Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica

LCL 286: 194-195

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Valerius Flaccus

105nocte sub hiberna servant freta, sicubi saevis advectet ratis acta notis tibi pabula dira et miseras, Polypheme, dapes: sic undique in omnes prospiciunt cursantque vias, qui corpora regi capta trahant. ea Neptuno trux ipse parenti 110sacrifici pro rupe iugi media aequora supra torquet agens; sin forma viris praestantior adsit, tum legere arma iubet sumptisque occurrere contra caestibus; haec miseris1 sors est aequissima leti. huc ubi devectam Neptunus gurgite puppem 115sensit et extremum nati prospexit in oras et quondam laetos domini certamine campos, ingemit ac tales evolvit pectore questus: “infelix imas quondam mihi rapta sub undas, nec potius magno, Melie, tum mixta Tonanti! usque adeone meam quacumque ab origine prolem 121tristia fata manent? sic te olim pergere sensi, Iuppiter, iniustae quando mihi virginis armis concidit infelix et nunc chaos implet Orion. nec tibi nunc virtus aut det fiducia nostri, 125nate, animos opibusque ultra ne crede paternis. iam iam aliae vires maioraque sanguine nostro vincunt fata Iovis, potior cui cura suorum est. atque ideo neque ego hanc tumidis avertere ventis temptavi tenuive ratem, nec iam mora morti hinc erit ulla tuae. reges preme, dure,2 secundos.” abstulit inde oculos, natumque et tristia linquens 132proelia sanguineo terras pater alluit aestu.

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Argonautica, IV.

nights, should any vessel driven by fierce south winds draw nigh, bringing thee, Polyphemus, grim fodder and wretched victims for thy feasting, so look they forth and speed every way to drag captive bodies to their king. Them doth the cruel monarch himself on the rocky verge of a sacrificial ridge, that looms above mid-sea, take and hurl down in offering to his father Neptune; but should the men be of finer build, then he bids them take arms and meet him with the gauntlets; that for the hapless men is the fairest doom of death. When Neptune saw the vessel borne hither upon the flood and for the last time looked upon his son’s domain and the fields that once rejoiced in their master’s contests, he sighed and poured from his heart such plaints as these: “Melie, ’tis pity thou wast long ago carried off by me beneath the waves, and didst not rather yield to the Thunderer! So utterly then does a sad fate await my offspring, from whomsoever born? Ere now have I known thee so to act, O Jupiter, when hapless Orion1 fell by the cruel virgin’s shaft and now fills Chaos. And let not thy valour, O my son, nor confidence in me afford thee courage, trust no more in thy father’s power. Now other might has the mastery, and the destinies of Jove, more eager to protect his own, are too strong for blood of mine. Therefore I strove not to turn away this ship with boisterous winds nor stayed her course, nor now can I in aught delay thy death. Make lesser kings thy prey, hard-hearted one!” Then he turned his gaze away, and the father, leaving his son and the ill-starred combat, laved the shores with a tide of blood.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.valerius_flaccus-argonautica.1934