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´╗┐Title: The Argonautica
Author: Rhodius, Apollonius, c. 3rd cent. B.C.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Argonautica" ***

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by Apollonius Rhodius

(fl. 3rd Century B.C.)

Originally written in Ancient Greek sometime in the 3rd Century B.C.
by the Alexandrian poet Apollonius Rhodius ("Apollonius the Rhodian").
Translation by R.C. Seaton, 1912.

PREPARER'S NOTE: Words in CAPITALS are Greek words transliterated into
modern characters.




Seaton, R.C. (Ed. & Trans.): "Apollonius Rhodius: Argonautica" (Harvard
University Press, Cambridge MA, 1912). Original Greek text with
side-by-side English translation.


Rieu, E.V. (Trans.): "Apollonius of Rhodes: The Voyage of the Argo"
(Penguin Classics, London, 1959, 1971).


Euripides: "Medea", "Hecabe", "Electra", and "Heracles", translated by
Philip Vellacott (Penguin Classics, London, 1963). Contains four plays
by Euripides, two of which concern characters from "The Argonautica".



Much has been written about the chronology of Alexandrian literature and
the famous Library, founded by Ptolemy Soter, but the dates of the chief
writers are still matters of conjecture. The birth of Apollonius Rhodius
is placed by scholars at various times between 296 and 260 B.C., while
the year of his death is equally uncertain. In fact, we have very little
information on the subject. There are two "lives" of Apollonius in the
Scholia, both derived from an earlier one which is lost. From these we
learn that he was of Alexandria by birth, [1001] that he lived in the
time of the Ptolemies, and was a pupil of Callimachus; that while still
a youth he composed and recited in public his "Argonautica", and that
the poem was condemned, in consequence of which he retired to Rhodes;
that there he revised his poem, recited it with great applause, and
hence called himself a Rhodian. The second "life" adds: "Some say that
he returned to Alexandria and again recited his poem with the utmost
success, so that he was honoured with the libraries of the Museum and
was buried with Callimachus." The last sentence may be interpreted by
the notice of Suidas, who informs us that Apollonius was a contemporary
of Eratosthenes, Euphorion and Timarchus, in the time of Ptolemy
Euergetes, and that he succeeded Eratosthenes in the headship of the
Alexandrian Library. Suidas also informs us elsewhere that Aristophanes
at the age of sixty-two succeeded Apollonius in this office. Many modern
scholars deny the "bibliothecariate" of Apollonius for chronological
reasons, and there is considerable difficulty about it. The date of
Callimachus' "Hymn to Apollo", which closes with some lines (105-113)
that are admittedly an allusion to Apollonius, may be put with much
probability at 248 or 247 B.C. Apollonius must at that date have been at
least twenty years old. Eratosthenes died 196-193 B.C. This would make
Apollonius seventy-two to seventy-five when he succeeded Eratosthenes.
This is not impossible, it is true, but it is difficult. But the
difficulty is taken away if we assume with Ritschl that Eratosthenes
resigned his office some years before his death, which allows us to
put the birth of Apollonius at about 280, and would solve other
difficulties. For instance, if the Librarians were buried within
the precincts, it would account for the burial of Apollonius next to
Callimachus--Eratosthenes being still alive. However that may be, it
is rather arbitrary to take away the "bibliothecariate" of Apollonius,
which is clearly asserted by Suidas, on account of chronological
calculations which are themselves uncertain. Moreover, it is more
probable that the words following "some say" in the second "life" are
a remnant of the original life than a conjectural addition, because the
first "life" is evidently incomplete, nothing being said about the end
of Apollonius' career.

The principal event in his life, so far as we know, was the quarrel
with his master Callimachus, which was most probably the cause of his
condemnation at Alexandria and departure to Rhodes. This quarrel appears
to have arisen from differences of literary aims and taste, but, as
literary differences often do, degenerated into the bitterest personal
strife. There are references to the quarrel in the writings of both.
Callimachus attacks Apollonius in the passage at the end of the "Hymn to
Apollo", already mentioned, also probably in some epigrams, but most of
all in his "Ibis", of which we have an imitation, or perhaps nearly a
translation, in Ovid's poem of the same name. On the part of Apollonius
there is a passage in the third book of the "Argonautica" (11. 927-947)
which is of a polemical nature and stands out from the context, and the
well-known savage epigram upon Callimachus. [1002] Various combinations
have been attempted by scholars, notably by Couat, in his "Poesie
Alexandrine", to give a connected account of the quarrel, but we have
not data sufficient to determine the order of the attacks, and replies,
and counter-attacks. The "Ibis" has been thought to mark the termination
of the feud on the curious ground that it was impossible for abuse to go
further. It was an age when literary men were more inclined to comment
on writings of the past than to produce original work. Literature was
engaged in taking stock of itself. Homer was, of course, professedly
admired by all, but more admired than imitated. Epic poetry was out
of fashion and we find many epigrams of this period--some by
Callimachus--directed against the "cyclic" poets, by whom were meant at
that time those who were always dragging in conventional and commonplace
epithets and phrases peculiar to epic poetry. Callimachus was in
accordance with the spirit of the age when he proclaimed "a great book"
to be "a great evil", and sought to confine poetical activity within the
narrowest limits both of subject and space. Theocritus agreed with
him, both in principle and practice. The chief characteristics of
Alexandrianism are well summarized by Professor Robinson Ellis as
follows: "Precision in form and metre, refinement in diction, a learning
often degenerating into pedantry and obscurity, a resolute avoidance of
everything commonplace in subject, sentiment or allusion." These traits
are more prominent in Callimachus than in Apollonius, but they are
certainly to be seen in the latter. He seems to have written the
"Argonautica" out of bravado, to show that he could write an epic poem.
But the influence of the age was too strong. Instead of the unity of an
Epic we have merely a series of episodes, and it is the great beauty
and power of one of these episodes that gives the poem its permanent
value--the episode of the love of Jason and Medea. This occupies the
greater part of the third book. The first and second books are taken
up with the history of the voyage to Colchis, while the fourth book
describes the return voyage. These portions constitute a metrical guide
book, filled no doubt with many pleasing episodes, such as the rape
of Hylas, the boxing match between Pollux and Amyeus, the account of
Cyzicus, the account of the Amazons, the legend of Talos, but there is
no unity running through the poem beyond that of the voyage itself.

The Tale of the Argonauts had been told often before in verse and prose,
and many authors' names are given in the Scholia to Apollonius, but
their works have perished. The best known earlier account that we have
is that in Pindar's fourth Pythian ode, from which Apollonius has taken
many details. The subject was one for an epic poem, for its unity might
have been found in the working out of the expiation due for the crime of
Athamas; but this motive is barely mentioned by our author.

As we have it, the motive of the voyage is the command of Pelias to
bring back the golden fleece, and this command is based on Pelias'
desire to destroy Jason, while the divine aid given to Jason results
from the intention of Hera to punish Pelias for his neglect of the
honour due to her. The learning of Apollonius is not deep but it is
curious; his general sentiments are not according to the Alexandrian
standard, for they are simple and obvious. In the mass of material from
which he had to choose the difficulty was to know what to omit, and much
skill is shown in fusing into a tolerably harmonious whole conflicting
mythological and historical details. He interweaves with his narrative
local legends and the founding of cities, accounts of strange customs,
descriptions of works of art, such as that of Ganymede and Eros playing
with knucklebones, [1003] but prosaically calls himself back to the
point from these pleasing digressions by such an expression as "but this
would take me too far from my song." His business is the straightforward
tale and nothing else. The astonishing geography of the fourth book
reminds us of the interest of the age in that subject, stimulated no
doubt by the researches of Eratosthenes and others.

The language is that of the conventional epic. Apollonius seems to have
carefully studied Homeric glosses, and gives many examples of isolated
uses, but his choice of words is by no means limited to Homer. He freely
avails himself of Alexandrian words and late uses of Homeric words.
Among his contemporaries Apollonius suffers from a comparison with
Theocritus, who was a little his senior, but he was much admired by
Roman writers who derived inspiration from the great classical writers
of Greece by way of Alexandria. In fact Alexandria was a useful bridge
between Athens and Rome. The "Argonautica" was translated by Varro
Atacinus, copied by Ovid and Virgil, and minutely studied by Valerius
Flaccus in his poem of the same name. Some of his finest passages have
been appropriated and improved upon by Virgil by the divine right of
superior genius. [1004] The subject of love had been treated in the
romantic spirit before the time of Apollonius in writings that have
perished, for instance, in those of Antimachus of Colophon, but the
"Argonautica" is perhaps the first poem still extant in which the
expression of this spirit is developed with elaboration. The Medea of
Apollonius is the direct precursor of the Dido of Virgil, and it is the
pathos and passion of the fourth book of the "Aeneid" that keep alive
many a passage of Apollonius.



(ll. 1-4) Beginning with thee, O Phoebus, I will recount the famous
deeds of men of old, who, at the behest of King Pelias, down through the
mouth of Pontus and between the Cyanean rocks, sped well-benched Argo in
quest of the golden fleece.

(ll. 5-17) Such was the oracle that Pelias heard, that a hateful doom
awaited him to be slain at the prompting of the man whom he should
see coming forth from the people with but one sandal. And no long time
after, in accordance with that true report, Jason crossed the stream
of wintry Anaurus on foot, and saved one sandal from the mire, but the
other he left in the depths held back by the flood. And straightway he
came to Pelias to share the banquet which the king was offering to his
father Poseidon and the rest of the gods, though he paid no honour to
Pelasgian Hera. Quickly the king saw him and pondered, and devised for
him the toil of a troublous voyage, in order that on the sea or among
strangers he might lose his home-return.

(ll. 18-22) The ship, as former bards relate, Argus wrought by the
guidance of Athena. But now I will tell the lineage and the names of the
heroes, and of the long sea-paths and the deeds they wrought in their
wanderings; may the Muses be the inspirers of my song!

(ll. 23-34) First then let us name Orpheus whom once Calliope bare, it
is said, wedded to Thracian Oeagrus, near the Pimpleian height. Men say
that he by the music of his songs charmed the stubborn rocks upon the
mountains and the course of rivers. And the wild oak-trees to this day,
tokens of that magic strain, that grow at Zone on the Thracian shore,
stand in ordered ranks close together, the same which under the charm of
his lyre he led down from Pieria. Such then was Orpheus whom Aeson's
son welcomed to share his toils, in obedience to the behest of Cheiron,
Orpheus ruler of Bistonian Pieria.

(ll. 35-39) Straightway came Asterion, whom Cometes begat by the waters
of eddying Apidanus; he dwelt at Peiresiae near the Phylleian mount,
where mighty Apidanus and bright Enipeus join their streams, coming
together from afar.

(ll. 40-44) Next to them from Larisa came Polyphemus, son of Eilatus,
who aforetime among the mighty Lapithae, when they were arming
themselves against the Centaurs, fought in his younger days; now his
limbs were grown heavy with age, but his martial spirit still remained,
even as of old.

(ll. 45-48) Nor was Iphiclus long left behind in Phylace, the uncle
of Aeson's son; for Aeson had wedded his sister Alcimede, daughter of
Phylacus: his kinship with her bade him be numbered in the host.

(ll. 49-50) Nor did Admetus, the lord of Pherae rich in sheep, stay
behind beneath the peak of the Chalcodonian mount.

(ll. 51-56) Nor at Alope stayed the sons of Hermes, rich in corn-land,
well skilled in craftiness, Erytus and Echion, and with them on their
departure their kinsman Aethalides went as the third; him near the
streams of Amphrysus Eupolemeia bare, the daughter of Myrmidon, from
Phthia; the two others were sprung from Antianeira, daughter of Menetes.

(ll. 57-64) From rich Gyrton came Coronus, son of Caeneus, brave, but
not braver than his father. For bards relate that Caeneus though still
living perished at the hands of the Centaurs, when apart from other
chiefs he routed them; and they, rallying against him, could neither
bend nor slay him; but unconquered and unflinching he passed beneath the
earth, overwhelmed by the downrush of massy pines.

(ll. 65-68) There came too Titaresian Mopsus, whom above all men the son
of Leto taught the augury of birds; and Eurydamas the son of Ctimenus;
he dwelt at Dolopian Ctimene near the Xynian lake.

(ll. 69-70) Moreover Actor sent his son Menoetius from Opus that he
might accompany the chiefs.

(ll. 71-76) Eurytion followed and strong Eribotes, one the son of
Teleon, the other of Irus, Actor's son; the son of Teleon renowned
Eribotes, and of Irus Eurytion. A third with them was Oileus, peerless
in courage and well skilled to attack the flying foe, when they break
their ranks.

(ll. 77-85) Now from Euboea came Canthus eager for the quest, whom
Canethus son of Abas sent; but he was not destined to return to
Cerinthus. For fate had ordained that he and Mopsus, skilled in the
seer's art, should wander and perish in the furthest ends of Libya. For
no ill is too remote for mortals to incur, seeing that they buried them
in Libya, as far from the Colchians as is the space that is seen between
the setting and the rising of the sun.

(ll. 86-89) To him Clytius and Iphitus joined themselves, the warders
of Oechalia, sons of Eurytus the ruthless, Eurytus, to whom the
Far-shooting god gave his bow; but he had no joy of the gift; for of his
own choice he strove even with the giver.

(ll. 90-94) After them came the sons of Aeacus, not both together, nor
from the same spot; for they settled far from Aegina in exile, when in
their folly they had slain their brother Phoeus. Telamon dwelt in the
Attic island; but Peleus departed and made his home in Phthia.

(ll. 95-104) After them from Cecropia came warlike Butes, son of brave
Teleon, and Phalerus of the ashen spear. Alcon his father sent him
forth; yet no other sons had he to care for his old age and livelihood.
But him, his well-beloved and only son, he sent forth that amid bold
heroes he might shine conspicuous. But Theseus, who surpassed all the
sons of Erechtheus, an unseen bond kept beneath the land of Taenarus,
for he had followed that path with Peirithous; assuredly both would have
lightened for all the fulfilment of their toil.

(ll. 105-114) Tiphys, son of Hagnias, left the Siphaean people of the
Thespians, well skilled to foretell the rising wave on the broad sea,
and well skilled to infer from sun and star the stormy winds and the
time for sailing. Tritonian Athena herself urged him to join the band
of chiefs, and he came among them a welcome comrade. She herself too
fashioned the swift ship; and with her Argus, son of Arestor, wrought
it by her counsels. Wherefore it proved the most excellent of all ships
that have made trial of the sea with oars.

(ll. 115-117) After them came Phlias from Araethyrea, where he dwelt
in affluence by the favour of his father Dionysus, in his home by the
springs of Asopus.

(ll. 118-121) From Argos came Talaus and Areius, sons of Bias, and
mighty Leodocus, all of whom Pero daughter of Neleus bare; on her
account the Aeolid Melampus endured sore affliction in the steading of

(ll. 122-132) Nor do we learn that Heracles of the mighty heart
disregarded the eager summons of Aeson's son. But when he heard a report
of the heroes' gathering and had reached Lyrceian Argos from Arcadia by
the road along which he carried the boar alive that fed in the thickets
of Lampeia, near the vast Erymanthian swamp, the boar bound with chains
he put down from his huge shoulders at the entrance to the market-place
of Mycenae; and himself of his own will set out against the purpose of
Eurystheus; and with him went Hylas, a brave comrade, in the flower of
youth, to bear his arrows and to guard his bow.

(ll. 133-138) Next to him came a scion of the race of divine Danaus,
Nauplius. He was the son of Clytonaeus son of Naubolus; Naubolus was son
of Lernus; Lernus we know was the son of Proetus son of Nauplius; and
once Amymone daughter of Danaus, wedded to Poseidon, bare Nauplius, who
surpassed all men in naval skill.

(ll. 139-145) Idmon came last of all them that dwelt at Argos, for
though he had learnt his own fate by augury, he came, that the people
might not grudge him fair renown. He was not in truth the son of Abas,
but Leto's son himself begat him to be numbered among the illustrious
Aeolids; and himself taught him the art of prophecy--to pay heed to
birds and to observe the signs of the burning sacrifice.

(ll. 146-150) Moreover Aetolian Leda sent from Sparta strong Polydeuces
and Castor, skilled to guide swift-footed steeds; these her dearly-loved
sons she bare at one birth in the house of Tyndareus; nor did she forbid
their departure; for she had thoughts worthy of the bride of Zeus.

(ll. 151-155) The sons of Aphareus, Lynceus and proud Idas, came from
Arene, both exulting in their great strength; and Lynceus too excelled
in keenest sight, if the report is true that that hero could easily
direct his sight even beneath the earth.

(ll. 156-160) And with them Neleian Periclymenus set out to come, eldest
of all the sons of godlike Neleus who were born at Pylos; Poseidon had
given him boundless strength and granted him that whatever shape he
should crave during the fight, that he should take in the stress of

(ll. 161-171) Moreover from Arcadia came Amphidamas and Cepheus, who
inhabited Tegea and the allotment of Apheidas, two sons of Aldus; and
Ancaeus followed them as the third, whom his father Lycurgus sent, the
brother older than both. But he was left in the city to care for Aleus
now growing old, while he gave his son to join his brothers. Antaeus
went clad in the skin of a Maenalian bear, and wielding in his right
hand a huge two-edged battleaxe. For his armour his grandsire had hidden
in the house's innermost recess, to see if he might by some means still
stay his departure.

(ll. 172-175) There came also Augeias, whom fame declared to be the
son of Helios; he reigned over the Eleans, glorying in his wealth; and
greatly he desired to behold the Colchian land and Aeetes himself the
ruler of the Colchians.

(ll. 176-178) Asterius and Amphion, sons of Hyperasius, came from
Achaean Pellene, which once Pelles their grandsire founded on the brows
of Aegialus.

(ll. 179-184) After them from Taenarus came Euphemus whom, most
swift-footed of men, Europe, daughter of mighty Tityos, bare to
Poseidon. He was wont to skim the swell of the grey sea, and wetted not
his swift feet, but just dipping the tips of his toes was borne on the
watery path.

(ll. 185-189) Yea, and two other sons of Poseidon came; one Erginus, who
left the citadel of glorious Miletus, the other proud Ancaeus, who
left Parthenia, the seat of Imbrasion Hera; both boasted their skill in
seacraft and in war.

(ll. 190-201) After them from Calydon came the son of Oeneus, strong
Meleagrus, and Laocoon--Laocoon the brother of Oeneus, though not by the
same mother, for a serving-woman bare him; him, now growing old, Oeneus
sent to guard his son: thus Meleagrus, still a youth, entered the
bold band of heroes. No other had come superior to him, I ween, except
Heracles, if for one year more he had tarried and been nurtured among
the Aetolians. Yea, and his uncle, well skilled to fight whether with
the javelin or hand to hand, Iphiclus son of Thestius, bare him company
on his way.

(ll. 202-206) With him came Palaemonius, son of Olenian Lernus, of
Lernus by repute, but his birth was from Hephaestus; and so he was
crippled in his feet, but his bodily frame and his valour no one would
dare to scorn. Wherefore he was numbered among all the chiefs, winning
fame for Jason.

(ll. 207-210) From the Phocians came Iphitus sprung from Naubolus son of
Ornytus; once he had been his host when Jason went to Pytho to ask for
a response concerning his voyage; for there he welcomed him in his own

(ll. 211-223) Next came Zetes and Calais, sons of Boreas, whom once
Oreithyia, daughter of Erechtheus, bare to Boreas on the verge of wintry
Thrace; thither it was that Thracian Boreas snatched her away from
Cecropia as she was whirling in the dance, hard by Hissus' stream. And,
carrying her far off, to the spot that men called the rock of Sarpedon,
near the river Erginus, he wrapped her in dark clouds and forced her
to his will. There they were making their dusky wings quiver upon their
ankles on both sides as they rose, a great wonder to behold, wings that
gleamed with golden scales: and round their backs from the top of the
head and neck, hither and thither, their dark tresses were being shaken
by the wind.

(ll. 224-227) No, nor had Acastus son of mighty Pelias himself any will
to stay behind in the palace of his brave sire, nor Argus, helper of the
goddess Athena; but they too were ready to be numbered in the host.

(ll. 228-233) So many then were the helpers who assembled to join the
son of Aeson. All the chiefs the dwellers thereabout called Minyae, for
the most and the bravest avowed that they were sprung from the blood of
the daughters of Minyas; thus Jason himself was the son of Alcimede who
was born of Clymene the daughter of Minyas.

(ll. 234-241) Now when all things had been made ready by the thralls,
all things that fully-equipped ships are furnished withal when men's
business leads them to voyage across the sea, then the heroes took their
way through the city to the ship where it lay on the strand that men
call Magnesian Pagasae; and a crowd of people hastening rushed together;
but the heroes shone like gleaming stars among the clouds; and each man
as he saw them speeding along with their armour would say:

(ll. 242-246) "King Zeus, what is the purpose of Pelias? Whither is he
driving forth from the Panachaean land so great a host of heroes? On one
day they would waste the palace of Aeetes with baleful fire, should he
not yield them the fleece of his own goodwill. But the path is not to be
shunned, the toil is hard for those who venture."

(ll. 247-250) Thus they spake here and there throughout the city; but
the women often raised their hands to the sky in prayer to the immortals
to grant a return, their hearts' desire. And one with tears thus
lamented to her fellow:

(ll. 251-260) "Wretched Alcimede, evil has come to thee at last though
late, thou hast not ended with splendour of life. Aeson too, ill-fated
man! Surely better had it been for him, if he were lying beneath the
earth, enveloped in his shroud, still unconscious of bitter toils. Would
that the dark wave, when the maiden Helle perished, had overwhelmed
Phrixus too with the ram; but the dire portent even sent forth a human
voice, that it might cause to Alcimede sorrows and countless pains

(ll. 261-277) Thus the women spake at the departure of the heroes. And
now many thralls, men and women, were gathered together, and his mother,
smitten with grief for Jason. And a bitter pang seized every woman's
heart; and with them groaned the father in baleful old age, lying on his
bed, closely wrapped round. But the hero straightway soothed their pain,
encouraging them, and bade the thralls take up his weapons for war; and
they in silence with downcast looks took them up. And even as the mother
had thrown her arms about her son, so she clung, weeping without stint,
as a maiden all alone weeps, falling fondly on the neck of her hoary
nurse, a maid who has now no others to care for her, but she drags on a
weary life under a stepmother, who maltreats her continually with ever
fresh insults, and as she weeps, her heart within her is bound fast
with misery, nor can she sob forth all the groans that struggle for
utterance; so without stint wept Alcimede straining her son in her arms,
and in her yearning grief spake as follows:

(ll. 278-291) "Would that on that day when, wretched woman that I am, I
heard King Pelias proclaim his evil behest, I had straightway given up
my life and forgotten my cares, so that thou thyself, my son, with thine
own hands, mightest have buried me; for that was the only wish left me
still to be fulfilled by time, all the other rewards for thy nurture
have I long enjoyed. Now I, once so admired among Achaean women,
shall be left behind like a bondwoman in my empty halls, pining away,
ill-fated one, for love of thee, thee on whose account I had aforetime
so much splendour and renown, my only son for whom I loosed my virgin
zone first and last. For to me beyond others the goddess Eileithyia
grudged abundant offspring. Alas for my folly! Not once, not even in nay
dreams did I forebode this, that the flight of Phrixus would bring me

(ll. 292-294) Thus with moaning she wept, and her handmaidens, standing
by, lamented; but Jason spake gently to her with comforting words:

(ll. 295-305) "Do not, I pray thee, mother, store up bitter sorrows
overmuch, for thou wilt not redeem me from evil by tears, but wilt still
add grief to grief. For unseen are the woes that the gods mete out to
mortals; be strong to endure thy share of them though with grief in thy
heart; take courage from the promises of Athena, and from the answers of
the gods (for very favourable oracles has Phoebus given), and then from
the help of the chieftains. But do thou remain here, quiet among thy
handmaids, and be not a bird of ill omen to the ship; and thither my
clansmen and thralls will follow me."

(ll. 306-316) He spake, and started forth to leave the house. And as
Apollo goes forth from some fragrant shrine to divine Delos or Claros or
Pytho or to broad Lyeia near the stream of Xanthus, in such beauty moved
Jason through the throng of people; and a cry arose as they shouted
together. And there met him aged Iphias, priestess of Artemis guardian
of the city, and kissed his right hand, but she had not strength to say
a word, for all her eagerness, as the crowd rushed on, but she was left
there by the wayside, as the old are left by the young, and he passed on
and was gone afar.

(ll. 317-331) Now when he had left the well-built streets of the city,
he came to the beach of Pagasae, where his comrades greeted him as they
stayed together near the ship Argo. And he stood at the entering in,
and they were gathered to meet him. And they perceived Aeastus and Argus
coming from the city, and they marvelled when they saw them hasting with
all speed, despite the will of Pelias. The one, Argus, son of Arestor,
had cast round his shoulders the hide of a bull reaching to his feet,
with the black hair upon it, the other, a fair mantle of double fold,
which his sister Pelopeia had given him. Still Jason forebore from
asking them about each point but bade all be seated for an assembly. And
there, upon the folded sails and the mast as it lay on the ground,
they all took their seats in order. And among them with goodwill spake
Aeson's son:

(ll. 332-340) "All the equipment that a ship needs for all is in due
order--lies ready for our departure. Therefore we will make no long
delay in our sailing for these things' sake, when the breezes but
blow fair. But, friends,--for common to all is our return to Hellas
hereafter, and common to all is our path to the land of Aeetes--now
therefore with ungrudging heart choose the bravest to be our leader,
who shall be careful for everything, to take upon him our quarrels and
covenants with strangers."

(ll. 341-344) Thus he spake; and the young heroes turned their eyes
towards bold Heracles sitting in their midst, and with one shout they
all enjoined upon him to be their leader; but he, from the place where
he sat, stretched forth his right hand and said:

(ll. 345-347) "Let no one offer this honour to me. For I will not
consent, and I will forbid any other to stand up. Let the hero who
brought us together, himself be the leader of the host."

(ll. 348-350) Thus he spake with high thoughts, and they assented, as
Heracles bade; and warlike Jason himself rose up, glad at heart, and
thus addressed the eager throng:

(ll. 351-362) "If ye entrust your glory to my care, no longer as before
let our path be hindered. Now at last let us propitiate Phoebus with
sacrifice and straightway prepare a feast. And until my thralls come,
the overseers of my steading, whose care it is to choose out oxen from
the herd and drive them hither, we will drag down the ship to the sea,
and do ye place all the tackling within, and draw lots for the benches
for rowing. Meantime let us build upon the beach an altar to Apollo
Embasius [1101] who by an oracle promised to point out and show me the
paths of the sea, if by sacrifice to him I should begin my venture for
King Pelias."

(ll. 363-393) He spake, and was the first to turn to the work, and they
stood up in obedience to him; and they heaped their garments, one upon
the other, on a smooth stone, which the sea did not strike with its
waves, but the stormy surge had cleansed it long before. First of all,
by the command of Argus, they strongly girded the ship with a rope well
twisted within, [1102] stretching it tight on each side, in order that
the planks might be well compacted by the bolts and might withstand the
opposing force of the surge. And they quickly dug a trench as wide as
the space the ship covered, and at the prow as far into the sea as it
would run when drawn down by their hands. And they ever dug deeper in
front of the stem, and in the furrow laid polished rollers; and inclined
the ship down upon the first rollers, that so she might glide and be
borne on by them. And above, on both sides, reversing the oars, they
fastened them round the thole-pins, so as to project a cubit's space.
And the heroes themselves stood on both sides at the oars in a row, and
pushed forward with chest and hand at once. And then Tiphys leapt on
board to urge the youths to push at the right moment; and calling
on them he shouted loudly; and they at once, leaning with all their
strength, with one push started the ship from her place, and strained
with their feet, forcing her onward; and Pelian Argo followed swiftly;
and they on each side shouted as they rushed on. And then the rollers
groaned under the sturdy keel as they were chafed, and round them rose
up a dark smoke owing to the weight, and she glided into the sea; but
the heroes stood there and kept dragging her back as she sped onward.
And round the thole-pins they fitted the oars, and in the ship they
placed the mast and the well-made sails and the stores.

(ll. 394-401) Now when they had carefully paid heed to everything, first
they distributed the benches by lot, two men occupying one seat; but the
middle bench they chose for Heracles and Ancaeus apart from the other
heroes, Ancaeus who dwelt in Tegea. For them alone they left the middle
bench just as it was and not by lot; and with one consent they entrusted
Tiphys with guarding the helm of the well-stemmed ship.

(ll. 402-410) Next, piling up shingle near the sea, they raised there
an altar on the shore to Apollo, under the name of Actius [1103] and
Embasius, and quickly spread above it logs of dried olive-wood. Meantime
the herdsmen of Aeson's son had driven before them from the herd two
steers. These the younger comrades dragged near the altars, and the
others brought lustral water and barley meal, and Jason prayed, calling
on Apollo the god of his fathers:

(ll. 411-424) "Hear, O King, that dwellest in Pagasae and the city
Aesonis, the city called by my father's name, thou who didst promise me,
when I sought thy oracle at Pytho, to show the fulfilment and goal of my
journey, for thou thyself hast been the cause of my venture; now do thou
thyself guide the ship with my comrades safe and sound, thither and back
again to Hellas. Then in thy honour hereafter we will lay again on thy
altar the bright offerings of bulls--all of us who return; and other
gifts in countless numbers I will bring to Pytho and Ortygia. And now,
come, Far-darter, accept this sacrifice at our hands, which first of
all we have offered thee for this ship on our embarcation; and grant, O
King, that with a prosperous weird I may loose the hawsers, relying on
thy counsel, and may the breeze blow softly with which we shall sail
over the sea in fair weather."

(ll. 425-439) He spake, and with his prayer cast the barley meal.
And they two girded themselves to slay the steers, proud Ancaeus and
Heracles. The latter with his club smote one steer mid-head on the brow,
and falling in a heap on the spot, it sank to the ground; and Ancaeus
struck the broad neck of the other with his axe of bronze, and shore
through the mighty sinews; and it fell prone on both its horns. Their
comrades quickly severed the victims' throats, and flayed the hides:
they sundered the joints and carved the flesh, then cut out the sacred
thigh bones, and covering them all together closely with fat burnt them
upon cloven wood. And Aeson's son poured out pure libations, and Idmon
rejoiced beholding the flame as it gleamed on every side from the
sacrifice, and the smoke of it mounting up with good omen in dark spiral
columns; and quickly he spake outright the will of Leto's son:

(ll. 440-447) "For you it is the will of heaven and destiny that
ye shall return here with the fleece; but meanwhile both going and
returning, countless trials await you. But it is my lot, by the hateful
decree of a god, to die somewhere afar off on the mainland of Asia.
Thus, though I learnt my fate from evil omens even before now, I have
left my fatherland to embark on the ship, that so after my embarking
fair fame may be left me in my house."

(ll. 448-462) Thus he spake; and the youths hearing the divine utterance
rejoiced at their return, but grief seized them for the fate of
Idmon. Now at the hour when the sun passes his noon-tide halt and the
ploughlands are just being shadowed by the rocks, as the sun slopes
towards the evening dusk, at that hour all the heroes spread leaves
thickly upon the sand and lay down in rows in front of the hoary
surf-line; and near them were spread vast stores of viands and sweet
wine, which the cupbearers had drawn off in pitchers; afterwards they
told tales one to another in turn, such as youths often tell when at
the feast and the bowl they take delightful pastime, and insatiable
insolence is far away. But here the son of Aeson, all helpless, was
brooding over each event in his mind, like one oppressed with thought.
And Idas noted him and assailed him with loud voice:

(ll. 463-471) "Son of Aeson, what is this plan thou art turning over in
mind. Speak out thy thought in the midst. Does fear come on and master
thee, fear, that confounds cowards? Be witness now my impetuous spear,
wherewith in wars I win renown beyond all others (nor does Zeus aid me
so much as my own spear), that no woe will be fatal, no venture will be
unachieved, while Idas follows, even though a god should oppose thee.
Such a helpmeet am I that thou bringest from Arene."

(ll. 472-475) He spake, and holding a brimming goblet in both hands
drank off the unmixed sweet wine; and his lips and dark cheeks were
drenched with it; and all the heroes clamoured together and Idmon spoke
out openly:

(ll. 480-484) "Vain wretch, thou art devising destruction for thyself
before the time. Does the pure wine cause thy bold heart to swell in thy
breast to thy ruin, and has it set thee on to dishonour the gods? Other
words of comfort there are with which a man might encourage his comrade;
but thou hast spoken with utter recklessness. Such taunts, the tale
goes, did the sons of Aloeus once blurt out against the blessed gods,
and thou dost no wise equal them in valour; nevertheless they were both
slain by the swift arrows of Leto's son, mighty though they were."

(ll. 485-486) Thus he spake, and Aphareian Iclas laughed out, loud and
long, and eyeing him askance replied with biting words:

(ll. 487-491) "Come now, tell me this by thy prophetic art, whether for
me too the gods will bring to pass such doom as thy father promised for
the sons of Aloeus. And bethink thee how thou wilt escape from my hands
alive, if thou art caught making a prophecy vain as the idle wind."

(ll. 492-495) Thus in wrath Idas reviled him, and the strife would
have gone further had not their comrades and Aeson's son himself with
indignant cry restrained the contending chiefs; and Orpheus lifted his
lyre in his left hand and made essay to sing.

(ll. 496-511) He sang how the earth, the heaven and the sea, once
mingled together in one form, after deadly strife were separated each
from other; and how the stars and the moon and the paths of the sun ever
keep their fixed place in the sky; and how the mountains rose, and how
the resounding rivers with their nymphs came into being and all creeping
things. And he sang how first of all Ophion and Eurynome, daughter of
Ocean, held the sway of snowy Olympus, and how through strength of arm
one yielded his prerogative to Cronos and the other to Rhea, and how
they fell into the waves of Ocean; but the other two meanwhile ruled
over the blessed Titan-gods, while Zeus, still a child and with the
thoughts of a child, dwelt in the Dictaean cave; and the earthborn
Cyclopes had not yet armed him with the bolt, with thunder and
lightning; for these things give renown to Zeus.

(ll. 512-518) He ended, and stayed his lyre and divine voice. But though
he had ceased they still bent forward with eagerness all hushed to
quiet, with ears intent on the enchanting strain; such a charm of song
had he left behind in their hearts. Not long after they mixed libations
in honour of Zeus, with pious rites as is customary, and poured them
upon the burning tongues, and bethought them of sleep in the darkness.

(ll. 519-558) Now when gleaming dawn with bright eyes beheld the lofty
peaks of Pelion, and the calm headlands were being drenched as the sea
was ruffled by the winds, then Tiphys awoke from sleep; and at once
he roused his comrades to go on board and make ready the oars. And
a strange cry did the harbour of Pagasae utter, yea and Pelian Argo
herself, urging them to set forth. For in her a beam divine had been
laid which Athena had brought from an oak of Dodona and fitted in the
middle of the stem. And the heroes went to the benches one after the
other, as they had previously assigned for each to row in his place, and
took their seats in due order near their fighting gear. In the middle
sat Antaeus and mighty Heracles, and near him he laid his club, and
beneath his tread the ship's keel sank deep. And now the hawsers were
being slipped and they poured wine on the sea. But Jason with tears held
his eyes away from his fatherland. And just as youths set up a dance in
honour of Phoebus either in Pytho or haply in Ortygia, or by the waters
of Ismenus, and to the sound of the lyre round his altar all together
in time beat the earth with swiftly-moving feet; so they to the sound of
Orpheus' lyre smote with their oars the rushing sea-water, and the
surge broke over the blades; and on this side and on that the dark brine
seethed with foam, boiling terribly through the might of the sturdy
heroes. And their arms shone in the sun like flame as the ship sped on;
and ever their wake gleamed white far behind, like a path seen over a
green plain. On that day all the gods looked down from heaven upon the
ship and the might of the heroes, half-divine, the bravest of men
then sailing the sea; and on the topmost heights the nymphs of Pelion
wondered as they beheld the work of Itonian Athena, and the heroes
themselves wielding the oars. And there came down from the mountain-top
to the sea Chiron, son of Philyra, and where the white surf broke he
dipped his feet, and, often waving with his broad hand, cried out to
them at their departure, "Good speed and a sorrowless home-return!" And
with him his wife, bearing Peleus' son Achilles on her arm, showed the
child to his dear father.

