Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica

LCL 286: 248-249

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Valerius Flaccus

profuit? heu quantum Phasis, quantum Aea recessit! nunc quoque, si tenui superant in imagine curae, adsis umbra, precor, venturi praescia caeli, rectoremque tuae moneas ratis.” haec ubi fatus, 55sola virum flammis vidit labentibus ossa. “quod tamen extremis unum solamen in oris restat” ait, “caras humus haec non dividat umbras ossaque nec tumulo nec separe contegat urna, sed simul, ut iunctis venistis in aequora fatis.” 60haud mora; reliquias socii defletaque miscent nomina. tum vivo frondens e cespite tellus aggeritur, cineremque Lyco commendat Iason.

Maesti omnes dubiique, ratem fidissima cuius dextra regat; simul Ancaeus sollersque petebat 65Nauplius. Erginum fato vocat ipsa monenti quercus, et ad tonsas victi rediere magistri. ac velut ille, gregis cessit cui regia, taurus fertur ovans; hunc omnis honos, hunc omnis in unum transit amor; primo laetus sic tempore rector 70ingreditur cursus; etenim dat candida certam nox Helicen. iam prora fretum commoverat et iam puppe sedens diras1 dimiserat anchora terras.

Inde, premente noto, tristes Acherusidos oras praeterit et festa vulgatum nocte Lyaei 75Callichoron; nec vana fides. his Bacchus in undis

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the Colchians drew nigh? Ah! how far now has Aea, how far has Phasis drawn away! Yet even now, if thought survives in a frail ghost, be present, I pray, a shade that foreknows approaching storms, and warn the steersman of thy ship.” So spake he, and as the flames sank down saw nought but their bones remaining. “One solace yet remains,” he cried, “on distant shores though we be; let not this earth sunder these loving shades, nor hold their bones in separate tomb or urn, but joined together, as with joint destiny ye went to sea.” Without delay their comrades unite their relics and the names they mourned. Then a green mound of living turf is heaped, and Jason entrusts their ashes to Lycus’ care.

Downcast were all, and doubtful whose hand most faithfully should guide the ship; together Ancaeus and wise Nauplius made request. The oak itself at Fate’s prompting summons Erginus, and the defeated helmsmen went back to their oars. And just as that bull who has won the kingship of the herd paces in proud triumph; all love, all honour passes now to him alone: so joyfully does the steersman start on his first voyage; for a bright night shows Helice clear and true. Already the prow had stirred the water, and already set on the stern1 the anchor had sundered them from the dreadful land.

Then ’neath the South wind’s pressure she passes the grim Acherusian shores2 and Callichoros famed for the nightly revels of Lyaeus; nor is report ill-founded. In these waters Bacchus washed the

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.valerius_flaccus-argonautica.1934