The Book of the Epic: The World's Great Epics Told in Story

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Book I. Homer's second great epic covers a period of forty-two days. After the opening invocation he proceeds to relate the adventures of Ulysses. Nearly ten years have elapsed since the taking of Troy, when the gods looking down from Olympus behold him—sole survivor of his troop—stranded on the Island of Calypso. After some mention of the fate of the other Greeks, Jupiter decrees that Ulysses shall return to Ithaca, where many suitors are besieging his wife Penelope. In obedience with this decree, Pallas (Minerva) dons golden sandals—which permit her to flit with equal ease over land and sea—and visits Ithaca, where Ulysses' son, Telemachus, mournfully views the squandering of his father's wealth. Here she is hospitably received, and, after some conversation, urges Telemachus to visit the courts of Nestor and Menelaus to inquire of these kings whether his father is dead.

Telemachus has just promised to carry out this suggestion, when the suitors' bard begins the recital of the woes which have befallen the various Greek chiefs on their return from Troy. These sad strains attract Penelope, who passionately beseeches the bard not to enhance her sorrows by his songs!

Assuming a tone of authority for the first time, Telemachus bids his mother retire and pray, then, addressing the suitors, vows that unless they depart he will call down upon them the vengeance of the gods. These words are resented by these men, who continue their revelry until the night, when Telemachus retires, to dream of his projected journey.

Book II. With dawn, Telemachus rises and betakes himself to the market-place, where in public council he complains of the suitors' depredations, and announces he is about to depart in quest of his sire. In reply to his denunciations the suitors accuse Penelope of deluding them, instancing how she promised to choose a husband as soon as she had finished weaving a winding sheet for her father-in-law Laertes. But, instead of completing this task as soon as possible, she ravelled by night the work done during the day, until the suitors discovered the trick.

  "The work she plied; but, studious of delay,
  By night reversed the labors of the day.
  While thrice the sun his annual journey made,
  The conscious lamp the midnight fraud survey'd;
  Unheard, unseen, three years her arts prevail:
  The fourth, her maid unfolds the amazing tale.
  We saw as unperceived we took our stand,
  The backward labors of her faithless hand"3

They now suggest that Telemachus send Penelope back to her father, but the youth indignantly refuses, and the council closes while he prays for vengeance. That he has not been unheard is proved by the appearance of two eagles, which peck out the eyes of some of the spectators. This is interpreted by an old man as an omen of Ulysses' speedy return, and he admonishes all present to prove faithful, lest they incur a master's wrath.

The assembly having dispersed, Telemachus hastens down to the shore, where Minerva visits him in the guise of his tutor Mentor, and instructs him to arrange for secret departure. Telemachus, therefore, returns to the palace, where the suitors are preparing a new feast. Refusing to join their revels, he seeks his old nurse Eurycleia, to whom he entrusts the provisioning of his vessel, bidding her if possible conceal his departure from Penelope for twelve days. Meantime, in the guise of Telemachus, Minerva scours the town to secure skilful oarsmen, and at sunset has a vessel ready to sail. Then, returning to the palace, she enchains the senses of the suitors in such deep slumber that Telemachus effects his, departure unseen, and embarking with Mentor sets sail, his vessel speeding smoothly over the waves all night.

Book III. At sunrise Telemachus reaches Pylos and finds Nestor and his friends offering a sacrifice on the shore. Joining the feasters,—who gather by fifties around tables groaning beneath the weight of nine oxen apiece,—Telemachus makes known his name and errand. In return, Nestor mentions the deaths of Patroclus and Achilles, the taking of Troy, and the Greeks' departure from its shores. He adds that, the gods having decreed they should not reach home without sore trials, half the army lingered behind with Agamemnon to offer propitiatory sacrifices, while the rest sailed on. Among these were Nestor and Ulysses, but, while the former pressed on and reached home, the latter, turning back to pacify the gods, was seen no more! Since his return, Nestor has been saddened by the death of Agamemnon, slain on his arrival at Mycenae by his faithless wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegistheus. His brother, Menelaus, more fortunate, has recently reached home, having been long delayed in Egypt by contrary winds.

While Nestor recounts these tales, day declines, so he invites Telemachus to his palace for the night, promising to send him on the morrow to Sparta, where he can question Menelaus himself. Although Mentor urges Telemachus to accept this invitation, he declares he must return to the ship, and vanishes in the shape of a bird, thus revealing to all present his divine origin. A sumptuous meal in the palace ensues, and the guest, after a good night, participates at break of day in a solemn sacrifice.

