spot she chose.
  88. Then craftily he said in his bland way:
  89. “Oh, Hecuba, you need not wait, give now,
  90. munificently to your son—and all
  91. you give, and all that you have given,
  92. by the good gods, I swear, shall be his own.”
  93. She eyed him sternly as he spoke
  94. and swore so falsely.—Then her rage boiled over,
  95. and, seconded by all her captive train,
  96. she flew at him and drove her fingers deep
  97. in his perfidious eyes; and tore them from
  98. his face—and plunged her hands into the raw
  99. and bleeding sockets (passion made her strong),
  100. defiled with his bad blood. How could she tear
  101. his eyes, gone from their seats? She wildly gouged
  102. the sightless sockets of his bleeding face!
  103. The Thracians, angered by such violence done
  104. upon their king, immediately attacked
  105. the Trojan matron with their stones and darts
  106. but she with hoarse growling and snapping jaws
  107. sprang at the stones, and, when she tried to speak,
  108. she barked like a fierce dog. The place still bears
  109. a name suggested by her hideous change.
  110. And she, long mindful! of her old time woe,
  111. ran howling dismally in Thracian fields.
  112. Her sad fate moved the Trojans and the Greeks,
  113. her friends and foes, and all the heavenly gods.
  114. Yes all, for even the sister-wife of Jove
  115. denied that Hecuba deserved such fate.
  1. Although Aurora had given aid to Troy,
  2. she had no heart nor leisure to be moved
  3. by fall of Troy or fate of Hecuba.
  4. At home she bore a greater grief and care;
  5. her loss of Memnon is afflicting her.
  6. Aurora, his rose-tinted mother, saw
  7. him perish by Achilles' deadly spear,
  8. upon the Phrygian plain. She saw his death,
  9. and the loved rose that lights the dawning hour
  10. turned death-pale, and the sky was veiled in clouds.
  11. The parent could not bear to see his limbs
  12. laid on the final flames. Just as she was,
  13. with loose hair streaming round her, she did not
  14. disdain to crouch down at the knees of Jove,
  15. and said these sad words added to her tears:
  16. “Beneath all those whom golden heaven sustains;
  17. (inferior, for see, through all the world
  18. my temples are so few) I have come now
  19. a goddess, to you; not with any hope
  20. that you may grant me temples, festivals,
  21. and altars, heated with devoted fires:
  22. but if you will consider the good deeds,
  23. which I, a woman, may yet do for you,
  24. when at the dawn I mark the edge of night;
  25. then you may think of some reward for me.
  26. But that is not my care; nor is it now
  27. Aurora's purpose here, that she should plead
  28. for honors, though deserved. I come bereaved,
  29. of my son Memnon, who in vain bore arms
  30. to aid his uncle and in prime of life
  31. (0, thus you willed it!) fell stricken by the sword
  32. of great Achilles. Give my son, I pray,
  33. O highest ruler of the gods, some honor,
  34. some comfort for his death, a little ease
  35. his mother's grief.” Jove nodded his assent.
  36. Immediately the high-wrought funeral-pile
  37. of Memnon fell down with its lofty fire,
  38. and volumes of black smoke obscured the day,
  39. as streams exhaling their dense rising fogs,
  40. exclude the bright sun from the land below.
  41. Black ashes fly and, rolling up a shape,
  42. retain a form and gather heat and life
  43. out of the fire. Their lightness gave them wings,
  44. first like a bird and then in fact a bird.
  45. The wings move whirring. In the neighboring air
  46. uncounted sisters, of one birth and growth
  47. together make one noise. Three times they flew
  48. around the funeral pile; and thrice the sound
  49. accordant of their fluttering wings went swift
  50. upon the soft breeze. When they turned about,
  51. their fourth flight in the skies divided them.
  52. As two fierce races from two hostile camps,
  53. clash in their warfare, these bird-sisters with
  54. their beaks and crooked claws clashed, passionate,
  55. until their tired wings and opposing breasts
  56. could not sustain them. And those kindred-foes
  57. fell down a sacrifice, memorial,
  58. to Memnon's ashes buried in that place.
  59. Brave Memnon, author of their birth, has given
  60. his name to those birds, marvellously formed,—
  61. and from him they are called Memnonides.—
  62. now, always when the Sun has passed the twelve
  63. signs of the Zodiac, they war again,
  64. to perish as a sacrifice for him.
  65. So others grieved, while Dymas' royal daughter
  66. was barking: but Aurora overcome
  67. with lasting sorrows, could not think of her:
  68. and even now, she sheds affectionate tears:
  69. and sprinkles them as dew on all the world.
  1. The Fates did not allow the hope of Troy
  2. to be destroyed entirely with her walls.
  3. Aeneas, the heroic son of Venus,
  4. bore on his shoulders holy images
  5. and still another holy weight, his sire,
  6. a venerable burden. From all his wealth
  7. the pious hero chose this for his care
  8. together with his child, Ascanius.
  9. Then with a fleet of exiles he sails forth,
  10. he leaves Antandrus, leaves the wicked realm
  11. and shore of Thrace now dripping with the blood
  12. of Polydorus. With fair winds and tide
  13. he and his comrades reach Apollo's isle.
  14. Good Anius, king of Delos, vigilant
  15. for all his subjects' welfare, and as priest
  16. devoted to Apollo, took him there
  17. into his temple and his home, and showed
  18. the city, the famed shrines, and the two trees
  19. which once Latona, while in labor, held.
  20. They burned sweet incense, adding to it wine,
  21. and laid the flesh of cattle in the flames,
  22. an offering marked by custom for the god.
  23. Then in the palace and its kingly hall,
  24. reclining on luxurious couches, they
  25. drank flowing wine with Ceres' gifts of food.
  26. But old Anchises asked: “O chosen priest
  27. of Phoebus, can I be deceived? When first
  28. I saw these walls, did you not have a son,
  29. and twice two daughters? Is it possible
  30. I am mistaken?” Anius replied,—
  31. shaking his temples wreathed with fillets white,—
  32. “It can be no mistake, great hero, you
  33. did see the father of five children then,
  34. (so much the risk of fortune may affect
  35. the best of men). You see me now, almost
  36. bereft of all. For what assistance can
  37. my absent son afford, while he is king,
  38. the ruler over Andros—that land named
  39. for his name—over which he rules for me?
  40. “The Delian god gave to my son the art
  41. of augury; and likewise, Liber gave
  42. my daughters precious gifts exceeding all
  43. my wishes and belief: since, every thing
  44. my daughters touched assumed the forms of corn,
  45. of sparkling wine, or gray-green olive oil.
  46. Most surely, wonderful advantages.
  47. “Soon as Atrides, he who conquered Troy
  48. had heard of this (for you should not suppose
  49. that we, too, did not suffer from your storms)
  50. he dragged my daughters there with savage force,
  51. from my loved bosom to his hostile camp,
  52. and ordered them to feed the Argive fleet,
  53. by their divinely given power of touch.
  54. “Whichever way they could, they made escape
  55. two hastened to Euboea, and two sought
  56. their brother's island, Andros. Quickly then
  57. an Argive squadron, following, threatened war,
  58. unless they were surrendered. The brother's love
  59. gave way to fear. And there is reason why
  60. you should forgive a timid brother's fear:
  61. he had no warrior like Aeneas, none
  62. like Hector, by whose prowess you held Troy
  63. from its destruction through ten years of war.
  64. “Strong chains were brought to hold my daughters' arms.
  65. Both lifted suppliant hands, which still were free,
  66. to heaven and cried, ‘0, Father Bacchus! give
  67. us needed aid!’ And he who had before
  68. given them the power of touch, did give them aid—
  69. if giving freedom without human shape
  70. can be called giving aid.—I never knew
  71. by what means they lost shape, and cannot tell;
  72. but their calamity is surely known:
  73. my daughters were transformed to snow-white doves,
  74. white birds of Venus, guardian of your days.”
  75. With this and other talk they shared the feast,
  76. then left the table and retired to sleep.
