Book IX

The Ciconians, Lotus-Eaters, and Cyclops

The adventures of Ulysses after the fall of Troy related by him at the request of Alcinoüs⁠—His attack on the Ciconians and the destruction of their city⁠—Rally and reinforcement of the Ciconians, who slaughter many of the companions of Ulysses⁠—The lotus-eaters, who subsist on flowers⁠—Arrival of Ulysses at the land of the cyclops⁠—Polyphemus and his barbarities⁠—Revenge of Ulysses, who puts out the single eye of Polyphemus and escapes.

Ulysses, the sagacious, answered thus:⁠—
“O King Alcinoüs, most renowned of men!
A pleasant thing it is to hear a bard
Like this, endowed with such a voice, so like
The voices of the gods. Nor can I deem
Aught more delightful than the general joy
Of a whole people when the assembled guests
Seated in order in the royal halls
Are listening to the minstrel, while the board
Is spread with bread and meats, and from the jars
The cupbearer draws wine and fills the cups.
To me there is no more delightful sight.

“But now thy mind is moved to ask of me
The story of the sufferings I have borne,
And that will wake my grief anew. What first,
What next, shall I relate? what last of all?
For manifold are the misfortunes cast
Upon me by the immortals. Let me first
Declare my name, that ye may know, and I
Perchance, before my day of death shall come,
May be your host, though dwelling far away.
I am Ulysses, and my father’s name
Laertes; widely am I known to men
As quick in shrewd devices, and my fame
Hath reached to heaven. In sunny Ithaca
I dwell, where high Neritus, seen afar,
Rustles with woods. Around are many isles,
Well peopled, near each other. Samos there
Lies, with Dulichium, and Zacynthus dark
With forests. Ithaca, with its low shores,
Lies highest toward the setting sun; the rest
Are on the side where first the morning breaks.
A rugged region ’tis, but nourishes
Nobly its youths, nor have I ever seen
A sweeter spot on earth. Calypso late,
That glorious goddess, in her grotto long
Detained me from it, and desired that I
Should be her husband; in her royal home
Aeëan Circè, mistress of strange arts,
Detained me also, and desired that I
Should be her husband⁠—yet they could not move
The purpose of my heart. For there is naught
More sweet and dear than our own native land
And parents, though perchance our lot be cast
In a rich home, yet far from our own kin
And in a foreign land. Now let me speak
Of the calamitous voyage which the will
Of Jove ordained on my return from Troy.

“The wind that blew me from the Trojan shore
Bore me to the Ciconians, who abode
In Ismarus. I laid the city waste
And slew its dwellers, carried off their wives
And all their wealth and parted them among
My men, that none might want an equal share.
And then I warned them with all haste to leave
The region. Madmen! they obeyed me not.

“And there they drank much wine, and on the beach
Slew many sheep and many slow-paced steers
With crumpled horns. Then the Ciconians called
To their Ciconian neighbors, braver men
Than they, and more in number, whose abode
Was on the mainland, trained to fight from steeds,
Or, if need were, on foot. In swarms they came,
Thick as new leaves or morning flowers in spring.
Then fell on our unhappy company
An evil fate from Jove, and many griefs.
They formed their lines, and fought at our good ships,
Where man encountered man with brazen spears.
While yet ’twas morning, and the holy light
Of day waxed brighter, we withstood the assault
And kept our ground, although more numerous they.
But when the sun was sloping toward the west
The enemy prevailed; the Achaian band
Was routed, and was made to flee. That day
There perished from each galley of our fleet
Six valiant men; the rest escaped with life.

