Abbildungen der Seite

sels of my comrades, and sleep, which mastered me to my hurt. But do ye help me again."

But they said, "Begone; we may not help him whom the gods hate; and hated of them thou surely art." 5 So Æolus sent him away. Then again they launched their ships and set forth, toiling wearily at the oars, and sad at heart. They came finally to the land of Circe, the daughter of the Sun, who had the art of enchantment, and here we will let Ulysses take up the tale as he does 10 in the poem.

"Two days and nights we lay upon the shore in great trouble and sorrow. On the third I took my spear and sword and climbed a hill, for I wished to see to what manner of land we had come. And having climbed it, I 15 saw the smoke rising from the palace of Circe, where it stood in the midst of a wood. Then I thought awhile; should I go straightway to the palace that I saw, or first return to my comrades on the shore? And it seemed the better plan to go to the ship and bid my comrades make 20 their midday meal, and afterwards send them to explore the place. But as I went some god took pity on me, and sent a great stag with mighty antlers across my path. The stag was going down to the river to drink, for the sun was now hot; and casting my spear at it I pierced 25 it through. And all that day we feasted on deer's flesh. and sweet wine, and at night lay down to sleep on the shore. But when the morning was come, I called my

[ocr errors]

comrades together and spake: 'I know not, friends, where we are. Only I know, having seen smoke yesterday from the hill, that there is a dwelling in this island.'

"It troubled the men much to hear this, for they thought of the Cyclops, and they wailed aloud. But I divided 5 them into two companies. I set Eurylochus over the one, and I myself took command of the other, and I shook lots in a helmet to see who should go and explore the island, and the lot of Eurylochus leaped out. So he went, and comrades twenty and two with him. And in an open 10 space in a wood they found the palace of Circe. All about were wolves and lions; yet these harmed not the men, but stood up on their hind legs, fawning upon them, as dogs fawn upon their master when he comes from his meal, because he brings the fragments with him that they 15 love. And the men were afraid. And they stood in the porch and heard the voice of Circe as she sang with a lovely voice and plied the loom. Then said Polites, who was dearest of all my comrades to me, in whom also I most trusted: 'Some one within plies a great loom, and 20 sings with a loud voice. Some goddess is she, or a woman. Let us make haste and call.'

"So they called to her, and she came out and beckoned to them that they should follow. So they went in their folly, all except Eurylochus. And she bade them sit, and 25 mixed for them red wine, and barley meal, and cheese, and honey, and mighty drugs, of which, if a man drank,

he forgot all that he loved. And when they had drunk she smote them with her wand. And lo! they had of a sudden the heads and the voices and the bristles of swine, but the heart of a man was in them still. And Circe 5 shut them in sties, and gave them acorns to eat.

"But Eurylochus fled back to the ship, bringing tidings of what had befallen his comrades. For a time he could not speak a word, so full was his heart of grief and his eyes of tears. But at last, when we had asked him 10 many questions, he told us the tale.


Thereupon I cast about my shoulder my silver-studded sword, and took my bow also, and bade him lead me by the way by which he had gone. But he caught me by both my hands, and besought me, saying: 'Take me not 15 thither against my will; for I am persuaded that thou thyself will not return again, nor bring any of thy comrades. Let us rather that remain flee, and escape death.' Then I said, 'Stay here by the ship, eating and drinking, if it be thy will, but I must go, for necessity drives.'


"And when I had come to the house, there met me Hermes of the golden wand, the messenger of the gods, in the shape of a fair youth, who said to me:

[ocr errors]

"Art thou come to rescue thy comrades that are now swine in Circe's house? Stay, I will give thee a drug 25 which shall give thee power to resist all her charms. And when she smites thee with her wand, rush upon her with thy sword, as if thou wouldst slay her. And

when she shall pray for peace, make her swear by the great oath that binds the gods that she will not harm thee.'

"Then Hermes gave me the precious herb, whose root was black, but the flower white as milk. Very 5 hard it is for mortal man to find; but to the gods all things are possible.

[ocr errors]

"Thereupon 10

Hermes departed to
Olympus, the home

of the gods, but
I went on to the
palace of the god-15
dess, much troubled
in heart. When
I came thither, I
stood in the porch
and called, and 20
Circe came and

opened the doors,
and bade me come


"Then she set me on a great chair, skillfully carved, 25 with a footstool for my feet. Afterwards she gave me drink in a cup of gold, but she had mixed in it a deadly


charm. This I drank, but was not bewitched, for the herb saved me. Then she smote me with her wand, saying: 'Go now to the sty and lie there with thy fellows.' Thereupon I drew my sword and rushed upon 5 her as though I would have slain her. Then she caught me by the knees, and cried aloud: Who art thou? What is thy race? I marvel that thou couldst drink of this drink that I have charmed, and yet take no hurt. I thought that there was no mortal man that could do so. 10 Thou must have a soul against which there is no enchantment. Verily, thou must be that Ulysses who was to come to this island as he returned from Troy, for so Hermes told me. Come, let us be friends.' Then I said to her: Nay, goddess, how can we two be friends, 15 when thou hast turned my companions into swine? I fear that thou hast deceit in thy heart, and thou wilt take me unawares, and do me a great mischief. Swear a mighty oath, even the oath by which the gods are bound, that thou wilt not harm me.'

"Then Circe swore the mighty oath, even the oath by which the gods are bound.

"After this her handmaids, who were fair women born of the springs and streams and woods, prepared a feast. One set coverlets of purple on the chairs, and 25 another brought up tables of silver to the chairs, and set on the tables baskets of gold. A third mixed sweet wine in a bowl of silver, and set thereby cups of gold; and a


« ZurückWeiter »