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The Argonautica

Page: 83

(ll. 627-658) Thence they entered the deep stream of Rhodanus which flows into Eridanus; and where they meet there is a roar of mingling waters. Now that river, rising from the ends of the earth, where are the portals and mansions of Night, on one side bursts forth upon the beach of Ocean, at another pours into the Ionian sea, and on the third through seven mouths sends its stream to the Sardinian sea and its limitless bay. 1403 And from Rhodanus they entered stormy lakes, which spread throughout the Celtic mainland of wondrous size; and there they would have met with an inglorious calamity; for a certain branch of the river was bearing them towards a gulf of Ocean which in ignorance they were about to enter, and never would they have returned from there in safety. But Hera leaping forth from heaven pealed her cry from the Hercynian rock; and all together were shaken with fear of her cry; for terribly crashed the mighty firmament. And backward they turned by reason of the goddess, and noted the path by which their return was ordained. And after a long while they came to the beach of the surging sea by the devising of Hera, passing unharmed through countless tribes of the Celts and Ligyans. For round them the goddess poured a dread mist day by day as they fared on. And so, sailing through the midmost mouth, they reached the Stoechades islands in safety by the aid of the sons of Zeus; wherefore altars and sacred rites are established in their honour for ever; and not that sea-faring alone did they attend to succour; but Zeus granted to them the ships of future sailors too. Then leaving the Stoechades they passed on to the island Aethalia, where after their toil they wiped away with pebbles sweat in abundance; and pebbles like skin in colour are strewn on the beach; 1404 and there are their quoits and their wondrous armour; and there is the Argoan harbour called after them.

(ll. 659-684) And quickly from there they passed through the sea, beholding the Tyrrhenian shores of Ausonia; and they came to the famous harbour of Aeaea, and from the ship they cast hawsers to the shore near at hand. And here they found Circe bathing her head in the salt sea-spray, for sorely had she been scared by visions of the night. With blood her chambers and all the walls of her palace seemed to be running, and flame was devouring all the magic herbs with which she used to bewitch strangers whoever came; and she herself with murderous blood quenched the glowing flame, drawing it up in her hands; and she ceased from deadly fear. Wherefore when morning came she rose, and with sea-spray was bathing her hair and her garments. And beasts, not resembling the beasts of the wild, nor yet like men in body, but with a medley of limbs, went in a throng, as sheep from the fold in multitudes follow the shepherd. Such creatures, compacted of various limbs, did each herself produce from the primeval slime when she had not yet grown solid beneath a rainless sky nor yet had received a drop of moisture from the rays of the scorching sun; but time combined these forms and marshalled them in their ranks; in such wise these monsters shapeless of form followed her. And exceeding wonder seized the heroes, and at once, as each gazed on the form and face of Circe, they readily guessed that she was the sister of Aeetes.


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