WILLIAM SOTHEBY (1757-1833)
The Odyssey of Homer X [302-44] The Moly flower
Ulysses from Circe's spell
'Then Hermes passing, sought his heavenly home,
And I went onward to the Enchantress' dome.
And my heart burnt within me as I stood
Lone on her threshold, 'mid the magic wood.
I call'd aloud: the Goddess heard my call,
Came forth, and open'd wide her palace hall,
And woo'd me in: her footstep I pursued,
Tho' grief and fear my spirit half subdued.
She led me on, and to repose me, placed
A throne of silver with a footstool graced.
Then in a golden bowl the beverage pour'd
That I might gladly drink it thus allured;
And inly cast her drugs: then gave the bowl:
I took, and drank, nor felt unmann'd my soul,
When, as she struck me, thus I heard her cry, -
Go to thy friends, and wallow in their sty. –
'I drew my sword, and swift with fell intent
Sprung on her as in act of murder bent.
She, loudly shrieking, rush'd beneath my sword,
And clasp'd my knees, and weeping, spake the word: -
'Who art thou? what thy parents? city? whence?
How drink these drugs with unenchanted sense?
None whoe'er drank them tasted unsubdued
When once their magic had the lip embued.
Thou in thy mortal body bear'st enshrined
An iron and indomitable mind -
Thou art the wise Ulysses, oft foretold
By Hermes, bearer of the rod of gold,
Who here should sail from Troy: but, sheathe thy blade,
And let us on the couch of pleasure laid,
The fore-past scene in sweet oblivion close,
And on each other's faith in love repose.
'How bid me, I replied, to thee incline,
Thou, who hast thus transform'd my friends to swine?
And here detain'st, and woo'st me to thy bed
To heap thy frauds, Enchantress! on my head,
And leave me vile, unmann'd. Not thus betray'd,
E'er shall Ulysses on thy couch be laid,
Till sworn the oath, that binds the gods above,
Thou wilt not injure whom thou lurest to love.'