Now at the hour when the sun passes his noon-tide halt and the ploughlands are just being shadowed by the rocks, as the sun slopes towards the evening dusk, at that hour all the heroes spread leaves thickly upon the sand and lay down in rows in front of the hoary surf-line; and near them were spread vast stores of viands and sweet wine, which the cupbearers had drawn off in pitchers; afterwards they told tales one to another in turn, such as youths often tell when at the feast and the bowl they take delightful pastime, and insatiable insolence is far away.
But here the son of Aeson, all helpless, was brooding over each event in his mind, like one oppressed with thought. And Idas noted him and assailed him with loud voice:.
Speak out thy thought in the midst. Does fear come on and master thee, fear, that confounds cowards?
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Be witness now my impetuous spear, wherewith in wars I win renown beyond all others nor does Zeus aid me so much as my own spear , that no woe will be fatal, no venture will be unachieved, while Idas follows, even though a god should oppose thee. Such a helpmeet am I that thou bringest from Arene.
Does the pure wine cause thy bold heart to swell in thy breast to thy ruin, and has it set thee on to dishonour the gods? Other words of comfort there are with which a man might encourage his comrade; but thou hast spoken with utter recklessness. Such taunts, the tale goes, did the sons of Aloeus once blurt out against the blessed gods, and thou dost no wise equal them in valour; nevertheless they were both slain by the swift arrows of Leto's son, mighty though they were.
And bethink thee how thou wilt escape from my hands alive, if thou art caught making a prophecy vain as the idle wind. And he sang how first of all Ophion and Eurynome, daughter of Ocean, held the sway of snowy Olympus, and how through strength of arm one yielded his prerogative to Cronos and the other to Rhea, and how they fell into the waves of Ocean; but the other two meanwhile ruled over the blessed Titan-gods, while Zeus, still a child and with the thoughts of a child, dwelt in the Dictaean cave; and the earthborn Cyclopes had not yet armed him with the bolt, with thunder and lightning; for these things give renown to Zeus.
But though he had ceased they still bent forward with eagerness all hushed to quiet, with ears intent on the enchanting strain; such a charm of song had he left behind in their hearts. Not long after they mixed libations in honour of Zeus, with pious rites as is customary, and poured them upon the burning tongues, and bethought them of sleep in the darkness. And a strange cry did the harbour of Pagasae utter, yea and Pelian Argo herself, urging them to set forth.
For in her a beam divine had been laid which Athena had brought from an oak of Dodona and fitted in the middle of the stem.
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And the heroes went to the benches one after the other, as they had previously assigned for each to row in his place, and took their seats in due order near their fighting gear. In the middle sat Antaeus and mighty Heracles, and near him he laid his club, and beneath his tread the ship's keel sank deep. And now the hawsers were being slipped and they poured wine on the sea.
But Jason with tears held his eyes away from his fatherland. And just as youths set up a dance in honour of Phoebus either in Pytho or haply in Ortygia, or by the waters of Ismenus, and to the sound of the lyre round his altar all together in time beat the earth with swiftly-moving feet; so they to the sound of Orpheus' lyre smote with their oars the rushing sea-water, and the surge broke over the blades; and on this side and on that the dark brine seethed with foam, boiling terribly through the might of the sturdy heroes.
And their arms shone in the sun like flame as the ship sped on; and ever their wake gleamed white far behind, like a path seen over a green plain. On that day all the gods looked down from heaven upon the ship and the might of the heroes, half-divine, the bravest of men then sailing the sea; and on the topmost heights the nymphs of Pelion wondered as they beheld the work of Itonian Athena, and the heroes themselves wielding the oars. And there came down from the mountain-top to the sea Chiron, son of Philyra, and where the white surf broke he dipped his feet, and, often waving with his broad hand, cried out to them at their departure, "Good speed and a sorrowless home-return!
And a breeze came down piping shrilly; and upon the deck they fastened the ropes separately round the well-polished pins, and ran quietly past the long Tisaean headland. And for them the son of Oeagrus touched his lyre and sang in rhythmical song of Artemis, saviour of ships, child of a glorious sire, who hath in her keeping those peaks by the sea, and the land of Iolcos; and the fishes came darting through the deep sea, great mixed with small, and followed gambolling along the watery paths.