“Onward we sailed, lamenting bitterly
Our comrades slain, yet happy to escape
From death ourselves. Nor did we put to sea
In our good ships until we thrice had called
Aloud by name each one of our poor friends
Who fell in battle by Ciconian hands.
The Cloud-compeller, Jove, against us sent
The north-wind in a hurricane, and wrapped
The earth and heaven in clouds, and from the skies
Fell suddenly the night. With stooping masts
Our galleys scudded; the strong tempest split
And tore the sails; we drew and laid them down
Within the ships, in fear of utter wreck,
And toward the mainland eagerly we turned
The rudders. There we lay two days and nights,
Worn out with grief and hardship. When at length
The fair-haired Morning brought the third day round,
We raised the masts, and, spreading the white sails
To take the wind, we sat us down. The wind
Carried us forward with the pilot’s aid;
And then should I have reached my native land
Safely, had not the currents and the waves
Of ocean and the north-wind driven me back,
What time I strove to pass Maleia’s cape,
And swept me to Cytherae from my course.

“Still onward driven before those baleful winds
Across the fishy deep for nine whole days,
On the tenth day we reached the land where dwell
The Lotus-eaters, men whose food is flowers.
We landed on the mainland, and our crews
Near the fleet galleys took their evening meal.
And when we all had eaten and had drunk
I sent explorers forth⁠—two chosen men,
A herald was the third⁠—to learn what race
Of mortals nourished by the fruits of earth
Possessed the land. They went and found themselves
Among the Lotus-eaters soon, who used
No violence against their lives, but gave
Into their hands the lotus plant to taste.
Whoever tasted once of that sweet food
Wished not to see his native country more,
Nor give his friends the knowledge of his fate.
And then my messengers desired to dwell
Among the Lotus-eaters, and to feed
Upon the lotus, never to return.
By force I led them weeping to the fleet,
And bound them in the hollow ships beneath
The benches. Then I ordered all the rest
Of my beloved comrades to embark
In haste, lest, tasting of the lotus, they
Should think no more of home. All straightway went
On board, and on the benches took their place,
And smote the hoary ocean with their oars.

“Onward we sailed with sorrowing hearts, and reached
The country of the Cyclops, an untamed
And lawless race, who, trusting to the gods,
Plant not, nor plough the fields, but all things spring
For them untended⁠—barley, wheat, and vines
Yielding large clusters filled with wine, and nursed
By showers from Jove. No laws have they; they hold
No councils. On the mountain heights they dwell
In vaulted caves, where each one rules his wives
And children as he pleases; none give heed
To what the others do. Before the port
Of that Cyclopean land there is an isle,
Low-lying, neither near nor yet remote⁠—
A woodland region, where the wild goats breed
Innumerable; for the foot of man
Disturbs them not, and huntsmen toiling through
Thick woods, or wandering over mountain heights,
Enter not here. The fields are never grazed
By sheep, nor furrowed by the plough, but lie
Untilled, unsown, and uninhabited
By man, and only feed the bleating goats.
The Cyclops have no barques with crimson prows,
Nor shipwrights skilled to frame a galley’s deck
With benches for the rowers, and equipped
For any service, voyaging by turns
To all the cities, as is often done
By men who cross the deep from place to place,
And make a prosperous region of an isle.
No meagre soil is there; it well might bear
All fruits in their due time. Along the shore
Of the gray deep are meadows smooth and moist.
The vine would flourish long; the ploughman’s task
Is easy, and the husbandman would reap
Large harvests, for the mould is rich below.
And there is a safe haven, where no need
Of cable is; no anchor there is cast,
Nor hawsers fastened to the strand, but they
Who enter there remain until it please
The mariners, with favorable wind,
To put to sea again. A limpid stream
Flows from a fount beneath a hollow rock
Into that harbor at its further end,
And poplars grow around it. Thither went
Our fleet; some deity had guided us
Through the dark night, for nothing had we seen.
Thick was the gloom around our barques; the moon
Shone not in heaven, the clouds had quenched her light.
No eye discerned the isle, nor the long waves
That rolled against the shore, till our good ships
Touched land, and, disembarking there, we gave
Ourselves to sleep upon the waterside
And waited for the holy Morn to rise.

“And when at length the daughter of the Dawn,
The rosy-fingered Morn, appeared, we walked
Around the isle, admiring as we went.
Meanwhile the nymphs, the daughters of the God
Who bears the aegis, roused the mountain goats,
That so our crews might make their morning meal.
And straightway from our ships we took in hand
Our crooked bows and our long-bladed spears.

