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A

B OO K O F M YT H S
B Y JE A N LAN G
(MRS . JO HN L AN G)

W IT H T W E N T Y O R I G I N A L
D RA W I N G S IN C O L O U R

BY HEL EN S T RA T T O N

N E W Y O RK

G . P . P UTNA M
S S ON S
L ON D ON : T
. c . E . c . J ACK
P RE F A C E

JU S T as a little ch il d holds ou t its h a n d s to catch the


sunbeams to feel and to grasp what so its eyes tell it
, , ,

is actually there so down through the ages men have


, , ,

stretche d ou t their hands in eager endeavour to know


their God And because only through the human was
.

the divine knowable the o l d peoples o f the earth made


,

gods of their heroes and not unfrequently endowed


these gods with as many of the V ices as of the
virtues of their worshippers As we read the myths of
.

the East and the West we nd ever the same story .

That portion of the ancient Aryan race which poured


from the central plain of Asia through the rocky de l e s
,


of what we n ow call The Frontier to popul ate the ,

fertile lowlands of India had gods who must once have


,

been wholly heroic but who came in time to be more


,

degraded than the most vicious of lustful criminals .

And the Greeks Latins Teutons Ce lts and Slavonians


, , , , ,

who came of the same mighty Aryan stock did even as ,

those with whom they owned a common ancestry .

O riginally they gave to their gods o f their best Al l .

that was noblest in them all that was stron gest and
,

most seless all the higher instin cts of their natures


,

were their endowment And although their worship


.

in time became corrupt and l ost its beauty there yet ,


vi1
viii A B OOK OF MYTHS

remains for us in the old tales o f the gods a wonder


, ,

ful humanity that strikes a vibrant chord in the hearts


o f those who a re the descendants o f their worshippers .

For though creeds and forms may change human nat ure ,

never changes We are less simple than our fathers :


.

1
that is all And a s Professor York P owell most truly
.
,

says : It is not in a man s creed but in his deeds ;


,

not in his knowledge but in his sympathy that there , ,

lies the essence of what is good and of what will last in



human life .

The most usual habits of mind in ou r own day are


the theoretical and analyt ica l habits Dissec tion vivi .
,

s e ction analysis those are the processes to wh ich


,

all things not conclusively historical and all things


spiritual are bound to pass Thus we nd the old .

myths classied into Sun Myths an d Dawn Myths ,

Earth Myths and Moon Myths Fire Myt hs and Wind ,

Myths until as one of the most sane and vigorous


, ,

thinkers o f the present day has justly observed : If 2

you take the rhyme of Mary and her little lamb and call ,

Mary the su n and the lamb the moon you will achieve ,

astonishing resul ts both in religion and astronomy , ,

wh e n you nd that the lamb followed Mary to school



on e d ay .

In
this littl e collection of Myths the stories are not ,

prese nted to the student of folklore as a fre sh c on tribu


tion to his knowledge Rather is the book intended .

for those who in the course of their reading frequently


, ,

1
Tcu ton ic Hea then dom
h K lm a
.

2
Jo n e n, D D Am ong Famou s B ooks .
PREFACE ix
come across names which possess for them no meaning ,

and who care to read some ol d stories through which ,

run s the s ame hu manity that their o w n hearts know .

For although the ol d worship has passed away it is ,

almost impossible for us to open a book that does not


conta in some mention of the gods of long ago In our .

chil dhood we are given copies of Kingsley s Heroes and


of Hawthorne s Tangl ewood Tal es Later on we nd in .
,

Shakespeare Spenser Milton Keats Shelley Long


, , , , ,

fell ow Tennyson Mrs Browning and a host of other


, , .
,

writers constant allusion to the stories of the gods


,
.

Scarcely a poet has ever wr itten but makes mention


of them in on e or other of his poems It would seem .

as if there were no get away from them We might


-
.

expect in this twentieth century that the ol d gods of


Greece and of Rome the gods of our Northern fore
,

fathers the gods of E gypt the gods of the British race


, , ,

might be forgotten But even w hen we read in a news


.

paper of aeroplan es someone is more than likely to quote


,

the story o f B ellerophon and his winged steed or of ,

Icarus the y er and in ou r daily speech the name s of


, ,

gods and goddesses continually crop up We drive o r .


,

at least till lately we drovein Phaetons Not only


, .

schoolboys swear by Jove or by Jupiter The silvery .

substance in ou r thermometers and barometers is


n amed Mercury Blacksmiths are accustomed to being
.


referred to as sons of Vulcan and beautiful youths ,


to being called young Adonises We accept the .

names of newspapers and debating societies as being



the Argus without perhaps quite realising who was
,
X A B OOK OF MYTHS

Argus the many eyed We talk o f a panic
,
-
. and ,

forget that the great god Pan is father of the word .

Even in o u r religious services we go back to heathen


ism Not only are the crockets o n ou r cathedra l spires
.

and church pews remnants of re worship but on e of -


,

our o w n most beautiful Christian blessings is probably


of Assyrian origin The Lord bless thee and keep
.

thee The Lord make His face to shine upon


thee The Lord lift up the light o f Hi s c ou n te
nance upon thee So did the priests o f the su n
gods invoke bles sings upon those who worshipped .

We make many dis c overies as we study the myths


of the North and o f the South In the story of Baldu r
.

we nd that the goddess He l u ltimately gave her name


to the place of pun ishment precious to the Calvinisti c
mind An d be c ause the Norseman very mu c h dis
.

liked the bitter cruel cold of the long winter his heaven
, ,

was a warm well re d abode and his pla c e of punish


,
-
,

ment one of terrible frigidity Somewhere on the other


.

s ide of the Tweed and Cheviots was the spot selected


by the Celt of southern Britain On the other hand .
,

the eastern mind which knew the terrors o f a su n smitten


,
-

land and of a heat that was tort u re had for a he ll a ,

ery pl ace of constantly burning ames .

In the spa ce permitted it has not been possible to


,

deal with more than a small number of myths and the ,

well known stories of Herakles of These u s and of the


-

, ,

Argonauts have been purposely omitted These h ave .

been so pe rfectly told by great writers that to retell


them would seem absurd The same applies to the
.
PREFACE Xi

O dyssey and the Iliad the translation s of whi c h prob


,

ably tak e rank amon g st the nest translations in any

l anguage .

The writer will feel that her obj ec t has been gained
shoul d any readers of these stories fee l that for a littl e
while they have left the toi lful utilitaria nism of the
present day behind them and with it its hampering , , ,

restri ctions o f sordid actualities that are so murderous


to imagination an d to all romance .

Gr eat G d ! I d rath r b
o

e e

A Pa ga u kl d i a cr e d utw r ;
n s c e n e o o n

S m i ght I ta d i g
o , s thi p l a a t l ea
n n on s e s n ,

H av gl im p that w ld mak m l f r l r
e se s ou e e e ss o o n ;
H av i ght f Pr t ri i g f m th
e s o o eus ; s n ro e se a

O h ar l d Trit
r e o bl w h i w r ath ed h r
on o s e o n.

JE AN L A N G .

ED I N UR
B GH, Ju l y 19 14 .
P O S T S C RI P T
WE hav c m i th l a t l g m th t d at
e o e, happ i g a s
n o se s on on s, o e our en n s

t h y hav v r ti l w b d at d by th
e e ne fe w g ratiun no een e o se o o ur o n en e on .

W S p a k f t h i g t h at t k pl a c th W d b tw

e e B ef o n s oo e or e e ar an e e en

t h at ti m d th i ta d a barri r i m m a rab l
e an s s n s e e su e.

Thi s b k with it P r fa c wa s c m p l t d i 19 14 B ef th
oo ,
s e e, o e e n ore e

Wa r

i c A g t 19 14 th e t h ma ity f
.

S n e u us ra c h b d ri g nes u n o ou r e as een e n u n

Pr m th a a g i
o e B t ev
e n a s P r m t h s i h i gl y b r e th
on e s. u en o e eu un nc n o e

c r l tiue f pai es f h at d f c ld
o f h g r d f th i r t d th
n, o e an o o , o un e an o s , an e

t rt r i ict d by
o u es b c e bir d f p r y s hav e d r d th e m
n e an o s en o e , o en u e en

o f ati
our n d f t h e ati o n an with wh m w e o p r d t b a lli dos n on s o ar e ou o e e .

M ch m r r m te t h a th y s e m d
u o e e li tt l y ar g
o w s m th
n e e e on e e e a o, n o ee e

o l d t ri s of y Gr c e B t if w hav t d i d th e tra g tra


es o su n n ee u e e s u e s n e ns

l k W i th i t r t if W i th
.

m g ti
o ri f th a c i t g d
ca on w o e n en o s, e ca n oo n e es ,

h rr r at th T t r p r
o o , t ti e f th G i wh m w
e u on b l i vee e se n a on o e OD n o e e e as

a G D f p rf c t p rity f h
O o e r d f l v A c c r d i g t th i r
e u o on o u an o o e. o n o e

f H im th G d f th H w ld m t b
, ,

i t r p r tati
n e e on o , m ch e o o e un s ou se e o e as u

a c f d rat f th
on e e a s th m t d g rad d g d f a ci t w r h ip :
e o e V l Cl o u S e os e e o o n en o s

A d if w t r W i th h a m fr m th D i vi ity
n e u n ft d s g l ib l y
s e o e n so o en an o

r f rr d t by b la ph m
e e e ol ip d l k a p i c t r t h at t ar
s e ous s, an oo on u e e s o ur

h art
e d y t m ak
s, a n h art bi g wit h p ri d w
e u d r ta d h w
e s our e s e, e c an n e s n o

it w t h at t h
as h r w h f gh t d d i d i th V a ll y f th e
o se e oes o ou an e n e e o

S c m a d r c m i t m t b r gard d t a s m e b t a s g d
a n e a e n i e o e e e no n, u o s

tal e i a l l th w r l d my t h l gy e r t h a th ta l that
.

Th r i e e s no n e o

s o o n n e e

b ga i A g t 19 14 H w f t r g rat i W i l l te l l th tal w h
e n n u us . o u u e ene on s e e, o
ca n sa
yP
w h m L if
B u t w e , for v r b th s am a gai o
y with a l l e ca n n e e e e e n , c an sa

e ar t I t i th m m ry t h at th s ld i r l av b h i d h im l i k
n e s n e ss :

s e e o e o e e es e n
t h at i a l l wh ic h i
e
th l g trai f light t h at f l l w th
,

e on n o k o o s e su n en su n s s

w rt h c ar i g f whi ch d i ti g i h th d at h f th brav
o n o r, th e s n u s es e e o e e or
i g bl
no e .

A d r ly t a l l th w h
n , su e ghti g d ff ri g d dy i g
o o se o a re n an su e n an n

a b l ca f batt l i al
, , ,

f or no th G f g d th G
e u se , wh e th OD o o s, e OD o e s, o s so e
G OD f p ac o d th G e f L v h
e, b cm an v r ar d e on o o e, as e o e an e e ne an
e t r a lly l m g tity
e n iv en .


O l i ttl y t m hav t h ir d y ur e s s e s e e a

Th y h v t h ir d y d c t b e a e e a an e as e o e,
Th y b t br k l i g h t f Th e are u o en s o e e,
A d Th h L r d art m r t h th y n ou , o o , o e an e .

J EA N L A N G
E DI N URG H J l y 1 9 15
.

B , u .

X 11
CO N T E N T S

PR OME T H E U S AN D P AN D O R A
P YGMA L I O N 11

P HA E T O N 16

E ND YM I O N 26

O RP H E U S 31

A P OL L O AN D D APHN E 42

P S Y CH E 46

THE C A L Y D O N I A N H UN T 69

ATA L AN T A 78

A RA CHN E 82

ID AS AN D M A RPE SS A 90

A RE T HU S A 100

PE R S E U S THE HE R O 105

NI O BE 124

HYA CI N T H U S 129

KIN G MI D A S OF THE G O L D E N T O U CH 1 34

CE YX AN D HA L CY O N E 144

ARI S TZE US TH E B E E - K E E PE R 154

PR O S E R P I N E 1 61

T
L A ON A AN D TH E R U S T I CS 1 69
x iv A B OO K O F MYTHS
PAGE
EC HO AN D N A R CI S S U S 1 74

I CA RU S 1 81

CL YTI E 1 89

TH E CR AN E S O F I B Y CU S 192

S Y RI N X 1 97

THE DE A TH O F AD ON I S 2 02

P AN 2 09

L O RE L E I 2 20

FRE YA , Q UE E N OF THE N O R T H E RN G OD S 227

T HE DE A TH O F B A L D UR 2 34

BE O W UL F 2 44

R OL AN D TH E P A L A D IN 2 66

T HE C HI LD RE N or L iR 2 89

D E I RD RE 30 6
L IST OF I L L U S T RA T I O N S

Wh at w as h e d o in g , th e g r e a t g o d P a n ,
D ow n in th e r e e d s b y th e r iv e r ! F r on tisp iece
PA GE

P an do r a op en ed th e l id

Th e n P y g m al io n cov e re d h is e yes 12

Sh e ch e c k e d h e r h o u n d s a n d s to o d b e s id e E n dy m io n
, 28

S w if tl y h e tu r n e d a n d f o u n d h is W if e b e h in d h im
, 38

Th u s d id P sy ch e l o s e h e r f e a r , an d en te r th e g o l d e n
door s 52

Sh e s to p p e d , a n d p ic k e d up th e tr e a s u r e 80

Ma r p e s sa sa t a l o n e b y th e f o u n ta in 92

Th e y w h im p e r e d an d b e gg e d of h im 112

D a r kn e s s f e l l on th e e y e s of Hy a c in th u s 1 32

A gr e y co l d m o r n in g f ou n d h e r on th e s e a sh o r e 15 2

Go d s an d m j
e n r e o ice d a t th e b r in g in g b a ck of P rose r

p in e 166

S h e h a u n te d h im l ik e h is sh a d o w 176

Co m b in g h e r l o n g g o l d e n h a ir w ith a com b of red gol d 2 24

Fr e y a s a t s p in n in g th e cl ou d s 22 8

B a l du r th e B e a u tif u l is d e a d 24 0

A s tr o k e s h iv e re d th e sw o r d 262

Ro l a n d s e iz e d o n ce m or e h is h o rn 282

On e to u ch f o r e a ch w ith a m a g ica l w an d of th e D r u id s 2 94

S h e h e l d it a g a in st h e r br e a st 332
A BOOK OF M YT H S

PR O METHEUS AND PAND O RA

TH O S E who are interested in watching the mental de


v e10 p m e n t o f a child must have noted that when the

baby has learned to speak even a little it begins to show


,

it s growing intelligence by asking questions What


.


is this ! it woul d seem at rst to a sk with regard to
simple things that to it are still mysteries Soon it
.

arrives at the more far reaching inquiries


-
Why i s

this so ! How did this happen ! An d as the
chil d s mental growth continues the painstakin g and

,

cons cientious parent or guardi an is many times fa ced b y


questions which l ack of kn owledge or a sensitive honesty
, ,

prevents him from answering either with assuranc e o r


with ingenuity .

As with the child so it has ever been with the human


,

ra ce
. Man has always come into the world asking

How !
Wh y !
What !
and so the Hebrew ,

the Greek the Maori the Australian blackfellow the


, , ,

Norseman in a word each race of mank ind has formed


,

for itself an explanation of existence an answer to the


,

questions o f the gropin g child mind -


Who made the

world ! What is God ! What made a God
think of re and air and water ! Why am I I 9 , .
2 A B OO K O F MYTHS
Into the explanation of creation and existen c e given
by the Greeks come the stories of Prometheu s and of
Pandora The world as rst it was to the Greeks was
.
, ,

such a world as the on e o f which we read in the Book



o f Genesis without form and void It was a su nl ess
, .

world in which land air and sea were mixed up to


, ,

gether and over which reigned a deity called Chaos


,
.

With him ruled the goddess of Night and their son was
Erebus god of Darkness When the two beautiful chil
,
.

dren of Erebus Light and Day had ooded formless


, ,

space with their radiance Eros the god of Love was , , ,

born and Light and Day and Love workin g together


, , ,

turned discord into harmony and made the earth the sea , ,

and the sky into on e perfect whole A giant race a rac e .


,

of Titans in tim e popul ated this newly made earth and


,
-
,

of these on e of the mightiest was Prometheus To him .


,

and to his brother E p im eth u s was entru sted by Eros the ,

distribution of the gifts of facul ties and of instincts to all


the living creatures in the world and the task of making ,

a creature lower than the gods something less great than ,

the Titans y et in kn owledge and in un derstandin g in


,

nitely higher than the beasts and bird s and shes At .

the hands of the Titan brothers birds beasts and shes , , ,

had fared handsomely Th ey were Titanic in their


.

generosity and so prodigal had they been in their gifts


,

that when they woul d fain have carried ou t the com m m ds


of Eros they found that nothing w a s left for the equ ip

ment of this being to be c al l ed Man Yet nothing


, .
,

daunted Prometheus took some clay from the ground


,

at his feet moistened it with water and fashioned it into


, ,
PR OMETHEUS AND PAND O RA 3

an image in form like the gods Into its nostrils Ero s


, .

breathed the spirit of life Pallas Athen e endowed it with


,

a soul and the rst man looked wonderingly roun d on


,

the ear th that was to be his heritage Prometheus .


,

proud of the beautiful thing of his ow n creation woul d ,

fain have given Man a worthy gift but no gift remain ed ,

for him He was naked unprotected more help less than


.
, ,

any of the beasts of the eld more to be pitie d than any,

of them in that he had a soul to suffer .

Sur ely Zeus the Al l Powerful ruler of Olympus woul d


, , ,

have compassion on Man ! But Prometheus looked to


Zeus in vain ; compassion he had none Then in in .
,

nite pity Prometheus bethought himself of a power


,

bel onging to the gods alone and unshared by any livin g


creature on the earth .


We shall give Fire to the Man whom we have made ,

h e said to E p im ethu s To E p im eth u s this seemed an


.

impossibility but to Prometheus nothing was impossible


, .

He bided his time and unseen by the gods he made his


, ,

way into Olympus lighted a hollow torch with a spark


,

from the chariot of the Sun and hastened back to earth


with this royal gift to Man As sure dl y no other gift .

coul d have brought him more completely the empire


that has since been his N o longer did he tremble and
.

cower in the darkness of c aves when Zeus hurled his


lightnings across the sky No more did he d read the .

animals that hun ted him and drove him in terror before
them .

Ar med with re the beasts became his vassals


,
With .

re he forged weapons deed the frost and c old c oined


, ,
4 A B OO K O F MYTHS
money made implements for tillage introduced the arts
, , ,

and was able to destroy as well as to create .

From his throne on Olympus Zeus looked down on ,

th e earth and saw with wonder airy columns of blue


, ,

gre y smoke that cur led upwards to the sky He watched .

more closely and realised with terrible wrath that the


,

moving ow ers of red and gold that he saw in that land


that the Titans shared with men came from re that had , ,

hitherto been the gods own sacred power Spee dily he



.

assembled a council of the gods to mete out to Prometheus


a punishment t for the blasphemous daring of his crime .

This co u ncil decided at length to create a thing that


shoul d for evermore charm the soul s and hearts of men ,

a n d yet for evermore be man s un doing



, , .

To Vul can god of re whose province Prometheus had


, ,

insu l ted was given the work of fashion in g ou t of clay


,

and water the creatur e by which the honour of the gods



was to be avenged The lame Vulcan says Hesiod
.
, ,

poet of Greek mythology formed out of the earth an


,

image resemblin g a chaste virgin Pallas Athen e of the .


,

blue eyes hastened to ornament her and to robe her in a


,

white tun ic She dressed on the crown of her head a


.

long ve il skilfully fashioned and adm irable to see ; sh e


,

crown ed her forehead with graceful garlands of newly


opened owers and a golden diadem that the lame Vul
can the illustrious god had made with his own hands to
, ,

plea se t h e puissant Jove O n this crown Vu l can had


.

chiselled the in num erable animals that the continents


and the sea nour ish in the ir bosoms all endowed with a ,

marvellous grace and apparently alive When he had .


PR OMETHEUS AND PAND O RA 5

nally completed in stead o f some us eful work this il lus


, ,

triou s masterpiece he brought into the assembly this


,

virgin proud of the ornaments with which sh e had been


,

decked by the blue ey ed goddess daughter of a powerful


-
,


sire
. To this beautiful creature destined by the god s ,


to be man s destroyer each of them gave a gift From
, .

Aphrodite she got beauty from Apollo musi c from Hermes, ,

the gif t of a winning tongue An d when all that great .

company in Olym pus had bestowed their gifts they named ,


the woman Pandora Gifted by all the Gods Thus .

equipped for victory Pandora was led by H ermes to the


,

world that was thenceforward to be her home As a .

gift from the gods sh e was presented to Prometheus .

But Prometheus gazing in wonder at the violet blue


,

eyes bestowed by A p hrodite that looked wonderin gly back ,

into his o wn as if they were indeed as innocent as two


violets wet with the morning dew hardened his great ,

heart and woul d have none of her As a hero a worthy


,
.

descendant of Titans sai d in later years Timeo , ,


Danaos et dona feren te s
,
I fear the Greeks even , ,


when they brin g gifts An d Prometheus the greatly
.
,

daring kn ow m g that he merited the anger of the gods


, ,

saw treachery in a gift outwardl y s o perfe ct Not only .

would h e n ot accept this exquisite creature for his ow n ,

but he hastened to caution his brother also to refuse her .

But well were the y named Prometheus (Forethought )


and E p im ethu s (Afterthought ) For E p im ethu s it .

was enough to look at this peerless woman sent ,

from the gods for him to love her and to believe in


,

her utterly She was the fairest thing on earth


.
,
6 A B OO K O F MYTH S
worthy indeed of the deathless gods who had create d her .

Perfect too was the happiness that sh e brought with


, ,

her to E p im eth u s Before her coming as he well knew


.
,

now the fair world had been incomplete Sin ce sh e c ame


,
.

the fragrant owers had grown more sweet for him the ,

song of the birds more full of melody He found new life .

in Pandora and marvelled how his brother coul d ever


have fancied that she c oul d bring to the world aught but
peace and j oyousness .

Now w hen the gods had entrusted to the Titan


brothers the endowment of all living things upon the
earth they had been careful to withhold everything
,

that might bring into the world pain sickness anx iety , , ,

bitterness of heart remorse or soul crushing sorrow All


, ,
-
.

these hur tful things were imprisoned in a coffer which wa s


given into the care of the trusty E pim ethu s .

To Pandora the world into which sh e c ame was al l


fresh all new quite ful l of unexpected j oys and de
, ,

l ightful surprises It was a world of mystery but mystery


.
,

of which her great adorin g simple Titan held the golden


, ,

key When sh e saw the coffer which never was opened


.
,

what then more natur al than that she should ask E p im e


thus what it contained ! But the contents were known
only to the gods E p im eth u s was unable to an swer
. .

Day by day the curiosity of Pandora increased To her


, .

the gods had never given anything but good Surely .

there must be here gifts more preciou s still What if the .

Olympians had destined her to be the on e to open the


casket and had sent her to earth in order that she might
,

bestow on this dear world on the men who lived on it


, ,
PR OMETHEUS AND PAND ORA 7

and on her ow n magnicent Titan happiness and bless ,

ings which onl y the minds of gods could have c onceived


Thus did there c ome a day when Pandora unconscious ,

instrume n t in the hands of a vengeful Olympian in all ,

faith and with the courage that is born of faith and of


,

love opened the lid of the prison house of evil An d a s


,
-
.

from coffers in the ol d Egyptian tombs the live plagu e ,

can still rush forth and slay the long imprisoned evils ,
-

rushed forth upon the fair earth and on the human beings
w h o lived on it malignant ruthless er c e treacherous
, , , ,

and cruel poisoning slaying devouring Plague and


, , .

pestilence and mur der envy and mali ce and revenge and
,

all Vi ci ousness an ugly wolf pack indeed was that on e -

let loose by Pandora Terror doubt misery had all


.
, , ,

rushed straightway to attack her heart while the evil s of ,

which sh e had never dreame d stung mind and soul into


dismay an d horror w hen by hastily shuttin g the lid of
, ,

the coffer sh e tried to undo the evil she had done


, .

An d 10 sh e found that the gods had imprisoned on e good


,

gift onl y in this Inferno of horrors and of ugliness In .

the world there had never been any need of Hope What .

work was there for Hope to do where all was perfe ct and ,

where each creature possessed the desire of body and of


heart ! Therefore Hope was thrust into the chest that
held the evils a star in a black night a lily growing on a
, ,

dung heap And as Pandora white lipped and tremblin g


-
.
,
-
.

looked in to the otherwise empty box courage came back ,

to her heart and E p im eth u s let fall to his side the arm
,

that woul d have slain the woman of his love because there
c ame to him like a draught of wine to a warrior spent in
,
8 A B OO K OF MYTHS
battle an imperial vision of the sons of men through all
,

the aeons to come combatting all evil s o f body and of,

soul going on conquering and to conquer Thus saved


,
.
,

by Hope the Titan and the woman faced the future an d


, ,

for them the vengeance of the gods w as stay ed .

Ye t I arg u e n ot

Agai s t H
n e av n s

ha d
n or wi ll, bat a j t
n or e o

O f h art h p
e or O e but s till b ar u p d t r
e an s ee

R i gh t ward
on .

So spoke Milton the b lind Titan ,


of th e s eventeenth
century ; and Shakespeare says :
Tr h p i wift
ue O e s s , an d i W i th wall w wi g
es s o

s n s

K i g it m ak g d d m a r c r at r ki g
n s es o s, a n e ne e u es n s .

Upon the earth and on the children of men w h o were


,

as gods in their kn owledge and mastery of the forc e o f


re Jupiter had had his revenge For Prometheus he
, .

reserved another punishment He the greatly daring .


,
-
,

on ce the dear friend and compan ion of Zeus himself was ,

chained to a rock o n Mount Caucasus by the v indictive


deity There on a dizzy heigh t his body thrust against
.
, ,

the sun baked rock Prometheus had to endure the tor


-
,

ment of having a foul beaked v ul tur e tear out his liver -


,

as though he were a piece of carrion lying o n the moun tain


side Al l day while the sun mercilessly smote him and the
.
,

blue sky turned from red to black before his pain racked -

eyes the tortu re went on Each night when the lthy


, .
,

bird of prey that worked the will of the gods spread its
dark wings and ew back to its eyrie the Titan endured ,

the cruel mercy of having his body grow whole once more .

But with daybreak there came again the sil ent shadow ,
PR OMETHE US AN D PAN D O RA 9

the smell of the unclean thing and again with erce beak ,

and talon s the vu l ture gree dily began its work .

Th irty thousand years was the time of his sentence and ,

yet Prometheus knew that at any moment he coul d have


brought his torment to an end A secret was his a .

mighty secre t the revelation of which would have brought


,

him th e mercy of Zeus and have reinstated him in th e


favour of the all powerful god Yet did he prefer to
-
.

endure his agonies rather than to free himself by bowin g


to the desires of a tyrant who had c aused Man to be made ,

yet denie d to Man those gifts that made him nobler than
the beasts and raised him almost to the heights of th e
Olympians Thus for him the weary centuries dr agged by
.

in suffering that knew no respite in enduran ce that


th e gods might have ended Prometheus had .

an imperial gift to the men that he had made and ,

erial l y he paid the penalty


p .

Thr ee th u a d y ar f l p s h l t r d h ur s
o s n e s o s ee -
un e e e o ,

A d m m t y d ivi d d by k
n o pa g
en s a e e een n s

Til l th y m d y ar t rt r
e se e d l it de e s, o u e an so u e,

S c r d d p air th
o n an mi mp ir
es , e s e ar e ne e e .

M r gl ri far tha that whi c h th


o e o ou s
y t n o u su rv e es

F r m thi u vi d thr e 0 M ighty G d !


o ne n en e on , , o

Al m i ghty ha d I d i g d t har th ha m
, e ne o s e e s e

O f thi ill tyra y d h g t h r


ne nn , an un no e e

N ai l d t thi wa ll f a gl b ti g m
e o s tai o e e- a n ou n n,

Bl a ck wi try d a d m a r d ; with ut h rb
, n , e , un e su e o e ,

I ct b a t
n se , hap e
or ed f l ifs , or s o r so u n o e .

A h m ! a l a p ai p ai e v r f v r !
e s, n, n e ,
or e e

S H E LL EY .

Tita n wh e i mmort l y
to os a e es

Th e ff ri g
su e f m rta l ity
n s o o

S e en i th ir s a d r a li ty
n e e ,
10 A B OO K O F MYTHS
W r e t thi g that g d d p i
e no as n s o s es se ;
W hat w thy p ity r c m p e e P
as

s e o ns

A S il t ff ri g d i t
en su; e n , an n e n se

Th r ck th v l t r
e o d th c hai
,
e u u e , an e n,

Al l that th p r d f l f p ai e ou ca n ee o n,

Th e a g y th y d t h w
on e o no s o ,

Th ff cati g e
e su fw o n s n se o oe ,

Whi ch p ak b t i it l l i s
s e s u n s on e n es ,

A d th
n i j al le t th ky
en s e ous s e s

S h ld hav a l i t e r
ou wi l l s i g h
e s ne ,
n or

U ti l it v i c i ch l e
n s o e s e o ss .

B Y RON .


Ye t, I am ti ll P r m th u w i r g r w
s o e e s,
'
se o n

By y ar f l it d that h ld a p art
e s o so u e, o s

Th p a t
e d f t r
s g ivi g th
an lr m u u e, n e so u oo

To se ar c h i t it l f d l g c m m
n o se an on o un e

With thi t r a l i l c m r a g d
,

s e e n s en e o e o ,

I my l g
n ff ri g
on d tr g th t m t
-
su e n an s en o ee

W ith q a l fr t th d ir t haft s f fat


e u on e es s o e,

Tha th u i th y fai t h art d d p ti m


n o n n -
e e es o s

Th r f r gr at h art b ar p th u art b t typ


e e o e, e e , e u o u e

O f what a ll l fty Sp irit d ur that fai o s en e n

W l d w i m ba ck t tr gth d p a c thr gh l v
ou n en o s en an e e ou o e

E a c h hath h i l ly p ak d a c h h art
s on e e ,
an on e e

E vy
n c r
, hatr d t ar l if l g
o r s o n or e e s e on

W ith v l t r b ak y t th hi g h l i l ft ;
u u e e e e so u s e

A d faith whi c h i b t h p g r w wi
n ,
d l v s u o e o n se , an o e

A d p at i c wh i ch at l a t ha ll v r c m

n en e, s s o e o e .

L OW E LL .
PYGMALI ON

IN days when the world was young and when the god s
walked on the earth there reigned over the island of
,

C yprus a s culptor kin g and kin g of scul ptors named , ,

Pygmalion In the language of ou r own day we shoul d


.
,


c all him wedded to his art In woman he only saw .

the bane of man Women he believed lured men from


.
, ,

the paths to whi ch their destiny called them Wh ile .

man walked alone he walked free h e had given n o


,


hostages to fortune Alone man c ould live for his
.
,

art c oul d combat every danger that beset him c oul d


, ,

escape unhampered from every pitfall in life But


, , .

woman was the ivy that clin gs to the oak and throttles ,

the oak in the end No woman vowed Pygmalion .


, ,

shoul d ever ham per him And so at lengt h he came to .

hate women and free of hear t and mind his genius


, , ,

wrought such great things that he became a very perfe ct


scul ptor He had on e passion a passion for his art and
.
, ,

that sufced him Out of great rough blocks of marble he


.

would hew the most perfe ct semblance of men and of


women and of everythin g that seemed to him most beauti
,

ful and the most worth preserving .

Wh en we look now at the Venus of Milo at the Diana of ,

Versailles and at the Apollo Belvidere in the Vatican we


, ,

can imagine what were the greater things that the scul ptor
of Cypru s freed from the
dead blocks of marble O ne .
12 A B OO K O F MYTHS
day as he chipped and chiselled there came to him like ,

the rough sketch of a great picture the semblance of a ,

woman How it came he knew not Only he knew that


. .

in that great mass of pure white stone there seemed to be


imprisoned the exquisite image of a woman a woman ,

that he must set free Slowly gradual ly the woman


.
, ,

came Soon he knew that she was the most beautiful


.

thing that his art had ever wrought Al l that he had .

ever thought that a woman shou l d be this woman was , .

Her form and featur es were all most perfect and so per ,

feet were they that he felt ve ry sure that had sh e been


, ,

a woman indeed most perfe ct would have been the soul


,

within For her he worked as he had never worked


.

before There came at last a day when he felt that


.
, ,

another touch would be insu lt to the exquisite thin g he


had created He laid his chisel aside and sat down to
.

gaze at the Perfect Woman She seemed to gaze back at .

him Her parted lips were ready to speak to smile


. .

Her hands were held ou t to hold his hands Th en P yg .

m al ion covered his eyes He the hater of women loved


.
, ,


a woman a woman of chil l y marble The women he .

had scorned were avenged .

Day by day his passion for the woman of his ow n


creation grew and grew His hands no longer w ielded
.

the chisel They grew idle He woul d stand under the


. .

gre at pines and gaze across the sapphire blue sea and -
,

dream strange dreams of a marble woman who walked


across the waves with arms outstretched with smiling ,

lips and who be c ame a woman of warm esh and blood


,

when her bare feet touched the yellow sand a n d ,


THE N P Y M A I ON C O
G L V E RE D HIS E YS
E
PYGMALI ON 13

the bright sun of Cyprus touched her marble hair and


tur ned it into hair of living gold Then he woul d .

hasten back to his studio to nd the miracle still u n


accomplished and woul d passionately kiss the little cold
,

hands and lay beside the little cold feet the presen ts he
,

knew that youn g girls loved bright shells and exquisite


precious stones gorgeous hued birds and fragran t owers
,
-

shining amber and beads that Sparkled and ashed with


,

all the most lovely combinations of c olour that the mind


of artist coul d devise Yet more he did for he spent vast
.
,

sums on priceless pearls and hung them in her ears and


upon her cold white breast ; and the merchants wondered
who coul d be the one upon whom Pygmalion l avished the
money from his treasury .

To his divinity he gave a name Galatea and


always on still n ights the myriad silver stars woul d seem
to breathe to him Galatea and on those days
when the tempests blew across the sandy wastes of Arabia
and churned up the erce white su rf on the rocks of
Cy prus the very spirit of the storm seemed to moa n
,

through the crash of waves in longing hopeless and u nutter


,

able Galatea ! Galatea For her he decked a


couch with Tyrian purple and on the softest of pillows he
,

laid the beautiful head of the marble woman that he loved .

So the time wore on until the festival of Aphrodite


drew near Smoke from many altars curled ou t to sea the
.
,

odour of incense mingled with the fragrance of the great


pine trees and garlanded victims lowed and bleated as
,

they were led to the sacrice As the leader of his people


.
,

Pygmalion faithful ly and perfectly performed all his part


14 A B OO K O F MYTHS
in the solemnities and at last he w a s left beside the altar
to pray alone Never before h a d his words faltered as he
.

laid his petitions before the gods but on this day he spoke ,

not as a scul ptor king but as a child who w as half afraid


-
,

of what he asked .

O Ap h rodite he said who can do all things give , ,

me I pray you one like my Galatea for my wife


, ,


Give me my Galatea he dared not say but Aph ro
,

dite knew wel l the words he w ould fain have uttere d and ,

smiled to think how Pygmalion at last w a s on his knees .

In token that his prayer w a s answ ered three times sh e ,

made the ames on the altar shoot up in a ery point ,

(1 Pygmalion went home s car cely darin g to hope , not ,

a llo wi ng his glad ness to conquer his fe a r .

T he shadow s of evening we re fallin g as he went into


the room that he had made sa cred to Galatea O n the .

purple covered couch sh e lay a nd as he entered it seemed


-
,

as though sh e met his eyes wi th her o w n ; almost it


seemed that she smiled at h im in wel come He qu ickly .

went up to her a nd k neeling by her side he pressed


, ,

his lips on those lips of chilly marb le So many tim es .

he had done it before and al ways it was as though


,

the icy lips that coul d never live sent their chill right
thr ough his heart but now it surely seemed to him
,

that the lips were cold no longer He felt one of the .

little hands and no more did it remain heavy an d cold


,

and stiff i n his touch but lay i n his own hand soft
, ,

and living an d warm He softl v laid h is ngers on the


.

marble hair an d 10 it w as the soft and wavy bu rnished


, ,

golden hair of his desire Again reverently as he.


,
PYGMALI ON 15

had laid his offerings that day on the altar of Ven u s ,

Pygmalion kissed her lip s An d then did Galatea with


.
,

warm and rosy cheeks widely open her ey es like pools in


, ,

a dark mountain stream on which the sun is shining and ,

gaze w ith timid gladness into his own .

There are n o after tales of Pygmalion and Galatea .

We only know that their l ives were happy an d that to


them was born a son Paphos from whom the city sacred
, ,

to Aphrodite received its name Perhaps Aphrodite may


.

have smil ed sometimes to watch Pygmalion once the ,

scorner of wome n the adorin g serv ant of the woman that


,

his ow n hands had rst designed .


PHAET ON
Th e r ad
o ,
to d riv e on whi c h uns k i l l e d w r P ha t
e e ha d
e on s
'
n s .

D A N T E P g t ur a or o i .

To Apollo the ,
god and Clymene a beautiful ocean
u
s n -
, ,

nymph there was born in the pleasant land of Gree c e a


,

child to whom was given the name of Phaeton the Bright ,

and Shining O ne The rays of the sun seemed to live in


.

the curls of the fearless little lad and when at noon other ,

children woul d seek the cool shade of the cypress grove s ,

Phaeton would hold his head aloft and gaze fearlessly up


at the brazen sky from whence erce heat beat down upon
his golden head .

Behold my father drives his chariot a cross the


heavens ! he proudly proclaimed In a little while I .
,


also will dr ive the four snow white steeds
,
-
.

His elders heard the childish boast with a smile but ,

when E paph os half brother to Apollo had listened to it


,
-
,

man y time s an d beheld the child Phaeton grow into an , ,

arrogant lad w h o held himself as though he were indeed


o n e o f the Immortals anger grew in his heart , One day .

he turn ed upon Phaeton and spoke in erce scorn


Dost say thou art son of a god A shameless
boaster and a liar art thou ! Hast ever spoken to th y
divine sire ! Give us some proof of thy sonship ! No more
child of the glorious Apollo art thou than are the vermin

his children that the su n b re e l s in the dust at my feet
,

.

1
PHAET ON 17

For a moment before the c ruel taun t the lad was


, ,

stricken into silence and then his pride a a m e his young


, , ,

voic e shaking with rage and w ith bitter shame he cried ,

aloud Thou E paph os art the liar I have but to ask


, , .

my father and thou shalt see me drive his golden chariot


,


a cross the sky .

