The Argonautica

Page: 50

(ll. 1281-1285) Thus he spake, and by the advice of Argus Jason bade them enter a shaded backwater and let the ship ride at anchor off shore; and it was near at hand in their course and there they passed the night. And soon the dawn appeared to their expectant eyes.


(ll. 1-5) Come now, Erato, stand by my side, and say next how Jason brought back the fleece to Iolcus aided by the love of Medea. For thou sharest the power of Cypris, and by thy love-cares dost charm unwedded maidens; wherefore to thee too is attached a name that tells of love.

(ll. 6-10) Thus the heroes, unobserved, were waiting in ambush amid the thick reed-beds; but Hera and Athena took note of them, and, apart from Zeus and the other immortals, entered a chamber and took counsel together; and Hera first made trial of Athena:

(ll. 11-16) "Do thou now first, daughter of Zeus, give advice. What must be done? Wilt thou devise some scheme whereby they may seize the golden fleece of Aeetes and bear it to Hellas, or can they deceive the king with soft words and so work persuasion? Of a truth he is terribly overweening. Still it is right to shrink from no endeavour."

(ll. 17-21) Thus she spake, and at once Athena addressed her: "I too was pondering such thoughts in my heart, Hera, when thou didst ask me outright. But not yet do I think that I have conceived a scheme to aid the courage of the heroes, though I have balanced many plans."

(ll. 22-29) She ended, and the goddesses fixed their eyes on the ground at their feet, brooding apart; and straightway Hera was the first to speak her thought: "Come, let us go to Cypris; let both of us accost her and urge her to bid her son (if only he will obey) speed his shaft at the daughter of Aeetes, the enchantress, and charm her with love for Jason. And I deem that by her device he will bring back the fleece to Hellas."

(ll. 30-31) Thus she spake, and the prudent plan pleased Athena, and she addressed her in reply with gentle words:

(ll. 32-35) "Hera, my father begat me to be a stranger to the darts of love, nor do I know any charm to work desire. But if the word pleases thee, surely I will follow; but thou must speak when we meet her."

(ll. 36-51) So she said, and starting forth they came to the mighty palace of Cypris, which her husband, the halt-footed god, had built for her when first he brought her from Zeus to be his wife. And entering the court they stood beneath the gallery of the chamber where the goddess prepared the couch of Hephaestus. But he had gone early to his forge and anvils to a broad cavern in a floating island where with the blast of flame he wrought all manner of curious work; and she all alone was sitting within, on an inlaid seat facing the door. And her white shoulders on each side were covered with the mantle of her hair and she was parting it with a golden comb and about to braid up the long tresses; but when she saw the goddesses before her, she stayed and called them within, and rose from her seat and placed them on couches. Then she herself sat down, and with her hands gathered up the locks still uncombed. And smiling she addressed them with crafty words: