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The Argonautica

Page: 8

(ll. 228-233) So many then were the helpers who assembled to join the son of Aeson. All the chiefs the dwellers thereabout called Minyae, for the most and the bravest avowed that they were sprung from the blood of the daughters of Minyas; thus Jason himself was the son of Alcimede who was born of Clymene the daughter of Minyas.

(ll. 234-241) Now when all things had been made ready by the thralls, all things that fully-equipped ships are furnished withal when men's business leads them to voyage across the sea, then the heroes took their way through the city to the ship where it lay on the strand that men call Magnesian Pagasae; and a crowd of people hastening rushed together; but the heroes shone like gleaming stars among the clouds; and each man as he saw them speeding along with their armour would say:

(ll. 242-246) "King Zeus, what is the purpose of Pelias? Whither is he driving forth from the Panachaean land so great a host of heroes? On one day they would waste the palace of Aeetes with baleful fire, should he not yield them the fleece of his own goodwill. But the path is not to be shunned, the toil is hard for those who venture."

(ll. 247-250) Thus they spake here and there throughout the city; but the women often raised their hands to the sky in prayer to the immortals to grant a return, their hearts' desire. And one with tears thus lamented to her fellow:

(ll. 251-260) "Wretched Alcimede, evil has come to thee at last though late, thou hast not ended with splendour of life. Aeson too, ill-fated man! Surely better had it been for him, if he were lying beneath the earth, enveloped in his shroud, still unconscious of bitter toils. Would that the dark wave, when the maiden Helle perished, had overwhelmed Phrixus too with the ram; but the dire portent even sent forth a human voice, that it might cause to Alcimede sorrows and countless pains hereafter."

(ll. 261-277) Thus the women spake at the departure of the heroes. And now many thralls, men and women, were gathered together, and his mother, smitten with grief for Jason. And a bitter pang seized every woman's heart; and with them groaned the father in baleful old age, lying on his bed, closely wrapped round. But the hero straightway soothed their pain, encouraging them, and bade the thralls take up his weapons for war; and they in silence with downcast looks took them up. And even as the mother had thrown her arms about her son, so she clung, weeping without stint, as a maiden all alone weeps, falling fondly on the neck of her hoary nurse, a maid who has now no others to care for her, but she drags on a weary life under a stepmother, who maltreats her continually with ever fresh insults, and as she weeps, her heart within her is bound fast with misery, nor can she sob forth all the groans that struggle for utterance; so without stint wept Alcimede straining her son in her arms, and in her yearning grief spake as follows:


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