“ ‘Let all the rest of my beloved friends
Remain, while I, with my own barque and crew,
Go forth to learn what race of men are these,
Whether ill-mannered, savage, and unjust,
Or kind to guests and reverent toward the gods.’
“I spake, and, having ordered all my crew
To go on board and cast the hawsers loose,
Embarked on my own ship. They all obeyed,
And manned the benches, sitting there in rows,
And smote the hoary ocean with their oars.
But when we came upon that neighboring coast,
We saw upon its verge beside the sea
A cave high vaulted, overbrowed with shrubs
Of laurel. There much cattle lay at rest,
Both sheep and goats. Around it was a court,
A high enclosure of hewn stone, and pines
Tall stemmed, and towering oaks. Here dwelt a man
Of giant bulk, who by himself, alone,
Was wont to tend his flocks. He never held
Converse with others, but devised apart
His wicked deeds. A frightful prodigy
Was he, and like no man who lives by bread,
But more like a huge mountain summit, rough
With woods, that towers alone above the rest.

“Then, bidding all the others stay and guard
The ship, I chose among my bravest men
Twelve whom I took with me. I had on board
A goatskin of dark wine⁠—a pleasant sort,
Which Maron late, Evanthes’ son, a priest
Of Phoebus, guardian god of Ismarus,
Gave me, when, moved with reverence, we saved
Him and his children and his wife from death.
For his abode was in the thick-grown grove
Of Phoebus. Costly were the gifts he gave⁠—
Seven talents of wrought gold; a chalice all
Of silver; and he drew for me, besides,
Into twelve jars, a choice rich wine, unspoiled
By mixtures, and a beverage for gods.
No one within his dwellings, maids or men,
Knew of it, save the master and his wife,
And matron of the household. Whensoe’er
They drank this rich red wine, he only filled
A single cup with wine, and tempered that
With twenty more of water. From the cup
Arose a fragrance that might please the gods,
And hard it was to put the draught aside.
Of this I took a skin well filled, besides
Food in a hamper⁠—for my thoughtful mind
Misgave me, lest I should encounter one
Of formidable strength and savage mood,
And with no sense of justice or of right.

“Soon were we at the cave, but found not him
Within it; he was in the fertile meads,
Tending his flocks. We entered, wondering much
At all we saw. Around were baskets heaped
With cheeses; pens were thronged with lambs and kids,
Each in a separate fold; the elder ones,
The younger, and the newly yeaned, had each
Their place apart. The vessels swam with whey⁠—
Pails smoothly wrought, and buckets into which
He milked the cattle. My companions then
Begged me with many pressing words to take
Part of the cheeses, and, returning, drive
With speed to our good galley lambs and kids
From where they stabled, and set sail again
On the salt sea. I granted not their wish;
Far better if I had. ’Twas my intent
To see the owner of the flocks and prove
His hospitality. No pleasant sight
Was that to be for those with whom I came.

“And then we lit a fire, and sacrificed,
And ate the cheeses, and within the cave
Sat waiting, till from pasturing his flocks
He came; a heavy load of well-dried wood
He bore, to make a blaze at suppertime.
Without the den he flung his burden down
With such a crash that we in terror slunk
Into a corner of the cave. He drove
His well-fed flock, all those whose milk he drew,
Under that spacious vault of rock, but left
The males, both goats and rams, without the court.
And then he lifted a huge barrier up,
A mighty weight; not two-and-twenty wains,
Four-wheeled and strong, could move it from the ground:
Such was the enormous rock he raised, and placed
Against the entrance. Then he sat and milked
The ewes and bleating goats each one in turn,
And gave to each its young. Next, half the milk
He caused to curdle, and disposed the curd
In woven baskets; and the other half
He kept in bowls to be his evening drink.
His tasks all ended thus, he lit a fire,
And saw us where we lurked, and questioned us:⁠—

“ ‘Who are ye, strangers? Tell me whence ye came
Across the ocean. Are ye men of trade,
Or wanderers at will, like those who roam
The sea for plunder, and, with their own lives
In peril, carry death to distant shores?’