Book IV. Riding in a chariot skilfully guided by one of Nestor's sons, Telemachus next speeds on to Sparta, where he finds Menelaus celebrating the marriages of a daughter and son. On learning that strangers have arrived, Menelaus orders every attention shown them, and only after they have been refreshed by food and drink, inquires their errand. He states that he himself reached home only after wandering seven years, and adds that he often yearns to know what has become of Ulysses. At this name Telemachus' tears flow, and Helen, who has just appeared, is struck by his resemblance to his father. When Telemachus admits his identity, Menelaus and Helen mingle their tears with his, for the memory of the past overwhelms them with sorrow. Then to restore a more cheerful atmosphere, Helen casts "nepenthe" into the wine, thanks to which beneficent drug all soon forget their woes. She next relates how Ulysses once entered Troy in the guise of a beggar, and how she alone recognized him in spite of his disguise. This reminds Menelaus of the time when Ulysses restrained him and the other Greeks in the wooden horse, and when Helen marched around it mimicking the voices of their wives!

Soothed by "nepenthe," all retire to rest, and when morning dawns Telemachus inquires whether Menelaus knows aught of his father. All the information Menelaus vouchsafes is that when he surprised Proteus, counting sea-calves on the island of Pharos, he was told he would reach home only after making due sacrifices in Egypt to appease the gods, that his brother had been murdered on arriving at Mycenae, and that Ulysses—sole survivor of his crew—was detained by Calypso in an island, whence he had no means of escape. The sea-god had further promised that Menelaus should never die, stating that, as husband of Helen and son-in-law of Jupiter, he would enjoy everlasting bliss in the Elysian Fields. Then, after describing the sacrifices which insured his return to Sparta, Menelaus invites Telemachus to tarry with him, although the youth insists he must return home.

Meantime the suitors in Ulysses' palace entertain themselves with games, in the midst of which they learn that Telemachus has gone. Realizing that if he were dead Penelope's fortunate suitor would become possessor of all Ulysses' wealth, they decide to man a vessel to guard the port and slay Telemachus on his return. This plot is overheard by a servant, who hastens to report it to Penelope. On learning her son has ventured out to sea, she wrings her hands, and reviles the nurse who abetted his departure until this wise woman advises her rather to pray for her son's safe return! While Penelope is offering propitiatory sacrifices, the suitors despatch a vessel in Antinous' charge to lie in wait for the youth. But, during the sleep which overcomes Penelope after her prayers, she is favored by a vision, in which her sister assures her Telemachus will soon be restored to her arms, although she refuses to give her any information in regard to Ulysses.

Book V. Aurora has barely announced the return of day to gods and men, when Jupiter assembles his council on Mount Olympus. There Minerva rehearses Ulysses' grievances, demanding that he be at last allowed to return home and his son saved from the suitors' ambush. In reply Jupiter sends Mercury to bid Calypso provide her unwilling guest with the means to leave her shores. Donning his golden sandals, the messenger-god flits to the Island of Ogygia, enters Calypso's wonderful cave, and delivers his message. Although reluctant to let Ulysses depart, Calypso—not daring oppose the will of Jupiter—goes in quest of her guest. Finding him gazing tearfully in the direction of home, she promises to supply him with the means to build a raft which, thanks to the gods, will enable him to reach Ithaca.

After a copious repast and a night's rest, Ulysses fells twenty trees and constructs a raft, in which, after it has been provisioned by Calypso, he sets sail. For seventeen days the stars serve as his guides, and he is nearing the island of Phaeacia, when Neptune becomes aware that his hated foe is about to escape. One stroke of the sea-god's mighty trident then stirs up a tempest which dashes the raft to pieces, and Ulysses is in imminent danger of perishing, when the sea-nymph Leucothea gives him her life-preserving scarf, bidding him cast it back into the waves when it has borne him safely to land! Buoyed up by this scarf, Ulysses finally reaches the shore, where, after obeying the nymph's injunctions, he buries himself in dead leaves and sinks into an exhausted sleep.

