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The Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius

Part 3 out of 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1) i.e. the fight between the gods and the giants.
(2) i.e. the Shining One.
(3) A name of Ares.
(4) i.e. the liquid that flows in the veins of gods.
(5) Or, reading MENIM, "took no heed of the cause of wrath with
the stranger-folk."


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(ll. 257-293) "We go to Orchomenus, whither that unerring seer,
whom ye met aforetime, foretold your voyage. For there is
another course, signified by those priests of the immortal gods,
who have sprung from Tritonian Thebes. As yet all the stars that
wheel in the heaven were not, nor yet, though one should inquire,
could aught be heard of the sacred race of the Danai. Apidanean
Arcadians alone existed, Arcadians who lived even before the
moon, it is said, eating acorns on the hills; nor at that time
was the Pelasgian land ruled by the glorious sons of Deucalion,
in the days when Egypt, mother of men of an older time, was
called the fertile Morning-land, and the river fair-flowing
Triton, by which all the Morning-land is watered; and never does
the rain from Zeus moisten the earth; but from the flooding of
the river abundant crops spring up. From this land, it is said,
a king (1) made his way all round through the whole of Europe and
Asia, trusting in the might and strength and courage of his
people; and countless cities did he found wherever he came,
whereof some are still inhabited and some not; many an age hath
passed since then. But Aea abides unshaken even now and the sons
of those men whom that king settled to dwell in Aea. They
preserve the writings of their fathers, graven on pillars,
whereon are marked all the ways and the limits of sea and land as
ye journey on all sides round. There is a river, the uttermost
horn of Ocean, broad and exceeding deep, that a merchant ship may
traverse; they call it Ister and have marked it far off; and for
a while it cleaves the boundless tilth alone in one stream; for
beyond the blasts of the north wind, far off in the Rhipaean
mountains, its springs burst forth with a roar. But when it
enters the boundaries of the Thracians and Scythians, here,
dividing its stream into two, it sends its waters partly into the
Ionian sea, (2) and partly to the south into a deep gulf that
bends upwards from the Trinaerian sea, that sea which lies along
your land, if indeed Achelous flows forth from your land."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(ll. 410-420) Thus he spake soothing her; and she uttered a
deadly speech: "Take heed now. For when sorry deeds are done we
must needs devise sorry counsel, since at first I was distraught
by my error, and by heaven's will it was I wrought the
accomplishment of evil desires. Do thou in the turmoil shield me
from the Colchians' spears; and I will beguile Apsyrtus to come
into thy hands--do thou greet him with splendid gifts--if
only I could persuade the heralds on their departure to bring him
alone to hearken to my words. Thereupon if this deed pleases
thee, slay him and raise a conflict with the Colchians, I care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(ll. 627-658) Thence they entered the deep stream of Rhodanus
which flows into Eridanus; and where they meet there is a roar of
mingling waters. Now that river, rising from the ends of the
earth, where are the portals and mansions of Night, on one side
bursts forth upon the beach of Ocean, at another pours into the
Ionian sea, and on the third through seven mouths sends its
stream to the Sardinian sea and its limitless bay. (3) And from
Rhodanus they entered stormy lakes, which spread throughout the
Celtic mainland of wondrous size; and there they would have met
with an inglorious calamity; for a certain branch of the river
was bearing them towards a gulf of Ocean which in ignorance they
were about to enter, and never would they have returned from
there in safety. But Hera leaping forth from heaven pealed her
cry from the Hercynian rock; and all together were shaken with
fear of her cry; for terribly crashed the mighty firmament. And
backward they turned by reason of the goddess, and noted the path
by which their return was ordained. And after a long while they
came to the beach of the surging sea by the devising of Hera,
passing unharmed through countless tribes of the Celts and
Ligyans. For round them the goddess poured a dread mist day by
day as they fared on. And so, sailing through the midmost mouth,
they reached the Stoechades islands in safety by the aid of the
sons of Zeus; wherefore altars and sacred rites are established
in their honour for ever; and not that sea-faring alone did they
attend to succour; but Zeus granted to them the ships of future
sailors too. Then leaving the Stoechades they passed on to the
island Aethalia, where after their toil they wiped away with
pebbles sweat in abundance; and pebbles like skin in colour are
strewn on the beach; (4) and there are their quoits and their
wondrous armour; and there is the Argoan harbour called after

