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Those men, because I would not suffer them
To steal your goods.
Did not the rascals know
I am a God, sprung from the race of heaven!
X told them so, but they bore off your things,
And ate the cheese in spite of all I said,
And carried out the Lambs—and said, moreover,
They'd pin you down with a three-cubit collar,
And pull your vitals out through your one eye.
Torture your back with stripes; then, binding you,
Throw you as ballast into the ship's hold,
And then deliver you, a slave, to move
Enormous rocks, or found a vestibule.
In truth! Nay, haste, and place in order quickly
The cooking knives, and heap upon the hearth,
And kindle it, a great faggot of wood.—
As soon as they are slaughtered, they shall fill
My belly, broiling warm from the live coals,
Or boiled and seethed within the bubbling
I am quite sick of the wild mountain game;
Of stags and lions I have gorged enough,
And I grow hungry for the flesh of men.
Nay, master, something new is very pleasant
After one tiling for ever, and of late
Very few strangers have approached our cave.
Hear, Cyclops, a plain tale on the other side.
We, wanting to buy food, came from our ship
Into the neighbourhood of your cave, and here
This old Silenus gave us in exchange
These lambs for wine, the which he took and drank,
And all by mutual compact, without force.
There is no word of truth in what he says,
For slily he was selling all your store.
II May you perish, wretch—
If I speak false!
Cyclops, I swear by Neptune who begot thee,
By mighty Triton and by Nereus old,
Calypso and the glaucous ocean Nymphs,
The sacred waves and all the race of fishes—
Be these the witnesses, my dear sweet master,
My darling little Cyclops, that I never
Gave any of your stores to these false strangers.—
If I speak false may those whom most I love,
My children, perish wretchedly!
There stop! I saw him giving these things to the strangers. If I speak false, then may my father perish, But do not thou wrong hospitality.
You lie! I swear that he is juster far
Than Rhadamanthus—I trust more in him.
But let me ask, whence have ye sailed, 0 strangers?
Who are you? and what city nourished ye?
Our race is Ithacan.—Having destroyed
The town of Troy, the tempests of the sea
Have driven us on thy land, 0 Polypheme.
What, have ye shared in the unenvied spoil
Of the false Helen, near Scamander's stream \
The same, having endured a woeful toil.
0 basest expedition! Sailed ye not
From Greece to Phrygia for one woman's sake?
'Twas the Gods' work—no mortal was in fault.
But, 0 great offspring of the Ocean King!
We pray thee and admonish thee with freedom,
That thou dost spare thy friends who visit thee,
And place no impious food within thy jaws.
For in the depths of Greece we have upreared
Temples to thy great father, which are all
His homes. The sacred bay of Tcenarus
Remains inviolate, and each dim recess
Scooped high on the Malean promontory,
And aery Suniuin's silver-veined crag,
Which divine Pallas keeps unprofaned ever,
The Gerastian asylums, and whate'er
Within wide Greece our enterprise has kept
From Phrygian contumely; and in which
You have a common care, for you inhabit
The skirts of Grecian land, under the roots
Of /Etna and its crags, spotted with fire.
Turn then to converse under human laws;
Receive us shipwrecked suppliants, and provide
Food, clothes, and fire, and hospitable gifts;
Nor, fixing upon oxen-piercing spits
Our limbs, so fill your belly and your jaws.
Priam's wide land has widowed Greece enough;
And weapon-winged murder heaped together
Enough of dead, and wives are husbandless,
And ancient women and grey fathers wail
Their childless age ;—if you should roast the rest,
And 'tis a bitter feast that you prepare,
Where then would any turn! Yet be persuaded;
Forego the lust of your jaw-bone; prefer
Pious humanity to wicked will;
Many have bought too dear their evil joys.
Let me advise you ; do not spare a morsel
Of all his flesh. If you should eat his tongue
You would becomo most eloquent, 0 Cyclops.
Wealth, my good fellow, is the wise man's God;
All other things are a pretence and boast.
What are my father's ocean promontories,
The sacred rocks whereon he dwells, to me!
Stranger, I laugh to scorn Jove's thunderbolt,
I know not that his strength is more than mine.
As to the rest I care not.—When he pours
Rain from above, I have a close pavilion
Under this rock, in which I lie supine,
Feasting on a roast calf or some wild beast,
And drinking pans of milk, and gloriously
Emulating the thunder of high heaven.
