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05-27-2007, 01:21 AM
Book IX

Odysseus relates, first, what befell him amongst the
Cicones at Ismarus; secondly, amongst the Lotophagi;
thirdly, how he was used by the Cyclops Polyphemus.

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 'King
Alcinous, most notable of all the people, verily it is a
good thing to list to a minstrel such as this one, like to
the gods in voice. Nay, as for me, I say that there is no
more gracious or perfect delight than when a whole people
makes merry, and the men sit orderly at feast in the halls
and listen to the singer, and the tables by them are laden
with bread and flesh, and a wine-bearer drawing the wine
serves it round and pours it into the cups. This seems to
me well-nigh the fairest thing in the world. But now thy
heart was inclined to ask of my grievous troubles, that I
may mourn for more exceeding sorrow. What then shall I tell
of first, what last, for the gods of heaven have given me
woes in plenty? Now, first, will I tell my name, that ye
too may know it, and that I, when I have escaped the
pitiless day, may yet be your host, though my home is in a
far country. I am ODYSSEUS, SON OF LAERTES, who am in men's
minds for all manner of wiles, and my fame reaches unto
heaven. And I dwell in clear-seen Ithaca, wherein is a
mountain Neriton, with trembling forest leaves, standing
manifest to view, and many islands lie around, very near
one to the other, Dulichium and Same, and wooded Zacynthus.
Now Ithaca lies low, furthest up the sea-line toward the
darkness, but those others face the dawning and the sun: a
rugged isle, but a good nurse of noble youths; and for
myself I can see nought beside sweeter than a man's own
country. Verily Calypso, the fair goddess, would fain have
kept me with her in her hollow caves, longing to have me
for her lord; and likewise too, guileful Circe of Aia,
would have stayed me in her halls, longing to have me for
her lord. But never did they prevail upon my heart within
my breast. So surely is there nought sweeter than a man's
own country and his parents, even though he dwell far off
in a rich home, in a strange land, away from them that
begat him. But come, let me tell thee too of the troubles
of my journeying, which Zeus laid on me as I came from

'The wind that bare me from Ilios brought me nigh to the
Cicones, even to Ismarus, whereupon I sacked their city and
slew the people. And from out the city we took their wives
and much substance, and divided them amongst us, that none
through me might go lacking his proper share. Howbeit,
thereafter I commanded that we should flee with a swift
foot, but my men in their great folly hearkened not. There
was much wine still a drinking, and still they slew many
flocks of sheep by the seashore and kine with trailing feet
and shambling gait. Meanwhile the Cicones went and raised a
cry to other Cicones their neighbours, dwelling inland, who
were more in number than they and braver withal: skilled
they were to fight with men from chariots, and when need
was on foot. So they gathered in the early morning as thick
as leaves and flowers that spring in their season-- yea and
in that hour an evil doom of Zeus stood by us, ill-fated
men, that so we might be sore afflicted. They set their
battle in array by the swift ships, and the hosts cast at
one another with their bronze-shod spears. So long as it
was morn and the sacred day waxed stronger, so long we
abode their assault and beat them off, albeit they
outnumbered us. But when the sun was wending to the time of
the loosing of cattle, then at last the Cicones drave in
the Achaeans and overcame them, and six of my
goodly-greaved company perished from each ship: but the
remnant of us escaped death and destiny.

'Thence we sailed onward stricken at heart, yet glad as men
saved from death, albeit we had lost our dear companions.
Nor did my curved ships move onward ere we had called
thrice on each of those our hapless fellows, who died at
the hands of the Cicones on the plain. Now Zeus, gatherer
of the clouds, aroused the North Wind against our ships
with a terrible tempest, and covered land and sea alike
with clouds, and down sped night from heaven. Thus the
ships were driven headlong, and their sails were torn to
shreds by the might of the wind. So we lowered the sails
into the hold, in fear of death, but rowed the ships
landward apace. There for two nights and two days we lay
continually, consuming our hearts with weariness and
sorrow. But when the fair-tressed Dawn had at last brought
the full light of the third day, we set up the masts and
hoisted the white sails and sat us down, while the wind and
the helmsman guided the ships. And now I should have come
to mine own country all unhurt, but the wave and the stream
of the sea and the North Wind swept me from my course as I
was doubling Malea, and drave me wandering past Cythera.

