The Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius (tr. Francis Fawkes)

translation of the Argonautica in rhymed couplets undertaken by Francis Fawkes

The Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius is a translation of the Argonautica in rhymed couplets undertaken by Francis Fawkes and published after his death in 1780, revised by Henry Meen for Fawkes's widow.

The Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius (1780)Edit

Book IEdit

 
Inspired by thee, O Phoebus, I resound
The glorious deeds of heroes long renowned.
 
Pelias, whose looks his latent fears expressed,
Fired with a bold adventure Jason's breast.
 
Old bards affirm this warlike ship was made
By skilful Argus, with Minerva's aid.


  • He left one sandal rooted in the mud.
    • Line 14


  • Pelias, whose looks his latent fears expressed,
    Fired with a bold adventure Jason's breast;
    That, sunk in ocean, or on some rude shore
    Prostrate, he never might view his country more.
    • Lines 21–24



  • Hard rocks he softened with persuasive song,
    And soothed the rivers as they rolled along...
    His lays Pieria's listening trees admire,
    And move in measures to his melting lyre.


  • But Lynceus stands renowned for piercing sight:
    So keen his beam, that ancient fables tell,
    He saw, through earth, the wondrous depths of hell.
    • Lines 190–192


  • Whenever he skimmed along the watery plain,
    With feet unbathed he swept the raging main,
    Scarce brushed the surface of the briny dew,
    And light along the liquid level flew.
    • Lines 225–228; of Euphemus.
    • Compare:
      • She swept the seas, and as she skimmed along
        Her flying feet unbathed on billows hung.
      • These lightly skimming, when they swept the plain,
        Nor plied the grass, nor bent the tender grain;
        And when along the level seas they flew,
        Scarce on the surface curled the briny dew.


  • They, when on tip-toe raised, in act to fly,
    Like the light-pinioned vagrants of the sky,
    Waved their dark wings, and, wondrous to behold!
    Displayed each plume distinct with drops of gold;
    While down their backs, of bright cerulean hue,
    Loose in the winds their wanton tresses flew.
    • Lines 273–278
    • Compare:
      • Like Maia's son he stood,
        And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled
        The circuit wide.


  • Alcimeda embraced her son with tears,
    Each breast was chilled with sad presaging fears.
    • Lines 327–328


  • Haste, royal mother, to your native towers,
    Pass with your handmaids there the peaceful hours.
    Forebode not here calamities to come...
    • Lines 379–381
    • Compare:
      • O royal mother! cease your fears,
        Nor send me to the fight with boding tears.


  • Conduct my comrades to the far-famed Fleece,
    Then safe restore them to the realms of Greece.
    • Lines 517–518; Jason's prayer.


 
Though various perils your attempt oppose,
And toils unnumbered bring unnumbered woes;
Yet shall ye safe return, ye sons of Greece,
Adorned with conquest, and the golden Fleece.
  • Though various perils your attempt oppose,
    And toils unnumbered bring unnumbered woes;
    Yet shall ye safe return, ye sons of Greece,
    Adorned with conquest, and the golden Fleece.
    Me cruel Fate ordains on Asia's shore
    To die, nor ever behold my country more.
    And though my destiny long fixed I knew,
    Yet, still resolved, I joined the martial crew;
    Inflamed with glory to the host I came,
    Of life regardless, emulous of fame.
    • Lines 551–560; Idmon's prophecy.


  • How over the new-created world below,
    On high Olympus' summits crowned with snow,
    Ophion, and, from ocean sprung of old,
    The fair Eurynome reigned uncontrolled:
    How haughty Saturn, with superior sway,
    Exiled Ophion from the realms of day.
    • Lines 633–638
    • Compare:
      • How the Serpent, whom they called
        Ophion with Eurynome, the wide-
        Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
        Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven.


 
Here the sweet bard his tuneful lyre unstrung,
And ceased the heavenly music of his tongue;
But, with the sound entranced, the listening ear
Still thought him singing, and still seemed to hear.
  • Here the sweet bard his tuneful lyre unstrung,
    And ceased the heavenly music of his tongue;
    But, with the sound entranced, the listening ear
    Still thought him singing, and still seemed to hear.
    • Lines 649–652; of Orpheus.
    • Compare:
      • The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
        So charming left his voice, that he awhile
        Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear.