And when the Thracian wind pours down the
I wrap my body in the skins of beasts,
Kindle a fire, and bid the snow whirl on.
The earth by force, whether it will or no,
Bringing forth grass, fattens my flocks and herds,
Which, to what other God but to myself
And this great belly, first of deities,
Should I be bound to sacrifice! I well know
The wise man's only Jupiter is this,
To eat and drink during his little day,
And give himself no care. And as for those
Who complicate with laws the life of man,
I freely give them tears for their reward.
I will not cheat my soul of its delight,
Or hesitate in dining upon you :—
And that I may be quit of all demands,
These are my hospitable gifts ;—fierce fire
And yon ancestral cauldron, which o'erbubbling
Shall finely cook your miserable flesh.
Ay, ay! I have escaped the Trojan toils,
I have escaped the sea, and now I fall
Under the cruel grasp of one impious man.
0 Pallas, mistress, Goddess, sprung from Jove,
Now, now, assist me I Mightier toils than Troy
Are these ;—I totter on the chasms of peril;
And thou who inhabitest the thrones
Of the bright stars, look, hospitable Jove,
Upon this outrage of thy deity,
Otherwise bo considered as no God.
For your gaping gulf and your gullet wide
The ravine is ready on every side;
The limbs of the strangers are cooked and done,
There is boiled meat, and roast meat, and meat
from the coal, You may chop it, and tear it, and gnash it for fun, A hairy goat'B skin contains the whole. Let me but escape, and ferry me o'er The stream of your wrath to a safer shore.
The Cyclops /Etnean is cruel and bold, He murders the strangers That sit on his hearth, And dreads no avengers To rise from the earth. He roasts the men before they arc 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 uneloying,
Now feasts on the dead,
In the flesh of strangers joying!
0 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 I
Selecting two, the plumpest of the crowd,
He grasped them in his hands.—
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 fire light,
His couch of pine leaves; and he milked the e<>»»,
And pouring forth the white milk, filled a bowl
Three cubits wide and four in depth, as much
As would contain four amphonc, and liound it
With ivy wreaths; then placed upon the lire
A brazen pot to boil, and make 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 craegy 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 evo".
Stood near the Cyclops, ministering to hun;
The rest, in the recesses of the cave,
Clung to the rock like bats, bloodless with few.
When he was filled with my companions' fle-h,
He threw himself upon the ground, and sent
A loathsome exhalation from his maw.
Then a divine thought came to me. 1 filled
The cup of Maron, and 1 offered him
* I confess I do not understand this.—XaU «/ (*« jls""*
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
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 doating joy.
You who are young escape with me, and find
Bacchus your ancient friend; unsuited he
To this rude Cyclops.
0 my dearest friend, That I could see that day, and leave for ever The impious Cyclops.
Listen then what a punishment I have
For this fell monster, how secure a flight
From your hard servitude.
Oh sweeter far
Than is the music of an Asian lyre
Would be the news of Polypheme destroyed.
I>'lighted with the Bacchic drink, he goes
To call his brother Cyclops—who inhabit
A village upon iGtna not far off.
I understand: catching him when alone,
You think by some measure to despatch him,
Or thrust him from the precipice.
Ono; Nothing of that kind; my device is subtle.
CHORUS. How then? I heard of old that thou wert wise.
I will dissuade him from this plan, by saying
It were unwise to give the Cyclopscs
This precious drink, which if enjoyed alone
Would make life sweeter for a longer time.
When vanquished by the Bacchic power, he
There is a trunk of olive-wood within,
Whose point, having made sharp with this good
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 frame-work of a ship with beams,
So will I in the Cyclops' fiery eye
Turn round the brand, and dry the pupil up.
Jdy ! I am mad with joy at your device.
And then with yon, 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.
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.
Doubtless ; the brand is a great brand to hold.
Oh! I would lift a hundred waggon-loads,
If like a wasp's nest I could scoop the eye out
Of the detested Cyclops.
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.
Come! who is first, that with his hand
Will urge down the burning brand
Through the lids, and quench aud pierce
The Cyclops' eye so fiery fierce i
SEMI-CHORUS 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.
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!
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, 0 stranger, bring!
One with eyes the taireBt
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.
Listen, O Cyclops, for I am well skilled
In Bacchus, whom I gave thee of to drink.
What sort of God is Bacchus then accounted!
The greatest among men for joy of life.
I gulpt him down with very great delight.
This is a God who never injures men.
