Metamorphoses (Brookes More translation)  

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Magnum Chaos (c. 1524 ) by Lorenzo Lotto   "Before the ocean and the earth appeared— before the skies had overspread them all— the face of Nature in a vast expanse was naught but Chaos uniformly waste. It was a rude and undeveloped mass, that nothing made except a ponderous weight; and all discordant elements confused, were there congested in a shapeless heap." (trans. Brookes More)
Magnum Chaos (c. 1524 ) by Lorenzo Lotto
"Before the ocean and the earth appeared— before the skies had overspread them all— the face of Nature in a vast expanse was naught but Chaos uniformly waste. It was a rude and undeveloped mass,
that nothing made except a ponderous weight; and all discordant elements confused, were there congested in a shapeless heap." (trans. Brookes More)

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ovid's Metamorphoses was translated by Brookes More in 1922.

A full version is here[1].


Metamorphoses 1.5-9

Ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum
unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,
quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles
nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem
non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum.
"Before the ocean and the earth appeared—
before the skies had overspread them all—
the face of Nature in a vast expanse
was naught but Chaos uniformly waste.
It was a rude and undeveloped mass,
that nothing made except a ponderous weight;
and all discordant elements confused,
were there congested in a shapeless heap."

See also

Full text[2]

INVOCATION [1] My soul is wrought to sing of forms transformed to bodies new and strange! Immortal Gods inspire my heart, for ye have changed yourselves and all things you have changed! Oh lead my song in smooth and measured strains, from olden days when earth began to this completed time!


THE CREATION [5] Before the ocean and the earth appeared—before the skies had overspread them all—the face of Nature in a vast expanse was naught but Chaos uniformly waste. It was a rude and undeveloped mass, that nothing made except a ponderous weight; and all discordant elements confused, were there congested in a shapeless heap. As yet the sun afforded earth no light, nor did the moon renew her crescent horns; the earth was not suspended in the air exactly balanced by her heavy weight. Not far along the margin of the shores had Amphitrite stretched her lengthened arms,—for all the land was mixed with sea and air. The land was soft, the sea unfit to sail, the atmosphere opaque, to naught was given a proper form, in everything was strife, and all was mingled in a seething mass—with hot the cold parts strove, and wet with dry and soft with hard, and weight with empty void.

[21] But God, or kindly Nature, ended strife—he cut the land from skies, the sea from land, the heavens ethereal from material air; and when were all evolved from that dark mass he bound the fractious parts in tranquil peace. The fiery element of convex heaven leaped from the mass devoid of dragging weight, and chose the summit arch to which the air as next in quality was next in place. The earth more dense attracted grosser parts and moved by gravity sank underneath; and last of all the wide surrounding waves in deeper channels rolled around the globe.

[32] And when this God—which one is yet unknown—had carved asunder that discordant mass, had thus reduced it to its elements, that every part should equally combine, when time began He rounded out the earth and moulded it to form a mighty globe. Then poured He forth the deeps and gave command that they should billow in the rapid winds, that they should compass every shore of earth. he also added fountains, pools and lakes, and bound with shelving banks the slanting streams, which partly are absorbed and partly join the boundless ocean. Thus received amid the wide expanse of uncontrolled waves, they beat the shores instead of crooked banks. At His command the boundless plains extend, the valleys are depressed, the woods are clothed in green, the stony mountains rise. And as the heavens are intersected on the right by two broad zones, by two that cut the left, and by a fifth consumed with ardent heat, with such a number did the careful God mark off the compassed weight, and thus the earth received as many climes.—Such heat consumes the middle zone that none may dwell therein; and two extremes are covered with deep snow; and two are placed betwixt the hot and cold, which mixed together give a temperate clime; and over all the atmosphere suspends with weight proportioned to the fiery sky, exactly as the weight of earth compares with weight of water.

[52] And He ordered mist to gather in the air and spread the clouds. He fixed the thunders that disturb our souls, and brought the lightning on destructive winds that also waft the cold. Nor did the great Artificer permit these mighty winds to blow unbounded in the pathless skies, but each discordant brother fixed in space, although His power can scarce restrain their rage to rend the universe. At His command to far Aurora, Eurus took his way, to Nabath, Persia, and that mountain range first gilded by the dawn; and Zephyr's flight was towards the evening star and peaceful shores, warm with the setting sun; and Boreas invaded Scythia and the northern snows; and Auster wafted to the distant south where clouds and rain encompass his abode.—and over these He fixed the liquid sky, devoid of weight and free from earthly dross.

[69] And scarcely had He separated these and fixed their certain bounds, when all the stars, which long were pressed and hidden in the mass, began to gleam out from the plains of heaven, and traversed, with the Gods, bright ether fields: and lest some part might be bereft of life the gleaming waves were filled with twinkling fish; the earth was covered with wild animals; the agitated air was filled with birds.

[76] But one more perfect and more sanctified, a being capable of lofty thought, intelligent to rule, was wanting still man was created! Did the Unknown God designing then a better world make man of seed divine? or did Prometheus take the new soil of earth (that still contained some godly element of Heaven's Life) and use it to create the race of man; first mingling it with water of new streams; so that his new creation, upright man, was made in image of commanding Gods? On earth the brute creation bends its gaze, but man was given a lofty countenance and was commanded to behold the skies; and with an upright face may view the stars:—and so it was that shapeless clay put on the form of man till then unknown to earth.

THE FOUR AGES [89] First was the Golden Age. Then rectitude spontaneous in the heart prevailed, and faith. Avengers were not seen, for laws unframed were all unknown and needless. Punishment and fear of penalties existed not. No harsh decrees were fixed on brazen plates. No suppliant multitude the countenance of Justice feared, averting, for they dwelt without a judge in peace. Descended not the steeps, shorn from its height, the lofty pine, cleaving the trackless waves of alien shores, nor distant realms were known to wandering men. The towns were not entrenched for time of war; they had no brazen trumpets, straight, nor horns of curving brass, nor helmets, shields nor swords. There was no thought of martial pomp—secure a happy multitude enjoyed repose. Then of her own accord the earth produced a store of every fruit. The harrow touched her not, nor did the plowshare wound her fields. And man content with given food, and none compelling, gathered arbute fruits and wild strawberries on the mountain sides, and ripe blackberries clinging to the bush, and corners and sweet acorns on the ground, down fallen from the spreading tree of Jove. Eternal Spring! Soft breathing zephyrs soothed and warmly cherished buds and blooms, produced without a seed. The valleys though unplowed gave many fruits; the fields though not renewed white glistened with the heavy bearded wheat: rivers flowed milk and nectar, and the trees, the very oak trees, then gave honey of themselves.

[113] When Saturn had been banished into night and all the world was ruled by Jove supreme, the Silver Age, though not so good as gold but still surpassing yellow brass, prevailed. Jove first reduced to years the Primal Spring, by him divided into periods four, unequal,—summer, autumn, winter, spring.—then glowed with tawny heat the parched air, or pendent icicles in winter froze and man stopped crouching in crude caverns, while he built his homes of tree rods, bark entwined. Then were the cereals planted in long rows, and bullocks groaned beneath the heavy yoke.

[125] The third Age followed, called The Age of Bronze, when cruel people were inclined to arms but not to impious crimes. And last of all the ruthless and hard Age of Iron prevailed, from which malignant vein great evil sprung; and modesty and faith and truth took flight, and in their stead deceits and snares and frauds and violence and wicked love of gain, succeeded.—Then the sailor spread his sails to winds unknown, and keels that long had stood on lofty mountains pierced uncharted waves. Surveyors anxious marked with metes and bounds the lands, created free as light and air: nor need the rich ground furnish only crops, and give due nourishment by right required,—they penetrated to the bowels of earth and dug up wealth, bad cause of all our ills,—rich ores which long ago the earth had hid and deep removed to gloomy Stygian caves: and soon destructive iron and harmful gold were brought to light; and War, which uses both, came forth and shook with sanguinary grip his clashing arms. Rapacity broke forth—the guest was not protected from his host, the father in law from his own son in law; even brothers seldom could abide in peace. The husband threatened to destroy his wife, and she her husband: horrid step dames mixed the deadly henbane: eager sons inquired their fathers, ages. Piety was slain: and last of all the virgin deity, Astraea vanished from the blood-stained earth.

GIANTS [151] And lest ethereal heights should long remain less troubled than the earth, the throne of Heaven was threatened by the Giants; and they piled mountain on mountain to the lofty stars. But Jove, omnipotent, shot thunderbolts through Mount Olympus, and he overturned from Ossa huge, enormous Pelion. And while these dreadful bodies lay overwhelmed in their tremendous bulk, (so fame reports) the Earth was reeking with the copious blood of her gigantic sons; and thus replete with moisture she infused the steaming gore with life renewed. So that a monument of such ferocious stock should be retained, she made that offspring in the shape of man; but this new race alike despised the Gods, and by the greed of savage slaughter proved a sanguinary birth.

LYCAON CHANGED TO A WOLF [163] When, from his throne supreme, the Son of Saturn viewed their deeds, he deeply groaned: and calling to his mind the loathsome feast Lycaon had prepared, a recent deed not common to report, his soul conceived great anger—worthy Jove—and he convened a council. No delay detained the chosen Gods.

[168] When skies are clear a path is well defined on high, which men, because so white, have named the Milky Way. It makes a passage for the deities and leads to mansions of the Thunder God, to Jove's imperial home. On either side of its wide way the noble Gods are seen, inferior Gods in other parts abide, but there the potent and renowned of Heaven have fixed their homes.—It is a glorious place, our most audacious verse might designate the “Palace of High Heaven.”

[177] When the Gods were seated, therefore, in its marble halls the King of all above the throng sat high, and leaning on his ivory scepter, thrice, and once again he shook his awful locks, wherewith he moved the earth, and seas and stars,— and thus indignantly began to speak: “The time when serpent footed giants strove to fix their hundred arms on captive Heaven, not more than this event could cause alarm for my dominion of the universe. Although it was a savage enemy, yet warred we with a single source derived of one. Now must I utterly destroy this mortal race wherever Nereus roars around the world. Yea, by the Infernal Streams that glide through Stygian groves beneath the world, I swear it. Every method has been tried. The knife must cut immedicable wounds, lest maladies infect untainted parts. Beneath my sway are demi gods and fauns, nymphs, rustic deities, sylvans of the hills, satyrs;—all these, unworthy Heaven's abodes, we should at least permit to dwell on earth which we to them bequeathed. What think ye, Gods, is safety theirs when I, your sovereign lord, the Thunder-bolt Controller, am ensnared by fierce Lycaon?”

[199] Ardent in their wrath, the astonished Gods demand revenge overtake this miscreant; he who dared commit such crimes. 'Twas even thus when raged that impious band to blot the Roman name in sacred blood of Caesar, sudden apprehensive fears of ruin absolute astonished man, and all the world convulsed. Nor is the love thy people bear to thee, Augustus, less than these displayed to Jupiter whose voice and gesture all the murmuring host restrained: and as indignant clamour ceased, suppressed by regnant majesty, Jove once again broke the deep silence with imperial words: “Dismiss your cares; he paid the penalty however all the crime and punishment now learn from this:—An infamous report of this unholy age had reached my ears, and wishing it were false, I sloped my course from high Olympus, and—although a God—disguised in human form I viewed the world. It would delay us to recount the crimes unnumbered, for reports were less than truth.

[216] “I traversed Maenalus where fearful dens abound, over Lycaeus, wintry slopes of pine tree groves, across Cyllene steep; and as the twilight warned of night's approach, I stopped in that Arcadian tyrant's realms and entered his inhospitable home:—and when I showed his people that a God had come, the lowly prayed and worshiped me, but this Lycaon mocked their pious vows and scoffing said; ‘A fair experiment will prove the truth if this be god or man.' and he prepared to slay me in the night,—to end my slumbers in the sleep of death. So made he merry with his impious proof; but not content with this he cut the throat of a Molossian hostage sent to him, and partly softened his still quivering limbs in boiling water, partly roasted them on fires that burned beneath. And when this flesh was served to me on tables, I destroyed his dwelling and his worthless Household Gods, with thunder bolts avenging. Terror struck he took to flight, and on the silent plains is howling in his vain attempts to speak; he raves and rages and his greedy jaws, desiring their accustomed slaughter, turn against the sheep – still eager for their blood. His vesture separates in shaggy hair, his arms are changed to legs; and as a wolf he has the same grey locks, the same hard face, the same bright eyes, the same ferocious look.

THE DELUGE [240] "Thus fell one house, but not one house alone deserved to perish; over all the earth ferocious deeds prevail,—all men conspire in evil. Let them therefore feel the weight of dreadful penalties so justly earned, for such hath my unchanging will ordained.”

[244] With exclamations some approved the words of Jove and added fuel to his wrath, while others gave assent: but all deplored and questioned the estate of earth deprived of mortals. Who could offer frankincense upon the altars? Would he suffer earth to be despoiled by hungry beasts of prey? Such idle questions of the state of man the King of Gods forbade, but granted soon to people earth with race miraculous, unlike the first.

[253] And now his thunder bolts would Jove wide scatter, but he feared the flames, unnumbered, sacred ether might ignite and burn the axle of the universe: and he remembered in the scroll of fate, there is a time appointed when the sea and earth and Heavens shall melt, and fire destroy the universe of mighty labour wrought. Such weapons by the skill of Cyclops forged, for different punishment he laid aside—for straightway he preferred to overwhelm the mortal race beneath deep waves and storms from every raining sky.

[262] And instantly he shut the Northwind in Aeolian caves, and every other wind that might dispel the gathering clouds. He bade the Southwind blow:—the Southwind flies abroad with dripping wings, concealing in the gloom his awful face: the drenching rain descends from his wet beard and hoary locks; dark clouds are on his brows and from his wings and garments drip the dews: his great hands press the overhanging clouds; loudly the thunders roll; the torrents pour; Iris, the messenger of Juno, clad in many coloured raiment, upward draws the steaming moisture to renew the clouds. The standing grain is beaten to the ground, the rustic's crops are scattered in the mire, and he bewails the long year's fruitless toil.

[274] The wrath of Jove was not content with powers that emanate from Heaven; he brought to aid his azure brother, lord of flowing waves, who called upon the Rivers and the Streams: and when they entered his impearled abode, Neptune, their ancient ruler, thus began; “A long appeal is needless; pour ye forth in rage of power; open up your fountains; rush over obstacles; let every stream pour forth in boundless floods.” Thus he commands, and none dissenting all the River Gods return, and opening up their fountains roll tumultuous to the deep unfruitful sea.

[283] And Neptune with his trident smote the Earth, which trembling with unwonted throes heaved up the sources of her waters bare; and through her open plains the rapid rivers rushed resistless, onward bearing the waving grain, the budding groves, the houses, sheep and men,—and holy temples, and their sacred urns. The mansions that remained, resisting vast and total ruin, deepening waves concealed and whelmed their tottering turrets in the flood and whirling gulf. And now one vast expanse, the land and sea were mingled in the waste of endless waves—a sea without a shore.

[293] One desperate man seized on the nearest hill; another sitting in his curved boat, plied the long oar where he was wont to plow; another sailed above his grain, above his hidden dwelling; and another hooked a fish that sported in a leafy elm. Perchance an anchor dropped in verdant fields, or curving keels were pushed through tangled vines; and where the gracile goat enjoyed the green, unsightly seals reposed. Beneath the waves were wondering Nereids, viewing cities, groves and houses. Dolphins darting mid the trees, meshed in the twisted branches, beat against the shaken oak trees. There the sheep, affrayed, swim with the frightened wolf, the surging waves float tigers and lions: availeth naught his lightning shock the wild boar, nor avails the stag's fleet footed speed. The wandering bird, seeking umbrageous groves and hidden vales, with wearied pinion droops into the sea. The waves increasing surge above the hills, and rising waters dash on mountain tops. Myriads by the waves are swept away, and those the waters spare, for lack of food, starvation slowly overcomes at last.

[313] A fruitful land and fair but now submerged beneath a wilderness of rising waves, 'Twixt Oeta and Aonia, Phocis lies, where through the clouds Parnassus' summits twain point upward to the stars, unmeasured height, save which the rolling billows covered all: there in a small and fragile boat, arrived, Deucalion and the consort of his couch, prepared to worship the Corycian Nymphs, the mountain deities, and Themis kind, who in that age revealed in oracles the voice of fate. As he no other lived so good and just, as she no other feared the Gods.

[324] When Jupiter beheld the globe in ruin covered, swept with wasting waves, and when he saw one man of myriads left, one helpless woman left of myriads lone, both innocent and worshiping the Gods, he scattered all the clouds; he blew away the great storms by the cold northwind. Once more the earth appeared to heaven and the skies appeared to earth. The fury of the main abated, for the Ocean ruler laid his trident down and pacified the waves, and called on azure Triton.—Triton arose above the waving seas, his shoulders mailed in purple shells.—He bade the Triton blow, blow in his sounding shell, the wandering streams and rivers to recall with signal known: a hollow wreathed trumpet, tapering wide and slender stemmed, the Triton took amain and wound the pearly shell at midmost sea. Betwixt the rising and the setting suns the wildered notes resounded shore to shore, and as it touched his lips, wet with the brine beneath his dripping beard, sounded retreat: and all the waters of the land and sea obeyed. Their fountains heard and ceased to flow; their waves subsided; hidden hills uprose; emerged the shores of ocean; channels filled with flowing streams; the soil appeared; the land increased its surface as the waves decreased: and after length of days the trees put forth, with ooze on bending boughs, their naked tops.

[348] And all the wasted globe was now restored, but as he viewed the vast and silent world Deucalion wept and thus to Pyrrha spoke; “O sister! wife! alone of woman left! My kindred in descent and origin! Dearest companion of my marriage bed, doubly endeared by deepening dangers borne,—of all the dawn and eve behold of earth, but you and I are left—for the deep sea has kept the rest! And what prevents the tide from overwhelming us? Remaining clouds affright us. How could you endure your fears if you alone were rescued by this fate, and who would then console your bitter grief? Oh be assured, if you were buried in the waves, that I would follow you and be with you! Oh would that by my father's art I might restore the people, and inspire this clay to take the form of man. Alas, the Gods decreed and only we are living!”, Thus Deucalion's plaint to Pyrrha;—and they wept. And after he had spoken, they resolved to ask the aid of sacred oracles,—and so they hastened to Cephissian waves which rolled a turbid flood in channels known. Thence when their robes and brows were sprinkled well, they turned their footsteps to the goddess' fane: its gables were befouled with reeking moss and on its altars every fire was cold. But when the twain had reached the temple steps they fell upon the earth, inspired with awe, and kissed the cold stone with their trembling lips, and said; “If righteous prayers appease the Gods, and if the wrath of high celestial powers may thus be turned, declare, O Themis! whence and what the art may raise humanity? O gentle goddess help the dying world!”

[381] Moved by their supplications, she replied; “Depart from me and veil your brows; ungird your robes, and cast behind you as you go, the bones of your great mother.” Long they stood in dumb amazement: Pyrrha, first of voice, refused the mandate and with trembling lips implored the goddess to forgive—she feared to violate her mother's bones and vex her sacred spirit. Often pondered they the words involved in such obscurity, repeating oft: and thus Deucalion to Epimetheus' daughter uttered speech of soothing import; “ Oracles are just and urge not evil deeds, or naught avails the skill of thought. Our mother is the Earth, and I may judge the stones of earth are bones that we should cast behind us as we go.”

[395] And although Pyrrha by his words was moved she hesitated to comply; and both amazed doubted the purpose of the oracle, but deemed no harm to come of trial. They, descending from the temple, veiled their heads and loosed their robes and threw some stones behind them. It is much beyond belief, were not receding ages witness, hard and rigid stones assumed a softer form, enlarging as their brittle nature changed to milder substance,—till the shape of man appeared, imperfect, faintly outlined first, as marble statue chiseled in the rough. The soft moist parts were changed to softer flesh, the hard and brittle substance into bones, the veins retained their ancient name. And now the Gods supreme ordained that every stone Deucalion threw should take the form of man, and those by Pyrrha cast should woman's form assume: so are we hardy to endure and prove by toil and deeds from what we sprung.

THE PYTHIAN GAMES [416] And after this the Earth spontaneous produced the world of animals, when all remaining moistures of the mirey fens fermented in the sun, and fruitful seeds in soils nutritious grew to shapes ordained. So when the seven streamed Nile from oozy fields returneth duly to her ancient bed, the sun's ethereal rays impregn the slime, that haply as the peasants turn the soil they find strange animals unknown before: some in the moment of their birth, and some deprived of limbs, imperfect; often part alive and part of slime inanimate are fashioned in one body. Heat combined with moisture so conceives and life results from these two things. For though the flames may be the foes of water, everything that lives begins in humid vapour, and it seems discordant concord is the means of life. When Earth, spread over with diluvian ooze, felt heat ethereal from the glowing sun, unnumbered species to the light she gave, and gave to being many an ancient form, or monster new created.

[438] Unwilling she created thus enormous Python.—Thou unheard of serpent spread so far athwart the side of a vast mountain, didst fill with fear the race of new created man. The God that bears the bow (a weapon used till then only to hunt the deer and agile goat) destroyed the monster with a myriad darts, and almost emptied all his quiver, till envenomed gore oozed forth from livid wounds. Lest in a dark oblivion time should hide the fame of this achievement, sacred sports he instituted, from the Python called “The Pythian Games.” In these the happy youth who proved victorious in the chariot race, running and boxing, with an honoured crown of oak leaves was enwreathed. The laurel then was not created, wherefore Phoebus, bright and godlike, beauteous with his flowing hair, was wont to wreathe his brows with various leaves.

DAPHNE AND PHOEBUS [452] Daphne, the daughter of a River God was first beloved by Phoebus, the great God of glorious light. 'Twas not a cause of chance but out of Cupid's vengeful spite that she was fated to torment the lord of light. For Phoebus, proud of Python's death, beheld that impish god of Love upon a time when he was bending his diminished bow, and voicing his contempt in anger said; “What, wanton boy, are mighty arms to thee, great weapons suited to the needs of war? The bow is only for the use of those large deities of heaven whose strength may deal wounds, mortal, to the savage beasts of prey; and who courageous overcome their foes.—it is a proper weapon to the use of such as slew with arrows Python, huge, whose pestilential carcase vast extent covered. Content thee with the flames thy torch enkindles (fires too subtle for my thought) and leave to me the glory that is mine.” To him, undaunted, Venus, son replied; “O Phoebus, thou canst conquer all the world with thy strong bow and arrows, but with this small arrow I shall pierce thy vaunting breast! And by the measure that thy might exceeds the broken powers of thy defeated foes, so is thy glory less than mine.”

[466] No more he said, but with his wings expanded thence flew lightly to Parnassus, lofty peak. There, from his quiver he plucked arrows twain, most curiously wrought of different art; one love exciting, one repelling love. The dart of love was glittering, gold and sharp, the other had a blunted tip of lead; and with that dull lead dart he shot the Nymph, but with the keen point of the golden dart he pierced the bone and marrow of the God. Immediately the one with love was filled, the other, scouting at the thought of love, rejoiced in the deep shadow of the woods, and as the virgin Phoebe (who denies the joys of love and loves the joys of chase) a maiden's fillet bound her flowing hair,—and her pure mind denied the love of man. Beloved and wooed she wandered silent paths, for never could her modesty endure the glance of man or listen to his love. Her grieving father spoke to her, “Alas, my daughter, I have wished a son in law, and now you owe a grandchild to the joy of my old age.” But Daphne only hung her head to hide her shame. The nuptial torch seemed criminal to her. She even clung, caressing, with her arms around his neck, and pled, “My dearest father let me live a virgin always, for remember Jove did grant it to Diana at her birth.”

[488] But though her father promised her desire, her loveliness prevailed against their will; for, Phoebus when he saw her waxed distraught, and filled with wonder his sick fancy raised delusive hopes, and his own oracles deceived him.—As the stubble in the field flares up, or as the stacked wheat is consumed by flames, enkindled from a spark or torch the chance pedestrian may neglect at dawn; so was the bosom of the god consumed, and so desire flamed in his stricken heart. He saw her bright hair waving on her neck;—“How beautiful if properly arranged! ” He saw her eyes like stars of sparkling fire, her lips for kissing sweetest, and her hands and fingers and her arms; her shoulders white as ivory;—and whatever was not seen more beautiful must be.

[502] Swift as the wind from his pursuing feet the virgin fled, and neither stopped nor heeded as he called; “O Nymph! O Daphne! I entreat thee stay, it is no enemy that follows thee—why, so the lamb leaps from the raging wolf, and from the lion runs the timid faun, and from the eagle flies the trembling dove, all hasten from their natural enemy but I alone pursue for my dear love. Alas, if thou shouldst fall and mar thy face, or tear upon the bramble thy soft thighs, or should I prove unwilling cause of pain! The wilderness is rough and dangerous, and I beseech thee be more careful—I will follow slowly.—Ask of whom thou wilt, and thou shalt learn that I am not a churl—I am no mountain dweller of rude caves, nor clown compelled to watch the sheep and goats; and neither canst thou know from whom thy feet fly fearful, or thou wouldst not leave me thus. The Delphic Land, the Pataraean Realm, Claros and Tenedos revere my name, and my immortal sire is Jupiter. The present, past and future are through me in sacred oracles revealed to man, and from my harp the harmonies of sound are borrowed by their bards to praise the Gods. My bow is certain, but a flaming shaft surpassing mine has pierced my heart—untouched before. The art of medicine is my invention, and the power of herbs; but though the world declare my useful works there is no herb to medicate my wound, and all the arts that save have failed their lord.”

[525] But even as he made his plaint, the Nymph with timid footsteps fled from his approach, and left him to his murmurs and his pain. Lovely the virgin seemed as the soft wind exposed her limbs, and as the zephyrs fond fluttered amid her garments, and the breeze fanned lightly in her flowing hair. She seemed most lovely to his fancy in her flight; and mad with love he followed in her steps, and silent hastened his increasing speed. As when the greyhound sees the frightened hare flit over the plain:—With eager nose outstretched, impetuous, he rushes on his prey, and gains upon her till he treads her feet, and almost fastens in her side his fangs; but she, whilst dreading that her end is near, is suddenly delivered from her fright; so was it with the god and virgin: one with hope pursued, the other fled in fear; and he who followed, borne on wings of love, permitted her no rest and gained on her, until his warm breath mingled in her hair. Her strength spent, pale and faint, with pleading eyes she gazed upon her father's waves and prayed, “Help me my father, if thy flowing streams have virtue! Cover me, O mother Earth! Destroy the beauty that has injured me, or change the body that destroys my life.” Before her prayer was ended, torpor seized on all her body, and a thin bark closed around her gentle bosom, and her hair became as moving leaves; her arms were changed to waving branches, and her active feet as clinging roots were fastened to the ground – her face was hidden with encircling leaves.—

[553] Phoebus admired and loved the graceful tree, (For still, though changed, her slender form remained) and with his right hand lingering on the trunk he felt her bosom throbbing in the bark. He clung to trunk and branch as though to twine. His form with hers, and fondly kissed the wood that shrank from every kiss. And thus the God; “Although thou canst not be my bride, thou shalt be called my chosen tree, and thy green leaves, O Laurel! shall forever crown my brows, be wreathed around my quiver and my lyre; the Roman heroes shall be crowned with thee, as long processions climb the Capitol and chanting throngs proclaim their victories; and as a faithful warden thou shalt guard the civic crown of oak leaves fixed between thy branches, and before Augustan gates. And as my youthful head is never shorn, so, also, shalt thou ever bear thy leaves unchanging to thy glory.” Here the God, Phoebus Apollo, ended his lament, and unto him the Laurel bent her boughs, so lately fashioned; and it seemed to him her graceful nod gave answer to his love.

IO AND JUPITER [567] There is a grove in Thessaly, enclosed on every side with crags, precipitous,—on which a forest grows—and this is called the Vale of Tempe -- through this valley flows the River Peneus, white with foaming waves, that issue from the foot of Pindus, whence with sudden fall up gather steamy clouds that sprinkle mist upon the circling trees, and far away with mighty roar resound. It is the abode, the solitary home, that mighty River loves, where deep in gloom of rocky cavern, he resides and rules the flowing waters and the water nymphs abiding there. All rivers of that land now hasten thither, doubtful to console or flatter Daphne's parent: poplar crowned Sperchios, swift Enipeus and the wild Amphrysos, old Apidanus and Aeas, with all their kindred streams that wandering maze and wearied seek the ocean. Inachus alone is absent, hidden in his cave obscure, deepening his waters with his tears—most wretchedly bewailing, for he deems his daughter Io lost. If she may live or roam a spirit in the nether shades he dares not even guess but dreads.

[588] For Jove not long before had seen her while returning from her father's stream, and said; “O virgin, worthy of immortal Jove, although some happy mortal's chosen bride,—behold these shades of overhanging trees, and seek their cool recesses while the sun is glowing in the height of middle skies—” and as he spoke he pointed out the groves—“But should the dens of wild beasts frighten you, with safety you may enter the deep woods, conducted by a God—not with a God of small repute, but in the care of him who holds the heavenly scepter in his hand and fulminates the trackless thunder bolts.—forsake me not! ” For while he spoke she fled, and swiftly left behind the pasture fields of Lerna, and Lyrcea's arbours, where the trees are planted thickly. But the God called forth a heavy shadow which involved the wide extended earth, and stopped her flight and ravished in that cloud her chastity.

[601] Meanwhile, the goddess Juno gazing down on earth's expanse, with wonder saw the clouds as dark as night enfold those middle fields while day was bright above. She was convinced the clouds were none composed of river mist nor raised from marshy fens. Suspicious now, from oft detected amours of her spouse, she glanced around to find her absent lord, and quite convinced that he was far from heaven, she thus exclaimed; “This cloud deceives my mind, or Jove has wronged me.” From the dome of heaven she glided down and stood upon the earth, and bade the clouds recede. But Jove had known the coming of his queen. He had transformed the lovely Io, so that she appeared a milk white heifer—formed so beautiful and fair that envious Juno gazed on her. She queried: “Whose? what herd? what pasture fields?” As if she guessed no knowledge of the truth. And Jupiter, false hearted, said the cow was earth begotten, for he feared his queen might make inquiry of the owner's name. Juno implored the heifer as a gift.—what then was left the Father of the Gods? 'Twould be a cruel thing to sacrifice his own beloved to a rival's wrath. Although refusal must imply his guilt the shame and love of her almost prevailed; but if a present of such little worth were now denied the sharer of his couch, the partner of his birth, 'twould prove indeed the earth born heifer other than she seemed—and so he gave his mistress up to her.

[622] Juno regardful of Jove's cunning art, lest he might change her to her human form, gave the unhappy heifer to the charge of Argus, Aristorides, whose head was circled with a hundred glowing eyes; of which but two did slumber in their turn whilst all the others kept on watch and guard. Whichever way he stood his gaze was fixed on Io—even if he turned away his watchful eyes on Io still remained. He let her feed by day; but when the sun was under the deep world he shut her up, and tied a rope around her tender neck. She fed upon green leaves and bitter herbs and on the cold ground slept—too often bare, she could not rest upon a cushioned couch. She drank the troubled waters. Hoping aid she tried to stretch imploring arms to Argus, but all in vain for now no arms remained; the sound of bellowing was all she heard, and she was frightened with her proper voice. Where former days she loved to roam and sport, she wandered by the banks of Inachus: there imaged in the stream she saw her horns and, startled, turned and fled. And Inachus and all her sister Naiads knew her not, although she followed them, they knew her not, although she suffered them to touch her sides and praise her. When the ancient Inachus gathered sweet herbs and offered them to her, she licked his hands, kissing her father's palms, nor could she more restrain her falling tears. If only words as well as tears would flow, she might implore his aid and tell her name and all her sad misfortune; but, instead, she traced in dust the letters of her name with cloven hoof; and thus her sad estate was known.

[650] “Ah wretched me! ” her father cried; and as he clung around her horns and neck repeated while she groaned, “Ah wretched me! Art thou my daughter sought in every clime? When lost I could not grieve for thee as now that thou art found; thy sighs instead of words heave up from thy deep breast, thy longings give me answer. I prepared the nuptial torch and bridal chamber, in my ignorance, since my first hope was for a son in law; and then I dreamed of children from the match: but now the herd may furnish thee a mate, and all thy issue of the herd must be. Oh that a righteous death would end my grief!—it is a dreadful thing to be a God! Behold the lethal gate of death is shut against me, and my growing grief must last throughout eternity.” While thus he moaned came starry Argus there, and Io bore from her lamenting father. Thence he led his charge to other pastures; and removed from her, upon a lofty mountain sat, whence he could always watch her, undisturbed.

[668] The sovereign god no longer could endure to witness Io's woes. He called his son, whom Maia brightest of the Pleiades brought forth, and bade him slay the star eyed guard, argus. He seized his sleep compelling wand and fastened waving wings on his swift feet, and deftly fixed his brimmed hat on his head:—lo, Mercury, the favoured son of Jove, descending to the earth from heaven's plains, put off his cap and wings,—though still retained his wand with which he drove through pathless wilds some stray she goats, and as a shepherd fared, piping on oaten reeds melodious tunes. Argus, delighted with the charming sound of this new art began; “Whoever thou art, sit with me on this stone beneath the trees in cooling shade, whilst browse the tended flock abundant herbs; for thou canst see the shade is fit for shepherds.”

[682] Wherefore, Mercury sat down beside the keeper and conversed of various things—passing the laggard hours.—then soothly piped he on the joined reeds to lull those ever watchful eyes asleep; but Argus strove his languor to subdue, and though some drowsy eyes might slumber, still were some that vigil kept. Again he spoke, (for the pipes were yet a recent art) “I pray thee tell what chance discovered these.”

[689] To him the God, “ A famous Naiad dwelt among the Hamadryads, on the cold Arcadian summit Nonacris, whose name was Syrinx. Often she escaped the Gods, that wandered in the groves of sylvan shades, and often fled from Satyrs that pursued. Vowing virginity, in all pursuits she strove to emulate Diana's ways: and as that graceful goddess wears her robe, so Syrinx girded hers that one might well believe Diana there. Even though her bow were made of horn, Diana's wrought of gold, vet might she well deceive. “Now chanced it Pan. Whose head was girt with prickly pines, espied the Nymph returning from the Lycian Hill, and these words uttered he”—But Mercury refrained from further speech, and Pan's appeal remains untold. If he had told it all, the tale of Syrinx would have followed thus:—but she despised the prayers of Pan, and fled through pathless wilds until she had arrived the placid Ladon's sandy stream, whose waves prevented her escape. There she implored her sister Nymphs to change her form: and Pan, believing he had caught her, held instead some marsh reeds for the body of the Nymph; and while he sighed the moving winds began to utter plaintive music in the reeds, so sweet and voice like that poor Pan exclaimed; “Forever this discovery shall remain a sweet communion binding thee to me.”—and this explains why reeds of different length, when joined together by cementing wax, derive the name of Syrinx from the maid.

[712] Such words the bright god Mercury would say; but now perceiving Argus' eyes were dimmed in languorous doze, he hushed his voice and touched the drooping eyelids with his magic wand, compelling slumber. Then without delay he struck the sleeper with his crescent sword, where neck and head unite, and hurled his head, blood dripping, down the rocks and rugged cliff. Low lies Argus: dark is the light of all his hundred eyes, his many orbed lights extinguished in the universal gloom that night surrounds; but Saturn's daughter spread their glister on the feathers of her bird, emblazoning its tail with starry gems.

[724] Juno made haste, inflamed with towering rage, to vent her wrath on Io; and she raised in thought and vision of the Grecian girl a dreadful Fury. Stings invisible, and pitiless, she planted in her breast, and drove her wandering throughout the globe. The utmost limit of her laboured way, O Nile, thou didst remain. Which, having reached, and placed her tired knees on that river's edge, she laid her there, and as she raised her neck looked upward to the stars, and groaned and wept and mournfully bellowed: trying thus to plead, by all the means she had, that Jupiter might end her miseries. Repentant Jove embraced his consort, and entreated her to end the punishment: “Fear not,” he said, “For she shall trouble thee no more.” He spoke, and called on bitter Styx to hear his oath.

[738] And now imperial Juno, pacified, permitted Io to resume her form,—at once the hair fell from her snowy sides; the horns absorbed, her dilate orbs decreased; the opening of her jaws contracted; hands appeared and shoulders; and each transformed hoof became five nails. And every mark or form that gave the semblance of a heifer changed, except her fair white skin; and the glad Nymph was raised erect and stood upon her feet. But long the very thought of speech, that she might bellow as a heifer, filled her mind with terror, till the words so long forgot for some sufficient cause were tried once more.

[747] And since that time, the linen wearing throng of Egypt have adored her as a God; for they believe the seed of Jove prevailed; and when her time was due she bore to him a son called Epaphus; who also dwells in temples with his mother in that land. Now Phaethon, whose father was the Sun, was equal to his rival, Epaphus, in mind and years; and he was glad to boast of wonders, nor would yield to Epaphus for pride of Phoebus, his reputed sire. Unable to endure it, Io's son thus mocked him; “Poor, demented fellow, what will you not credit if your mother speaks, you are so puffed up with the fond conceit of your imagined sire, the Lord of Day.”

[755] Shame crimsoned in his cheeks, but Phaethon withholding rage, reported all the taunts of Epaphus to Clymene his mother: “'Twill grieve you, mother, I, the bold and free, was silent; and it shames me to report this dark reproach remains unchallenged. Oh, if I am born of race divine, give proof of that illustrious descent and claim my right to Heaven.” Around his mother's neck he drew his arms, and by the head of Merops, and by his own, and by the nuptial torch of his beloved sisters, he implored for some true token of his origin.

[765] Or moved by Phaethon's importuned words, or by the grievous charge, who might declare? She raised her arms to Heaven, and gazing full upon the broad sun said; “I swear to you by yonder orb, so radiant and bright, which both beholds and hears us while we speak, that you are his begotten son.—You are the child of that great light which sways the world: and if I have not spoken what is true, let not mine eyes behold his countenance, and let this fatal moment be the last that I shall look upon the light of day! Nor will it weary you, my son, to reach your father's dwelling; for the very place where he appears at dawn is near our land. Go, if it please you, and the very truth learn from your father.” Instantly sprang forth exultant Phaethon. Overjoyed with words so welcome, he imagined he could leap and touch the skies. And so he passed his land of Ethiopia, and the Indies, hot beneath the tawny sun, and there he turned his footsteps to his father's Land of Dawn.


PHAETHON AND PHOEBUS [1] Glowing with gold, flaming with carbuncles on stately columns raised, refulgent shone the palace of the Sun, with polished dome of ivory gleaming, and with portals twain of burnished silver. And the workmanship exceeded all the wealth of gems and gold; for there had Mulciber engraved the seas encircling middle earth; the round of earth, and heaven impending over the land. And there amid the waves were azure deities: melodious Triton and elusive Proteus; there Aegeaan pressing with his arms the backs. Of monstrous whales; and Doris in the sea and all her daughters; some amid the waves and others sitting on the bank to dry their sea-green hair, and others borne about by fishes. Each was made to show a fair resemblance to her sisters—yet not one appearance was assigned to all—they seemed as near alike as sisters should in truth. And men and cities, woods and savage beasts, and streams and nymphs, and sylvan deities were carved upon the land; and over these an image of the glittering sky was fixed;—six signs were on the right, six on the left.

[19] Here when audacious Phaethon arrived by steep ascending paths, without delay he entered in the shining palace-gates of his reputed parent, making haste to stand in his paternal presence. There, unable to endure the dazzling light, he waited at a distance. Phoebus sat, arrayed in royal purple, on a throne that glittered with the purest emeralds.—there to the left and right, Day, Month and Year, time and the Hours, at equal distance stood; and vernal Spring stood crowned with wreathed flowers; and naked Summer stood with sheaves of wheat; and Autumn stood besmeared with trodden grapes; and icy Winter rough with hoary hair.

[31] And from the midst, with orbs that view the world, Phoebus beheld the trembling youth, fear-struck, in mute amazement, and he said; “Declare the reason of thy journey. What wilt thou in this my palace, Phaethon my child beloved?” And to him replied the youth; “O universal light of all the world, my father Phoebus, if thy name be mine, if Clymene has not concealed her sin beneath some pretext, give to me, my sire, a token to declare thy fatherhood which may establish my assured descent, and leave no dark suspicions in our minds.”—Then Phoebus from his shining brows cast down his circling rays; called Phaethon to him, and as he held him to his breast replied; “O child most worthy of thy sire, the truth was told thee by thy mother; wherefore doubts to dissipate, consider thy desire, and ask of me that I may freely give: yea, let the Nether Lake, beyond our view, (which is the oath of Gods inviolate) be witness to my word.” When this was said the happy youth at once began to plead command and guidance of his father's steeds, wing-footed, and his chariot for a day.

[49] But Phoebus much repented that he sware, and thrice and four times shook his radiant head; “Ah, would I might refuse my plighted word; and oh, that it were lawful to deny the promised boon.—For I confess, O son, this only I should keep from thee—and yet 'Tis lawful to dissuade. It is unsafe to satisfy thy will. It is a great request, O Phaethon, which neither suits thy utmost strength nor tender years; for thou art mortal, and thou hast aspired to things immortal. Ignorance has made thy thought transcend the province of the Gods. I vaunt no vain exploits; but only I can stand securely on the flame-fraught axle-tree: even the Ruler of Olympian Gods, who hurls fierce lightnings with his great right hand, may never dare to drive this chariot, and what art thou to equal mighty Jove?

[63] “The opening path is steep and difficult, for scarcely can the steeds, refreshed at dawn, climb up the steeps: and when is reached the height, extreme of midmost Heaven, and sea and earth are viewed below, my trembling breast is filled with fearful apprehensions: and requires the last precipitous descent a sure command. Then, also, Tethys, who receives me in her subject waves, is wont to fear lest I should fall disastrous. And around the hastening sky revolves in constant whirl, drawing the lofty stars with rapid twist. I struggle on. The force that overcomes the heavenly bodies overwhelms me not, and I am borne against that rapid globe. Suppose the chariot thine: what canst thou do? Canst thou drive straight against the twisted pole and not be carried from the lofty path by the swift car? Art thou deceived to think there may be groves and cities of the Gods, and costly temples wondrously endowed? The journey is beset with dreadful snares and shapes of savage animals. If thou shouldst hold upon thy way without mistake yet must thy journey be through Taurus' horns, and through the Bow Haemonian, and the jaws of the fierce Lion, and the cruel arms of Scorpion, bent throughout a vast expanse,—and Cancer's curving arms reversely bent. It is no easy task for thee to rule the mettled four-foot steeds, enflamed in fires that kindle in their breasts, forth issuing in breathings from their mouths and nostrils hot;—I scarce restrain them, as their struggling necks pull on the harness, when their heated fires are thus aroused.

[90] “And, O my son, lest I may be the author of a baneful gift, beware, and as the time permits recall thy rash request. Forsooth thou hast besought undoubted signs of thy descent from me? My fears for thee are certain signs that thou art of my race—by my paternal fears 'Tis manifest I am thy father. Lo! Behold my countenance! and oh, that thou couldst even pierce my bosom with thine eyes, and so discover my paternal cares! Look round thee on the treasured world's delights and ask the greatest blessing of the sky, or sea or land, and thou shalt suffer no repulse: but only this I must deplore, which rightly named would be a penalty and not an honour.—Thou hast made request of punishment and not a gift indeed. O witless boy! why dost thou hold my neck with thy caressing arms? For, doubt it not, as I have sworn it by the Stygian Waves, whatever thou shalt wish, it shall be given—but thou shouldst wish more wisely.”

[103] So were all his admonitions said, availing naught; for Phaethon resisted his advice, and urged again his claim, and eagerly burned to use the chariot. Wherefore, Phoebus long delaying and reluctant, took the youth to view the spacious chariot, gift of Vulcan.—gold was the axle and the beam was gold, the great Wheel had a golden tire and spokes of silver; chrysolites and diamonds reflected from the spangled yoke the light of Phoebus.

[111] While aspiring Phaethon admired the glittering chariot and its workmanship, the vigilant Aurora opened forth her purple portals from the ruddy east, disclosing halls replete with roses. All the stars took flight, while Lucifer, the last to quit his vigil, gathered that great host and disappeared from his celestial watch.

[116] And when his father, Phoebus (Titan), saw the earth and the wide universe in glowing tints arrayed, as waned the Moon's diminished horns, far-distant, then he bade the nimble Hours to yoke the steeds. -- At once the Deities accomplished his commands, and led the steeds, ambrosia-fed and snorting flames, from out their spacious stalls; and fixed their sounding bits. Then with a hallowed drug the father touched the stripling's face, to make him proof against the rapid flame, and wrought around his hair the sun-rays. But, foreboding grief, he said, while many a sigh heaved from his anxious breast; “If thou canst only heed thy father's voice—be sparing of the whip and use with nerve the reins; for of their own accord the steeds will hasten. Difficult are they to check in full career. Thou must not drive the car directly through five circles, for the track takes a wide curve, obliquely, and is bound by the extreme edge of three zones.—It avoids the Southern Pole, and it avoids the Bear that roams around the north. The way is plain; the traces of the Wheel are manifest. Observe with care that both the earth and sky have their appropriate heat—Drive not too low, nor urge the chariot through the highest plane; for if thy course attain too great a height thou wilt consume the mansions of the sky, and if too low the land will scorch with heat. Take thou the middle plane, where all is safe; nor let the Wheel turn over to the right and bear thee to the twisted Snake! nor let it take thee to the Altar on the left—so close to earth—but steer the middle course.—to Fortune I commit thy fate, whose care for thee so reckless of thyself I pray. While I am speaking humid night has touched the margin of Hesperian shores. 'Tis not for us to idle; we are called away;—when bright Aurora shines the darkness flies. Take up the reins! But if thy stubborn breast be capable of change use not our car, but heed my counsel while the time permits, and while thy feet are on a solid base, but not, according to thy foolish wish, pressing the axle. Rather let me light the world beneath thy safe and wondering gaze.”

[150] But Phaethon with youthful vigor leaped, and in the light-made chariot lightly stood: and he rejoiced, and with the reins in hand thanked his reluctant parent.

[153] Instantly Eous, Aethon, Pyrois and Phlegon, the winged horses of the Sun, gave vent to flame-like neighs that filled the shaking air; they pawed the barriers with their shining hoofs. Then Tethys, witless of her grandson's fate let back the barriers,—and the universe was theirs to traverse. Taking the well-known road, and moving through the air with winged feet, they pierced resisting clouds, and spreading wide their pinions soared upon the eastern wind, far-wafted from that realm. But Phaethon, so easy of their yoke, lost all control, and the great car was tossed,—as tapered ships when lightened of their ballast toss and heave unsteady in the surging seas: the car leaped lightly in the air, and in the heights was tossed unsteady as an empty shell.

[167] Soon as the steeds perceived it, with a rush impetuous, they left the beaten track; regardless of all order and control; and Phaethon filled with fear, knew not to guide with trusted reins, nor where the way might be—nor, if he knew, could he control their flight. Warmed in the sunshine, never felt before, the gelid Triones attempted vain to bathe in seas forbid: the Serpent cold and torpid by the frozen Pole, too cold for contest, warmed, and rage assumed from heat bootes, troubled by the heat, took flight, impeded by his wain.

[178] And as from skies of utmost height unhappy Phaethon beheld the earth receding from his view, a pallor spread his cheeks with sudden fear; his knees began to quake; and through the flare of vast effulgence darkness closed his eyes. Now vainy he regrets he ever touched his father's steeds, and he is stunned with grief that so entreating he prevailed to know his true descent. He rather would be called the son of Merops. As a ship is tossed by raging Boreas, when the conquered helm has been abandoned, and the pilot leaves the vessel to his vows and to the Gods; so, helpless, he is borne along the sky. What can he? Much of heaven remains behind; a longer distance is in front of him—each way is measured in his anxious mind.—at first his gaze is fixed upon the west, which fate has destined he shall never reach, and then his eyes turn backward to the east.—So, stupefied and dazed he neither dares to loose the bits, nor tighten on the reins, and he is ignorant of the horses' names. He sees horrific wonders scattered round, and images of hideous animals.—and there's a spot where Scorpion bends his claws in double circles, and with tail and arms on either side, stretches his limbs throughout the space of two Celestial Signs; and when the lad beheld him, steeped in oozing slime of venom, swart, and threatening to strike grim wounds with jagged spear-points, he was lost; and, fixed in chills of horror, dropped the reins.

[201] When these they felt upon their rising backs, the startled steeds sprang forthwith; and, unchecked, through atmospheres of regions unexplored, thence goaded by their unchecked violence, broke through the lawful bounds, and rushed upon the high fixed stars. They dragged the chariot through devious ways, and soared amid the heights; dashed down deep pathways, far, precipitous, and gained a level near the scorching earth. Phoebe is wondering that her brother's steeds run lower than her own, and sees the smoke of scorching clouds. The highest altitudes are caught in flames, and as their moistures dry they crack in chasms. The grass is blighted; trees are burnt up with their leaves; the ripe brown crops give fuel for self destruction—Oh what small complaints! Great cities perish with their walls, and peopled nations are consumed to dust – the forests and the mountains are destroyed. Cilician Taurus, Athos and Tmolus, and Oeta are burning; and the far-famed Ida and all her cooling rills are dry and burning, and virgin Helicon, and Hoemos—later Oeagrius called—and Aetna with tremendous, redoubled flames, and double-peaked Parnassus, Sicilian Eryx, Cynthus—Othrys, pine-clad, and Rhodope, deprived his snowy mantle, and Dindyma and Mycale and Mimas, and Mount Cithaeron, famed for sacred rites: and Scythia, though a land of frost, is burning, and Caucasus,—and Ossa burns with Pindus,—and greater than those two Olympus burns – the lofty Alps, the cloud-topped Apennines.

[227] And Phaethon, as he inhaled the air, burning and scorching as a furnace blast, and saw destruction on the flaming world, and his great chariot wreathed in quenchless fires, was suddenly unable to endure the heat, the smoke and cinders, and he swooned away.—if he had known the way, those winged steeds would rush as wild unguided.—

[235] T hen the skin of Ethiopians took a swarthy hue, the hot blood tingling to the surface: then the heat dried up the land of Libya; dishevelled, the lorn Nymphs, lamenting, sought for all their emptied springs and lakes in vain; Boeotia wailed for Dirce's cooling wave, and Argos wailed for Amymone's stream—and even Corinth for the clear Pyrene. Not safer from the flames were distant streams;—the Tanais in middle stream was steaming and old Peneus and Teuthrantian Caicus, Ismenus, rapid and Arcadian Erymanthus; and even Xanthus destined for a second burning, and tawny-waved Lycormas, and Meander, turning and twisting, and Thracian Melas burns, and the Laconian Eurotas burns, the mighty Babylonian Euphrates, Orontes and the Ganges, swift Thermodon, Ister and Phasis and Alpheus boil. The banks of Spercheus burn, the gold of Tagus is melting in the flames. The swans whose songs enhanced the beauties of Maeonian banks are scalded in the Cayster's middle wave. The Nile affrighted fled to parts remote, and hid his head forever from the world: now empty are his seven mouths, and dry without or wave or stream; and also dry Ismenian Hebrus, Strymon and the streams of Hesper-Land, the rivers Rhine and Rhone, and Po, and Tiber, ruler of the world.

[260] And even as the ground asunder burst, the light amazed in gloomy Tartarus the King Infernal and his Spouse. The sea contracted and his level waste became a sandy desert. The huge mountain tops, once covered by the ocean's waves, reared up, by which the scattered Cyclades increased. Even the fishes sought for deeper pools;—the crooked dolphins dared not skip the waves; the lifeless sea-calves floated on the top; and it is even famed that Nereus hid with Doris and her daughters, deep below in seething caverns. With a dauntless mien thrice Neptune tried to thrust his arms above the waters;—thrice the heated air overcame his courage.

[272] Then the genial Earth, although surrounded by the waters of the sea, was parched and dry; for all her streams had hid deep in the darkness of her winding caves.—she lifted her productive countenance, up to her rounded neck, and held her palms on her sad brows; and as the mountains huge trembled and tottered, beneath her wonted plane declined she for a space—and thus began, with parched voice; “If this is thy decree, O, Highest of the Gods,—if I have sinned why do thy lightnings linger? For if doomed by fires consuming I to perish must, let me now die in thy celestial flames—hurled by thine arm—and thus alleviate, by thine omnipotence, this agony. “How difficult to open my parched mouth, and speak these words! (the vapours choking her), behold my scorching hair, and see the clouds of ashes falling on my blinded eyes, and on my features! What a recompense for my fertility! How often I have suffered from the wounds of crooked plows and rending harrows—tortured year by year! For this I give to cattle juicy leaves and fruits to man and frankincense to thee! Suppose destruction is my just award what have the waters and thy brother done? Why should thy brother's cooling waves decrease and thus recede so distant from the skies? If not thy brother's good nor mine may touch thy mercy, let the pity of thy Heaven, for lo, the smoking poles on either side attest, if flames consume them or destroy, the ruin of thy palace. Atlas, huge, with restive shoulders hardly can support the burning heavens. If the seas and lands together perish and thy palace fall, the universe confused will plunge once more to ancient Chaos. Save it from this wreck—if anything survive the fury of the flames.”

[301] So made the tortured Earth an end of speech; and she was fain to hide her countenance in caves that border on the nether night. But now the Almighty Father, having called to witness all the Gods of Heaven, and him who gave the car, that, else his power be shown, must perish all in dire confusion, high he mounted to the altitude from which he spreads the mantling clouds, and fulminates his dreadful thunders and swift lightning-bolts terrific.—Clouds were none to find on the earth, and the surrounding skies were void of rain.—Jove, having reached that summit, stood and poised in his almighty hand a flashing dart, and, hurling it, deprived of life and seat the youthful charioteer, and struck with fire the raging flames—and by the same great force those flames enveloping the earth were quenched, and he who caused their fury lost his life. Frantic in their affright the horses sprang across the bounded way and cast their yokes, and through the tangled harness lightly leaped. And here the scattered harness lay, and there the shattered axle, wrenched from off the pole, and various portions of the broken car; spokes of the broken Wheel were scattered round.

[319] And far fell Phaethon with flaming hair; as haply from the summer sky appears a falling star, although it never drops to startled earth.—Far distant from his home the deep Eridanus received the lad and bathed his foaming face. His body charred by triple flames Hesperian Naiads bore, still smoking, to a tomb, and this engraved upon the stone; “Here Phaethon's remains lie buried. He who drove his father's car and fell, although he made a great attempt.”

[329] Filled with consuming woe, his father hid his countenance which grief had overcast. And now, surpassing our belief, they say a day passed over with no glowing sun;—but light-affording flames appeared to change disaster to the cause of good. Amazed, the woeful Clymene, when she had moaned in grief, amid her lamentations tore her bosom, as across the world she roamed, at first to seek his lifeless corpse, and then his bones. She wandered to that distant land and found at last his bones ensepulchred. There, clinging to the grave she fell and bathed with many tears his name on marble carved, and with her bosom warmed the freezing stone.

[340] And all the daughters of the Sun went there giving their tears, alas a useless gift;—they wept and beat their breasts, and day and night called, “Phaethon,” who heard not any sound of their complaint:—and there they lay foredone, all scattered round the tomb. The silent moon had four times joined her horns and filled her disk, while they, according to an ancient rite, made lamentation. Prone upon the ground, the eldest, Phaethusa, would arise from there, but found her feet were growing stiff; and uttered moan. Lampetia wished to aid her sister but was hindered by new roots; a third when she would tear her hair, plucked forth but leaves: another wailed to find her legs were fastened in a tree; another moaned to find her arms to branches had been changed. And while they wondered, bark enclosed their thighs, and covered their smooth bellies, and their breasts, and shoulders and their hands, but left untouched their lips that called upon their mother's name. What can she do for them? Hither she runs and thither runs, wherever frenzy leads. She kisses them, alas, while yet she may! But not content with this, she tried to hale their bodies from the trees; and she would tear the tender branches with her hands, but lo! The blood oozed out as from a bleeding wound; and as she wounded them they shrieked aloud, “Spare me! O mother spare me; in the tree my flesh is torn! farewell! farewell! farewell!” And as they spoke the bark enclosed their lips. Their tears flow forth, and from the new-formed boughs amber distils and slowly hardens in the sun; and far from there upon the waves is borne to deck the Latin women.

[367] Cycnus, son of Sthenelus, by his maternal house akin to Phaethon, and thrice by love allied, beheld this wonderful event.—he left his kingdom of Liguria, and all its peopled cities, to lament where the sad sisters had increased the woods, beside the green banks of Eridanus. There, as he made complaint, his manly voice began to pipe a treble, shrill; and long gray plumes concealed his hair. A slender neck extended from his breast, and reddening toes were joined together by a membrane. Wings grew from his sides, and from his mouth was made a blunted beak. Now Cycnus is a swan, and yet he fears to trust the skies and Jove, for he remembers fires, unjustly sent, and therefore shuns the heat that he abhors, and haunts the spacious lakes and pools and streams that quench the fires.

[381] In squalid garb, meanwhile, and destitute of all his rays, the sire of Phaethon, as dark as when eclipse bedims his Wheel, abhors himself and hates the light, shuns the bright day, gives up his mind to grief, adds passion to his woe, denies the earth his countenance, and thus laments; “My lot was ever restless from the dawn of time, and I am weary of this labour, void and endless. Therefore, let who will urge forth my car, light-bearing, and if none may dare, when all the Gods of Heaven acknowledge it, let Jove himself essay the task. Perchance, when he takes up the reins, he may forget his dreadful lightning that bereaves of child a father's love; and as he tries the strength of those flame-footed steeds will know, in truth, the lad who failed to guide my chariot deserved not death.”

[394] But all the Deities encircle Phoebus as he makes complaint, and with their supplications they entreat him not to plunge the world in darkness. Jove would find excuses for the lightning-bolt, hurled from his hand, and adds imperious threats to his entreaties. Phoebus calls his steeds, frenzied with their maddening fires, and breaks their fury, as he vents with stinging lash his rage upon them, and in passion lays on them the death of Phaethon his son.

CALISTO AND JUPITER [401] Now after Phaethon had suffered death for the vast ruin wrought by scorching flames, all the great walls of Heaven's circumference, unmeasured, views the Father of the Gods, with searching care, that none impaired by heat may fall in ruins. Well assured they stand in self-sustaining strength, his view, at last, on all the mundane works of man is turned;—his loving gaze long resting on his own Arcadia. And he starts the streams and springs that long have feared to flow; paints the wide earth with verdant fields; covers the trees with leaves, and clothes the injured forests in their green. While wandering in the world, he stopped amazed, when he beheld the lovely Nymph, Calisto, and fires of love were kindled in his breast. Calisto was not clothed in sumptuous robes, nor did she deck her hair in artful coils; but with a buckle she would gird her robe, and bind her long hair with a fillet white. She bore a slender javelin in her hand, or held the curving bow; and thus in arms as chaste Diana, none of Maenalus was loved by that fair goddess more than she. But everything must change.

[417] When bright the sun rolled down the sky, beyond his middle course, she pierced a secret thicket, known to her, and having slipped the quiver from her arm, she loosed the bended bow, and softly down upon the velvet turf reclining, pressed her white neck on the quiver while she slept. When Jupiter beheld her, negligent and beautiful, he argued thus, “How can my consort, Juno, learn of this? And yet, if chance should give her knowledge, what care I? Let gain offset the scolding of her tongue!” This said, the god transformed himself and took Diana's form—assumed Diana's dress and imitating her awoke the maid, and spoke in gentle tones, “What mountain slope, O virgin of my train, hath been thy chase?” Which, having heard, Calisto, rose and said, “Hail, goddess! greater than celestial Jove! I would declare it though he heard the words.” Jove heard and smiled, well pleased to be preferred above himself, and kissed her many times, and strained her in his arms, while she began to tell the varied fortunes of her hunt.—But when his ardent love was known to her, she struggled to escape from his embrace: ah, how could she, a tender maid, resist almighty Jove?—Be sure, Saturnia if thou hadst only witnessed her thy heart had shown more pity!—Jupiter on wings, transcendent, sought his glorious heights; but she, in haste departing from that grove, almost forgot her quiver and her bow.

[441] Behold, Diana, with her virgin train, when hunting on the slopes of Maenalus, amidst the pleasures of exciting sport, espied the Nymph and called her, who, afraid that Jove apparelled in disguise deceived, drew backward for a moment, till appeared to her the lovely Nymphs that followed: thus, assured deceit was none, she ventured near. Alas, how difficult to hide disgrace! She could not raise her vision from the ground, nor as the leader of the hunting Nymphs, as was her wont, walk by the goddess' side. Her silence and her blushes were the signs of injured honour. Ah Diana, thou, if thou wert not a virgin, wouldst perceive and pity her unfortunate distress. The Moon's bent horns were rising from their ninth sojourn, when, fainting from Apollo's flames, the goddess of the Chase observed a cool umbrageous grove, from which a murmuring stream ran babbling gently over golden sands. When she approved the spot, lightly she struck her foot against the ripples of the stream, and praising it began; “Far from the gaze of all the curious we may bathe our limbs, and sport in this clear water.” Quickly they undid their garments,—but Calisto hid behind the others, till they knew her state.—Diana in a rage exclaimed, “Away! Thou must not desecrate our sacred springs!” And she was driven thence.

[466] Ere this transpired, observed the consort of the Thunder-God her altered mien; but she for ripening time withheld severe resentment. Now delay was needless for distracted Juno heard Calisto of the god of Heaven had borne a boy called Arcas. Full of jealous rage, her eyes and thoughts enkindled as she cried; “And only this was wanting to complete your wickedness, that you should bear a son and flaunt abroad the infamy of Jove! Unpunished you shall not escape, for I will spoil the beauty that has made you proud and dazzled Jupiter with wanton art.” So saying, by her forehead's tresses seized the goddess on her rival; and she dragged her roughly to the ground. Pleading she raised her suppliant arms and begged for mercy.—While she pled, black hair spread over her white limbs; her hands were lengthened into feet, and claws long-curving tipped them; snarling jaws deformed the mouth that Jove had kissed. And lest her prayers and piteous words might move some listening God, and give remembrance, speech was so denied, that only from her throat came angry growls, now uttered hoarse and threatening. Still remains her understanding, though her body, thus transformed, makes her appear a savage bear.—her sorrows are expressed in many a groan, repeated as she lifts her hands—if we may call them so – repeated as she lifts them towards the stars and skies, ungrateful Jove regarding; but her voice accuses not. Afraid to rest in unfrequented woods, she wandered in the fields that once were hers, around her well-known dwelling. Over crags, in terror, she was driven by the cries of hounds; and many a time she fled in fear, a huntress from the hunters, or she hid from savage animals; forgetting her transformed condition. Changed into a bear, she fled affrighted from the bears that haunt the rugged mountains; and she feared and fled the wolves,—although her father was a wolf.

[496] When thrice five birthdays rounded out the youth of Arcas, offspring of Lycaon's child, he hunted in the forest of his choice; where, hanging with his platted nets the trees of Erymanthian forest, he espied his transformed mother,—but he knew her not; no one had told him of his parentage. Knowing her child, she stood with levelled gaze, amazed and mute as he began approach; but Arcas, frightened at the sight drew back to pierce his mother's breast with wounding spear.—but not permitting it the god of Heaven averted, and removed them from that crime. He, in a mighty wind—through vacant space, upbore them to the dome of starry heaven, and fixed them, Constellations, bright amid the starry host.

[508] Juno on high beheld Calisto crowned with glory—great with rage her bosom heaved. She flew across the sea, to hoary Tethys and to old Oceanus, whom all the Gods revere, and thus to them in answer to their words she made address; “And is it wondered that the Queen of Gods comes hither from ethereal abodes? My rival sits upon the Throne of Heaven: yea, when the wing of Night has darkened let my fair word be deemed of no repute, if you behold not in the height of Heaven those new made stars, now honoured to my shame, conspicuous; fixed in the highest dome of space that circles the utmost axis of the world. Who, then, should hesitate to put affront on Juno? matchless goddess! each offense redounds in benefit! Who dreads her rage? Oh boundless powers! Oh unimagined deeds! My enemy assumes a goddess' form when my decree deprives her human shape;—and thus the guilty rue their chastisement! Now let high Jove to human shape transform this hideous beast, as once before he changed his Io from a heifer.—Let him now divorce his Juno and consort with her, and lead Calisto to his couch, and take that wolf, Lycaon, for a father-in-law! Oh, if an injury to me, your child, may move your pity! drive the Seven Stars from waters crystalline and azure-tint, and your domain debar from those that shine in Heaven, rewarded for Jove's wickedness.—bathe not a concubine in waters pure.”—the Gods of Ocean granted her request.

CORONIS AND PHOEBUS [532] High in her graceful chariot through the air, translucent, wends the goddess, glorious child of Saturn, with her peacocks many-hued: her peacocks, by the death of Argus limped, so gay were made when black as midnight turned thy wings, O chattering raven! white of yore. For, long ago the ravens were not black—their plumage then was white as any dove—white-feathered, snow-white as the geese that guard with watchful cries the Capitol: as white as swans that haunt the streams. Disgrace reversed the raven's hue from white to black, because offense was given by his chattering tongue. O glorious Phoebus! dutiful to thee, Coronis of Larissa, fairest maid of all Aemonia, was a grateful charm, a joy to thee whilst faithful to thy love,—while none defamed her chastity. But when the Raven, bird of Phoebus, learned the Nymph had been unfaithful, mischief-bent that bird, spreading his white wings, hastened to impart the sad news to his master. After him the prattling Crow followed with flapping wings, eager to learn what caused the Raven's haste.

[542] Concealing nothing, with his busy tongue the Raven gave the scandal to that bird: and unto him the prattling Crow replied; “A fruitless errand has befooled thy wits! Take timely warning of my fateful cries: consider what I was and what I am: was justice done? 'Twas my fidelity that caused my downfall. For, it came to pass, within a basket, fashioned of small twigs, Minerva had enclosed that spawn; begot without a mother, Ericthonius; which to the wardship of three virgins, born of double-natured Cecrops, she consigned with this injunction, `Look ye not therein, nor learn the secret.'—But I saw their deeds while hidden in the leaves of a great tree two of the sisters, Herse and Pandrosos, observed the charge, but scoffing at their fears, the third, Aglauros, with her nimble hands untied the knotted cords, and there disclosed a serpent and an infant. This I told Minerva; but in turn, she took away her long protection, and degraded me beneath the boding Owl.—My punishment should warn the birds how many dangers they incur from chattering tongues. Not my desire impelled me to report to her, nor did I crave protection; which, if thou wilt ask Minerva, though enraged she must confirm. And when is told to thee what lately fame established, thou wilt not despise the Crow.

[568] “Begot by Coronaeus, who was lord of all the land of Phocis, I was once a royal virgin, sought by suitors rich and powerful. But beauty proved the cause of my misfortune; for it came to pass, as I was slowly walking on the sands that skirt the merge of ocean, where was oft my wont to roam, the god of Ocean gazed impassioned, and with honied words implored my love—but finding that I paid no heed, and all his words despised, he fumed with rage and followed me. I fled from that sea-shore, to fields of shifting sands that all my steps delayed: and in despair upon the Gods and all mankind I called for aid, but I was quite alone and helpless. Presently the chaste Minerva, me, a virgin, heard and me assistance gave: for as my arms implored the Heavens, downy feathers grew from out the flesh; and as I tried to cast my mantle from my shoulders, wings appeared upon my tender sides; and as I strove to beat my naked bosom with my hands, nor hands remained nor naked breast to beat. I ran, and as I sped the sands no more delayed me; I was soaring from the ground; and as I winged the air, Minerva chose me for a life-companion.

[589] "But alas, although my life was blameless, fate or chance deprived me of Minerva's loving aid; for soon Nictimene succeeded me to her protection and deserved esteem.—it happened in this way,—Nictimene committed the most wicked crimes, for which Minerva changed her to the bird of night—and ever since has claimed her as her own instead of me; and this despite the deed for which she shuns the glorious light of day, and conscious of her crime conceals her shame in the dark night—Minerva's Owl now called. All the glad birds of day, indignant shun, and chase her from the skies.”

[596] But now replied the Raven to the Crow, that talked so much, “A mischief fall upon your prating head for this detention of my flight. Your words and warnings I despise.” With which retort he winged upon his journey, swiftly thence in haste, despite the warning to inform his patron, Phoebus, how he saw the fair Coronis with a lad of Thessaly. And when Apollo, Phoebus, heard the tale the busy Raven made such haste to tell, he dropped his plectrum and his laurel wreath, and his bright countenance went white with rage. He seized his trusted arms, and having bent his certain bow, pierced with a deadly shaft that bosom which so often he had pressed against his own. Coronis moaned in pain,—and as she drew the keen shaft from the wound, her snow-white limbs were bathed in purple blood: and thus she wailed, “Ah, Phoebus! punishment is justly mine! but wherefore didst thou not await the hour of birth? for by my death an innocent is slain.” This said, her soul expired with her life-blood, and death congealed her drooping form.

[612] Sadly the love-lore God repents his jealous deed; regrets too late his ready credence to the Raven's tale. Mourning his thoughtless deed, blaming himself, he vents his rage upon the talking bird; he hates his bow, the string, his own right hand, the fateful arrow. As a last resource, and thus to overcome her destiny, he strove to cherish her beloved form; for vain were all his medicinal arts. But when he saw upraised the funeral pyre, where wreathed in flames her body should be burnt, the sorrow of his heart welled forth in sighs; but tearless orbed, for no celestial face may tide of woe bedew. So grieves the poor dam, when, swinging from his right the flashing ax, the butcher with a sounding blow divides the hollow temples of her sucking calf. Yet, after Phoebus poured the fragrant myrrh, sweet perfumes on her breast, that now once more against his own he pressed, and after all the prematurely hastened rites were done, he would not suffer the offspring of his loins to mingle with her ashes, but he plucked from out the flames, forth from the mother's thighs his child, unborn, and carried to the cave of double-natured Chiron. Then to him he called the silly raven, high in hopes of large requital due for all his words; but, angry with his meddling ways, the God turned the white feathers of that bird to black and then forbade forever more to perch among the favoured birds whose plumes are white.

OCYROE AND AESCULAPIUS [633] Chiron, the Centaur, taught his pupil; proud that he was honoured by that God-like charge. Behold, his lovely daughter, who was born beside the margin of a rapid stream, came forward, with her yellow hair as gold adown her shoulders.—She was known by name Ocyroe. The hidden things that Fate conceals, she had the power to tell; for not content was she to learn her father's arts, but rather pondered on mysterious things. So, when the god of Frenzy warmed her breast, gazing on Aesculapius,—the child of Phoebus and Coronis, while her soul was gifted, with prophetic voice she said; “O thou who wilt bestow on all the world the blessed boon of health, increase in strength! To thee shall mortals often owe their lives: to thee is given the power to raise the dead. But when against the power of Deities thou shalt presume to dare thy mortal skill, the bolts of Jove will shatter thy great might, and health no more be thine from thence to grant. And from a god thou shalt return to dust, and once again from dust become a God; and thou shalt thus renew thy destiny.—“And thou, dear father Chiron, brought to birth with pledge of an immortal life, informed with ever-during strength, when biting flames of torment from the baneful serpent's blood are coursing in thy veins, thou shalt implore a welcome death; and thy immortal life the Gods shall suffer to the power of death.—and the three Destinies shall cut thy thread.”

[655] She would continue these prophetic words but tears unbidden trickled down her face; and, as it seemed her sighs would break her heart, she thus bewailed; “The Fates constrain my speech and I can say no more; my power has gone. Alas, my art, although of little force and doubtful worth, has brought upon my head the wrath of Heaven. “Oh wherefore did I know to cast the future? Now my human form puts on another shape, and the long grass affords me needed nourishment. I want to range the boundless plains and have become, in image of my father's kind, a mare: but gaining this, why lose my human shape? My father's form is one of twain combined.” And as she wailed the words became confused and scarcely understood; and soon her speech was only as the whinny of a mare. Down to the meadow's green her arms were stretched; her fingers joined together, and smooth hoofs made of five nails a single piece of horn. Her face and neck were lengthened, and her hair swept downward as a tail; the scattered locks that clung around her neck were made a mane, tossed over to the right. Her voice and shape were altogether changed, and since that day the change has given her a different name.

[676] In vain her hero father, Chiron, prayed the glorious God, Apollo, her to aid. He could not thwart the will of mighty Jove; and if the power were his, far from the spot, from thence afar his footsteps trod the fields of Elis and Messenia, far from thence.

BATTUS AND MERCURY [679] Now while Apollo wandered on those plains,—his shoulders covered with a shepherd's skin, his left hand holding his long shepherd's staff, his right hand busied with the seven reeds of seven sizes, brooding over the death of Hymenaeus, lost from his delight; while mournful ditties on the reeds were tuned,—his kine, forgotten, strayed away to graze over the plains of Pylos. Mercury observed them, unattended, and from thence drove them away and hid them in the forest. So deftly did he steal them, no one knew or noticed save an ancient forester, well known to all the neighbor-folk, by them called Battus. He was keeper of that wood, and that green pasture where the blooded mares of rich Neleus grazed. As Mercury distrusted him, he led him to one side and said; “Good stranger, whosoever thou art, if any one should haply question thee, if thou hast seen these kine, deny it all; and for thy good will, ere the deed is done, I give as thy reward this handsome cow.” Now when the gift was his, old Battus said, “Go hence in safety, if it be thy will; and should my tongue betray thee, let that stone make mention of the theft.” And as he spoke, he pointed to a stone.

[697] The son of Jove pretended to depart, but quickly changed his voice and features, and retraced his steps, and thus again addressed that ancient man; “Kind sir, if thou wouldst earn a fair reward, a heifer and a bull, if thou hast seen some cattle pass, I pray thee give thy help, and tell me of the theft.” So the reward was doubled; and the old man answered him, “Beyond those hills they be,” and so they were ‘Beyond those hills.' And, laughing, Mercury said, “Thou treacherous man to me dost thou betray myself? Dost thou bewray me to myself?” The god indignant turned his perjured breast into a stone which even now is called “The Spy of Pylos,” a disgraceful name, derived from days of old, but undeserved.

AGLAUROS AND MERCURY [708] High in the dome of Heaven, behold the bright Caduceus-Bearer soared on balanced wings; and far below him through a fruitful grove, devoted to Minerva's hallowed reign, some virgins bearing on their lovely heads, in wicker baskets wreathed and decked with flowers, their sacred offerings to the citadel of that chaste goddess. And the winged God, while circling in the clear unbounded skies, beheld that train of virgins, beautiful, as they were thence returning on their way. Not forward on a level line he flew, but wheeled in circles round. Lo, the swift kite swoops round the smoking entrails, while the priests enclose in guarded ranks their sacrifice: wary with fear, that swiftest of all birds, dares not to venture from his vantage height, but greedily hovers on his waving wings around his keen desire. So, the bright God circled those towers, Actaean, round and round, in mazey circles, greedy as the bird. As much as Lucifer outshines the stars that emulate the glory of his rays, as greatly as bright Phoebe pales thy light, O lustrous Lucifer! so far surpassed in beauty the fair maiden Herse, all those lovely virgins of that sacred train, departing joyous from Minerva's grove. The Son of Jove, astonished, while he wheeled on balanced pinions through the yielding air, burned hot; as oft from Balearic sling the leaden missile, hurled with sudden force, burns in a glowing heat beneath the clouds. Then sloped the god his course from airy height, and turned a different way; another way he went without disguise, in confidence of his celestial grace. But though he knew his face was beautiful, he combed his hair, and fixed his flowing raiment, that the fringe of radiant gold appeared. And in his hand he waved his long smooth wand, with which he gives the wakeful sleep or waketh ridded eyes. He proudly glanced upon his twinkling feet that sparkled with their scintillating wings.

[737] In a secluded part of that great fane, devoted to Minerva's hallowed rites, three chambers were adorned with tortoise shell and ivory and precious woods inlaid; and there, devoted to Minerva's praise, three well known sisters dwelt. Upon the right dwelt Pandrosos and over on the left Aglauros dwelt, and Herse occupied the room between those two. When Mercury drew near to them, Aglauros first espied the God, and ventured to enquire his name, and wherefore he was come. Then gracious spoke to her in answer the bright son of Jove; “Behold the god who carries through the air the mandates of almighty Jupiter! But I come hither not to waste my time in idle words, but rather to beseech thy kindness and good aid, that I may win the love of thy devoted sister Herse.” Aglauros, on the son of Jupiter, gazed with those eyes that only lately viewed the guarded secret of the yellow-haired Minerva, and demanded as her price gold of great weight; before he paid denied admittance of the house.

[752] Minerva turned, with orbs of stern displeasure, towards the maid Aglauros; and her bosom heaved with sighs so deeply laboured that her Aegis-shield was shaken on her valiant breast. For she remembered when Aglauros gave to view her charge, with impious hand, that monster form without a mother, maugre Nature's law, what time the god who dwells on Lemnos loved.—now to requite the god and sister; her to punish whose demand of gold was great; Minerva to the Cave of Envy sped. Dark, hideous with black gore, her dread abode is hidden in the deepest hollowed cave, in utmost limits where the genial sun may never shine, and where the breathing winds may never venture; dismal, bitter cold, untempered by the warmth of welcome fires, involved forever in abounding gloom. When the fair champion came to this abode she stood before its entrance, for she deemed it not a lawful thing to enter there: and she whose arm is mortal to her foes, struck the black door-posts with her pointed spear, and shook them to the center. Straight the doors flew open, and, behold, within was Envy ravening the flesh of vipers, self-begot, the nutriment of her depraved desires.—when the great goddess met her evil gaze she turned her eyes away. But Envy slow, in sluggish languor from the ground uprose, and left the scattered serpents half-devoured; then moving with a sullen pace approached.—and when she saw the gracious goddess, girt with beauty and resplendent in her arms, she groaned aloud and fetched up heavy sighs. Her face is pale, her body long and lean, her shifting eyes glance to the left and right, her snaggle teeth are covered with black rust, her hanging paps overflow with bitter gall, her slavered tongue drips venom to the ground; busy in schemes and watchful in dark snares sweet sleep is banished from her blood-shot eyes; her smiles are only seen when others weep; with sorrow she observes the fortunate, and pines away as she beholds their joy; her own existence is her punishment, and while tormenting she torments herself. Although Minerva held her in deep scorn she thus commanded her with winged words; “Instil thy poison in Aglauros, child of Cecrops; I command thee; do my will.” She spake; and spurning with her spear the ground departed;

[787] A nd the sad and furtive-eyed Envy observed her in her glorious flight: she murmured at the goddess, great in arms: but waiting not she took in hand her staff, which bands of thorns encircled as a wreath, and veiled in midnight clouds departed thence. She blasted on her way the ripening fields; scorched the green meadows, starred with flowers, and breathed a pestilence throughout the land and the great cities. When her eyes beheld the glorious citadel of Athens, great in art and wealth, abode of joyful peace, she hardly could refrain from shedding tears, that nothing might be witnessed worthy tears. She sought the chamber where Aglauros slept, and hastened to obey the God's behest. She touched the maiden's bosom with her hands, foul with corrupting stains, and pierced her heart with jagged thorns, and breathed upon her face a noxious venom; and distilled through all the marrow of her bones, and in her lungs, a poison blacker than the ooze of pitch. And lest the canker of her poisoned soul might spread unchecked throughout increasing space, she caused a vision of her sister's form to rise before her, happy with the God who shone in his celestial beauty. All appeared more beautiful than real life.—when the most wretched daughter of Cecrops had seen the vision secret torment seized on all her vitals; and she groaned aloud, tormented by her frenzy day and night. A slow consumption wasted her away, as ice is melted by the slant sunbeam, when the cool clouds are flitting in the sky. If she but thought of Herse's happiness she burned, as thorny bushes are consumed with smoldering embers under steaming stems. She could not bear to see her sister's joy, and longed for death, an end of misery; or schemed to end the torture of her mind by telling all she knew in shameful words, whispered to her austere and upright sire.