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(ll. 783-832) "Hearken now, lady Thetis, to what I am eager to
tell thee. Thou knowest how honoured in my heart is the hero,
Aeson's son, and the others that have helped him in the contest,
and how I saved them when they passed between the Wandering
rocks, (5) where roar terrible storms of fire and the waves foam
round the rugged reefs. And now past the mighty rock of Scylla
and Charybdis horribly belching, a course awaits them. But thee
indeed from thy infancy did I tend with my own hands and love
beyond all others that dwell in the salt sea because thou didst
refuse to share the couch of Zeus, for all his desire. For to
him such deeds are ever dear, to embrace either goddesses or
mortal women. But in reverence for me and with fear in thy heart
thou didst shrink from his love; and he then swore a mighty oath
that thou shouldst never be called the bride of an immortal god.
Yet he ceased not from spying thee against thy will, until
reverend Themis declared to him the whole truth, how that it was
thy fate to bear a son mightier than his sire; wherefore he gave
thee up, for all his desire, fearing lest another should be his
match and rule the immortals, and in order that he might ever
hold his own dominion. But I gave thee the best of the sons of
earth to be thy husband, that thou mightest find a marriage dear
to thy heart and bear children; and I summoned to the feast the
gods, one and all. And with my own hand I raised the bridal
torch, in return for the kindly honour thou didst pay me. But
come, let me tell a tale that erreth not. When thy son shall
come to the Elysian plain, he whom now in the home of Cheiron the
Centaur water-nymphs are tending, though he still craves thy
mother milk, it is fated that he be the husband of Medea, Aeetes'
daughter; do thou aid thy daughter-in-law as a mother-in-law
should, and aid Peleus himself. Why is thy wrath so steadfast?
He was blinded by folly. For blindness comes even upon the gods.
Surely at my behest I deem that Hephaestus will cease from
kindling the fury of his flame, and that Aeolus, son of Hippotas,
will check his swift rushing winds, all but the steady west wind,
until they reach the havens of the Phaeacians; do thou devise a
return without bane. The rocks and the tyrannous waves are my
fear, they alone, and them thou canst foil with thy sisters' aid.
And let them not fall in their helplessness into Charybdis lest
she swallow them at one gulp, or approach the hideous lair of
Scylla, Ausonian Scylla the deadly, whom night-wandering Hecate,
who is called Crataeis, (6) bare to Phoreys, lest swooping upon
them with her horrible jaws she destroy the chiefest of the
heroes. But guide their ship in the course where there shall be
still a hair's breadth escape from destruction."

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

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

(ll. 856-864) "No longer now must ye stay sitting on the
Tyrrhenian beach, but at dawn loosen the hawsers of your swift
ship, in obedience to Hera, your helper. For at her behest the
maiden daughters of Nereus have met together to draw your ship
through the midst of the rocks which are called Planctae, (7) for
that is your destined path. But do thou show my person to no
one, when thou seest us come to meet time, but keep it secret in
thy mind, lest thou anger me still more than thou didst anger me
before so recklessly."

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

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

(ll. 922-981) For on one side appeared the smooth rock of
Scylla; on the other Charybdis ceaselessly spouted and roared; in
another part the Wandering rocks were booming beneath the mighty
surge, where before the burning flame spurted forth from the top
of the crags, above the rock glowing with fire, and the air was
misty with smoke, nor could you have seen the sun's light. Then,
though Hephaestus had ceased from his toils, the sea was still
sending up a warm vapour. Hereupon on this side and on that the
daughters of Nereus met them; and behind, lady Thetis set her
hand to the rudder-blade, to guide them amid the Wandering rocks.
And as when in fair weather herds of dolphins come up from the
depths and sport in circles round a ship as it speeds along, now
seen in front, now behind, now again at the side and delight
comes to the sailors; so the Nereids darted upward and circled in
their ranks round the ship Argo, while Thetis guided its course.
And when they were about to touch the Wandering rocks,
straightway they raised the edge of their garments over their
snow-white knees, and aloft, on the very rocks and where the
waves broke, they hurried along on this side and on that apart
from one another. And the ship was raised aloft as the current
smote her, and all around the furious wave mounting up broke over
the rocks, which at one time touched the sky like towering crags,
at another, down in the depths, were fixed fast at the bottom of
the sea and the fierce waves poured over them in floods. And the
Nereids, even as maidens near some sandy beach roll their
garments up to their waists out of their way and sport with a
shapely-rounded ball; then they catch it one from another and
send it high into the air; and it never touches the ground; so
they in turn one from another sent the ship through the air over
the waves, as it sped on ever away from the rocks; and round them
the water spouted and foamed. And lord Hephaestus himself
standing on the summit of a smooth rock and resting his massy
shoulder on the handle of his hammer, beheld them, and the spouse
of Zeus beheld them as she stood above the gleaming heaven; and
she threw her arms round Athena, such fear seized her as she
gazed. And as long as the space of a day is lengthened out in
springtime, so long a time did they toil, heaving the ship
between the loud-echoing rocks; then again the heroes caught the
wind and sped onward; and swiftly they passed the mead of
Thrinacia, where the kine of Helios fed. There the nymphs, like
sea-mews, plunged beneath the depths, when they had fulfilled the
behests of the spouse of Zeus. And at the same time the bleating
of sheep came to the heroes through the mist and the lowing of
kine, near at hand, smote their ears. And over the dewy leas
Phaethusa, the youngest of the daughters of Helios, tended the
sheep, bearing in her hand a silver crook; while Lampetia,
herding the kine, wielded a staff of glowing orichalcum (8) as
she followed. These kine the heroes saw feeding by the river's
stream, over the plain and the water-meadow; not one of them was
dark in hue but all were white as milk and glorying in their
horns of gold. So they passed them by in the day-time, and when
night came on they were cleaving a great sea-gulf, rejoicing,
until again early rising dawn threw light upon their course.

