The New Student's Reference Work/Arion

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Ari'on, a poet and musician of Lesbos, Greece, who lived about 625 B. C. He is said to have invented a new form of verse; but all we know of him is the pretty story told of him by the historian Herodotus. Arion had traveled all over the world and gained great fame and a large sum of money by his skill in singing. On the homeward voyage the sight of his treasure roused the cupidity of the sailors, and they decided to kill him. He was told he must either die by his own hand on shipboard or throw himself into the sea. He chose the latter, but first asked leave to sing one last song. The sailors agreed, and Arion, standing on the deck, sang a dirge, accompanying himself on the lyre. He then jumped overboard, but instead of drowning was borne up by a dolphin that had been charmed by the music. The dolphin carried him to the coast, from which he reached home before the ship. He told his story to the prince, who hardly believed him. On the landing of the sailors, they first said that they had left Arion behind; but when they saw him, they quickly confessed and were punished.