Archive for February 23rd, 2020

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Lines 275-298 [Eros Shoots Medea] from “Book 3: The Tale of the Argonauts” by Apollonius of Rhodes

But Eros the while through the mist-grey air passed all unseen
Troubling them, even as heifers that hear the piping keen
Of the gadfly — ‘the breese’ do the herders of oxen name the thing.
In the forecourt beneath the lintel swiftly his bow did he string :
From his quiver took he a shaft sigh-laden, unshot before :
With swift feet all unmarked hath he passed the threshold o’er,
Keen-glancing around : he hath glided close by Aison’s son:
He hath grasped the string in the midst, and the arrow-notch laid thereon.
Straightway he strained it with both hands sundered wide apart,
And he shot at Medea ; and speechless amazement filled her heart.
And the God himself from the high-roofed hall forth-flashing returned
Laughing aloud. Deep down in the maiden’s bosom burned
His arrow like unto flame; and at Aison’s son she cast
Side-glances of love evermore ; and panted hard and fast
‘Neath its burden the heart in her breast, nor did any remembrance remain
Of aught beside, but her soul was melted with rapturous pain.
And as some poor daughter of toil, who hath distaff ever in hand,
Heapeth the slivers of wood about a blazing brand
To lighten her darkness with splendour her rafters beneath, when her eyes
Have prevented the dawn; and the flame, upleaping in wondrous wise
From the one little torch, ever waxing consumeth all that heap;
So, burning in secret, about her heart did he coil and creep,
Love the destroyer: her soft cheeks’ colour went and came,
Pale now, and anon, through her soul’s confusion, with crimson aflame.

From: Apollonius and Way, Arthur Sanders (transl.), The Tale of the Argonauts, 1901, J. M. Dent and Co: London, pp. 101-102.

Date: 3rd century BCE (original in Greek); 1901 (translation in English)

By: Apollonius of Rhodes (3rd century BCE)

Translated by: Arthur Sanders Way (1847-1930)