“So I spoke, and the beautiful goddess straightway made answer: ‘Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices,
let there be in thy mind no concern for a pilot to guide thy ship,1
but set up thy mast, and spread the white sail, and sit thee down; and the breath of the North Wind will bear her onward. But when in thy ship thou hast now crossed the stream of Oceanus, where is a level shore and the groves of Persephone—
tall poplars, and willows that shed their fruit—there do thou beach thy ship by the deep eddying Oceanus, but go thyself to the dank house of Hades. There into Acheron
flow Periphlegethon and Cocytus, which is a branch of the water of the Styx;
and there is a rock, and the meeting place of the two roaring rivers. Thither, prince, do thou draw nigh, as I bid thee, and dig a pit of a cubit's length this way and that, and around it pour a libation to all the dead, first with milk and honey, thereafter with sweet wine,
and in the third place with water, and sprinkle thereon white barley meal. And do thou earnestly entreat the powerless heads of the dead, vowing that when thou comest to Ithaca
thou wilt sacrifice in thy halls a barren heifer, the best thou hast, and wilt fill the altar with rich gifts; and that to Teiresias alone thou wilt sacrifice separately a ram,
wholly black, the goodliest of thy flock. But when with prayers thou hast made supplication to the glorious tribes of the dead, then sacrifice a ram and a black ewe, turning their heads toward Erebus but thyself turning backward, and setting thy face towards the streams of the river. Then many
ghosts of men that are dead will come forth. But do thou thereafter call to thy comrades, and bid them flay and burn the sheep that lie there, slain by the pitiless bronze, and make prayer to the gods, to mighty Hades and to dread Persephone.
And do thou thyself draw thy sharp sword from beside thy thigh, and sit there, not suffering the powerless heads of the dead to draw near to the blood, till thou hast enquired of Teiresias. Then the seer will presently come to thee, leader of men, and he will tell thee thy way and the measures of thy path,
and of thy return, how thou mayest go over the teeming deep.’
“So she spoke, and straightway came golden-throned Dawn. Round about me then she cast a cloak and tunic as raiment, and the nymph clothed herself in a long white robe, finely-woven and beautiful, and about her waist she cast
a fair girdle of gold, and upon her head she put a veil.