(ll. 559-579) Now when they had left the curving shore of the harbour
through the cunning and counsel of prudent Tiphys son of Hagnias,
who skilfully handled the well-polished helm that he might guide them
steadfastly, then at length they set up the tall mast in the mastbox,
and secured it with forestays, drawing them taut on each side, and from
it they let down the sail when they had hauled it to the top-mast. And
a breeze came down piping shrilly; and upon the deck they fastened the
ropes separately round the well-polished pins, and ran quietly past the
long Tisaean headland. And for them the son of Oeagrus touched his lyre
and sang in rhythmical song of Artemis, saviour of ships, child of a
glorious sire, who hath in her keeping those peaks by the sea, and the
land of Iolcos; and the fishes came darting through the deep sea, great
mixed with small, and followed gambolling along the watery paths. And as
when in the track of the shepherd, their master, countless sheep follow
to the fold that have fed to the full of grass, and he goes before
gaily piping a shepherd's strain on Iris shrill reed; so these fishes
followed; and a chasing breeze ever bore the ship onward.

(ll. 580-591) And straightway the misty land of the Pelasgians, rich in
cornfields, sank out of sight, and ever speeding onward they passed the
rugged sides of Pelion; and the Sepian headland sank away, and Sciathus
appeared in the sea, and far off appeared Piresiae and the calm shore
of Magnesia on the mainland and the tomb of Dolops; here then in the
evening, as the wind blew against them, they put to land, and paying
honour to him at nightfall burnt sheep as victims, while the sea was
tossed by the swell: and for two days they lingered on the shore, but on
the third day they put forth the ship, spreading on high the broad sail.
And even now men call that beach Aphetae [1104] of Argo.

(ll. 592-608) Thence going forward they ran past Meliboea, escaping a
stormy beach and surf-line. And in the morning they saw Homole close at
hand leaning on the sea, and skirted it, and not long after they were
about to pass by the outfall of the river Amyrus. From there they beheld
Eurymenae and the seawashed ravines of Ossa and Olympus; next they
reached the slopes of Pallene, beyond the headland of Canastra, running
all night with the wind. And at dawn before them as they journeyed rose
Athos, the Thracian mountain, which with its topmost peak overshadows
Lemnos, even as far as Myrine, though it lies as far off as the space
that a well-trimmed merchantship would traverse up to mid-day. For them
on that day, till darkness fell, the breeze blew exceedingly fresh, and
the sails of the ship strained to it. But with the setting of the sun
the wind left them, and it was by the oars that they reached Lemnos, the
Sintian isle.

(ll. 609-639) Here the whole of the men of the people together had been
ruthlessly slain through the transgressions of the women in the year
gone by. For the men had rejected their lawful wives, loathing them, and
had conceived a fierce passion for captive maids whom they themselves
brought across the sea from their forays in Thrace; for the terrible
wrath of Cypris came upon them, because for a long time they had grudged
her the honours due. O hapless women, and insatiate in jealousy to their
own ruin! Not their husbands alone with the captives did they slay on
account of the marriage-bed, but all the males at the same time, that
they might thereafter pay no retribution for the grim murder. And of all
the women, Hypsipyle alone spared her aged father Thoas, who was king
over the people; and she sent him in a hollow chest, to drift over the
sea, if haply he should escape. And fishermen dragged him to shore at
the island of Oenoe, formerly Oenoe, but afterwards called Sicinus from
Sicinus, whom the water-nymph Oenoe bore to Thoas. Now for all the
women to tend kine, to don armour of bronze, and to cleave with the
plough-share the wheat-bearing fields, was easier than the works of
Athena, with which they were busied aforetime. Yet for all that did they
often gaze over the broad sea, in grievous fear against the Thracians'
coming. So when they saw Argo being rowed near the island, straightway
crowding in multitude from the gates of Myrine and clad in their harness
of war, they poured forth to the beach like ravening Thyiades: for they
deemed that the Thracians were come; and with them Hypsipyle, daughter
of Thoas, donned her father's harness. And they streamed down speechless
with dismay; such fear was wafted about them.

(ll. 640-652) Meantime from the ship the chiefs had sent Aethalides the
swift herald, to whose care they entrusted their messages and the wand
of Hermes, his sire, who had granted him a memory of all things, that
never grew dim; and not even now, though he has entered the unspeakable
whirlpools of Acheron, has forgetfulness swept over his soul, but its
fixed doom is to be ever changing its abode; at one time to be numbered
among the dwellers beneath the earth, at another to be in the light
of the sun among living men. But why need I tell at length tales
of Aethalides? He at that time persuaded Hypsipyle to receive the
new-comers as the day was waning into darkness; nor yet at dawn did they
loose the ship's hawsers to the breath of the north wind.

(ll. 653-656) Now the Lemnian women fared through the city and sat down
to the assembly, for Hypsipyle herself had so bidden. And when they were
all gathered together in one great throng straightway she spake among
them with stirring words:

(ll. 657-666) "O friends, come let us grant these men gifts to
their hearts' desire, such as it is fitting that they should take on
ship-board, food and sweet wine, in order that they may steadfastly
remain outside our towers, and may not, passing among us for need's
sake, get to know us all too well, and so an evil report be widely
spread; for we have wrought a terrible deed and in nowise will it be to
their liking, should they learn it. Such is our counsel now, but if any
of you can devise a better plan let her rise, for it was on this account
that I summoned you hither."

(ll. 667-674) Thus she spake and sat upon her father's seat of stone,
and then rose up her dear nurse Polyxo, for very age halting upon her
withered feet, bowed over a staff, and she was eager to address them.
Near her were seated four virgins, unwedded, crowned with white hair.
And she stood in the midst of the assembly and from her bent back she
feebly raised her neck and spake thus:

(ll. 675-696) "Gifts, as Hypsipyle herself wishes, let us send to the
strangers, for it is better to give them. But for you what device have
ye to get profit of your life if the Thracian host fall upon us, or some
other foe, as often happens among men, even as now this company is come
unforeseen? But if one of the blessed gods should turn this aside yet
countless other woes, worse than battle, remain behind, when the aged
women die off and ye younger ones, without children, reach hateful old
age. How then will ye live, hapless ones? Will your oxen of their
own accord yoke themselves for the deep plough-lands and draw the
earth-cleaving share through the fallow, and forthwith, as the year
comes round, reap the harvest? Assuredly, though the fates till now have
shunned me in horror, I deem that in the coming year I shall put on the
garment of earth, when I have received my meed of burial even so as is
right, before the evil days draw near. But I bid you who are younger
give good heed to this. For now at your feet a way of escape lies open,
if ye trust to the strangers the care of your homes and all your stock
and your glorious city."

(ll. 697-699) Thus she spake, and the assembly was filled with clamour.
For the word pleased them. And after her straightway Hypsipyle rose up
again, and thus spake in reply.

(ll. 700-701) "If this purpose please you all, now will I even send a
messenger to the ship."

(ll. 702-707) She spake and addressed Iphinoe close at hand: "Go,
Iphinoe, and beg yonder man, whoever it is that leads this array, to
come to our land that I may tell him a word that pleases the heart of my
people, and bid the men themselves, if they wish, boldly enter the land
and the city with friendly intent."

(ll. 708-711) She spake, and dismissed the assembly, and thereafter
started to return home. And so Iphinoe came to the Minyae; and they
asked with what intent she had come among them. And quickly she
addressed her questioners with all speed in these words:

(ll. 712-716) "The maiden Hypsipyle daughter of Thoas, sent me on my way
here to you, to summon the captain of your ship, whoever he be, that she
may tell him a word that pleases the heart of the people, and she bids
yourselves, if ye wish it, straightway enter the land and the city with
friendly intent."

(ll. 717-720) Thus she spake and the speech of good omen pleased all.
And they deemed that Thoas was dead and that his beloved daughter
Hypsipyle was queen, and quickly they sent Jason on his way and
themselves made ready to go.

(ll. 721-729) Now he had buckled round his shoulders a purple mantle of
double fold, the work of the Tritonian goddess, which Pallas had given
him when she first laid the keel-props of the ship Argo and taught him
how to measure timbers with the rule. More easily wouldst thou cast thy
eyes upon the sun at its rising than behold that blazing splendour. For
indeed in the middle the fashion thereof was red, but at the ends it was
all purple, and on each margin many separate devices had been skilfully

(ll. 730-734) In it were the Cyclops seated at their imperishable work,
forging a thunderbolt for King Zeus; by now it was almost finished in
its brightness and still it wanted but one ray, which they were beating
out with their iron hammers as it spurted forth a breath of raging

(ll. 735-741) In it too were the twin sons of Antiope, daughter of
Asopus, Amphion and Zethus, and Thebe still ungirt with towers was
lying near, whose foundations they were just then laying in eager haste.
Zethus on his shoulders was lifting the peak of a steep mountain, like
a man toiling hard, and Amphion after him, singing loud and clear on his
golden lyre, moved on, and a rock twice as large followed his footsteps.

(ll. 742-746) Next in order had been wrought Cytherea with drooping
tresses, wielding the swift shield of Ares; and from her shoulder to her
left arm the fastening of her tunic was loosed beneath her breast; and
opposite in the shield of bronze her image appeared clear to view as she

(ll. 747-751) And in it there was a well-wooded pasturage of oxen; and
about the oxen the Teleboae and the sons of Eleetryon were fighting; the
one party defending themselves, the others, the Taphian raiders, longing
to rob them; and the dewy meadow was drenched with their blood, and the
many were overmastering the few herdsmen.

(ll. 752-758) And therein were fashioned two chariots, racing, and the
one in front Pelops was guiding, as he shook the reins, and with him was
Hippodameia at his side, and in pursuit Myrtilus urged his steeds, and
with him Oenomaus had grasped his couched spear, but fell as the axle
swerved and broke in the nave, while he was eager to pierce the back of

(ll. 759-762) And in it was wrought Phoebus Apollo, a stripling not
yet grown up, in the act of shooting at mighty Tityos who was boldly
dragging his mother by her veil, Tityos whom glorious Elate bare, but
Earth nursed him and gave him second birth.

(ll. 763-767) And in it was Phrixus the Minyan as though he were in very
deed listening to the ram, while it was like one speaking. Beholding
them thou wouldst be silent and wouldst cheat thy soul with the hope of
hearing some wise speech from them, and long wouldst thou gaze with that

(ll. 768-773) Such then were the gifts of the Tritonian goddess Athena.
And in his right hand Jason held a fardarting spear, which Atalanta gave
him once as a gift of hospitality in Maenalus as she met him gladly; for
she eagerly desired to follow on that quest; but he himself of his own
accord prevented the maid, for he feared bitter strife on account of her

(ll. 774-792) And he went on his way to the city like to a bright star,
which maidens, pent up in new-built chambers, behold as it rises above
their homes, and through the dark air it charms their eyes with its fair
red gleam and the maid rejoices, love-sick for the youth who is far away
amid strangers, for whom her parents are keeping her to be his bride;
like to that star the hero trod the way to the city. And when they had
passed within the gates and the city, the women of the people surged
behind them, delighting in the stranger, but he with his eyes fixed on
the ground fared straight on, till he reached the glorious palace of
Hypsipyle; and when he appeared the maids opened the folding doors,
fitted with well-fashioned panels. Here Iphinoe leading him quickly
through a fair porch set him upon a shining seat opposite her mistress,
but Hypsipyle turned her eyes aside and a blush covered her maiden
cheeks, yet for all her modesty she addressed him with crafty words:

(ll. 793-833) "Stranger, why stay ye so long outside our towers? for the
city is not inhabited by the men, but they, as sojourners, plough the
wheat-bearing fields of the Thracian mainland. And I will tell out truly
all our evil plight, that ye yourselves too may know it well. When my
father Thoas reigned over the citizens, then our folk starting from
their homes used to plunder from their ships the dwellings of the
Thracians who live opposite, and they brought back hither measureless
booty and maidens too. But the counsel of the baneful goddess Cypris was
working out its accomplishment, who brought upon them soul destroying
infatuation. For they hated their lawful wives, and, yielding to their
own mad folly, drove them from their homes; and they took to their beds
the captives of their spear, cruel ones. Long in truth we endured it, if
haply again, though late, they might change their purpose, but ever the
bitter woe grew, twofold. And the lawful children were being dishonoured
in their halls, and a bastard race was rising. And thus unmarried
maidens and widowed mothers too wandered uncared for through the city;
no father heeded his daughter ever so little even though he should see
her done to death before his eyes at the hands of an insolent step-dame,
nor did sons, as before, defend their mother against unseemly outrage;
nor did brothers care at heart for their sister. But in their homes, in
the dance, in the assembly and the banquet all their thought was only
for their captive maidens; until some god put desperate courage in our
hearts no more to receive our lords on their return from Thrace within
our towers so that they might either heed the right or might depart and
begone elsewhither, they and their captives. So they begged of us all
the male children that were left in the city and went back to where even
now they dwell on the snowy tilths of Thrace. Do ye therefore stay and
settle with us; and shouldst thou desire to dwell here, and this finds
favour with thee, assuredly thou shalt have the prerogative of my father
Thoas; and I deem that thou wilt not scorn our land at all; for it is
deepsoiled beyond all other islands that lie in the Aegaean sea. But
come now, return to the ship and relate my words to thy comrades, and
stay not outside our city."

(ll. 834-835) She spoke, glozing over the murder that had been wrought
upon the men; and Jason addressed her in answer:

(ll. 836-841) "Hypsipyle, very dear to our hearts is the help we shall
meet with, which thou grantest to us who need thee. And I will return
again to the city when I have told everything in order due. But let the
sovereignty of the island be thine; it is not in scorn I yield it up,
but grievous trials urge me on."

(ll. 842-852) He spake, and touched her right hand; and quickly he
turned to go back: and round him the young maids on every side danced
in countless numbers in their joy till he passed through the gates. And
then they came to the shore in smooth-running wains, bearing with them
many gifts, when now he had related from beginning to end the speech
which Hypsipyle had spoken when she summoned them; and the maids readily
led the men back to their homes for entertainment. For Cypris stirred
in them a sweet desire, for the sake of Hephaestus of many counsels, in
order that Lemnos might be again inhabited by men and not be ruined.

(ll. 853-864) Thereupon Aeson's son started to go to the royal home of
Hypsipyle; and the rest went each his way as chance took them, all but
Heracles; for he of his own will was left behind by the ship and a few
chosen comrades with him. And straightway the city rejoiced with dances
and banquets, being filled with the steam of sacrifice; and above all
the immortals they propitiated with songs and sacrifices the illustrious
son of Hera and Cypris herself. And the sailing was ever delayed from
one day to another; and long would they have lingered there, had not
Heracles, gathering together his comrades apart from the women, thus
addressed them with reproachful words:

(ll. 865-874) "Wretched men, does the murder of kindred keep us from our
native land? Or is it in want of marriage that we have come hither from
thence, in scorn of our countrywomen? Does it please us to dwell here
and plough the rich soil of Lemnos? No fair renown shall we win by thus
tarrying so long with stranger women; nor will some god seize and give
us at our prayer a fleece that moves of itself. Let us then return each
to his own; but him leave ye to rest all day long in the embrace of
Hypsipyle until he has peopled Lemnos with men-children, and so there
come to him great glory."

(ll. 875-887) Thus did he chide the band; but no one dared to meet his
eye or to utter a word in answer. But just as they were in the assembly
they made ready their departure in all haste, and the women came running
towards them, when they knew their intent. And as when bees hum round
fair lilies pouring forth from their hive in the rock, and all around
the dewy meadow rejoices, and they gather the sweet fruit, flitting from
one to another; even so the women eagerly poured forth clustering round
the men with loud lament, and greeted each one with hands and voice,
praying the blessed gods to grant him a safe return. And so Hypsipyle
too prayed, seizing the hands of Aeson's son, and her tears flowed for
the loss of her lover:

(ll. 888-898) "Go, and may heaven bring thee back again with thy
comrades unharmed, bearing to the king the golden fleece, even as thou
wilt and thy heart desireth; and this island and my father's sceptre
will be awaiting thee, if on thy return hereafter thou shouldst choose
to come hither again; and easily couldst thou gather a countless host
of men from other cities. But thou wilt not have this desire, nor do I
myself forbode that so it will be. Still remember Hypsipyle when thou
art far away and when thou hast returned; and leave me some word of
bidding, which I will gladly accomplish, if haply heaven shall grant me
to be a mother."

(ll. 899-909) And Aeson's son in admiration thus replied: "Hypsipyle, so
may all these things prove propitious by the favour of the blessed gods.
But do thou hold a nobler thought of me, since by the grace of Pelias it
is enough for me to dwell in my native land; may the gods only release
me from my toils. But if it is not my destiny to sail afar and return
to the land of Hellas, and if thou shouldst bear a male child, send him
when grown up to Pelasgian Iolcus, to heal the grief of my father and
mother if so be that he find them still living, in order that, far away
from the king, they may be cared for by their own hearth in their home."

(ll. 910-921) He spake, and mounted the ship first of all; and so the
rest of the chiefs followed, and, sitting in order, seized the oars;
and Argus loosed for them the hawsers from under the sea-beaten rock.
Whereupon they mightily smote the water with their long oars, and in
the evening by the injunctions of Orpheus they touched at the island of
Electra, [1105] daughter of Atlas, in order that by gentle initiation
they might learn the rites that may not be uttered, and so with greater
safety sail over the chilling sea. Of these I will make no further
mention; but I bid farewell to the island itself and the indwelling
deities, to whom belong those mysteries, which it is not lawful for me
to sing.

(ll. 922-935) Thence did they row with eagerness over the depths of
the black Sea, having on the one side the land of the Thracians, on the
other Imbros on the south; and as the sun was just setting they reached
the foreland of the Chersonesus. There a strong south wind blew for
them; and raising the sails to the breeze they entered the swift stream
of the maiden daughter of Athamas; and at dawn the sea to the north was
left behind and at night they were coasting inside the Rhoeteian shore,
with the land of Ida on their right. And leaving Dardania they directed
their course to Abydus, and after it they sailed past Percote and the
sandy beach of Abarnis and divine Pityeia. And in that night, as the
ship sped on by sail and oar, they passed right through the Hellespont
dark-gleaming with eddies.

(ll. 936-960) There is a lofty island inside the Propontis, a short
distance from the Phrygian mainland with its rich cornfields, sloping
to the sea, where an isthmus in front of the mainland is flooded by the
waves, so low does it lie. And the isthmus has double shores, and they
lie beyond the river Aesepus, and the inhabitants round about call the
island the Mount of Bears. And insolent and fierce men dwell there,
Earthborn, a great marvel to the neighbours to behold; for each one has
six mighty hands to lift up, two from his sturdy shoulders, and four
below, fitting close to his terrible sides. And about the isthmus and
the plain the Doliones had their dwelling, and over them Cyzicus son of
Aeneus was king, whom Aenete the daughter of goodly Eusorus bare. But
these men the Earthborn monsters, fearful though they were, in nowise
harried, owing to the protection of Poseidon; for from him had the
Doliones first sprung. Thither Argo pressed on, driven by the winds of
Thrace, and the Fair haven received her as she sped. There they cast
away their small anchorstone by the advice of Tiphys and left it beneath
a fountain, the fountain of Artaeie; and they took another meet for
their purpose, a heavy one; but the first, according to the oracle of
the Far-Darter, the Ionians, sons of Neleus, in after days laid to be a
sacred stone, as was right, in the temple of Jasonian Athena.

(ll. 961-988) Now the Doliones and Cyzicus himself all came together to
meet them with friendliness, and when they knew of the quest and their
lineage welcomed them with hospitality, and persuaded them to row
further and to fasten their ship's hawsers at the city harbour. Here
they built an altar to Ecbasian Apollo [1106] and set it up on the
beach, and gave heed to sacrifices. And the king of his own bounty gave
them sweet wine and sheep in their need; for he had heard a report that
whenever a godlike band of heroes should come, straightway he should
meet it with gentle words and should have no thought of war. As with
Jason, the soft down was just blooming on his chin, nor yet had it been
his lot to rejoice in children, but still in his palace his wife was
untouched by the pangs of child-birth, the daughter of Percosian Merops,
fair-haired Cleite, whom lately by priceless gifts he had brought from
her father's home from the mainland opposite. But even so he left his
chamber and bridal bed and prepared a banquet among the strangers,
casting all fears from his heart. And they questioned one another in
turn. Of them would he learn the end of their voyage and the injunctions
of Pelias; while they enquired about the cities of the people round and
all the gulf of the wide Propontis; but further he could not tell
them for all their desire to learn. In the morning they climbed mighty
Dindymum that they might themselves behold the various paths of that
sea; and they brought their ship from its former anchorage to the
harbour, Chytus; and the path they trod is named the path of Jason.

(ll. 989-1011) But the Earthborn men on the other side rushed down from
the mountain and with crags below blocked up the mouth of vast Chytus
towards the sea, like men lying in wait for a wild beast within. But
there Heracles had been left behind with the younger heroes and he
quickly bent his back-springing bow against the monsters and brought
them to earth one after another; and they in their turn raised huge
ragged rocks and hurled them. For these dread monsters too, I ween, the
goddess Hera, bride of Zeus, had nurtured to be a trial for Heracles.
And therewithal came the rest of the martial heroes returning to meet
the foe before they reached the height of outlook, and they fell to the
slaughter of the Earthborn, receiving them with arrows and spears
until they slew them all as they rushed fiercely to battle. And as when
woodcutters cast in rows upon the beach long trees just hewn down by
their axes, in order that, once sodden with brine, they may receive
the strong bolts; so these monsters at the entrance of the foam-fringed
harbour lay stretched one after another, some in heaps bending their
heads and breasts into the salt waves with their limbs spread out above
on the land; others again were resting their heads on the sand of the
shore and their feet in the deep water, both alike a prey to birds and
fishes at once.

(ll. 1012-1076) But the heroes, when the contest was ended without
fear, loosed the ship's hawsers to the breath of the wind and pressed on
through the sea-swell. And the ship sped on under sail all day; but when
night came the rushing wind did not hold steadfast, but contrary blasts
caught them and held them back till they again approached the hospitable
Doliones. And they stepped ashore that same night; and the rock is still
called the Sacred Rock round which they threw the ship's hawsers in
their haste. Nor did anyone note with care that it was the same island;
nor in the night did the Doliones clearly perceive that the heroes were
returning; but they deemed that Pelasgian war-men of the Macrians
had landed. Therefore they donned their armour and raised their hands
against them. And with clashing of ashen spears and shields they fell on
each other, like the swift rush of fire which falls on dry brushwood and
rears its crest; and the din of battle, terrible and furious, fell upon
the people of the Doliones. Nor was the king to escape his fate and
return home from battle to his bridal chamber and bed. But Aeson's son
leapt upon him as he turned to face him, and smote him in the middle
of the breast, and the bone was shattered round the spear; he rolled
forward in the sand and filled up the measure of his fate. For that no
mortal may escape; but on every side a wide snare encompasses us. And
so, when he thought that he had escaped bitter death from the chiefs,
fate entangled him that very night in her toils while battling with
them; and many champions withal were slain; Heracles killed Telecles
and Megabrontes, and Acastus slew Sphodris; and Peleus slew Zelus and
Gephyrus swift in war. Telamon of the strong spear slew Basileus. And
Idas slew Promeus, and Clytius Hyacinthus, and the two sons of Tyndareus
slew Megalossaces and Phlogius. And after them the son of Oeneus slew
bold Itomeneus, and Artaceus, leader of men; all of whom the inhabitants
still honour with the worship due to heroes. And the rest gave way and
fled in terror just as doves fly in terror before swift-winged hawks.
And with a din they rustled in a body to the gates; and quickly the city
was filled with loud cries at the turning of the dolorous fight. But at
dawn both sides perceived the fatal and cureless error; and bitter grief
seized the Minyan heroes when they saw before them Cyzicus son of Aeneus
fallen in the midst of dust and blood. And for three whole days they
lamented and rent their hair, they and the Dollones. Then three times
round his tomb they paced in armour of bronze and performed funeral
rites and celebrated games, as was meet, upon the meadow-plain, where
even now rises the mound of his grave to be seen by men of a later day.
No, nor was his bride Cleite left behind her dead husband, but to crown
the ill she wrought an ill yet more awful, when she clasped a noose
round her neck. Her death even the nymphs of the grove bewailed; and
of all the tears for her that they shed to earth from their eyes
the goddesses made a fountain, which they call Cleite, [1107] the
illustrious name of the hapless maid. Most terrible came that day from
Zeus upon the Doliones, women and men; for no one of them dared even to
taste food, nor for a long time by reason of grief did they take thought
for the toil of the cornmill, but they dragged on their lives eating
their food as it was, untouched by fire. Here even now, when the Ionians
that dwell in Cyzicus pour their yearly libations for the dead, they
ever grind the meal for the sacrificial cakes at the common mill. [1108]

(ll. 1079-1091) After this, fierce tempests arose for twelve days and
nights together and kept them there from sailing. But in the next night
the rest of the chieftains, overcome by sleep, were resting during the
latest period of the night, while Acastus and Mopsus the son of Ampyeus
kept guard over their deep slumbers. And above the golden head of
Aeson's son there hovered a halcyon prophesying with shrill voice the
ceasing of the stormy winds; and Mopsus heard and understood the cry of
the bird of the shore, fraught with good omen. And some god made it turn
aside, and flying aloft it settled upon the stern-ornament of the ship.
And the seer touched Jason as he lay wrapped in soft sheepskins and woke
him at once, and thus spake:

(ll. 1092-1102) "Son of Aeson, thou must climb to this temple on rugged
Dindymum and propitiate the mother [1109] of all the blessed gods on her
fair throne, and the stormy blasts shall cease. For such was the voice I
heard but now from the halcyon, bird of the sea, which, as it flew above
thee in thy slumber, told me all. For by her power the winds and the sea
and all the earth below and the snowy seat of Olympus are complete;
and to her, when from the mountains she ascends the mighty heaven, Zeus
himself, the son of Cronos, gives place. In like manner the rest of the
immortal blessed ones reverence the dread goddess."

(ll. 1103-1152) Thus he spake, and his words were welcome to Jason's
ear. And he arose from his bed with joy and woke all his comrades
hurriedly and told them the prophecy of Mopsus the son of Ampycus. And
quickly the younger men drove oxen from their stalls and began to lead
them to the mountain's lofty summit. And they loosed the hawsers from
the sacred rock and rowed to the Thracian harbour; and the heroes
climbed the mountain, leaving a few of their comrades in the ship.
And to them the Macrian heights and all the coast of Thrace opposite
appeared to view close at hand. And there appeared the misty mouth of
Bosporus and the Mysian hills; and on the other side the stream of the
river Aesepus and the city and Nepeian plain of Adrasteia. Now there was
a sturdy stump of vine that grew in the forest, a tree exceeding old;
this they cut down, to be the sacred image of the mountain goddess;
and Argus smoothed it skilfully, and they set it upon that rugged hill
beneath a canopy of lofty oaks, which of all trees have their roots
deepest. And near it they heaped an altar of small stones, and wreathed
their brows with oak leaves and paid heed to sacrifice, invoking the
mother of Dindymum, most venerable, dweller in Phrygia, and Titias and
Cyllenus, who alone of many are called dispensers of doom and assessors
of the Idaean mother,--the Idaean Dactyls of Crete, whom once the nymph
Anchiale, as she grasped with both hands the land of Oaxus, bare in the
Dictaean cave. And with many prayers did Aeson's son beseech the goddess
to turn aside the stormy blasts as he poured libations on the blazing
sacrifice; and at the same time by command of Orpheus the youths trod a
measure dancing in full armour, and clashed with their swords on their
shields, so that the ill-omened cry might be lost in the air the wail
which the people were still sending up in grief for their king. Hence
from that time forward the Phrygians propitiate Rhea with the wheel and
the drum. And the gracious goddess, I ween, inclined her heart to pious
sacrifices; and favourable signs appeared. The trees shed abundant
fruit, and round their feet the earth of its own accord put forth
flowers from the tender grass. And the beasts of the wild wood left
their lairs and thickets and came up fawning on them with their tails.
And she caused yet another marvel; for hitherto there was no flow of
water on Dindymum, but then for them an unceasing stream gushed forth
from the thirsty peak just as it was, and the dwellers around in after
times called that stream, the spring of Jason. And then they made
a feast in honour of the goddess on the Mount of Bears, singing the
praises of Rhea most venerable; but at dawn the winds had ceased and
they rowed away from the island.

(ll. 1153-1171) Thereupon a spirit of contention stirred each chieftain,
who should be the last to leave his oar. For all around the windless
air smoothed the swirling waves and lulled the sea to rest. And they,
trusting in the calm, mightily drove the ship forward; and as she sped
through the salt sea, not even the storm-footed steeds of Poseidon would
have overtaken her. Nevertheless when the sea was stirred by violent
blasts which were just rising from the rivers about evening, forspent
with toil, they ceased. But Heracles by the might of his arms pulled the
weary rowers along all together, and made the strong-knit timbers of
the ship to quiver. But when, eager to reach the Mysian mainland, they
passed along in sight of the mouth of Rhyndaeus and the great cairn of
Aegaeon, a little way from Phrygia, then Heracles, as he ploughed up
the furrows of the roughened surge, broke his oar in the middle. And one
half he held in both his hands as he fell sideways, the other the sea
swept away with its receding wave. And he sat up in silence glaring
round; for his hands were unaccustomed to be idle.

(ll. 1172-1186) Now at the hour when from the field some delver or
ploughman goes gladly home to his hut, longing for his evening meal, and
there on the threshold, all squalid with dust, bows his wearied knees,
and, beholding his hands worn with toil, with many a curse reviles his
belly; at that hour the heroes reached the homes of the Cianian land
near the Arganthonian mount and the outfall of Cius. Them as they came
in friendliness, the Mysians, inhabitants of that land, hospitably
welcomed, and gave them in their need provisions and sheep and abundant
wine. Hereupon some brought dried wood, others from the meadows leaves
for beds which they gathered in abundance for strewing, whilst others
were twirling sticks to get fire; others again were mixing wine in
the bowl and making ready the feast, after sacrificing at nightfall to
Apollo Ecbasius.

(ll. 1187-1206) But the son of Zeus having duly enjoined on his comrades
to prepare the feast took his way into a wood, that he might first
fashion for himself an oar to fit his hand. Wandering about he found a
pine not burdened with many branches, nor too full of leaves, but
like to the shaft of a tall poplar; so great was it both in length
and thickness to look at. And quickly he laid on the ground his
arrow-holding quiver together with his bow, and took off his lion's
skin. And he loosened the pine from the ground with his bronze-tipped
club and grasped the trunk with both hands at the bottom, relying on his
strength; and he pressed it against his broad shoulder with legs wide
apart; and clinging close he raised it from the ground deep-rooted
though it was, together with clods of earth. And as when unexpectedly,
just at the time of the stormy setting of baleful Orion, a swift gust of
wind strikes down from above, and wrenches a ship's mast from its stays,
wedges and all; so did Heracles lift the pine. And at the same time he
took up his bow and arrows, his lion skin and club, and started on his

(ll. 1207-1239) Meantime Hylas with pitcher of bronze in hand had gone
apart from the throng, seeking the sacred flow of a fountain, that he
might be quick in drawing water for the evening meal and actively make
all things ready in due order against his lord's return. For in such
ways did Heracles nurture him from his first childhood when he had
carried him off from the house of his father, goodly Theiodamas, whom
the hero pitilessly slew among the Dryopians because he withstood him
about an ox for the plough. Theiodamas was cleaving with his plough the
soil of fallow land when he was smitten with the curse; and Heracles
bade him give up the ploughing ox against his will. For he desired to
find some pretext for war against the Dryopians for their bane, since
they dwelt there reckless of right. But these tales would lead me far
astray from my song. And quickly Hylas came to the spring which the
people who dwell thereabouts call Pegae. And the dances of the nymphs
were just now being held there; for it was the care of all the nymphs
that haunted that lovely headland ever to hymn Artemis in songs by
night. All who held the mountain peaks or glens, all they were ranged
far off guarding the woods; but one, a water-nymph was just rising from
the fair-flowing spring; and the boy she perceived close at hand with
the rosy flush of his beauty and sweet grace. For the full moon beaming
from the sky smote him. And Cypris made her heart faint, and in her
confusion she could scarcely gather her spirit back to her. But as soon
as he dipped the pitcher in the stream, leaning to one side, and the
brimming water rang loud as it poured against the sounding bronze,
straightway she laid her left arm above upon his neck yearning to kiss
his tender mouth; and with her right hand she drew down his elbow, and
plunged him into the midst of the eddy.

(ll. 1240-1256) Alone of his comrades the hero Polyphemus, son of
Eilatus, as he went forward on the path, heard the boy's cry, for he
expected the return of mighty Heracles. And he rushed after the cry,
near Pegae, like some beast of the wild wood whom the bleating of sheep
has reached from afar, and burning with hunger he follows, but does not
fall in with the flocks; for the shepherds beforehand have penned them
in the fold, but he groans and roars vehemently until he is weary.
Thus vehemently at that time did the son of Eilatus groan and wandered
shouting round the spot; and his voice rang piteous. Then quickly
drawing his great sword he started in pursuit, in fear lest the boy
should be the prey of wild beasts, or men should have lain in ambush for
him faring all alone, and be carrying him off, an easy prey. Hereupon as
he brandished his bare sword in his hand he met Heracles himself on
the path, and well he knew him as he hastened to the ship through the
darkness. And straightway he told the wretched calamity while his heart
laboured with his panting breath.

(ll. 1257-1260) "My poor friend, I shall be the first to bring thee
tidings of bitter woe. Hylas has gone to the well and has not returned
safe, but robbers have attacked and are carrying him off, or beasts are
tearing him to pieces; I heard his cry."

(ll. 1261-1272) Thus he spake; and when Heracles heard his words, sweat
in abundance poured down from his temples and the black blood boiled
beneath his heart. And in wrath he hurled the pine to the ground and
hurried along the path whither his feet bore on his impetuous soul. And
as when a bull stung by a gadfly tears along, leaving the meadows and
the marsh land, and recks not of herdsmen or herd, but presses on, now
without cheek, now standing still, and raising his broad neck he bellows
loudly, stung by the maddening fly; so he in his frenzy now would ply
his swift knees unresting, now again would cease from toil and shout
afar with loud pealing cry.

(ll. 1273-1289) But straightway the morning star rose above the topmost
peaks and the breeze swept down; and quickly did Tiphys urge them to
go aboard and avail themselves of the wind. And they embarked eagerly
forthwith; and they drew up the ship's anchors and hauled the ropes
astern. And the sails were bellied out by the wind, and far from the
coast were they joyfully borne past the Posideian headland. But at the
hour when gladsome dawn shines from heaven, rising from the east, and
the paths stand out clearly, and the dewy plains shine with a bright
gleam, then at length they were aware that unwittingly they had
abandoned those men. And a fierce quarrel fell upon them, and violent
tumult, for that they had sailed and left behind the bravest of their
comrades. And Aeson's son, bewildered by their hapless plight, said
never a word, good or bad; but sat with his heavy load of grief, eating
out his heart. And wrath seized Telamon, and thus he spake:

(ll. 1290-1295) "Sit there at thy ease, for it was fitting for thee to
leave Heracles behind; from thee the project arose, so that his glory
throughout Hellas should not overshadow thee, if so be that heaven
grants us a return home. But what pleasure is there in words? For I will
go, I only, with none of thy comrades, who have helped thee to plan this

(ll. 1296-1314) He spake, and rushed upon Tiphys son of Hagnias; and
his eyes sparkled like flashes of ravening flame. And they would quickly
have turned back to the land of the Mysians, forcing their way through
the deep sea and the unceasing blasts of the wind, had not the two sons
of Thracian Boreas held back the son of Aeacus with harsh words. Hapless
ones, assuredly a bitter vengeance came upon them thereafter at the
hands of Heracles, because they stayed the search for him. For when they
were returning from the games over Pelias dead he slew them in sea-girt
Tenos and heaped the earth round them, and placed two columns above,
one of which, a great marvel for men to see, moves at the breath of
the blustering north wind. These things were thus to be accomplished in
after times. But to them appeared Glaucus from the depths of the sea,
the wise interpreter of divine Nereus, and raising aloft his shaggy head
and chest from his waist below, with sturdy hand he seized the ship's
keel, and then cried to the eager crew:

(ll. 1315-1325) "Why against the counsel of mighty Zeus do ye purpose
to lead bold Heracles to the city of Aeetes? At Argos it is his fate to
labour for insolent Eurystheus and to accomplish full twelve toils and
dwell with the immortals, if so be that he bring to fulfilment a few
more yet; wherefore let there be no vain regret for him. Likewise it is
destined for Polyphemus to found a glorious city at the mouth of Cius
among the Mysians and to fill up the measure of his fate in the vast
land of the Chalybes. But a goddess-nymph through love has made Hylas
her husband, on whose account those two wandered and were left behind."