  Close to the cliff with both his hands he clung,
  And stuck adherent, and suspended hung;
  Till the huge surge roll'd off; then backward sweep
  The refluent tides, and plunge him in the deep.
  And when the polypus, from forth his cave
  Torn with full force, reluctant beats the wave,
  His ragged claws are stuck with stones and sands;
  So the rough rock had shagg'd Ulysses' hands.
  And now had perish'd, whelm'd beneath the main,
  The unhappy man; e'en fate had been in vain;
  But all-subduing Pallas lent her power,
  And prudence saved him in the needful hour.

Book VI. While Ulysses is thus sleeping, Minerva, in a dream admonishes Nausicaa, daughter of the Phaeacian king, to wash her garments in readiness for her wedding. On awakening, the princess, after bespeaking a chariot with mules to draw the clothes to the washing place, departs with her maids for the shore.

The clothes washed and hung out to dry, the princess and her attendants play ball, until their loud shrieks awaken Ulysses. Veiling his nakedness behind leafy branches, he timidly approaches the maidens, and addresses them from afar. Convinced he is, as he represents, a shipwrecked man in need of aid, the princess provides him with garments, and directs him to follow her chariot to the confines of the city. There he is to wait until she has reached home before presenting himself before her parents, as she does not wish his presence with her to cause gossip in town.

Book VII. Having left Ulysses behind her, Nausicaa returns home, where her chariot is unloaded; but shortly after she has retired, Ulysses, guided by Minerva in disguise, enters the town and palace unseen. It is only when, obeying Nausicaa's instructions, he seeks her mother's presence and beseeches her aid, that he becomes visible to all. King and queen gladly promise their protection to the suppliant, who, while partaking of food, describes himself as a shipwrecked mariner and asks to be sent home. After he has refreshed himself, the queen, who has recognized the clothes he wears, learning how he obtained them, delights in her daughter's charity and prudence. Then she and her husband promise the wanderer their protection before retiring to rest.

Book VIII. At daybreak the king conducts his guest to the public square, where Minerva has summoned all the inhabitants. To this assembly Alcinous makes known that a nameless stranger bespeaks their aid, and proposes that after a banquet, where blind Demodocus will entertain them with his songs, they load the suppliant with gifts and send him home.

The projected festive meal is well under way when the bard begins singing of a quarrel between Ulysses and Achilles, strains which so vividly recall happier days that Ulysses, drawing his cloak over his head, gives way to tears. Noting this emotion, Alcinous checks the bard and proposes games. After displaying their skill in racing, wrestling, discus-throwing, etc., the contestants mockingly challenge Ulysses to give an exhibition of his proficiency in games of strength and skill. Stung by their covert taunts, the stranger casts the discus far beyond their best mark, and avers that although out of practice he is not afraid to match them in feats of strength, admitting, however, that he cannot compete with them in fleetness of foot or in the dance. His prowess in one line and frank confession of inferiority in another disarm further criticism, and the young men dance until the bard begins singing of Vulcan's stratagem to punish a faithless spouse.4

All the Phaeacians now present gifts to the stranger, who finds himself rich indeed, but who assures Nausicaa he will never forget she was the first to lend him aid. Toward the close of the festivities the blind bard sings of the wooden horse devised by Ulysses and abandoned on the shore by the retreating Greeks. Then he describes its triumphant entry into Troy, where for the first time in ten years all sleep soundly without dread of a surprise. But, while the too confident Trojans are thus resting peacefully upon their laurels, the Greeks, emerging from this wooden horse, open the gates to their comrades, and the sack of Troy begins! Because the stranger guest again shows great emotion, Alcinous begs him to relate his adventures and asks whether he has lost some relative in the war of Troy?

  Touch'd at the song, Ulysses straight resign'd
  To soft affliction all his manly mind:
  Before his eyes the purple vest he drew,
  Industrious to conceal the falling dew:
  But when the music paused, he ceased to shed
  The flowing tear, and raised his drooping head:
  And, lifting to the gods a goblet crown'd,
  He pour'd a pure libation to the ground.

Book IX. Thus invited to speak, Ulysses, after introducing himself and describing his island home, relates how, the ruin of Troy completed, he and his men left the Trojan shores. Driven by winds to Ismarus, they sacked the town, but, instead of sailing off immediately with their booty as Ulysses urged, tarried there until surprised by their foes, from whom they were glad to escape with their lives! Tossed by a tempest for many days, the Greek ships next neared the land of the Lotus-Eaters, people who feasted upon the buds and blossoms of a narcotic lotus. Sending three men ashore to reconnoitre, Ulysses vainly awaited their return; finally, mistrusting what had happened, he went in quest of them himself, only to find that having partaken of the lotus they were dead to the calls of home and ambition. Seizing these men, Ulysses conveyed them bound to his ship, and, without allowing the rest to land, sailed hastily away from those pernicious shores.

