<<<
>>>

The Argonautica

Page: 45

(ll. 1002-1008) That folk have no care for ploughing with oxen or for any planting of honey-sweet fruit; nor yet do they pasture flocks in the dewy meadow. But they cleave the hard iron-bearing land and exchange their wages for daily sustenance; never does the morn rise for them without toil, but amid bleak sooty flames and smoke they endure heavy labour.

(ll. 1009-1014) And straightway thereafter they rounded the headland of Genetaean Zeus and sped safely past the land of the Tibareni. Here when wives bring forth children to their husbands, the men lie in bed and groan with their heads close bound; but the women tend them with food, and prepare child-birth baths for them.

(ll. 1015-1029) Next they reached the sacred mount and the land where the Mossynoeci dwell amid high mountains in wooden huts, 1207 from which that people take their name. And strange are their customs and laws. Whatever it is right to do openly before the people or in the market place, all this they do in their homes, but whatever acts we perform at home, these they perform out of doors in the midst of the streets, without blame. And among them is no reverence for the marriage-bed, but, like swine that feed in herds, no whit abashed in others' presence, on the earth they lie with the women. Their king sits in the loftiest hut and dispenses upright judgments to the multitude, poor wretch! For if haply he err at all in his decrees, for that day they keep him shut up in starvation.

(ll. 1030-1046) They passed them by and cleft their way with oars over against the island of Ares all day long; for at dusk the light breeze left them. At last they spied above them, hurtling through the air, one of the birds of Ares which haunt that isle. It shook its wings down over the ship as she sped on and sent against her a keen feather, and it fell on the left shoulder of goodly Oileus, and he dropped his oar from his hands at the sudden blow, and his comrades marvelled at the sight of the winged bolt. And Eribotes from his seat hard by drew out the feather, and bound up the wound when he had loosed the strap hanging from his own sword-sheath; and besides the first, another bird appeared swooping down; but the hero Clytius, son of Eurytus—for he bent his curved bow, and sped a swift arrow against the bird—struck it, and it whirled round and fell close to the ship. And to them spake Amphidamas, son of Aleus:

(ll. 1047-1067) "The island of Ares is near us; you know it yourselves now that ye have seen these birds. But little will arrows avail us, I trow, for landing. But let us contrive some other device to help us, if ye intend to land, bearing in mind the injunction of Phineus. For not even could Heracles, when he came to Arcadia, drive away with bow and arrow the birds that swam on the Stymphalian lake. I saw it myself. But he shook in his hand a rattle of bronze and made a loud clatter as he stood upon a lofty peak, and the birds fled far off, screeching in bewildered fear. Wherefore now too let us contrive some such device, and I myself will speak, having pondered the matter beforehand. Set on your heads your helmets of lofty crest, then half row by turns, and half fence the ship about with polished spears and shields. Then all together raise a mighty shout so that the birds may be scared by the unwonted din, the nodding crests, and the uplifted spears on high. And if we reach the island itself, then make mighty noise with the clashing of shields."


<<<
>>>