The title character of the poem "Ulysses" has ruled Ithaca for several years after his return from several years of adventure. Now, as he is growing old, he is determined not to die at home, of old age, but as he lived his life, with his old comrades, sailing off in search of further adventure. Ulysses is not cut out for the administration of a kingdom, which he finds boring. In the second stanza, he leaves his kingdom to his son Telemachus, who is
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Telemachus, it seems, has the patience to do the hard work, often drudgery, of kingship. Ulysses is made for adventure, Telemachus for administration. As Ulysses says, "He works his work, I mine." He leaves the kingdom secure in the knowledge that Telemachus will do a good job, better, perhaps, than he would have done.