Before long he came to the land of the Cyclops, and disembarked on a small neighboring island to renew his stock of food and water. Then, unwilling to depart without having at least visited the Cyclops, he took twelve of his bravest men, a skin-bottle full of delicious wine, and set out to find Polyphemus, chief of the Cyclops. On entering the huge cave where this giant pursued his avocation of dairyman, Ulysses and his companions built a fire, around which they sat awaiting their host's return. Before long a huge one-eyed monster drove in his flocks, and, after closing the opening of his cave with a rock which no one else could move, proceeded to milk his ewes and make cheese.

It was only while at supper that he noticed Ulysses and his men, who humbly approached him as suppliants. After shrewdly questioning them to ascertain whether they were alone, believing Ulysses' tale that they were shipwrecked men, he seized and devoured two of them before he lay down to rest. Although sorely tempted to slay him while he was thus at their mercy, Ulysses refrained, knowing he and his companions would never be able to move the rock.

At dawn the giant again milked his flock, and devoured—as a relish for his breakfast—two more Greeks. Then he easily rolled aside the rock, which he replaced when he and his flock had gone out for the day, thus imprisoning Ulysses and his eight surviving men. During that long day Ulysses sharpened to a point a young pine, and, after hardening this weapon in the fire, secured by lot the helpers he needed to execute his plan. That evening Polyphemus, having finished his chores and cannibal repast, graciously accepted the wine which Ulysses offered him. Pleased with its taste, he even promised the giver a reward if he would only state his name. The wily Ulysses declaring he was called Noman, the giant facetiously promised to eat him last, before he fell into a drunken sleep. Then Ulysses and his four men, heating the pointed pine, bored out the eye of Polyphemus, who howled with pain:

  "Sudden I stir the embers, and inspire
  With animating breath the seeds of fire;
  Each drooping spirit with bold words repair,
  And urge my train the dreadful deed to dare.
  The stake now glow'd beneath the burning bed
  (Green as it was) and sparkled fiery red.
  Then forth the vengeful instrument I bring;
  With beating hearts my fellows form a ring.
  Urged by some present god, they swift let fall
  The pointed torment on his visual ball.
  Myself above them from a rising ground
  Guide the sharp stake, and twirl it round and round.
  As when a shipwright stands his workmen o'er,
  Who ply the wimble, some huge beam to bore;
  Urged on all hands it nimbly spins about,
  The grain deep-piercing till it scoops it out;
  In his broad eye so whirls the fiery wood;
  From the pierced pupil spouts the boiling blood;
  Singed are his brows; the scorching lids grow black;
  The jelly bubbles, and the fibres crack."

His fellow-Cyclops, awakened by his cries, gathered without his cave, asking what was the matter. But, hearing him vehemently howl that Noman was hurting him, they all declared he was evidently being punished by the gods and left him to his plight!

When morning came, the groaning Cyclops rolled aside the rock, standing beside it with arms outstretched to catch his prisoners should they attempt to escape. Seeing this, Ulysses tied his men under the sheep, and, clinging to the fleece of the biggest ram, had himself dragged out of the cave. Passing his hand over the backs of the sheep to make sure the strangers were not riding on them, Polyphemus recognized by touch his favorite ram, and feelingly ascribed its slow pace to sympathy with his woes.

  The master ram at last approach'd the gate,
  Charged with his wool and with Ulysses' fate.
  Him, while he pass'd, the monster blind bespoke:
  "What makes my ram the lag of all the flock?
  First thou wert wont to crop the flowery mead,
  First to the field and river's bank to lead,
  And first with stately step at evening hour
  Thy fleecy fellows usher to their bower.
  Now far the last, with pensive pace and slow
  Thou movest, as conscious of thy master's woe!
  Seest thou these lids that now unfold in vain,
  (The deed of Noman and his wicked train?)
  Oh! didst thou feel for thy afflicted lord,
  And would but fate the power of speech afford;
  Soon might'st thou tell me where in secret here
  The dastard lurks, all trembling with his fear:
  Swung round and round and dash'd from rock to rock,
  His batter'd brains should on the pavement smoke.
  No ease, no pleasure my sad heart receives,
  While such a monster as vile Noman lives."