“He spake, and we who heard with sinking hearts
Trembled at that deep voice and frightful form,
And thus I answered: ‘We are Greeks who come
From Ilium, driven across the mighty deep
By changing winds, and while we sought our home
Have made a different voyage, and been forced
Upon another course; such was the will
Of Jupiter. We boast ourselves to be
Soldiers of Agamemnon, Atreus’ son,
Whose fame is now the greatest under heaven,
So mighty was the city which he sacked,
So many were the warriors whom he slew;
And now we come as suppliants to thy knees,
And ask thee to receive us as thy guests,
Or else bestow the gifts which custom makes
The stranger’s due. Great as thou art, revere
The gods; for suitors to thy grace are we,
And hospitable Jove, whose presence goes
With every worthy stranger, will avenge
Suppliants and strangers when they suffer wrong.’

“I spake, and savagely he answered me:⁠—
‘Thou art a fool, O stranger, or art come
From some far country⁠—thou who biddest me
Fear or regard the gods. We little care⁠—
We Cyclops⁠—for the Aegis-bearer, Jove,
Or any other of the blessed gods;
We are their betters. Think not I would spare
Thee or thy comrades to avoid the wrath
Of Jupiter, unless it were my choice;
But say⁠—for I would know⁠—where hast thou left
Thy gallant barque in landing? was it near,
Or in some distant corner of the isle?’

“He spake to tempt me, but I well perceived
His craft, and answered with dissembling words:⁠—

“ ‘Neptune, who shakes the shores, hath wrecked my barque
On rocks that edge thine island, hurling it
Against the headland. From the open sea
The tempest swept it hitherward, and I,
With these, escaped the bitter doom of death.’

“I spake; the savage answered not, but sprang,
And, laying hands on my companions, seized
Two, whom he dashed like whelps against the ground.
Their brains flowed out, and weltered where they fell.
He hewed them limb from limb for his repast,
And, like a lion of the mountain wilds,
Devoured them as they were, and left no part⁠—
Entrails nor flesh nor marrowy bones. We wept
To see his cruelties, and raised our hands
To Jove, and hopeless misery filled our hearts.
And when the Cyclops now had filled himself,
Devouring human flesh, and drinking milk
Unmingled, in his cave he laid him down,
Stretched out amid his flocks. The thought arose
In my courageous heart to go to him,
And draw the trenchant sword upon my thigh,
And where the midriff joins the liver deal
A stroke to pierce his breast. A second thought
Restrained me⁠—that a miserable death
Would overtake us, since we had no power
To move the mighty rock which he had laid
At the high opening. So all night we grieved,
Waiting the holy Morn; and when at length
That rosy-fingered daughter of the Dawn
Appeared, the Cyclops lit a fire, and milked
His fair flock one by one, and brought their young
Each to its mother’s side. When he had thus
Performed his household tasks, he seized again
Two of our number for his morning meal.
These he devoured, and then he moved away
With ease the massive rock that closed the cave,
And, driving forth his well-fed flock, he laid
The massive barrier back, as one would fit
The lid upon a quiver. With loud noise
The Cyclops drove that well-fed flock afield,
While I was left to think of many a plan
To do him mischief and avenge our wrongs,
If haply Pallas should confer on me
That glory. To my mind, as I revolved
The plans, this seemed the wisest of them all.

“Beside the stalls there lay a massive club
Of olive-wood, yet green, which from its stock
The Cyclops hewed, that he might carry it
When seasoned. As it lay it seemed to us
The mast of some black galley, broad of beam,
With twenty oarsmen, built to carry freight
Across the mighty deep⁠—such was its length
And thickness. Standing by it, I cut off
A fathom’s length, and gave it to my men,
And bade them smooth its sides, and they obeyed
While I made sharp the smaller end, and brought
The point to hardness in the glowing fire;
And then I hid the weapon in a heap
Of litter, which lay thick about the cave.
I bade my comrades now decide by lot
Which of them all should dare, along with me,
To lift the stake, and with its point bore out
Our enemy’s eye, when softly wrapped in sleep.
The lot was cast, and fell on those whom most
I wished with me⁠—four men, and I the fifth.