(ll. 1326-1331) He spake, and with a plunge wrapped him about with the
restless wave; and round him the dark water foamed in seething eddies
and dashed against the hollow ship as it moved through the sea. And the
heroes rejoiced, and Telamon son of Aeacus came in haste to Jason, and
grasping his hand in his own embraced him with these words:

(ll. 1332-1335) "Son of Aeson, be not wroth with me, if in my folly
I have erred, for grief wrought upon me to utter a word arrogant and
intolerable. But let me give my fault to the winds and let our hearts be
joined as before."

(ll. 1336-1343) Him the son of Aeson with prudence addressed: "Good
friend, assuredly with an evil word didst thou revile me, saying before
them all that I was the wronger of a kindly man. But not for long will
I nurse bitter wrath, though indeed before I was grieved. For it was not
for flocks of sheep, no, nor for possessions that thou wast angered
to fury, but for a man, thy comrade. And I were fain thou wouldst even
champion me against another man if a like thing should ever befall me."

(ll. 1344-1357) He spake, and they sat down, united as of old. But of
those two, by the counsel of Zeus, one, Polyphemus son of Eilatus, was
destined to found and build a city among the Mysians bearing the river's
name, and the other, Heracles, to return and toil at the labours of
Eurystheus. And he threatened to lay waste the Mysian land at once,
should they not discover for him the doom of Hylas, whether living or
dead. And for him they gave pledges choosing out the noblest sons of the
people and took an oath that they would never cease from their labour of
search. Therefore to this day the people of Cius enquire for Hylas the
son of Theiodamas, and take thought for the well-built Trachis. For
there did Heracles settle the youths whom they sent from Cius as

(ll. 1358-1362) And all day long and all night the wind bore the ship
on, blowing fresh and strong; but when dawn rose there was not even a
breath of air. And they marked a beach jutting forth from a bend of
the coast, very broad to behold, and by dint of rowing came to land at


(ll. 1-10) Here were the oxstalls and farm of Amycus, the haughty
king of the Bebrycians, whom once a nymph, Bithynian Melie, united
to Poseidon Genethlius, bare the most arrogant of men; for even for
strangers he laid down an insulting ordinance, that none should depart
till they had made trial of him in boxing; and he had slain many of the
neighbours. And at that time too he went down to the ship and in his
insolence scorned to ask them the occasion of their voyage, and who they
were, but at once spake out among them all:

(ll. 11-18) "Listen, ye wanderers by sea, to what it befits you to
know. It is the rule that no stranger who comes to the Bebrycians should
depart till he has raised his hands in battle against mine. Wherefore
select your bravest warrior from the host and set him here on the spot
to contend with me in boxing. But if ye pay no heed and trample my
decrees under foot, assuredly to your sorrow will stern necessity come
upon you."

(ll. 19-21) Thus he spake in his pride, but fierce anger seized them
when they heard it, and the challenge smote Polydeuces most of all. And
quickly he stood forth his comrades' champion, and cried:

(ll. 22-24) "Hold now, and display not to us thy brutal violence,
whoever thou art; for we will obey thy rules, as thou sayest. Willingly
now do I myself undertake to meet thee."

(ll. 25-54) Thus he spake outright; but the other with rolling eyes
glared on him, like to a lion struck by a javelin when hunters in the
mountains are hemming him round, and, though pressed by the throng, he
reeks no more of them, but keeps his eyes fixed, singling out that
man only who struck him first and slew him not. Hereupon the son of
Tyndareus laid aside his mantle, closely-woven, delicately-wrought,
which one of the Lemnian maidens had given him as a pledge of
hospitality; and the king threw down his dark cloak of double fold with
its clasps and the knotted crook of mountain olive which he carried.
Then straightway they looked and chose close by a spot that pleased them
and bade their comrades sit upon the sand in two lines; nor were they
alike to behold in form or in stature. The one seemed to be a monstrous
son of baleful Typhoeus or of Earth herself, such as she brought
forth aforetime, in her wrath against Zeus; but the other, the son of
Tyndareus, was like a star of heaven, whose beams are fairest as it
shines through the nightly sky at eventide. Such was the son of Zeus,
the bloom of the first down still on his cheeks, still with the look of
gladness in his eyes. But his might and fury waxed like a wild beast's;
and he poised his hands to see if they were pliant as before and were
not altogether numbed by toil and rowing. But Amycus on his side made no
trial; but standing apart in silence he kept his eyes upon his foe, and
his spirit surged within him all eager to dash the life-blood from his
breast. And between them Lyeoreus, the henchman of Amycus, placed at
their feet on each side two pairs of gauntlets made of raw hide, dry,
exceeding tough. And the king addressed the hero with arrogant words:

(ll. 55-59) "Whichever of these thou wilt, without casting lots, I grant
thee freely, that thou mayst not blame me hereafter. Bind them about thy
hands; thou shalt learn and tell another how skilled I am to carve the
dry oxhides and to spatter men's cheeks with blood."

(ll. 60-66) Thus he spake; but the other gave back no taunt in answer,
but with a light smile readily took up the gauntlets that lay at his
feet; and to him came Castor and mighty Talaus, son of Bias, and they
quickly bound the gauntlets about his hands, often bidding him be of
good courage. And to Amycus came Aretus and Ornytus, but little they
knew, poor fools, that they had bound them for the last time on their
champion, a victim of evil fate.

(ll. 67-97) Now when they stood apart and were ready with their
gauntlets, straightway in front of their faces they raised their heavy
hands and matched their might in deadly strife. Hereupon the Bebrycian
king even as a fierce wave of the sea rises in a crest against a swift
ship, but she by the skill of the crafty pilot just escapes the shock
when the billow is eager to break over the bulwark--so he followed up
the son of Tyndareus, trying to daunt him, and gave him no respite. But
the hero, ever unwounded, by his skill baffled the rush of his foe,
and he quickly noted the brutal play of his fists to see where he was
invincible in strength, and where inferior, and stood unceasingly and
returned blow for blow. And as when shipwrights with their hammers smite
ships' timbers to meet the sharp clamps, fixing layer upon layer; and
the blows resound one after another; so cheeks and jaws crashed on both
sides, and a huge clattering of teeth arose, nor did they cease ever
from striking their blows until laboured gasping overcame both. And
standing a little apart they wiped from their foreheads sweat in
abundance, wearily panting for breath. Then back they rushed together
again, as two bulls fight in furious rivalry for a grazing heifer. Next
Amycus rising on tiptoe, like one who slays an ox, sprung to his full
height and swung his heavy hand down upon his rival; but the hero
swerved aside from the rush, turning his head, and just received the arm
on his shoulder; and coming near and slipping his knee past the king's,
with a rush he struck him above the ear, and broke the bones inside, and
the king in agony fell upon his knees; and the Minyan heroes shouted for
joy; and his life was poured forth all at once.

(ll. 98-144) Nor were the Bebrycians reckless of their king; but
all together took up rough clubs and spears and rushed straight on
Polydeuces. But in front of him stood his comrades, their keen swords
drawn from the sheath. First Castor struck upon the head a man as he
rushed at him: and it was cleft in twain and fell on each side upon his
shoulders. And Polydeuces slew huge Itymoneus and Mimas. The one, with
a sudden leap, he smote beneath the breast with his swift foot and threw
him in the dust; and as the other drew near he struck him with his right
hand above the left eyebrow, and tore away his eyelid and the eyeball
was left bare. But Oreides, insolent henchman of Amycus, wounded Talaus
son of Bias in the side, but did not slay him, but only grazing the
skin the bronze sped under his belt and touched not the flesh. Likewise
Aretus with well-seasoned club smote Iphitus, the steadfast son of
Eurytus, not yet destined to an evil death; assuredly soon was he
himself to be slain by the sword of Clytius. Then Ancaeus, the dauntless
son of Lycurgus, quickly seized his huge axe, and in his left hand
holding a bear's dark hide, plunged into the midst of the Bebrycians
with furious onset; and with him charged the sons of Aeacus, and with
them started warlike Jason. And as when amid the folds grey wolves
rush down on a winter's day and scare countless sheep, unmarked by the
keen-scented dogs and the shepherds too, and they seek what first to
attack and carry off; often glaring around, but the sheep are just
huddled together and trample on one another; so the heroes grievously
scared the arrogant Bebrycians. And as shepherds or beekeepers smoke
out a huge swarm of bees in a rock, and they meanwhile, pent up in their
hive, murmur with droning hum, till, stupefied by the murky smoke, they
fly forth far from the rock; so they stayed steadfast no longer, but
scattered themselves inland through Bebrycia, proclaiming the death of
Amycus; fools, not to perceive that another woe all unforeseen was hard
upon them. For at that hour their vineyards and villages were being
ravaged by the hostile spear of Lycus and the Mariandyni, now that their
king was gone. For they were ever at strife about the ironbearing land.
And now the foe was destroying their steadings and farms, and now the
heroes from all sides were driving off their countless sheep, and one
spake among his fellows thus:

(ll. 145-153) "Bethink ye what they would have done in their cowardice
if haply some god had brought Heracles hither. Assuredly, if he had been
here, no trial would there have been of fists, I ween, but when the king
drew near to proclaim his rules, the club would have made him forget his
pride and the rules to boot. Yea, we left him uncared for on the strand
and we sailed oversea; and full well each one of us shall know our
baneful folly, now that he is far away."

(ll. 154-163) Thus he spake, but all these things had been wrought by
the counsels of Zeus. Then they remained there through the night and
tended the hurts of the wounded men, and offered sacrifice to the
immortals, and made ready a mighty meal; and sleep fell upon no man
beside the bowl and the blazing sacrifice. They wreathed their fair
brows with the bay that grew by the shore, whereto their hawsers were
bound, and chanted a song to the lyre of Orpheus in sweet harmony; and
the windless shore was charmed by their song; and they celebrated the
Therapnaean son of Zeus. [1201]

(ll. 164-177) But when the sun rising from far lands lighted up the dewy
hills and wakened the shepherds, then they loosed their hawsers from
the stem of the baytree and put on board all the spoil they had need
to take; and with a favouring wind they steered through the eddying
Bosporus. Hereupon a wave like a steep mountain rose aloft in front as
though rushing upon them, ever upheaved above the clouds; nor would you
say that they could escape grim death, for in its fury it hangs over
the middle of the ship, like a cloud, yet it sinks away into calm if it
meets with a skilful helmsman. So they by the steering-craft of Tiphys
escaped, unhurt but sore dismayed. And on the next day they fastened the
hawsers to the coast opposite the Bithynian land.

(ll. 178-208) There Phineus, son of Agenor, had his home by the sea,
Phineus who above all men endured most bitter woes because of the
gift of prophecy which Leto's son had granted him aforetime. And he
reverenced not a whit even Zeus himself, for he foretold unerringly to
men his sacred will. Wherefore Zeus sent upon him a lingering old age,
and took from his eyes the pleasant light, and suffered him not to have
joy of the dainties untold that the dwellers around ever brought to his
house, when they came to enquire the will of heaven. But on a sudden,
swooping through the clouds, the Harpies with their crooked beaks
incessantly snatched the food away from his mouth and hands. And at
times not a morsel of food was left, at others but a little, in order
that he might live and be tormented. And they poured forth over all a
loathsome stench; and no one dared not merely to carry food to his mouth
but even to stand at a distance; so foully reeked the remnants of the
meal. But straightway when he heard the voice and the tramp of the band
he knew that they were the men passing by, at whose coming Zeus' oracle
had declared to him that he should have joy of his food. And he rose
from his couch, like a lifeless dream, bowed over his staff, and crept
to the door on his withered feet, feeling the walls; and as he moved,
his limbs trembled for weakness and age; and his parched skin was caked
with dirt, and naught but the skill held his bones together. And he came
forth from the hall with wearied knees and sat on the threshold of the
courtyard; and a dark stupor covered him, and it seemed that the earth
reeled round beneath his feet, and he lay in a strengthless trance,
speechless. But when they saw him they gathered round and marvelled. And
he at last drew laboured breath from the depths of his chest and spoke
among them with prophetic utterance:

(ll. 209-239) "Listen, bravest of all the Hellenes, if it be truly ye,
whom by a king's ruthless command Jason is leading on the ship Argo in
quest of the fleece. It is ye truly. Even yet my soul by its divination
knows everything. Thanks I render to thee, O king, son of Leto, plunged
in bitter affliction though I be. I beseech you by Zeus the god of
suppliants, the sternest foe to sinful men, and for the sake of Phoebus
and Hera herself, under whose especial care ye have come hither, help
me, save an ill-fated man from misery, and depart not uncaring and
leaving me thus as ye see. For not only has the Fury set her foot on my
eyes and I drag on to the end a weary old age; but besides my other woes
a woe hangs over me the bitterest of all. The Harpies, swooping down
from some unseen den of destruction, ever snatch the food from my mouth.
And I have no device to aid me. But it were easier, when I long for
a meal, to escape my own thoughts than them, so swiftly do they fly
through the air. But if haply they do leave me a morsel of food it reeks
of decay and the stench is unendurable, nor could any mortal bear
to draw near even for a moment, no, not if his heart were wrought of
adamant. But necessity, bitter and insatiate, compels me to abide
and abiding to put food in my cursed belly. These pests, the oracle
declares, the sons of Boreas shall restrain. And no strangers are they
that shall ward them off if indeed I am Phineus who was once renowned
among men for wealth and the gift of prophecy, and if I am the son of my
father Agenor; and, when I ruled among the Thracians, by my bridal gifts
I brought home their sister Cleopatra to be my wife."

(ll. 240-243) So spake Agenor's son; and deep sorrow seized each of the
heroes, and especially the two sons of Boreas. And brushing away a tear
they drew nigh, and Zetes spake as follows, taking in his own the hand
of the grief-worn sire:

(ll. 244-253) "Unhappy one, none other of men is more wretched than
thou, methinks. Why upon thee is laid the burden of so many sorrows?
Hast thou with baneful folly sinned against the gods through thy skill
in prophecy? For this are they greatly wroth with thee? Yet our spirit
is dismayed within us for all our desire to aid thee, if indeed the god
has granted this privilege to us two. For plain to discern to men of
earth are the reproofs of the immortals. And we will never check the
Harpies when they come, for all our desire, until thou hast sworn that
for this we shall not lose the favour of heaven."

(ll. 254-255) Thus he spake; and towards him the aged sire opened his
sightless eyes, and lifted them up and replied with these words:

(ll. 256-261) "Be silent, store not up such thoughts in thy heart, my
child. Let the son of Leto be my witness, he who of his gracious will
taught me the lore of prophecy, and be witness the ill-starred doom
which possesses me and this dark cloud upon my eyes, and the gods of the
underworld--and may their curse be upon me if I die perjured thus--no
wrath from heaven will fall upon you two for your help to me."

(ll. 262-287) Then were those two eager to help him because of the oath.
And quickly the younger heroes prepared a feast for the aged man, a last
prey for the Harpies; and both stood near him, to smite with the sword
those pests when they swooped down. Scarcely had the aged man touched
the food when they forthwith, like bitter blasts or flashes of
lightning, suddenly darted from the clouds, and swooped down with a
yell, fiercely craving for food; and the heroes beheld them and shouted
in the midst of their onrush; but they at the cry devoured everything
and sped away over the sea after; and an intolerable stench remained.
And behind them the two sons of Boreas raising their swords rushed in
pursuit. For Zeus imparted to them tireless strength; but without Zeus
they could not have followed, for the Harpies used ever to outstrip the
blasts of the west wind when they came to Phineus and when they left
him. And as when, upon the mountain-side, hounds, cunning in the chase,
run in the track of horned goats or deer, and as they strain a little
behind gnash their teeth upon the edge of their jaws in vain; so Zetes
and Calais rushing very near just grazed the Harpies in vain with their
finger-tips. And assuredly they would have torn them to pieces, despite
heaven's will, when they had overtaken them far off at the Floating
Islands, had not swift Iris seen them and leapt down from the sky from
heaven above, and cheeked them with these words:

(ll. 288-290) "It is not lawful, O sons of Boreas, to strike with your
swords the Harpies, the hounds of mighty Zeus; but I myself will give
you a pledge, that hereafter they shall not draw near to Phineus."

(ll. 291-300) With these words she took an oath by the waters of Styx,
which to all the gods is most dread and most awful, that the Harpies
would never thereafter again approach the home of Phineus, son of
Agenor, for so it was fated. And the heroes yielding to the oath, turned
back their flight to the ship. And on account of this men call them
the Islands of Turning though aforetime they called them the Floating
Islands. And the Harpies and Iris parted. They entered their den in
Minoan Crete; but she sped up to Olympus, soaring aloft on her swift

(ll. 301-310) Meanwhile the chiefs carefully cleansed the old man's
squalid skin and with due selection sacrificed sheep which they had
borne away from the spoil of Amycus. And when they had laid a huge
supper in the hall, they sat down and feasted, and with them feasted
Phineus ravenously, delighting his soul, as in a dream. And there, when
they had taken their fill of food and drink, they kept awake all night
waiting for the sons of Boreas. And the aged sire himself sat in the
midst, near the hearth, telling of the end of their voyage and the
completion of their journey:

(ll. 311-315) "Listen then. Not everything is it lawful for you to
know clearly; but whatever is heaven's will, I will not hide. I was
infatuated aforetime, when in my folly I declared the will of Zeus
in order and to the end. For he himself wishes to deliver to men the
utterances of the prophetic art incomplete, in order that they may still
have some need to know the will of heaven."

(ll. 316-340) "First of all, after leaving me, ye will see the twin
Cyanean rocks where the two seas meet. No one, I ween, has won his
escape between them. For they are not firmly fixed with roots beneath,
but constantly clash against one another to one point, and above a huge
mass of salt water rises in a crest, boiling up, and loudly dashes upon
the hard beach. Wherefore now obey my counsel, if indeed with prudent
mind and reverencing the blessed gods ye pursue your way; and perish not
foolishly by a self-sought death, or rush on following the guidance of
youth. First entrust the attempt to a dove when ye have sent her forth
from the ship. And if she escapes safe with her wings between the rocks
to the open sea, then no more do ye refrain from the path, but grip
your oars well in your hands and cleave the sea's narrow strait, for the
light of safety will be not so much in prayer as in strength of hands.
Wherefore let all else go and labour boldly with might and main, but
ere then implore the gods as ye will, I forbid you not. But if she flies
onward and perishes midway, then do ye turn back; for it is better to
yield to the immortals. For ye could not escape an evil doom from the
rocks, not even if Argo were of iron."

(ll. 341-359) "O hapless ones, dare not to transgress my divine warning,
even though ye think that I am thrice as much hated by the sons of
heaven as I am, and even more than thrice; dare not to sail further
with your ship in despite of the omen. And as these things will fall, so
shall they fall. But if ye shun the clashing rocks and come scatheless
inside Pontus, straightway keep the land of the Bithynians on your right
and sail on, and beware of the breakers, until ye round the swift
river Rhebas and the black beach, and reach the harbour of the Isle of
Thynias. Thence ye must turn back a little space through the sea and
beach your ship on the land of the Mariandyni lying opposite. Here is
a downward path to the abode of Hades, and the headland of Acherusia
stretches aloft, and eddying Acheron cleaves its way at the bottom, even
through the headland, and sends its waters forth from a huge ravine. And
near it ye will sail past many hills of the Paphlagonians, over whom
at the first Eneteian Pelops reigned, and of his blood they boast
themselves to be."

(ll. 360-406) "Now there is a headland opposite Helice the Bear, steep
on all sides, and they call it Carambis, about whose crests the blasts
of the north wind are sundered. So high in the air does it rise turned
towards the sea. And when ye have rounded it broad Aegialus stretches
before you; and at the end of broad Aegialus, at a jutting point of
coast, the waters of the river Halys pour forth with a terrible roar;
and after it his flowing near, but smaller in stream, rolls into the sea
with white eddies. Onward from thence the bend of a huge and towering
cape reaches out from the land, next Thermodon at its mouth flows into a
quiet bay at the Themiscyreian headland, after wandering through a broad
continent. And here is the plain of Doeas, and near are the three cities
of the Amazons, and after them the Chalybes, most wretched of men,
possess a soil rugged and unyielding sons of toil, they busy themselves
with working iron. And near them dwell the Tibareni, rich in sheep,
beyond the Genetaean headland of Zeus, lord of hospitality. And
bordering on it the Mossynoeci next in order inhabit the well-wooded
mainland and the parts beneath the mountains, who have built in towers
made from trees their wooden homes and well-fitted chambers, which they
call Mossynes, and the people themselves take their name from them.
After passing them ye must beach your ship upon a smooth island, when ye
have driven away with all manner of skill the ravening birds, which
in countless numbers haunt the desert island. In it the Queens of the
Amazons, Otrere and Antiope, built a stone temple of Ares what time they
went forth to war. Now here an unspeakable help will come to you from
the bitter sea; wherefore with kindly intent I bid you stay. But what
need is there that I should sin yet again declaring everything to the
end by my prophetic art? And beyond the island and opposite mainland
dwell the Philyres: and above the Philyres are the Macrones, and after
them the vast tribes of the Becheiri. And next in order to them dwell
the Sapeires, and the Byzeres have the lands adjoining to them, and
beyond them at last live the warlike Colchians themselves. But speed on
in your ship, till ye touch the inmost bourne of the sea. And here at
the Cytaean mainland and from the Amarantine mountains far away and the
Circaean plain, eddying Phasis rolls his broad stream to the sea. Guide
your ship to the mouth of that river and ye shall behold the towers of
Cytaean Aeetes and the shady grove of Ares, where a dragon, a monster
terrible to behold, ever glares around, keeping watch over the fleece
that is spread upon the top of an oak; neither by day nor by night does
sweet sleep subdue his restless eyes."

(ll. 408-410) Thus he spake, and straightway fear seized them as they
heard. And for a long while they were struck with silence; till at last
the hero, son of Aeson, spake, sore dismayed at their evil plight:

(ll. 411-418) "O aged sire, now hast thou come to the end of the toils
of our sea-journeying and hast told us the token, trusting to which we
shall make our way to Pontus through the hateful rocks; but whether,
when we have escaped them, we shall have a return back again to Hellas,
this too would we gladly learn from thee. What shall I do, how shall I
go over again such a long path through the sea, unskilled as I am, with
unskilled comrades? And Colchian Aea lies at the edge of Pontus and of
the world."

(ll. 419-425) Thus he spake, and him the aged sire addressed in reply:
"O son, when once thou hast escaped through the deadly rocks, fear not;
for a deity will be the guide from Aea by another track; and to Aea
there will be guides enough. But, my friends, take thought of the artful
aid of the Cyprian goddess. For on her depends the glorious issue of
your venture. And further than this ask me not."

(ll. 426-437) Thus spake Agenor's son, and close at hand the twin sons
of Thracian Boreas came darting from the sky and set their swift feet
upon the threshold; and the heroes rose up from their seats when they
saw them present. And Zetes, still drawing hard breath after his toil,
spake among the eager listeners, telling them how far they had driven
the Harpies and how his prevented their slaying them, and how the
goddess of her grace gave them pledges, and how those others in fear
plunged into the vast cave of the Dictaean cliff. Then in the mansion
all their comrades were joyful at the tidings and so was Phineus
himself. And quickly Aeson's son, with good will exceeding, addressed

(ll. 438-442) "Assuredly there was then, Phineus, some god who cared for
thy bitter woe, and brought us hither from afar, that the sons of Boreas
might aid thee; and if too he should bring sight to thine eyes, verily I
should rejoice, methinks, as much as if I were on my homeward way."

(ll. 443-447) Thus he spake, but Phineus replied to him with downcast
look: "Son of Aeson, that is past recall, nor is there any remedy
hereafter, for blasted are my sightless eyes. But instead of that, may
the god grant me death at once, and after death I shall take my share in
perfect bliss."

(ll. 448-467) Then they two returned answering speech, each to other,
and soon in the midst of their converse early dawn appeared; and round
Phineus were gathered the neighbours who used to come thither aforetime
day by day and constantly bring a portion of their food. To all alike,
however poor he was that came, the aged man gave his oracles with good
will, and freed many from their woes by his prophetic art; wherefore
they visited and tended him. And with them came Paraebius, who was
dearest to him, and gladly did he perceive these strangers in the house.
For long ere now the seer himself had said that a band of chieftains,
faring from Hellas to the city of Aceres, would make fast their hawsers
to the Thynian land, and by Zeus' will would check the approach of the
Harpies. The rest the old man pleased with words of wisdom and let them
go; Paraebius only he bade remain there with the chiefs; and straightway
he sent him and bade him bring back the choicest of his sheep. And when
he had left the hall Phineus spake gently amid the throng of oarsmen:

(ll. 468-489) "O my friends, not all men are arrogant, it seems, nor
unmindful of benefits. Even as this man, loyal as he is, came hither to
learn his fate. For when he laboured the most and toiled the most, then
the needs of life, ever growing more and more, would waste him, and day
after day ever dawned more wretched, nor was there any respite to his
toil. But he was paying the sad penalty of his father's sin. For he when
alone on the mountains, felling trees, once slighted the prayers of a
Hamadryad, who wept and sought to soften him with plaintive words, not
to cut down the stump of an oak tree coeval with herself, wherein for
a long time she had lived continually; but he in the arrogance of youth
recklessly cut it down. So to him the nymph thereafter made her death
a curse, to him and to his children. I indeed knew of the sin when he
came; and I bid him build an altar to the Thynian nymph, and offer on
it an atoning sacrifice, with prayer to escape his father's fate. Here,
ever since he escaped the god-sent doom, never has he forgotten or
neglected me; but sorely and against his will do I send him from my
doors, so eager is he to remain with me in my affliction."

(ll. 490-499) Thus spake Agenor's son; and his friend straightway came
near leading two sheep from the flock. And up rose Jason and up rose the
sons of Boreas at the bidding of the aged sire. And quickly they called
upon Apollo, lord of prophecy, and offered sacrifice upon the health as
the day was just sinking. And the younger comrades made ready a feast
to their hearts' desire. Thereupon having well feasted they turned
themselves to rest, some near the ship's hawsers, others in groups
throughout the mansion. And at dawn the Etesian winds blew strongly,
which by the command of Zeus blow over every land equally.

(ll. 500-527) Cyrene, the tale goes, once tended sheep along the
marsh-meadow of Peneus among men of old time; for dear to her were
maidenhood and a couch unstained. But, as she guarded her flock by the
river, Apollo carried her off far from Haemonia and placed her among the
nymphs of the land, who dwelt in Libya near the Myrtosian height.
And here to Phoebus she bore Aristaeus whom the Haemonians, rich in
corn-land, call "Hunter" and "Shepherd". Her, of his love, the god made
a nymph there, of long life and a huntress, and his son he brought while
still an infant to be nurtured in the cave of Cheiron. And to him when
he grew to manhood the Muses gave a bride, and taught him the arts of
healing and of prophecy; and they made him the keeper of their sheep,
of all that grazed on the Athamantian plain of Phthia and round steep
Othrys and the sacred stream of the river Apidanus. But when from heaven
Sirius scorched the Minoan Isles, and for long there was no respite for
the inhabitants, then by the injunction of the Far-Darter they summoned
Aristaeus to ward off the pestilence. And by his father's command
he left Phthia and made his home in Ceos, and gathered together the
Parrhasian people who are of the lineage of Lycaon, and he built a great
altar to Zeus Icmaeus, and duly offered sacrifices upon the mountains to
that star Sirius, and to Zeus son of Cronos himself. And on this account
it is that Etesian winds from Zeus cool the land for forty days, and
in Ceos even now the priests offer sacrifices before the rising of the

(ll. 528-536) So the tale is told, but the chieftains stayed there by
constraint, and every day the Thynians, doing pleasure to Phineus, sent
them gifts beyond measure. And afterwards they raised an altar to the
blessed twelve on the sea-beach opposite and laid offerings thereon and
then entered their swift ship to row, nor did they forget to bear with
them a trembling dove; but Euphemus seized her and brought her all
quivering with fear, and they loosed the twin hawsers from the land.

(ll. 537-548) Nor did they start unmarked by Athena, but straightway
swiftly she set her feel on a light cloud, which would waft her on,
mighty though she was, and she swept on to the sea with friendly
thoughts to the oarsmen. And as when one roveth far from his native
land, as we men often wander with enduring heart, nor is any land too
distant but all ways are clear to his view, and he sees in mind his own
home, and at once the way over sea and land seems slain, and swiftly
thinking, now this way, now that, he strains with eager eyes; so swiftly
the daughter of Zeus darted down and set her foot on the cheerless shore
of Thynia.

(ll. 549-567) Now when they reached the narrow strait of the winding
passage, hemmed in on both sides by rugged cliffs, while an eddying
current from below was washing against the ship as she moved on, they
went forward sorely in dread; and now the thud of the crashing rocks
ceaselessly struck their ears, and the sea-washed shores resounded,
and then Euphemus grasped the dove in his hand and started to mount the
prow; and they, at the bidding of Tiphys, son of Hagnias, rowed with
good will to drive Argo between the rocks, trusting to their strength.
And as they rounded a bend they saw the rocks opening for the last time
of all. Their spirit melted within them; and Euphemus sent forth the
dove to dart forward in flight; and they all together raised their heads
to look; but she flew between them, and the rocks again rushed together
and crashed as they met face to face. And the foam leapt up in a mass
like a cloud; awful was the thunder of the sea; and all round them the
mighty welkin roared.

(ll. 568-592) The hollow caves beneath the rugged cliffs rumbled as the
sea came surging in; and the white foam of the dashing wave spurted high
above the cliff. Next the current whirled the ship round. And the
rocks shore away the end of the dove's tail-feathers; but away she flew
unscathed. And the rowers gave a loud cry; and Tiphys himself called
to them to row with might and main. For the rocks were again parting
asunder. But as they rowed they trembled, until the tide returning drove
them back within the rocks. Then most awful fear seized upon all; for
over their head was destruction without escape. And now to right and
left broad Pontus was seen, when suddenly a huge wave rose up before
them, arched, like a steep rock; and at the sight they bowed with bended
heads. For it seemed about to leap down upon the ship's whole length and
to overwhelm them. But Tiphys was quick to ease the ship as she laboured
with the oars; and in all its mass the wave rolled away beneath the
keel, and at the stern it raised Argo herself and drew her far away from
the rocks; and high in air was she borne. But Euphemus strode among
all his comrades and cried to them to bend to their oars with all their
might; and they with a shout smote the water. And as far as the ship
yielded to the rowers, twice as far did she leap back, and the oar, were
bent like curved bows as the heroes used their strength.

(ll. 593-610) Then a vaulted billow rushed upon them, and the ship like
a cylinder ran on the furious wave plunging through the hollow sea. And
the eddying current held her between the clashing rocks; and on each
side they shook and thundered; and the ship's timbers were held fast.
Then Athena with her left hand thrust back one mighty rock and with
her right pushed the ship through; and she, like a winged arrow, sped
through the air. Nevertheless the rocks, ceaselessly clashing, shore off
as she passed the extreme end of the stern-ornament. But Athena soared
up to Olympus, when they had escaped unscathed. And the rocks in one
spot at that moment were rooted fast for ever to each other, which thing
had been destined by the blessed gods, when a man in his ship should
have passed between them alive. And the heroes breathed again after
their chilling fear, beholding at the same time the sky and the expanse
of sea spreading far and wide. For they deemed that they were saved from
Hades; and Tiphys first of all began to speak:

(ll. 611-618) "It is my hope that we have safely escaped this peril--we,
and the ship; and none other is the cause so much as Athena, who
breathed into Argo divine strength when Argus knitted her together with
bolts; and she may not be caught. Son of Aeson, no longer fear thou so
much the hest of thy king, since a god hath granted us escape between
the rocks; for Phineus, Agenor's son, said that our toils hereafter
would be lightly accomplished."

(ll. 619-637) He spake, and at once he sped the ship onward through the
midst of the sea past the Bithynian coast. But Jason with gentle words
addressed him in reply: "Tiphys, why dost thou comfort thus my grieving
heart? I have erred and am distraught in wretched and helpless ruin. For
I ought, when Pelias gave the command, to have straightway refused this
quest to his face, yea, though I were doomed to die pitilessly, torn
limb from limb, but now I am wrapped in excessive fear and cares
unbearable, dreading to sail through the chilling paths of the sea, and
dreading when we shall set foot on the mainland. For on every side are
unkindly men. And ever when day is done I pass a night of groans from
the time when ye first gathered together for my sake, while I take
thought for all things; but thou talkest at thine ease, eating only for
thine own life; while for myself I am dismayed not a whit; but I fear
for this man and for that equally, and for thee, and for my other
comrades, if I shall not bring you back safe to the land of Hellas."

(ll. 638-640) Thus he spake, making trial of the chiefs; but they
shouted loud with cheerful words. And his heart was warmed within him at
their cry and again he spake outright among them:

(ll. 641-647) "My friends, in your valour my courage is quickened.
Wherefore now, even though I should take my way through the gulfs of
Hades, no more shall I let fear seize upon me, since ye are steadfast
amid cruel terrors. But now that we have sailed out from the striking
rocks, I trow that never hereafter will there be another such fearful
thing, if indeed we go on our way following the counsel of Phineus."

(ll. 648-668) Thus he spake, and straightway they ceased from such words
and gave unwearying labour to the oar; and quickly they passed by the
swiftly flowing river Rhebas and the peak of Colone, and soon thereafter
the black headland, and near it the mouth of the river Phyllis, where
aforetime Dipsaeus received in his home the son of Athamas, when with
his ram he was flying from the city of Orchomenus; and Dipsacus was the
son of a meadow-nymph, nor was insolence his delight, but contented by
his father's stream he dwelt with his mother, pasturing his flocks by
the shore. And quickly they sighted and sailed past his shrine and the
broad banks of the river and the plain, and deep-flowing Calpe, and all
the windless night and the day they bent to their tireless oars. And
even as ploughing oxen toil as they cleave the moist earth, and sweat
streams in abundance from flank and neck; and from beneath the yoke
their eyes roll askance, while the breath ever rushes from their mouths
in hot gasps; and all day long they toil, planting their hoofs deep in
the ground; like them the heroes kept dragging their oars through the

(ll. 669-685) Now when divine light has not yet come nor is it utter
darkness, but a faint glimmer has spread over the night, the time when
men wake and call it twilight, at that hour they ran into the harbour of
the desert island Thynias and, spent by weary toil, mounted the shore.
And to them the son of Leto, as he passed from Lycia far away to the
countless folk of the Hyperboreans, appeared; and about his cheeks on
both sides his golden locks flowed in clusters as he moved; in his left
hand he held a silver bow, and on his back was slung a quiver hanging
from his shoulders; and beneath his feet all the island quaked, and the
waves surged high on the beach. Helpless amazement seized them as they
looked; and no one dared to gaze face to face into the fair eyes of the
god. And they stood with heads bowed to the ground; but he, far off,
passed on to the sea through the air; and at length Orpheus spake as
follows, addressing the chiefs:

(ll. 686-693) "Come, let us call this island the sacred isle of Apollo
of the Dawn since he has appeared to all, passing by at dawn; and we
will offer such sacrifices as we can, building an altar on the shore;
and if hereafter he shall grant us a safe return to the Haemonian land,
then will we lay on his altar the thighs of horned goats. And now I
bid you propitiate him with the steam of sacrifice and libations. Be
gracious, O king, be gracious in thy appearing."

(ll. 694-713) Thus he spake, and they straightway built up an altar with
shingle; and over the island they wandered, seeking if haply they could
get a glimpse of a fawn or a wild goat, that often seek their pasture in
the deep wood. And for them Leto's son provided a quarry; and with pious
rites they wrapped in fat the thigh bones of them all and burnt them
on the sacred altar, celebrating Apollo, Lord of Dawn. And round the
burning sacrifice they set up a broad dancing-ring, singing, "All hail
fair god of healing, Phoebus, all hail," and with them Oeagrus' goodly
son began a clear lay on his Bistonian lyre; how once beneath the rocky
ridge of Parnassus he slew with his bow the monster Delphyne, he, still
young and beardless, still rejoicing in his long tresses. Mayst thou be
gracious! Ever, O king, be thy locks unshorn, ever unravaged; for so is
it right. And none but Leto, daughter of Coeus, strokes them with her
dear hands. And often the Corycian nymphs, daughters of Pleistus, took
up the cheering strain crying "Healer"; hence arose this lovely refrain
of the hymn to Phoebus.

(ll. 714-719) Now when they had celebrated him with dance and song they
took an oath with holy libations, that they would ever help each other
with concord of heart, touching the sacrifice as they swore; and even
now there stands there a temple to gracious Concord, which the heroes
themselves reared, paying honour at that time to the glorious goddess.