  • Swift sailed the ship, the sun refulgent beamed,
    And bright as flame their glittering armour gleamed.
    While to their outstretched oars the heroes bow,
    The parted ocean whitening foams below.
    • Lines 695–698


  • The immortal powers that Jove's proud palace crown,
    All on that memorable day looked down,
    The godlike chiefs and Argo to survey,
    As through the deep they urged their daring way.
    • Lines 701–704


  • With Chiron came Chariclo to the shore;
    The young Achilles in her arms she bore.
    Peleus, his sire, with secret pleasure smiled,
    As high in air she raised the royal child.
    • Lines 717–720


  • A mantle doubly lined, of purple hue,
    The son of Æson over his shoulders threw.
    This Pallas gave him, when, with wondrous art,
    She planned his ship, and measured every part.
    'Twere safer to survey the radiant globe
    Of rising Phoebus
    , than this splendid robe.
    Full in the middle beamed a crimson blaze,
    The verge surrounding darted purple rays.
    In every part historic scenes were wrought;
    The moving figures seemed informed with thought...
    • Lines 949–958


 
When, lo! a Halcyon, of cerulean hue,
Over the fair head of slumbering Jason flew,
In airy circles, wondrous to behold,
And, screaming loud, the ceasing storm foretold.
  • When, lo! a Halcyon, of cerulean hue,
    Over the fair head of slumbering Jason flew,
    In airy circles, wondrous to behold,
    And, screaming loud, the ceasing storm foretold.
    • Lines 1406–1409


  • Boughs bend with fruit, Earth from her bosom pours
    Herbs ever green, and voluntary flowers.
    • Lines 1478–1479


  • Some bring dry wood, and some in order spread
    Soft leaves and herbage for a spacious bed.
    • Lines 1530–1531
    • Compare:
      • On the dry beach they raised the leafy bed,
        The fires they kindled, and the tables spread.


  • It chanced the nymphs, in neighbouring streams that dwell,
    Then kept a concert at the sacred well.
    In Dian's praise they raised the nightly song,
    All who to high, aerial hills belong;
    All who in caverns hide, or devious rove
    The mountain-forest, or the shady grove.
    • Lines 1574–1579


 
Her left arm round his lovely neck she threw,
And with her right hand to the bottom drew.
  • ... the nymph with joy
    Sprung from the deep to kiss the charming boy.
    Her left arm round his lovely neck she threw,
    And with her right hand to the bottom drew.
    • Lines 1590–1593


  • As when a lion from his caverned rock,
    At distance hears the bleatings of the flock,
    To seize his prey he springs, with hunger bold,
    But faithful shepherds had secured the fold;
    Defeated of his prize, he roars amain,
    Rends his hoarse throat, and terrifies the swain.
    • Lines 1598–1603
    • Compare:
      • As, beat by tempests, and by famine bold,
        The prowling wolf attempts the nightly fold;
        Lodged in the guarded field beneath their dams,
        Safe from the savage, bleat the tender lambs;
        The monster meditates the fleecy brood;
        New howls with hunger, and now thirsts for blood;
        Roams round the fences that the prize contain,
        And madly rages at the flock in vain.


  • As when a bull, whom galling gadflies wound,
    Forsakes the meadows, and the marshy ground,
    The flowery food, the herd and herdsmen shuns,
    Now stands stock-still, and restless now he runs;
    Stung by the breese, he maddens with the pain,
    Tosses aloft his head, and roars amain.
    • Lines 1626–1631
    • Compare:
      • Confused, distracted, through the rooms they fling,
        Like oxen maddened by the breese's sting.


Book IIEdit

  • But adverse soon they meet, with rage they glow,
    Like bulls fierce fighting for some favourite cow.
    • Lines 111–112
    • Compare:
      • With frowning fronts two mighty bulls engage,
        A dreadful war the bellowing rivals wage.


  • As swains with smoke, of honey studious, strive
    From some rock's cleft the swarming bees to drive;
    Alarmed and trembling, with a murmuring sound,
    They crowd to all their waxen rooms around;
    But if the fumes prevail, their wings they ply,
    And rove uncertain through the various sky.
    • Lines 163–168
    • Compare:
      • So when the swain invades, with stifling smoke,
        The bees close-clustered in a caverned rock,
        They rise, and, trembling for the endangered state,
        Inflamed with wrath, with fell revenge and hate,
        This way, and that, in loud tumultuous swarms,
        Fly over their waxen town with hoarse alarms;
        The steams offensive roll the cells around,
        Their sullen murmurs through the rock resound,
        While, thickening, through the cleft the smokes arise,
        And in a length of vapours mount the skies.


 
For, lo! descending sudden from the sky,
Round the piled banquet shrieking harpies fly.
  • For, lo! descending sudden from the sky,
    Round the piled banquet shrieking harpies fly.
    • Lines 239–240
    • Compare:
      • When from the mountains, terrible to view,
        On sounding wings the monster-harpies flew.


