But the strains of his music had drawn round him the inhabitants of the deep to listen, and dolphins followed the ship as if chained by a spell. While he struggled in the waves, a dolphin offered him his back, and carried him mounted thereon safe to shore. At the spot where he landed, a monument of brass was afterwards erected upon the rocky shore, to preserve the memory of the event.
When Arion and the dolphin parted, each to his own element, Arion thus poured forth his thanks. "Farewell, thou faithful, friendly fish! Would that I could reward thee; but thou canst not wend with me, nor I with thee. Companionship we may not have. May Galatea, queen of the deep, accord thee her favor, and thou, proud of the burden, draw her chariot over the smooth mirror of the deep."
Arion hastened from the shore, and soon saw before him the towers of Corinth. He journeyed on, harp in hand, singing as he went, full of love and happiness, forgetting his losses, and mindful only of what remained, his friend and his lyre. He entered the hospitable halls, and was soon clasped in the embrace of Periander. "I come back to thee, my friend," he said. "The talent which a god bestowed has been the delight of thousands, but false knaves have stripped me of my well-earned treasure; yet I retain the consciousness of wide-spread fame." Then he told Periander all the wonderful events that had befallen him, who heard him with amazement. "Shall such wickedness triumph?" said he. "Then in vain is power lodged in my hands. That we may discover the criminals, you must remain here in concealment, and so they will approach without suspicion." When the ship arrived in the harbor, he summoned the mariners before him. "Have you heard anything of Arion?" he inquired. "I anxiously look for his return." They replied, "We left him well and prosperous in Tarentum." As they said these words, Arion stepped forth and faced them. His well proportioned limbs were arrayed in gold and purple fair to see, his tunic fell around him in graceful folds, jewels adorned his arms, his brow was crowned with a golden wreath, and over his neck and shoulders flowed his hair perfumed with odors; his left hand held the lyre, his right the ivory wand with which he struck its chords. They fell prostrate at his feet, as if a lightning bolt had struck them. "We meant to murder him, and he has become a god. O Earth, open and receive us!" Then Periander spoke. "He lives, the master of the lay! Kind Heaven protects the poet's life. As for you, I invoke not the spirit of vengeance; Arion wishes not your blood. Ye slaves of avarice, begone! Seek some barbarous land, and never may aught beautiful delight your souls!"
Spencer represents Arion, mounted on his dolphin, accompanying the train of Neptune and Amphitrite:
"Then was there heard a most celestial sound Of dainty music which did next ensue, And, on the floating waters as enthroned, Arion with his harp unto him drew The ears and hearts of all that goodly crew; Even when as yet the dolphin which him bore Through the Aegean Seas from pirates' view, Stood still, by him astonished at his love, And all the raging seas for joy forgot to roar."
Byron, in his Childe Harold, Canto II., alludes to the story of Arion, when, describing his voyage, he represents one of the seamen making music to entertain the rest:
"The moon is up; by Heaven, a lovely eve! Long streams of light o'er dancing waves expand; Now lads on shore may sigh and maids believe; Such be our fate when we return to land! Meantime some rude Arion's restless hand Wakes the brisk harmony that sailors love; A circle there of merry listeners stand, Or to some well-known measure featly move Thoughtless as if on shore they still were free to rove."
In order to understand the story of Ibycus which follows, it is necessary to remember, first, that the theatres of the ancients were immense buildings providing seats for from ten to thirty thousand spectators, and as they were used only on festal occasions, and admission was free to all, they were usually filled. They were without roofs and open to the sky, and the performances were in the daytime. Secondly, the appalling representation of the Furies is not exaggerated in the story. It is recorded that AEschylus, the tragic poet, having on one occasion represented the Furies in a chorus of fifty performers, the terror of the spectators was such that many fainted and were thrown into convulsions, and the magistrates forbade a like representation for the future.