Pindar. Arnson Svarlien, Diane, translator. Created for the Perseus Project, 1990.
to throw themselves into the oars, announcing that their hopes were sweet; and the rowing sped on under their swift hands, insatiably. Escorted by the breezes of the South wind, they reached the mouth of the Inhospitable Sea, and there they set up a holy precinct to Poseidon, god of the sea;
there was a herd of red Thracian bulls, and a newly-built hollow of altar stones. And as they rushed into deep danger, they entreated the lord of ships
that they might escape the irresistible onset of the clashing rocks. There was a pair of them; they were alive, and they rolled onward more swiftly
than the battle-lines of the loud-thundering winds. But that voyage of the demigods put an end to them. And then the Argonauts came to Phasis, where they clashed with the dark-faced Colchians in the realm of Aeetes himself. And the queen of sharpest arrows brought the dappled wryneck from Olympus, bound to the four spokes
of the indissoluble wheel:
Aphrodite of Cyprus brought the maddening bird to men for the first time, and she taught the son of Aeson skill in prayerful incantations, so that he could rob Medea of reverence for her parents, and a longing for Greece would lash her, her mind on fire, with the whip of Persuasion.
And she quickly revealed the means of performing the labors set by her father; and she mixed drugs with olive oil as a remedy for hard pains, and gave it to him to anoint himself. They agreed to be united with each other in sweet wedlock.
But when Aeetes placed in their midst the adamantine plough
and the oxen, who breathed the flame of burning fire from their golden jaws and stamped at the earth in turn with their bronze hoofs, he led them along and single-handedly brought them under the yoke. And he drove them, stretching the furrows straight, and split the back of the clodded earth, a fathom deep. Then he spoke in this way: “Let your king,
whoever commands the ship, complete this work for me; then let him carry off the immortal coverlet,
the fleece gleaming with its golden fringe.” When he had spoken thus, Jason threw off his saffron cloak and, trusting in the god, set his hand to the task. The fire did not touch him; he followed the advice of the foreign woman who knew every kind of remedy. He grasped the plough, and bound the necks of the oxen in the irresistible
harness, and prodding their strong-ribbed bulk with the unceasing goad the powerful man accomplished the allotted measure of his task. And Aeetes wailed, though his cry was silent, amazed at Jason’s strength.
His companions stretched their friendly hands towards the mighty man,
and crowned him with garlands of laurel, and greeted him with gentle words. But at once the marvellous son of Helios spoke of the shining fleece, telling where the sword of Phrixus had stretched it out. He expected that Jason would not be able to accomplish this further labor. For the fleece lay in a thicket, held in the ravening jaws of a serpent,
which in thickness and length surpassed a ship with fifty oars, built by the blows of a hammer.
It is too long a way for me to go by the beaten track; for time presses, and I know a shortcut. In poetic skill I am a guide to many others. Jason killed the gray-eyed serpent with its dappled back by cunning,
Arcesilas, and stole away Medea, with her own help, to be the death of Pelias. And they reached the expanses of Ocean, and the Red Sea, and the race of the Lemnian women, who killed their husbands. There they displayed their prowess of limbs in athletic contests with a cloak for a prize,
and they went to bed with the women. In foreign
fields then the fated day, or night, received the seed of your shining prosperity; for there the race of Euphemus was planted, to continue forever. And having gone to share the home of the Lacedaemonians, in time they left to settle the island once called Calliste. From there the son of Leto granted that your race should bring prosperity to the plain of Libya
, with the honor of the gods, and govern the divine city of golden-throned Cyrene,