And as when in the track of the shepherd, their master, countless sheep follow to the fold that have fed to the full of grass, and he goes before gaily piping a shepherd's strain on Iris shrill reed; so these fishes followed; and a chasing breeze ever bore the ship onward. And even now men call that beach Aphetae of Argo. And in the morning they saw Homole close at hand leaning on the sea, and skirted it, and not long after they were about to pass by the outfall of the river Amyrus.
From there they beheld Eurymenae and the seawashed ravines of Ossa and Olympus; next they reached the slopes of Pallene, beyond the headland of Canastra, running all night with the wind. And at dawn before them as they journeyed rose Athos, the Thracian mountain, which with its topmost peak overshadows Lemnos, even as far as Myrine, though it lies as far off as the space that a well-trimmed merchantship would traverse up to mid-day. For them on that day, till darkness fell, the breeze blew exceedingly fresh, and the sails of the ship strained to it.
But with the setting of the sun the wind left them, and it was by the oars that they reached Lemnos, the Sintian isle. For the men had rejected their lawful wives, loathing them, and had conceived a fierce passion for captive maids whom they themselves brought across the sea from their forays in Thrace; for the terrible wrath of Cypris came upon them, because for a long time they had grudged her the honours due. O hapless women, and insatiate in jealousy to their own ruin!
Not their husbands alone with the captives did they slay on account of the marriage-bed, but all the males at the same time, that they might thereafter pay no retribution for the grim murder. And of all the women, Hypsipyle alone spared her aged father Thoas, who was king over the people; and she sent him in a hollow chest, to drift over the sea, if haply he should escape. And fishermen dragged him to shore at the island of Oenoe, formerly Oenoe, but afterwards called Sicinus from Sicinus, whom the water-nymph Oenoe bore to Thoas.
Now for all the women to tend kine, to don armour of bronze, and to cleave with the plough-share the wheat-bearing fields, was easier than the works of Athena, with which they were busied aforetime. Yet for all that did they often gaze over the broad sea, in grievous fear against the Thracians' coming. So when they saw Argo being rowed near the island, straightway crowding in multitude from the gates of Myrine and clad in their harness of war, they poured forth to the beach like ravening Thyiades: for they deemed that the Thracians were come; and with them Hypsipyle, daughter of Thoas, donned her father's harness.
And they streamed down speechless with dismay; such fear was wafted about them. But why need I tell at length tales of Aethalides?see url
He at that time persuaded Hypsipyle to receive the new-comers as the day was waning into darkness; nor yet at dawn did they loose the ship's hawsers to the breath of the north wind. And when they were all gathered together in one great throng straightway she spake among them with stirring words:. Such is our counsel now, but if any of you can devise a better plan let her rise, for it was on this account that I summoned you hither.
Near her were seated four virgins, unwedded, crowned with white hair.
And she stood in the midst of the assembly and from her bent back she feebly raised her neck and spake thus:. But for you what device have ye to get profit of your life if the Thracian host fall upon us, or some other foe, as often happens among men, even as now this company is come unforeseen? But if one of the blessed gods should turn this aside yet countless other woes, worse than battle, remain behind, when the aged women die off and ye younger ones, without children, reach hateful old age.
How then will ye live, hapless ones? Will your oxen of their own accord yoke themselves for the deep plough-lands and draw the earth-cleaving share through the fallow, and forthwith, as the year comes round, reap the harvest?
Assuredly, though the fates till now have shunned me in horror, I deem that in the coming year I shall put on the garment of earth, when I have received my meed of burial even so as is right, before the evil days draw near. But I bid you who are younger give good heed to this. For now at your feet a way of escape lies open, if ye trust to the strangers the care of your homes and all your stock and your glorious city. For the word pleased them. And after her straightway Hypsipyle rose up again, and thus spake in reply. And so Iphinoe came to the Minyae; and they asked with what intent she had come among them.
And quickly she addressed her questioners with all speed in these words:. 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. 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. 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.
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. And in his right hand Jason held a fardarting spear, which Atalanta gave him once as a gift of hospitality in Maenalus as she met him gladly; for she eagerly desired to follow on that quest; but he himself of his own accord prevented the maid, for he feared bitter strife on account of her love. And when they had passed within the gates and the city, the women of the people surged behind them, delighting in the stranger, but he with his eyes fixed on the ground fared straight on, till he reached the glorious palace of Hypsipyle; and when he appeared the maids opened the folding doors, fitted with well-fashioned panels.
Here Iphinoe leading him quickly through a fair porch set him upon a shining seat opposite her mistress, but Hypsipyle turned her eyes aside and a blush covered her maiden cheeks, yet for all her modesty she addressed him with crafty words:. And I will tell out truly all our evil plight, that ye yourselves too may know it well.
When my father Thoas reigned over the citizens, then our folk starting from their homes used to plunder from their ships the dwellings of the Thracians who live opposite, and they brought back hither measureless booty and maidens too. But the counsel of the baneful goddess Cypris was working out its accomplishment, who brought upon them soul destroying infatuation.
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For they hated their lawful wives, and, yielding to their own mad folly, drove them from their homes; and they took to their beds the captives of their spear, cruel ones. Long in truth we endured it, if haply again, though late, they might change their purpose, but ever the bitter woe grew, twofold. And the lawful children were being dishonoured in their halls, and a bastard race was rising. And thus unmarried maidens and widowed mothers too wandered uncared for through the city; no father heeded his daughter ever so little even though he should see her done to death before his eyes at the hands of an insolent step-dame, nor did sons, as before, defend their mother against unseemly outrage; nor did brothers care at heart for their sister.
But in their homes, in the dance, in the assembly and the banquet all their thought was only for their captive maidens; until some god put desperate courage in our hearts no more to receive our lords on their return from Thrace within our towers so that they might either heed the right or might depart and begone elsewhither, they and their captives. So they begged of us all the male children that were left in the city and went back to where even now they dwell on the snowy tilths of Thrace.
Do ye therefore stay and settle with us; and shouldst thou desire to dwell here, and this finds favour with thee, assuredly thou shalt have the prerogative of my father Thoas; and I deem that thou wilt not scorn our land at all; for it is deepsoiled beyond all other islands that lie in the Aegaean sea. But come now, return to the ship and relate my words to thy comrades, and stay not outside our city. And I will return again to the city when I have told everything in order due.
But let the sovereignty of the island be thine; it is not in scorn I yield it up, but grievous trials urge me on. And then they came to the shore in smooth-running wains, bearing with them many gifts, when now he had related from beginning to end the speech which Hypsipyle had spoken when she summoned them; and the maids readily led the men back to their homes for entertainment.
For Cypris stirred in them a sweet desire, for the sake of Hephaestus of many counsels, in order that Lemnos might be again inhabited by men and not be ruined. And straightway the city rejoiced with dances and banquets, being filled with the steam of sacrifice; and above all the immortals they propitiated with songs and sacrifices the illustrious son of Hera and Cypris herself. And the sailing was ever delayed from one day to another; and long would they have lingered there, had not Heracles, gathering together his comrades apart from the women, thus addressed them with reproachful words:.
Or is it in want of marriage that we have come hither from thence, in scorn of our countrywomen? Does it please us to dwell here and plough the rich soil of Lemnos? No fair renown shall we win by thus tarrying so long with stranger women; nor will some god seize and give us at our prayer a fleece that moves of itself. Let us then return each to his own; but him leave ye to rest all day long in the embrace of Hypsipyle until he has peopled Lemnos with men-children, and so there come to him great glory.
But just as they were in the assembly they made ready their departure in all haste, and the women came running towards them, when they knew their intent. And as when bees hum round fair lilies pouring forth from their hive in the rock, and all around the dewy meadow rejoices, and they gather the sweet fruit, flitting from one to another; even so the women eagerly poured forth clustering round the men with loud lament, and greeted each one with hands and voice, praying the blessed gods to grant him a safe return.
And so Hypsipyle too prayed, seizing the hands of Aeson's son, and her tears flowed for the loss of her lover:. But thou wilt not have this desire, nor do I myself forbode that so it will be. Still remember Hypsipyle when thou art far away and when thou hast returned; and leave me some word of bidding, which I will gladly accomplish, if haply heaven shall grant me to be a mother.
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But do thou hold a nobler thought of me, since by the grace of Pelias it is enough for me to dwell in my native land; may the gods only release me from my toils. But if it is not my destiny to sail afar and return to the land of Hellas, and if thou shouldst bear a male child, send him when grown up to Pelasgian Iolcus, to heal the grief of my father and mother if so be that he find them still living, in order that, far away from the king, they may be cared for by their own hearth in their home.