  • Then heaves he from the couch his haggard bead,
    (Like some pale, lifeless, visionary shade)
    Propped on his staff his way explores, and crawls
    With lingering step along the lonely walls:
    Diseased, enfeebled, and by age unbraced,
    Through every limb he trembled as he passed;
    Shrunk was his form, with want adust and thin,
    The pointed bones seemed bursting through his skin...
    • Lines 255–262


  • By every woe fate destines me to bear,
    And by these eyes, involved in night, I swear.
    • Lines 346–347
    • Compare:


  • As when swift hounds, experienced in the chase,
    Through some wide forest, over the scented grass
    The bounding hind, or horned goat pursue,
    Near, and more near their panting prey they view;
    And eager stretching, the short space to gain,
    They snap, and grind their gnashing fangs in vain.
    • Lines 378–240
    • Compare:
      • As the fleet stag, by the staunch hound pursued,
        Now bounds above the banks, now shoots along the flood;
        ... He starts, he pants, he stares with wild amaze,
        And flies his opening foe a thousand ways;
        Close at his heels, the deep-mouthed furious hound
        Turns, as he turns, and traces all the ground.
        On his full stretch he makes his eager way,
        And holds, or thinks he holds, the trembling prey.
        Forth darts the stag—his foe, cast far behind,
        Catches but empty air, and bites the wind.


 
When hence your destined voyage ye pursue,
Two rocks will rise, tremendous to the view,
Just in the entrance of the watery waste,
Which never mortal yet in safety passed:
Not firmly fixed; for oft with hideous shock
Adverse they meet, and rock encounters rock...
  • When hence your destined voyage ye pursue,
    Two rocks will rise, tremendous to the view,
    Just in the entrance of the watery waste,
    Which never mortal yet in safety passed:
    Not firmly fixed; for oft with hideous shock
    Adverse they meet, and rock encounters rock:
    The boiling billows dash their airy brow,
    Loud thundering round the ragged shore below.
    • Lines 436–443
    • Compare:
      • High over the main two rocks exalt their brow,
        The boiling billows thundering roll below;
        Through the vast waves the dreadful wonders move,
        Hence named Erratic by the gods above.
        No bird of air, no dove of swiftest wing,
        That bears ambrosia to the Æthereal King,
        Shuns the dire rocks: in vain she cuts the skies;
        The dire rocks meet, and crush her as she flies;
        ... Scarce the famed Argo passed these raging floods,
        The sacred Argo, filled with demigods!
        Even she had sunk, but Jove's imperial bride
        Winged her fleet sail, and pushed her over the tide.


  • Safe if ye hope to pass, my counsel hear,
    Be ruled by prudence, and the Gods revere;
    Nor on your unexperienced youth depend,
    The want of caution brings you to your end.
     
    First from your ship a nimble dove let fly,
    And on the sure prognostic bird rely...
    First from your ship a nimble dove let fly,
    And on the sure prognostic bird rely;
    Safe through the rocks if she pursue her way,
    No longer ye the destined course delay;
    Steer for the strait, and let the rowers sweep
    With stretching oars the close-contracted deep:
    For not in prayers alone your safety stands;
    But nervous vigour, and the strength of hands.
    Ply then your oars, and strain at every stroke;
    But first with prayer the Deities invoke.
    The dove's sad fate should you desponding view,
    Crushed by the closing fragments as she flew,
    Steer back, lest you against those rocks be driven,
    Steer back; 'tis fafest to submit to Heaven.
    'Twere death through them to force the foaming keel,
    Though heaven-built Argo were composed of steel.
    • Lines 444–463


  • A hideous dragon of enormous size
    Turns all around his circumspective eyes:
    Over the bright spoil the strictest watch he keeps;
    He never slumbers, and he never sleeps.
    • Lines 538–541; the Colchian Dragon guarding the Golden Fleece.


  • For far as ever flying sails were furled
    Lies Colchos, on the limits of the world.
    • Lines 552–553


 
Pity, ah! pity my coeval tree,
Where I so many blissful ages dwelt!
  • For the more labours and fatigues he bore,
    Pale, pining want oppressed him still the more;
    New woes succeeded to the woes that past,
    And every day was darker than the last:
    And yet no crime had poor Paraebius wrought,
    Alas! he suffered for his father's fault:
    Who, when alone, and on the mountain's brow,
    With cruel axe he laid the forest low,
    Deaf to a doleful Hamadryad's prayer,
    The nymph neglected, and refused to spare,
    Though oft she urged this lamentable plea;
    "Pity, ah! pity my coeval tree,
    Where I so many blissful ages dwelt!"
    But his hard heart no soft compassion felt;
    The tree he felled; and for this foul disgrace
    The nymph ordained him woes, and all his race.
    • Lines 615–630


  • The Etesian winds, while forty days they blow,
    Refresh with balmy gales the soil below.
    • Lines 689–690


  • The salt-sea spray in clouds began to rise;
    Old ocean thundered; the cerulean skies
    Rebellowed loudly with the fearful din;
    The caves below remurmured from within.
    • Lines 735–738


  • Then terror seized them, when with sudden shock
    The refluent billows forced them on the rock;
    With chilling fears was every nerve unstrung,
    While over their heads impending ruin hung.
    Before, behind, they saw the spacious deep,
    When instant, lo! a billow, vast and steep,
    Still rises higher, and still wider spreads,
    And hangs a watery mountain over their heads.
    The heroes stooped, expecting by its fall
    That mighty billow would overwhelm them all...
    • Lines 747–756