To his mother he hastened to get balm for his hurt ,

pride as many a time he had got it for the little bodily


,

wounds of childhood and with bur sting heart he pour ed ,

forth his story .


True it is he said that my father has never
, ,

deigned to S peak to me Yet I kn ow because thou hast .


,

told me so that he is my sire And now my word is


, .

pledged Apollo must let me drive his steeds else I


.
,

am for evermore branded braggart and l iar and shamed ,


amongst men .

Clymene listened w ith grief to his c omplai n t He .

was so you n g so gallant so foolish


, , .


Trul y thou art the son of Apollo she said and , ,

oh, son of my heart thy beauty is his and thy pride the , ,

pride of a son of the gods Yet only partly a god art .

thou and though thy proud courage would dare al l things


, ,

it were mad folly to thin k of doing what a god alone



can do .

But at last sh e said to him Naught that I can say ,

is of any avail Go seek thy father and ask him what


.
, ,

thou wil Then sh e told him how he might nd the


place in the east where Apollo rested ere the labours of
the day began an d with eager gladness Phaeton set ou t
,

upon his j ourney A long way he travel led wi th never


.
,

B
18 A B OOK O F MYT H S
a ste p yet when the glittering dome and j ewelled turrets
,

and minarets of the Palace o f the Sun came into V iew he ,

forgot his weariness and hastened up the steep a sc ent to


the home of his father .

Ph oebu s Apollo cla d in purple that glowed like the


,

radianc e of a cloud in the sunset sky sat upon his ,

golden throne The Day the M onth and the Year


.
, ,

stoo d b y him and beside them were the H ours S pring


, .

was there her head wreathed with owers ; Summer


, ,

crowned with ripened grain ; Autumn with his feet ,

e mpurpled by the jui c e of the grapes ; an d W inter ,

with hair all white and stiff with h e ar frost An d when -


.

Phaeton walked up the golden steps that led to his



father s throne it s eemed as though in c arnate Youth had
,

c o m e to j oin the court of the god of the Sun an d that ,

Youth was so beautiful a thing that it must s u rely l ive


forever P rou dl y did Apollo k now him for his son
.
,

and when the boy looked in h is eyes with the arrogant


fearl essness of boyhoo d the go d greeted him ki n dly
,

and asked him to tell him why he c ame an d what ,

wa s his p etition .

As to Clym ene so also to Apollo Phaeton told his


, ,

tal e an d his father l istened half in pride and amusement


, , ,

half in puzzled vex ation When the boy stopped and


.
,

then breathlessly with shining eyes and u shed chee ks


, ,

ended u p his story with : And 0 light of the boundl ess ,

w orld if I am in deed th y son let it be as I have said and for


, , ,

on e day only let me drive thy chariot a c ross the heavens

Apollo shook his head and answered very gravely



In truth thou art m y dear son he said and by , ,
P HAET ON 19

the dreadful Styx the river of the dead I swear that I will
, ,

give thee any gif t that thou dost name an d that wil l give
proof that thy father is the i m mortal Apoll o But never .

to thee nor to any other be he mortal or im mort al shall


, ,


I grant the boon of driving m y chariot .

But the boy pled on



I am shamed for ever my father he said , Sur ely , .

thou woul dst not have son of thine prove d l iar and
braggart

Not even the gods themselves c an d o this thing ,

answered Apollo .Nay not even the al mighty Zeus


, .

None but I Ph oebus Apollo may drive the aming chariot


, ,

of the su n, for the way is beset with dangers and none



know it but I .

On ly tell me the way m y father cried P haeton


, .


S o soon I could learn .

Half in sadness Apollo smiled


, .


The rst part of the way is uphill he said So , .

stee p it is that only very slowly can my horses climb it .

High in the heavens is the mid dl e so high that even I ,

grow di zzy when I look down upon the earth and the sea .

And the last piece of the way is a precipice that rushes


so steeply downward that my hands can scarce che ck
the mad rush o f my galloping horses An d all the while .
,

the heaven is sp irm in g round and the stars with it By


, .

the horn s of the Bull I have to drive past the Archer whose ,

bow is taut and ready to slay close to where the Seor ,


pion stret ches out its arms and the great Crab s cl aws
grope for a prey .

I fear none of these things oh my father ! cried ,


20 A BOO K O F MYTHS

Phaeton . Grant that for on e day only I drive thy


white maned steeds
-

Very pitiful ly Apollo l ooked at him an d for a little ,

spac e he was silent .


The little human hands he said at length the , ,

little human frame and with them the soul of a god .

The pity o f it my son Dost not know that the boon


,
.

that thou dost crav e from me is Death



Rather Death than Dishonour said Phaeton and ,

prou dl y he added For once would I drive like the god


, ,


my father I have no fear
. .

S o was Apoll o vanquished and Phaeton gained his ,

heart s desire

.

From the courtyard of the Palace the four white


horses were led and they pawed the air and neighed aloud
,

in the glory of their strength They drew the chariot .

who s e axle and pol e and wheels were of gold with spokes ,

of silver while inside were rows of diamonds and of


,

chrysolites that gave dazzling reection of the su n Then .

Apollo anointed the face o f Phaeton with a powerful


essenc e that might keep him from being smitten by the
ames and upon his head he placed the rays of the sun
, .

An d then the stars went away even to the Daystar that ,


we nt l ast o f all and at Ap ollo s signal Aurora the rosy
, , , ,

n gere d thre w open the pur ple gates o f the east an d


, ,

Phaeton saw a path of pale rose colour open before him -


.

With a cry o f exultation the boy leapt into the ,

chariot and laid hold o f the golden reins Barely did he .


hear Apollo s parting words : Hold fast the reins and ,

spare the whip Al l thy strength will be wanted to hold


.
PHAET ON 21

the horses in Go not too high n or too low The middl e


. .

c ourse is safest and best Follow if thou canst in the


.
, ,

ol d tracks o f my chariot wheels 1 His glad voi c e of


thanks for the godlike boon rang back to where Apollo
stood an d watched h im vanishing into the dawn that stil l
was soft in hue as the feathers on the b reast of a dove .

Uphill at rst the white steeds made their way an d ,

the re from their nostrils tinged with ame colour the -

dark clouds that hung over the land and the sea With .

rapture Phaeton felt that trul y he was the son of a god


, ,

and that at length he was enj oying his heritage The .

day for which t h rough all his short life he had longed
, , ,

had come at last He was driving the chariot whose


.

progress even now was awaking the sleeping earth The .

radiance from its wheels and from the rays he wore roun d
his head was painting the cl ouds and he l aughed alou d ,

in rapture as he saw far down below the se a and the


, ,

rivers he had bathed in as a human boy mirroring the ,

g reen and rose and purple and gold and silver


, and er c e ,

crimson that he Phaeton was placing in the sky The


, , , .

grey mist rolled from the mountain tops at his desire The .

white fog rolled up from the valleys All living thi ngs .

awoke the owers opened their petals ; the grain grew


golde n the fruit grew ripe Could but E p aph os see him
.

now ! Surely he must see him and realise that not ,

Apollo but Phaeton was guiding the horses of his father ,

driving the chariot of the Sun .

Quicker and yet more qu ick grew the pac e of the


white maned steeds Soon they left the morning bre ezes
-
.

behind and very soon they knew that these were not
,
22 A B OO K O F MYTHS
the hands of the god their master that held the golden
, ,

reins Like an air ship without its accustomed ballast


.
-
,


the chariot rolled unsteadily and n ot only the boy s light
,

weight but his light hold on their bridles made them grow
mad with a lust for speed The white foam ew from
.

their mouths lik e the spume from the giant waves of a


fur ious sea and their pace w as swift as that of a b e l t
,

that is cast by the arm of Zeus .

Yet Phaeton had no fear and when they heard ,

him shout in rapture Quicker still brave ones ! more


, ,

swiftly still it made them speed onwards madly , ,

blindl y with the headlong rush of a storm There was


, .

no hope for them to keep on the beaten track and soon ,

Phaeton had his raptu re checked by the terrible real isa


tion that they had strayed far ou t of the course and that
his hands were not strong enough to guide them Close .

to the Great Bear and the Little Bear they passed and ,

these were scorched with heat The Serpent which torpid .


, ,

chilly and harmless lies coiled round the North Pole felt
, ,

a warmth that made it grow erce and harmful again .

Down ward ever dow nward galloped the maddened horses


, ,

and soon Phaeton saw the sea as a shield of molten brass ,

an d the earth so near that all things on it were visible .

When they passed the Scorpion and onl y just missed


destruction from its menacing fangs fear entered into the ,


boy s heart His mother had spoken truth He was
. .

onl y partly a god and he was very very young In


, , .

impotent horror he tugged at the reins to try to check the



horses descent then forgetful of Apoll o s warning he
, ,

,

smote them angril y But anger met an ger and the fury
.
,
PHAET ON 23

of the immortal steeds had scorn for the wrath of a mortal


boy With a great toss of their mighty heads they had
.

torn the guiding reins from his grasp and as he stood , ,

giddil y swaying from side to side Phaeton kn ew th at the


,

boon he had craved from his father must in truth be


death for him .

And 10 it was a hideous death for with eyes that


, , ,

were like ames that burned his brain the boy beheld ,

the terrible havoc that his pride had wrought That .

blazin g chariot of the Sun made the clouds smoke and ,

dried up all the rivers and water springs Fire bur st -


.

from the mountain tops great cities were destroyed


, .

The beauty of the earth was ravished woods and ,

meadows and all green and pleasant places were l ai d


waste The harvests perished the ocks and they w h o
.
,

had herded them lay dead Over Libya the horses took
.

him and the desert of Libya remains a barren wilderness


,

to this day while those sturdy Ethiopians w h o su rvive d


,

are black even now as a c onsequence of that c ruel heat .

The Nile changed its course in order to es c ape and nymphs ,

and nereids in terror sought for the sanctuary of some


watery place that had escaped destruction The fa c e of .

the burned and blackened earth where the bodies of,

thousands of human beings lay charred to ashes cracked ,

and sent dismay to Pluto by the lurid light that penetrated


even to his throne .

All this Phaeton saw saw in impotent agony of soul


, .

His boyish folly and pride had been great but the ex ,

cruciating anguish that made him shed tears o f blood ,

was indeed a pun ishment even too heavy for an erring god .
24 A B OO K O F MYTHS
From the havoc around her the Earth at last looked ,

Up and with blackened face and blinded ey e s and in a


, ,

voice that was harsh and very very weary sh e called , ,

to Zeus to look down from Olympus and behold the ruin


that had been wrought by the chariot of the Sun And .

Zeus the cloud


, gatherer looked down and beheld And , .

at the sight of that piteous devastation his brow grew


dark and terrribl e was his wrath against him who had
,

held the reins of the chariot Calling upon Apollo and .

all the other gods to witness him he seized a lightning ,

bolt and for a moment the deathless Zeus an d all the


,

dwellers in Olympus looked on the ery chariot in which


stood the swayin g slight lithe gu re of a young lad
, , ,

blinded with horror shaken with agony T hen from ,


.
,

his hand Zeus east the bolt an d the chariot was dashed
, ,

into fragments and Phaeton his golden hair ablaze fell


, , , ,

like a bright shooting star from the heavens above , ,

into the river Eridanus The steeds returned to the ir .

master Apollo and in rage and grief Apollo lashed them


, , .

Angrily too and very rebelliously did he spea k of the


, ,

punishment meted to his son by the rul er of the Im m or


tals Yet in truth the punishment was a merciful o n e
. .

Phaeton was only half a god and no human l ife were t ,

to live after the day of dire anguish that had been h is .

Bitter was the mou rning of Clym ene over her beautiful
o n ly son and so ceaselessly did his three sisters the
, ,

Heliades weep for their brother that th e gods turned


, ,

them into poplar trees that grew by the bank of the river ,

and when still they wept their tears tur ned into precious
, ,

amber as they fell Yet another mourned for Phaeton


.
PHAET O N 25

Phaeton dead ere his prime Cv n cu s King of Ligur i a .


3
, ,

had dearly loved the gallant boy and again and yet again ,

he dived deep in the river and brought forth the charred


fragments of what h ad once been the beautiful son of a
god and gave to them honourable burial Yet he coul d
, .

not rest satised that he had won all that remained of his
friend from the river s bed and so he continued to haunt

,

the stream ever div ing ever searching u ntil the gods
, , ,

grew weary of h is restless sorrow and changed him into a


swan .

And still we see the swan sailing mournful ly along ,

like a white sailed barque that is bearing the body of a


-

king to its rest and ever and anon plunging deep into
,

the water as though the search for the boy who would
fain have been a god were never to come to an end .

To Phaeton the Italian Naiades reared a tomb and ,

inscribed on the stone these words :



D riv r f P h b c ha i t Pha t
e o oe u s

r o , e on ,

S tr ck by J v th d r r s ts b ath thi t
u o e s

un e , e en e s s on e ,

H c ld t r l h i fath r c ar f
e ou no u e s e s o re ,

Y t wa s it m ch
e b ly t a p ir
u ,

O IDso n o o s e .

V .
ENDYMI ON

To the modern popu lar mind perhaps none of the god



desses of Greece not even Venus herself has more
appeal than has the huntress goddess Diana Those , .

who know but little of ancient statuary can still brighten


to intelligent recognition of the huntress with her quiver
and her little stag when they meet with them in picture
gallery or in suburban garden That unlettered sports
.

man in weather worn pink slowly riding over the fragrant


-
,

dea d leaves by the muddy roadside on this chill grey ,

morn ing may never have heard of Artemis but he is


, ,

quite ready to make intelligent reference to Diana to the


handsome young sportswoman whom he nds by the

c overt side ; and Sir Walter s Diana Vernon has helpe d
the little read public to rea lise that the original Diana was
-

a goddess worthy of being sponsor to on e of the nest


heroines of ction .

But not to the sportsman alone but also to the youth


,

o r maid who loves the moon they know not why to


those whom the shadows of the trees on a woodland path
at night mean a grip of the heart while pale Dian ,

s cuds over the dark clouds that are soaring far beyon d
the tree tops and is peepin g chaste and pale through the
-
, ,

branches of the rs and giant pines there is somethin g


,

arresting enthralling in t e thought of the go ddess


, ,
g
ENDYMION 27

Diana w h o now has for hunting ground the blue -


rm a
ment of heaven where the pale Pleiades
G l itt r l i k a warm
e e s of re ie s
-
ta gl d
n e in a i l v r brai d
s e .

TE NNY S ON .

Sh e g l a h e il va tr p hi ; d ow th
e ns r s n o es n e w ldo

Sh e h ar th bbi g f th ta g that
e s e so n o e s s ee

M i x d wit h th m i c f th h ti g l l d
e e us o e un n ro

B th u d l i gh t i a ll i ar ch ry
er e s n e ,

A d a ght f r th
n n u d p ity w tt th h e
o u an o e s

M r tha h h d that f ll w th i ght ;


o e n er ou n s o o on e

Th g d d e e d raw a g ld b w f m i ght
o ss s o en o o

A d thi ck h e rai s th g t l haft that la y


n s n e en e s s s .

Sh t e l h
o sse sl ck p th i ght oo s e er o s u on e n ,

A d thr u gh th d i m w d D ia thr e a d h
n o way e oo n s er .

AN D R E W L AN G .

Agai n and again in mythological history we come on


stories of the goddess sometimes under her best kn own ,

name o f Diana sometimes under her older Greek name


,

of Artemis and now and again as Selene the moon


, ,

goddess the Luna of the Romans Her twin brother was


, .

Apollo god of the su n and with him sh e shared the


, ,

power of un erringly wielding a bow and of sending grave


plagues and pestilences while both were patrons of music ,

and of poetry .

When the sun god s golden chariot had driven down -


into the west then would his sister s noiseless footed silver
,

-

steeds be driven across the sky while the huntress shot ,

from her bow at will silen t arrows that wou ld slay without
warn ing a j oyous y oun g mother with her newly born babe -

or woul d wantonl y pierce with a lifelong pain the heart , ,

of some luckless mortal .

Now one night as sh e passed Mount L atm o s there ,


.

28 A B OO K O F MYTHS
chanced to be a shepherd lad lying asleep beside his
slee p ing ock Many times had Endymion watched the
.

goddess from afar half afraid of o n e so beautiful and


,

yet so ruthless but never before had Diana realised the


,

youth s wonderful beauty She checked her hounds when



.

they woul d have swept on in their chase through the


n ight and stood beside Endymion She judged him to
,
.

be as perfect as her own brother Apollo yet more ,

perfect perhaps for on his upturned sleeping face


, ,

was the silver glamour of her own dear moon Fierc e .


and burning passion could come with the sun s burnin g

rays but love that came in the moon s pale light was
,

passion mixed with gramarye She gazed for long and .


,

when in his sleep Endymion smiled sh e knelt beside


, , ,

him and stooping gently kisse d his lips The touch of a


, , .

moonbeam on a sleepin g rose was no more gentl e than was



Diana s touch y et it was sufficient to wake Endymion
, .

An d as while one s body sleeps on one s half waking mind



-
, , ,

n ow and again in a l ifetime seems to realise an ecstasy

of happiness so perfect that one dares not wake lest b y ,

waking the wings o f one s realised ideal should slip


,

betwee n graspin g ngers and so escape forever so did ,

Endymion realise the kiss of the goddess But before .

his sleep y eyes coul d be his senses witnesses Diana had


,

hastened away Endymion sprin ging to his feet saw


.
, ,

only his sleepin g ock nor did his dogs awake when he
,

heard what seemed to him to be the baying of hou nds in


full cry in a forest far up the mountain Onl y to his ow n .

heart did he dare to whisper what was th is wonderful


thing that he believed had befallen him and although h e ,
S HE CH C D
E KE HE R HO U N DS AN D S T OO D B E SIDE E N D YM I O N
ENDYMION 29

laid himself down hoping that once again this miracle


,

might be granted to him no miracle came ; nor coul d ,

he sleep so great was his longing


, .

Al l the next day through the su ltry hours while Apoll o


,

dr ove his chariot of burnished gold through the l and ,

Endymion as he watched his ocks tried to dr eam his


, ,

dr eam once more and longed for the day to end and the
,

cool dark night to return When night came he tried to


,
.

lie awake and see what might befall but when kind sleep ,

had closed his tired eyes ,

Th r c am a l v ly vi i f a m ai d
e e e o e s on o ,

Wh m d t
o se et p fr m a g l d care o s e as o o en

O t f th l w h
u o gm L W e M O RR IS
o -
un oon .
"
E Is .

Al way s sh e kissed him yet when her kiss awoke him ,

he never coul d see anythin g more tangible than a shaft


o f silver moonlight on the moving bushes of the mountain

side never hear anythin g more real than the far away
,
-

echo of the baying of pursuing hounds and if with eager , , ,

greatly daring eyes he l ooked skywards a dark cloud


-
, , ,

so it seemed to him woul d alway s hasten to hide the moon


,

from his longing gaze .

In this manner time passed on The days of Endy .

mion were lled b y longin g day dreams His sleeping -


.

hours ever brought him ecstasy Ever too to the god .


, ,

dess the human being that sh e loved seemed to her to


,

grow more precious For her all the joy of day and of
.

night was concentrated in the moments sh e spent b y the


side of the sleeping Endymion The ocks of the shep .

herd ourished like those o f no other herd No wil d .

beast dared come near them ; no storm nor disease


30 A BOO K O F MYTHS
assailed them Yet for Endymion the things of earth n o
.

longer held an y value He lived only for his dear dream s


.

sake Had he been permitted to grow old and worn and


.

tired and still a dreamer who knows how his story might
, ,

have ended But to Diana there came the fear that w ith
age his beauty might wane and from her father Zeus , , ,

sh e obtained for the one sh e loved the gifts of unending

y outh and of eternal sleep .

There came a night when the dreams o f Endymion


had no end That was a night when the moon made
.

for herself broad silver paths across the sea from far ,

horizon to the shore where the little waves lapped and


curled in a radiant ever moving sil ver frin ge Silver
,
-
.

also were the leaves of the forest trees and between the ,

branches of the solemn cypresses and of the stately


dark pines Diana shot her silver arrows No baying
, .


of hounds came then to make Endymion s ocks move
uneasily in their sleep but the silver stars seemed
,

to sing in unison together While still those gentle.

lips touched his hands as gentle lifted up the sleeping


,

Endymion and bore him to a secret c ave in Mount Lat


mos And there for evermore sh e came to kiss the
.
, ,

mouth of her sleeping lover There forever slept Endy .


, ,

mion happy in the perfect bliss of dreams that have no


,

ugly awaking of an ideal love that knows no ending


, .
ORPHE US
O rp h e with h i l t m a d tr
us s u e e e e s,

A d th m
n et i t ps t h at fr z
ou n a n o ee e,

B w th m
o l v wh h d id i g ;
e se es en e s n

T h i m i c pla t
o s us d w r n s an o e s

E v r Sp r
e g un d h w r
,
as su n an s o e s

Th r had m ad a la ti g p ri g
e e e s n s n .

E v ry thi g that h ar d h m pl ay
e n e i ,

Ev th
en bi ll w f th
e o s o e s e a,

H g th ir h a d d th lay by
un e e s, an en ,

I n sw t m u i c i s u ch art
ee s s ,

K i ll i g c ar
n d g ri f f h art
e an e o e

F all a l p h ari g di
s ee , or S H AK E SP E AR E
e n e .

-
.


Are all l v r we O rp h u w l vi g what i s g
n ot o e sfr m as e s as, o n on e o

us fr v r
o e d k i g it vai l y i th s l i t d
e , an se e d wi l d r
n f n n e o u es an e n e ss o

th em i d d y i g t E urydic t c m a gai ! A d
n , an cr n o w t e o o e n n ar e e no

al l f l i h oo O r ph s w h p i g by th a g y f l v
as eus d th
a s, o n e on o o e an e

ecs ta y f will t w i ba ck E ryd i c


s o d d w
o t a ll fai l
n O rp h u e an o e no , as eu s

fai l d b ca
e ,
w f r a k th way f th th r w rld f th way
e u se e o s e e o e o e o or e

of thi w r ld s F I ON A M AC E O D
o !

L .

IT is the custom nowaday s for scientists and for other


scholarly people to take hold of the old m yths to take ,

them to pieces and to nd some deep hidden meanin g in


, ,

each part of the story So you will nd that some will .

tell y ou that O rpheus is the personication of the winds


whi ch tear up trees as they course along c hantin g their ,


Wil d music and that Eurydi c e is the morning with its
,


short lived beauty -
Others say that Orpheus is the .

mythologi cal expression of t e delight which music gives


h
g
32 A BO OK O F MYTH S

to the primitive races while yet others accept without
,

hesitation the idea that O rpheus is the su n that when day ,

is done plunges into the black abyss of night in the vain


, ,

hope of overtaking his lost bride Eurydice the rosy dawn , , .

And whether they be right or wrong it would seem that


, ,

the sadness that comes to us sometimes as the day dies


and the last o f the sun s rays vanish to leave the h ill s and

valley s dark an d cold the sorrowful feeling that we cannot


,

un derstand when in country pla c es we hear music coming


, ,

from far away or liste n to the plaintive song of the bird


, ,

are things that very specially belong to the story of


O rpheus .

In the country o f Thrace surrounded by all the best ,

gifts o f the gods O rp heus was born His father was


, .

Apollo the god of music and of song his mother the


, ,

muse Calliope Apollo gave his little son a lyre and him
.
,

self taught him how to play it It was not long before .

al l the wild things in th e woods of Thrace crept out from

the green trees and thick undergrowth an d from the holes ,

and caves in the rocks to listen to the music that the ,


child s ngers made The coo o f the dove to his mate
.
,

th e u te clear trill o f the blackbird the song of the lark


-
, ,

the liquid carol o f the nightingale all cea sed when the
boy made music The winds that whispered their s ecrets
.

to the trees owned him for their lord and the proudest ,

trees of the forest bowed their heads that they might not
miss o n e exquisite sigh that his ngers drew from the
magical strings Nor man nor beast lived in his day that
.

he cou ld not sway by the power of his melody He play ed .

a lul laby and all things slept He played a love lilt and
, .
-
,
ORPHEUS 33

the owers sprang up in ful l bloom from the cold earth ,

and the dr eaming red rosebud opened wide her velvet


petals and all the land seemed full of the loving e choes of
,

the lilt he played He played a war march and afar off


.
-
, , ,

the sleeping tyrants o f the forest sprang up wide awake , ,

and bared their angry teeth and the untried youths of ,

Thra c e ran to beg their fathers to let them taste battle ,

while the s carred warriors felt on their thumbs the sharp


ness of their sword blades and smiled well content, , .

Wh ile he played it would seem as though the very stones


and rocks gained hearts Nay the whole heart of the
.
,

un iverse became on e great l


p p
a itatin g,beautiful thing , ,

an instrument from whose trembling strings wa s draw n


ou t the music of O rpheus .

He rose to great power and became a mighty prince


,

of Thrace N ot his lute alone but he himself play ed on


.
,

the heart of the fair Eury dice and held it captive It .

seemed as though when they became m an and w ife all


, ,

happiness must be theirs But althou gh Hymen the god of


.
,

marriage himself came to bless them on the day they wed


, ,

the omens on that day w ere against them The torch that .

Hymen carried had no golden ame but sent out pungent ,

black smoke that m ade their eyes water They feared .

they knew not what ; but when soon afterwards as Eury , ,

dice wandered with the nym phs her compan ions through , ,

the blue shadowed woods of Thrace the reason was dis


-
,

covered A bold shepherd who did n ot know her for a


.
,

princess saw Eurydice and no sooner saw her than he


, ,

loved h er He ran after her to pro c laim to her his love


.
,

and sh e afraid of his wil d un couthness ed before him She


, , .

C
34 A B OO K O F MYTHS
ran in her terror too sw iftly to watch whither sh e went
, , ,

and a poisonous snake that lurked amongst the fern bit the
fair white foot that itted like a buttery across it In
, , .

agonised suffering Eurydice died Her spirit went to the .

land of the Shades and O rpheus was left broken hearted


,
-
.

The sad winds that blow at night across the sea the ,

sobbing gales that tell o f wreck and death the birds that ,

wail in the darkness for their mates the sad soft whisper , ,

of the aspen leaves and the leaves o f the heavy clad blue

black cypresses all now were hushed for greater than all
, , ,

more full of bitter s orrow than any arose the musi c of ,

O rpheus a long drawn sob from a broken heart in the


,
-

Valley of the Shadow of Death .

Grief came alik e to gods and to men as they listened ,

but no comfort came to him from the expression of his


sorr ow At length when to bear his grief longer was
.
,

impossible for h im O rpheus wandered to Olympus and


, ,

there besought Zeus to give him permission to seek his


wife in the gloomy land of the Shades Zeus moved .
,

b y his anguish granted the permission he sought but


, ,

solemnl y warned him of the terrible perils of his under


taking .

But the l ove of O rpheus was too perfect to know any


fear ; thankfu lly he hastened to the dark cave on the
side of the promontory of Taeu aru s and soon arrived at ,

the entrance of Hades Stark and grim was the three


.

headed watchdog Cerberu s which guarded the door and


, , ,

w ith the growls and the fur ious roaring o f a wild beast
athirst for its prey it greeted Orpheu s But O rpheus .

tou ched his lute and the brute amazed sank into silence
, , , .
O RPHEUS 35

And still he played and the dog would gently have licked
,

the player s feet and looked up in his face w ith its savage

,

eyes full of the light that we see in the eyes of the dogs of
this earth as they gaze with love at their masters O n .
,

then strode Orpheus playin g still and the melody he dr ew


, , ,

from his lute passed before him into the realm s of Pluto .

Surely never were heard such strains They told of .

perfect tender love of un endin g longing of pain too


, , ,

great to end with death Of al l the beauties of the earth


.

they sangof the sorrow of the world of all the world s

desire of things past of things to come An d ever .


,

through the song that the lute sang there came like a , ,

thread of silver that is woven in a black velvet pall a ,

limpid melody It was as though a bird sang in the mirk


.

n ight and it spoke of pea c e and o f hope and o f j oy that


, ,

knows no end ing .

Into the blackest depths of Hades the soun ds sped on


their way and the hands o f Time stood still From his
, .

bitter task of trying to quaff the stream that ever receded


from the parched and burning lips Tantalus ceased for a ,


moment The ceaseless course of Ixion s wheel was stayed
.
,

the v ul tur e s relentless beak no longer tore at the Titan s

liver ; Sisyphus gave up his weary task of rol l in g th e stone


and sat on the rock to listen the Danaides rested from their
'

labour of dr awing water in a sieve For the rst time the .


,

ch e ck s of the Furies were wet with tears and the restless ,

shades that came and went in the darkness like dead ,

autumn leaves driven by a winter gale stood still to ga ze ,

and listen Before the throne where Pluto and his queen
.

Proserpine were seated sable clad and stern the relentless


,
-
,
36 A B OO K O F MYTHS
Fates at the ir feet Orpheus still played on
,
And to .

Proserpine then came the living remembrance of all the


j oy s of her girlhood by the blue ZEgean Sea in the fair
island of Sicily Again sh e knew the fragrance and the
.

b eauty of the owers of spring Even into Hades the s cent


.

o f the violets seemed to come and fresh in her heart was


,

the sorrow that had been hers on the day o n which the
ruthl ess King of Darkness tore her from her mother and
from all that sh e held most dear Sil ent sh e sat beside .

her frow ning stern faced lord but her ey es grew dim
,
-
, .

When with a quivering sigh the music stopped


, , ,

Orpheus fearlessly pled his cause To let him have Eu ry


.

dice to give him back his more than life to grant that he
, ,

might lead her with him up to the light of Heaven


that was his prayer .

The eyes of Pluto and Proserpin e did not dare to meet ,

yet with one accord was their answer given Eurydice .

shoul d be given back to h im but onl y on on e condition


, .

Not un til he had reached the light of earth again was he


to tur n round and look upon the face for a sight of which
his e yes were tired with longin g Eagerly Orpheu s com
.

plied and with a heart almost breakin g with gladness he


,

heard the call for Eurydice and tu rned to retrace his way ,

with the li ght footfall of the little feet that he adored


making music behind him Too good a thing it seemed
.

too u nbelievable a j oy She was therequite close to


.

him Their days o f happiness were not ended His love


. .

had won her back even from the lan d o f darkness Al l


, .

that he had not told her of that love while yet sh e was on
earth he woul d tell her now All th at he had failed in
.
O RPHEUS 37

before he woul d make perfect now The little limping


, .

foot how it made his soul overow w ith adoring tender


ness So near sh e was he might even touch her were he
.
,

to stretch back his han d .

And then there came to him a hideous doubt What .

if Pluto had played him false What if there followe d


him n ot Eurydice but a mockin g shade
, As he climbed
the steep ascent that led upwards to the light his fear grew ,

more cruelly real Al most he could imagine that her


.

footsteps had stopped that w hen he reached the light he


,

would nd himself left once more to his cruel loneliness .

Too overwhelming for him was the doubt So nearly there .

they were that the darkness was no longer that of night ,

but as that of evening when the long shadows fall upon


the land and there seemed no reason for O rpheus to wait
, .

S w iftly he turned and found his wife behind him but


, ,

onl y for a moment sh e stayed Her arms were thrown .

open and Orpheus would fain have grasped her in his


ow n,
but before they could touch each other Eurydice
was borne from him back into the darkness
, .


Farewell ! sh e said Farewell ! and her voi ce
was a sigh of hopeless grief In mad desperation O rpheu s .

sought to follow her but his attempt was vain At the


, .

brink of the dark erce oode d Acheron the boat with its
,
-

boatman ol d Charon lay ready to ferry across to the


, ,

further shore those whose future lay in the land of Shade s .

To him ran O rpheus in clamorous anx iety to undo the


,

evil he had wrought But Charon angrily repul se d


.

him There was no place for such as O rpheus in his


.

ferry boat Those only who went never to return could


-
.
, ,
38 A B OO K O F MYTHS
nd a passage there For seven long day s and seven
.

longer nights O rpheus waited beside the river hoping ,

that Charon would relent but at last ho pe died and he


, ,

sought the depths of the forests of Thra c e where trees ,

and ro cks and beasts and birds were all his friends .

H e took his ly re again then and play ed


S ch trai
u s w uld hav w th
n s as o e on e e ar

O f Pl ut t hav q it t fr
o, o e u e se ee

H i ha l f r gai d E ryd i c
s -
e M I T ON
ne u e .

L .

Day and night he stayed in the shadow of the wood


lands all the sorrow of his heart exp re ss m g i tself in
,

the song of his lute The ercest beasts of the forest


.

c rawled to his feet and looked up at him with e y es full


of pity . The song of the birds ceased and when the ,

wind moaned through the tre es the y e choed his cry ,


E urydice ! Eurydice !
In the dawn ing hours it would seem to him that he
saw her again itting
, a thing of mist and rising su n
, ,

a cross the dimness of the woods And when evening .

came and all things rested and the night c alled ou t ,

the my stery of the forest again he would see her , .

In the long blue shadows of the trees she woul d stand


u p the woodl and paths sh e walk ed where her little ,

feet uttered the dry leaves as sh e passed Her face .

was white as a lily in the moonlight and ever sh e held ,

ou t her arms to Orp h e

A t that l m i ta d I tra c

e -
V s

s en e,

D i mly th y d l av ta k i g fa c
sa e e- n e,

E ryd i c
u E ryd i ce u e

Th tr m l e l av r p at t m
e u ou s e es e e o e

E uryd i c E ryd i ce L O W E u e LL .
SW I F T Y
L HE T U RN D A N D
E , FO U N D H IS W IF E BE H I N D H IM
O RPHEUS 39

For O rpheus it was a good day when Jason c hief of ,

the Argonauts sought him ou t to bid him come with the


,

other heroes and aid in the quest of the Golden Fleece .

Have I n ot ha d enough of t oi l and of weary wander



ing far an d wi d e sighe d O rpheu s
, In vain is the .

sk ill of the voi c e whi ch my go dd e ss mother gave me ;


in vain have I sung and laboured ; in vain I went down
to the dead and c harmed all the kin g s of H ades to win
, ,

back Eurydi c e m y bri d e For I w on her my be loved


, .
, ,

and lost her a g ain the s ame day and wandered away ,

in my madness even to E gy p t and the Libyan sands ,

and the isle s of all the s eas Whi l e I c harmed in


.

vain the hearts of men and the s ava g e fore s t bea st s


, ,

an d the trees and the l ifeless stones with my mag i c


, ,


harp and song giving rest but nding none
, , .
1

B ut in the good ship Argo O rpheus took his p l a c e ,

with the others and sail ed the watery ways and the ,

songs that O rpheu s sang to his shipmates and that tell


of all their great adventure s are c all e d the S ong s of

O rpheus or the O rphies to this day


, , .

Many were the mishaps and disasters that hi s mu sic


warded off With it he lulled monsters to sleep ; more
.

powerful to work magi c on the hearts of men were his


mel odies then were the songs of the sirens when they tried
to c aptu re the Argonauts by their wiles and in their ,

downward destroying rush his musi c checked mou ntains


, .

When the quest of the Argonauts was ended O rpheus ,

returned to his ow n l and of Thra c e As a hero he had .

fought an d en du red hardship but hi s wounde d soul ,

Ki g l y 1
n s e .
40 A B OO K O F MYTHS
remained unhealed Again the trees listened to the
.

songs o f longing Again they echoe d


. Eury dice ! ,

Eury dice
As he sat on e day near a river in the stilln ess of the
forest there came from afar an ugly clamour of sound
, .


It struck against the music of O rpheus lute and slew
it as the coarse cries o f the screaming gulls that ght
,

for carrion slay the song of a soaring lark It was the .

day of the feast of Bacchus and through the woods ,

poured Bacchus and his Ba cchantes a shameless rout , ,

satyrs capering around them centaurs neighing aloud


, .

Long had the Bacchantes hated the loyal poet lover of -

o n e fair woman whose dwelling was with the Sha d es .

His ears were ever deaf to their passionate voices his ,

ey es blind to their passionate loveliness as they dan c ed


through the green trees a riot of colour of erce beauty
, , ,

o f laughter and o f mad song Mad they were indeed


.

this day and in their madness the very existence of


,

O rpheus was a thing not to be borne At rst the y .

stoned him but his music made the stones fal l harmless
,

at his feet Then in a frenzy o f cruelty with the


.
,

maniac lust to cause blood to ow to know the j oy o f ,

taking life they threw themselves upon O rpheus an d


,

did him to death From limb to limb they tore him


.
,

casting at last his head and his blood stained lyre into -

the river An d still as the water bore them on the


.
, ,

lyre murmured its last music and the white lips o f


O rpheus still breathed o f her whom at last he had gone
to j oin in the shadowy land Eury dice Eurydice
,

Combien d au tre s sont m orts de m eme ! C est l a



O RPHEUS 41

lutte ternelle de la force brutale contre l in tel l igen ce

douce et sublime inspir e du ciel dont 1e royaume n est


,


p as de cc monde .

In the heavens as a bright c onstellation called


,

Lyra or O rpheus the gods placed his lute and to the


, , ,

place o f his martyrdom c ame the Muses and with loving ,

care carried the fragments of the massacred body to


L ib etl era at the foot of Mount O ly mpus and there buried
, ,

them And there unto this day more sweetly than at


.
, ,

any other spot in any other land the nightingale sings


, .

For it sings of a love that knows no ending of life ,

after death of a love so strong that it c an conquer even


,

Death the all powerful


,
-
.
AP O LL O AND DAPHNE

CO N Q UE R O R of all conquerable earth y et not always vi c ,

toriou s over the heart o f a maid was the golden locked -

Apollo .

As mischievous Eros play ed on e d ay with his bow


and arrows Apollo beheld him and spoke to hi m m oc k
,

in gl y .

What hast thou to do with the weapon s of war ,

sau cy lad he said Leave them for hands such as


.

mine that know full well how to wield them Content


, .

thy self with thy torch and kindle ames if indeed thou
, ,

canst but such bolts as thy white y oung arms c an


,


drive will surely not bring scathe to god nor to man .

Then did the son of Aphrodite answer and a s he ,

made answer he laughed aloud in his glee With .

thine arrows thou may st strike all things else great ,

Ap oll o a shaft o f mine shall surely strike thy heart


,

Carefully then did Eros choose two arrows from his


, ,

quiver O ne sharp pointed and of gold he tted care


.
,
-
,

full y to his bow drew back the string until it was taut
,

and then let y the arrow that did not miss its mark , ,

but ew straight to the heart of the su n god With -


.

the other arrow blunt and tipped with lead he smote


, , ,

the beautiful Daphne daughter of Peneus the river god


, , .

An d then full j oy ou sly d i th e boy god l augh for his


d
-
, ,
2
AP OLL O AND DAPHNE 43

rogu ish heart knew well that to him who was struck by
the golden shaft must come the last pangs that have

proved many a man s and many a god s undoing while
,

that leaden tipped arrow meant to whomsoever it struck


-
,

a hatred of Love and an immunity from all the heart


weakness that Love c an bring Those were the day s .

when Apollo was y oung Never before had he l oved . .

