Bright among goddesses she stood in our midst and addressed us:
"Unhappy men, who went alive to the house of Hades,
so dying twice, when all the rest of mankind die only
here all the rest of the day, and then tomorrow, when dawn shows,
you shall sail, and I will show you the way and make plain
all details, so that neither by land nor on the salt water
you may suffer and come to grief by unhappy bad designing."
'So she spoke, and the proud heart in us was persuaded.
So for the whole length of the day until the sun's setting,
we sat there feasting on unlimited meat and sweet wine.
But when the sun went down and the sacred darkness came over,
the men lay down to sleep all by the ship's stern cables,
but she, taking me by the hand, made me sit down away from
my dear companions, and talked with me, and asked me the details
of everything, and I recited all, just as it had happened.
Then the queenly Circe spoke in words and addressed me:
"So all that has been duly done. Listen now, I will tell you
all, but the very god himself will make you remember.
You will come first of all to the Sirens, who are enchanters
of all mankind and whoever comes their way; and that man
who unsuspecting approaches them, and listens to the Sirens
singing, has no prospect of coming home and delighting
his wife and little children as they stand about him in greeting,
but the Sirens by the melody of their singing enchant him.
They sit in their meadow, but the beach before it is piled with boneheaps
of men now rotted away, and the skins shrivel upon them.
You must drive straight on past, but melt down sweet wax of honey
and with it stop your companions' ears, so none can listen;
the rest, that is, but if you yourself are wanting to hear them,
then have them tie you hand and foot on the fast ship, standing
upright against the mast with the ropes' ends lashed around it,
so that you can have joy in hearing the song of the Sirens;
but if you supplicate your men and implore them to set you
free, then they must tie you fast with even more lashings.
"Then, for the time when your companions have driven you past them
for that time I will no longer tell you in detail which way
of the two your course must lie, but you yourself must consider
this in your own mind. I will tell you the two ways of it."
OD, Book XII, lines 36-58, Richard Latimore translation, Harper & Row, 1967