THE DIONYIACA BOOK 3, TRANSLATED BY W. H. D. ROUSE
In the third, look for the much-wandering ship of Cadmos, the palace of Electra and the hospitality of her table.
 The struggle was finished by the end of winter. Orion rose, displaying with his cloudless baldric the glittering surface of his sword. No longer were the frozen footsteps of the setting Bull washed under the circling mere. No longer in the region of the thirsty1 Bear, mother of rains, was the petrified water traversed by unwetted feet. No longer the Massagetan scored watery furrows on the frozen Istros, whipping up his migratory house, and traveling across the river with his track of wooden wheels.2 For already the teeming Season, fore-courier of Zephyros, had inebriated the dewy breezes from the bursting flowercups; the full-voiced herald, spring’s welcome, fellow-guest, the chattering twittering swallow, had just shown herself to rob mankind of their morning sleep; the flower, clear of its fragrant sheath, laughed, bathed in the life-giving dew of springtime.
 Early in the morning, when Dawn had cleft the gloom, Cadmos came down from the horned peaks of lofty Tauros along the saffron glens of Cilicia.3 Sailing was now in season, Cadmos was in haste; they hauled up the ship’s bridling-hawsers off the land. The mast lifting its head on high struck the upper air standing firmly. A light breeze gently rippling the sea with the breath of the morning hummed “All aboard!” Soon it curved the fickle waves with its gusts, and stopt the watery dance of the dolphin, that tumbler of the quiet calm. The intertwined ropes whistled with a shrill hiss, the forestays hummed in the freshening wind, the sail grew big-bellied, enforced by the forthright gale. The restless flood was cleft, then fell back to its place; the water swelled and foamed, the ship sped over the deep, while the keel struck the boisterous waves with a resounding splash, and the end of the steering-oar scored the white-crested billows where the ship’s wake divided the curving back of the sea.
 On the tenth circling Dawn after the peaceful turning-point of spring,4 Cadmos has been carried by winds from Zeus over a waveless sea; but as he cleft the Trojan channel of water-ranging Helle,5 a violent wind drove him over a roaring passage to Samos,6 over against battle-stirring Scamandros, not far from Sithonia,7 where Harmonia still a virgin awaited him safely. There the prophetic breezes escorted his vessel the Thracian coast, by divine Rheia’s ordinance. The sailors rejoiced to see the sleepless flame of the Samian torch,8 and furled their sails as they came near the land; then rowing the ship towards the waveless anchorage they scored the smooth water with the tips of their oars and ran her up under shelter of the harbour. A hole drilled through a rocky claw received the hawsers of the ships, and held them immovable, and the curving teeth of the ship’s bridles were wedged tight into the wet sand deep under the water, by the time that the sun went down. On shore, after the evening meal, the men spread their pallets on the sand without bedding; the poor fellows’ eyes were heavy, and wandering sleep came on them with silent step.
 But when along the wing of red fiery Euros,9 Dawn scraping the peaks of rugged Teucrian Ida from below spilled away the morning twilight, and showed herself to survey the harbour, illuminating the black swell of the opposite sea, then Cypris spread out a back of silent calm where no ship could sail, for she meant to unite Harmonia to her mate. Already the bird of morning was cutting the air with loud cries; already the helmeted bands of desert-haunting Corybants10 were beating on their shields in the Cnossian dance, and leaping with rhythmic steps, and the oxhides thudded under the blows of the iron as they whirled them about in rivalry, while the double pipe made music, and quickened the dancers with its rollicking tune in time to the bounding steps. Aye, and the trees whispered, the rocks boomed, the forests held jubilee with their intelligent movings and shakings, and the Dryads did sing. Packs of bears joined the dance, skipping and wheeling face to face; lions with a roar from emulous throats mimicked the triumphant cry of the priests of the Cabeiroi, sane in their madness; the revelling pipes rang out a tune in honour of Hecate, divine friend of dogs, those single pipes, which the horn-polisher’s art invented in Cronos’s days.
