Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ARGONAUTS (ARGONATUICA): THE MOVING ROCKS, by APOLLONIUS RHODIUS



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THE ARGONAUTS (ARGONATUICA): THE MOVING ROCKS, by            
First Line: As dolphins coming up to take the sun
Last Line: That the great queen of zeus had ordered done.
Alternate Author Name(s): Apollonius Of Rhodes


AS dolphins coming up to take the sun
Curvet about a vessel on the run
In their schools frolicking,
And sailors like to see them, whether now
Astern, amidships, or beneath the bow;
So Nereids from below to surface fling
And circle swimming in their crowds at play
About the ship, while Thetis steered the way.
And now when Argo seemed on point of drifting
Upon the Moving Rocks, their shining knees
They bared, the gathered skirts for work uplifting;
High on the very rocks and breaking seas
On either side and separately they hastened,
As the tide hit the ship and sidelong raised,
And all around, the raging climbing wave
Kept shattering on the Rocks. Now the Rocks grazed
High heaven like precipices, now they were fastened
Deep down at the sea bottom; but high above
The full fierce wave still drove.
There went the Nereids, like some girls together
On a sandy beach; their skirts waist high they gather
And play with a round ball, and each girl there
Catches from other, flinging it high in air
Never to earthward dropping.
And so the Nereids catching each from other
The running ship, then sent it aery on
Still from the rocks away over the flood,
The waves still gurgling round them in a smother.
And king Hephaestus watched from where he stood
Upon a polished crag high overtopping,
His mighty shoulder on hammer handle propping;
And the lady of Zeus gazed down from where she was
High on the brightness of heaven to see them pass.
She clung to Athene with both arms, so strong
The fear that seized her watching.
And still the Nereids toiled for time as long
As a spring day gets longer; clear they heaved
The ship from the echoing Rocks; and once more catching
The wind, away again the Heroes run.
Quickly they passed beside the field three-tipped
Sicilian, grazed by the cattle of the Sun.
And there the Nymphs like so many sea-mews dipped
Into the sea deep down, with all achieved
That the great queen of Zeus had ordered done.





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