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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX. 1876–79.

Greece: Iolchos, Thessaly

The Building of the Argo

By Catullus (c. 84–c. 54)

(From On the Nuptials of Peleus, and Thetis)
Translated by F. Nott

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 Æétes 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.