[815] But after many agonizing hours, she sat before the threshold of their home to intercept the God, who as he neared spoke softly in smooth blandishment. “Enough,” she said, “I will not move from here until thou hast departed from my sight.” “Let us adhere to that which was agreed.” Rejoined the graceful-formed Cyllenian God, who as he spoke thrust open with a touch of his compelling wand the carved door. But when she made an effort to arise, her thighs felt heavy, rigid and benumbed; and as she struggled to arise her knees were stiffened? and her nails turned pale and cold; her veins grew pallid as the blood congealed. And even as the dreaded cancer spreads through all the body, adding to its taint the flesh uninjured; so, a deadly chill entered by slow degrees her breast, and stopped her breathing, and the passages of life. She did not try to speak, but had she made an effort to complain there was not left a passage for her voice. Her neck was changed to rigid stone, her countenance felt hard; she sat a bloodless statue, but of stone not marble-white—her mind had stained it black.

[833] So from the land of Pallas went the God, his great revenge accomplished on the head of impious Aglauros; and he soared on waving wings into the opened skies: and there his father called him to his side, and said,—with words to hide his passion;—Son,—thou faithful minister of my commands.—let naught delay thee—swiftly take the way, accustomed, to the land of Sidon (which adores thy mother's star upon the left) when there, drive over to the sounding shore that royal herd, which far away is fed on mountain grass.—he spoke, and instantly the herd was driven from the mountain side; then headed for the shore, as Jove desired,—to where the great king's daughter often went in play, attended by the maids of Tyre.—can love abide the majesty of kings? Love cannot always dwell upon a throne.—

EUROPA AND JUPITER, THE HOUSE OF CADMUS [846] Jove laid aside his glorious dignity, for he assumed the semblance of a bull and mingled with the bullocks in the groves, his colour white as virgin snow, untrod, unmelted by the watery Southern Wind. His neck was thick with muscles, dewlaps hung between his shoulders; and his polished horns, so small and beautifully set, appeared the artifice of man; fashioned as fair and more transparent than a lucent gem. His forehead was not lowered for attack, nor was there fury in his open eyes; the love of peace was in his countenance. When she beheld his beauty and mild eyes, the daughter of Agenor was amazed; but, daring not to touch him, stood apart until her virgin fears were quieted; then, near him, fragrant flowers in her hand she offered,—tempting, to his gentle mouth: and then the loving god in his great joy kissed her sweet hands, and could not wait her will. Jove then began to frisk upon the grass, or laid his snow-white side on the smooth sand, yellow and golden. As her courage grew he gave his breast one moment for caress, or bent his head for garlands newly made, wreathed for his polished horns. The royal maid, unwitting what she did, at length sat down upon the bull's broad back. Then by degrees the god moved from the land and from the shore, and placed his feet, that seemed but shining hoofs, in shallow water by the sandy merge; and not a moment resting bore her thence, across the surface of the Middle Sea, while she affrighted gazed upon the shore—so fast receding. And she held his horn with her right hand, and, steadied by the left, held on his ample back—and in the breeze her waving garments fluttered as they went.


CADMUS AND THE DRAGON, THE HOUSE OF CADMUS [1] Now Jupiter had not revealed himself, nor laid aside the semblance of a bull, until they stood upon the plains of Crete. But not aware of this, her father bade her brother Cadmus search through all the world, until he found his sister, and proclaimed him doomed to exile if he found her not;—thus was he good and wicked in one deed. When he had vainly wandered over the earth (for who can fathom the deceits of Jove?) Cadmus, the son of King Agenor, shunned his country and his father's mighty wrath. But he consulted the famed oracles of Phoebus, and enquired of them what land might offer him a refuge and a home. And Phoebus answered him; “When on the plains a heifer, that has never known the yoke, shall cross thy path go thou thy way with her, and follow where she leads; and when she lies, to rest herself upon the meadow green, there shalt thou stop, as it will be a sign for thee to build upon that plain the walls of a great city: and its name shall be the City of Boeotia.” Cadmus turned; but hardly had descended from the cave, Castalian, ere he saw a heifer go unguarded, gentle-paced, without the scars of labour on her neck. He followed close upon her steps (and silently adored celestial Phoebus, author of his way) till over the channel that Cephissus wears he forded to the fields of Panope and even over to Boeotia.—there stood the slow-paced heifer, and she raised her forehead, broad with shapely horns, towards Heaven; and as she filled the air with lowing, stretched her side upon the tender grass, and turned her gaze on him who followed in her path. Cadmus gave thanks and kissed the foreign soil, and offered salutation to the fields and unexplored hills.

[26] Then he prepared to make large sacrifice to Jupiter, and ordered slaves to seek the living springs whose waters in libation might be poured. There was an ancient grove, whose branching trees had never known the desecrating ax, where hidden in the undergrowth a cave, with oziers bending round its low-formed arch, was hollowed in the jutting rocks—deep-found in the dark center of that hallowed grove—beneath its arched roof a beauteous stream of water welled serene. Its gloom concealed a dragon, sacred to the war-like Mars; crested and gorgeous with radescent scales, and eyes that sparkled as the glow of coals. A deadly venom had puffed up his bulk, and from his jaws he darted forth three tongues, and in a triple row his sharp teeth stood. Now those who ventured of the Tyrian race, misfortuned followers of Cadmus, took the path that led them to this grove; and when they cast down-splashing in the springs an urn, the hidden dragon stretched his azure head out from the cavern's gloom, and vented forth terrific hissings. Horrified they dropped their urns. A sudden trembling shook their knees; and their life-blood was ice within their veins. The dragon wreathed his scales in rolling knots, and with a spring, entwisted in great folds, reared up his bulk beyond the middle rings, high in the air from whence was given his gaze the extreme confines of the grove below. A size prodigious, his enormous bulk, if seen extended where was naught to hide, would rival in its length the Serpent's folds, involved betwixt the planes of the Twin Bears. The terrified Phoenicians, whether armed for conflict, or in flight precipitate, or whether held incapable from fear, he seized with sudden rage; stung them to death, or crushed them in the grasp of crushing folds, or blasted with the poison of his breath.

[50] High in the Heavens the sun small shadow made when Cadmus, wondering what detained his men, prepared to follow them. Clothed in a skin torn from a lion, he was armed, complete, with lance of glittering steel; and with a dart: but passing these he had a dauntless soul. When he explored the grove and there beheld the lifeless bodies, and above them stretched the vast victorious dragon licking up the blood that issued from their ghastly wounds; his red tongues dripping gore; then Cadmus filled with rage and grief; “Behold, my faithful ones! I will avenge your deaths or I will share it!” He spoke; and lifted up a mill-stone huge, in his right hand, and having poised it, hurled with a tremendous effort dealing such a blow would crush the strongest builded walls; yet neither did the dragon flinch the shock nor was he wounded, for his armour-scales, fixed in his hard and swarthy hide, repelled the dreadful impact. Not the javelin thus, so surely by his armoured skin was foiled, for through the middle segment of his spine the steel point pierced, and sank beneath the flesh, deep in his entrails. Writhing in great pain he turned his head upon his bleeding back, twisting the shaft, with force prodigious shook it back and forth, and wrenched it from the wound; with difficulty wrenched it. But the steel remained securely fastened in his bones. Such agony but made increase of rage: his throat was swollen with great knotted veins; a white froth gathered on his poisonous jaws; the earth resounded with his rasping scales; he breathed upon the grass a pestilence, steaming mephitic from his Stygian mouth. His body writhes up in tremendous gyres; his folds, now straighter than a beam, untwist; he rushes forward on his vengeful foe, his great breast crushing the deep-rooted trees. Small space gave Cadmus to the dragon's rage, for by the lion's spoil he stood the shock, and thrusting in his adversary's jaws the trusted lance gave check his mad career. Wild in his rage the dragon bit the steel and fixed his teeth on the keen-biting point: out from his poisoned palate streams of gore spouted and stained the green with sanguine spray. Yet slight the wound for he recoiled in time, and drew his wounded body from the spear; by shrinking from the sharp steel saved his throat a mortal wound. But Cadmus as he pressed the spear-point deeper in the serpent's throat, pursued him till an oak-tree barred the way; to this he fixed the dragon through the neck: the stout trunk bending with the monster's weight, groaned at the lashing of his serpent tail.

[95] While the brave victor gazed upon the bulk enormous of his vanquished foe, a voice was heard—from whence was difficult to know, but surely heard—“Son of Agenor, why art thou here standing by this carcase-worm, for others shall behold thy body changed into a serpent?” Terrified, amazed, he lost his colour and his self-control; his hair stood upright from the dreadful fright. But lo, the hero's watchful Deity, Minerva, from the upper realms of air appeared before him. She commanded him to sow the dragon's teeth in mellowed soil, from which might spring another race of men. And he obeyed: and as he plowed the land, took care to scatter in the furrowed soil the dragon's teeth; a seed to raise up man. 'Tis marvelous but true, when this was done the clods began to move. A spear-point first appeared above the furrows, followed next by helmet-covered heads, nodding their cones; their shoulders, breasts and arms weighted with spears; and largely grew the shielded crop of men.—so is it in the joyful theaters when the gay curtains, rolling from the floor, are upward drawn until the scene is shown,—it seems as if the figures rise to view: first we behold their faces, then we see their bodies, and their forms by slow degrees appear before us on the painted cloth.

[115] Cadmus, affrighted by this host, prepared to arm for his defence; but one of those from earth created cried; “Arm not! Away from civil wars!” And with his trenchant sword he smote an earth-born brother, hand to hand; even as the vanquished so the victor fell, pierced by a dart some distant brother hurled; and likewise he who cast that dart was slain: both breathing forth their lives upon the air so briefly theirs, expired together. All as if demented leaped in sudden rage, each on the other, dealing mutual wounds. So, having lived the space allotted them, the youthful warriors perished as they smote the earth (their blood-stained mother) with their breasts: and only five of all the troop remained; of whom Echion, by Minerva warned, called on his brothers to give up the fight, and cast his arms away in pledge of faith.—when Cadmus, exiled from Sidonia's gates, builded the city by Apollo named, these five were trusted comrades in his toil.

ACTAEON, THE HOUSE OF CADMUS [131] Now Thebes is founded, who can deem thy days unhappy in shine exile, Cadmus? Thou, the son-in-law of Mars and Venus; thou, whose glorious wife has borne to shine embrace daughters and sons? And thy grandchildren join around thee, almost grown to man's estate.—nor should we say, “He leads a happy life,” Till after death the funeral rites are paid.

[138] Thy grandson, Cadmus, was the first to cast thy dear felicity in sorrow's gloom. Oh, it was pitiful to witness him, his horns outbranching from his forehead, chased by dogs that panted for their master's blood! If thou shouldst well inquire it will be shown his sorrow was the crime of Fortune—not his guilt—for who maintains mistakes are crimes? Upon a mountain stained with slaughtered game, the young Hyantian stood. Already day, increasing to meridian, made decrease the flitting shadows, and the hot sun shone betwixt extremes in equal distance. Such the hour, when speaking to his fellow friends, the while they wandered by those lonely haunts, actaeon of Hyantis kindly thus; “Our nets and steel are stained with slaughtered game, the day has filled its complement of sport; now, when Aurora in her saffron car brings back the light of day, we may again repair to haunts of sport. Now Phoebus hangs in middle sky, cleaving the fields with heat.—enough of toil; take down the knotted nets.”—all did as he commanded; and they sought their needed rest.

[155] There is a valley called Gargaphia; sacred to Diana, dense with pine trees and the pointed cypress, where, deep in the woods that fringed the valley's edge, was hollowed in frail sandstone and the soft white pumice of the hills an arch, so true it seemed the art of man; for Nature's touch ingenious had so fairly wrought the stone, making the entrance of a grotto cool. Upon the right a limpid fountain ran, and babbled, as its lucid channel spread into a clear pool edged with tender grass. Here, when a-wearied with exciting sport, the Sylvan goddess loved to come and bathe her virgin beauty in the crystal pool. After Diana entered with her nymphs, she gave her javelin, quiver and her bow to one accustomed to the care of arms; she gave her mantle to another nymph who stood near by her as she took it off; two others loosed the sandals from her feet; but Crocale, the daughter of Ismenus, more skillful than her sisters, gathered up the goddess' scattered tresses in a knot;—her own were loosely wantoned on the breeze. Then in their ample urns dipt up the wave and poured it forth, the cloud-nymph Nephele, the nymph of crystal pools called Hyale, the rain-drop Rhanis, Psecas of the dews, and Phyale the guardian of their urns. And while they bathed Diana in their streams, Actaeon, wandering through the unknown woods, entered the precincts of that sacred grove; with steps uncertain wandered he as fate directed, for his sport must wait till morn.—soon as he entered where the clear springs welled or trickled from the grotto's walls, the nymphs, now ready for the bath, beheld the man, smote on their breasts, and made the woods resound, suddenly shrieking. Quickly gathered they to shield Diana with their naked forms, but she stood head and shoulders taller than her guards.—as clouds bright-tinted by the slanting sun, or purple-dyed Aurora, so appeared Diana's countenance when she was seen.

[187] Oh, how she wished her arrows were at hand! But only having water, this she took and dashed it on his manly countenance, and sprinkled with the avenging stream his hair, and said these words, presage of future woe; “Go tell it, if your tongue can tell the tale, your bold eyes saw me stripped of all my robes.” No more she threatened, but she fixed the horns of a great stag firm on his sprinkled brows; she lengthened out his neck; she made his ears sharp at the top; she changed his hands and feet; made long legs of his arms, and covered him with dappled hair—his courage turned to fear. The brave son of Autonoe took to flight, and marveled that he sped so swiftly on.—He saw his horns reflected in a stream and would have said, “Ah, wretched me!” but now he had no voice, and he could only groan: large tears ran trickling down his face, transformed in every feature.—Yet, as clear remained his understanding, and he wondered what he should attempt to do: should he return to his ancestral palace, or plunge deep in vast vacuities of forest wilds? Fear made him hesitate to trust the woods, and shame deterred him from his homeward way.

[206] While doubting thus his dogs espied him there: first Blackfoot and the sharp nosed Tracer raised the signal: Tracer of the Gnossian breed, and Blackfoot of the Spartan: swift as wind the others followed. Glutton, Quicksight, Surefoot, three dogs of Arcady; then valiant Killbuck, Tempest, fierce Hunter, and the rapid Wingfoot; sharp-scented Chaser, and Woodranger wounded so lately by a wild boar; savage Wildwood, the wolf-begot with Shepherdess the cow-dog; and ravenous Harpy followed by her twin whelps; and thin-girt Ladon chosen from Sicyonia; racer and Barker, brindled Spot and Tiger; sturdy old Stout and white haired Blanche and black Smut lusty big Lacon, trusty Storm and Quickfoot; active young Wolfet and her Cyprian brother black headed Snap, blazed with a patch of white hair from forehead to his muzzle; swarthy Blackcoat and shaggy Bristle, Towser and Wildtooth, his sire of Dicte and his dam of Lacon; and yelping Babbler: these and others, more than patience leads us to recount or name. All eager for their prey the pack surmount rocks, cliffs and crags, precipitous—where paths are steep, where roads are none. He flies by routes so oft pursued but now, alas, his flight is from his own!—He would have cried, “Behold your master!—It is I—Actaeon!” Words refused his will. The yelping pack pressed on. First Blackmane seized and tore his master's back, Savage the next, then Rover's teeth were clinched deep in his shoulder.—These, though tardy out, cut through a by-path and arriving first clung to their master till the pack came up. The whole pack fastened on their master's flesh till place was none for others. Groaning he made frightful sounds that not the human voice could utter nor the stag; and filled the hills with dismal moans; and as a suppliant fell down to the ground upon his trembling knees; and turned his stricken eyes on his own dogs, entreating them to spare him from their fangs.

[242] But his companions, witless of his plight, urged on the swift pack with their hunting cries. They sought Actaeon and they vainly called, “Actaeon! Hi! Actaeon!” just as though he was away from them. Each time they called he turned his head. And when they chided him, whose indolence denied the joys of sport, how much he wished an indolent desire had haply held him from his ravenous pack. Oh, how much;better 'tis to see the hunt, and the fierce dogs, than feel their savage deeds! They gathered round him, and they fixed their snouts deep in his flesh: tore him to pieces, he whose features only as a stag appeared.—'Tis said Diana's fury raged with none abatement till the torn flesh ceased to live.

SEMELE AND JUPITER, THE HOUSE OF CADMUS [251] Hapless Actaeon's end in various ways was now regarded; some deplored his doom, but others praised Diana's chastity; and all gave many reasons. But the spouse of Jove, alone remaining silent, gave nor praise nor blame. Whenever calamity befell the race of Cadmus she rejoiced, in secret, for she visited her rage on all Europa's kindred. Now a fresh occasion has been added to her grief, and wild with jealousy of Semele, her tongue as ever ready to her rage, lets loose a torrent of abuse; “Away! Away with words! Why should I speak of it? Let me attack her! Let me spoil that jade! Am I not Juno the supreme of Heaven? Queen of the flashing scepter? Am I not sister and wife of Jove omnipotent? She even wishes to be known by him a mother of a Deity, a joy almost denied to me! Great confidence has she in her great beauty – nevertheless, I shall so weave the web the bolt of Jove would fail to save her.—Let the Gods deny that I am Saturn's daughter, if her shade descend not stricken to the Stygian wave.”

[273] She rose up quickly from her shining throne, and hidden in a cloud of fiery hue descended to the home of Semele; and while encompassed by the cloud, transformed her whole appearance as to counterfeit old Beroe, an Epidaurian nurse, who tended Semele. Her tresses changed to grey, her smooth skin wrinkled and her step grown feeble as she moved with trembling limbs;—her voice was quavering as an ancient dame's, as Juno, thus disguised, began to talk to Semele. When presently the name of Jove was mentioned—artful Juno thus; (doubtful that Jupiter could be her love)—“When Jove appears to pledge his love to you, implore him to assume his majesty and all his glory, even as he does in presence of his stately Juno—Yea, implore him to caress you as a God.”

[287] With artful words as these the goddess worked upon the trusting mind of Semele, daughter of Cadmus, till she begged of Jove a boon, that only hastened her sad death; for Jove not knowing her design replied, “Whatever thy wish, it shall not be denied, and that thy heart shall suffer no distrust, I pledge me by that Deity, the Waves of the deep Stygian Lake,—oath of the Gods.” All overjoyed at her misfortune, proud that she prevailed, and pleased that she secured of him a promise, that could only cause her own disaster, Semele addressed almighty Jove; “Come unto me in all the splendour of thy glory, as thy might is shown to Juno, goddess of the skies.” Fain would he stifle her disastrous tongue; before he knew her quest the words were said; and, knowing that his greatest oath was pledged, he sadly mounted to the lofty skies, and by his potent nod assembled there the deep clouds: and the rain began to pour, and thunder-bolts resounded. But he strove to mitigate his power, and armed him not with flames overwhelming as had put to flight his hundred-handed foe Typhoeus—flames too dreadful. Other thunder-bolts he took, forged by the Cyclops of a milder heat, with which insignia of his majesty, sad and reluctant, he appeared to her.—her mortal form could not endure the shock and she was burned to ashes in his sight. An unformed babe was rescued from her side, and, nurtured in the thigh of Jupiter, completed Nature's time until his birth. Ino, his aunt, in secret nursed the boy and cradled him. And him Nyseian nymphs concealed in caves and fed with needful milk.

TIRESIAS BLIND PROPHECIES [316] While these events according to the laws of destiny occurred, and while the child, the twice-born Bacchus, in his cradle lay, 'Tis told that Jupiter, a careless hour, indulged too freely in the nectar cup; and having laid aside all weighty cares, jested with Juno as she idled by. Freely the god began; “Who doubts the truth? The female's pleasure is a great delight, much greater than the pleasure of a male.” Juno denied it; wherefore 'twas agreed to ask Tiresias to declare the truth, than whom none knew both male and female joys: for wandering in a green wood he had seen two serpents coupling; and he took his staff and sharply struck them, till they broke and fled. 'Tis marvelous, that instant he became a woman from a man, and so remained while seven autumns passed. When eight were told, again he saw them in their former plight, and thus he spoke; “Since such a power was wrought, by one stroke of a staff my sex was changed—again I strike!” And even as he struck the same two snakes, his former sex returned; his manhood was restored.—as both agreed to choose him umpire of the sportive strife, he gave decision in support of Jove; from this the disappointment Juno felt surpassed all reason, and enraged, decreed eternal night should seal Tiresias' eyes.—immortal Deities may never turn decrees and deeds of other Gods to naught, but Jove, to recompense his loss of sight, endowed him with the gift of prophecy.

NARCISSUS AND ECHO, THE HOUSE OF CADMUS [339] Tiresias' fame of prophecy was spread through all the cities of Aonia, for his unerring answers unto all who listened to his words. And first of those that harkened to his fateful prophecies, a lovely Nymph, named Liriope, came with her dear son, who then fifteen, might seem a man or boy—he who was born to her upon the green merge of Cephissus' stream—that mighty River-God whom she declared the father of her boy. – she questioned him. Imploring him to tell her if her son, unequalled for his beauty, whom she called Narcissus, might attain a ripe old age. To which the blind seer answered in these words, “If he but fail to recognize himself, a long life he may have, beneath the sun,”—so, frivolous the prophet's words appeared; and yet the event, the manner of his death, the strange delusion of his frenzied love, confirmed it. Three times five years so were passed. Another five-years, and the lad might seem a young man or a boy. And many a youth, and many a damsel sought to gain his love; but such his mood and spirit and his pride, none gained his favour.

[359] Once a noisy Nymph, (who never held her tongue when others spoke, who never spoke till others had begun) mocking Echo, spied him as he drove, in his delusive nets, some timid stags.—For Echo was a Nymph, in olden time,—and, more than vapid sound,—possessed a form: and she was then deprived the use of speech, except to babble and repeat the words, once spoken, over and over. Juno confused her silly tongue, because she often held that glorious goddess with her endless tales, till many a hapless Nymph, from Jove's embrace, had made escape adown a mountain. But for this, the goddess might have caught them. Thus the glorious Juno, when she knew her guile; “Your tongue, so freely wagged at my expense, shall be of little use; your endless voice, much shorter than your tongue.” At once the Nymph was stricken as the goddess had decreed;—and, ever since, she only mocks the sounds of others' voices, or, perchance, returns their final words.

[370] One day, when she observed Narcissus wandering in the pathless woods, she loved him and she followed him, with soft and stealthy tread.—The more she followed him the hotter did she burn, as when the flame flares upward from the sulphur on the torch. Oh, how she longed to make her passion known! To plead in soft entreaty! to implore his love! But now, till others have begun, a mute of Nature she must be. She cannot choose but wait the moment when his voice may give to her an answer. Presently the youth, by chance divided from his trusted friends, cries loudly, “Who is here?” and Echo, “Here!” Replies. Amazed, he casts his eyes around, and calls with louder voice, “Come here!” “Come here!” She calls the youth who calls.—He turns to see who calls him and, beholding naught exclaims, “Avoid me not!” “Avoid me not!” returns. He tries again, again, and is deceived by this alternate voice, and calls aloud; “Oh let us come together!” Echo cries, “Oh let us come together!” Never sound seemed sweeter to the Nymph, and from the woods she hastens in accordance with her words, and strives to wind her arms around his neck. He flies from her and as he leaves her says, “Take off your hands! you shall not fold your arms around me. Better death than such a one should ever caress me!” Naught she answers save, “Caress me!” Thus rejected she lies hid in the deep woods, hiding her blushing face with the green leaves; and ever after lives concealed in lonely caverns in the hills. But her great love increases with neglect; her miserable body wastes away, wakeful with sorrows; leanness shrivels up her skin, and all her lovely features melt, as if dissolved upon the wafting winds—nothing remains except her bones and voice—her voice continues, in the wilderness; her bones have turned to stone. She lies concealed in the wild woods, nor is she ever seen on lonely mountain range; for, though we hear her calling in the hills, 'tis but a voice, a voice that lives, that lives among the hills.

[402] Thus he deceived the Nymph and many more, sprung from the mountains or the sparkling waves; and thus he slighted many an amorous youth.—and therefore, some one whom he once despised, lifting his hands to Heaven, implored the Gods, “If he should love deny him what he loves!” and as the prayer was uttered it was heard by Nemesis, who granted her assent.

[407] There was a fountain silver-clear and bright, which neither shepherds nor the wild she-goats, that range the hills, nor any cattle's mouth had touched—its waters were unsullied—birds disturbed it not; nor animals, nor boughs that fall so often from the trees. Around sweet grasses nourished by the stream grew; trees that shaded from the sun let balmy airs temper its waters. Here Narcissus, tired of hunting and the heated noon, lay down, attracted by the peaceful solitudes and by the glassy spring. There as he stooped to quench his thirst another thirst increased. While he is drinking he beholds himself reflected in the mirrored pool—and loves; loves an imagined body which contains no substance, for he deems the mirrored shade a thing of life to love. He cannot move, for so he marvels at himself, and lies with countenance unchanged, as if indeed a statue carved of Parian marble. Long, supine upon the bank, his gaze is fixed on his own eyes, twin stars; his fingers shaped as Bacchus might desire, his flowing hair as glorious as Apollo's, and his cheeks youthful and smooth; his ivory neck, his mouth dreaming in sweetness, his complexion fair and blushing as the rose in snow-drift white. All that is lovely in himself he loves, and in his witless way he wants himself:—he who approves is equally approved; he seeks, is sought, he burns and he is burnt. And how he kisses the deceitful fount; and how he thrusts his arms to catch the neck that's pictured in the middle of the stream! Yet never may he wreathe his arms around that image of himself. He knows not what he there beholds, but what he sees inflames his longing, and the error that deceives allures his eyes. But why, O foolish boy, so vainly catching at this flitting form? The cheat that you are seeking has no place. Avert your gaze and you will lose your love, for this that holds your eyes is nothing save the image of yourself reflected back to you. It comes and waits with you; it has no life; it will depart if you will only go.

[435] Nor food nor rest can draw him thence—outstretched upon the overshadowed green, his eyes fixed on the mirrored image never may know their longings satisfied, and by their sight he is himself undone. Raising himself a moment, he extends his arms around, and, beckoning to the murmuring forest; “Oh, ye aisled wood was ever man in love more fatally than I? Your silent paths have sheltered many a one whose love was told, and ye have heard their voices. Ages vast have rolled away since your forgotten birth, but who is he through all those weary years that ever pined away as I? Alas, this fatal image wins my love, as I behold it. But I cannot press my arms around the form I see, the form that gives me joy. What strange mistake has intervened betwixt us and our love? It grieves me more that neither lands nor seas nor mountains, no, nor walls with closed gates deny our loves, but only a little water keeps us far asunder. Surely he desires my love and my embraces, for as oft I strive to kiss him, bending to the limpid stream my lips, so often does he hold his face fondly to me, and vainly struggles up. It seems that I could touch him. 'Tis a strange delusion that is keeping us apart. Whoever thou art, Come up! Deceive me not! Oh, whither when I fain pursue art thou? Ah, surely I am young and fair, the Nymphs have loved me; and when I behold thy smiles I cannot tell thee what sweet hopes arise. When I extend my loving arms to thee thine also are extended me—thy smiles return my own. When I was weeping, I have seen thy tears, and every sign I make thou cost return; and often thy sweet lips have seemed to move, that, peradventure words, which I have never heard, thou hast returned. No more my shade deceives me, I perceive 'Tis I in thee—I love myself—the flame arises in my breast and burns my heart—what shall I do? Shall I at once implore? Or should I linger till my love is sought? What is it I implore? The thing that I desire is mine—abundance makes me poor. Oh, I am tortured by a strange desire unknown to me before, for I would fain put off this mortal form; which only means I wish the object of my love away. Grief saps my strength, the sands of life are run, and in my early youth am I cut off; but death is not my bane—it ends my woe.—I would not death for this that is my love, as two united in a single soul would die as one.”

[474] He spoke; and crazed with love, returned to view the same face in the pool; and as he grieved his tears disturbed the stream, and ripples on the surface, glassy clear, defaced his mirrored form. And thus the youth, when he beheld that lovely shadow go; “Ah whither cost thou fly? Oh, I entreat thee leave me not. Alas, thou cruel boy thus to forsake thy lover. Stay with me that I may see thy lovely form, for though I may not touch thee I shall feed my eyes and soothe my wretched pains.” And while he spoke he rent his garment from the upper edge, and beating on his naked breast, all white as marble, every stroke produced a tint as lovely as the apple streaked with red, or as the glowing grape when purple bloom touches the ripening clusters. When as glass again the rippling waters smoothed, and when such beauty in the stream the youth observed, no more could he endure. As in the flame the yellow wax, or as the hoar-frost melts in early morning 'neath the genial sun; so did he pine away, by love consumed, and slowly wasted by a hidden flame. No vermeil bloom now mingled in the white of his complexion fair; no strength has he, no vigor, nor the comeliness that wrought for love so long: alas, that handsome form by Echo fondly loved may please no more.

[494] But when she saw him in his hapless plight, though angry at his scorn, she only grieved. As often as the love-lore boy complained, “Alas!” “Alas!” her echoing voice returned; and as he struck his hands against his arms, she ever answered with her echoing sounds. And as he gazed upon the mirrored pool he said at last, “Ah, youth beloved in vain!” “In vain, in vain!” the spot returned his words; and when he breathed a sad “farewell!” “Farewell!” sighed Echo too. He laid his wearied head, and rested on the verdant grass; and those bright eyes, which had so loved to gaze, entranced, on their own master's beauty, sad Night closed. And now although among the nether shades his sad sprite roams, he ever loves to gaze on his reflection in the Stygian wave. His Naiad sisters mourned, and having clipped their shining tresses laid them on his corpse: and all the Dryads mourned: and Echo made lament anew. And these would have upraised his funeral pyre, and waved the flaming torch, and made his bier; but as they turned their eyes where he had been, alas he was not there! And in his body's place a sweet flower grew, golden and white, the white around the gold.

PENTHEUS AND BACCHUS [509] Narcissus' fate, when known throughout the land and cities of Achaia, added fame deserved, to blind Tiresias,—mighty seer. Yet Pentheus, bold despiser of the Gods, son of Echion, scoffed at all his praise, and, sole of man deriding the great seer, upbraided him his hapless loss of sight. And shaking his white temples, hoar with age. Tiresias of Pentheus prophesied, “Oh glad the day to thee, if, light denied, thine eyes, most fortunate, should not behold the Bacchanalian rites! The day will come, and soon the light will dawn, when Bacchus, born of Semele, shall make his advent known—all hail the new god Bacchus! Either thou must build a temple to this Deity, or shalt be torn asunder; thy remains, throughout the forest scattered, will pollute the wood with sanguinary streams; and thy life-blood bespatter with corrupting blots thy frenzied mother and her sisters twain. And all shall come to pass, as I have told, because thou wilt not honour the New God. And thou shalt wail and marvel at the sight of blind Tiresias, though veiled in night.” And as he spoke, lo, Pentheus drove the seer: but all his words, prophetic, were fulfilled, and confirmation followed in his steps.—

[528] Bacchus at once appears, and all the fields resound with shouts of everybody there.—men, brides and matrons, and a howling rout—nobles and commons and the most refined—a motley multitude—resistless borne to join those rites of Bacchus, there begun. Then Pentheus cries; “What madness, O ye brave descendants of the Dragon! Sons of Mars! What frenzy has confounded you? Can sounds of clanging brass prevail; and pipes and horns, and magical delusions, drunkenness, and yelling women, and obscene displays, and hollow drums, overcome you, whom the sword, nor troops of war, nor trumpet could affright? How shall I wonder at these ancient men, who, crossing boundless seas from distant Tyre, hither transferred their exiled Household Gods, and founded a new Tyre; but now are shorn, and even as captives would be led away without appeal to Mars? And, O young men, of active prime whose vigor equals mine! Cast down your ivy scepters; take up arms; put on your helmets; strip your brows of leaves; be mindful of the mighty stock you are, and let your souls be animated with the spirit of that dauntless dragon, which, unaided, slew so many, and at last died to defend his fountain and his lake.—so ye may conquer in the hope of fame. He gave the brave to death, but with your arms ye shall expel the worthless, and enhance the glory of your land. If Fate decree the fall of Thebes, Oh, let the engines of war and men pull down its walls, and let the clash of steel and roaring flames resound. Thus, blameless in great misery, our woes would be the theme of lamentations, known to story; and our tears would shame us not. But now an unarmed boy will conquer Thebes: a lad whom neither weapons, wars nor steeds delight; whose ringlets reek with myrrh; adorned with chaplets, purple and embroidered robes of interwoven gold. Make way for me! And I will soon compel him to confess his father is assumed and all his rites are frauds. If in days gone Acrisius so held this vain god in deserved contempt, and shut the Argive gates against his face, why, therefore, should not Pentheus close the gates of Thebes, with equal courage—Hence! Away! Fetch the vile leader of these rioters in chains! Let not my mandate be delayed.”

[564] Him to restrain his grandsire, Cadmus, strove; and Athamas, and many of his trusted friends united in vain efforts to rebuke his reckless rage; but greater violence was gained from every admonition.—his rage increased the more it was restrained, and injury resulted from his friends. So have I seen a stream in open course, run gently on its way with pleasant noise, but whensoever logs and rocks detained, it foamed, with violence increased, against obstruction.

[572] Presently returning came his servants stained with blood, to whom he said, “What have ye done with Bacchus?” And to him they made reply; “Not Bacchus have we seen, but we have taken his attendant lad, the chosen servant of his sacred rites.” And they delivered to the noble king, a youth whose hands were lashed behind his back. Then Pentheus, terrible in anger, turned his awful gaze upon the lad, and though he scarce deferred his doom, addressed him thus; “Doomed to destruction, thou art soon to give example to my people by thy death: tell me thy name; what are thy parents called; where is thy land; and wherefore art thou found attendant on these Bacchanalian rites.”

TYRRHENIAN PIRATES AND BACCHUS [580] But fearless he replied; “They call my name Acoetes; and Maeonia is the land from whence I came. My parents were so poor, my father left me neither fruitful fields, tilled by the lusty ox, nor fleecy sheep, nor lowing kine; for, he himself was poor, and with his hook and line was wont to catch the leaping fishes, landed by his rod. His skill was all his wealth. And when to me he gave his trade, he said, `You are the heir of my employment, therefore unto you all that is mine I give,' and, at his death, he left me nothing but the running waves.—they are the sum of my inheritance. And, afterwhile, that I might not be bound forever to my father's rocky shores, I learned to steer the keel with dextrous hand; and marked with watchful gaze the guiding stars; the watery Constellation of the Goat, Olenian, and the Bear, the Hyades, the Pleiades, the houses of the winds, and every harbour suitable for ships. So chanced it, as I made for Delos, first I veered close to the shores of Chios: there I steered, by plying on the starboard oar, and nimbly leaping gained the sea-wet strand. “Now when the night was past and lovely dawn appeared, I,rose from slumber, and I bade my men to fetch fresh water, and I showed the pathway to the stream. Then did I climb a promontory's height, to learn from there the promise of the winds; which having done, I called the men and sought once more my ship.

[605] Opheltes, first of my companions, cried, `Behold we come!' And, thinking he had caught a worthy prize in that unfruitful land, he led a boy, of virgin-beauty formed, across the shore. Heavy with wine and sleep the lad appeared to stagger on his way,—with difficulty moving. When I saw the manner of his dress, his countenance and grace, I knew it was not mortal man, and being well assured, I said to them; `What Deity abideth in that form I cannot say; but 'tis a god in truth.—O whosoever thou art, vouchsafe to us propitious waters; ease our toils, and grant to these thy grace.' “At this, the one of all my mariners who was the quickest hand, who ever was the nimblest on the yards, and first to slip the ropes, Dictys exclaimed; `Pray not for us!' and all approved his words. The golden haired, the guardian of the prow, Melanthus, Libys and Alcimedon approved it; and Epopeus who should urge the flagging spirits, and with rhythmic chants give time and measure to the beating oars, and all the others praised their leader's words,—so blind is greed of gain.—Then I rejoined, `Mine is the greatest share in this good ship, which I will not permit to be destroyed, nor injured by this sacred freight:' and I opposed them as they came.

[623] “Then Lycabas, the most audacious of that impious crew, began to rage. He was a criminal, who, for a dreadful murder, had been sent in exile from a Tuscan city's gates. Whilst I opposed he gripped me by the throat, and shook me as would cast me in the deep, had I not firmly held a rope, half stunned: and all that wicked crew approved the deed. Then Bacchus (be assured it was the God) as though the noise disturbed his lethargy from wine, and reason had regained its power, at last bespake the men, `What deeds are these? What noise assails my ears? What means decoyed my wandering footsteps? Whither do ye lead?' `Fear not,' the steersman said, ‘but tell us fair the haven of your hope, and you shall land whereso your heart desires.' `To Naxos steer,' Quoth Bacchus, ‘for it is indeed my home, and there the mariner finds welcome cheer.' Him to deceive, they pledged themselves, and swore by Gods of seas and skies to do his will: and they commanded me to steer that way.

[640] “The Isle of Naxos was upon our right; and when they saw the sails were set that way, they all began to shout at once, `What, ho! Thou madman! what insanity is this, Acoetes? Make our passage to the left.' And all the while they made their meaning known by artful signs or whispers in my ears. I was amazed and answered, `Take the helm.' And I refused to execute their will, atrocious, and at once resigned command. Then all began to murmur, and the crew reviled me. Up Aethalion jumped and said, `As if our only safety is in you!' With this he swaggered up and took command; and leaving Naxos steered for other shores. Then Bacchus, mocking them,—as if but then he had discovered their deceitful ways,—looked on the ocean from the rounded stern, and seemed to sob as he addressed the men; `Ah mariners, what alien shores are these? 'Tis not the land you promised nor the port my heart desires. For what have I deserved this cruel wrong? What honour can accrue if strong men mock a boy; a lonely youth if many should deceive?' And as he spoke, I, also, wept to see their wickedness.

[656] “The impious gang made merry at our tears, and lashed the billows with their quickening oars. By Bacchus do I swear to you (and naught celestial is more potent) all the things I tell you are as true as they surpass the limit of belief. The ship stood still as if a dry dock held it in the sea.—The wondering sailors laboured at the oars, and they unfurled the sails, in hopes to gain some headway, with redoubled energies; but twisting ivy tangled in the oars, and interlacing held them by its weight. And Bacchus in the midst of all stood crowned with chaplets of grape-leaves, and shook a lance covered with twisted fronds of leafy vines. Around him crouched the visionary forms of tigers, lynxes, and the mottled shapes of panthers.

[670] Then the mariners leaped out, possessed by fear or madness. Medon first began to turn a swarthy hue, and fins grew outward from his flattened trunk, and with a curving spine his body bent.—then Lycabas to him, `What prodigy is this that I behold?' Even as he spoke, his jaws were broadened and his nose was bent; his hardened skin was covered with bright scales. And Libys, as he tried to pull the oars, could see his own hands shrivel into fins; another of the crew began to grasp the twisted ropes, but even as he strove to lift his arms they fastened to his sides;—with bending body and a crooked back he plunged into the waves, and as he swam displayed a tail, as crescent as the moon. Now here, now there, they flounce about the ship; they spray her decks with brine; they rise and sink; they rise again, and dive beneath the waves; they seem in sportive dance upon the main; out from their nostrils they spout sprays of brine; they toss their supple sides. And I alone, of twenty mariners that manned that ship, remained. A cold chill seized my limbs,—I was so frightened; but the gracious God now spake me fair, `Fear not and steer for Naxos.' And when we landed there I ministered on smoking altars Bacchanalian rites.”

PENTHEUS AND BACCHUS [690] But Pentheus answered him: “A parlous tale, and we have listened to the dreary end, hoping our anger might consume its rage;—away with him! hence drag him, hurl him out, with dreadful torture, into Stygian night.” Quickly they seized and dragged Acoetes forth, and cast him in a dungeon triple-strong. And while they fixed the instruments of death, kindled the fires, and wrought the cruel irons, the legend says, though no one aided him, the chains were loosened and slipped off his arms; the doors flew open of their own accord.

[701] But Pentheus, long-persisting in his rage, not caring to command his men to go, himself went forth to Mount Cithaeron, where resound with singing and with shrilly note the votaries of Bacchus at their rites. As when with sounding brass the trumpeter alarms of war, the mettled charger neighs and scents the battle; so the clamored skies resounding with the dreadful outcries fret the wrath of Pentheus and his rage enflame.

[708] About the middle of the mount (with groves around its margin) was a treeless plain, where nothing might conceal. Here as he stood to view the sacred rites with impious eyes, his mother saw him first. She was so wrought with frenzy that she failed to know her son, and cast her thyrsus that it wounded him; and shouted, “Hi! come hither, Ho! Come hither my two sisters! a great boar hath strayed into our fields; come! see me strike and wound him!” As he fled from them in fright the raging multitude rushed after him; and, as they gathered round; in cowardice he cried for mercy and condemned himself, confessing he had sinned against a God. And as they wounded him he called his aunt; “Autonoe have mercy! Let the shade of sad Actaeon move thee to relent!” No pity moved her when she heard that name; in a wild frenzy she forgot her son. While Pentheus was imploring her, she tore his right arm out; her sister Ino wrenched the other from his trunk. He could not stretch his arms out to his mother, but he cried, “Behold me, mother!” When Agave saw, his bleeding limbs, torn, scattered on the ground, she howled, and tossed her head, and shook her hair that streamed upon the breeze; and when his head was wrenched out from his mangled corpse, she clutched it with her blood-smeared fingers, while she shouted, “Ho! companions! victory! The victory is ours!” So when the wind strips from a lofty tree its leaves, which touched by autumn's cold are loosely held, they fall not quicker than the wretch's bleeding limbs were torn asunder by their cursed hands. Now, frightened by this terrible event, the women of Ismenus celebrate the new Bacchantian rites; and they revere the sacred altars, heaped with frankincense.


DAUGHTERS OF KING MINYAS TRANSFORMED TO BATS [1] Alcithoe, daughter of King Minyas, consents not to the orgies of the God; denies that Bacchus is the son of Jove, and her two sisters join her in that crime. 'Twas festal-day when matrons and their maids, keeping it sacred, had forbade all toil.—And having draped their bosoms with wild skins, they loosed their long hair for the sacred wreaths, and took the leafy thyrsus in their hands;—for so the priest commanded them. Austere the wrath of Bacchus if his power be scorned. Mothers and youthful brides obeyed the priest; and putting by their wickers and their webs, dropt their unfinished toils to offer up frankincense to the God; invoking him with many names:—“O Bacchus! O Twice-born! O Fire-begot! Thou only child Twice-mothered! God of all those who plant the luscious grape! O Liber!” All these names and many more, for ages known—throughout the lands of Greece. Thy youth is not consumed by wasting time; and lo, thou art an ever-youthful boy, most beautiful of all the Gods of Heaven, smooth as a virgin when thy horns are hid.—The distant east to tawny India's clime, where rolls remotest Ganges to the sea, was conquered by thy might.—O Most-revered! Thou didst destroy the doubting Pentheus, and hurled the sailors' bodies in the deep, and smote Lycurgus, wielder of the ax. And thou dost guide thy lynxes, double-yoked, with showy harness.—Satyrs follow thee; and Bacchanals, and old Silenus, drunk, unsteady on his staff; jolting so rough on his small back-bent ass; and all the way resounds a youthful clamour; and the screams of women! and the noise of tambourines! And the hollow cymbals! and the boxwood flutes,—fitted with measured holes.—Thou art implored by all Ismenian women to appear peaceful and mild; and they perform thy rites.”

[32] Only the daughters of King Minyas are carding wool within their fastened doors, or twisting with their thumbs the fleecy yarn, or working at the web. So they corrupt the sacred festival with needless toil, keeping their hand-maids busy at the work. And one of them, while drawing out the thread with nimble thumb, anon began to speak; “While others loiter and frequent these rites fantastic, we the wards of Pallas, much to be preferred, by speaking novel thoughts may lighten labour. Let us each in turn, relate to an attentive audience, a novel tale; and so the hours may glide.” it pleased her sisters, and they ordered her to tell the story that she loved the most. So, as she counted in her well-stored mind the many tales she knew, first doubted she whether to tell the tale of Derceto,—that Babylonian, who, aver the tribes of Palestine, in limpid ponds yet lives,—her body changed, and scales upon her limbs; or how her daughter, having taken wings, passed her declining years in whitened towers. Or should she tell of Nais, who with herbs, too potent, into fishes had transformed the bodies of her lovers, till she met herself the same sad fate; or of that tree which sometime bore white fruit, but now is changed and darkened by the blood that stained its roots.—Pleased with the novelty of this, at once she tells the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe;—and swiftly as she told it unto them, the fleecy wool was twisted into threads.

PYRAMUS AND THISBE [55] When Pyramus and Thisbe, who were known the one most handsome of all youthful men, the other loveliest of all eastern girls,—lived in adjoining houses, near the walls that Queen Semiramis had built of brick around her famous city, they grew fond, and loved each other—meeting often there—and as the days went by their love increased. They wished to join in marriage, but that joy their fathers had forbidden them to hope; and yet the passion that with equal strength inflamed their minds no parents could forbid. No relatives had guessed their secret love, for all their converse was by nods and signs; and as a smoldering fire may gather heat, the more 'tis smothered, so their love increased. Now, it so happened, a partition built between their houses, many years ago, was made defective with a little chink; a small defect observed by none, although for ages there; but what is hid from love? Our lovers found the secret opening, and used its passage to convey the sounds of gentle, murmured words, whose tuneful note passed oft in safety through that hidden way. There, many a time, they stood on either side, Thisbe on one and Pyramus the other, and when their warm breath touched from lip to lip, their sighs were such as this: “Thou envious wall why art thou standing in the way of those who die for love? What harm could happen thee shouldst thou permit us to enjoy our love? But if we ask too much, let us persuade that thou wilt open while we kiss but once: for, we are not ungrateful; unto thee we own our debt; here thou hast left a way that breathed words may enter loving ears.,” so vainly whispered they, and when the night began to darken they exchanged farewells; made presence that they kissed a fond farewell vain kisses that to love might none avail.

[81] When dawn removed the glimmering lamps of night, and the bright sun had dried the dewy grass again they met where they had told their love; and now complaining of their hapless fate, in murmurs gentle, they at last resolved, away to slip upon the quiet night, elude their parents, and, as soon as free, quit the great builded city and their homes. Fearful to wander in the pathless fields, they chose a trysting place, the tomb of Ninus, where safely they might hide unseen, beneath the shadow of a tall mulberry tree, covered with snow-white fruit, close by a spring. All is arranged according to their hopes: and now the daylight, seeming slowly moved, sinks in the deep waves, and the tardy night arises from the spot where day declines.

[93] Quickly, the clever Thisbe having first deceived her parents, opened the closed door. She flitted in the silent night away; and, having veiled her face, reached the great tomb, and sat beneath the tree; love made her bold. There, as she waited, a great lioness approached the nearby spring to quench her thirst: her frothing jaws incarnadined with blood of slaughtered oxen. As the moon was bright, Thisbe could see her, and affrighted fled with trembling footstep to a gloomy cave; and as she ran she slipped and dropped her veil, which fluttered to the ground. She did not dare to save it. Wherefore, when the savage beast had taken a great draft and slaked her thirst, and thence had turned to seek her forest lair, she found it on her way, and full of rage, tore it and stained it with her bloody jaws: but Thisbe, fortunate, escaped unseen.

[105] Now Pyramus had not gone out so soon as Thisbe to the tryst; and, when he saw the certain traces of that savage beast, imprinted in the yielding dust, his face went white with fear; but when he found the veil covered with blood, he cried; “Alas, one night has caused the ruin of two lovers! Thou wert most deserving of completed days, but as for me, my heart is guilty! I destroyed thee! O my love! I bade thee come out in the dark night to a lonely haunt, and failed to go before. Oh! whatever lurks beneath this rock, though ravenous lion, tear my guilty flesh, and with most cruel jaws devour my cursed entrails! What? Not so; it is a craven's part to wish for death!” So he stopped briefly; and took up the veil; went straightway to the shadow of the tree; and as his tears bedewed the well-known veil, he kissed it oft and sighing said, “Kisses and tears are thine, receive my blood as well.” And he imbrued the steel, girt at his side, deep in his bowels; and plucked it from the wound, a-faint with death. As he fell back to earth, his spurting blood shot upward in the air; so, when decay has rift a leaden pipe a hissing jet of water spurts on high.—By that dark tide the berries on the tree assumed a deeper tint, for as the roots soaked up the blood the pendent mulberries were dyed a purple tint.

[128] Thisbe returned, though trembling still with fright, for now she thought her lover must await her at the tree, and she should haste before he feared for her. Longing to tell him of her great escape she sadly looked for him with faithful eyes; but when she saw the spot and the changed tree, she doubted could they be the same, for so the colour of the hanging fruit deceived. While doubt dismayed her, on the ground she saw the wounded body covered with its blood;—she started backward, and her face grew pale and ashen; and she shuddered like the sea, which trembles when its face is lightly skimmed by the chill breezes;—and she paused a space;—but when she knew it was the one she loved, she struck her tender breast and tore her hair. Then wreathing in her arms his loved form, she bathed the wound with tears, mingling her grief in his unquenched blood; and as she kissed his death-cold features wailed; “Ah Pyramus, what cruel fate has taken thy life away? Pyramus! Pyramus! awake! awake! It is thy dearest Thisbe calls thee! Lift thy drooping head! Alas,”—At Thisbe's name he raised his eyes, though languorous in death, and darkness gathered round him as he gazed.

[147] And then she saw her veil; and near it lay his ivory sheath—but not the trusty sword and once again she wailed; “Thy own right hand, and thy great passion have destroyed thee!—And I? my hand shall be as bold as thine—my love shall nerve me to the fatal deed—thee, I will follow to eternity – though I be censured for the wretched cause, so surely I shall share thy wretched fate:—alas, whom death could me alone bereave, thou shalt not from my love be reft by death! And, O ye wretched parents, mine and his, let our misfortunes and our pleadings melt your hearts, that ye no more deny to those whom constant love and lasting death unite—entomb us in a single sepulchre. And, O thou tree of many-branching boughs, spreading dark shadows on the corpse of one, destined to cover twain, take thou our fate upon thy head; mourn our untimely deaths; let thy fruit darken for a memory, an emblem of our blood.” No more she said; and having fixed the point below her breast, she fell on the keen sword, still warm with his red blood. But though her death was out of Nature's law her prayer was answered, for it moved the Gods and moved their parents. Now the Gods have changed the ripened fruit which darkens on the branch: and from the funeral pile their parents sealed their gathered ashes in a single urn.

MARS AND VENUS [167] So ended she; at once Leuconoe took the narrator's thread; and as she spoke her sisters all were silent. “Even the Sun that rules the world was captive made of Love. My theme shall be a love-song of the Sun. 'Tis said the Lord of Day, whose wakeful eye beholds at once whatever may transpire, witnessed the loves of Mars and Venus. Grieved to know the wrong, he called the son of Juno, Vulcan, and gave full knowledge of the deed, showing how Mars and Venus shamed his love, as they defiled his bed. Vulcan amazed,—the nimble-thoughted Vulcan lost his wits, so that he dropped the work his right hand held. But turning from all else at once he set to file out chains of brass, delicate, fine, from which to fashion nets invisible, filmy of mesh and airy as the thread of insect-web, that from the rafter swings.—Implicit woven that they yielded soft the slightest movement or the gentlest touch, with cunning skill he drew them round the bed where they were sure to dally. Presently appeared the faithless wife, and on the couch lay down to languish with her paramour.—Meshed in the chains they could not thence arise, nor could they else but lie in strict embrace,—cunningly thus entrapped by Vulcan's wit.—At once the Lemnian cuckold opened wide the folding ivory doors and called the Gods,—to witness. There they lay disgraced and bound. I wot were many of the lighter Gods who wished themselves in like disgraceful bonds.—The Gods were moved to laughter: and the tale was long most noted in the courts of Heaven.

LEUCOTHEA AND CLYTIE [190] The Cytherean Venus brooded on the Sun's betrayal of her stolen joys, and thought to torture him in passion's pains, and wreak requital for the pain he caused. Son of Hyperion! what avails thy light? What is the profit of thy glowing heat? Lo, thou whose flames have parched innumerous lands, thyself art burning with another flame! And thou whose orb should joy the universe art gazing only on Leucothea's charms. Thy glorious eye on one fair maid is fixed, forgetting all besides. Too early thou art rising from thy bed of orient skies, too late thy setting in the western waves; so taking time to gaze upon thy love, thy frenzy lengthens out the wintry hour! And often thou art darkened in eclipse, dark shadows of this trouble in thy mind, unwonted aspect, casting man perplexed in abject terror. Pale thou art, though not betwixt thee and the earth the shadowous moon bedims thy devious way. Thy passion gives to grief thy countenance—for her thy heart alone is grieving—Clymene and Rhodos, and Persa, mother of deluding Circe, are all forgotten for thy doting hope; even Clytie, who is yearning for thy love, no more can charm thee; thou art so foredone. Leucothea is the cause of many tears, Leucothea, daughter of Eurynome, most beauteous matron of Arabia's strand, where spicey odours blow. Eurynome in youthful prime excelled her mother's grace, and, save her daughter, all excelled besides. Leucothea's father, Orchamas was king where Achaemenes whilom held the sway; and Orchamas from ancient Belus' death might count his reign the seventh in descent.

[214] The dark-night pastures of Apollo's (Sol's) steeds are hid below the western skies; when there, and spent with toil, in lieu of nibbling herbs they take ambrosial food: it gives their limbs restoring strength and nourishes anew. Now while these coursers eat celestial food and Night resumes his reign, the god appears disguised, unguessed, as old Eurynome to fair Leucothea as she draws the threads, all smoothly twisted from her spindle. There she sits with twice six hand-maids ranged around and as the god beholds her at the door he kisses her, as if a child beloved and he her mother. And he spoke to her: “Let thy twelve hand-maids leave us undisturbed, for I have things of close import to tell, and seemly, from a mother to her child.”, so when they all withdrew the god began, “Lo, I am he who measures the long year; I see all things, and through me the wide world may see all things; I am the glowing eye of the broad universe! Thou art to me the glory of the earth!” Filled with alarm, from her relaxed fingers she let fall the distaff and the spindle, but, her fear so lovely in her beauty seemed, the God no longer brooked delay: he changed his form back to his wonted beauty and resumed his bright celestial. Startled at the sight the maid recoiled a space; but presently the glory of the god inspired her love; and all her timid doubts dissolved away; without complaint she melted in his arms.

[234] So ardently the bright Apollo (Sol) loved, that Clytie, envious of Leucothea's joy, where evil none was known, a scandal made; and having published wide their secret love, leucothea's father also heard the tale. Relentlessly and fierce, his cruel hand buried his living daughter in the ground, who, while her arms implored the glowing Sun, complained. “For love of thee my life is lost.” And as she wailed her father sowed her there. Hyperion's Son began with piercing heat to scatter the loose sand, a way to open, that she might look with beauteous features forth too late! for smothered by the compact earth, thou canst not lift thy drooping head; alas! A lifeless corse remains. No sadder sight since Phaethon was blasted by the bolt, down-hurled by Jove, had ever grieved the God who daily drives his winged steeds. In vain he strives with all the magic of his rays to warm her limbs anew.—The deed is done—what vantage gives his might if fate deny? He sprinkles fragrant nectar on her grave, and lifeless corse, and as he wails exclaims, “But naught shall hinder you to reach the skies.” At once the maiden's body, steeped in dews of nectar, sweet and odourate, dissolves and adds its fragrant juices to the earth: slowly from this a sprout of Frankincense takes root in riched soil, and bursting through the sandy hillock shows its top.

[256] No more to Clytie comes the author of sweet light, for though her love might make excuse of grief, and grief may plead to pardon jealous words, his heart disdains the schemist of his woe; and she who turned to sour the sweet of love, from that unhallowed moment pined away. Envious and hating all her sister Nymphs, day after day,—and through the lonely nights, all unprotected from the chilly breeze, her hair dishevelled, tangled, unadorned, she sat unmoved upon the bare hard ground. Nine days the Nymph was nourished by the dews, or haply by her own tears' bitter brine;—all other nourishment was naught to her.—She never raised herself from the bare ground though on the god her gaze was ever fixed;—she turned her features towards him as he moved: they say that afterwhile her limbs took root and fastened to the around. A pearly white overspread her countenance, that turned as pale and bloodless as the dead; but here and there a blushing tinge resolved in violet tint; and something like the blossom of that name a flower concealed her face. Although a root now holds her fast to earth, the Heliotrope turns ever to the Sun, as if to prove that all may change and love through all remain.

[271] Thus was the story ended. All were charmed to hear recounted such mysterious deeds. While some were doubting whether such were true others affirmed that to the living Gods is nothing to restrain their wondrous works, though surely of the Gods, immortal, none accorded Bacchus even thought or place. When all had made an end of argument, they bade Alcithoe take up the word: she, busily working on the pendent web, still shot the shuttle through the warp and said; “The amours of the shepherd Daphnis, known to many of you, I shall not relate; the shepherd Daphnis of Mount Ida, who was turned to stone obdurate, for the Nymph whose love he slighted—so the rivalry of love neglected rouses to revenge: neither shall I relate the story told of Scython, double-sexed, who first was man, then altered to a woman: so I pass the tale of Celmus turned to adamant, who reared almighty Jove from tender youth: so, likewise the Curetes whom the rain brought forth to life: Smilax and Crocus, too, transpeciated into little flowers: all these I pass to tell a novel tale, which haply may resolve in pleasant thoughts.

HERMAPHRODITUS [285] Learn how the fountain, Salmacis, became so infamous; learn how it enervates and softens the limbs of those who chance to bathe. Although the fountain's properties are known, the cause is yet unknown. The Naiads nursed an infant son of Hermes, surely his of Aphrodite gotten in the caves of Ida, for the child resembled both the god and goddess, and his name was theirs. The years passed by, and when the boy had reached the limit of three lustrums, he forsook his native mountains; for he loved to roam through unimagined places, by the banks of undiscovered rivers; and the joy of finding wonders made his labour light.

[292] Leaving Mount Ida, where his youth was spent, he reached the land of Lycia, and from thence the verge of Caria, where a pretty pool of soft translucent water may be seen, so clear the glistening bottom glads the eye: no barren sedge, no fenny reeds annoy, no rushes with their sharpened arrow-points, but all around the edges of that pool the softest grass engirdles with its green. A Nymph dwells there, unsuited to the chase, unskilled to bend the bow, slothful of foot, the only Naiad in the world unknown to rapid-running Dian. Whensoever her Naiad sisters pled in winged words, “Take up the javelin, sister Salmacis, take up the painted quiver and unite your leisure with the action of the chase;” she only scorned the javelin and the quiver, nor joined her leisure to the active chase. Rather she bathes her smooth and shapely limbs; or combs her tresses with a boxwood comb, Citorian; or looking in the pool consults the glassed waters of effects increasing beauty; or she decks herself in gauzy raiment, and reposing lolls on cushioned leaves, or grass-enverdured beds; or gathers posies from the spangled lawns. Now, haply as she culled the sweetest flowers she saw the youth, and longing in her heart made havoc as her greedy eyes beheld.

[317] Although her love could scarcely brook delay, she waited to enhance her loveliness, in beauty hoping to allure his love. All richly dight she scanned herself and robes, to know that every charm should fair appear, and she be worthy: wherefore she began: “O godlike youth! if thou art of the skies, thou art no other than the god of Love; if mortal, blest are they who gave thee birth; happy thy brother; happy, fortunate thy sister; happy, fortunate and blest the nurse that gave her bosom; but the joys surpassing all, dearest and tenderest, are hers whom thou shalt wed. So, let it be if thou so young have deigned to marry, let my joys be stolen; if unmarried, join with me in wedlock.” So she spoke, and stood in silence waiting for the youth's reply. He knows nor cares for love—with loveliness the mounting blushes tinge his youthful cheeks, as blush-red tint of apples on the tree, ripe in the summer sun, or as the hue of painted ivory, or the round moon red-blushing in her splendour, when the clash of brass resounds in vain. And long the Nymph implored; almost clung on his neck, as smooth and white as ivory; unceasingly imploring him to kiss her, though as chaste as kisses to a sister; but the youth outwearied, thus: “I do beseech you make an end of this; or must I fly the place and leave you to your tears?” Affrighted then said Salmacis, “To you I freely give—good stranger here remain.” Although she made fair presence to retire, she hid herself, that from a shrub-grown covert, on her knees she might observe unseen.

[340] As any boy that heedless deems his mischief unobserved, now here now there, he rambled on the green; now in the bubbly ripples dipped his feet, now dallied in the clear pool ankle-deep;—the warm-cool feeling of the liquid then, so pleased him, that without delay he doffed his fleecy garments from his tender limbs. Ah, Salmacis, amazement is thy meed! Thou art consumed to know his naked grace! As the hot glitters of the round bright sun collected, sparkle from the polished plate, thine eyes are glistened with delirious fires. Delay she cannot; panting for his joy, languid for his caressing, crazed, distract, her passion difficult is held in check.—He claps his body with his hollow palms and lightly vaults into the limped wave, and darting through the water hand over hand shines in the liquid element, as though should one enhance a statue's ivorine, or glaze the lily in a lake of glass.

[356] And thus the Naiad, “I have gained my suit; his love is mine,—is mine!” Quickly disrobed, she plunged into the yielding wave—seized him, caressed him, clung to him a thousand ways, kissed him, thrust down her hands and touched his breast: reluctant and resisting he endeavours to make escape, but even as he struggles she winds herself about him, as entwines the serpent which the royal bird on high holds in his talons;—as it hangs, it coils in sinuous folds around the eagle's feet;—twisting its coils around his head and wings: or as the ivy clings to sturdy oaks; or as the polypus beneath the waves, by pulling down, with suckers on all sides, tenacious holds its prey. And yet the youth, descendant of great Atlas, not relents nor gives the Naiad joy. Pressing her suit she winds her limbs around him and exclaims, “You shall not scape me, struggle as you will, perverse and obstinate! Hear me, ye Gods! Let never time release the youth from me; time never let me from the youth release!”

[373] Propitious deities accord her prayers: the mingled bodies of the pair unite and fashion in a single human form. So one might see two branches underneath a single rind uniting grow as one: so, these two bodies in a firm embrace no more are twain, but with a two-fold form nor man nor woman may be called—Though both in seeming they are neither one of twain. When that Hermaphroditus felt the change so wrought upon him by the languid fount, considered that he entered it a man, and now his limbs relaxing in the stream he is not wholly male, but only half,—he lifted up his hands and thus implored, albeit with no manly voice; “Hear me O father! hear me mother! grant to me this boon; to me whose name is yours, your son; whoso shall enter in this fount a man must leave its waters only half a man.” Moved by the words of their bi-natured son both parents yield assent: they taint the fount with essences of dual-working powers.

DAUGHTERS OF KING MINYAS TRANSFORMED TO BATS [389] Now though the daughters of King Minyas have made an end of telling tales, they make no end of labour; for they so despise the deity, and desecrate his feast. While busily engaged, with sudden beat they hear resounding tambourines; and pipes and crooked horns and tinkling brass renew, unseen, the note; saffron and myrrh dissolve in dulcet odours; and, beyond belief, the woven webs, dependent on the loom, take tints of green, put forth new ivy leaves, or change to grape-vines verdant. There the thread is twisted into tendrils, there the warp is fashioned into many-moving leaves—the purple lends its splendour to the grape. And now the day is past; it is the hour when night ambiguous merges into day, which dubious owns nor light nor dun obscure; and suddenly the house begins to shake, and torches oil-dipped seem to flare around, and fires a-glow to shine in every room, and phantoms, feigned of savage beasts, to howl.—Full of affright amid the smoking halls the sisters vainly hide, and wheresoever they deem security from flaming fires, fearfully flit. And while they seek to hide, a membrane stretches over every limb, and light wings open from their slender arms. In the weird darkness they are unaware what measure wrought to change their wonted shape. No plumous vans avail to lift their flight, yet fair they balance on membraneous wing. Whenever they would speak a tiny voice, diminutive, apportioned to their size, in squeaking note complains. Adread the light, their haunts avoid by day the leafy woods, for sombre attics, where secure they rest till forth the dun obscure their wings may stretch at hour of Vesper;—this accords their name.

ATHAMAS AND INO [416] Throughout the land of Thebes miraculous the power of Bacchus waxed; and far and wide Ino, his aunt, reported the great deeds by this divinity performed. Of all her sisters only she escaped unharmed, when Fate destroyed them, and she knew not grief—only for sorrow of her sisters' woes.—While Ino vaunted of her mother-joys, and of her kingly husband, Athamas, and of the mighty God, her foster-child; Juno, disdaining her in secret, said; “How shall the offspring of a concubine transform Maeonian mariners, overwhelm them in the ocean, sacrifice a son to his deluded mother, who insane, tears out his entrails; how shall he invent wings for three daughters of King Minyas, while Juno unavenged, bewails despite?—Is it the end? the utmost of my power? His deeds instruct the way; true wisdom heeds an enemy's device; by the strange death of Pentheus, all that madness could perform was well revealed to all; what then denies a frenzy may unravel Ino's course to such a fate as wrought her sisters' woe?”

[432] A shelving path in shadows of sad yew through utter silence to the deep descends, infernal, where the languid Styx exhales vapours; and there the shadows of the dead, descend, after they leave their sacred urns, and ghostly forms invade: and far and wide, those dreary regions Horror and bleak Cold obtain. The ghosts, arrived, not know the way,—which leadeth to the Stygian city-gates,—not know the melancholy palace where the swarthy Pluto stays, though streets and ways a thousand to that city lead, and gates out-swing from every side: and as the sea with never-seen increase engulfs the streams unnumbered of the world, that realm enfolds the souls of men, nor ever is it filled. Around the shadowy spirits go; bloodless boneless and bodiless; they throng the place of judgment, or they haunt the mansion where abides the Utmost Tyrant, or they tend to various callings, as their whilom way;—appropriate punishment confines to pain the multitude condemned.

[447] To this abode, impelled by rage and hate, from habitation celestial, Juno, of Saturn born, descends, submissive to its dreadful element. No sooner had she entered the sad gates, than groans were uttered by the threshold, pressed by her immortal form, and Cerberus upraising his three-visaged mouths gave vent to triple-barking howls.—She called to her the sisters, Night-begot, implacable, terrific Furies. They did sit before the prison portals, adamant confined, combing black vipers from their horrid hair. When her amid the night-surrounding shades they recognized, those Deities uprose. O dread confines! dark seat of wretched vice! Where stretched athwart nine acres, Tityus, must thou endure thine entrails to be torn! O Tantalus, thou canst not touch the wave, and from thy clutch the hanging branches rise! O Sisyphus, thou canst not stay the stone, catching or pushing, it must fall again! O thou Ixion! whirled around, around, thyself must follow to escape thyself! And, O Belides, (plotter of sad death upon thy cousins) thou art always doomed to dip forever ever-spilling waves!

[464] When that the daughter of Saturnus fixed a stern look on those wretches, first her glance arrested on Ixion; but the next on Sisyphus; and thus the goddess spoke;—“For why should he alone of all his kin suffer eternal doom, while Athamas, luxurious in a sumptuous palace reigns; and, haughty with his wife, despises me.” So grieved she, and expressed the rage of hate that such descent inspired, beseeching thus, no longer should the House of Cadmus stand, so that the sister Furies plunge in crime overweening Athamas.—Entreating them, she mingled promises with her commands.– When Juno ended speech, Tisiphone, whose locks entangled are not ever smooth, tossed them around, that backward from her face such crawling snakes were thrown;—then answered she: “Since what thy will decrees may well be done, why need we to consult with many words? Leave thou this hateful region and convey thyself, contented, to a better realm.” Rejoicing Juno hastens to the clouds—before she enters her celestial home, Iris, the child of Thaumas, purifies her limbs in sprinkled water.

[481] Waiting not, Tisiphone, revengeful, takes a torch;—besmeared with blood, and vested in a robe, dripping with crimson gore, and twisting-snakes engirdled, she departs her dire abode—with twitching Madness, Terror, Fear and Woe: and when she had arrived the destined house, the door-posts shrank from her, the maple doors turned ashen grey: the Sun amazed fled. Affrighted, Athamas and Ino viewed and fled these prodigies; but suddenly that baneful Fury stood across the way, blocking the passage – There she stands with arms extended, and alive with twisting vipers.—She shakes her hair; the moving serpents hiss; they cling upon her shoulders, and they glide around her temples, dart their fangs, and vomit corruption.—Plucking from the midst two snakes, she hurls them with her pestilential hand upon her victims, Athamas and Ino, whom, although the vipers strike upon their breasts, no injury attacks their mortal parts;—only their minds are stricken with wild rage, inciting to mad violence and crime. And with a monstrous composite of foam—once gathered from the mouth of Cerberus, the venom of Echidna, purposeless aberrances, crimes, tears, hatred—the lust of homicide, and the dark vapourings of foolish brains; a liquid poison, mixed, and mingled with fresh blood, in hollow brass, and boiled, and stirred up with a slip of hemlock—she took of it, and as they trembled, threw that mad-mixed poison on them; and it scorched their inmost vitals—and she waved her torch repeatedly, within a circle's rim—and added flame to flame.—Then, confident of having executed her commands, the Fury hastened to the void expanse where Pluto reigns, and swiftly put aside the serpents that were wreathed around her robes.

[512] At once, the son of Aeolus, enraged, shouts loudly in his palace; “Ho, my lads! Spread out your nets! a savage lioness and her twin whelps are lurking in the wood;—behold them!” In his madness he believes his wife a savage beast. He follows her, and quickly from her bosom snatches up her smiling babe, Learchus, holding forth his tiny arms, and whirls him in the air, times twice and thrice, as whirls the whizzing sling, and dashes him in pieces on the rocks; – cracking his infant bones. The mother, roused to frenzy (who can tell if grief the cause, or fires of scattered poison?) yells aloud, and with her torn hair tangled, running mad, she carries swiftly in her clutching arms, her little Melicerta! and begins to shout, “Evoe, Bacche!”—Juno hears the shouted name of Bacchus, and she laughs, and taunts her;—“Let thy foster-child award!” There is a crag, out-jutting on the deep, worn hollow at the base by many waves, where not the rain may ripple on that pool;—high up the rugged summit overhangs its ragged brows above the open sea: there, Ino climbs with frenzy-given strength, and fearless, with her burden in her arms, leaps in the waves where whitening foams arise.

[581] Venus takes pity on her guiltless child, unfortunate grand-daughter, and begins to soothe her uncle Neptune with these words;—“O Neptune, ruler of the deep, to whom, next to the Power in Heaven, was given sway, consider my request! Open thy heart to my descendants, which thine eyes behold, tossed on the wild Ionian Sea! I do implore thee, remember they are thy true Deities—are thine as well as mine—for it is known my birth was from the white foam of thy sea;—a truth made certain by my Grecian name.” Neptune regards her prayer: he takes from them their mortal dross: he clothes in majesty, and hallows their appearance. Even their names and forms are altered; Melicerta, changed, is now Palaemon called, and Ino, changed, Leucothoe called, are known as Deities. When her Sidonian attendants traced fresh footprints to the last verge of the rock, and found no further vestige, they declared her dead, nor had they any doubt of it. They tore their garments and their hair—and wailed the House of Cadmus—and they cursed at Juno, for the sad fate of the wretched concubine. That goddess could no longer brook their words, and thus made answer, “I will make of you eternal monuments of my revenge!”

[543] Her words were instantly confirmed—The one whose love for Ino was the greatest, cried; “Into the deep; look—look—I seek my queen.” But even as she tried to leap, she stood fast-rooted to the ever-living rock; another, as she tried to beat her breast with blows repeated, noticed that her arms grew stiff and hard; another, as by chance, was petrified with hands stretched over the waves: another could be seen, as suddenly her fingers hardened, clutching at her hair to tear it from the roots.—And each remained forever in the posture first assumed.—But others of those women, sprung from Cadmus, were changed to birds, that always with wide wings skim lightly the dark surface of that sea.

CADMUS AND HARMONIA [563] Unwitting that his daughter and his son are Ocean deities, Agenor's son,—depressed by sorrow and unnumbered woes, calamities, and prodigies untold,—the founder fled the city he had built, as though fatalities that gathered round that city grieved him deeper than the fate of his own family; and thence, at last arrived the confines of Illyria; in exile with his wife.—Weighted with woe, bowed down with years, their minds recalled the time when first disaster fell upon their House:—relating their misfortunes, Cadmus spoke; “Was that a sacred dragon that my spear impaled, when on the way from Sidon's gates I planted in the earth those dragon-teeth, unthought-of seed? If haply 'tis the Gods, (whose rage unerring, gives me to revenge) I only pray that I may lengthen out, as any serpent.” Even as he spoke, he saw and felt himself increase in length. His body coiled into a serpent's form; bright scale's enveloped his indurate skin, and azure macules in speckled pride, enriched his glowing folds; and as he fell supinely on his breast, his legs were joined, and gradually tapered as a serpent's tail.—Some time his arms remained, which stretching forth while tears rolled down his human face, not changed as yet, he said; “Hither, O hapless one! Come hither my unhappy wife, while aught is left of manhood; touch me, take my hand, unchanged as yet—ah, soon this serpent-form will cover me!”

[576] So did he speak, nor thought to make an end; but suddenly his tongue became twin-forked. As often as he tried, a hissing sound escaped; the only voice that Nature left him.—And his wife bewailed, and smote her breast, “Ah, Cadmus, ah! Most helpless one, put off that monster-shape! Your feet, your shoulders and your hands are gone; your manly form, your very colour gone; all—all is changed!—Oh, why not, ye celestial Gods, me likewise, to a serpent-shape transform!”—So ended her complaint. Cadmus caressed her gently with his tongue; and slid to her dear bosom, just as if he knew his wife; and he embraced her, and he touched her neck. All their attendants, who had seen the change, were filled with fear; but when as crested snakes the twain appeared in brightly glistening mail, their grief was lightened: and the pair, enwreathed in twisting coils, departed from that place, and sought a covert in the nearest grove.—There, then, these gentle serpents never shun mankind, nor wound, nor strike with poisoned fangs; for they are always conscious of the past.

PERSEUS AND ATLAS [604] The fortune of their grandson, Bacchus, gave great comfort to them—as a god adored in conquered India; by Achaia praised in stately temples.—But Acrisius the son of Abas, of the Cadmean race, remained to banish Bacchus from the walls of Argos, and to lift up hostile arms against that deity, who he denied was born to Jove. He would not even grant that Perseus from the loins of Jupiter was got of Danae in the showering gold. So mighty is the hidden power of truth, Acrisius soon lamented that affront to Bacchus, and that ever he refused to own his grandson; for the one achieved high heaven, and the other, (as he bore the viperous monster-head) on sounding wings hovered a conqueror in the fluent air, over sands, Libyan, where the Gorgon-head dropped clots of gore, that, quickening on the ground, became unnumbered serpents; fitting cause to curse with vipers that infested land.

[621] Thence wafted by the never-constant winds through boundless latitudes, now here now there, as flits a vapour-cloud in dizzy flight, down-looking from the lofty skies on earth, removed far, so compassed he the world. Three times did he behold the frozen Bears, times thrice his gaze was on the Crab's bent arms. Now shifting to the west, now to the east, how often changed his course? Time came, when day declining, he began to fear the night, by which he stopped his flight far in the west—the realm of Atlas—where he sought repose till Lucifer might call Aurora's fires; Aurora chariot of the Day. There dwelt huge Atlas, vaster than the race of man: son of Iapetus, his lordly sway extended over those extreme domains, and over oceans that command their waves to take the panting coursers of the Sun, and bathe the wearied Chariot of the Day. For him a thousand flocks, a thousand herds overwandered pasture fields; and neighbour tribes might none disturb that land. Aglint with gold bright leaves adorn the trees,—boughs golden-wrought bear apples of pure gold.

[639] And Perseus spoke to Atlas, “O my friend, if thou art moved to hear the story of a noble race, the author of my life is Jupiter; if valiant deeds perhaps are thy delight mine may deserve thy praise.—Behold of thee kind treatment I implore—a place of rest.” But Atlas, mindful of an oracle since by Themis, the Parnassian, told, recalled these words, “O Atlas! mark the day a son of Jupiter shall come to spoil; for when thy trees been stripped of golden fruit, the glory shall be his.” Fearful of this, Atlas had built solid walls around his orchard, and secured a dragon, huge, that kept perpetual guard, and thence expelled all strangers from his land. Wherefore he said, “Begone! The glory of your deeds is all pretense; even Jupiter, will fail your need.”

[651] With that he added force and strove to drive the hesitating Alien from his doors; who pled reprieve or threatened with bold words. Although he dared not rival Atlas' might, Perseus made this reply; “For that my love you hold in light esteem, let this be yours.” He said no more, but turning his own face, he showed upon his left Medusa's head, abhorrent features.—Atlas, huge and vast, becomes a mountain—His great beard and hair are forests, and his shoulders and his hands mountainous ridges, and his head the top of a high peak;—his bones are changed to rocks. Augmented on all sides, enormous height attains his growth; for so ordained it, ye, O mighty Gods! who now the heavens' expanse unnumbered stars, on him command to rest.