  77. They rose up with the day, and went at once
  78. to hear the oracle of Phoebus speak.
  79. He counselled them to leave that land and find
  80. their ancient mother and their kindred shores.
  81. The king attended them, and gave them gifts
  82. when ready to depart; a sceptre to
  83. Anchises, and a robe and quiver to
  84. his grandson, and he gave a goblet to
  85. Aeneas, that which formerly was sent
  86. to him by Therses, once his Theban guest.
  87. Therses had sent it from Aonian shores;
  88. but Alcon the Hylean should be named,
  89. for he had made the goblet and inscribed
  90. a pictured story on the polished side.
  91. There was a city shown with seven gates,
  92. from which the name could be derived by all.
  93. Outside the walls was a sad funeral,
  94. and tombs and fires and funeral pyres were shown,
  95. and many matrons with dishevelled hair
  96. and naked breasts, expressive of their grief,
  97. and many nymphs too, weeping mournfully
  98. because their streams were dry. Without a leaf
  99. the bare trees stood straight up and the she goats
  100. were nibbling in dry, stony fields. And there he carved
  101. Orion's daughters in the Theban square,
  102. one giving her bare throat a cruel cut,
  103. one with her shuttle making clumsy wounds;
  104. both dying for their people. Next they were borne
  105. out through the city with doe funeral pomp,
  106. and mourning crowds were gathered round their pyre.
  107. Then from the virgin ashes, lest the race
  108. should die. twin youths arose, whom fame
  109. has named Coroni and they shared
  110. in all the rites becoming for their mothers' dust.
  111. Even so in shining figures all was shown
  112. inscribed on ancient bronze. The top rim, made
  113. quite rough, was gilded with acanthus leaves.
  114. Presents of equal worth the Trojans gave:
  115. a maple incense casket for the priest,
  116. a bowl, a crown adorned with gold and gems.
  1. Then, recollecting how the Trojans had
  2. derived their origin from Teucer's race,
  3. they sailed to Crete but there could not endure
  4. ills sent by Jove, and, having left behind
  5. the hundred cities, they desired to reach
  6. the western harbors of the Ausonian land.
  7. Wintry seas then tossed the heroic band,
  8. and in a treacherous harbor of those isles,
  9. called Strophades, Aello frightened them.
  10. They passed Dulichium's port, and Ithaca,
  11. Samos, and all the homes of Neritos,—
  12. the kingdom of the shrewd deceitful man,
  13. Ulysses; and they reached Ambracia,
  14. contended for by those disputing gods;
  15. which is today renowned abroad, because
  16. of Actian Apollo, and the stone
  17. seen there conspicuous as a transformed judge;
  18. they saw Dodona, vocal with its oaks;
  19. and also, the well known Chaonian bays,
  20. where sons of the Molossian king escaped
  21. with wings attached, from unavailing flames.
  22. They set their sails then for the neighboring land
  23. of the Phaeacians, rich with luscious fruit:
  24. then for Epirus and to Buthrotos,
  25. and came then to a mimic town of Troy,
  26. ruled by the Phrygian seer. With prophecies
  27. which Helenus, the son of Priam, gave,
  28. they came to Sicily, whose three high capes
  29. jut outward in the sea. Of these three points
  30. Pachynos faces towards the showery south;
  31. and Lilybaeum is exposed to soft
  32. delicious zephyrs; but Peloros looks
  33. out towards the Bears which never touch the sea.
  34. The Trojans came there. Favored by the tide,
  35. and active oars, by nightfall all the fleet
  36. arrived together on Zanclaean sands.
  37. Scylla upon the right infests the shore,
  38. Charybdis, restless on the left, destroys.
  39. Charybdis swallows and then vomits forth
  40. misfortuned ships that she has taken down;
  41. Scylla's dark waist is girt with savage dogs.
  42. She has a maiden's face, and, if we may believe
  43. what poets tell, she was in olden time
  44. a maiden. Many suitors courted her,
  45. but she repulsed them; and, because she was
  46. so much beloved by all the Nereids,
  47. she sought these nymphs and used to tell
  48. how she escaped from the love-stricken youths.
