This poem is at the beginning of Butcher and Lang’s translation of the Odyssey. Just as Odysseus escapes from Circe back to the sea, so we escape from the overblown modern world and its literature back to the simplicity of the Odyssey. It’s a bit of an irony that so much scholarship and learned works and convoluted language should have been spent on the Odyssey which is supremely simple and its power lies in taking us back to a simpler world.
The Odyssey by Andrew Lang 1844-1912
AS one that for a weary space has lain
Lull’d by the song of Circe and her wine
In gardens near the pale of Proserpine,
Where that Ææan isle forgets the main,
And only the low lutes of love complain,
And only shadows of wan lovers pine—
As such an one were glad to know the brine
Salt on his lips, and the large air again—
So gladly from the songs of modern speech
Men turn, and see the stars, and feel the free
Shrill wind beyond the close of heavy flowers,
And through the music of the languid hours They hear like Ocean on a western beach The surge and thunder of the Odyssey.