How does the God like living in a skin 1
He is content wherever he is put.
Gods should not have their body in a skin.
If he give joy, what is his skin to you 1
I hate the skin, but love the wine within.
Stay hero; now drink, and make your spirit glad.
Should I not share this liquor with my brothers >
Keep it yourself, and be more honoured so.
I were more useful, giving to my friends.
But village mirth breeds contests, broils, and blows.
When I am drunk none shall lay hands on me.—
A drunken man is better within doors.
He is a fool, who drinking loves not mirth.
But he is wise, who drunk, remains at home.
What shall I do, Silenus? Shall I stay!
Stay—for what need have you of pot companions!
Indeed this place is closely carpeted
With flowers and grass.
And in the sun-warm noon 'Tis sweet to drink. Lie down beside me now, Placing your mighty sides upon the ground.
What do you put the cup behind me for!
That no one here may touch it
Thievish one! You want to drink;—here place it in the midst. And thou, O stranger, tell how art thou called!
My name is Nobody. What favour now
Shall I receive to praise you at your hands 1
I'll feast on you the bast of your companions.
You grant your guest a fair reward, O Cyclops.
Ha! what is this! Stealing the wine, you rogue!
It was this stranger kissing me, because
I looked so beautiful.
You shall repent
For kissing the coy wine that loves you not.
By Jupiter ! you said that I am fair.
Pour out, and only give me the cup full.
How is it mixed? Let me observe.
Curse you 1 Give it me so.
Not till I see you wear That coronal, and taste the cup to you.
Thou wily traitor!
But the wine is sweet Aye, you will roar if you arc caught in dnnkinj.
See now, my Kp is clean and all my beard.
CYCLOPS. Guest, take it;—you pour out the wine for me.
The wine is well accustomed to my hand.
Pour out the wine!
I pour; only be silent.
Silence is a hard task to him who drinks.
Take it and drink it off; leave not a dreg.
Oh, that the drinker died with his own draught!
Fapai! the vine must be a sapient plant.
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.
Ho! ho! I can scarce rise. What pure delight!
The heavens and earth appear to whirl about
Confusedly. I see the throne of Jovo
And the dear 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.
Polypheme, I am the Ganymede of Jupiter.
By Jove yon are; I bore you off from Dardanus.
ULV6SE8 and the Chorus.
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
We will have courage like the adamant rock.
All things are ready for you here ; go in,
Before our father shall perceive the uoise.
Vulcan, jEtnean king! burn out with fire
The shining eye of this thy neighbouring monster!
And thou, O Sleep, nursling of gloomy night,
Descend unmixed on this God-hated beast,
And suffer not Ulysses and his comrades,
Keturning from their famous Trojan toils,
To perish by this man, who cares not either
For God or mortal ; or I needs must think
That Chance is a supreme divinity,
And things divine are subject to her power.
Soon a crab the throat will seize
Of him who feeds upon his guest,
Fire will burn his lamp-like eyes
In revenge of such a feast!
A great oak stump now is lying
In the ashes yet undying.
Come, Maron, come!
Raging let him fix the doom,
Let him tear the eyelid up,
Of the Cyclops—that his cup
May be evil!
Oh, I long to dance and revel
With sweet Bromian, long desired,
In loved ivy-wreaths attired;
Leaving this abandoned home—
Will the moment ever come?
Be silent, ye wild things! Nay, hold your peace, And keep your lips quite close; dare not to
breathe, Or spit, or e'en wink, lest ye wake the monster, Until his eye be tortured out with fire.
Nay, we are silent, and we chaw the air.
Come now, and lend a hand to the great stake
Within—it is delightfully red hot.
You then command who first should seize the stake
To burn the Cyclops' eye, that all may share
In the great enterprise.
We are too few; We cannot at this distance from the door Thrust fire into his eye.
And we just now Have become lame ; cannot move hand nor foot.
The same thing has occurred to us ;—our ancles Are sprained with standing here, I know not how.
What, sprained with standing still?
And there is dust Or ashes in our eyes, I know not whence.
Cowardly dogs! ye will not aid me, then1
With pitying my own back and my back-bone,
And with not wishing all my teeth knocked out!
This cowardice comes of itself—but stay,
I know a famous Orphic incantation
To make the brand stick of its own accord
Into tho skull of this one-eyed son of Earth.
Of old I knew ye thus by nature ; now
I know ye better.—I will use the aid