  49. But Galatea, while her loosened locks
  50. were being combed, said to her visitor,—
  51. “Truly, O maiden, a gentle race of men
  52. courts you, and so you can, and do, refuse
  53. all with impunity. But I, whose sire
  54. is Nereus, whom the azure Doris bore,
  55. though guarded by so many sister nymphs,
  56. escaped the Cyclops' love with tragic loss.”
  57. And, sobbing, she was choked with tears.
  58. When with her fingers, marble white and smooth,
  59. Scylla had wiped away the rising tears
  60. of sorrow and had comforted the nymph,
  61. she said, “Tell me, dear goddess, and do not
  62. conceal from me (for I am true to you)
  63. the cause of your great sorrows.” And the nymph,
  64. daughter of Nereus, thus replied to her:—
  1. “Acis, the son of Faunus and the nymph
  2. Symaethis, was a great delight to his
  3. dear father and his mother, but even more
  4. to me, for he alone had won my love.
  5. Eight birthdays having passed a second time,
  6. his tender cheeks were marked with softest down.
  7. “While I pursued him with a constant love,
  8. the Cyclops followed me as constantly.
  9. And, should you ask me, I could not declare
  10. whether my hatred of him, or my love
  11. of Acis was the stronger.—They were equal.
  12. “O gentle Venus! what power equals yours!
  13. That savage, dreaded by the forest trees,
  14. feared by the stranger who beholds his face
  15. contemner of Olympus and the gods,
  16. now he can feel what love is. He is filled
  17. with passion for me. He burns hot for me,
  18. forgetful of his cattle and his caves.
  19. “Now, Polyphemus, wretched Cyclops, you
  20. are careful of appearance, and you try
  21. the art of pleasing. You have even combed
  22. your stiffened hair with rakes: it pleases you
  23. to trim your shaggy beard with sickles, while
  24. you gaze at your fierce features in a pool
  25. so earnest to compose them. Love of flesh,
  26. ferocity and your keen thirst for blood
  27. have ceased. The ships may safely come and go!
  28. “While all this happened, Telemus arrived
  29. at the Sicilian Aetna—Telemus,
  30. the son of Eurymus, who never could
  31. mistake an omen, met the dreadful fierce,
  32. huge Cyclops, Polyphemus, and he said,
  33. ‘That single eye now midmost in your brow
  34. Ulysses will take from you.’ In reply,
  35. the Cyclops only laughed at him and said,
  36. ‘Most silly of the prophets! you are wrong,
  37. a maiden has already taken it!’
  38. So he made fun of Telemus, who warned
  39. him vainly of the truth—and after that,
  40. he either burdened with his bulk the shore,
  41. by stalking back and forth with lengthy strides,
  42. or came back weary to his shaded cave.
  43. “A wedge-formed hill projects far in the sea
  44. and either side there flow the salty waves.
  45. To this the giant savage climbed and sat
  46. upon the highest point. The wooly flock,
  47. no longer guided by him, followed after.
  48. There, after he had laid his pine tree down,
  49. which served him for a staff, although so tall
  50. it seemed best fitted for a ship's high mast,
  51. he played his shepherd pipes—in them I saw
  52. a hundred reeds. The very mountains felt
  53. the pipings of that shepherd, and the waves
  54. beneath him shook respondent to each note.
  55. All this time I was hidden by a rock,
  56. reclining on the bosom of my own
  57. dear Acis; and, although afar, I heard
  58. such words as these, which I can not forget:—
  59. ‘O Galatea, fairer than the flower
  60. of snow-white privet, and more blooming than
  61. the meadows, and more slender than the tall
  62. delightful alder, brighter than smooth glass,
  63. more wanton than the tender skipping kid,
  64. smoother than shells worn by continual floods,
  65. more pleasing than the winter sun, or than
  66. the summer shade, more beautiful than fruit
  67. of apple trees, more pleasing to the sight
  68. than lofty plane tree, clearer than pure ice,
  69. and sweeter than the ripe grape, softer than
  70. soft swan-down and the softest curdled milk;
  71. alas, and if you did not fly from me,
  72. I would declare you are more beautiful
  73. than any watered garden of this world.