PERSEUS AND ANDROMEDA [663] In their eternal prison, Aeous, grandson of Hippotas, had shut the winds; and Lucifer, reminder of our toil, in splendour rose upon the lofty sky: and Perseus bound his wings upon his feet, on each foot bound he them; his sword he girt and sped wing-footed through the liquid air. Innumerous kingdoms far behind were left, till peoples Ethiopic and the lands of Cepheus were beneath his lofty view. There Ammon, the Unjust, had made decree Andromeda, the Innocent, should grieve her mother's tongue. They bound her fettered arms fast to the rock. When Perseus her beheld as marble he would deem her, but the breeze moved in her hair, and from her streaming eyes the warm tears fell. Her beauty so amazed his heart, unconscious captive of her charms, that almost his swift wings forgot to wave.—Alighted on the ground, he thus began; “O fairest! whom these chains become not so, but worthy are for links that lovers bind, make known to me your country's name and your's and wherefore bound in chains.” A moment then, as overcome with shame, she made no sound: were not she fettered she would surely hide her blushing head; but what she could perform that did she do—she filled her eyes with tears.

[685] So pleaded he that lest refusal seem implied confession of a crime, she told her name, her country's name, and how her charms had been her mother's pride. But as she spoke the mighty ocean roared. Over the waves a monster fast approached, its head held high, abreast the wide expanse.—The virgin shrieked;—no aid her wretched father gave, nor aid her still more wretched mother; but they wept and mingled lamentations with their tears—clinging distracted to her fettered form. And thus the stranger spoke to them, “Time waits for tears, but flies the moment of our need: were I, who am the son of Regal Jove and her whom he embraced in showers of gold, leaving her pregnant in her brazen cell,—I, Perseus, who destroyed the Gorgon, wreathed with snake-hair, I, who dared on waving wings to cleave etherial air—were I to ask the maid in marriage, I should be preferred above all others as your son-in-law. Not satisfied with deeds achieved, I strive to add such merit as the Gods permit; now, therefore, should my velour save her life, be it conditioned that I win her love.” To this her parents gave a glad assent, for who could hesitate? And they entreat, and promise him the kingdom as a dower.

[706] As a great ship with steady prow speeds on; forced forwards by the sweating arms of youth it plows the deep; so, breasting the great waves, the monster moved, until to reach the rock no further space remained than might the whirl of Balearic string encompass, through the middle skies, with plummet-mold of lead. That instant, spurning with his feet the ground, the youth rose upwards to a cloudy height; and when the shadow of the hero marked the surface of the sea, the monster sought vainly to vent his fury on the shade. As the swift bird of Jove, when he beholds a basking serpent in an open field, exposing to the sun its mottled back, and seizes on its tail; lest it shall turn to strike with venomed fang, he fixes fast his grasping talons in the scaly neck; so did the winged youth, in rapid flight through yielding elements, press down on the great monster's back, and thrust his sword, sheer to the hilt, in its right shoulder – loud its frightful torture sounded over the waves.—So fought the hero-son of Inachus.

[724] Wild with the grievous wound, the monster rears high in the air, or plunges in the waves;—or wheels around as turns the frightened boar shunning the hounds around him in full cry. The hero on his active wings avoids the monster's jaws, and with his crooked sword tortures its back wherever he may pierce its mail of hollow shell, or strikes betwixt the ribs each side, or wounds its lashing tail, long, tapered as a fish. The monster spouts forth streams—incarnadined with blood—that spray upon the hero's wings; who drenched, and heavy with the spume, no longer dares to trust existence to his dripping wings; but he discerns a rock, which rises clear above the water when the sea is calm, but now is covered by the lashing waves. On this he rests; and as his left hand holds firm on the upmost ledge, he thrusts his sword, times more than three, unswerving in his aim, sheer through the monster's entrails.—Shouts of praise resound along the shores, and even the Gods may hear his glory in their high abodes. Her parents, Cepheus and Cassiope, most joyfully salute their son-in-law; declaring him the saviour of their house. And now, her chains struck off, the lovely cause and guerdon of his toil, walks on the shore.

[740] The hero washes his victorious hands in water newly taken from the sea: but lest the sand upon the shore might harm the viper-covered head, he first prepared a bed of springy leaves, on which he threw weeds of the sea, produced beneath the waves. On them he laid Medusa's awful face, daughter of Phorcys;—and the living weeds, fresh taken from the boundless deep, imbibed the monster's poison in their spongy pith: they hardened at the touch, and felt in branch and leaf unwonted stiffness. Sea-Nymphs, too, attempted to perform that prodigy on numerous other weeds, with like result: so pleased at their success, they raised new seeds, from plants wide-scattered on the salt expanse. Even from that day the coral has retained such wondrous nature, that exposed to air it hardens.—Thus, a plant beneath the waves becomes a stone when taken from the sea.

[753] Three altars to three Gods he made of turf. To thee, victorious Virgin, did he build an altar on the right, to Mercury an altar on the left, and unto Jove an altar in the midst. He sacrificed a heifer to Minerva, and a calf to Mercury, the Wingfoot, and a bull to thee, O greatest of the Deities. Without a dower he takes Andromeda, the guerdon of his glorious victory, nor hesitates.—Now pacing in the van, both Love and Hymen wave the flaring torch, abundant perfumes lavished in the flames. The houses are bedecked with wreathed flowers; and lyres and flageolets resound, and songs—felicit notes that happy hearts declare. The portals opened, sumptuous halls display their golden splendours, and the noble lords of Cepheus' court take places at the feast, magnificently served.

[765] After the feast, when every heart was warming to the joys of genial Bacchus, then, Lyncidian Perseus asked about the land and its ways about the customs and the character of its heroes. Straightway one of the dinner-companions made reply, and asked in turn, “ Now, valiant Perseus, pray tell the story of the deed, that all may know, and what the arts and power prevailed, when you struck off the serpent-covered head.” “There is,” continued Perseus of the house of Agenor, “There is a spot beneath cold Atlas, where in bulwarks of enormous strength, to guard its rocky entrance, dwelt two sisters, born of Phorcys. These were wont to share in turn a single eye between them: this by craft I got possession of, when one essayed to hand it to the other.—I put forth my hand and took it as it passed between: then, far, remote, through rocky pathless crags, over wild hills that bristled with great woods, I thence arrived to where the Gorgon dwelt. Along the way, in fields and by the roads, I saw on all sides men and animals—like statues—turned to flinty stone at sight of dread Medusa's visage. Nevertheless reflected on the brazen shield, I bore upon my left, I saw her horrid face. When she was helpless in the power of sleep and even her serpent-hair was slumber-bound, I struck, and took her head sheer from the neck.—To winged Pegasus the blood gave birth, his brother also, twins of rapid wing.”

[787] So did he speak, and truly told besides the perils of his journey, arduous and long—He told of seas and lands that far beneath him he had seen, and of the stars that he had touched while on his waving wings. And yet, before they were aware, the tale was ended; he was silent. Then rejoined a noble with enquiry why alone of those three sisters, snakes were interspersed in dread Medusa's locks. And he replied:—“Because, O Stranger, it is your desire to learn what worthy is for me to tell, hear ye the cause: Beyond all others she was famed for beauty, and the envious hope of many suitors. Words would fail to tell the glory of her hair, most wonderful of all her charms—A friend declared to me he saw its lovely splendour. Fame declares the Sovereign of the Sea attained her love in chaste Minerva's temple. While enraged she turned her head away and held her shield before her eyes. To punish that great crime minerva changed the Gorgon's splendid hair to serpents horrible. And now to strike her foes with fear, she wears upon her breast those awful vipers—creatures of her rage.


BATTLE OF THE WEDDING FEAST OF PERSEUS AND ANDROMEDA [1] While Perseus, the brave son of Jupiter, surrounded at the feast by Cepheus' lords, narrated this, a raging multitude with sudden outcry filled the royal courts—not with the clamours of a wedding feast but boisterous rage, portentous of dread war. As when the fury of a great wind strikes a tranquil sea, tempestuous billows roll across the peaceful bosom of the deep; so were the pleasures at the banquet changed to sudden tumult. Foremost of that throng, the rash ring-leader, Phineus, shook his spear, brass-tipped of ash, and shouted, “Ha, 'tis I! I come avenger of my ravished bride! Let now your flittering wings deliver you, or even Jupiter, dissolved in showers of imitation gold.” So boasted he, aiming his spear at Perseus. Thus to him cried Cepheus: “Hold your hand, and strike him not! What strange delusions, O my brother, have compelled you to this crime? Is it the just requital of heroic worth? A fair reguerdon for the life of her you loved? If truth were known, not Perseus ravished her from you; but, either 'twas the awful God that rules the Nereides; or Ammon, crowned with crescent horns; or that monstrosity of Ocean's vast abyss, which came to glut his famine on the issue of my loins. Nor was your suit abandoned till the time when she must perish and be lost to you. So cruel are you, seeking my daughter's death, rejoicing lightly in our deep despair.—And was it not enough for you to stand supinely by, while she was bound in chains, and offer no assistance, though you were her lover and betrothed? And will you grieve that she was rescued from a dreadful fate, and spoil her champion of his just rewards? Rewards that now may seem magnificent, but not denied to you if you had won and saved, when she was fettered to the rock. Let him, whose strength to my declining years restored my child, receive the merit due his words and deeds; and know his suit was not preferred to yours, but granted to prevent her certain death.”

[30] Not deigning to reply, against them Phineus stood; and glancing back from him to Perseus, with alternate looks, as doubtful which should feel his first attack, made brief delay. Then vain at Perseus hurled his spear, with all the force that rage inspired, but, missing him it quivered in a couch. Provoked beyond endurance Perseus leaped forth from the cushioned seats, and fiercely sent that outwrenched weapon back. It would have pierced his hostile breast had not the miscreant crouched behind the altars. Oh perverted good, that thus an altar should abet the wrong! But, though the craven Phineus escaped, not vainly flew the whizzing point, but struck in Rhoetus' forehead. As the barb was torn out of the bone, the victim's heels began to kick upon the floor, and spouting blood defiled the festal board. Then truly flame in uncontrolled rage the vulgar crowd, and hurl their harmful darts. And there are some who hold that Cepheus and his son-in-law deserved to die; but Cepheus had passed forth the threshold of his palace: having called on all the Gods of Hospitality and Truth and Justice to attest, he gave no comfort to the enemies of Peace. Unconquered Pallas is at hand and holds her Aegis to protect her brother's life; she lends him dauntless courage.

[47] At the feast was one from India's distant shores, whose name was Athis. It was said that Limnate, the daughter of the River Ganges, him in vitreous caverns bright had brought to birth; and now at sixteen summers in his prime, the handsome youth was clad in costly robes. A purple mantle with a golden fringe covered his shoulders, and a necklace, carved of gold, enhanced the beauty of his throat. His hair encompassed with a coronal, delighted with sweet myrrh. Well taught was he to hurl the javelin at a distant mark, and none with better skill could stretch the bow. No sooner had he bent the pliant horns than Perseus, with a smoking billet, seized from the mid-altar, struck him on the face, and smashed his features in his broken skull.

[59] And when Assyrian Lycabas had seen his dear companion, whom he truly loved, beating his handsome countenance in blood. And when he had bewailed his lost life, that ebbed away from that unpiteous wound, he snatched the bow that Athis used, and said; “Let us in single combat seek revenge; not long will you rejoice the stripling's fate; a deed most worthy shame.” So speaking, forth the piercing arrow bounded from the cord, which, though avoided, struck the hero's cloak and fastened in its folds.—Then Perseus turned upon him, with the trusted curving sword, cause of Medusa's death, and drove the blade deep in his breast. The dying victim's eyes, now swimming in a shadowous night, looked 'round for Athis, whom, beholding, he reclined upon, and ushered to the other world,—sad consolation of united death.

[74] And Phorbas the descendant of Methion. Who hailed from far Syene, with his friend Amphimedon of Libya, in their haste to join the battle, slipped up in the blood and fell together: just as they arose that glittering sword was driven through the throat of Phorbas into the ribs of his companion.

[79] But Erithus, the son of Actor, swung a battle-ax, so weighty, Perseus chose not combat with his curving blade. He seized in his two hands a huge bowl, wrought around with large design, outstanding from its mass. This, lifting up, he dashes on his foe, who vomits crimson blood, and falling back beats on the hard floor with his dying head. And next he slew Caucasian Abaris, and Polydaemon—from Semiramis nobly descended—and Sperchius, son, Lycetus, long-haired Elyces, unshorn, Clytus and Phlegias, the hero slew;—and trampled on the dying heaped around.

[89] Not daring to engage his enemy in open contest, Phineus held aloof, and hurled his javelin. Badly aimed—by some mischance or turned—it wounded Idas, who had followed neither side; vain-hoping thus to shun the conflict. Idas, filled with rage, on Phineus gazed with futile hate, and said, “Since I am forced unwilling to such deeds, behold, whom you have made your enemy, O savage Phineus! Let your recompense be stroke for stroke.” So speaking, from the wound he drew the steel, but, faint from loss of blood, before his arm could hurl the weapon back, he sank upon his knees.

[97] Here, also, lies Odytes (Hodites),—noblest of the Cephenes, save Cepheus only,—slaughtered by the sword of Clymenus. And Prothoenor lies the victim of Hypseus; by his side Hypseus slaughtered by Lyncidas falls. And in the midst of this destruction stood Emathion, now an aged man, revered, who feared the Gods, and stood for upright deeds. And, since his years denied him strength for war, he battled with his tongue, and railed, and cursed their impious weapons. As that aged man clings to the altar with his trembling hands, Chromis with ruthless sword cuts off his head, which straightway falls upon the altar, whence his dying tongue denounces them in words of execration: and his soul expires amid the altar flames.

[107] Then Broteas and Ammon, his twin brother, who not knew their equals at the cestus, by the hand of Phineus fell; for what avails in deed the cestus as a weapon matched with swords. Ampycus by the same hand fell,—the priest of Ceres, with his temples wreathed in white. And O, Iapetides not for this did you attend the feast! Your voice attuned melodious to the harp, was in request to celebrate the wedding-day with song,—a work of peace; as you did stand aside, holding the peaceful plectrum in your hand, the mocking Pettalus in ridicule said, “Go sing your ditties to the Stygian shades.” And, mocking thus, he drove his pointed sword in your right temple. As your limbs gave way, your dying fingers swept the tuneful strings: and falling you did chant a mournful dirge.—You to avenge enraged Lycormas tore a huge bar from the door-post, on the right, and dashing it against the mocker crushed his neck-bones: as a slaughtered bullock falls—he tumbled to the ground. Then on the left. Cinyphian Pelates began to wrench an oak plank from the door-post, but the spear of Corythus, the son of Marmarus, pinioned his right hand to the wooden post; and while he struggled Abas pierced his side.—He fell not to the floor, but dying hung suspended from the door-post by his hand.

[128] And of the friends of Perseus, Melaneus was slain, and Dorylas whose wealth was large in Nasamonian land. No other lord, as Dorylas, such vast estates possessed; no other owned so many heaps of corn. The missile steel stood fastened in his groin, obliquely fixed,—a fatal spot—and when the author of his wound, Halcyoneus the Bactrian, beheld his victim thus, rolling his eyes and sobbing forth his soul, he railed; “Keep for yourself of all your lands as much as you can cover.” And he left the bleeding corpse. But Perseus in revenge hurled after him a spear, which, in his need, he ripped out from the wound, yet warm, and struck the boaster on the middle of his nose. The piercing steel, passed through his nose and neck,—remained projecting from the front and back. And while good fortune helped his hand, he slew Clanis and Clytius, of one mother born, but with a different wound he slaughtered each: for, leveled by a mighty arm, his ashen spear drove through the thighs of Clytius, right and left, and Clanis bit the javelin with his teeth. And by his might, Mendesian Celadon and Atreus fell, his mother of the tribes of Palestine, his father was unknown. Aethion, also, who could well foresee the things to come, but was at last deceived by some false omen. And Thoactes fell, the armour-bearer of the king; and, next, the infamous Agyrtes who had slain his father.

[149] These he slew; and though his strength was nearly spent, so many more remained: for now the multitude with one accord conspired to slaughter him. From every side the raging troops assailed the better cause. In vain the pious father and the bride, together with her mother, fill the halls with lamentations; for the clash of arms, the groans of fallen heroes drown their cries.—Bellona in a sea of blood has drenched their Household Gods, polluted by these deeds, and she endeavours to renew the strife.

[157] Perseus, alone against that raging throng, is now surrounded by a myriad men, led on by Phineus; and their flying darts, as thick as wintry tail, are showered around on every side, grazing his eyes and ears.—Quickly he fixed his shoulder firm against the rock of a great pillar, which secured his back from danger, and he faced his foes, and baffled their attack. Upon his left Chaonian Molpeus pressed, and on his right a Nabathe an called Ethemon pressed.—As when a tiger from a valley hears the lowing of two herds, in separate fields, though hunger urges he not knows on which to spring, but rages equally for each; so, Perseus doubtful which may first attack his left or right, knows not on which to turn, but stands attentive witness to the flight of Molpeus, whom he wounded in the leg. Nor could he choose—Ethemon, full of rage, pressed on him to inflict a fatal wound, deep in his neck; but with incautious force struck the stone pillar with his ringing sword and shattered the metal blade, close to the hilt; the flying fragment pierced its owner's neck, but not with mortal wound. In vain he pled for mercy, stretching forth his helpless arms: Perseus transfixed him with his glittering blade, Cyllenian.

[177] But when he saw his strength was yielding to the multitude, he said, “Since you have forced disaster on yourselves, why should I hesitate to save myself?—O friends, avert your faces if ye stand before me!” And he raised Medusa,s head. Thescelus answered him; “Seek other dupes to chase with wonders!” Just as he prepared to hurl the deadly javelin from his hand, he stood, unmoving in that attitude, a marble statue. Ampyx, close to him, exulting in a mighty spirit, made a lunge to pierce Lyncides in the breast; but, as his sword was flashing in the air, his right arm grew so rigid, there he stood unable to draw back or thrust it forth. But Nileus, who had feigned himself begot by seven-fold Nile, and carved his shield with gold and silver streams, alternate seven, shouted; “Look, look! O Perseus, him from whom I sprung! And you shall carry to the silent shades a mighty consolation in your death, that you were slain by such a one as I.” But in the midst of boasting, the last words were silenced; and his open mouth, although incapable of motion, seemed intent to utter speech. Then Eryx, chiding says; “Your craven spirits have benumbed you, not Medusa's poison.—Come with me and strike this youthful mover of magician charms down to the ground.”—He started with a rush; the earth detained his steps; it held him fast; he could not speak; he stood, complete with arms, a statue.

[200] Such a penalty was theirs, and justly earned; but near by there was one, aconteus, who defending Perseus, saw medusa as he fought; and at the sight the soldier hardened to an upright stone.—Assured he was alive, Astyages now struck him with his long sword, but the blade resounded with a ringing note; and there, astonished at the sound, Astyages, himself, assumed that nature; and remained with wonder pictured on his marble face. And not to weary with the names of men, sprung from the middle classes, there remained two hundred warriors eager for the fight—as soon as they could see Medusa's face, two hundred warriors stiffened into stone.

[210] At last, repentant, Phineus dreads the war, unjust, for in a helpless fright he sees the statues standing in strange attitudes; and, recognizing his adherents, calls on each by name to rescue from that death. Still unbelieving he begins to touch the bodies, nearest to himself, and all are hard stone. Having turned his eyes away, he stretched his hands and arms obliquely back to Perseus, and confessed his wicked deeds; and thus imploring spoke; “Remove, I pray, O Perseus, thou invincible, remove from me that dreadful Gorgon: take away the stone-creating countenance of thy unspeakable Medusa! For we warred not out of hatred, nor to gain a throne, but clashed our weapons for a woman's sake.—Thy merit proved thy valid claim, and time gave argument for mine. It grieves me not to yield, O bravest, only give me life, and all the rest be thine.” Such words implored the craven, never daring to address his eyes to whom he spoke. And thus returned the valiant Perseus; “I will grant to you, O timid-hearted Phineus! as behoves your conduct; and it should appear a gift, magnanimous, to one who fears to move.—Take courage, for no steel shall violate your carcase; and, moreover, you shall be a monument, that ages may record your unforgotten name. You shall be seen thus always, in the palace where resides my father-in-law, that my surrendered spouse may soften her great grief when she but sees the darling image of her first betrothed.” He spoke, and moved Medusa to that side where Phineus had turned his trembling face: and as he struggled to avert his gaze his neck grew stiff; the moisture of his eyes was hardened into stone.—And since that day his timid face and coward eyes and hands, forever shall be guilty as in life.

[236] After such deeds, victorious Perseus turned, and sought the confines of his native land; together with his bride; which, having reached, he punished Proetus—who by force of arms had routed his own brother from the throne of Argos. By his aid Acrisius, although his undeserving parent, gained his citadels once more: for Proetus failed, with all his arms and towers unjustly held, to quell the grim-eyed monster, snake-begin. Yet not the valour of the youth, upheld by many labours, nor his grievous wrongs have softened you, O Polydectes! king of Little Seriphus; but bitter hate ungoverned, rankles in your hardened heart—there is no limit to your unjust rage. Even his praises are defamed by you and all your arguments are given to prove Medusa's death a fraud.—Perseus rejoined; “By this we give our true pledge of the truth, avert your eyes!” And by Medusa's face he made the features of that impious king a bloodless stone.

THE NINE MUSES AND MINERVA [250] Through all these mighty deeds Pallas, Minerva, had availed to guide her gold-begotten brother. Now she sped, surrounded in a cloud, from Seriphus, while Cynthus on the right, and Gyarus far faded from her view. And where a path, high over the deep sea, leads the near way, she winged the air for Thebes, and Helicon haunt of the Virgin Nine. High on that mount she stayed her flight, and with these words bespoke those well-taught sisters; “Fame has given to me the knowledge of a new-made fountain—gift of Pegasus, that fleet steed, from the blood of dread Medusa sprung—it opened when his hard hoof struck the ground.—It is the cause that brought me.—For my longing to have seen this fount, miraculous and wonderful, grows not the less in that myself did see the swift steed, nascent from maternal blood.” To which Urania thus; “Whatever the cause that brings thee to our habitation, thou, O goddess, art to us the greatest joy. And now, to answer thee, reports are true; this fountain is the work of Pegasus,” And having said these words, she gladly thence conducted Pallas to the sacred streams. And Pallas, after she had long admired that fountain, flowing where the hoof had struck, turned round to view the groves of ancient trees; the grottoes and the grass bespangled, rich with flowers unnumbered—all so beautiful she deemed the charm of that locality a fair surrounding for the studious days of those Mnemonian Maids.

THE NINE MUSES AND PYRENAEUS [268] But one of them addressed her thus; “O thou whose valour gave thy mind to greater deeds! if thou hadst stooped to us, Minerva, we had welcomed thee most worthy of our choir! Thy words are true; and well hast thou approved the joys of art, and this retreat. Most happy would we be if only we were safe; but wickedness admits of no restraint, and everything affrights our virgin minds; and everywhere the dreadful Pyrenaeus haunts our sight;—scarcely have we recovered from the shock. That savage, with his troops of Thrace, had seized the lands of Daulis and of Phocis, where he ruled in tyranny; and when we sought the Temples of Parnassus, he observed us on our way;—and knowing our estate, pretending to revere our sacred lives, he said; `O Muses, I beseech you pause! Choose now the shelter of my roof and shun the heavy stars that teem with pouring rain; nor hesitate, for often the glorious Gods have entered humbler homes.' Moved by his words, and by the growing storm, we gave assent, and entered his first house. But presently the storm abated, and the southern wind was conquered by the north; the black clouds fled, and soon the skies were clear. At once we sought to quit the house, but Pyrenaeus closed all means of exit,—and prepared to force our virtue. Instantly we spread our wings, and so escaped; but on a lofty tower he stood, as if to follow, and exclaimed; `A path for you marks out a way for me,' and quite insane, he leaped down from the top of that high tower.—Falling on his face, the bones were crushed, and as his life ebbed out the ground was crimsoned with his wicked blood.”

THE NINE MUSES AND THE NINE MAGPIES [294] So spoke the Muse. And now was heard the sound of pennons in the air, and voices, too, gave salutations from the lofty trees. Minerva, thinking they were human tongues, looked up in question whence the perfect words; but on the boughs, nine ugly magpies perched, those mockers of all sounds, which now complained their hapless fate. And as she wondering stood, Urania, goddess of the Muse, rejoined;—“Look, those but lately worsted in dispute augment the number of unnumbered birds.—Pierus was their father, very rich in lands of Pella; and their mother (called Evippe of Paeonia) when she brought them forth, nine times evoked, in labours nine, Lucina's aid.—Unduly puffed with pride, because it chanced their number equalled ours these stupid sisters, hither to engage in wordy contest, fared through many towns;—through all Haemonia and Achaia came to us, and said;—`Oh, cease your empty songs, attuned to dulcet numbers, that deceive the vulgar, untaught throng. If aught is yours of confidence, O Thespian Deities contend with us: our number equals yours. We will not be defeated by your arts; nor shall your songs prevail.—Then, conquered, give Hyantean Aganippe; yield to us the Medusean Fount;—and should we fail, we grant Emathia's plains, to where uprise Paeonia's peaks of snow.—Let chosen Nymphs award the prize—.'

[315] "'Twas shameful to contend; it seemed more shameful to submit. At once, the chosen Nymphs swore justice by their streams, and sat in judgment on their thrones of rock. At once, although the lot had not been cast, the leading sister hastened to begin.—She chanted of celestial wars; she gave the Giants false renown; she gave the Gods small credit for great deeds.—She droned out, `Forth, those deepest realms of earth, Typhoeus came, and filled the Gods with fear. They turned their backs in flight to Egypt; and the wearied rout, where Great Nile spreads his seven-channeled mouth, were there received. – Thither the earth-begot Typhoeus hastened: but the Gods of Heaven deceptive shapes assumed.—Lo, Jupiter, (As Libyan Ammon's crooked horns attest) was hidden in the leader of a flock; Apollo in a crow; Bacchus in a goat; Diana in a cat; Venus in a fish; Saturnian Juno in a snow-white cow; Cyllenian Hermes in an Ibis' wings.'—

[335] "Such stuff she droned out from her noisy mouth: and then they summoned us; but, haply, time permits thee not, nor leisure thee permits, that thou shouldst hearken to our melodies.” "Nay doubt it not,” quoth Pallas, “but relate your melodies in order.” And she sat beneath the pleasant shadows of the grove. And thus again Urania; “On our side we trusted all to one.” Which having said, Calliope arose. Her glorious hair was bound with ivy. She attuned the chords, and chanted as she struck the sounding strings:—

CALLIOPE SINGS OF CERES, PLUTO AND PROSERPINE [341] “First Ceres broke with crooked plow the glebe; first gave to earth its fruit and wholesome food; first gave the laws;—all things of Ceres came; of her I sing; and oh, that I could tell her worth in verse; in verse her worth is due. “Because he dared to covet heavenly thrones Typhoeus, giant limbs are weighted down beneath Sicilia's Isle—vast in extent—how often thence he strains and strives to rise? But his right hand Pachynus holds; his legs are pressed by Lilybaeus, Aetna weights his head. Beneath that ponderous mass Typhoeus lies, flat on his back; and spues the sands on high; and vomits flames from his ferocious mouth. He often strives to push the earth away, the cities and the mountains from his limbs—by which the lands are shaken. Even the king, that rules the silent shades is made to quake, for fear the earth may open and the ground, cleft in wide chasms, letting in the day, may terrify the trembling ghosts. Afraid of this disaster, that dark despot left his gloomy habitation; carried forth by soot-black horses, in his gloomy car. He circumspectly viewed Sicilia's vast foundations.—Having well explored and proved no part was shattered; having laid aside his careful fears, he wandered in those parts.

[362] "Him, Venus, Erycina, in her mount thus witnessed, and embraced her winged son, and said, `O Cupid! thou who art my son—my arms, my hand, my strength; take up those arms, by which thou art victorious over all, and aim thy keenest arrow at the heart of that divinity whom fortune gave the last award, what time the triple realm, by lot was portioned out. The Gods of Heaven are overcome by thee; and Jupiter, and all the Deities that swim the deep, and the great ruler of the Water-Gods: why, then, should Tartarus escape our sway—the third part of the universe at stake—by which thy mother's empire and thy own may be enlarged according to great need. How shameful is our present lot in Heaven, the powers of love and I alike despised; for, mark how Pallas has renounced my sway, besides Diana, javelin-hurler—so will Ceres' daughter choose virginity, if we permit,—that way her hopes incline Do thou this goddess Proserpine, unite in marriage to her uncle. Venus spoke;—Cupid then loosed his quiver, and of all its many arrows, by his mother's aid, selected one; the keenest of them all; the least uncertain, surest from the string: and having fixed his knee against the bow, bent back the flexile horn.—The flying shaft struck Pluto in the breast.

[385] "There is a lake of greatest depth, not far from Henna's walls, long since called Pergus; and the songs of swans, that wake Cayster, rival not the notes of swans melodious on its gliding waves: a fringe of trees, encircling as a wreath its compassed waters, with a leafy veil denies the heat of noon; cool breezes blow beneath the boughs; the humid ground is sprent with purpling flowers, and spring eternal reigns. While Proserpine once dallied in that grove, plucking white lilies and sweet violets, and while she heaped her basket, while she filled her bosom, in a pretty zeal to strive beyond all others; she was seen, beloved, and carried off by Pluto—such the haste of sudden love. The goddess, in great fear, called on her mother and on all her friends; and, in her frenzy, as her robe was rent, down from the upper edge, her gathered flowers fell from her loosened tunic.—This mishap, so perfect was her childish innocence, increased her virgin grief.—The ravisher urged on his chariot, and inspired his steeds; called each by name, and on their necks and manes shook the black-rusted reins. They hastened through deep lakes, and through the pools of Palici, which boiling upward from the ruptured earth smell of strong sulphur. And they bore him thence to where the sons of Bacchus, who had sailed from twin-sea Corinth, long ago had built a city's walls between unequal ports.

[409] “Midway between the streams of Cyane and Arethusa lies a moon-like pool, of silvered narrow horns. There stood the Nymph, revered above all others in that land, whose name was Cyane. From her that pond was always called. And as she stood, concealed in middle waves that circled her white thighs, she recognized the God, and said; `O thou shalt go no further, Pluto, thou shalt not by force alone become the son-in-law of Ceres. It is better to beseech a mother's aid than drag her child away! And this sustains my word, if I may thus compare great things with small, Anapis loved me also; but he wooed and married me by kind endearments; not by fear, as thou hast terrified this girl.' So did she speak; and stretching out her arms on either side opposed his way. The son of Saturn blazed with uncontrolled rage; and urged his steeds, and hurled his royal scepter in the pool. Cast with a mighty arm it pierced the deeps The smitten earth made way to Tartarus;—it opened a wide basin and received the plunging chariot in the midst.—

[425] "But now the mournful Cyane began to grieve, because from her against her fountain-rights the goddess had been torn. The deepening wound still rankled in her breast, and she dissolved in many tears, and wasted in those waves which lately were submissive to her rule. So you could see her members waste away: her hones begin to bend; her nails get soft; her azure hair, her fingers, legs and feet, and every slender part melt in the pool: so brief the time in which her tender limbs were changed to flowing waves; and after them her back and shoulders, and her sides and breasts dissolved and vanished into rivulets: and while she changed, the water slowly filled her faulty veins instead of living blood—and nothing that a hand could hold remained.

[438] "Now it befell when Proserpine was lost, her anxious mother sought through every land and every sea in vain. She rested not. Aurora, when she came with ruddy locks, might never know, nor even Hesperus, if she might deign to rest.—She lit two pines from Aetna's flames and held one in each hand, and restless bore them through the frosty glooms: and when serene the day had dimmed the stars she sought her daughter by the rising sun; and when the sun declined she rested not. Wearied with labour she began to thirst, for all this while no streams had cooled her lips; when, as by chance, a cottage thatched with straw gladdened her sight. Thither the goddess went, and, after knocking at the humble door, waited until an ancient woman came; who, when she saw the goddess and had heard her plea for water, gave her a sweet drink, but lately brewed of parched barley-meal; and while the goddess quaffed this drink a boy, of bold and hard appearance, stood before and laughed and called her greedy. While he spoke the angry goddess sprinkled him with meal, mixed with the liquid which had not been drunk. His face grew spotted where the mixture struck, and legs appeared where he had arms before, a tail was added to his changing trunk; and lest his former strength might cause great harm, all parts contracted till he measured less than common lizards. While the ancient dame wondered and wept and strove for one caress, the reptile fled and sought a lurking place.—His very name describes him to the eye, a body starred with many coloured spots.

[462] "What lands, what oceans Ceres wandered then, would weary to relate. The bounded world was narrow for the search. Again she passed through Sicily; again observed all signs; and as she wandered came to Cyane, who strove to tell where Proserpine had gone, but since her change, had neither mouth nor tongue, and so was mute. And yet the Nymph made plain by certain signs what she desired to say: for on the surface of the waves she showed a well-known girdle Proserpine had lost, by chance had dropped it in that sacred pool; which when the goddess recognized, at last, convinced her daughter had been forced from her, she tore her streaming locks, and frenzied struck her bosom with her palms. And in her rage, although she wist not where her daughter was, she blamed all countries and cried out against their base ingratitude; and she declared the world unworthy of the gift of corn: but Sicily before all other lands, for there was found the token of her loss. For that she broke with savage hand the plows, which there had turned the soil, and full of wrath leveled in equal death the peasant and his ox—both tillers of the soil—and made decree that land should prove deceptive to the seed, and rot all planted germs.—That fertile isle, so noted through the world, becomes a waste; the corn is blighted in the early blade; excessive heat, excessive rain destroys; the winds destroy, the constellations harm; the greedy birds devour the scattered seeds; thistles and tares and tough weeds choke the wheat.

[487] “For this the Nymph, Alpheian, raised her head above Elean waves; and having first pushed back her dripping tresses from her brows, back to her ears, she thus began to speak; `O mother of the virgin, sought throughout the globe! O mother of nutritious fruits! Let these tremendous labours have an end; do not increase the violence of thy wrath against the Earth, devoted to thy sway, and not deserving blame; for only force compelled the Earth to open for that wrong. Think not my supplication is to aid my native country; hither I am come an alien: Pisa is my native land, and Elis gave me birth. Though I sojourn a stranger in this isle of Sicily it yet delights me more than all the world. I, Arethusa, claim this isle my home, and do implore thee keep my throne secure, O greatest of the Gods! A better hour, when thou art lightened of thy cares, will come, and when thy countenance again is kind; and then may I declare what cause removed me from my native place—and through the waves of such a mighty ocean guided me to find Ortygia. Through the porous earth by deepest caverns, I uplift my head and see unwonted stars. Now it befell, as I was gliding far beneath the world, where flow dark Stygian streams, I saw thy Proserpine. Although her countenance betrayed anxiety and grief, a queen She reigned supremely great in that opacous world queen consort mighty to the King of Hell.'

[509] "Astonished and amazed, as thunderstruck, when Proserpina's mother heard these words, long while she stood till great bewilderment gave way to heavy grief. Then to the skies, ethereal, she mounted in her car and with beclouded face and streaming hair stood fronting Jove, opprobrious. `I have come O Jupiter, a suppliant to thee, both for my own offspring as well as thine. If thy hard heart deny a mother grace, yet haply as a father thou canst feel some pity for thy daughter; and I pray thy care for her may not be valued less because my groaning travail brought her forth.—My long-sought daughter has at last been found, if one can call it, found, when certain loss more certain has been proved; or so may deem the knowledge of her state.—But I may bear his rude ways, if again he bring her back. Thy worthy child should not be forced to wed a bandit-chief, nor should my daughter's charms reward his crime.' She spoke;—and Jupiter took up the word; `This daughter is a care, a sacred pledge to me as well as thee; but if it please us to acknowledge truth, this is a deed of love and injures not. And if, O goddess, thou wilt not oppose, such law-son cannot compass our disgrace: for though all else were wanting, naught can need Jove's brother, who in fortune yields to none save me. But if thy fixed desire compel dissent, let Proserpine return to Heaven; however, subject to the binding law, if there her tongue have never tasted food—a sure condition, by the Fates decreed.'

[533] "He spoke; but Ceres was no less resolved to lead her daughter thence. Not so the Fates permit.—The virgin, thoughtless while she strayed among the cultivated Stygian fields, had broken fast. While there she plucked the fruit by bending a pomegranate tree, and plucked, and chewed seven grains, picked from the pallid rind; and none had seen except Ascalaphus—him Orphne, famed of all Avernian Nymphs had brought to birth in some infernal cave, days long ago, from Acheron's embrace—he saw it, and with cruel lips debarred young Proserpine's return. Heaving a sigh, the Queen of Erebus, indignant changed that witness to an evil bird: she turned his head, with sprinkled Phlegethonian lymph, into a beak, and feathers, and great eyes; his head grew larger and his shape, deformed, was cased in tawny wings; his lengthened nails bent inward;—and his sluggish arms as wings can hardly move. So he became the vilest bird; a messenger of grief; the lazy owl; sad omen to mankind.

[551] "The telltale's punishment was only just; O Siren Maids, but wherefore thus have ye the feet and plumes of birds, although remain your virgin features? Is it from the day when Proserpina gathered vernal flowers; because ye mingled with her chosen friends? And after she was lost, in vain ye sought through all the world; and wished for wings to waft you over the great deep, that soon the sea might feel your great concern.—The Gods were kind: ye saw your limbs grow yellow, with a growth of sudden-sprouting feathers; but because your melodies that gently charm the ear, besides the glory of your speech, might lose the blessing, of a tongue, your virgin face and human voice remained.

[564] "But Jupiter, the mediator of these rival claims, urged by his brother and his grieving sister, divided the long year in equal parts. Now Proserpina, as a Deity, of equal merit, in two kingdoms reigns:—for six months with her mother she abides, and six months with her husband.—Both her mind and her appearance quickly were transformed; for she who seemed so sad in Pluto's eyes, now as a goddess beams in joyful smiles; so, when the sun obscured by watery mist conquers the clouds, it shines in splendour forth.

CALLIOPE SINGS OF ARETHUSA AND ALPHEUS [572] “And genial Ceres, full of joy, that now her daughter was regained, began to speak; `Declare the reason of thy wanderings, O Arethusa! tell me wherefore thou wert made a sacred stream.' The waters gave no sound; but soon that goddess raised her head from the deep springs; and after sue had dried her green hair with her hand, with fair address she told the ancient amours of that stream which flows through Elis.—`I was one among the Nymphs of old Achaia,'—so she said—`And none of them more eager sped than I, along the tangled pathways; and I fixed the hunting-nets with zealous care.—Although I strove not for the praise that beauty gives, and though my form was something stout for grace, it had the name of being beautiful. So worthless seemed the praise, I took no joy in my appearance—as a country lass I blushed at those endowments which would give delight to others—even the power to please seemed criminal.—And I remember when returning weary from Stymphal fan woods, and hot with toil, that made the glowing sun seem twice as hot, I chanced upon a stream, that flowed without a ripple or a sound so smoothly on, I hardly thought it moved.

[587] `The water was so clear that one could see and count the pebbles in the deepest parts, and silver willows and tall poplar trees, nourished by flowing waters, spread their shade over the shelving banks. So I approached, and shrinkingly touched the cool stream with my feet; and then I ventured deeper to my knees; and not contented doffed my fleecy robes, and laid them on a bending willow tree. Then, naked, I plunged deeply in the stream, and while I smote the water with my hands, and drew it towards me, striking boldly forth, moving my body in a thousand ways, I thought I heard a most unusual sound, a murmuring noise beneath the middle stream. Alarmed, I hastened to the nearest bank, and as I stood upon its edge, these words hoarsely Alpheus uttered from his waves; `Oh, whither dost thou hasten?' and again, ‘Oh, whither dost thou hasten?' said the voice.

[601] `Just as I was, I fled without my clothes, for I had left them on the other bank; which, when he saw, so much the more inflamed, more swiftly he pursued: my nakedness was tempting to his gaze. And thus I ran; and thus relentlessly he pressed my steps: so from the hawk the dove with trembling wings; and so, the hawk pursues the frightened dove. Swiftly and long I fled, with winding course, to Orchamenus, Psophis and Cyllene, and Maenalus and Erymanthus cold, and Elis. Neither could he gain by speed, although his greater strength must soon prevail, for I not longer could endure the strain. Still I sped onward through the fields and woods, by tangled wilds and over rocks and crags; and as I hastened from the setting sun, I thought I saw a growing shadow move beyond my feet; it may have been my fear imagined it, but surely now I heard the sound of footsteps: I could even feel his breathing on the loose ends of my hair; and I was terrified. At last, worn out by all my efforts to escape, I cried; `Oh, help me—thou whose bow and quivered darts I oft have borne—thy armour-bearer calls—O chaste Diana help,—or I am lost.'

[621] `It moved the goddess, and she gathered up a dense cloud, and encompassed me about.—The baffled River circled round and round, seeking to find me, hidden in that cloud—twice went the River round, and twice cried out, `Ho, Arethusa! Arethusa, Ho!' `What were my wretched feelings then? Could I be braver than the Iamb that hears the wolves, howling around the high-protecting fold? Or than the hare, which lurking in the bush knows of the snarling hounds and dares not move? And yet, Alpheus thence would not depart, for he could find no footprints of my flight. He watched the cloud and spot, and thus besieged, a cold sweat gathered on my trembling limbs. The clear-blue drops, distilled from every pore, made pools of water where I moved my feet, and dripping moisture trickled from my hair.—Much quicker than my story could be told, my body was dissolved to flowing streams.—But still the River recognized the waves, and for the love of me transformed his shape from human features to his proper streams, that so his waters might encompass mine. Diana, therefore, opened up the ground, in which I plunged, and thence through gloomy caves was carried to Ortygia—blessed isle! To which my chosen goddess gave her name! Where first I rose amid the upper air!'

CALLIOPE SINGS OF TRIPTOLEMUS AND LYNCUS [642] "Thus Arethusa made an end of speech: and presently the fertile goddess yoked two dragons to her chariot: she curbed their mouths with bits: they bore her through the air, in her light car betwixt the earth and skies, to the Tritonian citadel, and to Triptolemus, to whom she furnished seed, that he might scatter it in wasted lands, and in the fallow fields; which, after long neglect, again were given to the plow. After he had traveled through uncharted skies, over wide Europe and vast Asian lands, he lit upon the coast of Scythia, where a king called Lyncus reigned. And there, at once he sought the palace of that king, who said; `Whence come you, stranger, wherefore in this land? Come, tell to me your nation and your name.' And after he was questioned thus, he said, `I came from far-famed Athens and they call my name Triptolemus. I neither came by ship through waves, nor over the dry land; for me the yielding atmosphere makes way.—I bear the gifts of Ceres to your land, which scattered over your wide realm may yield an ample harvest of nutritious food.' The envious Lyncus, wishing to appear the gracious author of all benefits, received the unsuspecting youth with smiles; but when he fell into a heavy sleep that savage king attacked him with a sword—but while attempting to transfix his guest, the goddess Ceres changed him to a lynx:—and once again she sent her favoured youth to drive her sacred dragons through the clouds.

THE NINE OPPONENTS OF THE NINE MUSES CHANGED TO MAGPIES [662] "The greatest of our number ended thus her learned songs; and with concordant voice the chosen Nymphs adjudged the Deities, on Helicon who dwell, should be proclaimed the victors. But the vanquished nine began to scatter their abuse; to whom rejoined the goddess; `Since it seems a trifling thing that you should suffer a deserved defeat, and you must add unmerited abuse to heighten your offence, and since by this appears the end of our endurance, we shall certainly proceed to punish you according to the limit of our wrath.' But these Emathian sisters laughed to scorn our threatening words; and as they tried to speak, and made great clamour, and with shameless hands made threatening gestures, suddenly stiff quills sprouted from out their finger-nails, and plumes spread over their stretched arms; and they could see the mouth of each companion growing out into a rigid beak.—And thus new birds were added to the forest.—While they made complaint, these Magpies that defile our groves, moving their stretched-out arms, began to float, suspended in the air. And since that time their ancient eloquence, their screaming notes, their tiresome zeal of speech have all remained.”


ARACHNE AND MINERVA [1] All this Minerva heard; and she approved their songs and their resentment; but her heart was brooding thus, “It is an easy thing to praise another, I should do as they: no creature of the earth should ever slight the majesty that dwells in me,—without just retribution.”—So her thought was turned upon the fortune of Arachne—proud, who would not ever yield to her the praise won by the art of deftly weaving wool, a girl who had not fame for place of birth, nor fame for birth, but only fame for skill! For it was well known that her father dwelt in Colophon; where, at his humble trade, he dyed in Phocean purples, fleecy wool. Her mother, also of the lower class, had died. Arachne in a mountain town by skill had grown so famous in the Land of Lydia, that unnumbered curious nymphs eager to witness her dexterity, deserted the lush vineyards of Timolus; or even left the cool and flowing streams of bright Pactolus, to admire the cloth, or to observe her deftly spinning wool. So graceful was her motion then,—if she was twisting the coarse wool in little balls, or if she teased it with her finger-tips, or if she softened the fine fleece, drawn forth in misty films, or if she twirled the smooth round spindle with her energetic thumb, or if with needle she embroidered cloth;—in all her motions one might well perceive how much Minerva had instructed her: but this she ever would deny, displeased to share her fame; and said, “Let her contend in art with me; and if her skill prevails, I then will forfeit all!”

[26] Minerva heard, and came to her, disguised with long grey hair, and with a staff to steady her weak limbs. She seemed a feeble woman, very old, and quavered as she said, “Old age is not the cause of every ill; experience comes with lengthened years; and, therefore, you should not despise my words. It is no harm in you to long for praise of mortals, when your nimble hands are spinning the soft wool,—but you should not deny Minerva's art—and you should pray that she may pardon you, for she will grant you pardon if you ask.” Arachne, scowling with an evil face. Looked at the goddess, as she dropped her thread. She hardly could restrain her threatening hand, and, trembling in her anger, she replied to you, disguised Minerva: “Silly fool,—worn out and witless in your palsied age, a great age is your great misfortune!—Let your daughter and your son's wife—if the Gods have blessed you—let them profit by your words; within myself, my knowledge is contained sufficient; you need not believe that your advice does any good; for I am quite unchanged in my opinion. Get you gone,—advise your goddess to come here herself, and not avoid the contest!” Instantly, the goddess said, “Minerva comes to you!” And with those brief words, put aside the shape of the old woman, and revealed herself, Minerva, goddess. All the other Nymphs and matrons of Mygdonia worshiped her; but not Arachne, who defiant stood;—although at first she flushed up—then went pale—then blushed again, reluctant.—So, at first, the sky suffuses, as Aurora moves, and, quickly when the glorious sun comes up, pales into white. She even rushed upon her own destruction, for she would not give from her desire to gain the victory. Nor did the daughter of almighty Jove decline: disdaining to delay with words, she hesitated not.

[53] And both, at once, selected their positions, stretched their webs with finest warp, and separated warp with sley. The woof was next inserted in the web by means of the sharp shuttles, which their nimble fingers pushed along, so drawn within the warp, and so the teeth notched in the moving sley might strike them.—Both, in haste, girded their garments to their breasts and moved their skilful arms, beguiling their fatigue in eager action. Myriad tints appeared besides the Tyrian purple—royal dye, extracted in brass vessels.—As the bow, that spans new glory in the curving sky, its glittering rays reflected in the rain, spreads out a multitude of blended tints, in scintillating beauty to the sight of all who gaze upon it;—so the threads, inwoven, mingled in a thousand tints, harmonious and contrasting; shot with gold: and there, depicted in those shining webs, were shown the histories of ancient days:—

[70] Minerva worked the Athenian Hill of Mars, where ancient Cecrops built his citadel, and showed the old contention for the name it should be given.—Twelve celestial Gods surrounded Jupiter, on lofty thrones; and all their features were so nicely drawn, that each could be distinguished.—Jupiter appeared as monarch of those judging Gods. There Neptune, guardian of the sea, was shown contending with Minerva. As he struck the Rock with his long trident, a wild horse sprang forth which he bequeathed to man. He claimed his right to name the city for that gift. And then she wove a portrait of herself, bearing a shield, and in her hand a lance, sharp-pointed, and a helmet on her head—her breast well-guarded by her Aegis: there she struck her spear into the fertile earth, from which a branch of olive seemed to sprout, pale with new clustered fruits.—And those twelve Gods, appeared to judge, that olive as a gift surpassed the horse which Neptune gave to man.

[83] And, so Arachne, rival of her fame, might learn the folly of her mad attempt, from the great deeds of ancient histories, and what award presumption must expect, Minerva wove four corners with life scenes of contest, brightly colored, but of size diminutive. In one of these was shown the snow-clad mountains, Rhodope, and Haemus, which for punishment were changed from human beings to those rigid forms, when they aspired to rival the high Gods. And in another corner she described that Pygmy, whom the angry Juno changed from queen-ship to a crane; because she thought herself an equal of the living Gods, she was commanded to wage cruel wars upon her former subjects. In the third, she wove the story of Antigone, who dared compare herself to Juno, queen of Jupiter, and showed her as she was transformed into a silly chattering stork, that praised her beauty, with her ugly beak.—Despite the powers of Ilion and her sire Laomedon, her shoulders fledged white wings. And so, the third part finished, there was left one corner, where Minerva deftly worked the story of the father, Cinyras;—as he was weeping on the temple steps, which once had been his daughter's living limbs. And she adorned the border with designs of peaceful olive—her devoted tree—which having shown, she made an end of work.

[103] Arachne, of Maeonia, wove, at first the story of Europa, as the bull deceived her, and so perfect was her art, it seemed a real bull in real waves. Europa seemed to look back towards the land which she had left; and call in her alarm to her companions—and as if she feared the touch of dashing waters, to draw up her timid feet, while she was sitting on the bull's back. And she wove Asteria seized by the assaulting eagle; and beneath the swan's white wings showed Leda lying by the stream: and showed Jove dancing as a Satyr, when he sought the beautiful Antiope, to whom was given twins; and how he seemed Amphitryon when he deceived Alcmena; and how he courted lovely Danae luring her as a gleaming shower of gold; and poor Aegina, hidden in his flame, jove as a shepherd with Mnemosyne; and beautiful Proserpina, involved by him, apparent as a spotted snake. And in her web, Arachne wove the scenes of Neptune:—who was shown first as a bull, when he was deep in love with virgin Arne then as Enipeus when the giant twins, Aloidae, were begot; and as the ram that gambolled with Bisaltis; as a horse loved by the fruitful Ceres, golden haired, all-bounteous mother of the yellow grain; and as the bird that hovered round snake-haired Medusa, mother of the winged horse; and as the dolphin, sporting with the Nymph, Melantho.—All of these were woven true to life, in proper shades. And there she showed Apollo, when disguised in various forms: as when he seemed a rustic; and as when he wore hawk-wings, and then the tawny skin of a great lion; and once more when he deluded Isse, as a shepherd lad. And there was Bacchus, when he was disguised as a large cluster of fictitious grapes; deluding by that wile the beautiful Erigone;—and Saturn, as a steed, begetter of the dual-natured Chiron. And then Arachne, to complete her work, wove all around the web a patterned edge of interlacing flowers and ivy leaves.

[129] Minerva could not find a fleck or flaw—even Envy can not censure perfect art—enraged because Arachne had such skill she ripped the web, and ruined all the scenes that showed those wicked actions of the Gods; and with her boxwood shuttle in her hand, struck the unhappy mortal on her head,—struck sharply thrice, and even once again. Arachne's spirit, deigning not to brook such insult, brooded on it, till she tied a cord around her neck, and hung herself. Minerva, moved to pity at the sight, sustained and saved her from that bitter death; but, angry still, pronounced another doom: “Although I grant you life, most wicked one, your fate shall be to dangle on a cord, and your posterity forever shall take your example, that your punishment may last forever!” Even as she spoke, before withdrawing from her victim's sight, she sprinkled her with juice—extract of herbs of Hecate. At once all hair fell off, her nose and ears remained not, and her head shrunk rapidly in size, as well as all her body, leaving her diminutive.—Her slender fingers gathered to her sides as long thin legs; and all her other parts were fast absorbed in her abdomen—whence she vented a fine thread;—and ever since, Arachne, as a spider, weaves her web.

NIOBE [146] All Lydia was astonished at her fate the Rumor spread to Phrygia, soon the world was filled with fear and wonder. Niobe had known her long before,—when in Maeonia near to Mount Sipylus; but the sad fate which overtook Arachne, lost on her, she never ceased her boasting and refused to honor the great Gods. So many things increased her pride: She loved to boast her husband's skill, their noble family, the rising grandeur of their kingdom. Such felicities were great delights to her; but nothing could exceed the haughty way she boasted of her children: and, in truth, Niobe might have been adjudged on earth, the happiest mother of mankind, if pride had not destroyed her wit. It happened then, that Manto, daughter of Tiresias, who told the future; when she felt the fire of prophecy descend upon her, rushed upon the street and shouted in the midst: “You women of Ismenus! go and give to high Latona and her children, twain, incense and prayer. Go, and with laurel wreathe your hair in garlands, as your sacred prayers arise to heaven. Give heed, for by my speech Latona has ordained these holy rites.” At once, the Theban women wreathe their brows with laurel, and they cast in hallowed flame the grateful incense, while they supplicate all favors of the ever-living Gods.

[165] And while they worship, Niobe comes there, surrounded with a troup that follow her, and most conspicuous in her purple robe, bright with inwoven threads of yellow gold. Beautiful in her anger, she tosses back her graceful head. The glory of her hair shines on her shoulders. Standing forth, she looks upon them with her haughty eyes, and taunts them, “Madness has prevailed on you to worship some imagined Gods of Heaven, which you have only heard of; but the Gods that truly are on earth, and can be seen, are all neglected! Come, explain to me, why is Latona worshiped and adored, and frankincense not offered unto me? For my divinity is known to you. “Tantalus was my father, who alone approached the tables of the Gods in heaven; my mother, sister of the Pleiades, was daughter of huge Atlas, who supports the world upon his shoulders; I can boast of Jupiter as father of my sire, I count him also as my father-in-law. The peoples of my Phrygia dread my power, and I am mistress of the palace built by Cadmus. By my husband, I am queen of those great walls that reared themselves to the sweet music of his sounding lyre. We rule together all the people they encompass and defend. And everywhere my gaze is turned, an evidence of wealth is witnessed. In my features you can see the beauty of a goddess, but above that majesty is all the glory due to me, the mother of my seven sons and daughters seven. And the time will come when by their marriage they will magnify the circle of my power invincible.

[184] "All must acknowledge my just cause of pride and must no longer worship, in despite of my superior birth, this deity, a daughter of ignoble Coeus, whom one time the great Earth would not even grant sufficient space for travail: whom the Heavens, the Land, the Sea together once compelled to wander, hopeless on all hostile shores! Throughout the world she found herself rebuffed, till Delos, sorry for the vagrant, said, `Homeless you roam the lands, and I the seas!' And even her refuge always was adrift. And there she bore two children, who, compared with mine, are but as one to seven. Who denies my fortunate condition?—Who can doubt my future?—I am surely safe. The wealth of my abundance is too strong for Fortune to assail me. Let her rage despoil me of large substance; yet so much would still be mine, for I have risen above the blight of apprehension. But, suppose a few of my fair children should be taken! Even so deprived, I could not be reduced to only two, as this Latona, who, might quite as well be childless.—Get you gone from this insensate sacrifice. Make haste! Cast off the wreathing laurels from your brows!” They plucked the garlands from their hair, and left the sacrifice, obedient to her will, although in gentle murmurs they adored the goddess Niobe had so defamed.

[204] Latona, furious when she heard the speech, flew swiftly to the utmost peak of Cynthus, and spoke to her two children in these words: “Behold your mother, proud of having borne such glorious children! I will yield prestige before no goddess—save alone immortal Juno! I have been debased, and driven for all ages from my own—my altars, unto me devoted long, and so must languish through eternity, unless by you sustained. Nor is this all; that daughter of Tantalus, bold Niobe, has added curses to her evil deeds, and with a tongue as wicked as her sire's, has raised her base-born children over mine. Has even called me childless! A sad fate more surely should be hers! Oh, I entreat”—But Phoebus answered her, “No more complaint is necessary, for it only serves to hinder the swift sequel of her doom.” And with the same words Phoebe answered her. And having spoken, they descended through the shielding shadows of surrounding clouds, and hovered on the citadel of Cadmus.

[218] There, far below them, was a level plain which swept around those walls; where trampling steeds, with horny hoofs, and multitudinous wheels, had beaten a wide track. And on the field the older sons of Niobe on steeds emblazoned with bright dyes and harness rich with studded gold were circling.—One of these, Ismenus, first-born of his mother, while controlling his fleet courser's foaming mouth, cried out, “Ah wretched me!” A shaft had pierced the middle of his breast; and as the reins dropped slowly on the rapid courser's neck, his drooping form fell forward to the ground. Not far from him, his brother, Sipylus, could hear the whistling of a fatal shaft, and in his fright urged on the plunging steed: as when the watchful pilot, sensible of storms approaching, crowds on sail, hoping to catch a momentary breeze, so fled he, urging an impetuous flight; but, while he fled the shaft, unerring, flew; transfixed him with its quivering death; struck where the neck supports the head and the sharp point protruded from his throat. In his swift flight, as he was leaning forward, he was struck; and, rolling over the wild horse's neck pitched to the ground, and stained it with his blood.

[239] Unhappy Phaedimus, and Tantalus, (So named from his maternal grandsire) now had finished coursing on the track, and smooth. Shining with oil, were wrestling in the field; and while those brothers struggled—breast to breast—another arrow, hurtling from the sky, pierced them together, just as they were clinched. The mingled sound that issued from two throats was like a single groan. Convulsed with pain, the wrestlers fell together on the ground, where, stricken with a double agony, rolling their eyeballs, they sobbed out their lives. Alphenor saw them die—beating his breast in agony—ran to lift in his arms their lifeless bodies cold—while doing this he fell upon them. Phoebus struck him so, piercing his midriff in a vital part, with fatal shot, which, when he pulled it forth, dragged with its barb a torn clot of his lung—his blood and life poured out upon the air. The youthful Damasicthon next was struck, not only once; an arrow pierced his leg just where the sinews of the thigh begin, and as he turned and stooped to pluck it out, another keen shaft shot into his neck, up to the fletching.—The blood drove it out, and spouted after it in crimson jets. Then, Ilioneus, last of seven sons, lifted his unavailing arms in prayer, and cried, “O Universal Deities, gods of eternal heaven, spare my life!”—Besought too late, Apollo of the Bow, could not prevail against the deadly shaft, already on its way: and yet his will, compellant, acted to retard its flight, so that it cut no deeper than his heart.

[267] The rumors of an awful tragedy,—the wailings of sad Niobe's loved friends,—the terror of her grieving relatives,—all gave some knowledge of her sudden loss: but so bewildered and enraged her mind, that she could hardly realize the Gods had privilege to dare against her might. Nor would she, till her lord, Amphion, thrust his sword deep in his breast, by which his life and anguish both were ended in dark night. Alas, proud Niobe, once haughty queen! Proud Niobe who but so lately drove her people from Latona's altars, while, moving majestic through the midst, she hears their plaudits, now so bitterly debased, her meanest enemy may pity her!—She fell upon the bodies of her sons, and in a frenzy of maternal grief, kissed their unfeeling lips. Then unto Heaven with arms accusing, railed upon her foe: “Glut your revenge! Latona, glut your rage! Yea, let my lamentations be your joy! Go—satiate your flinty heart with death! Are not my seven sons all dead? Am I not waiting to be carried to my grave?—exult and triumph, my victorious foe! Victorious? Nay!—Much more remains to me in all my utmost sorrow, than to you, you gloater upon vengeance—undismayed, I stand victorious in my Field of Woe!”

[286] No sooner had she spoken, than the cord twanged from the ever-ready bow; and all who heard the fatal sound, again were filled with fear,—save Niobe, in misery bold,—defiant in misfortune.—Clothed in black, the sisters of the stricken brothers stood, with hair disheveled, by the funeral biers. And one while plucking from her brother's heart a shaft, swooned unto death, fell on her face—on her dear brother's corpse. Another girl, while she consoled her mother, suddenly, was stricken with an unseen, deadly wound; and doubled in convulsions, closed her lips, tight held them, till both breath and life were lost. Another, vainly rushed away from death—she met it, and pitched head-first to the ground; and still another died upon her corse, another vainly sought a secret death, and, then another slipped beyond's life's edge. So, altogether, six of seven died—each victim, strickened in a different way. One child remained. Then in a frenzy-fear the mother, as she covered her with all her garments and her body, wailed—“Oh, leave me this one child! the youngest of them all! My darling daughter—only leave me one!” But even while she was entreating for its life—the life was taken from her only child.

[303] Childless—she crouched beside her slaughtered sons, her lifeless daughters, and her husband's corpse. The breeze not even moved her fallen hair, a chill of marble spread upon her flesh, beneath her pale, set brows, her eyes moved not, her bitter tongue turned stiff in her hard jaws, her lovely veins congealed, and her stiff neck and rigid hands could neither bend nor move.—her limbs and body, all were changed to stone. Yet ever would she weep: and as her tears were falling she was carried from the place, enveloped in a storm and mighty wind, far, to her native land, where fixed upon a mountain summit she dissolves in tears,—and to this day the marble drips with tears.

RUSTICS CHANGED TO FROGS [313] All men and women, after this event, feared to incur Latona's fateful wrath, and worshiped with more zeal the Deity, mother of twins.—And, as it is the way of men to talk of many other things after a strong occurrence, they recalled what other deeds the goddess had performed;—and one of them recited this event: 'Twas in the ancient days of long-ago,—some rustics, in the fertile fields of Lycia, heedless, insulted the goddess to their harm:—perhaps you've never heard of this event, because those country clowns were little known. The event was wonderful, but I can vouch the truth of it. I visited the place and I have seen the pool of water, where happened the miracle I now relate.

[321] My good old father, then advanced in years, incapable of travel, ordered me to fetch some cattle—thoroughbreds—from there, and had secured a Lycian for my guide, as I traversed the pastures, with the man, it chanced, I saw an ancient altar,—grimed with sacrificial ashes—in the midst of a large pool, with sedge and reeds around, a-quiver in the breeze. And there my guide stood on the marge, and with an awe-struck voice began to whisper, “Be propitious, hear my supplications, and forget not me!” And I, observing him, echoed the words, “Forget not me!” which, having done, I turned to him and said, “Whose altar can this be? Perhaps a sacred altar of the Fauns, or of the Naiads, or a native God?” To which my guide replied, “Young man, such Gods may not be worshiped at this altar. She whom once the royal Juno drove away to wander a harsh world, alone permits this altar to be used: that goddess whom the wandering Isle of Delos, at the time it drifted as the foam, almost refused a refuge. There Latona, as she leaned against a palm-tree—and against the tree most sacred to Minerva, brought forth twins, although their harsh step-mother, Juno, strove to interfere.—And from the island forced to fly by jealous Juno, on her breast she bore her children, twin Divinities.

[339] "At last, outwearied with the toil, and parched with thirst—long-wandering in those heated days over the arid land of Lycia, where was bred the dire Chimaera—at the time her parching breasts were drained, she saw this pool of crystal water, shimmering in the vale. Some countrymen were there to gather reeds, and useful osiers, and the bulrush, found with sedge in fenny pools. To them approached Latona, and she knelt upon the merge to cool her thirst, with some refreshing water. But those clowns forbade her and the goddess cried, as they so wickedly opposed her need: `Why do you so resist my bitter thirst? The use of water is the sacred right of all mankind, for Nature has not made the sun and air and water, for the sole estate of any creature; and to Her kind bounty I appeal, although of you I humbly beg the use of it. Not here do I intend to bathe my wearied limbs. I only wish to quench an urgent thirst, for, even as I speak, my cracking lips and mouth so parched, almost deny me words. A drink of water will be like a draught of nectar, giving life; and I shall owe to you the bounty and my life renewed.—ah, let these tender infants, whose weak arms implore you from my bosom, but incline your hearts to pity!” And just as she spoke, it chanced the children did stretch out their arms and who would not be touched to hear such words, as spoken by this goddess, and refuse?

[361] "But still those clowns persisted in their wrong against the goddess; for they hindered her, and threatened with their foul, abusive tongues to frighten her away—and, worse than all, they even muddied with their hands and feet the clear pool; forcing the vile, slimy dregs up from the bottom, in a spiteful way, by jumping up and down.—Enraged at this, she felt no further thirst, nor would she deign to supplicate again; but, feeling all the outraged majesty of her high state, she raised her hands to Heaven, and exclaimed, `Forever may you live in that mud-pool!' The curse as soon as uttered took effect, and every one of them began to swim beneath the water, and to leap and plunge deep in the pool.—Now, up they raise their heads, now swim upon the surface, now they squat themselves around the marshy margent, now they plump again down to the chilly deeps. And, ever and again, with croaking throats, indulge offensive strife upon the banks, or even under water, boom abuse. Their ugly voices cause their bloated necks to puff out; and their widened jaws are made still wider in the venting of their spleen. Their backs, so closely fastened to their heads, make them appear as if their shrunken necks have been cut off. Their backbones are dark green; white are their bellies, now their largest part.—Forever since that time, the foolish frogs muddy their own pools, where they leap and dive."

MARSYAS [382] So he related how the clowns were changed to leaping frogs; and after he was through, another told the tale of Marsyas, in these words: The Satyr Marsyas, when he played the flute in rivalry against Apollo's lyre, lost that audacious contest and, alas! His life was forfeit; for, they had agreed the one who lost should be the victor's prey. And, as Apollo punished him, he cried, “Ah-h-h! why are you now tearing me apart? A flute has not the value of my life!” Even as he shrieked out in his agony, his living skin was ripped off from his limbs, till his whole body was a flaming wound, with nerves and veins and viscera exposed. But all the weeping people of that land, and all the Fauns and Sylvan Deities, and all the Satyrs, and Olympus, his loved pupil—even then renowned in song, and all the Nymphs, lamented his sad fate; and all the shepherds, roaming on the hills, lamented as they tended fleecy flocks. And all those falling tears, on fruitful Earth, descended to her deepest veins, as drip the moistening dews,—and, gathering as a fount, turned upward from her secret-winding caves, to issue, sparkling, in the sun-kissed air, the clearest river in the land of Phrygia,—through which it swiftly flows between steep banks down to the sea: and, therefore, from his name, 'tis called “The Marsyas” to this very day.

PELOPS [401] And after this was told, the people turned and wept for Niobe's loved children dead, and also, mourned Amphion, sorrow-slain. The Theban people hated Niobe, but Pelops, her own brother, mourned her death; and as he rent his garment, and laid bare his white left shoulder, you could see the part composed of ivory.—At his birth 'twas all of healthy flesh; but when his father cut his limbs asunder, and the Gods restored his life, all parts were rightly joined, except part of one shoulder, which was wanting; so to serve the purpose of the missing flesh, a piece of ivory was inserted there, making his body by such means complete.

TEREUS AND PHILOMELA [412] The lords of many cities that were near, now met together and implored their kings to mourn with Pelops those unhappy deeds.—The lords of Argos; Sparta and Mycenae; and Calydon, before it had incurred the hatred of Diana, goddess of the chase; fertile Orchomenus and Corinth, great in wealth of brass; Patrae and fierce Messena; Cleone, small; and Pylus and Troezen, not ruled by Pittheus then,—and also, all the other cities which are shut off by the Isthmus there dividing by its two seas, and all the cities which are seen from there. What seemed most wonderful, of all those towns Athens alone was wanting, for a war had gathered from the distant seas, a host of savage warriors had alarmed her walls, and hindered her from mourning for the dead. Now Tereus, then the mighty king of Thrace, came to the aid of Athens as defense from that fierce horde; and there by his great deeds achieved a glorious fame. Since his descent was boasted from the mighty Gradivus, and he was gifted with enormous wealth, Pandion, king of Athens, gave to him in sacred wedlock his dear daughter, Procne. But Juno, guardian of the sacred rites attended not, nor Hymenaeus, nor the Graces. But the Furies snatched up brands from burning funeral pyres, and brandished them as torches. They prepared the nuptial couch,—a boding owl flew over the bride's room, and then sat silently upon the roof. With such bad omens Tereus married her, sad Procne, and those omens cast a gloom on all the household till the fateful birth of their first born. All Thrace went wild with joy—and even they, rejoicing, blessed the Gods, when he, the little Itys, saw the light; and they ordained each year their wedding day, and every year the birthday of their child, should be observed with festival and song: so the sad veil of fate conceals from us our future woes.

[438] Now Titan had drawn forth the changing seasons through five autumns, when, in gentle accents, Procne spoke these words: “My dearest husband, if you love me, let me visit my dear sister, or consent that she may come to us and promise her that she may soon return. If you will but permit me to enjoy her company my heart will bless you as I bless the Gods.” At once the monarch ordered his long ships to launch upon the sea; and driven by sail, and hastened by the swiftly sweeping oars, they entered the deep port of Athens, where he made fair landing on the fortified Piraeus. There, when time was opportune to greet his father-in-law and shake his hand, they both exchanged their wishes for good health, and Tereus told the reason why he came. He was relating all his wife's desire. Promising Philomela's safe return from a brief visit, when Philomela appeared rich in her costly raiment, yet more rich in charm and beauty, just as if a fair Dryad or Naiad should be so attired, appearing radiant, from dark solitudes. As if someone should kindle whitening corn or the dry leaves, or hay piled in a stack; so Tereus, when he saw the beautiful and blushing virgin, was consumed with love. Her modest beauty was a worthy cause of worthy love; but by his heritage, derived from a debasing clime, his love was base; and fires unholy burned within from his own lawless nature, just as fierce as are the habits of his evil race.

[461] In the wild frenzy of his wicked heart, he thought he would corrupt her trusted maid, her tried attendants, and corrupt even her virtue with large presents: he would waste his kingdom in the effort.—He prepared to seize her at the risk of cruel war. And he would do or dare all things to feed his raging flame.—He could not brook delay. With most impassioned words he begged for her, pretending he gave voice to Procne's hopes.—his own desire made him wax eloquent, as often as his words exceeded bounds, he pleaded he was uttering Procne's words. His hypocritic eyes were filled with tears, as though they represented her desire—and, O you Gods above, what devious ways are harbored in the hearts of mortals! Through his villainous desire he gathered praise, and many lauded him for the great love he bore his wife.

[475] And even Philomela desires her own undoing; and with fond embraces nestles to her father, while she pleads for his consent, that she may go to visit her dear sister.—Tereus viewed her pretty pleading, and in his hot heart, imagined he was then embracing her; and as he saw her kiss her father's lips, her arms around his neck, it seemed that each caress was his; and so his fire increased. He even wished he were her father; though, if it were so, his passion would no less be impious.—Overcome at last by these entreaties, her kind father gave consent. Greatly she joyed and thanked him for her own misfortune. She imagined a success, instead of all the sorrow that would come.

[486] The day declining, little of his toil remained for Phoebus. Now his flaming steeds were beating with their hoofs the downward slope of high Olympus; and the regal feast was set before the guests, and flashing wine was poured in golden vessels, and the feast went merrily, until the satisfied assembly sought in gentle sleep their rest. Not so, the love-hot Tereus, king of Thrace, who, sleepless, imaged in his doting mind the form of Philomela, recalled the shape of her fair hands, and in his memory reviewed her movements. And his flaming heart pictured her beauties yet unseen.—He fed his frenzy on itself, and could not sleep.

[494] Fair broke the day; and now the ancient king, Pandion, took his son-in-law's right hand to bid farewell; and, as he wept, commended his dear daughter, Philomela, unto his guarding care. “And in your care, my son-in-law, I trust my daughter's health. Good reason, grounded on my love, compels my sad approval. You have begged for her, and both my daughters have persuaded me. Wherefore, I do entreat you and implore your honor, as I call upon the Gods, that you will ever shield her with the love of a kind father and return her safe, as soon as may be—my last comfort given to bless my doting age. And all delay will agitate and vex my failing heart. And, O my dearest daughter, Philomela, if you have any love for me, return without too long delay and comfort me, lest I may grieve; for it is quite enough that I should suffer while your sister stays away.”

[504] The old king made them promise, and he kissed his daughter, while he wept. Then did he join their hands in pledge of their fidelity, and, as he gave his blessing, cautioned them to kiss his absent daughter and her son for his dear sake. Then as he spoke a last farewell, his trembling voice was filled with sobs. And he could hardly speak;—for a great fear from some vague intuition of his mind, surged over him, and he was left forlorn.

[511] So soon as Philomela was safe aboard the painted ship and as the sailors urged the swiftly gliding keel across the deep and the dim land fast-faded from their view, then Tereus, in exultant humor, thought, “Now all is well, the object of my love sails with me while the sailors ply the oars.” He scarcely could control his barbarous desire—with difficulty stayed his lust, he followed all her actions with hot eyes.—So, when the ravenous bird of Jupiter has caught with crooked talons the poor hare, and dropped it—ruthless,—in his lofty nest, where there is no escape, his cruel eyes gloat on the victim he anticipates.

[519] And now, as Tereus reached his journey's end, they landed from the travel-wearied ship, safe on the shores of his own kingdom. Then he hastened with the frightened Philomela into most wild and silent solitudes of an old forest; where, concealed among deep thickets a forbidding old house stood: there he immured the pale and trembling maid, who, vainly in her fright, began to call upon her absent sister,—and her tears implored his pity. His obdurate mind could not be softened by such piteous cries; but even while her agonizing screams implored her sister's and her father's aid, and while she vainly called upon the Gods, he overmastered her with brutal force.—The poor child trembled as a frightened lamb, which, just delivered from the frothing jaws of a gaunt wolf, dreads every moving twig. She trembled as a timid injured dove, (her feathers dripping with her own life-blood) that dreads the ravening talons of a hawk from which some fortune has delivered her.

[531] But presently, as consciousness returned, she tore her streaming hair and beat her arms, and, stretching forth her hands in frenzied grief, cried out, “Oh, barbarous and brutal wretch! Unnatural monster of abhorrent deeds! Could not my anxious father's parting words, nor his foreboding tears restrain your lust? Have you no slight regard for your chaste wife, my dearest sister, and are you without all honor, so to spoil virginity now making me invade my sister's claim, you have befouled the sacred fount of life,—you are a lawless bond of double sin! Oh, this dark punishment was not my due! Come, finish with my murder your black deed, so nothing wicked may remain undone. But oh, if you had only slaughtered me before your criminal embrace befouled my purity, I should have had a shade entirely pure, and free from any stain! Oh, if there is a Majesty in Heaven, and if my ruin has not wrecked the world, then, you shall suffer for this grievous wrong and time shall hasten to avenge my wreck. I shall declare your sin before the world, and publish my own shame to punish you! And if I'm prisoned in the solitudes, my voice will wake the echoes in the wood and move the conscious rocks. Hear me, O Heaven! And let my imprecations rouse the Gods—ah-h-h, if there can be a god in Heaven!”

[549] Her cries aroused the dastard tyrant's wrath, and frightened him, lest ever his foul deed might shock his kingdom: and, roused at once by rage and guilty fear; he seized her hair, forced her weak arms against her back, and bound them fast with brazen chains, then drew his sword. When she first saw his sword above her head. Flashing and sharp, she wished only for death, and offered her bare throat: but while she screamed, and, struggling, called upon her father's name, he caught her tongue with pincers, pitiless, and cut it with his sword.—The mangled root still quivered, but the bleeding tongue itself, fell murmuring on the blood-stained floor. As the tail of a slain snake still writhes upon the ground, so did the throbbing tongue; and, while it died, moved up to her, as if to seek her feet.—And, it is said that after this foul crime, the monster violated her again.

[563] And after these vile deeds, that wicked king returned to Procne, who, when she first met her brutal husband, anxiously inquired for tidings of her sister; but with sighs and tears, he told a false tale of her death, and with such woe that all believed it true. Then Procne, full of lamentation, took her royal robe, bordered with purest gold, and putting it away, assumed instead garments of sable mourning; and she built a noble sepulchre, and offered there her pious gifts to an imagined shade;—lamenting the sad death of her who lived.

[571] A year had passed by since that awful date—the sun had coursed the Zodiac's twelve signs. But what could Philomela hope or do? For like a jail the strong walls of the house were built of massive stone, and guards around prevented flight; and mutilated, she could not communicate with anyone to tell her injuries and tragic woe. But even in despair and utmost grief, there is an ingenuity which gives inventive genius to protect from harm: and now, the grief-distracted Philomela wove in a warp with purple marks and white, a story of the crime; and when 'twas done she gave it to her one attendant there and begged her by appropriate signs to take it secretly to Procne. She took the web, she carried it to Procne, with no thought of words or messages by art conveyed. The wife of that inhuman tyrant took the cloth, and after she unwrapped it saw and understood the mournful record sent. She pondered it in silence and her tongue could find no words to utter her despair;—her grief and frenzy were too great for tears.—In a mad rage her rapid mind counfounded the right and wrong—intent upon revenge.

[587] Since it was now the time of festival, when all the Thracian matrons celebrate the rites of Bacchus—every third year thus—night then was in their secret; and at night the slopes of Rhodope resounded loud with clashing of shrill cymbals. So, at night the frantic queen of Tereus left her home and, clothed according to the well known rites of Bacchus, hurried to the wilderness. Her head was covered with the green vine leaves; and from her left side native deer skin hung; and on her shoulder rested a light spear.—so fashioned, the revengeful Procne rushed through the dark woods, attended by a host of screaming followers, and wild with rage, pretended it was Bacchus urged her forth. At last she reached the lonely building, where her sister, Philomela, was immured; and as she howled and shouted “Ee-woh-ee-e!”, She forced the massive doors; and having seized her sister, instantly concealed her face in ivy leaves, arrayed her in the trappings of Bacchanalian rites. When this was done, they rushed from there, demented, to the house where as the Queen of Tereus, Procne dwelt.

