Robert Fitzgerald

American poet, critic and translator (1910–1985)

Robert Stuart Fitzgerald (12 October 191016 January 1985) was an American poet, critic and translator.



The Odyssey (1961)

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story...
  • Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
    of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
    the wanderer, harried for years on end,
    after he plundered the stronghold
    on the proud height of Troy.
    He saw the townlands
    and learned the minds of many distant men,
    and weathered many bitter nights and days
    in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only
    to save his life, to bring his shipmates home.
    But not by will nor valor could he save them,
    for their own recklessness destroyed them all—
    children and fools, they killed and feasted on
    the cattle of Lord Hêlios, the Sun,
    and he who moves all day through the heaven
    took from their eyes the dawn of their return.
    • opening lines

The Iliad (1974)

Anger be now your song, immortal one...
  • Anger be now your song, immortal one,
    Akhilleus' anger, doomed and ruinous,
    that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
    and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
    leaving so many dead men—carrion
    for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.
    Begin it when the two men first contending
    broke with one another—the Lord Marshal
    Agamémnon, Atreus' son, and Prince Akhilleus.
    Among the gods, who brought this quarrel on?
    The son of Zeus by Lêto. Agamémnon
    angered him, so he made a burning wind
    of plague rise in the army: rank and file
    sickened and died for the ill their chief had done
    in despising a man of prayer.
    • opening lines

The Aeneid (1983)

I sing of warfare and a man at war.
  • I sing of warfare and a man at war.
    From the sea-coast of Troy in early days
    He came to Italy by destiny,
    To our Lavinian western shore,
    A fugitive, this captain, buffeted
    Cruelly on land as on the sea
    By blows from powers of the air—behind them
    Baleful Juno in her sleepless rage.
    And cruel losses were his lot in war,
    Till he could found a city and bring home
    His gods to Latium, land of the Latin race,
    The Alban lords, and the high walls of Rome.
    Tell me the causes now, O Muse, how galled
    In her divine pride, and how sore at heart
    From her old wound, the queen of gods compelled him—
    A man apart, devoted to his mission—
    To undergo so many perilous days
    And enter on so many trials. Can anger
    Black as this prey on the minds of heaven?
    • opening lines
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