“The first to come was the spirit of my comrade Elpenor. Not yet had he been buried beneath the broad-wayed earth, for we had left his corpse behind us in the hall of Circe, unwept and unburied, since another task was then urging us on.
When I saw him I wept, and my heart had compassion on him; and I spoke and addressed him with winged words:
“‘Elpenor, how didst thou come beneath the murky darkness? Thou coming on foot hast out-stripped me in my black ship.’
“So I spoke, and with a groan he answered me and said:
‘Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, an evil doom of some god was my undoing, and measureless wine. When I had lain down to sleep in the house of Circe I did not think to go to the long ladder that I might come down again, but fell headlong from the roof, and my neck
was broken away from the spine and my spirit went down to the house of Hades. Now I beseech thee by those whom we left behind, who are not present with us, by thy wife and thy father who reared thee when a babe, and by Telemachus whom thou didst leave an only son in thy halls; for I know that as thou goest hence from the house of Hades
thou wilt touch at the Aeaean isle with thy well-built ship. There, then, O prince, I bid thee remember me. Leave me not behind thee unwept and unburied as thou goest thence, and turn not away from me, lest haply I bring the wrath of the gods upon thee. Nay, burn me with my armour, all that is mine,
and heap up a mound for me on the shore of the grey sea, in memory of an unhappy man, that men yet to be may learn of me. Fulfil this my prayer, and fix upon the mound my oar wherewith I rowed in life when I was among my comrades.’
“So he spoke, and I made answer and said:
‘All this, unhappy man, will I perform and do.’
“Thus we two sat and held sad converse one with the other, I on one side holding my sword over the blood, while on the other side the phantom of my comrade spoke at large.
“Then there came up the spirit of my dead mother,
Anticleia, the daughter of great-hearted Autolycus, whom I had left alive when I departed for sacred Ilios
. At sight of her I wept, and my heart had compassion on her, but even so I would not suffer her to come near the blood, for all my great sorrow, until I had enquired of Teiresias.
“Then there came up the spirit of the Theban Teiresias, bearing his golden staff in his hand, and he knew me and spoke to me: ‘Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, what now, hapless man? Why hast thou left the light of the sun and come hither to behold the dead and a region where is no joy?
Nay, give place from the pit and draw back thy sharp sword, that I may drink of the blood and tell thee sooth.’