“At eve the keeper of these fair-woolled flocks
Returned, and brought his well-fed sheep and goats
Into the spacious cavern, leaving none
Without it, whether through some doubt of us
Or through the ordering of some god. He raised
The massive rock again, and laid it close
Against the opening. Then he sat and milked
The ewes and bleating goats, each one in turn,
And gave to each her young. When he had thus
Performed his household tasks, he seized again
Two of our number for his evening meal.
Then drew I near, and bearing in my hand
A wooden cup of dark red wine I said:⁠—

“ ‘Take this, O Cyclops, after thy repast
Of human flesh, and drink, that thou mayst know
What liquor was concealed within our ship.
I brought it as an offering to thee,
For I had hope that thou wouldst pity us,
And send us home. Yet are thy cruelties
Beyond all limit. Wicked as thou art,
Hereafter who, of all the human race,
Will dare approach thee, guilty of such wrong?’

“As thus I spake, he took the cup and drank.
The luscious wine delighted mightily
His palate, and he asked a second draught.

“ ‘Give me to drink again, and generously,
And tell thy name, that I may make a gift
Such as becomes a host. The fertile land
In which the Cyclops dwell yields wine, ’tis true,
And the large grapes are nursed by rains from Jove,
But nectar and ambrosia are in this.’

“He spake; I gave him of the generous juice
Again, and thrice I filled and brought the cup,
And thrice the Cyclops in his folly drank.
But when I saw the wine begin to cloud
His senses, I bespake him blandly thus:⁠—

“ ‘Thou hast inquired, O Cyclops, by what name
Men know me. I will tell thee, but do thou
Bestow in turn some hospitable gift,
As thou hast promised. Noman is my name,
My father and my mother gave it me,
And Noman am I called by all my friends.’

“I ended, and he answered savagely:⁠—
‘Noman shall be the last of all his band
Whom I will eat, the rest will I devour
Before him. Let that respite be my gift.’

“He spake, and, sinking backward at full length,
Lay on the ground, with his huge neck aside;
All-powerful sleep had overtaken him.
Then from his mouth came bits of human flesh
Mingled with wine, and from his drunken throat
Rejected noisily. I put the stake
Among the glowing coals to gather heat,
And uttered cheerful words, encouraging
My men, that none might fail me through their fears.
And when the olive-wood began to blaze⁠—
For though yet green it freely took the lire⁠—
I drew it from the embers. Round me stood
My comrades, whom some deity inspired
With calm, high courage. In their hands they took
And thrust into his eye the pointed bar,
While perched upon a higher stand than they
I twirled it round. As when a workman bores
Some timber of a ship, the men who stand
Below him with a strap, on either side
Twirl it, and round it spins unceasingly,
So, thrusting in his eye that pointed bar,
We made it turn. The blood came streaming forth
On the hot wood; the eyelids and the brow
Were scalded by the vapor, and the roots
Of the scorched eyeball crackled with the fire.
As when a smith, in forging axe or adze,
Plunges, to temper it, the hissing blade
Into cold water, strengthening thus the steel,
So hissed the eyeball of the Cyclops round
That olive stake. He raised a fearful howl;
The rocks rang with it, and we fled from him
In terror. Plucking from his eye the stake
All foul and dripping with the abundant blood,
He flung it madly from him with both hands.
Then called he to the Cyclops who in grots
Dwelt on that breezy height. They heard his voice
And came by various ways, and stood beside
The cave, and asked the occasion of his grief.

“ ‘What hurts thee, Polyphemus, that thou thus
Dost break our slumbers in the ambrosial night
With cries? Hath any of the sons of men
Driven off thy flocks in spite of thee, or tried
By treachery or force to take thy life?’