[601] When Philomela knew she had arrived at that accursed house, her countenance, though pale with grief, took on a ghastlier hue: and, wretched in her misery and fright, she shuddered in convulsions.—Procne took the symbols, Bacchanalian, from her then, and as she held her in a strict embrace unveiled her downcast head. But she refused to lift her eyes, and fixing her sad gaze on vacant space, she raised her hand, instead; as if in oath she called upon the Gods to witness truly she had done no wrong, but suffered a disgrace of violence.—Lo, Procne, wild with a consuming rage, cut short her sister's terror in these words, “This is no time for weeping! awful deeds demand a great revenge—take up the sword, and any weapon fiercer than its edge! My breast is hardened to the worst of crime make haste with me! together let us put this palace to the torch! Come, let us maim, the beastly Tereus with revenging iron, cut out his tongue, and quench his cruel eyes, and hurl and burn him writhing in the flames! Or, shall we pierce him with a grisly blade, and let his black soul issue from deep wounds a thousand.—Slaughter him with every death imagined in the misery of hate!”

[619] While Procne still was raving out such words, Itys, her son, was hastening to his mother; and when she saw him, her revengeful eyes conceiving a dark punishment, she said, “Aha! here comes the image of his father!” She gave no other warning, but prepared to execute a horrible revenge. But when the tender child came up to her, and called her “mother”, put his little arms around her neck, and when he smiled and kissed her often, gracious in his cunning ways,—again the instinct of true motherhood pulsed in her veins, and moved to pity, she began to weep in spite of her resolve. Feeling the tender impulse of her love unnerving her, she turned her eyes from him and looked upon her sister, and from her glanced at her darling boy again. And so, while she was looking at them both, by turns, she said, “Why does the little one prevail with pretty words, while Philomela stands in silence always, with her tongue torn out? She cannot call her sister, whom he calls his mother! Oh, you daughter of Pandion, consider what a wretch your husband is! The wife of such a monster must be flint; compassion in her heart is but a crime.”

[636] No more she hesitated, but as swift as the fierce tigress of the Ganges leaps, seizes the suckling offspring of the hind, and drags it through the forest to its lair; so, Procne seized and dragged the frightened boy to a most lonely section of the house; and there she put him to the cruel sword, while he, aware of his sad fate, stretched forth his little hands, and cried, “Ah, mother,—ah!—” And clung to her—clung to her, while she struck – her fixed eyes, maddened, glaring horribly – struck wildly, lopping off his tender limbs. But Philomela cut through his tender throat. Then they together, mangled his remains, still quivering with the remnant of his life, and boiled a part of him in steaming pots, that bubbled over with the dead child's blood, and roasted other parts on hissing spits.

[647] And, after all was ready, Procne bade her husband, Tereus, to the loathsome feast, and with a false pretense of sacred rites, according to the custom of her land, by which, but one man may partake of it, she sent the servants from the banquet hall.—Tereus, majestic on his ancient throne high in imagined state, devoured his son, and gorged himself with flesh of his own flesh—and in his rage of gluttony called out for Itys to attend and share the feast! Curst with a joy she could conceal no more, and eager to gloat over his distress, Procne cried out, `Inside yourself, you have the thing that you are asking for!”—Amazed, he looked around and called his son again:– that instant, Philomela sprang forth—her hair disordered, and all stained with blood of murder, unable then to speak, she hurled the head of Itys in his father's fear-struck face, and more than ever longed for fitting words. The Thracian Tereus overturned the table, and howling, called up from the Stygian pit, the viperous sisters. Tearing at his breast, in miserable efforts to disgorge the half-digested gobbets of his son, he called himself his own child's sepulchre, and wept the hot tears of a frenzied man. Then with his sword he rushed at the two sisters.

[667] Fleeing from him, they seemed to rise on wings, and it was true, for they had changed to birds. Then Philomela, flitting to the woods, found refuge in the leaves: but Procne flew straight to the sheltering gables of a roof—and always, if you look, you can observe the brand of murder on the swallow's breast—red feathers from that day. And Tereus, swift in his great agitation, and his will to wreak a fierce revenge, himself is turned into a crested bird. His long, sharp beak is given him instead of a long sword, and so, because his beak is long and sharp, he rightly bears the name of Hoopoe.

ORITHYIA AND BOREAS [675] Before the number of his years was told, Pandion with the shades of Tartarus, because of this, has wandered in sad dooms. Erectheus, next in line, with mighty sway and justice, ruled all Athens on the throne left vacant by the good Pandion's death. Four daughters and four sons were granted him; and of his daughters, two were beautiful, and one of these was wed to Cephalus, grandson of Aeolus.—But mighty Boreas desired the hand of Orithyia, fair and lovable.—King Tereus and the Thracians were then such obstacles to Boreas the god was long kept from his dear beloved. Although the great king (who compels the cold north-wind) had sought with prayers to win her hand, and urged his love in gentleness, not force. When quite aware his wishes were disdained, he roughly said, with customary rage and violence: “Away with sentimental talk! My prayers and kind intentions are despised, but I should blame nobody but myself; then why should I, despising my great strength, debase myself to weakness and soft prayers?—might is my right, and violence my strength!—by force I drive the force of gloomy clouds. Tremendous actions are the wine of life!—monarch of Violence, rolling on clouds, I toss wide waters, and I fell huge trees—knotted old oaks—and whirled upon ice-wings, I scatter the light snow, and pelt the Earth with sleet and hail! I rush through boundless voids. My thunders rumble in the hollow clouds—and crash upon my brothers—fire to fire! Possessed of daemon-rage, I penetrate, sheer to the utmost caverns of old Earth; and straining, up from those unfathomed deeps, scatter the terror-stricken shades of hell; and hurl death-dealing earthquakes through the world! Such are the fateful powers I should use, and never trust entreaties to prevail, or win my bride—Force is the law of life!”

[702] And now impetuous Boreas, having howled resounding words, unrolled his rustling wings—that fan the earth and ruffle the wide sea—and, swiftly wrapping untrod mountain peaks in whirling mantles of far-woven dust, thence downward hovered to the darkened world; and, canopied in artificial night of swarthy overshadowing wings, caught up the trembling Orithyia to his breast: nor did he hesitate in airy course until his huge wings fanned the chilling winds around Ciconian Walls. There, she was pledged the wife of that cold, northern king of storms; and unto him she gave those hero twins, endowed with wings of their immortal sire, and graceful in their mother's form and face. Their bird-like wings were not fledged at their birth and those twin boys, Zetes and Calais, at first were void of feathers and soft down. But when their golden hair and beards were grown, wings like an eagle's came;—and feather-down grew golden on their cheeks: and when from youth they entered manhood, quick they were to join the Argonauts, who for the Golden Fleece, sought in that first ship, ventured on the sea.


JASON AND MEDEA [1] Over the storm-tossed waves, the Argonauts had sailed in Argo, their long ship to where King Phineus, needy in his old age, reigned—deprived of sight and feeble. When the sons of Boreas had landed on the shore, and seen the Harpies snatching from the king his nourishment, befouling it with beaks obscene, they drove those human-vultures thence. And having suffered hardships and great toils, after the day they rescued the sad king from the vile Harpies, those twin valiant youths, Zetes and Calais came with their chief, the mighty Jason, where the Phasis flows. From the green margin of that river, all the crew of Argonauts, by Jason led, went to the king Aeetes and required the Golden Fleece, that he received from Phryxus. When they had bargained with him, full of wiles he offered to restore the Golden Fleece only to those who might to him return, victorious from hard labors of great risk.

[8] Medea, the king's daughter, near his throne, saw Jason, leader of the Argonauts, as he was pressing to secure a prize—and loved at sight with a consuming flame. Although she struggled to suppress her love, unable to restrain herself, she said, “In vain I've striven to subdue my heart: some god it must be, which I cannot tell, is working to destroy my hapless life; or else it is the burning flame of love that in me rages. If it is not love, why do the mandates of my father seem too harsh? They surely are too harsh. Why do I fear that he may perish whom I have seen only once? What is the secret cause that I am agitated by such fears?—It is no other than the god of Love. Thrust from your virgin breast such burning flames and overcome their hot unhappiness—if I could do so, I should be myself: but some deluding power is holding me helpless against my will. Desire persuades me one way, but my reason still persuades another way. I see a better course and I approve, but follow its defeat. —O royal maiden, why are you consumed with love for this strange man, and why are you so willing to be carried by the nuptial ties so far from your own country, where, indeed, are many brave men worthy of your love?

[23] "Whether for life or death his numbered hours are in the mercy of the living Gods, and that he may not suffer risk of death, too well foreseen, now let my prayers prevail -- righteously uttered of a generous heart without the stress of love. What wicked thing has Jason done? His handsome person, youth, and noble ways, would move a heart of stone. Have I a heart of flint, or was I born a tigress to deny him timely aid?—Unless I interpose, he will be slain by the hot breath of brazen-footed bulls, or will be slaughtered by the warriors, sprung miraculous from earth, or will be given to satisfy the ravenous appetite of a huge dragon. Let my gloating eyes be satiate with his dying agonies! Let me incite the fury of these bulls! Stir to their blood-lust mad-born sons of Earth! Rouse up the never-sleeping dragon's rage!—Avert it Gods!—But why should I cry out upon the Gods to save him from such wrong, when, by my actions and my power, myself may shield him from all evils? Such a course would wreck the kingdom of my father—and by me the wily stranger would escape from him; and spreading to the wind his ready sails he would forget and leave me to my fate.—Oh, if he should forget my sacrifice, and so prefer those who neglected him, let him then perish in his treachery.—But these are idle thoughts: his countenance, reveals innate nobility and grace, that should dispel all fear of treachery, and guarantee his ever-faithful heart. The Gods will witness our united souls, and he shall pledge his faith. Secure of it my fear will be removed. Be ready, then—and make a virtue of necessity: your Jason owes himself to you; and he must join you in true wedlock. Then you shall be celebrated through the land of Greece, by throngs of women, for the man you saved.

[51] "Shall I then sail away, and so forsake my sister, brother, father, Gods, and land that gave me birth? My father is indeed a stern man, and my native land is all too barbarous; my brother is a child,—my sister's goodwill is good help for me; and heaven's supreme god is within my breast. I shall not so be leaving valued hopes, but will be going surely to great things. And I should gain applause from all the world, as having saved the threatened Argonauts, most noble of the Greeks; and in their land, which certainly is better than my own, become the bride of Jason, for whose love I should not hesitate to give the world—and in whose love the living Gods rejoice so greatly; for his sake they would bestow their favors on my head, and make the stars my habitation. Should I hesitate because the wreck-strewn mountains bar the way, and clash together in the Euxine waves; or fear Charybdis, fatal to large ships, that sucks the deep sea in its whirling gulf and spouts far upward, with alternate force, or Scylla, circled with infuriate hounds howling in rage from deep Sicilian waves? Safe in the shielding arms of him I love, on Jason's bosom leaning, I shall be borne safely over wide and hostile seas; and in his dear embrace forget my fears—or if for anything I suffer dread, it will be only for the one I love.—Alas, Medea, this vain argument has only furnished plausible excuse for criminal desires, and desecrates the marriage rite. It is a wicked thing to think upon. Before it is too late forget your passion and deny this guilt.” And after she had said these words, her eyes were opened to the prize of modesty, chaste virtue, and a pure affection: and Cupid, vanquished, turned away and fled.

[74] Then, to an ancient altar of the goddess named Hecate, Perse's daughter took her way in the deep shadows of a forest. She was strong of purpose now, and all the flames of vanquished passion had died down; but when she saw the son of Aeson, dying flames leaped up again. Her cheeks grew red, then all her face went pale again; as a small spark when hid beneath the ashes, if fed by a breath of wind grows and regains its strength, as it is fanned to life; so now her love that had been smoldering, and which you would have thought was almost dead, when she had see again his manly youth, blazed up once more. For on that day his graceful person seemed as glorious as a God;—and as she gazed, and fixed her eyes upon his countenance, her frenzy so prevailed, she was convinced that he was not a mortal. And her eyes were fascinated; and she could not turn away from him. But when he spoke to her, and promised marriage, grasping her right hand: she answered, as her eyes suffused with tears; “I see what I will do, and ignorance of truth will not be my undoing now, but love itself. By my assistance you shall be preserved; but when preserved fulfill your promise.” He swore that she could trust in him. Then by the goddess of the triple form, Diana, Trivia, or Luna called, and by her sacred groves and fanes, he vowed, and by the hallowed Sun that sees all things, and by his own adventures, and his life,—on these the youthful Jason took his oath.—With this she was assured and quickly gave to him the magic herbs: he learnt their use and full of joy withdrew into his house.

[100] Now when the dawn had dimmed the glittering stars, the people hastened to the sacred field of Mars, and on the hills expectant stood.—Arrayed in purple, and in majesty distinguished by his ivory sceptre, sat the king, surrounded by a multitude. Below them on the visioned Field of Mars, huge brazen-footed bulls were breathing forth from adamantine nostrils living flames, blasting the verdant herbage in their path! As forges glowing with hot flames resound, or as much quick-lime, burnt in earthen kilns, crackles and hisses as if mad with rage, sprinkled with water, liberating heat; so their hot throats and triple-heated sides, resounding told of pent-up fires within. The son of Aeson went to meet them. As he came to meet them the fierce animals turned on him faces terrible, and sharp horns tipped with iron, and they pawed the dusty earth with cloven feet, and filled the place with fiery bellowings. The Minyans were stark with fear; he went up to the bulls not feeling their hot breath at all, so great the power of his charmed drugs; and while he was stroking their down-hanging dewlaps with a fearless hand, he placed the yoke down on their necks and made them draw the heavy plow, and cut through fields that never felt the steel before. The Colchians were amazed and silent; but the loud shouting of the Minyans increased their hero's courage.

[121] Taking then the serpent's teeth out of a brazen helmet he sowed them broadcast in the new-plowed field. The moist earth softened these seeds that were steeped in virulent poison and the teeth swelled up and took new forms. And just as in its mother an infant gradually assumes the form of man, and is perfected through all parts within, and does not come forth to the light till fully formed; so, when the forms of men had been completed in the womb of earth made pregnant, they rose up from it, and what is yet more wonderful, each one clashed weapons that had been brought forth with him. When his companions saw the warriors turn as if with one accord, to hurl their spears, sharp-pointed, at the head of Jason, fear unnerved the boldest and their courage failed. So, too, the maid whose sorcery had saved him from much danger, when she saw the youth encompassed by those raging enemies, and he alone against so many—struck with sudden panic, she turned ashen white, her bloodless cheeks were blanched; and chilled with fear she wilted to the ground; and lest the herbs, so lately given him, might fail his need she added incantations and invoked mysterious arts. While she protected him he seized upon a heavy stone, and hurled it in the midst of his new enemies—distracted by this cast, and murderous, they turned from him, and clashing their new arms, those earth-born brothers fought among themselves till all were slaughtered in blood-thirsty strife. Gladly the Greeks acclaimed him conqueror, and pressed around him for the first embrace. Then, too, Medea, barbarous Colchian maid, although her modesty restrained her heart, eagerly longed to fold him in her arms, but careful of her good name, held aloof,—rejoicing in deep, silent love; and she acknowledged to the Gods her mighty gift of incantations.

[149] But the dragon, still alert,—magnificent and terrible with gorgeous crest and triple tongue, and fangs barbed as a javelin, guards the Golden Fleece: and Jason can obtain that quest only if slumber may seal up the monster's eyes.—Jason, successful, sprinkled on his crest Lethean juices of a magic herb, and then recited thrice the words which bring deep slumber, potent words which would becalm the storm-tossed ocean, and would stop the flow of the most rapid rivers of our earth: and slowly slumber sealed the dragon's eyes. While that great monster slept, the hero took the Golden Fleece; and proudly sailed away bearing his treasure and the willing maid, (whose aid had saved him) to his native port Iolcus—victorious with the Argonauts.

REJUVENATION OF AESON [159] Now when the valiant Argonauts returned to Thessaly, their happy relatives, fathers and mothers, praised the living Gods; and with their hallowed gifts enhanced the flames with precious incense; and they offered Jove a sacred bullock, rich with gilded horns. But Jason's father, Aeson, came not down rejoicing to behold his son, for now worn out with many years, he waited death. And Jason to Medea grieving said: “Dearest, to whom my life and love are due, although your kindness has been great to me, and you have granted more than I should ask, yet one thing more I beg of you; if your enchantments can accomplish my desire, take from my life some years that I should live and add them to my father's ending days.”—And as he spoke he could not check his tears. Medea, moved by his affection, thought how much less she had grieved for her loved sire: and she replied:—“A wicked thing you ask! Can I be capable of using you in such a manner as to take your life and give it to another? Ask not me a thing so dreadful! May the Gods forbid! -- I will endeavor to perform for you a task much greater. By the powers of Night I will most certainly return to him the lost years of your father, but must not deprive you of your own.—Oh grant the power, great goddess of the triple form, that I may fail not to accomplish this great deed!”

[179] Three nights were wanting for the moon to join her circling horns and form a perfect orb. When these were passed, the rounded light shone full and bright upon the earth.—Through the still night alone, Medea stole forth from the house with feet bare, and in flowing garment clothed—her long hair unadorned and not confined. Deep slumber has relaxed the world, and all that's living, animals and birds and men, and even the hedges and the breathing leaves are still—and motionless the laden air. Only the stars are twinkling, and to them she looks and beckons with imploring hands. Now thrice around she paces, and three times besprinkles her long hair with water dipt from crystal streams, which having done she kneels a moment on the cold, bare ground, and screaming three times calls upon the Night,—

[192] "O faithful Night, regard my mysteries! O golden-lighted Stars! O softly-moving Moon—genial, your fire succeeds the heated day! O Hecate! grave three-faced queen of these charms of enchanters and enchanters, arts! O fruitful Earth, giver of potent herbs! O gentle Breezes and destructive Winds! You Mountains, Rivers, Lakes and sacred Groves, and every dreaded god of silent Night! Attend upon me!—When my power commands, the rivers turn from their accustomed ways and roll far backward to their secret springs! I speak--and the wild, troubled sea is calm, and I command the waters to arise! The clouds I scatter—and I bring the clouds; I smooth the winds and ruffle up their rage; I weave my spells and I recite my charms; I pluck the fangs of serpents, and I move the living rocks and twist the rooted oaks; I blast the forests. Mountains at my word tremble and quake; and from her granite tombs the liberated ghosts arise as Earth astonished groans! From your appointed ways, O wonder-working Moon, I draw you down against the magic-making sound of gongs and brazen vessels of Temesa's ore; I cast my spells and veil the jeweled rays of Phoebus' wain, and quench Aurora's fires. At my command you tamed the flaming bulls which long disdained to bend beneath the yoke, until they pressed their necks against the plows; and, subject to my will, you raised up war till the strong company of dragon-birth were slaughtered as they fought amongst themselves; and, last, you lulled asleep the warden's eyes -- guards of the Golden Fleece—till then awake and sleeping never—so, deceiving him, you sent the treasure to the Grecian cities! Witness my need of super-natured herbs, elixirs potent to renew the years of age, giving the bloom of youth.—You shall not fail to grant me this; for not in vain the stars are flashing confirmation; not in vain the flying dragons, harnessed by their necks, from skies descending bring my chariot down.”

[[219] A chariot, sent from heaven, came to her—and soon as she had stroked the dragons' necks, and shaken in her hands the guiding reins—as soon as she had mounted, she was borne quickly above, through unresisting air. And, sailing over Thessaly, she saw the vale of Tempe, where the level soil is widely covered with a crumbling chalk—she turned her dragons towards new regions there: and she observed the herbs by Ossa born, the weeds on lofty Pelion, Othrys, Pindus and vast Olympus -- and from here she plucked the needed roots, or there, the blossoms clipped all with a moon-curved sickle made of brass—many the wild weeds by Apidanus, as well as blue Amphrysus' banks, she chose, and not escaped Enipeus from her search; Peneian stretches and Spercheian banks all yielded what she chose:—and Boebe's shore where sway the rushes; and she plucked up grass, a secret grass, from fair Euboean fields life-giving virtues in their waving blades, as yet unknown for transformation wrought on Glaucus.

[234] All those fields she visited, with ceaseless diligence in quest of charms, nine days and nine nights sought strong herbs, and the swift dragons with their active wings, failed not to guide the chariot where she willed—until they reached her home. The dragons then had not been even touched by anything, except the odor of surrounding herbs, and yet they sloughed their skins, the growth of years. She would not cross the threshold of her home nor pass its gates; but, standing in the field, alone beneath the canopy of Heaven, she shunned all contact with her husband, while she built up from the ever-living turf two altars, one of which upon the right to Hecate was given, but the one upon the left was sacred then to you, O Hebe, goddess of eternal youth! Festooning woodland boughs and sweet vervain adorned these altars, near by which she dug as many trenches. Then, when all was done, she slaughtered a black ram, and sprinkled with blood the thirsty trenches; after which she poured from rich carchesian goblets generous wine and warm milk, grateful to propitious Gods—the Deities of earth on whom she called—entreating, as she did so, Pluto, lord of ghostly shades, and ravished Proserpine, that they should not, in undue haste, deprive her patient's aged limbs of life.

[251] When certain she compelled the God's regard, assured her incantations and long prayers were both approved and heard, she bade her people bring out the body of her father-in-law—old Aeson's worn out body—and when she had buried him in a deep slumber by her spells, as if he were a dead man, she then stretched him out upon a bed of herbs. She ordered Jason and his servants thence, and warned them not to spy upon her rites, with eyes profane. As soon as they retired, Medea, with disheveled hair and wild abandon, as a Bacchanalian, paced times three around the blazing altars, while she dipped her torches, splintered at the top, into the trenches, dark: with blood, and lit the dipt ends in the sacred altar flames. Times three she purified the ancient man with flames, and thrice with water, and three times with sulphur,—as the boiling mixture seethed and bubbled in the brazen cauldron near. And into this, acerbic juices, roots, and flowers and seeds—from vales Hemonian—and mixed elixirs, into which she cast stones of strange virtue from the Orient, and sifted sands of ebbing ocean's tide; white hoar-frost, gathered when the moon was full, the nauseating flesh and luckless wings of the uncanny screech-owl, and the entrails from a mysterious animal that changed from wolf to man, from man to wolf again; the scaly sloughing of a water-snake, the medic liver of a long-lived stag, and the hard beak and head of an old crow which was alive nine centuries before; these, and a thousand nameless things the foreign sorceress prepared and mixed, and blended all together with a branch of peaceful olive, old and dry with years.—And while she stirred the withered olive branch in the hot mixture, it began to change from brown to green; and presently put forth new leaves, and soon was heavy with a wealth of luscious olives.—As the ever-rising fire threw bubbling froth beyond the cauldron's rim, the ground was covered with fresh verdure—flowers and all luxuriant grasses, and green plants.

[285] Medea, when she saw this wonder took her unsheathed knife and cut the old man's throat; then, letting all his old blood out of him she filled his ancient veins with rich elixir. As he received it through his lips or wound, his beard and hair no longer white with age, turned quickly to their natural vigor, dark and lustrous; and his wasted form renewed, appeared in all the vigor of bright youth, no longer lean and sallow, for new blood coursed in his well-filled veins.—Astonished, when released from his deep sleep, and strong in youth, his memory assured him, such he was years four times ten before that day!—

[294] Bacchus, from his celestial vantage saw this marvel, and convinced his nurses might then all regain their former vigor, he pled with Medea to restore their youth. The Colchian woman granted his request.

MEDEA AND PELIAS [297] But so her malice might be satisfied Medea feigned she had a quarrel with her husband, and for safety she had fled to Pelias. There, since the king himself was heavy with old age, his daughters gave her generous reception. And these girls the shrewd Medea in a short time won, by her false show of friendliness; and while among the most remarkable of her achievements she was telling how she had rejuvenated Aeson, and she dwelt particularly, on that strange event, these daughters were induced to hope that by some skill like this their father might regain his lost youth also. And they begged of her this boon, persuading her to name the price; no matter if it was large. She did not reply at once and seemed to hesitate, and so she held their fond minds in a deep suspense by her feigned meditation. When she had at length declared she would restore his youth, she said to them: “That you may have strong confidence in this my promised boon, the oldest leader of your flock of sheep shall be changed to a lamb again by my prized drugs.”

[312] Straightway a wooly ram, worn out with length of untold years was brought, his great horns curved around his hollow temples. After she had cut his scrawny throat with her sharp knife Thessalian, barely staining it with his thin blood, Medea plunged his carcass in a bronze-made kettle, throwing in it at the same time juices of great potency. These made his body shrink and burnt away his two horns, and with horns his years. And now thin bleating was heard from within the pot; and even while they wondered at the sound, a lamb jumped out and frisking, ran away to find some udder with its needed milk.

[322] Amazed the daughters looked on and, now that these promises had been performed, they urged more eagerly their first request. Three times Phoebus unyoked his steeds after their plunge in Ebro's stream, and on the fourth night stars shown brilliant on the dark foil of the sky, and then the treacherous daughter of Aeetes set some clear water over a hot fire and put in it herbs of no potency. And now a death-like sleep held the king down, his body all relaxed, and with the king his guards, a sleep which incantations with the potency of magic words had given. The sad king's daughters, as they had been bid, were in his room, and with Medea stood around his bed. "Why do you hesitate,” Medea said. “You laggards, come and draw your swords; let out his old blood that I may refill his empty veins again with young blood. In your hands your father's life and youth are resting. You, his daughters, must have love for him, and if the hopes you have are not all vain, come, do your duty by your father; drive out old age at the point of your good weapons; and let out his blood enfeebled—cure him with the stroke of iron.” Spurred on by these words, as each one of them was filial she became the leader in the most unfilial act, and that she might not be most wicked did the wicked deed. Not one could bear to see her own blows, so they turned their eyes away; and every face averted so, they blindly struck him with their cruel hands. The old man streaming with his blood, still raised himself on elbow, and half mangled tried to get up from his bed; with all those swords around him, he stretched out his pale arms and he cried: “What will you do, my daughters? What has armed you to the death of your loved father?” Their wrong courage left them, and their hands fell. When he would have said still more, Medea cut his throat and plunged his mangled body into boiling water.

[350] Only because her winged dragons sailed swiftly with her up to the lofty sky, escaped Medea punishment for this unheard of crime. Her chariot sailed above embowered Pelion—long the lofty home of Chiron—over Othrys, and the vale made famous where Cerambus met his fate. Cerambus, by the aid of nymphs, from there was wafted through the air on wings, when earth was covered by the overwhelming sea—and so escaped Deucalion's flood, uncrowned.

[357] She passed by Pittane upon the left, with its huge serpent-image of hard stone, and also passed the grove called Ida's, where the stolen bull was changed by Bacchus' power into a hunted stag—in that same vale Paris lies buried in the sand; and over fields where Mera warning harked, Medea flew; over the city of Eurypylus upon the Isle of Cos, whose women wore the horns of cattle when from there had gone the herd of Hercules; and over Rhodes beloved of Phoebus, where Telchinian tribes dwelt, whose bad eyes corrupting power shot forth;—Jove, utterly despising, thrust them deep beneath his brother's waves; over the walls of old Carthaea, where Alcidamas had seen with wonder a tame dove arise from his own daughter's body.

[371] And she saw the lakes of Hyrie in Teumesia's Vale, by swans frequented—There to satisfy his love for Cycnus, Phyllius gave two living vultures: shell for him subdued a lion, and delivered it to him; and mastered a great bull, at his command; but when the wearied Phyllius refused to render to his friend the valued bull. Indignant, the youth said, “You shall regret your hasty words;” which having said, he leaped from a high precipice, as if to death; but gliding through the air, on snow-white wings, was changed into a swan—Dissolved in tears, his mother Hyrie knew not he was saved; and weeping, formed the lake that bears her name.

[382] And over Pleuron, where on trembling wings escaped the mother Combe from her sons, Medea flew; and over the far isle Calauria, sacred to Latona.—She beheld the conscious fields whose lawful king, together with his queen were changed to birds. Upon her right Cyllene could be seen; there Menephon, degraded as a beast, outraged his mother. In the distance, she beheld Cephisius, who lamented long his hapless grandson, by Apollo changed into a bloated sea-calf. And she saw the house where king Eumelus mourned the death of his aspiring son.—

MEDEA AND AEGEUS [391] Borne on the wings of her enchanted dragons, she arrived at Corinth, whose inhabitants, 'tis said, from many mushrooms, watered by the rain sprang into being. There she spent some years. But after the new wife had been burnt by the Colchian witchcraft and two seas had seen the king's own palace all aflame, then, savagely she drew her sword, and bathed it in the blood of her own infant sons; by which atrocious act she was revenged; and she, a wife and mother, fled the sword of her own husband, Jason. On the wings of her enchanted Titan Dragons borne, she made escape, securely, nor delayed until she entered the defended walls of great Minerva's city, at the hour when aged Periphas—transformed by Jove, together with his queen, on eagle wings flew over its encircling walls: with whom the guilty Halcyone, skimming seas safely escaped, upon her balanced wings. And after these events, Medea went to Aegeus, king of Athens, where she found protection from her enemies for all this evil done. With added wickedness Aegeus, after that, united her to him in marriage.—

[404] All unknown to him came Theseus to his kingly court.—Before the time his valor had established peace on all the isthmus, raved by dual seas. Medea, seeking his destruction, brewed the juice of aconite, infesting shores of Scythia, where, 'tis fabled, the plant grew on soil infected by Cerberian teeth. There is a gloomy entrance to a cave, that follows a declivitous descent: there Hercules with chains of adamant dragged from the dreary edge of Tartarus that monster-watch-dog, Cerberus, which, vain opposing, turned his eyes aslant from light—from dazzling day. Delirious, enraged, that monster shook the air with triple howls; and, frothing, sprinkled as it raved, the fields, once green—with spewing of white poison-foam. And this, converted into plants, sucked up a deadly venom with the nourishment of former soils, -- from which productive grew upon the rock, thus formed, the noxious plant; by rustics, from that cause, named aconite. Medea worked on Aegeus to present his own son, Theseus, with a deadly cup of aconite; prevailing by her art so that he deemed his son an enemy. Theseus unwittingly received the cup, but just before he touched it to his lips, his father recognized the sword he wore, for, graven on its ivory hilt was wrought a known device—the token of his race. Astonished, Aegeus struck the poison-cup from his devoted son's confiding lips. Medea suddenly escaped from death, in a dark whirlwind her witch-singing raised.

AEACUS & THE MYRMIDONS [425] Recoiling from such utter wickedness, rejoicing that his son escaped from death, the grateful father kindled altar-fires, and gave rich treasure to the living Gods.—He slaughtered scores of oxen, decked with flowers and gilded horns. The sun has never shone upon a day more famous in that land, for all the elders and the common folk united in festivities,—with wine inspiring wit and song;— "O you,” they sang, “Immortal Theseus, victory was yours! Did you not slaughter the huge bull of Crete? Yes, you did slay the boar of Cromyon—where now the peasant unmolested plows; And Periphetes, wielder of the club, was worsted when he struggled with your strength; And fierce Procrustes, matched with you beside the rapid river, met his death; And even Cercyon, in Eleusis lost his wicked life—inferior to your might; And Sinis, a monstrosity of strength, who bent the trunks of trees, and used his might Against the world for everything that's wrong. For evil, he would force down to the earth, Pine tops to shoot men's bodies through the air. Even the road to Megara is safe, For you did hurl the robber Scyron,—sheer—over the cliff. Both land and sea denied His bones a resting place—as tossed about they changed into the cliffs that bear his name. How can we tell the number of your deeds,—deeds glorious, that now exceed your years! For you, brave hero, we give public thanks and prayers; to you we drain our cups of wine!” And all the palace rings with happy songs, and with the grateful prayers of all the people. And sorrow in that city is not known.—

[453] But pleasure always is alloyed with grief, and sorrow mingles in the joyous hour. While the king Aegeus and his son rejoiced, Minos prepared for war. He was invincible in men and ships—and stronger in his rage to wreak due vengeance on the king who slew his son Androgeus. But first he sought some friends to aid his warfare; and he scoured the sea with a swift fleet -- which was his strength. Anaphe and Astypalaea, both agreed to join his cause—the first one moved by promises, the second by his threats. Level Myconus and the chalky fields of Cimolus agreed to aid, and Syros covered with wild thyme, level Seriphos, Paros of marble cliffs, and that place which Arne the impious Siphnian had betrayed, who having got the gold which in her greed she had demanded, was changed to a bird which ever since that day imagines gold its chief delight—a black-foot black-winged daw.

[469] But Oliarus, Didymae, and Tenos, Gyaros, Andros, and Peparethos rich in its glossy olives, gave no aid to the strong Cretan fleet. Sailing from them Minos went to Oenopia, known realm of the Aeacidae.—Men of old time had called the place Oenopia; but Aeacus styled it Aegina from his mother's name. At his approach an eager rabble rushed resolved to see and know so great a man. Telamon met him, and his brother, younger than Telamon, and Phocus who was third in age. Even Aeacus appeared, slow with the weight of years, and asked him what could be a reason for his coming there. The ruler of a hundred cities, sighed, as he beheld the sons of Aeacus, for they reminded him of his lost son;—and heavy with his sorrow, he replied: “I come imploring you to take up arms, and aid me in the war against my foes; for I must give that comfort to the shade of my misfortuned son -- whose blood they shed.” But Aeacus replied to Minos, “Nay, it is a vain request you make, for we are bound in strict alliance to the land and people of Cecropia.” Full of rage, because he was denied, the king of Crete, Minos, as he departed from their shores replied, “Let such a treaty be your bane.” And he departed with his crafty threat, believing it expedient not to waste his power in wars until the proper time.

[490] Before the ships of Crete had disappeared, before the mist and blue of waves concealed their fading outlines from the anxious throng which gathered on Oenopian shores, a ship of Athens covered with wide sails appeared, and anchored safely by their friendly shore; and, presently, the mighty Cephalus, well known through all that nation for his deeds, addressed them as he landed, and declared the good will of his people. Him the sons of Aeacus remembered well, although they had not seen him for some untold years. They led him to their father's welcome home; and with him, also, his two comrades went, Clytus and Butes.

[501] Center of all eyes, the hero still retained his charm, the customary greetings were exchanged, the graceful hero, bearing in his hands a branch of olive from his native soil, delivered the Athenian message, which requested aid and offered for their thought the treaty and the ancestral league between their nations. And he added, Minos sought not only conquest of the Athenian state but sovereignty of all the states of Greece. And when this eloquence had shown his cause; with left hand on his gleaming sceptre's hilt, King Aeacus exclaimed: “Ask not our aid, but take it, Athens; and count boldly yours all of the force this island holds, and all things which the state of my affairs supplies. My strength for this war is not light, and I have many soldiers for myself and for my enemy. Thanks to the Gods! the times are happy, giving no excuse for my refusal.” “May it prove so,” Cephalus replied, “and may your city multiply in men: just now as I was landing, I rejoiced to meet youths, fair and matched in age. And yet I miss among them many whom I saw before when last I visited your city.”

[517] Aeacus then groaned and with sad voice replied: “With weeping we began, but better fortune followed. Would that I could tell the last of it, and not the first! Giving my heart command that simple words and briefly spoken may not long detain. Those happy youths who waited at your need, who smiled upon you and for whom you ask, because their absence grieves your noble mind, they've perished! and their bleaching bones or scattered ashes, only may remain, sad remnants, impotent, of vanished power, so recently my hope and my resource. Because this island bears a rival's name, a deadly pestilence was visited on my confiding people, through the rage of jealous Juno flaming for revenge. This great calamity at first appeared a natural disease—but soon its power baffled our utmost efforts. Medicines availing not, a reign of terror swept from shore to shore and fearful havoc raged. Thick darkness, gathered from descending skies, enveloped our devoted land with heat and languid sickness, for the space of full four moons.—Four times the Moon increased her size. Hot south winds blew with pestilential breath upon us. At the same time the diseased infection reached our needed springs and pools, thousands of serpents crawling over our deserted fields, defiled our rivers with their poison. The swift power of the disease at first was limited to death of dogs and birds and cattle, or among wild beasts. The luckless plowman marvels when he sees his strong bulls fall while at their task and sink down in the furrow. Woolly flocks bleat feebly while their wool falls off without a cause, and while their bodies pine away. The prized horse of high courage, and of great renown when on the race-course, has now lost victorious spirit, and forgetting his remembered glory groans in his shut stall, doomed for inglorious death. The boar forgets to rage, the stag to trust his speed; and even the famished bear to fight the stronger herd.

[552] "Death seizes on the vitals of all life; and in the woods, and in the fields and roads the loathsome bodies of the dead corrupt the heavy-hanging air. Even the dogs, the vultures and the wolves refuse to touch the putrid flesh, there in the sultry sun rotting upon the earth; emitting steams, and exhalations, with a baneful sweep increasing the dread contagion's wide extent. So spreading, with renewed destruction gained from its own poison, the fierce pestilence appeared to leap from moulding carcases of all the brute creation, till it struck the wretched tillers of the soil, and then extended its dominion over all this mighty city. Always it began as if the patient's bowels were scorched with flames; red blotches on the body next appeared, and sharp pains in the lungs prevented breath. The swollen tongue would presently loll out, rough and discolored from the gaping mouth, wide-gasping to inhale the noxious air—and show red throbbing veins. The softest bed. And richest covering gave to none relief; but rather, the diseased would bare himself to cool his burning breast upon the ground, only to heat the earth—and no relief returned. And no physician could be found; for those who ministered among the sick were first to suffer from the dread disease—the cruel malady broke out upon the very ones who offered remedies. The hallowed art of medicine became a deadly snare to those who knew it best. The only safety was in flight; and those who were the nearest to the stricken ones, and who most faithfully observed their wants, were always first to suffer as their wards. And many, certain of approaching death, indulged their wicked passions—recklessly abandoned and without the sense of shame, promiscuously huddled by the wells, and rivers and cool fountains; but their thirst no water could assuage, and death alone was able to extinguish their desire. Too weak to rise, they die in water they pollute, while others drink its death. A madness seizing on them made their beds become most irksome to their tortured nerves. Demented they could not endure the pain, and leaped insanely forth. Or if too weak, the wretches rolled their bodies on the ground, insistent to escape from hated homes—imagined sources of calamity; for, since the cause was hidden and unknown, the horrible locality was blamed. Suspicion seizes on each frail presence as proof of what can never be resolved. And many half-dead wretches staggered out on sultry roads as long as they could stand; and others weeping, stretched out on the ground, died in convulsions, as their rolling eyes gazed upwards at the overhanging clouds; under the sad stars they breathed out their souls.

[582] "And oh, the deep despair that seized on me, the sovereign of that wretched people! I was tortured with a passionate desire to die the same death—And I hated life. No matter where my shrinking eyes were turned, I saw a multitude of gruesome forms in ghastly attitudes bestrew the ground, scattered as rotten apples that have dropped from moving branches, or as acorns thick around a gnarled oak. Lift up your eyes! Behold that holy temple! unto Jove long dedicated!—What availed the prayers of frightened multitudes, or incense burned on those devoted altars?—In the midst of his most fervent supplications, the husband as he pled for his dear wife, or the fond father for his stricken son, would suddenly, before a word prevailed, die clutching at the altars of his Gods, while holding in his stiffened hand, a spray of frankincense still waiting for the fire. How often sacrificial bulls have been brought to those temples, and while white-robed priest was pouring offered wine between their horns, have fallen without waiting for the stroke. While I prepared a sacrifice to Jove, for my behalf, my country and three sons, the victim, ever moaning dismal sounds, before a blow was struck, fell suddenly beside the altar; and his scanty blood ran thinly from the knives that slaughtered him. His entrails, wanting all the marks of truth were so diseased, the warnings of the Gods could not be read—the baneful malady had penetrated to the heart of life. And I have seen the carcases of men lie rotting at the sacred temple gates, or by the very altars, where they fell, making death odious to the living Gods. And often I have seen some desperate man end life by his own halter, and so cheat by voluntary death his fear of death, in mad haste to outrun approaching fate. The bodies of the dead, indecently were cast forth, lacking sacred funeral rites as hitherto the custom. All the gates were crowded with processions of the dead. Unburied, they might lie upon the ground, or else, deserted, on their lofty pyres with no one to lament their dismal end, dissolve in their dishonored ashes. All restraint forgotten, a mad rabble fought and took possession of the burning pyres, and even the dead were ravished of their rest.—And who should mourn them wanting, all the souls of sons and husbands, and of old and young, must wander unlamented: and the land sufficed not for the crowded sepulchers: and the dense forest was denuded of all trees.

[614] "Heart-broken at the sight of this great woe, I wailed, `O Jupiter! if truth were told of your sweet comfort in Aegina's arms, if you were not ashamed of me, your son, restore my people, or entomb my corpse, that I may suffer as the ones I love.'—Great lightning flashed around me, and the sound of thunder proved that my complaint was heard. Accepting it, I cried, `Let these, Great Jove, the happy signs of your assent, be shown good omens given as a sacred pledge.'

[622] "Near by, a sacred oak tree grown from seed brought thither from Dodona, spread abroad its branches thinly covered with green leaves; and creeping as an army, on the tree we saw a train of ants that carried grain, half-hidden in the deep and wrinkled bark. And while I wondered at the endless line I said, `Good father, give me citizens of equal number for my empty walls.' Soon as I said those words, though not a wind was moving nor a breeze,—the lofty tree began to tremble, and I heard a sound of motion in its branches. Wonder not that sudden fear possessed me; and my hair began to rise; and I could hardly stand for so my weak knees tottered!—As I made obeisance to the soil and sacred tree, perhaps I cherished in my heart a thought, that, not acknowledged, cheered me with some hope.

[634] “At night I lay exhausted by such thoughts, a deep sleep seized my body, but the tree seemed always present—to my gaze distinct with all its branches—I could even see the birds among its leaves; and from its boughs, that trembled in the still air, moving ants were scattered to the ground in troops below; and ever, as they touched the soil, they grew larger and larger.—As they raised themselves, they stood with upright bodies, and put off their lean shapes; and absorbed their many feet: and even as their dark brown color changed, their rounded forms took on a human shape.

[646] "When my strange dream departed, I awoke, the vision vanished, I complained to Heaven against the idle comfort of such dreams; but as I voiced my own lament, I heard a mighty murmur echoing through the halls of my deserted palace, and a multitude of voices in confusion; where the sound of scarce an echo had disturbed the still deserted chambers for so many days. All this I thought the fancy of my dream, until my brave son Telamon, in haste threw open the closed doorway, as he called, `Come quickly father, and behold a sight beyond the utmost of your fondest dreams!' I did go out, and there I saw such men each in his turn, as I had seen transformed in that weird vision of the moving ants. They all advanced, and hailed me as their king. So soon as I had offered vows to Jove, I subdivided the deserted farms, and dwellings in the cities to these men miraculously raised—which now are called my Myrmidons,—the living evidence of my strange vision. You have seen these men; and since that day, their name has been declared, `Decisive evidence.' They have retained the well-known customs of the days before their transformation. Patiently they toil; they store the profits of their labor; which they guard with valiant skill. They'll follow you to any war, well matched in years and courage, and I do promise, when this east wind turns, this wind that favored you and brought you here, and when a south wind favors our design, then my brave Myrmidons will go with you.”

CEPHALUS AND PROCRIS [661] This narrative and many other tales had occupied the day. As twilight fell, festivities were blended in the night—the night, in turn, afforded sweet repose. Soon as the golden Sun had shown his light, the east wind blowing still, the ships were stayed from sailing home. The sons of Pallas came to Cephalus, who was the elder called; and Cephalus together with the sons of Pallas, went to see the king. Deep sleep still held the king; and Phocus who was son of Aeacus, received them at the gate, instead of Telamon and Peleus who were marshalling the men for war. Into the inner court and beautiful apartments Phocus conducted the Athenians, and they sat down together. Phocus then observed that Cephalus held in his hand a curious javelin with golden head, and shaft of some rare wood. And as they talked, he said; “It is my pleasure to explore the forest in the chase of startled game, and so I've learned the nature of rare woods, but never have I seen the match of this from which was fashioned this good javelin; it lacks the yellow tint of forest ash, it is not knotted like all corner-wood; although I cannot name the kind of wood, my eyes have never seen a javelin-shaft so beautiful as this.” To him replied a friend of Cephalus; “But you will find its beauty is not equal to its worth, for whatsoever it is aimed against, its flight is always certain to the mark, nor is it subject to the shift of chance; and after it has struck, although no hand may cast it back, it certainly returns, bloodstained with every victim.”

[685] Then indeed, was Phocus anxious to be told, whence came and who had given such a precious gift. And Cephalus appeared to tell him all; but craftily was silent on one strange condition of the fatal gift. As he recalled the mournful fate of his dear wife, his eyes filled up with tears. “Ah, pity me,” he said, “If Fate should grant me many years, I must weep every time that I regard this weapon which has been my cause of tears; the unforgiven death of my dear wife—ah, would that I had never handled it! My sweet wife, Procris!—if you could compare her beauty with her sister's—Orithyia's, (ravished by the blustering Boreas) you would declare my wife more beautiful. 'Tis she her sire Erectheus joined to me, 'Tis she the god Love also joined to me. They called me happy, and in truth I was, and all pronounced us so until the Gods decreed it otherwise. Two joyful months of our united love were almost passed, when, as the grey light of the dawn dispelled, upon the summit of Hymettus green, Aurora, glorious in her golden robes, observed me busy with encircling nets, trapping the antlered deer. Against my will incited by desire, she carried me away with her. Oh, let me not increase her anger, for I tell you what is true, I found no comfort in her lovely face! And, though she is the very queen of light, and reigns upon the edge of shadowy space where she is nourished on rich nectar-wine, adding delight to beauty, I could give no heed to her entreaties, for the thought of my beloved Procris intervened; and only her sweet name was on my lips. I told Aurora of our wedding joys and all refreshing joys of love—and my first union of my couch deserted now: Enraged against me, then the goddess said: `Keep to your Procris, I but trouble you, ungrateful clown! but, if you can be warned, you will no longer wish for her!' And so, in anger, she returned me to my wife.

[[713] "Alas, as I retraced the weary way, long-brooding over all Aurora said, suspicion made me doubtful of my wife, so faithful and so fair.—But many things reminding me of steadfast virtue, I suppressed all doubts; until the dreadful thought of my long absence filled my jealous mind: from which I argued to the criminal advances of Aurora; for if she, so lovely in appearance, did conceal such passion in the garb of innocence until the moment of temptation, how could I be certain of the purity of even the strongest when the best are frail? So brooding—every effort I devised to cause my own undoing. By the means of bribing presents, favored by disguise, I sought to win her guarded chastity. Aurora had disguised me, and her guile determined me to work in subtle snares. Unknown to all my friends, I paced the streets of sacred Athens till I reached my home. I hoped to search out evidence of guilt: but everything seemed waiting my return; and all the household breathed an air of grief. With difficulty I, disguised, obtained an entrance to her presence by the use of artifices many: and when I there saw her, silent in her grief,—amazed, my heart no longer prompted me to test such constant love. An infinite desire took hold upon me. I could scarce restrain an impulse to caress and kiss her. Pale with grief that I was gone, her lovely face in sorrow was more beautiful—the world has not another so divinely fair. Ah, Phocus, it is wonderful to think of beauty so surpassing fair it seems more lovable in sorrow!

[734] "Why relate to you how often she repulsed my feigned attempts upon her virtue? To each plea she said: `I serve one man: no matter where he may be I will keep my love for one.' Who but a man insane with jealousy, would doubt the virtue of a loving wife, when tempted by the most insidious wiles, whose hallowed honor was her husband's love? But I, not satisfied with proof complete, would not abandon my depraved desire to poison the pure fountain I should guard;—increasing my temptations, I caused her to hesitate, and covet a rich gift. Then, angered at my own success I said, discarding all disguise, `Behold the man whose lavish promise has established proof, the witness of your shameful treachery; your absent husband has returned to this!' Unable to endure a ruined home, where desecration held her sin to view, despairing and in silent shame she fled; and I, the author of that wickedness ran after: but enraged at my deceit and hating all mankind, she wandered far in wildest mountains; hunting the wild game.

[747] "I grieved at her desertion; and the fires of my neglected love consumed my health; with greater violence my love increased, until unable to endure such pain, I begged forgiveness and acknowledged fault: nor hesitated to declare that I might yield, the same way tempted, if such great gifts had been offered to me. When I had made abject confession and she had avenged her outraged feelings, she came back to me and we spent golden years in harmony. She gave to me the hound she fondly loved, the very one Diana gave to her when lovingly the goddess had declared, `This hound all others shall excel in speed.' Nor was that gift the only one was given by kind Diana when my wife was hers, as you may guess—this javelin I hold forth, no other but a goddess could bestow. Would you be told the story of both gifts attend my words and you shall be amazed, for never such another sad event has added sorrow to the grieving world.

[759] “After the son of Laius,—Oedipus,—had solved the riddle of the monster-sphinx, so often baffling to the wits of men, and after she had fallen from her hill, mangled, forgetful of her riddling craft; not unrevenged the mighty Themis brooked her loss. Without delay that goddess raised another savage beast to ravage Thebes, by which the farmer's cattle were devoured, the land was ruined and its people slain. Then all the valiant young men of the realm, with whom I also went, enclosed the field (where lurked the monster) in a mesh of many tangled nets: but not a strand could stay its onrush, and it leaped the crest of every barrier where the toils were set. Already they had urged their eager dogs, which swiftly as a bird it left behind, eluding all the hunters as it fled. At last all begged me to let slip the leash of straining Tempest; such I called the hound, my dear wife's present. As he tugged and pulled upon the tightened cords, I let them slip: no sooner done, then he was lost to sight; although, wherever struck his rapid feet the hot dust whirled. Not swifter flies the spear, nor whizzing bullet from the twisted sling, nor feathered arrow from the twanging bow!

[779] "A high hill jutted from a rolling plain, on which I mounted to enjoy the sight of that unequalled chase. One moment caught, the next as surely free, the wild beast seemed now here now there, elusive in its flight; swiftly sped onward, or with sudden turn doubled in circles to deceive or gain. With equal speed pursuing at each turn, the rapid hound could neither gain nor lose. Now springing forward and now doubling back, his great speed foiled, he snapped at empty air. I then turned to my javelin's aid; and while I poised it in my right hand, turned away my gaze a moment as I sought to twine my practiced fingers in the guiding thongs; but when again I lifted up my eyes, to cast the javelin where the monster sped, I saw two marble statues standing there, transformed upon the plain. One statue seemed to strain in attitude of rapid flight, the other with wide-open jaws was changed, just in the act of barking and pursuit. Surely some God—if any god controls—decreed both equal, neither could succeed.” Now after these miraculous events, it seemed he wished to stop, but Phocus said. “What charge have you against the javelin?”

[796] And Cephalus rejoined; “I must relate my sorrows last; for I would tell you first the story of my joys.—'Tis sweet to think, upon the gliding tide of those few years of married life, when my dear wife and I were happy in our love and confidence. No woman could allure me then from her; and even Venus could not tempt my love; all my great passion for my dearest wife was equalled by the passion she returned. As early as the sun, when golden rays first glittered on the mountains, I would rise in youthful ardor, to explore the fields in search of game. With no companions, hounds, nor steeds nor nets, this javelin was alone my safety and companion in my sport. And often when my right hand felt its weight, a-wearied of the slaughter it had caused, I would come back to rest in the cool shade, and breezes from cool vales—the breeze I wooed, blowing so gently on me in the heat; the breeze I waited for; she was my rest from labor. I remember, `Aura come,' I used to say, `Come soothe me, come into my breast most welcome one, and yes indeed, you do relieve the heat with which I burn.' And as I felt the sweet breeze of the morn, as if in answer to my song, my fate impelled me further to declare my joy in song; `You are my comfort, you are my delight! Refresh me, cherish me, breathe on my face! I love you child of lonely haunts and trees!'

[821] "Such words I once was singing, not aware of some one spying on me from the trees, who thought I sang to some beloved Nymph, or goddess by the name of Aura—so I always called the breeze.—Unhappy man! The meddling tell-tale went to Procris with a story of supposed unfaithfulness, and slyly told in whispers all he heard. True love is credulous; (and as I heard the story) Procris in a swoon fell down. When she awakened from her bitter swoon, she ceased not wailing her unhappy fate, and, wretched, moaned for an imagined woe. So she lamented what was never done! Her woe incited by a whispered tale, she feared the fiction of a harmless name! But hope returning soothed her wretched state; and now, no longer willing to believe such wrong, unless her own eyes saw it, she refused to think her husband sinned.

[835] "When dawn had banished night, and I, rejoicing, ranged the breathing woods, victorious in the hunt paused and said, `Come Aura—lovely breeze—relieve my panting breast!' It seemed I heard the smothered moans of sorrow as I spoke: but not conceiving harm, I said again; `Come here, oh my delight!' And as those words fell from my lips, I thought I heard a soft sound in the thicket, as of moving leaves; and thinking surely 'twas a hidden beast, I threw this winged javelin at the spot.—It was my own wife, Procris, and the shaft was buried in her breast—`Ah, wretched me!' She cried; and when I heard her well-known voice, distracted I ran towards her,—only to find her bathed in blood, and dying from the wound of that same javelin she had given to me: and in her agony she drew it forth,—ah me! alas! from her dear tender side. I lifted her limp body to my own, in these blood-guilty arms, and wrapped the wound with fragments of my tunic, that I tore in haste to staunch her blood; and all the while I moaned, `Oh, do not now forsake me—slain by these accursed hands!'

[851] "Weak with the loss of blood, and dying, she compelled herself to utter these few words, `It is my death; but let my eyes not close upon this life before I plead with you!—By the dear ties of sacred marriage; by your god and mine; and if my love for you can move your heart; and even by the cause of my sad death,—my love for you increasing as I die, – ah, put away that Aura you have called, that she may never separate your soul,—your love from me.' So, by those dying words I knew that she had heard me call the name of Aura, when I wished the cooling breeze, and thought I called a goddess,—cause of all her jealous sorrow and my bitter woe. Alas, too late, I told her the sad truth; but she was sinking, and her little strength swiftly was ebbing with her flowing blood. As long as life remained her loving gaze was fixed on mine; and her unhappy life at last was breathed out on my grieving face. It seemed to me a look of sweet content was in her face, as if she feared not death.” In tears he folds these things; and, as they wept in came the aged monarch, Aeacus, and with the monarch his two valiant sons, and troops, new-levied, trained to glorious arms.


KING MINOS AND SCYLLA [1] Now Lucifer unveiled the glorious day, and as the session of the night dissolved, the cool east wind declined, and vapors wreathed the moistened valleys. Veering to the south the welcome wind gave passage to the sons of Aeacus, and wafted Cephalus on his returning way, propitious; where before the wonted hour, they entered port. King Minos, while the fair wind moved their ship, was laying waste the land of Megara. He gathered a great army round the walls built by Alcathous, where reigned in splendor King Nisus—mighty and renowned in war—upon the center of whose hoary head a lock of purple hair was growing.—Its proved virtue gave protection to his throne.

[11] Six times the horns of rising Phoebe grew, and still the changing fortune of the war was in suspense; so, Victory day by day between them hovered on uncertain wings. Within that city was a regal tower on tuneful walls; where once Apollo laid his golden harp; and in the throbbing stone the sounds remained. And there, in times of peace the daughter of king Nisus loved to mount the walls and strike the sounding stone with pebbles: so, when the war began, she often viewed the dreadful contest from that height; until, so long the hostile camp remained, she had become acquainted with the names, and knew the habits, horses and the arms of many a chief, and could discern the signs of their Cydonean quivers. More than all, the features of King Minos were engraved upon the tablets of her mind. And when he wore his helmet, crested with gay plumes, she deemed it glorious; when he held his shield shining with gold, no other seemed so grand; and when he poised to hurl the tough spear home, she praised his skill and strength; and when he bent his curving bow with arrow on the cord, she pictured him as Phoebus taking aim,—but when, arrayed in purple, and upon the back of his white war horse, proudly decked with richly broidered housings, he reined in the nervous steed, and took his helmet off, showing his fearless features, then the maid, daughter of Nisus, could control herself no longer; and a frenzy seized her mind. She called the javelin happy which he touched, and blessed were the reins within his hand. She had an impulse to direct her steps, a tender virgin, through the hostile ranks, or cast her body from the topmost towers into the Gnossian camp. She had a wild desire to open to the enemy the heavy brass-bound gates, or anything that Minos could desire.

[42] And as she sat beholding the white tents, she cried, “Alas! Should I rejoice or grieve to see this war? I grieve that Minos is the enemy of her who loves him; but unless the war had brought him, how could he be known to me? But should he take me for a hostage? That might end the war—a pledge of peace, he might keep me for his companion. O, supreme of mankind! she who bore you must have been as beautiful as you are; ample cause for Jove to lose his heart. O, happy hour! If moving upon wings through yielding air, I could alight within the hostile camp in front of Minos, and declare to him my name and passion! Then would I implore what dowry he could wish, and would provide whatever he might ask, except alone the city of my father. Perish all my secret hopes before one act of mine should offer treason to accomplish it. And yet, the kindness of a conqueror has often proved a blessing, manifest to those who were defeated. Certainly the war he carries on is justified by his slain son. He is a mighty king, thrice strengthened in his cause. Undoubtedly we shall be conquered, and, if such a fate awaits our city, why should he by force instead of my consuming love, prevail to open the strong gates? Without delay and dreadful slaughter, it is best for him to conquer and decide this savage war. Ah, Minos, how I fear the bitter fate should any warrior hurl his cruel spear and pierce you by mischance, for surely none can be so hardened to transfix your breast with purpose known. Oh, let her love prevail to open for his army the great gates. Only the thought of it, has filled her soul; she is determined to deliver up her country as a dowry with herself, and so decide the war!

[69] "But what avails this idle talk. A guard surrounds the gates, my father keeps the keys, and he alone is my obstruction, and the innocent account of my despair. Would to the Gods I had no father! Is not man the God of his own fortune, though his idle prayers avail not to compel his destiny? Another woman crazed with passionate desires, which now inflame me, would not hesitate, but with a fierce abandon would destroy whatever checked her passion. Who is there with love to equal mine? I dare to go through flames and swords; but swords and flames are not now needed, for I only need my royal father's lock of purple hair. More precious than fine gold, it has a power to give my heart all that it may desire.”

[81] While Scylla said this, night that heals our cares came on, and she grew bolder in the dark. And now it is the late and silent hour when slumber takes possession of the breast. Outwearied with the cares of busy day; then as her father slept, with stealthy tread she entered his abode, and there despoiled, and clipped his fatal lock of purple hair. Concealing in her bosom the sad prize of crime degenerate, she at once went forth a gate unguarded, and with shameless haste sped through the hostile army to the tent of Minos, whom, astonished, she addressed: “Only my love has led me to this deed. The daughter of King Nisus, I am called the maiden Scylla. Unto you I come and offer up a power that will prevail against my country, and I stipulate no recompense except yourself. Take then this purple hair, a token of my love.—Deem it not lightly as a lock of hair held idly forth to you; it is in truth my father's life.” And as she spoke she held out in her guilty hand the prize, and begged him to accept it with her love. Shocked at the thought of such a heinous crime, Minos refused, and said, “O execrable thing! Despised abomination of our time! May all the Gods forever banish you from their wide universe, and may the earth and the deep ocean be denied to you! So great a monster shall not be allowed to desecrate the sacred Isle of Crete, where Jupiter was born.”

[101] So Minos spoke. Nevertheless he conquered Megara, (so aided by the damsel's wicked deed) and as a just and mighty king imposed his own conditions on the vanquished land. He ordered his great fleet to tarry not; the hawsers were let loose, and the long oars quickly propelled his brazen-pointed ships.—When Scylla saw them launching forth, observed them sailing on the mighty deep, she called with vain entreaties; but at last, aware the prince ignored her and refused to recompense her wickedness, enraged, and raving, she held up her impious hands, her long hair streaming on the wind,—and said: “Oh, wherefore have you flown, and left behind the author of your glory. Oh, wretch! wretch to whom I offered up my native land, and sacrificed my father! Where have you now flown, ungrateful man whose victory is both my crime and virtue? And the gift presented to you, and my passion, have these not moved you? All my love and hope in you alone! Forsaken by my prince, shall I return to my defeated land? If never ruined it would shut its walls against me.—Shall I seek my father's face whom I delivered to all-conquering arms? My fellow-citizens despise my name; my friends and neighbors hate me; I have shut the world against me, only in the hope that Crete would surely welcome me;—and now, he has forbidden me.

[119] "And is it so I am requited by this thankless wretch! Europa could not be your mother! Spawn of cruel Syrtis! Savage cub of fierce Armenian tigress;—or Charybdis, tossed by the wild South-wind begot you! Can you be the son of Jupiter? Your mother was not ever tricked by the false semblance of a bull. All that story of your birth is false! You are the offspring of a bull as fierce as you are! Let your vengeance fall upon me, O my father Nisus, let the ruined city I betrayed rejoice at my misfortunes—richly merited—destroy me, you whom I have ruined;—I should perish for my crimes! But why should you, who conquered by my crime, abandon me? The treason to my father and my land becomes an act of kindness in your cause. That woman is a worthy mate for you who hid in wood deceived the raging bull, and bore to him the infamy of Crete. I do not wonder that Pasiphae preferred the bull to you, more savage than the wildest beast. Alas, alas for me! Do my complaints reach your unwilling ears? Or do the same winds waft away my words that blow upon your ships, ungrateful man?—Ah, wretched that I am, he takes delight in hastening from me. The deep waves resound as smitten by the oars, his ship departs; and I am lost and even my native land is fading from his sight. Oh heart of flint! you shall not prosper in your cruelty, and you shall not forget my sacrifice; in spite of everything I follow you! I'll grasp the curving stern of your swift ship, and I will follow through unending seas.”

[142] And as she spoke, she leaped into the waves, and followed the receding ships—for strength from passion came to her. And soon she clung unwelcome, to the sailing Gnossian ship. Meanwhile, the Gods had changed her father's form and now he hovered over the salt deep, a hawk with tawny wings. So when he saw his daughter clinging to the hostile ship he would have torn her with his rending beak;—he darted towards her through the yielding air. In terror she let go, but as she fell the light air held her from the ocean spray; her feather-weight supported by the breeze; she spread her wings, and changed into a bird. They called her “Ciris” when she cut the wind, and “Ciris”—cut-the-lock—remains her name.

MINOS AND THE MINOTAUR [152] King Minos, when he reached the land of Crete and left his ships, remembered he had made a vow to Jupiter, and offered up a hundred bulls.—The splendid spoils of war adorned his palace.—Now the infamous reproach of Crete had grown, till it exposed the double-natured shame. So, Minos, moved to cover his disgrace, resolved to hide the monster in a prison, and he built with intricate design, by Daedalus contrived, an architect of wonderful ability, and famous. This he planned of mazey wanderings that deceived the eyes, and labyrinthic passages involved. so sports the clear Maeander, in the fields of Phrygia winding doubtful; back and forth it meets itself, until the wandering stream fatigued, impedes its wearied waters' flow; from source to sea, from sea to source involved. So Daedalus contrived innumerous paths, and windings vague, so intricate that he, the architect, hardly could retrace his steps.

[169] In this the Minotaur was long concealed, and there devoured Athenian victims sent three seasons, nine years each, till Theseus, son of Aegeus, slew him and retraced his way, finding the path by Ariadne's thread. Without delay the victor fled from Crete, together with the loving maid, and sailed for Dia Isle of Naxos, where he left the maid forlorn, abandoned. Her, in time, lamenting and deserted, Bacchus found and for his love immortalized her name. He set in the dark heavens the bright crown that rested on her brows. Through the soft air it whirled, while all the sparkling jewels changed to flashing fires, assuming in the sky between the Serpent-holder and the Kneeler the well-known shape of Ariadne's Crown.

DAEDALUS AND ICARUS [183] But Daedalus abhorred the Isle of Crete—and his long exile on that sea-girt shore, increased the love of his own native place. “Though Minos blocks escape by sea and land.” He said, “The unconfined skies remain though Minos may be lord of all the world his sceptre is not regnant of the air, and by that untried way is our escape.” This said, he turned his mind to arts unknown and nature unrevealed. He fashioned quills and feathers in due order—deftly formed from small to large, as any rustic pipe prom straws unequal slants. He bound with thread the middle feathers, and the lower fixed with pliant wax; till so, in gentle curves arranged, he bent them to the shape of birds. While he was working, his son Icarus, with smiling countenance and unaware of danger to himself, perchance would chase the feathers, ruffled by the shifting breeze, or soften with his thumb the yellow wax, and by his playfulness retard the work his anxious father planned.

[200] But when at last the father finished it, he poised himself, and lightly floating in the winnowed air waved his great feathered wings with bird-like ease. And, likewise he had fashioned for his son such wings; before they ventured in the air he said, “My son, I caution you to keep the middle way, for if your pinions dip too low the waters may impede your flight; and if they soar too high the sun may scorch them. Fly midway. Gaze not at the boundless sky, far Ursa Major and Bootes next. Nor on Orion with his flashing brand, but follow my safe guidance.” As he spoke he fitted on his son the plumed wings with trembling hands, while down his withered cheeks the tears were falling. Then he gave his son a last kiss, and upon his gliding wings assumed a careful lead solicitous. As when the bird leads forth her tender young, from high-swung nest to try the yielding air; so he prevailed on willing Icarus; encouraged and instructed him in all the fatal art; and as he waved his wings looked backward on his son. Beneath their flight, the fisherman while casting his long rod, or the tired shepherd leaning on his crook, or the rough plowman as he raised his eyes, astonished might observe them on the wing, and worship them as Gods.

[220] Upon the left they passed by Samos, Juno's sacred isle; Delos and Paros too, were left behind; and on the right Lebinthus and Calymne, fruitful in honey. Proud of his success, the foolish Icarus forsook his guide, and, bold in vanity, began to soar, rising upon his wings to touch the skies; but as he neared the scorching sun, its heat softened the fragrant wax that held his plumes; and heat increasing melted the soft wax—he waved his naked arms instead of wings, with no more feathers to sustain his flight. And as he called upon his father's name his voice was smothered in the dark blue sea, now called Icarian from the dead boy's name. The unlucky father, not a father, called, “Where are you, Icarus?” and “Where are you? In what place shall I seek you, Icarus?” He called again; and then he saw the wings of his dear Icarus, floating on the waves; and he began to rail and curse his art. He found the body on an island shore, now called Icaria, and at once prepared to bury the unfortunate remains.

[236] But while he labored a pert partridge near, observed him from the covert of an oak, and whistled his unnatural delight. Know you the cause? 'Twas then a single bird, the first one of its kind. 'Twas never seen before the sister of Daedalus had brought him Perdix, her dear son, to be his pupil. And as the years went by the gifted youth began to rival his instructor's art. He took the jagged backbone of a fish, and with it as a model made a saw, with sharp teeth fashioned from a strip of iron. And he was first to make two arms of iron, smooth hinged upon the center, so that one would make a pivot while the other, turned, described a circle. Wherefore Daedalus enraged and envious, sought to slay the youth and cast him headlong from Minerva's fane,—then spread the rumor of an accident. But Pallas, goddess of ingenious men, saving the pupil changed him to a bird, and in the middle of the air he flew on feathered wings; and so his active mind—and vigor of his genius were absorbed into his wings and feet; although the name of Perdix was retained. The Partridge hides in shaded places by the leafy trees its nested eggs among the bush's twigs; nor does it seek to rise in lofty flight, for it is mindful of its former fall.

[260] Wearied with travel Daedalus arrived at Sicily,—where Cocalus was king; and when the wandering Daedalus implored the monarch's kind protection from his foe, he gathered a great army for his guest, and gained renown from an applauding world.

ATALANTA AND MELEAGER [262] Now after Theseus had destroyed in Crete the dreadful monster, Athens then had ceased to pay her mournful tribute; and with wreaths her people decked the temples of the Gods; and they invoked Minerva, Jupiter, and many other Gods whom they adored, with sacrifice and precious offerings, and jars of Frankincense. Quick-flying Fame had spread reports of Theseus through the land; and all the peoples of Achaia, from that day, when danger threatened would entreat his aid. So it befell, the land of Calydon, through Meleager and her native hero, implored the valiant Theseus to destroy a raging boar, the ravage of her realm. Diana in her wrath had sent the boar to wreak her vengeance; and they say the cause was this:—The nation had a fruitful year, for which the good king Oeneus had decreed that all should offer the first fruits of corn to Ceres—and to Bacchus wine of grapes—and oil of olives to the golden haired Minerva. Thus, the Gods were all adored, beginning with the lowest to the highest, except alone Diana, and of all the Gods her altars only were neglected. No frankincense unto her was given! Neglect enrages even Deities. “Am I to suffer this indignity?” she cried, “Though I am thus dishonored, I will not be unrevenged!” And so the boar was sent to ravage the fair land of Calydon.

[281] And this avenging boar was quite as large as bulls now feeding on the green Epirus, and larger than the bulls of Sicily. A dreadful boar.—His burning, bloodshot eyes seemed coals of living fire, and his rough neck was knotted with stiff muscles, and thick-set with bristles like sharp spikes. A seething froth dripped on his shoulders, and his tusks were like the spoils of Ind. Discordant roars reverberated from his hideous jaws; and lightning—belched forth from his horrid throat—scorched the green fields. He trampled the green corn and doomed the farmer to lament his crops, in vain the threshing-floor has been prepared, in vain the barns await the promised yield. Long branches of the vine and heavy grapes are scattered in confusion, and the fruits and branches of the olive tree, whose leaves should never wither, are cast on the ground. His spleen was vented on the simple flocks, which neither dogs nor shepherd could protect; and the brave bulls could not defend their herds. The people fled in all directions from the fields, for safety to the cities. Terror reigned. There seemed no remedy to save the land, till Meleager chose a band of youths, united for the glory of great deeds.

[300] What heroes shall immortal song proclaim? Castor and Pollux, twins of Tyndarus; one famous for his skill in horsemanship, the other for his boxing. Jason, too, was there, the glorious builder of the world's first ship, and Theseus with his friend Perithous, and Toxeus and Plexippus, fated sons of Thestius, and the son of Aphareus, Lynkeus with his fleet-foot brother Idas and Caeneus, first a woman then a man the brave Leucippus and the argonaut Acastus, swift of dart; and warlike Dryas, Hippothous and Phoenix, not then blind, the son of King Amyntor, and the twain who sprung from Actor, Phyleus thither brought from Elis; Telamon was one of them and even Peleus, father of the great Achilles; and the son of Pheres joined, and Iolas, the swift Eurytion, Echion fleet of foot, Narycian Lelex—and Panopeus, and Hyleus and Hippasus, and Nestor (youthful then), and the four sons Hippocoon from eld Amyclae sent, the father-in-law of queen Penelope, Ancaeus of Arcadia, and the wise soothsayer Mopsus, and the prophet, son of Oeclus, victim of a traitor-wife.—And Atalanta, virgin of the groves, of Mount Lycaeus, glory of her sex; a polished buckle fastened her attire; her lustrous hair was fashioned in a knot; her weapons rattled in an ivory case, swung from her white left shoulder, and she held a bow in her left hand. Her face appeared as maidenly for boy, or boyish for girl. When Meleager saw her, he at once longed for her beauty, though some god forbade. The fires of love flamed in him; and he said, “Happy the husband who shall win this girl!” Neither the time nor his own modesty permitted him to say another word. But now the dreadful contest with the boar engaged this hero's energy and thought.

[329] A wood, umbrageous, not impaired with age, slopes from a plain and shadows the wide fields, and there this band of valiant heroes went—eager to slay the dreaded enemy, some spread the nets and some let loose the dogs, some traced the wide spoor of the monster's hoofs. There is a deep gorge where the rivulets that gather from the rain, discharge themselves; and there the bending willow, the smooth sedge, the marsh-rush, ozier and tall tangled reed in wild profusion cover up the marsh. Aroused from this retreat the startled boar, as quick as lightning from the clashing clouds crashed all the trees that cumbered his mad way.—The young men raised a shout, leveled their spears, and brandished their keen weapons; but the boar rushed onward through the yelping dogs, and scattered them with deadly sidelong stroke. Echion was the first to hurl his spear, but slanting in its course it only glanced a nearby maple tree, and next the spear of long-remembered Jason cut the air; so swiftly hurled it seemed it might transfix the boar's back, but with over-force it sped beyond the monster. Poising first his dart, the son of Ampyx, as he cast it, he implored Apollo, “Grant my prayer if I have truly worshiped you, harken to me as always I adore you! Let my spear unerring strike its aim.” Apollo heard, and guided the swift spear, but as it sped Diana struck the iron head from the shaft, and the blunt wood fell harmless from his hide.

[355] Then was the monster's savage anger roused; as the bright lightning's flash his red eyes flamed; his breath was hot as fire. As when a stone is aimed at walls or strong towers, which protect encompassed armies,—launched by the taut rope it strikes with dreaded impact; so the boar with fatal onset rushed among this band of noble lads, and stretched upon the ground Eupalamon and Pelagon whose guard was on the right; and their companions bore their bodies from the field. Another youth, the brave son of Hippocoon received a deadly wound—while turning to escape, the sinew of his thigh was cut and failed to bear his tottering steps.—

[365] And Nestor might have perished then, so long before he fought the heroes of old Troy, but ever wise, he vaulted on his long lance from the ground into the branches of a sheltering tree; where in a safe position, he could look down on his baffled foe. The raging boar whetted his gleaming tushes on an oak. Then with his sharpened tusks he gored the thigh of mighty Hippasus. Observed of all, and mounted on their horses—whiter than the northern snow—the twins (long afterward transformed to constellations) sallied forth, and brandishing their lances, poised in air, determined to destroy the bristling boar. It thwarted their design by hiding in a thicket intricate; where neither steed nor lance could penetrate. But Telamon pursued undaunted, and in haste tripped up by tangled roots, fell headlong.—Peleus stooped to rescue him.

[380] While he regained his feet, the virgin, Atalanta, took her bow and fitting a sharp arrow to the notch, twanged the tight cord. The feathered shaft quivered beneath the monster's ear, the red blood stained his hard bristles. Flushed with her success rejoiced the maid, but not more gladly than the hero Meleager. He it was who first observed the blood, and pointed out the stain to his companions as he cried, “Give honor to the courage of a maid!” Unwilling to be worsted by a maid, the rushing heroes raised a mighty cry and as they shouted in excitement, hurled their weapons in confusion; and so great the multitude their actions interfered.

[391] Behold! Ancaeus wielding his war-axe, and rushing madly to his fate, exclaimed, “Witness it! See the weapons of a man excel a woman's! Ho, make way for my achievement! Let Diana shield the brute! Despite her utmost effort my right hand shall slaughter him!” So mighty in his boast he puffed himself; and, lifting with both hands his double-edged axe, he stood erect, on tiptoe fiercely bold. The savage boar caught him, and ripped his tushes through his groin, a spot where death is sure.—Ancaeus fell; and his torn entrails and his crimson blood stained the fair verdure of the spot with death.

[403] Ixion's doughty son was running straight against the monster, shaking his long lance with nervous vigor in his strong right hand; but Theseus, standing at a distance called: “Beware! beware, O, dearest of my friends; be valiant at a distance, or the fate of rashly-bold Ancaeus may be yours!” Even as he spoke he balanced in his hand his brazen-pointed lance of corner wood; with aim so true it seemed the great boar's death was certain, but an evergreen oak branch shielded the beast.—Then Jason hurled his dart, which turned by chance, transfixed a luckless dog and pinned him yelping, to the sanguine earth.—

[414] So fared those heroes. Better fortune gave success to Meleager; first he threw a spear that missed and quivered in the ground; but next he hurled a spear with certain aim. It pierced the middle of the monster's back; and rushing in upon the dreaded beast, while raging it was whirling round and round, the fearless prince provoked to greater rage the wounded adversary. Bloody froth dripped down his champing jaws—his purple blood poured from a rankling wound. Without delay the mighty Meleager plunged a spear deep in the monster's shoulder. All his friends raised a glad shout, and gathering round him, tried to grasp his hand.—With wonder they beheld the monster's bulk stretched out upon the plain; and fearful still to touch him, they began to stain their weapons in his spouting blood.

[425] At length the hero Meleager pressed his conquering foot upon the monster's head and said, “O Atalanta, glorious maid, of Nonacris, to you is yielded spoil, my lawful right, and I rejoice to share the merit of this glorious victory.” And while he spoke, he gave to her the pelt, covered with horrid bristles, and the head frightful with gory tusks: and she rejoiced in Meleager and his royal gift.But all the others, envious, began to murmur; and the sons of Thestius levelled their pointed spears, and shouted out; “Give up the prize! Let not the confidence of your great beauty be a snare to you! A woman should not interfering filch the manly honors of a mighty hunt! Aside! and let your witless lover yield!” So threatened they and took from her the prize; and forcibly despoiled him of his rights. The warlike prince, indignant and enraged,—rowed with resentment, shouted out. “What! Ho! You spoilers of this honor that is ours, brave deeds are different far from craven threats!” And with his cruel sword he pierced the breast of rash Plexippus, taken unawares, and while his brother, Toxeus, struck with fear, stood hesitating whether to avenge or run to safety, Meleager plunged the hot sword, smoking with a brother's blood, in his breast also. And so perished they.

ALTHAEA AND THE DEATH OF MELEAGER [445] Ere this, Althaea, mother of the prince, and sister of the slaughtered twain,—because her son had killed the boar, made haste to bear rich offerings to the temples of the Gods; but when she saw her slaughtered brothers borne in sad procession, she began to shriek, and filled the city with her wild lament. Unwilling to abide her festal robes she dressed in sable.—When she was informed her own son Meleager was the cause, she banished grief and lamentations,—thirsting for vengeance.

[451] She remembered well, how, when she lay in childbirth round her stood the three attendant sisters of his fate. There was a billet in the room, and this they took and cast upon the wasting flames, and as they spun and drew the fatal threads they softly chanted, “Unto you we give, O child new-born! only the life of this; the period of this billet is your life.” And having spoken so, they vanished in the smoke. Althaea snatched the billet from the fire, and having quenched it with drawn water, hid it long and secretly in her own room, where, thus preserved, it acted as a charm to save the life of Meleager. This the mother now brought forth, and fetched a pile of seasoned tinder ready for the torch. She lit the torches and the ready pile, and as the flames leaped up, four times prepared to cast the fatal billet in the midst; and four times hesitated to commit the dreadful deed,—so long the contest veered between the feelings of a mother's breast and the fierce vengeance of a sister's rage. Now is the mother's visage pale with fear, and now the sister's sanguinary rage glows in her eyes. Her countenance contorts with cruel threats and in bewildered ways dissolves compassionate: And even when the heat of anger had dried up her eyes the conflict of her passion brought new tears. As when the wind has seized upon a ship and blows against a tide of equal force, the vexed vessel feels repellent powers, and with unsteady motion sways to both; so did Althaea hesitate between the conflict of her passions: when her rage had cooled, her fury was as fast renewed: but always the unsatisfied desire of blood, to ease the disembodied shades of her slain brothers, seemed to overcome the mother-instinct; and intensity of conduct proved the utmost test of love.