'Thence for nine whole days was I borne by ruinous winds
over the teeming deep; but on the tenth day we set foot on
the land of the lotus-eaters, who eat a flowery food. So we
stepped ashore and drew water, and straightway my company
took their midday meal by the swift ships. Now when we had
tasted meat and drink I sent forth certain of my company to
go and make search what manner of men they were who here
live upon the earth by bread, and I chose out two of my
fellows, and sent a third with them as herald. Then
straightway they went and mixed with the men of the
lotus-eaters, and so it was that the lotus-eaters devised
not death for our fellows, but gave them of the lotus to
taste. Now whosoever of them did eat the honey-sweet fruit
of the lotus, had no more wish to bring tidings nor to come
back, but there he chose to abide with the lotus-eating
men, ever feeding on the lotus, and forgetful of his
homeward way. Therefore I led them back to the ships
weeping, and sore against their will, and dragged them
beneath the benches, and bound them in the hollow barques.
But I commanded the rest of my well-loved company to make
speed and go on board the swift ships, lest haply any
should eat of the lotus and be forgetful of returning.
Right soon they embarked, and sat upon the benches, and
sitting orderly they smote the grey sea water with their

'Thence we sailed onward stricken at heart. And we came to
the land of the Cyclopes, a froward and a lawless folk, who
trusting to the deathless gods plant not aught with their
hands, neither plough: but, behold, all these things spring
for them in plenty, unsown and untilled, wheat, and barley,
and vines, which bear great clusters of the juice of the
grape, and the rain of Zeus gives them increase. These have
neither gatherings for council nor oracles of law, but they
dwell in hollow caves on the crests of the high hills, and
each one utters the law to his children and his wives, and
they reck not one of another.

'Now there is a waste isle stretching without the harbour
of the land of the Cyclopes, neither nigh at hand nor yet
afar off, a woodland isle, wherein are wild goats
unnumbered, for no path of men scares them, nor do hunters
resort thither who suffer hardships in the wood, as they
range the mountain crests. Moreover it is possessed neither
by flocks nor by ploughed lands, but the soil lies unsown
evermore and untilled, desolate of men, and feeds the
bleating goats. For the Cyclopes have by them no ships with
vermilion cheek, not yet are there shipwrights in the
island, who might fashion decked barques, which should
accomplish all their desire, voyaging to the towns of men
(as ofttimes men cross the sea to one another in ships),
who might likewise have made of their isle a goodly
settlement. Yea, it is in no wise a sorry land, but would
bear all things in their season; for therein are soft water
meadows by the shores of the grey salt sea, and there the
vines know no decay, and the land is level to plough;
thence might they reap a crop exceeding deep in due season,
for verily there is fatness beneath the soil. Also there is
a fair haven, where is no need of moorings, either to cast
anchor or to fasten hawsers, but men may run the ship on
the beach, and tarry until such time as the sailors are
minded to be gone, and favourable breezes blow. Now at the
head of the harbour is a well of bright water issuing from
a cave, and round it are poplars growing. Thither we
sailed, and some god guided us through the night, for it
was dark and there was no light to see, a mist lying deep
about the ships, nor did the moon show her light from
heaven, but was shut in with clouds. No man then beheld
that island, neither saw we the long waves rolling to the
beach, till we had run our decked ships ashore. And when
our ships were beached, we took down all their sails, and
ourselves too stept forth upon the strand of the sea, and
there we fell into sound sleep and waited for the bright

'So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, in
wonder at the island we roamed over the length thereof: and
the Nymphs, the daughters of Zeus, lord of the aegis,
started the wild goats of the hills, that my company might
have wherewith to sup. Anon we took to us our curved bows
from out the ships and long spears, and arrayed in three
bands we began shooting at the goats; and the god soon gave
us game in plenty. Now twelve ships bare me company, and to
each ship fell nine goats for a portion, but for me alone
they set ten apart.