(ll. 982-1013) Fronting the Ionian gulf there lies an island in
the Ceraunian sea, rich in soil, with a harbour on both sides,
beneath which lies the sickle, as legend saith--grant me grace,
O Muses, not willingly do I tell this tale of olden days --
wherewith Cronos pitilessly mutilated his father; but others call
it the reaping-hook of Demeter, goddess of the nether world. For
Demeter once dwelt in that island, and taught the Titans to reap
the ears of corn, all for the love of Macris. Whence it is
called Drepane, (9) the sacred nurse of the Phaeacians; and thus
the Phaeacians themselves are by birth of the blood of Uranus.
To them came Argo, held fast by many toils, borne by the breezes
from the Thrinacian sea; and Alcinous and his people with kindly
sacrifice gladly welcomed their coming; and over them all the
city made merry; thou wouldst say they were rejoicing over their
own sons. And the heroes themselves strode in gladness through
the throng, even as though they had set foot in the heart of
Haemonia; but soon were they to arm and raise the battle-cry; so
near to them appeared a boundless host of Colchians, who had
passed through the mouth of Pontus and between the Cyanean rocks
in search of the chieftains. They desired forthwith to carry off
Medea to her father's house apart from the rest, or else they
threatened with fierce cruelty to raise the dread war-cry both
then and thereafter on the coming of Aeetes. But lordly Alcinous
checked them amid their eagerness for war. For he longed to
allay the lawless strife between both sides without the clash of
battle. And the maiden in deadly fear often implored the
comrades of Aeson's son, and often with her hands touched the
knees of Arete, the bride of Aleinous:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(ll. 1170-1227) Now dawn returning with her beams divine
scattered the gloomy night through the sky; and the island
beaches laughed out and the paths over the plains far off,
drenched with dew, and there was a din in the streets; the people
were astir throughout the city, and far away the Colchians were
astir at the bounds of the isle of Macris. And straightway to
them went Alcinous, by reason of his covenant, to declare his
purpose concerning the maiden, and in his hand he held a golden
staff, his staff of justice, whereby the people had righteous
judgments meted out to them throughout the city. And with him in
order due and arrayed in their harness of war went marching, band
by band, the chiefs of the Phaeacians. And from the towers came
forth the women in crowds to gaze upon the heroes; and the
country folk came to meet them when they heard the news, for Hera
had sent forth a true report. And one led the chosen ram of his
flock, and another a heifer that had never toiled; and others set
hard by jars of wine for mixing; and the smoke of sacrifice leapt
up far away. And women bore fine linen, the fruit of much toil,
as women will, and gifts of gold and varied ornaments as well,
such as are brought to newly-wedded brides; and they marvelled
when they saw the shapely forms and beauty of the gallant heroes,
and among them the son of Oeagrus, oft beating the ground with
gleaming sandal, to the time of his loud-ringing lyre and song.
And all the nymphs together, whenever he recalled the marriage,
uplifted the lovely bridal-chant; and at times again they sang
alone as they circled in the dance, Hera, in thy honour; for it
was thou that didst put it into the heart of Arete to proclaim
the wise word of Alcinous. And as soon as he had uttered the
decree of his righteous judgement, and the completion of the
marriage had been proclaimed, he took care that thus it should
abide fixed; and no deadly fear touched him nor Aeetes' grievous
wrath, but he kept his judgement fast bound by unbroken oaths.
So when the Colchians learnt that they were beseeching in vain
and he bade them either observe his judgements or hold their
ships away from his harbours and land, then they began to dread
the threats of their own king and besought Alcinous to receive
them as comrades; and there in the island long time they dwelt
with the Phaeacians, until in the course of years, the
Bacchiadae, a race sprung from Ephyra, (10) settled among them;
and the Colchians passed to an island opposite; and thence they
were destined to reach the Ceraunian hills of the Abantes, and
the Nestaeans and Oricum; but all this was fulfilled after long
ages had passed. And still the altars which Medea built on the
spot sacred to Apollo, god of shepherds, receive yearly
sacrifices in honour of the Fates and the Nymphs. And when the
Minyae departed many gifts of friendship did Alcinous bestow, and
many Arete; moreover she gave Medea twelve Phaeacian handmaids
from the palace, to bear her company. And on the seventh day
they left Drepane; and at dawn came a fresh breeze from Zeus.
And onward they sped borne along by the wind's breath. Howbeit
not yet was it ordained for the heroes to set foot on Achaea,
until they had toiled even in the furthest bounds of Libya.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(ll. 1485-1501) But thee, Canthus, the fates of death seized in
Libya. On pasturing flocks didst thou light; and there followed
a shepherd who, in defence of his own sheep, while thou weft
leading them off (11) to thy comrades in their need, slew thee by
the cast of a stone; for he was no weakling, Caphaurus, the
grandson of Lycoreian Phoebus and the chaste maiden Acacallis,
whom once Minos drove from home to dwell in Libya, his own
daughter, when she was bearing the gods' heavy load; and she bare
to Phoebus a glorious son, whom they call Amphithemis and
Garamas. And Amphithemis wedded a Tritonian nymph; and she bare
to him Nasamon and strong Caphaurus, who on that day in defending
his sheep slew Canthus. But he escaped not the chieftains'
avenging hands, when they learned the deed he had done. And the
Minyae, when they knew it, afterwards took up the corpse and
buried it in the earth, mourning; and the sheep they took with

