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high on the hills, which wood-cutters have left half-cleft by
their sharp axes, when they came down from the wood ; at
first it quivers in the blast at night, then at last it snaps at
the bottom and falls ; even so that mighty giant stood
towering there awhile upright on his tireless feet, then fell
at last with mighty crash, a strengthless mass. So then
the heroes spent that night after all in Crete ; and after
that, just as dawn was growing bright, they built a temple
to Minoan Athene, and drew water and embarked, that
they might row as soon as possible beyond the headland of
Salmoneus. 1

Anon, as they were hasting o'er the wide gulf of Crete,
night scared them, that night men call " the shroud of
gloom." No stars nor any ray of the moon pierced through
its horror ; but it was black chaos come from heaven, or
haply thick gloom rising from the nethermost abyss. And
they knew not so much as whether they were drifting into
Hades or along the water, but to the sea they committed
their return, not knowing whither it would carry them.
Then Jason, with uplifted hands, cried aloud to Phoebus,
calling on him to save, and his tears ran down in his dis-
tress ; and he promised he would bring great store of gifts
to Pytho 2 and to Amyclae, and likewise to Ortygia. Lightly
didst thou come, son of Latona, from heaven, in ready re-
sponse, unto the rocks of Melas, which lie there in the sea,

1 A promontory of Crete.

3 Pytho, Amyclae, and Ortygia are various seats of Apollo's worship.

L. 1673-1738.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 207

and on the top of one of the twin peaks thou didst settle,
holding thy golden bow on high in thy right hand ; and
the bow flashed a dazzling radiance all around. Then a
little island l of the Sporades appeared in sight of them ,
fronting the tiny isle of Hippuris ; and there they cast
anchor and waited. Anon the dawn arose and showed his
light, and they made for Apollo a noble enclosure and an
altar, with trees above, in a shady grove, calling Phoebus
" radiant god " because of his far-seen radiance ; and the
bare isle called they "isle of appearing," for that Phcebus
did there appear to them at their sore need. And they
offered all that men can find to offer on a barren strand ;
and so it was that when Medea's Phaeacian damsels saw
them pouring libations of water on the blazing brands,
they could no longer keep back their laughter in their
breasts, for they had ever seen oxen in plenty slain in the
halls of Alcinous. But the heroes, glad at their jesting,
scoffed at them with words of abuse ; and among them
rose the merry sound of taunting gibe and raillery ; and
from that sport of the heroes the women do strive on this
wise with the men in the island, when they will appease
with sacrifice Apollo, " god of radiance," champion of his
" isle of appearing."

But when they had loosed their cables thence in calm
weather, then did Euphemus remember a vision he saw in
the night, in awe of the famous son of Maia ; 2 for it seemed
to him that that strange clod, held in the palm of his
hand, was being suckled at his breast with white streams
of milk ; and out of the clod, little though it was, grew a
woman, like to a virgin ; and he, o'ercome by strong desire,
lay with her in love's embrace ; but in the act he pitied
her as though she were a maiden, whom himself was feed-
ing with his milk ; but she comforted him with soothing

1 A little island called Anaphe, near Thera.

2 Hermes was the god who sent visions to men.


words : " Dear husband, I am the daughter of Triton, thy
children's nurse, no maiden I ; for Triton and Libya are
my parents. But give me back to the maidens of Nereus,
to dwell within the deep nigh to ' the isle of appearing ' ;
and I will come back again to the sun-light, ready to help
thy children." l

Of this vision Euphemus now minded him, and he told
it to the son of yEson ; and he, when he had pondered
awhile the oracles of Hecatus, uttered his voice, and said :
" Lo ! you now ; verily there hath fallen to thee a great
and glorious fame. For of yon clod the gods will make an
island for thee, when thou hast cast it into the sea, where
thy children's children in days to come shall dwell ; for
Triton did vouchsafe to thee this clod of the Libyan main-
land as a stranger's gift ; 'twas none other than he of the
immortals, who met us and gave thee this."

So spake he, and Euphemus made not light of the
answer of the son of JSson, but flung the clod into the
deep, cheered at the word of prophecy. Therefrom rose
the isle Calliste, 2 holy nurse of the children of Euphemus,
who at first dwelt some time in Sintean Lemnos, but,
being driven from Lemnos by Tyrsenians, they came to
Sparta as suppliants ; and, when they left Sparta, Theras,
goodly son of Autesion, brought them to the isle of Calliste,
and it took the name of Thera from him in exchange for
its own. But these things happened after the time of

And when they were gone hence, they sailed steadily
through the boundless swell, and stopped at the beach of
jEgina. Here on a sudden arose an innocent strife among
them about the drawing of water, who should be first to

= Tticvoic, in which sense this word is always used by
Alexandrine writers.

3 The isle of Calliste, afterwards called Thera, from Theras, son of
Autesion. who colonized it from Sparta.

L. 1739-1779.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 209

draw his jar, and get him to the ship again ; for need
and the ceaseless breeze hurried them alike. There, to
this day, 1 the young men of the Myrmidons take up full
jars upon their shoulders, and at once dart off to race
striving for the victory.

Be gracious, race of blessed chieftains ! and from year
to year may these songs be sweeter to sing to men ! For
now am I come unto the end of your glorious toils ; for
there was no further adventure ordained you as ye came
from ^Egina, nor did hurricanes rise against you, but
calmly ye coasted by the land of Cecrops and past Aulis,
in under Euboea and the towns of the Opuntian Locri, till
with gladness ye stept forth upon the strand of Pagasse.

1 !vO' m vvv, i.e. the custom is still observed amongst their

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some few of later date. With Essay on
Ancient Minstrels, and Glossary. 2 vols.


' of. Containing the Histories of Louis XI.
and Charles VIII., and Charles the Bold,
Duke of Burgundy. With the History of
Louis XL, by J. de Troyes. With a Life

and Notes by A. R. Scoble.
2 vols.



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Online LibraryRhodius ApolloniusThe Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius → online text (page 18 of 21)