"'Son of great Laërtês, Odysseus, master mariner and soldier, bad luck shadowed me, and no kindly power;
ignoble death I drank with so much wine.
I slept on Kirkê's roof, then could not see
the long steep backward ladder, coming down,
and fell that height. My neck bone, buckled under,
snapped, and my spirit found this well of dark."
Properly burn his body and make a cairn for him on Aiaia
"When you make sail and put these lodgings of dim Death behind, you will moor ship, I know, upon Aiaia Island; there, O my lord, remember me, I pray,
do not abandon me unwept, unburied, to tempt the gods' wrath, while you sail for home;
but fire my corpse, and all the gear I had,
and build a cairn for me above the breakers—
an unknown sailor's mark for men to come.
Heap up the mound there, and implant upon it
the oar I pulled in life with my companions.'"
One path will prevent them from Poseidon and upon landing on Sicily don't eat Helio's cattle
"'Great captain, a fair wind and the honey lights of home are all you seek. But anguish lies ahead;
the god who thunders on the land prepares it,
not to be shaken from your track, implacable,
in rancor for the son whose eye you blinded.
One narrow strait may take you through his blows:
denial of yourself, restraint of shipmates.
When you make landfall on Thrinákia first
and quit the violet sea, dark on the land you'll find the grazing herds of Hêlios
by whom all things are seen, all speech is known.
Avoid those kine, hold fast to your intent,
and hard seafaring brings you all to Ithaka.
But if you raid the beeves, I see destruction for ship and crew'"
Go to a clear section of land with an oar to make a sacrifice and prayer to Poseidon.
"But after you have dealt out death—in open
combat or by stealth—to all the suitors,
go overland on foot, and take an oar,
until one day you come where men have lived
with meat unsalted, never known the sea,
nor seen seagoing ships, with crimson bows
and oars that fledge light hulls for dipping flight.
The spot will soon be plain to you, and I
can tell you how: some passerby will say,
"What winnowing fan is that upon your shoulder?"
Halt, and implant your smooth oar in the turf
and make fair sacrifice to Lord Poseidon:
a ram, a bull, a great buck boar; turn back,
and carry out pure hekatombs at home
to all wide heaven's lords, the undying gods,
to each in order. Then a seaborne death
soft as this hand of mist will come upon you
when you are wearied out with rich old age,
your country folk in blessed peace around you.a'
"'But come now, tell me this, and tell me clearly,
what was the bane that pinned you down in Death?
Some ravaging long illness, or mild arrows
a-flying down one day from Artemis? 6
Tell me of Father, tell me of the son
I left behind me; have they still my place,
my honors, or have other men assumed them?
Do they not say that I shall come no more?
And tell me of my wife: how runs her thought,
still with her child, still keeping our domains,
or bride again to the best of the Akhaians?'"
He moved to the country side and misses Odysseus
"'But your father is country bound and comes to town no more. He owns no bedding, rugs, or fleecy mantles, but lies down, winter nights, among the slaves, rolled in old cloaks for cover, near the embers. Or when the heat comes at the end of summer, the fallen leaves, all round his vineyard plot, heaped into windrows, make his lowly bed.
He lies now even so, with aching heart,
and longs for your return, while age comes on him.'"
"'O my mother, will you not stay, be still, here in my arms,
may we not, in this place of Death, as well,
hold one another, touch with love, and taste
salt tears' relief, the twinge of welling tears?
Or is this all hallucination, sent
against me by the iron queen, Perséphonê,
to make me groan again?'"
"Alkínoös, king and admiration of men, there is a time for story telling; there is also a time for sleep. But even so, if, indeed, listening be still your pleasure, I must not grudge my part. Other and sadder tales there are to tell, of my companions, of some who came through all the Trojan spears, clangor and groan of war,only to find a brutal death at home—and a bad wife behind it" "After Perséphonê, icy and pale, dispersed the shades of women, the soul of ???, son of Atreus, came before me, sombre in the gloom, and others gathered round, all who were with him when death and doom struck in Aegísthos' hall. Sipping the black blood, the tall shade perceived me, and cried out sharply, breaking into tears; then tried to stretch his hands toward me, but could not, being bereft of all the reach and power he once felt in the great torque of his arms." His wife, Klytaimnestra, and Aigisthos:
"'Son of Laërtês, Odysseus, master of land ways and sea ways, neither did I go down with some good ship in any gale Poseidon blew, nor die upon the mainland, hurt by foes in battle. It was Aigísthos who designed my death, he and my heartless wife, and killed me, after feeding me, like an ox felled at the trough.'"
