Page images

consumed; for there is not present such a man as Ulysses was, to avert the calamity from the house. We are by no means such [as he was] to resist them; and besides we should be both weak, and not skilled in strength. Truly would I resist them, if strength were mine. For no longer are the deeds to be endured that have been done, and no longer does my house perish honourably. Be ye yourselves indignant, and revere other neighbouring men, who dwell around: and dread the wrath of the gods, lest they should make some change, enraged at your evil deeds. I beseech you by Olympian Jove and by Themis, who both breaks up and seats the assemblies of men, withhold, my friends, and suffer me to be afflicted alone with mournful grief, if my father the good Ulysses, being hostile, has at any time done evil to the wellgreaved Grecians. Taking revenge upon me for these things, be hostile to me, and do me harm, inciting these. And it would be better for me that ye should consume my householdstuff, and my cattle. But if you should devour them, perhaps there would be a requital hereafter; for so long should we make entreaties through the city, demanding back our goods, until all shall be restored: but now you cast incurable griefs into my mind."

Thus he spoke enraged, and cast the sceptre on the earth, bursting into tears ;12 and pity possessed all the people. Here all the others were silent, nor did any one dare to answer Telemachus with bitter words; but Antinous alone in answer addressed him.

"Telemachus, of lofty speech, intolerable in spirit, what hast thou said, disgracing us! Thou wouldst wish in truth to attach blame [to us]. The suitors of the Grecians13 are not at all to blame, but thy mother, who is exceedingly skilled in craft: for it is now the third year, and the fourth is going on14 swiftly, since she deceives the mind of the Grecians in their breast. She makes all hope, and promises every man, sending messages; but her mind hankers after other things. For she planned this other deceit in her mind; having begun a

12 Literally, " lacrymas incendens." See Buttm. Lexil. p. 484, who compares To St (alfia) avd irro/ift Kal Kara pivag Jlprjac, " he made the blood stream." 11. ir. 350.

13 i. e. " the suitors who are Grecians."

14 See Loewe, who remarks that this is the only interpretation that prevents inconsistency with vs. 106, sq.


large web in her palace she wove it, slender and very large; and straightway addressed us: 'Youths, my suitors, since godlike Ulysses is dead, stay urging my marriage until I shall finish this veil, that my threads may not perish in vain, a shroud for the hero Laertes, at the time when the destructive fate of long-slumbering death shall seize him. Lest some one amongst the Grecian women be indignant against me, should he lie without a wrapper, having possessed many things.' Thus she spoke, and our proud mind was persuaded. Then during the day she wove the mighty web; but at night, when she had placed the torches near her, she unravelled it. Thus for three years, indeed, she escaped by deceit, and persuaded the Grecians. But when the fourth year15 came, and the hours advanced on, then indeed some one of the women, who knew it well, told it; and we found her unravelling the splendid web; so that she finished it of necessity, although unwilling. Thus the suitors answer thee, that thou mayest thyself know it in thy mind, and that all the Greeks may know it. Send away your mother, and bid her marry whomsoever her father bids, and she herself pleases. But if she shall for a long time further annoy the sons of the Grecians, caring in mind for those things, which Minerva has given her in abundance, to understand beautiful works, and [to possess] a good disposition, and stratagems, such as we have never heard anyone, even of the ancients, [possessed,15] of those, who have been heretofore fair-haired Grecian women,17 Tyro, and Alcmene, and fair-haired Mycene; none of these knew the same arts of Penelope. But this indeed she has not planned rightly. For then they will consume thy livelihood and possessions, so long as.she has this mind, which the gods have now placed in her breast; for herself indeed she obtains great glory, but for thee a regret for much sustinence.18 But we will neither go to our employments, nor any where else, before she marries whomsoever of the Grecians she chooses."

Him prudent Telemachus addressed in turn: "O Antinous, it is in no wise possible [for me] to thrust out of my house

15 i. e. the present one, of which he is now speaking.

16 With riva we must supply a verb, the sense of which is implied in the preceding iiriaraoOai.

17 Inverted, for "of those beautiful Grecian women, who were heretofore."

18 i. e. for its loss.

against her will her, who brought me forth, who nourished19 me; but my father is either alive or dead in some other part of the earth: but it would be a sad thing that I should pay20 much to Icarius, if I should myself of my own accord send away my mother. For I shall suffer evil from her father,21 and God will give other [evils], when my mother, departing from the house, shall invoke the hateful Furies; and there will be reproach upon me from men. So I never will utter this word. But if your mind is indignant at these things, go out of my house, and prepare other feasts, consuming your own possessions, taking turns at each other's houses. But if this seems to you more proper and better, to destroy with impunity the livelihood of one man, waste it, but I will call upon the immortal gods; If Jove ever will grant that deeds meet retribution, then shall ye perish unrevenged within the house."

Thus spoke Telemachus ; but far-seeing Jove sent thither22 for him two eagles to fly from aloft from the top of a mountain. They twain for some time flew with the gales of the wind, near one another, stretching out with their wings; but when they came to the middle of the noisy assembly, there turning round they shook their dense pinions, and looked over the heads of all, and portended23 destruction: for tearing their cheeks and their necks around with their talons, they rushed on the right hand through their24 houses and city. But they were astonished at the birds, when they beheld them with their eyes, and considered in their mind what things were about to be brought to pass. And the old hero Halitherses, the son of Mastor, addressed them, for he alone excelled those of his age in knowing [the omens of] birds and

"Eustathius observes, etVi yap fDireptc, at Tixtovoi /iiv, Ovx IKOptyovm St, dXX' aJc etTtXv £ieri0ea<ri rate Tiorivoiq.

20 It was a law, that when a man sent a woman away from his house, he was to pay a fine to her father and relations. Scholiast. Nitzsch and Loewe, however, understand "aliqua injuria Icario illatee expiatio," which seems more simple than to restrict airortvuv to the mere notion of paying a fine.

31 i. e. Icarius. See Loewe.

M " irooeiiKe, non tam praemisit, quam illuc misit." Loewe. a See Buttm. Lexil. p. 445.

M i. e. those of the Ithacans. But we find " domos avium," in Lucret. i. 19.

telling things fated; who being kindly disposed, harangued and addressed them [thus]:

"Hear now from me, Ithacans, what I shall say; and I shall speak these things especially setting them forth to the suitors; for a great calamity hangs over them. For Ulysses will not be long away from his friends, but being already some where near at hand, is planning slaughter and death to all these present: and there will be evil upon many of us also, who inhabit Ithaca well situated towards the west.25 But let us first consider well, how we may check them,26 and let them cease; for this will soon27 be better for them. For I do not prophesy being unskilled, but well understanding. For I say that all the things have been fulfilled unto him, as I foretold him, when the Argives embarked for Troy,28 and crafty Ulysses went with them. I said that he, having suffered many ills, and having lost all his companions, would come home unrecognised by all, in the twentieth year. All these things then are now being brought to pass."

But him Eurymachus, son of Polybus, in turn addressed: "O old man, come now, go home and prophesy to thy children, lest by chance they should suffer some evil hereafter: but I am a much better one than you to prophesy in these things. Many birds indeed fly about under the beams of the sun, nor are all ominous; but Ulysses has perished afar off; as would that thou also hadst perished with him: thou wouldst not have talked so much, uttering oracles, nor wouldst thou have thus excited the enraged Telemachus, expecting a present for thy family, if he should give thee any. But I declare to thee, and this shall be performed: If thou, who art acquainted with many and ancient things, shalt excite a younger man to be angry, deceiving him with thy words, to him first it will be more unpleasant, [and thou wilt not be able to effect at all on account of those things :29] but we will impose a fine upon thee, old man, which thou wilt be indignant in thy mind at paying; and there will be bitter grief for thee. But I my


35 But Buttmau, Lexil. p. 223, follows Eustathius, deriving ivStUXog from iv and eJXij, with S inserted, = apricus, " sunny."

M i. e. the suitors. Others wrongly refer Karairavoofitv to tcaxov.

27 But dtpap refers to iravioOwv = statim enim quiescere ipsis utilius est. Loewe.

28 Cf. Od. A. 210, sq. 19 A suspected verse.

self will above all suggest to Telemachus [thus]. Let him command his mother to return to her father's; but they30 will make a marriage for her, and will prepare a very large dowry, such as ought to accompany a beloved daughter. For I do not think that the sons of the Grecians will rest from their troublesome suit before [this]; since we fear no one at all, not even Telemachus, although he is a man of many words. Nor do we regard the oracle, which thou, old man, speakest in vain, and thou art still more hated. But his property will be again evilly consumed, nor will it ever [again] be equal [to what it was],31 as long as she puts off the Grecians with respect to her marriage: but we, waiting all our days, contend on account of her excellence, nor do we go after others, whom it is proper for each to marry."

But him did the prudent Telemachus answer in turn: "Eurymachus, and others, as many as [are] illustrious suitors, I no longer beseech of you, nor speak these things: for now the gods and all the Grecians know them. But come, give me a swift ship and twenty companions, who may make way32 with me to different33 places. For I am going to Sparta and to sandy Pylos, to make inquiries of the return of my longabsent father, if any one of mortals could tell me, or I may hear some report from Jove,34 which especially brings notice to men. If I should hear of the life and return of my father, then, although afflicted, I would still endure for a year. But if I should hear that he is dead and no longer existing, then indeed, returning to my dear paternal land, I will build35 a sepulchre for him, and will perform very many funeral rites,

30 i. e. ol d/*0i rov irorepo. Cf. vs. 53, with Loewe's note. It is a mistake to refer it to the suitors.

31 i. e. we will go on plundering it. See Loewe's note.

32 See Buttmann Lexil. p. 492, where Fislake compares the German "einen toeg machen" "to make a way," and the French, " il fait une partie du chemin."

31 Literally, "here and there."

M See the note on i. 282, where the same expression occurs.

35 More literally, " pile, heap up," as the tombs were built like mounds or barrows. Cf. II. xxiii. 256; xiv. 114; Od. iii. 258. Compare Tv/ifiov oxBog in jEsch. Choeph. 4. "aggeritur tumulo tellus," Virg. jEn. iii. 62. See also my note on Eurip. Alcest. vol. i. p. 240, ed. Bohn. xtvia seems, however, primarily to indicate the scattering of earth upon a corpse, to prevent pollution, and as the first part of funeral rites. Hor. Od. i. 28; Virg. jEn. vi. 365.

« PreviousContinue »