<<<
>>>

The Argonautica

Page: 59

(ll. 523-539) "My friends, this indeed is left us at the last. But I deem that there will come to you some timely aid from my mother. Wherefore, eager though ye be, refrain and abide in your ship a little longer as before, for it is better to forbear than recklessly to choose an evil fate. There is a maiden, nurtured in the halls of Aeetes, whom the goddess Hecate taught to handle magic herbs with exceeding skill all that the land and flowing waters produce. With them is quenched the blast of unwearied flame, and at once she stays the course of rivers as they rush roaring on, and checks the stars and the paths of the sacred moon. Of her we bethought us as we came hither along the path from the palace, if haply my mother, her own sister, might persuade her to aid us in the venture. And if this is pleasing to you as well, surely on this very day will I return to the palace of Aeetes to make trial; and perchance with some god's help shall I make the trial."

(ll. 540-544) Thus he spake, and the gods in their goodwill gave them a sign. A trembling dove in her flight from a mighty hawk fell from on high, terrified, into the lap of Aeson's son, and the hawk fell impaled on the stern-ornament. And quickly Mopsus with prophetic words spake among them all:

(ll. 545-554) "For you, friends, this sign has been wrought by the will of heaven; in no other way is it possible to interpret its meaning better, than to seek out the maiden and entreat her with manifold skill. And I think she will not reject our prayer, if in truth Phineus said that our return should be with the help of the Cyprian goddess. It was her gentle bird that escaped death; and as my heart within me foresees according to this omen, so may it prove! But, my friends, let us call on Cytherea to aid us, and now at once obey the counsels of Argus."

(ll. 555-563) He spake, and the warriors approved, remembering the injunctions of Phineus; but all alone leapt up Apharcian Idas and shouted loudly in terrible wrath: "Shame on us, have we come here fellow voyagers with women, calling on Cypris for help and not on the mighty strength of Enyalius? And do ye look to doves and hawks to save yourselves from contests? Away with you, take thought not for deeds of war, but by supplication to beguile weakling girls."

(ll. 564-571) Such were his eager words; and of his comrades many murmured low, but none uttered a word of answer back. And he sat down in wrath; and at once Jason roused them and uttered his own thought: "Let Argus set forth from the ship, since this pleases all; but we will now move from the river and openly fasten our hawsers to the shore. For surely it is not fitting for us to hide any longer cowering from the battle-cry."


<<<
>>>