BETA

THE NUPTIALS OF PELEUS AND THETIS.

Catallus lxiv. 1—75.

Born on Pelion height, so legend hoary relateth,1
Pines once floated adrift on Neptune billowy streaming2
On to the Phasis flood, to the borders Æætean.3
Then did a chosen array, rare bloom of valorous Argos,4
Fain from Colchian earth her fleece of glory to ravish,5
Dare with a keel of swiftness adown salt seas to be fleeting,6
Swept with fir-blades oary the fair level azure of Ocean.7
Then that deity bright, who keeps in cities her high ward,8
Made to delight them a car, to the light breeze airily scudding,9
Texture of upright pine with a keel’s curved rondure uniting.10
That first sailer of all burst ever on Amphitrite.11
Scarcely the forward snout tore up that wintery water,12
Scarcely the wave foamed white to the reckless harrow of oarsmen,13
Straight from amid white eddies arose wild faces of Ocean,14
Nereid, earnest-eyed, in wonderous admiration.15
Then, not after again, saw ever mortal unharmed16
Sea-born Nymphs unveil limbs flushing naked about them,17
Stark to the nursing breasts from foam and billow arising.18
Then, so stories avow, burn’d Peleus hotly to Thetis,19
Then to a mortal lover abode not Thetis unheeding,20
Then did a father agree Peleus with Thetis unite him.21
O in an aureat hour, O born in bounteous ages,22
God-sprung heroes, hail : hail, mother of all benediction,23
You my song shall address, you melodies everlasting :24
Thee most chiefly, supreme in glory of heavenly bridal,25
Peleus, stately defence of Thessaly. Iuppiter even26
Gave thee his own fair love, thy mortal pleasure approving.27
Thee could Thetis inarm, most beauteous Ocean-daughter ?28
Tethys adopt thee, her own dear grandchild’s wooer usurping ?29
Ocean, who earth’s vast globe with a watery girdle inorbeth ?30
When the delectable hour those days did fully determine,31
Straightway then in crowds all Thessaly flock’d to the palace,32
Thronging hosts uncounted, a company joyous approaching.33
Many a gift they, carry, delight their faces illumines.34
Left is Scyros afar, and Phthia’s bowery Tempe,35
Vacant Crannon’s homes, unvisited high Larisa,36
Towards Pharsalia’s halls, Pharsalia’s only they hie them.37
Bides no tiller afield ; necks soften of oxen in idlesse ;38
Feel not a prong’d crook’d hoe lush vines all weedily trailing ;39
Tears no steer deep clods with a downward coulter unearthed ;40
Prunes no hedger’s bill broad-verging verdurous arbours ;41
Steals a deforming rust on ploughs left rankly to moulder.42
But that sovran abode, each sumptuous inly retiring43
Chamber, aflame with gold, with silver is all resplendent ;44
Thrones gleam ivory-white ; cup-crown’d blaze brightly the tables ;45
All the domain with treasure of empery gaudily flushes.46
There, set deeply within the remotest centre a bridal47
Bed doth a goddess inarm ; smooth ivory glossy from Indies,48
Robed in roseate hues, rich seashells’ purple adorning.49
It was a broidery freak’d with tissue of images olden,50
One whose curious art did blazon valour of heroes.51
Gazing forth from a beach of Dia the billow-resounding,52
Look’d on a vanish’d fleet, on Theseus quickly departing,53
Restless in unquell’d passion, a feverous heart, Ariadne.54
Scarcely her eyes yet seem their seeming clearly to vision.55
You might guess that arous’d from slumber’s drowsy betrayal,56
Sand-engirded, alone, then first she knew desolation.57
He the betrayer—his oars with fugitive hurry the waters58
Beat, each promise of old to the winds given idly to bear them.59
Him from amid shore-weeds doth Minos’ daughter, in anguish60
Rigid, a Bacchant-form, dim-gazing stonily follow,61
Stonily still, wave-tost on a sea of troublous affliction.62
Holds not her yellow locks the tiara’s feathery tissue ;63
Veils not her hidden breast light brede of drapery woven ;64
Binds nota cincture smooth her bosom’s orbed emotion.65
Widely from each fair limb that footward-fallen apparel66
Drifts its lady before, in billowy salt loose-playing.67
Not for silky tiara nor amice gustily floating68
Recks she at all any more; thee, Theseus, ever her earnest69
Heart, all clinging thought, all chained fancy requireth.70
Ah unfortunate ! whom with miseries ever crazing,71
Thorns in her heart deep planted, affray’d Erycina to madness,72
From that earlier hour, when fierce for victory Theseus73
Started alert from a beach deep-inleted of Pireus,74
Gain’d Gortyna’s abode, injurious halls of oppression.75