Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BUILDING OF THE ARGO, by GAIUS VALERIUS CATULLUS



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THE BUILDING OF THE ARGO, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When argos' sons, the golden fleece to gain
Last Line: Their swelling breasts and shapes half-human stood.
Alternate Author Name(s): Catullus, Caius Valerius
Subject(s): Argo (Ship); Iolchos, Greece; Jason; Mythology - Classical


WHEN Argos' sons, the golden fleece to gain
That hung in Colchis, dared the briny main
In a swift vessel, and, the azure sea
Cleaving with oars, urged on their rapid way,
Then the tall pines that grew on Pelion's steep
First learned to float along the watery deep,
Far as where Phasis rolls its copious waves,
And the wide realms of old AEetes laves:
The inventive Goddess, whose imperial throne
From the proud citadel o'erlooks the town,
First bade the ship each varying blast obey,
And curved to floating hulks the obedient tree;
Fair Amphitrite's crystal bosom taught
To bear the work her magic hands had wrought:
Scarce its swift prow through the cleaved ocean flew;
And, vexed with oars, the billows whiter grew;
Then rose the Nereids from the foamy tide,
To see this wonder o'er their dwellings ride:
Daily the enormous structure they beheld,
To mortal eyes their naked frames revealed;
And full to view, emerging from the flood,
Their swelling breasts and shapes half-human stood.





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