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The Argonautica

Page: 48

(ll. 1179-1195) "Zeus' self, I ween, beholds everything; nor do we men escape his eye, we that be god-fearing and just, for as he rescued your father from the hands of a murderous step-dame and gave him measureless wealth besides; even so hath he saved you harmless from the baleful storm. And on board this ship ye may sail hither and thither, where ye will, whether to Aea or to the wealthy city of divine Orthomenus. For our ship Athena built and with axe of bronze cut her timbers near the crest of Pelion, and with the goddess wrought Argus. But yours the fierce surge hath shattered, before ye came nigh to the rocks which all day long clash together in the straits of the sea. But come, be yourselves our helpers, for we are eager to bring to Hellas the golden fleece, and guide us on our voyage, for I go to atone for the intended sacrifice of Phrixus, the cause of Zeus' wrath against the sons of Aeolus."

(ll. 1196-1199) He spake with soothing words; but horror seized them when they heard. For they deemed that they would not find Aeetes friendly if they desired to take away the ram's fleece. And Argus spake as follows, vexed that they should busy themselves with such a quest:

(ll. 1200-1215) "My friends, our strength, so far as it avails, shall never cease to help you, not one whit, when need shall come. But Aeetes is terribly armed with deadly ruthlessness; wherefore exceedingly do I dread this voyage. And he boasts himself to be the son of Helios; and all round dwell countless tribes of Colchians; and he might match himself with Ares in his dread war-cry and giant strength. Nay, to seize the fleece in spite of Aeetes is no easy task; so huge a serpent keeps guard round and about it, deathless and sleepless, which Earth herself brought forth on the sides of Caucasus, by the rock of Typhaon, where Typhaon, they say, smitten by the bolt of Zeus, son of Cronos, when he lifted against the god his sturdy hands, dropped from his head hot gore; and in such plight he reached the mountains and plain of Nysa, where to this day he lies whelmed beneath the waters of the Serbonian lake."

(ll. 1216-1218) Thus he spake, and straightway many a cheek grew pale when they heard of so mighty an adventure. But quickly Peleus answered with cheering words, and thus spake:

(ll. 1219-1225) "Be not so fearful in spirit, my good friend. For we are not so lacking in prowess as to be no match for Aeetes to try his strength with arms; but I deem that we too are cunning in war, we that go thither, near akin to the blood of the blessed gods. Wherefore if he will not grant us the fleece of gold for friendship's sake, the tribes of the Colchians will not avail him, I ween."

(ll. 1226-1230) Thus they addressed each other in turn, until again, satisfied with their feast, they turned to rest. And when they rose at dawn a gentle breeze was blowing; and they raised the sails, which strained to the rush of the wind, and quickly they left behind the island of Ares.


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