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(The speakers in the dialogue are Odysseus, Circe, and Gryllus.)

Odysseus. These facts,1 Circe, I believe I have learned and shall not forget them ; yet I should be happy to learn from you further whether there are any Greeks among those whom you have changed from the shape of men into wolves and lions.

Circe. Quite a few, beloved Odysseus. But what is your reason for asking this question ?

Odysseus. It is, I swear, because it would bring me noble glory among the Greeks if by your favour I should restore comrades of mine to their original humanity and not allow them to grow old in the unnatural guise of beasts, leading an existence that is so piteous and shameful.

Circe. Here's a lad who finds it appropriate that not only himself and his companions, but even total strangers should, through his stupidity, find his ambition their ruin.

Odysseus. This is a new potion2 of words that you are stirring and drugging for me, Circe. It will certainly [p. 495] transform me literally into a beast if I am to take your word for it that changing from beast to man spells ruin.

Circe. Haven't you already worked a stranger magic than this on yourself? You who refused an ageless, immortal life at my side and would struggle through a thousand new dangers to a woman who is mortal and, I can assure you, no longer so very young - and this for no object other than to make yourself more gaped at and renowned than you already are, pursuing an empty phantom instead of what is truly good.

Odysseus. All right, let it be as you say, Circe. Why must we quarrel again and again about the same matters ? Now please just grant me the favour of letting the men go free.

Circe. By the Black Goddess,3 it's not so simple as that. These creatures are no run of the mill. You must ask them first if they are willing. If they say no, my hero, you'll have to argue with them and convince them. And if you don't, and they win the argument, then you must be content with having exercised poor judgement about yourself and your friends.

Odysseus. Dear lady, why are you making fun of me ? How can they argue with me or I with them so long as they are asses and hogs and lions ?

Circe. Courage, courage, my ambitious friend. I'll see to it that you shall find them both receptive and responsive. Or rather, one of the number will be enough to thrust and parry for them all. Presto ! You may talk with this one. [p. 497]

Odysseus. And how am I to address him, Circe? Who in the world was he?4

Circe. What's that to do with the issue ? Call him Gryllus,5 if you like. I'll retire now to avoid any suggestion that he is arguing against his own convictions to curry favour with me.

1 For the beginning cf. Horace, Sat. ii. 5. 1:

“ Haec quoque, Teresia, praeter narrata . . ., ”
a form which is assumed to go back to Menippus.

2 By which she transformed men into beasts: Odyssey, x. 236.

3 Hecate, goddess of black magic, who was invoked for such functions at least from the time of Euripides' Medea (394 ff.).

4 After the Homeric formula, e.g., Odyssey, x. 325.

5 ‘Grunter,’ ‘swine.’

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