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Cui sis nupta, vide, Pandione nata, marito !
Nec mora; traxit Ityn, veluti Gangetica cervæ 636 190 Lactentem fætum per silvas tigris opacas,
Utque domus altæ partem tenuere remotam ;
Ense ferit Progne, lateri qua pectus adhæret ;- 641 195 Nec vultum vertit. Satis illi ad fata vel unum
Vulnus erat: jugulum ferro Philomela resolvit,
Pars verubus stridet; manant penetralia tabo. 200 His adhibet conjux ignarum Terea mensis,
Et patrii moris sacrum mentita, quod uni
650 Vescitur, inque suam sua viscera congerit alvum ; 205 Tantaque nox animi est, Ityn huc arcessite !"
dixit. Dissimulare nequit crudelia gaudia Progne, Jamque suæ cupiens exsistere nuntia cladis, 654 “ Intus habes quod poscis," ait. Circumspicit ille,
Atque ubi sit quærit. Quærenti iterumque vocanti, 210 Sicut erat, sparsis furiali cæde capillis,
Prosiliit, Ityosque caput Philomela cruentum
Thracius ingenti mensas clamore repellit, 215 Vipereasque ciet Stygia de valle Sorores ;
Et modo, si posset, reserato pectore diras
Nunc sequitur nudo genitas Pandione ferro. 220 Corpora Cecropidum pennis pendere putares :
Pendebant pennis. Quarum petit altera silvas,
Ille, dolore suo poenæque cupidine velox, 225 Vertitur in volucrem, cui stant in vertice crista,
Prominet immodicum pro longa cuspide rostrum :
After Pandion, who died of grief at the unhappy fate of his daughters Procnê and Philomela (s. Introd. XXVIII.), his son Erechtheus succeeded to the sovereignty of Athens. He had four daughters, of whom two especially-Procris and Orithyia-were distinguished for their beauty. Orithyia was wooed by Boreas, of Thracian origin (the north wind comes from Thrace to Greece). The sad event, however, which from the lawless passions of the Thracian king Têreus had befallen the daughters of Pandion was not yet forgotten in Athens, and the suit of the Thracian Boreas was therefore utterly rejected by Orithyia, till, at length, the violent god carried her off by force. Orithyia, on being conveyed to Thrace, became the consort of Boreas, and bore him twin sons, Calaïs and Zêthês, who, when children, had the human form of their mother; but when they were old enough for the beard to appear on their chins, wings, like their father's, sprouted out of their sides. They joined the bold expedition of the Argonauts (the Minyæ, v. 39), who navigated the unknown sea, the Pontus, in order to fetch the golden fleece (s. the following Introd.).
Sceptra loci, rerumque capit moderamen Erech
Fæmineæ sortis ; sed erat par forma duarum. 680 5 E quibus Æolides Cephalus te conjuge felix,
Procri, fuit: Boreæ Tereus Thracesque nocebant,
Ast ubi blanditiis agitur nihil; horridus ira, 685 10 Quæ solita est illi nimiumque domestica vento,
“ Et merito !” dixit: “ quid enim mea tela reliqui, Sævitiam et vires iramque animosque minaces, Admovique preces, quarum me dedecet usus ?
Apta mihi vis est: vi tristia nubila pello, 690 15 Vi freta concutio, nodosaque robora verto,
Induroque nives, et terras grandine pulso.
20 Exsiliantque cavis elisi nubibus ignes.
Idem ego, cum subii convexa foramina terræ
debueram thalamos petiisse ; socerque 700 25 Non orandus erat, sed vi faciendus Erechtheus."
Hæc Boreas aut his non inferiora locutus
Pulvereamque trahens per summa cacumina pallam 705 30 Verrit humum, pavidamque metu caligine tectus
Orithyian amans fulvis amplectitur alis.
