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The Argonautica

Page: 62

(ll. 688-692) "Chalciope, my heart is all trembling for thy sons, lest my father forthwith destroy them together with the strangers. Slumbering just now in a short-lived sleep such a ghastly dream did I see—may some god forbid its fulfilment and never mayst thou win for thyself bitter care on thy sons' account."

(ll. 693-704) She spake, making trial of her sister to see if she first would entreat help for her sons. And utterly unbearable grief surged over Chalciope's soul for fear at what she heard; and then she replied: "Yea, I myself too have come to thee in eager furtherance of this purpose, if thou wouldst haply devise with me and prepare some help. But swear by Earth and Heaven that thou wilt keep secret in thy heart what I shall tell thee, and be fellow-worker with me. I implore thee by the blessed gods, by thyself and by thy parents, not to see them destroyed by an evil doom piteously; or else may I die with my dear sons and come back hereafter from Hades an avenging Fury to haunt thee."

(ll. 705-710) Thus she spake, and straightway a torrent of tears gushed forth and low down she clasped her sister's knees with both hands and let her head sink on to her breast. Then they both made piteous lamentation over each other, and through the halls rose the faint sound of women weeping in anguish. Medea, sore troubled, first addressed her sister:

(ll. 711-717) "God help thee, what healing can I bring thee for what thou speakest of, horrible curses and Furies? Would that it were firmly in my power to save thy sons! Be witness that mighty oath of the Colchians by which thou urgest me to swear, the great Heaven, and Earth beneath, mother of the gods, that as far as strength lies in me, never shalt thou fail of help, if only thy prayers can be accomplished."

(ll. 718-723) She spake, and Chalciope thus replied: "Couldst thou not then, for the stranger—who himself craves thy aid—devise some trick or some wise thought to win the contest, for the sake of my sons? And from him has come Argus urging me to try to win thy help; I left him in the palace meantime while I came hither."

(ll. 724-739) Thus she spake, and Medea's heart bounded with joy within her, and at once her fair cheeks flushed, and a mist swam before her melting eyes, and she spake as follows: "Chalciope, as is dear and delightful to thee and thy sons, even so will I do. Never may the dawn appear again to my eyes, never mayst thou see me living any longer, if I should take thought for anything before thy life or thy sons' lives, for they are my brothers, my dear kinsmen and youthful companions. So do I declare myself to be thy sister, and thy daughter too, for thou didst lift me to thy breast when an infant equally with them, as I ever heard from my mother in past days. But go, bury my kindness in silence, so that I may carry out my promise unknown to my parents; and at dawn I will bring to Hecate's temple charms to cast a spell upon the bulls."


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