The Adventures of Ulysses by Charles Lamb

THE ADVENTURES OF ULYSSES

BY CHARLES LAMB

This ancient terracotta plaque shows Odysseus returning to Penelope, surrounded by his father, son, and swineherd.

Terracotta plaque, ca. 460-450 BC,
artist unknown

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Fletcher Fund, 1930 (30.11.9)
From the description from the Metropolitan Museum website: “Odysseus returning to Penelope….Here [Odysseus] is shown approaching the disconsolate Penelope, as the faithful members of his household—his father, Laertes, his son, Telemachos, and the swineherd Eumaios—look on.”
www.metmuseum.org

PREFACE

This work is designed as a supplement to the Adventures of Telemachus. It treats of the conduct and sufferings of Ulysses, the father of Telemachus. The picture which it exhibits is that of a brave man struggling with adversity; by a wise use of events, and with an inimitable presence of mind under difficulties, forcing out a way for himself through the severest trials to which human life can be exposed; with enemies natural and preternatural surrounding him on all sides. The agents in this tale, besides men and women, are giants, enchanters, sirens: things which denote external force or internal temptations, the twofold danger which a wise fortitude must expect to encounter in its course through this world. The fictions contained in it will be found to comprehend some of the most admired inventions of Grecian mythology.

The groundwork of the story is as old as the Odyssey, but the moral and the coloring are comparatively modern. By avoiding the prolixity which marks the speeches and the descriptions in Homer, I have gained a rapidity to the narration which I hope will make it more attractive and give it more the air of a romance to young readers, though I am sensible that by the curtailment I have sacrificed in many places the manners to the passion, the subordinate characteristics to the essential interest of the story. The attempt is not to be considered as seeking a comparison with any of the direct translations of the Odyssey, either in prose or verse, though if I were to state the obligations which I have had to one obsolete version, [Footnote: The translation of Homer by Chapman in the reign of James I.] I should run the hazard of depriving myself of the very slender degree of reputation which I could hope to acquire from a trifle like the present undertaking.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

The Cicons.—The Fruit of the Lotus-tree.—Polyphemus and the Cyclops.—
The Kingdom of the Winds, and God Aeolus’s Fatal Present.—The
Laestrygonian Man-eaters.

CHAPTER TWO

The House of Circe.—Men changed into Beasts.—The Voyage to Hell.—The
Banquet of the Dead.

CHAPTER THREE

The Song of the Sirens.—Scylla and Charybdis.—The Oxen of the Sun.—The
Judgment.—The Crew Killed by Lightning.

CHAPTER FOUR

The Island of Calypso.—Immortality Refused.

CHAPTER FIVE

The Tempest.—The Sea-bird’s Gift.—The Escape by Swimming.—The Sleep in the Woods.

CHAPTER SIX

The Princess Nausicaa.—The Washing.—The Game with the Ball.—The Court of Phaeacia and King Alcinous.

CHAPTER SEVEN

The Songs of Demodocus—The Convoy Home.—The Manners—Transformed to
Stone—The Young Shepherd.

CHAPTER EIGHT

The Change from a King to a Beggar.—Eumaeus and the Herdsmen—Telemachus.

CHAPTER NINE

The Queen’s Suitors—The Battle of the Beggars.—The Armour Taken Down.—
The Meeting with Penelope.

CHAPTER TEN

The Madness from Above—The Bow of Ulysses.—The Slaughter.—The
Conclusion.

***

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