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The Argonautica

Page: 16

(ll. 667-674) Thus she spake and sat upon her father's seat of stone, and then rose up her dear nurse Polyxo, for very age halting upon her withered feet, bowed over a staff, and she was eager to address them. Near her were seated four virgins, unwedded, crowned with white hair. And she stood in the midst of the assembly and from her bent back she feebly raised her neck and spake thus:

(ll. 675-696) "Gifts, as Hypsipyle herself wishes, let us send to the strangers, for it is better to give them. But for you what device have ye to get profit of your life if the Thracian host fall upon us, or some other foe, as often happens among men, even as now this company is come unforeseen? But if one of the blessed gods should turn this aside yet countless other woes, worse than battle, remain behind, when the aged women die off and ye younger ones, without children, reach hateful old age. How then will ye live, hapless ones? Will your oxen of their own accord yoke themselves for the deep plough-lands and draw the earth-cleaving share through the fallow, and forthwith, as the year comes round, reap the harvest? Assuredly, though the fates till now have shunned me in horror, I deem that in the coming year I shall put on the garment of earth, when I have received my meed of burial even so as is right, before the evil days draw near. But I bid you who are younger give good heed to this. For now at your feet a way of escape lies open, if ye trust to the strangers the care of your homes and all your stock and your glorious city."

(ll. 697-699) Thus she spake, and the assembly was filled with clamour. For the word pleased them. And after her straightway Hypsipyle rose up again, and thus spake in reply.

(ll. 700-701) "If this purpose please you all, now will I even send a messenger to the ship."

(ll. 702-707) She spake and addressed Iphinoe close at hand: "Go, Iphinoe, and beg yonder man, whoever it is that leads this array, to come to our land that I may tell him a word that pleases the heart of my people, and bid the men themselves, if they wish, boldly enter the land and the city with friendly intent."

(ll. 708-711) She spake, and dismissed the assembly, and thereafter started to return home. And so Iphinoe came to the Minyae; and they asked with what intent she had come among them. And quickly she addressed her questioners with all speed in these words:

(ll. 712-716) "The maiden Hypsipyle daughter of Thoas, sent me on my way here to you, to summon the captain of your ship, whoever he be, that she may tell him a word that pleases the heart of the people, and she bids yourselves, if ye wish it, straightway enter the land and the city with friendly intent."


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