But it was much earlier even than that when most people forgot that the very oldest stories are, sooner or later, about blood. Later on they took the blood out to make the stories more acceptable to children, or at least to the people who had to read them to children rather than the children themselves (who, on the whole, are quite keen on blood provided it’s being shed by the deserving), and then wondered where the stories went.
Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.
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Then forth they led Melanthius, and began
Their bloody work; they lopp’d away the man,
Morsel for dogs! then trimm’d with brazen shears
The wretch, and shorten’d of his nose and ears;
His hands and feet last felt the cruel steel:
He roar’d, and torments gave his soul to hell.
They wash, and to Ulysses take their way:
So ends the bloody business of the day.
[ἐκ δὲ Μελάνθιον ἦγον ἀνὰ πρόθυρόν τε καὶ αὐλήν:
475τοῦ δ᾽ ἀπὸ μὲν ῥῖνάς τε καὶ οὔατα νηλέϊ χαλκῷ
τάμνον, μήδεά τ᾽ ἐξέρυσαν, κυσὶν ὠμὰ δάσασθαι,
χεῖράς τ᾽ ἠδὲ πόδας κόπτον κεκοτηότι θυμῷ.
οἱ μὲν ἔπειτ᾽ ἀπονιψάμενοι χεῖράς τε πόδας τε
εἰς Ὀδυσῆα δόμονδε κίον, τετέλεστο δὲ ἔργον.]
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 22, l. 474ff (22.474) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Pope (1725)]
Telemachus and company executing the treacherous goatherd, Melanthius, the last of the deaths on Odysseus' homecoming. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:
Then fetch’d they down Melanthius, to fulfill
The equal execution; which was done
In portal of the hall, and thus begun:
They first slit both his nostrils, cropp’d each ear,
His members tugg’d off, which the dogs did tear
And chop up bleeding sweet; and, while red-hot
The vice-abhorring blood was, off they smote
His hands and feet; and there that work had end.
Then wash’d they hands and feet that blood had stain’d,
And took the house again.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]
Then down they dragg’d Melantheus, and his nose
And ears with cruel steel from ’s head they tear,
And brake his arms and legs with many blows,
And to the dogs to eat they throw his gear.
Their work now done, they wash’d their hands and feet,
And to Ulysses in the hall they went,
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 417]
And now through vestibule and hall
They led Melanthius forth. With ruthless steel
They pared away his ears and nose, pluck’d forth
His parts of shame, destin’d to feed the dogs,
And, still indignant, lopp’d his hands and feet.
Then, laving each his feet and hands, they sought
Again Ulysses; all their work was done,
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 548ff]
Then to the courtyard they Melanthius draw,
Lop with knife his nose and ears, and cast
His manhood to the dogs, to eat up raw,
And his limbs dock with iron -- for so vast
Burned the grim wrath within them. At the last,
Washed in pure water, and with hands and feet
Clean from the red gore, to the king they passed;
And all was over, and the work complete.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 57]
Then dragged they Melanthius forth to the porch and courtyard:
From him nose and ears with the ruthless brass
They sheared: and threw his manhood to the dogs:
And chopped off his hands and feet in vengeful rage!
This done, they washed their hands and feet; and hied
To Odysseus int he house: and the work was done.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]
Was through the corridor and hall led out.
The armed men his nostrils and his ears
With pitiless blade excis'd: his very groin
Was to the rav'nous maw of hounds laid bare;
And both his hands and feet, -- so hotly raged
Avenging wrath! -- were from his body hewn.
Telemachus, at length, and both the herds
When they their hands and feet by blood defil'd
Had in ablusion cleans'd, the house regain'd
And there Ulysses join'd. The work had now
Its full completion reach'd.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 755ff]
Then they led out Melanthius through the doorway and the court, and cut off his nostrils and his ears with the pitiless sword, and drew forth his vitals for the dogs to devour raw, and cut off his hands and feet in their cruel anger. Thereafter they washed their hands and feet, and went into the house to Odysseus, and all the adventure was over.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]
Then did they bring Melanthius through the port and into the court,
And they cropped with the ruthless brass the ears and the nose from his face,
And drew out his privy parts for the dogs to eat raw in the place,
And hewed off his hands and his feet in their fierce and fell intent.
Then their hands and their feet they washed, and into the house they went,
And came unto Odysseus, and done was the work of the day.
[tr. Morris (1887)]
Then forth they led Melanthius across the porch and yard. With ruthless sword they lopped off his nose and and ears, pulled out his bowels to be eaten raw by dogs, and in their rage cut off his hands and feet. Afterwards, washing clean their own hands and their feet, they went to meet Odysseus in the house, and all the work was done.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]
As for Melanthius, they took him through the cloister into the inner court. There they cut off his nose and his ears; they drew out his vitals and gave them to the dogs raw, and then in their fury they cut off his hands and his feet. When they had done this they washed their hands and feet and went back into the house, for all was now over.