[477] She took the billet in her arms and stood before the leaping flames, and said, “Alas, be this the funeral pyre of my own flesh!” And as she held in her relentless hand the destiny of him she loved, and stood before the flames, in all her wretchedness she moaned, “You sad Eumenides attend! Relentless Gods of punishment,—turn, turn your dreadful vision on these baneful rites! I am avenging and committing crime! With death must death be justified and crime be added unto crime! Let funerals upon succeeding funerals attend! Let these accumulating woes destroy a wicked race. Shall happy Oeneus bask in the great fame of his victorious son, and Thestius mourn without slaughtered ones? 'Tis better they should both lament the deed! Witness the act of my affection, shades of my departed brothers! and accept my funeral offering, given at a cost beyond my strength to bear. Ah wretched me! Distracted is my reason! Pity me, the yearnings of a stricken mother's heart withholding me from duty! Aye, although his punishment be just, my hands refuse the office of such vengeance. What, shall he alive, victorious, flushed with his success, inherit the broad realms of Calydon, and you, my slaughtered brothers, unavenged, dissolved in ashes, float upon the air, unpalpitating phantoms? How can I endure the thought of it? Oh let the wretch forever perish, and with him be lost the hopes of his sad father, in the wreck of his distracted kingdom. Where are now the love and feelings of a mother; how can I forget the bitter pangs endured while twice times five the slow moon waxed and waned?

[501] “O had you perished in your infancy by those first fires, and I had suffered it! Your life was in my power! and now your death is the result of wrongs which you have done—take now a just reward for what you did: return to me the life I gave and saved. When from the flames I snatched the fatal brand. Return that gift or take my wretched life, that I may hasten to my brothers' tomb. What dreadful deed can satisfy the law, when I for love against my love am forced? For even as my brothers' wounds appear in visions dreadful to denounce my son, the love so nurtured in a mother's breast breaks down the resolution! Wretched me! Such vengeance for my brothers overcomes first at your birth I gave it, and again the yearning of a mother for her son! Let not my love denounce my vengeance! My soul may follow with its love the shade of him I sacrifice, and following him my shade and his and yours unite below.”

[511] She spoke and as she turned her face away, she threw the fatal billet on the fire, and as the flames devoured it, a strange groan was heard to issue from the burning wood but Meleager at a distance knows of naught to wreck his hour of victory, until he feels the flame of burning wood scorching with secret fire his forfeit life. Yet with a mighty will, disdaining pain he grieves his bloodless and ignoble death. He calls Ancaeus happy for the wounds that caused his death. With sighs and groans he called his aged father's name, and then the names of brothers, sisters, and his wife—and last, they say he called upon his mother's name. His torment always with the fire increased, until, as little of the wood remained,—his pain diminished with the heat's decrease; and as the flames extinguished, so his life slowly ascended in the rising air.

[526] And all the mighty realm of Calydon was filled with lamentations—young and old the common people and the nobles mourned; and all the wailing women tore their hair his father threw his body on the ground, and as he covered his white hair and face with ashy dust, bewailed his aged days. Althaea, maddened in her mother's grief, has punished herself with a ruthless hand; she pierced her heart with iron.—Oh! if some God had given a resounding harp, a voice an hundred-fold more mighty, and a soul enlarged with genius, I could never tell the grief of his unhappy sisters.—They, regardless of all shame, beat on their breasts; before the body was consumed with fire, embraced it, and again embracing it, rained kisses on their loved one and the bier. And when the flames had burnt his shrinking form they strained his gathered ashes to their breasts, and prostrate on the tomb kissed his dear name, cut only in the stone,—and bathed it with their tears Latona's daughter, glutted with the woes inflicted on Parthaon's house, now gave two of the weeping sisters wide-spread wings, but Gorge and the spouse of Hercules not so were changed. Latona stretched long wings upon their arms, transformed their mouths to beaks, and sent them winging through the lucent air.

PERIMELA AND ACHELOUS [547] And Theseus, meantime, having done great deeds, was wending towards Tritonian Athen's towers, but Achelous, swollen with great rains, opposed his journey and delayed his steps. “O famous son of Athens, come to me, beneath my roof, and leave my rapid floods; for they are wont to bear enormous beams, and hurl up heavy stones to bar the way,—mighty with roaring, down the steep ravines. And I have seen the sheep-folds on my banks swept down the flood, together with the sheep; and in the current neither strength availed the ox for safety, nor swift speed the horse. When rushed the melting snows from mountain peaks how many bodies of unwary men this flood has overwhelmed in whirling waves! Rest safely then, until my river runs within its usual bounds—till it contains its flowing waters in its proper banks." And gladly answered Theseus, “I will make good use of both your dwelling and advice.” And waiting not he entered a rude hut, of porous pumice and of rough stone built. The floor was damp and soft with springy moss, and rows of shells and murex arched the roof.

[565] And now Hyperion having measured quite two thirds of daylight, Theseus and his friends reclined upon the couches.—On his right Ixion's son was placed, and on his left the gray-haired hero Lelex; and others deemed worthy by the Acarnanian-god who was so joyful in his noble guests. Without delay the barefoot nimble Nymphs attending to the banquet, rich food brought; and after all were satisfied with meat and dainties delicate, the careful Nymphs removed all traces of the feast, and served delicious wine in bowls embossed with gems.

[573] And after they had eaten, Theseus arose, and as he pointed with his finger, said, “Declare to me what name that island bears, or is it one or more than one I see?” To which the ready River-God replied: “It is not one we see but five are there, deceptive in the distance. And that you may wonder less at what Diana did, those islands were five Naiads.—Long ago, ten bullocks for a sacrifice they slew; and when the joyous festival was given, ignoring me they bade all other Gods. Indignant at the slight, I swelled with rage as great as ever when my banks are full,—and so redoubled both in rage and flood, I ravished woods from woods, and fields from fields, and hurled into the sea the very soil, together with the Nymphs, who then at last remembered their neglect. And soon my waves, united with the ocean streams, cut through the solid soil, and fashioned from the one, five islands you may see amid the waves, which men since then, have called Echinades.

[590] "But yet beyond you can observe how one most beautiful of all is far withdrawn; and this which most delights me, mariners have Perimela named. She was so fair that I deprived her of a precious wealth. And when Hippodamas, her father, knew, enraged he pushed her, heavy then with child, forth from a rock into the cruel sea, where she must perish,—but I rescued her; and as I bore her on my swimming tide, I called on Neptune, ruler of the deep, `O Trident-wielder, you who are preferred next to the god most mighty! who by lot obtained the empire of the flowing deep, to which all sacred rivers flow and end; come here, O Neptune, and with gracious will grant my desire;—I injured her I save;—but if Hippodamas, her father, when he knew my love, had been both kind and just, if he had not been so unnatural, he would have pitied and forgiven her. Ah, Neptune, I beseech you, grant your power may find a place of safety for this Nymph, abandoned to the deep waves by her sire. Or if that cannot be, let her whom I embrace to show my love, let her become a place of safety.' Instantly to me the King of Ocean moved his mighty head, and all the deep waves quivered in response. The Nymph, afraid, still struggled in the deep, and as she swam I touched her throbbing breast; and as I felt her bosom, trembling still, I thought her soft flesh was becoming hard; for even then, new earth enclosed her form; and as I prayed to Neptune, earth encased her floating limbs;—and on her changing form the heavy soil of that fair island grew.”

BAUCIS AND PHILEMON [611] And at this point, the River said no more. This wonderful event astonished all; but one was there, Ixion's haughty son—a known despiser of the living Gods—who, laughing, scorned it as an idle tale. He made a jest of those who heard, and said, “A foolish fiction! Achelous, how can such a tale be true? Do you believe a god there is, in heaven so powerful, a god to give and take away a form—transform created shapes? Such impious words found no response in those who heard him speak. Amazed he could so doubt known truth, before them all, uprose to vindicate the Gods the hero Lelex, wise in length of days. “The glory of the living Gods,” he said, “Is not diminished, nor their power confined, and whatsoever they decree is done. And I have this to tell, for all must know the evil of such words:—Upon the hills of Phrygia I have seen two sacred trees, a lime-tree and an oak, so closely grown their branches interlace. A low stone wall is built around to guard them from all harm. And that you may not doubt it, I declare again, I saw the spot, for Pittheus there had sent me to attend his father's court. Near by those trees are stagnant pools and fens, where coots and cormorants delight to haunt; but it was not so always.

[626] "Long ago 'twas visited by mighty Jupiter, together with his nimble-witted son, who first had laid aside his rod and Wings. As weary travelers over all the land they wandered, begging for their food and bed; and of a thousand houses, all the doors were bolted and no word of kindness given—so wicked were the people of that land. At last, by chance, they stopped at a small house, whose humble roof was thatched with reeds and straw;—and here a kind old couple greeted them. The good dame, Baucis, seemed about the age of old Philemon, her devoted man; they had been married in their early youth, in that same cottage and had lived in it, and grown together to a good old age; contented with their lot because they knew their poverty, and felt no shame of it; they had no need of servants; the good pair were masters of their home and served themselves; their own commands they easily obeyed.

[637] "Now when the two Gods, Jove and Mercury, had reached this cottage, and with bending necks had entered the low door, the old man bade them rest their wearied limbs, and set a bench, on which his good wife, Baucis, threw a cloth; and then with kindly bustle she stirred up the glowing embers on the hearth, and then laid tinder, leaves and bark; and bending down breathed on them with her ancient breath until they kindled into flame. Then from the house she brought a store of faggots and small twigs, and broken branches, and above them swung a kettle, not too large for simple folk. And all this done, she stripped some cabbage leaves, which her good husband gathered for the meal. Then with a two-pronged fork the man let down a rusty side of bacon from aloft, and cut a little portion from the chine; which had been cherished long. He softened it in boiling water. All the while they tried with cheerful conversation to beguile, so none might notice a brief loss of time. Swung on a peg they had a beechwood trough, which quickly with warm water filled, was used for comfortable washing. And they fixed, upon a willow couch, a cushion soft of springy sedge, on which they neatly spread a well worn cloth preserved so many years; 'Twas only used on rare and festive days; and even it was coarse and very old, though not unfit to match a willow couch!

[660] "Now as the Gods reclined, the good old dame, whose skirts were tucked up, moving carefully, for so she tottered with her many years, fetched a clean table for the ready meal—but one leg of the table was too short, and so she wedged it with a potsherd—so made firm, she cleanly scoured it with fresh mint. And here is set the double-tinted fruit of chaste Minerva, and the tasty dish of corner, autumn-picked and pickled; these were served for relish; and the endive-green, and radishes surrounding a large pot of curdled milk; and eggs not overdone but gently turned in glowing embers—all served up in earthen dishes. Then sweet wine served up in clay, so costly! all embossed, and cups of beechwood smoothed with yellow wax. So now they had short respite, till the fire might yield the heated course. Again they served new wine, but mellow; and a second course: sweet nuts, dried figs and wrinkled dates and plums, and apples fragrant, in wide baskets heaped; and, in a wreath of grapes from purple vines, concealed almost, a glistening honey-comb; and all these orchard dainties were enhanced by willing service and congenial smiles.

[678] " But while they served, the wine-bowl often drained, as often was replenished, though unfilled, and Baucis and Philemon, full of fear, as they observed the wine spontaneous well, increasing when it should diminish, raised their hands in supplication, and implored indulgence for their simple home and fare. And now, persuaded by this strange event such visitors were deities unknown, this aged couple, anxious to bestow their most esteemed possession, hastily began to chase the only goose they had—the faithful guardian of their little home—which they would kill and offer to the Gods. But swift of wing, at last it wearied them, and fled for refuge to the smiling Gods. At once the deities forbade their zeal, and said, `A righteous punishment shall fall severe upon this wicked neighborhood; but by the might of our divinity, no evil shall befall this humble home; but you must come, and follow as we climb the summit of this mountain!'

[693] "Both obeyed, and leaning on their staves toiled up the steep. Not farther from the summit than the flight of one swift arrow from a hunter's how, they paused to view their little home once more; and as they turned their eyes, they saw the fields around their own engulfed in a morass, although their own remained,—and while they wept bewailing the sad fate of many friends, and wondered at the change, they saw their home, so old and little for their simple need—put on new splendor, and as it increased it changed into a temple of the gods. Where first the frame was fashioned of rude stakes columns of marble glistened, and the thatch gleamed golden in the sun, and legends carved, adorned the doors. And all the ground shone white with marble rich, and after this was done, the Son of Saturn said with gentle voice, `Now tell us, good old man and you his wife, worthy and faithful, what is your desire?'

[705] "Philemon counselled with old Baucis first; and then discovered to the listening Gods their hearts' desire, `We pray you let us have the care of your new temple; and since we have passed so many years in harmony, let us depart this life together—Let the same hour take us both—I would not see the tomb of my dear wife; and let me not be destined to be buried by her hands!' At once their wishes were fulfilled. So long as life was granted they were known to be the temple's trusted keepers, and when age had enervated them with many years, as they were standing, by some chance, before the sacred steps, and were relating all these things as they had happened, Baucis saw Philemon, her old husband, and he, too, saw Baucis, as their bodies put forth leaves; and while the tops of trees grew over them, above their faces,—they spoke each to each; as long as they could speak they said, `Farewell, farewell, my own'—and while they said farewell; new leaves and branches covered both at once.

[719] "The people of Tyana (Thynia) still point out two trees which grew there from a double trunk, two forms made into one. Old truthful men, who have no reason to deceive me, told me truly all that I have told to you, and I have seen the votive wreaths hung from the branches of the hallowed double-tree. And one time, as I hung fresh garlands there, I said, `Those whom the Gods care for are Gods! And those who worshiped are now worshiped here.'”

PROTEUS [728] He ceased, and this miraculous event, and he who told it, had astonished them. But Theseus above all. The hero asked to hear of other wonders wrought by Gods. The Calydonian River-God replied, and leaning on one elbow, said to him: “There are, O valiant hero, other things whose forms once-changed as these, have so remained, but there are some who take on many shapes, as you have, Proteus, dweller of the deep—the deep whose arms embrace the earth. For some have seen you as a youth, then as a lion, a furious boar one time, a serpent next, so dreadful to the touch—and sometimes horns have made you seem a bull—or now a stone, or now a tree, or now a slipping stream, or even—the foe of water—next a fire.”

ERYSICHTHON AND MESTRA [738] "Now Erysichthon's daughter, Mestra, had that power of Proteus—she was called the wife of deft Autolycus.—Her father spurned the majesty of all the Gods, and gave no honor to their altars. It is said he violated with an impious axe the sacred grove of Ceres, and he cut her trees with iron. Long-standing in her grove there grew an ancient oak tree, spread so wide, alone it seemed a standing forest; and its trunk and branches held memorials, as, fillets, tablets, garlands, witnessing how many prayers the goddess Ceres granted. And underneath it laughing Dryads loved to whirl in festal dances, hand in hand, encircling its enormous trunk, that thrice five ells might measure; and to such a height it towered over all the trees around, as they were higher than the grass beneath.

[751] "But Erysichthon, heedless of all things, ordered his slaves to fell the sacred oak, and as they hesitated, in a rage the wretch snatched from the hand of one an axe, and said, `If this should be the only oak loved by the goddess of this very grove, or even were the goddess in this tree, I'll level to the ground its leafy head.' So boasted he, and while he swung on high his axe to strike a slanting blow, the oak beloved of Ceres, uttered a deep groan and shuddered. Instantly its dark green leaves turned pale, and all its acorns lost their green, and even its long branches drooped their arms. But when his impious hand had struck the trunk, and cut its bark, red blood poured from the wound,—as when a weighty sacrificial bull has fallen at the altar, streaming blood spouts from his stricken neck. All were amazed. And one of his attendants boldly tried to stay his cruel axe, and hindered him; but Erysichthon, fixing his stern eyes upon him, said, `Let this, then, be the price of all your pious worship!' So he turned the poised axe from the tree, and clove his head sheer from his body, and again began to chop the hard oak. From the heart of it these words were uttered; `Covered by the bark of this oak tree I long have dwelt a Nymph, beloved of Ceres, and before my death it has been granted me to prophesy, that I may die contented. Punishment for this vile deed stands waiting at your side.' No warning could avert his wicked arm. Much weakened by his countless blows, the tree, pulled down by straining ropes, gave way at last and leveled with its weight uncounted trees that grew around it.

[777] "Terrified and shocked, the sister-dryads, grieving for the grove and what they lost, put on their sable robes and hastened unto Ceres, whom they prayed, might rightly punish Erysichthon's crime;—the lovely goddess granted their request, and by the gracious movement of her head she shook the fruitful, cultivated fields, then heavy with the harvest; and she planned an unexampled punishment deserved, and not beyond his miserable crimes—the grisly bane of famine; but because it is not in the scope of Destiny, that two such deities should ever meet as Ceres and gaunt Famine,—calling forth from mountain-wilds a rustic Oread, the goddess Ceres, said to her, `There is an ice-bound wilderness of barren soil in utmost Scythia, desolate and bare of trees and corn, where Torpid-Frost, White-Death and Palsy and Gaunt-Famine, hold their haunts; go there now, and command that Famine flit from there; and let her gnawing-essence pierce the entrails of this sacrilegious wretch, and there be hidden—Let her vanquish me and overcome the utmost power of food. Heed not misgivings of the journey's length, for you will guide my dragon-bridled car through lofty ether.'

[799] "And she gave to her the reins; and so the swiftly carried Nymph arrived in Scythia. There, upon the told of steepy Caucasus, when she had slipped their tight yoke from the dragons' harnessed necks, she searched for Famine in that granite land, and there she found her clutching at scant herbs, with nails and teeth. Beneath her shaggy hair her hollow eyes glared in her ghastly face, her lips were filthy and her throat was rough and blotched, and all her entrails could be seen, enclosed in nothing but her shriveled skin; her crooked loins were dry uncovered bones, and where her belly should be was a void; her flabby breast was flat against her spine; her lean, emaciated body made her joints appear so large, her knobbled knees seemed large knots, and her swollen ankle-bones protruded.

[809] "When the Nymph, with keen sight, saw the Famine-monster, fearing to draw near she cried aloud the mandate she had brought from fruitful Ceres, and although the time had been but brief, and Famine far away, such hunger seized the Nymph, she had to turn her dragon-steeds, and flee through yielding air and the high clouds;—at Thessaly she stopped.

[814] "Grim Famine hastened to obey the will of Ceres, though their deeds are opposite, and rapidly through ether heights was borne to Erysichthon's home. When she arrived at midnight, slumber was upon the wretch, and as she folded him in her two wings, she breathed her pestilential poison through his mouth and throat and breast, and spread the curse of utmost hunger in his aching veins. When all was done as Ceres had decreed, she left the fertile world for bleak abodes, and her accustomed caves.

[823] "While this was done sweet Sleep with charming pinion soothed the mind of Erysichthon. In a dreamful feast he worked his jaws in vain, and ground his teeth, and swallowed air as his imagined food; till wearied with the effort he awoke to hunger scorching as a fire, which burned his entrails and compelled his raging jaws, so he, demanding all the foods of sea and earth and air, raged of his hunger, while the tables groaned with heaps before him spread; he, banqueting, sought banquets for more food, and as he gorged he always wanted more. The food of cities and a nation failed to satisfy the cravings of one man. The more his stomach gets, the more it needs—even as the ocean takes the streams of earth, although it swallows up great rivers drawn from lands remote, it never can be filled nor satisfied. And as devouring fire its fuel refuses never, but consumes unnumbered beams of wood, and burns for more the more 'tis fed, and from abundance gains increasing famine, so the raving jaws of wretched Erysichthon, ever craved all food in him, was only cause of food, and what he ate made only room for more.

[843] "And after Famine through his gluttony at last had wasted his ancestral wealth his raging hunger suffered no decline, and his insatiate gluttony increased. When all his wealth at last was eaten up, his daughter, worthy of a fate more kind, alone was left to him and her he sold. Descendant of a noble race, the girl refusing to be purchased as a slave, then hastened to the near shore of the sea, and as she stretched her arms above the waves, implored kind Neptune with her tears, `Oh, you who have deprived me of virginity, deliver me from such a master's power!' Although the master, seeking her, had seen her only at that moment, Neptune changed her quickly from a woman to a man, by giving her the features of a man and garments proper to a fisher-man: and there she stood. He even looked at her and cried out, `Hey, there! Expert of the rod! While you are casting forth the bit of brass, concealed so deftly in its tiny bait,—gods-willing! let the sea be smooth for you, and let the foolish fishes swimming up, never know danger till they snap the hook! Now tell me where is she, who only now, in tattered garment and wind-twisted hair, was standing on this shore—for I am sure I saw her standing on this shore, although no footstep shows her flight.” By this assured the favor of the god protected her; delighted to be questioned of herself, she said, “No matter who you are, excuse me. So busy have I been at catching fish, I have not had the time to move my eyes from this pool; and that you may be assured I only tell the truth, may Neptune, God of ocean witness it, I have not seen a man where I am standing on this shore—myself excepted—not a woman has stood here.” Her master could not doubt it, and deceived retraced his footsteps from the sandy shore. As soon as he had disappeared, her form unchanged, was given back to her. But when her father knew his daughter could transform her body and escape, he often sold her first to one and then another—all of whom she cheated—as a mare, bird, a cow, or as a stag she got away; and so brought food, dishonestly, to ease his greed. And so he lived until the growing strength of famine, gnawing at his vitals, had consumed all he could get by selling her: his anguish burned him with increasing heat. He gnawed his own flesh, and he tore his limbs and fed his body all he took from it.

[879] "Ah, why should I dwell on the wondrous deeds of others—Even I, O gathered youths, have such a power I can often change my body till my limit has been reached. A while appearing in my real form, another moment coiled up as a snake, then as a monarch of the herd my strength increases in my horns—my strength increased in my two horns when I had two—but now my forehead, as you see, has lost one horn." And having ended with such words,—he groaned.


HERCULES AND ACHELOUS [1] To him the hero, who proclaimed himself a favored son of Neptune, answered now; “Declare the reason of your heavy sighs, and how your horn was broken?” And at once the Calydonian River-God replied, binding with reeds his unadorned rough locks: “It is a mournful task you have required, for who can wish to tell his own disgrace? But truly I shall speak without disguise, for my defeat, if rightly understood, should be my glory.—Even to have fought in battle with a hero of such might, affords me consolation.

[9] “Deianira (you may have heard some tales of her) was once the envied hope of many. She was then a lovely virgin.—I, among the rest who loved this maiden, entered the fair home of her great father Oeneus, and I said; ` ‘Consider all my claims, Parthaon's son, for I am come to plead your daughter's cause and mine—So you may make me son-in-law.—' no sooner was it said, than Hercules in such words also claimed the virgin's hand: all others quickly yielded to our claims. He boasted his descent from Jupiter; the glory of his labors and great deeds performed at his unjust stepmother's wish. But as he was not then a God, it seemed disgraceful if my state should yield my right; so I contended with these haughty words, `Why should this alien of a foreign land, contending for your daughter, match himself to me! king of the waters in this realm! For as I wind around, across your lands, I must be of your people, and a part of your great state. Oh, let it not be said, because the jealous Juno had no thought to punish me by labors, my descent is not so regal! This tremendous boast, that you, Alcmena's son, are sprung from Jove, falls at the touch of truth;—or it reveals the shame of a weak mother, who so gained your doubtful glory of descent from Heaven! Prove your descent from Jupiter is false, or else confess you are the son of shame!'

[27] “But Hercules, unable to control the flame of his great wrath, scowled as I spoke. He briefly answered me, `My hand excels my tongue; let me now overcome in fight, and I may suffer your offence of words.' Full of unvented rage he rushed on me, but firm I stood, ashamed to yield a foot—I had so largely boasted, no retreat was left, and so I doffed my green robe—Striking guard, with clenched hands doubled at my breast, I stood my ground. He scooped up in his hand fine, yellow dust; and tossed it on the air so that the tawny powder sprinkled us; quick-shifting then he sought to strike my neck, or feint at my quick-moving legs, and turn swift moving to attack me at all points. But as a huge cliff in the sea remains unmoved, unshaken by the sounding waves, so my great size, against his vain attacks, defended me securely—Back we went; retiring for a space; then rushed again together, furious, and with foot to foot, determined not to yield, defiant stood, till, forward-bending from my waist and hips, I pressed my forehead against his and locked his fingers into mine: so, have I seen two strong bulls rush in combat for the good of some smooth heifer in the pasture—while the herd a-tremble and uncertain, wait; ready to give allegiance to the one most worthy of dominion. Thrice in vain Hercules strove to push my breast from his, but I pressed ever closer—till, the fourth attempt succeeding, he unloosed my grip, and breaking from my circling arms drew back, and struck me such a buffet with his hand, it twisted me about, and instantly he clung with all his weight upon my back—Believe me I have not suppressed the truth. Nor shall I try to gain applause not due: I seemed to bear a mountain on my back.—straining and dripping sweat, I broke his hold,—with great exertion I unlocked his grip. He pressed upon me, as I strained for breath, preventing a renewal of my strength, and seized upon my neck. Then at the last, my bent knee went down on the gritty earth, I bit the sand.

[62] "So, worsted in my strength, I sought diversion by an artifice, and changed me to a serpent.—I then slipped from his tight clutches my great length, and coiled my body now transformed to snaky folds—hissing I darted my divided tongue. But Hercules, Alcides, only laughed and in derision of my scheming, said, `It was the pastime of my cradle days to strangle better snakes than you—and though your great length may excel all of your kind, how small a part of that Lernaean snake would you—one serpent be? It grew from wounds I gave (at first it had one hundred heads) and every time I severed one head from its neck two grew there in the place of one, by which its strength increased. This creature then outbranching with strong serpents, sprung from death and thriving on destruction, I destroyed.—What do you think will then become of you, disguised so in deceitful serpent-form, wielding a borrowed weapon not your own.' And after he had ridiculed me thus, he gouged his fingers underneath my jaws, so that my throat was tortured, as if squeezed with forceps, while I struggled in his grip. Twice was I vanquished, there remained to me a third form so again I changed to seem a savage bull, and with my limbs renewed in that form fought once more. He threw his arms about the left side of my ponderous neck, and dragging on me followed as I ran. He seized on my hard horns, and, tugging turned and twisted me, until he fastened them firm in the surface of the earth; and pushed me, helpless, to the shifting sand beneath. Not yet content he laid his fierce right hand on my tough horn, and broke and tore it from my mutilated head.—This horn, now heaped with fruits delicious and sweet-smelling flowers, the Naiads have held sacred from that hour, devoted to the bounteous goddess Plenty."

[89] All this the River-god said; then a nymph, a lovely nymph like fair Diana dressed, whose locks were flowing down on either side, came graceful to the board, and brought to them of Autumn's plenty in an ample horn, and gave to them selected apples for a second course. And now, as early dawn appeared, and as the rising sunlight flashed on golden summits of surrounding hills, the young men waited not until the stream subsiding, had resumed its peaceful way, but all arose, reluctant, and went forth. Then Achelous, in his moving waves, hid his fine rustic features and his head, scarred by the wound which gave the Horn of Plenty.

NESSUS AND THE DEATH OF HERCULES [98] Loss of his horn had greatly humbled him, it was so cherished though his only loss,—but he could hide the sad disgrace with reeds and willow boughs entwined about his head. O, Nessus! your fierce passion for the same maid utterly destroyed even you, pierced through the body by a flying arrow-point.

[103] Returning to the city of his birth great Hercules, the son of Jupiter, with his new bride, arrived upon the bank of swift Evenus—after winter rains had swollen it so far beyond its wont, that, full of eddies, it was found to be impassable. The hero stood there, brave but anxious for his bride. Nessus, the centaur, strong-limbed and well-acquainted with those fords, came up to him and said, “Plunge in the flood and swim with unimpeded strength—for with my help she will land safely over there.” And so the hero, with no thought of doubt, trusted the damsel to the centaur's care, though she was pale and trembling with her fear of the swift river and the centaur's aid. This done, the hero, burdened as he was with quiver and the lion skin (for he had tossed his club and curving bow across the river to the other bank), declared, “Since I have undertaken it, at once this rushing water must be overcome.” And instantly, he plunged in without thought of where he might cross with most ease, for so he scorned to take advantage of smooth water.

[118] And after he had gained the other bank, while picking up his bow which there was thrown, he heard his wife's voice, anxious for his help. He called to Nessus who was in the act then to betray his trust: “Vain confidence! You are not swift enough, vile ravisher! You two-formed monster Nessus, I warn you! Hear me, and never dare to come between me and my love. If fear has no restraint, your father's dreadful fate on whirling wheel, should frighten you from this outrageous act: for you cannot escape, although you trust the fleet-foot effort of a rapid horse. I cannot overtake you with my feet but I can shoot and halt you with a wound.” His deed sustained the final warning word. He shot an arrow through the centaur's back, so that the keen barb was exposed beyond his bleeding breast. He tore it from both wounds, and life-blood spurted instantly, mixed with the deadly poison of Lernaean hydra. This Nessus caught, and muttering, “I shall not die unavenged”, he gave his tunic, soaked with blood to Deianira as a gift; and said, “Keep this to strengthen waning love.”

[134] Now many years passed by, and all the deeds, and labors of the mighty Hercules, gave to the wide world his unequalled fame; and finally appeased the hatred of his fierce stepmother. All victorious returning from Oechalia, he prepared to offer sacrifice, when at Cenaeum, upon an altar he had built to Jupiter, but tattling Rumor, swollen out of truth from small beginning to a wicked lie, declared brave Hercules, Amphitryon's son, was burning for the love of Iole. And Deianira—his fond wife—convinced herself, the wicked rumor must be true.

[141] Alarmed at the report of his new love, at first, poor wife, she was dissolved in tears, and then she sank in grievous misery. But soon in angry mood, she rose and said: “Why should I give up to my sorrow while I drown my wretched spirit in weak tears? Let me consider an effectual check—while it is possible—even before she comes, invader of my lawful bed: shall I be silent or complain of it? Must I go back to Calydon or stay? Shall I depart unbidden, from my house? Or, if no other method can prevail, shall I oppose my rival's first approach? O shade of Meleager, let me prove I am yet worthy to be called your sister; and in the desperate slaughter of this rival, the world, astonished, may be taught to fear the vengeance of an injured woman's rage.” So, torn by many moods, at last her mind fixed on one thought:—she might still keep his love, could certainly restore it, if she sent to him the tunic soaked in Nessus' blood. Unknowingly, she gave the fatal cause of her own woe to trusting Lichas, whom she urged in gentle words to take the gift, from her to her loved husband Hercules. He, unsuspecting, put the tunic on, all covered with Lernaean hydra's poison.

[159] The hero then was casting frankincense into the sacred flames, and pouring wine on marble altars, as his holy prayers were floating to the Gods. The hallowed heat striking upon his poisoned vesture, caused Echidna-bane to melt into his flesh. As long as he was able he withstood the torture. His great fortitude was strong. But when at last his anguish overcame even his endurance, he filled all the wild of Oeta with his cries: he overturned those hallowed altars, then in frenzied haste he strove to pull the tunic from his back. The poisoned garment, cleaving to him, ripped his skin, heat-shriveled, from his burning flesh. Or, tightening on him, as his great strength pulled, stripped with it the great muscles from his limbs, leaving his huge bones bare. Even his blood audibly hissed, as red-hot blades when they are plunged in water, so the burning bane boiled in his veins. Great perspiration streamed from his dissolving body, as the heat consumed his entrails; and his sinews cracked, brittle when burnt. The marrow in his bones dissolved, as it absorbed the venom-heat.

[172] There was no limit to his misery; raising both hands up towards the stars of heaven, he cried, “Come Juno, feast upon my death; feast on me, cruel one, look down from your exalted seat; behold my dreadful end and glut your savage heart! Oh, if I may deserve some pity from my enemy, from you I mean, this hateful life of mine take from me—sick with cruel suffering and only born for toil. The loss of life will be a boon to me, and surely is a fitting boon, such as stepmothers give! Was it for this I slew Busiris, who defiled his temples with the strangers' blood? For this I took his mother's strength from fierce antaeus—that I did not show a fear before the Spanish shepherd's triple form? Nor did I fear the monstrous triple form of Cerberus.—And is it possible my hands once seized and broke the strong bull's horns? And Elis knows their labor, and the waves of Stymphalus, and the Parthenian woods. For this the prowess of these hands secured the Amazonian girdle wrought of gold; and did my strong arms, gather all in vain the fruit when guarded by the dragon's eyes. The centaurs could not foil me, nor the boar that ravaged in Arcadian fruitful fields. Was it for this the hydra could not gain double the strength from strength as it was lost? And when I saw the steeds of Thrace, so fat with human blood, and their vile mangers heaped with mangled bodies, in a righteous rage I threw them to the ground, and slaughtered them, together with their master! In a cave I crushed the Nemean monster with these arms; and my strong neck upheld the wide-spread sky! And even the cruel Juno, wife of Jove—is weary of imposing heavy toils, but I am not subdued performing them. A new calamity now crushes me, which not my strength, nor valor, nor the use of weapons can resist. Devouring flames have preyed upon my limbs, and blasting heat now shrivels the burnt tissue of my frame. But still Eurystheus is alive and well! And there are those who yet believe in Gods!”

[204] Just as a wild bull, in whose body spears are rankling, while the frightened hunter flies away for safety, so the hero ranged over sky-piercing Oeta; his huge groans, his awful shrieks resounding in those cliffs. At times he struggles with the poisoned robe. Goaded to fury, he has razed great trees, and scattered the vast mountain rocks around! And stretched his arms towards his ancestral skies!

[211] So, in his frenzy, as he wandered there, he chanced upon the trembling Lichas, crouched in the close covert of a hollow rock. Then in a savage fury he cried out, “Was it you, Lichas, brought this fatal gift? Shall you be called the author of my death?” Lichas, in terror, groveled at his feet, and begged for mercy—“Only let me live!” But seizing on him, the crazed Hero whirled him thrice and once again about his head, and hurled him, shot as by a catapult, into the waves of the Euboic Sea. While he was hanging in the air, his form was hardened; as, we know, rain drops may first be frozen by the cold air, and then change to snow, and as it falls through whirling winds may press, so twisted, into round hailstones: even so has ancient lore declared that when strong arms hurled Lichas through the mountain air through fear, his blood was curdled in his veins. No moisture left in him, he was transformed into a flint-rock. Even to this day, a low crag rising from the waves is seen out of the deep Euboean Sea, and holds the certain outline of a human form, so sure]y traced, the wary sailors fear to tread upon it, thinking it has life, and they have called it Lichas ever since.

[229] But, O illustrious son of Jupiter! How many of the overspreading trees, thick-growing on the lofty mountain-peak of Oeta, did you level to the ground, and heap into a pyre! And then you bade obedient Philoctetes light a torch beneath it, and then take in recompense your bow with its capacious quiver full of arrows, arms that now again would see the realm of Troy. And as the pyre began to kindle with the greedy flames, you spread the Nemean lion skin upon the top, and, club for pillow, you lay down to sleep, as placid as if, with abounding cups of generous wine and crowned with garlands, you were safe, reclining on a banquet-couch.

[239] And now on every side the spreading flames were crackling fiercely, as they leaped from earth upon the careless limbs of Hercules. He scorned their power. The Gods felt fear for earth's defender and their sympathy gave pleasure to Saturnian Jove—he knew their thought—and joyfully he said to them: “Your sudden fear is surely my delight, O heavenly Gods! my heart is lifted up and joy prevails upon me, in the thought that I am called the Father and the King of all this grateful race of Gods. I know my own beloved offspring is secure in your declared protection: your concern may justly evidence his worth, whose deeds great benefits bestowed. Let not vain thoughts alarm you, nor the rising flames of Oeta; for Hercules who conquered everything, shall conquer equally the spreading fires which now you see: and all that part of him, celestial—inherited of me—immortal, cannot feel the power of death. It is not subject to the poison-heat. And therefore, since his earth-life is now lost, him I'll translate, unshackled from all dross, and purified, to our celestial shore. I trust this action seems agreeable to all the Deities surrounding me. If any jealous god of heaven should grieve at the divinity of Hercules, he may begrudge the prize but he will know at least 'twas given him deservedly, and with this thought he must approve the deed.” The Gods confirmed it: and though Juno seemed to be contented and to acquiesce, her deep vexation was not wholly hid, when Jupiter with his concluding words so plainly hinted at her jealous mind.

[262] Now, while the Gods conversed, the mortal part of Hercules was burnt by Mulciber; but yet an outline of a spirit-form remained. Unlike the well-known mortal shape derived by nature of his mother, he kept traces only of his father, Jove. And as a serpent, when it is revived from its old age, casts off the faded skin, and fresh with vigor glitters in new scales, so, when the hero had put off all dross, his own celestial, wonderful appeared, majestic and of godlike dignity. And him, the glorious father of the Gods in the great chariot drawn by four swift steeds, took up above the wide-encircling clouds, and set him there amid the glittering stars.

GALANTHIS [273] Even Atlas felt the weight of Heaven increase, but King Eurystheus, still implacable, vented his baffled hatred on the sons of the great hero. Then the Argive mother, Alcmena, spent and anxious with long cares, the burden of her old age and her fears, could pass the weary hours with Iole in garrulous narrations of his worth, his mighty labors and her own sad days. Iole, by command of Hercules, had been betrothed to Hyllus, and by him was gravid, burdened with a noble child. And so to Iole, Alcmena told this story of the birth of Hercules:—“Ah, may the Gods be merciful to you and give you swift deliverance in that hour when needful of all help you must call out for Ilithyia, the known goddess of all frightened mothers in their travail, she whom Juno's hatred overcame and made so dreadful against me. For, when my hour of bearing Hercules was very near, and when the tenth sign of the zodiac was traversed by the sun, my burden then became so heavy, and the one I bore so large, you certainly could tell that Jove must be the father of the unborn child. At last, no longer able to endure—ah me, a cold sweat seizes on me now; only to think of it renews my pains! Seven days in agony, as many nights, exhausted in my dreadful misery, I stretched my arms to heaven and invoked Lucina and three Nixian deities the guardians of birth. Lucina came; but before then she had been pledged to give my life to cruel Juno. While Lucina sat on the altar near the door and listened, with her right knee crossed over her left knee, with fingers interlocked, she stopped the birth: and in low muttered tones she chanted Charms which there prevented my deliverance. I fiercely struggled, and insane with pain shrieked vain revilings against Jupiter; I longed for death, and my delirious words then should have moved the most unfeeling rocks. The Theban matrons, eager to help me, stood near me while they asked the aid of Heaven.

[304] "And there was present of the common class, my maid Galanthis—with her red-gold hair—efficient and most willing to obey her worthy character deserved my love. She felt assured, Juno unjustly worked some spell of strong effect against my life. And when this maid beheld Lucina perched so strangely on the altar, with her fingers inwoven on her knees and tightly pressed together, in a gripping finger-comb, she guessed that jealous Juno was the cause. Quick-witted, in a ringing voice this maid cried out, `Congratulations! All is well! Alcmena is delivered—a fine child so safely brought forth—her true prayers approved!' Lucina, who presides at birth, surprised leaped up, unclenched her hands, as one amazed. Just as her hands unfastened, and her knees were parted from their stricture, I could feel the bonds of stricture loosen; and without more labor was delivered of my child. 'Tis said, Galanthis laughed and ridiculed the cheated deity; and as she laughed the vixen goddess caught her by the hair and dragging her upon the ground, while she was struggling to arise, held her, and there transformed both of her arms to animal forelegs. Her old activity remained; her hair was not changed, but she did not keep her maiden form: and ever since that day, because she aided with deceitful lips, her offspring are brought forth through the same mouth. Changed to a weasel she dwells now with me.”

DRYOPE [324] When she had ended the sad tale, she heaved a deep sigh, in remembrance of her tried, beloved servant; and her daughter-in-law Iole kindly answered in these words: “O my dear mother, if you weep because of her who was your servant, now transformed into a weasel, how can you support the true narration of my sister's fate; which I must tell to you, although my tears and sorrows hinder and forbid my speech? Most beautiful of all Oechalian maids, was Dryope, her mother's only child, for you must know I am the daughter of my father's second wife. She is not now a maid; because, through violence of him who rules at Delphi and at Delos, she was taken by Andraemon, who since then has been accounted happy in his wife. There is a lake surrounded by sweet lawns, encircling beauties, where the upper slope is crowned with myrtles in fair sunny groves. Without a thought of danger Dryope in worship one day went to gather flowers, (who hears, has greater cause to be indignant) delightful garlands, for the water-nymphs, and, in her bosom, carried her dear son, not yet a year old, whom she fed for love. Not far from that dream-lake, in moisture grew a lotus, beautiful in purple bloom, the blossoms promising its fruit was near. At play with her sweet infant, Dryope plucked them as toys for him. I, too, was there, eagerly, also, I put forth my hand, and was just ready to secure a spray, when I was startled by some drops of blood down-falling from the blossoms which were plucked; and even the trembling branches shook in dread. Who wills, the truth of this may learn from all quaint people of that land, who still relate the Story of Nymph Lotis. She, they say, while flying from the lust of Priapus, was transformed quickly from her human shape, into this tree, though she has kept her name.

[349] "But ignorant of all this, Dryope, alarmed, decided she must now return; so, having first adored the hallowed nymphs, upright she stood, and would have moved away, but both her feet were tangled in a root. There, as she struggled in its tightening hold, she could move nothing save her upper parts; and growing from that root, live bark began to gather slowly upward from the ground, spreading around her, till it touched her loins: in terror when she saw the clinging growth, she would have torn her hair out by the roots, but, when she clutched at it, her hands were filled with lotus leaves grown up from her changed head. Alas, her little son, Amphissos, felt his mother's bosom harden to his touch, and no life-stream refreshed his eager lips. And while I saw your cruel destiny, O my dear sister! and could give no help, I clung to your loved body and around the growing trunk and branches, hoping so to stop their evil growth; and I confess, endeavored there to hide beneath the bark.

[362] "And, oh! Andraemon and her father (husband), then appeared to me while they were sadly seeking for Dryope: so there I had to show the lotus as it covered her, and they gave kisses to the warm wood, and prostrate fell upon the ground, and clung to growing roots of their new darling tree, transformed from her.—Dear sister, there was nothing of yourself remaining but your face; and I could see your tears drop slowly on the trembling leaves which had so marvellously grown on you; and while your lips remained uncovered, all the air surrounding, echoed your complaint:—`If oaths of wretched women can have force, I swear I have not merited this fate! Though innocent, to suffer punishment! And if one word of my complaint is false, I pray I may soon wither, and my leaves fall from me as in blight, and let the axe devote me, wretched to the flames. But take this infant from my branches to a nurse; and let him often play beneath his tree,—his mother always. Let him drink his milk beneath my shade. When he has learned to talk let him salute me, and in sorrow say “In this tree-trunk my mother is concealed.' O, let him dread the fate that lurks in ponds, and let him often play beneath his tree,—and let him be persuaded every shrub contains the body of a goddess.—Ah! Farewell my husband,—sister,—and farewell my father! If my love remain in you remember to protect my life from harm, so that the pruning-knife may never clip my branches, and protect my foliage from the browsing sheep. I cannot stoop to you; Oh, if you love me, lift your lips to mine, and let me kiss you, if but once again, before this growing lotus covers me. Lift up my darling infant to my lips. How can I hope to say much more to you? The new bark now is creeping up my neck, and creeping downward from my covered brow! Ah, do not close my live eyes with your hands; there is no need of it, for growing bark will spread and darken them before I die!' Such were the last words her poor smothered lips could utter; for she was so quickly changed; and long thereafter the new branches kept the warmth of her lost body, so transformed.”

IOLAUS [394] And all the while that Iole told this, tearful in sorrow for her sister's fate, Alcmena weeping, tried to comfort her. But as they wept together, suddenly a wonderful event astonished them; for, standing in the doorway, they beheld the old man Iolaus, known to them, but now transformed from age to youth, he seemed almost a boy, with light down on his cheeks for Juno's daughter Hebe, had renewed his years to please her husband, Hercules. Just at the time when ready to make oath, she would not grant such gifts to other men—Themis had happily prevented her. “For even now,” she said, “a civil strife is almost ready to break forth in Thebes, and Capaneus shall be invincible to all save the strong hand of Jove himself; and there two hostile brothers shall engage in bloody conflict; and Amphiaraus shall see his own ghost, deep in yawning earth. His own son, dutiful to him, shall be both just and unjust in a single deed; for he, in vengeance for his father's death, shall slay his mother, and confounded lose both home and reason,—persecuted both by the grim Furies and the awful ghost of his own murdered mother; this until his wife, deluded, shall request of him the fatal golden necklace, and until the sword of Phegeus drains his kinsman's blood. And then at last his wife Callirhoe shall supplicate the mighty Jupiter to grant her infant sons the added years of youthful manhood. Then shall Jupiter let Hebe, guardian of ungathered days, grant from the future to Callirhoe's sons, the strength of manhood in their infancy. Do not let their victorious father's death be unavenged a long while. Jove prevailed upon, will claim beforehand all the gifts of Hebe, who is his known daughter-in-law, and his step-daughter, and with one act change Callirhoe's beardless boys to men of size.”

[418] When Themis, prophesying future days, had said these words, the Gods of Heaven complained because they also could not grant the gift of youth to many others in this way. Aurora wept because her husband had white hair; and Ceres then bewailed the age of her Iasion, grey and stricken old; and Mulciber demanded with new life his Erichthonius might again appear; and Venus, thinking upon future days, said old Anchises' years must be restored. And every god preferred some favorite, until vexed with the clamor, Jupiter implored, “If you can have regard for me, consider the strange blessings you desire: does any one of you believe he can prevail against the settled will of Fate? As Iolaus has returned by fate, to those years spent by him; so by the Fates Callirhoe's sons from infancy must grow to manhood with no struggle on their part, or force of their ambition. And you should endure your fortune with contented minds: I, also, must give all control to Fate. If I had power to change the course of Fate I would not let advancing age break down my own son Aeacus, nor bend his back with weight of year; and Rhadamanthus should retain an everlasting flower of youth, together with my own son Minos, who is now despised because of his great age, so that his scepter has lost dignity.”

[439] Such words of Jupiter controlled the Gods, and none continued to complain, when they saw Aeacus and Rhadamanthus old, and Minos also, weary of his age. And they remembered Minos in his prime, had warred against great nations, till his name if mentioned was a certain cause of fear. But now, enfeebled by great age, he feared Miletus, Deione's son, because of his exultant youth and strength derived from his great father Phoebus. And although he well perceived Miletus' eye was fixed upon his throne, he did not dare to drive him from his kingdom. But although not forced, Miletus of his own accord did fly, by swift ship, over to the Asian shore, across the Aegean water, where he built the city of his name.

BYBLIS AND CAUNUS [450] Cyane, who was known to be the daughter of the stream Maeander, which with many a twist and turn flows wandering there—Cyane said to be indeed most beautiful, when known by him, gave birth to two; a girl called Byblis, who was lovely, and the brother Caunus—twins. Byblis is an example that the love of every maiden must be within law. Seized with a passion for her brother, she loved him, descendant of Apollo, not as sister loves a brother; not in such a manner as the law of man permits. At first she thought it surely was not wrong to kiss him passionately, while her arms were thrown around her brother's neck, and so deceived herself. And, as the habit grew, her sister-love degenerated, till richly attired, she came to see her brother, with all endeavors to attract his eye; and anxious to be seen most beautiful, she envied every woman who appeared of rival beauty. But she did not know or understand the flame, hot in her heart, though she was agitated when she saw the object of her swiftly growing love. Now she began to call him lord, and now she hated to say brother, and she said, “Do call me Byblis--never call me sister!”

[468] And yet while feeling love so, when awake she does not dwell upon impure desire; but when dissolved in the soft arms of sleep, she sees the very object of her love, and blushing, dreams she is embraced by him, till slumber has departed. For a time she lies there silent, as her mind recalls the loved appearance of her lovely dream, until her wavering heart, in grief exclaims:—“What is this vision of the silent night? Ah wretched me! I cannot count it true. And, if he were not my own brother, he why is my fond heart tortured with this dream? He is so handsome even to envious eyes, it is not strange he has filled my fond heart; so surely would be worthy of my love. But it is my misfortune I am his own sister. Let me therefore strive, awake, to stand with honor, but let sleep return the same dream often to me.—There can be no fear of any witness to a shade which phantoms my delight.—O Cupid, swift of love-wing with your mother, and O my beloved Venus! wonderful the joys of my experience in the transport. All as if reality sustaining, lifted me up to elysian pleasure, while in truth I lay dissolving to my very marrow: the pleasure was so brief, and Night, headlong sped from me, envious of my coming joys.

[487] "If I could change my name, and join to you, how good a daughter I would prove to your dear father, and how good a son would you be to my father. If the Gods agreed, then everything would be possessed by us in common, but this must exclude ancestors. For I should pray, compared with mine yours might be quite superior. But, oh my love, some other woman by your love will be a mother; but because, unfortunate, my parents are the same as yours, you must be nothing but a brother. Sorrows, then, shall be to us in common from this hour. What have my night-born vision signified? What weight have dreams? Do dreams have any weight? The Gods forbid! The Gods have sisters! Truth declares even Saturn married Ops, his own blood-kin, Oceanus his Tethys, Jove, Olympian his Juno. But the Gods are so superior in their laws, I should not measure human custom by the rights established in the actions of divinities. This passion must be banished from my heart, or, if it cannot be so, I must pray that I may perish, and be laid out dead upon my couch so my dear brother there may kiss my lips. But then he must consent, and my delight would seem to him a crime.

[507] "'Tis known the sons of Aeolus embraced their sisters—But why should I think of these? Why should I take example from such lives? Must I do as they did? Far from it! let such lawless flames be quenched, until I feel no evil love for him, although the pure affection of a sister may be mine, and cherished. If it should have happened first that my dear brother had loved me—ah then, I might have yielded love to his desire. Why not now? I myself must woo him, since I could not have rejected him, if he had first wooed me. But is it possible for me to speak of it, with proper words describing such a strange confession? Love will certainly compel and give me speech. But, if shame seal my lips, then secret flame in a sealed letter may be safely told.”

[517] And after all this wavering, her mind at last was satisfied; and as she leaned on her left elbow, partly raised from her half-dream position, she said, “Let him see: let me at once confess my frantic passion without repression! O my wretched heart! What hot flame burns me!” But while speaking so, she took an iron pen in her right hand, and trembling wrote the heart-words as she could, all on a clean wax tablet which she held in her limp left hand. She begins and stops, and hesitates—she loves and hates her hot confession—writes, erases, changes here and there, condemns, approves, disheartened throws her tablets down and takes them up again: her mind refuses everything she does, and moves against each action as begun: shame, fear and bold assurance mingled showed upon her face, as she began to write, “Your sister” but at once decided she could not say sister, and commenced instead, with other words on her amended wax. “A health to you, which she who loves you fails to have, unless you grant the same to her. It shames me, oh I am ashamed to tell my name to you, and so without my name, I would I might plead well until the hopes of my desires were realized, and then you might know safely, Byblis is my name.

[535] "You might have knowledge of my wounded heart, because my pale, drawn face and down-cast eyes so often tearful, and my sighs without apparent cause have shown it—and my warm embraces, and my frequent kisses, much too tender for a sister. All of this has happened, while with agitated heart and in hot passion, I have tried all ways, (I call upon the Gods to witness it!) that I might force myself to sanity. And I have struggled, wretched nights and days, to overcome the cruelties of love, too dreadful for a frail girl to endure, for they most surely are all Cupid's art. I have been overborne and must confess my passion, while with timid prayers I plead; for only you can save me. You alone may now destroy the one who loves you best: so you must choose what will be the result. The one who prays is not your enemy; but one most closely joined to you, yet asks to knit the tie more firmly. Let old men be governed by propriety, and talk of what is right and wrong, and hold to all the nice distinctions of strict laws. But Love, has no fixed law for those whose age is ours, is heedless and compliant. And we have not yet discovered what is right or wrong, and all we should do is to imitate the known example of the Gods. We have no father's harsh rule, and we have no care for reputation, and no fear that keeps us from each other. But there may be cause for fear, and we may hide our stolen love, because a sister is at liberty to talk with her dear brother—quite apart: we may embrace and kiss each other, though in public. What is wanting? Pity her whose utmost love compels her to confess; and let it not be written on her tomb, her death was for your sake and love denied.”

[564] Here when she dropped the tablet from her hand, it was so full of fond words, which were doomed to disappointment, that the last line traced the edge: and without thinking of delay, she stamped the shameful letter with her seal, and moistened it with tears (her tongue failed her for moisture). Then, hot-blushing, she called one of her attendants, and with timid voice said, coaxing, “My most trusted servant, take these tablets to my—” after long delay she said, “my brother.” While she gave the tablets they suddenly slipped from her hands and fell. Although disturbed by this bad omen, she still sent the letter, which the servant found an opportunity to carry off. He gave the secret love-confession. This her brother, grandson of Maeander, read but partly, and with sudden passion threw the tablets from him. He could barely hold himself from clutching on the throat of her fear-trembling servant; as, enraged, he cried, “Accursed pander to forbidden lust, be gone!—before the knowledge of your death is added to this unforeseen disgrace!”

[580] The servant fled in terror, and told all her brother's actions and his fierce reply to Byblis: and when she had heard her love had been repulsed, her startled face went pale, and her whole body trembled in the grip of ice-chills. Quickly as her mind regained its usual strength, her maddening love returned, came back with equal force, and while she choked with her emotion, gasping she said this: “I suffer only from my folly! why did I so rashly tell him of my wounded heart? And why did I so hastily commit to tablets all I should have kept concealed? I should have edged my way by feeling first, obscurely hinting till I knew his mind and disposition towards me. And so that my first voyage might get favorable wind, I should have tested with a close-reefed sail, and, knowing what the wind was, safely fared. But now with sails full spread I have been tossed by unexpected winds. And so my ship is on the rocks; and, overwhelmed with all the power of Ocean, I have not the strength to turn back and recover what is lost.

[595] “Surely clear omens warned me not to tell my love so soon, because the tablets fell just when I would have put them in the hand of my picked servant—certainly a sign my hasty hopes were destined to fall down. Is it not clear I should have changed the day; and even my intention? Rather say should not the day have been postponed at once? The god himself gave me unerring signs, if I had not been so deranged with love. I should have spoken to him, face to face; and with my own lips have confessed it all; and then my passion had been seen by him, and, as my face was bathed in tears, I could have told him so much more than words engraved on tablets; and, while I was telling him I could have thrown my arms around his neck, and if rejected could have seemed almost at point of death; as I embraced his feet, while prostrate, even might have begged for life. I could have tried so many plans, and they together would have won his stubborn heart. Perhaps my stupid servant, in mistake, did not approach him at a proper time, and even sought an hour his mind was full of other things.

[613] "All this has harmed my case; there is no other reason; he was not born of a tigress, and his heart is not of flint or solid iron, or of adamant; and no she-lion suckled him. He shall be won to my affection; and I must attempt again, again, nor ever cease so long as I have breath. If it were not too late already to undo what has been done, 'twere wiser not begun at all. But since I have begun, it now is best to end it with success. How can he help remembering what I dared, although I should abandon my design! In such a case, because I gave up, I must be to him weak, fickle-minded; or perhaps he may believe I tried to tempt him with a snare. But come what may, he will not think of me as overcome by some god who inflames and rules the heart. He surely will believe I was so actuated by my lust. If I do nothing more, my innocence is gone forever. I have written him and wooed him also, in a way so rash and unmistakable, that if I should do nothing more than this, I should be held completely guilty in my brother's sight—but I have hope, and nothing worse to fear.” Then back and forth she argues; and so great is her uncertainty, she blames herself for what she did, and is determined just as surely to succeed. She tries all arts, but is repeatedly repulsed by him, until unable to control her ways, her brother in despair, fled from the shame of her designs: and in another land he founded a new city.

[635] Then, they say, the wretched daughter of Miletus lost control of reason. She wrenched from her breast her garments, and quite frantic, beat her arms, and publicly proclaims unhallowed love. Grown desperate, she left her hated home, her native land, and followed the loved steps of her departed brother. Just as those crazed by your thyrsus, son of Semele! The Bacchanals of Ismarus, aroused, howl at your orgies, so her shrieks were heard by the shocked women of Bubassus, where the frenzied Byblis howled across the fields, and so through Caria and through Lycia, over the mountain Cragus and beyond the town, Lymira, and the flowing stream called Xanthus, and the ridge where dwelt Chimaera, serpent-tailed and monstrous beast, fire breathing from its lion head and neck. She hurried through the forest of that ridge—and there at last worn out with your pursuit, O Byblis, you fell prostrate, with your hair spread over the hard ground, and your wan face buried in fallen leaves. Although the young, still tender-hearted nymphs of Leleges, advised her fondly how to cure her love, and offered comfort to her heedless heart, and even lifted her in their soft arms; without an answer Byblis fell from them, and clutched the green herbs with her fingers, while her tears continued to fall on the grass. They say the weeping Naiads gave to her a vein of tears which always flows there from her sorrows—nothing better could be done. Immediately, as drops of pitch drip forth from the gashed pine, or sticky bitumen distils out from the rich and heavy earth, or as the frozen water at the approach of a soft-breathing wind melts in the sun; so Byblis, sad descendant of the Sun, dissolving in her own tears, was there changed into a fountain; which to this late day, in all those valleys has no name but hers, and issues underneath a dark oak-tree.

IPHIS AND IANTHE [666] The tale of this unholy passion would perhaps, have filled Crete's hundred cities then, if Crete had not a wonder of its own to talk of, in the change of Iphis. Once, there lived at Phaestus, not far from the town of Gnossus, a man Ligdus, not well known; in fact obscure, of humble parentage, whose income was no greater than his birth; but he was held trustworthy and his life had been quite blameless. When the time drew near his wife should give birth to a child, he warned her and instructed her, with words we quote:—“There are two things which I would ask of Heaven: that you may be delivered with small pain, and that your child may surely be a boy. Girls are such trouble, fair strength is denied to them.—Therefore (may Heaven refuse the thought) if chance should cause your child to be a girl, (gods pardon me for having said the word!) we must agree to have her put to death.” And all the time he spoke such dreaded words, their faces were completely bathed in tears; not only hers but also his while he forced on her that unnatural command. Ah, Telethusa ceaselessly implored her husband to give way to fortune's cast; but Ligdus held his resolution fixed.

[684] And now the expected time of birth was near, when in the middle of the night she seemed to see the goddess Isis, standing by her bed, in company of serious spirit forms; Isis had crescent horns upon her forehead, and a bright garland made of golden grain encircled her fair brow. It was a crown of regal beauty: and beside her stood the dog Anubis, and Bubastis, there the sacred, dappled Apis, and the God of silence with pressed finger on his lips; the sacred rattles were there, and Osiris, known the constant object of his worshippers' desire, and there the Egyptian serpent whose quick sting gives long-enduring sleep. She seemed to see them all, and even to hear the goddess say to her, “O Telethusa, one of my remembered worshippers, forget your grief; your husband's orders need not be obeyed; and when Lucina has delivered you, save and bring up your child, if either boy or girl. I am the goddess who brings help to all who call upon me; and you shall never complain of me—that you adored a thankless deity.” So she advised by vision the sad mother, and left her. The Cretan woman joyfully arose from her sad bed, and supplicating, raised ecstatic hands up towards the listening stars, and prayed to them her vision might come true.

[704] Soon, when her pains gave birth, the mother knew her infant was a girl (the father had no knowledge of it, as he was not there). Intending to deceive, the mother said, “Feed the dear boy.” All things had favored her deceit—no one except the trusted nurse, knew of it. And the father paid his vows, and named the child after its grandfather, whose name was honored Iphis. Hearing it so called, the mother could not but rejoice, because her child was given a name of common gender, and she could use it with no more deceit. She took good care to dress it as a boy, and either as a boy or girl, its face must always be accounted lovable.

[714] And so she grew,—ten years and three had gone, and then your father found a bride for you O Iphis—promised you should take to wife the golden-haired Ianthe, praised by all the women of Phaestus for the dower of her unequalled beauty, and well known, the daughter of a Cretan named Telestes. Of equal age and equal loveliness, they had received from the same teachers, all instruction in their childish rudiments. So unsuspected love had filled their hearts with equal longing—but how different! Ianthe waits in confidence and hope the ceremonial as agreed upon, and is quite certain she will wed a man. But Iphis is in love without one hope of passion's ecstasy, the thought of which only increased her flame; and she a girl is burnt with passion for another girl!

[725] She hardly can hold back her tears, and says: "O what will be the awful dreaded end, with such a monstrous love compelling me? If the Gods should wish to save me, certainly they should have saved me; but, if their desire was for my ruin, still they should have given some natural suffering of humanity. The passion for a cow does not inflame a cow, no mare has ever sought another mare. The ram inflames the ewe, and every doe follows a chosen stag; so also birds are mated, and in all the animal world no female ever feels love passion for another female—why is it in me? Monstrosities are natural to Crete, the daughter of the Sun there loved a bull—it was a female's mad love for the male—but my desire is far more mad than hers, in strict regard of truth, for she had hope of love's fulfillment. She secured the bull by changing herself to a heifer's form; and in that subtlety it was the male deceived at last. Though all the subtleties of all the world should be collected here;—if Daedalus himself should fly back here upon his waxen wings, what could he do? What skillful art of his could change my sex, a girl into a boy—or could he change Ianthe?

[745] "What a useless thought! Be bold take courage Iphis, and be strong of soul. This hopeless passion stultifies your heart; so shake it off, and hold your memory down to the clear fact of your birth: unless your will provides deception for yourself: do only what is lawful, and confine strictly, your love within a woman's right. Hope of fulfillment can beget true love, and hope keeps it alive. You are deprived of this hope by the nature of your birth. No guardian keeps you from her dear embrace, no watchful jealous husband, and she has no cruel father: she does not deny herself to you. With all that liberty, you can not have her for your happy wife, though Gods and men should labor for your wish. None of my prayers has ever been denied; the willing Deities have granted me whatever should be, and my father helps me to accomplish everything I plan: she and her father also, always help. But Nature is more powerful than all, and only Nature works for my distress. The wedding-day already is at hand; the longed-for time is come; Ianthe soon will be mine only—and yet, not my own: with water all around me I shall thirst! O why must Juno, goddess of sweet brides, and why should Hymen also, favor us when man with woman cannot join in wedlock, but both are brides?”

[764] And so she closed her lips. The other maiden flamed with equal love, and often prayed for Hymen to appear. But Telethusa, fearing that event, the marriage which Ianthe keenly sought, procrastinated, causing first delay by some pretended illness; and then gave pretence of omens and of visions seen, sufficient for delay, until she had exhausted every avenue of excuse, and only one more day remained before the fateful time, it was so near at hand. Despairing then of finding other cause which might prevent the fated wedding-day, the mother took the circled fillets from her own head, and her daughter's head, and prayed, as she embraced the altar—her long hair spread out upon the flowing breeze—and said: “O Isis, goddess of Paraetonium, the Mareotic fields, Pharos, and Nile of seven horns divided—oh give help! Goddess of nations! heal us of our fears! I saw you, goddess, and your symbols once, and I adored them all, the clashing sounds of sistra and the torches of your train, and I took careful note of your commands, for which my daughter lives to see the sun, and also I have so escaped from harm;—all this is of your counsel and your gift; oh, pity both of us -- and give us aid!”

[781] Tears emphasized her prayer; the goddess seemed to move--in truth it was the altar moved; the firm doors of the temple even shook—and her horns, crescent, flashed with gleams of light, and her loud sistrum rattled noisily. Although not quite free of all fear, yet pleased by that good omen, gladly the mother left the temple with her daughter Iphis, who beside her walked, but with a lengthened stride. Her face seemed of a darker hue, her strength seemed greater, and her features were more stern. Her hair once long, was unadorned and short. There is more vigor in her than she showed in her girl ways. For in the name of truth, Iphis, who was a girl, is now a man! Make offerings at the temple and rejoice without a fear!—They offer at the shrines, and add a votive tablet, on which this inscription is engraved: these gifts are paid by Iphis as a man which as a maid he vowed to give. The morrow's dawn revealed the wide world; on the day agreed, Venus, Juno and Hymen, all have met our happy lovers at the marriage fires; and Iphis, a new man, gained his Ianthe.


ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE [1] Veiled in a saffron mantle, through the air unmeasured, after the strange wedding, Hymen departed swiftly for Ciconian land; regardless and not listening to the voice of tuneful Orpheus. Truly Hymen there was present during the festivities of Orpheus and Eurydice, but gave no happy omen, neither hallowed words nor joyful glances; and the torch he held would only sputter, fill the eyes with smoke, and cause no blaze while waving. The result of that sad wedding, proved more terrible than such foreboding fates. While through the grass delighted Naiads wandered with the bride, a serpent struck its venomed tooth in her soft ankle—and she died.—

[11] After the bard of Rhodope had mourned, and filled the highs of heaven with the moans of his lament, determined also the dark underworld should recognize the misery of death, he dared descend by the Taenarian gate down to the gloomy Styx. And there passed through pale-glimmering phantoms, and the ghosts escaped from sepulchres, until he found Persephone and Pluto, master-king of shadow realms below: and then began to strike his tuneful lyre, to which he sang:—"O deities of this dark world beneath the earth! this shadowy underworld, to which all mortals must descend! If it can be called lawful, and if you will suffer speech of strict truth (all the winding ways of Falsity forbidden) I come not down here because of curiosity to see the glooms of Tartarus and have no thought to bind or strangle the three necks of the Medusan Monster, vile with snakes. But I have come, because my darling wife stepped on a viper that sent through her veins death-poison, cutting off her coming years. If able, I would bear it, I do not deny my effort—but the god of Love has conquered me—a god so kindly known in all the upper world. We are not sure he can be known so well in this deep world, but have good reason to conjecture he is not unknown here, and if old report almost forgotten, that you stole your wife is not a fiction, Love united you the same as others. By this Place of Fear this huge void and these vast and silent realms, renew the life-thread of Eurydice. All things are due to you, and though on earth it happens we may tarry a short while, slowly or swiftly we must go to one abode; and it will be our final home. Long and tenaciously you will possess unquestioned mastery of the human race. She also shall be yours to rule, when full of age she shall have lived the days of her allotted years. So I ask of you possession of her few days as a boon. But if the fates deny to me this prayer for my true wife, my constant mind must hold me always so that I can not return -- and you may triumph in the death of two!”

[40] While he sang all his heart said to the sound of his sweet lyre, the bloodless ghosts themselves were weeping, and the anxious Tantalus stopped clutching at return-flow of the wave, Ixion's twisting wheel stood wonder-bound; and Tityus' liver for a while escaped the vultures, and the listening Belides forgot their sieve-like bowls and even you, O Sisyphus! sat idly on your rock! Then Fame declared that conquered by the song of Orpheus, for the first and only time the hard cheeks of the fierce Eumenides were wet with tears: nor could the royal queen, nor he who rules the lower world deny the prayer of Orpheus; so they called to them Eurydice, who still was held among the new-arriving shades, and she obeyed the call by walking to them with slow steps, yet halting from her wound. So Orpheus then received his wife; and Pluto told him he might now ascend from these Avernian vales up to the light, with his Eurydice; but, if he turned his eyes to look at her, the gift of her delivery would be lost. They picked their way in silence up a steep and gloomy path of darkness. There remained but little more to climb till they would touch earth's surface, when in fear he might again lose her, and anxious for another look at her, he turned his eyes so he could gaze upon her. Instantly she slipped away. He stretched out to her his despairing arms, eager to rescue her, or feel her form, but could hold nothing save the yielding air. Dying the second time, she could not say a word of censure of her husband's fault; what had she to complain of—his great love? Her last word spoken was, “Farewell!” which he could barely hear, and with no further sound she fell from him again to Hades.—

[64] Struck quite senseless by this double death of his dear wife, he was as fixed from motion as the frightened one who saw the triple necks of Cerberus, that dog whose middle neck was chained. The sight filled him with terror he had no escape from, until petrified to stone; or like Olenos, changed to stone, because he fastened on himself the guilt of his wife. O unfortunate Lethaea! Too boastful of your beauty, you and he, united once in love, are now two stones upon the mountain Ida, moist with springs. Orpheus implored in vain the ferryman to help him cross the River Styx again, but was denied the very hope of death. Seven days he sat upon Death's river bank, in squalid misery and without all food—nourished by grief, anxiety, and tears—complaining that the Gods of Erebus were pitiless, at last he wandered back, until he came to lofty Rhodope and Haemus, beaten by the strong north wind.

[78] Three times the Sun completed his full course to watery Pisces, and in all that time, shunning all women, Orpheus still believed his love-pledge was forever. So he kept away from women, though so many grieved, because he took no notice of their love. The only friendship he enjoyed was given to the young men of Thrace.

ATTIS [86] There was a hill which rose up to a level plateau, high and beautiful with green grass; and there was not any shade for comfort on the top and there on that luxuriant grass the bard, while heaven-inspired reclined, and struck such harmonies on his sweet lyre that shade most grateful to the hill was spread around. Strong trees came up there—the Chaonian oak the Heliads' poplar, and the lofty-branched deep mast-tree, the soft linden and the beech, the brittle hazel, and the virgin laurel-tree, the ash for strong spears, the smooth silver-fir, the flex bent with acorns and the plane, the various tinted maple and with those, the lotus and green willows from their streams, evergreen box and slender tamarisks, rich myrtles of two colors and the tine, bending with green-blue berries: and you, too, the pliant-footed ivy, came along with tendril-branching grape-vines, and the elm all covered with twist-vines, the mountain-ash, pitch-trees and arbute-trees of blushing fruit, the bending-palm prized after victories, the bare-trunk pine of tufted foliage, bristled upon the top, a pleasant sight delightful to the Mother of the Gods; since Attis dear to Cybele, exchanged his human form which hardened in that tree.

CYPARISSUS [106] In all the throng the cone-shaped cypress came; a tree now, it was changed from a dear youth loved by the god who strings the lyre and bow. For there was at one time, a mighty stag held sacred by those nymphs who haunt the fields Carthaean. His great antlers spread so wide, they gave an ample shade to his own head. Those antlers shone with gold: from his smooth throat a necklace, studded with a wealth of gems, hung down to his strong shoulders—beautiful. A silver boss, fastened with little thongs, played on his forehead, worn there from his birth; and pendants from both ears, of gleaming pearls, adorned his hollow temples. Free of fear, and now no longer shy, frequenting homes of men he knew, he offered his soft neck even to strangers for their petting hands. But more than by all others, he was loved by you, O Cyparissus, fairest youth of all the lads of Cea. It was you who led the pet stag to fresh pasturage, and to the waters of the clearest spring. Sometimes you wove bright garlands for his horns, and sometimes, like a horseman on his back, now here now there, you guided his soft mouth with purple reins.

[126] It was upon a summer day, at high noon when the Crab, of spreading claws, loving the sea-shore, almost burnt beneath the sun's hot burning rays; and the pet stag was then reclining on the grassy earth and, wearied of all action, found relief under the cool shade of the forest trees; that as he lay there Cyparissus pierced him with a javelin: and although it was quite accidental, when the shocked youth saw his loved stag dying from the cruel wound he could not bear it, and resolved on death. What did not Phoebus say to comfort him? He cautioned him to hold his grief in check, consistent with the cause. But still the lad lamented, and with groans implored the Gods that he might mourn forever. His life force exhausted by long weeping, now his limbs began to take a green tint, and his hair, which overhung his snow-white brow, turned up into a bristling crest; and he became a stiff tree with a slender top and pointed up to the starry heavens. And the God, groaning with sorrow, said; “You shall be mourned sincerely by me, surely as you mourn for others, and forever you shall stand in grief, where others grieve.”

[143] Such was the grove by Orpheus drawn together; and he sat surrounded by assembled animals, and many strange Birds. When he tried the chords by touching with his thumb, and was convinced the notes were all in harmony, although attuned to various melody, he raised his voice and sang: “Oh my loved mother, Muse, from Jove inspire my song—for all things yield, to the unequalled sway of Jove—oh, I have sung so often Jupiter's great power before this day, and in a wilder strain, I've sung the giants and victorious bolts hurled on Phlegraean plains. But now I need the gentler touch; for I would sing of boys, the favorites of Gods, and even of maids who had to pay the penalty of wrong.”

GANYMEDE [155] The king of all the Gods once burned with love for Ganymede of Phrygia. He found a shape more pleasing even than his own. Jove would not take the form of any bird, except the eagle's, able to sustain the weight of his own thunderbolts. Without delay, Jove on fictitious eagle wings, stole and flew off with that loved Trojan boy: who even to this day, against the will of Juno, mingles nectar in the cups of his protector, mighty Jupiter.

HYACINTHUS [162] You also, Hyacinthus, would have been set in the sky! if Phoebus had been given time which the cruel fates denied for you. But in a way you are immortal too. Though you have died. Always when warm spring drives winter out, and Aries (the Ram) succeeds to Pisces (watery Fish), you rise and blossom on the green turf. And the love my father had for you was deeper than he felt for others. Delphi center of the world, had no presiding guardian, while the God frequented the Eurotas and the land of Sparta, never fortified with walls. His zither and his bow no longer fill his eager mind and now without a thought of dignity, he carried nets and held the dogs in leash, and did not hesitate to go with Hyacinthus on the rough, steep mountain ridges; and by all of such associations, his love was increased. Now Titan was about midway, betwixt the coming and the banished night, and stood at equal distance from those two extremes. Then, when the youth and Phoebus were well stripped, and gleaming with rich olive oil, they tried a friendly contest with the discus. First Phoebus, well-poised, sent it awhirl through air, and cleft the clouds beyond with its broad weight; from which at length it fell down to the earth, a certain evidence of strength and skill. Heedless of danger Hyacinthus rushed for eager glory of the game, resolved to get the discus. But it bounded back from off the hard earth, and struck full against your face, O Hyacinthus! Deadly pale the God's face went—as pallid as the boy's. With care he lifted the sad huddled form.

[185] The kind god tries to warm you back to life, and next endeavors to attend your wound, and stay your parting soul with healing herbs. His skill is no advantage, for the wound is past all art of cure. As if someone, when in a garden, breaks off violets, poppies, or lilies hung from golden stems, then drooping they must hang their withered heads, and gaze down towards the earth beneath them; so, the dying boy's face droops, and his bent neck, a burden to itself, falls back upon his shoulder: “You are fallen in your prime defrauded of your youth, O Hyacinthus!” Moaned Apollo. “I can see in your sad wound my own guilt, and you are my cause of grief and self-reproach. My own hand gave you death unmerited—I only can be charged with your destruction.—What have I done wrong? Can it be called a fault to play with you? Should loving you be called a fault? And oh, that I might now give up my life for you! Or die with you! But since our destinies prevent us you shall always be with me, and you shall dwell upon my care-filled lips. The lyre struck by my hand, and my true songs will always celebrate you. A new flower you shall arise, with markings on your petals, close imitation of my constant moans: and there shall come another to be linked with this new flower, a valiant hero shall be known by the same marks upon its petals.”

[209] And while Phoebus, Apollo, sang these words with his truth-telling lips, behold the blood of Hyacinthus, which had poured out on the ground beside him and there stained the grass, was changed from blood; and in its place a flower, more beautiful than Tyrian dye, sprang up. It almost seemed a lily, were it not that one was purple and the other white. But Phoebus was not satisfied with this. For it was he who worked the miracle of his sad words inscribed on flower leaves. These letters AI, AI, are inscribed on them. And Sparta certainly is proud to honor Hyacinthus as her son; and his loved fame endures; and every year they celebrate his solemn festival.

THE CERASTAE AND PROPOETIDES [220] If you should ask Amathus, which is rich in metals, how can she rejoice and take a pride in deeds of her Propoetides; she would disclaim it and repudiate them all, as well as those of transformed men, whose foreheads were deformed by two rough horns, from which their name Cerastae. By their gates an altar unto Jove stood. If by chance a stranger, not informed of their dark crimes, had seen the horrid altar smeared with blood, he would suppose that suckling calves and sheep of Amathus, were sacrificed thereon—it was in fact the blood of slaughtered guests! Kind-hearted Venus, outraged by such deeds of sacrifice, was ready to desert her cities and her snake-infested plains; “But how,” said she, “have their delightful lands together with my well built cities sinned? What crime have they done?—Those inhabitants should pay the penalty of their own crimes by exile or by death; or it may be a middle course, between exile and death; and what can that be, but the punishment of a changed form?” And while she hesitates, in various thoughts of what form they should take, her eyes by chance, observed their horns, and that decided her; such horns could well be on them after any change occurred, and she transformed their big and brutal bodies to savage bulls.

[238] But even after that, the obscene Propoetides dared to deny divinity of Venus, for which fault, (and it is common fame) they were the first to criminate their bodies, through the wrath of Venus; and so blushing shame was lost, white blood, in their bad faces grew so fast, so hard, it was no wonder they were turned with small change into hard and lifeless stones.

PYGMALION AND THE STATUE [243] Pygmalion saw these women waste their lives in wretched shame, and critical of faults which nature had so deeply planted through their female hearts, he lived in preference, for many years unmarried.—But while he was single, with consummate skill, he carved a statue out of snow-white ivory, and gave to it exquisite beauty, which no woman of the world has ever equalled: she was so beautiful, he fell in love with his creation. It appeared in truth a perfect virgin with the grace of life, but in the expression of such modesty all motion was restrained—and so his art concealed his art. Pygmalion gazed, inflamed with love and admiration for the form, in semblance of a woman, he had carved. He lifts up both his hands to feel the work, and wonders if it can be ivory, because it seems to him more truly flesh.—his mind refusing to conceive of it as ivory, he kisses it and feels his kisses are returned. And speaking love, caresses it with loving hands that seem to make an impress, on the parts they touch, so real that he fears he then may bruise her by his eager pressing. Softest tones are used each time he speaks to her. He brings to her such presents as are surely prized by sweet girls; such as smooth round pebbles, shells, and birds, and fragrant flowers of thousand tints, lilies, and painted balls, and amber tears of Heliads, which distill from far off trees.—he drapes her in rich clothing and in gems: rings on her fingers, a rich necklace round her neck, pearl pendants on her graceful ears; and golden ornaments adorn her breast. All these are beautiful—and she appears most lovable, if carefully attired,—or perfect as a statue, unadorned. He lays her on a bed luxurious, spread with coverlets of Tyrian purple dye, and naming her the consort of his couch, lays her reclining head on the most soft and downy pillows, trusting she could feel.

