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by it. Cf. Soph. Aias, 7rpi7rrix')r tfaffjavift, literally " folded about his
sword," i.e. fallen upon it and pierced by it.

L. 538-592.] THE AEGONAUTICA. 119

all, while we will now fasten our cables openly ashore out
from the river. For assuredly 'tis well to lie hid no longer,
crouching in fear from the battle-cry."

Therewith, sent he Argus forth at once to go swiftly a
second time unto the city ; but they hauled their anchors
aboard at the bidding of the son of J3son, and rowed the
ship a little space from out the backwater, and moored her
to the shore.

Anon jEetes held a gathering of the Colchians apart
from his house, where they sat aforetime, devising against
the Minyae treachery intolerable and troubles. For he
threatened ' that, so soon as the oxen should have torn that
fellow in pieces, who had taken upon him the performance
of the grievous labour, he would then cut down an oak-
thicket upon the wooded hill-top and burn their ship,
men and all, that they, with their over- weening schemes,
may splutter out 2 their grievous insolence. For he would
never have received Phrixus, son of ^Eolus, as a guest within
his halls, for all his craving, Phrixus who exceeded all
strangers in gentleness and holiness, had not Zeus sent to
him his own messenger Hermes, that so Phrixus might
meet with a kindly host. Verily were pirates to come to
his land, they would not long be without sorrows of their
own, folk who make it their business to stretch out their
hand upon the goods of strangers, and to weave secret

1 ffTtvru, " he threatened." From the sense of boasting that one is
so and so, or will do so and so, the transition to that of threatening is
not difficult. We find the word in three different significations : cf. ii.
1204, " he avows himself to be ; " iii. 337, " is it destined ; " iii. 579, " he

2 diro(p\vK<affiv, a grim jest on the part of JEetes. The word means
" to boil up, splutter ;" then " to babble idly," used by the king in scorn
of the words Jason had spoken, and also with an allusion to the effect
the fire would have on the heroes " fire makes water boil away, per-
haps it may make these babblers splutter out all their presumption."
Cf. <f>\vapta = " nonsense."


plots, and to harry the steadings of herdsmen in forays,
heralded by their dreaded shout. Moreover he said that
the sons of Phrixus, apart from this, should pay him a
proper penalty l for returning in the company of evil-doers
as their guides, that they might drive him from his honour
and his kingdom heedlessly ; for once on a time he had
heard a dismal warning from his father Helios, that he
must avoid the deep guile and plotting and the wily mis-
chief of his own race. Wherefore he sent them, according
to their father's bidding, eager as they were, to the land of
Achsea, a long journey. But small fear had he of his
daughters, or of his son Absyrtus, that they would ever
devise any baleful plan ; but he thought these fell deeds
were to be accomplished among the race of Chalciope ; and
so it was that terrible things did he pronounce 2 in his wrath
against those other folk ; and he made a mighty threat
that he would keep them from the ship and their comrades,
that none might escape destruction.

Meantime Argus came unto the house of ^Eetes, and
strove to win his mother with every argument he knew,
that she might entreat Medea's aid ; but she pondered the
matter first herself. For fear held her back, lest haply he
should win her over in vain, and contrary to fate ; so fear-
ful was she of her father's deadly anger, or lest, if she con-
sented to his prayer, her deed might get abroad and be
clearly known.

Now deep sleep relieved the maid Medea from her trou-
bles, as she lay upon her bed. But anon fearsome cheating

1 juti'Xia = anything that pleases; then a marriage portion ; here equiva-
lent to iroival, which, however, viewed from yEetes' point of view, would
be distinctly pleasing. The word is used above, iii. 135, for " a toy,

2 m<j>avffKiro, " he declared " that he would bring to pass. SrifiorL
poimv literally = "common, vulgar." It is not quite clear who is
meant; possibly the rest of the heroes, as distinct from the sons of
Phrixus and Chalciope, who were to receive special punishment.