But as the rst erce storm that assails it bends the


y oung supple tree with its green budding l eaves before
,

its furious blast so did the rst love of Apollo bend low
,

his adoring heart All day as he held the golden rein s


.

of his chariot until evening when its ery wheels were


,

cooled in the waters of the western seas he thought of ,

Daphne Al l night he dreamed of her But never did


. .

there come to Daphne a time when sh e loved Love for



Love s sake Never did sh e look with gentle ey e on
.

the golden haired god whose fa c e was as th e fa c e of all


-

the exquisite things that the sunlight shows remem ,

bered in a dream Her onl y passion was a passion for


.


the chase One of Diana s nymphs was sh e cold and
.
,

pure an d white in soul as the virgin goddess herself .

There came a day when Apollo could no longer put


curbin g hands on his erce longin g The ames from .

his chariot still lingered in reected glories o n sea a nd


hill and sky The very leaves of the budding trees of
.

spring were outlined in gold And through the dim .

wood walked Daphne ere ct and lithe and living as a ,

sapling in the early spring .

With beseeching hands Apollo followed her A , .

god was he yet to him had come the vast humility of


,
44 A B OO K O F MYTHS
passionate intercession for the gift o f love to a littl e
ny mph She heard his steps behind her and turned
.

round proud and angry that on e shou ld follow her


,

when sh e had not willed it .


Stay ! he said daughter of P eneus No foe am
, .

I but thine own h umble lover To thee alone do I bow


,
.

my head To all others on earth am I c onqueror and


.


king .

B ut Daphne hating his words of pas sionate l ove s p ed


, ,

on .And when his passion lent w ings to his feet and sh e


heard him gaining on her as sh e ed not a s a lover did ,

Daphn e look on deathless Apollo but as a hateful foe , .

More swiftly than sh e had ever run be s ide her mistress


Diana l eaving the ying winds behin d her as sh e sped
, ,

ran Daphne now But ever did Apollo gain upon her
.
,

and almost had he gras p ed her when sh e rea ched the


green banks of the river of which her father P eneus was , ,

god .

H elp me Peneus ! sh e cried


, Save me oh my .
,

father from him whose love I fear


,

As sh e s poke the arms of Apollo seized her y et , ,

e ven as his arms met around her waist lissome and ,

slight as a y oung willow Daphne th e ny mph was Daphne ,

the ny mph no longer Her fragrant hair her soft white.


,

arms her tender body all changed as the su n god


,
-

tou ched them Her feet took root in the soft damp
.
,

earth b y the river Her arm s sprouted into woody


.

branches and green leaves Her face vanished and the .


,

bark of a big tree en closed her snow white bod y Yet -


.

Apollo did not take away his embrace from her w h o had
AP O LL O AND DAPHNE 45

been his dear rst love He knew that her cry to Peneus
.

her father had been answered y et he said Since thou , ,

canst not be my bride at least thou shalt be my tree ;


,

my hair my lyre my quiver shall have thee alway s oh


, , ,

laurel tree of the Immor tals !


So do we still speak of laurels won and worn b y those ,

of deathless fame and still does the rst love o f Apollo


,

crown the heads of those whose gifts have tted them


to d we ll with the dwe llers on O ly mpus .

I p th f my tr
es ou se ee or ee

B th
e th p ri
ou f he r dr w ;
ze o on o u an en o n

Th d ath l
e e
p t d t
e ssh p m c
oer w, an e oe , o n

Th u ha l t th R m a f tival a d r
o s e o n es s o n,

A d aft r p t b b y vi c t r w
n , e o e s, e o s orn .

O I D (D wdm V
'

s l ra ns l a tion ) .
PS YC H E

T H O S E who read for the rst time the story o f Psy che
must at on c e be stru ck b y its kinship to the fairy
tales of childhood Here we have the three sisters the
.
,

two elder jeal ous and spiteful the y oungest beautiful


,

and gentle and quite unable to defend herself against



her sisters wicked arts . Here too is the my sterious
, ,

bridegroom who is never seen and who is lost to his


bride be c ause of her lack of faith Truly it is an ol d
.
,

ol d tale
older than all fa i ry tales the story of l ove
that is not strong enough to believe and to wait and so ,

to win through in the end the story of seeds of su s


icion so wn b y on e full o f malice in an innocent heart
p ,

and which bring to the hapless reaper a cruel harvest .

O nce upon a time so goes the tale a king and queen


, ,

had three beautiful daughters The rst and the second


.

were fair indeed but the beau ty of the youngest was


,

such that all the people of the land worshipped it as a


thing sent straight from O ly mpus They awaited her .

outside the roy al palace and when sh e came the y


, ,

threw chaplets of roses and violets for her little feet to


tread upon and sang hy mn s of praise as though sh e were
,

no mortal maiden but a daughter of the deathless gods .

There were man y who said that the beauty o f


Aphrodite herself was less perfect than the beauty of
P syche and when the godd ss found that men were for
,
f
PSYCHE 47

saking her altars in order to wors hip a mortal maiden ,

great was her wrath against them and against the prin
cess w h o all unwittingly had wrought her this shameful
, ,

harm .

In her garden sitting amongst the owers and idly


,


watching his mother s fair white doves as the y preene d
their snowy feathers in the su n Aphrodite found her ,

son E ros and angr ily poured forth to him the story
,

of her shame .


Thine must be the task of avenging thy mother s

honour , she said Th ou w h o hast the power of
.

making the l oves of men stab with one of thine arrows ,

the heart of this presumptuous maiden and shame her ,

before all other mortals b y making her love a monster



from which all others shrink and which al l d e s pise .


With wicked glee Eros heard his mother s c ommands .

H is beautiful face still the fa c e of a mischievous boy


, ,

lit up with merriment This was in truth a game after .


, ,

his ow n heart In the garden o f Aphrodite is a fountain


.

o f sweet another of bitter water and Eros lled tw o


, ,

amber vase s on e from each fountain hung them from


, ,

his quiver and ,

S trai ght h r s fr m e arth d d w th wi d


e o e o an o n e n

W t gl i tt ri g twi x t th b l ky d th
en e n

e ue s an e sea .

In her chamber Psyche lay fast asleep and swiftly , ,

almost without a glan c e at her Eros sprinkled some of ,

the bitter drops upon her lips and then with o n e of , ,

his sharpest arrows pricked her snowy breast Like a ,


.

child who half awakes in fear and looks up with puzzled , ,

wondering eyes P sy c he with a little moan opened


, , ,
48 A B OO K O F MYTHS
ey es that were bluer than the violets in spring and gazed
at Eros He knew that he was invisible and yet her
.
,

gaze made him tremble .

They spoke truth said the lad to himself Not .


even my mother is as fair as this princess .

For a moment her eyelids quivered and then dropped , .

Her long dark lashes fell on her cheeks that were pink as
the hearts of the fragile S hells that the waves toss up on
western beaches her red mouth curved like the bow of
, ,

Eros smiled happily and Psy che slept again With


, , .

hea rt that beat as it had never beaten before E ros ,

gazed upon her perfect loveliness With gentle pity ing .


,

nger he wiped away the red drop where his arrow had
wounded her and then stooped and touched her lips with
,

his own so lightly that Psyche in her dreams thought


,

that they had been brushed by a b u ttery s wings Yet


.

in her sleep sh e moved and Eros starting back pricked , , ,

himself with on e of his arrows And with that prick .


,

for Eros there passed away all the careless ease of the
heart of a boy and he knew that he loved Psyche with
,

the unquenchable love of a deathless god Now with .


,

bitter regre t all his desire was to undo the wron g he


,

had done to the on e that he loved Speedily he sprin kled .

her with the S weet water that brings j oy and when ,

Psy che rose from her couch she was radiant with the
beauty that comes from a new undreamed of happiness ,
-
.

F r m pla c t pl a c L v f ll w d h that d ay
o e o e o e o o e er

A d v r fair r t h i y
n e e h gr w e o s e es s e e ,

S that at l a t wh
o fr m h b w r h w
s en o er o e e e ,

A d n d r ath h i f t th m l it
un e ne s ee e o on se a

W t s h p h r d i g h i wav d i r d r ly
en e e n s es so e ,
PSYCHE 49

He w r that f a ll g d d m
s o e o o s an e n , n o on e

S h u ld h ld h i h i arm b t h a l
o o er n s s u e on e

That h h ld d w ll with h im i gl ri wi
s e s ou e n o ou s se

L i k t a g dd
e o i m para d i
o e ss n so e se

Ye a, h w ld g t fr m Fath r J v thi g
e ou e o e o e s ra c e

T h at h h l d ve r d i b t h w t fa c
s e s ou ne e, u er s ee e

A d w d rfu l fair b d y h l d
n on e d r o s ou en u e

Till th f d ati e f th m
oun ti r on s o e ou n a n s su e

W r m lt
e e th ;
o tt r ly
en i n e se a so u e

D id h f r g t h i m th r c r l ty
e o e W I I A M M ORR IS
s o e

s ue .

- LL .

Meantime it came to be known all over that land ,

and in other lands to which the fame of the fair Psyche


had spread that the mighty goddess Aphrodite had
,

de clared herself the enemy of the princess Therefore .

none dared s eek her in marriage and although many a ,

noble y outh sighed away his heart for love of her sh e ,


remained in her father s palace like an exquisite rose
whose thorns make those who fain would have it
for their o w n fear to pluck it from the parent stem
, .

Her sisters married and her father marvelled why so ,

stran ge a thing shoul d come about and why the most


beautiful by far of his three daughters should remain
unwed .

At length laden with roy al gifts an embassy was


, ,

sent b y the king to the oracle o f Apollo to inquire what


might be the will of the dwellers on O ly mpus concerning
his fairest daughter In a horror o f anxiety the king.

and his queen and Psyche awaited the return of the


ambassadors And when they returned before ever a
.
,

word was spoken the y knew that the or cle had spoken
, a


Psyche s doom .


N o mortal lover shall fair Psy che know said the ,

D
50 A B OO K OF MYTHS
ora cl e . For bridegroom sh e shall have a monster
that neither man n or god can resist On the mountain .

top he awaits her coming Woe unutterable shall come .

to the king and to all the dweller s in his land if he dares


to resist the unalterable dictum of the d eathl e ss gods
O f d a d c rp hal t th u b th k i g
e o se s s o e e n ,

A d tu m b l i g thr g h th d ar k l a d ha l t th
n s n ou
g e n s ou o,

H w l i g f c d d ath t d th y w W I I A M M ORR I S
o n or s e on e o en oe .

LL .

O nly for a little while did the wretched k in g strive


to resist the de c rees of fate And in her o wn chamber .
,

where so short a time before the l ittle prin c ess had


known the j oy of something inexpressible something
most exquisite intangible u nknown she sat lik e a ,

ower broken b y the ruthless storm sobbing p itifully , ,

dry eyed with s obs that straine d her soul for the
-
, ,

shameful hideous fate that the gods had dealt her


, .

Al l night until her worn out body c ould no longer


,
-

feel her worn ou t mind think and kind sleep c ame to


,
-
,

bring her oblivion P sy c he faced the horror for the sake


,

o f her father and of his people that sh e knew she could ,

not avoid When m ornin g c ame her handmaids white


.
, ,

faced and red ey ed c ame to dec k her in all the bridal


-
,

magnicen c e that b ette d the most beautiful daughter


o f a king and when sh e was dres s ed right royall y and
, ,

as became a bride there started up the moun tain a ,

procession at sight of which the gods themselves must


have wept With bowed heads the k ing and queen
.

wal ked before the l itter upon which lay their daughter
in her marriage veil of saffron colour w ith rose wreath ,

o n her golden hair White white were the face s o f the


.
,
PSYCHE 51

maidens who bore the torches and y et rose red were ,

they b y the side of Psy che Minstrels played wedding


.

hymn s as they mar ched onwards a n d it seemed as though ,

the souls of unh appy shades sobbed through the reeds


an d m oaned through the strings as the y played .

At length they reached the rocky place where they


knew they must leave the victim bride and her father ,

dare d not meet her eyes as he turned his head to go .

Yet P syche watched the procession wending its way


d ownhill N O more tears had sh e to shed and it seemed
.
,

to her that what sh e saw was not a wedding throng but ,

an assemb l y o f broken hearted people who went back


-

to their homes with heavy feet after bury ing on e that


they l oved She saw no S ign of the monster w h o was to
.

be her bridegroom yet at every little sound her heart


,

grew si ck with horror and when the night wind swept


,

through the craggy peaks an d its moans were echoed l n


loneliness she fell on her fa c e m deadly fear an d l ay on
,

the c old ro ck in a swoon .

Yet had P sy che known it the wind w as her friend


, , .

For Eros had u s ed Zephy rus as his trusty messenger


and sent him to the mountain top to nd the bride of

him whom neither man nor god could resist Tenderly .

very tenderly h e was told must he lift her in his ,

arms and bear her to the golden palace in that green


,

and pleasant l and where Eros had his home So with .


,

all the gentleness of a loving nurse to a tired little child


Zephy rus lifted Psy che and sped with her in his strong
,

arms to the owery meadows behind which towered the


golden pala c e of Eros like the su n behind a sky of green
,
52 A B OOK OF MYTH S
and amber and blue and rose Deeply in the weariness .
,

o f her grief Psyche slept and when sh e awoke it was


, ,

to start up with the chill hands of the rea lisation of


terrible actualities on her heart But when her e y e s .

looked round to nd the barren rocks the utter forsak en ,

ness the comin g of an unnameable horror before her


, ,

she saw only fair groves with trees bedecked with fruit
and blossom fragrant meadows owers whose beauty
, ,

made her eyes grow glad And from the trees sang.

bir d s with song more sweet than any that P syche had
ever known and with brilliant plumage which they
,

p reened c aressingly when the y had dipped their wings


in cry stal sparkling fountains There too stoo d a
-
.
, ,

noble palace golden fronted and with arcades of stain


, ,

l ess marble that shone like snow in the su n At rst .

all seemed like part of a dream from which sh e dreaded


to awake but soon there came to her the oy o f knowing
,

that al l the exquisite things that made appeal to her


senses were indeed realities Almost holding her breath
.
,

she walked forward to the open golden doors It is a .


trap sh e thought
, By this means does the monster
.


subtly mean to lure me into his golden cage Yet .
,

even as she thought there seemed to be hovering round


,

her winged words like little golden birds with souls


, .

And in her ears the y whispered Fear not Doubt not , . .

Recall the half formed dreams that so short a time ago


-

brought to thy heart such unutterable j oy No evil .

shall c ome to theeonly the bliss of l oving and o f being



loved .

Th us did Psyche l ose her fear and enter the golden ,


TH US D ID P S YC H E L O SE HE R F E AR , AN D N T
E ER TH E G OL D E N D OORS
PSYCHE 53

d oors And inside the palace sh e found that a l l the


.

beautiful things of which sh e had ever dreamed all the ,

perfe ct things for which She had ever longed were there ,

to greet her From o n e to another sh e itted lik e a


.
,

humming bir d that sucks honey from on e and then


-

from another gorgeous ower And then when sh e wa s.


,

tired with so much wearing ou t of her thankful mind ,

sh e foun d a banquet ready spread for her with all the ,

dainties that her dainty soul liked best ; and as ,

sh e ate musi c so perfect rej oiced her ears that all her
,

soul wa s soothed and j oy ous and at peace When sh e .

had refre shed herself a soft couch stood before


,

her read y for her there to repose and when that


, ,

strange day had come to an end Psyche knew that , ,

monster or not sh e was beloved b y on e who ha d


,

thought for her ever y thought and who desired only ,

her desire .

Night came at last and when a l l was dark and still


, ,

and Psyche wide awake was full of forebodings and fears


,

lest her happy dreams might only be misleading fan cies ,

and Horror incarnate might come to crown her pea c eful


day Eros softly entered the palace that Wa s his own
, .

Even as he had gone to the palace o f her father he went


now and found Psyc he lying with violet eyes that
,

stared in to the velvety darkness seeking something ,

that sh e hoped for trembling before somethin g that


,

brought her drea d .

His voi c e was as the voice of spring when it breathes



on the sleeping earth ; he knew each note in Love s

music every word in the great thing that is Love s
,
54 A B OOK O F MYTHS

vocabulary Love loved and P sy che listened and soon


.
, ,

sh e knew that her lover was Love himself .

Thu s for Psy che did a time of perfe ct happiness


, ,

begin Al l through the day she roamed in her Love s


.

d ominion and saw on every side the signs of his passion


,

and of his tenderness All through the night he stayed .

b y her and satised all the l onging of her heart Yet


, .

alway s ere daybreak Eros left her and when she begged
, , ,

him to stay he only made answer


I a m with th ly whi l I k p e e on e ee

My vi a g h i dd ; d if th u c h ld t
s e en an o on e s ou s se e

My fa c I m t f r ak th ; th hi g h g d
e, us o s e ee e o s

L i k L v with F aith
n o d h with d raw hi m l f
e an e s se

Fr m th f l l gaz f k wl dg
,

L E W I S M ORR IS

o e u e o no e e . .

So did time glide past for Psy che and ever sh e grew ,

more in love with Love ; alway s did her happiness b e


come more c omplete Yet ever and again there .
, ,

returned to her the remembrance of those sorrowful day s


when her father and mother had broken their hearts
over her marty rdom and her sisters had looked askance
,

at her a s at on e who se punishment must assuredly


have c ome from her o w n misdoing Thus at length sh e .

asked Eros to grant her for love s sake a boonto ,



,

permit her to have her sisters come to see for them


selves the happiness that was hers Most unwillin gl y .

was her request granted for the heart of Eros told him ,

that from their visit no good could come Yet he was .

unable to deny an ything to Psyche and on the follow ,

ing day Zephyrus was sent to bring the two s isters to


the pleasant valle y where P sy che had her home .
P SYCHE 55

Eagerly as sh e awaited them Psyche thought sh e


, ,

might make the prin c ely palace wherein sh e dwelt y et


fairer than it wa s And almost ere sh e could think
.
,

her thoughts be c ame realities When the tw o sisters .

c ame they were bewil dered with the beauty and the
,

magnicen c e of it all Beside this their ow n posses


.
,

sions were p altry tries in d ee d Quickly in their little


.
,

hearts black envy grew They had alway s been j eal ous of
, .

their y ounger sister and now that they found her whom
, ,

all the world be l ieved to have been slain by a horrible


monster more beautiful than ever de cked w ith rare
, ,

j ewels ra d iant in her happiness and queen of a pala c e


, ,

t for the gods their envy soon turned to hatred and


, ,

they s ought how best to wreak their m alice upon th e


j oy ous c reature who loaded them with price less gift s .

They began to p ly P sy che with question s He who wa s .

her l ord to whom sh e owed all her happine ss where wa s


, ,

he Why d i d he stay away when her sisters c ame to be


presented to him ! Wh at manner of man wa s he
Was he fair or dark ! Young or ol d ! And a s they
questione d her P sy che grew like a bewildered child
,

and answere d in frightened words that c ontradicte d on e


another And well the wicked sisters who broo d ed evil
.
,

in their heart s knew that this husband whom P sy che


,

had never seen must indeed be on e of the deathle ss gods .

Wily words they spoke to her then .


Alas ! unhapp y on e the y said dost think to
, ,

escape the evil fate the gods meted ou t for thee ! Thy
husband is none other than the monster of which the
oracl e spake ! O h foolish Psyche ! canst not understand
,
56 A B OO K O F MYTHS
that the monster fears the light Too great horror would
it mean for thee to s ee the loathsome thing that comes in

the blackness o f night and speaks to thee words of love .

White lipped and trembling Psyche listened Drop


-
, .

by drop the poisonous words passed into her soul She .


had thought him king o f all living things worthy to
rule over gods as well as men She was so sure that his .

body was worth y sheath for the heart she knew so


wel l. She had pictured him beautiful as Eros ,

so n of Aphrodite young and fair with crisp golden , ,

locks a husband to glory in a lover to adore And .

now sh e knew with shame and dread that he who had


, ,

w on her l ove between the twilight and the dawn was a


thing to shame her a monster to be shunned of men
, .

Wh at then shall I do
, , piteously sh e asked of
her sisters And the wome n pitil essly and Well c on
.
, ,

tent answered
,

Provide thy self with a l amp and a knife sharp


enough to sl ay th e man or monster And when th is .

creature to whom to th y undying shame thou b e


, ,

longest sleeps sound slip from thy couch and in the


, ,

ray s of the lamp have c ourage to look upon him in al l


h is horror Then when thou hast seen for thy self that
.
,

what we s ay is truth with thy knife swiftly slay him


, .

Thus shalt thou free thy self from the pitiless doom

meted ou t by the gods .

Shaking with sobs Psyche made answer : ,


I love him so ! I love him so !
A nd her sisters turned upon her with furious s corn
and well simulated wrath
-
.
P SYCHE 57


Shameless on e ! they cried ; and does ou r 4

father s daughter confess to a thing so unutterab l e !


Only by slay ing the monster canst thou hope to regain



thy place amongst the daughters of men .

They left her when eve ning fell carrying with them ,

their roy al gifts And while sh e awaited the c oming of


.

her lord Psyche provided with knife and lamp crouched


, , ,

with her head in her hands a lily broken b y a cruel storm


, .

S o glad was Eros to come back to her to nd her safely ,


there for greatly had he feared the coming of that
treacherous pair that h e did not note her silence N or .

did the dark night show him that her ey es in her sad
face looked like violets in a snow wreath He wanted .

only to hold her safely in his arms and there sh e lay , ,

passive and still until S leep came to lay upon him an


,

omnipotent hand Then very gently S he withdrew


.
, ,

herself from his embrace and stole to the place where


,

her lamp was hidden Her limbs shook under her as


.

sh e brought it to the couch where he lay asleep ; her


arm trembled as sh e held it aloft .

As a marty r walks to death so did sh e walk An d , .

when the y ellow light fell upon the form of him who lay
there stil l sh e gazed steadily
, .

And 10 before her sh e saw the form of him w h o had


, ,

ever been the ideal o f her dreams L ove himself in .


,

carnate Love perfect in beauty and in all else was he


,

whom her sisters had told her was a monster h e of ,

whom the oracle had said that neither gods nor men
could resist him For a moment of perfect happiness
.

sh e gazed upon h is beauty Then he turned in h is


.
58 A B O O K O F MYTHS
sleep and smiled and stretched ou t his arms to nd
, ,

the on e of his love And Psyche starte d and starting


.
, , ,

shook the lamp ; and from it fell a drop of burning oil


o n the white shoulder of Eros At once he awoke an d .
,

with piteous pitying ey es looked in those of Psy che


, .

And when he spoke his words were l ike daggers that


,

pier c ed deep into her soul He told her all that had .

been all that might have been Had sh e only had


, .

faith and patience to wait an immortal life shoul d have ,

b een hers .

Far w ll ! th gh I a g d
e e v rk w
ou , o , can n e e no

H w th o c a t l th y p ai y t tim W i l l g
ou ns o se n, e e o

O v r thi h a d d th m ay t m i gl y t
e ne e ,
an ou s n e e

Th b i tt r
e d th w te anq it f r g t e s ee ,
n or u e o e ,

N q i t r m m b r till th thi g ha l l m
or u e e e e , e se n s s se e

Th e wav ri g m m ry f a l v ly d r a m W I I A M M ORR IS

e n e o o o e e . LL .

H e l eft her alone then with h er despair and as the , ,

slow hour s dragged b y Psy che as sh e awaited the , ,

dawn felt that in her heart no sun c ould ever rise again
, .

When day came at last sh e felt sh e could no longer ,

endure to stay in the palace where everything spoke to


her of the in nite tenderness of a lost love Through .

the night a storm had raged and even with the day ,

there c ame no calm And Psyche weary and chill .


, ,

wandered away from the place of her happiness on ,

ward and ever on until sh e stood on the bank of a


,

swift ow in g river For a little sh e stayed her steps


-
.

and listened to the sound o f its wash against the rocks


and tree roots as it hurried past and to her as sh e waited ,

came the thought that here had sh e found a me ans by


which to end her woe .
PSYCHE 59


I have lost my Love sh e moaned What
, .

is Life to m e any longer ! Come to me then 0 ,

Death
S o then sh e sprang into the wan water hoping that ,

very swiftly it might bear her grief worn soul down to -

the shades But the river bore her up and carried her
.

to its shallows in a fair meadow where Pan himself sat


on the bank and merrily dabbled his feet in the owing

water And when Psy che shamed and wet looked at


.
, ,

him with sad ey es the god spoke to her gently and


,

chid her for her folly She was too y oung and much too
.

fair to try to end her life so rudely he said The river , .

gods would never be so unk ind as to drive so beautiful


a maiden in rough haste down to the Cocytus valley .

Thou must dree thy weird like all other daughters of



men fair Psy che he said
, H e or sh e who fain woul d
, .

lose their lives are ever held longest in life O nl y when


, .


the gods wil l it shall th y day s on earth be done .

And P sy che knowing that in truth the gods had


,

spared her to endure more sorrow looked in his fa c e ,

with a very piteous gaze and wandered on As sh e , .

wandered sh e found that her feet had l ed her near the


,

plac e where her two sisters dwelt .


I Shall tell them of the evil they have wrought ,

sh e thought Surely they must sorrow when they


.

know that by their cruel words the y stole my faith from



me and robbed me of my Love and of my happine ss .

Gladly the two women saw the stricken form of


Psy che and looked at her face all marred b y grief , .

Wel l indeed had their plot su cceeded ; their mal ice


, ,
60 A BOO K O F MYTHS
had drunk deep yet deeper still they dran k for with
, ,

sco m ful laughter they drove her from their palace doors .

Ve ry quickly when sh e had gone the elder sought the


, ,

p l ace where sh e had stood when Zeph yrus bore her in


safety to that p alace o f p l easure where Psyche dwe lt

with her Love Now that Psy che was no longer there
.
,

surely the god b y whom sh e had been beloved woul d


gla dl y have as her suc c essor the beautiful woman w h o
wa s now much more fair than the white fa c ed girl w ith -

ey es all red with weeping And su ch certainty d i d the


.

vengeful gods put in her heart that she he ld out her


arms an d calling al oud :
,

Bear me to him in thine arms Zephy rus ! B ehold ,


I c ome my l ord !
,
she sprang from the high c l iff o n
which sh e stood into space An d the ravens that night
, .

feasted on her shattered body So also did it befall the.

y ounger sister deluded b y the O ly mpians to her own


,

d e stru ction so that her sin might be avenge d


, .

For many a weary day and night Psyche wandered ,

ever seeking to nd her Love ever longing to do some ,

thing b y which to atone for the deed that had been her
undoing From temp l e to temp l e sh e went but no
.
,

where did sh e come near him until at length in C yprus,

sh e came to the place where Aphrodite herself had her

dwelling And inasmuch as her love had made her very


.

bold and because sh e no longer feared death nor could


, ,

think of pangs more cruel than those that sh e already


knew P sy che sought the presence o f the goddess who
,

was her enemy and humbly begged her to take her


,

life away .
PSYCHE 61

With a ming scorn and anger Aphrodite re c eived her .

O th f l h ai d I wi l l t l t th d i
ou oo ,

s e s ,

no e ee e !
B t th
u hal t r a p th harv e t t h ha t w
ou s e e s ou s so n

A d m a y a d ay that wr t ch d l t b m a
n n e e o e o n

Th art my Slav
ou d t a d a y ha ll b
e , an no s e

B t I wi ll d m e tti g t k f th
u n so n as or ee .

There began then for Psy che a time of torturing


misery o f which only those coul d speak who have know
ledge of the merciless stripes with which the goddess
can scourge the hearts of her slaves With cru el iii .

e n u ity Aphrodite invented labours for her


g ,
.

In uncountable quantity and mingled in inextricable ,

and bewildering conf usion there lay in the granary of ,

the go ddess grains of barley and of wheat peas and ,

m ill et poppy and c oriander seed To sort ou t each


,
.

kind and lay them in heaps was the task allotted for on e
day and woe be to her did sh e fail In despair Psyche
,
.
,

began her hopeless labour While the su n shone .


,

through a day that was for her too short sh e strove to ,

separate the grains but when the shadows of evening


,

made it hard for her to distinguish on e sort from another ,

onl y a few very tiny piles were the result of her weary
toil Very soon the goddess would return and Psyche
.
,

dared not think what would be the punishment meted


ou t to her Rapidly the darkness fell but while the
.
,

dying light still lingered in some parts of the granary ,

it seemed to Psyche as though little dark trickles of


water began to pour from underneath the doors and
through the cracks in the wall Trembl ing sh e watched .

the c easeless motion of those long dark lines and then , , ,


62 A B OO K OF MYTHS
in amazement realised that what she saw were unending
,

processions of ants And as though on e who loved her


.

directed their labours the millions of busy little toilers


,

swiftly did for Psy che what sh e herself had failed to do .

When at length the y went away in those long dark ,

lines that looked like the ow of a thread like stream -


,

the grains were all piled up in high heaps and the sa d ,

heart of P syche knew n ot only thankful relief but had ,

a thril l of gladness .


Eros sent them to me : she thought E ven .


y et his l ove for me is n ot dead .

And w hat sh e thought was true .

Am azed and angry Aphrodite looked at the task


,

s he had deemed impossible well and swiftly performed


, .

That Psy che should possess such magic skill onl y in


c ensed her m ore and ne xt day sh e sai d to her new
,

sl ave :
B ehold on the other side of that glittering stream
, ,

my golden ee ced sheep crop the sweet owers of the


-

meadow To day must thou cross the river and bring


.
-

me back b y evening a sample of wool pulled from ea ch



on e o f their S hining ee c es .

Then did Psy che go down to the brink of the river ,

and even as her white feet splashed into the water sh e ,

heard a whisper of warning from the reeds that bowed


their heads b y the stream .


Beware ! O Psy che they said ,
Stay on the .

sh ore and rest until the golden e e ce d sheep lie under


-

the shade of the trees in the evening and the mu rmur



of the river has lulled them to sleep .
PSYCHE 63

But Psyche said Alas I must do the bidding of the


, ,

goddess It will take me many a weary hour to pluck


.


the wool that sh e requires .

And again the reeds murmured B eware ! for the ,

g olde n e ece d sheep with their great horns are evil


-
, ,

creatures that lust for the lives o f mortals and will slay ,

thee even as thy feet reach the other bank Only when .

the sun goes down does their vi c e depart from the m ,

and while they sleep thou canst gather of their wool



from the bushes and from the trunks of the trees .

And again the heart of P sy che felt a thrill of happi


ne ss because she knew that she was loved and cared for
,

still Al l day she rested in the wood b y the river and


.

dreamt pleasant day dreams and when the sun had set
-
,

sh e waded to the further shore and gathered the golden

wool in the way that the reeds had told her When in .

the evenin g sh e came to the goddess bearing her shining ,

load the brow of Aphrodite grew dark


,

If thou art so skilled in magic that no danger is


danger to thee y et another task shall I give thee that is
,


worthy of thy skill sh e sai d an d l aid upon P syche her
, ,

fresh commands .

Si ck with dread Psyche set ou t next morning to see k


,

the bla ck stream ou t of which Aphrodite had commanded


her to ll a ewer Part of its waters owed into the
.

Styx part into the Cocytus and well did Psyche know
, ,

that a hideous death from the loathly creatures that


prote cted the fountain must be the fate of those who
risked so proud an attempt Yet because sh e knew .


that sh e must dree her weird as Pan had said sh e , ,
64 A B OO K O F MYTHS
plodded onward towards that dark mountain from
,

whose side gushed the black water that sh e sought .

And then once again there came to her a message of


, ,

love A whirring of wings sh e heard and


.
,

O

er h a d th r w th bir d f J v
h er e e e e e o o e,

Th b ar r
e e f hi
e rva t fri d f L v
,
o s se n , en o o e,

Wh wh h o, en w h traightway t war d h
e sa e r, s o s er ew ,

A d a k d h
n s e w hy h w p t d wh h k w
er s e e ,
an en e ne ,

A d wh
n h w o s h ai d C a a l l th y f ar
e a s, e s , e se e ,

Fort th ob l a ck wav I th y w r wi ll b ar
e es e e e ,

A d l l it f th
n ; b t r m mb r m
or ee u ,
e e e e,

W h th u art c m u t thy m aj ty
en o o e n o es .

An d y et once again the stricken heart of Psyche was


, ,

gladdened and when at nightfall She came with her


,

ewer full o f water from the dread stream and gave


it to Aphrodite although sh e knew that a yet more
,

arduous task was sure to follow her fear had all passed ,

away .

With beautiful sullen ey es Aphrodite received her


, ,

when sh e brought the water And with black brow .


, ,

sh e said If thou art s o skilled in magic that no


danger is known to thee I shall now give thee a task ,


al l worth y o f th y skill .

Thereon she told her that she must see k that dark
valle y where no silver nor golden light ever strikes o n
the black waters of Cocytus and of the Styx ; and where
Pluto reigns in gloomy maj esty over the restless shades .

Fr om Prosperine S he was to crave for Aphrodite the


gift o f a box of magical ointment the secret of which ,

was known to the Queen of Darkness alone and which ,

was able to bring to those who used it beauty more ,


PSYCHE 65

exquisite than any that the eyes of gods or of men had


as yet l ooked upon .


I grow weary an d careworn said Aphrodite and , ,

sh e looked like a rose that has budded in Paradise as sh e

spoke . My son was wounded by a faithless slave in


whom most weakly he put his trust and in tending
, , ,


to his wound my beauty has faded
, .

And at these s c ornful words the heart of Psy che ,

leaped within her .

In helping his mother I shall help him sh e ,


thought An d again sh e thought
. I shall atone And , .

so when day was c ome sh e took her way along the


, ,

weary road that leads to that dark place from when c e


no traveller can ever hope to return and still with ,

gladness in her heart But as sh e went onward . c ol d , ,

thoughts and dreadful fears came to her .

Better were it for me to ha sten my j ourney to the



shades ,she thought .

And when sh e came to an ol d grey tower that seeme d ,

like an old man that Death has forgotten sh e resolved to ,

throw herself down from it and thus swiftly to nd her ,


self at her j ourne y s end But as sh e stood on the top o f
.

the tower her arm s outstretched like a white buttery


, ,

that poises its wings for ight a voice spoke in her ear , .


O h foolish one it said
,
why dost thou strive
, ,

to stay the h Op e that is not dead ! And while sh e held
her breath her great ey es w ide open the voice spoke on
, , ,

and told her by what means sh e might speedily reach


Hades and there nd means to face w ith c ourage the
King of Darkness himself and his fair wife Proserpine , .

E
66 A B OOK O F MYTHS
Al l that was bidden to do Psyche did and so
sh e , ,

at last did sh e come before the throne of P roserpine ,

a n d all that Psyche endured all that sh e saw all that


, ,

through which sh e c ame with bleeding heart and y et


with uns c athed soul cannot here be written
, .

To her Proserpine gave the b o x of preciou s ointment


that Aphrodite described and gla dl y sh e hastened home
,

ward Good indeed it was to her when again sh e


.
, ,

rea ched the fair light of day Yet when She had won .
,

there there c ame to Psyche a winged thought that


, ,

beat against the stern b arriers of her min d l ik e a l ittl e


moth against a window .

This ointment that I c arry with me said P syche



,


to herself , is an ointment that will bring back to those
all faded b y time or worn b y suffering a beauty greater
, ,

than any beaut y that has j oy ed the Immortals !


An d then sh e thought :

Fo my beauty Ero s L ove l oved me ; and now
r ,

m y b eauty i s worn an d wasted and well nigh gone -


.

W ere I to open this box and make u se of the ointment


o f P roserpine then indeed I should be fair enough to be
,

the bride of him who even now believe s that he l oves


, ,


me of Eros whose love is my life
S o it c ame to pas s that sh e opened the fateful box .

And ou t of it there came not B eauty but Sleep that , ,

put his gyv es u pon her limbs and on her eyelids laid ,

heavy ngers An d P syc he sank d own b y the waysi d e


.
,

the prisoner of Sleep .

But Eros who had loved her ever with a l ove that
, ,

knew the ebb and ow of no tides ro s e from his bed and ,


PSYCHE 67

went in search of her w h o had braved even the horrors


of H ades for his dear sake And by the way side he .

found her fettered by sleep Her little oval face w as white


, .

as a snowdrop Like V iolets were her heavy eye lid s


.
,

and underneath her Sleeping eyes a V iolet shadow l ay .

On c e had her mouth been as the bow of Eros painted ,

in c armine N ow eith er end of the bow was turned


.

d ownwards an d its c olou r wa s that of a fa de d rose


,

leaf
.

And as E ro s look e d at her that he l ove d pity stirred ,

hi s heart as the wind sweeps through the sighing


, ,

grey leave s of the wil low or s ings through th e b owing


,

ree ds .

My B el oved he s aid and he knew that P sy che ,

was indeed his beloved It was her fair soul that he


.

l oved n or did it matter to him whether her b ody


,

was like a rose in June or as a wind scourged tree in -

December An d as his lips met hers P sy che awok e


.
, ,

an d heard his soft whisper

ar cl thi De ye s
, un os e ne e .

Th m ay t l k m
ou s w
oo Ig on m r e no . o no o e,

B t a m thi
u w f r v r L W I S M O RR I S
ne o n o e e .

E .

Then did there spring from the fair white shoulders


of P sy che wings of silver and of gold and hand in
, , ,

hand with Eros sh e winged her way to O lympu s


, .

And there all the deathless gods were assembled ,

and Aphrodite no longer l ooked upon her w h o had


once been her slave with darkened brows but s miled ,

upon her as the su n smiles upon a new


born ower And .

when into the hand of Psyche there was pla c e d a cup


68 A B OOK O F MYTH S
of gold the voi c e of the great Father and King
, of

O lympus rang o u t loud and clear


D ri k w 0 b a tif l d hav
n no , e u u , an e nof ar !e

F with thi d ra ght ha l t th


or s u s ou b b r a gai
e o n n,

A d l iv f v r fre e f m c ar d p ai

n e or e e ro e an n.

WI I AM M ORR I SLL .

In this wise did P syc he a human soul attain by bitter


, ,

suffering to the p erfect happiness of puried love .

An d still do we watch the buttery which is her ,

emb lem bursting from its ugly tomb in the dark soil
, ,

and spreading j oyous white and gold powdered wings -

in the caressing sunshine amidst the radiance and th e


,

fragranc e of the summer OWers Still too do we sadl y .


, ,

wat ch her sister the white moth hee dl essly ru shing


, ,

into pangs u nutterable thoughtlessly see king the anguish


,

that brings her a cruel death .