[270] The festal day of Venus, known throughout all Cyprus, now had come, and throngs were there to celebrate. Heifers with spreading horns, all gold-tipped, fell when given the stroke of death upon their snow-white necks; and frankincense was smoking on the altars. There, intent, Pygmalion stood before an altar, when his offering had been made; and although he feared the result, he prayed: “If it is true, O Gods, that you can give all things, I pray to have as my wife—” but, he did not dare to add “my ivory statue-maid,” and said, “One like my ivory—.” Golden Venus heard, for she was present at her festival, and she knew clearly what the prayer had meant. She gave a sign that her Divinity favored his plea: three times the flame leaped high and brightly in the air. When he returned, he went directly to his image-maid, bent over her, and kissed her many times, while she was on her couch; and as he kissed, she seemed to gather some warmth from his lips Again he kissed her; and he felt her breast; the ivory seemed to soften at the touch, and its firm texture yielded to his hand, as honey-wax of Mount Hymettus turns to many shapes when handled in the sun, and surely softens from each gentle touch. He is amazed; but stands rejoicing in his doubt; while fearful there is some mistake, again and yet again, gives trial to his hopes by touching with his hand. It must be flesh! The veins pulsate beneath the careful test of his directed finger. Then, indeed, the astonished hero poured out lavish thanks to Venus; pressing with his raptured lips his statue's lips. Now real, true to life—the maiden felt the kisses given to her, and blushing, lifted up her timid eyes, so that she saw the light and sky above, as well as her rapt lover while he leaned gazing beside her—and all this at once—the goddess graced the marriage she had willed, and when nine times a crescent moon had changed, increasing to the full, the statue-bride gave birth to her dear daughter Paphos. From which famed event the island takes its name.

MYRRHA TRANSFORMED TO A TREE [298] The royal Cinyras was sprung from her; and if he had been father of no child, might well have been accounted fortunate—but I must sing of horrible events—avoid it daughters! Parents! shun this tale! But if my verse has charmed your thought, do not give me such credit in this part; convince yourself it cannot be true life; or, if against my wish you hear and must believe it, then be sure to notice how such wickedness gets certain punishment. And yet, if Nature could permit such crimes as this to happen, I congratulate Ismarian people and all Thrace as well, and I congratulate this nation, which we know is far away from the land where this vile abomination did occur. The land we call Panchaia may be rich in balsam, cinnamon, and costum sweet for ointment, frankincense distilled from trees, with many flowers besides. All this large wealth combined could never compensate the land for this detestable, one crime: even though the new Myrrh-Tree advanced on that rich soil. Cupid declares his weapons never caused an injury to Myrrha, and denies his torches ever could have urged her crime.—one of the three bad sisters kindled this, with fire brand from the Styx, and poisoned you with swollen vipers.—It is criminal to hate a parent, but love such as hers is certainly more criminal than hate. The chosen princes of all lands desire you now in marriage, and young men throughout the Orient are vying for your hand. Choose, Myrrha one from all of these for your good husband; but exclude from such a thought your father only.

[319] She indeed is quite aware, and struggles bitterly against her vile desires, and argues in her heart:—“What am I tending to? O listening Gods I pray for aid, I pray to Natural Love! Ah, may the sacred rights of parents keep this vile desire from me, defend me from a crime so great—If it indeed is crime. I am not sure it is—I have not heard that any god or written law condemns the union of a parent and his child. All animals will mate as they desire—a heifer may endure her sire, and who condemns it? And the happy stud is not refused by his mare-daughters: the he-goat consorts unthought-of with the flock of which he is the father; and the birds conceive of those from whom they were themselves begot. Happy are they who have such privilege! Malignant men have given spiteful laws; and what is right to Nature is decreed unnatural, by jealous laws of men. But it is said there are some tribes today, in which the mother marries her own son; the daughter takes her father; and by this, the love kind Nature gives them is increased into a double bond.—Ah wretched me! Why was it not my fortune to be born in that love-blessed land? I must abide, depressed by my misfortunes, in this place. Why do I dwell on these forbidden hopes? Let me forget to think of lawless flame. My father is most worthy of my love, but only as a father.—If I were not born the daughter of great Cinyras, I might be joined to him; but, as it stands, because he is mine he is never mine; because near to me he is far from me. It would be better for me, if we were but strangers to each other; for I then, could wish to go, and leave my native land, and so escape temptation to this crime: but my unhappy passion holds me here, that I may see Cinyras face to face, and touch him, talk with him and even kiss him—the best, if nothing else can be allowed. But what more could be asked for, by the most depraved? Think of the many sacred ties and loved names, you are dragging to the mire: the rival of your mother, will you be the mistress of your father, and be named the sister of your son, and make yourself the mother of your brother? And will you not dread the sisters with black snakes for hair. Whom guilty creatures, such as you, can see brandish relentless flames before their eyes and faces? While your body has not sinned you must not let sin creep into your heart, and violate great Nature's law with your unlawful rovings. If you had the right to long for his endearment, it could not be possible. He is a virtuous man and is regardful of the moral law—oh how I wish my passion could be his!”

[356] And so she argued and declared her love: but Cinyras, her father, who was urged by such a throng of suitors for her hand, that he could make no choice, at last inquired of her, so she might make her heart's wish known. And as he named them over, asked her which she fixed her gaze upon her father's face, in doubtful agony what she could say, while hot tears filled her eyes. Her father, sure it all was of a virginal alarm, as he is telling her she need not weep dries her wet cheeks and kisses her sweet lips. Too much delighted with his gentle words and kind endearments, Myrrha, when he asked again, which one might be her husband, said, “The one just like yourself.”, And he replied not understanding what her heart would say, “You answer as a loving-daughter should.” When she heard “loving-daughter” said, the girl too conscious of her guilt, looked on the ground.

[368] It was now midnight, peaceful sleep dissolved the world-care of all mortals, but of her who, sleepless through the night, burnt in the flame of her misplaced affection. First despair compels her to abandon every hope, and then she changes and resolves to try; and so she wavers from desire to shame, for she could not adhere to any plan. As a great tree, cut by the swinging axe is chopped until the last blow has been struck, then sways and threatens danger to all sides; so does her weak mind, cut with many blows, waver unsteadily—this way and that—and turning back and forth it finds no rest from passion, save the rest that lies in death. The thought of death gave comfort to her heart. Resolved to hang herself, she sat upright; then, as she tied her girdle to a beam, she said, “Farewell, beloved Cinyras, and may you know the cause of my sad death.” And while she spoke those words, her fingers fixed the noosed rope close around her death-pale neck.

[382] They say the murmur of despairing words was heard by her attentive nurse who watched outside the room. And, faithful as of old, she opened the shut door. But, when she saw the frightful preparations made for death, the odd nurse screamed and beat and tore her breast, then seized and snatched the rope from Myrrha's neck; and after she had torn the noose apart, at last she had the time to weep and time, while she embraced the girl, to ask her why the halter had been fastened round her neck. The girl in stubborn silence only fixed her eyes upon the ground—sad that her first attempt at death, because too slow, was foiled. The old nurse-woman urged and urged, and showed her gray hair and her withered breasts, and begged her by the memory of her cradle days, and baby nourishment, to hide no more from her long-trusted nurse what caused her grief. The girl turned from her questions with a sigh. The nurse, still more determined to know all, promised fidelity and her best aid—“Tell me,” she said, “and let me give you help; my old age offers means for your relief: if it be frantic passion, I have charms and healing herbs; or, if an evil spell was worked on you by someone, you shall be cured to your perfect self by magic rites; or, if your actions have enraged the Gods, a sacrifice will satisfy their wrath. What else could be the cause? Your family and you are prosperous—your mother dear, and your loved father are alive and well.” And, when she heard her say the name of father, a sigh heaved up from her distracted heart.

[403] But even after that the nurse could not conceive such evil in the girl's sick heart; and yet she had a feeling it must be only a love affair could cause the crime: and with persistent purpose begged the cause. She pressed the weeping girl against her breast; and as she held her in her feeble arms, she said, “Sweet heart, I know you are in love: in this affair I am entirely yours for your good service, you must have no fear, your father cannot learn of it from me.” Just like a mad girl, Myrrha sprang away, and with her face deep-buried in a couch, sobbed out, “Go from me or stop asking me my cause of grief—it is a crime of shame—I cannot tell it!” Horrified the nurse stretched forth her trembling hands, palsied with age and fear. She fell down at the feet of her loved foster-child, and coaxing her and frightening her, she threatened to disclose her knowledge of the halter and of what she knew of her attempted suicide; and after all was said, she gave her word to help the girl, when she had given to her a true confession of her sad heart-love. The girl just lifted up her face, and laid it, weeping, on the bosom of her nurse. She tried so often to confess, and just as often checked her words, her shamed face hid deep in her garment: “Oh”, at last she groans, “O mother blessed in your husband—oh!” Only that much she said and groaned. The nurse felt a cold horror stealing through her heart and frame, for she now understood it all. And her white hair stood bristling on her head, while with the utmost care of love and art she strove to use appropriate words and deeds, to banish the mad passion of the girl. Though Myrrha knew that she was truly warned, she was resolved to die, unless she could obtain the object of her wicked love. The nurse gave way at last as in defeat, and said, “Live and enjoy—” but did not dare to say, “your father”, did not finish, though, she promised and confirmed it with an oath.

[431] It was the time when matrons celebrate the annual festival of Ceres. Then, all robed in decent garments of snow-white, they bring garlands of precious wheat, which are first fruits of worship; and for nine nights they must count forbidden every act of love, and shun the touch of man. And in that throng, Cenchreis, the king's wife, with constant care attended every secret rite: and so while the king's bed was lacking his true wife, one of those nights,—King Cinyras was drunk with too much wine,—the scheming nurse informed him of a girl most beautiful, whose love for him was passionate; in a false tale she pictured a true passion.—When he asked the maiden's age, she answered, “Just the same as Myrrha's.” Bidden by the king to go and fetch her, the officious old nurse, when she found the girl, cried out; “Rejoice, my dear, we have contrived it!” The unhappy girl could not feel genuine joy in her amazed and startled body. Her dazed mind was filled with strange forebodings; but she did believe her heart was joyful.—Great excitement filled her wrecked heart with such inconsistencies.

[446] Now was the time when nature is at rest; between the Bears, Bootes turned his wain down to the west, and the guilty Myrrha turns to her enormity. The golden moon flies from the heaven, and black clouds cover the hiding stars and Night has lost her fires. The first to hide were stars of Icarus and of Erigone, in hallowed love devoted to her father. Myrrha thrice was warned by omen of her stumbling foot; the funeral screech-owl also warned her thrice, with dismal cry; yet Myrrha onward goes. It seems to her the black night lessens shame. She holds fast to her nurse with her left hand, and with the other hand gropes through the dark And now they go until she finds the door. Now at the threshold of her father's room, she softly pushes back the door, her nurse takes her within. The girl's knees trembling sink beneath her. Her drawn bloodless face has lost its color, and while she moves to the crime, bad courage goes from her until afraid of her bold effort, she would gladly turn unrecognized. But as she hesitates, the aged crone still holds her by the hand; and leading her up to the high bed there delivering Myrrha, says, “Now Cinyras, you take her, she is yours;” and leaves the pair doomed in their crime—the father to pollute his own flesh in his own bed; where he tries first to encourage her from maiden fears, by gently talking to the timid girl. He chanced to call her “daughter,” as a name best suited to her age; and she in turn, endearing, called him “father”, so no names might be omitted to complete their guilt.

[469] She staggered from his chamber with the crime of her own father hidden in her womb, and their guilt was repeated many nights; till Cinyras—determined he must know his mistress, after many meetings, brought a light and knew his crime had harmed his daughter. Speechless in shame he drew forth his bright sword out from the scabbard where it hung near by.—but frightened Myrrha fled, and so escaped death in the shadows of dark night. Groping her pathless way at random through the fields, she left Arabia, famed for spreading palms, and wandered through Panchaean lands. Until after nine months of aimless wandering days, she rested in Sabaea, for she could not hold the burden she had borne so long. Not knowing what to pray for, moved alike by fear of death and weariness of life, her wishes were expressed in prayer: “O Gods, if you will listen to my prayer, I do not shun a dreadful punishment deserved; but now because my life offends the living, and dying I offend the dead, drive me from both conditions; change me, and refuse my flesh both life and death!”

[488] Some god did listen to her unnatural prayer; her last petition had answering gods. For even as she prayed, the earth closed over her legs; roots grew out and, stretching forth obliquely from her nails, gave strong support to her up-growing trunk; her bones got harder, and her marrow still unchanged, kept to the center, as her blood was changed to sap, as her outstretching arms became long branches and her fingers twigs and as her soft skin hardened into bark: and the fast-growing tree had closely bound her womb, still heavy, and had covered her soft bosom; and was spreading quickly up to her neck.—She can not endure the strain, and sinking down into the rising wood, her whole face soon was hidden in the bark. Although all sense of human life was gone, as quickly as she lost her human form, her weeping was continued, and warm drops distilled from her (the tree) cease not to fall. There is a virtue even in her tears—the valued myrrh distilling from the trunk, keeps to her name, by which she still is known, and cannot be forgot of aging time.

[503] The guilt-begotten child had growth while wood was growing, and endeavored now to find a way of safe birth. The tree-trunk was swelling and tightened against Myrrha, who, unable to express her torture, could not call upon Lucina in the usual words of travail. But then just like a woman in great pain, the tree bends down and, while it groans, bedews itself with falling tears. Lucina stood in pity near the groaning branches, laid her hands on them, and uttered charms to aid the hindered birth. The tree cracked open then, the bark was rent asunder, and it gave forth its living weight, a wailing baby-boy. The Naiads laid him on soft leaves, and they anointed him with his own mother's tears. Even Envy would not fail to praise the child, as beautiful as naked cupids seen in chosen paintings. Only give to him a polished quiver, or take theirs from them, and no keen eye could choose him from their midst.

[519] Time gliding by without our knowledge cheats us, and nothing can be swifter than the years. That son of sister and grandfather, who was lately hidden in his parent tree, just lately born, a lovely baby-boy is now a youth, now man more beautiful than during growth. He wins the love of Venus and so avenges his own mother's passion. For while the goddess' son with quiver held on shoulder, once was kissing his loved mother, it chanced unwittingly he grazed her breast with a projecting arrow. Instantly the wounded goddess pushed her son away; but the scratch had pierced her deeper than she thought and even Venus was at first deceived. Delighted with the beauty of the youth, she does not think of her Cytherian shores and does not care for Paphos, which is girt by the deep sea, nor Cnidos, haunts of fish, nor Amathus far-famed for precious ores. Venus, neglecting heaven, prefers Adonis to heaven, and so she holds close to his ways as his companion, and forgets to rest at noon-day in the shade, neglecting care of her sweet beauty. She goes through the woods and over mountain ridges and wild fields, rocky and thorn-set, bare to her white knees after Diana's manner. And she cheers the hounds, intent to hunt for harmless prey, such as the leaping hare, or the wild stag, high-crowned with branching antlers, or the doe.—she keeps away from fierce wild boars, away from ravenous wolves; and she avoids the bears of frightful claws, and lions glutted with the blood of slaughtered cattle.

[543] She warns you, Adonis, to beware and fear them. If her fears for you were only heeded! “Oh be brave,” she says, “against those timid animals which fly from you; but courage is not safe against the bold. Dear boy, do not be rash, do not attack the wild beasts which are armed by nature, lest your glory may cost me great sorrow. Neither youth nor beauty nor the deeds which have moved Venus have effect on lions, bristling boars, and on the eyes and tempers of wild beasts. Boars have the force of lightning in their curved tusks, and the rage of tawny lions is unlimited. I fear and hate them all.” When he inquires the reason, she says: “I will tell it; you will be surprised to learn the bad result caused by an ancient crime.—But I am weary with unaccustomed toil; and see! a poplar convenient, offers a delightful shade and this lawn gives a good couch. Let us rest ourselves here on the grass.” So saying, she reclined upon the turf and, pillowing her head against his breast and mingling kisses with her words, she told him the following tale:

ATALANTA [560] "Perhaps you may have heard of a swift maid, who ran much faster than swift-footed men contesting in the race. What they have told is not an idle tale.—She did excel them all—and you could not have said whether her swift speed or her beauty was more worthy of your praise. When this maid once consulted with an oracle, of her fate after marriage, the god answered her: `You, Atalanta, never will have need of husband, who will only be your harm. For your best good you should avoid the tie; but surely you will not avoid your harm; and while yet living you will lose yourself.' She was so frightened by the oracle, she lived unwedded in far shaded woods; and with harsh terms repulsed insistent throngs of suitors. `I will not be won,' she said, `Till I am conquered first in speed. Contest the race with me. A wife and couch shall both be given to reward the swift, but death must recompense the one who lags behind. This must be the condition of a race.' Indeed she was that pitiless, but such the power of beauty, a rash multitude agreed to her harsh terms.

[575] "Hippomenes had come, a stranger, to the cruel race, with condemnation in his heart against the racing young men for their headstrong love; and said, `Why seek a wife at such a risk?' But when he saw her face, and perfect form disrobed for perfect running, such a form as mine, Adonis, or as yours—if you were woman—he was so astonished he raised up his hands and said, “Oh pardon me brave men whom I was blaming, I could not then realize the value of the prize you strove for.” And as he is praising her, his own heart leaping with love's fire, he hopes no young man may outstrip her in the race; and, full of envy, fears for the result. `But why,' he cries, `“is my chance in the race untried? Divinity helps those who dare.' But while the hero weighed it in his mind the virgin flew as if her feet had wings. Although she seemed to him in flight as swift as any Scythian arrow, he admired her beauty more; and her swift speed appeared in her most beautiful. The breeze bore back the streamers on her flying ankles, while her hair was tossed back over her white shoulders; the bright trimmed ribbons at her knees were fluttering, and over her white girlish body came a pink flush, just as when a purple awning across a marble hall gives it a wealth of borrowed hues. And while Hippomenes in wonder gazed at her, the goal was reached; and Atalanta crowned victorious with festal wreath.—But all the vanquished youths paid the death-penalty with sighs and groans, according to the stipulated bond.

[600] "Not frightened by the fate of those young men, he stood up boldly in the midst of all; and fixing his strong eyes upon the maiden, said: `Where is the glory in an easy victory over such weaklings? Try your fate with me! If fortune fail to favor you, how could it shame you to be conquered by a man? Megareus of Onchestus is my father, his grandsire, Neptune, god of all the seas. I am descendant of the King of Waves: and add to this, my name for manly worth has not disgraced the fame of my descent. If you should prove victorious against this combination, you will have achieved a great enduring name—the only one who ever bested great Hippomenes.'

[609] "While he was speaking, Atalanta's gaze grew softer, in her vacillating hopes to conquer and be conquered; till at last, her heart, unbalanced, argued in this way: `“It must be some god envious of youth, wishing to spoil this one prompts him to seek wedlock with me and risk his own dear life. I am not worth the price, if I may judge. His beauty does not touch me—but I could be moved by it—I must consider he is but a boy. It is not he himself who moves me, but his youth. Sufficient cause for thought are his great courage and his soul fearless of death. What of his high descent;—great grandson of the King of all the seas? What of his love for me that has such great importance, he would perish if his fate denied my marriage to him? O strange boy, go from me while you can; abandon hope of this alliance stained with blood—A match with me is fatal. Other maids will not refuse to wed you, and a wiser girl will gladly seek your love.—But what concern is it of mine, when I but think of those who have already perished! Let him look to it himself; and let him die. Since he is not warned by his knowledge of the fate of many other suitors, he declares quite plainly, he is weary of his life.—Shall he then die, because it must be his one hope to live with me? And suffer death though undeserved, for me because he loves? My victory will not ward off the hate, the odium of the deed! But it is not a fault of mine.—Oh fond, fond man, I would that you had never seen me! But you are so madly set upon it, I could wish you may prove much the swifter! Oh how dear how lovable is his young girlish face! -- ah, doomed Hippomenes, I only wish mischance had never let you see me! You are truly worthy of a life on earth. If I had been more fortunate, and not denied a happy marriage day; I would not share my bed with any man but you.' All this the virgin Atalanta said; and knowing nothing of the power of love, she is so ignorant of what she does, she loves and does not know she is in love.

[638] "Meanwhile her father and the people, all loudly demanded the accustomed race. A suppliant, the young Hippomenes invoked me with his anxious voice, `I pray to you, O Venus, Queen of Love, be near and help my daring -- smile upon the love you have inspired!' The breeze, not envious, wafted this prayer to me; and I confess, it was so tender it did move my heart—I had but little time to give him aid. There is a field there which the natives call the Field Tamasus—the most prized of all the fertile lands of Cyprus. This rich field, in ancient days, was set apart for me, by chosen elders who decreed it should enrich my temples yearly. In this field there grows a tree, with gleaming golden leaves, and all its branches crackle with bright gold. Since I was coming from there, by some chance, I had three golden apples in my hand, which I had plucked. With them I planned to aid Hippomenes. While quite invisible to all but him, I taught him how to use those golden apples for his benefit.

[652] "The trumpet soon gave signal for the race and both of them crouching flashed quickly forth and skimmed the surface of the sandy course with flying feet. You might even think those two could graze the sea with unwet feet and pass over the ripened heads of standing grain. Shouts of applause gave courage to the youth: the cheering multitude cried out to him:—`Now is the time to use your strength. Go on! Hippomenes! Bend to the work! You're sure to win!' It must be doubted who was most rejoiced by those brave words, Megareus' son, or Schoeneus' daughter. Oh, how often, when she could have passed him, she delayed her speed; and after gazing long upon his face reluctantly again would pass him! Now dry panting breath came from his weary throat—the goal still far away.—Then Neptune's scion threw one of three gold apples. Atalanta with wonder saw it—eager to possess the shining fruit, she turned out of her course, picked up the rolling gold. Hippomenes passed by her, while spectators roared applause. Increasing speed, she overcame delay, made up for time lost, and again she left the youth behind. She was delayed again because he tossed another golden apple. She followed him, and passed him in the race. The last part of the course remained. He cried `Be near me, goddess, while I use your gift.' With youthful might he threw the shining gold, in an oblique direction to the side, so that pursuit would mean a slow return. The virgin seemed to hesitate, in doubt whether to follow after this third prize. I forced her to turn for it; take it up; and, adding weight to the gold fruit, she held, impeded her with weight and loss of time. For fear my narrative may stretch beyond the race itself,—the maiden was outstripped; Hippomenes then led his prize away.

[681] "Adonis, did I not deserve his thanks with tribute of sweet incense? But he was ungrateful, and, forgetful of my help, he gave me neither frankincense nor thanks. Such conduct threw me into sudden wrath, and, fretting at the slight, I felt I must not be despised at any future time. I told myself 'twas only right to make a just example of them. They were near a temple, hidden in the forest, which glorious Echion in remembered time had built to Rhea, Mother of the gods, in payment of a vow. So, wearied from the distance traveled, they were glad to have a needed rest. Hippomenes while there, was seized with love his heart could not control.—a passion caused by my divinity. Quite near the temple was a cave-like place, covered with pumice. It was hallowed by religious veneration of the past. Within the shadows of that place, a priest had stationed many wooden images of olden gods. The lovers entered there and desecrated it. The images were scandalized, and turned their eyes away. The tower-crowned Mother, Cybele, at first prepared to plunge the guilty pair beneath the waves of Styx, but such a punishment seemed light. And so their necks, that had been smooth. Were covered instantly with tawny manes; their fingers bent to claws; their arms were changed to fore-legs; and their bosoms held their weight; and with their tails they swept the sandy ground. Their casual glance is anger, and instead of words they utter growls. They haunt the woods, a bridal-room to their ferocious taste. And now fierce lions they are terrible to all of life; except to Cybele; whose harness has subdued their champing jaws.

ADONIS TRANSFORMED [705] "My dear Adonis keep away from all such savage animals; avoid all those which do not turn their fearful backs in flight but offer their bold breasts to your attack, lest courage should be fatal to us both." Indeed she warned him.—Harnessing her swans, she traveled swiftly through the yielding air; but his rash courage would not heed advice. By chance his dogs, which followed a sure track, aroused a wild boar from his hiding place; and, as he rushed out from his forest lair, Adonis pierced him with a glancing stroke. Infuriate, the fierce boar's curved snout first struck the spear-shaft from his bleeding side; and, while the trembling youth was seeking where to find a safe retreat, the savage beast raced after him, until at last he sank his deadly tusk deep in Adonis' groin; and stretched him dying on the yellow sand.

[717] And now sweet Aphrodite, borne through air in her light chariot, had not yet arrived at Cyprus, on the wings of her white swans. Afar she recognized his dying groans, and turned her white birds towards the sound. And when down looking from the lofty sky, she saw him nearly dead, his body bathed in blood, she leaped down—tore her garment—tore her hair—and beat her bosom with distracted hands. And blaming Fate said, “But not everything is at the mercy of your cruel power. My sorrow for Adonis will remain, enduring as a lasting monument. Each passing year the memory of his death shall cause an imitation of my grief. Your blood, Adonis, will become a flower perennial. Was it not allowed to you Persephone, to transform Menthe's limbs into sweet fragrant mint? And can this change of my loved hero be denied to me?” Her grief declared, she sprinkled his blood with sweet-smelling nectar, and his blood as soon as touched by it began to effervesce, just as transparent bubbles always rise in rainy weather. Nor was there a pause more than an hour, when from Adonis, blood, exactly of its color, a loved flower sprang up, such as pomegranates give to us, small trees which later hide their seeds beneath a tough rind. But the joy it gives to man is short-lived, for the winds which give the flower its name, Anemone, shake it right down, because its slender hold, always so weak, lets it fall to the ground from its frail stem.


DEATH OF ORPHEUS [1] While with his songs, Orpheus, the bard of Thrace, allured the trees, the savage animals, and even the insensate rocks, to follow him; Ciconian matrons, with their raving breasts concealed in skins of forest animals, from the summit of a hill observed him there, attuning love songs to a sounding harp. One of those women, as her tangled hair was tossed upon the light breeze shouted, “See! Here is the poet who has scorned our love!” Then hurled her spear at the melodious mouth of great Apollo's bard: but the spear's point, trailing in flight a garland of fresh leaves, made but a harmless bruise and wounded not. The weapon of another was a stone, which in the very air was overpowered by the true harmony of his voice and lyre, and so disabled lay before his feet, as asking pardon for that vain attempt. The madness of such warfare then increased. All moderation is entirely lost, and a wild Fury overcomes the right.—although their weapons would have lost all force, subjected to the power of Orpheus' harp, the clamorous discord of their boxwood pipes, the blaring of their horns, their tambourines and clapping hands and Bacchanalian yells, with hideous discords drowned his voice and harp.—at last the stones that heard his song no more fell crimson with the Thracian poet's blood. Before his life was taken, the maenads turned their threatening hands upon the many birds, which still were charmed by Orpheus as he sang, the serpents, and the company of beasts—fabulous audience of that worshipped bard. And then they turned on him their blood-stained hands: and flocked together swiftly, as wild birds, which, by some chance, may see the bird of night beneath the sun. And as the savage dogs rush on the doomed stag, loosed some bright fore-noon, on blood-sand of the amphitheatre; they rushed against the bard, with swift hurled thyrsi which, adorned with emerald leaves had not till then been used for cruelty.

[29] And some threw clods, and others branches torn from trees; and others threw flint stones at him, and, that no lack of weapons might restrain their savage fury then, not far from there by chance they found some oxen which turned up the soil with ploughshares, and in fields nearby were strong-armed peasants, who with eager sweat worked for the harvest as they dug hard fields; and all those peasants, when they saw the troop of frantic women, ran away and left their implements of labor strown upon deserted fields—harrows and heavy rakes and their long spades after the savage mob had seized upon those implements, and torn to pieces oxen armed with threatening horns, they hastened to destroy the harmless bard, devoted Orpheus; and with impious hate, murdered him, while his out-stretched hands implored their mercy—the first and only time his voice had no persuasion. O great Jupiter! Through those same lips which had controlled the rocks and which had overcome ferocious beasts, his life breathed forth, departed in the air.

[44] The mournful birds, the stricken animals, the hard stones and the weeping woods, all these that often had followed your inspiring voice, bewailed your death; while trees dropped their green leaves, mourning for you, as if they tore their hair. They say sad rivers swelled with their own tears—naiads and dryads with dishevelled hair wore garments of dark color. His torn limbs were scattered in strange places. Hebrus then received his head and harp—and, wonderful! While his loved harp was floating down the stream, it mourned for him beyond my power to tell. His tongue though lifeless, uttered a mournful sound and mournfully the river's banks replied: onward borne by the river to the sea they left their native stream and reached the shore of Lesbos at Methymna. Instantly, a furious serpent rose to attack the head of Orpheus, cast up on that foreign sand—the hair still wet with spray. Phoebus at last appeared and saved the head from that attack: before the serpent could inflict a sting, he drove it off, and hardened its wide jaws to rigid stone.

[61] Meanwhile the fleeting shade of Orpheus had descended under earth: remembering now those regions that he saw when there before, he sought Eurydice through fields frequented by the blest; and when he found her, folded her in eager arms. Then lovingly they wandered side by side, or he would follow when she chose to lead, or at another time he walked in front, looking back, safely,—at Eurydice.

[67] Bacchus (Lyaeus) would not permit the wickedness of those who slaughtered Orpheus to remain unpunished. Grieving for the loss of his loved bard of sacred rites, at once he bound with twisted roots the feet of everyone of those Edonian women who had caused the crime of Orpheus' death. Their toes grew long. He thrust the sharp points in the solid earth. As when a bird entangled in a snare, hid by the cunning fowler, knows too late that it is held, then vainly beats its wings, and fluttering only makes more tight the noose with every struggle; so each woman-fiend whose feet were sinking in the soil, when she attempted flight, was held by deepening roots. And while she looks down where her toes and nails and feet should be, she sees wood growing up from them and covering all her graceful legs. Full of delirious grief, endeavoring to smite with right hand on her changing thigh, she strikes on solid oak. Her tender breast and shoulders are transformed to rigid oak. You would declare that her extended arms are real branches of a forest tree, and such a thought would be the very truth.

BACCHUS AND MIDAS [85] And not content with this, Bacchus resolved to leave that land, and with a worthier train went to the vineyards of his own Tmolus and to Pactolus, though the river was not golden, nor admired for precious sands. His usual throng of Satyrs and of Bacchanals surrounded him; but not Silenus, who was then detained from him. The Phrygian folk had captured him, as he was staggering, faint with palsied age and wine. And after they bound him in garlands, they led him to their king Midas, to whom with the Cecropian Eumolpus, Thracian Orpheus had shown all the Bacchic rites. When Midas recognized his old time friend Silenus, who had been so often his companion in the rites of Bacchus, he kept joyful festival, with his old comrade, twice five days and nights. Upon the eleventh day, when Lucifer had dimmed the lofty multitude of stars, King Midas and Silenus went from there joyful together to the Lydian lands. There Midas put Silenus carefully under the care of his loved foster-child, young Bacchus. He with great delight, because he had his foster-father once again, allowed the king to choose his own reward—a welcome offer, but it led to harm. And Midas made this ill-advised reply: “Cause whatsoever I shall touch to change at once to yellow gold.”

[100] Bacchus agreed to his unfortunate request, with grief that Midas chose for harm and not for good. The Berecynthian hero, king of Phrygia, with joy at his misfortune went away, and instantly began to test the worth of Bacchus' word by touching everything. Doubtful himself of his new power, he pulled a twig down from a holm-oak, growing on a low hung branch. The twig was turned to gold. He lifted up a dark stone from the ground and it turned pale with gold. He touched a clod and by his potent touch the clod became a mass of shining gold. He plucked some ripe, dry spears of grain, and all that wheat he touched was golden. Then he held an apple which he gathered from a tree, and you would think that the Hesperides had given it. If he but touched a lofty door, at once each door-post seemed to glisten. When he washed his hands in liquid streams, the lustrous drops upon his hands might have been those which once astonished Danae. He could not now conceive his large hopes in his grasping mind, as he imagined everything of gold. And, while he was rejoicing in great wealth, his servants set a table for his meal, with many dainties and with needful bread: but when he touched the gift of Ceres with his right hand, instantly the gift of Ceres stiffened to gold; or if he tried to bite with hungry teeth a tender bit of meat, the dainty, as his teeth but touched it, shone at once with yellow shreds and flakes of gold. And wine, another gift of Bacchus, when he mixed it in pure water, can be seen in his astonished mouth as liquid gold.

[127] Confounded by his strange misfortune—rich and wretched—he was anxious to escape from his unhappy wealth. He hated all he had so lately longed for. Plenty could not lessen hunger and no remedy relieved his dry, parched throat. The hated gold tormented him no more than he deserved. Lifting his hands and shining arms to heaven, he moaned. “Oh pardon me, father Lenaeus! I have done wrong, but pity me, I pray, and save me from this curse that looked so fair.” How patient are the gods! Bacchus forthwith, because King Midas had confessed his fault, restored him and annulled the promise given, annulled the favor granted, and he said: “That you may not be always cased in gold, which you unhappily desired, depart to the stream that flows by that great town of Sardis and upward trace its waters, as they glide past Lydian heights, until you find their source. Then, where the spring leaps out from mountain rock, plunge head and body in the snowy foam. At once the flood will take away your curse.” King Midas did as he was told and plunged beneath the water at the river's source. And the gold virtue granted by the god, as it departed from his body, tinged the stream with gold. And even to this hour adjoining fields, touched by this ancient vein of gold, are hardened where the river flows and colored with the gold that Midas left.

THE MUSICAL CONTEST OF PAN AND APOLLO [146] Abhorring riches he inhabited the woods and fields, and followed Pan who dwells always in mountain-caves: but still obtuse remained, from which his foolish mind again, by an absurd decision, harmed his life. He followed Pan up to the lofty mount Tmolus, which from its great height looks far across the sea. Steep and erect it stands between great Sardis and the small Hypaepa. While Pan was boasting there to mountain nymphs of his great skill in music, and while he was warbling a gay tune upon the reeds, cemented with soft wax, in his conceit he dared to boast to them how he despised Apollo's music when compared with his—. At last to prove it, he agreed to stand against Apollo in a contest which it was agreed should be decided by Tmolus as their umpire. This old god sat down on his own mountain, and first eased his ears of many mountain growing trees, oak leaves were wreathed upon his azure hair and acorns from his hollow temples hung. First to the Shepherd-god Tmolus spoke: “My judgment shall be yours with no delay." Pan made some rustic sounds on his rough reeds, delighting Midas with his uncouth notes; for Midas chanced to be there when he played. When Pan had ceased, divine Tmolus turned to Phoebus, and the forest likewise turned just as he moved. Apollo's golden locks were richly wreathed with fresh Parnassian laurel; his robe of Tyrian purple swept the ground; his left hand held his lyre, adorned with gems and Indian ivory. His right hand held the plectrum—as an artist he stood there before Tmolus, while his skilful thumb touching the strings made charming melody. Delighted with Apollo's artful touch, Tmolus ordered Pan to hold his reeds excelled by beauty of Apollo's lyre.

[172] That judgment of the sacred mountain god pleased all those present, all but Midas, who blaming Tmolus called the award unjust. The Delian god forbids his stupid ears to hold their native human shape; and, drawing them out to a hideous length, he fills them with gray hairs, and makes them both unsteady, wagging at the lower part: still human, only this one part condemned, Midas had ears of a slow-moving ass. Midas, careful to hide his long ears, wore a purple turban over both, which hid his foul disgrace from laughter. But one day a servant, who was chosen to cut his hair with steel, when it was long, saw his disgrace. He did not dare reveal what he had seen, but eager, to disclose the secret, dug a shallow hole, and in a low voice told what kind of ears were on his master's head. All this he whispered in the hollow earth he dug, and then he buried all he said by throwing back the loose earth in the hole so everything was silent when he left. A grove thick set with quivering reeds began to grow there, and when it matured, about twelve months after that servant left, the grove betrayed its planter. For, moved by a gentle South Wind, it repeated all the words which he had whispered, and disclosed from earth the secret of his master's ears.

HESIONE [194] His vengence now complete, Latona's son borne through the liquid air, departed from Tmolus, and then rested on the land of Laomedon, this side the narrow sea dividing Phrygia from the land of Thrace. The promontory of Sigaeum right and on the left Rhoetaeum loftily arose; and at that place an ancient altar had been dedicated to great Jove, the god Panomphaean. And near that place he saw laomedon, beginning then to build the walls of famous Troy. He was convinced the task exceeded all the power of man, requiring great resource. Together with the trident-bearing father of the deep, he assumed a mortal form: and those two gods agreed to labor for a sum of gold and built the mighty wall. But that false king refused all payment, adding perjury to his false bargaining. Neptune, enraged, said, “You shall not escape your punishment.” And he drove all his waters high upon the shores of Troy—built there through perfidy. The sad land seemed a sea: the hard-earned wealth of all its farmers was destroyed and overwhelmed by furious waves. This awful punishment was not enough. The daughter of the king was soon required as food for a sea-monster—. Hesione was chained to rugged rocks. But Hercules delivered from all harm the royal maid and justly he demanded of the king, her father, payment of the promised steeds; but that perfidious king refused to keep his promise. Hercules enraged, because all payment was denied to him for his great service, captured the twice-perjured walls of conquered Troy. And as a fair reward, he gave to Telamon, who fought for him, Hesione, loved daughter of that king. For Peleus had a goddess as his bride and he was prouder of his father-in-law than of his grandsire. Since not he alone was grandson of great Jove, but he alone was honored with a goddess for a wife.

PELEUS AND THETIS. BIRTH OF ACHILLES [221] To Thetis, aged Proteus once had said, “Oh goddess of the waves, you shall conceive, and you shall be the mother of a youth who by heroic actions will surpass the deeds of his own father, and your son shall be superior to his father's power.” So Jupiter, although the flame of love for Thetis burned his breast, would not embrace the lovely daughter of the sea, and urged his grandson Peleus, son of Aeacus, to wed the green haired maid without delay. There is a curved bay of Haemonia, where like an arch, two bending arms project out in the waves, as if to form a harbor; but the water is not deep—although enough to hide a shoal of sand. It has a firm shore which will not retain a foot's impression, nor delay the step—no seaweeds grow in that vicinity.

[229] There is a grove of myrtle near that place thick-hung with berries, blended of twin shades. A cave within the middle of that grove is found, and whether it was formed by art or nature is not known, although it seems a work of art. There Thetis often went, quite naked, seated on her dolphin, which was harnessed. Peleus seized her there when she was fast asleep: and after he had tried to win her by entreaties, while she long continued to resist him, he resolved to conquer her by violence, and seized her neck with both arms. She resorted then to all her usual art, and often changed: her shape as it was known, so that he failed in his attempt. At first she was a bird, but while she seemed a bird he held her fast; and then she changed herself to a large tree, and Peleus clung with ardor to the tree; her third disguise was as a spotted tigress, which frightened him so that he lost his hold. Then, as he poured wine on the heaving sea, he prayed unto the sea green gods and gave them sacrifice of sheep entrails, and smoke of frankincense. He ceased not, till at last the prophet of Carpathia, as he rose up from a deep wave, said, “Hark unto me, O son of Aeacus! and you shall have the bride your heart desires: when she at rest lies sleeping in the cool wave, you must bind her while she is unwary, with strong cords and complicated bonds, And never let her arts deceive you when she imitates a hundred varied forms, but hold her fast, whatever she may seem, until she shall at length assume the shape she had at first.” So Proteus cautioned him, and hid his face beneath the waves as his last words were said.

[258] Now Titan was descending and the pole of his bright chariot as it downward bent illuminated the Hesperian main; and at that time the lovely Nereid, Thetis, departing from her ocean wave, entered the cavern for desired repose. Peleus was waiting there. Immediately, just as he seized upon the virgin's limbs, she changed her shape and perservered until convinced she could not overcome his hold—for her two arms were forced apart—she groaned and said, “You could not overcome me in this way, but some divinity has given you the power.” Then she appeared as Thetis: and, when Peleus saw her now deprived of all deceptions, he embraced her and was father of the great Achilles.

DAEDALION CHANGED TO A HAWK [266] Great Peleus' heart was filled with happiness; because of his great son and Thetis his dear wife: he was blest in everything, except in killing Phocus. The Trachinian land received him guilty of his brother's blood; when he fled, banished from his native home. There Ceyx, who had the fine countenance of Lucifer his father, reigned as king, without the cost of violence or blood. Before this time his days had always given him joy and comfort, but all now was changed, for he was mourning a loved brother's death. Peleus, outwearied with his journey's length. Left his fine flock of sheep and all the herds he had brought with him, not far from the walls of that city, where Ceyx long had reigned. He entered with an olive branch all swathed in woolen fillets, symbol of good will, and with a suppliant hand disclosed his name. He told the monarch who he was, also his father's name. But he concealed his crime, giving untruthful reasons for his flight: and begged a refuge either in town or field. The king of Trachyn answered with kind words: "Ah, Peleus, even the lowest ranks enjoy our bounties and our hospitality, and you bring with you powers which compell attention and respect. Your name is so illustrious, and is not Jupiter your grandsire? Do not lose your time by such entreaties. Everything you may desire is yours as soon as known, and all you see is partly yours, but in how sad a state!”

[289] And then he wept. When Peleus and his friends asked him the reason of his grief he said, “Perchance you deem that bird which lives on prey, which is the terror of all other birds, had always feathered wings? It was a man. And now the vigor of its courage is as great as when well known by his man's name, Daedalion, bold in wars and strong and harsh, and not afraid to hazard violence. His father was unequalled Lucifer, star of the Morning, who at dawn brings forth Aurora, and withdraws the last of all the shining stars of heaven.—My brother named daedalion, son of that great star, was fond of cruel warfare, while I cherished peace and loved the quiet of my married life. This brother, powerful in the art of war, subdued strong kings and nations.—And 'tis he transformed from manhood, now a bird of prey, that so relentlessly pursues the doves, known as the pride of Thisbe's citizens.

[301] "My brother had a daughter Chione so beautiful she pleased a thousand men, when she had reached the marriageable age of twice seven years. It happened by some chance that Phoebus and the son of Maia, who returned—one from his Delphi, the other from Cyllene's heights—beheld this lovely maid both at the same time, and were both inflamed with passion. Phoebus waited till the night. Hermes could not endure delay and with the magic of his wand, that causes sleep, he touched the virgin's face; and instantly, as if entranced, she lay there fast asleep, and suffered violence from the ardent god. When night bespangled the wide heaven with stars, Phoebus became an aged crone and gained the joy he had deferred until that hour. When her mature womb had completed time Autolycus was born, a crafty son, who certainly inherited the skill of wingfoot Mereury, his artful sire, notorious now; for every kind of theft. In fact, Autolycus with Mercury's craft, loved to make white of black, and black of white. But Phoebus' child, for Chione bore twins, was named Philammon, like his sire, well known. To all men for the beauty of his song. And famous for his handling of the lyre.

[318] "What benefit in life did she obtain because she pleased! two gods and bore such twins? Was she blest by good fortune then because she was the daughter of a valiant father, and even the grandchild of the Morning Star? Can glory be a curse? Often it is. And surely it was so for Chione. It was a prejudice that harmed her days because she vaunted that she did surpass Diana's beauty and decried her charms: the goddess in hot anger answered her, sarcastically, `If my face cannot give satisfaction, let me try my deeds.' Without delay Diana bent her bow, and from the string an arrow swiftly flew, and pierced the vaunting tongue of Chione. Her tongue was silenced, and she tried in vain to speak or make a sound, and while she tried her life departed with the flowing blood. Embracing her, I shared her father's grief. I spoke consoling words to my dear brother, he heard them as a cliff might hear the sea. And he lamented bitterly the loss of his dear daughter, snatched away from him. Ah! when he saw her burning, he was filled with such an uncontrolled despair, he rushed four times to leap upon the blazing pyre; and after he had been four times repulsed, he turned and rushed away in headlong flight through trackless country, as a bullock flees, his swollen neck pierced with sharp hornet-stings, it seemed to me he ran beyond the speed of any human being. You would think his feet had taken wings, he left us far behind and swift in his desire for death he stood at last upon Parnassus' height. Apollo pitied him.—And when Daedalion leaped over the steep cliff, Apollo's power transformed him to a bird; supported him while he was hovering in the air upon uncertain wings, of such a sudden growth. Apollo, also, gave him a curved beak, and to his slender toes gave crooked claws. His former courage still remains, with strength greater than usual in birds. He changed to a fierce hawk; cruel to all, he vents his rage on other birds. Grieving himself he is a cause of grief to all his kind.”

PELEUS AND THE WOLF [346] While Ceyx, the royal son of Lucifer, told these great wonders of his brother's life; Onetor, who had watched the while those herds which Peleus had assigned to him, ran up with panting speed; and cried out as he ran, “Peleus, Peleus! I bring you dreadful news!” Peleus asked him to tell what had gone wrong and with King Ceyx he listened in suspense.

[352] “I drove the weary bullocks to the shore,” Onetor then began, “About the time when the high burning Sun in middle course, could look back on as much as might be seen remaining: and some cattle had then bent their knees on yellow sand; and as they lay might view the expanse of water stretched beyond. Some with slow steps were wandering here and there, and others swimming, stretched their lofty necks above the waves. A temple near that sea was fair to view, although 'twas not adorned with gold nor marble. It was richly made of beams, and shaded with an ancient grove. A sailor, while he dried his nets upon the shore nearby, declared that aged Nereus possessed it with his Nereids, as the gods who ruled the neighboring waters. Very near it is a marsh, made by the encroaching waves, all thickly covered with low willow trees. From there a loud uncanny crashing sound alarms the neighborhood. A monster-wolf! All stained with mud he breaks forth from the marsh, his thundering jaws thick-covered with vile foam and clotted blood—his fierce eyes flashing flames of crimson: and though he was raging, both with fury and with hunger, the true cause of his fierce passions was Ferocity. He never paused to sate his ravenous hunger with the first cattle that he fell upon, but mangled the whole herd, as if at war. And some of us, while we defended them, were wounded with his fatal bite and killed.—the shore and nearest waves were red with blood, and marshy fens were filled with mournful sounds—the longings of our cattle.—This delay is dangerous. We must not hesitate. We must unite before all is destroyed! Take up your arms. Arm! and unite, I say! And bear our weapons for the cause of Right!”

[379] So spoke the countryman, and yet the loss had no effect on Peleus, though severe, for he, remembering his red crime, believed the Nereid had given him that loss—a just misfortune, as an offering to the departed Phocus. After this, King Ceyx, while he put his armor on, ordered his men to arm themselves with their best weapons, and to follow his command. But his fond wife, Halcyone, aroused by such a tumult, ran to him in haste; in such haste that her hair was still unfinished, and such as had been done, she threw in wild disorder.—Clinging to the neck of her loved husband, she entreated him with words and tears, to send his men along. But keep himself at home and so to save two lives in one. But Peleus said "O queen, 'Tis sweet and commendable in you to fear but needless. Though you promise generous aid, my hope lies not in fighting with the beast, I must appease a goddess of the sea. And the divinity of ocean must be properly adored.”

[392] A lofty tower is near there, and upon its extreme height a signal-fire is burning night and day, known to the grateful ships. They all went there; and from its summit they beheld with sighs, the mangled cattle scattered on the shore, and saw the ravager among the herd, his blood-stained jaws and long hair dripping blood. Then Peleus stretched his arms out towards the sea, and he implored the azure Psamathe to lay aside her wrath and give him aid. But she was deaf to any word of Peleus entreating her, and would not offer aid, till Thetis, interceding on behalf of her afflicted husband, moved her will. The monster-wolf persisted in his rage, even when the sea nymph bade him turn aside. His keen ferocity increased by taste of new sweet blood; till Psamathe, while he was seizing the last mangled heifer's neck, transformed him to hard marble. Every part of that ferocious monster's shape remained but it was changed to marble colored stone, which showed the monster was no more a wolf, and should no longer be a cause of fear. But still, the guiding Fates did not permit the banished Peleus to continue there, in this land governed by the friendly king. A wandering exile, he proceeded north into Magnesia; and was purified of guilt by King Acastus of that land.

CEYX AND HALCYONE [410] King Ceyx, disturbed by his loved brother's fate and prodigies which happened since that time, prepared to venture to the Clarian god, that he might there consult the oracle, so sanctified to consolation of distress: for then the way to Delphi was unsafe because of Phorbas and his Phlegyans. Before he went he told his faithful queen, his dear Halcyone. She felt at once terror creep through the marrow of her bones, pallor of boxwood overspread her face, and her two cheeks were wet with gushing tears. Three times she tried to speak while tears and sobs delayed her voice, until at last she said:—"What fault of mine, my dearest, has so changed your usual thoughts? Where is that care for me that always has stood first? Can you leave me for this long journey with no anxious fear—Halcyone, forsaken in these halls? Will this long journey be a pleasant change because far from you I should be more dear? Perhaps you think you will go there by land, and I shall only grieve, and shall not fear the sea affrights me with its tragic face. Just lately I observed some broken planks upon our seashore, and I've read and read the names of seamen on their empty tombs! Oh, let no false assurance fill your mind because your father-in-law is Aeolus. Who in a dungeon shuts the stormful winds and smoothes at will the troubled ocean waves soon as the winds get freedom from his power, they take entire possession of the deep, and nothing is forbidden their attack; and all the rights of every land and sea are disregarded by them. They insult even the clouds of heaven and their wild concussions urge the lightnings to strike fires. The more I know of them, for I knew them in my childhood and I often saw them from my father's home, the more I fear. But, O dear husband! if this new resolve can not be altered by my prayers and fears, and if you are determined, take me, too: some comfort may be gained, if in the storms we may be tossed together. I shall fear only the ills that really come to us, together we can certainly endure discomforts till we gain that distant land.”

[444] Such words and tears of the daughter of Aeolus gave Ceyx, famed son of the Morning Star, much thought and sorrow; for the flame of love burned in his heart as strongly as in hers. Reluctant to give up the voyage, even more to make Halcyone his partner on the dangerous sea, he answered her complaints in many ways to pacify her breast, but could not comfort her until at last he said, “This separation from your love will be most sorrowful; and so I swear to you, as witnessed by the sacred fire of my Star-father, if the fates permit my safe return, I will come back to you before the moon has rounded twice her orb.” These promises gave hope of his return. Without delay he ordered a ship should be drawn forth from the dock, launched in the sea, and properly supplied against the needs of travel.—Seeing this, Halcyone, as if aware of future woe, shuddered, wept, and embraced him, and in extreme woe said with a sad voice, "Ah—Farewell!” and then, her nerveless body sank down to the ground. While Ceyx longed for some pretext to delay, the youthful oarsmen, chosen for their strength, in double rows began to draw the oars back towards their hardy breasts, cutting the waves with equal strokes. She raised her weeping eyes and saw her husband on the high-curved stern. He by his waving hand made signs to her, and she returned his signals. Then the ship moved farther from the shore until her eyes could not distinguish his loved countenance. Still, while she could, she followed with her gaze the fading hull; and, when that too was lost far in the distance, she remained and gazed at the white topsails, waving from the mast. But, when she could no longer see the sails, with anxious heart she sought her lonely couch and laid herself upon it. Couch and room renewed her sorrow and reminded her how much of life was absent on the sea.

[474] The ship had left the harbor, and the breeze shook the taut rigging. Now the captain bade the idle oars be drawn up to the sides. They ran the pointed sailyards up the mast and with spread canvas caught the coming breeze. Perhaps the ship had not sailed half her course, on every side the land was out of sight in fact at a great distance, when, towards dark the sea grew white with its increasing waves, while boisterous east winds blew with violence.—prompt in his duty, the captain warns his crew, “Lower the top sails—quick—furl all the sails tight to the yards!”—He ordered, but the storm bore all his words away, his voice could not be heard above the roaring of the sea. But of their own accord some sailors rushed to draw the oars in, others to secure the sides from danger, and some strove to pull the sails down from the wind. One pumps the waves up from the hold, and pours the rushing sea again into the sea; another takes the yards off.—While such things are being done without command or order, the wild storm increases, and on every side fierce winds wage a destructive warfare, which stirs up the furious waters to their utmost power. Even the captain, terrified, confessed he did not know the status of the ship, and could not order nor forbid the men—so great the storm, so far beyond his skill. Then he gave up control, while frightened men shouted above the rattled cordage shocks, and heavy waves were dashed against huge waves, and ail the sky reverberated with terrific thunders. The deep sea upturned tremendous billows, which appeared to reach so near the heaven they touched the heavy clouds with foam of their tossed waters.—At one time, while the great billows churned up yellow sand from off the bottom, the wild rolling waves were of that color. At another time they were more black than water of the Styx. Sometimes they levelled, white with lashing foam.

[592] The ship was tossed about in the wild storm: aloft as from a mountain peak it seemed to look down on the valley and the depth of Acheron; and, when sunk down in a trough of waves engulfing, it appeared to look up at the zenith from infernal seas. Often the waves fell on the sides with crash as terrible as when a flying stone or iron ram shatters a citadel. As lions, mustering up their strength anew, might hurl their breasts against the spears and outstretched arms of huntsmen, so the waves, upon the rising of the winds, rushed forth against the battered sides of the tossed ship and rose much higher than the slanting masts. The ship-bolts lost their grip, the loosened planks, despoiled of covering wax, gave open seams, through which streamed water of the fatal waves.—vast sheets of rain pour from dissolving clouds, so suddenly, it seemed that all the heavens were flung into the deep, while swelling seas ascended to the emptied fields of heaven! The sails are drenched with rain, the salt sea waves are mingled with the waters of the skies. The firmament is black without a star, and night is doubly dark with its own gloom and blackness of the storm. Quick lightning makes the black skies glitter, and the waves are fired with flames of thunder-bolts. Now floods leap up into the very middle of the ship. Just as a soldier, more courageous than the rest of his brave fellows, after he has often charged against the embattled walls of a defended city, gains at length the place which he has fought for; all inflamed with his desire of glory, scales the wall and stands alone among a thousand foes; so, when destructive waves have beat against the ship's high sides, the tenth wave with known power, rushes more furious than the nine before, nor ceases to attack the failing ship, until dashed high above the captured walls it surges in the hold. Part of the sea is still attempting to get in the ship, and part is in it. All are panic stricken, like men within a doomed and shaken town; who see some foes attack the walls without, and others hold possession of the walls within the city. Every art has failed, their courage sinks. With every coming wave another death seems rushing in upon them. One sailor yields in tears; another falls down, stupefied; another calls those blest whom funeral rites await; another prays, addressing trusted gods, lifting his hands up to that heaven unseen, as vainly he implores some aid divine, and one in fright recalls his brothers and his parent, while another names his children and his home: each frightened sailor thinks of all he left.

[544] King Ceyx thinks only of Halcyone, no other name is on his lips but hers: and though he longs for her, yet he is glad that she is safe at home. Ah, how he tried to look back to the shore of his loved land, to turn his last gaze towards his wife and home. But he has lost direction.—The tossed sea is raging in a hurricane so vast, and all the sky is hidden by the gloom of thickened storm-clouds, doubled in pitch-black. The mast is shattered by the violence of drenching tempests, and the useless helm is broken. One undaunted giant wave stands over wreck and spoil, and looks down like a conqueror upon the other waves: then falls as heavily as if some god should hurl Mount Athos or Mount Pindus, torn from rock foundations, into that wide sea: so, with down-rushing weight and violence it struck and plunged the ship to the lowest deeps. And as the ship sank, many of the crew sank overwhelmed in deep surrounding waves, never to rise from suffocating death: but some in desperation, clung for life to broken timbers and escaped that fate. King Ceyx clung to a fragment of the wreck with that majestic hand which often before had proudly swayed the sceptre. And in vain, alas, he called upon his father's name, alas, he begged his father-in-law's support. But, while he swam, his lips most frequently pronounced that dearest name, “Halcyone!” He longs to have his body carried by waves to her dear gaze and have at last, entombment by the hands of his loved friends. Swimming, he called Halcyone—far off, as often as the billows would allow his lips to open, and among the waves his darling's name was murmured, till at last a night-black arch of water swept above the highest waves and buried him beneath engulfing billows. Lucifer was dim past recognition when the dawn appeared and, since he never could depart from heaven, soon hid his grieving countenance in clouds.

[573] Meanwhile, Halcyone, all unaware of his sad wreck, counts off the passing nights and hastens to prepare for him his clothes that he may wear as soon as he returns to her; and she is choosing what to wear herself, and vainly promises his safe return—all this indeed, while she in hallowed prayer is giving frankincense to please the gods: and first of loving adorations, she paid at the shrine of Juno. There she prayed for Ceyx—after he had suffered death, that he might journey safely and return and might love her above all other women, this one last prayer alone was granted to her but Juno could not long accept as hers these supplications on behalf of one then dead; and that she might persuade Halcyone to turn her death-polluted hands away from hallowed altars, Juno said in haste, “O, Iris, best of all my messengers, go quickly to the dreadful court of Sleep, and in my name command him to despatch a dream in the shape of Ceyx, who is dead, and tell Halcyone the woeful truth.” So she commanded.—Iris instantly assumed a garment of a thousand tints; and as she marked the high skies with her arch, went swiftly thence as ordered, to the place where Sleep was then concealed beneath a rock.

[708] Near the Cimmerian Land there is a cave, with a long entrance, in a hallowed mountain, the home of slothful Sleep. To that dark cave the Sun, when rising or in middle skies, or setting, never can approach with light. There dense fogs, mingled with the dark, exhale darkness from the black soil—and all that place is shadowed in a deep mysterious gloom. No wakeful bird with visage crested high calls forth the morning's beauty in clear notes; nor do the watchful dogs, more watchful geese, nor wild beasts, cattle, nor the waving trees, make sound or whisper; and the human voice is never heard there—silent Rest is there. But, from the bottom of a rock beneath, Lethean waters of a stream ooze forth, sounds of a rivulet, which trickle with soft murmuring amid the pebbles and invite soft sleep. Before the cavern doors most fertile poppies and a wealth of herbs bloom in abundance, from the juice of which the humid night-hours gather sleep and spread it over darkened Earth. No door is in that cavern-home and not a hinge's noise nor guarding porter's voice disturbs the calm. But in the middle is a resting-couch, raised high on night-black ebony and soft with feathered cushions, all jet black, concealed by a rich coverlet as dark as night, on which the god of sleep, dissolved in sloth lies with unmoving limbs. Around him there in all directions, unsubstantial dreams recline in imitation of all shapes—as many as the uncounted ears of corn at harvest—as the myriad leaves of trees—or tiny sand grains spread upon the shore.

[616] As soon as Iris entered that dread gloom, she pushed aside the visions in her way with her fair glowing hands; and instantly, that sacred cavern of the god of Sleep was all illuminated with the glow and splendor of her garment.—Out of himself the god with difficulty lifted up his lanquid eyes. From this small sign of life relapsing many times to languid sloth, while nodding, with his chin he struck his breast again and again. At last he roused himself from gloom and slumber; and, while raised upon his elbow, he enquired of Iris why she came to him.—He knew her by her name. She answered him, “O, Sleep, divine repose of all things! Gentlest of the deities! Peace to the troubled mind, from which you drive the cares of life, restorer of men's strength when wearied with the toils of day, command a vision that shall seem the actual form of royal Ceyx to visit Trachin famed for Hercules and tell Halcyone his death by shipwreck. It is Juno's wish.” Iris departed after this was said. For she no longer could endure the effect of slumber-vapor; and as soon as she knew sleep was creeping over her tired limbs she flew from there—and she departed by the rainbow, over which she came before.

[633] Out of the multitude—his thousand sons—the god of sleep raised Morpheus by his power. Most skillful of his sons, who had the art of imitating any human shape; and dexterously could imitate in men the gait and countenance, and every mode of speaking. He could simulate the dress and customary words of any man he chose to represent—but he could not assume the form of anything but man. Such was his art. Another of Sleep's sons could imitate all kinds of animals; such as a wild beast or a flying bird, or even a serpent with its twisted shape; and that son, by the gods above was called Icelos—but the inhabitants of earth called him Phobetor—and a third son, named Phantasos, cleverly could change himself into the forms of earth that have no life; into a statue, water, or a tree. It was the habit of these three to show themselves at night to kings and generals; and other sons would frequently appear among the people of the common class. All such the aged god of Sleep passed by. Selecting only Morpheus from among the many brothers to accomplish this, and execute what Iris had desired. And after all that work, he dropped his head, and sank again in languid drowsiness, shrinking to sloth within his lofty couch.

[650] Morpheus at once flew through the night of darkness, on his wings that make no sound, and in brief space of intervening time, arrived at the Haemonian city walls; and there he laid aside his wings, and took the face and form of Ceyx. In that form as one deprived of life, devoid of clothes, wan and ghastly, he stood beside the bed of the sad wife. The hero's beard seemed dripping, sea water streamed down from his drenching hair. Then leaning on the bed, while dropping tears were running down his cheeks, he said these words: “Most wretched wife, can you still recognize your own loved Ceyx, or have my looks changed: so much with death you can not?—Look at me, and you will be assured I am your own: but here instead of your dear husband, you will find only his ghost. Your faithful prayers did not avail, Halcyone, and I have perished. Give up all deluding hopes of my return. The stormy Southwind caught my ship while sailing the Aegean sea; and there, tossed by the mighty wind, my ship was dashed to pieces. While I vainly called upon your name, the angry waters closed above my drowning head and it is no uncertain messenger that tells you this and nothing from vague rumors has been told. But it is I myself, come from the wreck, now telling you my fate. Come then, arise shed tears, and put on mourning; do not send me unlamented, down to Tartarus.” And Morpheus added to these words a voice which she would certainly believe was her beloved husband's; and he seemed to be shedding fond human tears; and even his hands were moved in gestures that Ceyx often used. Halcyone shed tears and groaned aloud, and, as she moved her arms and caught at his dear body, she embraced the vacant air she cried out loudly, “Stay, oh stay with me! Why do you hurry from me? We will go together!” Agitated by her own excited voice; and by what seemed to be her own dear husband, she awoke from sleep. And first looked all about her to persuade herself that he whom she had lately seen must yet be with her, for she had aroused the servants who in haste brought lights desired.

[680] When she could find him nowhere, in despair she struck her face and tore her garment from her breast and beat her breast with mourning hands. She did not wait to loosen her long hair; but tore it with her hands and to her nurse, who asked the cause of her wild grief, she cried: “Alas, Halcyone is no more! no more! with her own Ceyx she is dead! is dead! Away with words of comfort, he is lost by shipwreck! I have seen him, and I knew him surely—as a ghost he came to me; and when desirous to detain him, I stretched forth my arms to him, his ghost left me—it vanished from me; but it surely was the ghost of my dead husband. If you ask description of it, I must truly say he did not have his well known features—he was not so cheerful as he was in life! Alas, I saw him pale and naked, with his hair still dripping—his ghost from the waves stood on this very spot:” and while she moaned she sought his footprints on the floor. "Alas, this was my fear, and this is what my mind shuddered to think of, when I begged that you would not desert me for the wind's control. But how I wish, since you were sailing forth to perish, that you had but taken me with you. If I had gone with you, it would have been advantage to me, for I should have shared the whole course of my life with you and you would not have met a separate death. I linger here but I have met my death, I toss on waves, and drift upon the sea. My heart would be more cruel than the waves, if it should ask me to endure this life—if I should struggle to survive such grief. I will not strive nor leave you so forlorn, at least I'll follow you to death. If not the urn at least the lettered stone shall keep us still together. If your bones are not united with my bones, 'tis sure our names must be united.”Overcome with grief, she could not say another word—but she continued wailing, and her groans were heaved up from her sorrow-stricken breast.

[710] At early dawn, she went from her abode down to the seashore, where most wretchedly, she stood upon the spot from which he sailed, and sadly said; “He lingered here while he was loosening the cables, and he kissed me on this seashore when he left me here.” And while she called to recollection all that she had seen when standing there, and while she looked far out on flowing waves from there, she noticed floating on the distant sea—what shall I say? At first even she could not be sure of what she saw. But presently although still distant—it was certainly a floating corpse. She could not see what man he might be, but because it seemed to her it surely was a shipwrecked body, she was moved as at an omen and began to weep; and, moaning as she stood there, said:—“Ah wretched one, whoever it may be, ah, wretched is the wife whom you have left!” As driven by the waves the body came still nearer to her, she was less and less the mistress of herself, the more she looked upon it; and, when it was close enough for her to see its features, she beheld her husband. “It is he,” she cried and then she tore her face, her hair, her royal robe and then, extending both her trembling hands towards Ceyx, “So dearest one! So do you come to me again?” She cried, “O luckless mate.”

[728] A mole, made by the craft of man, adjoins the sea and breaks the shoreward rush of waves. To this she leaped—it seemed impossible—and then, while beating the light air with wings that instant formed upon her, she flew on, a mourning bird, and skimmed above the waves. And while she lightly flew across the sea her clacking mouth with its long slender bill, full of complaining, uttered moaning sounds: but when she touched the still and pallied form, embracing his dear limbs with her new wings, she gave cold kisses with her hardened bill. All those who saw it doubted whether Ceyx could feel her kisses; and it seemed to them the moving waves had raised his countenance. But he was truly conscious of her grief; and through the pity of the gods above, at last they both were changed to flying birds, together in their fate. Their love lived on, nor in these birds were marriage bonds dissolved, and they soon coupled and were parent birds. Each winter during seven full days of calm Halcyone broods on her floating nest—her nest that sails upon a halcyon sea: the passage of the deep is free from storms, throughout those seven full days; and Aeolus restraining harmful winds, within their cave, for his descendants' sake gives halcyon seas.

HESPERIA AND AESACUS [749] An old man saw the two birds fly across the wide extended sea and praised their love, undying to the end. His old friend who stood near him, said, “There is another bird, which you can see skimming above the waves with folded legs drawn up;” and as he spoke, he pointed at a divedapper, which had a long throat, and continued, “It was first the son of a great king, as Ceyx, was: and if you wish to know his ancestry, I can assure you he descended from Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymede—taken by Jupiter, and old Laomedon, and Priam, ruler at the fall of Troy. “Aesacus was the brother of the great illustrious Hector; and, if he had not been victimized by a strange fate in youth, he would have equalled Hector's glorious fame, Hector was child of Hecuba, who was daughter of Dymas. Alexirhoe, the daughter of the two-horned Granicus, so rumor has it, secretly brought forth Aesacus, hidden under Ida's shade.

[764] “He loathed the city and away from court, frequented lonely mountains and the fields of unambitious peasants. Rarely he was seen among the throngs of Ilium.—yet, neither churlish nor impregnable to love's appeal, he saw Hesperia, the daughter of Cebrenus, while she was once resting on the velvet-shaded banks of her sire's cherished stream. Aesacus had so often sought for her throughout the woods. Just when he saw her, while she rested there, her hair spread on her shoulders to the sun, she saw him, and without delay she fled, even as the frightened deer runs from the wolf or as the water-duck, when she has left her favored stream, surprised, flies from the hawk. Aesacus followed her, as swift with love as she was swift with fear. But in the grass a lurking snake struck at her rosy heel and left its venom in her flesh.—And so, her flight was ended by untimely death. Oh, frantic, he embraced her breathless form, and cried: `Alas, alas, that I pursued! I did not dream of such a dreadful fate! Success was not worth such a price I and the snake together caused your death—the serpent gave the wound, I was the cause. Mine is the greater guilt, and by my death I'll give you consolation for your death!' ”

[783] “He said those words and leaped on a high rock, which years of sounding waves had undermined, and hurled himself into the sea below. Tethys was moved with pity for his fall, received him softly, and then covered him with feathers, as he swam among the waves. The death he sought for was not granted him. At this the lover was wroth. Against his will, he was obliged to live in his distress, with opposition to his spirit that desired departure from the wretched pain of life. As he assumed upon his shoulders wings newformed, he flew aloft and from that height again he plunged his body in the waves his feathers broke all danger of that fall—and this new bird, Aesacus, plunged headlong into the deep, and tried incessantly that method of destruction. His great love unsatisfied, made his sad body lean, till even the spaces fixed between the joints of his legs have grown long; his neck is long; so that his head is far away from his lean body. Still he hunts the sea and takes his name from diving in the waves.


EVENTS IN AULIS [1] Sadly his father, Priam, mourned for him, not knowing that young Aesacus had assumed wings on his shoulders, and was yet alive. Then also Hector with his brothers made complete but unavailing sacrifice, upon a tomb which bore his carved name. Paris was absent. But soon afterwards, he brought into that land a ravished wife, Helen, the cause of a disastrous war, together with a thousand ships, and all the great Pelasgian nation. Vengeance would not long have been delayed, but the fierce winds raged over seas impassable, and held the ships at fishy Aulis. They could not be moved from the Boeotian land. Here, when a sacrifice had been prepared to Jove, according to the custom of their land, and when the ancient altar glowed with fire, the Greeks observed an azure colored snake crawling up in a plane tree near the place where they had just begun their sacrifice. Among the highest branches was a nest, with twice four birds—and those the serpent seized together with the mother-bird as she was fluttering round her loss. And every bird the serpent buried in his greedy maw. All stood amazed: but Calchas, who perceived the truth, exclaimed, “Rejoice Pelasgian men, for we shall conquer; Troy will fall; although the toil of war must long continue—so the nine birds equal nine long years of war.” And while he prophesied, the serpent, coiled about the tree, was transformed to a stone, curled crooked as a snake.

[24] But Nereus stormed in those Aonian waves, and not a ship moved forward. Some declared that Neptune thus was aiding Troy, because he built the walls of that great city. Not so Calchas, son of Thestor! He knew all the truth, and told them plainly that a virgin's blood alone might end a virgin goddess' wrath. The public good at last prevailed above affection, and the duty of a king at last proved stronger than a father's love: when Iphigenia as a sacrifice, stood by the altar with her weeping maids and was about to offer her chaste blood, the goddess, moved by pity, spread a mist before their eyes, amid the sacred rites and mournful supplications. It is said she left a hind there in the maiden's place and carried Iphigenia away. The hind, as it was fitting, calmed Diana's rage and also calmed the anger of the sea. The thousand ships received the winds astern and gained the Phrygian shore.

THE HOUSE OF FAME AND THE TROJAN CYGNUS [39] There is a spot convenient in the center of the world, between the land and sea and the wide heavens, the meeting of the threefold universe. From there is seen all things that anywhere exist, although in distant regions far; and there all sounds of earth and space are heard. Fame is possessor of this chosen place, and has her habitation in a tower, which aids her view from that exalted highs. And she has fixed there numerous avenues, and openings, a thousand, to her tower and no gates with closed entrance, for the house is open, night and day, of sounding brass, reechoing the tones of every voice. It must repeat whatever it may hear; and there's no rest, and silence in no part. There is no clamor; but the murmuring sound of subdued voices, such as may arise from waves of a far sea, which one may hear who listens at a distance; or the sound which ends a thunderclap, when Jupiter has clashed black clouds together. Fickle crowds are always in that hall, that come and go, and myriad rumors—false tales mixed with true—are circulated in confusing words. Some fill their empty ears with all this talk, and some spread elsewhere all that's told to them. The volume of wild fiction grows apace, and each narrator adds to what he hears. Credulity is there and rash Mistake, and empty Joy, and coward Fear alarmed by quick Sedition, and soft Whisper—all of doubtful life. Fame sees what things are done in heaven and on the sea, and on the earth. She spies all things in the wide universe.

[64] Fame now had spread the tidings, a great fleet of Greek ships was at that time on its way, an army of brave men. The Trojans stood, all ready to prevent the hostile Greeks from landing on their shores. By the decree of Fate, the first man killed of the invaders' force was strong Protesilaus, by the spear of valiant Hector, whose unthought-of power at that time was discovered by the Greeks to their great cost. The Phyrgians also learned, at no small cost of blood, what warlike strength came from the Grecian land. The Sigean shores grew red with death-blood: Cygnus, Neptune's son there slew a thousand men: for which, in wrath, Achilles pressed his rapid chariot straight through the Trojan army; making a lane with his great spear, shaped from a Pelion tree. And as he sought through the fierce battle's press, either for Cygnus or for Hector, he met Cygnus and engaged at once with him (Fate had preserved great Hector from such foe till ten years from that day). Cheering his steeds, their white necks pressed upon the straining yoke, he steered the chariot towards his foe, and, brandishing the spear with his strong arm, he cried, “Whoever you may be, you have the consolation of a glorious death you die by me, Haemonian Achilles!” His heavy spear flew after the fierce words. Although the spear was whirled direct and true, yet nothing it availed with sharpened point. It only bruised, as with a blunted stroke, the breast of Cygnus! “By report we knew of you before this battle, goddess born.” The other answered him, “But why are you surprised that I escape the threatened wound?” (Achilles was surprised). “This helmet crowned, great with its tawny horse-hair, and this shield, broad-hollowed, on my left arm, are not held for help in war: they are but ornament, as Mars wears armor. All of them shall be put off, and I will fight with you unhurt. It is a privilege that I was born not as you, of a Nereid but of him whose powerful rule is over Nereus, his daughters and their ocean.” So, he spoke.

[95] Immediately he threw his spear against Achilles, destined to pierce the curving shield through brass and through nine folds of tough bull's hide. It stopped there, for it could not pierce the tenth. The hero wrenched it out, and hurled again a quivering spear at Cygnus, with great strength. The Trojan stood unwounded and unharmed. Nor did a third spear injure Cygnus, though he stood there with his body all exposed. Achilles raged at this, as a wild bull in open circus, when with dreadful horns he butts against the hanging purple robes which stir his wrath and there observes how they evade him, quite unharmed by his attack. Achilles then examined his good spear, to see if by some chance the iron point was broken from it, but the point was firm, fixed on the wooden shaft. “My hand is weak,” he said, “but is it possible its strength forsook me though it never has before? For surely I had my accustomed strength, when first I overthrew Lyrnessus' walls, or when I won the isle of Tenedos or Thebes (then under King Eetion) and I drenched both with their own peoples' blood, or when the river Caycus ran red with slaughter of its people, or, when twice Telephus felt the virtue of my spear. On this field also, where such heaps lie slain, my right hand surely has proved its true might; and it is mighty.” So he spoke of strength, remembered.

[115] But as if in proof against his own distrust, he hurled a spear against Menoetes, a soldier in the Lycian ranks. The sharp spear tore the victim's coat of mail and pierced his breast beneath. Achilles, when he saw his dying head strike on the earth wrenched the same spear from out the reeking wound, and said, “This is the hand, and this the spear I conquered with; and I will use the same against him who in luck escaped their power; and the result should favor as I pray the helpful gods.” And, as he said such words, in haste he hurled his ashen spear, again at Cygnus. It went straight and struck unshunned Resounding on the shoulder of that foe, it bounced back as if it hit a wall or solid cliff. Yet when Achilles saw just where the spear struck, Cygnus there was stained with blood. He instantly rejoiced; but vainly, for it was Menoetes' blood!

[128] Then in a sudden rage, Achilles leaped down headlong from his lofty chariot; and, seeking his god-favored foe, he struck in conflict fiercely, with his gleaming sword. Although he saw that he had pierced both shield and helmet through, he did not harm the foe—his sword was even blunted on the flesh. Achilles could not hold himself for rage, but furious, with his sword-hilt and his shield he battered wildly the uncovered face and hollow-temples of his Trojan foe. Cygnus gave way; Achilles rushed on him, buffeting fiercely, so that he could not recover from the shock. Fear seized upon Cygnus, and darkness swam before his eyes. Then, as he moved back with retreating steps, a large stone hindered him and blocked his way. His back pushed against this, Achilles seized and dashed him violently to the ground. Then pressing with buckler and hard knees the breast of Cygnus, he unlaced the helmet thongs, wound them about the foeman's neck and drew them tightly under his chin, till Cygnus' throat could take no breath of life. Achilles rose eager to strip his conquered foe but found his empty armor, for the god of ocean had changed the victim into that white bird whose name he lately bore.

CAENEUS TRANSFORMED INTO A BIRD [146] There was a truce for many days after this opening fight while both sides resting, laid aside their arms. A watchful guard patroled the Phrygian walls; the Grecian trenches had their watchful guard. Then, on a festal day, Achilles gave the blood of a slain heifer to obtain the favor of Athena for their cause. The entrails burned upon the altar, while the odor, grateful to the deities, was mounting to the skies. When sacred rites were done, a banquet for the heroes was served on their tables. There the Grecian chiefs reclined on couches; while they satisfied themselves with roasted flesh, and banished cares: and thirst with wine. Nor harp nor singing voice nor long pipe made of boxwood pierced with holes, delighted them. They talked of their own deeds and valor, all that thrilling night: and even the strength of enemies whom they had met and overcome. What else could they admit or think of, while the great Achilles spoke or listened to them? But especially the recent victory over Cygnus held them ardent. Wonderful it seemed to them that such a youth could be composed of flesh not penetrable by the sharpest spear; of flesh which blunted even hardened steel, and never could be wounded. All the Greeks, and even Achilles wondered at the thought. Then Nestor said to them: “During your time, Cygnus has been the only man you knew who could despise all weapons and whose flesh could not be pierced by thrust of sword or spear. But long ago I saw another man able to bear unharmed a thousand strokes, Caeneus of Thessaly, Caeneus who lived upon Mt. Othrys. He was famed in war yet, strange to say, by birth he was a woman!”

[175] Then all expressed the greatest wonderment, and begged to hear the story of his life. Achilles cried, “O eloquent old man! The wisdom of our age! All of us wish to hear, who was this Caeneus? Why was he changed to the other sex? in what campaigns, and in what wars was he so known to you? Who conquered him, if any ever did?” The aged man replied to them with care:—“Although my great age is a harm to me, and many actions of my early days escape my memory; yet, most of them are well remembered. Nothing of old days, amid so many deeds of war and peace, can be more firmly fixed upon my mind than the strange story I shall tell of him. If long extent of years made anyone a witness of most wonderful events and many, truly I may say to you that I have lived two hundred years; and now have entered my third century.

[189] "The daughter of Elatus, Caenis, was remarkable for charm—most beautiful of all Thessalian maidens—many sighed for her in vain through all the neighboring towns and yours, Achilles, for that was her home. But Peleus did not try to win her love, for he was either married at that time to your dear mother, or was pledged to her. Caenis never became the willing bride of any suitor; but report declares, while she was walking on a lonely shore, the god of ocean saw and ravished her. And in the joy of that love Neptune said, `Request of me whatever you desire, and nothing shall deny your dearest wish!'—the story tells us that he made this pledge. And Caenis said to Neptune, `The great wrong, which I have suffered from you justifies the wonderful request that I must make; I ask that I may never suffer such an injury again. Grant I may be no longer woman, and I'll ask no more.' While she was speaking to him, the last words of her strange prayer were uttered in so deep, in such a manly tone, it seemed indeed they must be from a man.—That was a fact: Neptune not only had allowed her prayer but made the new man proof against all wounds of spear or sword. Rejoicing in the gift he went his way as Caeneus Atracides, spent years in every manful exercise, and roamed the plains of northern Thessaly.