  • On Argo's keel the impetuous torrent pours,
    Which raised the ship above the rocks so high,
    She seemed sublimely sailing in the sky.
    • Lines 758–760


  • Then like an arrow from the elastic yew,
    Swift over the foaming waves the vessel flew.
    • Lines 775–776


  • No peace by day, no sleep at night I take,
    Since these brave chiefs assembled for my sake.
    With cold indifference mayest thou look down,
    For no man's safety anxious but thy own;
    But I, the least solicitous for mine,
    Feel for this friend's, that comrade's, and for thine.
    Much shall I feel for all this martial band,
    Unless they safe regain their native land.
    • Lines 811–818; Jason to Tiphys.


 
His golden locks, that flowed with grace divine,
Hung clustering like the branches of the vine.
  • His golden locks, that flowed with grace divine,
    Hung clustering like the branches of the vine;
    In his left hand, his bow unbent he bore,
    His quiver pendant on his back he wore:
    The conscious island trembled as he trod,
    And the big rolling waves confessed the God.
    Nor dared the heroes, seized with dire dismay,
    The splendors of his countenance survey,
    But on the ground their downward eyes they cast.
    • Lines 861–869; of Apollo.
    • Compare:


  • How once beneath Parnassus' rocky brow
    He lanched an arrow from his deadly bow,
    And the fell serpent slew; though young and fair
    And beardless yet, but graced with golden hair:
    O prove propitious, thou whose radiant head
    Is decked with curls uncliped...
    • Lines 895–900; of Apollo. "Nothing was deemed by the ancients more essential to the beauty of a young person (and Apollo was always represented a youth) than fine, long hair." Francis Fawkes, Notes to the Argonautics.


  • The fate of others he had oft foreshown,
    But failed, unhappy! to prevent his own.
    • Lines 1028–1029; of Idmon. Note: The same lines, with "still" for "oft", occur in Pitt's translation of the Æneid, IX. 447–448.


  • Here, in a covert near the reedy flood,
    A fell wild boar lay deep immersed in mud.
    With horrid tusks so dreadful he appeared,
    The fountain-nymphs the savage monster feared:
    No living wight in miry marsh or moor
    Ever saw so fierce, so horrible a boar.
    • Lines 1030–1035
    • Compare:
      • A valley stood below; the common drain
        Of waters from above, and falling rain:
        The bottom was a moist and marshy ground,
        Whose edges were with bending oziers crowned:
        The knotty bulrush next in order stood,
        And all within of reeds a trembling wood.
        From hence the boar was roused, and sprung amain,
        Like lightning sudden, on the warrior train.
        • Ovid's Metamorphosis, VIII., "Meleager and Atalanta", tr. by John Dryden (1700), 93–100



  • From thence they pass where Tibarenians till,
    Sacred to Jove, the Genetaean hill.
    Here, when the teeming wives are brought to bed,
    Their groaning husbands hang the drooping head;
    Equal attendance with their wives they claim;
    The same their diet, and their baths the same.
    • Lines 1252–1257. Note: "These Tibareni have a custom by which men, with their heads wrapped, are positioned in bed by their wives in labor (and even after they have given birth), and they themselves, instead of the women in labor, are looked after and taken care of." Angelo Poliziano, letter to Pomponio Leto (1488), tr. Shane Butler.


  • Next by the sacred hill their oars impel
    Firm Argo, where the Mossyncecians dwell.
    In towers they live, of solid timber framed,
    Mossynes called, and thence the nation named:
    Of manners strange; for they with care conceal
    Those deeds which others openly reveal;
    And actions, that in secret should be done,
    Perform in public and before the sun:
    For, like the monsters of the bristly drove,
    In public they perform the feats of love.
    Exalted in his tower that mates the sky,
    The monarch here dispenses law from high:
    But if his judgment err, this rigid state
    Condemns their chief, and starving is his fate.
    • Lines 1258–1271.


  • They who to prostrate suppliants lend an ear,
    The laws of hospitable Jove revere.
    All-present he hath listened to our prayer,
    And sinking saved us with a parent's care.
    • Lines 1388–1391
    • Compare:
      • The poor and stranger are [Jove's] constant care;
        To Jove their cause, and their revenge belongs,
        He wanders with them, and he feels their wrongs.
      • Almighty Jove! who pleadest the stranger's cause;
        Great guardian god of hospitable laws!


  • The golden prize a monstrous dragon keeps;
    Hard task to seize it, for he never sleeps.
    • Lines 1472–1473


  • Where on an oak the fleece, suspended high,
    A dragon guards with ever-watchful eye.
    • Lines 1550–1551


Book IIIEdit

 
Come, heavenly maid, thy timely succour bring
And teach thy poet, Erato, to sing.
  • Come, heavenly maid, thy timely succour bring
    And teach thy poet, Erato, to sing,
    How Jason, favoured by the Colchian maid,
    To Grecian realms the golden prize conveyed.
    • Lines 1–4
    • Compare:
      • Now, Erato, thy poet's mind inspire,
        And fill his soul with thy celestial fire!



