Friday, October 29, 2004


Regret in Ithaca

In the fifth book of Homer's Odyssey, we see Odysseus held against his will on the goddess Calypso's island, pining to return to his homeland Ithaca and his wife Penelope. Andrew Lang (1844-1912) wrote a sonnet entitled In Ithaca about Odysseus' second thoughts once he was back home:
"And now am I greatly repenting that ever I left my life with thee, and the immortality thou didst promise me." -- Letter of Odysseus to Calypso. Luciani Vera Historia.

'Tis thought Odysseus when the strife was o'er
  With all the waves and wars, a weary while,
  Grew restless in his disenchanted isle,
And still would watch the sunset, from the shore,
Go down the ways of gold, and evermore
  His sad heart followed after, mile on mile,
  Back to the Goddess of the magic wile,
Calypso, and the love that was of yore.

Thou too, thy haven gained, must turn thee yet
  To look across the sad and stormy space,
  Years of a youth as bitter as the sea,
Ah, with a heavy heart, and eyelids wet,
  Because, within a fair forsaken place
  The life that might have been is lost to thee.

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