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whale's jaws, being generally overwashed by the sea, are almost
- Above a thousand.” What arms do you wear?”– “ None but fish bones.” “We had best then attack them," said I, “ seeing we are armed and the are not.
If we once for all subdue them, we may afterwards live without disturbance.”
This proposal pleased our host. We therefore repaired to our ship, and made the necessary preparations. An occasion of war we could not be at a loss for. Our host had no more to do but refuse paying the tribute, the day appointed being near at hand ; and this was accordingly agreed on. They sent to demand the tribute. He sent them packing without their errand. At this the Psettapodes and Pagurades were so incensed that with great clamor they fell furiously upon the plantation of Skintharus, for that was the name of our new friend. As this was no more than we had expected, they found us in a condition to receive them. I had sent out a detachment consisting of half my crew, five and twenty in number, with orders to lie in ambuscade, and when the enemy had passed, to attack him in the rear; which they did with complete success. I then with the rest of my men, also five and twenty strong (for Skintharus and his son fought with us), marched forward to oppose them; and when we had come to close quarters, we fought with such bravery and strength that after an obstinate struggle, not without danger on our part, they were at last beat out of the field, and pursued to their dens. Of the enemy were slain a hundred threescore and ten; on our side we lost only one, - my pilot, who was run through the shoulder by the rib of a mullet.
That day, and the night after it, we lodged in our trenches, and erected the dry backbone of a dolphin as a trophy. But the rumor of this engagement having in the mean time gone abroad, we found the next morning a fresh enemy before us : the Tarichanes under the command of a certain Pelamus in the left wing, the Thynnocephali taking the right, and the Carkinocheires occupying the center. For the Tritonomendetes, not
liking to have anything to do with either party, chose to remain neuter, We came up to the enemy close by the temple of Neptune, where, under so great a war cry that the whole whale rebellowed with it through its immense caverns, the armies rushed to combat. Our enemies, however, being not much better than naked and unarmed, were soon put to flight and chased into the heart of the forest, whereby we became masters of the country.
They sent heralds a little while after, to fetch away their dead and propose terms of accommodation ; which, so far from thinking proper to agree to, we marched in a body against them the very next day, and put them all to the sword, except the Tritonomendetes, who, seeing how it had fared with their fellows, ran away as fast as they could to the whale's gills, and cast themselves headlong into the sea.
We now scoured the country, and finding it cleared of all enemies, we have ever since lived agreeably together, passing our time in bodily exercises and hunting, tending our vines, gathering the fruits of the trees, and living, in one word, like people who make themselves very comfortable in a spacious prison which they cannot get out of. In this manner we spent a year and eight months.
On the fifteenth day of the ninth month, however, at the second opening of the whale's chops (for this he did once every hour, by which periodical gaping we computed the hours of the day), we heard a great cry, and a noise like that of sailors, and the dashing of oars. Not a little alarmed, we crept forward to the jaws of the monster, where, standing between the teeth, where everything might be seen, we beheld one of the most astonishing spectacles, far surpassing all that I had ever seen in my whole life ; men who were five hundred feet in stature, and came sailing on islands, as if they had been on shipboard. I am aware that what I am saying will be thought incredible, yet I cannot help proceeding : it must out. These islands were indeed of considerable length, one with another about eighteen miles in circumference; but proportionally not very high. Upon each of them were some eight and twenty rowers, who, sitting in two rows on both sides, rowed with huge cypresses, having their branches and leaves on. In the after part of the ship (if I may so term it) stood the pilot on a high hill, managing a brazen rudder that might be perhaps six hundred feet long. On the forecastle about forty of them were standing, armed for war, and looking in all respects like men, excepting that instead of hair they had flames of fire on their heads, and therefore had no occasion for a helmet. The place of sails on each of these islands was supplied by a thick forest, on which the wind rushing, drove and turned the island, how and whither the pilot would. By the rowers stood one that had the command over them; and these islands moved by the help of the oar, like so many galleys, with the greatest velocity.
At first we saw only two or three ; by degrees, however, perhaps six hundred came in sight; and after forming themselves in two lines, they began to engage in a regular sea fight. Many ran foul of each other by the stern with such force that not a few were overset by the violence of the shock, and went to the bottom. Others got entangled together, and obstinately maintained the fight with equal bravery and ardor, and could not easily be parted. The combatants on the foredeck showed the most consummate valor, leaped into the enemy's ships, and cut down all before them, for no quarter was given. Instead of grappling irons, they hurled enormous polypi fast tied to thick ropes, which clung to the forest, with their numerous arms, and thus kept the island from moving. The shot they made use of, and with which they sadly wounded one another, were oysters one of which would have completely filled a wagon, and sponges each big enough to cover an acre of ground.
By what we could gather from their mutual shouts, the commander of one fleet was called Æolocentaurus, and that of the other Thalassopotes ; and the occasion of the war, as it appeared, was given by Thalassopotes, who accused Æolocentaurus of having stolen several shoals of dolphins from him. Certain it is, that the Æolocentaurian party came off victorious, having sunk nearly a hundred and fifty of their enemy's islands, and captured three others, with all the men upon them; the rest sheered off, and made their escape. The conquerors, after pursuing them for some time, returned towards evening to the wrecks, made prizes of most of them, and got up their own islands ; for in the engagement no fewer than eighty had gone down. This done, they nailed one of the islands to the head of the whale as a monument of the victory, and passed the night in the wake of the monster, after fastening the ship to him with hawsers, having previously hooked their anchors into his sides; for they had with them anchors immensely large and strong, all made of glass. On the following day they got out upon the back of the whale, sacrificed to their deities, buried their dead in it, and then set sail with great jubilation.
FROM ÆSCHYLUS' “AGAMEMNON."
VERSION OF EDWARD FITZGERALD.
[ÆSCHYLUS: The earliest of the Greek tragic poets ; born at Eleusis in Attica, B.c. 525. He fought at the battles of Marathon, Salamis, and Platæa, and in his twenty-fifth year appeared as a writer of tragedies, although he did not win a first prize until B.C. 485. He maintained his supremacy until his defeat by the younger Sophocles, when he retired in disgust to Gela in Sicily (B.C. 459), and died there a few years later. Æschylus is called “the father of Greek Tragedy" on account of the many improvements he introduced in the form of the drama. Of his seventy tragedies there are extant only seven: “ The Persians,” “Seven against Thebes," "The Suppliants," "Prometheus Bound,” and the famous Orestean trilogy, consisting of “ Agamemnon,” “The Choephori,” and “The Eumenides."']
Clytemnestra receives A gamemnon on his Return from the Sack of Troy, with
Priam's Daughter Cassandra a Prisoner.
Down from the chariot thou standest in,
Stored these ten years; and to what purpose stored,
Unless to strew the footsteps of their Lord
Returning to his unexpected rest!
Daughter of Leda, Mistress of my house,
By permission Mr. Bernard Quaritch.
Trample their glories underfoot, not I.
The goal in peace, it shall be well for me.
old Priam would have walked Had he returned to Troy your conqueror,
As you to Hellas his ?
What then? Perhaps
On gold and purple.
Well, and grudging this,
To buy your ransom back!
What! the jealous God?
And that of no small moment. Clytemnestra
No; the one Sure proof of having won what others would. Agamemnon
No matter Strife but ill becomes a woman. Clytemnestra
And frank submission to her simple wish
How well becomes the Soldier in his strength! Agamemnon
And I must then submit?
First Morning of your long-desired Return.
But not till I have put these sandals off,