Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at


(4.503-506) Thus he spake; and the youths assented to the words of Aeacus' son. And quickly they entered the ship, and toiled at their oars unceasingly until they reached the sacred isle of Electra, the highest of them all, near the river Eridanus.

503     Ὧς ἔφατ': ᾔνησαν δὲ νέοι ἔπος Λἰακίδαο.
504 ῥίμφα δὲ νῆ' ἐπιβάντες ἐπερρώοντ' ἐλάτῃσιν
505  νωλεμές, ὄφρ' ἱερὴν Ἠλεκτρίδα νῆσον ἵκοντο,
506 ἀλλάων ὑπάτην, ποταμοῦ σχεδὸν Ἠριδανοῖο.

(4.507-521) But when the Colchians learnt the death of their prince, verily they were eager to pursue Argo and the Minyans through all the Cronian sea. But Hera restrained them by terrible lightnings from the sky. And at last they loathed their own homes in the Cytaean land, quailing before Aeetes' fierce wrath; so they landed and made abiding homes there, scattered far and wide. Some set foot on those very islands where the heroes had stayed, and they still dwell there, bearing a name derived from Apsyrtus; and others built a fenced city by the dark deep Illyrian river, where is the tomb of Harmonia and Cadmus, dwelling among the Encheleans; and others live amid the mountains which are called the Thunderers, from the day when the thunders of Zeus, son of Cronos, prevented them from crossing over to the island opposite.

507     Κόλχοι δ' ὁππότ' ὄλεθρον ἐπεφράσθησαν ἄνακτος,
508 ἤτοι μὲν δίζεσθαι ἐπέχραον ἔνδοθι πάσης
509 Ἀργὼ καὶ Μινύας Κρονίης ἁλός. ἀλλ' ἀπέρυκεν
510  Ἥρη σμερδαλέῃσι κατ' αἰθέρος ἀστεροπῇσιν.
511 ὕστατον αὐτοὶ δ' αὖτε Κυταιίδος ἤθεα γαίης
512 στύξαν, ἀτυζόμενοι χόλον ἄγριον Αἰήταο,
513 ἔμπεδα δ' ἄλλυδις ἄλλοι ἐφορμηθέντες ἔνασθεν.
514 οἱ μὲν ἐπ' αὐτάων νήσων ἔβαν, ᾗσιν ἐπέσχον
515  ἥρωες, ναίουσι δ' ἐπώνυμοι Ἀψύρτοιο:
516 οἱ δ' ἄρ' ἐπ' Ἰλλυρικοῖο μελαμβαθέος ποταμοῖο,
517 τύμβος ἵν' Ἁρμονίης Κάδμοιό τε, πύργον ἔδειμαν,
518 ἀνδράσιν Ἐγχελέεσσιν ἐφέστιοι: οἱ δ' ἐν ὄρεσσιν
519 ἐνναίουσιν, ἅπερ τε Κεραύνια κικλήσκονται,
520  ἐκ τόθεν, ἐξότε τούσγε Διὸς Κρονίδαο κεραυνοὶ
521 νῆσον ἐς ἀντιπέραιαν ἀπέτραπον ὁρμηθῆναι.

(4.522-551) Now the heroes, when their return seemed safe for them, fared onward and made their hawsers fast to the land of the Hylleans. For the islands lay thick in the river and made the path dangerous for those who sailed thereby. Nor, as aforetime, did the Hylleans devise their hurt, but of their own accord furthered their passage, winning as guerdon a mighty tripod of Apollo. For tripods twain had Phoebus given to Aeson's son to carry afar in the voyage he had to make, at the time when he went to sacred Pytho to enquire about this very voyage; and it was ordained by fate that in whatever land they should be placed, that land should never be ravaged by the attacks of foemen. Therefore even now this tripod is hidden in that land near the pleasant city of Hyllus, far beneath the earth, that it may ever be unseen by mortals. Yet they found not King Hyllus still alive in the land, whom fair Melite bare to Heracles in the land of the Phaeacians. For he came to the abode of Nausithous and to Macris, the nurse of Dionysus, to cleanse himself from the deadly murder of his children; here he loved and overcame the water nymph Melite, the daughter of the river Aegaeus, and she bare mighty Hyllus. But when he had grown up he desired not to dwell in that island under the rule of Nausithous the king; but he collected a host of native Phaeacians and came to the Cronian sea; for the hero King Nausithous aided his journey, and there he settled, and the Mentores slew him as he was fighting for the oxen of his field.