Quam Ciconum tenuit populos et mænia raptor. 710 35 Illic et gelidi conjux Actæa tyranni
Et genitrix facta est, partus enixa gemellos,
Barbaque dum rutilis aberat subnixa capillis, 715 40 Implumes Calaïsque puer Zetesque fuerunt;
Mox pariter pennæ ritu cæpere volucrum
In ancient times there prevailed a legend, that a Grecian ship from Iolkos, conducted by a Grecian hero (Jason), had first penetrated into the previously unknown sea beyond the strait between Europe and Asia. This primitive legend was variously adorned by the later poets. The voyage to these parts brought gain to seafaring people, for even in those early times the land of Colchis was already famous (by gold-washing), as the California of antiquity: whence arose the legend that the Greeks had fetched from Colchis the golden fleece of the ram, on which, in times past, Phryxus, with his sister Hellê, had swum over the strait to Asia, and whose hide of golden wool he had made an offering to Mars, and tied to a tree in the sacred inclosure of the god. (This tree is hence named arbor aurea, v. 151.) But the voyage through the unknown waters was also full of perils and adventures. Hence the later poets represented all the Grecian heroes of those days as taking a part in the expedition. They were called Argonauts, from the ship in which they sailed, which received, from its builder, the name of Argo. To the adventures of the voyage belongs their visit to the Thracian soothsayer, Phineus, who was blind and tormented by the Harpies. The Harpies, according to the later legend, were winged monsters, in the shape of young women (virgineæ volucres, v.4) of loathsome aspect, with the feathers of vultures on their bodies, and the claws of vultures on their hands and feet. Like the Furies, they were assigned by the gods for the punishment of certain men, whose food they snatched away and devoured ; and what they could not swallow, they defiled with their loathsome breath, and rendered unfit for use. Phineus, who was plagued with these Harpies, was delivered from them by the winged sons of Boreas, Calaïs and Zêthês, who also were among the Argonauts (s. XXIX), and who chased the monsters through the air. The grateful Phineus then informed the Argonauts of the perils of their voyage, and showed them the means to overcome them. Thus they arrived at the river Phasis in Colchis, the land of fable and sorcery, which, according to the geography of the ancients, lay in the extreme east, on the very edge of the earth's circumference. The reigning sovereign of this district, which contained the golden fleece, was Æêtês, son of the sun-god (who, from this circumstance, is called in reference to Jason, who was to be consort of the daughter of Æêtês, pater soceri futuri, v. 96, and in reference to Medēa, the daughter of Æêtês, arus, v. 199.) From him the Argonauts obtained the fleece, but he granted it to them only on hard conditions. It was guarded by a sleepless dragon, and Jason was not to remove it till he had by himself yoked to the plough a pair of fire-spitting bulls (a present from Vulcan), ploughed with them a piece of land, and sown it with dragon's teeth. It was however to be feared, that he might not only be unable to master the bulls and bring them to the yoke, but that he would first be burnt up by their fiery breath. And even were the breaking in of the bulls to be successfully accomplished, from the dragon's teeth that he sowed there would spring up armed men, with whom he would have to engage in a fresh encounter. These dragon's teeth had been presented to Æêtês by Minerva. They were some of the teeth of the dragon slain by Cadmus, from some of which that hero had obtained his first associates in the building of Thebes (s. XIV.). Thus Æêtês seemed to demand what was impracticable : but his daughter Medēa, who was an adept in all the sorcery of the land of Colchis, was inflamed with love for Jason, and after long struggling against this inclivation towards a foreigner from a far-distant country, to whom she could not give herself without practising treachery towards her father, passion was at last victorious. So after Jason had given her his word that he would take her for his wife, she furnished him with enchantments wherewith to tame the bulls, and instructed him, when the armed men should spring up from the dragon's teeth, to pelt them from a distance only. They, on being struck, would believe that the blow proceeded from some one near them, and thus they would begin to fight with and destroy one another (* civili acie,' v. 142). The dragon also was laid asleep by sorcery, and the Argonauts with the fleece joyously returned to Thessaly (to Iolkos) accompanied by Medēa, who, in consequence of her treachery to her father, quitted her native land. Medea by her magical arts had, with good intention, restored youthful vigour to Jason's father. To accomplish this, she had prayed for and received the car of dragons (v. 218 seq.) sent to her from heaven under the guidance of the moon-goddess Titania. On this car Medēa drove through the air, to gather from all lands the plants growing in secret places, that were needful for her magical purposes. In course of time, however, the wicked disposition of the sorceress was aroused, and she heaped crime upon crime. Alleging that she had separated herself from her husband, Jason, she takes refuge in the house of Pelias, king of lolkos, and under the pretence of restoring the aged father to youth, she induces the daughters of Pelias to murder him. On this she flees away on her enchanted dragon car through distant lands, and at length comes to Corinth. The king of Corinth had given his daughter in marriage to Jason, while the foreigner, Medea, had drawn on herself the hatred of all. On this Medēa causes her own sons by Jason to carry as a present to the bride ('nova nupta,' v. 353) a poisoned crown of gold : after this she set the king's castle on fire, and murdered her own children. She then fled to Athens to king Ægeus, who not only received her hospitably, but even took her for his wife. When she had all but persuaded him to poison liis own son, he discovered the treachery before it was too late, and the criminal had once more to flee,
The Grecian legend makes her go into Asia to the Medes, who also, through her magic, had a reputation for sorcery, and to whose name (Mýdetol for Mñdoe) her own name is related ; so that on the whole the mythic person of Medēa alludes to the early connexion between Asia and ancient Greece,
Jamque fretum Minyæ Pegasæa puppe secabant, Perpetuaque trahens inopem sub nocte senectam Phineus visus erat, juvenesque Aquilone creati
Virgineas volucres miseri senis ore fugarant; 5 Multaque perpessi claro sub lasone tandem
Contigerant rapidas limosi Phasidos undas.