L. 593-650.] THE AKGONAUTICA. 121

dreams assailed her, as they will a maiden in her woe.
She thought yon stranger had taken that toil upon him,
not because he greatly desired to carry off the ram's fleece,
nor at all, for its sake, had he come to the city of JEetes,
but that he might lead her to his home to be his own true
wife ; and she dreamed that she herself strove with the
oxen, and did the toil right easily ; but her parents made
light of their promise ; for they had set the yoking of the
oxen, not before their daughter, but before the stranger.
Then arose a strife of doubtful issue betwixt her father and
the strangers ; and both did entrust it unto her to be even
as she should direct. At once she chose that stranger, and
forgat her parents, and grievous was their anguish, and
they cried out in anger ; then did sleep forsake her, and
she awoke with a cry. And she arose quivering with terror,
and peered all round the walls of her chamber, and scarce
could she regain her courage as before in her breast, and
she uttered her voice aloud, " Ah ! woe is me ! how have
fearful dreams affrighted me ! I fear that this voyage of
the heroes is bringing some awful calamity. My heart is
in suspense l for the stranger. Let him woo some Achaean
maiden, far away among his own people, and let my virgin
state and my parents' home be my care. Verily, though I
have cast shame out of my heart, I will not yet make any
attempt without the advice of my sister, if haply she en-
treat me to help their enterprise, in sorrow for her sons ;
that would assuage the bitter grief in my heart."

Therewith she rose and opened the door of her chamber,
barefoot, in her shift alone ; and lo ! she longed to go to
her sister, and she passed over the threshold of her room.
And long time she waited there at the entrance of her
chamber, held back by shame, and she turned her back
once more ; and yet again she went from her room, and

1 f/tpiBovrai, a lengthened form of utipopai, = " to hang floating in
the air." Hence metaph. " to waver."

122 APOLLONIUS RHomtrs. [BOOK in.

again stole back ; for her feet bore her in vain this way
and that ; yea, and oft as she was going straight on,
modesty kept her within ; then would bold desire urge
her against the curb of modesty. Thrice she tried, and
thrice she held back ; the fourth time she turned and threw
herself face down upon the bed. As when a bride doth
mourn within her chamber a strong young husband, to
whom her brethren and parents have given her, and she
holds no converse with all her attendants for very shame
and thinking of him ; but sitteth in a corner lamenting,
but him hath some doom destroyed, ere they twain have
had any joy each of the other's counsels ; while she, with
burning heart, looks on her widowed bed and sheds the
silent tear, that the women may not mock and scoff at
her ; like to her was Medea in her lamentation. Now on
a sudden, while she wept, a maid-servant coming forth
did hear her, one that had waited on her in her girlhood ;
and forthwith she told Chalciope ; now she was sitting
amongst her sons, devising how to win her sister to their
side. Yet not even so did she make light of it, when she
heard the maid's strange story, but she hasted in amaze
from room to room throughout the house to the chamber
wherein the maiden lay in her anguish, and tore her
cheeks ;. and when she saw her eyes all dimmed with tears,
she said to her, " Ah, woe is me ! Medea, and wherefore
dost thou shed these tears ? What has happened to thee ?
what awful grief hath come into thy heart? Has some
disease of heaven's sending fastened on thy limbs, or hast
thou learnt some deadly threat of my father concerning
me and my sons? Would that I no longer beheld this
house of my parents, nor their city, but dwelt in the utter-
most parts of the earth, where is not so much as heard the
name of Colchians."

So spake she, but a blush rose to her sister's cheeks, and
long time maiden modesty stayed her from answering, fain

L. 651-714.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 123

as she was. At one moment the word would rise to the
tip of her tongue, at another it would speed back deep
within her breast. Oft her eager lips yearned to tell their
tale, but the words came no farther. At the last she
made this subtle speech, for love's bold hand was heavy on
her, " Chalciope, my heart is in sore suspense for thy sons,
for fear lest our father slay them outright with the
strangers. For as I fell asleep just now and slumbered
for a little space, I saw a fearful vision. May some god
make it of none effect, and mayest thou get no bitter grief
for thy sons !"

So spake she, making trial of her sister ; and the other
thus answered : " Lo ! I came to thee myself bent upon
this business entirely, to see if thou couldst help me with
counsel and devise some aid. Come, swear by heaven and
earth that thou wilt keep in thy heart what I shall say to
thee, and will help me in the work. I pray thee by the
blessed gods, by thyself, and by our parents, do not see
them piteously destroyed by some evil fate ; or else will I
die with my dear sons and be to thee hereafter a fearful
spirit of vengeance from Hades."