 The noisy Corybants with their ringing din awoke Cadmos early in the morning; the Sidonian seamen also with one accord, hearing the never-silent oxhide at dawn, rose from their rattling pebbly pallets and left the brine-beaten back of the shore, their bed. Cadmos left the ship to his companions, and set out on foot for a quick walk to find the city. As he was going towards Harmonia’s house, he was met by Peitho,11 Lady of the bride-chamber. She had the form of a mortal woman, and like a household drudge, she carried a weight pressed against her bosom by her arm, a rounded silver jug which she had filled with drink from the spring: a presage of things to come, since they drench the bridegroom by time-honoured custom with life-giving water in the bath before the marriage. He was now close by the city, where in hollow pits bundles on bundles of soiled clothing are trodden by the women’s bounding feet, trodden in emulation. Peitho covered Cadmos with a dark mist from heels to head, and led him through the unseeing city in search of the king’s hospitable hall, guiding his way by the Paphian’s command. There some bird,12 perched under the delicate shadow of a gray olive-tree, – it was a crow, she opened her loud beak inspired, and reproached the young man for a laggard, that the bridegroom walked to his bride Harmonia with dawdling foot. She flapt her wings and rallied him soundly:
 “So Cadmos is a baby, or only a novice in love! Eros is a quick one, and knows nothing of slow bridegrooms! Forgive me, Peitho – your Cadmos dallies, Aphrodite is in haste! Hot Eros calls you, bridegroom – you plod along like a laggard, and why? You are a nice neighbour for charming Adonis! You are a nice fellow-countryman for the girls of Byblos!13 No, I am wrong: you never saw the river of Adonis; you never set eyes on the soil of Byblos, where the Graces have their home, where Assyrian Cythereia dances, and an Athena who is not coy!14 Peitho is your guide, nor Artemis, Peitho the friend of marriage, the nurse of the baby Loves. Cease your toiling and moiling, enjoy Harmonia and leave Europa to her bull! Make haste, and Electra15 will welcome you; from her hands sure enough you will be laden with a cargo of wedded love, if you leave the business part of the delights to Aphrodite. She is the Cyprian’s daughter, guarded for your bride-chamber, another Cypris for you to receive. You will thank the crow, and you will call me the bird of marriage, the prophet of the Loves! No, I am wrong, Cypris inspired me; the Paphian made me foretell your nuptials, although I am Athena’s bird!” 16
 With these words, she sealed up her talkative beak, a silent witness now. Cadmos walked along the winding highroad; and when the king’s allhospitable court came into view, far-seen upon its lofty pillars, Peitho pointed a finger to indicate the corresponding words in her mind, and by this voiceless herald showed the house of shining artistry: then the divinity in antoher shape rose into the sky, shooting through it with winged shoe.
 Then Cadmos surveyed the house with roving gaze: the masterly work of Hephaistos, which the industrious god once built for Electra as a bride, and embellished it with many ornaments in the fine Myrinaian art of Lemnos.17 The whole palace was new.18 A brazen threshold well-wrought was before it. Double doors with lofty pillars opened into a vestibule richly carven, and a dome spanned the roof with a rounded head seen in the middle. The walls were faced with tessellated stones set in white cement from threshold to inner end. Before the house near the courtyard was an enclosure, widespread, four acres of trees heavy with fresh fruit. Male palm stretched his leaves over female palm, pledging his love. Pear growing by pear, all of one age with glorious fruit, whispered in the morning breeze – and with its dangling clusters beat on the pollard growth of a luscious olive hard by. In the breezes of spring, the myrtle waves his leaves by the reluctant19 laurel, while the fragrant wind of morning fanned the foliage of the leafy cypress. On the fig-tree, mother of sweets, and the juicy pomegranate, red fruit grew rich over purple fruit beside it, and apple flourished near apple. On the learned20 leaves of Apollo’s mournful iris was embroidered with many a plant-grown word; and when Zephyros breathed through the flowery garden, Apollo turned a quick eye upon his young darling, his yearning never satisfied; if he saw the plant beaten by the breezes, he remembered the quoit, and trembled for fear the wind, so jealous once about the boy, might hate him even in a leaf21: if it is true that Apollo once wept with those eyes that never wept, to see that boy writhing in the dust, and the pattern there on the flower traced its own “alas!” on the iris, and so figures the tears of Phoibos.
 Such was the shady garden. Hard by, a brook divided in two runnels; from this the people drew their drinking, from that the gardener cut up the water into many curving channels and carried it from plant to plant: one stream chuckled at the root of a laurel, as if Phoibos were singing a delicate tune to his Daphne.
