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The Argonautica

Page: 33

(ll. 311-315) "Listen then. Not everything is it lawful for you to know clearly; but whatever is heaven's will, I will not hide. I was infatuated aforetime, when in my folly I declared the will of Zeus in order and to the end. For he himself wishes to deliver to men the utterances of the prophetic art incomplete, in order that they may still have some need to know the will of heaven."

(ll. 316-340) "First of all, after leaving me, ye will see the twin Cyanean rocks where the two seas meet. No one, I ween, has won his escape between them. For they are not firmly fixed with roots beneath, but constantly clash against one another to one point, and above a huge mass of salt water rises in a crest, boiling up, and loudly dashes upon the hard beach. Wherefore now obey my counsel, if indeed with prudent mind and reverencing the blessed gods ye pursue your way; and perish not foolishly by a self-sought death, or rush on following the guidance of youth. First entrust the attempt to a dove when ye have sent her forth from the ship. And if she escapes safe with her wings between the rocks to the open sea, then no more do ye refrain from the path, but grip your oars well in your hands and cleave the sea's narrow strait, for the light of safety will be not so much in prayer as in strength of hands. Wherefore let all else go and labour boldly with might and main, but ere then implore the gods as ye will, I forbid you not. But if she flies onward and perishes midway, then do ye turn back; for it is better to yield to the immortals. For ye could not escape an evil doom from the rocks, not even if Argo were of iron."

(ll. 341-359) "O hapless ones, dare not to transgress my divine warning, even though ye think that I am thrice as much hated by the sons of heaven as I am, and even more than thrice; dare not to sail further with your ship in despite of the omen. And as these things will fall, so shall they fall. But if ye shun the clashing rocks and come scatheless inside Pontus, straightway keep the land of the Bithynians on your right and sail on, and beware of the breakers, until ye round the swift river Rhebas and the black beach, and reach the harbour of the Isle of Thynias. Thence ye must turn back a little space through the sea and beach your ship on the land of the Mariandyni lying opposite. Here is a downward path to the abode of Hades, and the headland of Acherusia stretches aloft, and eddying Acheron cleaves its way at the bottom, even through the headland, and sends its waters forth from a huge ravine. And near it ye will sail past many hills of the Paphlagonians, over whom at the first Eneteian Pelops reigned, and of his blood they boast themselves to be."


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