Once out of the cave, Ulysses cut the bonds of his men, with whose aid he drove part of Polyphemus' flock on board of his ship, which he had hidden in a cove. He and his companions were scudding safely past the headland where blind Polyphemus idly sat, when Ulysses tauntingly raised his voice to make known his escape and real name. With a cry of rage, the giant flung huge masses of rock in the direction of his voice, hotly vowing his father Neptune would yet avenge his wrongs!

Book X. After leaving the island of the Cyclops, Ulysses visited Aeolus, king of the winds, and was hospitably entertained in his cave. In token of friendship and to enable Ulysses to reach home quickly, Aeolus bottled up all the contrary winds, letting loose only those which would speed him on his way. On leaving Aeolus, Ulysses so carefully guarded the skin bottle containing the adverse gales that his men fancied it must contain jewels of great price. For nine days and nights Ulysses guided the rudder, and only when the shores of Ithaca came in sight closed his eyes in sleep. This moment was seized by his crew to open the bottle, whence the captive winds escaped with a roar, stirring up a hurricane which finally drove them back to Aeolus' isle.

  "They said: and (oh cursed fate!) the thongs unbound!
  The gushing tempest sweeps the ocean round;
  Snatch'd in the whirl, the hurried navy flew,
  The ocean widen'd and the shores withdrew.
  Roused from my fatal sleep, I long debate
  If still to live, or desperate plunge to fate;
  Thus doubting, prostrate on the deck I lay,
  Till all the coward thoughts of death gave way."

On seeing them return with tattered sails, Aeolus averred they had incurred the wrath of some god and therefore drove them away from his realm. Toiling at the oar, they reached, after seven days, the harbor of the Laestrigonians, cannibal giants, from whose clutches only a few ships escaped. Sorrowing for their lost friends, the Greeks next landed in the island of Circe, where Ulysses remained with half his men by the ships, while the rest set out to renew their supplies. This party soon discovered the abode of the enchantress Circe, who, aware of their approach, had prepared a banquet and a magic drug. Enticed by her sweet voice, all the men save one sat down to her banquet, and ate so greedily that the enchantress, contemptuously waving her wand over them, bade them assume the forms of the animals they most resembled! A moment later a herd of grunting pigs surrounded her, pigs which, however, retained a distressing consciousness of their former human estate.

  Milk newly press'd, the sacred flour of wheat,
  And honey fresh, and Pramnian wines the treat:
  But venom'd was the bread, and mix'd the bowl,
  With drugs of force to darken all the soul:
  Soon in the luscious feast themselves they lost,
  And drank oblivion of their native coast.
  Instant her circling wand the goddess waves,
  To hogs transforms them, and the sty receives.
  No more was seen the human form divine;
  Head, face, and members, bristle into swine:
  Still cursed with sense, their minds remain alone,
  And their own voice affrights them when they groan.

This dire transformation was viewed with horror by the man lurking outside, who fled back to the ships, imploring Ulysses to depart. Unwilling to desert his men, Ulysses on the contrary set out for Circe's dwelling, meeting on the way thither Mercury in disguise, who gave him an herb to annul the effect of Circe's drugs and directed him how to free his companions.

Following these instructions, Ulysses entered Circe's abode, partook of the refreshments offered him, and, when she waved her wand over him, threatened to kill her unless she restored his men to their wonted forms! The terrified Circe not only complied, but detained Ulysses and his companions with her a full year. As at the end of that time the men pleaded to return home, Ulysses told his hostess he must leave. Then she informed him he must first visit the Cimmerian shore and consult the shade of the blind seer Tiresias. The prospect of such a journey greatly alarmed Ulysses, but when Circe had told him just how to proceed, he bravely set out.

Wafted by favorable winds, Ulysses' ship soon reached the country of eternal night. On landing there he dug a trench, and slew the black victims Circe had given him, and with drawn sword awaited the approach of a host of shades, among whom he recognized a man killed by accident on Circe's island, who begged for proper funeral rites. By Circe's order, Ulysses, after allowing the ghost of Tiresias to partake of the victim's blood, learned from him that, although pursued by Neptune's vengeance, he and his men would reach home safely, provided they respected the cattle of the Sun on the island of Trinacria. The seer added that all who attacked them would perish, and that, even if he should escape death and return home, he would have to slay his wife's insolent suitors before he could rest in peace.