“Huge Polyphemus answered from his den:⁠—
‘O friends! ’tis Noman who is killing me;
By treachery Noman kills me; none by force’

“Then thus with winged words they spake again:⁠—
‘If no man does thee violence, and thou
Art quite alone, reflect that none escape
Diseases; they are sent by Jove. But make
Thy prayer to Father Neptune, ocean’s king.’

“So spake they and departed. In my heart
I laughed to think that by the name I took,
And by my shrewd device, I had deceived
The Cyclops. Meantime, groaning and in pain,
And groping with his hands, he moved away
The rock that barred the entrance. There he sat,
With arms outstretched, to seize whoever sought
To issue from the cavern with the flock,
So dull of thought he deemed me. Then I planned
How best to save my comrades and myself
From death. I framed a thousand stratagems
And arts⁠—for here was life at stake, and great
The danger was. At last I fixed on this.

“The rams were plump and beautiful, and large
With thick dark fleeces. These I silently
Bound to each other, three and three, with twigs
Of which that prodigy of lawless guilt,
The Cyclops, made his bed. The middle ram
Of every three conveyed a man; the two,
One on each side, were there to make him safe.
Thus each of us was borne by three; but I
Chose for myself the finest one of all,
And seized him by the back, and, slipping down
Beneath his shaggy belly, stretched myself
At length, and clung with resolute heart, and hands
That firmly clenched the rich abundant fleece.
Then sighed we for the holy Morn to rise.

“And when again the daughter of the Dawn,
The rosy-fingered Morn, looked forth, the males
Went forth to pasture, while the ewes remained
Within the stables, bleating, yet unmilked,
For heavy were their udders. Carefully
The master handled, though in grievous pain,
The back of everyone that rose and passed,
Yet, slow of thought, perceived not that my men
Were clinging hid beneath their woolly breasts.
As the last ram of all the flock went out,
His thick fleece heavy with my weight, and I
In agitated thought, he felt his back,
And thus the giant Polyphemus spake:⁠—

“ ‘My favorite ram, how art thou now the last
To leave the cave? It hath not been thy wont
To let the sheep go first, but thou didst come
Earliest to feed among the flowery grass,
Walking with stately strides, and thou wert first
At the fresh stream, and first at eve to seek
The stable; now thou art the last of all.
Grievest thou for thy master, who has lost
His eye, put out by a deceitful wretch
And his vile crew, who stupefied me first
With wine⁠—this Noman⁠—who, if right I deem,
Has not escaped from death. O, didst thou think
As I do, and hadst but the power of speech
To tell me where he hides from my strong arm,
Then should his brains, dashed out against the ground,
Be scattered here and there; then should my heart
Be somewhat lighter, even amid the woes
Which Noman, worthless wretch, has brought on me!’

“He spake, and sent him forth among the rest;
And when we were a little way beyond
The cavern and the court, I loosed my hold
Upon the animal and unbound my men.
Then quickly we surrounded and drove off,
Fat sheep and stately paced, a numerous flock,
And brought them to our ship, where joyfully
Our friends received us, though with grief and tears
For those who perished. Yet I suffered not
That they should weep, but, frowning, gave command
By signs to lift with speed the fair-woolled sheep
On board, and launch our ship on the salt sea.
They went on board, where each one took his place
Upon the benches, and with diligent oars
Smote the gray deep; and when we were as far
As one upon the shore could hear a shout,
Thus to the Cyclops tauntingly I called:⁠—
“ ‘Ha! Cyclops! those whom in thy rocky cave
Thou, in thy brutal fury, hast devoured,
Were friends of one not unexpert in war;
Amply have thy own guilty deeds returned
Upon thee. Cruel one! who didst not fear
To eat the strangers sheltered by thy roof,
Jove and the other gods avenge them thus.’