THE CALYD ONIAN HUNT

and Alth aea were king and queen of Calydon and


(E N E U S ,

to them was born a s on w h o was his mother s j oy and


y et her bitterest sorrow Meleager was his name and


.
,

ere his b irth his mother d reamed a dream that the chil d
that sh e b ore was a bu rning reb ran d But when the .

baby c ame he was a royal child indeed a little fearl ess ,

king from the rst moment that his ey es l ike unseeing ,

violets gazed steadily up at his mother To the chamber


, .


where he lay b y his mother s s ide c a m e th e three Fate s ,

spinning ceaselessly spinning


, .


He shall be strong said on e as sh e span her , ,


threa d . He shall be fortunate and brave s aid the ,

secon d . B ut the third laid a billet o f wood on the


ames an d while her withered ngers held the fatal
,

threads sh e l ooke d with ol d ol d sad ey es at the new


, , ,

b orn c hil d .


To thee O N ew Born , she s aid and to this wood
-
, ,

that burns do we give the same span of day s to


,


l ive.

Fro m her bed s prang Alth aea and heedless of th e , ,

ames She s eized the burning wood trod on it with her


, ,

fair white feet and p oured on it water that swiftly


,

quenched its red glow Thou shalt live forever 0


.
,


B eloved she said, for never again shall re char th e
,

brand that I have p lu cked f omthe b urning

g
.

g
70 A B OO K O F MYTH S
And the baby laughed .

Th o seg r y w m with b d hair


e o en ou n

Wh fri g ht th g d fri g ht d
o t hi m
e o h e l a gh e d
s e no u

S i g th m d p h e d t ha d t fe e l a d ha l
ee n e ,
an us ou n s o n u

d thr a d
"
D i ta ff
s an e .

Th e y ears sped on and from fearless and beautiful ,

babyhood Meleager grew into gallant boyhood and


, ,

then into magnicent y outh W hen Jason and hi s .

heroes sailed away into a distant land to win th e Golden


Flee c e Meleager was on e of the noble band From all
, .

men living he won great praise for his brave deeds and ,

when the tribes of the north and west made war upon
ZEtol ia he fought against their army and scattered it as
,

a wind in autumn drives the fallen leaves before it .

But his victory brought evil upon him When his father .

(En eu s at the end of a fruitful y ear offered sacri c es to


, ,

the gods he omitted to honour the goddess Diana by


,

sacricing to her and to punish his neglect sh e had sent


, ,

this destroy ing army When Meleager was victor her .


,

wrath against his father gre w yet more hot and sh e ,

S ent a wild boar large as the bulls of Epirus and erce


, ,

an d s avage to kil l and to devour that it might ravage ,

and l ay waste the land of Caly don The elds of corn .

were tramp led under foot the vineyards laid waste and , ,

th e olive groves wrecked as by a winter hurricane .

Fl o ck s and herds were slaughtered by it or driven ,

hither and thither in wild panic working havoc as they ,

ed . Many went out to slay it but went onl y to nd ,

a hideous death Then did Meleager resolve that he


.

would ri d the land of thi s mon ster and c alled on al l his ,


THE CALYD ONIAN HUNT
71

friends the heroes of Greece to come to his aid Theseus


, , .

an d hi s friend Pirithous came ; Jason ; Peleus after ,

wards father of A chilles ; Telamon the father of Aj ax ; ,

Nestor then but a y outh ; Castor and Pollux and Toxeus


, ,

and Ple x ippus the brothers of Alth aea the fair queen
, ,

mother But there c ame none more fearle s s n or more


.

ready to ght the monster boar of Calydon than Ata


l anta the daughter of the king of Ar cadia
, When .

Atalanta was born her father heard of her birth with


,

anger. H e desired no daughter but only sturdy sons ,

who might ght for him and in the furious rage of bitter
,

disappointment he had the bab y princess l eft on the


Parthenian Hill that sh e might perish there A she .


bear heard the baby s piteous cries and c arried it off ,

to its lair where sh e suckled it along with her young


, ,

and there the little Atalanta tumbled about and play ed


with her furry companions and grew strong an d vi gorous
as any other wild y oung c reature o f the fore s t .

S ome hunters c ame on e day to raid the den and ki ll


the foster mother and fou nd amazed a fearl e s s white
-
, , , ,

skinned thing with rosy c heeks and brave eye s w h o ,

fought for her life and bit them as did her erc e foster
brothers and then cried human tears of rage and sorrow
,

when sh e saw the bear who had been her mother lying
bloody and dead Under the c are of the hunters
.

Atalanta grew into a maiden with all the beauty of a ,

maid and all the strength and the courage of a man .

She ran as swiftly as Zephyrus runs when he rushes up


from the west and drives the white clouds before him
like a o ck of timid fawns that a hound is pursuin g .
72 A B OO K O F MYTHS
The shafts that her strong arm sped from her bow smote
straight to the heart of the beast that sh e chased and ,

almost as swift as her arrow was sh e there to drive her


spear into her quarry When at l ength her father
.

the king learned that the beautiful huntress of whom ,

all men spoke a s of on e onl y a l ittle l ower than Diana ,

was none other than his daughter he was not slow to ,

o w n her as his child So proud was he o f her beauty


.

and gra c e and of her marvellous swiftne s s of foot and skill


,

in the chase that he wo ul d fain have married her to o n e


,

o f the great ones o f Greece but Atalanta ha d consulted


,


an oracle . Marry not said the ora cl e , To thee .


marriage must bring w o e .

So with untouched heart and with the daring an d


, ,

the c ourage o f a young l ad Atalanta came along with the


,

heroes to the Calydonian Hunt She was so radiantly .

l ovely so young so strong so c ourageous that straight


, , , ,

way Meleager loved her and all the heroes gazed at her
,

with eyes that adored her b eauty An d Diana looking .


,

d o wn at her also l oved the maiden who m from c hildhood


,

sh e had held in her p rote ctiona gal lant fearles s virgin ,

dear to her heart .

The grey mist rose from the marshes a s the hunt


began and the hunters of the boar had gone but a
,

little way when they came upon traces of th e hated


boar Disembowelled beasts marked its track Here
. .
,

in a owery meadow had it wallowed There in rich


, .
,

wheat land had it routed and the marks of its bestial


, ,

tusks were on the gashed grey trunks of the trees that


had on c e lived in th e pea c e of a fruitful olive grove .
THE CALYD ONIAN HUNT 73

In a marsh they found their enemy and all the reeds ,

quivered as it heaved its vast bulk and hove aside the weed
in which it had wallowed and rooted with its tusks ,

amongst the wounded water lilies before it leapt with a -

snort to meet and to slay the men who had c ome against
it A lth y thing it was as its pink snout rose above
.
,

the green ooze of the marshes and it l ooked up l u stin gl y , ,

defying the purity of the blue skies of heaven to bring ,

to those who came against it a cruel shameful death , .

Upon it rst of all Jason c ast his spear But the


, , .

sharp point only touched it and unwounded the boar , ,

rushed on its gross bristly head down to disembowel


, , , ,

if it c oul d the gallant Nestor In the bran ches of a tree


, .

Nestor found safety and Telamon rushed on to destroy ,

the lthy thin g that would have made c arrion of the sons
of the gods A straggling cypress root caught his eeting
.

foot and laid him prone a helpless prey for the rooting ,

brute His hounds fell before it but ere it could reach


.
,

him Atalanta full of vengeful rage the pure angered


, ,


against the lthy and cruel let draw her h ow with a ,

prayer to Diana to guide her shaft aright Into the .


boar s smoking ank sped the arrow .

tri g Th e su dd en s n

Ra g d p ra g i war d
n , an d th wat ri h air
s n n , an e e s

H i d d th m i t p l m f th
ss e , an e gl r d
o s u es o e son e ss ee s

M v d o wav whi ch th wi d m v
e as a e m r e n o es n o o e.

B ut th b ar h av d hal f t f z
e o e d l ime ou o oo e an s e,

Hi t e a k tr m b l i g r u d th
s en s n barb d w d
e n o n e e ou n ,

H at f l d ry with i va iv y
e u an e n s e e es

A d bri t l i g with i t l rab l hair


n s n n o e e

Pl g d d th h d c l g d gr
un e , an e w r s d whit
ou n s un , an ee n o e an e

R dd d d br k all r u d th m wh r th y ca m
e en e an o e o n e e e e e.
74 A B OO K O F MYTHS
An d ch ar g i n g with s h e e r t u sk h e d r o v e , an d sm o t e
Hy l e u s ; a n d shar p d e ath c a u g ht h is su dd e n s o u l ,

An d vio l e n t s e e p sh e d n igh t u p on h is e y e s I
l SW N U N E

. B R .

More than ever terrible was the monster now that


it was wounded O ne after the other the hunters
.

fell before it s m ad rage and were s ent to the shades ,

b y a blood y and merciless death .

Before its furious charge even the heart of a hero


might have been stricken Yet Meleager lik e a mighty .
,

o ak of the forest that will not sway even a little before

the rush of a storm stood full in its way and met its ,

onsl aught .

Ai m d th l ft i d e hi s w ll ha dl d p ar
e on e e s e -
n e s e

Gra p d wh r th h w k tti t h w
s e e e d m t
e as as no es e n , an s o e,

A d with
n m i i l w u d th m tr s b ar
no ss e o n , e on s ou o

R i ght i th hairi t h ll w f h i hi d
n e es o o o s e

U d r th la t rib h r thr u gh b lk d b
n e e s , s ee o u an on e ,

D peei d d ply nm itt and t d ath ee s e n , an o e ,

Th h av y h rr r W i th hi s ha g i g haft s
e e o o n n s ,

L ap te d f l l f ri
,
ly d fr m ra g i g l ips
an e u ou s , an o n

F am d t th lat t wrath f all h i l i f


o e ou e

es o s e .

Great was the shout that rose from those w h o still


l ived when that grim hunt thus came to an end An d .

when with his keen blade Meleager struck o ff the head


, , ,

even as the quivering throat drew its last agonised


breath l ouder still shouted the men of Gree c e But
, .

not for himself did Meleager despoil the body of his foe .

He laid the ugly thing at the feet of Atalanta .


This is thy spoil not mine he said The , , .

wounding s haft was sped b y thee To thee belong s the .


p rai s e .

An d Atal anta blushed ro sily an d l aughe d l ow an d ,


THE CAL YD ONIAN HUNT 75

gladly n ot only because Diana had heard her prayer


,

and helped her slay the beast but for happine ss that ,

Meleager was so noble in his giving .

At that the brow s of th e heroes gre w d ark and ,

angrily on e cried
L o, n ow ,

S ha ll t th A r a d ia h t t l ips at
no e c n s oo ou u s,

S ay i g a ll w w r d p i l d by t h i
n e e e es o g ir l
e s on e .

Lik e a spark that kindles the dry grass their kindling ,

anger spread and they rushed against Atalanta seized


, ,

the trophy sh e had been given and smote her as though


,

sh e were but a shameless wanton an d n ot the noble

dau ghter of a king .

And because the heart of Me leager was given v ery


wholly to the fair huntress and be c a u s e those whom he
,

deemed his friends had not only dishonoured her but had ,

done him a very grievous wrong a great rage seized him , .

Right and left he smote and they who had been m ost
,

bitter in their eal ou sy of Atalanta the two brothers of ,

hi s ow n mother were laid low in death


, .

Tidings of the slaying of the boar had been brought


to Al th aea by swift messengers and she wa s on her way
,

to the temples bearing gifts to the gods for the vi ctory


of her s on ,
when sh e beheld the slow foote d pro cession -

of tho s e w h o bore the bodies o f the dead And when .

sh e saw the still faces of her two dear brothers qui c kl y ,

was her j oy turned into mou rning Terrible was her .

grief and anger when sh e learned by whose hand they


were slain and her mother s love and pride dried up in
,

her heart like the clear water of a fountain before the


76 A B O OK O F MYTHS
s c orching of a devouring re N O sacrices to the god s
.

would sh e o ffer but her dead brothers should hav e the


,

greatest sa cri c e that mother c oul d make to aton e for


the guilt of her son B a ck to the pala c e sh e went and
.
,

from its safe hidi n g place d rew ou t the bran d that sh e


-

ha d res cued from the ames when Meleager the hero



was b ut a babe that made his mother s heart sing for
j oy S he commanded a re to be prepared and four
.
,

times as its ames blazed aloft sh e tried to lay the brand


, ,

up on the pile Yet four times She drew back and then
.
,

at last sh e threw into the reddest of the ashes the charred


brand that for a little sh e held so close to her breast
that it seemed as though sh e fondled her child .

A wreath of l eaves as sign of victory was being


p l a c ed on Atal an ta s beautiful head by the adoring

hands of Me l eager w hen his mother gave him his doo m .

Through his body there rushed a pang of mortal agony .

His blood turned to re and the hand of Death that


,

smote him was as a hand of molten lead In torture his .

gallant spirit passed away uncomplaining loving through


, ,

his p ain the maid for whose dear sake he had brought
w oe upon himself As the last white ashes in the re
.

c rumbled and fell away into nothingness the soul of ,

Meleager departed Swiftly through the dark valley hi s


.


mother s shade followed him for sh e fell upon a sword
,

and so perished And Diana looking down on the grief


.
,

stricken sisters o f Meleager and on the bitter sorrow of


his father had c ompassion on the m and turned them
,

into birds .

S o ended the C alydoni an Hu nt and Atal anta re


,
THE C AL YD ONIAN HUNT 77

turned to Ar cadia
heavy at heart for the evil sh e had
,

unwittingly And still the Three Fates span


.

on, and the winds caught up the cold wood ashe s and
blew them a cross the ravaged land that Meleager had
saved and that quickly grew fertile again
.
A T A L A N T A daughter of the k ing of Ar c adia returned
, ,

s ad at heart to her own l and O nl y a s c omrades as


.
,

thos e against whose skill in the c ha s e she was wont to p it


her ow n skill had she looke d upon men B ut Meleager
, .
,

the hero w h o loved her and her fair honour more than
l ife itse lf an d whose l ove had made him haste in all hi s
,

gallant stren gth and y outhful b eauty to the l and of the


Shades wa s on e to tou ch her a s never before had she
,

been tou che d Her father proud of her trium ph in


.
,

Calydon again b e s ought her to marry on e of her m any


,

nob l e suitor s .

99
If indeed they l ove m e a s thou s ay e s said
Atalanta to her father then mu st they be rea dy to
,

fa c e for my sak e even the loss of dear life itsel f I shall .

be the p rize of him who outrun s me in a foot ra c e B ut -


.


he who tries and fails mu st pay to Death his penalty
, .

Thereafter for many days a strange sight was to be


, ,

seen in Ar c adia F or on e after another the suitors came


.

to race with the m aiden whose face had bewit che d them ,

though trul y the race was no more fair to him who


ran than woul d be a race with Death N o mortal man .

was as eet as Atalanta who had rst ra c ed w ith the


,

wil d things of the mountains and the forests and w h o ,

had dared at last to race with the winds and leave even
78
ATALANTA 79

them behind To her it was all a glorious gam e Her


. .

c onquest was alway s sure and if the y ouths w h o entered


,

in the contest c ared to risk their lives wh y shoul d they ,

blame her ! So ea ch day they started throbbing hope ,

and erc e deter mination to win her in the heart of him


w h o ran fading hope an d despairing anger as he saw
her skimming ahead of him like a gay hued buttery
that a tired child pursues in vain And each day a s the .
,

ra c e ende d another man paid the price of his defeat


, .

Daily amongst those w h o looked on stood h er


, ,

cousin Milanion H e woul d fain have hated Atalanta


.

for her ruthlessne ss and her j oyousness as he s aw h is


frien d s d ie for her s ake y et daily her beauty her purity
, , ,

and her gallant un c ons ciousne s s took a rmer hold u p on


his heart To himself he vowed that he would win
.

Atal anta but n ot without help from the gods was this
,

p ossible Therefore h e s ought Ap hrodit e herse lf an d


.

asked her aid .

Milanion was a beautiful y outh and to Aphrodite w h o , ,

loved beauty he pled h is cause as he told her how Ata


,

lanta had be c ome to him more than life so that he had ,

c eased to pity the y ouths his friends who had died for , ,

l ove of her The g odde s s s m il ed u pon hi m with gentle


.

sympathy .

In the garden of her temple grew a tree with bran ches


and twigs of gold and leaves as y ellow as the little leave s
,

of the silver birch when the autumn sun kisses them as

it sets O n this tree grew golden apples and Ap hrodite


.
,

plucked three of them and gave them to the y outh w h o


had not feared to ask her to aid him to win the maid he
80 A B OO K OF MYTHS
loved H ow he was to use the apples sh e then told
.

him and well c ontent Mil anion returned home


, , , .

Next day he spoke to Atalanta .


So far has victory been thine Faire st on earth , ,

he s aid but so far have thy little winged white feet had
,

only the heavy footed laggards to outrun Wilt have me


-
.

run a race with thee for assuredly I shall win thee for

my own .

And Milanion looked into the eyes of Atalanta with


a smile as gay and fearless as that with whi ch a hero is
wont to look in the eyes o f his fellow .

Look for look did the virgin huntress give him .

Then her cheeks grew red as though the rosy ,

n ge re d dawn had touched them an d the dawning o f ,

love came into her heart .

Even Meleager was not quite so goodly a youth as


thi s N ot even Meleager had been so wholly fearless
. .


Thou art tempted b y the deathless gods sh e ,

said but her long lashes drooped on her ch e ck as sh e


,

spoke .I pity you Milanion for when thou dost race


, ,

with me the goal is assuredly the meadows of asphodel


,

near w here sit Pluto and P ersephone on their gloomy



thrones .

B ut Mil anion said


I am ready Atalanta Wilt
, , .


ra c e with me now ! And steadily he looked in h er
ey es until again they fell a s though at last they had
found a c onqueror .

Like two swallows that skim a cross a sun ny sea ,

lled with the j oyousness of the c oming of spring ,

Atalanta and Milanion started Scarc ely did their feet.


S HE S T OPP D A N D P I C D U P
E , KE TH E TRE AS UR E
ATALANTA 81

seem to touch the solid earth and all those who stood
,

by vowed that now at length was a ra c e indeed a ra c e


, , ,

worthy for the gods to behold .

But as they ran almost abreast so that none c oul d


, ,

tell which was the gainer Milanion obey ed the b idding


,

of Ap hrodite and let fall on e of the golden apples Never .

before had Atalanta dreamed of such a thing an apple


of gli stening gold She stopped poised on on e foot as a
,

y in g bird poises for a moment on the wing and picked ,

up the treasure But Milanion had sp ed several pa c e s


.

ahea d ere sh e was again abreast of him and even as she ,

gained on him he dro pp ed the se c ond apple Again


, .

Atalanta was tempted Again she stopped and again


.
,

Milanion shot ahead of her Her breath c ame short


.

an d fast as on c e more sh e gained the ground that sh e


,

had lost But y et a third time Milanion threw in her


.
, ,

way on e of the golden illusions of the gods And y et .


,

again Atalanta stooped to pick up the apple of gol d


,
.

Then a mighty shout from those w h o wat ched rent


the air and Atalanta half fearful half ashamed yet
, , , ,

wholly happ y found herself running vanquished into


, , ,

the arms of him who was indeed her conqueror For .

not only had Milanion won the ra c e but he had w on ,

the heart of the virgin huntre s s a heart onc e as cold ,

and remote as the winter snow on the peak of Mount


Olympus .
THE hay that so short a time ago was long lush grass , ,

with fragrant meadow sweet and gold ey ed marguerites


- -

growing amongst it in the green meadow land by the -

river i s
, n ow dry hay fragrant still though dead and
, ,


hidden from the sun s warm rays underneath the dark
wooden rafters of the barn O c c asionally a cat on a
.

hu nting foray c omes into the barn to look for mice or ,

to nestle c osil y d own into purring slumber Now and .

then a hen c omes furtively tip toeing through the open


-

d oor and makes for itself a se cret nest in which to lay


the eggs w hi ch it subsequently heralds with such loud
clu cks of proud rej oicm g as to completely undo all its
p revious pre c autions Sometimes children come in pur
.
,

su in g cat or hen or merely to tumble each other over


,

amongst the soft hay which the y leave in chaoti c c on


fusion and when the y have gone away a little more of
, ,

the sky c an be seen through the little window in the roof ,

and through the wooden bars Of the window lower down .

Yet whatever other living creatures may come or go by


, ,

those windows of the barn and high up on its dark


,

rafters there is alway s a living c reature working cease


, ,

l e ssly working When through the skylight the sun


.
, ,

god drive s a golden sunbeam and a long shaft of dancing


,

du st atoms p asses from the window to what was on ce a


-

82
ARAC HNE 83

p art of th e early summer s glory the work of the u n



,

resting toil er is also to be S een for the window is hung,

with shimmering gre y tapestries made b y Ara chne th e ,

spider and from rafter to rafter her threads are su s


,

pended with inimitable skill .

S he was a ny mph once they say the daughter of


,

Idm on the dy er of Colophon a c ity of Ly dia In all


, , .

Lydia there was none who c oul d weave as wove the


b eautiful Ara chne To Wat ch her card the wool of the
.

white eece d sheep until in her ngers it grew like the


-

soft c loud s that hang round the hill tops was pleasu re ,

enough to draw ny mphs from the golden river Pactolus


and from the viney ard s of Tym ol u s An d when sh e .

drove her swif t shuttle hither and thither still it was ,

j y
o to watch her wondrous s k ill Magical was the .

growth of the web ne of woof that her darting ng ers


, ,

span and y et more magi c al the exqui site devi ces that
,

sh e then w rought upon it For birds and owers and


.

butteries and pi ctures of al l the beautiful th ings on


earth were li m n ed by Arachne an d ol d tale s gre w al ive
,

again under her c reative needle .

To Pallas Athen e goddess of craftsmen c ame tidings


, ,

that at Colophon in Ly dia lived a ny mph whose skill


rivalled that of the goddess herself and sh e ever j ealou s , ,

for her ow n honour took on herself the form of a woman


,

bent with age and leaning on her staff j oined the little
, , ,

crowd that hung round Ara chne as sh e plied her busy


needle With white arms twined round each other the
.

eager ny mphs watched the owers spring up under her


ngers even a s owers spring from the grou nd on th e
,
84 A B OOK O F MYTHS
coming o f Demeter and Athen e was fain to admire whil e
, ,

she marvelled at the magic skill of the fair Arachne .

Gently sh e spok e to Arach ne and with the p ersu a


, ,

sive words o f a W ise old woman warne d her that sh e ,

must not l et her ambition soar too high Greater than .

all skilled craftswomen was the great goddess Athen e ,

and were Ara chne in impious vanity to dr eam that on e


, ,

d ay sh e might equal her that were indeed a crime for


,

an y god to punish .

Glan c ing up for a moment from the picture whose


perfe ct colours grew fast under her slim ngers Arachne ,

xed sc ornful e y e s on the ol d woman and gave a m erry


Didst say equal Athen e ! ol d mother sh e said , .

In good sooth thy dwelling must be w ith the goat


h er ds in the far off hills and thou art not a dweller in ou r
-

c ity Else hadst thou not spoken to Ara chne of equa l


.

l ing the work of Athen e ; excel l ing were the better



w ord .

In anger Pallas Athen e m ade answer .


Impious on e ! sh e said

to those w h o woul d
,

m ak e themse lves higher than the gods must ever c ome


woe unutterab l e Take heed what thou say est for
. .


p unishm ent will assuredly be thine .

Laughing still Arachne m ade reply


,

I fear not Athen e nor does my hea rt shake


, ,


at the gloomy warning of a foolish ol d crone And .

turning to the ny mphs who hal f afraid listened to


, ,

her daring words she said : Fair nymphs who watch


,

m e day b y day we ll d o y e know that I mak e no i dle


,
ARAC HN E 85

boast My skill is as great as that of Athen e and gre ater


. ,

still it shall be Let Athen e try a contest with me if she


.


dare Well d o I know who will be the victor .

Then Athen e cast off her disguise and before th e ,

frightened nymphs and the bold Arachne stood the


rad iant goddess with ey es that blazed with anger and
insul ted pride .

L o Athen e is c ome !
, she s aid and ny mph s and ,

wo men fell on their knee s before her humbly adoring , .

Arachne alone was unabashed Her cheeks showed h ow .

fast her heart was beating From rosy red to white .

went th e c ol our in the m y et in rm l ow voi c e sh e , , ,

spok e .


I have sp oken truth she said Not woman , .
,

nor goddess c an do work such as mine Ready am I to


, .

abide b y what I have s aid and if I did boast b y my , ,

b oast I stand If thou wilt deign great goddess to try


.
, ,

thy skill against the skill of the dy er s daughter and dost

prove the vi ctor behol d me gl adly willing to pay the


,


p enalty .

The eye s of Athen e the grey ey ed goddess grew dark ,


-
,

as the sea when a thunder cloud hangs over it and a -

mighty storm is c oming Not for on e moment did sh e .

delay but took her pla c e b y the side of Arachne O n


, .

the loom they stretched ou t two webs with a ne warp ,

and made them fast on the beam .


Th e l y p arate th warp th w f i i e rt d i th m iddl e
s e se s e , e oo s ns e n e

with Sharp h uttl whi ch th g r h urry al g d b e i g d raw


s e s, e n e s on , an ,
n n

withi th warp th e t th t ch d i th m vi g l y trik it B th


n e , ee no e n e o n s e s e . o

ha te
s n d g ir d i g p th ir g ar m t t th ir br a t th y m v
on , an n u e en s o e e s s, e o e

th e ir k il f l arms th e ir a g e r ss b g ui l i g th e ir fati g
s u , e Th e re b th
ne e n ue. o
86 A B OOK O F MYTH S
th e p rpl e i s b e i g w v
u whi ch i s ubj ct d t th e Tyria braz
n o en , s e e o n en

v e l d ha d f m i t d i ff r c ; j t th rai b w with
e ss , an ne s es o nu e e en e us as e n o ,

it m i ghty ar c h i w
s t t ti t a l g tra c t f ky by m a
,
s on f th o n on o s e ns o e

ray r c t d by th h w r ; i whi c h th gh a t h a d d i ff r t
s e e e e s o e n ,
ou ou s n e en

c ol r e hi i g y e t th v ry tra iti
ou s ar s n n l d e s th y s that l k
, e e ns on e u e e e oo

u p it on Th r to th e pl ia t g l d i m i x e d with th e thr ea ds
e e, o, n o s

O V I D
.

Their canvases wrought then did Athen e and Arachne ,

hasten to cover them with pi cture s such a s no skilled


worker of tapestry ha s ever sin c e dreamed of ae c om
p l ish in
g Under the ngers
. of Athen e grew up pictures

so real and s o perfect that the Watchers knew not whether


the goddess was indeed c reating life And each pi cture .

wa s on e that told of the omnipoten c e of the gods and of


the doom that c ame up on tho se mortals who had dared
in their blasphemous presumption to struggle a s equal s
with the immortal dwellers in Ol y mpu s Ara c hne glan c ed .

up from her web and looked with e y es that glowed with


the l ove of b eautiful things at the creations of Athen e .

Yet un daunted her ngers still sped on and the goddess


, , ,

s aw with brow that grew y et more clouded how the


, ,

d aughter of Idmon the d y er had chosen for subj ects


the tales that showed the weak nesses of the gods One .

after another the l ivin g pictures grew beneath her hand ,

an d the n y mphs held their breath in mingled fear and


e cstasy at Ar a chne s godlik e sk ill and mo st arrogant

daring B etween goddess and mortal none coul d have


.

chosen for the c olour and form and exquisite fancy of


,

the pi ctures of the d aughter of Zeus were equalled ,

though not ex c e lled b y those of the daughter of the ,

d y er of Col ophon .
ARACHN E 87

Darker and y et more dark grew the eye s of Athen e


as they looked on the magical beauty of the picture s ,

ea ch on e of which was an insult to the gods What .

pi cture had skilful hand ever drawn to c ompare with


that of Europa who ,

rid i g n th ba ck f th d ivi h l l with


on e ha d cla sp d th e
o e ne u , on e n e

b a t g r at h r
e s

s e d with th th r c a gh t p h gar m t p urp l
o n , an e o e u u er en

s e

f l d l t it m i ght tra i l d b d r c h d i th b
o , es a i it sp ray
an e en e n e o ar s e

s n n e .

A d h
n d p r b wa s b l w
er ee t i th wi d l i k
o e th ai l f a hi p
o n ou n e n , e e s o s ,

d l i ght ly v r it waft d th m ai d war d M O S C H U S


an e e e e en o n . .

Then at last did the storm break and with her ,

shuttle the enraged goddess smote the web of Ara chne ,

and the fair pictures were rent into motley rags and
ribbon s Fu riously too with her shuttle of boxwood
.
, ,

sh e s mote Ar achne B efore her rage the ny mphs .


,

ed back to their golden river and to the vineyards of


Tym ol u s and the women of Colophon in blind terror
,

rushed away An d Ara chne shamed to the dust k ne w


.
, ,

that life for her was no longer worth posse s sing S he .

had aspired in the pride of her splendid genius to a


, ,

c ontest with a god and knew now that su c h a c onte st ,

must ever be vain A c ord hung from the W eaver s .


beam and swiftly sh e seized it knotted it round her


, ,

white ne ck and would have hanged herself But ere


, .

the life had passed out of her Athen e grasped the c ord , ,

loosened it and spoke Arachne s doom,


Live ! sh e said O guilty and sha meless on e ! ,

For evermore shalt thou l ive and hang as n ow thou and ,

thy descendants that men may never forget the punish ,


ment of the blasphemous on e w h o dared to rival a god .
88 A BO OK O F MYTH S

Even as sh e spoke Arachne s fair form dried up and ,

withered Her straight limbs grew grey and crooked


.

and wiry and her white arms were no more An d from


, .

the beam where the beautiful weaver o f Ly dia had been


suspended there hung from a ne grey thread the
,

cre ature from which to this day there are but few who , ,

do not turn with loathing Yet stil l Ara chne spins and .
,

still is without a compeer .

Not a i
n ewh i ch h va t th m t
d am z e l l , er un e os

I k il f l l k itti g f
n s u ft i l k tw yn n o so s en n e,

N a i w av r whi c h hi s w k d th b a t
or n e e e ,
or e o o s

I di p n i d m
e k
e r, i ly n a as e, or n n e,

N a i k il d i w rkma hi p m b t
or n e s

n o ns e os ,

N a i k il d i l p f g i g
or n e s

n ou es o n r n ne,

M i ght i t h ir d iv r c i g v r d ar
n e e s un n n e e e

W ith thi curi u tw k t


s so SPENSE R o s ne or e o - .

Thus perhaps does Arachne have her compensations


, , ,

and in day s that followed long after the twilight o f the


gods did sh e not gain eternal honour in the heart o f
,

every Scot by the tale of how sh e saved a national hero


Kindly too are her labours for men as sh e slays their
, ,

mortal enemies the household ies and when the , ,

peasant practical if not favoured b y ZE scul ap iu s and ,

Hy geia runs to raid the loom of Arachne in order to


staunch the quick ow in g blood from the cut hand of -

her little child much more dear to her heart is Arachne


,

the spider than the unknown Athen e .


Al p i r be t k
so in s f d ivi ati
nne d f k
s wi g what o en s o n on, an o no n

w ath e r hall fa ll f ft b y w ath r that h a ll fa ll m S p i


e s or o e e s s ,
so e n or

w av e hi gh r l w e r A l m u l tit d e f S p i e r i t k e of m u ch
e e or o so u o nn s s o n

rai B A R T H O L OM E W
.


n. .
AR AC HNE 89

The sun has not long enough shown his face to dry u p
the de w in the garden and behold on the little clipped
,

tree of boxwood a great marvel


, For in and ou t and
,

all over its twigs and leaves Arachne has woven her
,

web and on the web the dew has dropped a million


,

diamond drops And suddenly all the col ours in the


.
, ,

sky are m irrored dazzlingly on the grey tapestry of h er

making Arachne has come to her ow n again


. .
IDAS AND MARPESSA

BY day w hile the sun god drove his chariot in the high
,
-

heavens and turned the blue green ZEge an Sea into the
-

semblance of a blazing shie l d of brass Idas and Marpes sa


,


sat together in the trees soft shades or walked in ,

shado wy valley s where violets and wild parsley grew ,

and where Apollo rarely deigned to come At eventide .


,

when in royal splendour of purple and crimson and


,

gold Apollo sought his rest in the western sky Idas and
, ,

Marpessa wandered by the seashore watching the little


wavelets softly kissing the pebbles on the bea ch or ,

climbed to the mountain side from when c e the y c oul d



see the rst glimpse of Diana s silver crescent and the
twin kl ing lights of the Pleiades breaking through the
blue c anopy of the sky While Apollo sought in heaven
.

and on earth the best means to gratify his imperial whims ,

Idas for whom all j oy s had come to mean but one


, ,

sought ever to be by the side of Marpessa Shadowy .

vall ey murmuring sea lonely mountain side or garden


, , ,

where grew the purple amaranth and where roses of p ink


and amber y ell ow and deepest crimson dropped their
-

radiant petals on the snowy marble paths all were the ,

same to Idas Paradise for him were Marpess a by his ,

side ; without her dreary desert


,
.

More beautiful than ar y ower that gre w in the


g
o
ID A S AND MAR PE S S A 91

garden was Marpe ssa N0 music that Apollo s lute .


c ould make was as sweet in the ears of Idas as her dear


voice Its mu sic was ever new to him a melody to
.

make his heart more quickly throb New too ever was .
, ,

her beauty For him it was alway s the rst time that
.

they met alway s the same fresh ravishment to look in


,

her ey es And when to Idas came the knowledge that Mar


.

pe ssa gave him love for l ove he had indeed won happi ,

ne ss so great as to draw upon him the envy of the gods .


The course of true love never did run smooth ,

and like many and many another father sin ce his day
, ,

Evenos the father of Marpes sa was bitterly oppo sed to


, ,

a match where the bridegroom wa s rich only in y outh ,

in health and in love H is beautiful daughter naturally


, .

seemed to him worth y of something much more high .

Thus it was an unhapp y day for Marpessa when a s sh e ,

sat alone by the fountain whi ch d rip ped s l owly down on


the marble basin and dreamed of her l over Idas Apollo
, , ,

himself led by c aprice noiselessly walked through the


, ,

rose bushes whose warm petals dropped at hi s feet as


,

he pas sed and beheld a m aiden more fair than the


,

fairest ower that grew The hum of bees the d rip .


, ,

drip of the fountain these lul led her mind and heart
,


and soothed her day dream s and Marpessa s red l ips-
, ,

curved like the b ow of Eros smile d as sh e thought of ,

Idas the man sh e loved Silently Apollo watched her


, . .

This queen of all the roses was not t to be the brid e of


mortal man Marpessa must be his .

To Evenos Apollo quickly imparted his desire H e .

was n ot u se d to h aving hi s imperial w ishes d enied nor ,


92 A B OO K OF MYTHS
was Evenos anxious to do so Here indeed was a .
, ,

mat ch for his daughter No in signicant mortal but


.
,

the radiant su n god himself


-
And to Marpessa he
told what Apollo wished and Marpessa shyly looked
,

at her ree ction in the pool of the fountain and wondered ,

if sh e were indeed beautiful enough to win the l ove of


a god .

Am I in truth so wondrou s fair sh e a sk e d her

father .

Fair enough to mate with Apollo him se lf !


p rou dl y answered Evenos .

And j oyously Marpe ssa replied Ah then am I , ,


happ y indeed I would be beautiful for my Idas sake !

An angry man was her father There was to be n o .

m ore pleasant dally ing with Idas in the shado w y wood


or b y the seashore In the rose garden Apollo took hi s
.


place and charmed Marpessa s ears with his musi c ,

while her e y es c ould not but be charmed by his beauty .

The god had no doubts or fears O nly a little time he .

would give her for a very little only would he wait and
, ,

then undoubtedly this mortal maiden would be his her ,

heart c onquered as assuredly as the ray s from his chariot


c onquered the ros es whose Warm crimson petals they
,

strewed at his feet Yet as Marpessa looked and listened


.
,

her thoughts were often far away and alway s her heart
was with Ida s When Apollo play ed most exquisitely
.

to her it seemed that he put her love for Idas into music .

When he spoke to her of his love sh e thought Thus , ,


and thus did Idas speak and a sudden memory of the
,


human l a d s halting words brought to her heart a little
M ARP SSA SA T A O N
E L E BY TH E FO U N TAI N
IDAS AND MARPESSA 93

gu sh of tenderness and made her eyes sparkle s o that


,


Ap ollo gladl y thought Soon sh e will be mine
, .

And all this while Idas scheme d and plotted and


planned a way in which he could save his dear on e
from her obdurate father and from the passion of a god
, .

He Went to Neptune told his tale and begged him to


, ,

lend him a winged chariot in which he could y away


with Marpessa Neptune good naturedly c onsented and
.
-
,

when Ida s ew up from the seashore on e day like a ,

great b ird that the tempests have blown inl and Mar ,

p essa j oy ously Sprang up beside her lover and swiftly ,

they took ight for a land where in p eace they might


l ive and l ove together No sooner did Evenos realis e
.

that his dau ghter was gone than in furious anger , ,

against her and her l over he gave chase O ne has


, .

wat che d a hawk in pursuit of a pigeon or a bird of the


moors and seen it a little dark speck at rst gradu a lly
, ,

growing larger an d more l arge until at length it domi


n ate d and c onquered its pre y swooping down from,

above like an arrow fro m a b ow to b ring w ith it su dden


, ,

So at rst it seemed that Evenos must conquer Idas



and Marpessa in the wing ed chariot of Ne p tune s lend ing .

But onwards Idas drove the chariot ever faster and ,

faster un til before the ey es of Marpessa the trees of the


,

forest grew into blurs of blue and brown and the streams ,

and rivers as they ew past them were streak s of silver .

Not until he had reached the river L ycorm as did the


angry father ow n that his pursuit had been in vain .

Over the swift owin g strea m ew the chariot driven


-
94 A B O O K OF MYTH S
b y Idas but Eveno s knew that his hors e s e cke d with
, ,

white foam pumping each breath from hearts that were


,

strained to breakin g p oint no longer c oul d go on with


-
,

the chase The passage of that deep stream woul d


.

d estroy them The erce water woul d sweep the wearie d


.

beasts down in its impelling current and he with the m , .

A shamed man would he be forever Not for a moment .

d i d he hesitate but drew hi s sharp sword from his belt


,

an d plunged it into the breast of on e steed and then of


the other who had been so willin g and who y et had
failed him in the end An d then as they still in their
.
, ,

tra c es neighed shrilly aloud and then fel l over an d died


, ,

where the y l ay Evenos with a great cry leaped into the


, , ,

river O ver his head clo sed the eddies of the peat brown
.
-

Water O n c e only did he throw up his arms to ask the


.

god s for mercy ; then did his body drift down with the
stream and his soul hastened down wards to the S hades
, .

An d from that day the river L y corm a s no more was


k nown b y that name but wa s called the river E ven os
,

forever .