[tr. Butler (1898)]
As for Melanthios, they took him through the room into the inner court. There they cut off his nose and his ears; they drew out his vitals and gave them to the dogs raw, and then in their fury they cut off his hands and his feet. When they had done this they washed their hands and feet and went back into the house, for all was now over.
[tr. Butler (1898), rev. Power/Nagy]
Then forth they led Melanthius through the doorway and the court, and cut off his nostrils and his ears with the pitiless bronze, and drew out his vitals for the dogs to eat raw, and cut off his hands and his feet in their furious wrath. Thereafter they washed their hands and feet, and went into the house to Odysseus, and the work was done.
[tr. Murray (1919)]
Melanthius they dragged through the entry and the court, sliced his nose and ears with their cruel swords and tore out his privates, which they fed raw to the dogs. Their spite made them also cut off his hands and feet, after which they rinsed their own feet and hands and rejoined Odysseus in the house, all their achievement perfected.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]
Next Melanthius was dragged out across the court and through the gate. There with a sharp knife they sliced his nose and ears off; they ripped away his privy parts as raw meat for the dogs, and in their fury they lopped off his hands and feet. Then, after washing their own hands and feet, they went back indoors to Odysseus and the business was finished.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]
From the storeroom to the court they brought Melanthios, chopped with swords to cut his nose and ears off, pulled off his genitals to feed the dogs and raging hacked his hands and feet away. As their own hands and feet called for a washing, they went indoors to Odysseus again. Their work was done.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]
They took Melanthios along the porch and the courtyard.
They cut off, with the pitiless bronze, his nose and his ears,
tore off his private parts and gave them to the dogs to feed on
raw, and lopped off his hands and feet, in fury of anger.
Then, after they had washed their own hands and feet clean,
they went into the house of Odysseus. Their work was ended.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]
Melanthius was led outside the door into the court; with savage bronze they hacked off both his ears and nose, cut off his genitals -- a raw meal for the dogs -- and then, with frenzied hearts, hacked off his hands and feet. Their work complete, as soon as they had washed their hands and feet, again they joined Odysseus in the house.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
They hauled him out through the doorway, into the court,
lopped his nose and ears with a ruthless knife,
tore his genitals out for the dogs to eat raw
and in manic fury hacked off hands and feet. Then,
once they'd washed their own hands and feet,
they went inside again to join Odysseus.
Their work was done with now.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]
Then they brought Melanthius outside,
And in their fury they sliced off
His nose and ears with cold bronze
And pulled his genitals out by the root --
Raw meat for the dogs -- and chopped off
His hands and feet. This done,
They washed their own hands and feet
And went back into their master's great hall.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 498ff]
Leading Melánthios out to the portico, then to the courtyard,
there with the pitiless bronze they cut off his nose and his ears, then
tore out his privates and gave them raw to the dogs to be eaten,
also chopped off his hands and his feet in the wrath of their spirits.
Finally, when they had cleansed their hands and their feet of the carnage,
they went into the house of Odysseus; the labor was finished.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]
Next they dragged Melanthius out through the hall entrance and across the court. There with a pitiless knife they sliced his nose and ears off; they ripped away his genitals as raw meat for the dogs, and in their fury they lopped off his hands and feet. Then, after washing their own hands and feet, they went back indoors to Odysseus and the business was finished.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]
Then they dragged Melanthius out through the door into the yard, and with the pitiless bronze sliced off his nose and ears, tore away his genitals to be raw meat for the dogs to eat, and in their raging fury lopped off his hands and feet as well. After this they scoured the gore from their hands and feet, and went into the house to meet Odysseus, their work done.
[tr. Verity (2016)]
Then the men took Melanthius outside and with curved bronze cut off his nose and ears and ripped away his genitals, to feed raw to the dogs. Still full of rage, they chopped his hands and feet off. Then they washed their own, and they went back inside.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]
Then they brought out Melanthios, ripped out his genitals and fed them to the dogs, and cut off all his extremities. That done, they washed off their hands and feet, and went back in. The work was done.
[tr. Green (2018)]
Then they brought Melanthius out through the doorway
into the yard. With pitiless bronze they sliced off
his nose and ears, then ripped off his cock and balls
as raw meat for dogs to eat, and in their fury
hacked off his hands and feet. After they’d done that,
they washed their hands and feet and went inside the house,
returning to Odysseus. Their work was finished.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 586ff]
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Childe Rowland to the dark tower came,
His word was still “Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.”
King Lear, Act 3, sc. 4, l. 195ff [Edgar] (1606)
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When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory — must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”
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