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ca - 300 BC __ « The Argonautica » — Sirens
Apollonius of Rhodes (ca 3rd century - after - 246 BC)
Original excerpt 1 : « Before long they [the Argonauts] sighted the beautiful island of Anthemoessa, where the clear-voiced Seirenes, Akheloios’ daughters, used to bewitch with their seductive melodies whatever sailors anchored there. Lovely Terpsikhore, one of the Mousai, has borne them to Akheloios, and at one time they had been handmaids to Demeter’s gallant Daughter [Persephone], before she was married, and sung to her in chorus. But now, half human and half bird in form, they spent their time watching for ships from a height that overlooked their excellent harbour; and many a traveller, reduced by them to skin and bones, had forfeited the happiness of reaching home. The Seirenes, hoping to add the Argonauts to these, made haste to greet them with a liquid melody; and the young men would soon have cast their hawsers on the beach if Thrakian Orpheos had not intervened. Raising his Bistonian lyre, he drew from it the lively tune of a fast-moving song, so as to din their ears with a medley of competing sounds. The girlish voices were defeated by the lure; and the set wind, aided by the sounding backwash from the shore, carried the ship off. The Seirenes’ song grew indistinct; yet even so there was one man, Boutes the noble son of Teleon, who was so enchanted by their sweet voices that before he could be stopped he leapt into the sea from his polished bench. The poor man swam through the dark swell making for the shore, and had he landed, they would soon have robbed him of all hope of reaching home. But Aphrodite, Queen of Eryx, had pity on him. She snatched him up while he was still battling with the surf; and having saved his life, she took him to her heart and found a home for him on the heights of Lilybaion. » (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 892 ff; trans. Rieu).Lovely Terpsikhore, one of the Mousai, had borne them [the Seirenes] to Akheloos, and at one time they had been handmaids to Demeter’s gallant Daughter [Persephone], before she was married, and sung to her in chorus. But now, half human and half bird in form, they spent their time watching for ships from a height that overlooked their excellent harbour; and many a traveller, reduced by them to skin and bones, had forfeited the happiness of reaching home.". » (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 892 ff; trans. Rieu)
Original excerpt 2 : « Les Argonautiques.Chant IV.Passage près de l'île des Sirènes.Le lendemain, aussitôt que l'aurore eut frappé de ses rayons le sommet des cieux, on se rembarque à la faveur du zéphyr, on lève avec joie les ancres et on déploie les voiles. Le vent qui les enfle porte bientôt le vaisseau à la vue d'une île couverte de fleurs, et d'un aspect riant. Elle était habitée par les Sirènes, si funestes à ceux qui se laissent séduire par la douceur de leurs chants. Filles d'Achéloüs et de la Muse Terpsichore, elles accompagnaient autrefois Proserpine et l'amusaient par leurs concerts avant qu'elle eût subi le joug de l'hymen. Depuis, transformées en des monstres moitié femmes et moitié oiseaux, elles étaient retirées sur un lieu élevé, près duquel on pouvait facilement aborder. De là, portant de tous côtés leurs regards, elles tâchaient d'arrêter les étrangers qu'elles faisaient périr en les laissant consumer par un amour insensé.Butès se laisse charmer par la douceur de leur voix. Chants d'Orphée.Les Argonautes, entendant leurs voix, étaient près de s'approcher du rivage, mais Orphée prenant en main sa lyre, charma tout a coup leurs oreilles par un chant vif et rapide qui effaçait celui des Sirènes, et la vitesse de leur course les mit tout à fait hors de danger. Le seul Butés, fils de Téléon, emporté tout d'abord par sa passion, se jeta dans la mer, et nageait en allant chercher une perte certaine, mais la déesse qui règne sur le mont Éryx, l'aimable Vénus, le retira des flots et le transporta près du promontoire Lilybée. » (Trad. par J.-J.-A. Caussin)
Urls : http://remacle.org/bloodwolf/poetes/falc/apollonius/livre4.htm (last visited ) http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Seirenes.html (last visited )

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