So spake she, and forthwith her tears gushed forth in
streams, and she clasped her hands below her knees, and
let her head sink on her bosom. Then did the two sisters
make piteous lament over each other, and there arose
through the house a faint ' sound of women weeping in their

But Medea first addressed the other, sore distressed:
" God help us, sister ! what cure can I work for thee ?
what a word is thine, with thy dread curses and spirits of
vengeance ! "Would that it were surely in niy power to save
thy sons ! Witness now that awful oath of the Colchians,

1 \tirTa\ET) 'nofj, properly "fine, delicate." In this connexion it would
seem to mean " subdued," so that their grief might not be noticed and
cause suspicion.


which thyself wouldst have me swear ; great heaven and
earth beneath, mother of gods ! as far as in me lies I will
not fail thee, so thou ask aught I can perform."

So spake she, and Chalciope thus made answer : " Canst
thou then devise no trick, no help for the enterprise of the
stranger, even if his own lips ask it, for the sake of my
children ? lo ! Argus is come from him, urging me to try
and gain thy help ; him did I leave within the house the
while I came hither."

So she ; and the other's heart within her leapt for joy,
and a deep blush withal mantled o'er her fair skin, and a
mist came o'er her eyes as her heart melted, and thus she
answered : " Chalciope, I will do even as is dear and pleas-
ing to you. May the dawn shine no more upon mine eyes ;
mayst thou no longer see me in the land of the living, if I
hold aught before thy soul, or before thy sons, who verily
are my cousins, my kinsmen dear, and of mine own age.
Even so I do declare I am thy sister and thy daughter too,
for thou didst hold me to thy breast while yet a babe,
equally with those thy sons, as ever I heard in days gone
by from my mother. But go now, hide my service in silence
that I may make good my promise without the knowledge
of my parents, and at dawn will I carry to the temple of
Hecate drugs to charm the bulls."

So Chalciope went back again from the chamber ; while
she set to devising some help for her sister's sons. But
once more did shame and an horrible dread seize her when
she was alone, to think that she was devising such things
for a man, without her father's knowledge.

Then did night spread darkness o'er the earth, and they
who were at sea, the mariners, looked forth from their
ships toward the Bear and the stars of Orion ; and now did
every wayfarer and gatekeeper long for sleep ; and o'er
every mother, weeping for children dead, fell the pall of
deep slumber ; no more did dogs howl through the town ;

L. 715-781.] THE AKGONAUTICA. 125

no more was heard the noise of men, but silence wrapped
the darkling gloom. Yet not at all did sleep shed its sweet-
ness o'er Medea ; for in her love for the son of ^son many
a care kept her awake, terrified at the mighty strength of
the bulls, before whom he was to die a shameful death on
Ares' acre. And her heart was wildly stirred within her
breast ; as when a sun-beam reflected from water plays
upon the wall of a house, water just poured into a basin
or a pail maybe ; hither and thither it darts and dances on
the quick eddy ; even so the maiden's heart was fluttering
in her breast, and tears of pity flowed from her eyes ; and,
ever within, the pain was wasting her, smouldering through
her body, and about her weakened nerves, and right be-
neath the back of her head, 1 where the keenest pain doth
enter in, when the tireless love-god lets loose 2 his tortures
on the heart. At one time she thought she would give
him drugs to charm the bulls, at another she thought nay,
but that she would die herself ; anon she would not die
herself, nor would she give him the drugs, but quietly even
so would endure her sorrow. So she sat halting between
two opinions, then spake, " Ah, woe is me ! am I now to
toss hither and thither in woe ? my mind is wholly at a
loss ; there is no help for my suffering, but it burneth ever
thus. Oh ! would that I had died by the swift arrows of
Artemis, or ever I had seen him, or ever the sons of Chal-
ciope started for the Achaean land ; some god or some
spirit of vengeance hath brought them hither from thence
to cause us tears and woe enow. Well, let him perish in
his attempt, if 'tis his lot to die upon the fallow. For how
can I contrive the drugs, and my parents know it not ?
what tale am I to tell about them ? What cunning, what
crafty scheme shall there be for their aid ? Shall I greet
him kindly if I see him alone apart from his comrades ?

1 iviov strictly is " the nape of the neck."

v, literally " to dash in or upon " (trans.).