  • Fronting the door, all lovely and alone,
    Sat Cytherea on a polished throne.
    Adown the shoulders of the heavenly fair,
    In easy ringlets flowed her flaxen hair;
    And with a golden comb, in matchless grace,
    She taught each lock its most becoming place.
    • Lines 49–54


 
He on his back, though like a crone I stood,
Securely brought me over the foaming flood;
This won my love.
  • Nay more, young Jason claims my love and grace,
    Whom late I met returning from the chase,
    Returning met, as over the world I strayed,
    And human kind, and human works surveyed;
    Hard by Aurarus I beheld the man,
    Wide over its banks whose rapid currents ran;
    (From snow-clad hills, in torrents loud and strong,
    Roared the swoln streams the rugged rocks among.)
    He on his back, though like a crone I stood,
    Securely brought me over the foaming flood;
    This won my love.
    • Lines 77–87; spoken by Juno.
    • Compare:
      • They (curious oft of mortal actions) deign
        In forms like these to round the earth and main,
        Just and unjust recording in their mind,
        And with sure eyes inspecting all mankind.


  • The Cyprian goddess over Olympus flies,
    To find her son in every dale she pries,
    Through heaven's gay meads the queen pursued her way,
    And found him there with Ganymede at play.
    Him Jove translated to the blest abodes,
    And, famed for beauty, placed among the Gods.
    With golden dice, like boon compeers they played:
    Love in his hollow hand some cubes conveyed,
    Resolved to cheat young Ganymede with those,
    While on his cheeks the conscious crimson rose.
    The Phrygian boy was vanquished to his cost,
    Two dice alone remained, and those he lost.
    Silent he sat in dull dejected state,
    Enraged that Cupid should deride his fate:
    His loss increasing with protracted play,
    He went a wretch with empty hands away,
    Nor saw he Venus: she her Cupid took
    Fast by the cheek, and thus upbraiding spoke:
    "And can you laugh, you sly, deceitful elf?
    Such tricks will bring a scandal on yourself..."
    • Lines 125–144


  • Savage or social, all alike approve
    The sacred rites of hospitable Jove.
    • Lines 213–214


  • At Colchos still this barbarous rite prevails:
    They never burn the bodies of the males,
    Nor deep in earth their decent limbs compose,
    And with sepulchral dust the dead enclose;
    But in raw hides they hang them high in air:
    And yet, that earth may equal portions share,
    Departed females to the grave they doom,
    (Such are their rites) and close them in the tomb.
    • Lines 227–234


  • ... but friendly Juno shrouds
    Her favourite heroes in a veil of clouds.
    • Lines 235–236
    • Compare:
      • They march obscure, for Venus kindly shrouds
        With mists their persons, and involves in clouds.
      • Propitious Pallas, to secure her care,
        Around him spread a veil of thickened air.


  • The portal past, young branching vines appear,
    And high in air their verdant honours rear:
    Beneath whose boughs, by matchless Vulcan made,
    Four copious fountains in four currents played;
    The first with milk, with wine the second glowed,
    Ambrosial oil the third, the fourth with water flowed;
    This, as by turns the Pleiads set or rose,
    Dissolved in summer, and in winter froze.
    • Lines 245–252


  • As some good housewife, who, to labour born,
    Fresh to her loom must rise with early morn;
    Studious to gain what human wants require,
    In embers heaped preserves the seeds of fire;
    Renewed by these the brand rekindling burns,
    And all the glowing heap to ashes turns:
    Thus, kindling slow, love's secret flames invade,
    And torture, as they rise, the troubled maid:
    Her changeful cheeks the heart-felt anguish show,
    Now pale they turn, now like the ruby glow.
    • Lines 327–336
    • Compare:
      • What time the poor laborious frugal dame,
        Who plies the distaff, stirs the dying flame;
        Employs her handmaids by the winking light,
        And lengthens out their tasks with half the night;
        Thus to her children she divides the bread,
        And guards the honours of her homely bed.


  • Hence from my sight away,
    Nor longer, traitors, in my kingdom stay:
    Back, back to Greece your speedy course pursue,
    Nor idly hope the golden fleece to view.
    Not for that fleece (vain pretext ye must own)
    But for my sceptre came ye, and my crown.
    Had ye not first my feast partook to-day,
    Your tongues and hands, torn out and lopped away,
    Should for your bold atrocious crimes atone:
    My just revenge had spared your feet alone,
    To bear you hastily to Greece again,
    Dreading to visit more my just domain,
    And with your perjuries the gods profane.
    • Lines 407–419; spoken by Aeëtes. "The table was looked upon by the ancients as a sacred thing; and a violation of the laws of hospitality was esteemed the highest profanation imaginable." Francis Fawkes, Notes to the Argonautics.