 Within, well-wrought boys of gold stood on many pillars of stone, holding out torches before the banqueters to give them light for their dessert in the evening. Before the gates rows of dogs22 stood on this side and that, not real yet intelligent, all modelled alike, silent works of art, snarling with gaping throats; then if a man came by whom they knew, golden dog by silver dog would bark with swelling throat and fawn upon him. So as Cadmos passed, Echo sent forth a sound like a welcome for a guest, and wagged the friendly shape of an artificial tail.
 While Cadmos has been moving his face about and turning his eyes to survey the royal garden, and saw the sculptures, and all the beauty of the hall with its paintings and bright sparkling precious stones, Emation had left the market-place and the disputes of his people, and sat splendid upon the back of a courser with arching neck. He was lord of Samothrace, the seat of Ares, having inherited the royal house of Electra his mother. At that time he was sole king, holding the reins of sovereignty which belonged to his brother Dardanos, who had left his native soil, and migrated to the soil of the continent opposite. There he had scored the dust of Ida with a plow-furrow, and marked the limits of Dardania, the fortified city which bore his name. So he drank the water of Sevenstreams and the flood of Rhesos, leaving the inheritance and the sceptre of the Cabeiroi to his brother.
 This Dardanos, Emathion’s brother, was one whom the bed of Zeus had begotten, whom Justice nursed and cared for at the time when the Seasons ran to the mansion of Queen Electra, bearing the sceptre of Zeus, and the robe of Time, and the staff of Olympos, to prophesy the indissoluble dominion of the Ausonian race.23 The Seasons brought up the baby; and by an irrevocable oracle of Zeus, the lad just sprouting the flower of recrescent youth left Electra’s house, when for the third time a deluge of rain had flooded the world’s foundations with towering billows.
 Ogygos24 made proof of the first roaring deluge, as he cut the air through the highclimbing waters, when all the earth was hidden under the flood, when the tops of the Thessalian rocks were covered, when the summit of the Pythian rock near the clouds on high was bathed in the snow-cooled25 flood. There was a second deluge, when tempestuous waters covered the circuit of the round earth in a furious flood, when all mortal men perished, and Deucalion alone with his mate Pyrrha in a hollow ark cutting the swirling flood of infinite deluge went on his eddying voyage through the air turned water.
 When the third time rain from Zeus flooded the solid earth and covered the hills, and even the unwetted slopes of Sithonia with Mount Athos itself,26 then Dardanos, cutting through the stream of the uplifted flood, landed on the ancient mountain of Ida his neighbour.
 It was his brother Emathion, ruler of the snowy Sithonian land, who left the noisy market-place, and stood amazed at the hero’s looks; for the youthful grace inborn in him mingled manliness and beauty with a form to match. The prince was amazed at such noble looks; for the eyes of prudent kings are instinctive heralds, although the ear cannot hear them. He received the guest with a welcome; then while Electra toiled to help him, he provided a rich table of fine fare, flattering his guest with friendly address that left nothing to be desired: for it was a bounteous feast. But Cadmos bent his neck towards the ground, and hid looks of disquiet from the attendants, and hardly touched the banquet. He sat opposite the hospitable lady, but scarce stealing a glance at her served himself with a modest and timid hand.
 As they feasted, the breathing reeds of Corybantic Ida resounded one after another in succession; the players’ hands skipt along the riddling run of the tootling pipe, and the fingers beat out their tune in cadence, dancing and pressing the sound27; the clanging cymbals in brazen pairs struck ringing blows running in cadence with the sets of reeds; the harp itself with its seven strings twanged aloud under the quill.
 But after the banquet, when Cadmos had had enough of the Bistonian pipe, he drew his seat nearer to the queen, who questioned him with great curiosity. He left aside the fever of his sorrowful sea-wanderings, and spoke of his illustrious lineage: the words poured in ceaseless flow like a fountain from his open lips.
