Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

That sit on his hearth,
And dreads no avengers

To rise from the earth.

He roasts the men before they are cold,
He snatches them broiling from the coal,
And from the cauldron pulls them whole,
And minces their flesh and gnaws their bone
With his cursed teeth, till all be gone.

Farewell, foul pavilion!

Farewell, rites of dread!
The Cyclops vermilion,
With slaughter uncloying,

Now feasts on the dead,
In the flesh of strangers joying!

Uly. O Jupiter! I saw within the cave
Horrible things; deeds to be feigned in words,
But not believed as being done.

Chorus. What sawest thou the impious Polypheme Feasting upon your loved companions now?

Uly. Selecting two, the plumpest of the crowd, He grasped them in his hands.

Chorus.

[ocr errors]

Unhappy man

Uly. Soon as we came into this craggy place,
Kindling a fire, he cast on the broad hearth
The knotty limbs of an enormous oak,

Three waggon loads at least, and then he strewed
Upon the ground, beside the red firelight,
His couch of pine leaves; and he milked the cows,
And pouring forth the white milk, filled a bowl
Three cubits wide and four in depth, as much
As would contain four amphors, and bound it
With ivy wreaths; then placed upon the fire
A brazen pot to boil, and made red hot
The points of spits, not sharpened with the sickle,
But with a fruit-tree bough, and with the jaws
Of axes for Etnean slaughterings.*

And when this God-abandoned cook of hell

Had made all ready, he seized two of us

And killed them in a kind of measured manner;
For he flung one against the brazen rivets

Of the huge cauldron, and seized the other
By the foot's tendon, and knocked out his brains
Upon the sharp edge of the craggy stone:
Then peeled his flesh with a great cooking knife
And put him down to roast. The other's limbs
He chopped into the cauldron to be boiled.
And I, with the tears raining from my eyes,
Stood near the Cyclops, ministering to him;
The rest, in the recesses of the cave,

Clung to the rock like bats, bloodless with fear.
When he was filled with my companion's flesh,

* I confess I do not understand this.-Note of the Author.

He threw himself upon the ground and sent
A loathsome exhalation from his maw.
Then a divine thought came to me.
The cup of Maron, and I offered him

I filled

To taste, and said :-"Child of the Ocean God,
Behold what drink the vines of Greece produce,
The exultation and the joy of Bacchus.'
He, satiated with his unnatural food,

Received it, and at one draught drank it off,

And taking my hand, praised me :-"Thou hast given
A sweet draught after a sweet meal, dear guest."
And I perceiving that it pleased him, filled
Another cup, well knowing that the wine

Would wound him soon and take a sure revenge.
And the charm fascinated him, and I
Plied him cup after cup, until the drink
Had warmed his entrails, and he sang aloud

In concert with my wailing fellow-seamen

A hideous discord-and the cavern rung.

I have stolen out, so that if you will
You may achieve my safety and your own.
But say, do you desire, or not, to fly
This uncompanionable man, and dwell
As was your wont among the Grecian Nymphs
Within the fanes of your beloved God?
Your father there within agrees to it,
But he is weak and overcome with wine,
And caught as if with birdlime by the cup,
He claps his wings and crows in doting joy.
You who are young escape with me, and find
Bacchus your ancient friend; unsuited he
To this rude Cyclops.

Chorus.

Oh, my dearest friend, That I could see that day, and leave for ever

The impious Cyclops.

Uly. Listen, then, what a punishment I have For this fell monster, how secure a flight

From your hard servitude.

[blocks in formation]

Than is the music of an Asian lyre

Would be the news of Polypheme destroyed.

Uly. Delighted with the Bacchic drink he goes

To call his brother Cyclops-who inhabit

A village upon Etna not far off.

Chorus. I understand, catching him when alone

You think by some measure to despatch him,

Or thrust him from the precipice.

Uly.

O no;

Nothing of that kind; my device is subtle.

Chorus. How then? I heard of old that thou wert wise. Uly. I will dissuade him from this plan, by saying

It were unwise to give the Cyclopses

This precious drink, which if enjoyed alone

Would make life sweeter for a longer time.

When vanquished by the Bacchic power, he sleeps,

There is a trunk of olive wood within,

Whose point having made sharp with this good sword

I will conceal in fire, and when I see
It is alight, will fix it, burning yet,
Within the socket of the Cyclops' eye
And melt it out with fire-as when a man
Turns by its handle a great auger round,
Fitting the framework of a ship with beams,
So will I, in the Cyclops' fiery eye

Turn round the brand and dry the pupil up.

Chorus. Joy! I am mad with joy at your device.

Uly. And then with you, my friends, and the old man, We'll load the hollow depth of our black ship,

And row with double strokes from this dread shore.
Chorus. May I, as in libations to a God,

Share in the blinding him with the red brand?

I would have some communion in his death.

Uly. Doubtless: the brand is a great brand to hold. Chorus. Oh! I would lift an hundred waggon loads, If like a wasp's nest I could scoop the eye out Of the detested Cyclops.

Uly.

Silence now!

Ye know the close device-and when I call,
Look ye obey the masters of the craft.

I will not save myself and leave behind
My comrades in the cave: I might escape
Having got clear from that obscure recess,
But 'twere unjust to leave in jeopardy

The dear companions who sailed here with me.

CHORUS.