  74. ‘And yet, O Galatea; I must say,
  75. that you are wilder than all untrained bullocks,
  76. harder than seasoned oak, more treacherous
  77. than tumbled waters, tougher than the twigs
  78. of osier and the white vine, harder to move
  79. than cliffs which front these waves, more violent
  80. than any torrent, you are prouder than
  81. the flattered peacock, fiercer than hot fire,
  82. rougher than thistles, and more cruel than
  83. the pregnant she-bear, deafer than the waves
  84. of stormy seas, more deadly savage than
  85. the trodden water-snake: and, (what I would
  86. endeavor surely to deprive you of)
  87. your speed is fleeter than the deer
  88. pursued by frightful barkings, and more swift
  89. than rapid storm-winds and the flitting air.
  90. ‘But Galatea, if you knew me well
  91. you would regret your hasty flight from me,
  92. and you would even blame your own delay,
  93. and strive for my affection. I now hold
  94. the choice part of this mountain for my cave,
  95. roofed over with the native rock. The sun
  96. is not felt in the heat of middle day,
  97. nor is the winter felt there: apples load
  98. the bending boughs and luscious grapes
  99. hang on the lengthened vines, resembling gold,
  100. and purple grapes as rich—I keep for you
  101. those two delicious fruits. With your own hands,
  102. you shall yourself uncover strawberries,
  103. growing so soft beneath the woodland shade;
  104. you shall pluck corners in the autumn ripe,
  105. and plums, not only darkened with black juice
  106. but larger kinds as yellow as new wax.
  107. If I may be your mate, you shall have chestnuts,
  108. fruits of the arbute shall be always near,
  109. and every tree shall yield at your desire.
  110. ‘The ewes here all are mine, and many more
  111. are wandering in the valleys; and the woods
  112. conceal a multitude—and many more
  113. are penned within my caves. If you perchance
  114. should ask me, I could never even guess
  115. or count the number; it is for the poor
  116. to count their cattle. Do not trust my word,
  117. but go yourself and see with your own eyes,
  118. how they can hardly stand up on their legs
  119. because of their distended udders' weight.
  120. ‘I have lambs also, as a future flock,
  121. kept in warm folds, and kids of their same age
  122. in other folds. I always have supplies
  123. of snow-white milk for drinking, and much more
  124. is hardened with good rennet liquefied.
  125. ‘The common joys of ordinary things
  126. will not be all you should expect of me—
  127. tame does and hares and she-goats or a pair
  128. of doves, or even a nest from a tall tree—
  129. for I have found upon a mountain top,
  130. the twin cubs of a shaggy wild she-bear,
  131. of such appearance you can hardly know
  132. the one from other. They will play with you.
  133. The very day I found them I declared,
  134. these I will keep for my dear loved one's joy.
  135. ‘Do now but raise your shining head above
  136. the azure sea: come Galatea come,
  137. and do not scorn my presents. Certainly,
  138. I know myself, for only recently
  139. I saw my own reflection pictured clear
  140. in limpid water, and my features pleased
  141. and charmed me when I saw it. See how huge
  142. I am. Not even Jove in his high heaven
  143. is larger than my body: this I say
  144. because you tell me how imperial Jove
  145. surpasses.—Who is he? I never knew.
  146. ‘My long hair plentifully hangs to hide
  147. unpleasant features; as a grove of trees
  148. overshadowing my shoulders. Never think
  149. my body is uncomely, although rough,
  150. thick set with wiry bristles. Every tree
  151. without leaves is unseemly; every horse,
  152. unless a mane hangs on his tawny neck;
  153. feathers must cover birds; and their soft wool
  154. is ornamental on the best formed sheep:
  155. therefore a beard, and rough hair spread upon
  156. the body is becoming to all men.
