Alcinous, majesty, shining among your island people,
what a fine thing it is to listen to such a bard
as we have here—the man sings like a god.
The crown of life, I’d say. There’s nothing better
than when deep joy holds sway throughout the realm
and banqueters up and down the palace sit in ranks
enthralled to hear the bard, and before them all, the tables
heaped with bread and meats, and drawing wine from a mixing-bowl
the steward makes his rounds and keeps the winecups flowing.
This to my mind, is the best that life can offer. But now
you’re set on probing the bitter pains I’ve borne,
so I’m to weep and grieve, it seems, still more.
Nobody—that’s my name. Nobody—
so my mother and father call me, all my friends.
. . . as a blacksmith plunges a glowing ax or adze
in an ice-cold bath and the metal screeches steam
and its temper hardens—that’s the iron’s strength—
so the eye of the Cyclops sizzled round that stake!