Unhappy maid am I ; inethinks I would not be quit of sor-
row even though he were dead and gone. For sorrow will
come upon me in the hour that he is bereft of life. Away
with shame, perish beauty ! he shall be saved, unhurt, and
by my help ; then let him go whithersoever his heart listeth.
But may I die the self -same day that he fulfilleth his
enterprise, either hanging by my neck from the roof-tree,
or tasting of drugs that rive body and soul asunder. But,
if I die thus, everv eye will wink l and mock at me, and
every city far away will ring with the tale of my death,
and the Colchian women will make a byword of me for
their unseemly gibes ; the maid who cared so dearly for a
stranger that she died for him, who shamed her home
and parents by yielding to her mad passion. What dis-
grace is there that will not be mine? Ah me! for my
infatuation! Far better will it be this very night to leave
life behind in my chamber by an unseen fate, avoiding
all ill reproaches, or ever I complete this infamous dis-
grace ! "

Therewith she went to fetch a casket, wherein were laid
many drugs for her use, some healing, others very deadly.
And she laid it on her lap, and wept. And her bosom was
wet with her ceaseless weeping, for the tears flowed in
streams as she sat there, making piteous lament for her
fate. Then she hasted to choose a deadly drug, that she
might taste thereof. And lo ! she was just loosing the
fastenings of the casket, eager to draw them forth, poor
unhappy lady, when in an instant passed across her mind
an awful horror of loathly Hades; and long time she
stayed her hand in speechless fear, and life with all its
cares seemed sweet to her. For she thought of all the
joyous things there are amongst the living, and of her
happy band of companions, as a maiden will ; and the sun

i = "to wink with the eye " in mockery. Cf. supra, i.
486, where it is used of the unsteady gaze of a drunken man.

L. 782-844.] THE ARGONATJTICA. 127

grew sweeter to her than before to look upon, just to see '
if really in her heart of hearts she longed for each of them.
So she laid the casket down again from off her knees, changing
her mind by the prompting of Hera, and no more did her
purpose waver otherwhither ; but she longed for the dawn
to rise and come at once, that she might give Jason her
magic drugs as she had covenanted, 2 and meet him face to
face. And oft would she loose the bolts of her door, as
she watched for the daylight ; and welcome to her was the
light, when Dawn sent it forth, and each man went on his
way through the city.

Now Argus bade his brethren abide there yet, that they
might learn the mind and plans of the maiden, but himself
went forth and came unto the ship again.

But the maid Medea, soon as ever she saw the light of
dawn, caught up her golden tresses in her hands, which
she had let hang about her in careless disarray, and wiped
clean her tear-stained cheeks ; and she cleansed her
skin with ointment of heavenly fragrance, and put on a
fair robe, fastened with brooches deftly turned ; and upon
her head, divinely fair, she cast a shining veil. Then she
passed forth from her chamber there, treading the ground
firmly, in forgetfulness of her sorrows, which were close
upon her in their countless legions, while others were yet
to follow afterward. And she bade her handmaids, who
passed the night in the entering in of her fragrant bower,
twelve maids in all of her own age who had not yet
found a mate, quickly to yoke mules to the wain, to bear
her to the lovely shrine of Hecate. Then did the maidens
make ready the wain ; but she, the while, chose from the
depth of her casket a drug, which men say is called the

1 "Just to see," &c., i.e. to see if she did not really long for them in
spite of her belief that they were nothing to her any more.

- auvOtaiyffi, " according to her covenant." Medea had promised her
sister Chalciope that she would give Jason the necessary drugs.


drug of Prometheus. If a man should anoint his body
therewith, after appeasing Persephone, that maiden only-
begotten, with midnight sacrifice ; verily that man could
not be wounded by the blows of bronze weapons, nor
would he yield to blazing fire, but on that day l should his
valiancy and might master theirs. This first had its birth,
when the ravening eagle let drip to earth upon the wolds of
Caucasus the bleeding life-stream' of hapless Prometheus.
The flower thereof, as it were a cubit high, appeareth in
colour like the saffron of Corycus, growing upon a double
stalk, but its root within the ground resembleth flesh just
cut. Now she had gathered for her drugs the dark juice
thereof, like to the sap of a mountain oak, in a Caspian
shell, after she had washed herself in seven eternal springs,
and seven times had called on Brimo, 3 good nursing-mother,
who roams by night, goddess of the nether world, and
queen of the dead, in the murk of night, in sable raiment
clad. And, from beneath, the dark earth quaked and
bellowed, as the Titan root 4 was cut, and the son of lapetus
too did groan, frantic with pain. That simple drew she
forth and placed within her fragrant girdle, that was
fastened about her fair waist. And forth to the door she
came and mounted the swift car, and with her on either
side went two handmaids ; so she took the reins and the
shapely whip in her right hand, and drove through the
town ; while those others, her handmaids, holding to the
body of the wain behind, ran along the broad high-road,
having kilted their fine robes up to their white knees.
Fair as the daughter of Leto, 5 when she mounts her golden
car, and drives her fleet fawns o'er the downs across the

1 Ktlv' fipap, i.e. that day only.

* ix^ipn = the blood of a god. 3 Hecate.

