The Argonautica

Page: 17

(ll. 717-720) Thus she spake and the speech of good omen pleased all. And they deemed that Thoas was dead and that his beloved daughter Hypsipyle was queen, and quickly they sent Jason on his way and themselves made ready to go.

(ll. 721-729) Now he had buckled round his shoulders a purple mantle of double fold, the work of the Tritonian goddess, which Pallas had given him when she first laid the keel-props of the ship Argo and taught him how to measure timbers with the rule. More easily wouldst thou cast thy eyes upon the sun at its rising than behold that blazing splendour. For indeed in the middle the fashion thereof was red, but at the ends it was all purple, and on each margin many separate devices had been skilfully inwoven.

(ll. 730-734) In it were the Cyclops seated at their imperishable work, forging a thunderbolt for King Zeus; by now it was almost finished in its brightness and still it wanted but one ray, which they were beating out with their iron hammers as it spurted forth a breath of raging flame.

(ll. 735-741) In it too were the twin sons of Antiope, daughter of Asopus, Amphion and Zethus, and Thebe still ungirt with towers was lying near, whose foundations they were just then laying in eager haste. Zethus on his shoulders was lifting the peak of a steep mountain, like a man toiling hard, and Amphion after him, singing loud and clear on his golden lyre, moved on, and a rock twice as large followed his footsteps.

(ll. 742-746) Next in order had been wrought Cytherea with drooping tresses, wielding the swift shield of Ares; and from her shoulder to her left arm the fastening of her tunic was loosed beneath her breast; and opposite in the shield of bronze her image appeared clear to view as she stood.

(ll. 747-751) And in it there was a well-wooded pasturage of oxen; and about the oxen the Teleboae and the sons of Eleetryon were fighting; the one party defending themselves, the others, the Taphian raiders, longing to rob them; and the dewy meadow was drenched with their blood, and the many were overmastering the few herdsmen.

(ll. 752-758) And therein were fashioned two chariots, racing, and the one in front Pelops was guiding, as he shook the reins, and with him was Hippodameia at his side, and in pursuit Myrtilus urged his steeds, and with him Oenomaus had grasped his couched spear, but fell as the axle swerved and broke in the nave, while he was eager to pierce the back of Pelops.

(ll. 759-762) And in it was wrought Phoebus Apollo, a stripling not yet grown up, in the act of shooting at mighty Tityos who was boldly dragging his mother by her veil, Tityos whom glorious Elate bare, but Earth nursed him and gave him second birth.

(ll. 763-767) And in it was Phrixus the Minyan as though he were in very deed listening to the ram, while it was like one speaking. Beholding them thou wouldst be silent and wouldst cheat thy soul with the hope of hearing some wise speech from them, and long wouldst thou gaze with that hope.