Now corn grows where once Troy stood; and the ground, fattened by Phrygian blood, produces a rich crop that tempts the hand of the reaper. The half-buried bones of heroes are ploughed up by the crooked share; and rising grass covers the ruins of the houses. Though victorious, you are still absent; nor can I possibly know the cause of your long stay, or in what corner of the world my cruel Ulysses lurks. Whatever stranger touches upon these coasts, is sure to be teased with a thousand questions about you; and, when he departs, is charged with a letter to deliver to you, in whatever region of the world he may chance to see you. We sent to Pylos, the Neleian kingdom of old Nestor; but we thence received no account beside uncertain report. We sent likewise to Sparta; but Sparta, being equally ignorant of the truth, left us uncertain that lands you might be wandering over, or where you could make so long a stay. It would be better for me, if the walls of Troy were still standing. Alas! unstable and unhappy, I am offended at my own wishes. I should know in what part of the world you fought, and dread only the dangers of war; nor should I be without companions to join in my complaint. Now I know not what to fear most. I am apt to fancy you exposed to every kind of hazard, and find myself bewildered in a wide field of care. Whatever dangers arise either from sea or land, these I suspect may be the causes of so long a delay. While I thus fondly revolve these things within myself, your it is possible, are the slave of some foreign beauty (such is the inconstancy of man). Perhaps too you divert her by telling what a homely wife you have, who minds only the spindle and the distaff. But I may be deceived, and this imaginary crime may vanish into mere air and conceit; nor can I persuade myself, that, if free to return, you would be absent from me. My father Icarius urges me to leave this widowed state, and never ceases chiding me for my continued delays. Let him chide on; I am yours, and must be called yours; Penelope will ever remain the wife of Ulysses. He at length is softened by my piety and chaste prayers, and forbears to use his authority. A dissipated set of wooers from Dulichium, Samos, and lofty Zacynthos, teize me without intermission. They reign uncontrolled in your palace, and devour your wealth, our very life and support. Why should I mention Pisander, Polybus, ugly Medon, and covetous Eurymachus and Antinoüs, beside many others, who all in your absence live upon the means gained at the hazard of your life? Indigent Irus, and your goat-herd Melanthius, serve to finish your disgrace. We are only three in number, unable to defend ourselves; your wife weak and helpless, Laërtes an old man, and Telemachus a child. That beloved boy we were lately in danger of losing, as, against all our wills, he prepared to go in quest of you to Pylos. May the gods grant, that by the order of fate he may be appointed to close my eyes; to close also yours. The neat-herd, swine-herd, and aged nurse, all join in this prayer. Laërtes, now unfit for arms, is unable to maintain your right against such a crowd of enemies. Telemachus, it is true, if spared, will arrive at a more vigorous age; but at present he requires his father's protection. Nor can it be supposed that I am able to drive away this hostile crowd. Come therefore speedily, you who are our only defence and sanctuary! You have (whom Heaven preserve) a son, whose tender years should have been formed to his father's virtue and prudence. Think of Laertes, and that it is your duty to close his eyes; he now languishes on the verge of dissolution. Surely I, who, when you left me, was but a girl, when you return must appear old and decayed.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (1813)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 2.60
    • Commentary on the Heroides of Ovid, PHYLLIS DEMOPHOONTI
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • P. Ovidius Naso, Art of Love, Remedy of Love, Art of Beauty, Court of Love, History of Love, Amours, A Note on the Translations
    • Sulpicia, Carmina Omnia, 1
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: