Polemētokon

1602b

αὐτὰρ ὁ μέσσῃ
χαλκείῃ κυνέῃ συνελέξατο καρπὸν ὀλέθρου,
θηρείων γενύων βλοσυρὸν θέρος· ἐνδαπίης δὲ
Παλλάδος ὑβὸν ἄροτρον ἀπ᾽ ὀργάδος εἰς χθόνα σύρων
καὶ χαροπῆς ἀρόσας πολεμητόκον αὔλακα γαίης
ἰοβόλων ἔσπειρε πολύστιχον ὄγμον ὀδόντων.
καὶ στάχυς αὐτολόχευτος ἀνηέξητο Γιγάντων,
ὧν ὁ μὲν ὑψικάρηνος ἀνέδραμεν ἄκρα τιταίνων
στήθεος εὐθώρηκος, ὁ δὲ προθορόντι καρήνῳ
φρικτὸν ἀνοιγομένης ὑπερέσχεθεν ὦμον ἀρούρης·
ἄλλος ἄνω προύκυψεν ἐς ὀμφαλόν, ὃς δ᾽ ἐπὶ γαίῃ
ἡμιτελὴς ἀνέτελλε πεδοτρεφὲς ὅπλον ἀείρων·
ἄλλος ὑπερκύπτοντα λόφον προβλῆτα τιταίνων
οὔ πω στέρνον ἔφαινε, καὶ εἰσέτι μητρὸς ἀνέρπων
ἐκ λαγόνων κατὰ βαιὸν ἀταρβέϊ μάρνατο Κάδμῳ
τεύχεσιν αὐτοφύτοις κεκορυθμένος· ἆ μέγα θαῦμα,
ὥπλισεν Εἰλείθυια, τὸν οὐ μαιώσατο μήτηρ·
καί τις ἀνηκόντιζεν ὁμόγνιον ἔγχος ἀφάσσων
ἡμιφανής, ὁ δὲ κοῦφος ὅλον δέμας εἰς φάος ἕλκων
ἄκρα ποδῶν ἀτέλεστα πεπηγότα λεῖπεν ἀρούρῃ.
(Nonnus, Dion. 4.421b-440)

Now he* gathered the fruit of death inside a helmet of bronze, the grim harvest of the creature’s jaws. Then he drew upon the land the humped plow of Pallas from her holy place in those parts, and plowed a battle-breeding furrow in the bright earth and sowed long lines of the poison-casting teeth. There grew out the self-delivered crop of giants: one shot up with head high, shaking the top of a mailcoated breast; one with jutting head stretched a horrid shoulder over the opening earth; another bent forward above ground as far as the midnipple, one again rose on the ground half-finished and lifted a soil-grown shield; another shook a nodding plume before him and showed not yet his chest; while still creeping up slowly from his mother’s flanks he showed fight against fearless Cadmos, clad in the armour he was born in. O what a great miracle! Eileithyia armed him whom the mother had not yet spawned! And there was one who cast his brother-spear, fumbling and half visible; one who lightly drew the whole body in to the light, but left his toes unfinished sticking in the ground.

* Cadmos.

(tr. William Henry Denham Rouse)

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