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Read The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley Part 160

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CHORUS: Joy! I am mad with joy at your device. _465

ULYSSES: And then with you, my friends, and the old man, We’ll load the hollow depth of our black ship, And row with double strokes from this dread sh.o.r.e.

CHORUS: May I, as in libations to a G.o.d, Share in the blinding him with the red brand? _470 I would have some communion in his death.

ULYSSES: Doubtless: the brand is a great brand to hold.

CHORUS: Oh! I would lift an hundred waggon-loads, If like a wasp’s nest I could scoop the eye out Of the detested Cyclops.

ULYSSES: Silence now! _475 Ye know the close device–and when I call, Look ye obey the masters of the craft.

I will not save myself and leave behind My comrades in the cave: I might escape, Having got clear from that obscure recess, _480 But ’twere unjust to leave in jeopardy The dear companions who sailed here with me.

CHORUS: Come! who is first, that with his hand Will urge down the burning brand Through the lids, and quench and pierce _485 The Cyclops’ eye so fiery fierce?

SEMICHORUS 1 [SONG WITHIN]: Listen! listen! he is coming, A most hideous discord humming.

Drunken, museless, awkward, yelling, Far along his rocky dwelling; _490 Let us with some comic spell Teach the yet unteachable.

By all means he must be blinded, If my counsel be but minded.

SEMICHORUS 2: Happy thou made odorous _495 With the dew which sweet grapes weep, To the village hastening thus, Seek the vines that soothe to sleep; Having first embraced thy friend, Thou in luxury without end, _500 With the strings of yellow hair, Of thy voluptuous leman fair, Shalt sit playing on a bed!– Speak! what door is opened?

NOTES: _495 thou cj. Swinburne, Rossetti; those 1824; ‘the word is doubtful in B.’ (Loc.o.c.k).

_500 Thou B.; There 1824.

CYCLOPS: Ha! ha! ha! I’m full of wine, _505 Heavy with the joy divine, With the young feast oversated; Like a merchant’s vessel freighted To the water’s edge, my crop Is laden to the gullet’s top. _510 The fresh meadow gra.s.s of spring Tempts me forth thus wandering To my brothers on the mountains, Who shall share the wine’s sweet fountains.

Bring the cask, O stranger, bring! _515

NOTE: _508 merchant’s 1824; merchant B.

CHORUS: One with eyes the fairest Cometh from his dwelling; Some one loves thee, rarest Bright beyond my telling.

In thy grace thou shinest _520 Like some nymph divinest In her caverns dewy:– All delights pursue thee, Soon pied flowers, sweet-breathing, Shall thy head be wreathing. _525

ULYSSES: Listen, O Cyclops, for I am well skilled In Bacchus, whom I gave thee of to drink.

CYCLOPS: What sort of G.o.d is Bacchus then accounted?

ULYSSES: The greatest among men for joy of life.

CYCLOPS: I gulped him down with very great delight. _530

ULYSSES: This is a G.o.d who never injures men.

CYCLOPS: How does the G.o.d like living in a skin?

ULYSSES: He is content wherever he is put.

CYCLOPS: G.o.ds should not have their body in a skin.

ULYSSES: If he gives joy, what is his skin to you? _535

CYCLOPS: I hate the skin, but love the wine within.

ULYSSES: Stay here now: drink, and make your spirit glad.

NOTE: _537 Stay here now, drink B.; stay here, now drink 1824.

CYCLOPS: Should I not share this liquor with my brothers?

ULYSSES: Keep it yourself, and be more honoured so.

CYCLOPS: I were more useful, giving to my friends. _540

ULYSSES: But village mirth breeds contests, broils, and blows.

CYCLOPS: When I am drunk none shall lay hands on me.–

ULYSSES: A drunken man is better within doors.

CYCLOPS: He is a fool, who drinking, loves not mirth.

ULYSSES: But he is wise, who drunk, remains at home. _545

CYCLOPS: What shall I do, Silenus? Shall I stay?

SILENUS: Stay–for what need have you of pot companions?

CYCLOPS: Indeed this place is closely carpeted With flowers and gra.s.s.

SILENUS: And in the sun-warm noon ‘Tis sweet to drink. Lie down beside me now, _550 Placing your mighty sides upon the ground.

CYCLOPS: What do you put the cup behind me for?

SILENUS: That no one here may touch it.

CYCLOPS: Thievish One!

You want to drink;–here place it in the midst.

And thou, O stranger, tell how art thou called? _555

ULYSSES: My name is n.o.body. What favour now Shall I receive to praise you at your hands?

CYCLOPS: I’ll feast on you the last of your companions.

ULYSSES: You grant your guest a fair reward, O Cyclops.

CYCLOPS: Ha! what is this? Stealing the wine, you rogue! _560

SILENUS: It was this stranger kissing me because I looked so beautiful.

CYCLOPS: You shall repent For kissing the coy wine that loves you not.

———-

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