O nwards triumphantly dr ove Idas but s oon he


, , ,

knew that a greater than Evenos had entered in the



chase and that the j ealous su n god s chariot was in
,
-

pursuit o f the winged car of Neptune Qui ckly it gained .

on him l
soon it wou d have swept down o him a n
hawk indeed this time striking surely its helples s prey
, ,

but even as Apollo s aw the white face of Marpessa and


knew that he was the victor a mighty thunderbolt that ,

made the mountains shake and rolled it s echoe s through ,

the l onely fastnes ses of a thousand hills wa s s ent to ,


ID AS AND MAR PE SSA 95

earth by Ju p iter While the echoes still re e choe d there


.
-
,

came from O ly mpu s the voi c e of Zeus himself .

L et her decide he said .

Apollo like a white ame blown ba ckward by the


,

w ind withhel d his hands that would have s eized from


,


Idas the woman who was his heart s desire .

And then he spoke and while his burning gaze was


,

xed upon her and his face in beautiful fury was more
, , ,

perfect than any exquisite pi cture of her dreams his ,

voi ce was as the voice of the sea as it calls to the shore


in the moonlit hour s a s the bird that sings in the dark
,

ness of a tropi c night to it s l onging mate .

Marpessa he cried Marpessa ! wilt thou n ot


,

c ome to me N o woe n or trouble never any pain c an ,

touch me Yet w oe indeed was mine when rst I saw thy


.

fairest fa c e For even n ow dost thou hasten to sorrow


.
,

to darkness to the dark shadowed tomb Thou art but


,
-
.

mortal thy beauty is short lived Thy l ove for mortal


-
.

man shall qui ckly fade and die Come to me Marpessa .


, ,

and my kisse s on y our lips shall make thee immortal


Together we Shall bring the sunb eams to a c old dark ,

land Together shall we coa x the spring ower s from the


still dead earth
, Together we shall bring to men the
golden harvest and deck the tree s of autumn in ou r liveries
,

of red and gold I love thee Marpe ss a not as mere mortal


.
,

l oves do I love thee C om e to me Marp e ssa m y Love


.
,

m y Desire
When his voi c e was silent it s ee med a s if the very ,

earth itself with all its thousand echoes still breathed his
words : Marpessam y Lovem y Desire
.
96 A B OOK O F MYTHS
Abashed before the god s entreaties stood Ida s An d
.

the heart of Marpessa was torn as sh e heard the burn ing


word s of the beautiful Apollo stil l rin ging through her
head and saw her mortal lover silent white lipped
, , ,
-
,

gazing rst at the god and then into her own pal e fa c e .

At l ength he spoke
A ft r ch argu m t what
e su I pl a d ! en c an e

O W hat p a l p r m i
r m a k P Y t S i c it i s
e o se e e n e

I w m a t p ity rath r tha t a p ir


n o n o e n o 3 e,

A l ittl I wi ll p a k I l v th th
e s e . o e ee en

N to l y f th y b dy p a ck d with w t
on or o e s ee

O f l l thi w rld that p f brimm i g Ju


a s o , cu o n n e,

That jar f vi l t wi o t i th air


o e n e se n e ,

That p al t r w t i th i ght f l if
es o se s ee n e n o e

N or f that tirri g b m all b i g d


or s n o so es e e

By d r w i g l v r
o s n th y p ril hair ;
o e s, o r e ou s

N or f that fa c that m ight i d d p r v k


or e n ee o o e

I va i
n f l d c iti
s on o ; o all es n o, n o r

Th y fr s h e t al i g m l ik tra g sl p
n e ss s e n on e e s n e ee .

N or f thi ly d I l v th but
or s on o o e ee,

B ca e I ity p th br d ;
e us n n u on ee oo s

A d th
n art f ll f whi p r d f ha d w
ou u o s e s an o s o s
.

Th u m a t what th
o e n es h triv t s ay e se a as s en o

S l g
o on d y ar,
d u p th cl i ff t t l l
an e ne e s o e

Th u art what a ll th wi d hav tt r d t


o e n s e u e e no ,

W hat th til l i ght gg t th t th h art


e s n su es e o e e .

Th y v i c i l ik t m i c h ar d
o e s e birth o us e e re ,

S m p irit l t t ch d a p irit ;
o e s u e ou e on s sea

Th y fa c r m m b r d i fr m th r w r ld
e e e e e s o o e o s,

I t ha s b d i d f th gh I k w t wh
e en e or, ou no no en,

It h bas g f th gh I k w t wh e r
e e n su n o ,
ou no no e .

It h th tra g s f th l ri g W t
as e s n en e s o e u n es ,

A d f d
n o h ri
sa ; b i d th
se a- o z on s es e ee

I a m awar f th r ti m e o d la d
o e e s an n s,

O f birth far ba ck f l i v i m a y tar


-
, o es n n s s .

0 b a ty le u d l i k a ca dl cl r
on e a n e n e ea

I thi d ar k c
n s try f th w rld Th art
oun o e o ou

My w my arly l i ght my m i c dy i g S T E P H E N P H I P
oe , e ,
us n .

IL L S.
IDAS AND MARPESSA 97

Then Idas in the humility that comes from perfect


,

love drooped low his head and was silent In silen c e


, , .

for a minute stood the three a god a man and a , ,

wo man An d from on high the watching stars l ooked


.

down and marvelled and Diana stay ed for a moment


,

the c ours e of her silver car to watch as sh e thought th e , ,

triu mph of her ow n invinc ible brother .

From man to god pas sed the eye s of Marpes s a and ,

ba ck from god to man And the stars forgot to twinkle


.
,

an d D iana s sil ver maned horses pawed the blue oor of



-

the sky impatient at the rm hand of the mistress on the


,

re in s that che cke d their eager c ourse .

Marpessa sp ok e at last in low words that seeme d to


,


come remembere d from other worlds .

For all the j oys h e o ffere d her she thanked Apollo .

What grander fate for mortal woman than to rule th e


sunbeams to bring bliss to the earth and to the sons of
men What m ore could mortal wo m an crave than th e
gift of immortal ity shared with on e whose power ru led
the vast univers e and who stil l ha d stooped to lay the
,

red ro se s of hi s pa s sionate love at her little human feet ,

An d y et and y et in that s orrow free existen c e that -

he promised might there not still be something aw an t


,

ing to on e who had on c e known tears


Ye t I b
, e in g h ma u n, h um an so rr w m io ss .

Then were he indeed to give her the gift o f immortal


life what value were life to on e whose beauty had
,

withered as the leaves in autumn whose heart was tired ,

and dead ! What uglier fate than this to endure an ,

G
98 A BOO K O F MYTH S
endless existen c e in which no life was y oked to on e whose ,

y outh was immortal whose beauty was everlasting ,

Then did sh e turn to Idas w h o stood as on e w h o ,

awaits the judgment o f the judge in whose hands lies the


p ower of meting ou t life or death Thus sh e spoke .

B t if I l iv with I d a s th
u w e tw , en e o

O th l w art h ha ll p r p r ha d i ha d
n e o e s os e n n n

I dn r f th O p l d d l iv
o ou s o e en e , an e

I p ac f l
n i
e f th far m
e u d wat c h
n o se s o e ,
an

Th p a t ra l ld b r d by th s tti g
e s o e s u ne e e n su n .

A d hn hall g iv m p a i at c h l d r
e s t e e ss o n e i en , n o

S m ra d ia t g d that W ill d p i m q it
o e n o es se e u e,

B t cl a mb ri g l i m b
u d l itt l e h art s that
e n s an e e rr .

S hall w l iv O s e e,

A d th u g h th r t w e t s ti g f l v b p a s t
n o e s s e n o o e e ,

Th w t that alm t v m i th u gh y th
e s ee os eno s o ou ,

W ith t d r d x trava ga t d l ight


en e an e n e ,

Th r t ed c r t k i by twi l i ght h dg
s an se e ss e e,

Th i a efar w ll r p at d
ns ne d e e e e e

o e r an

o e r,

Pa ff th r hall s cc d a faithfu l p a c
ss o e e s u ee e e

B autif l fri d hi p tri d by


e u end wi d s e s u n an n ,

D urab l fr m th d aily d t f l if

e o e us o e .

The sun god frown ed as her words fell from her lips
-
.

Even now as sh e looked at him he held ou t his arms


, , .

Surely she only play ed w ith this poor mortal y outh .

To him she must come thi s ro s e w h o c ou l d own n o l e sser ,

god than the su n god himself -


.

B ut Marpessa spok e on
A d thn b a tif l g d i that far tim
ou e u u o , n e,

W h i thy tt i g w t th g t d w
en n se n s ee ou az e s o n

O h i g r y h a d wi l t th
n s r m m b r th
e e , ou e e e en

That c I p l a d th that I c w y g !
on e e se ee, on e as ou n

So
did her voice cease and on the earth fell sudden ,

darknes s For to Apollo had c ome the shame of love


.
IDAS AND MAR PESSA 99

rejected and there were tho s e who said that to the earth
,

that night there came no sunset only the sullen darkness


,

that told of the ight of an angry god Yet later the


.
, ,

silver moonbeams of Diana s eemed to greet the dark earth


with a smile and in the winged c ar of Neptune Idas and
, , ,

Marpessa sped on greater than the gods in a perfect


, ,

harmony of human l ove that n or ti m e n or pain


, ,

nor Death himsel f .


ARETHUSA

WE have victualled and watered wrote Nelson from ,


Syracuse in 179 8 and sur ely watering at the fountain


, ,

of Arethusa we must have v i c tory


, W e shall sail with .

the rst breeze ; and be assured I wil l return either



c rown ed with l aure l or covered w ith cy pre ss Three .

days later he w on the B attle of the Ni l e one of th e


, ,

greatest sea gh ts of history


-
.

Here in ou r ow n l and the tale s of the Gr ee k gods


s eem very remote Like the c olour s in an ol d ol d por
.
,

trait the humanity of the stories s eem s to have faded


, .

B ut in Sicil y they grow vivid at once Almost a s we .


,

stand above S y racu s e that long yellow tow n b y the sea


,

-
a blue green s ea with deep purple S hadows where the
-
,

clouds above it grow dark and little white sailed boats ,


-
,

like white butteries wing their way a cross to the far


,

h orizon c an we
H av gl imp
e Pr ot ri i g fr m th s
se o f eu s s n o e e a,

O r h are ol d Trito bl w h i wr e ath ed h r


n o s o n .

H ere to this day on e of the myth s most impossible


, ,

o f a cc eptan c e to the s cienti c mo d ern m ind live s o n ,

and Arethusa is not yet forgotten In Ortygia says



.
,

C i c ero , is a fountain of sweet water the name of whi ch ,

is Arethusa of in credible ow very full of sh which


, , ,

wou ld b e entirely overwhelme d by the s ea were its ,


100
ARETHUS A 1 01

waters n ot prote cted from the wave s b y a ramp art and


a wall of stone
Wh ite marble walls have taken the
.

p la c e of the protecting barrier but the spring bubbles up


,

to this day and Ortygia (Qu ail Island ) is the name still
,

given to that part of S y racuse Flu ffy heade d l ong


.
-

, ,

green stalks of papyrus grow in the fountain and red and ,

golden sh dart through its cl ear water Beyond lie .

the l ow shore s of Pl em m griu m the fens of L y sim el eia


, ,

the hills above the An apu s and above all tower s Etna
, ,

in snowy and magnicent s erenity and in d ifferen c e


to the changes wrought by the centurie s to gods and to
men Yet here the pre sent is c ompletely overshad owed
.

b y the past and even the story of Arethusa kno cks loud ly
,

at the well barri c ade d doors of twentieth century in


- -

credul ity .

The beautiful Arethusa was a nymph in Diana s train


,

and many a time in the c hase did she thread her way
through the dim woodland as a strea m ows dow n
,

through the forest from the mountains to the s ea B ut .

to her at last there came a day when sh e wa s n o l onger


, ,

the huntress but the hunted .

The aming wheels of the chariot of Apoll o ha d m ade


the whole land scintillate with heat and the ny mph ,

sought the kind shelter of a wood where she might bathe


in the exquisite c oolness of the river that still was chilled
by the snows of the mountain O n the b ran ch of a tre e
.

that bent over the stream she hung her garment s and ,

joyously stepped into the l impid water A ray of th e .

su n glanced through the leaves above her and made the



soft san d in the river s b e d gleam l ike gold and th e
1 02 A BOO K O F MYTH S

beautiful limbs o f the ny mph seem as though c arved from


pure white marble b y the hand of Pygmalion himself .

There was no sound there but the gentle sound of the


stream that murmured c aressingl y to her as it slowly
m ove d on through the solitude and so gently it owed ,

that al most it se emed to stand stil l as though regretful ,

to l eave for the unk nown fore s t so beautifu l a thing as


Arethusa .

Th E arth s e m d t l v h
e e e o o e er

A d H av s m i l d ab v h
n e en e o e er .

B ut suddenly the stillness of the stream was ruf ed .

Waves like the newly born brothers of the billows of


,
-

the s ea swept both down stream an d u p stream upon


,
- -

her and the river no l onger murmured gently but spoke


, ,

to her in a voice that thrilled with passionate longing .

Al p heu s god of the river had beheld her and b ehold


, , , ,

in g her had loved her on c e and forever


, An uncouth .

creature of the fore st wa s he unversed in all the arts of ,

l ove making S o not as a supplicant did he c ome to her


-
.
,

but a s on e who demanded er cely love for love Terror .

c am e upon Arethusa as sh e listened and hasti ly she ,

sp rang fro m the water that had brought fear upon her ,

an d hastene d to nd shelter in the woodland s Then .

th e murmur a s of the murmur of a river before a mighty


,

ood comes to seize it and hold it for it s own took form ,

in a voi c e that pled with her in tone s that ma d e her ,

tre mble as she heard .

Hear me Arethusa , it s ai d I a m Alpheu s god .


,

of the river that now thou hast made s acred I am the .

g o d o f the ru shing s trea m s t he god o f the th u n dering


ARETHUSA 1 03

catara cts Where the mountain streams crash over th e


.

rocks and echo through the shadowy hollows of the hills ,

I hold my kingship Down from Etna I come and the.


,

re of Etna is in my veins I love thee


I love but .


thee and thou shalt be mine and I thine forever
, , .

Then Arethusa in blind p ani c ed before the god


, ,

w h o loved her Through the shadowy forest sh e sped


.
,

while he swiftly gained upon her The asphodel bent .

under her y ing feet and the golden owers of the F iori
,

Maggio were swept aside as she ed Yet ever Alpheus .

gained upon her until at length she felt that the chase
,

wa s ended and cried to Diana to save her


, Then a .

cloud gre y and thick and blinding as the mist that


,

wraps the mountain tops suddenly descended and ,

enfolded her and Alpheus groped for her in vain


, .

Arethusa She heard him cry in a voi c e of ,

piteous longing Arethusa


m y belov ed
Patiently he waited with the love that make s u n ,

couth things beautiful until at length a little breath ,

from Zephy rus blew aside the soft grey veil that hid his
beloved from his sight and he saw that the ny mph had ,

been transformed into a fountain Not for a moment .

did Alpheus delay but turning himself into a torrent


, ,

in ood he rushed on in pursuit of Arethusa Then did


, .

Diana to save her votary cleave a way for her through


, ,

the dark earth even into the gloomy realm of Pluto


himself and the nymph rushed onward onward still
, , ,

and then upward until at length sh e emerged again to


,

the freedom o f the blue sky and green trees and beheld ,

the golden orange grove s and the gre y olive s the burn ,
104 A B OO K O F MYTHS
ing red geranium owers and the great snow capped -

mountain o f Sicily .

But Alpheus had a love for her that cast ou t all


fear Through the terrible blackness of the Cocytus
.

valley he followed Arethusa and found a means of ,

bursting through the encumbering earth and j oining her


again And in a spring that rises ou t of the se a near
.

the shore he was able at l ast to mingle his waters with


those of the on e for w hom he had lost his godship .

A d n w fr m th ir f
no tai o e ou n ns

I Em a m tai
n n s ou n n s,

D w
o val wh r th m r i g ba k
n on e e e e e o n n s s,

L i k fri d e c p art d
en s on e e

Gr w i gl h art d
o n s n e- e e ,

Th y ply th ir wat ry ta ks
e e e s ,

A t ri th y l ap
sun se e e

F r m th ir c ra dl t p
o e e s s ee

I th cav
n e f th h l vi g hi ll ;
e o e s e n

At tid th y w
n oo n e e o

Thr gh th w d b l w
ou e oo s e o

A d th m a d w
n e f a sp h d l
e o s o o e

A d at i ght th y Sl p
n n e ee

I th r ck i g d p
n e o n ee

B ath th O rtyg ia h r ;
en e e n s o e

L i k S p irit that l i
e s e

I th az r
n ky
e u e s

W h th y l v b t l iv
en e m r
o eS H E EY
u e no o e .

LL .
PERSEUS THE HER O
ca ll c h a m a h r i E gl i h t thi d
We su an e o n n s o s a
y , an d c a ll it a

h r i c thi g t ff r p ai
e o

n d g ri e f that w e m a y
o su e n an ,
do go d o to ou r

f ll w m
e o
-
CH A R E S K I N G S EY
en .

L L .

IN the p l easant land of Argos n ow a p l a c e of unwhole ,

some marshes on c e upon a tim e there reigned a king


,

called Acrisius the father of on e fair daughter Dana e


, .

was her name and sh e w as very dear to the king until a


,

day when he longed to know what lay hid for him in the
lap of the gods and c onsulted an ora cle With hanging
, .

head he returned from the temple for the oracle had told ,
.

him that when his daughter Danae: had borne a son b y ,

the hand of that son death must surely come upon him .

And because the fear of death was in him more strong


than the love of his daughter Acrisius resolved that b y ,

sacricing her he would bafe the gods and frustrate


Death itself A great tower of brass was speedil y built
.

at his command and in this prison Danae: was pla c e d


, ,

to drag ou t her weary days .

But w h o can es c ape the desig ns of the gods From


O lympus great Zeus himself looked down and saw the
air princess sighing away her youth And full o f pity .
,

and of love he himself entered the brazen tower in a


,

golden shower and D an a became the bride of Zeus and


happily passed with him the time of her imprisonment .

To her at length w as born a son a beautiful and ,


105
10 6 A B OO K O F MYTHS
kingly c hild and great was the wrath of her father when
,

he had tidings of the birth Did the gods in the high .

heavens laugh at him The laugh should yet be on his


side Down to the seashore he hurried Danae and her
.
'

newly born babe the little Perseus put them in a great


-
, ,

chest and set them adrift to be a plaything for w inds and


,

waves and a prey for the cruel and hungry sea .

Wh e i th c i gly wro ght ch e s t th ra gi g b l a s t d th e



n n e un n n -
u e n an

stirr e d bi ll w d t rr r f l l u p h with t arful c h k h e ca t h e


o an e o e on e r, e ee s s s r

a m ar u d P e r
r uo d p ak
n Al a my chi l d what s rr w i s m i e !
se s an s e,

s, , o o n

B t th
u l mb t i bab y W i e S l e p i g i thi w
ou s u e re s f l ark m i d t th e
, n -
s e n n s oe u s

d ar k e ss f th e braz riv t th
n o hi e t d i th wart gl m en t e ou s n s an n e s oo se n

f rth ; th u h e e d t
o t th d op f am f th e p a i g wave ab v th y
es no e ee o o ss n o e

l ck
o s th v i c f th b l a t a s th u l i t i th y p rpl e c e i gj
n or e o e o e s o es n u ov r n a

sw e t fa ce If t rr r ha d t rr r f th e
e . d th ew rt g ivi g
o t e o s or e , an ou e n e ar o

my g e tl e w r d I bi d th l e p my bab e d m ay th
n o s l p d ee s e , , an e se a s e e an

our m a ur l w ; d m ay cha g f f rt
e s e e ss c m e f rth Fath r
oe an n e o o un e o o , e

Z fr m th e F that I m ak my p ray e r i b old e


e u s, o e d b y d
or e n n ss an e on

ri ght for g iv e m e S I MON I DE S K o


.


. or E s.
,

For day s and nights the mother and child were


tossed on the billows but y et no harm came near them , ,

and on e morning the chest grounded on the rocky beach


of S eriphos an island in the ZE ge an Sea Here a sh er
,
.

m an c ame on this strange otsam and j etsam of the


wave s and took the mother and child to P ol ydectes the ,

k ing and the y ear s that followed were p eaceful y ears


,

for Dana e and for Perseu s But as P erseus grew up .


,

growing ea ch day more goodly to l ook upon more fear ,

less more read y to gaze with serene c ourage into the


,

ey es of gods and of men an evil thing befell his mother ,


.

She was but a girl when he was born and as the y ears ,

passed sh e grew ever m ore fair An d the c rafty ey es of .


PE RSEUS 10 7

ol d the king ever watched her more eagerly


Pol y de ctes , , ,

alway s more hotly desired her for his wife But Dana e .
,

the beloved of Zeus himself had no wish to wed the ol d ,

king of the C y clades and proudly sh e scorned his suit


, .

B ehind her as she knew well was the stout arm of her
, ,

son P ers eus and while Perseus was there the k ing could
, ,

do her no harm But Perseus unwitting of the danger


.
,

hi s mothe r daily had to face sailed the seas unfearingly , ,

and felt that peace and safety surrounded him on every


side At Samos on e day while his ship was la di ng
.
, ,

Perseu s l ay dow n under the shade of a great tree and ,

soon his eyelids grew heavy with sleep and there c ame ,

to him like butteries that it over the owers in a sunlit


,

garden pleasant light winged dreams But yet another


, ,
-
.

dream followed close on the merry heels of those that


went before And before P erseus there stood on e whose
.

grey ey e s were as the fathomless sea on the dawn of a


summer day Her long robes were blue as the hya c inths
.

in spring and the spear that sh e held in her hand was of


,

a polished brightness as the dart with which the gods ,

smite the heart of a man with j oy inexpressible with , ,

sorrow that is scar cely to be borne To Perseu s she .

spoke winged words .

I am Pallas Athen e she s aid



and to me the , ,

soul s of men are known Those whose fat hearts are as .

those of the beasts that perish do I know They live at .

case No bitter sorrow is theirs nor any erc e j oy that


.
,

lifts their feet free from the cumbering clay But dear .

to my heart are the souls of those whose tears are tears


of bloo d w ho s e j oy is as the o
, j y of the Immortals P ain .
108 A B OO K O F MYTHS
is theirs and sorrow Disappointment is theirs and
,
. ,

grief Yet th eir love is as the love o f those who dwell on


.

Olympus Patient they are and long su ffering and


.
-
,

ever they hope ever do they trust Ever they ght


,
.
,

fearless and unashamed and when the sum of their day s ,

on earth is accomplished wings of whose existen c e the y , ,

have never had knowledge bear them upwards ou t of , ,

the mist and din and strife of life to the life that ha s n o ,


ending .

Then sh e laid her hand on the hand of P erseus .


Perseus sh e said art thou of those whose dull souls
, ,

forever dwell in p leasant ease or wouldst thou be as on e ,

of the Immortals

And in hi s d ream Perseus answered without hesita


tion
Rather let me die a y outh living m y life to the , ,


ful l ghting ever suffering ever he said
,
than live
, , ,

at case l ike a beast that feeds on owery pastures and



knows no ery gladness no heart b l eeding pain ,
-
.

Then Pallas Athen e laughing for j oy because sh e , ,


l oved so well a hero s soul showed him a picture that ,

made even his brave heart S ick for dread and told him ,

a terrible story .

In the dim cold far west she said there l ived three
, , , ,

sisters O ne of them Medusa had been on e of her


.
, ,

priestesses golden haired and most beautiful but when


,
-
,

Athen e found that sh e was as wicked as she was lovel y ,

swiftly had sh e meted ou t a punishment Every l ock .

o f her golden hair had been changed into a venomous

snake Her eyes that had on c e been th e cradles of love


.
, ,
PERSEUS 109

were turned into love s stony tombs Her rosy ch e cks



.


were now o f Death s own livid hue Her smile which .
,

drew the hearts of lovers from their bosoms had be c o me ,

a hideou s thing A grinning mask looked on the


.

world and to the world her gaping mouth an d p ro


,

tru d in g ton gu e meant a horror before which the worl d


stood terrie d dumb There are some sadnesses too
, .

terrible for human hearts to bear so it came to p ass ,

that in the dark cavern in which sh e dwelt and in the ,

shadowy woods aroun d it all living things that ha d met


,

the awful gaze of her hopeless e y es were turned into


stone Then Pallas Athen e showed Perseus mirr ored
.
,

in a brazen shield the face of on e of the tragi c things of


,

the world And as Perseus looked his soul grew chill


.
,

within him But when Athen e in l ow voi c e a sked


.
, ,

him :
Perseus wilt even end the s orrow of this piteou s
,

sinful on e he answered E ven that will I d oth e


,

gods helping me .

And Pallas Athen e s miling again in glad c ontent


, ,

left him to dream and P erseus awoke in sudden fear


, , ,

and found that in truth he had but dreamed yet he ld ,

his dream as a holy thing in the secret treasure hou s e of -

his heart
Back to Seriphos he sailed and found that his mother ,

walk ed in fear of P ol y de cte s the king She told her .

son a strong man n ow though y oung in y ears the ,

story of h is c ruel persecution P erseus saw red blood .


,

and gladly woul d he have driven his keen bl ade


far home in the heart of Pol v de cte s But hi s vengeance .
1 10 A B OO K OF MYTHS
wa s to be a great vengean c e and the vengean c e wa s ,

delay ed .

The king gave a feast and on that d ay every on e in ,

the land brought offerings of their best and most c ostly


to do him honour Perseus alone came empty han ded
.
-
,


and as he stood in the king s court as though he were a
beggar the other y ouths mo ck ed at him of whom they
,

had ever been jealous .


Thou say e st that thy father is on e of the gods !
they said Where is thy godlike gift 0 Perseus
. ,

And P ol y dectes glad to humble the lad w h o was


,


keeper of his mother s honour e choed their fool i sh ,

taunt .

Where i s the gift of the gods that the noble son of


the gods has brought me he a sked and his fat ,

cheeks an d loose m outh quivered with u gly m erri


ment .

Then Perseu s his hea d thrown ba ck ga ze d in the


, ,

bold ey es of P ol ydectes .

Son of Zeus he was indeed a s he l ook e d with roy al ,

s corn at those whom he despised .


A godlike gift thou shalt have in truth 0 king he , , ,

said and his voice rang ou t as a trumpet call before the


,
-

battle The gift of the gods shall be thine The g ods


. .


helping me thou shalt have the head of Medusa
, .

A laugh hal f born died in the throats of Pol ydectes


,
-
,

and of those who listened and Perseus strode ou t of the ,

palace a glow in his heart for he knew that Pallas


, ,

Athen e had lit the re that burned in him n ow and that ,


though he should shed the last drop of his life s b l ood
PERSEUS TH E HER O 111

to win what he sought right would triumph and wrong , ,

must be worsted .

Still quivering w ith anger P erseus went down to the ,

blue sea that gently whispered its se crets to the s hore on


whi ch he stood .


If Pallas Athen e woul d but c om e h e thought ,


if only m y dreams might c ome true .

For like many a boy before and sin c e P erse u s ha d


, ,

dreamed of gallant fearl ess deeds Like many a b oy


,
.

before an d sin c e he had been the hero of a great ad


,

venture .

S o he pray e d Come to me ! I pray you Pallas


, ,

Athen e come an d let me dream tru e
, .

His pray er was an swered .

Into the sky there c ame a little silver cl oud that grew
and grew and ever it grew nearer and then as in his
, , ,

dream P allas Athen e c ame to him and s m iled on him a s


,

the sun smiles on the water in spring N or was sh e .

alone B eside her stood Hermes of the winged shoes


.
,

and P erseus kne lt before the tw o in worship Then very .


,

g entl y ,Pallas Athen e g ave him c oun s e l an d m ore than ,

c ounsel sh e gave .

In his han d sh e pl a ce d a p olishe d shie ld than whi ch ,

no mirror shone more brightl y .

Do not look at Medusa herself ; l ook only on h er


image here ree ctedthen strike home har d and s w iftly .

And when her head is s evered wrap it in the goatsk in ,

on whi c h the s hie l d han gs S o wi lt thou retu rn in safety


.


and in honour .

Bu t h ow then s hal l I c ros s the wet grey e lds of


, ,
1 12 A B OOK O F MYTHS
this watery way asked Perseus Woul d that I .


were a white winged bird that skims across the waves
- .

And with the smile of a loving comrade H erm es laid


, ,

his hand on the shoulder of Perseus .


My winged shoes shall be thine he said and the , ,


white winged se a birds shalt thou leave far far behind
- -
, .


Yet another gift is thine said Athen e Gird , .


on as gift from the go d s this sword that is immortal
, , .

For a moment Perseus lingered May I not bi d .

farewell to my mother ! he asked May I not offer .

burnt offerings to thee and to Hermes and to m y father


-
,

Zeus himse lf

But Athen e said Nay at his mother s weeping his
,

heart might relent and the offering that the O lympian s


,

desired was the head of Medusa .

Then like a fea rless young golden eagle Perseus


, ,

S pread ou t his arms and the winged shoes carrie d him


,

across the seas to the c old northern l ands whither


Athen e had directed him .


Each day his shoes took him a se ven day s j ourney ,

and ever the air through which he passed grew more


chill till at length he reached the land of everlasting
,

snow where the black ice never knows the conquering


,

warmth o f spring and where the white surf of the m oan


,

ing waves freezes solid even as it touches the shore .

It was a dark grim pla c e to which he came and in a ,

gloomy cavern by the sea lived the Grae ae the three grey ,

sisters that Athen e had told him he must seek Old and .

grey and horrible the y were with but on e tooth amongst


,

them an d but on e eye From hand to hand they passed


, .
PERSEUS 1 13

the ey e and muttered and shivered in the blackness and


,

the cold .

Boldly Perseu s spoke to them and asked them to


uide him to the pla c e where Medusa and her s isters
g
the Gorgons dwelt .


No others know where the y d well he said Tell , .

me I pray thee the way that I may nd them


, ,

.

B ut the Grey Women were kin to the Gorgons and ,

hate d all the children of men and ugly w as their evil ,

mirth as they mocked at Perseus and refused to tell him


where Medusa might be found .

But Perseus grew wily in his desire not to fail and ,

as the ey e passed from on e withered clutching hand to ,

another he held ou t his own stron g y oun g palm an d in


, ,

her blindness on e of the three placed the eye W ithin it .

Then the Grey W omen gave a piteous cry er c e and ,

angry as the cry of ol d grey wolve s that have been robbed


of their p re y and g nashe d upon him with their toothless
,

j aws .

And Perseus said : W icked y e are and cruel at


heart and blind shall y e remain forever unless ye tell
,

me where I may nd the Gorgons But tell me that and .


,

I give back the eye .

Then they whimpered and begged of him and when ,

they found that all their beseeching was in vain at ,

length they told him .


Go south they said , so far south that at length
,

thou comest to the uttermost limits of the sea to the ,

place where the day and night meet There is the .

Garden of the Hesperides and of them must thou ask


,

H
114 A B OOK O F MY TH S

the way And Give us back ou r ey e
.
they wailed
again most piteously and Perseus gave back the ey e
,

into a greedy trembling ol d hand an d ew south lik e a,

swallow that is glad to l eave the gloom y frozen lan d s


behind .

To the garden of the He sperides he came at last and ,

amongst the myrtles and roses and sunny fountains he


came on the ny mphs who there guard the golden fruit ,

and begged them to tell h im w hither he must wing his


way in order to nd the Gorgon s But the ny mphs .

c ould not tell .


We must ask Atlas they said the giant who sits
, ,

high up on the mountain and with hi s strong shoul der s



keeps the heavens and earth apart .

And with the ny mphs Perseus went up the mountain


and asked the patient giant to guide him to the plac e of
his quest .


Far away I can see them said Atlas ,
on an ,

island in the great ocean But unless thou wert to wear


.


the helme t of Pluto himself thy going must be in vain
, .

What is this helmet asked P ers eus and how ,

can I gain it
Didst thou wear the helmet of the ruler of Dark
Places thou wouldst be as invisible as a shadow in the
,


blackness of night answered Atlas ; but no mortal
,

can obtain it for only the Immortals can brave the


,

terrors of the Shadowy Land and y et return ; y et if thou



wil t promise me one thing the helmet shall be thine
, .

What wouldst thou ask ed Perseus .

And Atlas said For many a long y ear have I


,
PERSEUS 1 15

h om this earth and I grow aweary of my burden


e , .

When thou hast slain Medusa let me gaze upon her ,

face that I may be turned into stone and suffer n o


,


more forever .

An d Perseu s promised and at the bidding of Atla s ,

on e of the ny mph s s ped down to the land of the Shades ,

and for s even days Perseus and her sisters awaited her
return H er fa c e was as the face of a white lily and her
.

ey es were dark with sa dness when sh e came but w ith ,

her sh e bore the helmet of P luto and when sh e and her ,

sisters had kissed Pers eus and h idden him a sorrowful


farewell he put on the helmet and vanished away
, .

Soon the gentle light of day had gone and he foun d ,

himself in a pla c e where clammy fog blotted ou t all


things and where the sea was bla ck as the water of that
,

stream that runs through the Cocytus valley And in .

that silent land where there i s neither night n or day ,


n or cloud nor bree ze n or storm he found the c ave of ,

horrors in which the Gorgon s dwelt .

Tw o of them l i k e monstrous swine lay asl eep


, , ,

B t a thir d w m a p a c d ab t th hall
u o n e ou e ,

A d v r tur d h
n e h a d fr m wa l l t wa ll
e ne er e o o ,

A d m a d al d
n d hri k d i h
o ne d p air
ou an s e e n er es ,

B c a th g ld tr
e u se fh hair
e o en e sse s o er

W r m v d by w rithi g ak fr m i d t i d
e e o e n sn es o s e o s e,

That i th ir writhi g ft tim w u ld gl i d


n e n o en es o e

O t h n br a t
o h dd ri g h u ld r whit
er e s or s u e n s o e s e

O r fall i g d w th hi d
,
n thi g w ld l ight
o n, e e ou s n s ou

U p h f t d c rawl i g th c w ld twi
on er ee , an ,
n en e, ou ne

Th ir l im y f ld p h a k l W I I A M M ORR I S
e s o s u on er n es ne .
"
LL .

In the shield of Pallas Athen e the pi cture was mir


rore d and as P er seus gazed on it his sou l rew heav y for
, g
116 A B OO K OF MYTH S
the beauty and the horror of Medusa An d O h that it .


had been her foul sisters that I must slay ! he thought

at rst but then
,
To slay her will be kind indeed he ,

said .
Her beauty has become c orruption and all the ,

j oy of life for her has passed into the agony of reme m



brance the torture of unending remorse
,
.

And when he saw her brazen claws that still were


greedy and lustful to strike and to slay his face grew ,

stern and he paused no longer but with his sword he


, ,

smote her neck with all his might and main And to .

the rocky oor the body of Medusa fell with brazen


clang but her head he wrapped in the goatskin while
, ,

he turned his ey es away Aloft then he sprang and .


,

ew swifter than an arrow from the bow of Diana .

With hideous outcry the two other Gorgons foun d


the body of Medusa and like foul vu ltures that hunt a
, ,

little song bird they ew in pursuit o f Perseus For


-
,
.

many a league they kept up the chase and their howling ,

was grim to hear Across the seas they ew and over


.
,

the y ellow sand of the Libyan desert and as Perseu s ,

ew before them some blood drops fell from the severe d


,
-

head of Medusa and from them bred the vipers that are
,

found in the desert to this day But bravely did the .

w inged shoes o f Hermes bear Perseus on and by night ,

fall the Gorgon sisters had passed from sight and Perseus ,

found himself once more in the garden of the Hesperides .

Ere he sought the nymphs he knelt by the sea to cleanse


,

from his hands Medusa s blood and still does the se a



,

weed that we nd o n sea beaches after a storm bea r the


-

crims on stains .
PERSEUS 117

And when Perseus had received glad welcome from


the fair dwellers in the garden of the Hesperides he ,

sought Atlas that to him he might full his prom ise ;


,

and eagerl y Atlas behel d him for he was aweary of his


,

long toil .

S o Perseus uncovered the fa c e o f Medusa an d he l d it


up for the Titan to g aze upon .

An d when Atlas l ooked upon her whose beauty had


on c e been pure and living as that of a ower in spring ,

and saw only anguish and cruelty foul wickedness and , ,

hideous despair his heart grew like stone within him


, .

To stone too turned his great patient fa c e an d into


, , , ,

stone grew his vast limbs and strong crouching back , .

So did Atlas the Titan become Atlas the Mountain and ,

still his hea d white crow ned with snow and his great
,
-
,

shoulder far up in misty cl oud s would see m to hold ,

apart the earth and the sky .

Then Perseus again too k ight and in his ight he ,

passed over many lan ds and suffered weariness and


want an d sometimes felt his faith growing l ow Yet
, .

ever he sped on hoping ever enduring ever In Egypt


, , .

he had rest and was fed and honoured b y the people of


the land who were fain to keep him to be on e o f their
,

gods And in a pla c e called Chemmis they built a


.

statue of him when he had gone and for many hundreds ,

Of y ears it stood there And the Egy ptians said that


.

ever and again Perseus returned and that when he came ,

the Nile rose high and the seas on was fruitful be cau se
he had blessed their land .

Far down below him as he ew on e day h e saw


1 18 A B OOK O F MYTHS

someth ing white on a purple rock in the sea It seeme d .

too large to be a snowy plumaged bird and he darted


-
,

swiftly downward that he might se e more clearly The .

spray lashed against th e steep rocks of the des olate


island and showered itself upon a gu re that at rst he
,

took to be a statue of white marble The gure was but .

that of a girl slight and very youthful y et more fair


, ,

even than any of the ny mphs of the Hesperides In .

visible in his Helmet of Darkness Perseus drew near , ,

and saw that the fragile white gure was shaken b y


shivering sobs The wave s every few moments lappe d
.
, ,

up on her little c old white feet and he saw that heavy ,

chain s held her imprisoned to that chilly rock in the


sea A great anger stirred the heart of Perseus and
.
,

swiftly he took the helmet from his head and stood


beside her The maid gave a cry of terror but there
.
,

was no evi l thing in the face of Perseus Naught but .

strength and kindness and purity shone ou t of h is


steady ey es .

Thus when very gently he asked her what was the


, ,

meaning o f her cruel imprisonment sh e told him the ,

piteous story as a little child tells the story of its grief


,

to the mother who comforts it Her mother was queen .

of Ethiopia sh e said
, and very very beautiful But
, , .

when the queen had boasted that no ny mph who play ed


amongst the snow crested billow s of the sea was as fair
-

as sh e a terrible punishment was sent to her All al ong


, .


the coast of her father s kingdom a loathsome sea
monster came to hold its sway and hideous were its ,

ravages Men and women children and animal s a ll


.
, ,
PERSEUS 1 19

were equally desirable food for its insatiate maw and ,

the whole lan d of Ethiopia lay in mourning because of


it At last her father the king had consulted an oracle
.
, ,

that he might nd help to rid the land of the m onster .

