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The Argonautica

Page: 37

(ll. 528-536) So the tale is told, but the chieftains stayed there by constraint, and every day the Thynians, doing pleasure to Phineus, sent them gifts beyond measure. And afterwards they raised an altar to the blessed twelve on the sea-beach opposite and laid offerings thereon and then entered their swift ship to row, nor did they forget to bear with them a trembling dove; but Euphemus seized her and brought her all quivering with fear, and they loosed the twin hawsers from the land.

(ll. 537-548) Nor did they start unmarked by Athena, but straightway swiftly she set her feel on a light cloud, which would waft her on, mighty though she was, and she swept on to the sea with friendly thoughts to the oarsmen. And as when one roveth far from his native land, as we men often wander with enduring heart, nor is any land too distant but all ways are clear to his view, and he sees in mind his own home, and at once the way over sea and land seems slain, and swiftly thinking, now this way, now that, he strains with eager eyes; so swiftly the daughter of Zeus darted down and set her foot on the cheerless shore of Thynia.

(ll. 549-567) Now when they reached the narrow strait of the winding passage, hemmed in on both sides by rugged cliffs, while an eddying current from below was washing against the ship as she moved on, they went forward sorely in dread; and now the thud of the crashing rocks ceaselessly struck their ears, and the sea-washed shores resounded, and then Euphemus grasped the dove in his hand and started to mount the prow; and they, at the bidding of Tiphys, son of Hagnias, rowed with good will to drive Argo between the rocks, trusting to their strength. And as they rounded a bend they saw the rocks opening for the last time of all. Their spirit melted within them; and Euphemus sent forth the dove to dart forward in flight; and they all together raised their heads to look; but she flew between them, and the rocks again rushed together and crashed as they met face to face. And the foam leapt up in a mass like a cloud; awful was the thunder of the sea; and all round them the mighty welkin roared.

(ll. 568-592) The hollow caves beneath the rugged cliffs rumbled as the sea came surging in; and the white foam of the dashing wave spurted high above the cliff. Next the current whirled the ship round. And the rocks shore away the end of the dove's tail-feathers; but away she flew unscathed. And the rowers gave a loud cry; and Tiphys himself called to them to row with might and main. For the rocks were again parting asunder. But as they rowed they trembled, until the tide returning drove them back within the rocks. Then most awful fear seized upon all; for over their head was destruction without escape. And now to right and left broad Pontus was seen, when suddenly a huge wave rose up before them, arched, like a steep rock; and at the sight they bowed with bended heads. For it seemed about to leap down upon the ship's whole length and to overwhelm them. But Tiphys was quick to ease the ship as she laboured with the oars; and in all its mass the wave rolled away beneath the keel, and at the stern it raised Argo herself and drew her far away from the rocks; and high in air was she borne. But Euphemus strode among all his comrades and cried to them to bend to their oars with all their might; and they with a shout smote the water. And as far as the ship yielded to the rowers, twice as far did she leap back, and the oar, were bent like curved bows as the heroes used their strength.


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