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“ Has my sister ever heard the story of Ulysses and his dog ?” inquired Maurice.
“ No, never,” said Clara. “Do tell me the history. I saw my cousin Fanny drawing some screens one day from tracing paper, upon which were represented Ulysses, and his dog lying at his feet; but I did not like to ask who Ulysses was, because I was ashamed to own my ignorance."
In the Iliad, as I have already oba served," said Mr. C., “ the action is limited to the destruction of Troy, which is only to be effected by the conciliation of Achilles to the common càuse. In the Odyssey it is the esta, blishment of Ulysses in Ithaca, an event which, after innumerable difficulties, he is finally enabled to accomplish. You must read the book in order to become acquainted with the leading facts of the warrative; but I will relate the story of Ulysses and his dog, which is a general favourite, because it so beautifully demonstrates the attachment and gratitude of which the canine race are susceptible.” .“ You will gratify me very much,
.“ After an absence of twenty years, Ulysses, who had been engaged half of that time in the siege of Troy, returned to his palace in Ithaca, not in the royal robes he had formerly worn, but in the tattered garb of a poor old beggar, when his dog recognizing his beloved master, notwithstanding his altered appearance, was so overpowered with joy, that he actually expired at his feet. The incident itself was probably the creation of the poet's imagination, but his interesting narratives are undoubtedly founded on fact, or his works would not have afforded such exquisite
delight to so many succeeding generations. Be this as it may, however, you shall hear the story in verse. It is ne. cessary to remember that Eumæus is an old herdsman who lived in a cottage near the palace, and that Ulysses, still in disguise, called upon him on his way to request him to conduct him thither. They converse together as they walk:
Thus near the gates conferring as they drew, Argus, the dog, his ancient master knew; He not unconscious of the voice and tread, Lifts to the sound his ear and rears his head. Bred by Ulysses, nourished at his board, But ah! not fated long to please his lord ! To him, his swiftness and his strength were vain; The voice of glory called him o'er the main. Till then, in every sylvan chace renown'd, With Argus, Argus rung the woods around; With him the youth pursued the goat or fawn, Or traced the mazy leveret o'er the lawn. Now left to man's ingratitude he lay, Unhoused, neglected in the public way,
He knew his lord; he knew, and stroye to meet;
Such, when Ulysses left his natal coast;
“Ah! ah! now Maurice,” said Clara, “ I know how to account for the name you have given to your favourite little spaniel.—Argus was the name of Ulysses’ dog—the most grateful—the most affectionate - the most faithful of all the dogs that ever existed !
“Well, papa, I like epic poetry better than ever I did before!"