 
Perform this labour, and the fleece is thine.
  • Two bulls in Mars's field your wonder claim,
    Their hoofs of brass, their nostrils breathing flame.
    These oft I seize, and to the yoke constrain
    To plough four acres of the stubborn plain.
    No seeds I sow, but scatter over the land
    A dragon's teeth; when, lo! an armed band
    Of chiefs spring up: but soon as they appear,
    I slay the embattled squadrons with my spear.
    Each morn I yoke the bulls, at eve resign:
    Perform this labour, and the fleece is thine.
    • Lines 446–455; Aeëtes' challenge to Jason.


  • Know, at Æeta'a court a maiden dwells
    Deep skilled by Hecate in magic spells:
    All plants she knows that grow on mountains steep,
    On vales, or meads, or in the boundless deep;
    By these she quells the fire's relentless force,
    Stops the mad torrent in its headlong course,
    Retards the planets as they roll on high,
    And draws the Moon reluctant from the sky.
    • Lines 567–574
    • Compare:
      • There a Massylian priestess I have found,
        Honored for age, for magic arts renowned...
        She stops the torrents, leaves the channel dry,
        Repels the stars, and backward bears the sky.
        The yawning earth rebellows to her call,
        Pale ghosts ascend, and mountain ashes fall.


 
...Alone Medea wakes.
  • Now rising shades a solemn scene display
    Over the wide earth, and over the etherial way;
    All night the sailor marks the northern team,
    And golden circlet of Orion's beam:
    A deep repose the weary watchman shares,
    And the faint wanderer sleeps away his cares;
    Even the fond maid, while yet all breathless lie
    Her child of love, in slumber seals her eyes:
    No sound of village-dog, no noise invades
    The death-like silence of the midnight shades;
    Alone Medea wakes: to love a prey,
    Restless she rolls, and groans the night away:
    For lovely Jason cares on cares succeed,
    Lest vanquished by the bulls her hero bleed;
    In sad review dire scenes of horrors rise,
    Quick beats her heart, from thought to thought she flies.
    • Lines 802–817
    • Compare:
      • 'Twas night; and, weary with the toils of day,
        In soft repose the whole creation lay.
        The murmurs of the groves and surges die,
        The stars roll solemn through the glowing sky;
        Wide over the fields a brooding silence reigns,
        The flocks lie stretched along the flowery plains;
        The furious savages that haunt the woods,
        The painted birds, the fishes of the floods;
        All, all, beneath the general darkness, share
        In sleep, a soft forgetfulness of care;
        All but the hopeless queen;—for love denies
        Rest to her thoughts, and slumber to her eyes.
        Her passions grow still fiercer, and by turns
        With love she maddens, and with wrath she burns.


  • As from the stream-stored vase with dubious ray
    The sun-beams dancing from the surface play;
    Now here, now there the trembling radiance falls,
    Alternate flashing round the illumined walls:
    Thus fluttering bounds the trembling virgin's blood,
    And from her eyes descends a pearly flood.
    • Lines 818–823
    • Compare:
      • So from a brazen vase the trembling stream
        Reflects the lunar, or the solar beam:
        Swift and elusive of the dazzled eyes,
        From wall to wall the dancing glory flies:
        Thence to the cieling shoot the glancing rays,
        And over the roof the quivering splendor plays.
      • So from a water clear, the trembling light
        Of Phoebus, or the silver queen of night,
        Along the spacious rooms with splendour plays,
        Now high, now low, and shifts a thousand ways.
      • As in the sun's bright beam the gamesome boy
        Plays with the shining steel or crystal toy,
        Swift and irregular, by sudden starts,
        The living ray with viewless motion darts,
        Swift over the wall, the floor, the roof, by turns
        The sun-beam dances, and the radiance burns.


 
Honour farewell! adieu for ever, shame!
Hail, black disgrace! and branded be my fame!
Live, Jason, live! enjoy the vital air!
Live through my aid!
  • Ah me! what words shall purge the guilt away?
    ...Shall I, all lost to shame, to Jason fly?
    And yet I must——if Jason bleeds I die!
    Honour farewell! adieu for ever, shame!
    Hail, black disgrace! and branded be my fame!
    Live, Jason, live! enjoy the vital air!
    Live through my aid! and fly where winds can bear.
    But when he flies, ye poisons, lend your powers,
    That day Medea treads the infernal shores!
    Yet what reproach will after death be cast?
    The dames of Colchus will my honour blast—
    I hear them cry—the false Medea's dead,
    Through guilty passion for a stranger's bed;
    Medea, careless of her virgin fame,
    Preferred a stranger to a father's name!
    O may I rather yield this vital breath,
    Than bear that base dishonour worse than death!
    • Lines 847–865


