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The Argonautica 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.

This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by
Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@EnterAct.COM), January 1997.

Words in CAPITALS are Greek words transliterated into modern



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",
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, (1) 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. (2) 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, (3) 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. (4) 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.

(1) "Or of Naucratis", according to Aelian and Athenaeus.
(2) Anth. Pal. xl. 275.
(3) iii. 117-124.
(4) 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.



(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

(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

(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 Iphiclus.

(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 battle.

(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

(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 hails.

(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 hereafter."

(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 woe."

(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

(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
(1) 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, (2)
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
(3) 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

(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 (4) of

(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

(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

(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

(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

(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 inwoven.

(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 flame.

(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 stood.

(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 Pelops.

(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 hope.

(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 love.

(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

(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, (5) 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
(6) 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

(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, (7) 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. (8)

(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 (9) 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 he 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 return.

(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

(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 treachery."

(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

(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 pledges.

(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 sunrise.

(1) i.e. God of embarcation.
(2) 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.
(3) i.e. God of the shore.
(4) i.e. The Starting.
(5) Samothrace.
(6) i.e. god of disembarcation.
(7) Cleite means illustrious.
(8) i.e. to avoid grinding it at home.
(9) Rhea.


(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

(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. (1)

(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

(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 wings.

(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

(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

(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

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