Come! who is first, that with his hand
Will urge down the burning brand

Through the lids, and quench and pierce

The Cyclops' eye so fiery fierce ?

SEMICHORUS I.

Song within.

Listen! listen! he is coming,
A most hideous discord humming,
Drunken, museless, awkward, yelling,
Far along his rocky dwelling;

Let us with some comic spell

Teach the yet unteachable.

By all means he must be blinded,
If my counsel be but minded.

SEMICHORUS II.

Happy those made odorous

With the dew which sweet grapes weep,

To the village hastening thus,

Seek the vines that soothe to sleep.

Having first embraced thy friend,

There in luxury without end,
With the strings of yellow hair,
Of thy voluptuous leman fair,
Shalt sit playing on a bed!
Speak what door is opened?

CYCLOPS.

Ha ha ha! I'm full of wine,
Heavy with the joy divine,
With the young feast oversated,
Like a merchant's vessel freighted
To the water's edge, my crop
Is laden to the gullet's top.

The fresh meadow grass of spring
Tempts me forth thus wandering

To my brothers on the mountains,

Who shall share the wine's sweet fountains.
Bring the cask, O stranger, bring!

CHORUS.

One with eyes the fairest
Cometh from his dwelling;
Some one loves thee, rarest,
Bright beyond my telling.
In thy grace thou shinest
Like some nymph divinest,
In her caverns dewy:

All delights pursue thee,

Soon pied flowers, sweet-breathing,

Shall thy head be wreathing.

Uly. Listen, O Cyclops, for I am well skilled

In Bacchus, whom I gave thee of to drink.

Cyc. What sort of God is Bacchus then accounted?
Uly. The greatest among men for joy of life.
Cyc. I gulped him down with very great delight.
Úly. This is a God who never injures men.
Cyc. How does the God like living in a skin?
Úly. He is content wherever he is put.
Cyc. Gods should not have their body in a skin.
Uly. If he gives joy, what is his skin to you?
Cyc. I hate the skin, but love the wine within.
Úly. Stay here, now drink, and make your spirit glad.
Cyc. Should I not share this liquor with my brothers?
Uly. Keep it yourself, and be more honoured so.

Cyc. I were more useful, giving to my friends.

Uly. But village mirth breeds contests, broils, and blows.

Cyc. When I am drunk none shall lay hands on me.

Uly. A drunken man is better within doors.

Cyc. He is a fool, who drinking, loves not mirth.

Uly. But he is wise, who drunk, remains at home.

Cyc. What shall I do, Silenus? Shall I stay?

Sil. Stay-for what need have you of pot companions? Cyc. Indeed this place is closely carpeted

With flowers and grass.

Sil. And in the sun-warm noon

"Iis sweet to drink. Lie down beside me now,

Placing your mighty sides upon the ground.

Thievish one!

Cyc. What do you put the cup behind me for?
Sil. That no one here may touch it.
Сус.
You want to drink;-here place it in the midst.
And thou, O stranger, tell how art thou called?

Uly. My name is Nobody.

What favour now

Shall I receive to praise you at your hands?

Cyc. I'll feast on you the last of your companions.
Uly. You grant your guest a fair reward, O Cyclops.
Cyc. Ha! what is this? Stealing the wine, you rogue!
Sil. It was this stranger kissing me because

I looked so beautiful.

You shall repent

Сус.
For kissing the coy wine that loves you not.
Sil. By Jupiter! you said that I am fair.

Cyc. Pour out, and only give me the cup full.
Sil. How is it mixed? let me observe.
Cyc.

[blocks in formation]

Curse you!

But the wine is sweet.

Ay, you will roar if you are caught in drinking.
Cyc. See now, my lip is clean and all my beard.
Sil. Now put your elbow right and drink again.
As you see me drink- *

Cyc. How now?

Sil.

Ye Gods, what a delicious gulp! Cyc. Guest, take it;-you pour out the wine for me. Üly. The wine is well accustomed to my hand. Cyc. Pour out the wine! Uly. I pour; only be silent. Cyc. Silence is a hard task to him who drinks. Úly. Take it and drink it off; leave not a dreg. O, that the drinker died with his own draught!

Cyc. Papai! the vine must be a sapient plant. Úly. If you drink much after a mighty feast, Moistening your thirsty maw, you will sleep well; If you leave aught, Bacchus will dry you up.

Cyc Ho! ho! I can scarce rise. What pure delight! The heavens and earth appear to whirl about

Confusedly. I see the throne of Jove
And the clear congregation of the Gods.
Now if the Graces tempted me to kiss

I would not, for the loveliest of them all

I would not leave this Ganymede.

[merged small][ocr errors]

am the Ganymede of Jupiter.

Polypheme,

Cyc. By Jove you are; I bore you off from Dardanus.

ULYSSES and the CHORUS.

Uly. Come boys of Bacchus, children of high race, This man within is folded up in sleep,

And soon will vomit flesh from his fell maw;

The brand under the shed thrusts out its smoke,

No preparation needs, but to burn out

The monster's eye;-but bear yourselves like men.

Chorus. We will have courage like the adamant rock,

All things are ready for you here; go in,

Before our father shall perceive the noise.

Uly. Vulcan, Etnean king! burn out with fire The shining eye of this thy neighbouring monster !

« AnteriorContinua »