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The Argonautica

Page: 46

(ll. 1068-1089) Thus he spake, and the helpful device pleased all. And on their heads they placed helmets of bronze, gleaming terribly, and the blood-red crests were tossing. And half of them rowed in turn, and the rest covered the ship with spears and shields. And as when a man roofs over a house with tiles, to be an ornament of his home and a defence against rain, and one the fits firmly into another, each after each; so they roofed over the ship with their shields, locking them together. And as a din arises from a warrior-host of men sweeping on, when lines of battle meet, such a shout rose upward from the ship into the air. Now they saw none of the birds yet, but when they touched the island and clashed upon their shields, then the birds in countless numbers rose in flight hither and thither. And as when the son of Cronos sends from the clouds a dense hailstorm on city and houses, and the people who dwell beneath hear the din above the roof and sit quietly, since the stormy season has not come upon them unawares, but they have first made strong their roofs; so the birds sent against the heroes a thick shower of feather-shafts as they darted over the sea to the mountains of the land opposite.

(ll. 1090-1092) What then was the purpose of Phineus in bidding the divine band of heroes land there? Or what kind of help was about to meet their desire?

(ll. 1093-1122) The sons of Phrixus were faring towards the city of Orchomenus from Aea, coming from Cytaean Aeetes, on board a Colchian ship, to win the boundless wealth of their father; for he, when dying, had enjoined this journey upon them. And lo, on that day they were very near that island. But Zeus had impelled the north wind's might to blow, marking by rain the moist path of Arcturus; and all day long he was stirring the leaves upon the mountains, breathing gently upon the topmost sprays; but at night he rushed upon the sea with monstrous force, and with his shrieking blasts uplifted the surge; and a dark mist covered the heavens, nor did the bright stars anywhere appear from among the clouds, but a murky gloom brooded all around. And so the sons of Phrixus, drenched and trembling in fear of a horrible doom, were borne along by the waves helplessly. And the force of the wind had snatched away their sails and shattered in twain the hull, tossed as it was by the breakers. And hereupon by heaven's prompting those four clutched a huge beam, one of many that were scattered about, held together by sharp bolts, when the ship broke to pieces. And on to the island the waves and the blasts of wind bore the men in their distress, within a little of death. And straightway a mighty rain burst forth, and rained upon the sea and the island, and all the country opposite the island, where the arrogant Mossynoeci dwelt. And the sweep of the waves hurled the sons of Phrixus, together with their massy beam, upon the beach of the island, in the murky night; and the floods of rain from Zeus ceased at sunrise, and soon the two bands drew near and met each other, and Argus spoke first:


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