522     Ἥρωες δ', ὅτε δή σφιν ἐείσατο νόστος ἀπήμων,
523 δή ῥα τότε προμολόντες ἐπὶ χθονὶ πείσματ' ἔδησαν
524 Ὑλλήων. νῆσοι γὰρ ἐπιπρούχοντο θαμειαὶ
525  ἀργαλέην πλώουσιν ὁδὸν μεσσηγὺς ἔχουσαι
526 οὐδέ σφιν, ὡς καὶ πρίν, ἀνάρσια μητιάασκον
527 Ὑλλῆες: πρὸς δ' αὐτοὶ ἐμηχανόωντο κέλευθον,
528 μισθὸν ἀειρόμενοι τρίποδα μέγαν Ἀπόλλωνος.
529 δοιοὺς γὰρ τρίποδας τηλοῦ πόρε Φοῖβος ἄγεσθαι
530  Αἰσονίδῃ περόωντι κατὰ χρέος, ὁππότε Πυθὼ
531 ἱρὴν πευσόμενος μετεκίαθε τῆσδ' ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς
532 ναυτιλίης: πέπρωτο δ', ὅπῃ χθονὸς ἱδρυνθεῖεν,
533 μήποτε τὴν δῄοισιν ἀναστήσεσθαι ἰοῦσιν.
534 τούνεκεν εἰσέτι νῦν κείνῃ ὅδε κεύθεται αἴῃ
535  ἀμφὶ πόλιν ἀγανὴν Ὑλληίδα, πολλὸν ἔνερθεν
536 οὔδεος, ὥς κεν ἄφαντος ἀεὶ μερόπεσσι πέλοιτο.
537 οὐ μὲν ἔτι ζώοντα καταυτόθι τέτμον ἄνακτα
538 Ὕλλον, ὃν εὐειδὴς Μελίτη τέκεν Ἡρακλῆι
539 δήμῳ Φαιήκων. ὁ γὰρ οἰκία Ναυσιθόοιο
540  Μάκριν τ' εἰσαφίκανε, Διωνύσοιο τιθήνην,
541 νιψόμενος παίδων ὀλοὸν φόνον: ἔνθ' ὅγε κούρην
542 Αἰγαίου ἐδάμασσεν ἐρασσάμενος ποταμοῖο,
543  νηιάδα Μελίτην: ἡ δὲ σθεναρὸν τέκεν Ὕλλον.
546  οὐδ' ἄρ' ὅγ' ἡβήσας αὐτῇ ἐνὶ ἔλδετο νήσῳ
547 ναίειν, κοιρανέοντος ὑπ' ὀφρύσι Ναυσιθόοιο:
548 βῆ δ' ἅλαδε Κρονίην, αὐτόχθονα λαὸν ἀγείρας
549 Φαιήκων: σὺν γάρ οἱ ἄναξ πόρσυνε κέλευθον
550  ἥρως Ναυσίθοος: τόθι δ' εἵσατο, καί μιν ἔπεφνον
551 Μέντορες, ἀγραύλοισιν ἀλεξόμενον περὶ βουσίν.

(4.552-556) Now, goddesses, say how it is that beyond this sea, near the land of Ausonia and the Ligystian isles, which are called Stoechades, the mighty tracks of the ship Argo are clearly sung of? What great constraint and need brought the heroes so far? What breezes wafted them?

552     Ἀλλά, θεαί, πῶς τῆσδε παρὲξ ἁλός, ἀμφί τε γαῖαν
553 Αὐσονίην νήσους τε Λιγυστίδας, αἳ καλέονται
554 Στοιχάδες, Ἀργῴης περιώσια σήματα νηὸς
555  νημερτὲς πέφαται; τίς ἀπόπροθι τόσσον ἀνάγκη
556 καὶ χρειώ σφ' ἐκόμισσε; τίνες σφέας ἤγαγον αὖραι;

(4.557-591) When Apsyrtus had fallen in mighty overthrow Zeus himself, king of gods, was seized with wrath at what they had done. And he ordained that by the counsels of Aeaean Circe they should cleanse themselves from the terrible stain of blood and suffer countless woes before their return. Yet none of the chieftains knew this; but far onward they sped starting from the Hyllean land, and they left behind all the islands that were beforetime thronged by the Colchians -- the Liburnian isles, isle after isle, Issa, Dysceladus, and lovely Pityeia. Next after them they came to Corcyra, where Poseidon settled the daughter of Asopus, fair-haired Corcyra, far from the land of Phlius, whence he had carried her off through love; and sailors beholding it from the sea, all black with its sombre woods, call it Corcyra the Black. And next they passed Melite, rejoicing in the soft-blowing breeze, and steep Cerossus, and Nymphaea at a distance, where lady Calypso, daughter of Atlas, dwelt; and they deemed they saw the misty mountains of Thunder. And then Hera bethought her of the counsels and wrath of Zeus concerning them. And she devised an ending of their voyage and stirred up storm-winds before them, by which they were caught and borne back to the rocky isle of Electra. And straightway on a sudden there called to them in the midst of their course, speaking with a human voice, the beam of the hollow ship, which Athena had set in the centre of the stem, made of Dodonian oak. And deadly fear seized them as they heard the voice that told of the grievous wrath of Zeus. For it proclaimed that they should not escape the paths of an endless sea nor grievous tempests, unless Circe should purge away the guilt of the ruthless murder of Apsyrtus; and it bade Polydeuces and Castor pray to the immortal gods first to grant a path through the Ausonian sea where they should find Circe, daughter of Perse and Helios.

