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The Argonautica

Page: 42

(ll. 811-814) Thus all day long they revelled at the banquet. But at dawn they hied down to the ship in haste; and with them went Lycus himself, when he had given them countless gifts to bear away; and with them he sent forth his son from his home.

(ll. 815-834) And here his destined fate smote Idmon, son of Abas, skilled in soothsaying; but not at all did his soothsaying save him, for necessity drew him on to death. For in the mead of the reedy river there lay, cooling his flanks and huge belly in the mud, a white-tusked boar, a deadly monster, whom even the nymphs of the marsh dreaded, and no man knew it; but all alone he was feeding in the wide fell. But the son of Abas was passing along the raised banks of the muddy river, and the boar from some unseen lair leapt out of the reed-bed, and charging gashed his thigh and severed in twain the sinews and the bone. And with a sharp cry the hero fell to the ground; and as he was struck his comrades flocked together with answering cry. And quickly Peleus with his hunting spear aimed at the murderous boar as he fled back into the fen; and again he turned and charged; but Idas wounded him, and with a roar he fell impaled upon the sharp spear. And the boar they left on the ground just as he had fallen there; but Idmon, now at the last gasp, his comrades bore to the ship in sorrow of heart, and he died in his comrades' arms.

(ll. 835-850) And here they stayed from taking thought for their voyaging and abode in grief for the burial of their dead friend. And for three whole days they lamented; and on the next they buried him with full honours, and the people and King Lycus himself took part in the funeral rites; and, as is the due of the departed, they slaughtered countless sheep at his tomb. And so a barrow to this hero was raised in that land, and there stands a token for men of later days to see, the trunk of a wild olive tree, such as ships are built of; and it flourishes with its green leaves a little below the Acherusian headland. And if at the bidding of the Muses I must tell this tale outright, Phoebus strictly commanded the Boeotians and Nisaeans to worship him as guardian of their city, and to build their city round the trunk of the ancient wild olive; but they, instead of the god-fearing Aeolid Idmon, at this day honour Agamestor.

(ll. 851-868) Who was the next that died? For then a second time the heroes heaped up a barrow for a comrade dead. For still are to be seen two monuments of those heroes. The tale goes that Tiphys son of Hagnias died; nor was it his destiny thereafter to sail any further. But him there on the spot a short sickness laid to rest far from his native land, when the company had paid due honours to the dead son of Abas. And at the cruel woe they were seized with unbearable grief. For when with due honours they had buried him also hard by the seer, they cast themselves down in helplessness on the sea-shore silently, closely wrapped up, and took no thought for meat or drink; and their spirit drooped in grief, for all hope of return was gone. And in their sorrow they would have stayed from going further had not Hera kindled exceeding courage in Ancaeus, whom near the waters of Imbrasus Astypalaea bore to Poseidon; for especially was he skilled in steering and eagerly did he address Peleus:


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