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‘O goddess-born, (for Heav'n's appointed will,
With greater auspices of good than ill,
Foreshows thy voyage, and thy course directs;
Thy fates conspire, and Jove himself protects,)
Of many things some few I shall explain,
Teach thee to shun the dangers of the main,
And how at length the promis'd shore to gain.
The rest the fates from Helenus conceal,
And Juno's angry pow'r forbids to tell.
First, then, that happy shore, that seems so nigh,
Will far from your deluded wishes fly;
Long tracts of seas divide your hopes from Italy:
For you must cruise along Sicilian shores,
And stem the currents with your struggling oars;
Then round th' Italian coast your navy steer;
And, after this, to Circe's island veer;
And, last, before your new foundations rise,
Must pass the Stygian lake, and view the nether skies.
Now mark the signs of future ease and rest,
And bear them safely treasur'd in thy breast.
When, in the shady shelter of a wood,
And near the margin of a gentle flood,
Thou shalt behold a sow upon the ground,
With thirty sucking young encompass'd round;
The dam and offspring white as falling snow—/L>
These on thy city shall their name bestow,
And there shall end thy labors and thy woe.
Nor let the threaten'd famine fright thy mind,
For Phoebus will assist, and Fate the way will find.
Let not thy course to that ill coast be bent,
Which fronts from far th' Epirian continent:
Those parts are all by Grecian foes possess'd;
The salvage Locrians here the shores infest;
There fierce Idomeneus his city builds,
And guards with arms the Salentinian fields;
And on the mountain's brow Petilia stands,
Which Philoctetes with his troops commands.
Ev'n when thy fleet is landed on the shore,
And priests with holy vows the gods adore,
Then with a purple veil involve your eyes,
Lest hostile faces blast the sacrifice.
These rites and customs to the rest commend,
That to your pious race they may descend.

‘When, parted hence, the wind, that ready waits
For Sicily, shall bear you to the straits
Where proud Pelorus opes a wider way,
Tack to the larboard, and stand off to sea:
Veer starboard sea and land. th' Italian shore
And fair Sicilia's coast were one, before
An earthquake caus'd the flaw: the roaring tides
The passage broke that land from land divides;
And where the lands retir'd, the rushing ocean rides.
Distinguish'd by the straits, on either hand,
Now rising cities in long order stand,
And fruitful fields: so much can time invade
The mold'ring work that beauteous Nature made.
Far on the right, her dogs foul Scylla hides:
Charybdis roaring on the left presides,
And in her greedy whirlpool sucks the tides;
Then spouts them from below: with fury driv'n,
The waves mount up and wash the face of heav'n.
But Scylla from her den, with open jaws,
The sinking vessel in her eddy draws,
Then dashes on the rocks. A human face,
And virgin bosom, hides her tail's disgrace:
Her parts obscene below the waves descend,
With dogs inclos'd, and in a dolphin end.
'T is safer, then, to bear aloof to sea,
And coast Pachynus, tho' with more delay,
Than once to view misshapen Scylla near,
And the loud yell of wat'ry wolves to hear.

‘Besides, if faith to Helenus be due,
And if prophetic Phoebus tell me true,
Do not this precept of your friend forget,
Which therefore more than once I must repeat:
Above the rest, great Juno's name adore;
Pay vows to Juno; Juno's aid implore.
Let gifts be to the mighty queen design'd,
And mollify with pray'rs her haughty mind.
Thus, at the length, your passage shall be free,
And you shall safe descend on Italy.

load focus Notes (Georgius Thilo, 1881)
load focus Notes (John Conington, 1876)
load focus English (Theodore C. Williams, 1910)
load focus Latin (J. B. Greenough, 1900)
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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • George W. Mooney, Commentary on Apollonius: Argonautica, 2.317
    • Charles Simmons, The Metamorphoses of Ovid, Books XIII and XIV, 13.99
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