[210] “The son of bold Ixion, Pirithous wedding Hippodame, had asked as guests the cloud-born centaurs to recline around the ordered tables, in a cool cave, set under some shading trees. Thessalian chiefs were there and I myself was with them there. The festal place resounded with the rout in noisy clamor, singing nuptial verse; and in the great room, filled with smoking fire, the maiden came escorted by a crowd of matrons and young married women; she most beautiful of all that lovely throng. And so Pirithous, the fortunate son, of bold Ixion, was so praised by all, for his pure joy and lovely wife, it seemed his very blessings must have led to fatal harm: for savage Eurytus, wildest of the wild centaurs, now inflamed with sudden envy, drunkenness, and lust, upset the tables and made havoc there so dreadful, that the banquet suddenly was changed from love to uproar. Seized by the hair, the bride was violently dragged away. When Eurytus caught up Hippodame each one of all the centaurs took at will the maid or matron that he longed for most. The palace, seeming like a captured town, resounded with affrighted shrieks of women.

[226] "At once we all sprang up. And Theseus cried, `What madness, Eurytus, has driven you to this vile wickedness! While I have life, you dare attack Pirithous. You know not what you do, for one wrong injures both!' The valiant hero did not merely talk: he pushed them off as they were pressing on, and rescued her whom Eurytus had seized. Since Eurytus could not defend such deeds with words, he turned and beat with violent hands the face of him who saved the bride and struck his generous breast. By chance, an ancient bowl was near at hand. This rough with figures carved, the son of Aegeus caught and hurled it full in that vile centaur's face. He, spouting out thick gouts of blood, and bleeding from his wounds—his brains and wine mixed,—kicked the blood-soaked sand. His double membered centaur brothers, wild with passion at his death, all shouted out, `To arms! to arms!' Their courage raised by wine! In their first onset, hurled cups flew about, and shattered wine casks, hollow basins— things before adapted to a banquet, now for death and carnage in the furious fight.

[245] "Amycus first (Opinion's son) began to spoil the inner sanctuary of its gifts. He snatched up from that shrine a chandelier, adorned with glittering lamps, and lifted high, with all the force of one who strives to break the bull s white neck with sacrificial axe, he dashed it at the head of Celadon, one of the Lapithae, and crushed his skull into the features of his face. His eyes leaped from his sockets, and the shattered bones of his smashed face gave way so that his nose was driven back and fastened in his throat. But Belates of Pella tore away a table-leg of maple wood and felled Amycus to the ground; his sunken chin cast down upon his breast; and, as he spat his teeth out mixed with blood, a second blow despatched him to the shades of Tartarus.

[258] "Gryneus, seeing a smoking altar, cried, `Good use for this,' with which words he raised up that heavy, blazing altar. Hurling it into the middle of the Lapithae, he struck down Broteas and Orius: Mycale, mother of that Orius, was famous for her incantations, which she had often used to conjure down the shining twin-horns of the unwilling moon. Exadius threatened, `You shall not escape! Let me but have a weapon!' And with that, he whirled the antlers of a votive stag, which he found there, hung on a tall pine-tree; and with that double-branching horn he pierced the eyes of Gryneus, and he gouged them out. One eye stuck to the horn; the other rolled down on his beard, to which it strictly clung in dreadful clotted gore.

[271] "Then Rhoetus snatched a blazing brand of plum-wood from an altar and whirling it upon the right, smashed through the temples of Charaxus, wonderful with golden hair. Seized by the violent flames, his yellow locks burned fiercely, as a field of autumn grain; and even the scorching blood gave from the sore wound a terrific noise as a red-hot iron in pincers which the smith lifts out and plunges in the tepid pool, hissing and sizzling. Charaxus shook the fire from his burnt locks; and heaved up on his shoulders a large threshold stone torn from the ground—a weight sufficient for a team of oxen. The vast weight impeded him, so that it could not even touch his foe—and yet, the massive stone did hit his friend, Cometes, who was standing near to him, and crushed him down. Then Rhoetus, crazed with joy, exulting yelled, `I pray that all of you may be so strong!' Wielding his half-burnt stake with heavy blows again and again, he broke the sutures of his enemy's skull, until the bones were mingled with his oozing brains.

[290] "Victorious, then rushed he upon Evagrus, and Corythus and Dryas. First of these was youthful Corythus, whose cheeks were then just covered with soft down. When he fell dead, Evagrus cried, `What glory do you get, killing a boy?' But Rhoetus did not give him time for uttering one word more. He pushed the red hot stake into the foeman's mouth, while he still spoke, and down into his lungs. He then pursued the savage Dryas, while whirling the red fire fast about his head; but not with like success, for, while he still rejoiced in killings, Dryas turned and pierced him with a stake where neck and shoulder meet. Rhoetus groaned and with a great effort pulled the stake out from the bone, then fled away, drenched in his blood. And Orneus followed him. Lycabas fled, and Medon with a wound in his right shoulder. Thaumas and Pisenor and Mermerus fled with them. Mermerus, who used to excell all others in a race, ran slowly, crippled by a recent wound. Pholus and Melaneus ran for their lives and with them Abas, hunter of wild boars and Asbolus, the augur, who in vain had urged his friends to shun that hapless fight. As Nessus joined the rout, he said to him, `You need not flee, for you shall be reserved a victim for the bow of Hercules!' But neither Lycidas, Eurynomus nor Areos, nor Imbreus had escaped from death: for all of these the strong right hand of Dryas pierced, as they confronted him. Crenaeus there received a wound in front. Although he turned in flight, as he looked back, a heavy javelin between his eyes pierced through him, where his nose and forehead joined.

[316] “In all this uproar, Aphidas lay flat, in endless slumber from the wine he drank, incessant, and his nerveless hand still held the cup of mixed wine, as he lay full stretched, upon a shaggy bear-skin from Mount Ossa. When Phorbas saw him, harmless in that sleep, he laid his fingers in his javelin's thong, and shouted loudly, `Mix your wine, down there, with waters of the Styx!' And stopping talk, let fly his javelin at the sleeping youth—the ashen shaft, iron-tipped, was driven through his neck, exposed, as he by chance lay there—his head thrown back. He did not even feel a touch of death—and from his deep-pierced throat his crimson blood flowed out upon the couch, and in the wine-bowl still grasped in his hand.

[327] "I saw Petraeus when he strove to tear up from the earth, an acorn-bearing oak. And, while he struggled with it, back and forth, and was just ready to wrench up the trunk, Pirithous hurled a well aimed spear at him, transfixed his ribs, and pinned his body tight, writhing, to that hard oak: and Lycus fell and Chromis fell, before Pirithous. They gave less glory to the conqueror than Helops or than Dictys. Helops was killed by a javelin, which pierced his temples from the right side, clear through to his left ear. And Dictys, running in a desperate haste, hoping in vain, to escape Ixion's son, slipped on the steep edge of a precipice; and, as he fell down headlong crashed into the top of a huge ash-tree, which impaled his dying body on its broken spikes.

[341] "Aphareus, eager to avenge him tried to lift a rock from that steep mountain side; but as he heaved, the son of Aegeus struck him squarely with an oaken club; and smashed, and broke the huge bones of that centaur's arm. He has no time, and does not want to give that useless foe to death. He leaps upon the back of tall Bienor, never trained to carry riders, and he fixed his knees firm in the centaur's ribs, and holding tight to the long hair, seized by his left hand, struck and shattered the hard features and fierce face and bony temples with his club of gnarled strong oak. And with it, he struck to the ground Nedymnus and Lycopes, dart expert, and Hippasus, whose beard hid all his breast. And Rhipheus taller than the highest trees and Thereus, who would carry home alive the raging bears, caught in Thessalian hills. Demoleon could no longer stand and look on Theseus and his unrestrained success. He struggled with vast effort to tear up an old pine, trunk and all, with its long roots, and, failing shortly in that first attempt, he broke it off and hurled it at his foe. But Theseus saw the pine tree in its flight and, warned by Pallas, got beyond its range—his boast was, Pallas had directed him! And yet, the missle was not launched in vain. It sheared the left shoulder and the breast from tall Crantor. He, Achilles, was your father's armor bearer and was given by King Amyntor, when he sued for peace.

[366] "When Peleus at a distance saw him torn and mangled, he exclaimed, `At least receive this sacrifice, O Crantor! most beloved! Dearest of young men!' And with sturdy arm and all his strength of soul as well, he hurled his ashen lance against Demoleon, which piercing through his shivered ribs, hung there and quivered in the bones. The centaur wrenched the wooden shaft out, with his frenzied hands, but could not move the pointed head, which stuck within his lungs. His very anguish gave him such a desperation, that he rose against his foe and trampled and beat down the hero with his hoofs, Peleus allowed the blows to fall on helm and ringing shield. Protected so, he watched his time and thrust up through the centaur's shoulder. By one stroke he pierced two breasts, where horse and man-form met. Before this, Peleus with the spear had killed both Myles and Phlegraeus and with the sword Iphinous and Clanis. Now he killed Dorylas, who was clad in a wolfskin cap and fought with curving bull's horns dripping blood.

[383] "To him I said, for courage gave me strength, `Your horns! how much inferior to my steel!' -- and threw my spear. Since he could not avoid the gleaming point, he held up his right hand to shield his forehead from the threatened wound. His hand was pierced and pinned against his forehead. He shouted madly. Peleus, near him while he stood there pinned and helpless with his wound, struck him with sharp sword in the belly deep. He leaped forth fiercely, as he trailed his bowels upon the ground, with his entangled legs treading upon them, bursting them, he fell with empty belly, lifeless to the earth.

[393] "Cyllarus, beauty did not save your life—if beauty is in any of your tribe—your golden beard was in its early growth, your golden hair came flowing to your shoulders. in your bright face there was a pleasing glance. The neck and shoulders and the hands and breast: and every aspect of his human form resembled those admired statues which our gifted artists carve. Even the shape of the fine horse beneath the human form was perfect too. Give him the head and neck of a full-blooded horse, and he would seem a steed for Castor, for his back was shaped so comfortable to be sat upon and muscle swelled upon his arching chest. His lustrous body was as black as pitch, and yet his legs and flowing tail were white as snow. Many a female of his kind loved him, but only Hylonome gained his love. There was no other centaur maid so beautiful as she within the woods. By coaxing ways she had won Cyllarus, by loving and confessing love. By daintiness, so far as that was possible in one of such a form, she held his love; for now she smoothed her long locks with a comb; and now she decked herself with rosemary and now with violets or with roses in her hair; and sometimes she wore lilies, white as snow; and twice each day she bathed her lovely face, in the sweet stream that falls down from the height of wooded Pagasa; and daily, twice she dipped her body in the stream. She wore upon her shoulders and left side a skin, greatly becoming, of selected worth. Their love was equal, and together they would wander over mountain-sides, and rest together in cool caves; and so it was, they went together to that palace-cave, known to the Lapithae. Together they fought fiercely in this battle, side by side. Thrown by an unknown hand, a javelin pierced Cyllarus, just below the fatal spot where the chest rises to the neck—his heart, though only slightly wounded, grew quite cold, and his whole body felt cold, afterwards, as quickly as the weapon was drawn out. Then Hylonome held in her embrace the dying body; fondled the dread wound and, fixing her lips closely to his lips endeavored to hold back his dying breath. But soon she saw that he indeed was dead. With mourning words, which clamor of the fight prevented me from hearing, she threw herself on the spear that pierced her Cyllarus and fell upon his breast, embracing him in death.

[429] “Another sight still comes before my eyes, the centaur Phaeocomes with his log. He wore six lion skins well wrapped around his body, and with fixed connecting knots they covered him, both horse and man. He hurled a trunk two yokes of oxen scarce could move and struck the hapless son of Olenus a crushing blow upon the head. The broad round dome was shattered, and his dying brains oozed out through hollow nostrils, mouth, and ears, as curdled milk seeps down through oaken twigs; or other liquors, crushed out under weights, flow through a well-pierced sieve and, thick, squeeze out through numerous holes. As he began to spoil his victim—and your father can affirm the truth of this—I thrust my sword deep in the wretch's groin. Chthonius, too, and Teleboas fell there by my sword. The former had a two-pronged stick as his sole weapon, and the other had a spear, with which the wounded me. You see the scar. The old scar still is surely visible! Those were my days of youth and strength, and then I ought to have warred against the citadel of Pergama. I could have checked, or even vanquished, the arms of Hector: but, alas, Hector had not been born, or was perhaps a boy. Old age has dulled my youthful strength. What use is it, to speak of Periphas, who overcame Pyretus, double-formed? Why tell of Ampyx, who with pointless shaft, victorious thrust Echeclus through the face? Macareus, hurling a heavy crowbar pierced Erigdupus and laid him low. A hunting spear that Nessus strongly hurled, was buried in the groin of Cymelus. Do not believe that Mopsus, son of Ampycus, was merely a prophet of events to come, he slew a daring two-formed monster there. Hodites tried in vain to speak, before his death, but could not, for his tongue was nailed against his chin, his chin against his throat.

[459] "Five of the centaurs Caeneus put to death: Styphelus, Bromus, and Antimachus, Elymus, and Pyracmos with his axe. I have forgot their wounds but noted well their names and number. Latreus, huge of limb, had killed and stripped Emathian Halesus. Now in his armor he came rushing out, in years he was between old age and youth; but he retained the vigor of his youth; his temples showed his hair was mixed with grey. Conspicuous for his Macedonian lance and sword and shield, facing both sides -- each way, he insolently clashed his arms; and while he rode poured out these words in empty air. `Shall I put up with one like you, O Caeneus? For you are still a woman in my sight. Have you forgot your birth or that disgrace by which you won reward—at what a price you got the false resemblance to a man?! Consider both your birth, and what you have submitted to! Take up a distaff, and wool basket! Twist your threads with practiced thumb! Leave warfare to your men!' While puffed-up pride was vaunting out such nonsense, Caeneus hurled a spear and pierced the stretched out running side, just where the man was joined upon the horse. The Centaur, Latreus, raved with pain and struck with his great pike, the face of Caeneus. His pike rebounded as the hail that slants up from the roof; or as a pebble might rebound from hollow drum. Then coming near, he tried to drive a sword into the hard side of Caeneus, but it could not make a wound. ‘Aha!' he cried, ‘this will not get you off. The good edge of my sword will take your life, although the point is blunt!' He turned the edge against the flank of Caeneus and swung round the hero's loins with his long, curving arm. The flesh resounded like a marble block, the keen blade shattered on the unyielding skin. And, after Caeneus had exposed his limbs unhurt to Latreus, who stood there amazed, `Come now,' he said, `and let us try my steel against your body!' And, clear to the hilt, down through the monster's shoulder-blade he plunged his deadly sword and, turning it again, deep in the Centaur's entrails, made new wounds within his wound.

[494] "Then, quite beside themselves, the double-natured monsters rushed against that single-handed youth with huge uproar, and thrust and hurled their weapons all at him. Their blunted weapons fell and he remained unharmed and without even a mark. That strange sight left them speechless. `Oh what shame!' at length cried Monychus, `Our mighty host,—a nation of us, are defeated and defied by one who hardly is a man. Although indeed, he is a man, and we have proved, by our weak actions, we are certainly what he was! Shame on us! Oh, what if we have twofold strength, of what avail our huge and mighty limbs, doubly united in the strongest, hugest bodies in this world? And how can I believe that we were born of any goddess? It is surely vain to claim descent of great Ixion, who high-souled, sought Juno for his mighty mate; imagine it, while we are conquered by an enemy, who is but half a man! Wake up! and let us heap tree-trunks and stones and mountains on him! Crush his stubborn life! Let forests smother him to death! Their weight will be as deadly as a hundred wounds!' While he was raving, by some chance he found a tree thrown down there by the boisterous wind: example to the rest, he threw that tree against the powerful foe; and in short time Othrys was bare of trees, and Pelion had no shade Buried under that mountainous forest heap, Caeneus heaved up against the weight of oaks upon his brawny shoulders piled. But, as the load increased above his face and head, he could not draw a breath. Gasping for life, he strove to lift his head into the air, and sometimes he convulsed the towering mass, as if great Ida, now before our eyes, should tremble with some heaving of the earth.

[522] "What happened to him could not well be known. Some thought his body was borne down by weight into the vast expanse of Tartarus. The son of Ampycus did not agree, for from the middle of the pile we saw a bird with golden wings mount high in air. Before or since, I never saw the like. When Mopsus was aware of that bird's flight—it circled round the camp on rustling wings—with eyes and mind he followed it and shouted aloud: `Hail, glory of the Lapithaean race, their greatest hero, now a bird unique!' and we believed the verdict of the seer. Our grief increased resentment, and we bore it with disgust that one was overwhelmed by such a multitude. Then in revenge we plied our swords, till half our foes were dead, and only flight and darkness saved the rest.”

PERICLYMENUS IN COMBAT WITH HERCULES [536] Nestor had hardly told this marvellous tale of bitter strife betwixt the Lapithae and those half-human, vanquished Centaurs, when Tlepolemus, incensed because no word of praise was given to Hercules, replied in this way; “Old sir, it is very strange, you have neglected to say one good word in praise of Hercules. My father told me often, that he overcame in battle those cloud born centaurs.” Nestor, very loth, replied, “Why force me to recall old wrongs, to uncover sorrow buried by the years, that made me hate your father? It is true his deeds were wonderful beyond belief, heaven knows, and filled the earth with well earned praise which I should rather wish might be denied. Deiphobus, the wise Polydamas, and even great Hector get no praise from me. Your father, I recall once overthrew Messene's walls and with no cause destroyed Elis and Pylos and with fire and sword ruined my own loved home. I cannot name all whom he killed. But there were twelve of us, the sons of Neleus and all warrior youths, and all those twelve but me alone he killed. Ten of them met the common fate of war, but sadder was the death of Periclymenus.

[558] “Neptune, the founder of my family, had granted him a power to assume whatever shape he chose, and when he wished to lay that shape aside. When he, in vain, had been transformed to many other shapes he turned into the form of that bird, which is wont to carry in his crooked talons the forked lightnings, favorite bird of Jove. With wings and crooked bill and sharp-hooked talons, he assailed and tore the face of Hercules. But, when he soared away on eagle wings up to the clouds and hovered, poised in air, that hero aimed his too unerring bow and hit him where the new wing joined his side. The wound was not large, but his sinews cut failed to uphold him, and denied his wings their strength and motion. He fell down to earth; his weakened pinions could not catch the air. And the sharp arrow, which had lightly pierced the wing, was driven upward through the side into the left part of my brother's neck. O noble leader of the Rhodian fleet, why should I sing the praise of Hercules? But for my brothers I take no revenge except withholding praise of his great deeds. With you, my friendship will remain secure.” When Nestor with his honied tongue had told these tales of old, they all took wine again and they arose and gave the night to sleep.

THE DEATH OF ACHILLES [580] But Neptune, who commands the ocean waves, lamented with a father's grief his son, whose person he had changed into a bird—the swan of Phaethon, and towards Achilles, grim victor in the fight, his lasting hate made him pursue resentment far beyond the ordinary manner of the gods. After nine years of war he spoke these words, addressing long haired Sminthean Apollo: “O nephew the most dear to me of all my brother's sons, with me you built in vain the walls of Troy: you must be lost in grief, when you look on those towers so soon to fall? Or do you not lament the multitudes slain in defence of them—To name but one: Does not the ghost of Hector, dragged around his Pergama, appear to you? And yet the fierce Achilles, who is bloodstained more than slaughtering war, lives on this earth, for the destruction of our toil. Let him once get into my power, and I will make him feel the action of my triple spear. But, since I may not meet him face to face, do you with sudden arrow give him death.” The Delian god, Apollo, gave assent, both for his own hate and his uncle's rage. Veiled in a cloud, he found the Trojan host and, there, while bloody strife went on, he saw the hero Paris shoot at intervals his arrows at the nameless host of Greeks. Revealing his divinity, he said: “Why spend your arrows on the common men if you would serve your people, take good aim at great Achilles and at last avenge your hapless brothers whom he gave to death.” He pointed out Achilles—laying low the Trojan warriors with his mighty spear. On him he turned the Trojan's willing bow and guided with his hand the fatal shaft. It was the first joy that old Priam knew since Hector's death. So then Achilles you, who overcame the mighty, were subdued by a coward who seduced a Grecian wife! Ah, if you could not die by manly hands, your choice had been the axe.

[612] Now that great terror of the Trojan race, the glory and defence of the Pelasgians, Achilles, first in war, lay on the pyre. The god of Fire first armed, then burned, his limbs. And now he is but ashes; and of him, so great, renowned and mighty, but a pitiful handful of small dust insufficient for a little urn! But all his glory lives enough to fill the world—a great reward. And in that glory is his real life: in a true sense he will never know the void of Tartarus. But soon his very shield—that men might know to whom it had belonged—brings war, and arms are taken for his arms. Neither Diomed nor Ajax called the less ventured to claim the hero's mighty shield. Menelaus and other warlike chiefs, even Agamemnon, all withdrew their claims. Only the greater Ajax and Ulysses had such assurance that they dared contest for that great prize. Then Agamemnon chose to avoid the odium of preferring one. He bade the Argolic chieftains take their seats within the camp and left to all of them the hearing and decision of the cause.


AJAX AND ULYSSES [1] The chiefs were seated, and the soldiers form a circle round them. Then Ajax, the approved lord of the seven-fold shield, arose and spoke. Impatient in his wrath, he looked with stern, set features, out over Sigaean shores, and over the fleet of ships upon the beach, and, stretching out his hands, he said, “We plead, O Jupiter, our cause before the ships,—Ulysses vies with me! He did not shrink from giving way before the flames of Hector, when I withstood them and I saved the fleet. 'Tis safer then to fight with lying words than with his hands. I am not prompt to speak, nor he to act. I am as good in war and deadly battle as he is in talk. Pelasgians, I do not suppose my deeds must here be mentioned: you have witnessed them but let Ulysses tell of deeds which he performed without a witness and which Night alone is conscious of. I own the prize we seek is great, but such a rival makes it small. To Ajax there s no cause for pride in having any prize, however great, for which Ulysses hoped. But he has won reward enough already. He can boast, when vanquished, that he strove with me.

[21] "I, even if my merit were in doubt should still excell in birth. I am the son of Telamon, who with great Hercules brought low the power of Troy and in the ship of Jason voyaged even to the Colchian shores. His father, Aeacus, now is a judge among the silent shades—where Sisyphus toils and is mocked forever with the stone. Great Jove himself calls Aeacus his son. Thus, Ajax is the third from Jupiter. But, Greeks, let not this line of my descent avail me, if I do not share it with my cousin, great Achilles. I demand these arms now due me as a cousin. Why should this one, from the blood of Sisyphus, and like him for his thefts and frauds, intrude the names of that loathed family upon honored descendants of brave Aeacus?

[34] "Will you deny me arms because I took arms earlier, no man prompting me, and call this man the better, who last of all took up arms, and, pretending he was mad, declined war, till the son of Naplius more shrewd than he (but to his future cost) discovered the contrivance of the fraud and had the coward dragged forth to the arms he had avoided. And shall this man have the world's best arms, who wanted none? Shall I lack honor and my cousin's gift because I faced the danger with the first?

[43] "Would that his madness had been real, or had been accepted as reality and that he never had attended us, as our companion to the Phrygian towers, this counsellor of evil! Then, good son of Poeas, Lemnos would not hold you now, exposed through guilt of ours! You, as men say, hidden in forest lairs, are moving with your groans the very rocks and asking for Ulysses what he so well deserves—what, if indeed there still are gods, you shall not ask in vain. And now, one of our leaders, he that was sworn to the same arms with ourselves! by whom the arrows of great Hercules are used, as his successor; broken by disease and famine, clothed with feathers, now must feed on birds and squander for his wretched fare the arrows destined for the wreck of Troy. At least he lives, because he has not stayed too near Ulysses. Hapless Palamedes might wish that he too had been left behind, then he would live or would have met a death without dishonor. For this man, who well remembered the unfortunate discovery of his feigned madness, made a fraudulent attack on Palamedes, who he said betrayed the Grecian interest. He proved his false charge to the Greeks by showing them the gold which he himself hid in the ground. By exile or by death he has decreased the true strength of the Greeks. And so he fights, for such things men have cause to fear Ulysses!

[63] "Should he excel the faithful Nestor by his eloquence, I'd yet be well convinced the way he forsook Nestor was a crime, old Nestor, who implored in vain his aid, when he was hindered by his wounded steed and wearied with the years of his old age, was then deserted by that scheming man. The charge that I have made is strictly true, and the son of Tydeus knows it all too well; for he at that time called him by his name, rebuked him and upbraided his weak friend for coward flight. The gods above behold the affairs of men with justice. That same man who would not help a friend now calls for help; he who forsook a friend, should be forsaken, the law he made returns upon himself. He called aloud on his companions; I came and saw him trembling, pale with fear, and shuddering, at the thought of coming death. I held my shield above him where he lay, and that way saved the villain's dastard life, and little praise I have deserved for that. If you still wish to claim this armor, let us both return to that place and restore the enemy, your wound, and usual fear—there hide behind my shield, and under that contend with me! Yet, when I faced the foe, he, whom his wound had left no power to stand, forgot the wound and took to headlong flight.

[82] "Hector approached, and brought the gods with him to battle; and, wherever he rushed on, not only this Ulysses was alarmed, but even the valiant, for so great the fear he caused them. Hector, proud in his success in blood and slaughter, I then dared to meet and with a huge: stone from a distance hurled I laid him flat. When he demanded one to fight with, I engaged him quite alone, for you my Greek friends, prayed the lot might fall upon me, and your prayers prevailed. If you should ask me of this fight, I will declare I was not vanquished there by him. Behold, the Trojans brought forth fire and sword and Jove, as well, against the Grecian fleet, where now has eloquent Ulysses gone? Truly, I did protect a thousand ships with my breast, saving the hopes of your return.—for all these many ships, award me arms!

[95] "But, let me speak the truth, the arms will gain more fame than I, for they will share my glory. And they need Ajax, Ajax needs not them. Let the Ithacan compare with deeds like mine his sleeping Rhesus, his unwarlike Dolon, Helenus taken, and Pallas gained by theft—all done by night and all with Diomed. If you must give these arms for deeds so mean, then give the greater share to Diomed.

[103] "Why give arms to Ulysses, who by stealth and quite unarmed, has always done his work, deceiving his unwary enemy by stratagems? This brilliant helmet, rich with sparkling gold, will certainly betray his plans, and will discover him when hid. His soft Dulichian head beneath the helm of great Achilles will not bear the weight; Achilles' heavy spear from Pelion must be burdensome for his unwarlike hands: nor will the shield, graven with the vasty world beseem a dastard left hand, smooth for theft. Why caitiff, will you beg them for a gift, which will but weaken you? If by mistake, the Grecian people should award you this, it would not fright the foe but offer spoils and that swift flight (in which alone you have excelled all others, dastard wretch!) would soon grow laggard, dragging such a weight. And that good shield of yours, which has but rarely felt a conflict, is unhurt; for mine, agape with wounds a thousand from swift-striking darts, a new one must be found.

[120] " In short, what need is there for words? Let us be tried in war. Let all the arms of brave Achilles now be thrown among the foe; order them all to be retrieved; and decorate for war whoever brings them back, a worthy prize.”

[123] Ajax, the son of Telamon, stopped speech, and murmuring among the multitude followed his closing words, until Ulysses, Laertian hero, stood up there and fixed his eyes a short time on the ground; then raised them towards the chiefs; and with his opening words, which they awaited, the grace of his art was not found wanting to his eloquence.

[128] “If my desire and yours could have prevailed, O noble Greeks, the man who should receive a prize so valued, would not be in doubt, and you would now enjoy your arms, and we enjoy you, great Achilles. Since unjust fate has denied him both to me and you, (and here he wiped his eyes dry with his hands, as though then shedding tears,) who could succeed the great Achilles better than the one through whom the great Achilles joined the Greeks? Let Ajax win no votes because he seems to be as stupid as the truth declares. Let not my talents, which were always used for service of the Greeks, increase my harm: and let this eloquence of mine (if such we call it) which is pleading now for me, as it has pleaded many times for you, awake no envy. Let each man show his best.

[140] "Now as for ancestors and noble birth and deeds we have not done ourselves, all these I hardly call them ours. But, if he boasts because he is the great grandson of Jove, the founder of my family, you know, is Jupiter; by birth I am just the same degree removed from Jupiter as he. Laertes is my father, my grandsire is Arcesius; and my great grandsire is Jove, and my line: has no banished criminal. My mother's grandsire, Mercury, would give me further claims of birth—on either side a god. But not because my mother's line is better and not because my father certainly, is innocent of his own brother's blood, have I advanced my claim to own those arms. Let personal merit weigh the cause alone. Let Ajax win no credit from the fact that Telamon, was brother unto Peleus. Let not his merit be that he is near by blood, may honor of manhood weigh in your award! But, if you seek the heir and next of kin, Peleus is father, and Pyrrhus is the son of great Achilles. Where is Ajax then? These arms might go to Phthia or to Scyros! Teucer might claim the prize because he is Achilles' cousin. Does he seek these arms? And, if he did, would you allow his claim? Since then the contest lies in deeds alone, though I have done more than may be well told, I will recall them as they have occurred.

[162] "Achilles' Nereid mother, who foresaw his death, concealed her son by change of dress. By that disguise Ajax, among the rest, was well deceived. I showed with women's wares arms that might win the spirit of a man. The hero still wore clothing of a girl, when, as he held a shield and spear, I said `Son of a goddess! Pergama but waits to fall by you, why do you hesitate to assure the overthrow of mighty Troy?' With these bold words, I laid my hand on him—and to: brave actions I sent forth the brave: his deeds of Bravery are therefore mine it was my power that conquered Telephus, as he fought with his lance; it was through me that, vanquished and suppliant? he at last was healed. I caused the fall of Thebes; believe me, I took Lesbos, Tenedos, Chryse and Cilla—the cities of Apollo; and I took Scyros; think too, of the Lyrnesian wall as shaken by my hand, destroyed, and thrown down level with the ground. Let this suffice: I found the man who caused fierce Hector's death, through me the famous Hector now, lies low! And for those arms which made Achilles known I now demand these arms. To him alive I gave them—at his death they should be mine.

[181] "After the grief of one had reached all Greece, and ships a thousand, filled Euboean Aulis; the breezes long expected would not blow or adverse held the helpless fleet ashore. Then ruthless oracles gave their command, that Agamemnon should make sacrifice of his loved daughter and so satisfy Diana's cruel heart. The father stood up resolute, enraged against the gods, a parent even though a king. I turned, by tactful! words, a father's tender heart to the great issue of the public weal. I will confess it, and when I have confessed, may the son of Atreus pardon: I had to plead a difficult case before a partial judge. The people's good, his brother's, and stern duty, that followed his great office, won his ear, till royal honor outweighed claims of blood. I sought the mother, who could not be won by pleading but must be deceived by craft. Had Ajax gone to her, our thousand sails would still droop, waiting for the favoring breeze.

[196] "As a bold envoy I was even sent off to the towers of Ilium, and there I saw the senate-house of lofty Troy, and, fearless, entered it, while it was full of heroes. There, undaunted, I spoke for the cause which all the Greeks had given me. Accusing Paris, I demanded back the gold and stolen Helen, and I moved both Priam and Antenor. All the while Paris, his brothers, and their robber crew could scarce withhold their wicked hands from me. And all this, Menelaus, is well known to you: that was the first danger I shared with you.

[205] “I need not linger over the many things which by my counsel and my bravery I have accomplished through this long-drawn war. A long time, after the first battle clash, the foe lay quiet within city walls, giving no challenge for an open fight—he stood nine years of siege before we fought what were you doing all that tedious time, what use were you, good only in a fight? If you will make inquiry of my deeds: I fashioned ambuscades for enemies; and circled our defenses with a trench; I cheered allies so they might all endure with patient minds a long, protracted war; I showed how our own army might subsist and how it could be armed; and I was sent wherever the necessity required.

[216] "Then, at the wish of Jove, our king, deceive by A false dream, bids us give up the war—he could excuse his order by the cause. Let Ajax tell him Troy must be laid low or let him fight—at least he can do that! Why does he fail to stop the fugitives? Why not take arms and tell the wavering crowd to rally round him? Would that be too much for one who never speaks except to boast? But now words fail me: Ajax turns and flees! I witnessed it and was ashamed to see you turn disgraced, preparing sails for flight. With exclamations and without delay, I said, ‘What are you doing? O my friends, has madness seized you that you will quit Troy, which is as good as taken? What can you bear home, after ten years, but your disgrace?' With these commanding words, which grief itself gave eloquence, I brought resisting Greeks back from their purposed flight. Atrides called together his allies, all terror struck. Even then, Ajax the son of Telamon dared not vouchsafe one word. But impudent Thersites hurled vile words against the kings, and, thanks to me, he did not miss reproof. I rose and spoke to my disheartened friends, reviving their lost courage with my words from that time forth, whatever deeds this man, my rival, may have done, belong to me. 'Twas I who stayed his flight and brought him back.

[238] "Which of the noble Greeks has given you praise or sought your company? Yet Diomed has shared his deeds with me and praises me, and, while Ulysses is with him, is brave and confident. 'Tis worthy of regard, when out of many thousands of the Greeks, a man becomes the choice of Diomed! It was not lot that ordered me to go; and yet, despising dangers of the night, despising dangers of the enemy, I slew one, Dolon, of the Phrygian race, who dared to do the very things we dared, but not before I had prevailed on him to tell me everything, by which I learned perfidious actions which Troy had designed. Of such things now, I had discovered all that should be found out, and I might have then returned to enjoy the praise I had deserved. But not content with that, I sought the tent of Rhesus, and within his camp I slew him and his proved attendants. Having thus gained as a conqueror my own desires, I drove back in a captured chariot,—a joyous triumph. Well, deny me, then. The arms of him whose steeds the enemy demanded as the price of one night's aid. Ajax himself has been more generous. Why should I name Sarpedon's Lycian troops among whom I made havoc with my sword? I left Coeranos dead and streaming blood, with the sword I killed Alastor, Chromius, Alcander, Prytanis, Halius, and Noemon, Thoon and Charops with Chersidamas, and Ennomus—all driven by cruel fate, not reckoning humbler men whom I laid low, battling beneath the shadow of the city walls. And fellow citizens, I have my wounds honorable in the front. Do not believe my word alone. Look for yourselves and see!” Then with one hand, he drew his robe aside. “Here is a breast,” he cried, “that bled for you! But Ajax never shed a drop of blood to aid his friends, in all these many years, and has a body free of any wound.

[268] "What does it prove, if he declares that he fought for our ships against both Troy and Jove? I grant he did, for it is not my wont with malice to belittle other's deeds. But let him not claim for himself alone an honor in which all may have a share, let him concede some credit due to you. Disguised within the fear inspiring arms of great Achilles, Actor's son drove back the host of Trojans from our threatened fleet or ships and Ajax would have burned together. Unmindful of the king, the chiefs, and me, he dreams that he alone dared to engage in single fight with Hector— he the ninth to volunteer and chosen just by lot. But yet, O brave chief! What availed the fight? Hector returned, not injured by a wound.

[280] "Ah, bitter fate, with how much grief I am compelled to recollect the time, when brave Achilles, bulwark of the Greeks, was slain. Nor tears, nor grief, nor fear, could hinder me: I carried his dead body from the ground, uplifted on these shoulders, I repeat, upon these shoulders from that ground I bore off dead Achilles, and those arms which now I want to bear away again. I have the strength to walk beneath their weight, I have a mind to understand their worth. Did the hero's mother, goddess of the sea, win for her son these arms, made by a god, a work of wondrous art, to have them clothe a rude soldier, who has no mind at all? He never could be made to understand the rich engravings, pictured on the shield -- the ocean, earth, and stars in lofty skies; the Pleiades, and Hyades, the Bear, which touches not the ocean, far beyond the varied planets, and the fire-bright sword of high Orion. He demands a prize, which, if he had it, would be lost on him.

[296] "What of his taunting me, because I shrank from hardships of this war and I was slow to join the expedition? Does he not see, that he reviles the great Achilles too? Was my pretense a crime? then so was his. Was our delay a fault? mine was the less, for I came sooner; me a loving wife detained from war, a loving mother him. Some hours we gave to them, the rest to you. Why should I be alarmed, if now I am unable to defend myself against this accusation, which is just the same as you have brought against so great a man? Yet he was found by the dexterity of me, Ulysses, and Ulysses was not found by the dexterity of Ajax.

[306] "It is no wonder that he pours on me reproaches of his silly tongue, because he charges you with what is worthy shame. Am I depraved because this Palamedes has improperly been charged with crime by me? Then was it honorable for all of you, if you condemned him? Only think, that he, the son of Naplius, made no defence against the crime, so great, so manifest: nor did you only hear the charges brought against him, but you saw the proof yourselves, and in the gold his villainy was shown.

[313] “Nor am I to be blamed, if Vulcan's isle of Lemnos has become the residence of Philoctetes. Greeks, defend yourselves, for you agreed to it! Yes, I admit I urged him to withdraw from toils of war and those of travel and attempt by rest to ease his cruel pain. He took my advice and lives! The advice was not alone well meant (that would have been enough) but it was wise. Because our prophets have declared, he must lead us, if we may still maintain our hope for Troy's destruction—therefore, you must not intrust that work to me. Much better, send the son of Telamon. His eloquence will overcome the hero's rage, most fierce from his disease and anger: or else his invention of some wile will skilfully deliver him to us.—The Simois will first flow backward, Ida stand without its foliage, and Achaia promise aid to Troy itself; ere, lacking aid from me, the craft of stupid Ajax will avail. Though, Philoctetes, you should be enraged against your friends, against the king and me; although you curse and everlastingly devote my head to harm; although you wish, to ease your anguish, that I may be given into your power, that you may shed my blood; and though you wait your turn and chance at me; still I will undertake the quest and will try all my skill to bring you back with me. If my good fortune then will favor me, I shall obtain your arrows; as I made the Trojan seer my captive, as I learned the heavenly oracles and fate of Troy, and as I brought back through a host of foes Minerva's image from the citadel.

[338] "And is it possible, Ajax may now compare himself with me? Truly the Fates will hold Troy from our capture, if we leave the statue. Where is valiant Ajax now, where are the boasts of that tremendous man? Why are you trembling, while Ulysses dares to go beyond our guards and brave the night? In spite of hostile swords, he goes within not only the strong walls of Troy but even the citadel, lifts up the goddess from her shrine, and takes her through the enemy! If I had not done this, Telamon's son would bear his shield of seven bull hides in vain. That night I gained the victory over Troy—'Twas then I won our war with Pergama, because I made it possible to win.

[350] " Stop hinting by your look and muttered words that Diomed was my partner in the deed. The praise he won is his. You, certainly fought not alone, when you held up your shield to save the allied fleet: a multitude was with you, but a single man gave me his valued help. And if he did not know a fighting man can not gain victory so surely as the wise man, that the prize is given to something rarer than a brave right hand, he would himself be a contender now for these illustrious arms. Ajax the less would have come forward too, so would the fierce Eurypylus, so would Andraemon's son. Nor would Idomeneus withhold his claim, nor would his countryman Meriones. Yes, Menelaus too would seek the prize. All these brave men, my equals in the field, have yielded to my wisdom. Your right hand is valuable in war, your temper stands in need of my direction. You have strength without intelligence; I look out for the future. You are able in the fight; I help our king to find the proper time. Your body may give service, and my mind must point the way: and just as much as he who guides the ship must be superior to him who rows it; and we all agree the general is greater than the soldier; so, do I excel you. In the body lives an intellect much rarer than a hand, by that we measure human excellence.

[370] "O chieftains, recompense my vigilance! For all these years of anxious care, award this honor to my many services. Our victory is in sight; I have removed the opposing fates and, opening wide the way to capture Pergama, have captured it. Now by our common hopes, by Troy's high walls already tottering and about to fall, and by the gods that I won from the foe, by what remains for wisdom to devise or what may call for bold and fearless deeds—if you think any hope is left for Troy, remember me! Or, if you do not give these arms to me, then give them all to her!” And he pointed to Minerva's fateful head.

[382] The assembled body of the chiefs was moved; and then, appeared the power of eloquence: the fluent man received, amid applause, the arms of the brave man. His rival, who so often when alone, stood firm against great Hector and the sword, and flames and Jove, stood not against a single passion, wrath. The unconquerable was conquered by his grief. He drew his sword, and said:—“This is at least my own; or will Ulysses also claim this, for himself. I must use this against myself—the blade which often has been wet, dripping with blood of Phrygians I have slain. Will drip with his own master's:blood, lest any man but Ajax vanquish Ajax.” Saying this, he turned toward the vital spot in his own breast, which never had felt a wound, the fated sword and plunged it deeply in. though many sought to aid, no hand had strength to draw that steel—deep driven. The blood itself unaided drove it out. The ensanguined earth sprouted from her green turf that purple flower which grew of old from Hyacinthine blood. Its petals now are charged with double freight—the warrior's name, Apollo's cry of woe.

HECUBA TRANSFORMED [399] The conqueror, Ulysses, now set sail, for Lemnos, country of Hypsipyle, and for the land of Thoas, famed afar, those regions infamous in olden days, where women slew their husbands. So he went that he might capture and bring back with him the arrows of brave Hercules. When these were given back to the Greeks, their lord with them, a final hand at last prevailed to end that long fought war. Both Troy and Priam fell, and Priam's wretched wife lost all she had, until at last she lost her human form. Her savage barkings frightened foreign lands, where the long Hellespont is narrowed down. Great Troy was burning: while the fire still raged, Jove's altar drank old Priam's scanty blood. The priestess of Apollo then, alas! Was dragged by her long hair, while up towards heaven she lifted supplicating hands in vain. The Trojan matrons, clinging while they could to burning temples and ancestral gods, victorious Greeks drag off as welcome spoil. Astyanax was hurled down from the very tower from which he often had looked forth and seen his father, by his mother pointed out, when Hector fought for honor and his country's weal.

[418] Now Boreas counsels to depart. The sails, moved by a prosperous breeze, resound and wave—the Trojan women cry,—“Farewell to Troy! Ah, we are hurried off! ” and, falling down, they kiss the soil, and leave the smoking roofs of their loved native land. The last to go on board the fleet was Hecuba, a sight most pitiful. She was found among the tombs of her lost sons. While she embraced each urn and fondly kissed their bones, Ulysses came with ruthless hands and bore her off, his prize she in her bosom took away the urn of Hector only, and upon his grave she left some white hair taken from her head, a meager gift, her white hair and her tears.

[429] Across the strait from Troy, there is a land claimed by Bistonian men, and in that land was a rich palace, built there by a king named Polymnestor. To him the Phrygian king in secret gave his youngest son to rear, his Polydorus, safe from Troy and war, a prudent course, if he had not sent gold arousing greed, incitement to a crime. Soon, when the fortunes of the Trojans fell, that wicked king of Thrace took his own sword, and pierced the throat of his poor foster son and then, as if the deed could be concealed, if he removed the body, hurled the boy from a wild cliff into the waves below.

[440] Until the sea might be more calm, and gales of wind might be subdued, Atrides moored his fleet of ships upon the Thracian shore; there, from wide gaping earth, Achilles rose, as large as when he lived, with look as fierce, as when his sword once threatened Agamemnon. “Forgetting me do you depart, O Greeks?” He said, “And is your grateful! memory of all my worth interred with my bones? Do not do so. And that my sepulchre may have due worship, let Polyxena be immolated to appease the ghost: of dead Achilles.” Fiercely so he spoke. The old friends of Achilles all obeyed his unforgiving shade; and instantly the noble and unhappy virgin—brave, more like a man than woman— was torn from her mother's bosom, cherished more by her, since widowed and alone. And then they led the virgin as a sacrifice from there up to the cruel altar.

[455] When the maid observed the savage rites prepared for her, and when she noticed Neoptolemus stand by her with his cruel sword in hand, his fixed eyes on her countenance; she said:—“Do not delay my generous gift of blood, with no resistance thrust the ready steel into my throat or breast!” And then she laid both throat and bosom bare. “Polyxena would never wish to live in slavery. And such rites win no favor from a god. Only I fondly wish my mother might not know that I have died. My love of her takes from my joy in death and gives me fear. Not my death truly, but her own sad life should be the most lamented in her tears. Now let your men stand back, that I may go with dignity down to the Stygian shades, and, if my plea is just, let no man's hand touch my pure virgin body. A nobler gift to him, whoever he may be, whom you desire to placate with my death today, shall be a free maid's blood. But, if my words—my parting wish, has power to touch your hearts, (King Priam's daughter, not a captive, pleads) freely return my body to my mother, let her not pay with gold for the sad right to bury me—but only with her tears! Yes, when she could, she also paid with gold.” After she said these words, the people could no more restrain their tears; but no one saw her shed one tear. Even the priest himself, reluctantly and weeping, drove the steel into her proffered breast. On failing knees she sank down to the earth; but still maintained a countenance undaunted to the last: and, even unto death, it was her care to cover all that ought to be concealed, and save the value of chaste modesty.

[481] The Trojan matrons took her and recalled, lamenting, all the sons of Priam dead, the wealth of blood one house had shed for all. And they bewailed the chaste Polyxena and you, her mother, only lately called a royal mother and a royal wife,—the soul of Asia's fair prosperity; now lowest fallen in all the wreck of Troy. The conquering Ulysses only claimed her his because she had brought Hector forth: and Hector hardly found a master for his mother. She continued to embrace the body of a soul so brave, and shed her tears, as she had shed them often before for country lost, for sons, for royal mate. She bathed her daughter's wounds with tears and kissed them with her lips and once more beat her breast. Her white hair streamed down in the clotting blood, she tore her breast, and this and more she said: “My daughter, what further sorrow can be mine? My daughter you lie dead, I see your wounds—they are indeed my own. Lest I should lose one child of mine without a cruel sword, you have your wound. I thought, because you were a woman, you were safe from swords. But you, a woman, felt the deadly steel. That same Achilles, who has given to death so many of your brothers, caused your death, the bane of Troy and the serpent by my nest! When Paris and when Phoebus with their shafts had laid him low, `Ah, now at least,' I said, `Achilles will no longer cause me dread.' Yet even then he still was to be feared. For him I have been fertile! Mighty Troy now lies in ruin, and the public woe is ended in one vast calamity. For me alone the woe of Troy still lives.

[508] "But lately on the pinnacle of fame, surrounded by my powerful sons-in-law, daughters, and daughters-in-law, and strong in my great husband, I am exiled now, and destitute, and forced from the sad tombs of those I love, to wretched slavery, serving Penelope: who showing me to curious dames of Ithaca, will point and say, while I am bending to my task, ‘Look at that woman who was widely known, the mother of great Hector, once the wife of Priam!' After so many have been lost, now you, last comfort of a mother's grief, must make atonement on the foeman's tomb. I bore a victim for my enemy. Why do I live—an iron witted wretch? Why do I linger? Why does cruel age detain me? Why, pernicious deities, thus hold me to this earth, unless you will that I may weep at future funerals? After the fall of Troy, who would suppose King Priam could be happy? Blest in death, he has not seen my daughter's dreadful fate. He lost at once his kingdom and his life. Can I imagine you, a royal maid, will soon be honored with due funeral rites, and will be buried in our family tomb? Such fortune comes no more to your sad house. A drift of foreign sand will be your grave, the parting gift will be your mother's tears. We have lost everything! But no, there is one reason why I should endure a while. His mother's dearest, now her only child, once youngest of that company of sons, my Polydorus lives here on these shores protected by the friendly Thracian king. Then why delay to bathe these cruel wounds, her dear face spattered with the dreadful blood?”

[535] So Hecuba went wailing towards the shore with aged step and tearing her gray hair. At last the unhappy mother said, “Give me an urn; O, Trojan women!” for, she wished to dip up salt sea water. But just then, she saw the corpse of her last son, thrown out upon the shore; her Polydorus, killed, disfigured with deep wounds of Thracian swords. The Trojan women cried aloud, and she was struck dumb with her agony, which quite consumed both voice and tears within her heart—rigid and still she seemed as a hard rock. And now she gazes at the earth in front now lifts her haggard face up toward the skies, now scans that body lying stark and dead, now scans his wounds and most of all the wounds.

[545] She arms herself and draws up all her wrath. It burned as if she still held regal power she gave up all life to the single thought of quick revenge. Just as a lioness rages when plundered of her suckling cub and follows on his trail the unseen foe, so, Hecuba with rage mixed in her grief forgetful of her years, not her intent, went hastily to Polymnestor, who contrived this dreadful murder, and desired an interview, pretending it was her wish to show him hidden gold, for her lost son. The Odrysian king believed it all: accustomed to the love of gain, he went with her, in secret, to the spot she chose. Then craftily he said in his bland way: “Oh, Hecuba, you need not wait, give now, munificently to your son—and all you give, and all that you have given, by the good gods, I swear, shall be his own.” She eyed him sternly as he spoke and swore so falsely.—Then her rage boiled over, and, seconded by all her captive train, she flew at him and drove her fingers deep in his perfidious eyes; and tore them from his face—and plunged her hands into the raw and bleeding sockets (passion made her strong), defiled with his bad blood. How could she tear his eyes, gone from their seats? She wildly gouged the sightless sockets of his bleeding face!

[565] The Thracians, angered by such violence done upon their king, immediately attacked the Trojan matron with their stones and darts but she with hoarse growling and snapping jaws sprang at the stones, and, when she tried to speak, she barked like a fierce dog. The place still bears a name suggested by her hideous change. And she, long mindful! of her old time woe, ran howling dismally in Thracian fields. Her sad fate moved the Trojans and the Greeks, her friends and foes, and all the heavenly gods. Yes all, for even the sister-wife of Jove denied that Hecuba deserved such fate.

THE BIRDS OF MEMNON [576] Although Aurora had given aid to Troy, she had no heart nor leisure to be moved by fall of Troy or fate of Hecuba. At home she bore a greater grief and care; her loss of Memnon is afflicting her. Aurora, his rose-tinted mother, saw him perish by Achilles' deadly spear, upon the Phrygian plain. She saw his death, and the loved rose that lights the dawning hour turned death-pale, and the sky was veiled in clouds. The parent could not bear to see his limbs laid on the final flames. Just as she was, with loose hair streaming round her, she did not disdain to crouch down at the knees of Jove, and said these sad words added to her tears: “Beneath all those whom golden heaven sustains; (inferior, for see, through all the world my temples are so few) I have come now a goddess, to you; not with any hope that you may grant me temples, festivals, and altars, heated with devoted fires: but if you will consider the good deeds, which I, a woman, may yet do for you, when at the dawn I mark the edge of night; then you may think of some reward for me. But that is not my care; nor is it now Aurora's purpose here, that she should plead for honors, though deserved. I come bereaved, of my son Memnon, who in vain bore arms to aid his uncle and in prime of life (O, thus you willed it!) fell stricken by the sword of great Achilles. Give my son, I pray, O highest ruler of the gods, some honor, some comfort for his death, a little ease his mother's grief.”

[600] Jove nodded his assent. Immediately the high-wrought funeral-pile of Memnon fell down with its lofty fire, and volumes of black smoke obscured the day, as streams exhaling their dense rising fogs, exclude the bright sun from the land below. Black ashes fly and, rolling up a shape, retain a form and gather heat and life out of the fire. Their lightness gave them wings, first like a bird and then in fact a bird. The wings move whirring. In the neighboring air uncounted sisters, of one birth and growth together make one noise. Three times they flew around the funeral pile; and thrice the sound accordant of their fluttering wings went swift upon the soft breeze. When they turned about, their fourth flight in the skies divided them. As two fierce races from two hostile camps, clash in their warfare, these bird-sisters with their beaks and crooked claws clashed, passionate, until their tired wings and opposing breasts could not sustain them. And those kindred-foes fell down a sacrifice, memorial, to Memnon's ashes buried in that place. Brave Memnon, author of their birth, has given his name to those birds, marvellously formed,—and from him they are called Memnonides.—now, always when the Sun has passed the twelve signs of the Zodiac, they war again, to perish as a sacrifice for him. So others grieved, while Dymas' royal daughter was barking: but Aurora overcome with lasting sorrows, could not think of her: and even now, she sheds affectionate tears: and sprinkles them as dew on all the world.

DAUGHTERS OF ANIUS TRANSFORMED [623] The Fates did not allow the hope of Troy to be destroyed entirely with her walls. Aeneas, the heroic son of Venus, bore on his shoulders holy images and still another holy weight, his sire, a venerable burden. From all his wealth the pious hero chose this for his care together with his child, Ascanius. Then with a fleet of exiles he sails forth, he leaves Antandrus, leaves the wicked realm and shore of Thrace now dripping with the blood of Polydorus. With fair winds and tide he and his comrades reach Apollo's isle. Good Anius, king of Delos, vigilant for all his subjects' welfare, and as priest devoted to Apollo, took him there into his temple and his home, and showed the city, the famed shrines, and the two trees which once Latona, while in labor, held. They burned sweet incense, adding to it wine, and laid the flesh of cattle in the flames, an offering marked by custom for the god. Then in the palace and its kingly hall, reclining on luxurious couches, they drank flowing wine with Ceres' gifts of food.

[640] But old Anchises asked: “O chosen priest of Phoebus, can I be deceived? When first I saw these walls, did you not have a son, and twice two daughters? Is it possible I am mistaken?” Anius replied,—shaking his temples wreathed with fillets white,—“It can be no mistake, great hero, you did see the father of five children then, (so much the risk of fortune may affect the best of men). You see me now, almost bereft of all. For what assistance can my absent son afford, while he is king, the ruler over Andros—that land named for his name—over which he rules for me? The Delian god gave to my son the art of augury; and likewise, Liber gave my daughters precious gifts exceeding all my wishes and belief: since, every thing my daughters touched assumed the forms of corn, of sparkling wine, or gray-green olive oil. Most surely, wonderful advantages. Soon as Atrides, he who conquered Troy had heard of this (for you should not suppose that we, too, did not suffer from your storms) he dragged my daughters there with savage force, from my loved bosom to his hostile camp, and ordered them to feed the Argive fleet, by their divinely given power of touch. Whichever way they could, they made escape two hastened to Euboea, and two sought their brother's island, Andros. Quickly then an Argive squadron, following, threatened war, unless they were surrendered. The brother's love gave way to fear. And there is reason why you should forgive a timid brother's fear: he had no warrior like Aeneas, none like Hector, by whose prowess you held Troy from its destruction through ten years of war. Strong chains were brought to hold my daughters' arms. Both lifted suppliant hands, which still were free, to heaven and cried, `O, Father Bacchus! give us needed aid!' And he who had before given them the power of touch, did give them aid—if giving freedom without human shape can be called giving aid.—I never knew by what means they lost shape, and cannot tell; but their calamity is surely known: my daughters were transformed to snow-white doves, white birds of Venus, guardian of your days.”

[675] With this and other talk they shared the feast, then left the table and retired to sleep. They rose up with the day, and went at once to hear the oracle of Phoebus speak. He counselled them to leave that land and find their ancient mother and their kindred shores. The king attended them, and gave them gifts when ready to depart; a sceptre to Anchises, and a robe and quiver to his grandson, and he gave a goblet to Aeneas, that which formerly was sent to him by Therses, once his Theban guest. Therses had sent it from Aonian shores; but Alcon the Hylean should be named, for he had made the goblet and inscribed a pictured story on the polished side.

[685] There was a city shown with seven gates, from which the name could be derived by all. Outside the walls was a sad funeral, and tombs and fires and funeral pyres were shown, and many matrons with dishevelled hair and naked breasts, expressive of their grief, and many nymphs too, weeping mournfully because their streams were dry. Without a leaf the bare trees stood straight up and the she goats were nibbling in dry, stony fields. And there he carved Orion's daughters in the Theban square, one giving her bare throat a cruel cut, one with her shuttle making clumsy wounds; both dying for their people. Next they were borne out through the city with doe funeral pomp, and mourning crowds were gathered round their pyre. Then from the virgin ashes, lest the race should die. twin youths arose, whom fame has named Coroni and they shared in all the rites becoming for their mothers' dust. Even so in shining figures all was shown inscribed on ancient bronze. The top rim, made quite rough, was gilded with acanthus leaves. Presents of equal worth the Trojans gave: a maple incense casket for the priest, a bowl, a crown adorned with gold and gems.

GALATEA AND POLYPHEMUS [705] Then, recollecting how the Trojans had derived their origin from Teucer's race, they sailed to Crete but there could not endure ills sent by Jove, and, having left behind the hundred cities, they desired to reach the western harbors of the Ausonian land. Wintry seas then tossed the heroic band, and in a treacherous harbor of those isles, called Strophades, Aello frightened them. They passed Dulichium's port, and Ithaca, Samos, and all the homes of Neritos,—the kingdom of the shrewd deceitful man, Ulysses; and they reached Ambracia, contended for by those disputing gods; which is today renowned abroad, because of Actian Apollo, and the stone seen there conspicuous as a transformed judge; they saw Dodona, vocal with its oaks; and also, the well known Chaonian bays, where sons of the Molossian king escaped with wings attached, from unavailing flames.

[718] They set their sails then for the neighboring land of the Phaeacians, rich with luscious fruit: then for Epirus and to Buthrotos, and came then to a mimic town of Troy, ruled by the Phrygian seer. With prophecies which Helenus, the son of Priam, gave, they came to Sicily, whose three high capes jut outward in the sea. Of these three points Pachynos faces towards the showery south; and Lilybaeum is exposed to soft delicious zephyrs; but Peloros looks out towards the Bears which never touch the sea The Trojans came there. Favored by the tide, and active oars, by nightfall all the fleet arrived together on Zanclaean sands. Scylla upon the right infests the shore, Charybdis, restless on the left, destroys. Charybdis swallows and then vomits forth misfortuned ships that she has taken down; Scylla's dark waist is girt with savage dogs. She has a maiden's face, and, if we may believe what poets tell, she was in olden time a maiden. Many suitors courted her, but she repulsed them; and, because she was so much beloved by all the Nereids, she sought these nymphs and used to tell how she escaped from the love-stricken youths.

[738] But Galatea, while her loosened locks were being combed, said to her visitor,—“Truly, O maiden, a gentle race of men courts you, and so you can, and do, refuse all with impunity. But I, whose sire is Nereus, whom the azure Doris bore, though guarded by so many sister nymphs, escaped the Cyclops' love with tragic loss.” And, sobbing, she was choked with tears. When with her fingers, marble white and smooth, Scylla had wiped away the rising tears of sorrow and had comforted the nymph, she said, “Tell me, dear goddess, and do not conceal from me (for I am true to you) the cause of your great sorrows.” And the nymph, daughter of Nereus, thus replied to her:—

[750] “Acis, the son of Faunus and the nymph Symaethis, was a great delight to his dear father and his mother, but even more to me, for he alone had won my love. Eight birthdays having passed a second time, his tender cheeks were marked with softest down. While I pursued him with a constant love, the Cyclops followed me as constantly. And, should you ask me, I could not declare whether my hatred of him, or my love of Acis was the stronger.—They were equal. O gentle Venus! what power equals yours! That savage, dreaded by the forest trees, feared by the stranger who beholds his face contemner of Olympus and the gods, now he can feel what love is. He is filled with passion for me. He burns hot for me, forgetful of his cattle and his caves. Now, Polyphemus, wretched Cyclops, you are careful of appearance, and you try the art of pleasing. You have even combed your stiffened hair with rakes: it pleases you to trim your shaggy beard with sickles, while you gaze at your fierce features in a pool so earnest to compose them. Love of flesh, ferocity and your keen thirst for blood have ceased. The ships may safely come and go!

[770] "While all this happened, Telemus arrived at the Sicilian Aetna—Telemus, the son of Eurymus, who never could mistake an omen, met the dreadful fierce, huge Cyclops, Polyphemus, and he said, `That single eye now midmost in your brow Ulysses will take from you.' In reply, the Cyclops only laughed at him and said, `Most silly of the prophets! you are wrong, a maiden has already taken it!' So he made fun of Telemus, who warned him vainly of the truth—and after that, he either burdened with his bulk the shore, by stalking back and forth with lengthy strides, or came back weary to his shaded cave.

[778] "A wedge-formed hill projects far in the sea and either side there flow the salty waves. To this the giant savage climbed and sat upon the highest point. The wooly flock, no longer guided by him, followed after. There, after he had laid his pine tree down, which served him for a staff, although so tall it seemed best fitted for a ship's high mast, he played his shepherd pipes—in them I saw a hundred reeds. The very mountains felt the pipings of that shepherd, and the waves beneath him shook respondent to each note. All this time I was hidden by a rock, reclining on the bosom of my own dear Acis; and, although afar, I heard such words as these, which I can not forget:—

[789] "`O Galatea, fairer than the flower of snow-white privet, and more blooming than the meadows, and more slender than the tall delightful alder, brighter than smooth glass, more wanton than the tender skipping kid, smoother than shells worn by continual floods, more pleasing than the winter sun, or than the summer shade, more beautiful than fruit of apple trees, more pleasing to the sight than lofty plane tree, clearer than pure ice, and sweeter than the ripe grape, softer than soft swan-down and the softest curdled milk; alas, and if you did not fly from me, I would declare you are more beautiful than any watered garden of this world.

[798] "`And yet, O Galatea; I must say, that you are wilder than all untrained bullocks, harder than seasoned oak, more treacherous than tumbled waters, tougher than the twigs of osier and the white vine, harder to move than cliffs which front these waves, more violent than any torrent, you are prouder than the flattered peacock, fiercer than hot fire, rougher than thistles, and more cruel than the pregnant she-bear, deafer than the waves of stormy seas, more deadly savage than the trodden water-snake: and, (what I would endeavor surely to deprive you of) your speed is fleeter than the deer pursued by frightful barkings, and more swift than rapid storm-winds and the flitting air. But Galatea, if you knew me well you would regret your hasty flight from me, and you would even blame your own delay, and strive for my affection. I now hold the choice part of this mountain for my cave, roofed over with the native rock. The sun is not felt in the heat of middle day, nor is the winter felt there: apples load the bending boughs and luscious grapes hang on the lengthened vines, resembling gold, and purple grapes as rich—I keep for you those two delicious fruits. With your own hands, you shall yourself uncover strawberries, growing so soft beneath the woodland shade; you shall pluck corners in the autumn ripe, and plums, not only darkened with black juice but larger kinds as yellow as new wax. If I may be your mate, you shall have chestnuts, fruits of the arbute shall be always near, and every tree shall yield at your desire.

[821] "`The ewes here all are mine, and many more are wandering in the valleys; and the woods conceal a multitude—and many more are penned within my caves. If you perchance should ask me, I could never even guess or count the number; it is for the poor to count their cattle. Do not trust my word, but go yourself and see with your own eyes, how they can hardly stand up on their legs because of their distended udders' weight. I have lambs also, as a future flock, kept in warm folds, and kids of their same age in other folds. I always have supplies of snow-white milk for drinking, and much more is hardened with good rennet liquefied.

[831] "`The common joys of ordinary things will not be all you should expect of me—tame does and hares and she-goats or a pair of doves, or even a nest from a tall tree—for I have found upon a mountain top, the twin cubs of a shaggy wild she-bear, of such appearance you can hardly know the one from other. They will play with you. The very day I found them I declared, these I will keep for my dear loved one's joy.

[838] "`Do now but raise your shining head above the azure sea: come Galatea come, and do not scorn my presents. Certainly, I know myself, for only recently I saw my own reflection pictured clear in limpid water, and my features pleased and charmed me when I saw it. See how huge I am. Not even Jove in his high heaven is larger than my body: this I say because you tell me how imperial Jove surpasses.—Who is he? I never knew. My long hair plentifully hangs to hide unpleasant features; as a grove of trees overshadowing my shoulders. Never think my body is uncomely, although rough, thick set with wiry bristles. Every tree without leaves is unseemly; every horse, unless a mane hangs on his tawny neck; feathers must cover birds; and their soft wool is ornamental on the best formed sheep: therefore a beard, and rough hair spread upon the body is becoming to all men. I have but one eye centered perfectly within my forehead, so it seems most like a mighty buckler. Ha! does not the Sun see everything from heaven? Yet it has but one eye.—

[854] "`Galatea, you must know, my father is chief ruler in your sea, and therefor I now offer him to you as your own father-in-law—But oh, do take some pity on a suppliant,—and hear his prayer, for only unto you my heart is given. I, who despise the power of Jove, his heavens and piercing lightnings, am afraid of you -- your wrath more fearful than the lightning's flash -- but I should be more patient under slights, if you avoided all men: why reject the Cyclops for the love that Acis gives? And why prefer his smiles to my embraces, but let him please himself, and let him please you, Galatea, though against my will. If I am given an opportunity he will be shown that I have every strength proportioned to a body vast as mine: I will pull out his palpitating entrails, and scatter his torn limbs about the fields and over and throughout your salty waves; and then let him unite himself to you.—I burn so, and my slighted passion raves with greater fury and I seem to hold and carry Aetna in my breast—transferred there with its flames—Oh Galatea! can you listen to my passion thus unmoved!'

[870] "I saw all this; and, after he in vain had uttered such complaints, he stood up like a raging bull whose heifer has been lost, that cannot stand still, but must wander on through brush and forests, that he knows so well: when that fierce monster saw me and my Acis—we neither knew nor guessed our fate—he roared: ‘I see you and you never will again parade your love before me!' In such a voice as matched his giant size. All Aetna shook and trembled at the noise; and I amazed with horror, plunged into the adjoining sea. My loved one, Acis turned his back and fled and cried out, `Help me Galatea, help! 0, let your parents help me, and admit me safe within their realm; for I am now near my destruction!' But the Cyclops rushed at him and hurled a fragment, he had torn out from the mountain, and although the extreme edge only of the rock could reach him there. It buried him entirely.

[885] "Then I did the only thing the Fates permitted me: I let my Acis take ancestral power of river deities. The purple blood flowed from beneath the rock, but soon the sanguine richness faded and became at first the color of a stream, disturbed and muddied by a shower. And presently it clarified.—The rock that had been thrown then split in two, and through the cleft a reed, stately and vigorous, arose to life. And soon the hollow mouth in the great rock, resounded with the waters gushing forth. And wonderful to tell, a youth emerged, the water flowing clear about his waist, his new horns circled with entwining reeds, and the youth certainly was Acis, though he was of larger stature and his face and features all were azure. Acis changed into a stream which ever since that time has flowed there and retained its former name.

GLAUCUS TRANSFORMED TO A SEA GOD [898] So Galatea, after she had told her sorrow, ceased; and, when the company had gone from there, the Nereids swam again in the calm and quiet waves. But Scylla soon returned (because she did not trust herself in deep salt waters) and she wandered there naked of garments on the thirsty sand; but, tired, by chance she found a lonely bay, and cooled her limbs with its enclosing waves. Then suddenly appeared a newly made inhabitant of that deep sea, whose name was Glaucus. Cleaving through the blue sea waves, he swam towards her. His shape had been transformed but lately for this watery life, while he was living at Anthedon in Euboea.—now he is lingering from desire for her he saw there and speaks whatever words he thought might stop her as she fled from him. Yet still she fled from him, and swift through fear, climbed to a mountain top above the sea. Facing the waves, it rose in one huge peak, parting the waters with a forest crown. She stood on that high summit quite secure: and, doubtful whether he might be a god or monster, wondered at his flowing hair which covered his broad shoulders and his back,—and marvelled at the color of his skin and at his waist merged into a twisted fish.

[916] All this he noticed, and while leaning there against a rock that stood near by, he said:—“I am no monster, maiden, I am not a savage beast; I am in truth a god of waters, with such power upon the seas as that of Proteus, Triton, or Palaemon—reared on land the son of Athamas. Not long ago I was a mortal man, yet even then my thought turned to the sea and all my living came from waters deep, for I would drag the nets that swept up fish, or, seated on a rock, I flung the line forth from the rod. The shore I loved was near a verdant meadow. One side were the waves, the other grass, which never had been touched by horned, grazing cattle. Harmless sheep and shaggy goats had never cropped it—no industrious bee came there to harvest flowers; no festive garlands had been gathered there, adornments of the head; no mower's hands had ever cut it. I was certainly the first who ever sat upon that turf,—while I was drying there the dripping nets. And so that I might in due order count the fish that I had caught, I laid out those which by good chance were driven into my nets, or credulous, were caught on my barbed hooks. It all seems like a fiction (but what good can I derive from fictions?) just as soon as any of my fish-prey touched the grass, they instantly began to move and skip as usual in sea water. While I paused and wondered, all of them slid to the waves, and left me, their late captor, and the shore.

[940] "I was amazed and doubtful, a long time; while I considered what could be the cause. What god had done this? Or perhaps the juice of some herb caused it? `But,' I said, `what herb can have such properties?' and with my hand I plucked the grass and chewed it with my teeth. My throat had hardly time to swallow those unheard of juices, when I suddenly felt all my entrails throbbing inwardly, and my entire mind also, felt possessed by passions foreign to my life before. I could not stay in that place, and I said with shouting, `Farewell! dry land! never more shall I revisit you;' and with those words upon my lips, I plunged beneath the waves. The gods of that deep water gave to me, when they received me, kindred honors, while they prayed Oceanus and Tethys both to take from me such mortal essence as might yet remain. So I was purified by them and after a good charm had been nine times repeated over me, which washed away all guilt, I was commanded then to put my breast beneath a hundred streams. So far I can relate to you all things most worthy to be told; for all so far I can remember; but from that time on I was unconscious of the many things that followed. When my mind returned to me, I found myself entirely different from what I was before; and my changed mind was not the same as it had always been. Then, for the first time I beheld this beard so green in its deep color, and I saw my flowing hair which now I sweep along the spacious seas, and my huge shoulders with their azure colored arms, and I observed my leg extremities hung tapering exactly perfect as a finny fish. But what avail is this new form to me. Although it pleased the Ocean deities? What benefit, although I am a god, if you are not persuaded by these things?”

[966] While he was telling wonders such as these—quite ready to say more—Scylla arose and left the god. Provoked at his repulse—enraged, he hastened to the marvellous court of Circe, well known daughter of the Sun.


SCYLLA TRANSFORMED TO A ROCK [1] Now the Euboean dweller in great waves, Glaucus, had left behind the crest of Aetna, raised upward from a giant's head; and left the Cyclops' fields, that never had been torn by harrow or by plough and never were indebted to the toil of oxen yoked; left Zancle, also, and the opposite walls of Rhegium, and the sea, abundant cause of shipwreck, which confined with double shores bounds the Ausonian and Sicilian lands. All these behind him, Glaucus, swimming on with his huge hands through those Tyrrhenian seas, drew near the hills so rich in magic herbs and halls of Circe, daughter of the Sun,—halls filled with men in guise of animals. After due salutations had been given—received by her as kindly—Glaucus said, “You as a goddess, certainly should have compassion upon me, a god; for you alone (if I am worthy of it) can relieve my passion. What the power of herbs can be, Titania, none knows more than I, for by their power I was myself transformed. To make the cause of my strange madness known, I have found Scylla on Italian shores, directly opposite Messenian walls. It shames me to recount my promises, entreaties, and caresses, and at last rejection of my suit. If you have known a power of incantation, I implore you now repeat that incantation here, with sacred lips—If herbs have greater power, use the tried power of herbs. But I would not request a cure—the healing of this wound. Much better than an end of pain, let her share, and feel with me my impassioned flame.”

[25] But Circe was more quick than any other to burn with passion's flame. It may have been her nature or it may have been the work of Venus, angry at her tattling sire. “You might do better,” she replied, “to court one who is willing, one who wants your love, and feels a like desire. You did deserve to win her love, yes, to be wooed yourself. In fact you might be. If you give some hope, you have my word, you shall indeed be wooed. That you may have no doubt, and so retain all confidence in your attraction's power—behold! I am a goddess, and I am the daughter also, of the radiant Sun! And I who am so potent with my charms, and I who am so potent with my herbs, wish only to be yours. Despise her who despises you, and her who is attached to you repay with like attachment—so by one act offer each her just reward.” But Glaucus answered her attempt of love, “The trees will sooner grow in ocean waves, the sea-weed sooner grow on mountain tops, than I shall change my love for graceful! Scylla.”

[40] The goddess in her jealous rage could not and would not injure him, whom she still loved, but turned her wrath upon the one preferred. She bruised immediately the many herbs most infamous for horrid juices, which, when bruised, she mingled with most artful care and incantations given by Hecate. Then, clothed in azure vestments, she passed through her troop of fawning savage animals, and issued from the center of her hall. Pacing from there to Rhegium, opposite the dangerous rocks of Zancle, she at once entered the tossed waves boiling up with tides: on these as if she walked on the firm shore, she set her feet and, hastening on dry shod, she skimmed along the surface of the deep. Not far away there was an inlet curved, round as a bent bow, which was often used by Scylla as a favorite retreat. There, she withdrew from heat of sea and sky when in the zenith blazed the unclouded sun and cast the shortest shadows on the ground. Circe infected it before that hour, polluting it with monster-breeding drugs. She sprinkled juices over it, distilled from an obnoxious root, and thrice times nine she muttered over it with magic lips, her most mysterious charm involved in words of strangest import and of dubious thought. Scylla came there and waded in waist deep, then saw her loins defiled with barking shapes. Believing they could be no part of her, she ran and tried to drive them back and feared the boisterous canine jaws. But what she fled she carried with her. And, feeling for her thighs, her legs, and feet, she found Cerberian jaws instead. She rises from a rage of dogs, and shaggy backs encircle her shortened loins.

[68] The lover Glaucus wept. He fled the embrace of Circe and her hostile power of herbs and magic spells. But Scylla did not leave the place of her disaster; and, as soon as she had opportunity, for hate of Circe, she robbed Ulysses of his men. She would have wrecked the Trojan ships, if she had not been changed beforehand to a rock which to this day reveals a craggy rim. And even the rock awakes the sailors' dread.

THE CERCOPES TRANSFORMED TO APES [75] After the Trojan ships, pushed by their oars, had safely passed by Scylla and the fierce Charybdis, and with care had then approached near the Ausonian shore, a roaring gale bore them far southward to the Libyan coast. And then Sidonian Dido, who was doomed not calmly to endure the loss of her loved Phrygian husband, graciously received Aeneas to her home and her regard: and on a pyre, erected with pretense of holy rites, she fell upon the sword. Deceived herself, she there deceived them all. Aeneas, fleeing the new walls built on that sandy shore, revisited the land of Eryx and Acestes, his true friend. There he performed a hallowed sacrifice and paid due honor to his father's tomb. And presently he loosened from that shore the ships which Iris, Juno's minister, had almost burned; and sailing, passed far off the kingdom of the son of Hippotas, in those hot regions smoking with the fumes of burning sulphur, and he left behind the rocky haunt of Achelous' daughters, the Sirens. Then, when his good ship had lost the pilot, he coasted near Inarime, near Prochyta, and near the barren hill which marks another island, Pithecusae, an island named from strange inhabitants.

[91] The father of the gods abhorred the frauds and perjuries of the Cercopians and for the crimes of that bad treacherous race, transformed its men to ugly animals, appearing unlike men, although like men. He had contracted and had bent their limbs, and flattened out their noses, bent back towards their foreheads; he had furrowed every face with wrinkles of old age, and made them live in that spot, after he had covered all their bodies with long yellow ugly hair. Besides all that, he took away from them the use of language and control of tongues, so long inclined to dreadful perjury; and left them always to complain of life and their ill conduct in harsh jabbering.

THE SIBYL BECOMES GRAY AND DECREPIT [101] After Aeneas had passed by all those and seen to his right hand the distant walls guarding the city of Parthenope, he passed on his left hand a mound, grave of the tuneful son of Aeolus. Landing on Cumae's marshy shore, he reached a cavern, home of the long lived Sibylla, and prayed that she would give him at the lake, Avernus, access to his father's shade. She raised her countenance, from gazing on the ground, and with an inspiration given to her by influence of the god, she said, “Much you would have, O man of famous deeds, whose courage is attested by the sword, whose filial piety is proved by flame. But, Trojan, have no fear. I grant your wish, and with my guidance you shall look upon the latest kingdom of the world, shall see Elysian homes and your dear father's shade, for virtue there is everywhere a way.” She spoke, and pointed out to him a branch refulgent with bright gold, found in the woods of Juno of Avernus, and commanded him to pluck it from the stem. Aeneas did what she advised him. Then he saw the wealth of the dread Orcus, and he saw his own ancestors, and beheld the aged ghost of great Anchises. There he learned the laws of that deep region, and what dangers must be undergone by him in future wars.

[120] Retracing with his weary steps the path up to the light, he found relief from toil in converse with the sage Cumaean guide. While in thick dusk he trod the frightful way, “Whether you are a deity,” he said, “Or human and most favored by the gods, to me you always will appear divine. I will confess, too, my existence here is due to your kind aid, for by your will I visited the dark abodes of death, and I escaped the death which I beheld. For this great service, when I shall emerge into the sunlit air, I will erect for you a temple and will burn for you sweet incense kindled at the altar flame.”

[129] The prophetess looked on him and with sighs, “I am no goddess,” she replied, “nor is it well to honor any mortal head with tribute of the holy frankincense. And, that you may not err through ignorance, I tell you life eternal without end was;offered to me, if I would but yield virginity to Phoebus for his love. And, while he hoped for this and in desire offered to bribe me for my virtue, first with gifts, he said, ‘Maiden of Cumae choose whatever you may wish, and you shall gain all that you wish.' I pointed to a heap of dust collected there, and foolishly replied, `As many birthdays must be given to me as there are particles of sand.' For I forgot to wish them days of changeless youth. He gave long life and offered youth besides, if I would grant his wish. This I refused, I live unwedded still. My happier time has fled away, now comes with tottering step infirm old age, which I shall long endure. You find me ending seven long centuries, and there remain for me, before my years equal the number of those grains of sand, three hundred harvests, three hundred vintages! The time will come, when long increase of days will so contract me from my present size and so far waste away my limbs with age that I shall dwindle to a trifling weight, so trifling, it will never be believed I once was loved and even pleased a god. Perhaps, even Phoebus will not recognize me, or will deny he ever bore me love. But, though I change till eye would never know me, my voice shall live, the fates will leave my voice.”