'Thus we sat there the livelong day until the going down of
the sun, feasting on abundant flesh and on sweet wine. For
the red wine was not yet spent from out the ships, but
somewhat was yet therein, for we had each one drawn off
large store thereof in jars, when we took the sacred
citadel of the Cicones. And we looked across to the land of
the Cyclopes, who dwell nigh, and to the smoke, and to the
voice of the men, and of the sheep and of the goats. And
when the sun had sunk and darkness had come on, then we
laid us to rest upon the sea-beach. So soon as early Dawn
shone forth, the rosy-fingered, then I called a gathering
of my men, and spake among them all:

'"Abide here all the rest of you, my dear companions; but I
will go with mine own ship and my ship's company, and make
proof of these men, what manner of folk they are, whether
froward, and wild, and unjust, or hospitable and of
god-fearing mind."

'So I spake, and I climbed the ship's side, and bade my
company themselves to mount, and to loose the hawsers. So
they soon embarked and sat upon the benches, and sitting
orderly smote the grey sea water with their oars. Now when
we had come to the land that lies hard by, we saw a cave on
the border near to the sea, lofty and roofed over with
laurels, and there many flocks of sheep and goats were used
to rest. And about it a high outer court was built with
stones, deep bedded, and with tall pines and oaks with
their high crown of leaves. And a man was wont to sleep
therein, of monstrous size, who shepherded his flocks alone
and afar, and was not conversant with others, but dwelt
apart in lawlessness of mind. Yea, for he was a monstrous
thing and fashioned marvellously, nor was he like to any
man that lives by bread, but like a wooded peak of the
towering hills, which stands out apart and alone from

'Then I commanded the rest of my well-loved company to
tarry there by the ship, and to guard the ship, but I chose
out twelve men, the best of my company, and sallied forth.
Now I had with me a goat-skin of the dark wine and sweet
which Maron, son of Euanthes, had given me, the priest of
Apollo, the god that watched over Ismarus. And he gave it,
for that we had protected him with his wife and child
reverently; for he dwelt in a thick grove of Phoebus
Apollo. And he made me splendid gifts; he gave me seven
talents of gold well wrought, and he gave me a mixing bowl
of pure silver, and furthermore wine which he drew off in
twelve jars in all, sweet wine unmingled, a draught divine;
nor did any of his servants or of his handmaids in the
house know thereof, but himself and his dear wife and one
housedame only. And as often as they drank that red wine
honey sweet, he would fill one cup and pour it into twenty
measures of water, and a marvellous sweet smell went up
from the mixing bowl: then truly it was no pleasure to

'With this wine I filled a great skin, and bare it with me,
and corn too I put in a wallet, for my lordly spirit
straightway had a boding that a man would come to me, a
strange man, clothed in mighty strength, one that knew not
judgment and justice. {*}

{* Literally, knowing neither dooms, nor ordinances of

'Soon we came to the cave, but we found him not within; he
was shepherding his fat flocks in the pastures. So we went
into the cave, and gazed on all that was therein. The
baskets were well laden with cheeses, and the folds were
thronged with lambs and kids; each kind was penned by
itself, the firstlings apart, and the summer lambs apart,
apart too the younglings of the flock. Now all the vessels
swam with whey, the milk-pails and the bowls, the
well-wrought vessels whereinto he milked. My company then
spake and besought me first of all to take of the cheeses
and to return, and afterwards to make haste and drive off
the kids and lambs to the swift ships from out the pens,
and to sail over the salt sea water. Howbeit I hearkened
not (and far better would it have been), but waited to see
the giant himself, and whether he would give me gifts as a
stranger's due. Yet was not his coming to be with joy to my

'Then we kindled a fire, and made burnt-offering, and
ourselves likewise took of the cheeses, and did eat, and
sat waiting for him within till he came back, shepherding
his flocks. And he bore a grievous weight of dry wood,
against supper time. This log he cast down with a din
inside the cave, and in fear we fled to the secret place of
the rock. As for him, he drave his fat flocks into the wide
cavern, even all that he was wont to milk; but the males
both of the sheep and of the goats he left without in the
deep yard. Thereafter he lifted a huge doorstone and
weighty, and set it in the mouth of the cave, such an one
as two and twenty good four-wheeled wains could not raise
from the ground, so mighty a sheer rock did he set against
the doorway. Then he sat down and milked the ewes and
bleating goats, all orderly, and beneath each ewe he placed
her young. And anon he curdled one half of the white milk,
and massed it together, and stored it in wicker-baskets,
and the other half he let stand in pails, that he might
have it to take and drink against supper time. Now when he
had done all his work busily, then he kindled the fire
anew, and espied us, and made question:

'"Strangers, who are ye? Whence sail ye over the wet ways?
On some trading enterprise or at adventure do ye rove, even
as sea-robbers over the brine, for at hazard of their own
lives they wander, bringing bale to alien men."