And the oracle had told him that only when his fair
daughter Andromeda had been sacriced to the c reature
, ,

that scourged the sea c oast would the c ountry go free


-
.

Thu s had sh e been brought there b y her parent s that


on e life might be given for many and that her mother s

,

broken heart might expiate her sin of vanity Even .

a s Andromeda S poke the sea was broken b y the track


,

of a creature that cleft the water as does the fore

running gale of a mighty storm And An dro m eda gave


.

a piteous cry.


Lo ! he c ome s ! she c rie d Sav e m e ! ah
.
,


s ave m e I am so y oung to die .

Then Perseus darted high above her an d for an


instant hung poised like a hawk that is about to strike .

Then like the hawk that cannot miss its prey swiftly
, ,

did he swoop down and smote with his sword the de


v ou rin g monster of the ocean Not on c e but again and
.
,

again he smote until all the water round the rock w as


,

churned into slime and b l ood stained froth and until


-
,

hi s loathsome combatant oated on it s ba ck mere ,

carrion for the s c avenger s of the sea .

Then P erseus hewed o ff the chains that held Andro


meda an d in his a rms he held her tenderly as he ew
,

with her to her father s land



.

Who so grateful then as the king an d queen of


Ethiopia and who s o happ y as Androm eda ! for P ers eu s ,
12 0 A B OO K O F MYTHS
her deliverer dearest and greatest hero to her in all the
,

world not only had given her her freedom but had
, ,

given her his hear t .

Willingly and j oyfully her father agreed to gi ve her


to Perseus for his wife No marriage feast so s plendid
.

ha d ever been held i n Ethiopia in the memory of man ,

but as it went on an angry man with a band of sul len


,

faced followers strode into the banqueting hall It was .

Phineus he who had been betrothed to Andromeda yet


, ,

who had not dared to strike a b l ow for her res cue .

Straight at Perseus they rushed and erce was the ght ,

that then began But of a sudden from the goatsk in


.
,

where it lay hid Perseus drew forth the hea d of Medus a


, ,

and Phineus and his warriors were turned into stone .

For seven day s the marriage feast l asted but on the ,

eighth night Pallas Athen e came to Perseus in a dream .

Nobl y and well hast thou p l ay e d the hero 0 s on o f ,

Zeu s sh e said ; but now that thy toil is near an end


and thy sorrows have en d ed in j oy I come to claim the ,

shoes of Hermes the helmet of Pluto the s word and the


, , ,

shie l d that is mine own Yet the head of the Gorgon


.

must thou yet guard awhile for I woul d have it laid in,

my temple at Seriphos that I may wear it on my shie l d


'


for evermore .

AS sh e ceased to s peak P erseus awoke an d l o the


, , ,

shield and helmet and the sword and winged S hoes were
gone so that he knew that his dream was no false vision
, .

Then did Perseus and Andromeda in a red prowed ,


-

galley made b y cunning craftsmen from Ph oenicia sail ,

away westward until at length they c ame to the blue


,
PERS E US 1 1
2

water of the ZEgean S ea and saw rising ou t of the waves


,

before them the rocks o f Seriphos And when th e .

rowers re sted on their long oars an d the red prowe d ,


-

Ship ground on the pebbles of the beach P er seus and hi s ,

bride sought Danae the fair mother of P erseus


, .

Black grew the brow of the son of Dana e when sh e


told him what cruel things sh e had suffere d in h is absence
from the hands of P ol y de cte s the king Straight to the .

palace Perseus strode and there found the k ing and his
,

friends at their revels For seven y ears had P erseu s


.

been aw ayian d now it was no l onger a stripling who stood


in the palace hall but a m an in stature and b earing lik e
,

on e of the god s P ol y de cte s alone kne w him and from


.
,

his wine he looke d up with mocking gaze .

So thou hast returned oh namele ss son of a d eath



less god he s ai d
, Thou didst b oa st but m ethinks
.
,

thy boast wa s an e m pty on e


But even as he spoke the j eerin g smile froze on his ,

face and the face s of those w h o sat with hi m stiffened


,

in horror .


0 king Perseu s s aid
, I swore that the gods he l p, ,

ing me thou shouldst have the head of Medusa The


, .


gods have helped me Behold the Gorgon s head. .

Wild horror in their e y e s Pol ydecte s and his frien d s ,

gazed on the unspeakab l e thing and as they gazed the y ,


turned into stone a ring of grey stone s that still sit on
a hillside of Seriphos .

With his wife and his m other P ers eu s then saile d ,

away for he had a great longing to take Danae bac k to


,

the land of her birth and to see if her father Acrisius , ,


122 A B OOK O F MYTH S
still lived and might not now repent of hi s cru elty to her
and to his grandson But there he found that the sins
.

o f Acrisius had been punished and that he had been

driven from his throne and his o wn l and by a usurper .

Not for long did the sword of Perseus dwell in its scab
bard and spee dily was the u surper c ast forth and all the
, ,

men of Argos acclaimed Perseus as their gloriou s king .

But Pers eu s would not be their king .


I go to seek Ac risius he sai d , My m other s .


father is your king .

Again his galley saile d away an d at l ast up the l ong


, ,

Euboean Sea the y came to the tow n of Larissa where ,

the ol d king now dwe lt .

A feast and sport s were going on when they got there ,

and beside the king of the l an d s at A crisiu s an age d ,

man yet a kingly one indeed


, .

And Perseus thought If I a stranger tak e part in


, , ,

the Sports and carry away prizes from the men of Larissa ,


surely the heart of Acrisius must soften towards me .

Thus did he take off his helmet and cuiras s and ,

stood unclothed beside the y ouths of Larissa and so ,

godlike was he that they all said amazed Surely this


, ,

stranger come s from O lympus and is on e of the Im



mortals .

In his hand he took a discus and ful l ve fatho m s


,

beyond those of the others he cast it and a great shout ,

arose from those who watched and A crisius cried out as


,

l oudly as all the rest .


Further still ! they cried Further stil l c anst
.


thou hurl ! thou art a hero indeed !
PERSEUS 12 3

And Pers eus putting forth all his strength hurled on c e


, ,

again and the dis cus ew from his han d like a bolt from
,

the hand of Zeus The watchers held their breath an d


.

ma d e rea dy for a shout of delight as they saw it spee d


on,
further than mortal man had ever hurled before .

But j oy died in their hearts when a gust of wind c aught


the dis cus a s it sped and hurled it against Acrisius ,

the k ing And with a sigh like the sigh that passes
.

through the leaves of a tree as the woodman fells it an d


it crashes to the earth so did Acrisius fall and lie prone
, .

To his side rushed Perseus and lifted him tenderly in


,

his arms B ut the spirit of Acrisius had ed An d with


. .

a great cry of sorrow Perseus called to the people


B ehold me ! I a m P erseus grandson of the man I ,


have slain Who can avoid the decree of the gods !
For many a y ear thereafter P erseus reigned a s k ing ,

and to him and to his fair w ife were born four son s and
three daughters Wisely and well he reigned an d
.
,

when at a good ol d age Death took him and the wife


, ,

of his heart the go d s who had alway s held him dear


, , ,

took him up among the star s to live for ever and ever .

And there still on clear an d starry nights we may see


, ,


him holding the Gorgon s head Near him are th e father,

an d mother of Andromeda Cepheus and Cassiopeia ,

and cl ose beside him stands An dromeda with her white


arms spread ou t across the blue sky as in the day s when
sh e stood chained to the roc k And those who sail th e
.

watery ways look up for guidance to on e whose voyaging


is done and whose warfare is accomplished and take ,

th eir b earings from the c onstellation of Cassiopeia .


NI O BE
L ik e N i b a l l t ar S H AK ESP EA R E
o e, e s .

.

THE quotation is an overworked quotation like m any ,

another o f those from Ham l et ; yet have half of those ,

wh ose lips utter it more than the vaguest a c quaintance


with the story of Niobe and the cause of her tears ! The
noble group attributed to Praxiteles of Niobe an d her
last remaining child in the Ufzi Palace at Florence has
, ,

been so often reproduced that it also has helped to


make the anguished gure of the Theban queen a
familiar one in pictorial tragedy so that as l ong as th e ,

works o f those Titans of art Shakespeare and Praxite l es , ,

endure n o other monument is wanted for the m emory


,

of Niobe .

Like many of the tales of mythology her tragedy i s ,

a story of vengean c e wreaked upon a mortal b y an


angry god She was the daughter of Tan tal o s and her
.
,

husband was Amphion King of Th ebes himself a son of


, ,

Zeus To her were born seven fair daughters and seven


.

beautiful and gallant sons and it was not because of her,

own beauty nor her husband s fame nor their proud


,

,

descent and the greatness of their kingdom that the ,

Queen of Thebes was arrogant in her pride Very sure .

sh e was that no woman had ever borne children like her

o wn children whose peers were not to be foun d o n earth


,
NI OBE 1 25

n or in heaven Even in ou r ow n day there are m ortal


.

mothers who feel as Niobe felt .

But amongst the Immortal s there was also a mother


with children whom sh e c ounted as peerless Latona .
,

mother of Apollo and Diana was magnice ntly certain


,

that in all time nor in eternity to c ome c ould there be


, ,

a son and daughter so perfect in beauty in wisdom and , ,

in power as the tw o that were her own Loudly did sh e .

proclaim her p rou d belief and when Niobe hear d it sh e


,

laughed in scorn .

The goddess ha s a son and a daughter she said .

B e autiful and wise and powerful they may be but I ,

have borne seven daughters and seven sons and each ,

s on is more than the peer of Apollo each daughter more ,

than the equal of Diana the m oon goddess


,

An d to her boastful words Latona gave ear and ,

anger began to grow in her heart .

E ach year the people of Thebes were wont to hold a


great festival in honour of Latona and her son and
daughter and it was an evi l day for Niobe when sh e
,

came upon the adoring crowd that l aurel crowned bore ,


-
,

frankincense to lay before the altars of the gods whose


glories they had assembled together to c elebrate .


O h foolish ones ! sh e said and her voi c e was ,

full of scorn, am I not greater than Latona ! I am


the daughter of a goddess m y husband the king the
, , ,

son of a god . Am I not fair ! am I not queenly as


Latona herself And o f a surety I am richer by far
, ,

than the goddess w h o has but one daughter and on e son .

Look on m y s even nob l e s on s behold the beauty of my


126 A B O OK O F MYTHS
seven daughters and see if they in beauty and all el se
,

do not equal the dwellers in Oly mpus


And when the people looked and shouted aloud , ,

for in truth Niobe and her children were like unto gods ,

their queen said Do not Waste thy worship my


, ,

people Rather make the prayers to thy kin g and to


.

me and to my children who buttress us round and mak e


our strength so great that fearlessly we c an despise
,


the gods .

In her home on the C ynthian mountain top Latona ,

heard the arrogant words of the queen of Thebes and ,

even as a gust of wind blows smoul dering ashes into


a consuming re her growing anger amed into rage
, .

She called Apollo and Diana to her and commanded ,

them to avenge the blasphemous insul t which had been


given to them and to their mother And the twin gods .

listened with burning hearts .


Trul y shalt thou be avenged ! c ried Apoll o .

The shameless one shall learn that not unscathed goes


sh e who profanes the honour of the m other of the death

less gods
And with their silver bows in their hands Apollo , ,

the smiter from afar and Diana the virgin huntress


, , ,

hasted to Thebes There they found a l l the noble


.

youths of the kingdom pursuing their sports Some .

rode some were having chariot races and ex c elling in


, ,

all things were the seven sons of Niobe .

Apollo lost no time A shaft from h is quiver ew


.
,

as ies a bolt from the hand of Zeus and the rst ,

born o f Niobe fell like a you ng pine broken by


,
NIOBE 127

the wind on the oor of his winning chariot His


, .

brother who followed him went on the heels of his


, ,

c omrade swiftly down to the Shades Two of the other .

s ons of Niobe were wrestling together their great muscles ,

moving under the skin of white satin that covered their


perfect bodies and as they gri p p ed ea c h other y et
, ,

another shaft was driven from the bow of Apollo and ,

both lads fell oin e d b y on e arrow on the earth an d


, , ,

there breathed their lives away .

Their elder brother ran to their aid and to him , ,

too c ame death swift and sure


, , The two y oungest .
,

even as they cried for mer cy to an unknown god were ,

hurried after them by the un erring arrows of Apollo .

The cries of those who watched this terrible slaying


were not long i n bringing Niobe to the pla c e where
her sons lay dead Yet even then her pride was u n
.
, ,

c onquered and sh e deed the gods and Latona to


, , ,

whose j ealousy sh e as cribe d the fate of her seven



spears .

Not y et hast tn ou c onquered Latona sh e c ried , .

My seven sons lie dead y et to me still remain the


,

seven perfe ct lovelinesses that I have borne Try to .

match them if thou canst with the beauty of thy two !


, ,

Still am I richer than thou O c rue l and envious mother


,

of on e daughter and on e son


But even as sh e spoke Diana had dr awn her b ow , ,

and as the scythe of a mower quickly cuts down on e ,

after the other the tall white blossoms in the m eadow


, ,

so did her arrows slay the daughters of Niobe When .

on e only remained the pride of Niobe was broken


, .
128 A B O O K O F MYTHS
With her arms round the little Slender frame of her
golden haired y oungest born sh e looked up to heaven
-
, ,

and cried upon all the gods for mercy .

S he is so little !
sh e wailed S o y oung so .


d e ar ! Ah spare me on e S he said
, only on e out of
, ,

so many

B ut the gods laughed Like a harsh note of mus i c .


sounded the twang of Diana s bow P ierced by a .

silver arrow the littl e girl lay dead The dignity of


, .

Latona was avenged .

O ve rwhelmed b y despair K ing Amphion killed him ,

self and Niobe was left alone to gaze on the ruin


,

around her For nine day s sh e sat a Greek Ra chel


.
, ,

weepin g for her children and refusing to be comforted ,

be cause they were not O n the tenth day the sight


.
,

was too much even for the superhuman hearts of the


gods to endure The y turned the bodies into stone and
.

themselves buried them And when they looked on the


.

face of Niobe and saw on it a bleeding anguish that n o


human hand coul d stay n or the word of any god
c omfort the gods were merciful Her grief was im m or
, .

tal ise d for Niobe at their will became a stone and


, , , ,

was carried b y a wailing tempest to the summit of


Mount S ipyl u s in Lydia where a spring of Argos bore
, ,

her name Yet although a ro ck was Niobe from her


.
,

blind ey es of stone the tears still owed a clear stream ,


o f running water sy mbol of a mother s anguish and
,

never ending grief


-
.
HYAC INTHUS
ath Th e sa d de
O f H ya c i th wh th c r l br ath
n u s, en e ue e

O f Z ph yr l w h im Z p hy r p it t
e s e e en en

Wh w
o no P h b m t th m m t
, e re oe us ou n s e r a en ,

F dl s th w r am i d th s bbi g rai K EA T S
on e e o e e o n n.

.

W H OM the gods l ove die y oung truly it would


seem so as we read the old tales of men and of women
,

beloved o f the gods To those men who were deemed


.

worthy of being companions of the gods seemingly no ,

good fortune came Yet after all if even in a brief


.
, ,

span of life the y had tasted god given happiness was -


,

their fate on e to be pitied ! Rather let us keep ou r


tears for those w h o in a colourless grey world have seen
, ,

the dull days go past laden w ith triing duties u n ,

necessary cares and ever narrowing ideals and have -


,

reached old age and the grave no narrower than their


lives without ever having know n a fulness of happi
ness such as the Oly mpians knew or ever having dared
, ,

to reach upwards and to hold fellowship with the


Im mortals
Hy acinthus was a Spartan y outh son of Clio on e , ,

of the Muses and of the mortal with whom sh e


,

had mated and from mother or father or from the


, , ,

gods themselves he had received the gift of beauty


,
.

It chanced on e day that as Apollo drove his chariot on


1 29
T
1 30 A B OO K O F MYTHS
its all conquering round he saw the boy Hy acinthus
-
,
.

was as fair to look upon as the fairest of women yet h e ,

was not only full o f grace but was muscul ar and strong
, ,

as a straight y oung pine on Mount O ly mpus that fears


not the blind rage of the North Wind nor the angry
tempests o f the South .

Wh en Apollo had spok en with him he found that


the face of Hy a c inthus did not belie the heart within
him and gladly the god felt that at last he had foun d
,

the perfect companion the ever courageous an d j oy ous


,

y oun g mate whose mood was always ready to meet


,

his own Did Apollo desire to hunt with merry shout


.
,

Hyacinthus called the hounds Did the great god .

deign to sh Hyacinthus was ready to fetch the nets


,

and to throw himself whole souled into the great affair


,
-
,

of chasing and of landing the silvery shes Wh en .

Apollo wished to climb the mountains to heights so ,

lonely that not even the moving of an eagle s wing

broke the everlasting stillness Hy acinthus his strong ,

limbs too perfect for the chise l of any s culptor worthil y


to reproduce was read y and eager for the climb An d .

when on the mountain top Apollo gazed in silen c e over


, ,

illimitable space and watched the silver car of his


,

sister Diana rising slowly into the deep b lue of the


sky silvering land and water as sh e passed it was
, ,

never Hyacinthus who was the rst to speak with



words to break the spell of Nature s perfect beauty ,

shared in perfect companionship There were times .


,

too when Apollo would play his lyre and when naught
, ,

but the music of his own making could full his longing .
HYACINTHUS 1 31

An d when those times c ame Hyacinthus would lie at ,

the feet of his friend of the friend w h o w a s a god


and would listen with ey es of rapturous j oy to the
, ,

musi c that his master made A very perfe ct friend wa s .

this friend of the sun god -


.

Nor was it Apollo alone w h o desired the friend


ship of Hyacinthus Zephyrus god of the South
.
,

Wind had know n him before Apollo crossed his path


,

and had eagerly desired him for a friend But w h o .

c oul d stand against Apollo Sulkily Zephy rus marked


their ever ripening friendship and in his heart eal ou sy
-
,

g rew into hatred and hatred whispered


, to him o f
revenge Hy acinthus excelled at all sports and when
.
,

he played quoits it was sheer j oy for Apollo w h o ,

loved all things beautiful to watch him as he stood ,

to throw the disc his taut muscles making him look


,

like Hermes ready to S purn the cumbering earth from


,

o ff his feet Further even than the god his friend


.
, ,

could Hy acinthus throw and alway s his merry laugh ,

when he succeeded made the god feel that n or man n or


god c ould ever grow old And so there came that day .
,

fore ordained by the Fates when Apollo and Hy acin


-
,

thus played a match toge ther Hyacinthus made a .

valiant throw and Apollo took his place and cast the
, ,

discus high and far Hyacinthus ran forward eager to


.

measure the distance shouting with excitement over a


,

throw that had indeed been worthy of a god Thus did .

Zephyrus gain his opportunity Swiftly through the .

tree tops ran the murmuring South Wind and smote ,

the dis cus of Apollo with a cruel hand Against the .


1 32 A B OO K O F MYTHS
forehead of Hyacinthus it dashed smiting the locks that ,

lay upon it crashing through Skin and esh and bone


, ,

felling him to the earth Apollo ran towards him and .

raised him in his arms But the head of Hy acinthus fell .

over on the god s Shoulder like the head of a l ily whose


,

stem is broken The red blood gushed to the ground .


,

an unquenchable stream and darkness fell on the ey es ,


of Hyacinthus and with the ow of his life s bl ood, , ,

his gallant young soul passed away .


Woul d that I coul d die for thee Hy a c inthus ! ,

cried the god his god s heart near breaking ,


I have
.

robbed thee of thy y outh Thine is the suffering mine .


,


the crime I shall sing thee ever oh perfect friend !
.

And evermore shalt thou live as a ower that will speak


to the hearts of men of spring o f everlasting y outh ,


of life that lives forever .

AS he spoke there sprang from the blood drop s at ,


-

his feet a cluster of owers blue as the sky in spring , ,

yet hanging their heads as if in sorrow .


1

And still w hen winter is ended and the song of


, ,

birds tell us of the promise of spring if we go to the ,

woods we nd traces of the vow of the sun god The


,
-
.

trees are budding in buds of rosy hue the willow branches ,

are decked with silvery catkins powdered with gold .

The larches like slender dry ads wear a feathery garb of


, ,

tender gr een and under the trees of the woods the


,

primroses look up like fallen stars Along the wood , .

land path we go treading on fragrant pine needles and ,


-

1
ge d ay t h at
Le n s s on th e p tal
e s of th e h ya c i th A p ll tra c rib d
n o o ns e

th e l tt r A i
e e s Ala ,

s
HYACINTHUS 1 33

on the beech leaves of last y ear that have not y et lost


their radiant amber And at a turn of the way the
.
, ,

su n god suddenly shines through the great dark branche s


-

of the giants of the forest and before us lies a patch of


,

exquisite blue as though a god had robbed the sky


,

and torn from it a precious fragment that seems alive


and moving between the su n and the shadow
, .

And as we look the su n caresses it and the S outh


, , ,

Wind gently moves the little bell shaped owers of the


-

wild hyacinth as it softly sweeps across them So does


.

Hyacinthus live on ; s o do Apollo and Zephyrus still


love and mourn their friend .
KING MIDAS O F THE G O LDEN T O UC H

IN the plays of Shakespeare we have three distin ct


divisions three separate volumes O ne deals w ith Tra .

g e dy
,
another with Comed y a third with Histor
, y ; and
a mistake made b y the young in their aspe ct of
life is that they do the same thing and keep tragedy ,

and comedy severely apart relegating them to separate


,

volumes that so they think have nothing to do with


, ,

each other But those who have passed many mile


.

stones on the road know that History is the only



right l abel for the Book of Life s many parts an d ,

th at the a ctor s in the great play are in truth tragi c


comedians .

This is the story of Midas on e of the c hief tragi c


,

c omedians of mythology .

O nce upon a time the kingdom of Phry gia lacked a


king and in much perplexity the people sought help
, ,

from an oracle The answer was very denite


.

Th e rst man who enters y our c ity riding in a



c ar shall be y our king .

That day there came S lowly j ogging into the city in


their heavy wooden wheeled wain the peasant Gordias
,
-
,

and his wife and son whose destination was the market
,

place and whose business was to sell the produce of their


,

little farm and vineyard fowls a goat or two and a , ,


1 34
KING MIDAS 1 35

c ouple of skin sfu l of strong purple red wine An eager


,
-
.

crowd awaited their entry and a loud shout of welcome


,

greeted them An d their ey es grew round and their


.

mouths fell open in amaze when they were hailed as


King and Queen and P rince of Phry gia .

The gods had indeed b estowed upon Gordias the l ow ,

born peasant a surprising gift but he showed h is gratitude


, ,

by dedicating his wagon to the deity o f the oracle and


tying it up in its place w ith the wiliest knot that his
simple wisdom knew pulled as tight as his brawny arms
,

and strong rough hands c ould pull N or c ould anyone .

untie the famous Gordian knot and therefore become , ,

as the oracle promised lord of all Asia until centuries


, ,

had passed and Al exander the Great came to Phrygia and


,

Sliced through the knot with h is all conquering sword -


.

In time Midas the son of Gordia s came to inherit


, ,

the throne and crown o f Phrygia Like many another .

n ot born and bred to the purple h is honours sat heavily ,

upon him From the d ay that his father s wain ha d


.

entered the c ity amidst the a c clamations of the people ,

he had learned the value of power and therefore from , ,

his boy hood onward power alway s more power was


, , ,

what he coveted Also his peasant father had taught


.

him that gold c ould buy power and so Midas ever ,

longed for more gold that c oul d buy him a place in the
,

world that no descendant of a long race of kings should


be able to c ontest And from Olympus the gods looked
.

down and smiled and vowed that Midas shoul d have


,

th e chance o f realising his heart s desire



.

Therefore on e day when he and his c ou rt were sitting


13 6 A B OO K OF MYTHS
in the solemn state that Midas required there rode ,

into their midst tipsily swaying on the back of a gentle


,

full fed old grey ass ivy crow ned j ovial and foolish
-
,
-
, ,

the satyr Silenus guardian of the y oung god Bacchus


,
.

With all the deference due to the friend of a god


Midas treated this disreputable old pedagogue and for ,

ten days and nights on end he feasted him royally O n .

the eleventh day Bacchus came in search of his p re ce p


tor and in deep gratitude bade Midas demand of him
,

what he would because he had done Silenus honour


,

when to dishonour him lay in his power .

Not even for a moment did Midas ponder .


I would have gold he said hastil y
, much gold .

I woul d have that touch by which all c ommon and



valueless things become golden treasures .

And Bacchus knowing that here spoke the son of


,

peasants who many times had gone empty to bed after


a day of toilful striving on the rocky uplands of Phrygia ,

looked a little sadly in the eager face of Midas and ,

answered : Be it as thou wilt Thine shall be the .


golden touch .

Then Bacchus and Silenus went away a rout of ,

singing revellers at their heels and Midas quickly put


,

to proof the words of Bacchus .

An olive tree grew near where he stood and from it ,

he picked a little twig decked with leaves of softest grey ,

and 10 it grew heavy as he held it and glittered like a


, ,

piece of his crown He stooped to touch the green turf


.

on which some fragrant violets grew and turf grew into ,

cloth of gold and V iolets lost their fragrance and


,
KING MIDAS 1 37

became hard solid golden things He touched an


, , .

apple whose cheek grew rosy in the su n and at once i t ,

became like the golden fruit i n the Garden of the Hes


e rid es The stone pillars of his palace as he brushed
p .

past them on entering blazed like a sunset sky The


, .

gods had n ot deceived him Midas had the Golden .

Touch Joy ou sl y he strode into the palace and com


.

m an de d a feast to be prepared a feast worthy of an


occasion so magnicent .

But when Midas with the healthy appetite of the


,

peasant born would have eaten large ly of the savoury


-
,

food that his cooks prepared he found that his teeth ,

only touched roast kid to turn it into a slab of gold ,

that garlic lost its avour and became gritty as he


chewed that rice turned into golden grains and curdled
, ,

milk became a dower t for a prin c ess entirely unne ,

otiab l e for the digestion o f man Bafed and miser


g .

able Midas seized h is cup of W i ne but the red wine had


, ,

become on e with the golden vessel that held it ; nor could


he quench his thirst for even the limpid water from the
,

fountain was melted gold when it touched his dry lips .

Only for a very few day s was Midas able to bear the
afiction o f his wealth There was nothing now for .

h im to live for He coul d buy the whole earth if he


.

pleased but even children shrank in terror from his


,

touch and hungry and thirsty and sick at heart he


,

wearily dragged along h is weighty robes of gold Gold .

was power he knew well yet of what worth was gold


, ,

while he starved ! Gold could not buy him life and


health and happiness .
1 38 A BOO K OF MYTHS
In despair at length he cried to the god who had
,

given him the gif t that he hated .


Save me O Bacchus ! he said
,
A witless on e
.

am I and the folly of my desire has been my undoing


,
.

Take away from me the a c cursed Golden Tou ch and ,


faithfully and well Shall I serve thee forever .

Then Bacchus very pitiful for him told Midas to go to


, ,

Sardis the chief city of his worshippers and to trace to its


, ,

source the river upon which it was built And in that .

pool when he found it he was to plunge his head and so


, , ,

he woul d for evermore be freed from the Golden Touch


, ,
.

It was a long j ourney that Midas then took and a ,

weary and a starving man was he when at length he


reached the spring where the river Pactolus had its
source He crawled forward an d timidly plunged in his
.
,

head and S houlders Al most he expected to fee l the


.

harsh grit of golden water but instead there was the j oy


,

he had known as a peasant boy when he laved his face



and drank at a c oo l spring when his day s toi l was ended .

And when he raised his face from the pool he knew that ,

his hateful power had passed from him but under the ,

water he saw grains of gold glittering in the sand and from ,

that time forth the river Pactolus was noted for its gold .

One lesson the peasant king had l earnt b y pay ing in


suffering for a mistake but there was y et more suffering
,

in store for the tragic comedian .

He had now no wish for golden riches nor even for ,

power He wished to lead the simple life and to listen


.

to the pipings of Pan along with the goatherds on the


mountains or the wild creature s in the woods Thus .
KING MIDAS 139

it befell that he was present on e day at a contest between


Pan and Apollo himself It was a day of merry making
.
-

for ny mphs and fauns and dry ads and all those who ,

lived in the l onely solitudes of Phry gia came to listen to


the music of the god w h o ruled them For as Pan sat .

in the S hade of a forest on e night and piped on his reeds


until the very Shadows danced and the water of th e ,

stream by which he sat leapt high over the mossy stone s


it passed and laughed aloud in its glee the god had so
, ,

gloried in his own power that he cried


Who speaks of Apollo and his ly re Some of the
gods may be well pleased with his music and mayhap ,

a bloodless man or two But my music strikes to the


.

heart of the earth itse lf It stirs with rapture the very


.

sap o f the trees and awakes to life and j oy the inner


,


most soul o f all things mortal .

Apollo heard his boast and heard it angrily


, .

O h thou whose sou l is the soul o f the unti ll ed


,

ground he said wouldst thou place thy music that


, ,

is like the wind in the reeds beside my musi c which is


, ,

as the music o f the spheres



And Pan splashing with his goat s feet amongst the
,

water lilies of the stream o n the bank o f which he sat


-
,

laughed l oudly and cried


Yea would I Apollo
, , Wil lingly woul d I play thee

a match thou on thy golden l yre I on my reeds fro m

the river .

Thus did it c ome to pass that Apollo and Pan


mat ched against each other their musi c and King Midas ,

was on e of the judge s .


1 40 A B O O K OF MYTHS
First of all Pan took his fragile reeds and as he ,

play ed the leaves on the trees shivered and the sleeping


, ,

lilies raised their heads and the birds ceased their song ,

to listen and then ew straight to their mates And al l .

the beauty of the world grew m ore beautiful and all ,

its terror grew y et more grim and still P an piped ,

on and laughed to se e the nymphs and the fauns rst


,

dance in j oy ousness and then tremble in fear and the ,

buds to blossom and the stags to bellow in their lord


,

ship o f the hills When he ceased it was as though


.
,

a tensely drawn s tring had broken and al l the earth


-
,

lay breathless and mute And Pan turned proudl y .

to the golden haired god who had listened as he had


-

spoken through the hearts of reeds to the hearts of


men .

Canst then make music like unto my musi c


, , ,

Apollo he said .

Then Apollo his purple robes barely hiding the


,

perfection of his limbs a wreath of laurel crowning his ,

y ellow c urls l ooked down at Pan from his godlike


,

height and smiled in silence For a moment his hand .

S ilently play ed over the golden strings of his ly re and ,

then his n ge r tips gently tou ched them And every


-
.

creature there who had a soul felt that that soul had ,

wings and the wings sped them straight to O lympus


, .

Far away from all earth bound creatur es they ew -


,

and dwelt in magnicent serenity amongst the Im m or


tals No longer w a s there strife or any dispea c e No
.
, .

more was there erce warring between the actual and


the unk nown The green eld s and thick woods had
.
KING MIDAS 141

faded into nothingness and their creatures and th e


, ,

fair ny mphs and dry ads and the wild fauns and centaurs
,

longed and fought n o more and man had ceased to ,

desire the impossible Throbbing nature and passion


.

ately desiring life faded into dust before the melody


that Apollo call ed forth and when his strings had,

ceased to quiver and only the faintly remembered echo


of his music remained it was as though the earth h ad
,

passed away and all things had become new .

For the space of many se c onds all was silen c e .

Then in low voice Apol lo asked


, ,

Ye who listenwho is the victor


And earth and se a and sky and all the creatures of ,

earth and sky and of the deep replied as one


, ,


The victory is thine Divine Apollo , .

Yet was there on e dissentient voice .

Midas sorely puzzled utterly u n understanding was


, ,
-
,

relieved when the music of Apollo ceased If only .


Pan would play again he murmured to himself
, I .


wish to live and Pan s music gives me life I love the
, .

woolly vine buds and the fragrant pine leaves and the
- -
,

scent of the violets in the spring The smell of the fresh .

ploughed earth is dear to me the breath of the kine ,

that have grazed in the meadows of wild parsley and of


asphodel I want to drink red wine and to eat and
.

love and ght and work and be j oy ous and sa d erce and ,

strong and very weary and to sleep the dead sleep of


, ,


men w h o live only as weak mortals do .

Therefore he raised his voice and called very loud : ,

Pan s music is sweeter and truer and greater than th e



1 42 A B O O K O F MYTHS

m usic Apollo Pan is the vi ctor and I King Midas


of .
, , ,


give him the V ictor s crown
With scorn ineffable the sun god turned upon Midas -
,

his peasant s face tran sgu re d by his proud decision



.

For a little he gazed at him in silen c e an d his l ook ,

m ight have turne d a su nbeam to an icicle .

Then he spoke :

The cars of an ass have hea rd my musi c he s ai d , .


Hen c eforth shall Midas have ass s ears .

And when Midas in terror clapped his hands to hi s


, ,

crisp black hair he found growing far beyond it th e


, ,

long pointed ears of an ass Perhaps what hurt him


,
.

most as he ed away was the shout of merriment that


, ,

came from Pan An d faun s and ny mphs an d satyrs


.
~

echoed that shout most j oyously .

Willingl y would he have hidden in the woods b u t ,

there he found no hiding pla c e The trees and shrub s -


.

and owering thing s seemed to shake in cruel mo ckery .

Back to his court he went and sent for the c ourt hair
dresser that he might bribe him to devise a covering
,

for these long peaked hairy sy mbols of his folly


, , .

Gladly the hairdresser accepted many and many oboli ,

many and many golden gifts and all Phrygia wondered , ,

while it copied the strange headdress of the king


, .

But although much gold had bought his silence the ,

court barber was unquiet of heart All day and a ll .

through the night he wa s tormented by his w eight y


secret And then at len gth silence was to him a
.
, ,

torture too great to be borne ; he sought a lonely place ,

there dug a deep hole and kneeling b y it softl y , , ,


KING MIDAS 143

whispered to the d amp earth King Midas has ass s


ears.

Greatl y relieved he hastened home and was well


, ,

c ontent un til on th e S pot where his se c ret lay buried


, ,

rushes grew u p And when the winds bl ew through


.

them the rushes whispered for all those who passed


,

b y to hear King M ida s has ass s ears ! K ing Mi das



has ass s ea rs Those who l isten very c arefully to
w hat the green rushes in marshy places whisper as the
wind passes through them m ay hear the same thing to
,

this day And those who hear the whisper of the rushes
.

m ay p erhaps give a pit y ing thought to Midas the


, ,

tragic comedian of my thology .


CEYX AN D HALCY ONE
St. M arti
n s su m m e r h a l cy
,
on d ay s .

King Hen ry V I, i . 2, 13 1 .

H A L CY O N days how often is the expression made


use of how seldom do its users realise from when c e
,

the y have borrowed it .

3
These we re halcy on day s say s the old man and , ,

his memory wanders back to a time when for him


All th w rl d i y g lad
e o s oun , ,

An d a ll th tr se gr ; ee are e en

An d e v ry g
e a wao ose s n, l ad ,
An d e v ry la a qu
e ss een .

Yet the story of Halcy one is one best to be under


stood by the heavy hearted woman who wanders along the
-

bleak sea beach and strains her weary ey es for the brown
sa il of the sh in g boat that will never more return
-
.

Over the kingdom of Thessaly in the day s of long ,

ago there reigned a king whose name was Ce y x son of


, ,

Hesperus the Day Star and almost as radiant in grace


, ,

and beauty as was his father His wife was the fair .

Halcyone daughter of ZE ol u s ruler of the winds and


, , ,

most perfectly did this king and queen love on e another .

Their happiness was unmarred u ntil there came a day


when Ceyx had to mourn for the loss of a brother .

Following close on the heels o f this disaster came direful


1 44
CEYX AND HALCY ONE 14 5

p rodigie s which led Ceyx to fear that in so m e way he


must have incurred the hostility of the gods To him .

there was n o way in whi ch to discover wherein lay his


fault and to make atonement for it but b y going to
, ,

consul t the oracle o f Apollo at Claros in Ionia When , .

he told Halcy one what he must do she knew well that ,

sh e must not try to turn him from his solemn purpose ,

y et there hung over her heart a black shadow of fear


an d of evil forebodin g that n o l oving words of assur
an c e c ould drive away Most piteously sh e begged him
.

to take her with him but the king knew too well the
,

dangers of the treacherous ZEgean Sea to risk on it the


life of the woman that he l oved so well .


I pro mise he said
, by the rays of my Father
,

th e D ay Star that if fate permits I will return before the


,

moon shal l have twice rounded her or


Down by the shore the sailors of King Ceyx awaited
hi s c omin g and when with passionately tender love he
,

an d Hal cy one had tak en farewell of each other the ,

rowers sat down on the ben ches and di p ped their long
c ars into the water .

With rh ythmi c sw ing they drove the great ship over


the grey sea whil e Cey x stood on deck and gazed ba ck at
,

his wife u ntil his ey e s could n o longer distinguish her


from the rocks on the shore nor c ould sh e any longer
,

see the white sail s of the ship as it creste d the restles s


waves Heavier still was her heart when sh e turned
.

away from the shore and y et more heavy it grew as the


,

day wore on and dark night descended For the air was .

full of the clamorous wailings of th e er c e winds whos e


K
146 A B O O K O F MYTH S
j oy it is to lash the waves into rage and to strew with
dead men and broken timber the angry surf beaten shore ,
-
.


My King sh e sighed to herself
,
My King my

O wn ! An d through the weary hours sh e pray ed to
the gods to bring him safely back to her and many ,

times she offered fragrant incense to Juno protectress of ,

women that sh e might have pity on a woman whose


,

husband and true lover was ou t in the storm a p laything ,

for ruthl ess winds and waves .

A hel pless p l aything was the king of Thessaly Long .

ere the dim evening light had made of the shore of


his ow n land a faint grey l ine the white maned horses
, ,
-

of Poseidon king of the seas began to rear their


, ,

heads and as night fell a black curtain blotting out


, , ,

every landmark and all home like things the East


,
-
,

Wind rushed across the ZEgean Sea smiting the se a ,

horses into madness sei zing the sails with cruel grasp
,

and casting them in tatters before it snapp ing the ,

mast as though it were but a dry reed by the river .