"'That was my miserable end—and with me
my fellows butchered, like so many swine
killed for some troop, or feast, or wedding banquet
in a great landholder's household. In your day
you have seen men, and hundreds, die in war,
in the bloody press, or downed in single combat,
but these were murders you would catch your breath at:
think of us fallen, all our throats cut, winebowl
brimming, tables laden on every side,
while blood ran smoking over the whole floor.'"
"'In my extremity I heard Kassandra,
Priam's daughter, piteously crying
as the traitress ??? made to kill her
along with me. I heaved up from the ground
and got my hands around the blade, but she eluded me, that wh*re. Nor would she close
my two eyes as my soul swam to the underworld
or shut my lips. There is no being more fell, more bestial than a wife in such an action,
and what an action that one planned!
The murder of her husband and her lord.
Great god, I thought my children and my slaves
at least would give me welcome. But that woman,
plotting a thing so low, defiled herself
and all her sex, all women yet to come,
even those few who may be virtuous.'"
He says Penelope would never betray him
"'Not that I see a risk for you, Odysseus, of death at your wife's hands. She is too wise, too clear-eyed, sees alternatives too well, Penélopê, Ikários' daughter—that young bride whom we left behind—think of it!—when we sailed off to war. The baby boy still cradled at her breast—now he must be a grown man, and a lucky one. By heaven,
you'll see him yet, and he'll embrace his father
with old fashioned respect, and rightly'"
"'Akhilleus, Peleus' son, strongest of all
among the Akhaians, I had need of foresight
such as Teirêsias alone could give
to help me, homeward bound for the crags of Ithaka.
I have not yet coasted Akhaia, not yet
touched my land; my life is all adversity.
But was there ever a man more blest by fortune
than you, Akhilleus? Can there ever be?
We ranked you with immortals in your lifetime,
we Argives did, and here your power is royal
among the dead men's shades. Think, then, Akhilleus:
you need not be so pained by death.'"
His father, Peleus, and son, Neoptolemos:
"Tell me, what news of the prince my son: did he
come after me to make a name in battle
or could it be he did not? Do you know
if rank and honor still belong to Peleus
in the towns of the Myrmidons? Or now, may be,
Hellas and Phthia spurn him, seeing old age
fetters him, hand and foot. I cannot help him
under the sun's rays, cannot be that man
I was on Troy's wide seaboard, in those days
when I made bastion for the Argives
and put an army's best men in the dust.
Were I but whole again, could I go now
to my father's house, one hour would do to make
my passion and my hands no man could hold hateful to any who shoulder him aside.'
"Then I saw ??? put to the torture:
in a cool pond he stood, lapped round by water
clear to the chin, and being athirst he burned
to slake his dry weasand with drink, though drink
he would not ever again. For when the old man put his lips down to the sheet of water it vanished round his feet, gulped underground, and black mud baked there in a wind from hell. Boughs, too, drooped low above him, big with fruit, pear trees, pomegranates, brilliant apples,
luscious figs, and olives ripe and dark;
but if he stretched his hand for one, the wind
under the dark sky tossed the bough beyond him"
"'Son of Laërtês and the gods of old, Odysseus, master mariner and soldier, under a cloud, you too? Destined to grinding labors like my own in the sunny world? Son of Kroníon Zeus or not, how many days I sweated out, being bound in servitude to a man far worse than I, a rough master! He made me hunt this place one time to get the watchdog of the dead: no more perilous task, he thought, could be; but I brought back that beast, up from the underworld; Hermês and grey-eyed Athena showed the way.'"