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The Argonautica

Page: 66

(ll. 947-974) He spake wisely, and both at once gave approval. Nor was Medea's heart turned to other thoughts, for all her singing, and never a song that she essayed pleased her long in her sport. But in confusion she ever faltered, nor did she keep her eyes resting quietly upon the throng of her handmaids; but to the paths far off she strained her gaze, turning her face aside. Oft did her heart sink fainting within her bosom whenever she fancied she heard passing by the sound of a footfall or of the wind. But soon he appeared to her longing eyes, striding along loftily, like Sirius coming from ocean, which rises fair and clear to see, but brings unspeakable mischief to flocks; thus then did Aeson's son come to her, fair to see, but the sight of him brought love-sick care. Her heart fell from out her bosom, and a dark mist came over her eyes, and a hot blush covered her cheeks. And she had no strength to lift her knees backwards or forwards, but her feet beneath were rooted to the ground; and meantime all her handmaidens had drawn aside. So they two stood face to face without a word, without a sound, like oaks or lofty pines, which stand quietly side by side on the mountains when the wind is still; then again, when stirred by the breath of the wind, they murmur ceaselessly; so they two were destined to tell out all their tale, stirred by the breath of Love. And Aeson's son saw that she had fallen into some heaven-sent calamity, and with soothing words thus addressed her:

(ll. 975-1007) "Why, pray, maiden, dost thou fear me so much, all alone as I am? Never was I one of these idle boasters such as other men are—not even aforetime, when I dwelt in my own country. Wherefore, maiden, be not too much abashed before me, either to enquire whatever thou wilt or to speak thy mind. But since we have met one another with friendly hearts, in a hallowed spot, where it is wrong to sin, speak openly and ask questions, and beguile me not with pleasing words, for at the first thou didst promise thy sister to give me the charms my heart desires. I implore thee by Hecate herself, by thy parents, and by Zeus who holds his guardian hand over strangers and suppliants; I come here to thee both a suppliant and a stranger, bending the knee in my sore need. For without thee and thy sister never shall I prevail in the grievous contest. And to thee will I render thanks hereafter for thy aid, as is right and fitting for men who dwell far oft, making glorious thy name and fame; and the rest of the heroes, returning to Hellas, will spread thy renown and so will the heroes' wives and mothers, who now perhaps are sitting on the shore and making moan for us; their painful affliction thou mightest scatter to the winds. In days past the maiden Ariadne, daughter of Minos, with kindly intent rescued Theseus from grim contests—the maiden whom Pasiphae daughter of Helios bare. But she, when Minos had lulled his wrath to rest, went aboard the ship with him and left her fatherland; and her even the immortal gods loved, and, as a sign in mid-sky, a crown of stars, which men call Ariadne's crown, rolls along all night among the heavenly constellations. So to thee too shall be thanks from the gods, if thou wilt save so mighty an array of chieftains. For surely from thy lovely form thou art like to excel in gentle courtest."


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