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The Odyssey of Homer

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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 Wand’rer, after Ilium overthrown,Discover’d various cities, and the mindAnd manners learn’d of men, in lands remote.He num’rous woes on Ocean toss’d, endured,Anxious to save himself, and to conductHis followers to their home; yet all his carePreserved them not; they perish’d self-destroy’dBy their own fault; infatuate! who devoured 10The oxen of the all-o’erseeing Sun,And, punish’d for that crime, return’d no more.Daughter divine of Jove, these things record,As it may please thee, even in our ears.The rest, all those who had perdition ’scapedBy war or on the Deep, dwelt now at home;Him only, of his country and his wifeAlike desirous, in her hollow grotsCalypso, Goddess beautiful, detainedWooing him to her arms. But when, at length, 20(Many a long year elapsed) the year arrivedOf his return (by the decree of heav’n)To Ithaca, not even then had he,  Although surrounded by his people, reach’dThe period of his suff’rings and his toils.Yet all the Gods, with pity moved, beheldHis woes, save Neptune; He alone with wrathUnceasing and implacable pursuedGodlike Ulysses to his native shores.But Neptune, now, the Æthiopians fought, 30(The Æthiopians, utmost of mankind,These Eastward situate, those toward the West)Call’d to an hecatomb of bulls and lambs.There sitting, pleas’d he banqueted; the GodsIn Jove’s abode, meantime, assembled all,’Midst whom the Sire of heav’n and earth began.For he recall’d to mind Ægisthus slainBy Agamemnon’s celebrated sonOrestes, and retracing in his thoughtThat dread event, the Immortals thus address’d. 40Alas! how prone are human-kind to blameThe Pow’rs of Heav’n! From us, they say, proceedThe ills which they endure, yet more than FateHerself inflicts, by their own crimes incur.So now Ægisthus, by no force constrainedOf Destiny, Atrides’ wedded wifeTook to himself, and him at his returnSlew, not unwarn’d of his own dreadful endBy us: for we commanded Hermes downThe watchful Argicide, who bade him fear 50Alike, to slay the King, or woo the Queen.For that Atrides’ son Orestes, soonAs grown mature, and eager to assumeHis sway imperial, should avenge the deed.So Hermes spake, but his advice moved notÆgisthus, on whose head the whole arrearOf vengeance heap’d, at last, hath therefore fall’n.Whom answer’d then Pallas cærulean-eyed.Oh Jove, Saturnian Sire, o’er all supreme!And well he merited the death he found; 60So perish all, who shall, like him, offend....