 Beloved lady, why do you ask me thus of my blood and breeding? I liken the swift-passing generations of mortal man to the leaves. Some leaves the wild winds scatter over the earth when autumn season comes; others the woodland trees grow on their bushy heads in spring-time. Such are the generations of men, short-lived: one rides life’s course, until death brings it low; one still flourishes, only to give place to another: for time moves ever back upon itself, changing form as it flows from hoary age to youth.28
 “But I will tell you my lineage with its noble sons. There is a city Argos, famous for horses, and Hera’s habitation, the midnipple of the island of Tantalides.29 There a man begat a daughter, and a beautiful daughter, – Inachos, famed burgher of the land Inachian. A templeman he was, and brooded over the awful rites that spoke the voice of the divine cityholder, he chief and eldest in practice of her mysteries: aye, he refused to wed his daughter to Zeus lord of the gods, leader of the stars, all for reverence of Hera . . . at the time when Io changed her face and became a cattleshaped heifer; when she was driven to pasture along with the herd of kine; when Hera made sleepless Argos her herdsman to that calf – spotted Argos, covered with unwavering eyes. He was to watch the horned bride of Zeus, Zeus whom eye may not see. To pasture went the girl Io, trembling at the eyes of her busy-peeping drover: then pierced by the limb-gnawing gadfly, she scored the gulf of the Ionian sea with travelling hoof. She came as far as Aigyptos, my own river, which my people have called Neilos by name because year by year that watery consort covers Earth with new slime by its muddy flood30 – she came as far as Aigyptos, where after her cow’s form, after putting off the horned image ordained by heaven, she became a goddess of fruitful cropsl when the fruit starts up, the fruit of Egyptian Demeter my stronghorned Io, scented vapour is carried around by fragrant breezes.
 “There she brought forth Epaphos the Toucher to Zeus, so called because the divine bedfellow with love-mad hands touched the inviolate breasts of the heifer child of Inachos. Epaphos the god-begotten was father of Libya; to Libya’s bower came Poseidaon on his travels, migrating as far as Memphis in search of Epaphos’ maiden daughter. There the girl received the denizen of the deep, now a traveller by land, and brought forth Belos the Libyan Zeus, the husbandman of my family. And now the new voice of Zeus Asbystes which the thirsty sands give forth in soothsaying is equal to the Chaonian dove.31 Belos was father of a numerous family of children, as many as five: Phineus,32 and Phoinix who went abroad; with them grew up Agenor, who flitted from city to city and belonged to each in turn, a man of unstable life, my father – he travelled to Thebes after Memphis, to Assyria after Thebes. Then there was the wise Aigyptos, who lived on Egyptian soil, ill-fated father of many children, who begat all those flocks of short-lived sons; and Danaos who went abroad, who armed his daughters against that family of men, and drew a weddings-word, when the marriage-chambers were reddened with blood of the murdered bridegrooms,33 and with secret swords on armed beds, Enyo the female bedded Ares the male naked and helpless.
 “Nay, but Hypermnestra was displeased with this bridal crime. She thrust away her father’s commands, – that bad goodfather! she let the winds carry his words away, and kept her hand clean from blood and steel: those two consummated a proper wedlock. But our sister34 in her youthful bloom was ravished away by a bold vagabond bull, if bull he really was; but I do not know how to believe it if bulls desire marriage with a woman. And Agenor sent me along with my brothers to track our sister and the girl’s wild robber, that bull the bastard voyager over a waveless sea. That is why my random journeying brings me here.”
 Such was the tale of Cadmos in the cloistered palace; the words poured from his eloquent lips, as he told the sting of a father’s threat when he would urge on his children, and the counterfeit bull travelling the Tyrian surf, the ravisher of the Sidonian bride, no catching the ravisher, no news of the bride.
 When Electra heard, she answered in words of consolation: “My guest, let sister and country and father pass into the whirlpool of Forgetfulness and unremembering silence! For this is the way men’s life runs on, bringing trouble upon trouble; since all that are born of mortal womb are slaves by necessity to Fate the Spinner. I am witness, queen though I am, if I was ever born myself one of those Pleiads, seven girls whom our mother once carried under her heart in labour, seven times having called Eileithyia at her lying-in to lighten the pangs of birth after birth – I am witness! for my house is far from my father’s; no Sterope35 is near me, no Maia35 my companion, nor sister Celaino35 beside me at my hearth; I have not dandled up and down sister Taygete’s Lacedaimon36 at my breast nor held the merry boy on my cherishing arm; I do not see Alcyone’s35 house hard by, or hear Merope35 herself speak some heart-warming word! Here is something besides which I lament even more – in the bloom of his youth my own son has left his home, just when the down was on his cheek, my Dardanos has gone abroad to the bosom of the Idaian land; he has given the firstling crop of his hair to Phrygian Simoeis, and drunk the alien water of river Thymbrios.37 And away by the boundary of Libya my father still suffers hardship, old Atlas with chafing shoulders bowed, upholding the seven-zoned vault of the sky.
