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The Argonautica

Page: 9

(ll. 278-291) "Would that on that day when, wretched woman that I am, I heard King Pelias proclaim his evil behest, I had straightway given up my life and forgotten my cares, so that thou thyself, my son, with thine own hands, mightest have buried me; for that was the only wish left me still to be fulfilled by time, all the other rewards for thy nurture have I long enjoyed. Now I, once so admired among Achaean women, shall be left behind like a bondwoman in my empty halls, pining away, ill-fated one, for love of thee, thee on whose account I had aforetime so much splendour and renown, my only son for whom I loosed my virgin zone first and last. For to me beyond others the goddess Eileithyia grudged abundant offspring. Alas for my folly! Not once, not even in nay dreams did I forebode this, that the flight of Phrixus would bring me woe."

(ll. 292-294) Thus with moaning she wept, and her handmaidens, standing by, lamented; but Jason spake gently to her with comforting words:

(ll. 295-305) "Do not, I pray thee, mother, store up bitter sorrows overmuch, for thou wilt not redeem me from evil by tears, but wilt still add grief to grief. For unseen are the woes that the gods mete out to mortals; be strong to endure thy share of them though with grief in thy heart; take courage from the promises of Athena, and from the answers of the gods (for very favourable oracles has Phoebus given), and then from the help of the chieftains. But do thou remain here, quiet among thy handmaids, and be not a bird of ill omen to the ship; and thither my clansmen and thralls will follow me."

(ll. 306-316) He spake, and started forth to leave the house. And as Apollo goes forth from some fragrant shrine to divine Delos or Claros or Pytho or to broad Lyeia near the stream of Xanthus, in such beauty moved Jason through the throng of people; and a cry arose as they shouted together. And there met him aged Iphias, priestess of Artemis guardian of the city, and kissed his right hand, but she had not strength to say a word, for all her eagerness, as the crowd rushed on, but she was left there by the wayside, as the old are left by the young, and he passed on and was gone afar.

(ll. 317-331) Now when he had left the well-built streets of the city, he came to the beach of Pagasae, where his comrades greeted him as they stayed together near the ship Argo. And he stood at the entering in, and they were gathered to meet him. And they perceived Aeastus and Argus coming from the city, and they marvelled when they saw them hasting with all speed, despite the will of Pelias. The one, Argus, son of Arestor, had cast round his shoulders the hide of a bull reaching to his feet, with the black hair upon it, the other, a fair mantle of double fold, which his sister Pelopeia had given him. Still Jason forebore from asking them about each point but bade all be seated for an assembly. And there, upon the folded sails and the mast as it lay on the ground, they all took their seats in order. And among them with goodwill spake Aeson's son:


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