  • Thus wailed the fair, and seized, with horrid joy,
    Drugs foes to life, and potent to destroy;
    A magazine of death! again she pours
    From her swoln eye-lids tears in shining showers.
    With grief insatiate, comfortless she stands,
    And opes the casket, but with trembling hands.
    A sudden fear her labouring soul invades,
    Struck with the horrors of the infernal shades:
    She stands deep-musing with a faded brow,
    Absorbed in thought, a monument of woe!
    While all the comforts that on life attend,
    The cheerful converse, and the faithful friend,
    By thought deep imaged in her bosom play,
    Endearing life, and charm despair away.
    Enlivening suns with sweeter light arise,
    And every object brightens to her eyes.
    Then from her hand the baneful drug she throws,
    Consents to live, recovered from her woes.
    • Lines 866–883


 
For Jason beamed in beauty's charms so bright,
The maid admiring, languished with delight.
  • Meanwhile the maid her secret thoughts enjoyed,
    And one dear object all her soul employed:
    Her train's gay sports no pleasure can restore,
    Vain was the dance, and music charmed no more;
    She hates each object, every face offends;
    In every wish her soul to Jason sends:
    With sharpened eyes the distant lawn explores,
    To find the hero whom her soul adores;
    At every whisper of the passing air,
    She starts, she turns, and hopes her Jason there;
    Again she fondly looks, nor looks in vain;
    He comes, her Jason shines along the plain.
    As when, emerging from the watery way,
    Refugent Sirius lifts his golden ray,
    He shines terrific! for his burning breath
    Taints the red air with fevers, plagues and death;
    Such to the nymph approaching Jason shows,
    Bright author of unutterable woes;
    Before her eyes a swimming darkness spread,
    Her flushed cheeks glowed, her very heart was dead:
    No more her knees their wonted office knew,
    Fixed, without motion, as to earth they grew.
    Her train recedes—the meeting lovers gaze
    In silent wonder, and in still amaze...
    • Lines 1010–1033


  • Her eyes to earth she bends with modest grace,
    And heaven in smiles is opened on her face.
    • Lines 1082–1083


  • For Jason beamed in beauty's charms so bright,
    The maid admiring, languished with delight.
    Thus when the rising sun appears in view,
    On the fair rose dissolves the radiant dew.
    • Lines 1092–1095


 
With rage impetuous forth the monsters came,
And from their nostrils issued streams of flame...
  • Honey, sweetest labour of the bees.
    • Line 1111


  • With rage impetuous forth the monsters came,
    And from their nostrils issued streams of flame...
    • Lines 1363–1364


Book IVEdit

  • O Goddess, daughter of the eternal king,
    Medea's various cares and counsels sing.
    • Lines 1–2


  • ... with a parting kiss her bed she pressed,
    Clung round each door, and even the walls caressed.
    A lock she tore of loosely-flowing hair,
    And safe consigned it to her mother's care,
    The sacred relic of her virgin-fame.
    • Lines 31–35


 
With high-arched neck, in front the dragon lies,
And towards the strangers turns his sleepless eyes...
  • With high-arched neck, in front the dragon lies,
    And towards the strangers turns his sleepless eyes;
    Aloud he hisses: the wide woods around,
    And Phasis' banks return the doleful sound.
    Colchians far distant from Titanus' shore,
    Heard even to Lycus' streams the hideous roar.
    • Lines 139–144
    • Compare:
      • With her full force her mighty horn she winds;
        The infernal strain alarms the gathering hinds.
        The dreadful summons the deep forests took;
        The woods all thundered, and the mountains shook.
        The lake of Trivia heard the note profound;
        The Veline fountains trembled at the sound.
        The thick sulphureous floods of hoary Nar
        Shook at the blast that blew the flames of war.


  • The mother, starting from her bed of rest,
    Fears for her babe reclining on her breast,
    And closely clasping to her fondling arms,
    Protects her trembling infant from alarms.
    • Lines 149–152
    • Compare:
      • Pale at the piercing call, the mothers prest
        With shrieks their starting infants to the breast.
      • Such was the tempest of the dread alarms,
        The babes that prattled in their nurses' arms
        Shrieked at the sound; with sudden cold imprest,
        Their mothers strained their infants to the breast,
        And shook with horror.


  • As some fair dame, when Cynthia rises bright,
    Beholds the beamy splendours with delight,
    Which from her vestment strong-reflected rise;
    Thus gloried Jason in the glistering prize.
    The flaming rays, that from its surface flowed,
    Beamed on his cheeks, and on his forehead glowed.
    • Lines 185–190


 
The gallant band beheld with wondering eyes,
Fierce as Jove's fiery bolt, the radiant prize.
  • The gallant band beheld with wondering eyes,
    Fierce as Jove's fiery bolt, the radiant prize.
    • Lines 203–204
    • Compare:
      • Proud of the gift, he rolled his greedy sight
        Around the work, and gazed with vast delight.
      • But Tristram then despoiling that dead knight
        Of all those goodly implements of praise,
        Long fed his greedy eyes with the fair sight
        Of the bright metal, shining like sun rays;
        Handling and turning them a thousand ways.
        • The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser (1596), Book VI, Canto II, stanza 39


  • Rise may my Furies, vengeance to demand,
    And distant drive thee from thy native land.
    • Lines 451–452; Medea to Jason.