ULYSSES WITH POLYPHEMUS AND CIRCE [154] Sibylla with such words beguild their way from Stygian realms up to the Euboean town. Trojan Aeneas, after he had made due sacrifice in Cumae, touched the shore that had not yet been given his nurse's name. There Macareus of Neritus had come, companion of long tried Ulysses, there he rested, weary of his lengthened toils. He recognized one left in Aetna's cave, greek Achaemenides, and, all amazed to find him yet alive, he said to him, “What chance, or what god, Achaemenides, preserves you? Why is this barbarian ship conveying you a Greek? What land is sought?”

[165] No longer ragged in the clothes he wore and his own master, wearing clothes not tacked with sharp thorns, Achaemenides replied, "Again may I see Polyphemus' jaws out-streaming with their slaughtered human blood; if my own home and Ithaca give more delight to me than this barbarian bark, or if I venerate Aeneas less than my own father. If I should give my all, it never could express my gratitude, that I can speak and breath, and see the heavens illuminated by the gleaming sun—how can I be ungrateful and forget all this? Because of him these limbs of mine were spared the Cyclops' jaws; and, though I were even now to leave the light of life, I should at worst be buried in a tomb—not in his maw. What were my feelings when (unless indeed my terror had deprived me of all sense) left there, I saw you making for the open sea? I wished to shout aloud, but was afraid it would betray me to the enemy. The shoutings of Ulysses nearly caused destruction of your ship and there I saw the Cyclops, when he tore a crag away and hurled the huge rock in the whirling waves; I saw him also throw tremendous stones with his gigantic arms. They flew afar, as if impelled by catapults of war, I was struck dumb with terror lest the waves or stones might overwhelm the ship, forgetting that I still was on the shore! But when your flight had saved you from that death of cruelty, the Cyclops, roaring rage, paced all about Mount Aetna, groping through its forests with his outstretched arms. Deprived of sight, he stumbled there against the rocks, until he reached the sea; and stretching out his gore stained arms into its waters there, he cursed all of the Grecian race, and said, `Oh! that some accident would carry back Ulysses to me, or but one of his companions; against whom my rage might vent itself, whose joints my hand might tear whose blood might drench my throat, whose living limbs might quiver in my teeth. How trifling then, how insignificant would be the loss, of my sight which he took from me!'

[198] "All this and more he said. A ghastly horror took possession of me when I saw his face and every feature streaming yet with blood, his ruthless hands, and the vile open space where his one eye had been, and his coarse limbs, and his beard matted through with human blood. It seemed as if Death were before my eyes, yet that was but the least part of my woe. I seemed upon the point of being caught, my flesh about to be the food of his. Before my mind was fixed the time I saw two bodies of my loved companions dashed three or four times hard against the ground, when he above them, like a lion, crouched, devouring quickly in his hideous jaws, their entrails and their flesh and their crushed bones, white marrowed, and their mangled quivering limbs. A trembling fear seized on me as I stood pallid and without power to move from there, while I recalled him chewing greedily, and belching out his bloody banquet from his huge mouth—vomiting crushed pieces mixed with phlegmy wine—and I feared such a doom in readiness, awaited wretched me. Most carefully concealed for many days, trembling at every sound and fearing death, although desiring death; I fed myself on grass and acorns, mixed with leaves; alone and destitute, despondent unto death, awaiting my destruction I lost hope. In that condition a long while, at last I saw a ship not far off, and by signs prayed for deliverance, as I ran in haste, down to the shore. My prayers prevailed on them. A Trojan ship took in and saved a Greek! And now, O dearest to me of all men, tell me of your adventures, of your chief and comrades, when you sailed out on the sea.”

[223] Then Macareus told him of Aeolus, the son of Hippotas, whose kingdom is the Tuscan sea, whose prison holds the winds, and how Ulysses had received the winds tied in a bull's hide bag, an awesome gift, how nine days with a favoring breeze they sailed and saw afar their longed for native land. How, as the tenth day dawned, the crew was moved by envy and a lust for gold, which they imagined hidden in that leathern bag and so untied the thong which held the winds. These, rushing out, had driven the vessel back over the waves which they had safely passed, back to the harbor of King Aeolus. “From there,” he said, “we sailed until we reached the ancient city of Lamus, Laestrygon.—Antiphates was reigning in that land, and I was sent with two men of our troop, ambassadors to see him. Two of us escaped with difficulty, but the third stained the accursed Lestrygonian's jaws with his devoted blood. Antiphates pursued us, calling out his murderous horde. They came and, hurling stones and heavy beams, they overwhelmed and sank both ships and men. One ship escaped, on which Ulysses sailed.

[242] "Grieving, lamenting for companions lost, we finally arrived at that land which you may discern far off, and, trust my word, far off it should be seen—I saw it near! And oh most righteous Trojan, Venus' son, Aeneas, whom I call no more a foe, I warn you now: avoid the shores of Circe. We moored our ship beside that country too; but, mindful of the dangers we had run with Laestrygons and cruel Polyphemus, refused to go ashore. Ulysses chose some men by lot and told them to seek out a roof which he had seen among the trees. The lot took me, then staunch Polytes next, Eurylochus, Elpenor fond of wine, and eighteen more and brought us to the walls of Circe's dwelling. As we drew near and stood before the door, a thousand wolves rushed out from woods near by, and with the wolves there ran she bears and lionesses, dread to see. And yet we had no cause to fear, for none would harm us with the smallest scratch. Why, they in friendship even wagged their tails and fawned upon us, while we stood in doubt. Then handmaids took us in and led us on through marble halls to the presence of their queen.

[261] She, in a beautiful recess, sat on her throne, clad richly in a shining purple robe, and over it she wore a golden veil. Nereids and nymphs, who never carded fleece with motion of their fingers, nor drew out a ductile thread, were setting potent herbs in proper order and arranging them in baskets—a confusing wealth of flowers were scattered among leaves of every hue: and she prescribed the tasks they all performed. She knew the natural use of every leaf and combinations of their virtues, when mixed properly; and, giving them her close attention, she examined every herb as it was weighed. When she observed us there, and had received our greetings and returned them, she smiled, as if we should be well received. At once she had her maidens bring a drink of parched barley, of honey and strong wine, and curds of milk. And in the nectarous draught she added secretly her baleful drugs.

[276] "We took the cups presented to us by her sacred right hand; and, as soon as we, so thirsty, quaffed them with our parching mouths, that ruthless goddess with her outstretched wand touched lightly the topmost hair upon our heads. (Although I am ashamed, I tell you this) stiff bristles quickly grew out over me, and I could speak no more. Instead of words I uttered hoarse murmurs and towards the ground began to bend and gaze with all my face. I felt my mouth take on a hardened skin with a long crooked snout, and my neck swell with muscles. With the very member which a moment earlier had received the cup I now made tracks in sand of the palace court. Then with my friends, who suffered a like change (charms have such power!) I was prisoned in a stye. We saw Eurylochus alone avoid our swinish form, for he refused the cup. If he had drained it, I should still remain one of a bristly herd. Nor would his news have made Ulysses sure of our disaster and brought a swift avenger of our fate.

[291] "Peace bearing Hermes gave him a white flower from a black root, called Moly by the gods. With this protection and the god's advice he entered Circe's hall and, as she gave the treacherous cup and with her magic wand essayed to touch his hair, he drove her back and terrified her with his quick drawn sword. She gave her promise, and, right hands exchanged, he was received unharmed into her couch, where he required the bodies of his friends awarded him, as his prized marriage gift. We then were sprinkled with more favored juice of harmless plants, and smitten on the head with the magic wand reversed. And new charms were repeated, all conversely to the charms which had degraded us. Then, as she sings, more and yet more we raise ourselves erect, the bristles fall off and the fissures leave our cloven feet, our shoulders overcome their lost shape and our arms become attached, as they had been before. With tears of joy we all embrace him, also weeping tears; and we cling fondly to our chieftain's neck; -- not one of us could say a single word till thus we had attested gratitude.”

PICUS AND CANENS [308] "The full space of a year detained us there, and I, remaining that long stretch of time, saw many things and heard as much besides: and this among the many other things, was told me secretly by one of the four handmaidens of those rites. While Circe passed her time from all apart except my chief, she brought me to a white marble shape, a youth who bore a woodpecker upon his head. It stood erected in a hallowed place, adorned with many wreaths. When I had asked the statue's name and why he stood revered in that most sacred temple, and what caused that bird he carried on his head; she said:—`Listen, Macareus, and learn from this tale too the power of Circe, and weigh the knowledge well!'

[320] "`Picus, offspring of Saturn, was the king of the Ausonian land, one very fond of horses raised for war. The young man's form was just what you now see, and had you known him as he lived, you would not change a line. His nature was as noble as his shape. He could not yet have seen the steeds contend four times in races held with each fifth year at Grecian Elis. But his good looks had charmed the dryads born on Latin hills, Naiads would pine for him—both goddesses of spring and goddesses of fountains, pined for him, and nymphs that live in streaming Albula, Numicus, Anio's course, brief flowing Almo, and rapid Nar and Farfarus, so cool in its delightful shades; all these and those which haunt the forest lake of Scythian Diana and the other nearby lakes. But, heedless of all these, he loved a nymph whom on the hill, called Palatine, 'tis said, Venilia bore to Janus double faced. When she had reached the age of marriage, she was given to Picus Laurentine, preferred by her above all others—wonderful indeed her beauty, but more wonderful her skill in singing, from which art they called her Canens. The fascination of her voice would move the woods and rocks and tame wild beasts, and stay long rivers, and it even detained the wandering bird.

[341] "`Once, while she sang a lay with high, clear voice, Picus on his keen horse rode in Laurentian fields to hunt the boar, two spears in his left hand, his purple cloak fastened with gold. The daughter of the Sun wandered in woods near by to find new herbs growing on fertile hills, for she had left Circaean fields called so from her own name. From a concealing thicket she observed the youth with wonder. All the gathered herbs dropped from her hands, forgotten, to the ground and a hot fever-flame seemed to pervade her marrow. When she could collect her thought she wanted to confess her great desire, but the swift horse and his surrounding guards prevented her approach. “Still you shall not escape me,” she declared, “although you may be borne on winds, if I but know myself, and if some potency in herbs remains, and if my art of charms does not deceive.”

[358] "`Such were her thoughts, and then she formed an image of a bodiless wild swine and let it cross the trail before the king and rush into a woodland dense with trees, which fallen trunks made pathless for his horse. Picus at once, unconscious of all harm, followed the phantom-prey and, hastily quitting the reeking back of his good steed, he wandered in pursuit of a vain hope, on foot through that deep wood. She seized the chance and by her incantation called strange gods with a strange charm, which had the power to hide the white moon's features and draw thirsty clouds about her father's head. The changing sky then lowered more black at each repeated tone of incantation, and the ground exhaled its vapours, while his people wandered there along the darkened paths until no guard was near to aid the imperiled king.

[372] "`Having now gained an opportunity and place, she said, “O, youth most beautiful! By those fine eyes, which captivated mine, and by that graceful person, which brings me, even me, a goddess, suppliant to you, have pity on my passion; let the Sun, who looks on all things, be your father-in-law; do not despise Circe, the Titaness.” But fiercely he repelled her and her prayer, “Whoever you may be, you are not mine,” he said. “Another lady has my heart. I pray that for a lengthening space of time she may so hold me. I will not pollute conjugal ties with the unhallowed loves of any stranger, while the Fates preserve to me the child of Janus, my dear Canens.” Titan's daughter, when many pleas had failed, said angrily, “You shall not leave me with impunity, and you shall not return to Canens; and by your experience you shall now learn what can be done by her so slighted—what a woman deep in love can do—and Circe is that slighted love.”

[386] "`Then twice she turned herself to face the west and twice to face the East; and three times then she touched the young man with her wand, and sang three incantations. Picus fled, but, marvelling at his unaccustomed speed, he saw new wings, that spread on either side and bore him onward. Angry at the thought of transformation—all so suddenly added a strange bird to the Latian woods, he struck the wild oaks with his hard new beak, and in his rage inflicted many wounds on the long waving branches his wings took the purple of his robe. The piece of gold which he had used so nicely in his robe was changed to golden feathers, and his neck was rich as yellow gold. Nothing remained of Picus as he was except the name.

[397] "`While all this happened his attendants called on Picus often but in vain throughout surrounding fields, and finding not a trace of their young king, at length by chance they met with Circe, who had cleared the darkened air and let the clouds disperse before the wind and clear rays of the sun. Then with good cause they blamed her, they demanded the return of their lost king, and with their hunting spears they threatened her. She, sprinkling baleful drugs and poison juices over them, invoked the aid of Night and all the gods of Night from Erebus and Chaos, and desired the aid of Hecat with long, wailing cries. Most wonderful to tell, the forests leaped from fixed localities and the torn soil uttered deep groans, the trees surrounding changed from life-green to sick pallor, and the grass was moistened with besprinkling drops of blood; the stones sent forth harsh longings, unknown dogs barked loudly, and the ground became a mass of filthy snakes, and unsubstantial hosts of the departed flitted without sound. The men all quaked appalled. With magic rod she touched their faces, pale and all amazed, and at her touch the youths took on strange forms of wild animals. None kept his proper shape.

[416] "`The setting sun is resting low upon the far Tartessian shores, and now in vain her husband is expected by the eyes of longing Canens. Her slaves and people run about through all the forest, holding lights to meet him. Nor is it enough for that dear nymph to weep and frenzied tear her hair and beat her breast—she did all that and more. Distracted she rushed forth and wandered through the Latin fields. Six nights, six brightening dawns found her quite unrefreshed with food or sleep wandering at random over hill and dale. The Tiber saw her last, with grief and toil wearied and lying on his widespread bank. In tears she poured out words with a faint voice, lamenting her sad woe, as when the swan about to die sings a funereal dirge. Melting with grief at last she pined away; her flesh, her bones, her marrow liquified and vanished by degrees as formless air and yet the story lingers near that place, fitly named Canens by old-time Camenae!.'

[435] "Such things I heard and saw through a long year. Sluggish, inactive through our idleness, we were all ordered to embark again out on the deep, again to set our sails. The Titaness explained the doubtful paths, the great extent and peril, of wild seas. I was alarmed, I will confess to you; so, having reached these shores, I have remained.”

DIOMED'S FOLLOWERS TRANSFORMED [441] Macareus finished. And Aeneas' nurse, now buried in a marble urn, had this brief, strange inscription on her tomb:-- "My foster-child of proven piety, burned me Caieta here: although I was at first preserved from Argive fire, I later burned with fire which was my due.” The cable loosened from the grassy bank, they steered a course which kept them well away from ill famed Circe's wiles and from her home and sought the groves where Tiber dark with shade, breaks with his yellow sands into the sea. Aeneas then fell heir to the home and won the daughter of Latinus, Faunus' son, not without war. A people very fierce made war, and Turnus, their young chief, indignant fought to hold a promised bride. With Latium all Etruria was embroiled, a victory hard to win was sought through war. By foreign aid each side got further strength: the camp of Rutuli abounds in men, and many throng the opposing camp of Troy. Aeneas did not find Evander's home in vain. But Venulus with no success came to the realm of exiled Diomed. That hero had marked out his mighty walls with favor of Iapygian Daunus and held fields that came to him as marriage dower.

[460] When Venulus, by Turnus' orders, made request for aid, the Aetolian hero said that he was poor in men: he did not wish to risk in battle himself nor any troops belonging to his father-in-law and had no troops of his that he could arm for battle. “Lest you should think I feign,” he then went on “Although my grief must be renewed because of bitter recollections of the past, I will endure recital now to you:-- "After the lofty Ilion was burnt and Pergama had fed the Grecian flames, and Ajax, the Narycian hero, had brought from a virgin, for a virgin wronged, the punishment which he alone deserved on our whole expedition, we were then dispersed and driven by violent winds over the hostile seas; and we, the Greeks, had to endure in darkness, lightning, rain, the wrath both of the heavens and of the sea, and Caphareus, the climax of our woe. Not to detain you by relating such unhappy things in order, Greece might then have seemed to merit even Priam's tears. Although well armed Minerva's care preserved me then and brought me safe through rocks and waves, from my native Argos I was driven again, for outraged Venus took her full revenge remembering still that wound of long ago; and I endured such hardships on the deep, and hazards amid armies on the shore, that often I called those happy whom the storm—an ill that came on all, or Cephareus had drowned. I even wished I had been one of them.

[483] "My best companions having now endured utmost extremities in wars and seas, lost courage and demanded a swift end of our long wandering. Acmon, by nature hot, and much embittered by misfortune, said, `What now remains for you, my friends, that patience can endure? What can be done by Venus (if she wants to) more than she already has done? While we have a dread of greater evils, reason will be found for patience; but, when fortune brings her worst, we scorn and trample fear beneath our feet. Upon the height of woe, why should we care? Let Venus listen, let her hate Diomed more than all others—as indeed she does, we all despise her hate. At a great price we have bought and won the right to such contempt!' With language of this kind Pleuronian Acmon. Provoking Venus further than before, revived her former anger. His fierce words were then approved of by a few, while we the greater number of his real friends, rebuked the words of Acmon: and while he prepared to answer us, his voice, and even the passage of his voice, were both at once diminished, his hair changed to feathers, while his neck took a new form. His breast and back covered themselves with down, and both his arms grew longer feathers, and his elbows curved into light wings, much of each foot was changed to long toes, and his mouth grew still and hard with pointed horn. Amazed at his swift change were Lycus, Abas, Nycteus and Rhexenor. And, while they stared, they took his feathered shape. The larger portion of my company flew from their boat, resounding all around our oars with flapping of new-fashioned wings. If you should ask the form of these strange birds they were like snowy swans, though not the same. Now as Iapygian Daunus' son-in-law I scarcely hold this town and arid fields with my small remnant of trustworthy men.”

METAMORPHOSES RELATED TO AENEAS [512] So Diomed made answer. Venulus soon after left the Calydonian realms, Peucetian bays, and the Messapian fields. Among those fields he saw a darkened cave in woods and waving reeds. The halfgoat Pan now lives there, but in older time the nymphs possessed it. An Apulian shepherd scared them from that spot. At first he terrified them with a sudden fear, but soon in scorn, as they considered what the intruder was, they danced before him, moving feet to time. The shepherd clown abused them, capering, grotesquely imitating graceful steps, and railed at them with coarse and foolish words. He was not silent till a tree's new bark had closed his mouth for now he is a tree. And the wild olive's fruit took bitterness from him. It has the tartness of his tongue.

[527] When the ambassadors returned and told their tale about Aetolian arms refused, the bold Rutulians carried on the war without those forces, and much blood was shed. Then Turnus with a greedy torch drew near the Trojan fleet, well built of close-knit pine. What had escaped the waves, now feared the flame. Soon Mulciber was burning pitch and wax and other food of fire, up the high masts he ran and fed upon the tight furled sails, and even the benches in the curved hull smoked. When the holy mother of the gods, recalling how those same pines were felled on Ida's crest, filled the wind with a sound of cymbals clashed and trill of boxwood flutes. Borne through light air by her famed lion yoke, she came and said, “In vain you cast the fire with impious hand, Turnus, for I will save this burning fleet. I will not let the greedy flame consume trees that were part and members of my grove.” It thundered while she spoke, and heavy clouds, following the thunder, brought a storm of bounding hail. The Astraean brothers filled both air and swollen waters with their rage and rushed to battle. With the aid of one of them the kindly mother broke the ropes which held the Phrygian ships, and, drawing all prow foremost, plunged them underneath the wave. Softening quickly in the waters quiet depth, their wood was changed to flesh, the curving prows were metamorphosed into human heads, blades of the oars made feet, the looms were changed to swimming legs, the sides turned human flanks, each keel below the middle of a ship transformed became a spine, the cordage changed to soft hair, and the sail yards changed to arms. The azure color of the ships remained.

[555] As sea-nymphs in the water they began to agitate with virgin sports the waves, which they had always dreaded. Natives of the rugged mountains they are now so changed, they swim and dwell in the soft flowing sea, with every influence of birth forgot. Never forgetful of the myriad risks they have endured among the boisterous waves, they often give a helping hand to ships tossed in the power of storms—unless, of course, the ship might carry men of Grecian race. Never forgetful of the Phrygians and catastrophe, their hatred was so great of all Pelasgians, that they looked with joy upon the fragments of Ulysses' ship; and were delighted when they saw the ship of King Alcinous growing hard upon the breakers, as its wood was turned to stone.

[566] Many were hopeful that a fleet which had received life strangely in the forms of nymphs would cause the chieftain of the Rutuli to feel such awe that he would end their strife. But he continued fighting, and each side had its own gods, and each had courage too, which often can be as potent as the gods. Now they forgot the kingdom as a dower, forgot the scepter of a father-in-law, and even forgot the pure Lavinia: their one thought was to conquer, and they waged war to prevent the shame of a defeat. But Venus finally beheld the arms of her victorious son; for Turnus fell, and Ardea fell, a town which, while he lived, was counted strong. The Trojan swords destroyed it.—All its houses burned and sank down in the heated embers: and a bird not known before that time, flew upward from a wrecked heap, beating the dead ashes with its flapping wings. The voice, the lean pale look, the sorrows of a captured city, even the name of the ruined city, all these things remain in that bird—Ardea's fallen walls are beaten in lamentation by his wings.

[581] The merit of Aeneas now had moved the gods. Even Juno stayed her lasting hate, when, with the state of young Iulus safe, the hero son of Cytherea was prepared for heaven. In a council of the gods Venus arose, embraced her father's neck, and said: “ My father, ever kind to me, I do beseech your kind indulgence now; grant, dearest, to Aeneas, my own son and also your own grandson, grant to him a godhead power, although of lowest class, sufficient if but granted. It is enough to have looked once upon the unlovely realm. And once to have gone across the Stygian streams.” The gods assented, and the queen of Jove nodded consent with calm, approving face. The father said, “You well deserve the gift, both you who ask it, and the one for whom you ask it: what you most desire is yours, my daughter.” He decreed, and she rejoiced and thanked her parent. Borne by harnessed doves over and through the light air, she arrived safe on Laurentine shores: Numicius there winds through his tall reeds to the neighboring sea the waters of his stream: and there she willed Numicius should wash perfectly away from her Aeneas every part that might be subject unto death; and bear it far with quiet current into Neptune's realm. The horned Numicius satisfied the will of Venus; and with flowing waters washed from her Aeneas every mortal part, and sprinkled him, so that the essential part of immortality remained alone, and she anointed him, thus purified, with heavenly essence, and she touched his face with sweetest nectar and ambrosia mixt, thereby transforming him into a god. The throng of the Quirini later named the new god Indiges, and honored him.

VERTUMNUS AND POMONA [609] Under the scepter of Ascanius the Latin state, transferred, was Alban too. Silvius ruled after him. Latinus then, wearing the crown, brought back an older name. Illustrious Alba followed after him, Epytus next in time, and Capys next, then Capetus. And reigning after them King Tiberinus followed. He was drowned in waves of that Etrurian stream, to which he gave his name. His sons were Remulus and fierce Acrota—each in turn was king. The elder, Remulus, would imitate the lightning, and he perished by a flash of lightning. Then Acrota, not so rash, succeeded to his brother, and he left his scepter to the valiant Aventinus, hill-buried on the very mountain which he ruled upon and which received his name. And Proca ruled then—on the Palatine.

[623] Under this king, Pomona lived, and none of all the Latin hamadryads could attend her garden with more skill, and none was more attentive to the fruitful trees, because of them her name was given to her. She cared not for the forests or the streams, but loved the country and the boughs that bear delicious fruit. Her right hand never felt a javelin's weight, always she loved to hold a sharp curved pruning-knife with which she would at one time crop too largely growing shoots, or at another time reduce the branch that straggled; at another time she would engraft a sucker in divided bark, and so find nourishment for some young, strange nursling. She never suffered them to thirst, for she would water every winding thread of twisting roots with freshly flowing streams.

[634] All this was her delight, her chief pursuit; she never felt the least desire of love; but fearful of some rustic's violence, she had her orchard closed within a wall; and both forbade and fled the approach of males. What did not satyrs do to gain her love, a youthful crew expert at every dance? And also Pans their brows wreathed with the pine, Silenus too, more youthful than his years, and that god who is ever scaring thieves with pruning-hook or limb—what did they not to gain her love? And though Vertumnus did exceed them in his love, yet he was not more fortunate than they. How often disguised as a rough reaper he brought her barley ears—truly he seemed a reaper to the life! Often he came, his temples wreathed with hay, as if he had been tossing new mown grass. He often held a whip in his tough hand, you could have sworn he had a moment before unyoked his wearied oxen. When he had a pruning-knife, he seemed to rear fine fruit in orchard trees or in the well kept vines. When he came with a ladder, you would think he must be gathering fruit. Sometimes he was a soldier with a sword—a fisherman, the rod held in his hand.—In fact by means of many shapes he often had obtained access to her and joyed in seeing her beauty.

[654] At length he had his brows bound with a cap of color, and then leaning on a stick, with white hair round his temples, he assumed the shape of an old woman. Entering so the cultivated garden, he admired the fruit and said, “But you are so much lovelier!” And, while he praised her, gave some kisses too, such as no real beldame ever gave. The bent old creature then sat on the grass. Gazing at branches weighed down with their fruit of autumn. Opposite to them there was an elm-tree beautiful with shining grapes; and, after he had praised it with the vine embracing it, he said, “But only think, if this trunk stood unwedded to this vine, it would have nothing to attract our hearts beyond its leaves, and this delightful vine, united to the elm tree finds its rest; but, if not so joined to it, would fall down, prostrate upon the ground. And yet you find no warning in the example of this tree. You have avoided marriage, with no wish to be united -- I must wish that you would change and soon desire it. Helen would not have so many suitors for her hand, nor she who caused the battles of the Lapithae, nor would the wife of timid, and not bold, Ulysses. Even now, while you avoid those who are courting you, and while you turn in your disgust, a thousand suitors want to marry you—the demigods and gods, and deities of Alba's mountain-tops.

[675] "But you, if you are wise, and wish to make a good match, listen patiently to me, an old, old woman (I love you much more than all of them, more than you dream or think). Despise all common persons, and choose now Vertumnus as the partner of your couch, and you may take me as a surety for him. He is not better known even to himself, than he is known to me. And he is not now wandering everywhere, from here to there throughout the world. He always will frequent the places near here; and he does not, like so many of your wooers, fall in love with her he happens to have seen the last. You are his first and last love, and to you alone will he devote his life. Besides all—he is young and has a natural gift of grace, so that he can most readily transform himself to any wanted shape, and will become whatever you may wish—even though you ask him things unseen before. And only think, have you not the same tastes? Will he not be the first to welcome fruits which are your great delight? And does he not hold your gifts safely in his glad right hand? But now he does not long for any fruit plucked from the tree, and has no thought of herbs with pleasant juices that the garden gives; he cannot think of anything but you. Have pity on his passion, and believe that he who woos you is here and he pleads with my lips. You should not forget to fear avenging deities, and the Idalian, who hate all cruel hearts, and also dread the fierce revenge of her of Rhamnus-Land. And that you may stand more in awe of them, (old age has given me opportunities of knowing many things) I will relate some happenings known in Cyprus, by which you may be persuaded and relent with ease.

ANAXARETE TRANSFORMED [698] "Iphis, born of a humble family, had seen the famed Anaxarete, who was of the race of ancient Teucer.—He had seen her and felt fire inflame his bones. Struggling a long time, he could not subdue his passion by his reason, so he came a suppliant to her doors. And having now confessed his ardent passion to her nurse, besought her by the hopes reposed in her by the loved girl, not to give him a cold heart and at another time, with fair words given to each of many servants he besought their kindest interest with an anxious voice. He often gave them coaxing words engraved on tablets of soft wax; and sometimes he would fasten garlands, wet with dew of tears, upon the door-posts; and he often laid his tender side nightlong on the hard threshold, sadly reproaching the obdurate bolt. Deafer than the deep sea that rises high when the rainy Constellation of the Kids is setting; harder than the iron which the fire of Noricum refines; more hard than rock which in its native state is fixed firm rooted; she despised and laughed at him and, adding to her cruel deeds and pride, she boasted and deprived him of all hope.

[716] "Iphis, unable to endure such pain prolonged, spoke these, his final words, before her door: `Anaxarete, you have conquered me, and you shall have no more annoyances to bear from me. Be joyful and prepare your triumph, and invoke god Paean, crown yourself with shining laurel. You are now my conqueror, and I resigned will die. Woman of iron, rejoice in victory! At least, you will commend me for one thing, one point in which I must please even you, and cause you to confess my right of praise. Remember that my star crossed love for you died only with the last breath of my life. And now in one short moment I shall be deprived a twofold light; and no report will come to you, no messenger of death. But doubt not, I will come to you so that I can be seen in person, and you may then satiate your cruel eyesight with my lifeless body. If, you gods above! You have some knowledge of our mortal ways remember me, for now my tongue can pray no longer. Let me be renowned in times far distant and give all those hours to Fame which you have taken from my life on earth.' Then to the doorpost which he often had adorned with floral wreaths he lifted up his swimming eyes and both his pallid arms, and, when he had fastened over the capital a rope that held a dangling noose, he said,—`Are these the garlands that delight your heart? You cruel and unnatural woman?'— Then, thrust in his head, turning even then towards her, and hung a hapless weight with broken neck. The door, struck by the motion of his feet as they were quivering, seemed to utter sounds of groaning, and, when it flew open, showed the sad sight. All the servants cried aloud, and after they had tried in vain to save him, carried him from there to his mother's house, (to her because his father was then dead).

[743] "She held him to her bosom and embraced the cold limbs of her dead child. After she had uttered words so natural to the grief of wretched mothers—after she had done what wretched mothers do at such sad times, she led a tearful funeral through the streets, the pale corpse following high upon the bier, on to a pyre laid in the central square. By chance, Anaxarete's house was near the way through which the mournful funeral was going with the corpse, and the sad sound of wailing reached the ears of that proud girl—hardhearted, and already goaded on by an avenging god. Moved by the sound, she said; `Let me observe their sniveling rites.' And she ascended to an upper room, provided with wide windows. Scarcely had she looked at Iphis, laid out on the bier, when her eyes stiffened, and she turned all white, as warm blood left her body. She tried then to turn back from the window, but she stood transfixed there. She then tried to turn her face away from that sad sight, but could not move; and by degrees the stone, which always had existed, petrified in her cold breast, and took possession of her heart and limbs. This is not fiction, and that you may know, Salamis keeps that statue safe today, formed of the virgin and has also built a temple called, `Venus the watchful Goddess.' Warned by her fate, O sweet nymph, lay aside prolonged disdain, and cheerfully unite yourself to one who loves you. Then may frost of springtime never nip your fruit in bud, nor rude winds strike the blossom.”

[765] When the god, fitted for every shape, had said these words in vain he laid the old woman's form aside and was again a youth. On her he seemed to blaze, as when the full light of the brilliant Sun, after it has dispelled opposing clouds, has shone forth with not one to intercept. He purposed violence, but there was then no need of force. The lovely nymph was charmed, was captivated by the god's bright form and felt a passion answering to his love.

TALES ABOUT ROMULUS [772] At Proca's death unjust Amulius seized with his troops the whole Ausonian wealth. And yet old Numitor, obtaining aid from his two grandsons, won the land again which he had lost; and on the festival of Pales were the city walls begun. King Tatius with his Sabines went to war; Tarpeia, who betrayed the citadel, died justly underneath the weight of arms. Then troops from Cures crept, like silent wolves, without a word toward men subdued by sleep and tried the gates that Ilia's son had barred. Then Saturn's daughter opened wide a gate, turning the silent hinge. Venus alone perceived the bars of that gate falling down. She surely would have closed it, were it not impossible for any deity to countervail the acts of other gods.

[785] The Naiads of Ausonia occupied a spring that welled up close to Janus' fane. To them she prayed for aid. The fountain-nymphs could not resist the prayer of Venus, when she made her worthy plea and they released all waters under ground. Till then the path by Janus' fane was open, never yet had floods risen to impede the way. But now they laid hot sulphur of a faint blue light beneath the streaming fountain and with care applied fire to the hallowed ways with smoking pitch. By these and many other violent means hot vapors penetrated to the source of the good fountain.—Only think of it! Those waters which had rivalled the cold Alps, now rivalled with their heat the flames themselves! And, while each gate post steamed with boiling spray, the gate, which had been opened (but in vain) to hardy Sabines just outside, was made impassable by the heated fountain's flood, till Roman soldiers had regained their arms. After brave Romulus had led them forth and covered Roman ground with Sabines dead and its own people; and the accursed sword shed blood of father-in-law and son-in-law, with peace they chose at last to end the war, rather than fight on to the bitter end: Tatius and Romulus divide the throne.

[805] Tatius had fallen, and you, O Romulus, were giving laws to peoples now made one, when Mars put off his helmet and addressed the father of gods and men in words like these: “The time has come, for now the Roman state has been established on a strong foundation and no more must rely on one man's strength the time has come for you to give the prize, promised to me and your deserving grandson, to raise him from the earth and grant him here a fitting place in heaven. One day you said to me before a council of the gods, (for I recall now with a grateful mind how I took note of your most gracious speech) `Him you shall lift up to the blue of heaven.' Now let all know the meaning of your words!” The god all-powerful nodded his assent, and he obscured the air with heavy clouds and on a trembling world he sent below harsh thunder and bright lightning. Mars at once perceived it was a signal plainly given for promised change—so, leaning on a spear, he mounted boldly into his chariot, and over bloodstained yoke and eager steeds he swung and cracked the loud-resounding lash. Descending through steep air, he halted on the wooded summit of the Palatine and there, while Ilia's son was giving laws—needing no pomp and circumstance of kings, Mars caught him up. His mortal flesh dissolved into thin air, as when a ball of lead shot up from a broad sling melts all away and soon is lost in heaven. A nobler shape was given him, one more fitted to adorn rich couches in high heaven, the shape divine of Quirinus clad in the trabea.

[829] His queen, Hersilia, wept continually, regarding him as lost, till regal Juno commanded Iris to glide down along her curving bow and bring to her these words: “O matron, glory of the Latin race and of the Sabines, worthy to have been the consort chosen by so great a man and now to be his partner as the god Quirinus, weep no more. If you desire to see your husband, let me guide you up to a grove that crowns the hill of Quirinus, shading a temple of the Roman king.” Iris obeyed her will, and, gliding down to earth along her tinted bow, conveyed the message to Hersilia; who replied, with modest look and hardly lifted eye, “Goddess (although it is not in my power to say your name, I am quite certain you must be a goddess), lead me, O lead me until you show to me the hallowed form of my beloved husband. If the Fates will but permit me once again to see his features, I will say I have won heaven.” At once Hersilia and the virgin child of Thaumas, went together up the hill of Romulus. Descending through thin air there came a star, and then Hersilia her tresses glowing fiery in the light, rose with that star, as it returned through air. And her the founder of the Roman state received with dear, familiar hands. He changed her old time form and with the form her name. He called her Hora and let her become a goddess, now the mate of Quirinus.


YSCELUS BUILDS THE CITY OF CROTONA [1] While this was happening, they began to seek for one who could endure the weight of such a task and could succeed a king so great; and Fame, the harbinger of truth, destined illustrious Numa for the sovereign power. It did not satisfy his heart to know only the Sabine ceremonials, and he conceived in his expansive mind much greater views, examining the depth and cause of things. His country and his cares forgotten, this desire led him to visit the city that once welcomed Hercules. Numa desired to know what founder built a Grecian city on Italian shores. One of the old inhabitants, who was well acquainted with past history, replied: “Rich in Iberian herds, the son of Jove turned from the ocean and with favoring wind 'Tis said he landed on Lacinian shores. And, while the herd strayed in the tender grass, he visited the house, the friendly home, of far-famed Croton. There he rested from his arduous labors. At the time of his departure, he said, ‘Here in future days shall be a city of your numerous race.' The passing years have proved the promise true, for Myscelus, choosing that site, marked out a city's walls. Argive Alemon's son, of all men in his generation, he was most acceptable to the heavenly gods. Bending over him once at dawn, while he was overwhelmed with drowsiness of sleep, the huge club-bearer Hercules addressed him thus: `Come now, desert your native shores. Go quickly to the pebbly flowing stream of distant Aesar.' And he threatened ill in fearful words, unless he should obey. Sleep and the god departed instantly. Alemon's son, arising from his couch, pondered his recent vision thoughtfully, with his conclusions at cross purposes.—the god commanded him to quit that land, the laws forbade departure, threatening death to all who sought to leave their native land.

[30] "The brilliant Sun had hidden in the sea his shining head, and darkest Night had then put forth her starry face; and at that time it seemed as if the same god Hercules was present and repeating his commands, threatening still more and graver penalties, if he should fail to obey. Now sore afraid he set about to move his household gods to a new settlement, but rumors then followed him through the city, and he was accused of holding statutes in contempt. The accusation hardly had been made when his offense was evidently proved, even without a witness. Then he raised his face and hands up to the gods above and suppliant in neglected garb, exclaimed, `Oh mighty Hercules, for whom alone the twice six labors gave the privilege of heavenly residence, give me your aid, for you were the true cause of my offence.'

[41] "It was an ancient custom of that land to vote with chosen pebbles, white and black. The white absolved, the black condemned the man. And so that day the fateful votes were given:—all cast into the cruel urn were black! Soon as that urn inverted poured forth all the pebbles to be counted, every one was changed completely from its black to white, and so the vote adjudged him innocent. By that most fortunate aid of Hercules he was exempted from the country's law. Myscelus, breathing thanks to Hercules, with favoring wind sailed on the Ionian sea, past Sallentine Neretum, Sybaris, Spartan Tarentum, and the Sirine Bay, Crimisa, and on beyond the Iapygian fields. Then, skirting shores which face these lands, he found the place foretold the river Aesar's mouth, and found not far away a burial mound which covered with its soil the hallowed bones of Croton.—There, upon the appointed land, he built up walls—and he conferred the name of Croton, who was there entombed, on his new city, which has ever since been called Crotona.” By tradition it is known such strange deeds caused that city to be built, by men of Greece upon the Italian coast.

PYTHAGORAS TEACHES HIS PHILOSOPHY [60] Here lived a man, by birth a Samian. He had fled from Samos and the ruling class, a voluntary exile, for his hate against all tyranny. He had the gift of holding mental converse with the gods, who live far distant in the highth of heaven; and all that Nature has denied to man and human vision, he reviewed with eyes of his enlightened soul. And, when he had examined all things in his careful mind with watchful study, he released his thoughts to knowledge of the public. He would speak to crowds of people, silent and amazed, while he revealed to them the origin of this vast universe, the cause of things, what is nature, what a god, whence came the snow, the cause of lightning—was it Jupiter or did the winds, that thundered when the cloud was rent asunder, cause the lightning flash? What shook the earth, what laws controlled the stars as they were moved—and every hidden thing he was the first man to forbid the use of any animal's flesh as human food, he was the first to speak with learned lips, though not believed in this, exhorting them.—

[75] "No, mortals,” he would say, “Do not permit pollution of your bodies with such food, for there are grain and good fruits which bear down the branches by their weight, and ripened grapes upon the vines, and herbs—those sweet by nature and those which will grow tender and mellow with a fire, and flowing milk is not denied, nor honey, redolent of blossoming thyme. The lavish Earth yields rich and healthful food affording dainties without slaughter, death, and bloodshed. Dull beasts delight to satisfy their hunger with torn flesh; and yet not all: horses and sheep and cattle live on grass. But all the savage animals—the fierce Armenian tigers and ferocious lions, and bears, together with the roving wolves—delight in viands reeking with warm blood. Oh, ponder a moment such a monstrous crime—vitals in vitals gorged, one greedy body fattening with plunder of another's flesh, a living being fed on another's life! In that abundance, which our Earth, the best of mothers, will afford have you no joy, unless your savage teeth can gnaw the piteous flesh of some flayed animal to reenact the Cyclopean crime? And can you not appease the hungry void—the perverted craving of a stomach's greed, unless you first destroy another life?

[96] "That age of old time which is given the name of ‘Golden,' was so blest in fruit of trees, and in the good herbs which the earth produced that it never would pollute the mouth with blood. The birds then safely moved their wings in air, the timid hares would wander in the fields with no fear, and their own credulity had not suspended fishes from the hook. All life was safe from treacherous wiles, fearing no injury, a peaceful world. After that time some one of ill advice (it does not matter who it might have been) envied the ways of lions and gulped into his greedy paunch stuff from a carcass vile. He opened the foul paths of wickedness. It may be that in killing beasts of prey our steel was for the first time warmed with blood. And that could be defended, for I hold that predatory creatures which attempt destruction of mankind, are put to death without evasion of the sacred laws: but, though with justice they are put to death, that cannot be a cause for eating them.

[111] "This wickedness went further; and the sow was thought to have deserved death as the first of victims, for with her long turned-up snout she spoiled the good hope of a harvest year. The ravenous goat, that gnawed a sprouting vine, was led for slaughter to the altar fires of angry Bacchus. It was their own fault that surely caused the ruin of those two. But why have sheep deserved sad destiny, harmless and useful for the good of man with nectar in full udders? Their soft wool affords the warmest coverings for our use, their life and not their death would help us more. Why have the oxen of the field deserved a sad end—innocent, without deceit, and harmless, without guile, born to endure hard labor? Without gratitude is he, unworthy of the gift of harvest fields, who, after he relieved his worker from weight of the curving plow could butcher him, could sever with an axe that toil worn neck, by which so often with hard work the ground had been turned up, so many harvests reared. For some, even crimes like these are not enough, they have imputed to the gods themselves abomination—they believe a god in heaven above, rejoices at the death of a laborious ox. A victim free of blemish and most beautiful in form (perfection brings destruction) is adorned with garlands and with gilded horns before the altar. In his ignorance he hears one praying, and he sees the very grain he labored to produce, fixed on his head between the horns, and felled, he stains with blood the knife which just before he may have seen reflected in clear water. Instantly they snatch out entrails from his throbbing form, and seek in them intentions of the gods. Then, in your lust for a forbidden food you will presume to batten on his flesh, O race of mortals! Do not eat such food! Give your attention to my serious words; and, when you next present the slaughtered flesh of oxen to your palates, know and feel that you gnaw your fellow tillers of the soil.

[143] "And, since a god impels me to speak out, I will obey the god who urges me, and will disclose to you the heavens above, and I will even reveal the oracles of the Divine Will. I will sing to you of things most wonderful, which never were investigated by the intellects of ancient times and things which have been long concealed from man. In fancy I delight to float among the stars or take my stand on mighty Atlas' shoulders, and to look afar down on men wandering here and there—afraid in life yet dreading unknown death, and in these words exhort them and reveal the sequence of events ordained by fate!

[153] "O sad humanity! Why do you fear alarms of icy death, afraid of Styx, fearful of moving shadows and empty names—of subjects harped on by the poets' tales, the fabled perils of a fancied life? Whether the funeral pile consumes your flesh with hot flames, or old age dissolves it with a gradual wasting power, be well assured the body cannot meet with further ill. And souls are all exempt from power of death. When they have left their first corporeal home, they always find and live in newer homes. I can declare, for I remember well, that in the days of the great Trojan War, I was Euphorbus, son of Panthous. In my opposing breast was planted then the heavy spear-point of the younger son of Atreus. Not long past I recognised the shield, once burden of my left arm, where it hung in Juno's temple at ancient Argos, the realm of Abas. Everything must change: but nothing perishes. The moving soul may wander, coming from that spot to this, from this to that—in changed possession live in any limbs whatever. It may pass from beasts to human bodies, and again to those of beasts. The soul will never die, in the long lapse of time. As pliant wax is moulded to new forms and does not stay as it has been nor keep the self same form yet is the selfsame wax, be well assured the soul is always the same spirit, though it passes into different forms. Therefore, that natural love may not be vanquished by unnatural craving of the appetite, I warn you, stop expelling kindred souls by deeds abhorrent as cold murder.—Let not blood be nourished with its kindred blood!

[176] "Since I am launched into the open sea and I have given my full sails to the wind, nothing in all the world remains unchanged. All things are in a state of flux, all shapes receive a changing nature. Time itself glides on with constant motion, ever as a flowing river. Neither river nor the fleeting hour can stop its constant course. But, as each wave drives on a wave, as each is pressed by that which follows, and must press on that before it, so the moments fly, and others follow, so they are renewed. The moment which moved on before is past, and that which was not, now exists in Time, and every one comes, goes, and is replaced.

[186] "You see how night glides by and then proceeds on to the dawn, then brilliant light of day succeeds the dark night. There is not the same appearance in the heavens,: when all things for weariness are resting in vast night, as when bright Lucifer rides his white steed. And only think of that most glorious change, when loved Aurora, Pallas' daughter, comes before the day and tints the world, almost delivered to bright Phoebus. Even the disk of that god, rising from beneath the earth, is of a ruddy color in the dawn and ruddy when concealed beneath the world. When highest, it is a most brilliant white, for there the ether is quite purified, and far away avoids infection from impurities of earth. Diana's form at night remains not equal nor the same! 'Tis less today than it will be tomorrow, if she is waxing; greater, if she wanes.

[199] "Yes, do you not see how the year moves through four seasons, imitating human life: in early Spring it has a nursling's ways resembling infancy, for at that time the blade is shooting and devoid of strength. Its flaccid substance swelling gives delight, to every watching husbandman, alive in expectation. Then all things are rich in blossom, and the genial meadow smiles with tints of blooming flowers; but not as yet is there a sign of vigor in the leaves. The year now waxing stronger, after Spring it passes into Summer, and its youth becomes robust. Indeed of all the year the Summer is most vigorous and most abounds with glowing and life-giving warmth. Autumn then follows, and, the vim of life removed, that ripe and mellow time succeeds between youth and old age, and a few white hairs are sprinkled here and there upon his brow. Then aged Winter with his tremulous step follows, repulsive, strips of graceful locks or white with those he has retained so long.

[214] "Our bodies also, always change unceasingly: we are not now what we were yesterday or we shall be tomorrow. And there was a time when we were only seeds of man, mere hopes that lived within a mother's womb. But Nature changed us with her skilfull touch, determined that our bodies should not be held in such narrow room, below the entrails in our distended parent; and in time she brought us forth into the vacant air. Brought into light, the helpless infant lies. Then on all fours he lifts his body up, feeling his way, like any young wild beast, and then by slow degrees he stands upright, weak-kneed and trembling, steadied by support of some convenient prop. And soon more strong and swift he passes through the hours of youth, and, when the years of middle age are past, slides down the steep path of declining age. This undermines him and destroys the strength of former years: and Milon, now grown old, weeps, when he sees his arms, which once were firm with muscles big as those of Hercules, hang flabby at his side: and Helen weeps, when in the glass she sees her wrinkled face, and wonders why two heroes fell in love and carried her away.—O Time, devourer of all things, and envious Age, together you destroy all that exists and, slowly gnawing, bring on lingering death.

[237] "Yes, even things which we call elements, do not endure. Now listen well to me, and I will show the ways in which they change. The everlasting universe contains four elemental parts. And two of these are heavy—earth and water—and are borne downwards by weight. The other two devoid of weight, are air and—even lighter—fire: and, if these two are not constrained, they seek the higher regions. These four elements, though far apart in space, are all derived from one another. Earth dissolves as flowing water! Water, thinned still more, departs as wind and air; and the light air, still losing weight, sparkles on high as fire. But they return, along their former way: the fire, assuming weight, is changed to air; and then, more dense, that air is changed again to water; and that water, still more dense, compacts itself again as primal earth.

[252] “Nothing retains the form that seems its own, and Nature, the renewer of all things, continually changes every form into some other shape. Believe my word, in all this universe of vast extent, not one thing ever perished. All have changed appearance. Men say a certain thing is born, if it takes a different form from what it had; and yet they say, that certain thing has died, if it no longer keeps the self same shape. Though distant things move near, and near things far, always the sum of all things is unchanged.

[259] "For my part, I cannot believe a thing remains long under the same form unchanged. Look at the change of times from gold to iron,: look at the change in places. I have seen what had been solid earth become salt waves, and I have seen dry land made from the deep; and, far away from ocean, sea-shells strewn, and on the mountain-tops old anchors found. Water has made that which was once a plain into a valley, and the mountain has been levelled by the floods down to a plain. A former marshland is now parched dry sand, and places which endured severest drought are wet with standing pools. Here Nature has opened fresh springs, but there has shut them up; rivers aroused by ancient earthquakes have rushed out or vanished, as they lost their depth.

[273] "So, when the Lycus has been swallowed by a chasm in the earth, it rushes forth at a distance and is reborn a different stream. The Erasinus now flows down into a cave, now runs beneath the ground a darkened course, then rises lordly in the Argolic fields. They say the Mysus, wearied of his spring and of his former banks, appears elsewhere and takes another name, the Caicus. The Amenanus in Sicilian sands now smoothly rolling, at another time is quenched, because its fountain springs are dry. The water of the Anigros formerly was used for drinking, but it pours out now foul water which you would decline to touch, because (unless all credit is denied to poets) long ago the Centaurs, those strange mortals double-limbed, bathed in the stream wounds which club-bearing Hercules had made with his strong bow.—Yes, does not Hypanis descending fresh from mountains of Sarmatia, become embittered with the taste of salt?

[287] "Antissa, Pharos, and Phoenician Tyre, were once surrounded by the wavy sea: they are not islands now. Long years ago Leucas was mainland, if we can believe what the old timers there will tell, but now the waves sweep round it. Zancle was a part of Italy, until the sea cut off the neighboring land with strong waves in between. Should you seek Helice and Buris, those two cities of Achaea, you will find them underneath the waves, where sailors point to sloping roofs and streets in the clear deep. Near Pittheaan Troezen a steep, high hill, quite bare of trees, was once a level plain, but now is a hill, for (dreadful even to tell) the raging power of winds, long pent in deep, dark caverns, tried to find a proper vent, long struggling to attain free sky. Finding no opening from the prison-caves, imperious to their force, they raised the earth, exactly as pent air breathed from the mouth inflates a bladder, or the bottle-hides stripped off the two-horned goats. The swollen earth remained on that spot and has ever since appearance of a high hill hardened by the flight of time.

[307] "Of many strange events that I have heard and known, I will add a few. Why, does not water give and take strange forms? Your wave, O horned Ammon, will turn cold at mid-day, but is always mild and warm at sun-rise and at sun-set. I have heard that Athamanians kindle wood, if they pour water on it, when the waning moon has shrunk away into her smallest orb. The people of Ciconia have a stream which turns the drinker's entrails into stone, which changes into marble all it raves. The Achaean Crathis and the Sybaris, which flow not far from here, will turn the hair to something like clear amber or bright gold. What is more wonderful, there are some waters which change not only bodies but the minds: who has no knowledge of the Salmacis and of its ill famed waves? Who has not heard of the lakes of Aethiopia: how those who drink of them go raving mad or fall in a deep sleep, most wonderful in heaviness. Whoever quenches thirst from the Clitorian spring will hate all wine, and soberly secure great pleasure from pure water. Either that spring has a power the opposite of wine-heat, or perhaps as natives tell us, after the famed son of Amythaon by his charms and herbs, delivered from their base insanity the stricken Proetides, he threw the rest of his mind healing herbs into the spring, where hatred of all wine has since remained. Unlike in nature flows another stream of the country, called Lyncestius: everyone who drinks of it, even with most temperate care, will reel, as if he had drunk unmixed wine. In Arcadia is a place, called Pheneos by men of old, which is mistrusted for the twofold nature of its waters. Stand in dread of them at night; if drunk at night, they harm you, but in daytime they will do no harm at all. So lakes and rivers have now this, now that effect.

[335] "Ortygia once moved like a ship that drifts among the waves. Now it is fixed. The Argo was in dread of the Symplegades, which moved apart with waves in-rushing. Now immovable they stand, resisting the attack of winds. Aetna, which burns with sulphur furnaces, will not be always concentrated fire, nor was it always fiery. If the earth is like an animal and is alive and breathes out flame at many openings, then it can change these many passages used for its breathing and, when it is moved, may close these caverns as it opens up some others. Or if rushing winds are penned in deepest caverns, and they drive great stones against the rock, and substances which have the properties of flame and fire are made by those concussions; when the winds are calmed the caverns will, of course, be cool again. Or if some black bitumen catches fire or yellow sulphur burns with little smoke, then surely, when the ground no longer gives such food and oily nutriment for flames and they in time have ravined all their store, their greedy nature soon will pine with death—it will not bear such famine but depart and, when deserted, will desert the place.

[356] "'Tis said that Hyperboreans of Pallene can cover all their bodies with light plumes by plunging nine times in Minerva's marsh. But I cannot believe another tale: that Scythian women get a like result by having poison sprinkled on their limbs.

[361] "If we give any credit to the things proved by experience, we can surely know whatever bodies are decayed by time or by dissolving heat are by such means changed into tiny animals—Come now, bury choice bullocks killed for sacrifice, and it is well known by experience that the flower-gathering bees are so produced, miraculous, from entrails putrefied. These, like the faithful animals from which they were produced, inhabit the green fields, delight in toil, and labor for reward. The warlike steed, when buried in the ground, is a known source of hornets. If you cut the bending claws off from the sea-shore crab and bury the remainder in the earth, a scorpion will come forth from the dead crab buried there, threatening with its crooked tail.

[375] "The worms which cover leaves with their white threads, a thing observable by husbandmen, will change themselves to funeral butterflies. Mud holds the seeds that generate green frogs, at first producing tadpoles with no feet, and soon it gives them legs adapted for their swimming, and, so they may be as well adapted to good leaping, their hind legs are longer than the fore-legs. The mother bear does not bring forth a cub but a limp mass of flesh that hardly can be called alive. By licking it the mother forms the limbs, and brings it to a shape just like her own. Do not the offspring of the honey bees, concealed in cells hexagonal, at first get life with no limbs, and assume in time both feet and wings? Unless the fact were known, could anyone suppose it possible that Juno's bird, whose tail is bright with stars; the eagle, armor-bearer of high Jove; the doves of Cytherea; and all birds emerge from the middle part of eggs? And some believe the human marrow turns into a serpent when the spine at length has putrefied in the closed sepulchre.

[391] "Now these I named derive their origin from other living forms. There is one bird which reproduces and renews itself: the Assyrians gave this bird his name—the Phoenix. He does not live either on grain or herbs, but only on small drops of frankincense and juices of amomum. When this bird completes a full five centuries of life straightway with talons and with shining beak he builds a nest among palm branches, where they join to form the palm tree's waving top. As soon as he has strewn in this new nest the cassia bark and ears of sweet spikenard, and some bruised cinnamon with yellow myrrh, he lies down on it and refuses life among those dreamful odors.—And they say that from the body of the dying bird is reproduced a little Phoenix which is destined to live just as many years. When time has given to him sufficient strength and he is able to sustain the weight, he lifts the nest up from the lofty tree and dutifully carries from that place his cradle and the parent's sepulchre. As soon as he has reached through yielding air the city of Hyperion, he will lay the burden just before the sacred doors within the temple of Hyperion.

[408] "But, if we wonder at strange things like these, we ought to wonder also, when we learn that a hyena has a change of sex: the female, quitting her embracing male, herself becomes a male.—That animal which feeds upon the winds and air, at once assumes with contact any color touched. Conquered India gave to the vine crowned Bacchus lynxes, whose urine turns, they say to stones, hardening in air. So coral, too, as soon as it has risen above the sea, turns hard. Below the waves it was a tender plant.

[418] "The day will fail me; Phoebus will have bathed his panting horses in the deep sea waves, before I can include in my discourse the myriad things transforming to new shapes. In lapse of time we see the nations change; some grow in power, some wane. Troy was once great in riches and in men—so great she could for ten unequalled years afford much blood; now she lies low and offers to our gaze but ancient ruins and, instead of wealth, ancestral tombs. Sparta was famous once and great Mycenae was most flourishing. And Cecrops' citadel and Amphion's shone in ancient power. Sparta is nothing now save barren ground, the proud Mycenae fell, what is the Thebes of storied Oedipus except a name? And of Pandion's Athens what now remains beyond the name?

[431] "Reports come to me that Dardanian Rome is rising, and beside the Tiber's waves, whose springs are high in the Apennines, is laying her deep foundations. So in her growth her form is changing, and one day she will be the sole mistress of the boundless world. They say that soothsayers and that oracles, revealers of our destiny, declare this fate, and, if I recollect it right, Helenus, son of Priam, prophesied unto Aeneas, when he was in doubt of safety and lamenting for the state of Troy, about to fall, `O, son of a goddess, if you yourself, will fully understand this prophecy now surging in my mind Troy shall not, while you are preserved to life fall utterly. Flames and the sword shall give you passage. You shall go and bear away Pergama, ruined; till a foreign soil, more friendly to you than your native land, shall be the lot of Troy and of yourself. Even now I know it is decreed by Fate that our posterity, born far from Troy, will build a city greater than exists, or ever will exist, or ever has been seen in former times. Through a long lapse of ages other noted men shall make it strong, but one of the race of Iulus; shall make it the great mistress of the world. After the earth has thoroughly enjoyed his glorious life, aetherial abodes shall gain him, and immortal heaven shall be his destiny.' Such was the prophesy of Helenus, when great Aeneas took away his guardian deities, and I rejoice to see my kindred walls rise high and realize how much the Trojans won by that resounding victory of the Greeks!

[453] "But, that we may not range afar with steeds forgetful of the goal, the heavens and all beneath them and the earth and everything upon it change in form. We likewise change, who are a portion of the universe, and, since we are not only things of flesh but winged souls as well, we may be doomed to enter into beasts as our abode; and even to be hidden in the breasts of cattle. Therefore, should we not allow these bodies to be safe which may contain the souls of parents, brothers, or of those allied to us by kinship or of men at least, who should be saved from every harm? Let us not gorge down a Thyestean feast! How greatly does a man disgrace himself, how impiously does he prepare himself for shedding human blood, who with the knife cuts the calf's throat and offers a deaf ear to its death-longings! who can kill the kid while it is sending forth heart rending cries like those of a dear child; or who can feed upon the bird which he has given food. How little do such deeds as these fall short of actual murder? Yes, where will they lead? Let the ox plough, or let him owe his death to weight of years; and let the sheep give us defence against the cold of Boreas; and let the well-fed she-goats give to man their udders for the pressure of kind hands. Away with cruel nets and springs and snares and fraudulent contrivances: deceive not birds with bird-limed twigs: do not deceive the trusting deer with dreaded feather foils: do not conceal barbed hooks with treacherous bait: if any beast is harmful, take his life, but, even so, let killing be enough. Taste not his flesh, but look for harmless food!”

EGERIA CHANGED INTO A FOUNTAIN [479] They say that Numa with a mind well taught by these and other precepts traveled back to his own land and, being urged again, assumed the guidance of the Latin state. Blest with a nymph as consort, blest also with the Muses for his guides, he taught the rites of sacrifice and trained in arts of peace a race accustomed long to savage war. When, ripe in years, he ended reign and life, the Latin matrons, the fathers of the state, and all the people wept for Numa's death. For the nymph, his widow, had withdrawn from Rome, concealed within the thick groves of the vale Aricia, where with groans and wailing she disturbed the holy rites of Cynthia, established by Orestes. Ah! how often nymphs of the grove and lake entreated her to cease and offered her consoling words. How often the son of Theseus said to her "Control your sorrow; surely your sad lot is not the only one; consider now the like calamities by others borne, and you can bear your sorrow. To my grief my own disaster was far worse than yours. At least it can afford you comfort now.

[497] " Is it not true, discourse has reached yours ears that one Hippolytus met with his death through the credulity of his loved sire, deceived by a stepmother's wicked art? It will amaze you much, and I may fail to prove what I declare, but I am he! Long since the daughter of Pasiphae tempted me to defile my father's bed and, failing, feigned that I had wished to do what she herself had wished. Perverting truth—either through fear of some discovery or else through spite at her deserved repulse—she charged me with attempting the foul crime. Though I was guiltless of all wrong, my father banished me and, while I was departing, laid on me a mortal curse. Towards Pittheus and Troezen I fled aghast, guiding the swift chariot near the shore of the Corinthian Gulf, when all at once the sea rose up and seemed to arch itself and lift high as a white topped mountain height, make bellowings, and open at the crest. Then through the parting waves a horned bull emerged with head and breast into the wind, spouting white foam from his nostrils and his mouth. The hearts of my attendants quailed with fear, yet I unfrightened thought but of my exile. Then my fierce horses turned their necks to face the waters, and with ears erect they quaked before the monster shape, they dashed in flight along the rock strewn ground below the cliff. I struggled, but with unavailing hand, to use the reins now covered with white foam; and throwing myself back, pulled on the thongs with weight and strength. Such effort might have checked the madness of my steeds, had not a wheel, striking the hub on a projecting stump, been shattered and hurled in fragments from the axle. I was thrown forward from my chariot and with the reins entwined about my legs. My palpitating entrails could be seen dragged on, my sinews fastened on a stump. My torn legs followed, but a part remained behind me, caught by various snags. The breaking bones gave out a crackling noise, my tortured spirit soon had fled away, no part of the torn body could be known—all that was left was only one crushed wound—how can, how dare you, nymph, compare your ills to my disaster?

[531] "I saw the Lower World deprived of light: and I have bathed my flesh, so tortured, in the waves of Phlegethon. Life could not have been given again to me, but through the remedies Apollo's son applied to me. After my life returned—by potent herbs and the Paeonian aid, despite the will of Pluto—Cynthia then threw heavy clouds around that I might not be seen and cause men envy by new life: and that she might be sure my life was safe she made me seem an old man; and she changed me so that I could not be recognized. A long time she debated whether she would give me Crete or Delos for my home. Delos and Crete abandoned, she then brought me here, and at the same time ordered me to lay aside my former name—one which when mentioned would remind me of my steeds. She said to me, `You were Hippolytus, but now instead you shall be Virbius.' And from that time I have inhabited this grove; and, as one of the lesser gods, I live concealed and numbered in her train.”

[457] The grief of others could not ease the woe of sad Egeria, and she laid herself down at a mountain's foot, dissolved in tears, till moved by pity for her faithful sorrow, Diana changed her body to a spring, her limbs into a clear continual stream.

CIPPUS WITH HORNS [552] This wonderful event surprised the nymphs, and filled Hippolytus with wonder, just as great as when the Etrurian ploughman saw a fate-revealing clod move of its own accord among the fields, while not a hand was touching it, till finally it took a human form, without the quality of clodded earth, and opened its new mouth and spoke, revealing future destinies. The natives called him Tages. He was the first who taught Etrurians to foretell events. They were astonished even as Romulus, when he observed the spear, which once had grown high on the Palatine, put out new leaves and stand with roots—not with the iron point which he had driven in. Not as a spear it then stood there, but as a rooted tree with limber twigs for many to admire while resting under that surprising shade. Or, as when Cippus first observed his horns in the clear stream (he truly saw them there). Believing he had seen a falsity, he often touched his forehead with his hand and, so returning, touched the thing he saw. Assured at last that he could trust his eyes, he stood entranced, as if he had returned victorious from the conquest of his foes: and, raising eyes and hands toward heaven, he cried, “You gods above! Whatever is foretold by this great prodigy, if it means good, then let it be auspicious to my land and to the inhabitants of Quirinus,—if ill, let that misfortune fall on me.”

[573] He made an offering at new altars, built of grassy thick green turf, with fragrant fires, presenting wine in bowls. And he took note of panting entrails from new-slaughtered sheep, to learn the meaning of the event for him. When an Etruscan seer examined them, he found the evidence of great events, as yet obscure, and, when he raised keen eyes up from the entrails to the horns of Cippus, “O king, all hail!” he cried, “For in future time this country and the Latin towers will live in homage to you, Cippus, and your horns. But you must promptly put aside delay; hasten to enter the wide open gates—the fates command you. Once received within the city, you shall be its chosen king and safely shall enjoy a lasting reign.” Cippus retreated, and he turned his grave eyes from the city's walls and said, “O far, O far away, the righteous gods should drive such omens from me! Better it would be that I should pass my life in exile than be seen a king throned in the capitol.”

[590] Such words he spoke and forthwith he convoked the people and the grave and honored Senate. But first he veiled his horns with laurel, which betokens peace. Then, standing on a mound raised by the valiant troops, he made a prayer after the ancient mode, and then he said, “There is one here who will be king, if you do not expel him from your city—I will show him to you surely by a sign; although I will not tell his name. He wears horns on his head. The augur prophecies that, if he enters this your city, he will give you laws as if you were his slaves. He might have forced his way within your gates for they stand open, but I have hindered him, although nobody is to him so close as I myself. Good Romans, then, forbid your city to this man; or, if you find that he deserves still worse, then bind him fast with heavy fetters; or else end your fears by knowledge of the destined tyrant's death.”

[603] As murmurs which arise among the groves of pine trees thick above us, when the fierce east wind is whistling in them, or as sound produced by breaking waves, when it is heard afar off, such the noise made by the crowd. But in that angry stirring of the throng one cry could be distinguished, “Which is he?” And they examined foreheads, and they sought predicted horns. Cippus then spoke again: "The man whom you demand,” he said, “is here!” And, fearless of the people, he threw back the chaplet from his forehead, so that all could see his temples plainly, wonderful for their two horns. All then turned down their eyes and uttered groans and (was it possible?) they looked unwillingly upon that head famed for its merit. They could not permit him to remain there long, deprived of honors, and they placed upon his head the festive chaplet. And the Senate gave you, Cippus, since you nevermore must come within the walls, a proof of their esteem—so much land as your oxen and their plow could circle round from dawn to setting sun. Moreover they engraved the shapely horns on the bronze pillars of the city gate, which for long ages kept his name revered.

AESCULAPIUS BROUGHT TO ROME [622] Relate, O Muses, guardian deities of poets (for you know, and the remote antiquity conceals it not from you), the reason why an island, which the deep stream of Tiber closed about, has introduced Coronis' child among the deities guarding the city of famed Romulus.

[626] A dire contagion had infested long the Latin air, and men's pale bodies were deformed by a consumption that dried up the blood. When, frightened by so many deaths, they found all mortal efforts could avail them nothing, and physicians' skill had no effect, they sought the aid of heaven. They sent envoys to Delphi center of the world, and they entreated Phoebus to give aid in their distress, and by response renew their wasting lives and end a city's woe. While ground, and laurels and the quivers which the god hung there all shook, the tripod gave this answer from the deep recesses hid within the shrine, and stirred with trembling their astonished hearts—“What you are seeking here, O Romans, you should seek for nearer you. Then seek it nearer, for you do not need Apollo to relieve your wasting plague, you need Apollo's son. Go then to him with a good omen and invite his aid.”

[641] After the prudent Senate had received Phoebus Apollo's words, they took much pains to learn what town the son of Phoebus might inhabit. They despatched ambassadors under full sail to the coast of Epidaurus. When the curved ships had touched the shore, these men in haste went to the Grecian elders there and prayed that Rome might have the deity whose presence would drive out the mortal ill from their Ausonian nation; for they knew response unerring had directed them. The councillors dismayed, could not agree on their reply: some thought that aid ought not to be refused, but many more held back, declaring it was wise to keep the god for their own safety and not give away a guardian deity. And, while they talked, discussing it, the twilight had expelled the waning day, and darkness on the earth spread a thick mantle over the wide world. Then in your sleep, the healing deity appeared, O Roman leader, by your couch, as in his temple he is used to stand, holding in his left hand a rustic staff. Stroking his long beard with his right, he seemed to utter from his kindly breast these words: “Forget your fears; for I will come to you, and leave my altar. But now look well at the serpent with its binding folds entwined around this staff, and accurately mark it with your eyes that you may recognize it. I will transform myself into this shape but of a greater size, I will appear enlarged and of a magnitude to which a heavenly being ought to be transformed.”

[663] The god departed, when he said those words; and sleep went, when the god and words were gone; and genial light came, when the sleep had left. The morning then dispersed fire-given stars. The envoys met together in much doubt within the temple of the long sought god. They prayed the god to indicate for them, by clear celestial tokens, in what spot he wished to dwell. Scarce had they ceased the prayer for guidance, when the god all glittering with gold and as a serpent, crest erect, sent forth a hissing as to notify a quick approach—and in his coming shook his statue and the altars and the doors, the marble pavement and the gilded roof. Then up to his breast the serpent stood erect within the temple. He gazed on all with eyes that sparkled fire. The waiting multitude was frightened; but the priest, his chaste hair bound with a white fillet, knew the deity. "Behold the god!” he cried, “It is the god. Think holy thoughts and walk in reverent silence, all who are present. Oh, most Beautiful, let us behold you to our benefit, and give aid to this people that performs your sacred rites.”

[680] All present then adored the deity as bidden by the priest. The multitude repeated his good words, and the descendants of Aeneas gave good omen, with their feelings and their speech. Nodding well pleased and moving his great crest, the god at once assured them of his favor and hissed repeatedly with darting tongue. And then he glided down the polished steps; turned back his head; and, ready to depart, gazed on the altars he had known for so long—a last salute to the temple of his love. While all the people strewed his way with flowers, the great snake wound in sinuous course along and, passing through the middle of their town, came to the harbor and its curving wall. He stopped there, and it seemed that he dismissed his train and dutiful attendant crowd, and with a placid countenance he placed his mighty body in the Ausonian ship, which plainly showed the great weight of the god. The glad descendants of Aeneas all rejoiced, and they sacrificed a bull beside the harbor, wreathed the ship with flowers, and loosed the twisted hawsers from the shore. As a soft breeze impelled the ship, within her curving stern the god reclined, his coils uprising high, and gazed down on the blue Ionian waves.

[699] So wafted by the favoring winds, they came in six days to the shores of Italy. There he was borne past the Lacinian Cape, ennobled by the goddess Juno's shrine, and Scylacean coasts. He left behind Iapygia; then he shunned Amphrysian rocks upon the left and on the other side escaped Cocinthian crags. He passed, near by, Romechium and Caulon and Naricia; crossed the Sicilian sea; went through the strait; sailed by Pelorus and the island home of Aeolus and by the copper mines of Temesa. He turned then toward Leucosia and toward mild Paestum, famous for the rose. He coasted by Capreae and around Minerva's promontory and the hills ennobled with Surrentine vines, from there to Herculaneum and Stabiae and then Parthenope built for soft ease. He sailed near the Cumaean Sibyl's temple. He passed the Warm Springs and Linternum, where the mastick trees grow, and the river called Volturnus, where thick sand whirls in the stream, over to Sinuessa's snow-white doves; and then to Antium and its rocky coast.

[719] When with all sails full spread the ship came in the harbor there (for now the seas grew rough), the god uncoiled his folds, and, gliding out with sinuous curves and all his mighty length, entered the temple of his parent, where it skirts that yellow shore. But, when the sea was calm again, the Epidaurian god departing from his father's shrine, where he a while had shared the sacred residence reared to a kindred deity, furrowed the sandy shore with weight of crackling scales, again he climbed into the lofty stern and near the rudder laid his head at rest. There he remained until the vessel passed by Castrum and Lavinium's sacred homes to where the Tiber flows into the sea there all the people of Rome came rushing out—mothers and fathers and even those who tend your sacred fire, O Trojan goddess Vesta—and joyous shouted welcome to the god. Wherever the swift ship steered through the tide, they built up many altars in a line, so that perfuming frankincense with smoke crackled along the banks on either hand, and victims made the keen knives hot with blood. The serpent-deity has entered Rome, the world's new capital and, lifting up his head above the summit of the mast, looked far and near for a congenial home. The river there, dividing, flows about a place known as the Island, on both sides an equal stream glides past dry middle ground. And here the serpent child of Phoebus left the Roman ship, took his own heavenly form, and brought the mourning city health once more

JULIUS CAESAR, TRANSFORMED TO A STAR [745] Apollo's son came to us from abroad, but Caesar is a god in his own land. The first in war and peace, he rose by wars, which closed in triumphs, and by civic deeds to glory quickly won, and even more his offspring's love exalted him as a new, a heavenly, sign and brightly flaming star. Of all the achievements of great Julius Caesar not one is more ennobling to his fame than being father of his glorious son. Was it more glorious for him to subdue the Britons guarded by their sheltering sea or lead his fleet victorious up the stream seven mouthed of the papyrus hearing Nile; to bring beneath the Roman people s rule rebel Numidia, Libyan Juba, and strong Pontus, proud of Mithridates' fame; to have some triumphs and deserve far more; than to be father of so great a man, with whom as ruler of the human race, O gods, you bless us past all reckoning?

[760] And, lest that son should come from mortal seed, Julius Caesar must change and be a god. When the golden mother of Aeneas was aware of this and saw a grievous end plotted against her high priest, saw the armed conspiracy preparing for his death, with pallid face she met each god and said: "Look with what might this plot prepares itself against my cause; with how much guile it dooms the head which is the last that I have left from old-time Iulus, prince and heir of Troy. Shall I alone be harassed through all time by fear well grounded? First the son of Tydeus must wound me with his Calydonian spear; and then I tremble at the tottering walls of ill defended Troy; I watch my son driven in long wanderings, tossed upon the sea, descending to the realm of silent shades, and waging war with Turnus—or, if I should speak the truth, with Juno! Why do I recall disasters of my race from long ago? The present dread forbids my looking back at ills now past. See how the wicked swords are whetted for the crime! Forbid it now, I pray you, and prevent the deed, let not the priest's warm blood quench vestal fires!”

[779] Such words as these, full of her anxious thoughts, Venus proclaimed through all the heavens, in vain. The gods were moved, and, since they could not break the ancient sisters' iron decree, they gave instead clear portents of approaching woe. It is declared, resounding arms heard from the black clouds and unearthly trumpet blasts and clarions heard through all the highest heavens, forewarned men of the crime. The sad sun's face gave to the frightened world a livid light; and in the night-time torches seemed to burn amid the stars, and often drops of blood fell in rain-showers. Then Lucifer shone blue with all his visage stained by darksome rust. The chariot of the moon was sprinkled with red blood. The Stygian owl gave to the world ill omens. In a thousand places, tears were shed by the ivory statues. Dirges, too, are said to have been heard, and threatening words by unknown speakers in the sacred groves. No victim gave an omen of good life: the fibers showed great tumults imminent, the liver's cut-off edge was found among the entrails. In the Forum, it is said, and round men's homes and temples of the gods dogs howled all through the night, and silent shades wandered abroad, and earthquakes shook the city. But portents of the gods could not avert the plots of men and stay approaching fate. Into a temple naked swords were brought—into the Senate House. No other place in all our city was considered fit for perpetrating such a dreadful crime! With both hands Cytherea beat her breast, and in a cloud she strove to hide the last of great Aeneas' line, as in times past she had hid Paris from fierce Menelaus Aeneas from the blade of Diomed.

[807] But Jove, her father, cautioned her and said, “Do you my daughter, without aid, alone, attempt to change the fixed decrees of Fate? Unaided you may enter the abode of the three sisters and can witness there a register of deeds the future brings. These, wrought of brass and solid iron with vast labor, are unchangeable through all eternity; and have no weakening fears of thunder-shocks from heaven, nor from the rage of lightnings they are perfectly secure from all destruction. You will surely find the destinies of your descendants there, engraved in everlasting adamant. 'Tis certain. I myself, have read them there: and I, with care have marked them in my mind. I will repeat them so that you may have unerring knowledge of those future days. Venus, the man on whose behalf you are so anxious, already has completed his alloted time. The years are ended which he owed to life on earth. You with his son, who now as heir to his estate must bear the burden of that government, will cause him, as a deity, to reach the heavens, and to be worshipped in the temples here. “The valiant son will plan revenge on those who killed his father and will have our aid in all his battles. The defeated walls of scarred Mutina, which he will besiege, shall sue for peace. Pharsalia's plain will dread his power and Macedonian Philippi be drenched with blood a second time, the name of one acclaimed as `Great' shall be subdued in the Sicilian waves. Then Egypt's queen, wife of the Roman general, Antony, shall fall, while vainly trusting in his word, while vainly threatening that our Capitol must be submissive to Canopus' power. “Why should I mention all the barbarous lands and nations east and west by ocean's rim? Whatever habitable earth contains shall bow to him, the sea shall serve his will!

[832] "With peace established over all the lands, he then will turn his mind to civil rule and as a prudent legislator will enact wise laws. And he will regulate the manners of his people by his own example. Looking forward to the days of future time and of posterity, he will command the offspring born of his devoted wife, to assume the imperial name and the burden of his cares. Nor till his age shall equal Nestor's years will he ascend to heavenly dwellings and his kindred stars. Meanwhile transform the soul, which shall be reft from this doomed body, to a starry light, that always god-like Julius may look down in future from his heavenly residence upon our Forum and our Capitol.”

[843] Jupiter hardly had pronounced these words, when kindly Venus, although seen by none, stood in the middle of the Senate-house, and caught from the dying limbs and trunk of her own Caesar his departing soul. She did not give it time so that it could dissolve in air, but bore it quickly up, toward all the stars of heaven; and on the way, she saw it gleam and blaze and set it free. Above the moon it mounted into heaven, leaving behind a long and fiery trail, and as a star it glittered in the sky. There, wondering at the younger Caesar's deeds, Julius confessed they were superior to all of his, and he rejoiced because his son was greater even than himself. Although the son forbade men to regard his own deeds as the: mightier! Fame, that moves free and untrammelled by the laws of men, preferred him even against his own desire and in that one point disobeyed his will. And so great Atreus yields to greater fame of Agamemnon, Aegeus yields to Theseus, and Peleus to Achilles, or, to name a parallel befitting these two gods, so Saturn yields to Jove. Now Jupiter rules in high heavens and is the suzerain over the waters and the world of shades, and now Augustus rules in all the lands—so each is both a father and a god. Gods who once guarded our Aeneas, when both swords and fire gave way, and native gods of Italy, and Father Quirinus—patron of Rome, and you Gradivus too—the sire of Quirinus the invincible, and Vesta hallowed among Caesar's gods, and Phoebus ever worshipped at his hearth, and Jupiter who rules the citadel high on Tarpeia's cliff, and other gods—all gods to whom a poet rightfully and with all piety may make appeal; far be that day—postponed beyond our time, when great Augustus shall foresake the earth which he now governs, and mount up to heaven, from that far height to hear his people's prayers!

[871] And now, I have completed a great work, which not Jove's anger, and not fire nor steel, nor fast-consuming time can sweep away. Whenever it will, let the day come, which has dominion only over this mortal frame, and end for me the uncertain course of life. Yet in my better part I shall be borne immortal, far above the stars on high, and mine shall be a name indelible. Wherever Roman power extends her sway over the conquered lands, I shall be read by lips of men. If Poets' prophecies have any truth, through all the coming years of future ages, I shall live in fame.

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