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PREFACE. Sæmund, son of Sigfus, the reputed collector of the poems bearing his name, which is sometimes also called the Elder, and the Poetic, Edda, was of a highly distinguished family, being descended in a direct line from King Harald Hildetonn. He was born at Oddi, his paternal dwelling in the south of Iceland, between the years 1054 and 1057, or about 50 years after the establishment by law of the Christian religion in that island;... more...

ARGUMENT In a council of the Gods, Minerva calls their attention to Ulysses, still a wanderer. They resolve to grant him a safe return to Ithaca. Minerva descends to encourage Telemachus, and in the form of Mentes directs him in what manner to proceed. Throughout this book the extravagance and profligacy of the suitors are occasionally suggested. Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famedAnd genius versatile, who far and wideA... more...

ARGUMENT. Apollo, enraged at the insult offered to his priest, Chryses, sends a pestilence upon the Greeks. A council is called, and Agamemnon, being compelled to restore the daughter of Chryses, whom he had taken from him, in revenge deprives Achilles of Hippodameia. Achilles resigns her, but refuses to aid the Greeks in battle, and at his request, his mother, Thetis, petitions Jove to honour her offended son at the expense of the Greeks.... more...

BOOK I. Achilles sing, O Goddess! Peleus' son;His wrath pernicious, who ten thousand woesCaused to Achaia's host, sent many a soulIllustrious into Ades premature,And Heroes gave (so stood the will of Jove)5To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey,When fierce dispute had separated onceThe noble Chief Achilles from the sonOf Atreus, Agamemnon, King of men. Who them to strife impell'd? What power divine?10Latona's son and Jove's. For he,... more...

INTRODUCTION The impersonal character of the Homeric poems has left us entirely in the dark as to the birthplace, the history, and the date, of their author. So complete is the darkness which surrounds the name of Homer that his very existence has been disputed, and his works have been declared to be an ingenious compilation, drawn from the productions of a multitude of singers. It is not my intention here to enter into the endless and barren... more...


The Nemæan Lion.   By Juno's hate urged on, Alcmena's Son,At sixteen years his noble toils begun.Nemæa's dreadful Lion first he sought,The savage slew & to Eurystheus brought,From his huge sides his shaggy spoils he tore,Around him threw, & e'er in triumph wore. 2 The Lernæan Hydra.   On Lerna's pest th' undaunted Hero rushes,With massy club her hundred heads he crushes,In vain. One crush'd, two... more...

Book I THE GODS IN COUNCIL—MINERVA'S VISIT TO ITHACA—THE CHALLENGE FROM TELEMACHUS TO THE SUITORS. Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he... more...

by Homer
INTRODUCTION Scepticism is as much the result of knowledge, as knowledge is of scepticism. To be content with what we at present know, is, for the most part, to shut our ears against conviction; since, from the very gradual character of our education, we must continually forget, and emancipate ourselves from, knowledge previously acquired; we must set aside old notions and embrace fresh ones; and, as we learn, we must be daily unlearning... more...

1. Origin of the Saga All the Aryan peoples have had their heroic age, the achievements of which form the basis of later saga. For the Germans this was the period of the Migrations, as it is called, in round numbers the two hundred years from 400 to 600, at the close of which we find them settled in those regions which they have, generally speaking, occupied ever since. During these two centuries kaleidoscopic changes had been taking place in... more...

Medusa How did Medusa do her hair?The question fills me with despair.It must have caused her sore distressThat head of curling snakes to dress.Whenever after endless toilShe coaxed it finally to coil,The music of a Passing BandWould cause each separate hair to standOn end and sway and writhe and spit,—She couldn't "do a thing with it."And, being woman and awareOf such disaster to her hair,What could she do but petrifyAll whom she met,... more...