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The Argonautica

Page: 35

(ll. 411-418) "O aged sire, now hast thou come to the end of the toils of our sea-journeying and hast told us the token, trusting to which we shall make our way to Pontus through the hateful rocks; but whether, when we have escaped them, we shall have a return back again to Hellas, this too would we gladly learn from thee. What shall I do, how shall I go over again such a long path through the sea, unskilled as I am, with unskilled comrades? And Colchian Aea lies at the edge of Pontus and of the world."

(ll. 419-425) Thus he spake, and him the aged sire addressed in reply: "O son, when once thou hast escaped through the deadly rocks, fear not; for a deity will be the guide from Aea by another track; and to Aea there will be guides enough. But, my friends, take thought of the artful aid of the Cyprian goddess. For on her depends the glorious issue of your venture. And further than this ask me not."

(ll. 426-437) Thus spake Agenor's son, and close at hand the twin sons of Thracian Boreas came darting from the sky and set their swift feet upon the threshold; and the heroes rose up from their seats when they saw them present. And Zetes, still drawing hard breath after his toil, spake among the eager listeners, telling them how far they had driven the Harpies and how his prevented their slaying them, and how the goddess of her grace gave them pledges, and how those others in fear plunged into the vast cave of the Dictaean cliff. Then in the mansion all their comrades were joyful at the tidings and so was Phineus himself. And quickly Aeson's son, with good will exceeding, addressed him:

(ll. 438-442) "Assuredly there was then, Phineus, some god who cared for thy bitter woe, and brought us hither from afar, that the sons of Boreas might aid thee; and if too he should bring sight to thine eyes, verily I should rejoice, methinks, as much as if I were on my homeward way."

(ll. 443-447) Thus he spake, but Phineus replied to him with downcast look: "Son of Aeson, that is past recall, nor is there any remedy hereafter, for blasted are my sightless eyes. But instead of that, may the god grant me death at once, and after death I shall take my share in perfect bliss."

(ll. 448-467) Then they two returned answering speech, each to other, and soon in the midst of their converse early dawn appeared; and round Phineus were gathered the neighbours who used to come thither aforetime day by day and constantly bring a portion of their food. To all alike, however poor he was that came, the aged man gave his oracles with good will, and freed many from their woes by his prophetic art; wherefore they visited and tended him. And with them came Paraebius, who was dearest to him, and gladly did he perceive these strangers in the house. For long ere now the seer himself had said that a band of chieftains, faring from Hellas to the city of Aceres, would make fast their hawsers to the Thynian land, and by Zeus' will would check the approach of the Harpies. The rest the old man pleased with words of wisdom and let them go; Paraebius only he bade remain there with the chiefs; and straightway he sent him and bade him bring back the choicest of his sheep. And when he had left the hall Phineus spake gently amid the throng of oarsmen:


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