(ll. 720-751) Now when the third morning came, with a fresh west wind
they left the lofty island. Next, on the opposite side they saw and
passed the mouth of the river Sangarius and the fertile land of the
Mariandyni, and the stream of Lycus and the Anthemoeisian lake; and
beneath the breeze the ropes and all the tackling quivered as they sped
onward. During the night the wind ceased and at dawn they gladly reached
the haven of the Acherusian headland. It rises aloft with steep cliffs,
looking towards the Bithynian sea; and beneath it smooth rocks, ever
washed by the sea, stand rooted firm; and round them the wave rolls and
thunders loud, but above, wide-spreading plane trees grow on the topmost
point. And from it towards the land a hollow glen slopes gradually away,
where there is a cave of Hades overarched by wood and rocks. From here
an icy breath, unceasingly issuing from the chill recess, ever forms a
glistening rime which melts again beneath the midday sun. And never does
silence hold that grim headland, but there is a continual murmur from
the sounding sea and the leaves that quiver in the winds from the
cave. And here is the outfall of the river Acheron which bursts its way
through the headland and falls into the Eastern sea, and a hollow ravine
brings it down from above. In after times the Nisaean Megarians named
it Soonautes [1202] when they were about to settle in the land of the
Mariandyni. For indeed the river saved them with their ships when they
were caught in a violent tempest. By this way the heroes took the ship
through [1203] the Acherusian headland and came to land over against it
as the wind had just ceased.

(ll. 752-773) Not long had they come unmarked by Lycus, the lord of that
land, and the Mariandyni--they, the slayers of Amycus, according to the
report which the people heard before; but for that very deed they even
made a league with the heroes. And Polydeuces himself they welcomed as
a god, flocking from every side, since for a long time had they been
warring against the arrogant Bebrycians. And so they went up all
together into the city, and all that day with friendly feelings made
ready a feast within the palace of Lycus and gladdened their souls
with converse. Aeson's son told him the lineage and name of each of his
comrades and the behests of Pelias, and how they were welcomed by the
Lemnian women, and all that they did at Dolionian Cyzieus; and how they
reached the Mysian land and Cius, where, sore against their will, they
left behind the hero Heracles, and he told the saying of Glaucus, and
how they slew the Bebrycians and Amycus, and he told of the prophecies
and affliction of Phineus, and how they escaped the Cyanean rocks, and
how they met with Leto's son at the island. And as he told all, Lycus
was charmed in soul with listening; and he grieved for Heracles left
behind, and spake as follows among them all:

(ll. 774-810) "O friends, what a man he was from whose help ye have
fallen away, as ye cleave your long path to Aeetes; for well do I know
that I saw him here in the halls of Dascylus my father, when he came
hither on foot through the land of Asia bringing the girdle of warlike
Hippolyte; and me he found with the down just growing on my cheeks. And
here, when my brother Priolas was slain by the Mysians--my brother, whom
ever since the people lament with most piteous dirges--he entered the
lists with Titias in boxing and slew him, mighty Titias, who surpassed
all the youths in beauty and strength; and he dashed his teeth to the
ground. Together with the Mysians he subdued beneath my father's sway
the Phrygians also, who inhabit the lands next to us, and he made his
own the tribes of the Bithynians and their land, as far as the mouth
of Rhebas and the peak of Colone; and besides them the Paphlagonians
of Pelops yielded just as they were, even all those round whom the dark
water of Billaeus breaks. But now the Bebrycians and the insolence of
Amycus have robbed me, since Heracles dwells far away, for they have
long been cutting off huge pieces of my land until they have set their
bounds at the meadows of deep-flowing Hypius. Nevertheless, by your
hands have they paid the penalty; and it was not without the will of
heaven, I trow, that he brought war on the Bebrycians this day--he,
the son of Tyndareus, when he slew that champion. Wherefore whatever
requital I am now able to pay, gladly will I pay it, for that is the
rule for weaker men when the stronger begin to help them. So with you
all, and in your company, I bid Dascylus my son follow; and if he goes,
you will find all men friendly that ye meet on your way through the sea
even to the mouth of the river Thermodon. And besides that, to the sons
of Tyndareus will I raise a lofty temple on the Acherusian height,
which all sailors shall mark far across the sea and shall reverence; and
hereafter for them will I set apart outside the city, as for gods, some
fertile fields of the well-tilled plain."

(ll. 811-814) Thus all day long they revelled at the banquet. But at
dawn they hied down to the ship in haste; and with them went Lycus
himself, when he had given them countless gifts to bear away; and with
them he sent forth his son from his home.

(ll. 815-834) And here his destined fate smote Idmon, son of Abas,
skilled in soothsaying; but not at all did his soothsaying save him, for
necessity drew him on to death. For in the mead of the reedy river there
lay, cooling his flanks and huge belly in the mud, a white-tusked boar,
a deadly monster, whom even the nymphs of the marsh dreaded, and no man
knew it; but all alone he was feeding in the wide fell. But the son of
Abas was passing along the raised banks of the muddy river, and the boar
from some unseen lair leapt out of the reed-bed, and charging gashed his
thigh and severed in twain the sinews and the bone. And with a sharp cry
the hero fell to the ground; and as he was struck his comrades flocked
together with answering cry. And quickly Peleus with his hunting spear
aimed at the murderous boar as he fled back into the fen; and again
he turned and charged; but Idas wounded him, and with a roar he fell
impaled upon the sharp spear. And the boar they left on the ground just
as he had fallen there; but Idmon, now at the last gasp, his comrades
bore to the ship in sorrow of heart, and he died in his comrades' arms.

(ll. 835-850) And here they stayed from taking thought for their
voyaging and abode in grief for the burial of their dead friend. And
for three whole days they lamented; and on the next they buried him with
full honours, and the people and King Lycus himself took part in the
funeral rites; and, as is the due of the departed, they slaughtered
countless sheep at his tomb. And so a barrow to this hero was raised in
that land, and there stands a token for men of later days to see,
the trunk of a wild olive tree, such as ships are built of; and it
flourishes with its green leaves a little below the Acherusian headland.
And if at the bidding of the Muses I must tell this tale outright,
Phoebus strictly commanded the Boeotians and Nisaeans to worship him as
guardian of their city, and to build their city round the trunk of the
ancient wild olive; but they, instead of the god-fearing Aeolid Idmon,
at this day honour Agamestor.

(ll. 851-868) Who was the next that died? For then a second time the
heroes heaped up a barrow for a comrade dead. For still are to be seen
two monuments of those heroes. The tale goes that Tiphys son of Hagnias
died; nor was it his destiny thereafter to sail any further. But him
there on the spot a short sickness laid to rest far from his native
land, when the company had paid due honours to the dead son of Abas. And
at the cruel woe they were seized with unbearable grief. For when
with due honours they had buried him also hard by the seer, they cast
themselves down in helplessness on the sea-shore silently, closely
wrapped up, and took no thought for meat or drink; and their spirit
drooped in grief, for all hope of return was gone. And in their sorrow
they would have stayed from going further had not Hera kindled exceeding
courage in Ancaeus, whom near the waters of Imbrasus Astypalaea bore to
Poseidon; for especially was he skilled in steering and eagerly did he
address Peleus:

(ll. 869-877) "Son of Aeacus, is it well for us to give up our toils and
linger on in a strange land? Not so much for my prowess in war did Jason
take me with him in quest of the fleece, far from Parthenia, as for
my knowledge of ships. Wherefore, I pray, let there be no fear for the
ship. And so there are here other men of skill, of whom none will harm
our voyaging, whomsoever we set at the helm. But quickly tell forth all
this and boldly urge them to call to mind their task."

(ll. 878-884) Thus he spake; and Peleus' soul was stirred with gladness,
and straightway he spake in the midst of all: "My friends, why do we
thus cherish a bootless grief like this? For those two have perished by
the fate they have met with; but among our host are steersmen yet, and
many a one. Wherefore let us not delay our attempt, but rouse yourselves
to the work and cast away your griefs."

(ll. 885-893) And him in reply Aeson's son addressed with helpless
words: "Son of Aeacus, where are these steersmen of thine? For those
whom we once deemed to be men of skill, they even more than I are bowed
with vexation of heart. Wherefore I forebode an evil doom for us even as
for the dead, if it shall be our lot neither to reach the city of fell
Aeetes, nor ever again to pass beyond the rocks to the land of Hellas,
but a wretched fate will enshroud us here ingloriously till we grow old
for naught."

(ll. 894-898) Thus he spake, but Ancaeus quickly undertook to guide the
swift ship; for he was stirred by the impulse of the goddess. And after
him Erginus and Nauplius and Euphemus started up, eager to steer.
But the others held them back, and many of his comrades granted it to

(ll. 899-910) So on the twelfth day they went aboard at dawn, for a
strong breeze of westerly wind was blowing. And quickly with the oars
they passed out through the river Acheron and, trusting to the wind,
shook out their sails, and with canvas spread far and wide they were
cleaving their passage through the waves in fair weather. And soon they
passed the outfall of the river Callichorus, where, as the tale goes,
the Nysean son of Zeus, when he had left the tribes of the Indians and
came to dwell at Thebes, held revels and arrayed dances in front of a
cave, wherein he passed unsmiling sacred nights, from which time the
neighbours call the river by the name of Callichorus [1204] and the cave

(ll. 911-929) Next they beheld the barrow of Sthenelus, Actor's son, who
on his way back from the valorous war against the Amazons--for he had
been the comrade of Heracles--was struck by an arrow and died there
upon the sea-beach. And for a time they went no further, for Persephone
herself sent forth the spirit of Actor's son which craved with many
tears to behold men like himself, even for a moment. And mounting on the
edge of the barrow he gazed upon the ship, such as he was when he went
to war; and round his head a fair helm with four peaks gleamed with its
blood-red crest. And again he entered the vast gloom; and they looked
and marvelled; and Mopsus, son of Ampycus, with word of prophecy urged
them to land and propitiate him with libations. Quickly they drew in
sail and threw out hawsers, and on the strand paid honour to the tomb of
Sthenelus, and poured out drink offerings to him and sacrificed sheep as
victims. And besides the drink offerings they built an altar to Apollo,
saviour of ships, and burnt thigh bones; and Orpheus dedicated his lyre;
whence the place has the name of Lyra.

(ll. 930-945) And straightway they went aboard as the wind blew strong;
and they drew the sail down, and made it taut to both sheets; then Argo
was borne over the sea swiftly, even as a hawk soaring high through the
air commits to the breeze its outspread wings and is borne on swiftly,
nor swerves in its flight, poising in the clear sky with quiet pinions.
And lo, they passed by the stream of Parthenius as it flows into the
sea, a most gentle river, where the maid, daughter of Leto, when she
mounts to heaven after the chase, cools her limbs in its much-desired
waters. Then they sped onward in the night without ceasing, and passed
Sesamus and lofty Erythini, Crobialus, Cromna and woody Cytorus. Next
they swept round Carambis at the rising of the sun, and plied the oars
past long Aegialus, all day and on through the night.

(ll. 946-965) And straightway they landed on the Assyrian shore where
Zeus himself gave a home to Sinope, daughter of Asopus, and granted her
virginity, beguiled by his own promises. For he longed for her love, and
he promised to grant her whatever her hearts desire might be. And she in
her craftiness asked of him virginity. And in like manner she deceived
Apollo too who longed to wed her, and besides them the river Halys, and
no man ever subdued her in love's embrace. And there the sons of
noble Deimachus of Tricca were still dwelling, Deileon, Autolycus and
Phlogius, since the day when they wandered far away from Heracles; and
they, when they marked the array of chieftains, went to meet them and
declared in truth who they were; and they wished to remain there no
longer, but as soon as Argestes [1206] blew went on ship-board. And so
with them, borne along by the swift breeze, the heroes left behind the
river Halys, and left behind his that flows hard by, and the delta-land
of Assyria; and on the same day they rounded the distant headland of the
Amazons that guards their harbour.

(ll. 966-1001) Here once when Melanippe, daughter of Ares, had, gone
forth, the hero Heracles caught her by ambuscade and Hippolyte gave
him her glistening girdle as her sister's ransom, and he sent away
his captive unharmed. In the bay of this headland, at the outfall of
Thermodon, they ran ashore, for the sea was rough for their voyage. No
river is like this, and none sends forth from itself such mighty streams
over the land. If a man should count every one he would lack but four of
a hundred, but the real spring is only one. This flows down to the
plain from lofty mountains, which, men say, are called the Amazonian
mountains. Thence it spreads inland over a hilly country straight
forward; wherefrom its streams go winding on, and they roll on, this way
and that ever more, wherever best they can reach the lower ground, one
at a distance and another near at hand; and many streams are swallowed
up in the sand and are without a name; but, mingled with a few, the
main stream openly bursts with its arching crest of foam into the
inhospitable Pontus. And they would have tarried there and have closed
in battle with the Amazons, and would have fought not without bloodshed
for the Amazons were not gentle foes and regarded not justice, those
dwellers on the Doeantian plain; but grievous insolence and the works
of Ares were all their care; for by race they were the daughters of Ares
and the nymph Harmonia, who bare to Ares war-loving maids, wedded to him
in the glens of the Acmonian wood had not the breezes of Argestes come
again from Zeus; and with the wind they left the rounded beach, where
the Themiscyreian Amazons were arming for war. For they dwelt not
gathered together in one city, but scattered over the land, parted into
three tribes. In one part dwelt the Themiscyreians, over whom at that
time Hippolyte reigned, in another the Lycastians, and in another the
dart-throwing Chadesians. And the next day they sped on and at nightfall
they reached the land of the Chalybes.

(ll. 1002-1008) That folk have no care for ploughing with oxen or for
any planting of honey-sweet fruit; nor yet do they pasture flocks in
the dewy meadow. But they cleave the hard iron-bearing land and exchange
their wages for daily sustenance; never does the morn rise for them
without toil, but amid bleak sooty flames and smoke they endure heavy

(ll. 1009-1014) And straightway thereafter they rounded the headland of
Genetaean Zeus and sped safely past the land of the Tibareni. Here when
wives bring forth children to their husbands, the men lie in bed and
groan with their heads close bound; but the women tend them with food,
and prepare child-birth baths for them.

(ll. 1015-1029) Next they reached the sacred mount and the land where
the Mossynoeci dwell amid high mountains in wooden huts, [1207] from
which that people take their name. And strange are their customs and
laws. Whatever it is right to do openly before the people or in the
market place, all this they do in their homes, but whatever acts we
perform at home, these they perform out of doors in the midst of
the streets, without blame. And among them is no reverence for the
marriage-bed, but, like swine that feed in herds, no whit abashed in
others' presence, on the earth they lie with the women. Their king sits
in the loftiest hut and dispenses upright judgments to the multitude,
poor wretch! For if haply he err at all in his decrees, for that day
they keep him shut up in starvation.

(ll. 1030-1046) They passed them by and cleft their way with oars over
against the island of Ares all day long; for at dusk the light breeze
left them. At last they spied above them, hurtling through the air, one
of the birds of Ares which haunt that isle. It shook its wings down over
the ship as she sped on and sent against her a keen feather, and it fell
on the left shoulder of goodly Oileus, and he dropped his oar from his
hands at the sudden blow, and his comrades marvelled at the sight of the
winged bolt. And Eribotes from his seat hard by drew out the feather,
and bound up the wound when he had loosed the strap hanging from his
own sword-sheath; and besides the first, another bird appeared swooping
down; but the hero Clytius, son of Eurytus--for he bent his curved bow,
and sped a swift arrow against the bird--struck it, and it whirled round
and fell close to the ship. And to them spake Amphidamas, son of Aleus:

(ll. 1047-1067) "The island of Ares is near us; you know it yourselves
now that ye have seen these birds. But little will arrows avail us, I
trow, for landing. But let us contrive some other device to help us, if
ye intend to land, bearing in mind the injunction of Phineus. For not
even could Heracles, when he came to Arcadia, drive away with bow and
arrow the birds that swam on the Stymphalian lake. I saw it myself. But
he shook in his hand a rattle of bronze and made a loud clatter as
he stood upon a lofty peak, and the birds fled far off, screeching in
bewildered fear. Wherefore now too let us contrive some such device, and
I myself will speak, having pondered the matter beforehand. Set on your
heads your helmets of lofty crest, then half row by turns, and half
fence the ship about with polished spears and shields. Then all together
raise a mighty shout so that the birds may be scared by the unwonted
din, the nodding crests, and the uplifted spears on high. And if we
reach the island itself, then make mighty noise with the clashing of

(ll. 1068-1089) Thus he spake, and the helpful device pleased all. And
on their heads they placed helmets of bronze, gleaming terribly, and the
blood-red crests were tossing. And half of them rowed in turn, and the
rest covered the ship with spears and shields. And as when a man roofs
over a house with tiles, to be an ornament of his home and a defence
against rain, and one the fits firmly into another, each after each; so
they roofed over the ship with their shields, locking them together. And
as a din arises from a warrior-host of men sweeping on, when lines of
battle meet, such a shout rose upward from the ship into the air. Now
they saw none of the birds yet, but when they touched the island and
clashed upon their shields, then the birds in countless numbers rose in
flight hither and thither. And as when the son of Cronos sends from the
clouds a dense hailstorm on city and houses, and the people who dwell
beneath hear the din above the roof and sit quietly, since the stormy
season has not come upon them unawares, but they have first made strong
their roofs; so the birds sent against the heroes a thick shower of
feather-shafts as they darted over the sea to the mountains of the land

(ll. 1090-1092) What then was the purpose of Phineus in bidding the
divine band of heroes land there? Or what kind of help was about to meet
their desire?

(ll. 1093-1122) The sons of Phrixus were faring towards the city of
Orchomenus from Aea, coming from Cytaean Aeetes, on board a Colchian
ship, to win the boundless wealth of their father; for he, when dying,
had enjoined this journey upon them. And lo, on that day they were very
near that island. But Zeus had impelled the north wind's might to blow,
marking by rain the moist path of Arcturus; and all day long he was
stirring the leaves upon the mountains, breathing gently upon the
topmost sprays; but at night he rushed upon the sea with monstrous
force, and with his shrieking blasts uplifted the surge; and a dark mist
covered the heavens, nor did the bright stars anywhere appear from among
the clouds, but a murky gloom brooded all around. And so the sons of
Phrixus, drenched and trembling in fear of a horrible doom, were borne
along by the waves helplessly. And the force of the wind had snatched
away their sails and shattered in twain the hull, tossed as it was by
the breakers. And hereupon by heaven's prompting those four clutched a
huge beam, one of many that were scattered about, held together by sharp
bolts, when the ship broke to pieces. And on to the island the waves and
the blasts of wind bore the men in their distress, within a little of
death. And straightway a mighty rain burst forth, and rained upon the
sea and the island, and all the country opposite the island, where the
arrogant Mossynoeci dwelt. And the sweep of the waves hurled the sons of
Phrixus, together with their massy beam, upon the beach of the island,
in the murky night; and the floods of rain from Zeus ceased at sunrise,
and soon the two bands drew near and met each other, and Argus spoke

(ll. 1123-1133) "We beseech you, by Zeus the Beholder, whoever ye are,
to be kindly and to help us in our need. For fierce tempests, falling
on the sea, have shattered all the timbers of the crazy ship in which
we were cleaving our path on business bent. Wherefore we entreat you, if
haply ye will listen, to grant us just a covering for our bodies, and
to pity and succour men in misfortune, your equals in age. Oh, reverence
suppliants and strangers for Zeus' sake, the god of strangers and
suppliants. To Zeus belong both suppliants and strangers; and his eye,
methinks, beholdeth even us."

(ll. 1134-1139) And in reply the son of Aeson prudently questioned him,
deeming that the prophecies of Phineus were being fulfilled: "All these
things will we straightway grant you with right good will. But come tell
me truly in what country ye dwell and what business bids you sail across
the sea, and tell me your own glorious names and lineage."

(ll. 1140-1156) And him Argus, helpless in his evil plight, addressed:
"That one Phrixus an Aeolid reached Aea from Hellas you yourselves have
clearly heard ere this, I trow; Phrixus, who came to the city of Aeetes,
bestriding a ram, which Hermes had made all gold; and the fleece ye may
see even now. The ram, at its own prompting, he then sacrificed to
Zeus, son of Cronos, above all, the god of fugitives. And him did Aeetes
receive in his palace, and with gladness of heart gave him his daughter
Chalciope in marriage without gifts of wooing. [1208] From those two are
we sprung. But Phrixus died at last, an aged man, in the home of
Aeetes; and we, giving heed to our father's behests, are journeying to
Orehomenus to take the possessions of Athamas. And if thou dost desire
to learn our names, this is Cytissorus, this Phrontis, and this Melas,
and me ye may call Argus."

(ll. 1157-1159) Thus he spake, and the chieftains rejoiced at the
meeting, and tended them, much marvelling. And Jason again in turn
replied, as was fitting, with these words:

(ll. 1160-1178) "Surely ye are our kinsmen on my father's side, and ye
pray that with kindly hearts we succour your evil plight. For Cretheus
and Athamas were brothers. I am the grandson of Cretheus, and with
these comrades here I am journeying from that same Hellas to the city of
Aeetes. But of these things we will converse hereafter. And do ye first
put clothing upon you. By heaven's devising, I ween, have ye come to my
hands in your sore need."

(ll. 1168-1178) He spake, and out of the ship gave them raiment to put
on. Then all together they went to the temple of Ares to offer sacrifice
of sheep; and in haste they stood round the altar, which was outside the
roofless temple, an altar built of pebbles; within a black stone stood
fixed, a sacred thing, to which of yore the Amazons all used to pray.
Nor was it lawful for them, when they came from the opposite coast, to
burn on this altar offerings of sheep and oxen, but they used to slay
horses which they kept in great herds. Now when they had sacrificed and
eaten the feast prepared, then Aeson's son spake among them and thus

(ll. 1179-1195) "Zeus' self, I ween, beholds everything; nor do we men
escape his eye, we that be god-fearing and just, for as he rescued your
father from the hands of a murderous step-dame and gave him measureless
wealth besides; even so hath he saved you harmless from the baleful
storm. And on board this ship ye may sail hither and thither, where ye
will, whether to Aea or to the wealthy city of divine Orthomenus. For
our ship Athena built and with axe of bronze cut her timbers near the
crest of Pelion, and with the goddess wrought Argus. But yours the
fierce surge hath shattered, before ye came nigh to the rocks which
all day long clash together in the straits of the sea. But come, be
yourselves our helpers, for we are eager to bring to Hellas the golden
fleece, and guide us on our voyage, for I go to atone for the intended
sacrifice of Phrixus, the cause of Zeus' wrath against the sons of

(ll. 1196-1199) He spake with soothing words; but horror seized them
when they heard. For they deemed that they would not find Aeetes
friendly if they desired to take away the ram's fleece. And Argus spake
as follows, vexed that they should busy themselves with such a quest:

(ll. 1200-1215) "My friends, our strength, so far as it avails, shall
never cease to help you, not one whit, when need shall come. But Aeetes
is terribly armed with deadly ruthlessness; wherefore exceedingly do I
dread this voyage. And he boasts himself to be the son of Helios;
and all round dwell countless tribes of Colchians; and he might match
himself with Ares in his dread war-cry and giant strength. Nay, to seize
the fleece in spite of Aeetes is no easy task; so huge a serpent keeps
guard round and about it, deathless and sleepless, which Earth herself
brought forth on the sides of Caucasus, by the rock of Typhaon, where
Typhaon, they say, smitten by the bolt of Zeus, son of Cronos, when he
lifted against the god his sturdy hands, dropped from his head hot gore;
and in such plight he reached the mountains and plain of Nysa, where to
this day he lies whelmed beneath the waters of the Serbonian lake."

(ll. 1216-1218) Thus he spake, and straightway many a cheek grew pale
when they heard of so mighty an adventure. But quickly Peleus answered
with cheering words, and thus spake:

(ll. 1219-1225) "Be not so fearful in spirit, my good friend. For we
are not so lacking in prowess as to be no match for Aeetes to try his
strength with arms; but I deem that we too are cunning in war, we that
go thither, near akin to the blood of the blessed gods. Wherefore if he
will not grant us the fleece of gold for friendship's sake, the tribes
of the Colchians will not avail him, I ween."

(ll. 1226-1230) Thus they addressed each other in turn, until again,
satisfied with their feast, they turned to rest. And when they rose
at dawn a gentle breeze was blowing; and they raised the sails, which
strained to the rush of the wind, and quickly they left behind the
island of Ares.

(ll. 1231-1241) And at nightfall they came to the island of Philyra,
where Cronos, son of Uranus, what time in Olympus he reigned over the
Titans, and Zeus was yet being nurtured in a Cretan cave by the Curetes
of Ida, lay beside Philyra, when he had deceived Rhea; and the goddess
found them in the midst of their dalliance; and Cronos leapt up from the
couch with a rush in the form of a steed with flowing mane, but Ocean's
daughter, Philyra, in shame left the spot and those haunts, and came
to the long Pelasgian ridges, where by her union with the transfigured
deity she brought forth huge Cheiron, half like a horse, half like a

(ll. 1242-1261) Thence they sailed on, past the Macrones and the
far-stretching land of the Becheiri and the overweening Sapeires, and
after them the Byzeres; for ever forward they clave their way, quickly
borne by the gentle breeze. And lo, as they sped on, a deep gulf of the
sea was opened, and lo, the steep crags of the Caucasian mountains rose
up, where, with his limbs bound upon the hard rocks by galling fetters
of bronze, Prometheus fed with his liver an eagle that ever rushed back
to its prey. High above the ship at even they saw it flying with a loud
whirr, near the clouds; and yet it shook all the sails with the fanning
of those huge wings. For it had not the form of a bird of the air but
kept poising its long wing-feathers like polished oars. And not long
after they heard the bitter cry of Prometheus as his liver was being
torn away; and the air rang with his screams until they marked the
ravening eagle rushing back from the mountain on the self-same track.
And at night, by the skill of Argus, they reached broad-flowing Phasis,
and the utmost bourne of the sea.

(ll. 1262-1276) And straightway they let down the sails and the yard-arm
and stowed them inside the hollow mast-crutch, and at once they lowered
the mast itself till it lay along; and quickly with oars they entered
the mighty stream of the river; and round the prow the water surged as
it gave them way. And on their left hand they had lofty Caucasus and
the Cytaean city of Aea, and on the other side the plain of Ares and the
sacred grove of that god, where the serpent was keeping watch and ward
over the fleece as it hung on the leafy branches of an oak. And Aeson's
son himself from a golden goblet poured into the river libations of
honey and pure wine to Earth and to the gods of the country, and to the
souls of dead heroes; and he besought them of their grace to give kindly
aid, and to welcome their ship's hawsers with favourable omen. And
straightway Ancaeus spake these words:

(ll. 1277-1280) "We have reached the Colchian land and the stream of
Phasis; and it is time for us to take counsel whether we shall make
trial of Aeetes with soft words, or an attempt of another kind shall be

(ll. 1281-1285) Thus he spake, and by the advice of Argus Jason bade
them enter a shaded backwater and let the ship ride at anchor off shore;
and it was near at hand in their course and there they passed the night.
And soon the dawn appeared to their expectant eyes.


(ll. 1-5) Come now, Erato, stand by my side, and say next how Jason
brought back the fleece to Iolcus aided by the love of Medea. For thou
sharest the power of Cypris, and by thy love-cares dost charm unwedded
maidens; wherefore to thee too is attached a name that tells of love.

(ll. 6-10) Thus the heroes, unobserved, were waiting in ambush amid the
thick reed-beds; but Hera and Athena took note of them, and, apart
from Zeus and the other immortals, entered a chamber and took counsel
together; and Hera first made trial of Athena:

(ll. 11-16) "Do thou now first, daughter of Zeus, give advice. What must
be done? Wilt thou devise some scheme whereby they may seize the golden
fleece of Aeetes and bear it to Hellas, or can they deceive the king
with soft words and so work persuasion? Of a truth he is terribly
overweening. Still it is right to shrink from no endeavour."

(ll. 17-21) Thus she spake, and at once Athena addressed her: "I too
was pondering such thoughts in my heart, Hera, when thou didst ask me
outright. But not yet do I think that I have conceived a scheme to aid
the courage of the heroes, though I have balanced many plans."

(ll. 22-29) She ended, and the goddesses fixed their eyes on the ground
at their feet, brooding apart; and straightway Hera was the first to
speak her thought: "Come, let us go to Cypris; let both of us accost her
and urge her to bid her son (if only he will obey) speed his shaft at
the daughter of Aeetes, the enchantress, and charm her with love for
Jason. And I deem that by her device he will bring back the fleece to

(ll. 30-31) Thus she spake, and the prudent plan pleased Athena, and she
addressed her in reply with gentle words:

(ll. 32-35) "Hera, my father begat me to be a stranger to the darts of
love, nor do I know any charm to work desire. But if the word pleases
thee, surely I will follow; but thou must speak when we meet her."

(ll. 36-51) So she said, and starting forth they came to the mighty
palace of Cypris, which her husband, the halt-footed god, had built for
her when first he brought her from Zeus to be his wife. And entering the
court they stood beneath the gallery of the chamber where the goddess
prepared the couch of Hephaestus. But he had gone early to his forge and
anvils to a broad cavern in a floating island where with the blast
of flame he wrought all manner of curious work; and she all alone
was sitting within, on an inlaid seat facing the door. And her white
shoulders on each side were covered with the mantle of her hair and
she was parting it with a golden comb and about to braid up the long
tresses; but when she saw the goddesses before her, she stayed and
called them within, and rose from her seat and placed them on couches.
Then she herself sat down, and with her hands gathered up the locks
still uncombed. And smiling she addressed them with crafty words:

(ll. 52-54) "Good friends, what intent, what occasion brings you here
after so long? Why have ye come, not too frequent visitors before, chief
among goddesses that ye are?"

(ll. 55-75) And to her Hera replied: "Thou dost mock us, but our hearts
are stirred with calamity. For already on the river Phasis the son of
Aeson moors his ship, he and his comrades in quest of the fleece. For
all their sakes we fear terribly (for the task is nigh at hand) but most
for Aeson's son. Him will I deliver, though he sail even to Hades to
free Ixion below from his brazen chains, as far as strength lies in
my limbs, so that Pelias may not mock at having escaped an evil
doom--Pelias who left me unhonoured with sacrifice. Moreover Jason was
greatly loved by me before, ever since at the mouth of Anaurus in flood,
as I was making trial of men's righteousness, he met me on his return
from the chase; and all the mountains and long ridged peaks were
sprinkled with snow, and from them the torrents rolling down were
rushing with a roar. And he took pity on me in the likeness of an old
crone, and raising me on his shoulders himself bore me through the
headlong tide. So he is honoured by me unceasingly; nor will Pelias pay
the penalty of his outrage, unless thou wilt grant Jason his return."

(ll. 76-82) Thus she spake, and speechlessness seized Cypris. And
beholding Hera supplicating her she felt awe, and then addressed her
with friendly words: "Dread goddess, may no viler thing than Cypris ever
be found, if I disregard thy eager desire in word or deed, whatever my
weak arms can effect; and let there be no favour in return."

(ll. 83-89) She spake, and Hera again addressed her with prudence:
"It is not in need of might or of strength that we have come. But just
quietly bid thy boy charm Aeetes' daughter with love for Jason. For if
she will aid him with her kindly counsel, easily do I think he will win
the fleece of gold and return to Iolcus, for she is full of wiles."

(ll. 90-99) Thus she spake, and Cypris addressed them both: "Hera and
Athena, he will obey you rather than me. For unabashed though he is,
there will be some slight shame in his eyes before you; but he has no
respect for me, but ever slights me in contentious mood. And, overborne
by his naughtiness, I purpose to break his ill-sounding arrows and his
bow in his very sight. For in his anger he has threatened that if I
shall not keep my hands off him while he still masters his temper, I
shall have cause to blame myself thereafter."

(ll. 100-105) So she spake, and the goddesses smiled and looked at each
other. But Cypris again spoke, vexed at heart: "To others my sorrows are
a jest; nor ought I to tell them to all; I know them too well myself.
But now, since this pleases you both, I will make the attempt and coax
him, and he will not say me nay."

(ll. 106-110) Thus she spake, and Hera took her slender hand and gently
smiling, replied: "Perform this task, Cytherea, straightway, as
thou sayest; and be not angry or contend with thy boy; he will cease
hereafter to vex thee."

(ll. 111-128) She spake, and left her seat, and Athena accompanied her
and they went forth both hastening back. And Cypris went on her way
through the glens of Olympus to find her boy. And she found him apart,
in the blooming orchard of Zeus, not alone, but with him Ganymedes, whom
once Zeus had set to dwell among the immortal gods, being enamoured of
his beauty. And they were playing for golden dice, as boys in one house
are wont to do. And already greedy Eros was holding the palm of his left
hand quite full of them under his breast, standing upright; and on
the bloom of his cheeks a sweet blush was glowing. But the other sat
crouching hard by, silent and downcast, and he had two dice left which
he threw one after the other, and was angered by the loud laughter of
Eros. And lo, losing them straightway with the former, he went off empty
handed, helpless, and noticed not the approach of Cypris. And she stood
before her boy, and laying her hand on his lips, addressed him:

(ll. 129-144) "Why dost thou smile in triumph, unutterable rogue? Hast
thou cheated him thus, and unjustly overcome the innocent child? Come,
be ready to perform for me the task I will tell thee of, and I will
give thee Zeus' all-beauteous plaything--the one which his dear nurse
Adrasteia made for him, while he still lived a child, with childish
ways, in the Idaean cave--a well-rounded ball; no better toy wilt thou
get from the hands of Hephaestus. All of gold are its zones, and round
each double seams run in a circle; but the stitches are hidden, and a
dark blue spiral overlays them all. But if thou shouldst cast it with
thy hands, lo, like a star, it sends a flaming track through the sky.
This I will give thee; and do thou strike with thy shaft and charm the
daughter of Aeetes with love for Jason; and let there be no loitering.
For then my thanks would be the slighter."

(ll. 145-150) Thus she spake, and welcome were her words to the
listening boy. And he threw down all his toys, and eagerly seizing her
robe on this side and on that, clung to the goddess. And he implored
her to bestow the gift at once; but she, facing him with kindly words,
touched his cheeks, kissed him and drew him to her, and replied with a

(ll. 151-153) "Be witness now thy dear head and mine, that surely I will
give thee the gift and deceive thee not, if thou wilt strike with thy
shaft Aeetes' daughter."

(ll. 154-166) She spoke, and he gathered up his dice, and having
well counted them all threw them into his mother's gleaming lap. And
straightway with golden baldric he slung round him his quiver from where
it leant against a tree-trunk, and took up his curved bow. And he fared
forth through the fruitful orchard of the palace of Zeus. Then he passed
through the gates of Olympus high in air; hence is a downward path from
heaven; and the twin poles rear aloft steep mountain tops the highest
crests of earth, where the risen sun grows ruddy with his first beams.
And beneath him there appeared now the life-giving earth and cities of
men and sacred streams of rivers, and now in turn mountain peaks and the
ocean all around, as he swept through the vast expanse of air.

(ll. 167-193) Now the heroes apart in ambush, in a back-water of the
river, were met in council, sitting on the benches of their ship. And
Aeson's son himself was speaking among them; and they were listening
silently in their places sitting row upon row: "My friends, what pleases
myself that will I say out; it is for you to bring about its fulfilment.
For in common is our task, and common to all alike is the right of
speech; and he who in silence withholds his thought and his counsel, let
him know that it is he alone that bereaves this band of its home-return.
Do ye others rest here in the ship quietly with your arms; but I will
go to the palace of Aeetes, taking with me the sons of Phrixus and two
comrades as well. And when I meet him I will first make trial with
words to see if he will be willing to give up the golden fleece for
friendship's sake or not, but trusting to his might will set at nought
our quest. For so, learning his frowardness first from himself, we will
consider whether we shall meet him in battle, or some other plan shall
avail us, if we refrain from the war-cry. And let us not merely
by force, before putting words to the test, deprive him of his own
possession. But first it is better to go to him and win his favour by
speech. Oftentimes, I ween, does speech accomplish at need what prowess
could hardly catty through, smoothing the path in manner befitting. And
he once welcomed noble Phrixus, a fugitive from his stepmother's wiles
and the sacrifice prepared by his father. For all men everywhere, even
the most shameless, reverence the ordinance of Zeus, god of strangers,
and regard it."

(ll. 194-209) Thus he spake, and the youths approved the words of
Aeson's son with one accord, nor was there one to counsel otherwise.
And then he summoned to go with him the sons of Phrixus, and Telamon and
Augeias; and himself took Hermes' wand; and at once they passed forth
from the ship beyond the reeds and the water to dry land, towards the
rising ground of the plain. The plain, I wis, is called Circe's; and
here in line grow many willows and osiers, on whose topmost branches
hang corpses bound with cords. For even now it is an abomination with
the Colchians to burn dead men with fire; nor is it lawful to place
them in the earth and raise a mound above, but to wrap them in untanned
oxhides and suspend them from trees far from the city. And so earth has
an equal portion with air, seeing that they bury the women; for that is
the custom of their land.

