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The Argonautica

Page: 94

(ll. 1333-1336) "Be gracious, noble goddesses of the desert, yet the saying about our return I understand not clearly. Surely I will gather together my comrades and tell them, if haply we can find some token of our escape, for the counsel of many is better."

(ll. 1337-1346) He spake, and leapt to his feet, and shouted afar to his comrades, all squalid with dust, like a lion when he roars through the woodland seeking his mate; and far off in the mountains the glens tremble at the thunder of his voice; and the oxen of the field and the herdsmen shudder with fear; yet to them Jason's voice was no whit terrible the voice of a comrade calling to his friends. And with looks downcast they gathered near, and hard by where the ship lay he made them sit down in their grief and the women with them, and addressed them and told them everything:

(ll. 1347-1362) "Listen, friends; as I lay in my grief, three goddesses girded with goat-skins from the neck downwards round the back and waist, like maidens, stood over my head nigh at hand; and they uncovered me, drawing my cloak away with light hand, and they bade me rise up myself and go and rouse you, and pay to our mother a bounteous recompense for all her travail when she bare us so long in her womb, when Amphitrite shall have loosed Poseidon's swift-wheeled car. But I cannot fully understand concerning this divine message. They said indeed that they were heroines, Libya's warders and daughters; and all the toils that we endured aforetime by land and sea, all these they declared that they knew full well. Then I saw them no more in their place, but a mist or cloud came between and hid them from my sight."

(ll. 1363-1369) Thus he spake, and all marvelled as they heard. Then was wrought for the Minyae the strangest of portents. From the sea to the land leapt forth a monstrous horse, of vast size, with golden mane tossing round his neck; and quickly from his limbs he shook off abundant spray and started on his course, with feet like the wind. And at once Peleus rejoiced and spake among the throng of his comrades:

(ll. 1370-1379) "I deem that Poseidon's ear has even now been loosed by the hands of his dear wife, and I divine that our mother is none else than our ship herself; for surely she bare us in her womb and groans unceasingly with grievous travailing. But with unshaken strength and untiring shoulders will we lift her up and bear her within this country of sandy wastes, where yon swift-footed steed has sped before. For he will not plunge beneath the earth; and his hoof-prints, I ween, will point us to some bay above the sea."

(ll. 1380-1392) Thus he spake, and the fit counsel pleased all. This is the tale the Muses told; and I sing obedient to the Pierides, and this report have I heard most truly; that ye, O mightiest far of the sons of kings, by your might and your valour over the desert sands of Libya raised high aloft on your shoulders the ship and all that ye brought therein, and bare her twelve days and nights alike. Yet who could tell the pain and grief which they endured in that toil? Surely they were of the blood of the immortals, such a task did they take on them, constrained by necessity. How forward and how far they bore her gladly to the waters of the Tritonian lake! How they strode in and set her down from their stalwart shoulders!


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