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The Argonautica

Page: 99

(ll. 1601-1637) He spake, and cut the victim's throat over the water and cast it from the stern. And the god rose up from the depths in form such as he really was. And as when a man trains a swift steed for the broad race-course, and runs along, grasping the bushy mane, while the steed follows obeying his master, and rears his neck aloft in his pride, and the gleaming bit rings loud as he champs it in his jaws from side to side; so the god, seizing hollow Argo's keel, guided her onward to the sea. And his body, from the crown of his head, round his back and waist as far as the belly, was wondrously like that of the blessed ones in form; but below his sides the tail of a sea monster lengthened far, forking to this side and that; and he smote the surface of the waves with the spines, which below parted into curving fins, like the horns of the new moon. And he guided Argo on until he sped her into the sea on her course; and quickly he plunged into the vast abyss; and the heroes shouted when they gazed with their eyes on that dread portent. There is the harbour of Argo and there are the signs of her stay, and altars to Poseidon and Triton; for during that day they tarried. But at dawn with sails outspread they sped on before the breath of the west wind, keeping the desert land on their right. And on the next morn they saw the headland and the recess of the sea, bending inward beyond the jutting headland. And straightway the west wind ceased, and there came the breeze of the clear south wind; and their hearts rejoiced at the sound it made. But when the sun sank and the star returned that bids the shepherd fold, which brings rest to wearied ploughmen, at that time the wind died down in the dark night; so they furled the sails and lowered the tall mast and vigorously plied their polished oars all night and through the day, and again when the next night came on. And rugged Carpathus far away welcomed them; and thence they were to cross to Crete, which rises in the sea above other islands.

(ll. 1638-1653) And Talos, the man of bronze, as he broke off rocks from the hard cliff, stayed them from fastening hawsers to the shore, when they came to the roadstead of Dicte's haven. He was of the stock of bronze, of the men sprung from ash-trees, the last left among the sons of the gods; and the son of Cronos gave him to Europa to be the warder of Crete and to stride round the island thrice a day with his feet of bronze. Now in all the rest of his body and limbs was he fashioned of bronze and invulnerable; but beneath the sinew by his ankle was a blood-red vein; and this, with its issues of life and death, was covered by a thin skin. So the heroes, though outworn with toil, quickly backed their ship from the land in sore dismay. And now far from Crete would they have been borne in wretched plight, distressed both by thirst and pain, had not Medea addressed them as they turned away:


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