  157. I have but one eye centered perfectly
  158. within my forehead, so it seems most like
  159. a mighty buckler. Ha! does not the Sun
  160. see everything from heaven? Yet it has
  161. but one eye.—
  162. ‘Galatea, you must know,
  163. my father is chief ruler in your sea,
  164. and therefor I now offer him to you
  165. as your own father-in-law—But oh, do take
  166. some pity on a suppliant,— and hear his prayer,
  167. for only unto you my heart is given.
  168. ‘I, who despise the power of Jove, his heavens
  169. and piercing lightnings, am afraid of you—
  170. your wrath more fearful than the lightning's flash—
  171. but I should be more patient under slights,
  172. if you avoided all men: why reject
  173. the Cyclops for the love that Acis gives?
  174. And why prefer his smiles to my embraces,
  175. but let him please himself, and let him please
  176. you, Galatea, though against my will.
  177. ‘If I am given an opportunity
  178. he will be shown that I have every strength
  179. proportioned to a body vast as mine:
  180. I will pull out his palpitating entrails,
  181. and scatter his torn limbs about the fields
  182. and over and throughout your salty waves;
  183. and then let him unite himself to you.—
  184. I burn so, and my slighted passion raves
  185. with greater fury and I seem to hold
  186. and carry Aetna in my breast—transferred
  187. there with its flames—Oh Galatea! can
  188. you listen to my passion thus unmoved!’
  189. “I saw all this; and, after he in vain
  190. had uttered such complaints, he stood up like
  191. a raging bull whose heifer has been lost,
  192. that cannot stand still, but must wander on
  193. through brush and forests, that he knows so well:
  194. when that fierce monster saw me and my Acis—
  195. we neither knew nor guessed our fate—he roared:
  196. ‘I see you and you never will again
  197. parade your love before me!’ In such a voice
  198. as matched his giant size. All Aetna shook
  199. and trembled at the noise; and I amazed
  200. with horror, plunged into the adjoining sea.
  201. “My loved one, Acis turned his back and fled
  202. and cried out, ‘Help me Galatea, help!
  203. 0, let your parents help me, and admit
  204. me safe within their realm; for I am now
  205. near my destruction!’ But the Cyclops rushed
  206. at him and hurled a fragment, he had torn
  207. out from the mountain, and although the extreme
  208. edge only of the rock could reach him there.
  209. It buried him entirely.
  210. “Then I did
  211. the only thing the Fates permitted me:
  212. I let my Acis take ancestral power
  213. of river deities. The purple blood
  214. flowed from beneath the rock, but soon
  215. the sanguine richness faded and became
  216. at first the color of a stream, disturbed
  217. and muddied by a shower. And presently
  218. it clarified.— The rock that had been thrown
  219. then split in two, and through the cleft a reed,
  220. stately and vigorous, arose to life.
  221. And soon the hollow mouth in the great rock,
  222. resounded with the waters gushing forth.
  223. And wonderful to tell, a youth emerged,
  224. the water flowing clear about his waist,
  225. his new horns circled with entwining reeds,
  226. and the youth certainly was Acis, though
  227. he was of larger stature and his face
  228. and features all were azure. Acis changed
  229. into a stream which ever since that time
  230. has flowed there and retained its former name.
  1. So Galatea, after she had told
  2. her sorrow, ceased; and, when the company
  3. had gone from there, the Nereids swam again
  4. in the calm and quiet waves. But Scylla soon
  5. returned (because she did not trust herself
  6. in deep salt waters) and she wandered there
  7. naked of garments on the thirsty sand;
  8. but, tired, by chance she found a lonely bay,
  9. and cooled her limbs with its enclosing waves.
  10. Then suddenly appeared a newly made
  11. inhabitant of that deep sea, whose name
  12. was Glaucus. Cleaving through the blue sea waves,
  13. he swam towards her. His shape had been transformed
  14. but lately for this watery life, while he
  15. was living at Anthedon in Euboea.—
  16. now he is lingering from desire for her
  17. he saw there and speaks whatever words
  18. he thought might stop her as she fled from him.