After this had been accomplished, Ulysses was to resume his wanderings until he came to a land where the oar he carried would be mistaken for a winnowing fan. There he was to offer a propitiatory sacrifice to Neptune, after which he would live to serene old age and die peacefully among his own people. His conversation with Tiresias finished, Ulysses interviewed his mother—of whose demise he had not been aware—and conversed with the shades of sundry women noted for having borne sons to gods or to famous heroes.

Book XI. This account had been heard with breathless interest by the Phaeacians, whose king now implored Ulysses to go on. The hero then described his interview with the ghost of Agamemnon,—slain by his wife and her paramour on his return from Troy,—who predicted his safe return home, and begged for tidings of his son Orestes, of whom Ulysses knew nought. Ulysses next beheld Achilles, who, although ruler of the dead, bitterly declared he would rather be the meanest laborer on earth than monarch among shades!

  "Talk not of ruling in this dolorous gloom,
  Nor think vain words (he cried) can ease my doom.
  Rather I'd choose laboriously to bear
  A weight of woes and breathe the vital air,
  A slave to some poor hind that toils for bread,
  Than reign the sceptered monarch of the dead."

To comfort him, Ulysses described how bravely his son had fought at the taking of Troy, where he had been one of the men in the wooden horse. The only shade which refused to approach Ulysses was that of Ajax, who still resented his having won the armor of Achilles. Besides these shades, Ulysses beheld the judges of Hades and the famous culprits of Tartarus. But, terrified by the "innumerable nation of the dead" crowding around him, he finally fled in haste to his vessel, and was soon wafted back to Circe's shore.

Book XII. There Ulysses buried his dead companion and, after describing his visit to Hades, begged his hostess' permission to depart. Circe consented, warning him to beware of the Sirens, of the threatening rocks, of the monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis on either side of the Messenian Strait, and of the cattle of Trinacria, giving him minute directions how to escape unharmed from all these perils.

Morning having come, Ulysses took leave of Circe, and, on nearing the reef of the Sirens, directed his men to bind him fast to the mast, paying no heed to his gestures, after he had stopped their ears with soft wax. In this way he heard, without perishing, the Sirens' wonderful song, and it was only when it had died away in the distance and the spell ceased that his men unbound him from the mast.

  "Thus the sweet charmers warbled o'er the main;
  My soul takes wing to meet the heavenly strain;
  I give the sign, and struggle to be free:
  Swift row my mates, and shoot along the sea;
  New chains they add, and rapid urge the way,
  Till, dying off, the distant sounds decay:
  Then scudding swiftly from the dangerous ground,
  The deafen'd ears unlock'd, the chains unbound."

Not daring describe to his companions the threatened horrors of Charybdis and Scylla, Ulysses bade his steersman avoid the whirlpool, and, fully armed, prepared to brave the monster Scylla. But, notwithstanding his preparations, she snatched from his galley six men who were seen no more! Although reluctant to land on Trinacria for fear his sailors would steal the cattle of the Sun, Ulysses was constrained to do so to allow them to rest. While they were there, unfavorable winds began to blow, and continued so long that the Greeks consumed all their provisions, and, in spite of their efforts to supply their larder by hunting and fishing, began to suffer from hunger. During one of Ulysses' brief absences the men, breaking their promises, slew some of the beeves of the Sun, which although slain moved and lowed as if still alive! Undeterred by such miracles, the men feasted, but, on embarking six days later, they were overtaken by a tempest in which all perished save Ulysses. Clinging to the mast of his wrecked ship, he drifted between Charybdis and Scylla, escaping from the whirlpool only by clinging to the branches at an overhanging fig-tree. Then, tossed by the waves for nine days longer, Ulysses was finally cast on the isle of Ogygia, whence he had come directly to Phaeacia as already described.

Book XIII. Having finished this account of his ten years' wanderings, Ulysses, after banqueting with Alcinous, was conveyed with his gifts to the ship which was to take him home. Then, while he slept in the prow, the skilful Phaeacian rowers entered a sheltered Ithacan bay, where they set sleeper and gifts ashore and departed without awaiting thanks. They were about to re-enter their own port when Neptune, discovering they had taken his enemy home, struck their vessel with his trident, thus transforming it into the galley-shaped rock still seen there to-day.

3The quotations of the Odyssey are taken from Pope's translation.
4See chapter on Venus in the author's "Myths of Greece and Rome."
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