'So spake he, but as for us our heart within us was broken
for terror of the deep voice and his own monstrous shape;
yet despite all I answered and spake unto him, saying:

'"Lo, we are Achaeans, driven wandering from Troy, by all
manner of winds over the great gulf of the sea; seeking our
homes we fare, but another path have we come, by other
ways: even such, methinks, was the will and the counsel of
Zeus. And we avow us to be the men of Agamemnon, son of
Atreus, whose fame is even now the mightiest under heaven,
so great a city did he sack, and destroyed many people; but
as for us we have lighted here, and come to these thy
knees, if perchance thou wilt give us a stranger's gift, or
make any present, as is the due of strangers. Nay, lord,
have regard to the gods, for we are thy suppliants; and
Zeus is the avenger of suppliants and sojourners, Zeus, the
god of the stranger, who fareth in the company of reverend

'So I spake, and anon he answered out of his pitiless
heart: "Thou art witless, my stranger, or thou hast come
from afar, who biddest me either to fear or shun the gods.
For the Cyclopes pay no heed to Zeus, lord of the aegis,
nor to the blessed gods, for verily we are better men than
they. Nor would I, to shun the enmity of Zeus, spare either
thee or thy company, unless my spirit bade me. But tell me
where thou didst stay thy well-wrought ship on thy coming?
Was it perchance at the far end of the island, or hard by,
that I may know?"

'So he spake tempting me, but he cheated me not, who knew
full much, and I answered him again with words of guile:

'"As for my ship, Poseidon, the shaker of the earth, brake
it to pieces, for he cast it upon the rocks at the border
of your country, and brought it nigh the headland, and a
wind bare it thither from the sea. But I with these my men
escaped from utter doom."

'So I spake, and out of his pitiless heart he answered me
not a word, but sprang up, and laid his hands upon my
fellows, and clutching two together dashed them, as they
had been whelps, to the earth, and the brain flowed forth
upon the ground, and the earth was wet. Then cut he them up
piecemeal, and made ready his supper. So he ate even as a
mountain-bred lion, and ceased not, devouring entrails and
flesh and bones with their marrow. And we wept and raised
our hands to Zeus, beholding the cruel deeds; and we were
at our wits' end. And after the Cyclops had filled his huge
maw with human flesh and the milk he drank thereafter, he
lay within the cave, stretched out among his sheep.

'So I took counsel in my great heart, whether I should draw
near, and pluck my sharp sword from my thigh, and stab him
in the breast, where the midriff holds the liver, feeling
for the place with my hand. But my second thought withheld
me, for so should we too have perished even there with
utter doom. For we should not have prevailed to roll away
with our hands from the lofty door the heavy stone which he
set there. So for that time we made moan, awaiting the
bright Dawn.

'Now when early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, again
he kindled the fire and milked his goodly flocks all
orderly, and beneath each ewe set her lamb. Anon when he
had done all his work busily, again he seized yet other two
men and made ready his mid-day meal. And after the meal,
lightly he moved away the great door-stone, and drave his
fat flocks forth from the cave, and afterwards he set it in
his place again, as one might set the lid on a quiver. Then
with a loud whoop, the Cyclops turned his fat flocks
towards the hills; but I was left devising evil in the deep
of my heart, if in any wise I might avenge me, and Athene
grant me renown.

'And this was the counsel that showed best in my sight.
There lay by a sheep-fold a great club of the Cyclops, a
club of olive wood, yet green, which he had cut to carry
with him when it should be seasoned. Now when we saw it we
likened it in size to the mast of a black ship of twenty
oars, a wide merchant vessel that traverses the great sea
gulf, so huge it was to view in bulk and length. I stood
thereby and cut off from it a portion as it were a fathom's
length, and set it by my fellows, and bade them fine it
down, and they made it even, while I stood by and sharpened
it to a point, and straightway I took it and hardened it in
the bright fire. Then I laid it well away, and hid it
beneath the dung, which was scattered in great heaps in the
depths of the cave. And I bade my company cast lots among
them, which of them should risk the adventure with me, and
lift the bar and turn it about in his eye, when sweet sleep
came upon him. And the lot fell upon those four whom I
myself would have been fain to choose, and I appointed
myself to be the fifth among them. In the evening he came
shepherding his flocks of goodly fleece, and presently he
drave his fat flocks into the cave each and all, nor left
he any without in the deep court-yard, whether through some
foreboding, or perchance that the god so bade him do.
Thereafter he lifted the huge door-stone and set it in the
mouth of the cave, and sitting down he milked the ewes and
bleating goats, all orderly, and beneath each ewe he placed
her young. Now when he had done all his work busily, again
he seized yet other two and made ready his supper. Then I
stood by the Cyclops and spake to him, holding in my hands
an ivy bowl of the dark wine:

'"Cyclops, take and drink wine after thy feast of man's
meat, that thou mayest know what manner of drink this was
that our ship held. And lo, I was bringing it thee as a
drink offering, if haply thou mayest take pity and send me
on my way home, but thy mad rage is past all sufferance. O
hard of heart, how may another of the many men there be
come ever to thee again, seeing that thy deeds have been

'So I spake, and he took the cup and drank it off, and
found great delight in drinking the sweet draught, and
asked me for it yet a second time:

'"Give it me again of thy grace, and tell me thy name
straightway, that I may give thee a stranger's gift,
wherein thou mayest be glad. Yea for the earth, the
grain-giver, bears for the Cyclopes the mighty clusters of
the juice of the grape, and the rain of Zeus gives them
increase, but this is a rill of very nectar and ambrosia."

'So he spake, and again I handed him the dark wine. Thrice
I bare and gave it him, and thrice in his folly he drank it
to the lees. Now when the wine had got about the wits of
the Cyclops, then did I speak to him with soft words:

'"Cyclops, thou askest me my renowned name, and I will
declare it unto thee, and do thou grant me a stranger's
gift, as thou didst promise. Noman is my name, and Noman
they call me, my father and my mother and all my fellows."

'So I spake, and straightway he answered me out of his
pitiless heart:

'"Noman will I eat last in the number of his fellows, and
the others before him: that shall be thy gift."

'Therewith he sank backwards and fell with face upturned,
and there he lay with his great neck bent round, and sleep,
that conquers all men, overcame him. And the wine and the
fragments of men's flesh issued forth from his mouth, and
he vomited, being heavy with wine. Then I thrust in that
stake under the deep ashes, until it should grow hot, and I
spake to my companions comfortable words, lest any should
hang back from me in fear. But when that bar of olive wood
was just about to catch fire in the flame, green though it
was, and began to glow terribly, even then I came nigh, and
drew it from the coals, and my fellows gathered about me,
and some god breathed great courage into us. For their part
they seized the bar of olive wood, that was sharpened at
the point, and thrust it into his eye, while I from my
place aloft turned it about, as when a man bores a ship's
beam with a drill while his fellows below spin it with a
strap, which they hold at either end, and the auger runs
round continually. Even so did we seize the fiery-pointed
brand and whirled it round in his eye, and the blood flowed
about the heated bar. And the breath of the flame singed
his eyelids and brows all about, as the ball of the eye
burnt away, and the roots thereof crackled in the flame.
And as when a smith dips an axe or adze in chill water with
a great hissing, when he would temper it--for hereby anon
comes the strength of iron--even so did his eye hiss round
the stake of olive. And he raised a great and terrible cry,
that the rock rang around, and we fled away in fear, while
he plucked forth from his eye the brand bedabbled in much
blood. Then maddened with pain he cast it from him with his
hands, and called with a loud voice on the Cyclopes, who
dwelt about him in the caves along the windy heights. And
they heard the cry and flocked together from every side,
and gathering round the cave asked him what ailed him:

'"What hath so distressed thee, Polyphemus, that thou
criest thus aloud through the immortal night, and makest us
sleepless? Surely no mortal driveth off thy flocks against
thy will: surely none slayeth thyself by force or craft?"

'And the strong Polyphemus spake to them again from out the
cave: "My friends, Noman is slaying me by guile, nor at all
by force."

'And they answered and spake winged words: "If then no man
is violently handling thee in thy solitude, it can in no
wise be that thou shouldest escape the sickness sent by
mighty Zeus. Nay, pray thou to thy father, the lord

'On this wise they spake and departed; and my heart within
me laughed to see how my name and cunning counsel had
beguiled them. But the Cyclops, groaning and travailing in
pain, groped with his hands, and lifted away the stone from
the door of the cave, and himself sat in the entry, with
arms outstretched to catch, if he might, any one that was
going forth with his sheep, so witless, methinks, did he
hope to find me. But I advised me how all might be for the
very best, if perchance I might find a way of escape from
death for my companions and myself, and I wove all manner
of craft and counsel, as a man will for his life, seeing
that great mischief was nigh. And this was the counsel that
showed best in my sight. The rams of the flock were well
nurtured and thick of fleece, great and goodly, with wool
dark as the violet. Quietly I lashed them together with
twisted withies, whereon the Cyclops slept, that lawless
monster. Three together I took: now the middle one of the
three would bear each a man, but the other twain went on
either side, saving my fellows. Thus every three sheep bare
their man. But as for me I laid hold of the back of a young
ram who was far the best and the goodliest of all the
flock, and curled beneath his shaggy belly there I lay, and
so clung face upward, grasping the wondrous fleece with a
steadfast heart. So for that time making moan we awaited
the bright Dawn.

'So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, then
did the rams of the flock hasten forth to pasture, but the
ewes bleated unmilked about the pens, for their udders were
swollen to bursting. Then their lord, sore stricken with
pain, felt along the backs of all the sheep as they stood
up before him, and guessed not in his folly how that my men
were bound beneath the breasts of his thick-fleeced flocks.
Last of all the sheep came forth the ram, cumbered with his
wool, and the weight of me and my cunning. And the strong
Polyphemus laid his hands on him and spake to him saying:

'"Dear ram, wherefore, I pray thee, art thou the last of
all the flocks to go forth from the cave, who of old wast
not wont to lag behind the sheep, but wert ever the
foremost to pluck the tender blossom of the pasture, faring
with long strides, and wert still the first to come to the
streams of the rivers, and first did long to return to the
homestead in the evening? But now art thou the very last.
Surely thou art sorrowing for the eye of thy lord, which an
evil man blinded, with his accursed fellows, when he had
subdued my wits with wine, even Noman, whom I say hath not
yet escaped destruction. Ah, if thou couldst feel as I, and
be endued with speech, to tell me where he shifts about to
shun my wrath; then should he be smitten, and his brains be
dashed against the floor here and there about the cave, and
my heart be lightened of the sorrows which Noman, nothing
worth, hath brought me!"

'Therewith he sent the ram forth from him, and when we had
gone but a little way from the cave and from the yard,
first I loosed myself from under the ram and then I set my
fellows free. And swiftly we drave on those stiff-shanked
sheep, so rich in fat, and often turned to look about, till
we came to the ship. And a glad sight to our fellows were
we that had fled from death, but the others they would have
bemoaned with tears; howbeit I suffered it not, but with
frowning brows forbade each man to weep. Rather I bade them
to cast on board the many sheep with goodly fleece, and to
sail over the salt sea water. So they embarked forthwith,
and sate upon the benches, and sitting orderly smote the
grey sea water with their oars. But when I had not gone so
far, but that a man's shout might be heard, then I spoke
unto the Cyclops taunting him:

'"Cyclops, so thou wert not to eat the company of a
weakling by main might in thy hollow cave! Thine evil deeds
were very sure to find thee out, thou cruel man, who hadst
no shame to eat thy guests within thy gates, wherefore Zeus
hath requited thee, and the other gods."

'So I spake, and he was mightily angered at heart, and he
brake off the peak of a great hill and threw it at us, and
it fell in front of the dark-prowed ship. {*} And the sea
heaved beneath the fall of the rock, and the backward flow
of the wave bare the ship quickly to the dry land, with the
wash from the deep sea, and drave it to the shore. Then I
caught up a long pole in my hands, and thrust the ship from
off the land, and roused my company, and with a motion of
the head bade them dash in with their oars, that so we
might escape our evil plight. So they bent to their oars
and rowed on. But when we had now made twice the distance
over the brine, I would fain have spoken to the Cyclops,
but my company stayed me on every side with soft words,

{* We have omitted line 483, as required by the sense. It
is introduced here from line 540.}

'"Foolhardy that thou art, why wouldst thou rouse a wild
man to wrath, who even now hath cast so mighty a throw
towards the deep and brought our ship back to land, yea and
we thought that we had perished {*} even there? If he had
heard any of us utter sound or speech he would have crushed
our heads and our ship timbers with a cast of a rugged
stone, so mightily he hurls."

{* Neither in this passage nor in B ii.171 nor in B xx.121
do we think that the aorist infinitive after a verb of
saying can bear a future sense. The aorist infinitive after
[Greek] (ii.280, vii.76) is hardly an argument in its
favour; the infinitive there is in fact a noun in the
genitive case.}

'So spake they, but they prevailed not on my lordly spirit,
and I answered him again from out an angry heart:

'"Cyclops, if any one of mortal men shall ask thee of the
unsightly blinding of thine eye, say that it was Odysseus
that blinded it, the waster of cities, son of Laertes,
whose dwelling is in Ithaca."

'So I spake, and with a moan he answered me, saying:

'"Lo now, in very truth the ancient oracles have come upon
me. There lived here a soothsayer, a noble man and a
mighty, Telemus, son of Eurymus, who surpassed all men in
soothsaying, and waxed old as a seer among the Cyclopes. He
told me that all these things should come to pass in the
aftertime, even that I should lose my eyesight at the hand
of Odysseus. But I ever looked for some tall and goodly man
to come hither, clad in great might, but behold now one
that is a dwarf, a man of no worth and a weakling, hath
blinded me of my eye after subduing me with wine. Nay come
hither, Odysseus, that I may set by thee a stranger's
cheer, and speed thy parting hence, that so the
Earth-shaker may vouchsafe it thee, for his son am I, and
he avows him for my father. And he himself will heal me, if
it be his will; and none other of the blessed gods or of
mortal men."

'Even so he spake, but I answered him, and said: "Would god
that I were as sure to rob thee of soul and life, and send
thee within the house of Hades, as I am that not even the
Earth-shaker will heal thine eye!"

'So I spake, and then he prayed to the lord Poseidon
stretching forth his hands to the starry heaven: "Hear me,
Poseidon, girdler of the earth, god of the dark hair, if
indeed I be thine, and thou avowest thee my sire,--grant
that he may never come to his home, even Odysseus, waster
of cities, the son of Laertes, whose dwelling is in Ithaca;
yet if he is ordained to see his friends and come unto his
well-builded house, and his own country, late may he come
in evil case, with the loss of all his company, in the ship
of strangers, and find sorrows in his house."

'So he spake in prayer, and the god of the dark locks heard
him. And once again he lifted a stone, far greater than the
first, and with one swing he hurled it, and he put forth a
measureless strength, and cast it but a little space behind
the dark-prowed ship, and all but struck the end of the
rudder. And the sea heaved beneath the fall of the rock,
but the wave bare on the ship and drave it to the further

'But when he had now reached that island, where all our
other decked ships abode together, and our company were
gathered sorrowing, expecting us evermore, on our coming
thither we ran our ship ashore upon the sand, and ourselves
too stept forth upon the sea beach. Next we took forth the
sheep of the Cyclops from out the hollow ship, and divided
them, that none through me might go lacking his proper
share. But the ram for me alone my goodly-greaved company
chose out, in the dividing of the sheep, and on the shore I
offered him up to Zeus, even to the son of Cronos, who
dwells in the dark clouds, and is lord of all, and I burnt
the slices of the thighs. But he heeded not the sacrifice,
but was devising how my decked ships and my dear company
might perish utterly. Thus for that time we sat the
livelong day, until the going down of the sun, feasting on
abundant flesh and sweet wine. And when the sun had sunk
and darkness had come on, then we laid us to rest upon the
sea beach. So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the
rosy-fingered, I called to my company, and commanded them
that they should themselves climb the ship and loose the
hawsers. So they soon embarked and sat upon the benches,
and sitting orderly smote the grey sea water with their

'Thence we sailed onward stricken at heart, yet glad as men
saved from death, albeit we had lost our dear companions.