Myths of Greece and Rome Narrated with Special Reference to Literature and Art

Page: 161

Circe, terrified at the threat, agreed to comply with all his demands; and in a few moments Ulysses was again surrounded by his companions, who were touchingly grateful for their rescue. Circe now prepared a second feast, and entertained them all so well, that Ulysses lingered there for one whole year.

“And there from day to day
We lingered a full year, and banqueted
Nobly on plenteous meats and delicate wines.”
Homer (Bryant’s tr.).
Ulysses visits Cimmeria.

Refer to caption

SIREN. (Acropolis Museum, Athens.)

The Sirens.

These obsequies over, the Greeks, favored by a fresh wind, left Circe’s isle, and sailed along until they drew near the rocky ledge where the Sirens had their abode. These maidens were wont to sit on the rocks and sing entrancing [352] songs, which allured the mariners until they turned aside from their course, and their vessels were dashed to pieces on the rocks.

According to Circe’s advice, Ulysses bade his men bind him fast to the mast, disregard his cries and gestures of command, and keep on their course until the dangerous rocks were lost to view; but, before he allowed them to execute these orders, he stopped their ears with melted wax, so they could not hear a sound, for he alone could hear the Sirens’ song and live.