  • Curse of mankind! from thee contentions flow,
    Disastrous love! and every heart-felt woe.
    • Lines 526–527
    • Compare:
      • All-powerful Love! what changes canst thou cause
        In human hearts, subjected to thy laws!


  • Turned from the murderous scene aside distressed,
    And veiled her guilty face beneath her vest.
    • Lines 550–551; the murder of Absyrtus.


  • Sudden, the vessel, as she sailed along,
    Spoke, wondrous portent! as with human tongue:
    Her sturdy keel of Dodonean oak,
    By Pallas vocal made, prophetic spoke.
    • Lines 691–694


  • Soon as thy son (believe the truths you hear)
    Shall in Elysium's blissful plains appear...
    In Hymen's silken chains the hero led,
    Must share the honours of Medea's bed.


  • Dashed by the driven waves the Planctae roared,
    From whose cleft summits flames sulphureous poured.
    Thick, dusky clouds involve the darkened skies,
    And hid are Phoebus splendours from their eyes.
    Though Vulcan ceased from his assiduous toils,
    The fires flash thick, and fervid ocean boils.
    Here over the sailing pine the nymphs preside,
    While Thetis' forceful hands the rudder guide.
    As oft in shoals the sportive dolphins throng,
    Circling the vessel as she sails along,
    Whose playful gambols round the prow and stern
    The much-delighted mariners discern;
    Round Argo thus the toiling nymphs attend,
    And, led by Thetis, their assistance lend.
    • Lines 1085–1098
    • Compare:
      • Cymothoe, Triton, and the sea-green train
        Of beauteous nymphs, the daughters of the main,
        Clear from the rocks the vessels with their hands.
      • From heaven she darted to the watery plain,
        And called the sea-born nymphs, a lovely train...
        The curving billows to their breasts divide
        And give a yielding passage through the tide...
        Against the leader's prow, her lovely breast
        With more than mortal force the goddess pressed;
        The ship recoiling trembles on the tide,
        The nymphs, in help, pour round on every side...
        The ship bounds up, half lifted from the wave,
        And, trembling, hovers over the watery grave...
        So toiled the nymphs, and strained their panting force
        To turn the navy from its fatal course.


  • As when along the beach, succinct for play,
    To toss the flying ball the Nereids stray,
    From hand to hand the sphere unerring flies,
    Nor ever on the ground inglorious lies;
    The sisters thus, with coadjutant force,
    High over the surge impel the vessel's course.
    • Lines 1109–1114


  • As when from street to street, in wild dismay,
    Affrighted mortals, like pale spectres, stray;
    Expecting wars, or plagues, or bursting rains,
    That deluge all the harvest of the plains:
    Or, as when statues drops of blood distil,
    And fancied bellowings the temples fill;
    The noon-day sun eclipsed involves in night
    The astonished world, and stars emit their light:
    Thus on the beach they stalked, a heartless clan!
    Like sweating statues, or like spectres wan.
    • Lines 1505–1514


  • Remote, Medea's fair attendants moan,
    Cling round their queen, and groan return for groan.
    As when a nest, surcharged with callow young,
    Falls from the lofty cliff to which it clung,
    The unfeathered brood by shrillest cries attest
    Their far-flown mother, and their ruined nest:
    As on the banks Pactolus' streams bedew,
    Melodious swans their dying notes renew;
    The rivers, gliding the rich vales among,
    Bear on their silver streams the soothing song.
    • Lines 1523–1532


  • Thus sees the clown, or thinks he can descry
    The new moon breaking through a cloudy sky.
    • Lines 1749–1750
    • Compare:
      • Doubtful as he who sees, through dusky night,
        Or thinks he sees, the moon's uncertain light.


  • His corse the bright-armed heroes thrice surround,
    And raise in seemly form the hallowed mound.
    • Lines 1817–1818
    • Compare:
      • Then thrice around the kindled piles they go
        (For ancient custom had ordained it so)
        Thrice horse and foot about the fires are led;
        And thrice, with loud laments, they hail the dead.


  • With pleasure still may distant times rehearse
    And added years on years exalt my verse!
    • Lines 2117–2118

AboutEdit

  • [Mr. Fawkes's] versification is, for the most part, easy, fluent, and perspicuous. And though his language, it must be confessed, is too frequently deficient in elevation and dignity, yet that deficiency is in some degree compensated for by a clearness of expression, which seldom fails to reflect the sense of the original with a distinctness and truth not always to be met with in translation.
    • The Monthly Review, Vol. 66 (1782), Art. 5, p. 110

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit