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The Argonautica

Page: 43

(ll. 869-877) "Son of Aeacus, is it well for us to give up our toils and linger on in a strange land? Not so much for my prowess in war did Jason take me with him in quest of the fleece, far from Parthenia, as for my knowledge of ships. Wherefore, I pray, let there be no fear for the ship. And so there are here other men of skill, of whom none will harm our voyaging, whomsoever we set at the helm. But quickly tell forth all this and boldly urge them to call to mind their task."

(ll. 878-884) Thus he spake; and Peleus' soul was stirred with gladness, and straightway he spake in the midst of all: "My friends, why do we thus cherish a bootless grief like this? For those two have perished by the fate they have met with; but among our host are steersmen yet, and many a one. Wherefore let us not delay our attempt, but rouse yourselves to the work and cast away your griefs."

(ll. 885-893) And him in reply Aeson's son addressed with helpless words: "Son of Aeacus, where are these steersmen of thine? For those whom we once deemed to be men of skill, they even more than I are bowed with vexation of heart. Wherefore I forebode an evil doom for us even as for the dead, if it shall be our lot neither to reach the city of fell Aeetes, nor ever again to pass beyond the rocks to the land of Hellas, but a wretched fate will enshroud us here ingloriously till we grow old for naught."

(ll. 894-898) Thus he spake, but Ancaeus quickly undertook to guide the swift ship; for he was stirred by the impulse of the goddess. And after him Erginus and Nauplius and Euphemus started up, eager to steer. But the others held them back, and many of his comrades granted it to Ancaeus.

(ll. 899-910) So on the twelfth day they went aboard at dawn, for a strong breeze of westerly wind was blowing. And quickly with the oars they passed out through the river Acheron and, trusting to the wind, shook out their sails, and with canvas spread far and wide they were cleaving their passage through the waves in fair weather. And soon they passed the outfall of the river Callichorus, where, as the tale goes, the Nysean son of Zeus, when he had left the tribes of the Indians and came to dwell at Thebes, held revels and arrayed dances in front of a cave, wherein he passed unsmiling sacred nights, from which time the neighbours call the river by the name of Callichorus 1204 and the cave Aulion.1205

(ll. 911-929) Next they beheld the barrow of Sthenelus, Actor's son, who on his way back from the valorous war against the Amazons—for he had been the comrade of Heracles—was struck by an arrow and died there upon the sea-beach. And for a time they went no further, for Persephone herself sent forth the spirit of Actor's son which craved with many tears to behold men like himself, even for a moment. And mounting on the edge of the barrow he gazed upon the ship, such as he was when he went to war; and round his head a fair helm with four peaks gleamed with its blood-red crest. And again he entered the vast gloom; and they looked and marvelled; and Mopsus, son of Ampycus, with word of prophecy urged them to land and propitiate him with libations. Quickly they drew in sail and threw out hawsers, and on the strand paid honour to the tomb of Sthenelus, and poured out drink offerings to him and sacrificed sheep as victims. And besides the drink offerings they built an altar to Apollo, saviour of ships, and burnt thigh bones; and Orpheus dedicated his lyre; whence the place has the name of Lyra.


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