(ll. 210-259) And as they went Hera with friendly thought spread a thick
mist through the city, that they might fare to the palace of Aeetes
unseen by the countless hosts of the Colchians. But soon when from
the plain they came to the city and Aeetes' palace, then again Hera
dispersed the mist. And they stood at the entrance, marvelling at the
king's courts and the wide gates and columns which rose in ordered lines
round the walls; and high up on the palace a coping of stone rested on
brazen triglyphs. And silently they crossed the threshold. And close by
garden vines covered with green foliage were in full bloom, lifted
high in air. And beneath them ran four fountains, ever-flowing, which
Hephaestus had delved out. One was gushing with milk, one with wine,
while the third flowed with fragrant oil; and the fourth ran with water,
which grew warm at the setting of the Pleiads, and in turn at their
rising bubbled forth from the hollow rock, cold as crystal. Such then
were the wondrous works that the craftsman-god Hephaestus had fashioned
in the palace of Cytaean Aeetes. And he wrought for him bulls with feet
of bronze, and their mouths were of bronze, and from them they breathed
out a terrible flame of fire; moreover he forged a plough of unbending
adamant, all in one piece, in payment of thanks to Helios, who had taken
the god up in his chariot when faint from the Phlegraean fight. [1301]
And here an inner-court was built, and round it were many well-fitted
doors and chambers here and there, and all along on each side was
a richly-wrought gallery. And on both sides loftier buildings stood
obliquely. In one, which was the loftiest, lordly Aeetes dwelt with his
queen; and in another dwelt Apsyrtus, son of Aeetes, whom a Caucasian
nymph, Asterodeia, bare before he made Eidyia his wedded wife, the
youngest daughter of Tethys and Oceanus. And the sons of the Colchians
called him by the new name of Phaethon, [1302] because he outshone
all the youths. The other buildings the handmaidens had, and the two
daughters of Aeetes, Chalciope and Medea. Medea then [they found] going
from chamber to chamber in search of her sister, for Hera detained her
within that day; but beforetime she was not wont to haunt the palace,
but all day long was busied in Hecate's temple, since she herself was
the priestess of the goddess. And when she saw them she cried aloud,
and quickly Chalciope caught the sound; and her maids, throwing down at
their feet their yarn and their thread, rushed forth all in a throng.
And she, beholding her sons among them, raised her hands aloft through
joy; and so they likewise greeted their mother, and when they saw her
embraced her in their gladness; and she with many sobs spoke thus:

(ll. 260-267) "After all then, ye were not destined to leave me in
your heedlessness and to wander far; but fate has turned you back. Poor
wretch that I am! What a yearning for Hellas from some woeful madness
seized you at the behest of your father Phrixus. Bitter sorrows for
my heart did he ordain when dying. And why should ye go to the city of
Orchomenus, whoever this Orchomenus is, for the sake of Athamas' wealth,
leaving your mother alone to bear her grief?"

(ll. 268-274) Such were her words; and Aeetes came forth last of all
and Eidyia herself came, the queen of Aeetes, on hearing the voice of
Chalciope; and straightway all the court was filled with a throng. Some
of the thralls were busied with a mighty bull, others with the axe were
cleaving dry billets, and others heating with fire water for the baths;
nor was there one who relaxed his toil, serving the king.

(ll. 275-298) Meantime Eros passed unseen through the grey mist, causing
confusion, as when against grazing heifers rises the gadfly, which
oxherds call the breese. And quickly beneath the lintel in the porch
he strung his bow and took from the quiver an arrow unshot before,
messenger of pain. And with swift feet unmarked he passed the threshold
and keenly glanced around; and gliding close by Aeson's son he laid the
arrow-notch on the cord in the centre, and drawing wide apart with both
hands he shot at Medea; and speechless amazement seized her soul. But
the god himself flashed back again from the high-roofed hall, laughing
loud; and the bolt burnt deep down in the maiden's heart like a flame;
and ever she kept darting bright glances straight up at Aeson's son, and
within her breast her heart panted fast through anguish, all remembrance
left her, and her soul melted with the sweet pain. And as a poor woman
heaps dry twigs round a blazing brand--a daughter of toil, whose task is
the spinning of wool, that she may kindle a blaze at night beneath her
roof, when she has waked very early--and the flame waxing wondrous great
from the small brand consumes all the twigs together; so, coiling round
her heart, burnt secretly Love the destroyer; and the hue of her soft
cheeks went and came, now pale, now red, in her soul's distraction.

(ll. 299-303) Now when the thralls had laid a banquet ready before
them, and they had refreshed themselves with warm baths, gladly did they
please their souls with meat and drink. And thereafter Aeetes questioned
the sons of his daughter, addressing them with these words:

(ll. 304-316) "Sons of my daughter and of Phrixus, whom beyond all
strangers I honoured in my halls, how have ye come returning back to
Aea? Did some calamity cut short your escape in the midst? Ye did not
listen when I set before you the boundless length of the way. For I
marked it once, whirled along in the chariot of my father Helios, when
he was bringing my sister Circe to the western land and we came to the
shore of the Tyrrhenian mainland, where even now she abides, exceeding
far from Colchis. But what pleasure is there in words? Do ye tell
me plainly what has been your fortune, and who these men are, your
companions, and where from your hollow ship ye came ashore."

(ll. 317-319) Such were his questions, and Argus, before all his
brethren, being fearful for the mission of Aeson's son, gently replied,
for he was the elder-born:

(ll. 320-366) "Aeetes, that ship forthwith stormy blasts tore asunder,
and ourselves, crouching on the beams, a wave drove on to the beach of
the isle of Enyalius [1303] in the murky night; and some god preserved
us. For even the birds of Ares that haunted the desert isle beforetime,
not even them did we find. But these men had driven them off, having
landed from their ship on the day before; and the will of Zeus taking
pity on us, or some fate, detained them there, since they straightway
gave us both food and clothing in abundance, when they heard the
illustrious name of Phrixus and thine own; for to thy city are they
faring. And if thou dost wish to know their errand, I will not hide it
from time. A certain king, vehemently longing to drive this man far from
his fatherland and possessions, because in might he outshone all the
sons of Aeolus, sends him to voyage hither on a bootless venture; and
asserts that the stock of Aeolus will not escape the heart-grieving
wrath and rage of implacable Zeus, nor the unbearable curse and
vengeance due for Phrixus, until the fleece comes back to Hellas. And
their ship was fashioned by Pallas Athena, not such a one as are the
ships among the Colchians, on the vilest of which we chanced. For the
fierce waves and wind broke her utterly to pieces; but the other holds
firm with her bolts, even though all the blasts should buffet her. And
with equal swiftness she speedeth before the wind and when the crew ply
the oar with unresting hands. And he hath gathered in her the mightiest
heroes of all Achaea, and hath come to thy city from wandering far
through cities and gulfs of the dread ocean, in the hope that thou wilt
grant him the fleece. But as thou dost please, so shall it be, for he
cometh not to use force, but is eager to pay thee a recompense for the
gift. He has heard from me of thy bitter foes the Sauromatae, and he
will subdue them to thy sway. And if thou desirest to know their names
and lineage I will tell thee all. This man on whose account the rest
were gathered from Hellas, they call Jason, son of Aeson, whom Cretheus
begat. And if in truth he is of the stock of Cretheus himself, thus he
would be our kinsman on the father's side. For Cretheus and Athamas were
both sons of Aeolus; and Phrixus was the son of Athamas, son of Aeolus.
And here, if thou hast heard at all of the seed of Helios, thou dost
behold Augeias; and this is Telamon sprung from famous Aeacus; and Zeus
himself begat Aeacus. And so all the rest, all the comrades that follow
him, are the sons or grandsons of the immortals."

(ll. 367-371) Such was the tale of Argus; but the king at his words was
filled with rage as he heard; and his heart was lifted high in wrath.
And he spake in heavy displeasure; and was angered most of all with the
son of Chalciope; for he deemed that on their account the strangers had
come; and in his fury his eyes flashed forth beneath his brows:

(ll. 372-381) "Begone from my sight, felons, straightway, ye and your
tricks, from the land, ere someone see a fleece and a Phrixus to his
sorrow. Banded together with your friends from Hellas, not for the
fleece, but to seize my sceptre and royal power have ye come hither.
Had ye not first tasted of my table, surely would I have cut out your
tongues and hewn off both hands and sent you forth with your feet alone,
so that ye might be stayed from starting hereafter. And what lies have
ye uttered against the blessed gods!"

(ll. 382-385) Thus he spake in his wrath; and mightily from its depths
swelled the heart of Aeacus' son, and his soul within longed to speak
a deadly word in defiance, but Aeson's son checked him, for he himself
first made gentle answer:

(ll. 386-395) "Aeetes, bear with this armed band, I pray. For not in the
way thou deemest have we come to thy city and palace, no, nor yet with
such desires. For who would of his own will dare to cross so wide a
sea for the goods of a stranger? But fate and the ruthless command of a
presumptuous king urged me. Grant a favour to thy suppliants, and to all
Hellas will I publish a glorious fame of thee; yea, we are ready now to
pay thee a swift recompense in war, whether it be the Sauromatae or some
other people that thou art eager to subdue to thy sway."

(ll. 396-400) He spake, flattering him with gentle utterance; but the
king's soul brooded a twofold purpose within him, whether he should
attack and slay them on the spot or should make trial of their might.
And this, as he pondered, seemed the better way, and he addressed Jason
in answer:

(ll. 401-421) "Stranger, why needest thou go through thy tale to the
end? For if ye are in truth of heavenly race, or have come in no wise
inferior to me, to win the goods of strangers, I will give thee the
fleece to bear away, if thou dost wish, when I have tried thee. For
against brave men I bear no grudge, such as ye yourselves tell me of him
who bears sway in Hellas. And the trial of your courage and might shall
be a contest which I myself can compass with my hands, deadly though it
be. Two bulls with feet of bronze I have that pasture on the plain of
Ares, breathing forth flame from their jaws; them do I yoke and drive
over the stubborn field of Ares, four plough-gates; and quickly cleaving
it with the share up to the headland, I cast into the furrows the seed,
not the corn of Demeter, but the teeth of a dread serpent that grow up
into the fashion of armed men; them I slay at once, cutting them down
beneath my spear as they rise against me on all sides. In the morning do
I yoke the oxen, and at eventide I cease from the harvesting. And thou,
if thou wilt accomplish such deeds as these, on that very day shalt
carry off the fleece to the king's palace; ere that time comes I will
not give it, expect it not. For indeed it is unseemly that a brave man
should yield to a coward."

(ll. 422-426) Thus he spake; and Jason, fixing his eyes on the ground,
sat just as he was, speechless, helpless in his evil plight. For a long
time he turned the matter this way and that, and could in no way take on
him the task with courage, for a mighty task it seemed; and at last he
made reply with crafty words:

(ll. 427-431) "With thy plea of right, Aeetes, thou dost shut me in
overmuch. Wherefore also I will dare that contest, monstrous as it is,
though it be my doom to die. For nothing will fall upon men more dread
than dire necessity, which indeed constrained me to come hither at a
king's command."

(ll. 432-438) Thus he spake, smitten by his helpless plight; and the
king with grim words addressed him, sore troubled as he was: "Go forth
now to the gathering, since thou art eager for the toil; but if thou
shouldst fear to lift the yoke upon the oxen or shrink from the deadly
harvesting, then all this shall be my care, so that another too may
shudder to come to a man that is better than he."

(ll. 439-463) He spake outright; and Jason rose from his seat, and
Augeias and Telamon at once; and Argus followed alone, for he signed to
his brothers to stay there on the spot meantime; and so they went forth
from the hall. And wonderfully among them all shone the son of Aeson
for beauty and grace; and the maiden looked at him with stealthy glance,
holding her bright veil aside, her heart smouldering with pain; and
her soul creeping like a dream flitted in his track as he went. So they
passed forth from the palace sorely troubled. And Chalciope, shielding
herself from the wrath of Aeetes, had gone quickly to her chamber with
her sons. And Medea likewise followed, and much she brooded in her soul
all the cares that the Loves awaken. And before her eyes the vision
still appeared--himself what like he was, with what vesture he was clad,
what things he spake, how he sat on his seat, how he moved forth to the
door--and as she pondered she deemed there never was such another man;
and ever in her ears rung his voice and the honey-sweet words which he
uttered. And she feared for him, lest the oxen or Aeetes with his
own hand should slay him; and she mourned him as though already slain
outright, and in her affliction a round tear through very grievous
pity coursed down her cheek; and gently weeping she lifted up her voice

(ll. 464-470) "Why does this grief come upon me, poor wretch? Whether he
be the best of heroes now about to perish, or the worst, let him go to
his doom. Yet I would that he had escaped unharmed; yea, may this be so,
revered goddess, daughter of Perses, may he avoid death and return home;
but if it be his lot to be o'ermastered by the oxen, may he first learn
this, that I at least do not rejoice in his cruel calamity."

(ll. 471-474) Thus then was the maiden's heart racked by love-cares. But
when the others had gone forth from the people and the city, along the
path by which at the first they had come from the plain, then Argus
addressed Jason with these words:

(ll. 475-483) "Son of Aeson, thou wilt despise the counsel which I will
tell thee, but, though in evil plight, it is not fitting to forbear from
the trial. Ere now thou hast heard me tell of a maiden that uses sorcery
under the guidance of Hecate, Perses' daughter. If we could win her
aid there will be no dread, methinks, of thy defeat in the contest;
but terribly do I fear that my mother will not take this task upon
her. Nevertheless I will go back again to entreat her, for a common
destruction overhangs us all."

(ll. 383-491) He spake with goodwill, and Jason answered with these
words: "Good friend, if this is good in thy sight, I say not nay. Go and
move thy mother, beseeching her aid with prudent words; pitiful indeed
is our hope when we have put our return in the keeping of women." So
he spake, and quickly they reached the back-water. And their comrades
joyfully questioned them, when they saw them close at hand; and to them
spoke Aeson's son grieved at heart:

(ll. 492-501) "My friends, the heart of ruthless Aeetes is utterly
filled with wrath against us, for not at all can the goal be reached
either by me or by you who question me. He said that two bulls with feet
of bronze pasture on the plain of Ares, breathing forth flame from their
jaws. And with these he bade me plough the field, four plough-gates; and
said that he would give me from a serpent's jaws seed which will raise
up earthborn men in armour of bronze; and on the same day I must slay
them. This task--for there was nothing better to devise--I took on
myself outright."

(ll. 502-514) Thus he spake; and to all the contest seemed one that
none could accomplish, and long, quiet and silent, they looked at one
another, bowed down with the calamity and their despair; but at last
Peleus spake with courageous words among all the chiefs: "It is time
to be counselling what we shall do. Yet there is not so much profit, I
trow, in counsel as in the might of our hands. If thou then, hero son
of Aeson, art minded to yoke Aeetes' oxen, and art eager for the toil,
surely thou wilt keep thy promise and make thyself ready. But if thy
soul trusts not her prowess utterly, then neither bestir thyself nor sit
still and look round for some one else of these men. For it is not I who
will flinch, since the bitterest pain will be but death."

(ll. 515-522) So spake the son of Aeacus; and Telamon's soul was
stirred, and quickly he started up in eagerness; and Idas rose up
the third in his pride; and the twin sons of Tyndareus; and with them
Oeneus' son who was numbered among strong men, though even the soft down
on his cheek showed not yet; with such courage was his soul uplifted.
But the others gave way to these in silence. And straightway Argus spake
these words to those that longed for the contest:

(ll. 523-539) "My friends, this indeed is left us at the last. But
I deem that there will come to you some timely aid from my mother.
Wherefore, eager though ye be, refrain and abide in your ship a little
longer as before, for it is better to forbear than recklessly to choose
an evil fate. There is a maiden, nurtured in the halls of Aeetes, whom
the goddess Hecate taught to handle magic herbs with exceeding skill
all that the land and flowing waters produce. With them is quenched the
blast of unwearied flame, and at once she stays the course of rivers as
they rush roaring on, and checks the stars and the paths of the sacred
moon. Of her we bethought us as we came hither along the path from the
palace, if haply my mother, her own sister, might persuade her to aid us
in the venture. And if this is pleasing to you as well, surely on
this very day will I return to the palace of Aeetes to make trial; and
perchance with some god's help shall I make the trial."

(ll. 540-544) Thus he spake, and the gods in their goodwill gave them
a sign. A trembling dove in her flight from a mighty hawk fell from on
high, terrified, into the lap of Aeson's son, and the hawk fell impaled
on the stern-ornament. And quickly Mopsus with prophetic words spake
among them all:

(ll. 545-554) "For you, friends, this sign has been wrought by the
will of heaven; in no other way is it possible to interpret its meaning
better, than to seek out the maiden and entreat her with manifold skill.
And I think she will not reject our prayer, if in truth Phineus said
that our return should be with the help of the Cyprian goddess. It was
her gentle bird that escaped death; and as my heart within me foresees
according to this omen, so may it prove! But, my friends, let us call on
Cytherea to aid us, and now at once obey the counsels of Argus."

(ll. 555-563) He spake, and the warriors approved, remembering the
injunctions of Phineus; but all alone leapt up Apharcian Idas and
shouted loudly in terrible wrath: "Shame on us, have we come here fellow
voyagers with women, calling on Cypris for help and not on the mighty
strength of Enyalius? And do ye look to doves and hawks to save
yourselves from contests? Away with you, take thought not for deeds of
war, but by supplication to beguile weakling girls."

(ll. 564-571) Such were his eager words; and of his comrades many
murmured low, but none uttered a word of answer back. And he sat down in
wrath; and at once Jason roused them and uttered his own thought: "Let
Argus set forth from the ship, since this pleases all; but we will now
move from the river and openly fasten our hawsers to the shore. For
surely it is not fitting for us to hide any longer cowering from the

(ll. 572-575) So he spake, and straightway sent Argus to return in
haste to the city; and they drew the anchors on board at the command of
Aeson's son, and rowed the ship close to the shore, a little away from
the back-water.

(ll. 576-608) But straightway Aeetes held an assembly of the Colchians
far aloof from his palace at a spot where they sat in times before, to
devise against the Minyae grim treachery and troubles. And he threatened
that when first the oxen should have torn in pieces the man who had
taken upon him to perform the heavy task, he would hew down the oak
grove above the wooded hill, and burn the ship and her crew, that so
they might vent forth in ruin their grievous insolence, for all their
haughty schemes. For never would he have welcomed the Aeolid Phrixus as
a guest in his halls, in spite of his sore need, Phrixus, who surpassed
all strangers in gentleness and fear of the gods, had not Zeus himself
sent Hermes his messenger down from heaven, so that he might meet with
a friendly host; much less would pirates coming to his land be let go
scatheless for long, men whose care it was to lift their hands and seize
the goods of others, and to weave secret webs of guile, and harry the
steadings of herdsmen with ill-sounding forays. And he said that besides
all that the sons of Phrixus should pay a fitting penalty to himself for
returning in consort with evildoers, that they might recklessly drive
him from his honour and his throne; for once he had heard a baleful
prophecy from his father Helios, that he must avoid the secret treachery
and schemes of his own offspring and their crafty mischief. Wherefore he
was sending them, as they desired, to the Achaean land at the bidding
of their father--a long journey. Nor had he ever so slight a fear of
his daughters, that they would form some hateful scheme, nor of his
son Apsyrtus; but this curse was being fulfilled in the children of
Chalciope. And he proclaimed terrible things in his rage against the
strangers, and loudly threatened to keep watch over the ship and its
crew, so that no one might escape calamity.

(ll. 609-615) Meantime Argus, going to Aeetes' palace, with manifold
pleading besought his mother to pray Medea's aid; and Chalciope herself
already had the same thoughts, but fear checked her soul lest haply
either fate should withstand and she should entreat her in vain, all
distraught as she would be at her father's deadly wrath, or, if Medea
yielded to her prayers, her deeds should be laid bare and open to view.

(ll. 616-635) Now a deep slumber had relieved the maiden from her
love-pains as she lay upon her couch. But straightway fearful dreams,
deceitful, such as trouble one in grief, assailed her. And she thought
that the stranger had taken on him the contest, not because he longed
to win the ram's fleece, and that he had not come on that account to
Aeetes' city, but to lead her away, his wedded wife, to his own home;
and she dreamed that herself contended with the oxen and wrought the
task with exceeding ease; and that her own parents set at naught their
promise, for it was not the maiden they had challenged to yoke the oxen
but the stranger himself; from that arose a contention of doubtful issue
between her father and the strangers; and both laid the decision
upon her, to be as she should direct in her mind. But she suddenly,
neglecting her parents, chose the stranger. And measureless anguish
seized them and they shouted out in their wrath; and with the cry sleep
released its hold upon her. Quivering with fear she started up, and
stared round the walls of her chamber, and with difficulty did she
gather her spirit within her as before, and lifted her voice aloud:

(ll. 636-644) "Poor wretch, how have gloomy dreams affrighted me! I fear
that this voyage of the heroes will bring some great evil. My heart is
trembling for the stranger. Let him woo some Achaean girl far away among
his own folk; let maidenhood be mine and the home of my parents. Yet,
taking to myself a reckless heart, I will no more keep aloof but will
make trial of my sister to see if she will entreat me to aid in the
contest, through grief for her own sons; this would quench the bitter
pain in my heart."

(ll. 645-673) She spake, and rising from her bed opened the door of her
chamber, bare-footed, clad in one robe; and verily she desired to go to
her sister, and crossed the threshold. And for long she stayed there
at the entrance of her chamber, held back by shame; and she turned back
once more; and again she came forth from within, and again stole back;
and idly did her feet bear her this way and that; yea, as oft as she
went straight on, shame held her within the chamber, and though held
back by shame, bold desire kept urging her on. Thrice she made the
attempt and thrice she checked herself, the fourth time she fell on her
bed face downward, writhing in pain. And as when a bride in her chamber
bewails her youthful husband, to whom her brothers and parents have
given her, nor yet does she hold converse with all her attendants for
shame and for thinking of him; but she sits apart in her grief; and some
doom has destroyed him, before they have had pleasure of each other's
charms; and she with heart on fire silently weeps, beholding her widowed
couch, in fear lest the women should mock and revile her; like to her
did Medea lament. And suddenly as she was in the midst of her tears, one
of the handmaids came forth and noticed her, one who was her youthful
attendant; and straightway she told Chalciope, who sat in the midst of
her sons devising how to win over her sister. And when Chalciope heard
the strange tale from the handmaid, not even so did she disregard it.
And she rushed in dismay from her chamber right on to the chamber where
the maiden lay in her anguish, having torn her cheeks on each side; and
when Chalciope saw her eyes all dimmed with tears, she thus addressed

(ll. 674-680) "Ah me, Medea, why dost thou weep so? What hath befallen
thee? What terrible grief has entered thy heart? Has some heaven-sent
disease enwrapt thy frame, or hast thou heard from our father some
deadly threat concerning me and my sons? Would that I did not behold
this home of my parents, or the city, but dwelt at the ends of the
earth, where not even the name of Colchians is known!"

(ll. 681-687) Thus she spake, and her sister's cheeks flushed; and
though she was eager to reply, long did maiden shame restrain her.
At one moment the word rose on the end of her tongue, at another it
fluttered back deep within her breast. And often through her lovely lips
it strove for utterance; but no sound came forth; till at last she spoke
with guileful words; for the bold Loves were pressing her hard:

(ll. 688-692) "Chalciope, my heart is all trembling for thy sons, lest
my father forthwith destroy them together with the strangers. Slumbering
just now in a short-lived sleep such a ghastly dream did I see--may some
god forbid its fulfilment and never mayst thou win for thyself bitter
care on thy sons' account."

(ll. 693-704) She spake, making trial of her sister to see if she first
would entreat help for her sons. And utterly unbearable grief surged
over Chalciope's soul for fear at what she heard; and then she replied:
"Yea, I myself too have come to thee in eager furtherance of this
purpose, if thou wouldst haply devise with me and prepare some help. But
swear by Earth and Heaven that thou wilt keep secret in thy heart what
I shall tell thee, and be fellow-worker with me. I implore thee by the
blessed gods, by thyself and by thy parents, not to see them destroyed
by an evil doom piteously; or else may I die with my dear sons and come
back hereafter from Hades an avenging Fury to haunt thee."

(ll. 705-710) Thus she spake, and straightway a torrent of tears gushed
forth and low down she clasped her sister's knees with both hands
and let her head sink on to her breast. Then they both made piteous
lamentation over each other, and through the halls rose the faint sound
of women weeping in anguish. Medea, sore troubled, first addressed her

(ll. 711-717) "God help thee, what healing can I bring thee for what
thou speakest of, horrible curses and Furies? Would that it were
firmly in my power to save thy sons! Be witness that mighty oath of the
Colchians by which thou urgest me to swear, the great Heaven, and Earth
beneath, mother of the gods, that as far as strength lies in me, never
shalt thou fail of help, if only thy prayers can be accomplished."

(ll. 718-723) She spake, and Chalciope thus replied: "Couldst thou not
then, for the stranger--who himself craves thy aid--devise some trick or
some wise thought to win the contest, for the sake of my sons? And from
him has come Argus urging me to try to win thy help; I left him in the
palace meantime while I came hither."

(ll. 724-739) Thus she spake, and Medea's heart bounded with joy within
her, and at once her fair cheeks flushed, and a mist swam before her
melting eyes, and she spake as follows: "Chalciope, as is dear and
delightful to thee and thy sons, even so will I do. Never may the dawn
appear again to my eyes, never mayst thou see me living any longer, if I
should take thought for anything before thy life or thy sons' lives, for
they are my brothers, my dear kinsmen and youthful companions. So do I
declare myself to be thy sister, and thy daughter too, for thou didst
lift me to thy breast when an infant equally with them, as I ever heard
from my mother in past days. But go, bury my kindness in silence, so
that I may carry out my promise unknown to my parents; and at dawn I
will bring to Hecate's temple charms to cast a spell upon the bulls."

(ll. 740-743) Thus Chalciope went back from the chamber, and made
known to her sons the help given by her sister. And again did shame and
hateful fear seize Medea thus left alone, that she should devise such
deeds for a man in her father's despite.

(ll. 744-771) Then did night draw darkness over the earth; and on the
sea sailors from their ships looked towards the Bear and the stars of
Orion; and now the wayfarer and the warder longed for sleep, and the
pall of slumber wrapped round the mother whose children were dead; nor
was there any more the barking of dogs through the city, nor sound of
men's voices; but silence held the blackening gloom. But not indeed upon
Medea came sweet sleep. For in her love for Aeson's son many cares kept
her wakeful, and she dreaded the mighty strength of the bulls, beneath
whose fury he was like to perish by an unseemly fate in the field of
Ares. And fast did her heart throb within her breast, as a sunbeam
quivers upon the walls of a house when flung up from water, which is
just poured forth in a caldron or a pail may be; and hither and thither
on the swift eddy does it dart and dance along; even so the maiden's
heart quivered in her breast. And the tear of pity flowed from her eyes,
and ever within anguish tortured her, a smouldering fire through her
frame, and about her fine nerves and deep down beneath the nape of the
neck where the pain enters keenest, whenever the unwearied Loves direct
against the heart their shafts of agony. And she thought now that she
would give him the charms to cast a spell on the bulls, now that she
would not, and that she herself would perish; and again that she would
not perish and would not give the charms, but just as she was would
endure her fate in silence. Then sitting down she wavered in mind and

(ll. 772-801) "Poor wretch, must I toss hither and thither in woe? On
every side my heart is in despair; nor is there any help for my pain;
but it burneth ever thus. Would that I had been slain by the swift
shafts of Artemis before I had set eyes on him, before Chalciope's sons
reached the Achaean land. Some god or some Fury brought them hither for
our grief, a cause of many tears. Let him perish in the contest if it be
his lot to die in the field. For how could I prepare the charms without
my parents' knowledge? What story call I tell them? What trick, what
cunning device for aid can I find? If I see him alone, apart from his
comrades, shall I greet him? Ill-starred that I am! I cannot hope that I
should rest from my sorrows even though he perished; then will evil come
to me when he is bereft of life. Perish all shame, perish all glow; may
he, saved by my effort, go scatheless wherever his heart desires. But
as for me, on the day when he bides the contest in triumph, may I die
either straining my neck in the noose from the roof-tree or tasting
drugs destructive of life. But even so, when I am dead, they will fling
out taunts against me; and every city far away will ring with my
doom, and the Colchian women, tossing my name on their lips hither and
thither, will revile me with unseemly mocking--the maid who cared so
much for a stranger that she died, the maid who disgraced her home and
her parents, yielding to a mad passion. And what disgrace will not be
mine? Alas for my infatuation! Far better would it be for me to forsake
life this very night in my chamber by some mysterious fate, escaping all
slanderous reproach, before I complete such nameless dishonour."

(ll. 802-824) She spake, and brought a casket wherein lay many drugs,
some for healing, others for killing, and placing it upon her knees she
wept. And she drenched her bosom with ceaseless tears, which flowed in
torrents as she sat, bitterly bewailing her own fate. And she longed to
choose a murderous drug to taste it, and now she was loosening the
bands of the casket eager to take it forth, unhappy maid! But suddenly a
deadly fear of hateful Hades came upon her heart. And long she held
back in speechless horror, and all around her thronged visions of the
pleasing cares of life. She thought of all the delightful things that
are among the living, she thought of her joyous playmates, as a maiden
will; and the sun grew sweeter than ever to behold, seeing that in truth
her soul yearned for all. And she put the casket again from off her
knees, all changed by the prompting of Hera, and no more did she waver
in purpose; but longed for the rising dawn to appear quickly, that she
might give him the charms to work the spell as she had promised, and
meet him face to face. And often did she loosen the bolts of her door,
to watch for the faint gleam: and welcome to her did the dayspring shed
its light, and folk began to stir throughout the city.

(ll. 825-827) Then Argus bade his brothers remain there to learn the
maiden's mind and plans, but himself turned back and went to the ship.

(ll. 828-890) Now soon as ever the maiden saw the light of dawn, with
her hands she gathered up her golden tresses which were floating round
her shoulders in careless disarray, and bathed her tear-stained cheeks,
and made her skin shine with ointment sweet as nectar; and she donned
a beautiful robe, fitted with well-bent clasps, and above on her head,
divinely fair, she threw a veil gleaming like silver. And there,
moving to and fro in the palace, she trod the ground forgetful of the
heaven-sent woes thronging round her and of others that were destined
to follow. And she called to her maids. Twelve they were, who lay during
the night in the vestibule of her fragrant chamber, young as herself,
not yet sharing the bridal couch, and she bade them hastily yoke the
mules to the chariot to bear her to the beauteous shrine of Hecate.
Thereupon the handmaids were making ready the chariot; and Medea
meanwhile took from the hollow casket a charm which men say is called
the charm of Prometheus. If a man should anoint his body therewithal,
having first appeased the Maiden, the only-begotten, with sacrifice by
night, surely that man could not be wounded by the stroke of bronze
nor would he flinch from blazing fire; but for that day he would prove
superior both in prowess and in might. It shot up first-born when the
ravening eagle on the rugged flanks of Caucasus let drip to the earth
the blood-like ichor of tortured Prometheus. And its flower appeared a
cubit above ground in colour like the Corycian crocus, rising on twin
stalks; but in the earth the root was like newly-cut flesh. The dark
juice of it, like the sap of a mountain-oak, she had gathered in a
Caspian shell to make the charm withal, when she had first bathed in
seven ever-flowing streams, and had called seven times on Brimo, nurse
of youth, night-wandering Brimo, of the underworld, queen among the
dead,--in the gloom of night, clad in dusky garments. And beneath, the
dark earth shook and bellowed when the Titanian root was cut; and the
son of Iapetus himself groaned, his soul distraught with pain. And
she brought the charm forth and placed it in the fragrant band which
engirdled her, just beneath her bosom, divinely fair. And going forth
she mounted the swift chariot, and with her went two handmaidens on
each side. And she herself took the reins and in her right hand the
well-fashioned whip, and drove through the city; and the rest, the
handmaids, laid their hands on the chariot behind and ran along the
broad highway; and they kilted up their light robes above their white
knees. And even as by the mild waters of Parthenius, or after bathing
in the river Amnisus, Leto's daughter stands upon her golden chariot and
courses over the hills with her swift-footed roes, to greet from
afar some richly-steaming hecatomb; and with her come the nymphs in
attendance, gathering, some at the spring of Amnisus itself, others by
the glens and many-fountained peaks; and round her whine and fawn the
beasts cowering as she moves along: thus they sped through the city;
and on both sides the people gave way, shunning the eyes of the royal
maiden. But when she had left the city's well paved streets, and was
approaching the shrine as she drove over the plains, then she alighted
eagerly from the smooth-running chariot and spake as follows among her

(ll. 891-911) "Friends, verily have I sinned greatly and took no heed
not to go among the stranger-folk 1 who roam over our land. The whole
city is smitten with dismay; wherefore no one of the women who formerly
gathered here day by day has now come hither. But since we have come
and no one else draws near, come, let us satisfy our souls without stint
with soothing song, and when we have plucked the fair flowers amid the
tender grass, that very hour will we return. And with many a gift shall
ye reach home this very day, if ye will gladden me with this desire of
mine. For Argus pleads with me, also Chalciope herself; but this that
ye hear from me keep silently in your hearts, lest the tale reach my
father's ears. As for yon stranger who took on him the task with the
oxen, they bid me receive his gifts and rescue him from the deadly
contest. And I approved their counsel, and I have summoned him to come
to my presence apart from his comrades, so that we may divide the gifts
among ourselves if he bring them in his hands, and in return may give
him a baleful charm. But when he comes, do ye stand aloof."

(ll. 912-918) So she spake, and the crafty counsel pleased them all. And
straightway Argus drew Aeson's son apart from his comrades as soon as
he heard from his brothers that Medea had gone at daybreak to the holy
shrine of Hecate, and led him over the plain; and with them went Mopsus,
son of Ampycus, skilled to utter oracles from the appearance of birds,
and skilled to give good counsel to those who set out on a journey.

(ll. 919-926) Never yet had there been such a man in the days of old,
neither of all the heroes of the lineage of Zeus himself, nor of those
who sprung from the blood of the other gods, as on that day the bride of
Zeus made Jason, both to look upon and to hold converse with. Even his
comrades wondered as they gazed upon him, radiant with manifold graces;
and the son of Ampycus rejoiced in their journey, already foreboding how
all would end.

(ll. 927-931) Now by the path along the plain there stands near the
shrine a poplar with its crown of countless leaves, whereon often
chattering crows would roost. One of them meantime as she clapped her
wings aloft in the branches uttered the counsels of Hera:

(ll. 932-937) "What a pitiful seer is this, that has not the wit to
conceive even what children know, how that no maiden will say a word
of sweetness or love to a youth when strangers be near. Begone, sorry
prophet, witless one; on thee neither Cypris nor the gentle Loves
breathe in their kindness."

(ll. 938-946) She spake chiding, and Mopsus smiled to hear the god-sent
voice of the bird, and thus addressed them: "Do thou, son of Aeson, pass
on to the temple, where thou wilt find the maiden; and very kind will
her greeting be to thee through the prompting of Cypris, who will be thy
helpmate in the contest, even as Phineus, Agenor's son, foretold. But
we two, Argus and I, will await thy return, apart in this very spot; do
thou all alone be a suppliant and win her over with prudent words."

