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The Argonautica

Page: 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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