The Odyssey


What shall I
say first? What shall I keep until the end?
The gods have tried me in a thousand ways.
But first my name: let that be known to you,
and if I pull away from pitiless death,
friendship will bind us, though my lands lie far.
I am Laertes son, Odysseus.

– Book 9, ‘New Coasts and Poseidon’s Son’ lines 15-20.

… in one stride he clutched at my companions
and caught two in his hands like squirming puppies
to beat their brains out, spattering the floor.

-315 – 320

… Should destiny
intend that he shall see his roof again
among his family in his father land,
far be that day, and dark the years between.
Let him lose all companions, and return
under strange sail to bitter days at home.

-580 – 585

+ + +

‘Shipmates, companions in disastrous time,
O my dear friends, where Dawn lies, and the West,
and where the great Sun, light of men, may go
under the earth by night, and where he rises —
of these things we know nothing. Do we know
any least thing to serve us now? I wonder.’

– Book X, ‘The Grace of The Witch’ lines 205-210

Hale must your heart be and your tempered will.
Odysseus then you are, O great contender,
of whom the glittering god with golden wand
spoke to me ever, and foretold
the black swift ship would carry you from Troy.

-365 – 370

Run through the tide rip, bring your ship to shore,
land there and find the crumbling homes of Death.
Here, toward the Sorrowing Water, runs the streams
of Wailing, out of Styx, and quenchless Burning—
torrents that join in thunder at the Rock.

-565 – 575

– Robert Fitzgerald translation. Farrar, Straus, Gixoux; New York, New York: 1998.