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The Argonautica

Page: 61

(ll. 636-644) "Poor wretch, how have gloomy dreams affrighted me! I fear that this voyage of the heroes will bring some great evil. My heart is trembling for the stranger. Let him woo some Achaean girl far away among his own folk; let maidenhood be mine and the home of my parents. Yet, taking to myself a reckless heart, I will no more keep aloof but will make trial of my sister to see if she will entreat me to aid in the contest, through grief for her own sons; this would quench the bitter pain in my heart."

(ll. 645-673) She spake, and rising from her bed opened the door of her chamber, bare-footed, clad in one robe; and verily she desired to go to her sister, and crossed the threshold. And for long she stayed there at the entrance of her chamber, held back by shame; and she turned back once more; and again she came forth from within, and again stole back; and idly did her feet bear her this way and that; yea, as oft as she went straight on, shame held her within the chamber, and though held back by shame, bold desire kept urging her on. Thrice she made the attempt and thrice she checked herself, the fourth time she fell on her bed face downward, writhing in pain. And as when a bride in her chamber bewails her youthful husband, to whom her brothers and parents have given her, nor yet does she hold converse with all her attendants for shame and for thinking of him; but she sits apart in her grief; and some doom has destroyed him, before they have had pleasure of each other's charms; and she with heart on fire silently weeps, beholding her widowed couch, in fear lest the women should mock and revile her; like to her did Medea lament. And suddenly as she was in the midst of her tears, one of the handmaids came forth and noticed her, one who was her youthful attendant; and straightway she told Chalciope, who sat in the midst of her sons devising how to win over her sister. And when Chalciope heard the strange tale from the handmaid, not even so did she disregard it. And she rushed in dismay from her chamber right on to the chamber where the maiden lay in her anguish, having torn her cheeks on each side; and when Chalciope saw her eyes all dimmed with tears, she thus addressed her:

(ll. 674-680) "Ah me, Medea, why dost thou weep so? What hath befallen thee? What terrible grief has entered thy heart? Has some heaven-sent disease enwrapt thy frame, or hast thou heard from our father some deadly threat concerning me and my sons? Would that I did not behold this home of my parents, or the city, but dwelt at the ends of the earth, where not even the name of Colchians is known!"

(ll. 681-687) Thus she spake, and her sister's cheeks flushed; and though she was eager to reply, long did maiden shame restrain her. At one moment the word rose on the end of her tongue, at another it fluttered back deep within her breast. And often through her lovely lips it strove for utterance; but no sound came forth; till at last she spoke with guileful words; for the bold Loves were pressing her hard:


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