Fourth Episode - Hades
(as told by Odysseus in Book XI)

To the Revised Version

Odysseus (surrounded by dead and living companions)

is typing on the computerscreen
(2) [...] we dragged the ship to the godly water
(3) And set up the mast and the sails upon the black ship.
(4) We took sheep and brought them on board, and we ourselves
(5) Went on, grieving and pouring down swelling tears.
(12) The sun went down and all the ways were shadowed.
(14) There is the land and city of Cimmerian men,
(15) Who are shrouded in mist and cloud. Never does the sun
(16) Looks down upon them, glittering with his rays -
(20) Arriving there, we beached the ship and took out the flocks.
(36) Then I took the sheep and cut their throats into the pit.
(36) And the black-clouded blood poured out.

(37) The souls gathered of the corpses of those who had died,
(38) Many of whom hovered round the pit on every side
(40) With a tremendous shout. [...]

(57) Elpenor, how did you get here under the murky dusk?
(58) You went faster by foot than I did with the black ship.

(60) Zeus-born son of Laertes, Odysseus of many devices,
(61) The ill fate of some god destroyed me, and abundant wine.
When I lay down in the hall of Circe I did not think
To go back down again upon the long ladder,
But I fell straight down off the roof. And my neck
Was broken from the joint and my soul came down to Hades.

(82) We sat, and on one side I held my sword over the blood.
(83) On the other side the phantom of my companion told me much.

On the screen appears
(90) Then the soul of Theban Tiresias came up,
(91) Holding a gold scepter; he knew me and spoke to me:

(92) Zeus-born son of Laertes, Odysseus of many devices,
(93) Why, hapless man, have you left the light of the sun
(94) And come here to see the dead and a joyless place?
(100) You seek a honey-sweet return, noble Odysseus;
(101) A god will make it disastrous for you. I do not think
(102) You will elude the earth-shaker [...]
(104) You may get there yet, even so, though you suffer ills;
(105) If you are willing to check your spirit and your companions.
(106) At the time when you first bring the well-made ship up close
(107) To the isle of Thrinacria, fleeing the violet ocean,
(108) And you find grazing there the cattle and goodly sheep
(109) Of the Sun, who sees everything and hears everything.
(110) If you let them go unmolested and think of your return
(111) You may yet get to Ithaca, though you do suffer ills.
(112) If you molest them, then I prophesy destruction
(113) For your ship and companions. And even if you escape yourself
(114) You will return late and ill, having lost all your companions,
(115) On another’s ship. [...]
(126) I will tell you a very plain token; do not forget it:
(130) [...] carry out fine sacrifices to Lord Poseidon,
(132) Then go back home and sacrifice sacred hecatombs
(133) To the immortal gods who possess broad heaven,
(134) To all of them in order. Far from the sea will death come,
(135) Ever so gently to your person and slay you
(136) When you are worn out with sleek old age. And the people about you
(137) Will be happy. I tell you this unerringly.

(139) Tiresias, the gods themselves have perhaps spun this thread,
But come tell me one thing, and speak out truthfully;
I see here the soul of my mother who has died.
She sits in silence close to the blood and does not dare
To look her son in the face or speak out to him
(144) Tell me, lord, how may she me know me as who I am?

(146) Easily shall I say the word and put it in your mind.
Whomever you permit of the souls of the dead
To approach the blood closer will speak with out error to you
The one you begrudge it to will go back away.

(150) When he had said this, the soul of Lord Tiresias went
(151) Within the halls of Hades, after it spoke what was decreed.

On the screen appears
(628) But I stayed there on the spot in case anyone came
(629) Of the heroes, men who had perished in time before
(632) But first numberless bands of the dead came on
(633) With a tremendous shout, and sallow fear seized me
(636) At once I went on the ship and called my companions
(637) To board it themselves and to untie the stern cables.
(639) And a wave of the stream bore it to the river Oceanos;
(640) First there was rowing, and after that a fair breeze

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