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Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica

Page: 67

(ll. 78-94) 'O hero Iolaus, best beloved of all men, truly Amphitryon sinned deeply against the blessed gods who dwell on Olympus when he came to sweet-crowned Thebe and left Tiryns, the well-built citadel, because he slew Electryon for the sake of his wide-browned oxen. Then he came to Creon and long-robed Eniocha, who received him kindly and gave him all fitting things, as is due to suppliants, and honoured him in their hearts even more. And he lived joyfully with his wife the neat-ankled daughter of Electyron: and presently, while the years rolled on, we were born, unlike in body as in mind, even your father and I. From him Zeus took away sense, so that he left his home and his parents and went to do honour to the wicked Eurystheus—unhappy man! Deeply indeed did he grieve afterwards in bearing the burden of his own mad folly; but that cannot be taken back. But on me fate laid heavy tasks.

(ll. 95-101) 'Yet, come, friend, quickly take the red-dyed reins of the swift horses and raise high courage in your heart and guide the swift chariot and strong fleet-footed horses straight on. Have no secret fear at the noise of man-slaying Ares who now rages shouting about the holy grove of Phoebus Apollo, the lord who shoots form afar. Surely, strong though he be, he shall have enough of war.'

(ll. 102-114) And blameless Iolaus answered him again: 'Good friend, truly the father of men and gods greatly honours your head and the bull-like Earth-Shaker also, who keeps Thebe's veil of walls and guards the city,—so great and strong is this fellow they bring into your hands that you may win great glory. But come, put on your arms of war that with all speed we may bring the car of Ares and our own together and fight; for he shall not frighten the dauntless son of Zeus, nor yet the son of Iphiclus: rather, I think he will flee before the two sons of blameless Alcides who are near him and eager to raise the war cry for battle; for this they love better than a feast.'

(ll. 115-117) So he said. And mighty Heracles was glad in heart and smiled, for the other's words pleased him well, and he answered him with winged words:

(ll. 118-121) 'O hero Iolaus, heaven-sprung, now is rough battle hard at hand. But, as you have shown your skill at other-times, so now also wheel the great black-maned horse Arion about every way, and help me as you may be able.'

(ll. 122-138) So he said, and put upon his legs greaves of shining bronze, the splendid gift of Hephaestus. Next he fastened about his breast a fine golden breast-plate, curiously wrought, which Pallas Athene the daughter of Zeus had given him when first he was about to set out upon his grievous labours. Over his shoulders the fierce warrior put the steel that saves men from doom, and across his breast he slung behind him a hollow quiver. Within it were many chilling arrows, dealers of death which makes speech forgotten: in front they had death, and trickled with tears; their shafts were smooth and very long; and their butts were covered with feathers of a brown eagle. And he took his strong spear, pointed with shining bronze, and on his valiant head set a well-made helm of adamant, cunningly wrought, which fitted closely on the temples; and that guarded the head of god-like Heracles.


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