557     Αὐτόν που μεγαλωστὶ δεδουπότος Ἀψύρτοιο
558 Ζῆνα, θεῶν βασιλῆα, χόλος λάβεν, οἷον ἔρεξαν.
559 Αἰαίης δ' ὀλοὸν τεκμήρατο δήνεσι Κίρκης
560  αἷμ' ἀπονιψαμένους, πρό τε μυρία πημανθέντας,
561 νοστήσειν. τὸ μὲν οὔτις ἀριστήων ἐνόησεν:
562 ἀλλ' ἔθεον γαίης Ὑλληίδος ἐξανιόντες
563 τηλόθι: τὰς δ' ἀπέλειπον, ὅσαι Κόλχοισι πάροιθεν
564 ἑξείης πλήθοντο Λιβυρνίδες εἰν ἁλὶ νῆσοι,
565  Ἴσσα τε Δυσκέλαδός τε καὶ ἱμερτὴ Πιτύεια.
566 αὐτὰρ ἔπειτ' ἐπὶ τῇσι παραὶ Κέρκυραν ἵκοντο,
567 ἔνθα Ποσειδάων Ἀσωπίδα νάσσατο κούρην,
568 ἠύκομον Κέρκυραν, ἑκὰς Φλιουντίδος αἴης,
569 ἁρπάξας ὑπ' ἔρωτι: μελαινομένην δέ μιν ἄνδρες
570  ναυτίλοι ἐκ πόντοιο κελαινῇ πάντοθεν ὕλῃ
571 δερκόμενοι Κέρκυραν ἐπικλείουσι Μέλαιναν.
572 τῇ δ' ἐπὶ καὶ Μελίτην, λιαρῷ περιγηθέες οὔρῳ,
573 αἰπεινήν τε Κερωσσόν, ὕπερθε δὲ πολλὸν ἐοῦσαν
574 Νυμφαίην παράμειβον, ἵνα κρείουσα Καλυψὼ
575  Ἀτλαντὶς ναίεσκε: τὰ δ' ἠεροειδέα λεύσσειν
576 οὔρεα δοιάζοντο Κεραύνια. καὶ τότε βουλὰς
577 ἀμφ' αὐτοῖς Ζηνός τε μέγαν χόλον ἐφράσαθ' Ἥρη.
578 μηδομένη δ' ἄνυσιν τοῖο πλόου, ὦρσεν ἀέλλας
579 ἀντικρύ, ταῖς αὖτις ἀναρπάγδην φορέοντο
580  νήσου ἔπι κραναῆς Ἠλεκτρίδος. αὐτίκα δ' ἄφνω
581 ἴαχεν ἀνδρομέῃ ἐνοπῇ μεσσηγὺ θεόντων
582 αὐδῆεν γλαφυρῆς νηὸς δόρυ, τό ῥ' ἀνὰ μέσσην
583 στεῖραν Ἀθηναίη Δωδωνίδος ἥρμοσε φηγοῦ.
584 τοὺς δ' ὀλοὸν μεσσηγὺ δέος λάβεν εἰσαΐοντας
585  φθογγήν τε Ζηνός τε βαρὺν χόλον. οὐ γὰρ ἀλύξειν
586 ἔννεπεν οὔτε πόρους δολιχῆς ἁλός, οὔτε θυέλλας
587 ἀργαλέας, ὅτε μὴ Κίρκη φόνον Ἀψύρτοιο
588 νηλέα νίψειεν: Πολυδεύκεα δ' εὐχετάασθαι
589 Κάστορά τ' ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖς ἤνωγε κελεύθους
590  Αὐσονίης ἔμπροσθε πορεῖν ἁλός, ᾗ ἔνι Κίρκην
591 δήουσιν, Πέρσης τε καὶ Ἠελίοιο θύγατρα.

