ORPHEUS / ARGONAUTICA (VIII)


(BEING  CONTINUED FROM  4/12/13-bookii)

So spake he, making trial of the chieftains ; but they  cried out with words of cheer. And his heart was glad
within him at their exhorting, and once more he spake to  them outright,
” My friends, your bravery makes me more  bold. Wherefore now no more will I let fear fasten on
me, even though I must voyage across the gulf of Hades,since ye stand firm amid cruel terrors. Nay, since we have
sailed from out the clashing rocks, I trow there will be no  other horror in store such as this, if we surely go our way,
following the counsel of Phineus.”
So spake he, and forthwith they ceased from such words,and toiled in rowing unceasingly, and soon they passed by
Rhebas, that swiftly-rushing river, and the rock of Colone,and, not long after, the Black headland, and, next, the
mouth of the river Phyllis,1 where aforetime Dipsacus  received the son of Athamas in his house what time he
was flying, together with the ram, from the city of Orchomenus ; his mother was a meadow-nymph, and he loved
not wanton deeds, but gladly dwelt with his mother by the  waters of his father, feeding flocks upon the shore. And
quickly they sighted and passed by his shrine, and the river’s broad banks and the plain and Calpe with its deep
stream ; and day by day, the calm night through, they bent  to their unresting oars. As ploughing oxen do toil in
cleaving a moist fallow-field, and the sweat trickles in great  drops from their flanks and neck, and they keep turning
their eyes askance from under the yoke, while the parched  breath from their mouths comes ever snorting forth, and
they planting their hoofs firmly in the ground go toiling  on the livelong day ; like unto them the heroes tugged their
oars through the brine.
Now when the dawn divine was not yet come, nor yet  was it exceeding dark, but o’er the night was spread a  streak of light, the hour when men arise and call it twilight ;2 in that hour they rowed into the harbour of the desert  Thynian isle with laboured toil, and went ashore. And  to them appeared the son of Leto, coming up from far Lycia, on his way to the countless race of the Hyperboreans ;and clustering locks of gold streamed down his cheeks as  he came ; and in his left hand he held his silver bow, while  about his back was slung his quiver from his shoulders ;beneath his feet the island quaked throughout, and on the  shore the waves surged up. And they were filled with  wild alarm when they caught sight of him, and none dare  gaze into the god’s fair eyes. But there they stood with heads bowed low upon the ground, till he was far on his  way to sea through the air ; then at last spake Orpheus, thus declaring his word to the chieftains,
” Come now, let  us call this island the sacred isle of Apollo, god of dawn,
for that he was seen by all passing over it at dawn, and let  us sacrifice such things as we may, when we have raised
an altar on the strand ; but if hereafter he grant us a safe return to the land of Hsemonia, then surely will we lay
upon his altar the thighs of horned goats. And now, as ye  may, I bid you win his favour with the steam of sacrifice.
Be gracious, O be gracious in thy appearing, prince !
“So spake he ; and some at once made an altar of shingle,3while others roamed the island in quest of fawns or wild
goats if haply they might see aught of either, such beasts  as oft do seek their food in a wood’s depths. And for  them the son of Leto found a quarry ; then with pious rites  they wrapped the thigh bones4  of them all in a roll of fat   and burned them on the sacred altar, calling on the name  of Apollo, god of dawn. And they stood in a wide ring  around the burning sacrifice, chanting this hymn to Phoebus,  “Hail, all hail ! fair healing god “5 while the goodly son of (Eager led for them their clear song on his Bistonian 6  lyre, telling how on a day beneath Parnassus’ rocky ridge  he slew the monster snake Delphine with his bow, while  yet a beardless youth, proud of his long locks.
” O be  gracious, ever be thy hair uncut,7 my prince, ever free from  hurt, for thus ’tis right. Only Leto herself, daughter of
Coeus, fondles it in her hands.” And the Corycian8  nymphs, daughters of Pleistus, oft took up the cheering
strain, crying,”Hail, all hail”9 This then was the fair  refrain they chanted to Phoebus.
Now when they had celebrated 10him with song and dance, they took an oath by the holy drink-offering, that verily
they would help one another for ever in unity of purpose,laying their hand upon the sacrifice ; and still to this day
there stands a temple there to cheerful Unity, the temple   their own hands then built to the honour of a deity most
potent.

                                                                                                                                            σελις 78

 image

through the Acherusian headland and anchored inside,11 just  as the wind was dropping.
No long time,12 I trow, could the slayers of Amycus, as  report had told, anchor without the knowledge of Lycus,
lord of that mainland, or of the Mariandyni ; but they made even a league with them on that account. And they welcomed
Polydeuces himself as he had been a god, gathering  from all sides, for long time had they warred bitterly
against the overweening Bebryces. And so it was that  at once within the halls of Lycus they made ready a feast
that day with all good will, going to the city, and rejoiced  their hearts with converse.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

By Apollonius  εκ ροδου

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE FROM THE  TEXT OF R. MEKKEL  EDWARD P. COLERIDGE, B.A.E COLL. ORIEL, OXON.

LONDON :GEORGE BELL AND SONS, YORK STREET,COVENT GARDEN.
1889.

NOTES

1 A river in Bithynia.

2 αμφιλυκη, an adj. agreeing with νυξ, understood, i.e. the gray  dawn, morning twilight.
3 χερμασιν, i.e. small stones or pebbles such as can be grasped in the  hand (χειρ), i.e. they made the best altar they could with the materials  they could find.
4 διπλοα μηρια. Cf. Horn. Odyss. iii. 458, and passim. The thigh  bones were specially reserved for sacrifice to the gods; they were
wrapped up in fat and then burnt, after which feasting began.
5ιηπαιηονα, probably connected with ιαομαι, Apollo being the god  of healing, no less than the sender of disease, as he is represented at the  opening of the Iliad. Another etymology connects the word with ιημι,i.e. the darting god, from his archery, like εκηβολος, but not so well.
6 Thracian, the Bistones being a Thracian tribe.
7 With this line cf. the epithet ακερσεκοκης; = with hair unshorn, a  title of Apollo from his long, flowing locks.
8 The Corycian cave is on Mount Parnassus. The Pleistus is a river  at Delphi.
9  ιηκε literally = O god saluted with the cry ιη ιη .
10 μελψαν χορειη αοιδη. Here we have both song and dance specifically  mentioned, but frequently μολπη is used alone to express both the chant and  the rhythmic dance which always accompanied it; e.g. in the Odyssee,
Nausicaa’s game at ball with her handmaids is described as μολπη,which really means “anything done in time,” and so often the combination of singing and dancing.

1 A river of Phrygia.
2 This description of the cave of Hades may be well compared with  Vergil’s account of the cavern of the Sybil.
3βλοσυρην, here, in its primary sense,”grim, stern ;” it also comes to mean ” sturdy, strong,” in which sense Plato employs it in the Republic.

11 εισωποι, i.e. they passed through the ravine at the mouth of the  Acheron till they were behind the wall of rock, and so (εισωποι = εναντιοι) facing the back of it.
12 i.e. the fame of Polydeuces and the Argonauts, as public benefactors,had preceded them, and insured them a ready welcome from  Lycus and the Mariandyni, the hereditary enemies of Amycus and the  Bebryces.

About sooteris kyritsis

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