safe and sound.
When she'd said that,
they all took the oath, as she'd requested.
When they'd sworn and finished promising,
the woman spoke to them again and said:
Now, keep silent. None of your company
must talk to me, if you meet me in the street
sent her through. For Jason was her friend.
On the other route there are two cliffs.
One has a sharp peak jutting all the way
up to wide heaven. Around that mountain
a dark cloud sits, which never melts away.
No blue sky ever shows around the peak,
will never stand beside him full of joy.
No. Instead, the Sirens' clear-toned song
will captivate his heart. They'll be sitting
in a meadow, surrounded by a pile,
a massive heap, of rotting human bones
encased in shriveled skin. Row on past them.
The Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis,
the Cattle of the Sun
[Odysseus continues his story in Phaeacia: the ship sails from
Oceanus back to Circes island where they bury Elpenor; Circe
advises Odysseus about future adventures; Odysseus and his crew
Sisyphus striving with both hands to raise
a massive rock. He'd brace his arms and feet,
then strain to push it uphill to the top.
But just as he was going to get that stone
across the crest, its overpowering weight
would make it change direction. The cru
While we were occupied with all these tasks,
Circe was well aware of our return
from Hades' home. Dressed in her finery,
she quickly came to us. With her she brought
servants carrying bread, plenty of meat,
and bright red wine. Then the lovely goddess
and sat around the king, seeking justice,
throughout the spacious gates of Hades' home.
After him I noticed huge Orion
rounding up across a field of asphodel
wild creatures he himself had hunted down
in isolated mountains. In his hand,
he clutched his sti
for Achilles' arms. His honoured mother
had offered them as prizes. The judges
were sons of Troy and Pallas Athena.1
How I wish I'd never won that contest!
Those weapons were the cause earth swallowed up
the life of Ajax, such a splendid man,
who, in his
whether he went off to war or not.
Did he became a leader? Talk to me
about great Peleus, if there's something
you have heard. Is he still held in honour
among the many Myrmidons? Do men
disparage him in Greece and Phthia
because old age now grips his han
Many of his comrades, the Ceteians,
were also slaughtered there around him
because a certain woman wanted gifts.1
He was the finest looking man I saw
after noble Memnon. And then, when we,
the noblest Argives, were climbing in
the wooden horse crafted by
lying in the hall among the mixing bowls
and tables crammed with food, the entire floor
awash with blood. The saddest thing I heard
was Cassandra, Priam's daughter, screaming.
That traitor Clytaemnestra slaughtered her
right there beside me. Though I was
of the swift-footed son of Aeacus1
knew who I was, and with a cry of grief,
he spoke to mehis words had wings:
Resourceful Odysseus, Laertes' son
and Zeus' child, what a bold man you are!
What exploit will your heart ever dream up
to top this one? How can
Tell her some, but keep the rest well hidden.
But in your case, Odysseus, death won't come
at your wife's hand, for wise Penelope,
Icarius' daughter, is a virtuous woman,
with an understanding heart. When we left
to go to war, she'd not been married long.
Just below that tree divine Charybdis
sucks black water down. She spews it out
three times a day, and then three times a day
she gulps it downa terrifying sight.
May you never meet her when she swallows!
Nothing can save you from destruction then,
below the sunlight, as I, too, did once?
I was a son of Zeus, child of Cronos,
and yet I had to bear countless troubles,
forced to carry out labours for a man
vastly inferior to me, someone
who kept assigning me the harshest tasks.
Once he sent me here to
from West Wind ceased, South Wind began to blow,
and that distressed my spiritI worried
about floating back to grim Charybdis.
All night I drifted. When the sun came up,
I reached Scylla's cliff and dread Charybdis
sucking down salt water from the sea.
he spoke to the immortals, full of rage:
Father Zeus and you other blessed gods,
who live forever, take your vengeance now
on those companions of Odysseus,
Laertes' son, who, in their arrogance,
have killed my animals, the very ones
I always look upon wit
those comrades I had trusted feasted there,
eating the cattle they had rounded up,
the finest beasts in Helios' herd.
But when Zeus, son of Cronos, brought to us
the seventh day, the stormy winds died down.
We went aboard at once, put up the mast,
I spoke to my companions:
though you have endured a lot of trouble,
hear what I have to say, so I can speak
about the prophecies Teiresias made
and Circe, too, on Aeaea. They both
strictly charged me to avoid this island,
which Helios owns, who
and keep striking them against the surging sea.
Zeus may somehow let us escape from here
and thus avoid destruction. You, helmsman,
I'm talking, above all, to you, so hold
this in your heartyou control the steering
on this hollow ship. Keep us on a course
choking on a wave than starving to death
on an abandoned island.
My other comrades agreed with what he'd said.
They quickly rounded up the finest beasts
from Helios' herd, which was close by,
sleek, broad-faced animals with curving horns
a fearful god, who spies out all there is
and listens in on everything as well.
These words of mine won over their proud hearts.
But then, South Wind kept blowing one whole month.
It never stopped. No other wind sprang up,
except those times when East or
my words had wings:
It seems, Eurylochus,
you're forcing me to stand alone. But come,
let all of you now swear this solemn oath
if by chance we find a herd of cattle
or a large flock of sheep, not one of you
will be so overcome with foolishness
When we saw Charybdis, we were afraid
we'd be destroyed. Then Scylla snatched away
six of my companions, right from the ship,
the strongest and the bravest men I had.
When I turned to watch the swift ship and crew,
already I could see their hands and feet
sweet-voiced melodies sung from our lips.
That brings him joy, and he departs from here
a wiser man, for we two understand
all the things that went on there in Troy,
all Trojan and Achaean suffering,
thanks to what the gods then willed, for we know
with fifty in each group. They bear no young
and never die. Their herders are divine,
fair-haired nymphs Lampetie and Phaethusa.
Beautiful Neaera gave birth to them
from Helios Hyperion, god of the sun.
Once she'd raised them, their royal mother
we should guard against the wondrous voices
of the Sirens in their flowery meadows.
She said I alone should listen to them.
But you must tie me down with cruel bonds,
so I stay where I am and cannot move,
standing upright at the mast. You must fix
and met their fate alongside Agamemnon
in Aegisthus' house. He knew me at once.
When he'd drunk some blood, he wept aloud,
shedding many tears, stretching out his hands,
keen to reach me. But he no longer had
any inner power or strength, not like
Phaeacians, how does this man seem to you
for beauty, stature, and within himself,
a fair, well-balanced mind? He is my guest,
though each of you shares in this honour, too.
So don't be quick to send him on his way,
and don't hold back your gifts to one i