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The Argonautica

Page: 86

(ll. 833-841) Thus she spake, and Thetis answered with these words: "If the fury of the ravening flame and the stormy winds cease in very deed, surely will I promise boldly to save the ship, even though the waves bar the way, if only the west wind blows fresh and clear. But it is time to fare on a long and measureless path, in quest of my sisters who will aid me, and to the spot where the ship's hawsers are fastened, that at early dawn the heroes may take thought to win their home-return."

(ll. 842-855) She spake, and darting down from the sky fell amid the eddies of the dark blue sea; and she called to aid her the rest of the Nereids, her own sisters; and they heard her and gathered together; and Thetis declared to them Hera's behests, and quickly sped them all on their way to the Ausonian sea. And herself, swifter than the flash of an eye or the shafts of the sun, when it rises upwards from a far-distant land, hastened swiftly through the sea, until she reached the Aeaean beach of the Tyrrhenian mainland. And the heroes she found by the ship taking their pastime with quoits and shooting of arrows; and she drew near and just touched the hand of Aeaeus' son Peleus, for he was her husband; nor could anyone see her clearly, but she appeared to his eyes alone, and thus addressed him:

(ll. 856-864) "No longer now must ye stay sitting on the Tyrrhenian beach, but at dawn loosen the hawsers of your swift ship, in obedience to Hera, your helper. For at her behest the maiden daughters of Nereus have met together to draw your ship through the midst of the rocks which are called Planctae, 1407 for that is your destined path. But do thou show my person to no one, when thou seest us come to meet time, but keep it secret in thy mind, lest thou anger me still more than thou didst anger me before so recklessly."

(ll. 865-884) She spake, and vanished into the depths of the sea; but sharp pain smote Peleus, for never before had he seen her come, since first she left her bridal chamber and bed in anger, on account of noble Achilles, then a babe. For she ever encompassed the child's mortal flesh in the night with the flame of fire; and day by day she anointed with ambrosia his tender frame, so that he might become immortal and that she might keep off from his body loathsome old age. But Peleus leapt up from his bed and saw his dear son gasping in the flame; and at the sight he uttered a terrible cry, fool that he was; and she heard it, and catching up the child threw him screaming to the ground, and herself like a breath of wind passed swiftly from the hall as a dream and leapt into the sea, exceeding wroth, and thereafter returned not again. Wherefore blank amazement fettered his soul; nevertheless he declared to his comrades all the bidding of Thetis. And they broke off in the midst and hurriedly ceased their contests, and prepared their meal and earth-strewn beds, whereon after supper they slept through the night as aforetime.


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