  19. Yet still she fled from him, and swift through fear,
  20. climbed to a mountain top above the sea.
  21. Facing the waves, it rose in one huge peak,
  22. parting the waters with a forest crown.
  23. She stood on that high summit quite secure:
  24. and, doubtful whether he might be a god
  25. or monster, wondered at his flowing hair
  26. which covered his broad shoulders and his back,—
  27. and marvelled at the color of his skin
  28. and at his waist merged into a twisted fish.
  29. All this he noticed, and while leaning there
  30. against a rock that stood near by, he said: —
  31. “I am no monster, maiden, I am not
  32. a savage beast; I am in truth a god
  33. of waters, with such power upon the seas
  34. as that of Proteus, Triton, or Palaemon—
  35. reared on land the son of Athamas.
  36. “Not long ago I was a mortal man,
  37. yet even then my thought turned to the sea
  38. and all my living came from waters deep,
  39. for I would drag the nets that swept up fish,
  40. or, seated on a rock, I flung the line
  41. forth from the rod. The shore I loved was near
  42. a verdant meadow. One side were the waves,
  43. the other grass, which never had been touched
  44. by horned, grazing cattle. Harmless sheep
  45. and shaggy goats had never cropped it—no
  46. industrious bee came there to harvest flowers;
  47. no festive garlands had been gathered there,
  48. adornments of the head; no mower's hands
  49. had ever cut it. I was certainly
  50. the first who ever sat upon that turf,—
  51. while I was drying there the dripping nets.
  52. And so that I might in due order count
  53. the fish that I had caught, I laid out those
  54. which by good chance were driven into my nets,
  55. or credulous, were caught on my barbed hooks.
  56. “It all seems like a fiction (but what good
  57. can I derive from fictions?) just as soon
  58. as any of my fish-prey touched the grass,
  59. they instantly began to move and skip
  60. as usual in sea water. While I paused
  61. and wondered, all of them slid to the waves,
  62. and left me, their late captor, and the shore.
  63. “I was amazed and doubtful, a long time;
  64. while I considered what could be the cause.
  65. What god had done this? Or perhaps the juice
  66. of some herb caused it? ‘But,’ I said, ‘what herb
  67. can have such properties?’ and with my hand
  68. I plucked the grass and chewed it with my teeth.
  69. My throat had hardly time to swallow those
  70. unheard of juices, when I suddenly
  71. felt all my entrails throbbing inwardly,
  72. and my entire mind also, felt possessed
  73. by passions foreign to my life before.
  74. “I could not stay in that place, and I said
  75. with shouting, ‘Farewell! dry land! never more
  76. shall I revisit you;’ and with those words
  77. upon my lips, I plunged beneath the waves.
  78. The gods of that deep water gave to me,
  79. when they received me, kindred honors, while
  80. they prayed Oceanus and Tethys both
  81. to take from me such mortal essence as
  82. might yet remain. So I was purified
  83. by them and after a good charm had been
  84. nine times repeated over me, which washed
  85. away all guilt, I was commanded then
  86. to put my breast beneath a hundred streams.
  87. “So far I can relate to you all things
  88. most worthy to be told; for all so far
  89. I can remember; but from that time on
  90. I was unconscious of the many things
  91. that followed. When my mind returned to me,
  92. I found myself entirely different
  93. from what I was before; and my changed mind
  94. was not the same as it had always been.
  95. Then, for the first time I beheld this beard
  96. so green in its deep color, and I saw
  97. my flowing hair which now I sweep along
  98. the spacious seas, and my huge shoulders with
  99. their azure colored arms, and I observed
  100. my leg extremities hung tapering
  101. exactly perfect as a finny fish.
  102. “But what avail is this new form to me.
  103. Although it pleased the Ocean deities?
  104. What benefit, although I am a god,
  105. if you are not persuaded by these things?”
  106. While he was telling wonders such as these—
  107. quite ready to say more—Scylla arose
  108. and left the god. Provoked at his repulse—
  109. enraged, he hastened to the marvellous court
  110. of Circe, well known daughter of the Sun.