4 The root sprang from the blood of Prometheus, who was a Titan,
that is, a primeval god.

5 Artemis, the chaste huntress.

L. 845-909.] THE ARGONATJTICA. 129

calm waters of Parthenius, or haply from her bath in
Amnisus' stream, as she cometh from far to the rich
steam of a hetacomb ; and with her come the nymphs, that
bear her company, some gathering by the brink of the
Amnisian spring, others about the groves and rocks with
their countless rills ; and around her wild creatures fawn
and whimper, trembling at her approach. Even so the
maidens hasted through the city, and the people made
way on either side, shunning the eye of the princess. Now
when she had left the streets of the town, with their fair
buildings, and had come in her driving across the plain
unto the temple, then she lighted down quickly from the
smooth-running wain and spake thus amongst her maidens :
" Friends, verily I have sinned an awful sin, for I find no
cause to be wroth with yon strangers, who are roaming
about our land. The whole city is smitten with dismay ;
wherefore also none of the women hath come hither, who
aforetime did gather here day by day. Yet since we are
here, and none other conies forth against us, let us with
soothing song and dance satisfy our souls without stint,
and after we have plucked these fair blossoms of the tender
field, then in that very hour will we return. Yea, and ye
this day shall go unto your homes with many a rich gift,
an ye will grant me this my desire ; for Argus is urgent l
with me, and so too is Chalciope ; keep what ye hear of
me silent in your hearts, lest my words come to my father's
ears ; lo ! they bid me take yon stranger's gifts, who hath
taken on him to strive with the oxen, and save him from
his fell emprise. So I agreed unto their words, and I bade
him meet me here alone, apart from his comrades, that we
may divide amongst ourselves those gifts, if haply he bring
them with him, and we may give him in return a drug

1 iraparpiirti, not in its usual sense of " turning a person away from a
thing," but = TrporpfTrti, " urge on to."



more baleful 1 than lie knows. But do ye stand aloof from
me against his coming."

So spake she, and her cunning counsel pleased them all.
Anon Argus drew the son of ^JEson apart from the crew, as
soon as he heard from his brothers, that she had gone at
daybreak to the holy temple of Hecate, and across the
plain he led him ; and with them went Mopsus, son of
Ampycus, skilled in interpreting omens from birds when
they appeared, and skilled in giving the right advice when
they were gone.

Never was there such a man amongst the men of bygone
days, neither among all the heroes who sprang from Zeus
himself, nor among those who were of the blood of other
immortal gods, as the wife of Zeus made Jason on that
day, either to see face to face or to talk with. 2 Even his
comrades marvelled, as they gazed at him resplendent with
grace ; and the son of Ampycus was glad as they went, for
already, I trow, he boded, how each thing would be.

Now there is by the path along the plain, nigh to the
temple, a black poplar with a crown of countless leaves,
whereon, full oft, chattering crows would roost. And one
of these, as she flapped her wings aloft on the branches,
declared the will of Hera : " Here is a sorry seer, that hath
not so much knowing as children have ; for no sweet word
of love will the maid speak to yon youth, so long as there
be other strangers with him. Begone, thou sorry prophet,
dull-witted seer, for 'tis not thou, whom Cypris and her
gentle Loves inspire, in their kindness."

So spake the chiding crow, and Mopsus smiled to hear
the bird's inspired utterance, and thus spake he : " Son of
JEson, get thee now to the temple of the goddess, wherein
thou wilt find the maiden ; very kindly shall her greeting

1 More deadly than anyone else could give.

a i.e. he was not only noble to look upon, but he had also a shrewd

X. 909-976.] THE AROONAUTICA. 131

be to thee, thanks to Cypris, who will help thee in thy
labours, even as Phineus, son of Agenor, did say before.
But we twain, Argus and I, will stand in this very spot
aloof, awaiting thy coming ; and do thou thyself alone
entreat her, turning her heart by words *of wisdom."

So spake he very sagely ; and nigh at hand they both
agreed to wait. Nor, I trow, had Medea any thought but
this, for all her play ; for none of all the games she played
would serve for her amusement long. But she kept

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