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

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

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

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

(ll. 1564-1570) "If haply, hero, thou knowest aught of Apis (12)
and the sea of Minos, tell us truly, who ask it of you. For not
of our will have we come hither, but by the stress of heavy
storms have we touched the borders of this land, and have borne
our ship aloft on our shoulders to the waters of this lake over
the mainland, grievously burdened; and we know not where a
passage shows itself for our course to the land of Pelops."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(ll. 1694-1730) But straightway as they sped over the wide
Cretan sea night scared them, that night which they name the Pall
of Darkness; the stars pierced not that fatal night nor the beams
of the moon, but black chaos descended from heaven, or haply some
other darkness came, rising from the nethermost depths. And the
heroes, whether they drifted in Hades or on the waters, knew not
one whit; but they committed their return to the sea in helpless
doubt whither it was bearing them. But Jason raised his hands
and cried to Phoebus with mighty voice, calling on him to save
them; and the tears ran down in his distress; and often did he
promise to bring countless offerings to Pytho, to Amyclae, and to
Ortygia. And quickly, O son of Leto, swift to hear, didst thou
come down from heaven to the Melantian rocks, which lie there in
the sea. Then darting upon one of the twin peaks, thou raisedst
aloft in thy right hand thy golden bow; and the bow flashed a
dazzling gleam all round. And to their sight appeared a small
island of the Sporades, over against the tiny isle Hippuris, and
there they cast anchor and stayed; and straightway dawn arose and
gave them light; and they made for Apollo a glorious abode in a
shady wood, and a shady altar, calling on Phoebus the "Gleamer",
because of the gleam far-seen; and that bare island they called
Anaphe, (13) for that Phoebus had revealed it to men sore
bewildered. And they sacrificed all that men could provide for
sacrifice on a desolate strand; wherefore when Medea's Phaeacian
handmaids saw them pouring water for libations on the burning
brands, they could no longer restrain laughter within their
bosoms, for that ever they had seen oxen in plenty slain in the
halls of Alcinous. And the heroes delighted in the jest and
attacked them with taunting words; and merry railing and
contention flung to and fro were kindled among them. And from
that sport of the heroes such scoffs do the women fling at the
men in that island whenever they propitiate with sacrifices

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