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The Argonautica

Page: 79

(ll. 350-354) Now when the maiden had mused upon all this, sharp anguish shook her heart unceasingly; and quickly she called forth Jason alone apart from his comrades, and led him aside until they were far away, and before his face uttered her speech all broken with sobs:

(ll. 355-390) "What is this purpose that ye are now devising about me, O son of Aeson? Has thy triumph utterly cast forgetfulness upon thee, and reekest thou nothing of all that thou spakest when held fast by necessity? Whither are fled the oaths by Zeus the suppliants' god, whither are fled thy honied promises? For which in no seemly wise, with shameless will, I have left my country, the glories of my home and even my parents—things that were dearest to me; and far away all alone I am borne over the sea with the plaintive kingfishers because of thy trouble, in order that I might save thy life in fulfilling the contests with the oxen and the earthborn men. Last of all the fleece—when the matter became known, it was by my folly thou didst win it; and a foul reproach have I poured on womankind. Wherefore I say that as thy child, thy bride and thy sister, I follow thee to the land of Hellas. Be ready to stand by me to the end, abandon me not left forlorn of thee when thou dost visit the kings. But only save me; let justice and right, to which we have both agreed, stand firm; or else do thou at once shear through this neck with the sword, that I may gain the guerdon due to my mad passion. Poor wretch! if the king, to whom you both commit your cruel covenant, doom me to belong to my brother. How shall I come to my father's sight? Will it be with a good name? What revenge, what heavy calamity shall I not endure in agony for the terrible deeds I have done? And wilt thou win the return that thy heart desires? Never may Zeus' bride, the queen of all, in whom thou dost glory, bring that to pass. Mayst thou some time remember me when thou art racked with anguish; may the fleece like a dream vanish into the nether darkness on the wings of the wind! And may my avenging Furies forthwith drive thee from thy country, for all that I have suffered through thy cruelty! These curses will not be allowed to fall unaccomplished to the ground. A mighty oath hast thou transgressed, ruthless one; but not long shalt thou and thy comrades sit at ease casting eyes of mockery upon me, for all your covenants."

(ll. 391-394) Thus she spake, seething with fierce wrath; and she longed to set fire to the ship and to hew it utterly in pieces, and herself to fall into the raging flame. But Jason, half afraid, thus addressed her with gentle words:

(ll. 395-409) "Forbear, lady; me too this pleases not. But we seek some respite from battle, for such a cloud of hostile men, like to a fire, surrounds us, on thy account. For all that inhabit this land are eager to aid Apsyrtus, that they may lead thee back home to thy father, like some captured maid. And all of us would perish in hateful destruction, if we closed with them in fight; and bitterer still will be the pain, if we are slain and leave thee to be their prey. But this covenant will weave a web of guile to lead him to ruin. Nor will the people of the land for thy sake oppose us, to favour the Colchians, when their prince is no longer with them, who is thy champion and thy brother; nor will I shrink from matching myself in fight with the Colchians, if they bar my way homeward."


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