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The Argonautica

Page: 10

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

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

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

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

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

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


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