The Odyssey

by Homer

Excerpt from Book XII “The Sirene, Scylla and Charybdis”

Translated by Alexander Pope

Read by Emma Rye

“Now all at once tremendous scenes unfold;
Thunder’d the deeps, the smoky billows roll’d!
Tumultuous waves embroil the bellowing flood,
All trembling, deafen’d, and aghast we stood!
No more the vessel plough’d the dreadful wave,
Fear seized the mighty, and unnerved the brave;
Each dropp’d his oar; but swift from man to man
With looks serene I turn’d, and thus began:
‘O friends! O often tried in adverse storms!
With ills familiar in more dreadful forms!
Deep in the dire Cyclopean den you lay,
Yet safe return’d–Ulysses led the way.
Learn courage hence, and in my care confide;
Lo! still the same Ulysses is your guide.
Attend my words! your oars incessant ply;
Strain every nerve, and bid the vessel fly.
If from yon jostling rocks and wavy war
Jove safety grants, he grants it to your care.
And thou, whose guiding hand directs our way,
Pilot, attentive listen and obey!
Bear wide thy course, nor plough those angry waves
Where rolls yon smoke, yon tumbling ocean raves;
Steer by the higher rock; lest whirl’d around
We sink, beneath the circling eddy drown’d.’
While yet I speak, at once their oars they seize,
Stretch to the stroke, and brush the working seas.
Cautious the name of Scylla I suppress’d;
That dreadful sound had chill’d the boldest breast.

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