On the dusty earth-drum Beats the falling rain; Now a whispered murmur, Now a louder strain. Slender, silvery drumsticks, On an ancient drum, Beat the mellow music Bidding life to come. Chords of earth awakened, Notes of gre... Read more of Rain Music at Martin Luther King.caInformational Site Network Informational
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HOW THEY BUILT THE SHIP 'ARGO' IN IOLCOS

from The Heroes - The Argonauts





So the heralds went out, and cried to all the heroes of the Minuai,
'Who dare come to the adventure of the golden fleece?'

And Hera stirred the hearts of all the princes, and they came from
all their valleys to the yellow sands of Pagasai. And first came
Heracles the mighty, with his lion's skin and club, and behind him
Hylas his young squire, who bore his arrows and his bow; and
Tiphys, the skilful steersman; and Butes, the fairest of all men;
and Castor and Polydeuces the twins, the sons of the magic swan;
and Caeneus, the strongest of mortals, whom the Centaurs tried in
vain to kill, and overwhelmed him with trunks of pine-trees, but
even so he would not die; and thither came Zetes and Calais, the
winged sons of the north wind; and Peleus, the father of Achilles,
whose bride was silver-footed Thetis, the goddess of the sea. And
thither came Telamon and Oileus, the fathers of the two Aiantes,
who fought upon the plains of Troy; and Mopsus, the wise
soothsayer, who knew the speech of birds; and Idmon, to whom
Phoebus gave a tongue to prophesy of things to come; and Ancaios,
who could read the stars, and knew all the circles of the heavens;
and Argus, the famed shipbuilder, and many a hero more, in helmets
of brass and gold with tall dyed horse-hair crests, and embroidered
shirts of linen beneath their coats of mail, and greaves of
polished tin to guard their knees in fight; with each man his
shield upon his shoulder, of many a fold of tough bull's hide, and
his sword of tempered bronze in his silver-studded belt; and in his
right hand a pair of lances, of the heavy white ash-staves.

So they came down to Iolcos, and all the city came out to meet
them, and were never tired with looking at their height, and their
beauty, and their gallant bearing and the glitter of their inlaid
arms. And some said, 'Never was such a gathering of the heroes
since the Hellens conquered the land.' But the women sighed over
them, and whispered, 'Alas! they are all going to their death!'

Then they felled the pines on Pelion, and shaped them with the axe,
and Argus taught them to build a galley, the first long ship which
ever sailed the seas. They pierced her for fifty oars--an oar for
each hero of the crew--and pitched her with coal-black pitch, and
painted her bows with vermilion; and they named her Argo after
Argus, and worked at her all day long. And at night Pelias feasted
them like a king, and they slept in his palace-porch.

But Jason went away to the northward, and into the land of Thrace,
till he found Orpheus, the prince of minstrels, where he dwelt in
his cave under Rhodope, among the savage Cicon tribes. And he
asked him, 'Will you leave your mountains, Orpheus, my fellow-
scholar in old times, and cross Strymon once more with me, to sail
with the heroes of the Minuai, and bring home the golden fleece,
and charm for us all men and all monsters with your magic harp and
song?'

Then Orpheus sighed, 'Have I not had enough of toil and of weary
wandering, far and wide since I lived in Cheiron's cave, above
Iolcos by the sea? In vain is the skill and the voice which my
goddess mother gave me; in vain have I sung and laboured; in vain I
went down to the dead, and charmed all the kings of Hades, to win
back Eurydice my bride. For I won her, my beloved, and lost her
again the same day, and wandered away in my madness, even to Egypt
and the Libyan sands, and the isles of all the seas, driven on by
the terrible gadfly, while I charmed in vain the hearts of men, and
the savage forest beasts, and the trees, and the lifeless stones,
with my magic harp and song, giving rest, but finding none. But at
last Calliope my mother delivered me, and brought me home in peace;
and I dwell here in the cave alone, among the savage Cicon tribes,
softening their wild hearts with music and the gentle laws of Zeus.
And now I must go out again, to the ends of all the earth, far away
into the misty darkness, to the last wave of the Eastern Sea. But
what is doomed must be, and a friend's demand obeyed; for prayers
are the daughters of Zeus, and who honours them honours him.'

Then Orpheus rose up sighing, and took his harp, and went over
Strymon. And he led Jason to the south-west, up the banks of
Haliacmon and over the spurs of Pindus, to Dodona the town of Zeus,
where it stood by the side of the sacred lake, and the fountain
which breathed out fire, in the darkness of the ancient oakwood,
beneath the mountain of the hundred springs. And he led him to the
holy oak, where the black dove settled in old times, and was
changed into the priestess of Zeus, and gave oracles to all nations
round. And he bade him cut down a bough, and sacrifice to Hera and
to Zeus; and they took the bough and came to Iolcos, and nailed it
to the beak-head of the ship.

And at last the ship was finished, and they tried to launch her
down the beach; but she was too heavy for them to move her, and her
keel sank deep into the sand. Then all the heroes looked at each
other blushing; but Jason spoke, and said, 'Let us ask the magic
bough; perhaps it can help us in our need.'

Then a voice came from the bough, and Jason heard the words it
said, and bade Orpheus play upon the harp, while the heroes waited
round, holding the pine-trunk rollers, to help her toward the sea.

Then Orpheus took his harp, and began his magic song--'How sweet it
is to ride upon the surges, and to leap from wave to wave, while
the wind sings cheerful in the cordage, and the oars flash fast
among the foam! How sweet it is to roam across the ocean, and see
new towns and wondrous lands, and to come home laden with treasure,
and to win undying fame!'

And the good ship Argo heard him, and longed to be away and out at
sea; till she stirred in every timber, and heaved from stem to
stern, and leapt up from the sand upon the rollers, and plunged
onward like a gallant horse; and the heroes fed her path with pine-
trunks, till she rushed into the whispering sea.

Then they stored her well with food and water, and pulled the
ladder up on board, and settled themselves each man to his oar, and
kept time to Orpheus' harp; and away across the bay they rowed
southward, while the people lined the cliffs; and the women wept,
while the men shouted, at the starting of that gallant crew.





Next: HOW THE ARGONAUTS SAILED TO COLCHIS

Previous: HOW JASON LOST HIS SANDAL IN ANAUROS



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