“I spake; the anger in his bosom raged
More fiercely. From a mountain peak he wrenched
Its summit, hurling it to fall beside
Our galley, where it almost touched the helm.
The rock dashed high the water where it fell,
And the returning billow swept us back
And toward the shore. I seized a long-stemmed pike
And pushed it from the shore, encouraging
The men to bend with vigor to their oars
And so escape. With nods I gave the sign.
Forward to vigorous strokes the oarsmen leaned
Till we were out at sea as far from land
As when I spake before, and then again
I shouted to the Cyclops, though my crew
Strove to prevent it with beseeching words,
And one man first and then another said:⁠—

“ ’O most unwise! why chafe that savage man
To fury⁠—him who just has cast his bolt
Into the sea, and forced us toward the land
Where we had well-nigh perished? Should he hear
A cry from us, or even a word of speech,
Then would he fling a rock to crush our heads
And wreck our ship, so fatal is his cast.’

“He spake, but moved not my courageous heart;
And then I spake again, and angrily:⁠—
“ ‘Cyclops, if any man of mortal birth
Note thine unseemly blindness, and inquire
The occasion, tell him that Laertes’ son,
Ulysses, the destroyer of walled towns,
Whose home is Ithaca, put out thine eye.’

“I spake; he answered with a wailing voice:⁠—
‘Now, woe is me! the ancient oracles
Concerning me have come to pass. Here dwelt
A seer named Telemus Eurymides,
Great, good, and eminent in prophecy,
And prophesying he grew old among
The Cyclops. He foretold my coming fate⁠—
That I should lose my sight, and by the hand
And cunning of Ulysses. Yet I looked
For one of noble presence, mighty strength,
And giant stature landing on our coast.
Now a mere weakling, insignificant
And small of stature, has put out my eye,
First stupefying me with wine. Yet come
Hither, I pray, Ulysses, and receive
The hospitable gifts which are thy due;
And I will pray to Neptune, and entreat
The mighty god to guide thee safely home.
His son am I, and he declares himself
My father. He can heal me if he will,
And no one else of all the immortal gods
Or mortal men can give me back my sight.’

“He spake; I answered: ‘Rather would I take
Thy life and breath, and send thee to the abode
Of Hades, where thou wouldst be past the power
Of even Neptune to restore thine eye.’

“As thus I said, the Cyclops raised his hands,
And spread them toward the starry heaven, and thus
Prayed to the deity who rules the deep:⁠—

“ ‘Hear, dark-haired Neptune, who dost swathe the earth!
If I am thine, and thou dost own thyself
My father, grant that this Ulysses ne’er
May reach his native land! But if it be
The will of fate that he behold again
His friends, and enter his own palace-halls
In his own country, late and sorrowful
Be his return, with all his comrades lost,
And in a borrowed ship, and may he find
In his own home new griefs awaiting him.’

“He prayed, and Neptune hearkened to his prayer.
And then the Cyclops seized another stone,
Far larger than the last, and swung it round,
And cast it with vast strength. It fell behind
Our black-prowed galley, where it almost struck
The rudder’s end. The sea was dashed on high
Beneath the falling rock, and bore our ship
On toward the shore we sought. When we reached
The island where together in a fleet
Our other galleys lay, we found our friends
Sitting where they had waited long in grief.
We touched the shore and drew our galley up
On the smooth sand, and stepped upon the beach;
And taking from on board the sheep that formed
Part of the Cyclops’ flock, divided them,
That none might be without an equal share.
When all the rest were shared, my warrior friends
Decreed the ram to me. Of him I made
Upon the beach a sacrifice to Jove
The Cloud-compeller, Saturn’s son, whose rule
Is over all; to him I burned the thighs.
He heeded not the offering; even then
He planned the wreck of all my gallant ships,
And death of my dear comrades. All that day
Till set of sun we sat and feasted high
Upon the abundant meats and delicate wine.
But when the sun went down, and darkness crept
Over the earth, we slumbered on the shore;
And when again the daughter of the Dawn,
The rosy-fingered Morn, looked forth, I called
My men with cheerful words to climb the decks
And cast the hawsers loose. With speed they went
On board and manned the benches, took in hand
The oars and smote with them the hoary deep.
Onward in sadness, glad to have escaped,
We sailed, yet sorrowing for our comrades lost.”