(ll. 947-974) He spake wisely, and both at once gave approval. Nor was
Medea's heart turned to other thoughts, for all her singing, and never
a song that she essayed pleased her long in her sport. But in confusion
she ever faltered, nor did she keep her eyes resting quietly upon the
throng of her handmaids; but to the paths far off she strained her gaze,
turning her face aside. Oft did her heart sink fainting within her bosom
whenever she fancied she heard passing by the sound of a footfall or
of the wind. But soon he appeared to her longing eyes, striding along
loftily, like Sirius coming from ocean, which rises fair and clear to
see, but brings unspeakable mischief to flocks; thus then did Aeson's
son come to her, fair to see, but the sight of him brought love-sick
care. Her heart fell from out her bosom, and a dark mist came over her
eyes, and a hot blush covered her cheeks. And she had no strength to
lift her knees backwards or forwards, but her feet beneath were rooted
to the ground; and meantime all her handmaidens had drawn aside. So they
two stood face to face without a word, without a sound, like oaks or
lofty pines, which stand quietly side by side on the mountains when the
wind is still; then again, when stirred by the breath of the wind, they
murmur ceaselessly; so they two were destined to tell out all their
tale, stirred by the breath of Love. And Aeson's son saw that she had
fallen into some heaven-sent calamity, and with soothing words thus
addressed her:

(ll. 975-1007) "Why, pray, maiden, dost thou fear me so much, all
alone as I am? Never was I one of these idle boasters such as other
men are--not even aforetime, when I dwelt in my own country. Wherefore,
maiden, be not too much abashed before me, either to enquire whatever
thou wilt or to speak thy mind. But since we have met one another with
friendly hearts, in a hallowed spot, where it is wrong to sin, speak
openly and ask questions, and beguile me not with pleasing words, for at
the first thou didst promise thy sister to give me the charms my heart
desires. I implore thee by Hecate herself, by thy parents, and by Zeus
who holds his guardian hand over strangers and suppliants; I come here
to thee both a suppliant and a stranger, bending the knee in my sore
need. For without thee and thy sister never shall I prevail in the
grievous contest. And to thee will I render thanks hereafter for thy
aid, as is right and fitting for men who dwell far oft, making glorious
thy name and fame; and the rest of the heroes, returning to Hellas, will
spread thy renown and so will the heroes' wives and mothers, who now
perhaps are sitting on the shore and making moan for us; their painful
affliction thou mightest scatter to the winds. In days past the maiden
Ariadne, daughter of Minos, with kindly intent rescued Theseus from grim
contests--the maiden whom Pasiphae daughter of Helios bare. But she,
when Minos had lulled his wrath to rest, went aboard the ship with him
and left her fatherland; and her even the immortal gods loved, and, as a
sign in mid-sky, a crown of stars, which men call Ariadne's crown, rolls
along all night among the heavenly constellations. So to thee too
shall be thanks from the gods, if thou wilt save so mighty an array of
chieftains. For surely from thy lovely form thou art like to excel in
gentle courtest."

(ll. 1008-1025) Thus he spake, honouring her; and she cast her eyes down
with a smile divinely sweet; and her soul melted within her, uplifted by
his praise, and she gazed upon him face to face; nor did she know what
word to utter first, but was eager to pour out everything at once. And
forth from her fragrant girdle ungrudgingly she brought out the charm;
and he at once received it in his hands with joy. And she would even
have drawn out all her soul from her breast and given it to him,
exulting in his desire; so wonderfully did love flash forth a sweet
flame from the golden head of Aeson's son; and he captivated her
gleaming eyes; and her heart within grew warm, melting away as the dew
melts away round roses when warmed by the morning's light. And now both
were fixing their eyes on the ground abashed, and again were throwing
glances at each other, smiling with the light of love beneath their
radiant brows. And at last and scarcely then did the maiden greet him:

(ll. 1026-1062) "Take heed now, that I may devise help for thee. When at
thy coming my father has given thee the deadly teeth from the dragon's
jaws for sowing, then watch for the time when the night is parted in
twain, then bathe in the stream of the tireless river, and alone, apart
from others, clad in dusky raiment, dig a rounded pit; and therein slay
a ewe, and sacrifice it whole, heaping high the pyre on the very edge
of the pit. And propitiate only-begotten Hecate, daughter of Perses,
pouring from a goblet the hive-stored labour of bees. And then, when
thou hast heedfully sought the grace of the goddess, retreat from the
pyre; and let neither the sound of feet drive thee to turn back, nor
the baying of hounds, lest haply thou shouldst maim all the rites and
thyself fail to return duly to thy comrades. And at dawn steep this
charm in water, strip, and anoint thy body therewith as with oil; and
in it there will be boundless prowess and mighty strength, and thou wilt
deem thyself a match not for men but for the immortal gods. And
besides, let thy spear and shield and sword be sprinkled. Thereupon the
spear-heads of the earthborn men shall not pierce thee, nor the flame of
the deadly bulls as it rushes forth resistless. But such thou shalt be
not for long, but for that one day; still never flinch from the contest.
And I will tell thee besides of yet another help. As soon as thou hast
yoked the strong oxen, and with thy might and thy prowess hast ploughed
all the stubborn fallow, and now along the furrows the Giants are
springing up, when the serpent's teeth are sown on the dusky clods, if
thou markest them uprising in throngs from the fallow, cast unseen among
them a massy stone; and they over it, like ravening hounds over their
food, will slay one another; and do thou thyself hasten to rush to the
battle-strife, and the fleece thereupon thou shalt bear far away from
Aea; nevertheless, depart wherever thou wilt, or thy pleasure takes
thee, when thou hast gone hence."

(ll. 1063-1068) Thus she spake, and cast her eyes to her feet in
silence, and her cheek, divinely fair, was wet with warm tears as she
sorrowed for that he was about to wander far from her side over the wide
sea: and once again she addressed him face to face with mournful words,
and took his right hand; for now shame had left her eyes:

(ll. 1069-1076) "Remember, if haply thou returnest to thy home, Medea's
name; and so will I remember thine, though thou be far away. And of thy
kindness tell me this, where is thy home, whither wilt thou sail hence
in thy ship over the sea; wilt thou come near wealthy Orchomenus, or
near the Aeaean isle? And tell me of the maiden, whosoever she be that
thou hast named, the far-renowned daughter of Pasiphae, who is kinswoman
to my father."

(ll. 1077-1078) Thus she spake; and over him too, at the tears of the
maiden, stole Love the destroyer, and he thus answered her:

(ll. 1079-1101) "All too surely do I deem that never by night and never
by day will I forget thee if I escape death and indeed make my way in
safety to the Achaean land, and Aeetes set not before us some other
contest worse than this. And if it pleases thee to know about my
fatherland, I will tell it out; for indeed my own heart bids me do
that. There is a land encircled by lofty mountains, rich in sheep and in
pasture, where Prometheus, son of Iapetus, begat goodly Deucalion, who
first founded cities and reared temples to the immortal gods, and first
ruled over men. This land the neighbours who dwell around call Haemonia.
And in it stands Ioleus, my city, and in it many others, where they have
not so much as heard the name of the Aeaean isle; yet there is a story
that Minyas starting thence, Minyas son of Aeolus, built long ago the
city of Orchomenus that borders on the Cadmeians. But why do I tell
thee all this vain talk, of our home and of Minos' daughter, far-famed
Ariadne, by which glorious name they called that lovely maiden of whom
thou askest me? Would that, as Minos then was well inclined to Theseus
for her sake, so may thy father be joined to us in friendship!"

(ll. 1102-1104) Thus he spake, soothing her with gentle converse. But
pangs most bitter stirred her heart and in grief did she address him
with vehement words:

(ll. 1105-1117) "In Hellas, I ween, this is fair to pay heed to
covenants; but Aeetes is not such a man among men as thou sayest was
Pasiphae's husband, Minos; nor can I liken myself to Ariadne; wherefore
speak not of guest-love. But only do thou, when thou hast reached
Iolcus, remember me, and thee even in my parents' despite, will
I remember. And from far off may a rumour come to me or some
messenger-bird, when thou forgettest me; or me, even me, may swift
blasts catch up and bear over the sea hence to Iolcus, that so I may
cast reproaches in thy face and remind thee that it was by my good will
thou didst escape. May I then be seated in thy halls, an unexpected

(ll. 1118-1130) Thus she spake with piteous tears falling down her
cheeks, and to her Jason replied: "Let the empty blasts wander at will,
lady, and the messenger-bird, for vain is thy talk. But if thou comest
to those abodes and to the land of Hellas, honoured and reverenced shalt
thou be by women and men; and they shall worship thee even as a goddess,
for that by thy counsel their sons came home again, their brothers
and kinsmen and stalwart husbands were saved from calamity. And in our
bridal chamber shalt thou prepare our couch; and nothing shall come
between our love till the doom of death fold us round."

(ll. 1131-1136) Thus he spake; and her soul melted within her to hear
his words; nevertheless she shuddered to behold the deeds of destruction
to come. Poor wretch! Not long was she destined to refuse a home in
Hellas. For thus Hera devised it, that Aeaean Medea might come to Ioleus
for a bane to Pelias, forsaking her native land.

(ll. 1137-1145) And now her handmaids, glancing at them from a distance,
were grieving in silence; and the time of day required that the maiden
should return home to her mother's side. But she thought not yet of
departing, for her soul delighted both in his beauty and in his winsome
words, but Aeson's son took heed, and spake at last, though late: "It
is time to depart, lest the sunlight sink before we know it, and some
stranger notice all; but again will we come and meet here."

(ll. 1146-1162) So did they two make trial of one another thus far with
gentle words; and thereafter parted. Jason hastened to return in joyous
mood to his comrades and the ship, she to her handmaids; and they all
together came near to meet her, but she marked them not at all as they
thronged around. For her soul had soared aloft amid the clouds. And her
feet of their own accord mounted the swift chariot, and with one hand
she took the reins, and with the other the whip of cunning workmanship,
to drive the mules; and they rushed hasting to the city and the palace.
And when she was come Chalciope in grief for her sons questioned her;
but Medea, distraught by swiftly-changing thoughts, neither heard her
words nor was eager to speak in answer to her questions. But she sat
upon a low stool at the foot of her couch, bending down, her cheek
leaning on her left hand, and her eyes were wet with tears as she
pondered what an evil deed she had taken part in by her counsels.

(ll. 1163-1190) Now when Aeson's son had joined his comrades again in
the spot where he had left them when he departed, he set out to go with
them, telling them all the story, to the gathering of the heroes; and
together they approached the ship. And when they saw Jason they embraced
him and questioned him. And he told to all the counsels of the maiden
and showed the dread charm; but Idas alone of his comrades sat apart
biting down his wrath; and the rest joyous in heart, at the hour
when the darkness of night stayed them, peacefully took thought for
themselves. But at daybreak they sent two men to go to Aeetes and
ask for the seed, first Telamon himself, dear to Ares, and with him
Aethalides, Hermes' famous son. So they went and made no vain journey;
but when they came, lordly Aeetes gave them for the contest the fell
teeth of the Aonian dragon which Cadmus found in Ogygian Thebes when
he came seeking for Europa and there slew the--warder of the spring of
Ares. There he settled by the guidance of the heifer whom Apollo by his
prophetic word granted him to lead him on his way. But the teeth the
Tritonian goddess tore away from the dragon's jaws and bestowed as a
gift upon Aeetes and the slayer. And Agenor's son, Cadmus, sowed them on
the Aonian plains and founded an earthborn people of all who were left
from the spear when Ares did the reaping; and the teeth Aeetes then
readily gave to be borne to the ship, for he deemed not that Jason would
bring the contest to an end, even though he should cast the yoke upon
the oxen.

(ll. 1191-1224) Far away in the west the sun was sailing beneath the
dark earth, beyond the furthest hills of the Aethiopians; and Night was
laying the yoke upon her steeds; and the heroes were preparing their
beds by the hawsers. But Jason, as soon as the stars of Heliee, the
bright-gleaming bear, had set, and the air had all grown still under
heaven, went to a desert spot, like some stealthy thief, with all that
was needful; for beforehand in the daytime had he taken thought for
everything; and Argus came bringing a ewe and milk from the flock; and
them he took from the ship. But when the hero saw a place which was
far away from the tread of men, in a clear meadow beneath the open sky,
there first of all he bathed his tender body reverently in the sacred
river; and round him he placed a dark robe, which Hypsipyle of Lemnos
had given him aforetime, a memorial of many a loving embrace. Then he
dug a pit in the ground of a cubit's depth and heaped up billets of
wood, and over it he cut the throat of the sheep, and duly placed the
carcase above; and he kindled the logs placing fire beneath, and poured
over them mingled libations, calling on Hecate Brimo to aid him in the
contests. And when he had called on her he drew back; and she heard him,
the dread goddess, from the uttermost depths and came to the sacrifice
of Aeson's son; and round her horrible serpents twined themselves among
the oak boughs; and there was a gleam of countless torches; and sharply
howled around her the hounds of hell. All the meadows trembled at her
step; and the nymphs that haunt the marsh and the river shrieked, all
who dance round that mead of Amarantian Phasis. And fear seized Aeson's
son, but not even so did he turn round as his feet bore him forth, till
he came back to his comrades; and now early dawn arose and shed her
light above snowy Caucasus.

(ll. 1225-1245) Then Aeetes arrayed his breast in the stiff corslet
which Ares gave him when he had slain Phlegraean Mimas with his own
hands; and upon his head he placed a golden helmet with four plumes,
gleaming like the sun's round light when he first rises from Ocean.
And he wielded his shield of many hides, and his spear, terrible,
resistless; none of the heroes could have withstood its shock now that
they had left behind Heracles far away, who alone could have met it in
battle. For the king his well-fashioned chariot of swift steeds was held
near at hand by Phaethon, for him to mount; and he mounted, and held the
reins in his hands. Then from the city he drove along the broad highway,
that he might be present at the contest; and with him a countless
multitude rushed forth. And as Poseidon rides, mounted in his chariot,
to the Isthmian contest or to Taenarus, or to Lerna's water, or through
the grove of Hyantian Onchestus, and thereafter passes even to Calaureia
with his steeds, and the Haemonian rock, or well-wooded Geraestus; even
so was Aeetes, lord of the Colchians, to behold.

(ll. 1246-1277) Meanwhile, prompted by Medea, Jason steeped the charm in
water and sprinkled with it his shield and sturdy spear, and sword; and
his comrades round him made proof of his weapons with might and main,
but could not bend that spear even a little, but it remained firm in
their stalwart hands unbroken as before. But in furious rage with them
Idas, Aphareus' son, with his great sword hewed at the spear near the
butt, and the edge leapt back repelled by the shock, like a hammer
from the anvil; and the heroes shouted with joy for their hope in the
contest. And then he sprinkled his body, and terrible prowess entered
into him, unspeakable, dauntless; and his hands on both sides thrilled
vigorously as they swelled with strength. And as when a warlike steed
eager for the fight neighs and beats the ground with his hoof, while
rejoicing he lifts his neck on high with ears erect; in such wise did
Aeson's son rejoice in the strength of his limbs. And often hither
and thither did he leap high in air tossing in his hands his shield of
bronze and ashen spear. Thou wouldst say that wintry lightning flashing
from the gloomy sky kept on darting forth from the clouds what time they
bring with them their blackest rainstorm. Not long after that were the
heroes to hold back from the contests; but sitting in rows on their
benches they sped swiftly on to the plain of Ares. And it lay in
front of them on the opposite side of the city, as far off as is the
turning-post that a chariot must reach from the starting-point, when the
kinsmen of a dead king appoint funeral games for footmen and horsemen.
And they found Aeetes and the tribes of the Colchians; these were
stationed on the Caucasian heights, but the king by the winding brink of
the river.

(ll. 1278-1325) Now Aeson's son, as soon as his comrades had made the
hawsers fast, leapt from the ship, and with spear and shield came forth
to the contest; and at the same time he took the gleaming helmet of
bronze filled with sharp teeth, and his sword girt round his shoulders,
his body stripped, in somewise resembling Ares and in somewise Apollo
of the golden sword. And gazing over the field he saw the bulls' yoke
of bronze and near it the plough, all of one piece, of stubborn adamant.
Then he came near, and fixed his sturdy spear upright on its butt, and
taking his helmet, off leant it against the spear. And he went forward
with shield alone to examine the countless tracks of the bulls, and
they from some unseen lair beneath the earth, where was their strong
steading, wrapt in murky smoke, both rushed out together, breathing
forth flaming fire. And sore afraid were the heroes at the sight. But
Jason, setting wide his feet, withstood their onset, as in the sea a
rocky reef withstands the waves tossed by the countless blasts. Then in
front of him he held his shield; and both the bulls with loud bellowing
attacked him with their mighty horns; nor did they stir him a jot by
their onset. And as when through the holes of the furnace the armourers'
bellows anon gleam brightly, kindling the ravening flame, and anon cease
from blowing, and a terrible roar rises from the fire when it darts up
from below; so the bulls roared, breathing forth swift flame from
their mouths, while the consuming heat played round him, smiting like
lightning; but the maiden's charms protected him. Then grasping the tip
of the horn of the right-hand bull, he dragged it mightily with all his
strength to bring it near the yoke of bronze, and forced it down on to
its knees, suddenly striking with his foot the foot of bronze. So also
he threw the other bull on to its knees as it rushed upon him, and smote
it down with one blow. And throwing to the ground his broad shield, he
held them both down where they had fallen on their fore-knees, as
he strode from side to side, now here, now there, and rushed swiftly
through the flame. But Aeetes marvelled at the hero's might. And
meantime the sons of Tyndareus for long since had it been thus ordained
for them--near at hand gave him the yoke from the ground to cast round
them. Then tightly did he bind their necks; and lifting the pole of
bronze between them, he fastened it to the yoke by its golden tip. So
the twin heroes started back from the fire to the ship. But Jason took
up again his shield and cast it on his back behind him, and grasped
the strong helmet filled with sharp teeth, and his resistless spear,
wherewith, like some ploughman with a Pelasgian goad, he pricked the
bulls beneath, striking their flanks; and very firmly did he guide the
well fitted plough handle, fashioned of adamant.

(ll. 1326-1339) The bulls meantime raged exceedingly, breathing forth
furious flame of fire; and their breath rose up like the roar of
blustering winds, in fear of which above all seafaring men furl their
large sail. But not long after that they moved on at the bidding of the
spear; and behind them the rugged fallow was broken up, cloven by the
might of the bulls and the sturdy ploughman. Then terribly groaned the
clods withal along the furrows of the plough as they were rent, each a
man's burden; and Jason followed, pressing down the cornfield with firm
foot; and far from him he ever sowed the teeth along the clods as each
was ploughed, turning his head back for fear lest the deadly crop
of earthborn men should rise against him first; and the bulls toiled
onwards treading with their hoofs of bronze.

(ll. 1340-1407) But when the third part of the day was still left as
it wanes from dawn, and wearied labourers call for the sweet hour of
unyoking to come to them straightway, then the fallow was ploughed by
the tireless ploughman, four plough-gates though it was; and he loosed
the plough from the oxen. Them he scared in flight towards the plain;
but he went back again to the ship, while he still saw the furrows free
of the earthborn men. And all round his comrades heartened him with
their shouts. And in the helmet he drew from the river's stream and
quenched his thirst with the water. Then he bent his knees till they
grew supple, and filled his mighty heart with courage, raging like a
boar, when it sharpens its teeth against the hunters, while from its
wrathful mouth plenteous foam drips to the ground. By now the earthborn
men were springing up over all the field; and the plot of Ares, the
death-dealer, bristled with sturdy shields and double-pointed spears and
shining helmets; and the gleam reached Olympus from beneath, flashing
through the air. And as when abundant snow has fallen on the earth and
the storm blasts have dispersed the wintry clouds under the murky night,
and all the hosts of the stars appear shining through the gloom; so did
those warriors shine springing up above the earth. But Jason bethought
him of the counsels of Medea full of craft, and seized from the plain
a huge round boulder, a terrible quoit of Ares Enyalius; four stalwart
youths could not have raised it from the ground even a little. Taking
it in his hands he threw it with a rush far away into their midst; and
himself crouched unseen behind his shield, with full confidence. And the
Colchians gave a loud cry, like the roar of the sea when it beats upon
sharp crags; and speechless amazement seized Aeetes at the rush of the
sturdy quoit. And the Earthborn, like fleet-footed hounds, leaped upon
one another and slew with loud yells; and on earth their mother they
fell beneath their own spears, likes pines or oaks, which storms of wind
beat down. And even as a fiery star leaps from heaven, trailing a furrow
of light, a portent to men, whoever see it darting with a gleam through
the dusky sky; in such wise did Aeson's son rush upon the earthborn men,
and he drew from the sheath his bare sword, and smote here and there,
mowing them down, many on the belly and side, half risen to the air--and
some that had risen as far as the shoulders--and some just standing
upright, and others even now rushing to battle. And as when a fight is
stirred up concerning boundaries, and a husbandman, in fear lest they
should ravage his fields, seizes in his hand a curved sickle, newly
sharpened, and hastily cuts the unripe crop, and waits not for it to be
parched in due season by the beams of the sun; so at that time did Jason
cut down the crop of the Earthborn; and the furrows were filled with
blood, as the channels of a spring with water. And they fell, some on
their faces biting the rough clod of earth with their teeth, some on
their backs, and others on their hands and sides, like to sea-monsters
to behold. And many, smitten before raising their feet from the earth,
bowed down as far to the ground as they had risen to the air, and rested
there with the damp of death on their brows. Even so, I ween, when Zeus
has sent a measureless rain, new planted orchard-shoots droop to the
ground, cut off by the root the toil of gardening men; but heaviness
of heart and deadly anguish come to the owner of the farm, who planted
them; so at that time did bitter grief come upon the heart of King
Aeetes. And he went back to the city among the Colchians, pondering how
he might most quickly oppose the heroes. And the day died, and Jason's
contest was ended.


(ll. 1-5) Now do thou thyself, goddess Muse, daughter of Zeus, tell of
the labour and wiles of the Colchian maiden. Surely my soul within me
wavers with speechless amazement as I ponder whether I should call it
the lovesick grief of mad passion or a panic flight, through which she
left the Colchian folk.

(ll. 6-10) Aeetes all night long with the bravest captains of his people
was devising in his halls sheer treachery against the heroes, with
fierce wrath in his heart at the issue of the hateful contest; nor did
he deem at all that these things were being accomplished without the
knowledge of his daughters.

(ll. 11-29) But into Medea's heart Hera cast most grievous fear; and
she trembled like a nimble fawn whom the baying of hounds hath terrified
amid the thicket of a deep copse. For at once she truly forboded that
the aid she had given was not hidden from her father, and that quickly
she would fill up the cup of woe. And she dreaded the guilty knowledge
of her handmaids; her eyes were filled with fire and her ears rung with
a terrible cry. Often did she clutch at her throat, and often did she
drag out her hair by the roots and groan in wretched despair. There on
that very day the maiden would have tasted the drugs and perished and so
have made void the purposes of Hera, had not the goddess driven her, all
bewildered, to flee with the sons of Phrixus; and her fluttering soul
within her was comforted; and then she poured from her bosom all the
drugs back again into the casket. Then she kissed her bed, and the
folding-doors on both sides, and stroked the walls, and tearing away
in her hands a long tress of hair, she left it in the chamber for her
mother, a memorial of her maidenhood, and thus lamented with passionate

(ll. 30-33) "I go, leaving this long tress here in my stead, O mother
mine; take this farewell from me as I go far hence; farewell Chalciope,
and all my home. Would that the sea, stranger, had dashed thee to
pieces, ere thou camest to the Colchian land!"

(ll. 34-56) Thus she spake, and from her eyes shed copious tears. And
as a bondmaid steals away from a wealthy house, whom fate has lately
severed from her native land, nor yet has she made trial of grievous
toil, but still unschooled to misery and shrinking in terror from
slavish tasks, goes about beneath the cruel hands of a mistress; even
so the lovely maiden rushed forth from her home. But to her the bolts of
the doors gave way self-moved, leaping backwards at the swift strains of
her magic song. And with bare feet she sped along the narrow paths, with
her left hand holding her robe over her brow to veil her face and fair
cheeks, and with her right lifting up the hem of her tunic. Quickly
along the dark track, outside the towers of the spacious city, did
she come in fear; nor did any of the warders note her, but she sped on
unseen by them. Thence she was minded to go to the temple; for well she
knew the way, having often aforetime wandered there in quest of corpses
and noxious roots of the earth, as a sorceress is wont to do; and her
soul fluttered with quivering fear. And the Titanian goddess, the moon,
rising from a far land, beheld her as she fled distraught, and fiercely
exulted over her, and thus spake to her own heart:

(ll. 57-65) "Not I alone then stray to the Latinian cave, nor do I alone
burn with love for fair Endymion; oft times with thoughts of love have I
been driven away by thy crafty spells, in order that in the darkness
of night thou mightest work thy sorcery at ease, even the deeds dear to
thee. And now thou thyself too hast part in a like mad passion; and some
god of affection has given thee Jason to be thy grievous woe. Well, go
on, and steel thy heart, wise though thou be, to take up thy burden of
pain, fraught with many sighs."

(ll. 66-82) Thus spake the goddess; but swiftly the maiden's feet bore
her, hasting on. And gladly did she gain the high-bank of the river and
beheld on the opposite side the gleam of fire, which all night long the
heroes were kindling in joy at the contest's issue. Then through the
gloom, with clear-pealing voice from across the stream, she called on
Phrontis, the youngest of Phrixus' sons, and he with his brothers and
Aeson's son recognised the maiden's voice; and in silence his comrades
wondered when they knew that it was so in truth. Thrice she called, and
thrice at the bidding of the company Phrontis called out in reply; and
meantime the heroes were rowing with swift-moving oars in search of her.
Not yet were they casting the ship's hawsers upon the opposite bank,
when Jason with light feet leapt to land from the deck above, and after
him Phrontis and Argus, sons of Phrixus, leapt to the ground; and she,
clasping their knees with both hands, thus addressed them:

(ll. 83-91) "Save me, the hapless one, my friends, from Aeetes, and
yourselves too, for all is brought to light, nor doth any remedy come.
But let us flee upon the ship, before the king mounts his swift chariot.
And I will lull to sleep the guardian serpent and give you the fleece of
gold; but do thou, stranger, amid thy comrades make the gods witness
of the vows thou hast taken on thyself for my sake; and now that I have
fled far from my country, make me not a mark for blame and dishonour for
want of kinsmen."

(ll. 92-98) She spake in anguish; but greatly did the heart of Aeson's
son rejoice, and at once, as she fell at his knees, he raised her gently
and embraced her, and spake words of comfort: "Lady, let Zeus of Olympus
himself be witness to my oath, and Hera, queen of marriage, bride of
Zeus, that I will set thee in my halls my own wedded wife, when we have
reached the land of Hellas on our return."

(ll. 99-108) Thus he spake, and straightway clasped her right hand in
his; and she bade them row the swift ship to the sacred grove near at
hand, in order that, while it was still night, they might seize and
carry off the fleece against the will of Aeetes. Word and deed were one
to the eager crew. For they took her on board, and straightway thrust
the ship from shore; and loud was the din as the chieftains strained
at their oars, but she, starting back, held out her hands in despair
towards the shore. But Jason spoke cheering words and restrained her

(ll. 109-122) Now at the hour when men have cast sleep from their
eyes~huntsmen, who, trusting to their bounds, never slumber away the
end of night, but avoid the light of dawn lest, smiting with its white
beams, it efface the track and scent of the quarry--then did Aeson's son
and the maiden step forth from the ship over a grassy spot, the "Ram's
couch" as men call it, where it first bent its wearied knees in rest,
bearing on its back the Minyan son of Athamas. And close by, all
smirched with soot, was the base of the altar, which the Aeolid Phrixus
once set up to Zeus, the alder of fugitives, when he sacrificed the
golden wonder at the bidding of Hermes who graciously met him on the
way. There by the counsels of Argus the chieftains put them ashore.

(ll. 123-161) And they two by the pathway came to the sacred grove,
seeking the huge oak tree on which was hung the fleece, like to a cloud
that blushes red with the fiery beams of the rising sun. But right in
front the serpent with his keen sleepless eyes saw them coming, and
stretched out his long neck and hissed in awful wise; and all round the
long banks of the river echoed and the boundless grove. Those heard
it who dwelt in the Colchian land very far from Titanian Aea, near the
outfall of Lycus, the river which parts from loud-roaring Araxes and
blends his sacred stream with Phasis, and they twain flow on together in
one and pour their waters into the Caucasian Sea. And through fear young
mothers awoke, and round their new-born babes, who were sleeping in
their arms, threw their hands in agony, for the small limbs started at
that hiss. And as when above a pile of smouldering wood countless eddies
of smoke roll up mingled with soot, and one ever springs up quickly
after another, rising aloft from beneath in wavering wreaths; so at that
time did that monster roll his countless coils covered with hard dry
scales. And as he writhed, the maiden came before his eyes, with sweet
voice calling to her aid sleep, highest of gods, to charm the monster;
and she cried to the queen of the underworld, the night-wanderer, to be
propitious to her enterprise. And Aeson's son followed in fear, but the
serpent, already charmed by her song, was relaxing the long ridge of
his giant spine, and lengthening out his myriad coils, like a dark wave,
dumb and noiseless, rolling over a sluggish sea; but still he raised
aloft his grisly head, eager to enclose them both in his murderous
jaws. But she with a newly cut spray of juniper, dipping and drawing
untempered charms from her mystic brew, sprinkled his eyes, while she
chanted her song; and all around the potent scent of the charm cast
sleep; and on the very spot he let his jaw sink down; and far behind
through the wood with its many trees were those countless coils
stretched out.

Hereupon Jason snatched the golden fleece from the oak, at the maiden
bidding; and she, standing firm, smeared with the charm the monster's
head, till Jason himself bade her turn back towards their ship, and she
left the grove of Ares, dusky with shade. And as a maiden catches on her
finely wrought robe the gleam of the moon at the full, as it rises above
her high-roofed chamber; and her heart rejoices as she beholds the fair
ray; so at that time did Jason uplift the mighty fleece in his hands;
and from the shimmering of the flocks of wool there settled on his fair
cheeks and brow a red flush like a flame. And great as is the hide of a
yearling ox or stag, which huntsmen call a brocket, so great in extent
was the fleece all golden above. Heavy it was, thickly clustered with
flocks; and as he moved along, even beneath his feet the sheen rose up
from the earth. And he strode on now with the fleece covering his left
shoulder from the height of his neck to his feet, and now again he
gathered it up in his hands; for he feared exceedingly, lest some god or
man should meet him and deprive him thereof.

(ll. 183-189) Dawn was spreading over the earth when they reached the
throng of heroes; and the youths marvelled to behold the mighty fleece,
which gleamed like the lightning of Zeus. And each one started up eager
to touch it and clasp it in his hands. But the son of Aeson restrained
them all, and threw over it a mantle newly-woven; and he led the maiden
to the stern and seated her there, and spake to them all as follows:

(ll. 190-205) "No longer now, my friends, forbear to return to your
fatherland. For now the task for which we dared this grievous voyage,
toiling with bitter sorrow of heart, has been lightly fulfilled by the
maiden's counsels. Her--for such is her will--I will bring home to be my
wedded wife; do ye preserve her, the glorious saviour of all Achaea and
of yourselves. For of a surety, I ween, will Aeetes come with his host
to bar our passage from the river into the sea. But do some of you toil
at the oars in turn, sitting man by man; and half of you raise your
shields of oxhide, a ready defence against the darts of the enemy, and
guard our return. And now in our hands we hold the fate of our children
and dear country and of our aged parents; and on our venture all Hellas
depends, to reap either the shame of failure or great renown."

(ll. 206-211) Thus he spake, and donned his armour of war; and they
cried aloud, wondrously eager. And he drew his sword from the sheath
and cut the hawsers at the stern. And near the maiden he took his stand
ready armed by the steersman Aneaeus, and with their rowing the ship
sped on as they strained desperately to drive her clear of the river.

(ll. 212-235) By this time Medea's love and deeds had become known
to haughty Aeetes and to all the Colchians. And they thronged to the
assembly in arms; and countless as the waves of the stormy sea when they
rise crested by the wind, or as the leaves that fall to the ground from
the wood with its myriad branches in the month when the leaves fall--who
could reckon their tale?--so they in countless number poured along the
banks of the river shouting in frenzy; and in his shapely chariot Aeetes
shone forth above all with his steeds, the gift of Helios, swift as the
blasts of the wind. In his left hand he raised his curved shield, and in
his right a huge pine-torch, and near him in front stood up his mighty
spear. And Apsyrtus held in his hands the reins of the steeds. But
already the ship was cleaving the sea before her, urged on by stalwart
oarsmen, and the stream of the mighty river rushing down. But the king
in grievous anguish lifted his hands and called on Helios and Zeus
to bear witness to their evil deeds; and terrible threats he uttered
against all his people, that unless they should with their own hands
seize the maiden, either on the land or still finding the ship on the
swell of the open sea, and bring her back, that so he might satisfy his
eager soul with vengeance for all those deeds, at the cost of their own
lives they should learn and abide all his rage and revenge.

(ll. 236-240) Thus spake Aeetes; and on that same day the Colchians
launched their ships and cast the tackle on board, and on that same day
sailed forth on the sea; thou wouldst not say so mighty a host was a
fleet of ships, but that a countless flight of birds, swarm on swarm,
was clamouring over the sea.

(ll. 241-252) Swiftly the wind blew, as the goddess Hera planned, so
that most quickly Aeaean Medea might reach the Pelasgian land, a bane to
the house of Pelias, and on the third morn they bound the ship's stern
cables to the shores of the Paphlagonians, at the mouth of the river
Halys. For Medea bade them land and propitiate Hecate with sacrifice.
Now all that the maiden prepared for offering the sacrifice may no man
know, and may my soul not urge me to sing thereof. Awe restrains my
lips, yet from that time the altar which the heroes raised on the beach
to the goddess remains till now, a sight to men of a later day.

(ll. 253-256) And straightway Aeson's son and the rest of the heroes
bethought them of Phineus, how that he had said that their course from
Aea should be different, but to all alike his meaning was dim. Then
Argus spake, and they eagerly hearkened:

(ll. 257-293) "We go to Orchomenus, whither that unerring seer, whom
ye met aforetime, foretold your voyage. For there is another course,
signified by those priests of the immortal gods, who have sprung from
Tritonian Thebes. As yet all the stars that wheel in the heaven were
not, nor yet, though one should inquire, could aught be heard of the
sacred race of the Danai. Apidanean Arcadians alone existed, Arcadians
who lived even before the moon, it is said, eating acorns on the hills;
nor at that time was the Pelasgian land ruled by the glorious sons of
Deucalion, in the days when Egypt, mother of men of an older time, was
called the fertile Morning-land, and the river fair-flowing Triton, by
which all the Morning-land is watered; and never does the rain from Zeus
moisten the earth; but from the flooding of the river abundant crops
spring up. From this land, it is said, a king [1401] made his way all
round through the whole of Europe and Asia, trusting in the might and
strength and courage of his people; and countless cities did he found
wherever he came, whereof some are still inhabited and some not; many
an age hath passed since then. But Aea abides unshaken even now and the
sons of those men whom that king settled to dwell in Aea. They preserve
the writings of their fathers, graven on pillars, whereon are marked
all the ways and the limits of sea and land as ye journey on all
sides round. There is a river, the uttermost horn of Ocean, broad and
exceeding deep, that a merchant ship may traverse; they call it Ister
and have marked it far off; and for a while it cleaves the boundless
tilth alone in one stream; for beyond the blasts of the north wind, far
off in the Rhipaean mountains, its springs burst forth with a roar.
But when it enters the boundaries of the Thracians and Scythians, here,
dividing its stream into two, it sends its waters partly into the Ionian
sea, [1402] and partly to the south into a deep gulf that bends upwards
from the Trinaerian sea, that sea which lies along your land, if indeed
Achelous flows forth from your land."

(ll. 204-302) Thus he spake, and to them the goddess granted a happy
portent, and all at the sight shouted approval, that this was their
appointed path. For before them appeared a trail of heavenly light, a
sign where they might pass. And gladly they left behind there the son of
Lyeus and with canvas outspread sailed over the sea, with their eyes
on the Paphlagonian mountains. But they did not round Carambis, for
the winds and the gleam of the heavenly fire stayed with them till they
reached Ister's mighty stream.

(ll. 303-337) Now some of the Colchians, in a vain search, passed out
from Pontus through the Cyanean rocks; but the rest went to the river,
and them Apsyrtus led, and, turning aside, he entered the mouth called
Fair. Wherefore he outstripped the heroes by crossing a neck of land
into the furthest gulf of the Ionian sea. For a certain island is
enclosed by Ister, by name Peuee, three-cornered, its base stretching
along the coast, and with a sharp angle towards the river; and round it
the outfall is cleft in two. One mouth they call the mouth of Narex, and
the other, at the lower end, the Fair mouth. And through this Apsyrtus
and his Colchians rushed with all speed; but the heroes went upwards
far away towards the highest part of the island. And in the meadows the
country shepherds left their countless flocks for dread of the
ships, for they deemed that they were beasts coming forth from the
monster-teeming sea. For never yet before had they seen seafaring ships,
neither the Scythians mingled with the Thracians, nor the Sigynni, nor
yet the Graucenii, nor the Sindi that now inhabit the vast desert plain
of Laurium. But when they had passed near the mount Angurum, and the
cliff of Cauliacus, far from the mount Angurum, round which Ister,
dividing his stream, falls into the sea on this side and on that, and
the Laurian plain, then indeed the Colchians went forth into the Cronian
sea and cut off all the ways, to prevent their foes' escape. And the
heroes came down the river behind and reached the two Brygean isles of
Artemis near at hand. Now in one of them was a sacred temple; and on the
other they landed, avoiding the host of Apsyrtus; for the Colchians
had left these islands out of many within the river, just as they were,
through reverence for the daughter of Zeus; but the rest, thronged by
the Colchians, barred the ways to the sea. And so on other islands too,
close by, Apsyrtus left his host as far as the river Salangon and the
Nestian land.

(ll. 338-349) There the Minyae would at that time have yielded in grim
fight, a few to many; but ere then they made a covenant, shunning a
dire quarrel; as to the golden fleece, that since Aeetes himself had so
promised them if they should fulfill the contests, they should keep it
as justly won, whether they carried it off by craft or even openly
in the king's despite; but as to Medea--for that was the cause of
strife--that they should give her in ward to Leto's daughter apart from
the throng, until some one of the kings that dispense justice should
utter his doom, whether she must return to her father's home or follow
the chieftains to the land of Hellas.

(ll. 350-354) Now when the maiden had mused upon all this, sharp anguish
shook her heart unceasingly; and quickly she called forth Jason alone
apart from his comrades, and led him aside until they were far away, and
before his face uttered her speech all broken with sobs:

(ll. 355-390) "What is this purpose that ye are now devising about me, O
son of Aeson? Has thy triumph utterly cast forgetfulness upon thee,
and reekest thou nothing of all that thou spakest when held fast by
necessity? Whither are fled the oaths by Zeus the suppliants' god,
whither are fled thy honied promises? For which in no seemly wise, with
shameless will, I have left my country, the glories of my home and even
my parents--things that were dearest to me; and far away all alone I
am borne over the sea with the plaintive kingfishers because of thy
trouble, in order that I might save thy life in fulfilling the contests
with the oxen and the earthborn men. Last of all the fleece--when the
matter became known, it was by my folly thou didst win it; and a foul
reproach have I poured on womankind. Wherefore I say that as thy child,
thy bride and thy sister, I follow thee to the land of Hellas. Be ready
to stand by me to the end, abandon me not left forlorn of thee when thou
dost visit the kings. But only save me; let justice and right, to which
we have both agreed, stand firm; or else do thou at once shear through
this neck with the sword, that I may gain the guerdon due to my mad
passion. Poor wretch! if the king, to whom you both commit your cruel
covenant, doom me to belong to my brother. How shall I come to my
father's sight? Will it be with a good name? What revenge, what heavy
calamity shall I not endure in agony for the terrible deeds I have done?
And wilt thou win the return that thy heart desires? Never may Zeus'
bride, the queen of all, in whom thou dost glory, bring that to pass.
Mayst thou some time remember me when thou art racked with anguish; may
the fleece like a dream vanish into the nether darkness on the wings
of the wind! And may my avenging Furies forthwith drive thee from thy
country, for all that I have suffered through thy cruelty! These curses
will not be allowed to fall unaccomplished to the ground. A mighty oath
hast thou transgressed, ruthless one; but not long shalt thou and thy
comrades sit at ease casting eyes of mockery upon me, for all your

(ll. 391-394) Thus she spake, seething with fierce wrath; and she longed
to set fire to the ship and to hew it utterly in pieces, and herself to
fall into the raging flame. But Jason, half afraid, thus addressed her
with gentle words:

(ll. 395-409) "Forbear, lady; me too this pleases not. But we seek some
respite from battle, for such a cloud of hostile men, like to a fire,
surrounds us, on thy account. For all that inhabit this land are eager
to aid Apsyrtus, that they may lead thee back home to thy father, like
some captured maid. And all of us would perish in hateful destruction,
if we closed with them in fight; and bitterer still will be the pain,
if we are slain and leave thee to be their prey. But this covenant will
weave a web of guile to lead him to ruin. Nor will the people of the
land for thy sake oppose us, to favour the Colchians, when their prince
is no longer with them, who is thy champion and thy brother; nor will I
shrink from matching myself in fight with the Colchians, if they bar my
way homeward."

(ll. 410-420) Thus he spake soothing her; and she uttered a deadly
speech: "Take heed now. For when sorry deeds are done we must needs
devise sorry counsel, since at first I was distraught by my error, and
by heaven's will it was I wrought the accomplishment of evil desires.
Do thou in the turmoil shield me from the Colchians' spears; and I will
beguile Apsyrtus to come into thy hands--do thou greet him with splendid
gifts--if only I could persuade the heralds on their departure to bring
him alone to hearken to my words. Thereupon if this deed pleases thee,
slay him and raise a conflict with the Colchians, I care not."

(ll. 421-422) So they two agreed and prepared a great web of guile for
Apsyrtus, and provided many gifts such as are due to guests, and among
them gave a sacred robe of Hypsipyle, of crimson hue. The Graces with
their own hands had wrought it for Dionysus in sea-girt Dia, and he gave
it to his son Thoas thereafter, and Thoas left it to Hypsipyle, and she
gave that fair-wrought guest-gift with many another marvel to Aeson's
son to wear. Never couldst thou satisfy thy sweet desire by touching it
or gazing on it. And from it a divine fragrance breathed from the time
when the king of Nysa himself lay to rest thereon, flushed with wine
and nectar as he clasped the beauteous breast of the maiden-daughter
of Minos, whom once Theseus forsook in the island of Dia, when she had
followed him from Cnossus. And when she had worked upon the heralds to
induce her brother to come, as soon as she reached the temple of
the goddess, according to the agreement, and the darkness of night
surrounded them, that so she might devise with him a cunning plan for
her to take the mighty fleece of gold and return to the home of Aeetes,
for, she said, the sons of Phrixus had given her by force to the
strangers to carry off; with such beguiling words she scattered to the
air and the breezes her witching charms, which even from afar would have
drawn down the savage beast from the steep mountain-height.

(ll. 445-451) Ruthless Love, great bane, great curse to mankind, from
thee come deadly strifes and lamentations and groans, and countless
pains as well have their stormy birth from thee. Arise, thou god, and
arm thyself against the sons of our foes in such guise as when thou
didst fill Medea's heart with accursed madness. How then by evil doom
did she slay Apsyrtus when he came to meet her? For that must our song
tell next.

(ll. 452-481) When the heroes had left the maiden on the island of
Artemis, according to the covenant, both sides ran their ships to land
separately. And Jason went to the ambush to lie in wait for Apsyrtus and
then for his comrades. But he, beguiled by these dire promises, swiftly
crossed the swell of the sea in his ship, and in dark night set foot
on the sacred island; and faring all alone to meet her he made trial in
speech of his sister, as a tender child tries a wintry torrent which not
even strong men can pass through, to see if she would devise some guile
against the strangers. And so they two agreed together on everything;
and straightway Aeson's son leapt forth from the thick ambush, lifting
his bare sword in his hand; and quickly the maiden turned her eyes aside
and covered them with her veil that she might not see the blood of her
brother when he was smitten. And Jason marked him and struck him down,
as a butcher strikes down a mighty strong-horned bull, hard by the
temple which the Brygi on the mainland opposite had once built for
Artemis. In its vestibule he fell on his knees; and at last the hero
breathing out his life caught up in both hands the dark blood as it
welled from the wound; and he dyed with red his sister's silvery veil
and robe as she shrank away. And with swift side-glance the irresistible
pitiless Fury beheld the deadly deed they had done. And the hero,
Aeson's son, cut off the extremities of the dead man, and thrice licked
up some blood and thrice spat the pollution from his teeth, as it is
right for the slayer to do, to atone for a treacherous murder. And the
clammy corpse he hid in the ground where even now those bones lie among
the Apsyrtians.

(ll. 481-494) Now as soon as the heroes saw the blaze of a torch, which
the maiden raised for them as a sign to pursue, they laid their own ship
near the Colchian ship, and they slaughtered the Colchian host, as kites
slay the tribes of wood-pigeons, or as lions of the wold, when they have
leapt amid the steading, drive a great flock of sheep huddled together.
Nor did one of them escape death, but the heroes rushed upon the whole
crew, destroying them like a flame; and at last Jason met them, and was
eager to give aid where none was needed; but already they were taking
thought for him too. Thereupon they sat to devise some prudent counsel
for their voyage, and the maiden came upon them as they pondered, but
Peleus spake his word first:

(ll. 495-502) "I now bid you embark while it is still night, and take
with your oars the passage opposite to that which the enemy guards, for
at dawn when they see their plight I deem that no word urging to further
pursuit of us will prevail with them; but as people bereft of their
king, they will be scattered in grievous dissension. And easy, when the
people are scattered, will this path be for us on our return."

(ll. 503-506) Thus he spake; and the youths assented to the words of
Aeacus' son. And quickly they entered the ship, and toiled at their oars
unceasingly until they reached the sacred isle of Electra, the highest
of them all, near the river Eridanus.

(ll. 507-521) But when the Colchians learnt the death of their prince,
verily they were eager to pursue Argo and the Minyans through all the
Cronian sea. But Hera restrained them by terrible lightnings from the
sky. And at last they loathed their own homes in the Cytaean land,
quailing before Aeetes' fierce wrath; so they landed and made abiding
homes there, scattered far and wide. Some set foot on those very islands
where the heroes had stayed, and they still dwell there, bearing a name
derived from Apsyrtus; and others built a fenced city by the dark deep
Illyrian river, where is the tomb of Harmonia and Cadmus, dwelling among
the Encheleans; and others live amid the mountains which are called
the Thunderers, from the day when the thunders of Zeus, son of Cronos,
prevented them from crossing over to the island opposite.

(ll. 522-551) Now the heroes, when their return seemed safe for them,
fared onward and made their hawsers fast to the land of the Hylleans.
For the islands lay thick in the river and made the path dangerous for
those who sailed thereby. Nor, as aforetime, did the Hylleans devise
their hurt, but of their own accord furthered their passage, winning as
guerdon a mighty tripod of Apollo. For tripods twain had Phoebus given
to Aeson's son to carry afar in the voyage he had to make, at the time
when he went to sacred Pytho to enquire about this very voyage; and it
was ordained by fate that in whatever land they should be placed, that
land should never be ravaged by the attacks of foemen. Therefore even
now this tripod is hidden in that land near the pleasant city of Hyllus,
far beneath the earth, that it may ever be unseen by mortals. Yet they
found not King Hyllus still alive in the land, whom fair Melite bare
to Heracles in the land of the Phaeacians. For he came to the abode of
Nausithous and to Macris, the nurse of Dionysus, to cleanse himself from
the deadly murder of his children; here he loved and overcame the water
nymph Melite, the daughter of the river Aegaeus, and she bare mighty
Hyllus. But when he had grown up he desired not to dwell in that island
under the rule of Nausithous the king; but he collected a host of native
Phaeacians and came to the Cronian sea; for the hero King Nausithous
aided his journey, and there he settled, and the Mentores slew him as he
was fighting for the oxen of his field.

(ll. 552-556) Now, goddesses, say how it is that beyond this sea,
near the land of Ausonia and the Ligystian isles, which are called
Stoechades, the mighty tracks of the ship Argo are clearly sung of? What
great constraint and need brought the heroes so far? What breezes wafted

(ll. 557-591) When Apsyrtus had fallen in mighty overthrow Zeus himself,
king of gods, was seized with wrath at what they had done. And he
ordained that by the counsels of Aeaean Circe they should cleanse
themselves from the terrible stain of blood and suffer countless woes
before their return. Yet none of the chieftains knew this; but far
onward they sped starting from the Hyllean land, and they left behind
all the islands that were beforetime thronged by the Colchians--the
Liburnian isles, isle after isle, Issa, Dysceladus, and lovely Pityeia.
Next after them they came to Corcyra, where Poseidon settled the
daughter of Asopus, fair-haired Corcyra, far from the land of Phlius,
whence he had carried her off through love; and sailors beholding it
from the sea, all black with its sombre woods, call it Corcyra the
Black. And next they passed Melite, rejoicing in the soft-blowing
breeze, and steep Cerossus, and Nymphaea at a distance, where lady
Calypso, daughter of Atlas, dwelt; and they deemed they saw the misty
mountains of Thunder. And then Hera bethought her of the counsels and
wrath of Zeus concerning them. And she devised an ending of their voyage
and stirred up storm-winds before them, by which they were caught and
borne back to the rocky isle of Electra. And straightway on a sudden
there called to them in the midst of their course, speaking with a human
voice, the beam of the hollow ship, which Athena had set in the centre
of the stem, made of Dodonian oak. And deadly fear seized them as
they heard the voice that told of the grievous wrath of Zeus. For it
proclaimed that they should not escape the paths of an endless sea
nor grievous tempests, unless Circe should purge away the guilt of the
ruthless murder of Apsyrtus; and it bade Polydeuces and Castor pray to
the immortal gods first to grant a path through the Ausonian sea where
they should find Circe, daughter of Perse and Helios.

(ll. 592-626) Thus Argo cried through the darkness; and the sons of
Tyndareus uprose, and lifted their hands to the immortals praying for
each boon: but dejection held the rest of the Minyan heroes. And far
on sped Argo under sail, and entered deep into the stream of Eridanus;
where once, smitten on the breast by the blazing bolt, Phaethon
half-consumed fell from the chariot of Helios into the opening of that
deep lake; and even now it belcheth up heavy steam clouds from the
smouldering wound. And no bird spreading its light wings can cross that
water; but in mid-course it plunges into the flame, fluttering. And all
around the maidens, the daughters of Helios, enclosed in tall poplars,
wretchedly wail a piteous plaint; and from their eyes they shed on the
ground bright drops of amber. These are dried by the sun upon the sand;
but whenever the waters of the dark lake flow over the strand before
the blast of the wailing wind, then they roll on in a mass into Eridanus
with swelling tide. But the Celts have attached this story to them, that
these are the tears of Leto's son, Apollo, that are borne along by the
eddies, the countless tears that he shed aforetime when he came to the
sacred race of the Hyperboreans and left shining heaven at the chiding
of his father, being in wrath concerning his son whom divine Coronis
bare in bright Lacereia at the mouth of Amyrus. And such is the story
told among these men. But no desire for food or drink seized the heroes
nor were their thoughts turned to joy. But they were sorely afflicted
all day, heavy and faint at heart, with the noisome stench, hard to
endure, which the streams of Eridanus sent forth from Phaethon still
burning; and at night they heard the piercing lament of the daughters
of Helios, wailing with shrill voice; and, as they lamented, their tears
were borne on the water like drops of oil.

(ll. 627-658) Thence they entered the deep stream of Rhodanus which
flows into Eridanus; and where they meet there is a roar of mingling
waters. Now that river, rising from the ends of the earth, where are the
portals and mansions of Night, on one side bursts forth upon the beach
of Ocean, at another pours into the Ionian sea, and on the third through
seven mouths sends its stream to the Sardinian sea and its limitless
bay. [1403] And from Rhodanus they entered stormy lakes, which spread
throughout the Celtic mainland of wondrous size; and there they would
have met with an inglorious calamity; for a certain branch of the river
was bearing them towards a gulf of Ocean which in ignorance they were
about to enter, and never would they have returned from there in safety.
But Hera leaping forth from heaven pealed her cry from the Hercynian
rock; and all together were shaken with fear of her cry; for terribly
crashed the mighty firmament. And backward they turned by reason of
the goddess, and noted the path by which their return was ordained.
And after a long while they came to the beach of the surging sea by the
devising of Hera, passing unharmed through countless tribes of the Celts
and Ligyans. For round them the goddess poured a dread mist day by
day as they fared on. And so, sailing through the midmost mouth, they
reached the Stoechades islands in safety by the aid of the sons of Zeus;
wherefore altars and sacred rites are established in their honour for
ever; and not that sea-faring alone did they attend to succour; but
Zeus granted to them the ships of future sailors too. Then leaving the
Stoechades they passed on to the island Aethalia, where after their toil
they wiped away with pebbles sweat in abundance; and pebbles like skin
in colour are strewn on the beach; [1404] and there are their quoits
and their wondrous armour; and there is the Argoan harbour called after

(ll. 659-684) And quickly from there they passed through the sea,
beholding the Tyrrhenian shores of Ausonia; and they came to the famous
harbour of Aeaea, and from the ship they cast hawsers to the shore
near at hand. And here they found Circe bathing her head in the salt
sea-spray, for sorely had she been scared by visions of the night. With
blood her chambers and all the walls of her palace seemed to be running,
and flame was devouring all the magic herbs with which she used to
bewitch strangers whoever came; and she herself with murderous blood
quenched the glowing flame, drawing it up in her hands; and she ceased
from deadly fear. Wherefore when morning came she rose, and with
sea-spray was bathing her hair and her garments. And beasts, not
resembling the beasts of the wild, nor yet like men in body, but with a
medley of limbs, went in a throng, as sheep from the fold in multitudes
follow the shepherd. Such creatures, compacted of various limbs, did
each herself produce from the primeval slime when she had not yet grown
solid beneath a rainless sky nor yet had received a drop of moisture
from the rays of the scorching sun; but time combined these forms and
marshalled them in their ranks; in such wise these monsters shapeless of
form followed her. And exceeding wonder seized the heroes, and at once,
as each gazed on the form and face of Circe, they readily guessed that
she was the sister of Aeetes.

(ll. 685-717) Now when she had dismissed the fears of her nightly
visions, straightway she fared backwards, and in her subtlety she bade
the heroes follow, charming them on with her hand. Thereupon the host
remained stedfast at the bidding of Aeson's son, but Jason drew with him
the Colchian maid. And both followed the selfsame path till they reached
the hall of Circe, and she in amaze at their coming bade them sit on
brightly burnished seats. And they, quiet and silent, sped to the hearth
and sat there, as is the wont of wretched suppliants. Medea hid her face
in both her hands, but Jason fixed in the ground the mighty hilted sword
with which he had slain Aeetes' son; nor did they raise their eyes
to meet her look. And straightway Circe became aware of the doom of
a suppliant and the guilt of murder. Wherefore in reverence for the
ordinance of Zeus, the god of suppliants, who is a god of wrath yet
mightily aids slayers of men, she began to offer the sacrifice with
which ruthless suppliants are cleansed from guilt when they approach the
altar. First, to atone for the murder still unexpiated, she held above
their heads the young of a sow whose dugs yet swelled from the fruit of
the womb, and, severing its neck, sprinkled their hands with the blood;
and again she made propitiation with other drink offerings, calling on
Zeus the Cleanser, the protector of murder-stained suppliants. And all
the defilements in a mass her attendants bore forth from the palace--the
Naiad nymphs who ministered all things to her. And within, Circe,
standing by the hearth, kept burning atonement-cakes without wine,
praying the while that she might stay from their wrath the terrible
Furies, and that Zeus himself might be propitious and gentle to them
both, whether with hands stained by the blood of a stranger or, as
kinsfolk, by the blood of a kinsman, they should implore his grace.

(ll. 718-738) But when she had wrought all her task, then she raised
them up and seated them on well polished seats, and herself sat near,
face to face with them. And at once she asked them clearly of their
business and their voyaging, and whence they had come to her land and
palace, and had thus seated themselves as suppliants at her hearth. For
in truth the hideous remembrance of her dreams entered her mind as she
pondered; and she longed to hear the voice of the maiden, her kinswoman,
as soon as she saw that she had raised her eyes from the ground. For
all those of the race of Helios were plain to discern, since by the far
flashing of their eyes they shot in front of them a gleam as of gold.
So Medea told her all she asked--the daughter of Aeetes of the gloomy
heart, speaking gently in the Colchian tongue, both of the quest and the
journeyings of the heroes, and of their toils in the swift contests, and
how she had sinned through the counsels of her much-sorrowing sister,
and how with the sons of Phrixus she had fled afar from the tyrannous
horrors of her father; but she shrank from telling of the murder of
Apsyrtus. Yet she escaped not Circe's ken; nevertheless, in spite of
all, she pitied the weeping maiden, and spake thus:

(ll. 739-748) "Poor wretch, an evil and shameful return hast thou
planned. Not for long, I ween, wilt thou escape the heavy wrath of
Aeetes; but soon will he go even to the dwellings of Hellas to avenge
the blood of his son, for intolerable are the deeds thou hast done. But
since thou art my suppliant and my kinswoman, no further ill shall
I devise against thee at thy coming; but begone from my halls,
companioning the stranger, whosoever he be, this unknown one that thou
hast taken in thy father's despite; and kneel not to me at my hearth,
for never will I approve thy counsels and thy shameful flight."

(ll. 749-752) Thus she spake, and measureless anguish seized the maid;
and over her eyes she cast her robe and poured forth a lamentation,
until the hero took her by the hand and led her forth from the hall
quivering with fear. So they left the home of Circe.

(ll. 753-756) But they were not unmarked by the spouse of Zeus, son of
Cronos; but Iris told her when she saw them faring from the hall. For
Hera had bidden her watch what time they should come to the ship; so
again she urged her and spake:

(ll. 757-769) "Dear Iris, now come, if ever thou hast fulfilled my
bidding, hie thee away on light pinions, and bid Thetis arise from the
sea and come hither. For need of her is come upon me. Then go to the
sea-beaches where the bronze anvils of Hephaestus are smitten by sturdy
hammers, and tell him to still the blasts of fire until Argo pass by
them. Then go to Aeolus too, Aeolus who rules the winds, children of the
clear sky; and to him also tell my purpose so that he may make all winds
cease under heaven and no breeze may ruffle the sea; yet let the breath
of the west wind blow until the heroes have reached the Phaeacian isle
of Alcinous."

(ll. 770-782) So she spake, and straightway Iris leapt down from Olympus
and cleft her way, with light wings outspread. And she plunged into
the Aegean Sea, where is the dwelling of Nereus. And she came to Thetis
first and, by the promptings of Hera, told her tale and roused her to go
to the goddess. Next she came to Hephaestus, and quickly made him cease
from the clang of his iron hammers; and the smoke-grimed bellows were
stayed from their blast. And thirdly she came to Aeolus, the famous son
of Hippotas. And when she had given her message to him also and rested
her swift knees from her course, then Thetis leaving Nereus and her
sisters had come from the sea to Olympus to the goddess Hera; and the
goddess made her sit by her side and uttered her word:

(ll. 783-832) "Hearken now, lady Thetis, to what I am eager to tell
thee. Thou knowest how honoured in my heart is the hero, Aeson's son,
and the others that have helped him in the contest, and how I saved them
when they passed between the Wandering rocks, [1405] where roar terrible
storms of fire and the waves foam round the rugged reefs. And now past
the mighty rock of Scylla and Charybdis horribly belching, a course
awaits them. But thee indeed from thy infancy did I tend with my own
hands and love beyond all others that dwell in the salt sea because thou
didst refuse to share the couch of Zeus, for all his desire. For to him
such deeds are ever dear, to embrace either goddesses or mortal women.
But in reverence for me and with fear in thy heart thou didst shrink
from his love; and he then swore a mighty oath that thou shouldst never
be called the bride of an immortal god. Yet he ceased not from spying
thee against thy will, until reverend Themis declared to him the whole
truth, how that it was thy fate to bear a son mightier than his sire;
wherefore he gave thee up, for all his desire, fearing lest another
should be his match and rule the immortals, and in order that he might
ever hold his own dominion. But I gave thee the best of the sons of
earth to be thy husband, that thou mightest find a marriage dear to thy
heart and bear children; and I summoned to the feast the gods, one and
all. And with my own hand I raised the bridal torch, in return for
the kindly honour thou didst pay me. But come, let me tell a tale that
erreth not. When thy son shall come to the Elysian plain, he whom now
in the home of Cheiron the Centaur water-nymphs are tending, though
he still craves thy mother milk, it is fated that he be the husband
of Medea, Aeetes' daughter; do thou aid thy daughter-in-law as a
mother-in-law should, and aid Peleus himself. Why is thy wrath so
steadfast? He was blinded by folly. For blindness comes even upon
the gods. Surely at my behest I deem that Hephaestus will cease from
kindling the fury of his flame, and that Aeolus, son of Hippotas, will
check his swift rushing winds, all but the steady west wind, until they
reach the havens of the Phaeacians; do thou devise a return without
bane. The rocks and the tyrannous waves are my fear, they alone, and
them thou canst foil with thy sisters' aid. And let them not fall in
their helplessness into Charybdis lest she swallow them at one gulp, or
approach the hideous lair of Scylla, Ausonian Scylla the deadly, whom
night-wandering Hecate, who is called Crataeis, [1406] bare to Phoreys,
lest swooping upon them with her horrible jaws she destroy the chiefest
of the heroes. But guide their ship in the course where there shall be
still a hair's breadth escape from destruction."

(ll. 833-841) Thus she spake, and Thetis answered with these words: "If
the fury of the ravening flame and the stormy winds cease in very deed,
surely will I promise boldly to save the ship, even though the waves bar
the way, if only the west wind blows fresh and clear. But it is time to
fare on a long and measureless path, in quest of my sisters who will aid
me, and to the spot where the ship's hawsers are fastened, that at early
dawn the heroes may take thought to win their home-return."

(ll. 842-855) She spake, and darting down from the sky fell amid the
eddies of the dark blue sea; and she called to aid her the rest of the
Nereids, her own sisters; and they heard her and gathered together; and
Thetis declared to them Hera's behests, and quickly sped them all on
their way to the Ausonian sea. And herself, swifter than the flash of an
eye or the shafts of the sun, when it rises upwards from a far-distant
land, hastened swiftly through the sea, until she reached the Aeaean
beach of the Tyrrhenian mainland. And the heroes she found by the ship
taking their pastime with quoits and shooting of arrows; and she drew
near and just touched the hand of Aeaeus' son Peleus, for he was her
husband; nor could anyone see her clearly, but she appeared to his eyes
alone, and thus addressed him:

(ll. 856-864) "No longer now must ye stay sitting on the Tyrrhenian
beach, but at dawn loosen the hawsers of your swift ship, in obedience
to Hera, your helper. For at her behest the maiden daughters of Nereus
have met together to draw your ship through the midst of the rocks which
are called Planctae, [1407] for that is your destined path. But do thou
show my person to no one, when thou seest us come to meet time, but keep
it secret in thy mind, lest thou anger me still more than thou didst
anger me before so recklessly."

(ll. 865-884) She spake, and vanished into the depths of the sea; but
sharp pain smote Peleus, for never before had he seen her come, since
first she left her bridal chamber and bed in anger, on account of noble
Achilles, then a babe. For she ever encompassed the child's mortal flesh
in the night with the flame of fire; and day by day she anointed with
ambrosia his tender frame, so that he might become immortal and that she
might keep off from his body loathsome old age. But Peleus leapt up from
his bed and saw his dear son gasping in the flame; and at the sight he
uttered a terrible cry, fool that he was; and she heard it, and catching
up the child threw him screaming to the ground, and herself like a
breath of wind passed swiftly from the hall as a dream and leapt into
the sea, exceeding wroth, and thereafter returned not again. Wherefore
blank amazement fettered his soul; nevertheless he declared to his
comrades all the bidding of Thetis. And they broke off in the midst
and hurriedly ceased their contests, and prepared their meal and
earth-strewn beds, whereon after supper they slept through the night as

(ll. 885-921) Now when dawn the light-bringer was touching the edge of
heaven, then at the coming of the swift west wind they went to their
thwarts from the land; and gladly did they draw up the anchors from
the deep and made the tackling ready in due order; and above spread the
sail, stretching it taut with the sheets from the yard-arm. And a fresh
breeze wafted the ship on. And soon they saw a fair island, Anthemoessa,
where the clear-voiced Sirens, daughters of Achelous, used to beguile
with their sweet songs whoever cast anchor there, and then destroy him.
Them lovely Terpsichore, one of the Muses, bare, united with Achelous;
and once they tended Demeter's noble daughter still unwed, and sang to
her in chorus; and at that time they were fashioned in part like birds
and in part like maidens to behold. And ever on the watch from their
place of prospect with its fair haven, often from many had they taken
away their sweet return, consuming them with wasting desire; and
suddenly to the heroes, too, they sent forth from their lips a lily-like
voice. And they were already about to cast from the ship the hawsers to
the shore, had not Thracian Orpheus, son of Oeagrus, stringing in his
hands his Bistonian lyre, rung forth the hasty snatch of a rippling
melody so that their ears might be filled with the sound of his
twanging; and the lyre overcame the maidens' voice. And the west wind
and the sounding wave rushing astern bore the ship on; and the Sirens
kept uttering their ceaseless song. But even so the goodly son of Teleon
alone of the comrades leapt before them all from the polished bench into
the sea, even Butes, his soul melted by the clear ringing voice of the
Sirens; and he swam through the dark surge to mount the beach, poor
wretch. Quickly would they have robbed him of his return then and there,
but the goddess that rules Eryx, Cypris, in pity snatched him away,
while yet in the eddies, and graciously meeting him saved him to dwell
on the Lilybean height. And the heroes, seized by anguish, left the
Sirens, but other perils still worse, destructive to ships, awaited them
in the meeting-place of the seas.

(ll. 922-981) For on one side appeared the smooth rock of Scylla; on
the other Charybdis ceaselessly spouted and roared; in another part the
Wandering rocks were booming beneath the mighty surge, where before the
burning flame spurted forth from the top of the crags, above the rock
glowing with fire, and the air was misty with smoke, nor could you have
seen the sun's light. Then, though Hephaestus had ceased from his toils,
the sea was still sending up a warm vapour. Hereupon on this side and on
that the daughters of Nereus met them; and behind, lady Thetis set her
hand to the rudder-blade, to guide them amid the Wandering rocks. And as
when in fair weather herds of dolphins come up from the depths and
sport in circles round a ship as it speeds along, now seen in front, now
behind, now again at the side and delight comes to the sailors; so the
Nereids darted upward and circled in their ranks round the ship Argo,
while Thetis guided its course. And when they were about to touch the
Wandering rocks, straightway they raised the edge of their garments over
their snow-white knees, and aloft, on the very rocks and where the
waves broke, they hurried along on this side and on that apart from one
another. And the ship was raised aloft as the current smote her, and all
around the furious wave mounting up broke over the rocks, which at
one time touched the sky like towering crags, at another, down in the
depths, were fixed fast at the bottom of the sea and the fierce waves
poured over them in floods. And the Nereids, even as maidens near some
sandy beach roll their garments up to their waists out of their way and
sport with a shapely-rounded ball; then they catch it one from another
and send it high into the air; and it never touches the ground; so they
in turn one from another sent the ship through the air over the waves,
as it sped on ever away from the rocks; and round them the water spouted
and foamed. And lord Hephaestus himself standing on the summit of a
smooth rock and resting his massy shoulder on the handle of his hammer,
beheld them, and the spouse of Zeus beheld them as she stood above the
gleaming heaven; and she threw her arms round Athena, such fear seized
her as she gazed. And as long as the space of a day is lengthened out in
springtime, so long a time did they toil, heaving the ship between
the loud-echoing rocks; then again the heroes caught the wind and sped
onward; and swiftly they passed the mead of Thrinacia, where the kine of
Helios fed. There the nymphs, like sea-mews, plunged beneath the depths,
when they had fulfilled the behests of the spouse of Zeus. And at the
same time the bleating of sheep came to the heroes through the mist and
the lowing of kine, near at hand, smote their ears. And over the dewy
leas Phaethusa, the youngest of the daughters of Helios, tended the
sheep, bearing in her hand a silver crook; while Lampetia, herding the
kine, wielded a staff of glowing orichalcum [1408] as she followed.
These kine the heroes saw feeding by the river's stream, over the plain
and the water-meadow; not one of them was dark in hue but all were white
as milk and glorying in their horns of gold. So they passed them by
in the day-time, and when night came on they were cleaving a great
sea-gulf, rejoicing, until again early rising dawn threw light upon
their course.

(ll. 982-1013) Fronting the Ionian gulf there lies an island in the
Ceraunian sea, rich in soil, with a harbour on both sides, beneath which
lies the sickle, as legend saith--grant me grace, O Muses, not willingly
do I tell this tale of olden days--wherewith Cronos pitilessly mutilated
his father; but others call it the reaping-hook of Demeter, goddess of
the nether world. For Demeter once dwelt in that island, and taught the
Titans to reap the ears of corn, all for the love of Macris. Whence it
is called Drepane, [1409] the sacred nurse of the Phaeacians; and thus
the Phaeacians themselves are by birth of the blood of Uranus. To
them came Argo, held fast by many toils, borne by the breezes from the
Thrinacian sea; and Alcinous and his people with kindly sacrifice gladly
welcomed their coming; and over them all the city made merry; thou
wouldst say they were rejoicing over their own sons. And the heroes
themselves strode in gladness through the throng, even as though they
had set foot in the heart of Haemonia; but soon were they to arm and
raise the battle-cry; so near to them appeared a boundless host of
Colchians, who had passed through the mouth of Pontus and between the
Cyanean rocks in search of the chieftains. They desired forthwith to
carry off Medea to her father's house apart from the rest, or else they
threatened with fierce cruelty to raise the dread war-cry both then and
thereafter on the coming of Aeetes. But lordly Alcinous checked them
amid their eagerness for war. For he longed to allay the lawless strife
between both sides without the clash of battle. And the maiden in deadly
fear often implored the comrades of Aeson's son, and often with her
hands touched the knees of Arete, the bride of Aleinous:

(ll. 1014-1028) "I beseech thee, O queen, be gracious and deliver me not
to the Colchians to be borne to my father, if thou thyself too art one
of the race of mortals, whose heart rushes swiftly to ruin from light
transgressions. For my firm sense forsook me--it was not for wantonness.
Be witness the sacred light of Helios, be witness the rites of the
maiden that wanders by night, daughter of Perses. Not willingly did
I haste from my home with men of an alien race; but a horrible fear
wrought on me to bethink me of flight when I sinned; other device was
there none. Still my maiden's girdle remains, as in the halls of my
father, unstained, untouched. Pity me, lady, and turn thy lord to mercy;
and may the immortals grant thee a perfect life, and joy, and children,
and the glory of a city unravaged!"

(ll. 1029-1030) Thus did she implore Arete, shedding tears, and thus
each of the chieftains in turn:

(ll. 1031-1052) "On your account, ye men of peerless might, and on
account of my toils in your ventures am I sorely afflicted; even I,
by whose help ye yoked the bulls, and reaped the deadly harvest of the
earthborn men; even I, through whom on your homeward path ye shall bear
to Haemonia the golden fleece. Lo, here am I, who have lost my country
and my parents, who have lost my home and all the delights of life; to
you have I restored your country and your homes; with eyes of gladness
ye will see again your parents; but from me a heavy-handed god has
raft all joy; and with strangers I wander, an accursed thing. Fear your
covenant and your oaths, fear the Fury that avenges suppliants and the
retribution of heaven, if I fall into Aeetes' hands and am slain with
grievous outrage. To no shrines, no tower of defence, no other refuge
do I pay heed, but only to you. Hard and pitiless in your cruelty!
No reverence have ye for me in your heart though ye see me helpless,
stretching my hands towards the knees of a stranger queen; yet, when ye
longed to seize the fleece, ye would have met all the Colchians face to
thee and haughty Aeetes himself; but now ye have forgotten your courage,
now that they are all alone and cut off."

(ll. 1053-1067) Thus she spake, beseeching; and to whomsoever she bowed
in prayer, that man tried to give her heart and to check her anguish.
And in their hands they shook their sharp pointed spears, and drew the
swords from their sheaths; and they swore they would not hold back from
giving succour, if she should meet with an unrighteous judgement. And
the host were all wearied and Night came on them, Night that puts to
rest the works of men, and lulled all the earth to sleep; but to the
maid no sleep brought rest, but in her bosom her heart was wrung with
anguish. Even as when a toiling woman turns her spindle through the
night, and round her moan her orphan children, for she is a widow, and
down her cheeks fall the tears, as she bethinks her how dreary a lot
hath seized her; so Medea's cheeks were wet; and her heart within her
was in agony, pierced with sharp pain.

(ll. 1068-1072) Now within the palace in the city, as aforetime, lay
lordly Alcinous and Arete, the revered wife of Alcinous, and on their
couch through the night they were devising plans about the maiden; and
him, as her wedded husband, the wife addressed with loving words:

(ll. 1073-1095) "Yea, my friend, come, save the woe-stricken maid from
the Colchians and show grace to the Minyae. Argos is near our isle
and the men of Haemonia; but Aeetes dwells not near, nor do we know
of Aeetes one whit: we hear but his name; but this maiden of dread
suffering hath broken my heart by her prayers. O king, give her not
up to the Colchians to be borne back to her father's home. She was
distraught when first she gave him the drugs to charm the oxen; and
next, to cure one ill by another, as in our sinning we do often, she
fled from her haughty sire's heavy wrath. But Jason, as I hear, is bound
to her by mighty oaths that he will make her his wedded wife within his
halls. Wherefore, my friend, make not, of thy will, Aeson's son to be
forsworn, nor let the father, if thou canst help, work with angry heart
some intolerable mischief on his child. For fathers are all too jealous
against their children; what wrong did Nycteus devise against Antiope,
fair of face! What woes did Danae endure on the wide sea through her
sire's mad rage! Of late, and not far away, Echetus in wanton cruelty
thrust spikes of bronze in his daughter's eyes; and by a grievous fate
is she wasting away, grinding grains of bronze in a dungeon's gloom."

(ll. 1096-1097) Thus she spake, beseeching; and by his wife's words his
heart was softened, and thus he spake:

(ll. 1098-1109) "Arete, with arms I could drive forth the Colchians,
showing grace to the heroes for the maiden's sake. But I fear to set at
nought the righteous judgment of Zeus. Nor is it well to take no thought
of Aeetes, as thou sayest: for none is more lordly than Aeetes. And,
if he willed, he might bring war upon Hellas, though he dwell afar.
Wherefore it is right for me to deliver the judgement that in all men's
eyes shall be best; and I will not hide it from thee. If she be yet a
maid I decree that they carry her back to her father; but if she shares
a husband's bed, I will not separate her from her lord; nor, if she bear
a child beneath her breast, will I give it up to an enemy."

(ll. 1110-1120) Thus he spake, and at once sleep laid him to rest. And
she stored up in her heart the word of wisdom, and straightway rose from
her couch and went through the palace; and her handmaids came hasting
together, eagerly tending their mistress. But quietly she summoned her
herald and addressed him, in her prudence urging Aeson's son to wed
the maiden, and not to implore Alcinous; for he himself, she said, will
decree to the Colchians that if she is still a maid he will deliver her
up to be borne to her father's house, but that if she shares a husband's
bed he will not sever her from wedded love.

(ll. 1121-1127) Thus she spake, and quickly from the hall his feet bore
him, that he might declare to Jason the fair-omened speech of Arete and
the counsel of godfearing Alcinous. And he found the heroes watching in
full armour in the haven of Hyllus, near the city; and out he spake
the whole message; and each hero's heart rejoiced; for the word that he
spake was welcome.

(ll. 1128-1169) And straightway they mingled a bowl to the blessed ones,
as is right, and reverently led sheep to the altar, and for that very
night prepared for the maiden the bridal couch in the sacred cave,
where once dwelt Macris, the daughter of Aristaeus, lord of honey, who
discovered the works of bees and the fatness of the olive, the fruit of
labour. She it was that first received in her bosom the Nysean son of
Zeus in Abantian Euboea, and with honey moistened his parched lips when
Hermes bore him out of the flame. And Hera beheld it, and in wrath drove
her from the whole island. And she accordingly came to dwell far off, in
the sacred cave of the Phaeacians, and granted boundless wealth to the
inhabitants. There at that time did they spread a mighty couch; and
thereon they laid the glittering fleece of gold, that so the marriage
might be made honoured and the theme of song. And for them nymphs
gathered flowers of varied hue and bore them thither in their white
bosoms; and a splendour as of flame played round them all, such a light
gleamed from the golden tufts. And in their eyes it kindled a sweet
longing; yet for all her desire, awe withheld each one from laying her
hand thereon. Some were called daughters of the river Aegaeus; others
dwelt round the crests of the Meliteian mount; and others were woodland
nymphs from the plains. For Hera herself, the spouse of Zeus, had sent
them to do honour to Jason. That cave is to this day called the sacred
cave of Medea, where they spread the fine and fragrant linen and brought
these two together. And the heroes in their hands wielded their spears
for war, lest first a host of foes should burst upon them for battle
unawares, and, their heads enwreathed with leafy sprays, all in harmony,
while Orpheus' harp rang clear, sang the marriage song at the entrance
to the bridal chamber. Yet not in the house of Alcinous was the hero,
Aeson's son, minded to complete his marriage, but in his father's hall
when he had returned home to Ioleus; and such was the mind of Medea
herself; but necessity led them to wed at this time. For never in truth
do we tribes of woe-stricken mortals tread the path of delight with
sure foot; but still some bitter affliction keeps pace with our joy.
Wherefore they too, though their souls were melted with sweet love, were
held by fear, whether the sentence of Alcinous would be fulfilled.

(ll. 1170-1227) Now dawn returning with her beams divine scattered the
gloomy night through the sky; and the island beaches laughed out and the
paths over the plains far off, drenched with dew, and there was a din in
the streets; the people were astir throughout the city, and far away
the Colchians were astir at the bounds of the isle of Macris. And
straightway to them went Alcinous, by reason of his covenant, to declare
his purpose concerning the maiden, and in his hand he held a golden
staff, his staff of justice, whereby the people had righteous judgments
meted out to them throughout the city. And with him in order due and
arrayed in their harness of war went marching, band by band, the chiefs
of the Phaeacians. And from the towers came forth the women in crowds to
gaze upon the heroes; and the country folk came to meet them when they
heard the news, for Hera had sent forth a true report. And one led the
chosen ram of his flock, and another a heifer that had never toiled; and
others set hard by jars of wine for mixing; and the smoke of sacrifice
leapt up far away. And women bore fine linen, the fruit of much toil, as
women will, and gifts of gold and varied ornaments as well, such as are
brought to newly-wedded brides; and they marvelled when they saw the
shapely forms and beauty of the gallant heroes, and among them the son
of Oeagrus, oft beating the ground with gleaming sandal, to the time of
his loud-ringing lyre and song. And all the nymphs together, whenever
he recalled the marriage, uplifted the lovely bridal-chant; and at times
again they sang alone as they circled in the dance, Hera, in thy honour;
for it was thou that didst put it into the heart of Arete to proclaim
the wise word of Alcinous. And as soon as he had uttered the decree of
his righteous judgement, and the completion of the marriage had been
proclaimed, he took care that thus it should abide fixed; and no deadly
fear touched him nor Aeetes' grievous wrath, but he kept his judgement
fast bound by unbroken oaths. So when the Colchians learnt that they
were beseeching in vain and he bade them either observe his judgements
or hold their ships away from his harbours and land, then they began
to dread the threats of their own king and besought Alcinous to receive
them as comrades; and there in the island long time they dwelt with the
Phaeacians, until in the course of years, the Bacchiadae, a race sprung
from Ephyra, [1410] settled among them; and the Colchians passed to an
island opposite; and thence they were destined to reach the Ceraunian
hills of the Abantes, and the Nestaeans and Oricum; but all this was
fulfilled after long ages had passed. And still the altars which Medea
built on the spot sacred to Apollo, god of shepherds, receive yearly
sacrifices in honour of the Fates and the Nymphs. And when the Minyae
departed many gifts of friendship did Alcinous bestow, and many Arete;
moreover she gave Medea twelve Phaeacian handmaids from the palace, to
bear her company. And on the seventh day they left Drepane; and at dawn
came a fresh breeze from Zeus. And onward they sped borne along by the
wind's breath. Howbeit not yet was it ordained for the heroes to set
foot on Achaea, until they had toiled even in the furthest bounds of

(ll. 1228-1250) Now had they left behind the gulf named after the
Ambracians, now with sails wide spread the land of the Curetes, and next
in order the narrow islands with the Echinades, and the land of Pelops
was just descried; even then a baleful blast of the north wind seized
them in mid-course and swept them towards the Libyan sea nine nights and
as many days, until they came far within Syrtis, wherefrom is no return
for ships, when they are once forced into that gulf. For on every hand
are shoals, on every hand masses of seaweed from the depths; and over
them the light foam of the wave washes without noise; and there is a
stretch of sand to the dim horizon; and there moveth nothing that creeps
or flies. Here accordingly the flood-tide--for this tide often retreats
from the land and bursts back again over the beach coming on with a rush
and roar--thrust them suddenly on to the innermost shore, and but little
of the keel was left in the water. And they leapt forth from the ship,
and sorrow seized them when they gazed on the mist and the levels of
vast land stretching far like a mist and continuous into the distance;
no spot for water, no path, no steading of herdsmen did they descry afar
off, but all the scene was possessed by a dead calm. And thus did one
hero, vexed in spirit, ask another:

(ll. 1251-1258) "What land is this? Whither has the tempest hurled us?
Would that, reckless of deadly fear, we had dared to rush on by that
same path between the clashing rocks! Better were it to have overleapt
the will of Zeus and perished in venturing some mighty deed. But now
what should we do, held back by the winds to stay here, if ever so short
a time? How desolate looms before us the edge of the limitless land!"

(ll. 1259-1276) Thus one spake; and among them Ancaeus the helmsman, in
despair at their evil case, spoke with grieving heart: "Verily we are
undone by a terrible doom; there is no escape from ruin; we must suffer
the cruellest woes, having fallen on this desolation, even though
breezes should blow from the land; for, as I gaze far around, on every
side do I behold a sea of shoals, and masses of water, fretted line upon
line, run over the hoary sand. And miserably long ago would our sacred
ship have been shattered far from the shore; but the tide itself bore
her high on to the land from the deep sea. But now the tide rushes back
to the sea, and only the foam, whereon no ship can sail, rolls round us,
just covering the land. Wherefore I deem that all hope of our voyage and
of our return is cut off. Let someone else show his skill; let him sit
at the helm the man that is eager for our deliverance. But Zeus has no
will to fulfil our day of return after all our toils."

(ll. 1277-1317) Thus he spake with tears, and all of them that had
knowledge of ships agreed thereto; but the hearts of all grew numb, and
pallor overspread their cheeks. And as, like lifeless spectres, men
roam through a city awaiting the issue of war or of pestilence, or some
mighty storm which overwhelms the countless labours of oxen, when the
images of their own accord sweat and run down with blood, and bellowings
are heard in temples, or when at mid-day the sun draws on night from
heaven, and the stars shine clear through the mist; so at that time
along the endless strand the chieftains wandered, groping their way.
Then straightway dark evening came upon them; and piteously did they
embrace each other and say farewell with tears, that they might, each
one apart from his fellow, fall on the sand and die. And this way and
that they went further to choose a resting-place; and they wrapped their
heads in their cloaks and, fasting and unfed, lay down all that night
and the day, awaiting a piteous death. But apart the maidens huddled
together lamented beside the daughter of Aeetes. And as when, forsaken
by their mother, unfledged birds that have fallen from a cleft in the
rock chirp shrilly; or when by the banks of fair-flowing Pactolus, swans
raise their song, and all around the dewy meadow echoes and the river's
fair stream; so these maidens, laying in the dust their golden hair, all
through the night wailed their piteous lament. And there all would have
parted from life without a name and unknown to mortal men, those bravest
of heroes, with their task unfulfilled; but as they pined in despair,
the heroine-nymphs, warders of Libya, had pity on them, they who once
found Athena, what time she leapt in gleaming armour from her father's
head, and bathed her by Trito's waters. It was noon-tide and the
fiercest rays of the sun were scorching Libya; they stood near Aeson's
son, and lightly drew the cloak from his head. And the hero cast down
his eyes and looked aside, in reverence for the goddesses, and as he lay
bewildered all alone they addressed him openly with gentle words:

(ll. 1318-1329) "Ill-starred one, why art thou so smitten with despair?
We know how ye went in quest of the golden fleece; we know each toil of
yours, all the mighty deeds ye wrought in your wanderings over land
and sea. We are the solitary ones, goddesses of the land, speaking with
human voice, the heroines, Libya's warders and daughters. Up then;
be not thus afflicted in thy misery, and rouse thy comrades. And when
Amphitrite has straightway loosed Poseidon's swift-wheeled car, then do
ye pay to your mother a recompense for all her travail when she bare you
so long in her womb; and so ye may return to the divine land of Achaea."

(ll. 1330-1332) Thus they spake, and with the voice vanished at once,
where they stood. But Jason sat upon the earth as he gazed around, and
thus cried:

(ll. 1333-1336) "Be gracious, noble goddesses of the desert, yet the
saying about our return I understand not clearly. Surely I will gather
together my comrades and tell them, if haply we can find some token of
our escape, for the counsel of many is better."

(ll. 1337-1346) He spake, and leapt to his feet, and shouted afar to his
comrades, all squalid with dust, like a lion when he roars through
the woodland seeking his mate; and far off in the mountains the glens
tremble at the thunder of his voice; and the oxen of the field and
the herdsmen shudder with fear; yet to them Jason's voice was no whit
terrible the voice of a comrade calling to his friends. And with looks
downcast they gathered near, and hard by where the ship lay he made them
sit down in their grief and the women with them, and addressed them and
told them everything:

(ll. 1347-1362) "Listen, friends; as I lay in my grief, three goddesses
girded with goat-skins from the neck downwards round the back and waist,
like maidens, stood over my head nigh at hand; and they uncovered me,
drawing my cloak away with light hand, and they bade me rise up myself
and go and rouse you, and pay to our mother a bounteous recompense for
all her travail when she bare us so long in her womb, when Amphitrite
shall have loosed Poseidon's swift-wheeled car. But I cannot fully
understand concerning this divine message. They said indeed that they
were heroines, Libya's warders and daughters; and all the toils that
we endured aforetime by land and sea, all these they declared that they
knew full well. Then I saw them no more in their place, but a mist or
cloud came between and hid them from my sight."

(ll. 1363-1369) Thus he spake, and all marvelled as they heard. Then was
wrought for the Minyae the strangest of portents. From the sea to the
land leapt forth a monstrous horse, of vast size, with golden mane
tossing round his neck; and quickly from his limbs he shook off abundant
spray and started on his course, with feet like the wind. And at once
Peleus rejoiced and spake among the throng of his comrades:

(ll. 1370-1379) "I deem that Poseidon's ear has even now been loosed by
the hands of his dear wife, and I divine that our mother is none else
than our ship herself; for surely she bare us in her womb and groans
unceasingly with grievous travailing. But with unshaken strength and
untiring shoulders will we lift her up and bear her within this country
of sandy wastes, where yon swift-footed steed has sped before. For he
will not plunge beneath the earth; and his hoof-prints, I ween, will
point us to some bay above the sea."

(ll. 1380-1392) Thus he spake, and the fit counsel pleased all. This is
the tale the Muses told; and I sing obedient to the Pierides, and this
report have I heard most truly; that ye, O mightiest far of the sons
of kings, by your might and your valour over the desert sands of Libya
raised high aloft on your shoulders the ship and all that ye brought
therein, and bare her twelve days and nights alike. Yet who could tell
the pain and grief which they endured in that toil? Surely they were
of the blood of the immortals, such a task did they take on them,
constrained by necessity. How forward and how far they bore her gladly
to the waters of the Tritonian lake! How they strode in and set her down
from their stalwart shoulders!

(ll. 1393-1421) Then, like raging hounds, they rushed to search for a
spring; for besides their suffering and anguish, a parching thirst lay
upon them, and not in vain did they wander; but they came to the sacred
plain where Ladon, the serpent of the land, till yesterday kept watch
over the golden apples in the garden of Atlas; and all around the
nymphs, the Hesperides, were busied, chanting their lovely song. But
at that time, stricken by Heracles, he lay fallen by the trunk of the
apple-tree; only the tip of his tail was still writhing; but from his
head down his dark spine he lay lifeless; and where the arrows had left
in his blood the bitter gall of the Lernaean hydra, flies withered and
died over the festering wounds. And close at hand the Hesperides, their
white arms flung over their golden heads, lamented shrilly; and the
heroes drew near suddenly; but the maidens, at their quick approach, at
once became dust and earth where they stood. Orpheus marked the divine
portent, and for his comrades addressed them in prayer: "O divine ones,
fair and kind, be gracious, O queens, whether ye be numbered among
the heavenly goddesses, or those beneath the earth, or be called the
Solitary nymphs; come, O nymphs, sacred race of Oceanus, appear manifest
to our longing eyes and show us some spring of water from the rock or
some sacred flow gushing from the earth, goddesses, wherewith we may
quench the thirst that burns us unceasingly. And if ever again we return
in our voyaging to the Achaean land, then to you among the first of
goddesses with willing hearts will we bring countless gifts, libations
and banquets."

(ll. 1422-1431) So he spake, beseeching them with plaintive voice; and
they from their station near pitied their pain; and lo! First of all
they caused grass to spring from the earth; and above the grass rose
up tall shoots, and then flourishing saplings grew standing upright far
above the earth. Hespere became a poplar and Eretheis an elm, and Aegle
a willow's sacred trunk. And forth from these trees their forms looked
out, as clear as they were before, a marvel exceeding great, and Aegle
spake with gentle words answering their longing looks:

(ll. 1432-1449) "Surely there has come hither a mighty succour to your
toils, that most accursed man, who robbed our guardian serpent of life
and plucked the golden apples of the goddesses and is gone; and has
left bitter grief for us. For yesterday came a man most fell in wanton
violence, most grim in form; and his eyes flashed beneath his scowling
brow; a ruthless wretch; and he was clad in the skin of a monstrous lion
of raw hide, untanned; and he bare a sturdy bow of olive, and a bow,
wherewith he shot and killed this monster here. So he too came, as one
traversing the land on foot, parched with thirst; and he rushed wildly
through this spot, searching for water, but nowhere was he like to
see it. Now here stood a rock near the Tritonian lake; and of his own
device, or by the prompting of some god, he smote it below with his
foot; and the water gushed out in full flow. And he, leaning both his
hands and chest upon the ground, drank a huge draught from the rifted
rock, until, stooping like a beast of the field, he had satisfied his
mighty maw."

(ll. 1450-1457) Thus she spake; and they gladly with joyful steps ran
to the spot where Aegle had pointed out to them the spring, until they
reached it. And as when earth-burrowing ants gather in swarms round a
narrow cleft, or when flies lighting upon a tiny drop of sweet honey
cluster round with insatiate eagerness; so at that time, huddled
together, the Minyae thronged about the spring from the rock. And thus
with wet lips one cried to another in his delight:

(ll. 1458-1460) "Strange! In very truth Heracles, though far away, has
saved his comrades, fordone with thirst. Would that we might find him on
his way as we pass through the mainland!"

(ll. 1461-1484) So they spake, and those who were ready for this work
answered, and they separated this way and that, each starting to search.
For by the night winds the footsteps had been effaced where the sand was
stirred. The two sons of Boreas started up, trusting in their wings;
and Euphemus, relying on his swift feet, and Lynceus to cast far his
piercing eyes; and with them darted off Canthus, the fifth. He was urged
on by the doom of the gods and his own courage, that he might learn for
certain from Heracles where he had left Polyphemus, son of Eilatus; for
he was minded to question him on every point concerning his comrade. But
that hero had founded a glorious city among the Mysians, and, yearning
for his home-return, had passed far over the mainland in search of Argo;
and in time he reached the land of the Chalybes, who dwell near the sea;
there it was that his fate subdued him. And to him a monument stands
under a tall poplar, just facing the sea. But that day Lynceus thought
he saw Heracles all alone, far off, over measureless land, as a man at
the month's beginning sees, or thinks he sees, the moon through a bank
of cloud. And he returned and told his comrades that no other
searcher would find Heracles on his way, and they also came back, and
swift-footed Euphemus and the twin sons of Thracian Boreas, after a vain

(ll. 1485-1501) But thee, Canthus, the fates of death seized in Libya.
On pasturing flocks didst thou light; and there followed a shepherd who,
in defence of his own sheep, while thou weft leading them off [1411] to
thy comrades in their need, slew thee by the cast of a stone; for he was
no weakling, Caphaurus, the grandson of Lycoreian Phoebus and the chaste
maiden Acacallis, whom once Minos drove from home to dwell in Libya, his
own daughter, when she was bearing the gods' heavy load; and she bare
to Phoebus a glorious son, whom they call Amphithemis and Garamas. And
Amphithemis wedded a Tritonian nymph; and she bare to him Nasamon and
strong Caphaurus, who on that day in defending his sheep slew Canthus.
But he escaped not the chieftains' avenging hands, when they learned the
deed he had done. And the Minyae, when they knew it, afterwards took up
the corpse and buried it in the earth, mourning; and the sheep they took
with them.

(ll. 1502-1536) Thereupon on the same day a pitiless fate seized
Mopsus too, son of Ampycus; and he escaped not a bitter doom by his
prophesying; for there is no averting of death. Now there lay in the
sand, avoiding the midday heat, a dread serpent, too sluggish of his own
will to strike at an unwilling foe, nor yet would he dart full face at
one that would shrink back. But into whatever of all living beings that
life-giving earth sustains that serpent once injects his black venom,
his path to Hades becomes not so much as a cubit's length, not even if
Paeeon, if it is right for me to say this openly, should tend him, when
its teeth have only grazed the skin. For when over Libya flew godlike
Perseus Eurymedon for by that name his mother called him--bearing to the
king the Gorgon's head newly severed, all the drops of dark blood
that fell to the earth, produced a brood of those serpents. Now Mopsus
stepped on the end of its spine, setting thereon the sole of his left
foot; and it writhed round in pain and bit and tore the flesh between
the shin and the muscles. And Medea and her handmaids fled in terror;
but Canthus bravely felt the bleeding wound; for no excessive pain
harassed him. Poor wretch! Already a numbness that loosed his limbs was
stealing beneath his skin, and a thick mist was spreading over his eyes.
Straightway his heavy limbs sank helplessly to the ground and he grew
cold; and his comrades and the hero, Aeson's son, gathered round,
marvelling at the close-coming doom. Nor yet though dead might he lie
beneath the sun even for a little space. For at once the poison began to
rot his flesh within, and the hair decayed and fell from the skin. And
quickly and in haste they dug a deep grave with mattocks of bronze; and
they tore their hair, the heroes and the maidens, bewailing the dead
man's piteous suffering; and when he had received due burial rites,
thrice they marched round the tomb in full armour, and heaped above him
a mound of earth.

(ll. 1537-1553) But when they had gone aboard, as the south wind blew
over the sea, and they were searching for a passage to go forth from the
Tritonian lake, for long they had no device, but all the day were borne
on aimlessly. And as a serpent goes writhing along his crooked path when
the sun's fiercest rays scorch him; and with a hiss he turns his head to
this side and that, and in his fury his eyes glow like sparks of fire,
until he creeps to his lair through a cleft in the rock; so Argo seeking
an outlet from the lake, a fairway for ships, wandered for a long time.
Then straightway Orpheus bade them bring forth from the ship Apollo's
massy tripod and offer it to the gods of the land as propitiation for
their return. So they went forth and set Apollo's gift on the shore;
then before them stood, in the form of a youth, farswaying Triton, and
he lifted a clod from the earth and offered it as a stranger's gift, and
thus spake:

(ll. 1554-1561) "Take it, friends, for no stranger's gift of great worth
have I here by me now to place in the hands of those who beseech me. But
if ye are searching for a passage through this sea, as often is the need
of men passing through a strange land, I will declare it. For my sire
Poseidon has made me to be well versed in this sea. And I rule the shore
if haply in your distant land you have ever heard of Eurypylus, born in
Libya, the home of wild beasts."

(ll. 1562-1563) Thus he spake, and readily Euphemus held out his hands
towards the clod, and thus addressed him in reply:

(ll. 1564-1570) "If haply, hero, thou knowest aught of Apis [1412] and
the sea of Minos, tell us truly, who ask it of you. For not of our will
have we come hither, but by the stress of heavy storms have we touched
the borders of this land, and have borne our ship aloft on our shoulders
to the waters of this lake over the mainland, grievously burdened; and
we know not where a passage shows itself for our course to the land of

(ll. 1571-1585) So he spake; and Triton stretched out his hand and
showed afar the sea and the lake's deep mouth, and then addressed them:
"That is the outlet to the sea, where the deep water lies unmoved and
dark; on each side roll white breakers with shining crests; and the way
between for your passage out is narrow. And that sea stretches away in
mist to the divine land of Pelops beyond Crete; but hold to the right,
when ye have entered the swell of the sea from the lake, and steer your
course hugging the land, as long as it trends to the north; but when the
coast bends, falling away in the other direction, then your course is
safely laid for you if ye go straight forward from the projecting cape.
But go in joy, and as for labour let there be no grieving that limbs in
youthful vigour should still toil."

(ll. 1586-1596) He spake with kindly counsel; and they at once went
aboard, intent to come forth from the lake by the use of oars. And
eagerly they sped on; meanwhile Triton took up the mighty tripod, and
they saw him enter the lake; but thereafter did no one mark how he
vanished so near them along with the tripod. But their hearts were
cheered, for that one of the blessed had met them in friendly guise. And
they bade Aeson's son offer to him the choicest of the sheep and when he
had slain it chant the hymn of praise. And straightway he chose in haste
and raising the victim slew it over the stern, and prayed with these

(ll. 1597-1600) "Thou god, who hast manifested thyself on the borders of
this land, whether the daughters born of the sea call thee Triton, the
great sea-marvel, or Phoreys, or Nereus, be gracious, and grant the
return home dear to our hearts."

(ll. 1601-1637) He spake, and cut the victim's throat over the water and
cast it from the stern. And the god rose up from the depths in form such
as he really was. And as when a man trains a swift steed for the broad
race-course, and runs along, grasping the bushy mane, while the steed
follows obeying his master, and rears his neck aloft in his pride, and
the gleaming bit rings loud as he champs it in his jaws from side to
side; so the god, seizing hollow Argo's keel, guided her onward to the
sea. And his body, from the crown of his head, round his back and waist
as far as the belly, was wondrously like that of the blessed ones in
form; but below his sides the tail of a sea monster lengthened far,
forking to this side and that; and he smote the surface of the waves
with the spines, which below parted into curving fins, like the horns
of the new moon. And he guided Argo on until he sped her into the sea on
her course; and quickly he plunged into the vast abyss; and the heroes
shouted when they gazed with their eyes on that dread portent. There is
the harbour of Argo and there are the signs of her stay, and altars to
Poseidon and Triton; for during that day they tarried. But at dawn with
sails outspread they sped on before the breath of the west wind, keeping
the desert land on their right. And on the next morn they saw the
headland and the recess of the sea, bending inward beyond the jutting
headland. And straightway the west wind ceased, and there came the
breeze of the clear south wind; and their hearts rejoiced at the sound
it made. But when the sun sank and the star returned that bids the
shepherd fold, which brings rest to wearied ploughmen, at that time the
wind died down in the dark night; so they furled the sails and lowered
the tall mast and vigorously plied their polished oars all night and
through the day, and again when the next night came on. And rugged
Carpathus far away welcomed them; and thence they were to cross to
Crete, which rises in the sea above other islands.

(ll. 1638-1653) And Talos, the man of bronze, as he broke off rocks from
the hard cliff, stayed them from fastening hawsers to the shore, when
they came to the roadstead of Dicte's haven. He was of the stock of
bronze, of the men sprung from ash-trees, the last left among the sons
of the gods; and the son of Cronos gave him to Europa to be the warder
of Crete and to stride round the island thrice a day with his feet of
bronze. Now in all the rest of his body and limbs was he fashioned
of bronze and invulnerable; but beneath the sinew by his ankle was a
blood-red vein; and this, with its issues of life and death, was covered
by a thin skin. So the heroes, though outworn with toil, quickly backed
their ship from the land in sore dismay. And now far from Crete would
they have been borne in wretched plight, distressed both by thirst and
pain, had not Medea addressed them as they turned away:

(ll. 1654-1658) "Hearken to me. For I deem that I alone can subdue
for you that man, whoever he be, even though his frame be of bronze
throughout, unless his life too is everlasting. But be ready to keep
your ship here beyond the cast of his stones, till he yield the victory
to me."

(ll. 1659-1672) Thus she spake; and they drew the ship out of range,
resting on their oars, waiting to see what plan unlooked for she would
bring to pass; and she, holding the fold of her purple robe over her
cheeks on each side, mounted on the deck; and Aeson's son took her hand
in his and guided her way along the thwarts. And with songs did she
propitiate and invoke the Death-spirits, devourers of life, the swift
hounds of Hades, who, hovering through all the air, swoop down on the
living. Kneeling in supplication, thrice she called on them with songs,
and thrice with prayers; and, shaping her soul to mischief, with her
hostile glance she bewitched the eyes of Talos, the man of bronze; and
her teeth gnashed bitter wrath against him, and she sent forth baneful
phantoms in the frenzy of her rage.

(ll. 1673-1693) Father Zeus, surely great wonder rises in my mind,
seeing that dire destruction meets us not from disease and wounds alone,
but lo! even from afar, may be, it tortures us! So Talos, for all
his frame of bronze, yielded the victory to the might of Medea the
sorceress. And as he was heaving massy rocks to stay them from reaching
the haven, he grazed his ankle on a pointed crag; and the ichor gushed
forth like melted lead; and not long thereafter did he stand towering on
the jutting cliff. But even as some huge pine, high up on the mountains,
which woodmen have left half hewn through by their sharp axes when they
returned from the forest--at first it shivers in the wind by night, then
at last snaps at the stump and crashes down; so Talos for a while
stood on his tireless feet, swaying to and fro, when at last, all
strengthless, fell with a mighty thud. For that night there in Crete the
heroes lay; then, just as dawn was growing bright, they built a shrine
to Minoan Athena, and drew water and went aboard, so that first of all
they might by rowing pass beyond Salmone's height.

(ll. 1694-1730) But straightway as they sped over the wide Cretan sea
night scared them, that night which they name the Pall of Darkness; the
stars pierced not that fatal night nor the beams of the moon, but black
chaos descended from heaven, or haply some other darkness came, rising
from the nethermost depths. And the heroes, whether they drifted in
Hades or on the waters, knew not one whit; but they committed their
return to the sea in helpless doubt whither it was bearing them. But
Jason raised his hands and cried to Phoebus with mighty voice, calling
on him to save them; and the tears ran down in his distress; and often
did he promise to bring countless offerings to Pytho, to Amyclae, and to
Ortygia. And quickly, O son of Leto, swift to hear, didst thou come down
from heaven to the Melantian rocks, which lie there in the sea. Then
darting upon one of the twin peaks, thou raisedst aloft in thy right
hand thy golden bow; and the bow flashed a dazzling gleam all round. And
to their sight appeared a small island of the Sporades, over against
the tiny isle Hippuris, and there they cast anchor and stayed; and
straightway dawn arose and gave them light; and they made for Apollo a
glorious abode in a shady wood, and a shady altar, calling on Phoebus
the "Gleamer", because of the gleam far-seen; and that bare island
they called Anaphe, [1413] for that Phoebus had revealed it to men sore
bewildered. And they sacrificed all that men could provide for sacrifice
on a desolate strand; wherefore when Medea's Phaeacian handmaids saw
them pouring water for libations on the burning brands, they could no
longer restrain laughter within their bosoms, for that ever they had
seen oxen in plenty slain in the halls of Alcinous. And the heroes
delighted in the jest and attacked them with taunting words; and merry
railing and contention flung to and fro were kindled among them. And
from that sport of the heroes such scoffs do the women fling at the
men in that island whenever they propitiate with sacrifices Apollo the
gleaming god, the warder of Anaphe.

(ll. 1731-1740) But when they had loosed the hawsers thence in
fair weather, then Euphemus bethought him of a dream of the night,
reverencing the glorious son of Maia. For it seemed to him that the
god-given clod of earth held in his palm close to his breast was being
suckled by white streams of milk, and that from it, little though it
was, grew a woman like a virgin; and he, overcome by strong desire, lay
with her in love's embrace; and united with her he pitied her, as
though she were a maiden whom he was feeding with his own milk; but she
comforted him with gentle words:

(ll. 1741-1745) "Daughter of Triton am I, dear friend, and nurse of thy
children, no maiden; Triton and Libya are my parents. But restore me to
the daughters of Nereus to dwell in the sea near Anaphe; I shall return
again to the light of the sun, to prepare a home for thy descendants."

(ll. 1746-1748) Of this he stored in his heart the memory, and declared
it to Aeson's son; and Jason pondered a prophecy of the Far-Darter and
lifted up his voice and said:

(ll. 1749-1754) "My friend, great and glorious renown has fallen to thy
lot. For of this clod when thou hast cast it into the sea, the gods will
make an island, where thy children's children shall dwell; for Triton
gave this to thee as a stranger's gift from the Libyan mainland. None
other of the immortals it was than he that gave thee this when he met

(ll. 1755-1764) Thus he spake; and Euphemus made not vain the answer
of Aeson's son; but, cheered by the prophecy, he cast the clod into the
depths. Therefrom rose up an island, Calliste, sacred nurse of the sons
of Euphemus, who in former days dwelt in Sintian Lemnos, and from Lemnos
were driven forth by Tyrrhenians and came to Sparta as suppliants; and
when they left Sparta, Theras, the goodly son of Autesion, brought them
to the island Calliste, and from himself he gave it the name of Thera.
But this befell after the days of Euphemus.

(ll. 1765-1772) And thence they steadily left behind long leagues of
sea and stayed on the beach of Aegina; and at once they contended in
innocent strife about the fetching of water, who first should draw it
and reach the ship. For both their need and the ceaseless breeze urged
them on. There even to this day do the youths of the Myrmidons take up
on their shoulders full-brimming jars, and with swift feet strive for
victory in the race.

(ll. 1773-1781) Be gracious, race of blessed chieftains! And may these
songs year after year be sweeter to sing among men. For now have I come
to the glorious end of your toils; for no adventure befell you as ye
came home from Aegina, and no tempest of winds opposed you; but quietly
did ye skirt the Cecropian land and Aulis inside of Euboea and the
Opuntian cities of the Locrians, and gladly did ye step forth upon the
beach of Pagasae.



[Footnote 1001: "Or of Naucratis", according to Aelian and Athenaeus.]

[Footnote 1002: Anth. Pal. xl. 275.]

[Footnote 1003: iii. 117-124.]

[Footnote 1004: e.g. compare "Aen." iv. 305 foll. with Ap. Rh. iv.
355 foll.; "Aen." iv. 327-330 with Ap. Rh. I. 897, 898; "Aen." iv. 522
foll., with Ap. Rh. iii. 744 foll.]


[Footnote 1101: i.e. God of embarcation.]

[Footnote 1102: Or, reading EKTOTHEN, "they strongly girded the ship
outside with a well-twisted rope." In either case there is probably no
allusion to YPOZOMATA (ropes for undergirding) which were carried loose
and only used in stormy weather.]

[Footnote 1103: i.e. God of the shore.]

[Footnote 1104: i.e. The Starting.]

[Footnote 1105: Samothrace.]

[Footnote 1106: i.e. god of disembarcation.]

[Footnote 1107: Cleite means illustrious.]

[Footnote 1108: i.e. to avoid grinding it at home.]

[Footnote 1109: Rhea.]


[Footnote 1201: i.e. Polydeuces.]

[Footnote 1202: i.e. Saviour of Sailors.]

[Footnote 1203: i.e. through the ravine that divides the headland.]

[Footnote 1204: i.e. river of fair dances.]

[Footnote 1205: i.e. the bedchamber.]

[Footnote 1206: The north-west wind.]

[Footnote 1207: Called "Mossynes".]

[Footnote 1208: i.e. without exacting gifts from the bridegroom. So
in the "Iliad" ix. 146: Agamemnon offers Achilles any of his three
daughters ANAEONOS.]


[Footnote 1301: i.e. the fight between the gods and the giants.]

[Footnote 1302: i.e. the Shining One.]

[Footnote 1303: A name of Ares.]

Note 1304: i.e. the liquid that flows in the veins of gods.
(missing anchor)

Note 1305: Or, reading MENIM, "took no heed of the cause of wrath
with the stranger-folk. (missing anchor)


[Footnote 1401: The allusion is to Sesotris. See Herodotus ii. 102

[Footnote 1402: Or, reading EMETEREN, "into our sea". The Euxine is
meant in any case and the word Ionian is therefore wrong.]

[Footnote 1403: Apollonius seems to have thought that the Po, the Rhone,
and the Rhine are all connected together.]

[Footnote 1404: i.e. like the scrapings from skin, APOSTLEGGISMATA; see
Strabo p. 224 for this adventure.]

[Footnote 1405: The "Symplegades" are referred to, where help was given
by Athena, not by Hera. It is strange that no mention is made of the
"Planctae", properly so called, past which they are soon to be helped.
Perhaps some lines have fallen out.]

[Footnote 1406: i.e. the Mighty One.]

[Footnote 1407: i.e. the Wanderers.]

[Footnote 1408: A fabulous metal, resembling gold in appearance.]

[Footnote 1409: i.e. the Sickle-island.]

[Footnote 1410: The old name of Corinth.]

[Footnote 1411: This seems to be the only possible translation, but the
optative is quite anomalous. We should expect EKOMIZES.]

[Footnote 1412: An old name of the Peloponnesus.]

[Footnote 1413: i.e. the isle of Revealing.]

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