Before so mighty a tempest no oars coul d be of any


avail and for a little time only the w inds and waves
,

gambolled like a half sated wolf pack over their helpless


- -

prey With hun gry roar the great weight of black


.

water stove in the de ck and swept the sailors ou t of the


ship to choke them in its icy depths ; and ever it woul d
lift the wounded thing high up on its foaming white
crests as though to toss it to the dark sky and ever
, ,

again would suck it down into the blackness while the ,

shrieking winds drove it onward with howling taunts


and mo cking laughter While life stay ed in him Ceyx
.
,
CEYX AND HAL CY ONE 147

thought only of Halcyone He had no fear only the fear .


,

of the grief his death must bring to her who loved him

as he l oved her his peerl ess queen his Halcy one


, His , .

pray ers to the gods were prayers for her For himse lf .


he asked on e thing only that the waves might h ear
his body to her sight so that her gentle hands might lay
,

him in his tomb With shout of triumph that they


.

had slain a king w inds and waves seized him even as


,

he pray ed and the Day Star that was hidden behind


,

the black pall of the sky knew that his son a brave king ,

and a faithful l over had gone down to the Shades


, .

W hen Dawn the rosy n gered had c ome to Thessaly


,
-
, ,

Halcyone white faced and tired eyed anxiously watched


,
- -
,

the sea that still was tos sing in half savage mood
,
-
.

Eagerly sh e gazed at the pla c e where last the white sail


had been seen Was it n ot p ossible that Ceyx havin g
.
,

Weathered the gale might for the pre sent have foregone
,

his voyage to Ionia and was returning to her to bring


,

pea ce to her heart But the sea bea c h was strewn with -

wrac k an d the winds still ble w bits of tattered surf along


the shore an d for her there was only the heav y labour
,

of waiting of waiting and of watching for the ship that


,

never c ame The in cense from her altars blew out in


.
,

heavy s weetness to meet the bitter sweet tang of th e


,
-

seaweed that was ca rried in by the tide for Hal cyone ,

prayed on fearful yet hoping that her prayers might


, ,

still keep safe her manher king her lover She busied .

herself in laying ou t the garments he would wear on hi s


return and in choosing the clothes in which sh e might
,

be faire st in his eyes This robe a s b lu e a s the sky in


.
,
148 A B O O K O F MYTH S
springsilver bordered as the sea in k ind mood i s
-
,

bordered with a feathe ry silver fringe She c ould re c all .

just h ow Ceyx looked when rst he saw her wear it .

She c ould hear his very tones as he told her that of all
queens sh e was the peeress of all women the mo st ,

beautiful of all wives the most dear Al most sh e forgot


,
.

the horrors of the night so c ertain did it seem that his


,

dear voice must soon again tell her the word s that have
been l ove s litany sin c e ever time began

.

In the ears of Juno those petitions for him whose


dead body was even then being tossed hither an d
thither by the restless waves his murderers came at , ,

last to be more than even sh e could bear She gave .

command to her handmaiden Iris to go to the pala c e


of S on m u s god of S leep and brother of Death and to
, ,

bi d him s end to Halcyone a vi sion in the form of Ceyx , ,

to tell her that all her weary waiting was in vain .

In a valley among the bla ck Cimmerian mountains ,

the death god S omnus had hi s abode In her rainbow


-
.

hued robes Iris darted through the sky at her m istre ss s


,

biddin g tingeing as sh e sped through them the cl ou ds


, , ,

that sh e passed It was a silent vall ey that sh e rea ched


.

at last Here the su n never c ame nor was there ever


.
,

any sound to break the silence From the ground the .

noiseless grey clouds whose work it is to hide the sun


,

and moon rose softly and rolled away up to the moun


,

tain tops and down to the lowest val leys to work the ,

will of the gods Al l aroun d the cave lurk ed the long


.

dark shadows that bring fear to the heart of children ,

and that at nightfall hasten the s teps of the timid


, ,
CEYX AND HALCY ONE 149

Wayfarer N o noise was there but from far down the


.
,

valley there came a mur mur so faint and so innitely


soothing that it was less a sound than of a lullaby
remembered in dreams For past the valley of Sleep
.

ow the waters of Lethe the river of Forgetfulness , ,

Close up to the door of the cave where dwelt the twin


brothers Sleep and Death blood red poppies grew and
, ,
-
,

at the door itself stood shadowy form s their ngers on ,

their lips enj oining silence on all those who woul d enter
,

in amaranth crown ed and softly waving sheaves of


,
-
,

poppies that bring dreams from which there i s n o


awakening There was there n o gate with hinges to
.

creak or bars to clang and into the stilly d arkness Iris


,

walked unhindered From outer cave to inner cave sh e


.

went and each c ave sh e l eft behind was less dark than
,

the on e that sh e entered In the innermost room of all


.
,

on an eb ony c ouch draped with sable cur tains the god ,

of s l eep lay drowsing His garments were bla ck strewn


.
,

with golden stars A wreath of half opened poppies


.
-

crowned his sleepy head and he leaned on the strong ,

shoulder of Morpheus hi s favourite son Al l round his


, .

bed hovered pleasant dreams gently stooping over him ,

to whisper their messages like a eld of wheat swayed ,

by the breeze or willows that h ow their silver heads and


,

murmur to each other the secrets that no on e ever knows .

Brushing the idle dreams aside as a ray of sunshine b ru she s ,

away the grey wisps of mist that hang to the hillside ,

Iris walked up to the couch where Somnus lay The .

light from her rainbow hued robe lit up the darkness of


-

the c ave yet Somnus lazily only half opened his eyes
,
-
,
15 0 A B OOK O F MYTH S

move d his head so that it rested more easily and in a ,

sleepy voice asked of her what might be her errand .


Somnus sh e said
, ,
gentlest of gods tranquilli s er of ,

min d s and soother of c areworn hearts Juno s ends y ou ,

her com mands that y ou d espatch a dream to Halcyone


in the city of Tra ch in e representing her l ost hu sb an d
,


an d al l the event s of the wre ck .

Her message del ivered Iris hastene d away for it


, ,

seeme d to her that already her eyelids grew heavy an d ,

that there were c reeping upon her limbs throwing si lver ,

dust in her eyes lulling into peaceful slumber her min d


, ,

those sprites born of the blood red poppies that brin g -

to weary mortals rest and sweet forgetfulness .

O nly rousing himse lf suf ciently to give his ord ers ,

S omnus entrusted to Morpheus the task imposed upon


him by Juno and then with a yawn turned over on his
, , ,

d owny p illow and gave himself up to exquisite slumb er


, .

When he had winged his way to Trach in e Morpheus ,

took upon himself the form of Ceyx and sought the roo m
where Hal cyone slept S he had watched the far hori
.

zon many hours that d ay For many an hour ha d sh e


.

vain ly burned in c ense to the gods Tired in heart an d .

soul in b ody an d in mind sh e laid hers elf down on


, ,

her c ouch at last hoping for the gift of slee p N ot


, .

long had sh e slept in the dead still sleep that wearines s


,
-

and a stri cken heart bring with them when Morpheus ,

c ame and stood b y her side H e was only a dream .


,

yet his face was the fa c e of C eyx Not the radiant .


,

beautiful son of the Day S tar was the C eyx who stoo d
b y her n ow and ga zed on her with piteous pitying dead ,
CEYX AND HALCY ONE 151

eye s His clothing dripped sea water ; in his hair was


.
-

tangled the weed of the sea uprooted b y the storm , .

Pale pale was his face and his white hands grip p ed the
, ,

stones and sand that had fail ed him in his dying agony .

Halcy one whimpered in h er sl eep as sh e looked on


him and Morpheus stooped ove r her an d sp oke the
,

word that he had been told to say .

I am thy husband Ceyx Hal cyone N o m ore do , , .

prayers and the blue c urling smoke of incense avail me


-
.

Dead am I slain by the storm and the waves O n my


, .

dead white face the skies look down and the restless sea
,

tosses my chill body that still seeks thee seeking a haven ,


in thy dear arms seeking rest on thy warm loving heart
, , .

With a cry Halcyone started up but Morpheus had ,

e d and there were no wet footprints nor drops of se a


,

water on the oor marking as sh e had hoped the way


, , ,

that her l ord had taken Not again d id Sleep visit her
.

that night .

A gre y col d morning dawn ed and foun d her on th e


,

seashore As ever her eyes sought the far horizon


.
, ,

but n o white sail a messenger of hope wa s there to


, ,

greet her Yet surely sh e saw something a b lack


.

spe ck like a ship driven on by the long c ars of mariners


,

who knew well the path to home through the watery


ways From far away in the grey it hasted towards
.

her and then there c ame to Hal cyone the knowledge


,

that n o ship was this thing but a lifeless body swept , ,

onward s by the hurrying waves Nearer and nearer it .

c ame until at l ength sh e c ould re c ognise the form of this


,

otsam an d j etsam of the sea With heart that b roke .


15 2 A B OO K O F MYTH S

a s sh e u ttered the words sh e stretched ou t her arms and


,

c ried aloud : O Ceyx ! my Beloved ! i s it thus that


thou retu rn e st to me
To break the er c e a s saults of sea an d of storm there
ha d been built ou t from the S hore a mole and on to thi s ,

barrier l eapt the distraught Halcyone S he ran a l ong .

it an d when the d e ad white body of the man sh e l oved


, ,

w a s still ou t of reach s h e prayed her l ast prayer a


,

wordl ess prayer o f anguish to the god s .


O nly let me get near him sh e breathe d , Grant .

only that I n est l e close against his dear breast Let m e .

show him that l iving or d ead I am hi s an d he m ine


, , ,


forever .

An d to Ha lcyone a great miracle was then vou ch


safe d for from ou t of her s nowy shoulders grew snow
,

white pinions and with them sh e skimmed over the


,

wave s until sh e rea c hed the rigid body of Ceyx drifting , ,

a hel p l ess burden for the conquering waves in with the ,

swift ow in g tide As sh e ew sh e uttered cries of


-
.
,

l ove and of l onging but only strange rau c ous c ries c ame
,

from the throat that had on c e only made m usic And .

when sh e reached the body of Ceyx and would fain have


kissed his marble lips Hal cyone found that n o longer
,

were her o wn lips like the petals of a fair red rose


warmed by the su n For the gods had heard her prayer
.
,

and her horny b eak seemed to the watchers on the shore


to be ercely tearing at the fa c e of hi m w h o had b een
king of Thessaly .

Yet the gods were n ot m er c i l e s sor p erhaps th e , ,

love of Halcyone w a s an all c onquering l ove For a s


-
.
CEYX AND HAL CY O NE 153

th e soul of Halcyone had passed into the body of a


white winged se a bird so also passed the soul of her
- -
,

husband the king And for evermore Hal cyone and .

her mate known as the Hal c yon bird s deed the storm
, ,

an d tempest and proudly breasted side b y si d e the


, , ,

angriest waves of the raging seas .

To them too did the gods grant a boon : that for


, , ,

seven days before the shortest day o f the year and for ,

seven days after it there should reign over the sea a ,

great c alm in which Hal cyone in her oating nest , ,

shoul d hatch her young , An d to those days of calm


and sunshine the name of th e Halcyon Days was given
, .

And still as a storm approaches the white winged


, ,
-

bird s c ome ying inland with shrill c ries of warning to


the mariners whose ships they pass in their ight .

Ceyx they cry Remember Ceyx .

And hastily the shermen ll their s ails and th e ,

smacks drive homeward to the haven where the blue


smoke curls upwards from the chin m ey s of their home
steads and where the red poppie s are nodding s leepi ly
,

amongst the yellow c orn .

N ote Th e k i n g sh e r ly k w th
is r ea l H a lcyo
c om m on no n as e

n

bir d . O f i t S crat s ay
o Th bir d i s
e s t g r at b t it h
s :

r c iv d
e no e ,
u as e e e

g r at
e h r fr m th g d b ca e O f it l vi g e s ; f whi l e it i
on ou o e o s e us s o n n s or s

m ak i n g it e t al l th w rl d h th happy d ay whi ch it ca ll
s n s ,
e o as e s s

halcy on i d e x c e ll i g al l th r s i th e ir ca lm e
ae, n o e n n ss.
ARISTZEUS THE BEE KE E P ER -

v ry E d i w t;
e s ou n s s ee

Myria d f rive r s h rry i g thr th l aw


s o u n o

e n,

Th m ae fd v o i i mm m ria l lms
n o o es n e o e ,

A d m ur m ri g f i
n m rab l b s TE NN Y S ON
u n o nnu e e ee .

.

IN the fragrance of the b l ossom of the l imes the bee s


are gleaning a luscious harvest Their busy humming .

sounds like the surf on a reef heard from very far away ,

and would almost lull to sleep those who lazily drowsily ,

spend the sunny summer afternoon in the shadow of


the trees That line of bee hives by the sweet pea hedge
.
- -

shows where they store their treasure that men may


rob them of it but out on the uplands where the heather
,

is purple the wild bees hum in and ou t of the honey


,

laden bells and carry home their s poils to their o wn


free fastnesses from whi ch none c an drive them unless
,

there c omes a foray against them from the brown men


of the moor s .

H ow many of us who watch their ardent labours



know the story of Ar ist aeus h e who rst brought the
art of bee keeping to perfe ction in his own dear land of
-

Gree c e and whose followers are those men in veils of


,

blue and green that motley throng who beat re irons


,
-

and create a hideous clamou r in order that the queen


bee and her ex c ited followers m ay be c he cked in their
15 4
ARISTZEUS 155

p eril ous voyagings and beguiled to swarm in the s anc


tu ary of a hive .

Ar ist aeus was a S hepherd the son of Cyrene a water


, ,

nymph and to him there had come on e day as he listened


, ,

to the wild bees humming amongst the wild thyme the ,

great thought that he might conquer these busy workers


and make their toil his gain He knew that hollow trees
.

or a hole in a roc k were used as the storage houses o f

their treasure and so the wily shepherd lad provided


,

for them the homes he knew that they would c ovet and ,

near them placed all the foo d that they most desired .

Soon Arist aeus be c ame noted as a tamer of bees and even ,

in Olympus they spoke o f his honey as a thing that was


food for the go d s All might have gone well with Aris
.

t ecus ha d there not c ome for him the fateful day when
he saw the beautiful Eury dice and to her lost his heart .

She ed before the ery protestations of his love and ,

trod upon the serpent whose bite brought her d own to


the Shades The gods were angry with Arist aeus and
.
,

a s pun ishment they slew his bee s His hives stood


.

empty and silent and n o more did the murmuring of


,

innumerable bees drowse the ears of the herds who


wat ched their ocks cropping the red clover and the
a sp hodel of the meadows .

Underneath the swift owin g water of a deep river


-
,

th e nymph who was the mother of Aristwu s sat on her


throne Fishes darted round her white feet and beside
.
,

her sat her attendants spinning the ne strong green


,

c ords that twine themselves round the throats of those


who perish when their arms c an no longer ght against
15 6 A B OOK O F MYTH S

the for c e of the rushing current A nymph sang a s sh e .

worked an ol d ol d song that told on e of the ol d ol d


, , , ,

tales of man s weakness and the power of the creatures


of water but above her song those w h o listene d hea rd


,


a man s voi c e c alling loudly and pitifully
, .

The voice was that of Arist aeu s c allin g al ou d for his ,

m other Then his mother gave c ommand and the


.
,

waters of the river rolled asunder and let Arist aeus pass
down far bel ow to where the fountain s of the great
rivers l ie A mighty roar of many waters dinned in his
.

ears as the rivers started on the ra c e that was to bring


the m a ll at l ast to their restless haven the Oc ean To , .

Cyrene he c ame at l en gth an d to her tol d hi s s orrowful


,

tale
To m en who l ive their l ittl e l ives an d work an d

die as I myse lf though son of a nymph an d of a g od
must do he said , I have brought two great gift s
, ,

o h my mother I have taught them that from the gre y


.

olives they can reap a priceless harvest and from m e ,

they have l earned that the little brown bees that hum
in and ou t of the owers may be made slaves that bring
to the m the S weetest ri ches of which Nature may be

robbed .


This do I already know my son said Cyrene and , , ,

smil ed upon Arist aeus .


Yet dost thou not know said Aristmu s th e, ,

doom that has overtaken my army o f busy workers .

No longer doe s there c ome from my city of bees the


boom of m any wings and many busy little feet as they
y swift and strong hither and thither to bring ba ck
, , ,
ARISTZEUS 1 57

to the hive s their honeyed treasure The c omb is empty . .


The bees are all dead or if n ot dead th ey have for , ,

s aken me forever .


Then spoke C yrene Hast heard my son. she , ,

sai d, of P roteus ! It is he who herds the o ck s of


the b ound less se a O n days when the South Wind and
.

the North Wind wrestle together and when the Wind ,

from the East smites the West Wind in shame before


him thou mayst see hi m raise his snowy head an d long
,

white beard above the grey green waves o f the sea -


,

and l ash the white maned unbridled er c e sea horses


-
, ,
-

into fury before him Proteus onlynone but Proteus


.

can tell thee by what art thou c an st win thy b ee s



ba ck on c e more .

Then Ar ist aeus with eagerness questioned his mother


h ow he might nd P roteus and gain from hi m the
knowledge that he sought an d C yrene answered , No
matter how piteously thou dost entrea t him never , ,

save by for c e wilt thou gain his se cret from Proteus


, .

Onl y if thou c anst chain h im by gu ile as he sl eep s and


hol d fast the c hains undaunted by the shapes into whi c h
,

he has the power to change hi mse lf wilt thou w in his ,


knowledge from him .

Then Cyrene sprin kled her son with the ne ctar of


the deathless gods and in his heart there was born a
,

nobl e c ourage and through him a new l ife s eemed to ru n .


Lead me n ow to Proteus oh my mother ! he ,

s ai d and Cyrene left her throne and led him to the


,

cave where Proteus herdsman of the seas had his


, ,

dwelling Behind the seaweed c overed ro cks Aristaeus


.
-
15 8 A B OO K O F MYTH S
c on cealed himself while the nymph used the e e cy clou d s
,

for her covering An d when Apollo drove his chariot


.

a cros s the high heavens at noon and all land and all sea ,

were hot as molten gold P roteus with his o ck s return ed


,

to the shade of his great cave by the sobbing sea an d on ,

its sandy oor he stret ched himself and soon lay hi s , ,

limbs all l ax and restful in the exquisite j oy of a dream


,

less sleep From behind the rocks Arist aeu s wat che d
.

him and when at length he saw that Proteu s sl ept too


, , ,

soundly to wake gently he stepped forward and on the ,

S leep drowsed limbs of Proteus xed the fetters that


-

made him his c aptive Then in j oy an d pride at having


.
,

been the un doin g of the shepherd of the seas Arist aeus ,

shouted aloud And Proteus awak ing swiftly turned


.
, ,

himself into a wild boar with white tusks that luste d


to thrust themselves into the thighs of Arist aeus But .

Arist aeus uninching kept his rm hold of the chain


, , .

Next did he be c ome a tiger tawny and velvet black , ,

and er c e to devour And still Arist aeus he ld the chain


.
,

and never l et his eye fall before the glare of the


beast that s ought to devour him A scaly dragon c ame .

next b reathing ou t ame s and yet Arist aeus held him


, , .

Then c ame a lion its yellow pelt scented with the lust
,

of k il lin g and while Arist aeus yet strove against him


,

there came to terrify his listening ears the sound of re


that l apped u p and thirstily devoured all thin gs that
would stand against it An d ere the crackle of the .

ames and their great sigh of er c e desire had ceased ,

there came in his ears the sound of many waters the ,

booming ru sh of an angry river in furious ood the irre ,


ARISTZEUS 159

sistib l ec ommand of the almighty waves of the s ea Yet .

still Ar ist aeus held the chains and at last Proteus took
,

his own shape again and with a sigh like the sigh of
,

winds and waves on the desolate pla c es where ships become


wrecks and m en perish and there is never a human s oul
,

to save or to pity them he spoke to Arist aeus


, .

Puny one he said and puny are thy wishes !


,

B e c ause thou didst by thy foolish wooing send the


beautiful Eurydi c e s wiftly down to the Shades and
break the heart of O rpheus whose music is the music of
,

the Immortals the bees that thou hast treasured have


,

left their hives empty and silent So little are the bees .

so great 0 Ar ist aeus the bliss or woe of O rpheus and


, ,

Eurydice ! Yet because by guile thou hast won the


,

power to gain from me the knowledge that thou dost


seek , hearken to me now Arist aeus ! Four bulls must
,

thou n d four cows of equal beauty Then must thou .

build in a leafy grove four altars and to O rpheus and ,

Eurydi c e pay such funeral honours as may allay their


resentment At the end of nine days when thou hast
.
,

ful lled thy piou s task return and s ee what the gods
,


have sent thee .


This will I d o mo st faithfully O Proteus said , ,

Arist aeus and gravely loosened the chains an d returned


,

to where his mother awaited him and then c e trave lled ,

to his own sunn y land of Gree c e .

Most faithfully as he had said did Ar ist aeus perform


, ,

hi s v ow An d when on the ninth day he returned to


.
, ,

the grove of sacrice a sound greeted him which made


,

his heart stop and then go on beating and throbbing as


1 60 A B O O K O F MYTHS
the heart of a man w h o has s triven valiantly in a great
ght and to whom the battle is assured .

For from the carcase of on e of the animal s offered


,

for sa cri ce and whose clea n white bones now gleamed


,

in the rays of the su n that for c e d its way through the


thick shade of the grove of grey ol ives there c ame th e,


murmuring of innumerable bees .

Out of the eater c ame forth meat ou t of th e stron g


,


c a m e forth sweetness .

And Arist aeus a S amson of the ol d Greek days


, ,

rej oi c ed e xcee d ingly knowing that his thoughtless sin


,

was pardoned and that for evermore to him belonged


,

the p ride of giving to all men the power of taming bee s ,

the glory of masterin g the l ittle brown creatures that


pillage from the fragrant b right hued owers their
,
-

most pre c ious treasure .


PR O SERPINE
S a cr d G dd
e M th r E arth
o e s s, o e ,

Th fr m w h i mm rt l b m
en o os e o a oso ,

G d
o d m
s, an d b a t hav birth
e n , an e s s e ,

L e af d b la d
an d b d d bl m
e , an u an o sso ,

B r ath thi i c m t d ivi e


e e ne n u en e os n

O thi e w c hi ld P r os e rp i e
n n o n , n .

If with m i t f v i g d w s s o e en n e

Th d t ri h th y u g we r s
ou os n ou s o se o n o

Til l th y g r w i c t d h
e o ,
n s en an ue,

Fair s t chi ld r f th h ur
e en o e o s,

B r ath thi i c m t d ivi


e e ne n uen e os ne

O thi
n w c hild P ro rp i
ne o n S H E EY ,
se ne .

-
LL .

THE story of Persephone of Proserpine is a story of


spring. When the su n is warming th e bare brown earth ,

an d the pale primroses l oo k up through the snowy bla ck

thorns at a kin d b lue sky almost c an We hear the soft


, ,

wind murmur a name as it gently s ways the da ffodils


and b reathes through the honey sweetness of the gol d
powdered catkins on the grey willows by the river
Persephone Per sephone
N ow on c e there Wa s a time when there was n o s pring ,

neither summer n or autu mn nor chilly winter with ,

its b lac k frosts an d crue l gales and brief d ark days , .

Always was there sunshine an d warmth ever were there ,

owers and corn an d fruit and nowhere did the owers,


1 61
1
1 62 A B OOK O F MYTH S

g row with more d azzling c o l ours and m ore fra g rant p er

fume than in the fair garden of Si c ily .

To D emeter the Earth Mother was born a daughter


, ,

m ore fair than any ower that grew and ever more d ear ,

to her be came her child the lovely P roserpine B y the , .

b lue sea i n the Si cilian meadows Proserpine and the fair


, ,

nymphs wh o were her c ompanions spent their happy days .

Too short were the days for all their j oy and Demeter ,

made the earth yet fairer than it was that sh e might


brin g more gladness to her d aughter Pro serp ine Ea ch .

d ay the blossoms that the nymphs twined into garl an d s


grew more perfe ct in form and in hue but fro m the ,

anemone s of royal purp le and crimson and the riotous ,

re d o f geraniums Pro s erpine turned one mornin g with


,

a c ry of gladness for there stoo d before her beside


,

a little stream on on e ere ct slim stem a wonderful


, , ,

narc issus with a hundred blo ssoms Her eager hand


, .

w as stret c hed ou t to pluck it when a s udden b l a ck cl oud ,

overshadowed the l and and the nymphs with shrie ks of


, ,

fea r ed swiftly away And as the cloud descende d


,
.
,

there was heard a terrible sound as of the ru shing of ,

many waters or the roll of the heavy wheels of the


c hariot of on e who c omes to slay Then was the earth .

cleft open and from it there arose the four c oal b l a ck


,
-

horses of Pluto neighing aloud in their eagerness while


, ,

the dark browed god urged them on standing ere ct in his


-
,

car of gold .

Th e c al b la ck h r ri e th ey ri
o -
o se s s se ;
0 m t h r m th r ! l w h c ri e s

P e r p h eP e r s ep h o e
o e , o e o s e

se on n
PR O SERPINE 1 63

0 l i ght l ig ht l i ght ! h e cri e s far e w ell


, ,

s , ;
Th e c a l b l a ck h r
o -
wait f m e o se s or .

O had f ha d e s wh r e I m t d w ll
s e o s , e us e ,

D e m e t r m th r f
e ,
o fr m th e e e ,
ar o
1

In c old stron g arms P luto seized her in that mighty


,

grasp that will not be denie d and Pro serpine wept ,

c h il di sh tear s a s sh e shivered at hi s i cy tou ch and ,

sobbed be c aus e she had dropped the OWers sh e had


p i ck ed and had never pi cked the OWer sh e most de
,

s ired Whil e still sh e saw the fair light of day the little
. ,

Oddly shaped ro cky hills the vineyards and olive groves


-
,
-

an d owery m eadow s of Si c ily she did not lose hope , .

Su rely the Kin g of Terror s c oul d not steal on e so young ,

so happy and so fair ,


She had only tasted the j oy Of .

l iving and fain she woul d drin k deeper in the c oming


,

years H er mother must surely save her her mother


.

wh o ha d never yet faile d her her mother and the g ods , .

B ut ruthl es s as the m ower whose s cythe cuts down


th e s eeded gras s and the half Opened OWe r an d l ays -

them in Sw athes on the m eadow Pluto drove on His , .

iron c ol oured reins were loose on the bla ck manes of his


-

horses and he urged them forwar d by name till the


,

froth ew from their mouths like the foam that the


furious surf of the sea d rives before it in a storm A cross .

the bay and along the b ank of the river An apu s they
gall oped until at the river head they c ame to the pool
, , ,

of Cyane He smote the Water w ith his trident an d


.
,

downward into the bla ckness of darkness his horse s


passed and Prosperine knew no more the pleasant
,

light of d ay .

J a I g l w 1
e n n e o .
1 64 A B OOK O F MYTH S

Wha t ail h e that Sh e com e ot h om e !


s r s n

D m e t r ee k h
e e far d wi d e
s s er an ,

A d g l my br w e d d th c a s l s r a m
n oo -
o o e e es o

F r m m a y a m m ti ll v ti d
o n o e en e .

My l if im m rta l th gh it b e
e, o ou ,

Is n oug ht h c ri e f wa t f th e e
,

s e s, or n o ,

P e r ep h o e P e r s p h
s n e on e

S o to the great E arth Mother c ame the pangs that


,

have drawn tears of blood from many a mortal m other s

h eart for a c hil d b orne OHto the Sha d e s .

My l ife i s no u ght f wa t or n o f th e e,

P rs epho
e ne !

Th e c ry is borne d own through the ages to e ch o and re ,

e cho so long a s mothers love and Death is still un c hained .

Over lan d an d sea from where D awn the rosy , ,

n gere d rise s in th e East to where Apol l o c ool s the


, ,

ery wheels of his chariot in the water s of far western


s ea s th e god dess sought her daughter With a bla ck
, .

robe over her hea d and c arry ing a aming torch in either
h an d for nine dreary days sh e sought her loved on e
, .

An d y et for nine more weary days and nine sleeple s s


,

n i ghts the g o dd e s s ra cke d by human s orrow sat in


, ,

h op e l ess mise ry Th e h ot su n beat upon her by day


. .

B y night th e s ilver ray s from D iana s c ar smote her more

gent ly an d th e de w d ren c hed her hair an d her bla ck


,

garments and m ingled with the saltness of her bitter


tears At the grey d awn ing of the tenth day her e l der
.

d aughter H e c ate s too d b e s i de h er Queen of ghosts and


, ,
.

sha des was sh e and to her all dark p l aces of the earth
,

were known .


Let us go to the Sun God said H ecate Surely , .
PROS E RP IN E 1 65

he hath seen the god who stole away the l ittle Proser
pine Soon his chariot will drive across the heavens
. .

Come let us ask him to gu i d e us to the p l a c e where she


,


is hidden .

Thu s did they c ome to th e c hariot o f th e gl orious


Apollo and standing by the heads of his horses like
,

two grey cl ouds that bar the passage o f the su n they ,

begged him to tel l the m th e name of hi m wh o ha d stolen


fair Proserpine .


N O less a thief wa s he said Apollo than Pluto , , ,

King of Darkness an d robber of Life itself Moum .

n ot
,
Demeter Thy dau ghter is safe in his keeping
. .

The little nymph who played in the m eadows i s n ow


Queen of the Sha d es Nor doe s Plu to love her vainl y . .


She is n ow in love with Death .

N o c omfort did the words of the Su n G o d brin g to


the l on ging soul of De m eter And her wounded heart .

grew bitter Because sh e suffered others must suffer


.
,

as we ll Be c ause sh e mourned all the world mu st


.
,

mou rn The fragrant owers spoke to her only of


.

Persephone the purp l e grape s re m inded her of a v in


,

tage when the white ng ers of her c hild had plu cked the
fruit The waving golden grain told her that Persephone
.

was a s an ear of wheat that is reaped before its time .

Then upon the earth did there c ome d earth an d


d rought an d b arrenness .


wh at
Th e e

W b l i gh t d i
as e n th e e a r, urpl grap s
th e p e e

Bl h d m r
us e no o e on th vi
e d a ll th g d s
n e s, a n e o

W r rr wf l
e e so o u L E W I S M ORR I S .
166 A B OO K O F MYTHS

Gods an d men alike suffered from the sorrow of


Demeter To her in pity for the barren earth Zeus
.
, ,

sent an embassy but in vain it came Mer ciless wa s the


, .

great E arth Mother who had b een rob bed of what sh e


,

h e l d most dear .


Give me ba ck my child ! sh e said Gl a dly I .

wat ch the sufferings of men for no s orrow is as my ,

sorrow Give m e ba ck my child and the earth shall


.
,


grow fertile on c e more .

Unwillingly Zeus granted the request of Demeter .


She shall come ba ck he said at last and with , ,

thee dwell on earth forever Yet only on on e c ondition .

do I grant thy fond reque st Persephone must eat no .

food through al l the time o f her soj ourn in the real m



of P luto else must thy beseeching be all in vain
, .

T hen did D emeter gla dl y l eave O lympus and hasten


down to the d arknes s of the shadowy l and that once

again sh e might hold in her strong mother s arms her , ,

w h o had once been her little c lingin g c hild .

But i n the d ark k in g dom of P luto a strange thing


had happened N o l onger had the pale fa ce d god with
.
-
,

dark l ocks and eyes l ike the sunless pools of a moun


,

tain stream any terrors for Pro s erp ine H e was strong
,
.
,

and cruel had she thought him yet now she knew that ,

the touch of his strong c old hand s was a touch o f in ,

nite tenderness When knowing the at o f the rul er


.
,

of O lympus Pluto gave to his stolen bride a pome


,

granate red in heart as the heart of a m an sh e had


, ,

taken it from his hand and b e c ause he will ed it had eaten


, , ,

o f the sweet seed s Then in truth it was too l ate for


.
, ,
G O DS AND M E N RE J O I CE D AT TH E B R I NG I N G B ACK OF PR O S E R P I N E
PR O SERPINE 1 67

of

Demeter to save her child She had eaten . Love s

seed and changed into another .

H tak th cl ft p m g ra at s ds
e es e e o e n e ee

L v ot with m thi p arti g day


e, e a e s n

Th bi d th m f t ch th c a l b l a k t ds
en s e e e o - c s ee

D m t r d a ght r w l d t away

e e e s u e ou s !
,

Th g at s f H a d
e eth fr o; e s se er ee

S h wi ll r t r f ll s aith h
e e u n u o on , s e

My wif my w if P r s eph
e, I N G E O W e e on e .

L .

D ark dark was the k ingdom


,
Pluto Its rivers of .

never mirrored a sunbeam and ever moaned low as an ,

earthly river moans before a c oming ood and the feet ,

that trod the gloomy Co cytus valley were the feet of


those who never again woul d tread on the s oft grass and
owers of an earthly meadow Yet when Demeter ha d .

braved all the shadows of Hade s only in part wa s her ,

end a ccomplished In part only was Pro serpine n ow


.

her c hild for while half her heart was in the sunshine
, ,

rej oi cin g in the beauties of earth the other half wa s ,

with the god who had taken her down to the Lan d of
Darkness and there had w on her for his own B a ck to .

the owery isl an d of Si cily her mother brought her and ,

the pea ch trees and the al monds blossomed sn ow i


as sh e passed The olives de cked them selves with their
.

soft grey leave s the c orn sprang up green and lush and
, ,

strong The lemon and orange grove s grew golden with


.

lus c ious fruit and all the land was carpeted with owers
, .

For six months of the year sh e stayed and gods and ,

men rej oiced at the bringing ba ck of Proserpine For .

six months sh e left her green and pleasant land for the

dark k ingdom of him whom sh e loved and through ,


1 68 A B OOK O F MYTH S

those months the tree s were bare and the earth chill ,

and brown and under the earth the owers hid them
,

s e lves in fear an d awaited the return of the fair dau ghter


of D emeter .

And evermore ha s sh e c om e an d gone and seedtime ,

an d harve st have never fai led an d th e cold sleeping , ,

worl d h as awake d a n d rej oi c ed and hera l ded with ,

the s on g of birds and the bursting of green bud s and


,

the blooming o f owers th e resurre ction fro m the d ead ,

the c oming of s pring .

Ti m e a ll c d Cha g
s, an n e

C mm a ds b th m
o n d g ds a d S p e ds u s
o e n an o , n e on

W k w t whith r b t th l d arth m i l s
e no no e u e o e s e

S p ri g aft r p ri g d th
n e s d b r t ag ai
n , an e se e u s s n

O t f it p ri
u o m ld d th d a d l iv
s son ou ,
an e e es

Ren e w th m l v s d ri a l ft d ar
e se e ,
an se o an so

A d
n tra f rm d cl thi g th ms l v s with cha g
are ns o e , o n e e e n e,

Ti ll th e la t cha g b d s L E W I S M ORR I S
n e e on e .

.
LAT ONA AND THE RUSTI CS

T H ROUG H the tropic nights their sonorous bell like ,


-

boo ming can be heard c o min g up from the marshes and ,

when they are unseen the son g of the bul l frogs w ould
,
-

suggest creatures ful l of sol e n m dignity The croak of .

their l esser brethren is l ess impressive yet there is no


,

e scape from it on those evenings when the dragon ies -

irides c ent wings are folded in sleep an d the birds in the


,

branches are still when the lilie s on the pond have


,

cl osed their golden hearts and even the late feeding


,
-

trout have c eased to plop and to make eddies in the


quiet water K rroak ! krroak ! krroak
. they go
krroak ! krroak ! krroak
It i s un ceasin g unending
, It goe s on l ik e the whirr
.

of the whee l s of a great c lo ck that can never run down

a m elan c ho l y c omplaint against the hardships of destiny

a rau c ous protest against things a s they are .

This is the story of the frog s that have helpe d to


point the gibe s f Aristophanes the morals of Esop and
o ,
Z . ,

which have always been more or less regarded as the


, ,

l ow comedians of the animal world .

Latona o r Leto was the goddess of dark nights


, , ,

and upon her the mighty Zeus bestowed the doubtful


favour of his errant love Great was the wrath of Hera
.
,

hi s queen when sh e foun d that sh e was no l onger th e


,
1 69
1 70 A B OO K O F MYTHS
dearest wife o f her omnipotent lord and with furiou s ,

upbraidings sh e banished her rival to earth And when .

Latona had reached the place of her exile sh e found that


the vengeful goddess had sworn that sh e would place her
everl asting ban upon anyone mortal or immortal who , ,

dared to S how any kindness or pity to her whose only


fault had been that Zeus loved her From pla c e to place .

sh e wandered an out ca st even a m on g men u ntil at


, , ,

length sh e c ame to Ly c ia
, .

O ne evening as the darknes s of which sh e was g oddes s


,

ha d just begun to fall sh e reached a green and pleasant


,

valley The soft cool grass was a delight to her tire d


.
,

feet and when sh e saw the silvery gleam of water sh e


,

rej oi c ed for her throat was parched and her lips dry and
,

sh e Wa s very weary By the side o f this stil l pond


.
,

where the lilies oated there grew lithe grey will ows and
,

fresh green osiers and these were being cut by a c rowd of


,

chattering rusti c s .

Humbly for many a rude word and harsh rebu ff had


,

the di ctum of Hera brought her during her wanderings ,

Latona went to the edge of the pond and kneeling , ,

down was most thankfully about to drink when the


, ,

peasants espied her R oughly and rudely they told


.

her to begone nor dare to drin k unbidden of the cl ear


,

water beside which their willows grew Very pitifu lly .

Latona looked up in their churlish faces and her eyes ,

were as the eyes of a doe that the hunters have pressed


very hard .


Surely good people sh e s aid and her voice Wa s
, , ,

sad and low water is free to all Very far have I


, .
LAT ONA AND THE RUSTICS 1 71

travelled and I am aweary almost to death O nly grant


, .

that I dip my lips in the water for one deep draught .


Of thy pity grant me this boon for I perish of thirst
, .

Harsh and coarse were the mocking voi ces that made
answer Coarser still were the j ests that they made
. .

Then on e bolder than his fellows spurned her kneeling


, ,

gu re with his foot while another brushed before h er


,

and stepping into the pond d e l e d its clarity by chum


,

ing u p the mu d that lay b elow with hi s great splay


feet.

Loudl y the peasant s laughed at this merry j est and ,

they qui ckly followed his lead as b rainless sheep will


,

follow the on e that scramble s through a gap Soon they .

were all j oyously stamping and dan cing in what had


so lately been a pe llu cid p ool Th e Water lilies and . .
-

blue forget me nots were trodden down the sh that


- -
,

had their homes under the mossy stones in terror ed


away O nly the mud came up lthy d e l in g and the
. , , ,

rustics laughed in loud and fool ish laughter to s ee th e


havoc they had wrought .

The godde s s Latona ro s e fro m her knees N o .

long er did sh e seem a mere woman very weary hungry , ,

and athirst travelled over far In their surprised eyes


, .

sh e grew to a stature that was as that o f the deathless

go d s And her eyes were dark as an angry sea at even


. .