(4.592-626) Thus Argo cried through the darkness; and the sons of Tyndareus uprose, and lifted their hands to the immortals praying for each boon: but dejection held the rest of the Minyan heroes. And far on sped Argo under sail, and entered deep into the stream of Eridanus; where once, smitten on the breast by the blazing bolt, Phaethon half-consumed fell from the chariot of Helios into the opening of that deep lake; and even now it belcheth up heavy steam clouds from the smouldering wound. And no bird spreading its light wings can cross that water; but in mid-course it plunges into the flame, fluttering. And all around the maidens, the daughters of Helios, enclosed in tall poplars, wretchedly wail a piteous plaint; and from their eyes they shed on the ground bright drops of amber. These are dried by the sun upon the sand; but whenever the waters of the dark lake flow over the strand before the blast of the wailing wind, then they roll on in a mass into Eridanus with swelling tide. But the Celts have attached this story to them, that these are the tears of Leto's son, Apollo, that are borne along by the eddies, the countless tears that he shed aforetime when he came to the sacred race of the Hyperboreans and left shining heaven at the chiding of his father, being in wrath concerning his son whom divine Coronis bare in bright Lacereia at the mouth of Amyrus. And such is the story told among these men. But no desire for food or drink seized the heroes nor were their thoughts turned to joy. But they were sorely afflicted all day, heavy and faint at heart, with the noisome stench, hard to endure, which the streams of Eridanus sent forth from Phaethon still burning; and at night they heard the piercing lament of the daughters of Helios, wailing with shrill voice; and, as they lamented, their tears were borne on the water like drops of oil.

592     Ὧς Ἀργὼ ἰάχησεν ὑπὸ κνέφας: οἱ δ' ἀνόρουσαν
593 Τυνδαρίδαι, καὶ χεῖρας ἀνέσχεθον ἀθανάτοισιν
594 εὐχόμενοι τὰ ἕκαστα: κατηφείη δ' ἔχεν ἄλλους
595  ἥρωας Μινύας. ἡ δ' ἔσσυτο πολλὸν ἐπιπρὸ
596 λαίφεσιν, ἐς δ' ἔβαλον μύχατον ῥόον Ἠριδανοῖο:
597 ἔνθα ποτ' αἰθαλόεντι τυπεὶς πρὸς στέρνα κεραυνῷ
598 ἡμιδαὴς Φαέθων πέσεν ἅρματος Ἠελίοιο
599 λίμνης ἐς προχοὰς πολυβενθέος: ἡ δ' ἔτι νῦν περ
600  τραύματος αἰθομένοιο βαρὺν ἀνακηκίει ἀτμόν.
601 οὐδέ τις ὕδωρ κεῖνο διὰ πτερὰ κοῦφα τανύσσας
602 οἰωνὸς δύναται βαλέειν ὕπερ: ἀλλὰ μεσηγὺς
603 φλογμῷ ἐπιθρώσκει πεποτημένος. ἀμφὶ δὲ κοῦραι
604 Ἡλιάδες ταναῇσιν ἐελμέναι αἰγείροισιν,
605  μύρονται κινυρὸν μέλεαι γόον: ἐκ δὲ φαεινὰς
606 ἠλέκτρου λιβάδας βλεφάρων προχέουσιν ἔραζε,
607 αἱ μέν τ' ἠελίῳ ψαμάθοις ἔπι τερσαίνονται:
608 εὖτ' ἂν δὲ κλύζῃσι κελαινῆς ὕδατα λίμνης
609 ἠιόνας πνοιῇ πολυηχέος ἐξ ἀνέμοιο,
610  δὴ τότ' ἐς Ἠριδανὸν προκυλίνδεται ἀθρόα πάντα
611 κυμαίνοντι ῥόῳ. Κελτοὶ δ' ἐπὶ βάξιν ἔθεντο,
612 ὡς ἄρ' Ἀπόλλωνος τάδε δάκρυα Λητοΐδαο
613 ἐμφέρεται δίναις, ἅ τε μυρία χεῦε πάροιθεν,
614 ἦμος Ὑπερβορέων ἱερὸν γένος εἰσαφίκανεν,
615  οὐρανὸν αἰγλήεντα λιπὼν ἐκ πατρὸς ἐνιπῆς,
616 χωόμενος περὶ παιδί, τὸν ἐν λιπαρῇ Λακερείῃ
617 δῖα Κορωνὶς ἔτικτεν ἐπὶ προχοῇς Ἀμύροιο.
618 καὶ τὰ μὲν ὧς κείνοισι μετ' ἀνδράσι κεκλήισται.
619 τοὺς δ' οὔτε βρώμης ᾕρει πόθος, οὐδὲ ποτοῖο,
620  οὔτ' ἐπὶ γηθοσύνας τράπετο νόος. ἀλλ' ἄρα τοίγε
621 ἤματα μὲν στρεύγοντο περιβληχρὸν βαρύθοντες
622 ὀδμῇ λευγαλέῃ, τήν ῥ' ἄσχετον ἐξανίεσκον
623 τυφομένου Φαέθοντος ἐπιρροαὶ Ἠριδανοῖο:
624 νύκτας δ' αὖ γόον ὀξὺν ὀδυρομένων ἐσάκουον
625  Ἡλιάδων λιγέως: τὰ δὲ δάκρυα μυρομένῃσιν
626 οἷον ἐλαιηραὶ στάγες ὕδασιν ἐμφορέοντο.

Next: line 627