 “Still and all with these great sufferings I feed a comfortable hope, by the promises of Zeus, that with my other sisters I shall pass from the earth to the stars’ Atlantean vault, and dwell in heaven myself a star with my sisters six. Then do you too calm your own sorrows. Unforeseen, for you also the terrible thread of Fate immovable is rolling the eddy of your wandering lot of life, and the seal is set. Have a heart to endure in exile the unbending shackle of necessity, and feed the prevailing hope which foreruns things to come, if Io with the first seed has rooted your race, if you have got from Libya Poseidon’s blood in your family. Abide among foreigners like Dardanos, there make your home; dwell in a city of strangers like your own father Agenor, like Danaos your father’s brother. For another man also who carried his home on his back,38 one of the divine stock of Io, a heavenly sprout dropt from Zeus, named Byzas,39 who had drunk the seven-mouth water of self-begotten Nile, inhabited the neighbouring land, where alone the Bosporos shore flows the water once traversed by the Inachian heifer.40 To all those who dwelt about he showed a light, when he had turned aside the neck of that mad bull unbending.”
 So she spoke, lulling to sleep the anxieties of Cadmos. But Father Zeus sent his quick messenger Maia’s son41 on outspread wings to Electra’s house, that he might offer Harmonia to Cadmos for the harmony of wedlock – that maiden immigrant from heaven, whom Ares the wife-thief begat in secret love with Aphrodite.42 The mother did not nurse it – she was ashamed of the baby which told its own tale of the furtive bed; but away from the bosom of the sky she carried the suckling, lying in her arm, to the fostering house of Electra, when the childbed Seasons had just delivered her baby still wet, when her breasts were tight and swollen with the gushing white sap. Electra received the bastard daughter with equal rights, and joined the newborn girl on one breast with her newborn Emathion, held with equal love and care her two different nurslings in her arm. As a shaggy lioness of the wilds, mother of twin young suckling-cubs in the jungle, with her milky dew fits twin teats to the pair of cubs, and gives her twin young each a share of her teats, and licks their skin and the neck as yet hairless, nursing the young birthmates with equal care: so Electra then with loving breast foster-mothered her brace of newborn babes, the boy and girl, and cherished them with equal care. Often she pressed to her with open hand and loving arm her baby son and his age-mate girl, on this side and that taking turns of the sap from her rich breast; and she set on her knees the manly boy with the womanly girl, letting out the fold of her lowered gown so as to join thigh parted wide from neighbouring thigh; or singing songs for a sleep-charm, lulled both her babies to slumber with foster-mother’s art, while she stretched her arm enclosing the children’s necks, made her own knee their bed, fluttered the flap of her garment fanning the two faces, to keep the little ones cool, and quenched the waves of heat as the hand made wind poured out its breath against it.
 While Cadmos sat near the prudent queen, into the house came Hermes in the shape of a young man, unforeseen, uncaught, eluding the doorkeeper with his robber’s foot. About his rosy face on both sides locks of hair uncovered hung loose. A light bloom of ruddy down ran about the edge of his round cheeks on either side, fresh young hair newly grown. Like a herald, he held his rod as usual. Wrapt in cloud from head to toe, with face unseen he reached the rich table when the meal was at an end. Emathion saw him not though close at hand, nor did Harmonia herself and Cadmos at her board, nor the company of serving men; only god-fearing Electra perceived Hermes the eloquent. Into a corner of the house he led her in surprise to tell his secrets, and spoke in the language of men:
 “Good be with you, my mother’s sister, bedfellow of Zeus! Most blessed of all women that shall be hereafter, because Cronion keeps the lordship of the world for your children, and your stock shall steer all the cities of the earth!43 This is the dower of your love. And along with Maia my mother you shall shine with the Seven Stars in the sky, running your course with Helios, rising with Selene. Children’s friend, I am Hermes, one of your own family, wing-spreading Messenger of the immortals. From heaven I have been sent by your bedfellow, the guests’ protector44 ruling in the heights, on behalf of your own god-fearing guest. Then do you also obey your Cronion, and let your daughter Harmonia go along with her yearsmate Cadmos as his bride, without asking for bridal gifts. Grant this grace to Zeus and the Blessed ones; for when the immortals were in distress, this stranger saved them all by his music.45 This man has helped your bedfellow in trouble, this man has opened the day of freedom for Olympos! Let not your girl bewitch you with mother-loving groans, but give her in marriage to Cadmos our Saviour, in obedience to Cronion and Ares and Cythereia.”
1. Because Ursa Major never sets (Hom. Il. xviii. 489)
2. Nomads who lived in tented carts.
3. Saffron of Corycus, in Cilicia, was the best: Horace, Sat. ii. 4. 68.
4. The halcyon days.
5. The Hellespont, or more loosely (as here) the sea near it, off the Troad. Helle fell off the golden ram’s back there, hence the name.
7. Central prong of the Chalcidic peninsula.
8. Presumably used in the mysteries.
10. These properly belong to Crete, but we hear of them also in Samothrace, and the two names Corybants and Cabeiroi were confused later.
11. An attendant of Aphrodite, “Persuasion.”
12. Cf. Apoll. Rhod. Iii. 927 ff.
13. In Byblos were held the famous rites of Adonis.
14. Possibly Athena Genetylllis; in any case, no doubt an identification of Athena with some Asianic mother-goddess.
15. Harmonia was the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, according to one story, or of Zeus and Electra, by another. Electra was the daughter of Atlas, in Samothrace.
16. Her statue at Corone held a crow in its hand, Pausanias iv. 34. 6; but she forbade it to enter the Acropolis at Athens for bringing her bad news; see Callimachus, Hecale, frag. 1. 3 (p. 250 L.C.L.), Antigonus Carystius, Hist. mirab. 12.
17. Myrina: one of the cities of Lemnos.
18. The episode of Nausicaa in the Odyssey is obviously the source of this scene: Hom. Od. vii. 81 ff.
19. Because the chaste Daphne (Laurel), who was turned into a tree to avoid Apollo, does not like Aphrodite’s myrtle too near her.
20. The iris knew his A B C, since his pattern was read as ai ai.
21. The boy Hyacinthos was beloved by Apollo; once while they were playing with quoits, the wind turned a quoit so that it struck and killed the boy. Later this story grew into one where Zephyros and Apollo were rivals.
22. See Hom. Od. vii. 91.
23. The Romans.
24. Ogygos was ruler of the Theban territory when Lake Copaïs rose and flooded the land. Here the name is applied to the mountain height.
25. Because it rose so high that it swept away the snow from the mountain-tops.
26. Sithonia is the promontory west of Athos.
27. The words might equally mean: “the dancing Dactyloi with leaping hands pressed out the tune”; the Dactyloi being the Corybants of Ida.
28. An imitation of Hom. Il. vi. 145.
29. Peloponnese; Pelops was son of Tantalos.
30. As if Neilos were nea ilus, Nea Ilys, New Slime.
31. Asbystis is Libya: Zeus Ammoni s meant. The two priestess of the oracle of Zeus at Dodona were called Doves.
32. Phineus was his brother in ii. 686.
33. The fifty sons of Aigyptos married the fifty daughters of Danaos, of whom all but one killed her husband on the wedding night.
35. Names of the other Pleiads.
36. Taygete the Pleiad is the nymph of Mount Taygetos near Sparta, and her son the eponym of Lacedaimon, the district in which Sparta lies.
37. A stream then flowing into the Scamandros.
38. Carryhouse was the peasant’s name for a snail, Hesiod, Works and Days 569; Herodotus uses the word for the Scythian nomads, iv. 46.
39. Byzas, son of Poseidon and Ceroessa, daughter of Zeus and Io. He was founder of Byzantium. Nothing is known of the story of the mad bull.
40. Io, see above, 264 ff.
42. See Hom. Od. viii. 266 ff.
43. The Romans.
44. Zeus Xenios.
45. See bk. i.