Shameless ones sh e said in a voice as the ,

voice of a storm that sweeps destroyingly over forest and


moun tain Ah ! shameless ones ! Is it thus that
.

thou wouldst defy on e who has dwelt on Olympus !


Behold from hen ceforth shalt thou have thy dwelling
1 72 A B OO K O F MYTHS
in the mud of the green s cummed pool s thy homes in
-
,


the water that thy at feet have d e l e d .

As sh e spoke a change strange and terrib l e passed


, , ,

over the forms o f the trampling peasants Their stature .

shrank They gre w s quat an d fat Their han ds and


. .

feet Were webbed and their grinning mouths be ca me


,

great sad gaping openings by which to swal low worms


, ,

and ies Green and yellow and brown were thei r s kin s
.
,

and when they would fain have cried aloud for mer cy ,

from their throats there would c om e only the K rroak


krroak krroak that we know so we ll .

An d when that night the godde s s of darkne ss was


, ,

wrapped in peace in th e black silver star bespangl e d ,

robe that none could take from her there aros e from the ,

pond over whi c h the gre y will ow s hung weepin g th e , ,

clamour of a great lamentation Yet n o piteous word s .

were there only the incessant hars h c o mp l aint of the


, ,

frogs that w e hear in the marshes .

From that time the world went wel l with Latona .

D own to the seashore sh e c ame and when sh e held ,

ou t her arms in l onging appeal to the ZEge an is l an ds

that l ay lik e purple owers strewn far apart on a , ,

soft carpet of limpid blue Zeus heard her prayer He, .

a sked Poseidon to send a dolphin to carry the wom an


he loved to the oating i sl and of Delos and when sh e ,

had been borne there in safety he chained the isl an d ,

with chains of a d amant to the gol den san ded oor of -

the se a .

And o n this s anctuary there were born to Latona


twin children thereafter to be amongst the m ost famed
,
LAT ONA AND TH E RUSTIC S 1 73

of the deathless gods


the god and goddess Ap ollo and ,

Diana .

Th o hi d that w r tra form d


se n s e e ns e to f r g
o s

Rai l d at L at a twi b r p r g y

e on s n- o n o en ,

Whi ch ft r h ld th
a e e d m i f
e su n an oon n ee .
-
M I T ON
L .

Yet are there times as we look at the squat bronz e


, ,

bodie s of the frogs green bronze dark brown spotted -


, ,

and a ll ecked with gold the turned down corners of,


-

their wistful mouths their very exquisite bla ck velvety


,


eye s with golden rim s whe n the piteous croaks that
come forth from their throats of pale da ffodil colour d o
indeed awake a sympathy with their a pp eal against the
ine x orab l e de c rees of destiny .

W e did not k now We did not understan d Pity


us ! Ah pity u s
,
K rroak krroak krroak
ECH O AN D NARCIS SUS

IN the solitudes of the hil l s we nd her and y et we may ,

come on her unawar e s in the din of a noi sy city She .

wil l answer u s where the waves are lashing thems el ves


agains t the rug ged cl iffs of our own British coast or we ,

m ay n d her where the great ye ll ow pill ars of fal l en


templ es lie hot in the sun c lose to the vivid b lue water
of the Afri can sea At nightfall on the lonely northern
.
,

m oors sh e m im ics the cry of a wailing bird tha t call s for


,

its mate but it is sh e who prolong s the roll of the gr eat


,

organ in a vast cathe dr al sh e who repeats the rattle


,

and crack and boo m of the gun s no m a tter in wha t ,

l and the war m a y be In the desol ate Au stralian


bus h she mak es the c rash of the fall ing limb of a dea d
gum tre e go on and on and to rtu res the hum an being
,

who is lo st ho p elessly lost and facing a c rue l dea th by


, , ,

repeating his des pairin g call s for help Through the .

night in ol d c ountry houses sh e sport s at will an d gives


,
-
,

new life to sa d old tal es of the r estless d ead who rest


lessly wal k But she e choes the chil dren s voi ce s as they
.

pl ay by the seashore or pick prim r oses in the woods in


sprin g and when th ev greet her with la ughter sh e
, ,

laug hs in me rry re spons e They may fear her when


.

the sun has gone down and when they are l eft all alone
,

they b e gin to dread her m kery Yet the nymph who


qg
.
ECH O AN D N ARCISSUS 1 75

s ought for l ove and failed to gain what sh e sought


mu st sur ely nd s ome comf ort on those bright days of
sum m er and of S prin g when sh e gives the littl e c hil dr en
hap piness and they give her their love .

When all the world w as youn g an d nymph s an d ,

fauns and dryads dwelt in the forests there was no ,

nym ph more lovely and more gay than S he whose


name was E c ho Diana woul d s m il e on her for her
.

ee tn e ss of foot when S he followed her in the c hase ,

an d those whom sh e met in the l eafy pathways of the


d im green wo ods woul d pass on s miling at the remem
, ,

bran c e of her merry chatter and her tri cksy hum our .

It wa s an evil day for E cho when she cros sed the path
of H era queen of the g ods
, The j eal ous g oddess sought
.

her errant husband who was amu s in g himself with some


,

nym phs and Echo ful l of m isch ievous glee kept her in
, , ,

tal k un til the nymp hs had ed to safety Hera was .

furious indee d when S he found out that a froli csome


nymph had dared to p l ay on her su ch a trick an d ru th ,


le ssly She spoke fair Echo s d oom .


Hen c eforth sh e said
, the tongu e with which
,

thou hast c heate d me S hall be in bon ds No l onge r .

w ilt thou have the power to spea k in greeting To the .

ton gues of others shall thy tongue be S lave and from ,

this day until tim e shal l cease thou sh al t speak only to



re p eat the last wor d s that have fall en on thine cars .

A maimed nymph indeed was E c ho then yet whole ,

in all that matters most in that her merry hea rt wa s


,

still her own But only for a little while did this endure
. .

Nar cissus the bea utiful so n of a nym ph and a river


,
1 76 A B OO K O F MYTHS
god ,
hunting in a lonely forest one day when E ch o
w as
saw him pa s s To her he see med more fair than god o r
.

m an and on ce sh e had seen him sh e kn ew that she must


,

g ain his love or di e From that day on


. S he haunted ,

him like his S hadow glidin g from tree to tree nestl ing
, ,

down amongst thi ck fern and u ndergrowth motionl e ss ,

as one who sta lk s a wild thing watching him afar o ff ,

whil e he res ted gladde n in g her eyes with hi s bea uty


, .

S o did sh e fee d her hungering hea rt and sought to n d ,

contentment by loo king on his fa c e ea ch d ay .

To her at length ca me a p erfe ct moment when Nar


cissu s was separated from his companions in the ch ase
and sto pping suddenly where the evenin g su n chequered
,

the p athway of the forest with bla ck and gold hear d the ,

nym ph s s oft foo tf all on the rus tlin g leaves



.

Who s here
he called .

Here an swered Echo .

Narcissus p eer ing amongst the tree s long sha d ows


,

an d see in g no on e call ed Come ,

And Com e ! cal led the glad voice of Echo while ,

the nymph with fast bea ting heart felt that her day of
,
-
,

happiness had come inde ed .

Why do you shun me then called Nar c issus .

Why do you shu n m e 9 Echo rep eated . .


Let u s jo in one another said the l ad and the , ,

sim ple words seemed tu rned into song when E cho said
them over .


L et u s j oi n one a n other ! S he sa id and not E o s ,

hers el f as with rosy ngers sh e tu rns a s ide the dark


,

clouds of n ight could be fairer than was the nym ph as


,
ECH O AND NARCISSUS 1 77

sh e p ushed aside the leaves of the tra ckless wood and ,

ran forward with whit e a rms outstret che d to hi m w h o


was lord of her life .

With c old eye s an d c old er heart th e one sh e love d


b ehe l d her .


Away ! he cried shrinking back as if fro m s ome
,

thin g that he hated Away I woul d rather die than


.

that y ou shoul d have me


Have m e cried E cho pitiful ly bu t she p l ed in ,

vain Narcissus had n o love to give her and hi s sc orn


.
,

lled her w ith sha me Then ceforth in the forest revels


.

sh e never more was seen and the nymphs dan c ed gaily ,

as ever w ith never a c are for her who had faded and gone
,

away a s c o mp letely as though she were a b l ossom in


the pas sing of S pring In the solitude of mountain .

cli ffs and c ave s and ro cky places and in the l oneliest ,

depth s of the forest Echo hid her grief and whe n th e


, ,

wind s b l ew through the dark branches of the trees at


night m oaning and sighing they c ould hear far bel ow
, ,

the m the voi c e of Echo repea ting their lamentations .

For h er lon g nights followed hopeless days a n d nights


, ,

and days only told her that her love was all in va in .

Then c ame a night when the winds no longer saw the


gure of the nymph white and frai l as a broken ower
, ,

c rou ching close to the rocks they passed over Grief .

had S lain the body of Echo O nly her voi c e was left .

to repea t their mocking laughter their wistful sighs ,

only her voice that lives on still though all the ol d god s
are gone and b ut fe w there are who know her story
, .

Heartwh ol e and happy Nar c issus slayer of happiness , , ,

M
1 78 A B OOK O F MY TH S

went on his way and other nymph s besides fair E cho


,

suffered from loving him in vain One nymph les s .


,

gentle than Echo poured the tale of her l ove that was
,

s c orned into the sympatheti c ears of the god de s s of Love ,

and implored her to punish Narcissus .

H ot and tired from the chase Narcissus s ought on e ,

d ay a lonely pool in the woods there to rest an d to quen c h ,

h is thirst .


In s m e d e l i c i ra m b l h e ha d f d
o ou s e, ou n

A l ittle p a c e with b gh a ll w v r u d
s ,
ou s o en o n

A d i th m i d t f a l l a cl e ar e r p l
n n e s o ,
oo

Tha e r e cte d i it pl e a a t co l
n e

r e n s s n o

Th b l u e ky h e r
e d th e r
s s e r e ely p e p i g
e , an e, n e n

Throu gh t d ri l wr e ath fa ta s ti cal l y c r e p i g


en s n e n .

As he stooped down to drink a fa c e looked at hi s ,

through the cry stal clear water and a pair of b eautiful ,

eyes met hi s ow n H is surprise a n d j oy at th e S ight of


.

what he felt sure must be the most beautiful creatur e


o n earth wa s evidently s hared by the nymp h of the
,

pool wh o gazed fearlessly up at him


,
.

Round her head She had a nimbu s of curl s than whi ch


that of Adonis nay of the su n god hims e lf was n ot ,
-
,

more perfe ct while her eyes were li ke the brown pools


,

o f water i n a ripp ling mountain s tream e cke d with ,

sunshine yet with depths untold Wh en Nar cissu s


, .

smiled at her in rap ture her red lips al so p arted in a ,

smile He stretched ou t hi s arms towards her an d her


.
,

arms were stret ched to him Al most tremb lin g in his .

delight he slowly stooped to kiss her Nearer sh e drew


, .

to hi m nearer still but when his m ou th wou l d have


, ,
EC H O AND NAR C ISSUS 1 79

gi ven its elf to that other mouth that was formed like th e

b ow of Ero s a thing t o slay hearts only the c hilly
w ater of the poo l tou c hed his l ips and the thing of hi s
,

delight vanished away In passionate d i s appoint ment


.

Nar c i s sus waited for her to return and as s oon as the ,

water of the pool gre w still on c e more h e s aw her e x


,

i ite face gazing wistful ly up into hi s P assionatel y


q u s .

he pled with the beautiful c reature spok e of his l ove


besought her to have pity on him but although the fa c e
,

in the pool ree cted his every look of adoration and of


l onging time and again he vainly tried to clasp in his
,

arms what was but the mirrored likenes s of himself .

In full measure had the avenging goddes s m eted ou t


to Nar c issus the restless longing of unsatised love .

By day and by night he haunted the forest pool and ere ,

long the fa c e that looked back at his was pal e as a lily


in the dawn When the moonbeams came straying
.

down through the branches and all the night w a s still ,

they found him kneeling by the pool and the white fa c e ,

that the water mirrored had the eyes of on e of the things


o f the woods to which a hun tsman has given a mortal

woun d Mortally woun ded he tru fy was slain like


.
, ,

many another since his day by a hopeless love for what


,

was in truth but an image and that an image of h is own


,

creation Even when his shade passe d a cross the dark


.

Stygian river it stoo p ed over the side of the boat that


,

it might try to c at ch a glimpse of the beloved on e in th e


inky waters .

E cho an d the other nymphs were avenged yet when ,

they l ooked on the beautiful dead Narc i s su s they were ,


1 80 A B OO K O F MYT H S
ll ed w ith sorrow and when they lled the air with
,

their lamentations most piteously did the voi c e of Echo


,

repea t ea ch mournful c ry Even the gods were pitiful


.
,

and when the n ym phs w oul d have burned the body


on a funeral pyre whi c h their o wn fair hands had built

for him ; they sou ght it in vain For the O lympians .

had turn ed Narcissus into a white OWe r the ower ,

that sti ll bears his name an d k eeps his me m ory sweet .

l o e ly w r h e p i e d
A n o e s ,

A m ee k d for l r w e r w ith au g ht f p ri d e
an o n o , n o ,

D r p i g it b e a ty th e wat ry cl e arn e s

oo n s u o er e s,

T w o it s w
o o o d i m a g e i t n e arn e s ;
n sa n o s

D e af t l i g ht Z e p h y ru it w u ld
o s t m veo no o ,

B ut s ti ll w u ld e e m to d oop to p i e to lov e
o s r , n , .

ICARUS
FO U RTE E N years only have passed since ou r twentieth
c entury began In those fourteen years h ow m any a
.


father s and mother s heart h as b led for the d eath of
gall ant sons greatly promisin g greatly daring w h o
,
-
,
-
,

have sought to rule the sk ies ! With wings not w ell


enough tried they have soared dauntles sly al oft only
, ,

to add more names to the tragic list of those whose live s


have been sa cri ced in or d er that the groping hands of
s c ien c e m ay be c ome sure so that in time the son s of men
,

may s ail through the hea vens as fearle ssly a s their


fathers sai l ed through the sea s .

H igh overhead we wat c h the monopl ane the great , ,

s woop ing thing like a m onster black winged bird and


,
-
,

ou r minds trave l ba c k to the story of Icaru s w h o die d ,

so m any years ago that there are those w h o say that his

story is but a fool ish fab l e an idl e myth , .

D aedalus gran d son of a k ing of Athens wa s the


, ,

greatest articer of hi s day N ot only as an ar chitect .

was he great bu t as a s cul ptor he had the c reative


,

power not only to mak e men and wo men an d ani m als


,

that loo ked alive but to c ause them to m ove and to be


, ,

to all app earan c es endowe d with l ife To him th e


,
.

arti cers who follo wed hi m owe d the invention o f the



axe the w edge the wimble an d the carpenter s level
, , , ,
181
1 82 A B OOK O F MYTH S

and his restl ess mind was ever busy with new invention s .

To his nephe w Talus or Perdrix he taught all that


, , ,

he himself knew of all the mechanical arts Soon it .

s eemed that the nephe w though he might not e xce l hi s


,

cl e equalled D aedalus in his inventive power


,
As .

he walke d by the sea s hore the lad pi cked up the spine ,

of a sh an d havin g pon d ered its p ossibilities he took


, , ,

it ho m e imitate d it in iron an d so invented the saw


, , .

A still greater invention foll owed thi s Wh il e tho s e .

wh o ha d alw ays thou ght that there c oul d be none greater


than D aedalus were still a ccl aiming the l ad there c a m e ,

to hi m the idea of puttin g tw o pie c es of iron tog ether ,

c onne ctin g the m at on e en d with a rivet and sharp ,

e n in g both en d s and a pair of compasses wa s m a d e


, .

Louder stil l Were the ac clamations of the people S ure ly .

greater than D aedalus was here Too mu c h was thi s .

for the a rtist s j ealous spirit



.

O ne day they stood together on the top of the Aero


poli s and D aedalus murder that c omes fro m jealousy in
, ,

his heart threw his nephew down Down down he fe ll


, .
, ,

knowing we ll that he was going to meet a c rue l death ,

but P al las Athen e protectress of all c lever c raftsmen


, ,

came to his rescue By her Perdrix was turned into the


.

bird that still bears his name and D aedalus beheld Perdrix , ,

the partridge rapidly winging his way to the far off


,
-

elds Since then n o partridge has ever built or roosted


.
,

in a high place but has nestled in the hedge roots and


,
-

amongst the standing c orn and as We mark it we c an ,

see that its ight is always low .

For his c rime D aedalus was banished fro m Athen s ,

and in the c ou rt of Min e s king of Crete he found , ,


I C ARUS 1 83

a refuge . He p ut all his mighty powers at th e


service of Mino s and for him designed an intricate
,

l abyrinth whi ch like the river Meander had neither


, ,

be ginnin g n or ending but ever returned on itself in hop e


,

l ess intri c a cy S oon he stood high in the favour of the


.

k ing but ever gree dy for power he in curred by on e of


, , , ,

his daring inventions the wrath of Minos The angry


, .

m onar ch thre w him into pri s on and imprisoned a l ong ,

with him hi s son Ic arus But prison bars an d


, .

locks d id n ot exist that were strong enough to


b af e this m aster craftsman and from the tower in ,

whi c h they were shut D aedalus and his son were n ot


,

l ong in mak ing their es c ape To es cape from Crete .

was a l ess easy matter There Were many pla c es in .

that wi l d isl and where it was easy for the father an d


son to hide but the subj e cts of Min e s were mostly
,

mariners an d D aedalu s knew wel l that all along the shore


,

they k ept watch l est he should make him a boat hoist ,

o n it on e o f the sails of whi c h he was p art inventor and ,

S peed away to s afety like a sea bird driven before the -

gale Then did there c om e to D aedalus the pioneer


.
,

of invention s the great idea that by his skil l he might


,

make a way for himself and his son through another


element than water An d he laughed aloud in hi s
.

hiding pla c e among st the cypresses on the hillside at


the thought of h ow he would bafe the simp le sail orm e n
who wat ched each cree k and beach down on the shore .

Mockingly too did he thin k of King Minos wh o had


, , ,

dared to pit his power against the w its and skill of


D aedalus the mighty craftsman
, .

Many a Cre tan bird wa s sa cri ced before the task


1 84 A B O O K O F MYTHS
whi ch the inventor had set himself was a cc omp lishe d .

In a shady forest on the mountains he fashioned light


Wooden fra mes and de cked them with feathers u ntil at ,

length they l ooked lik e th e p inions of a great eagle or of ,

a swan that aps its majesti c way from lake to river .

Ea ch feather was bound on with wax and the me chanism


,

o f the wings was s o perfect a re p rodu ction of that of the

wing s from whi c h the feathers h ad been plu ck ed that on ,

the rst day that he fastene d them to his ba ck an d S prea d


them ou t D ae dalus found that he c ould y even as the
,

bird ew Two p airs he m ade ; having tested on e pair a


.
,

se c ond pair was made for Icarus and c ir cl ing round him
, ,

lik e a mother bird that teaches her nestlings how to


y D aedalus his heart big with the pride of invention
, , ,

showed I c arus how he might best soar upwards to the

su n or dive down to the blue se a far be l o w and how he


,

might c onquer the w inds an d the air current s of the sky


and make them his s erv ants .

That was a j oyou s day for father and son for the ,

father had never before drun k d ee p er of the intoxi cating


w ine o f the gods Suc c ess and for the l ad it was all
pure j oy. Never before had he known freedom and
power so utterly gloriou s As a little child he had
.

watched the birds y far away over the blue hills to


where the su n was setting and had l onged for wings
,

that he might follow them i n their ight At times .


,

in his dreams he had known the power and in his


, ,

dreaming fan cy had risen from the cumbering earth


and sc are d high above the trees an d elds on strong

pinions that bore him away to the fair land o f heart s

d esire to the Islands of the Blessed B ut when S l eep
.
I CARUS 1 85

l eft him and the dreams silently slipped out before the
c oming of the l ight of d ay an d the boy s prang from
,

his cou ch and eagerly s prea d his arm s a s in his d ream s , ,

he had done he c ou l d n o longer y Disappointment


, .

and un s atised longing ever ca me with his w aking hours .

N ow all that had come to an end and D aedalus was ,

glad and proud as well to watch his son s j oy and his fear

l e ss daring One word of coun sel only did he give hi m


. .


B eware dear son of my heart he said
, , lest in ,

thy new found power thou see k est to soar even to the
-

gates of O lympus For as surely as the scorching rays


.

from the burnished wheels o f the chariot o f Apollo


smite thy wings the wax that binds on thy feathers
,

will melt and then will c o m e upon thee and on me woe


,

u nutterab l e .

In his dreams that night I c arus ew and when he ,

awok e fearing to nd only the haunting remembran c e


,

of a dream he found his father standing by the side of


,

his be d o f soft leaves under the shadowy cypresse s ,

rea dy to bind on his wi lling shoul der s the great pinion s


that he had made .

Gentl e Dawn the rosy n gere d was slowly making


,
-
,

her way up from the East when D aedalus and Icaru s


began their ight Slowly they went at rst and the
.
,

oat herds who tende d their ocks on the slopes of


g
Mount Ida looked up in fear when they saw the
dark shadows of their wings and marked the monster
birds making their way ou t to sea From the river .

beds the Waterfowl arose from the reeds and with great ,

outcry e w with all their swiftness to escape them .


And do wn by the seashore the m ariners hearts sank
1 86 A B OOK O F MYTH S

within them a s they watched believing that a sight so ,

strange must b e a portent o f disaster Homewards they .

went in haste to offer s a c ri ce s on the altar s of P os ei d on ,

ruler of the deep .

S amos an d De l os were pa sse d on the left an d


L eb y n th os on the right l ong ere the sun go d had
,
-

started on his daily c ourse and as the mighty wings ,


o f Icaru s cl eft the c old air the boy s slim body grew
,

chilled a n d he l onged for the sun s rays to turn the


,

Waters of the ZEgean Sea over which he ew from green


grey into limpid sapphire and emerald and burning gold .

Towards Sicily he and his father bent their c ourse an d ,

when they saw the beautiful islan d afar o ff lying like


a gem in the sea Apoll o made the waves in whi ch it lay
, ,

for it a ttin g setting With a cry of oy Icarus marked


.


the sun s ray s paint the chi ll water an d Apollo looked ,

dow n at the great white winge d bird a snowy swan


-
,

with the fa c e and form o f a beautiful boy who sped ,

exulting onwards while a clumsier thing with wings of


, ,

darker hue followed les s quickly in the same l ine of


, ,

ight As the god look ed the warmth that radiated


.
,

fro m his chariot tou ched the icy l imbs of Icaru s as w ith
the c aressing tou c h of gentle life giving hands Not ,
-
.

long before his ight had lagged a little but now it


, ,

seemed as if new life was his Like a bird that wheels .

and sc ars and dives as if for l ightness of heart so did ,

Ic arus until ea c h feather of his plumage had a S heen of


,

silver and of gold Dow n down he darted so near


.
, , ,

the water that almost the white tipped waves c aught -

at his wings as he skimmed over them Then up up .


, ,

up he soared ever higher higher sti ll and when he saw


, , ,
ICARUS 1 87

the radiant god smiling down on him the Warnin g


su n - ,

of D a e dalus was forgotten As he had e xc el led other


.

lads in foot ra ces n ow d id Ic arus wish to ex c e l the


,

bird s themselves D aedalus he left far behind and still


.
,

upwards he moun ted So strong he fe lt so fearles s


.
,

wa s he that to him it seemed that he c ould storm


,

Olympus that he c oul d c all to Apollo as he swept past


,

him in his ight and dare him to ra ce for a wager from


,

th e [Egean S ea to where the su n g o d s horses too k their



-

nightly rest b y the tra ckle ss seas o f the un known West .

In terror his father wat ched him and as he c alle d ,

to him in a voice of angu ished warning that was d rowne d


by the whistling rush of the air currents through the
wings of Icarus and the moist whisper of the cl ou ds as
through them he cleft a way for himself there b efe ll ,

the drea d ed thing It seemed as though the stron g


.

wing s had begun to lose their power Like a wounded .

b ird I carus uttered lunged s idewise from the straight


, ,

clean line of his ight re c overed himself and uttered


, ,

again And then like the bird into whose soft breast
.
,

the sure hand of a mighty archer ha s d riven an a rrow ,

down wards he fell turning over and yet turning again


, ,

downwards ever downwards until he fell with a plunge


, ,

into the sea that still was radiant in shining emerald an d


translu c ent blue .

Then did the c ar of Apollo drive on His rays ha d .

slain on e who was too greatly daring and now the y ,

fondl ed the little White feathers that had fallen fro m


the broken wings and oated on the water l ik e the
p etals of a torn OWer .

O n the dead still fa c e of Ic arus they shone and the y


, ,
1 88 A B O O K O F MYTHS

S pangled as if with diamonds the wet p lumag e that stil l ,

w idespread bore him up on the Waves


,
.

Stricken at heart was D aedalu s but there wa s n o ,


time to lament his s on s untime ly en d for even n ow ,

the bla ck prowed S hips of Minos might be in pursu it


-
.

O nward he ew to safety an d in S i c ily built a temp l e to


,

Apo ll o and there hun g up his wing s a s a p rop itiatory


,

o ffering to the go d who had sl ain his son .

And when grey night c ame down on that p art of the


s ea that bears the name of I carus to this day still there ,

oate d the body of the b oy whose dreams ha d c ome


true . For o nl y a l ittl e while ha d he known the e x
u isit e real isation o f dreamed of p otentialities for onl y
-
q ,

a few hours tasted the S weetne s s of perfe ct p leasure ,

an d then by an over daring ight had l ost it all for ever


,
-
, .

The sorrowing Nerei d s s ang a dirg e over him as he


was swayed gent ly hither and thither by the tide and ,

when the silver stars c ame ou t from the dark rm a


ment of heaven and were ree cted in the bla ckness of
the se a at night it was a s though a ve lvet p al l silver
, ,

decked in his honour wa s spread aroun d the sl im white


,

body with its outstret ched snowy wings .


S o mu c h had he dared so little a cc omp l ishe d .

Is it not the oft told tale of those wh o have foll owed


-

Icar u s Yet who c an say that gallant youth has live d


in vain when as I carus did he has breasted the very sk ie s
, , ,

has own with fearless heart and soul to the provin ces of
the deathless gods when even for the spa c e of a few
,

o f the heart beats o f Time he has tasted supreme power


-
,

the e c stasy of illimitable happiness


CLYTIE

THE sunbeams are basking on the high walls of the ol d


gardensmil ing on the fruit that grows red and golden
in their warmth The bees are humming round the
.

be d of purple heliotrope an d drowsily murmuring in


,

the shelter of the soft petals of the blush roses whose


sweetness brings back the fragran c e of days that are
gone O n the ol d grey su ndial the white winged pigeons
.
-

slee p ily croon as they preen their snowy plumage and ,

the Madonna lilies hang their heads like a procession


of white robed nuns who dare not loo k up from telling
-

their beads until the triumphal procession o f an all con -

quering warrior has gone by What can they think of


.

that long line of tall yellow owers by the garden wall ,

who turn their faces sunwards with an arrogant assur


an c e and give stare for stare to golden haired Apollo as
,
-

he drives his blazing c ar triumphant through the high


heavens
Sunowers is the name by which we know
those amboyant blossoms which somehow fail so
wholly to suggest the story of Clytie the nym ph whose
,

destru ction c ame from a faithful unrequited love , .

S h e was a water nymph a timid gentle being who fre


-
, ,

u e n te d lonely strea ms and bathed where the blue dr agon


q ,

ies dart across the white water lil ies in pellu c id lakes
-
'

In the shade of the ta ll pop l ar trees and the silvery


1 89
190 A B O O K O F MYTHS
willows sh e took her midday rest and feared the hours ,

when the owers drooped their heads and the rippling


water lost its c oolness before the er c e glare of the su n .

But there came a day when into the dark pool ,

by whi c h sh e sat Apol lo the Conqueror looked d own


,

and mirrored his fa ce And nevermore did she hide


.

fro m the gol den haired god who from the m oment
-
,

when she had seen in the water the pi ctu re of his radiant
beauty became the l ord and master of her heart and
,

soul . All night sh e awaited his c oming and the Dawn ,

saw her looking eastward for the rst golden gleams

from the wheels of his chariot All d ay sh e followe d .

him with her l onging gaze n or did she ever c ease to


,

feast her e y es upon his beauty until the last ree ction of
hi s radian c e had fade d fro m the western sky .

S u ch devotion might have touched the heart of the


sun god but he had n o wish to o wn a love for which he
-
,

had not s ought The nymph s adoration irked him nor
.
,


did pity c ome as Love s pale substitute when he marked
h ow day by day her fa c e grew whiter an d m ore white
, , ,

and her lovely form wasted away For nin e days .


,

without food or drink sh e k ept her shamed vigil Onl y


, .

o n e word of love did sh e crave Unexacting in the .

humility of her devotion sh e woul d gratefully have


,

nourished her hungry heart upon on e kindly glan ce .

But Apollo full of s c orn and anger lashed up his ery


, ,

steeds as he ea ch day drove past her nor deigned for her ,

a glan c e more ge ntle than that which he threw on the


satyrs as they hid in the dens e green fol iage of the
shadowy woods .
CLYTIE 19 1

Half mo cking Diana said


-
In truth the fair nymph
, ,

w h o throws her heart s treasures at the feet of my


golden locked brother that he may tramp le on them is


-
,

c oming to look like a faded oWer And as sh e spok e , ,

the hearts o f the other i m mortal d wellers in O ly m pus


were stirred with pity .

A ower sh e shall be ! they said an d for al l ,

time shall sh e live in life that is renewed ea ch year when


,

the earth stirs with the quickening of spring The long .

summer d ays shall sh e spend forever in fearle ss worship


of the god of her love

And as they willed the nymph p assed ou t of her


, ,

hu m an form and took the form of a ower and ever


, ,

m orethe emblem of c onstan cy does sh e g a ze with


fearl e s s ardour on the fa c e of her love .

Th eh art that h tr ly l v d v r f r g t s
e as u o e ne e o e ,

B t u tr ly l v
as t th cl
u o e s on o e o se

A th
s u w rt r
e s n h o
g d wh
e e h e s t u n s on er o n e s

Th s a m l k that h tur d wh
e e oo h r s e ne en e ose .

So me there are wh o say that n ot into the bold fa c ed -

sunower did her metamorphosis take pla c e but into ,

that purp le heliotrope that gives an exquisite o ffering


of fragran c e to the su n go d when his warm rays tou c h -

it. And in the ol d wall ed g arden while the bee s ,

drowsily h um and the white pi geons c roon an d the


, ,

d ashing su nower give s Apollo gaze for ga ze and the ,

scent of the m i gnonette mingles with that of c love pink s


and blush roses the fragran c e of the heliotrope is above
, ,

all worthy in c ense to be offere d u pon his altar by th e


,

devout lover of a god .


THE CRANE S O F I B Y C US
For m ur d e r th g h it hav e ou no t g wi ll p e a k
on u e, s

S H A K E SP EA R E
,

W ith m s t m ira c l ou s o r g a
o u n.

.

IB YCUS p oet frien d of Apollo was a happy man a s


, th e ,

he j our neyed on foot through the c ountry where the


wild owers gre w thi ck and the trees were laden with
b lossom towards the c ity of C orinth H is tuneful voi c e .

sang snat che s of s ong of hi s own m ak ing an d ever and ,

ag ain he wou ld try h ow his word s and musi c soun ded o n

his lyre H e was l ight of heart be c au se ever had he


.
,

thought of g ood and no t evil and had a lway s su ng only


, ,

of great and no b l e deed s and of tho s e thin gs that he l ped

hi s fellow m en An d n ow he Went to Corinth for the


-
.

great c hariot ra c e s an d for the great c ontest of mu si c ians


-
,

where every tru e p oet an d mu s i cian in Gree c e wa s sure to

It wa s the ti me the retu rn to earth of A d oni s an d


of

of P ro s er p ine a n d as he was reverently about to enter


,

the s a cre d grove of P o s ei d on where the trees grew ,

thi ck an d saw c rown ing the height b efore hi m the


, , ,

glittering tower s of C orinth he hear d overhead the , , ,

harsh crie s of s om e other return ed e xi l e s Iby cus .

smiled as he looked up and behe l d the great o ck of


,

grey birds with their long legs and strong outstretched


, ,

wings come ba ck fro m their winter soj ourn on the golden


,
1 92
THE CRANES O F IBYCUS 1 93

s ands of Egy pt to dance and bec k and bow to each


,

other by the marshe s of his hom eland .


Welcome back little brothers !
, he cried May .

y ou and I both meet with n aught but k in dn e s s fro m the


peop l e of this land
And when the c rane s again harsh ly crie d as if in ,

answer to his g reeting the poet walked gaily on further


, ,

into the shadow of that dark wood ou t of which he was


never to pass as living man Joyous and fearing n o
.
,

evil he had been struc k and c ast to the ground by cruel


,

an d m u fd erou s hands ere ever he k new that two robber s

were hi dden in a narrow pass where the brushwood grew


thi ck With al l his strength he fought but his arms
.
,

were thos e o f a musician and not of a warrior and ve ry ,

soon he was overp owered by those who assailed him .

He cried in vain to gods and to men for he l p and in hi s ,

nal agony he heard on c e more the harsh voices of the


mi gratory birds a nd the rush of their speeding wings .

From the grou n d where he ble d to d eath h e l oo ked u p


, ,

to them .

Take up my caus e d ear crane s , h e s aid sin c e ,

no voice but yours answers my c ry

And the c ranes s creamed hoarsely and m ou m ful l y


a s if in fare w ell as they apped their way towards
,

Corinth an d l eft the p oet ly ing de ad .

When his body was foun d robbed and terribly ,

wounded from all over Gree c e where he was known


, ,

and loved there upros e a great cl amour of l amentation


,
.

Is it th us I nd y ou restored to me sa i d h e wh o
had expe cted hi m in C orinth as hi s honou red gu est ;
19 4 A B OOK O F MYTH S

I who hoped to p la c e the V i ctor s l aurels on your hea d
when you triumphed in the temple of song
And all those whom the loving personali ty of Iby cus
and the charm of his music had made his friends were
a lert and eager to avenge so foul a mu rder But none .

knew how the wi ck ed deed had c ome to p a ss none ,

save the crane s .

Then c ame the day to which Iby cu s had l ooked


forward with su c h j oy when thousands upon thousands
,

o f his c ountrymen sat in the theatre at Cypru s and

watched a play that stirred their hearts within them .

The theatre had for roof the blue vault of heaven ; the
su n s erved for footlights and for the lights above
the heads of those who a cted The three Furies .

the Eumenides w ith their hard and cruel fa c e s and


snaky l o cks and with blood dripping from their eyes
, ,

Were represented by actors s o great that the hearts of


their beholder s trembled within them In their dread .

hands lay the p un ishment of murder of i nh ospitality , ,

of ingratitude ,and of all the cruellest and basest of


c rimes Theirs was the duty of hurrying the doomed
.

spirits entrusted to their mer ciless care over the Phle


g e th on
,
the river o f re that ows round Hades and ,

through the b razen gate s that l ed to Torment and their ,

rob es were rob es worn


W ith all th e p mp
o o f h rr r
o o ,

dy d in g or e .

- VI R GI L .

In s olemn caden c e while the thousands of beholders


,

watched and listened enthralled the Furies wa lked ,

round the theatre and s ang their Song of terror :


TH E C RAN ES O F IB YCUS 195

Woe woe ! to him whose hands are soiled with


!
blood ! The darkness shall not hide him nor shall hi s ,

dread secret lie hidden even in the bowels of the earth


He Shall not seek by ight to es c ape us for vengean c e ,

is ours and swifter than a hawk that strikes its quarry


,

shall we stri ke Unwearying we pursue nor are ou r


.
,

swift feet and ou r avenging arm s made slow by pity .

Woe ! woe ! to the shedder of inno cent blood for n or ,

pea c e nor rest is his until We have hurried his tormented


soul down to torture that shall endure everlastingly
As the l isteners heard the dirge of doom there were ,

none who did not think of Ibycus the gentle hearted ,


-

p oet so mu ch beloved and so foul ly done to death an d


, ,

in the tensity of the moment when the voi c es cease d a ,

great thrill passed over the mul titudes as a voice shrill ,

with amazed horror burst from on e of the uppermost


,

benches
S ee there ! see there behol d, com rade, the cran es o f
Ibycu s
Every eye looked upwards and harshly crying , , ,

there pas sed overhead the ock of cranes to whom the


poet ha d entrusted his dying message Then like an .
,

electric shock there c ame to all those who beheld the


,

knowledge that he w h o had c ried aloud was the mu rd erer


of Iby cus .


S eize him ! seize him ! cried in unison the
voi c e s of thousan ds S eize the m an and hi m to who m
.
,

he spoke
Frantically the trembling wretch tried to deny his
words but it wa s too l ate The re ar of the multitude s
, .
19 6 A B OO K O F MYTHS
was as that of an angry se a that hungers for its p re y
an d will n ot be denied He who had spoken and him
.

to who m he spoke were seized by a s c ore of ea g er


han d s .

In white fa ced terror because the Furies had hunted


-
,

the m down they made c onfession of their crime and


,

Were put to death And the o ck of grey plumage d


.
-
,

rosy headed c ranes winge d their way on to the marshe s


-
,

there to be ck and bow to ea c h other and to dance in the


,

g ol den sunset well content be c ause their message was


,

de l ivered and Iby cus the poet musician who had given
, ,
-

the m wel c ome was avenged


, .
SYRIN X

it b c a
Is th W i ld w d p a i
e u se ti l l l ie -
oo ss o n s n ger s i n h art s
ou r e ,

b cau
e ti ll i
se s m i d th v i c f S yri x l i
n ou r n s e o e o n n g r s i m e l a ch ly
e n n o

m u i c th m u i c f r g r t d l g i g that f
s , e s o e e an on n , or m t f u s th r i
os o e e s

so
p t t a
o en
p ll i ru i g
s wat res
F I ON An M ACnn n e L EOD .

AS the evening shadows lengthen and the night win d ,

softly steals through the trees tou ching w ith restless ,

ngers the still waters of the little lochans that would


fain have rest there c an be heard a long l ong whisper
, , ,

l ike a sigh There is no softer sadder note to be heard


.
,


in all Pan s great or che stra nor c an on e marvel that it ,

shou ld be so for the whi sp er comes from the reeds w h o


,

gently sway their hea d s while the win d passes over the m
as they grow by l one ly l ake or river .

Th is is th e story of S yrinx the reed a s Ovid h as told , ,

it to us .

In Ar c adia there dwelt a nymph whose na me wa s


Syrinx So fair Sh e was that for her dear sake fauns
.

and satyrs forgot to gambol and sat in the green woods ,

in thoughtful stillness that they might see her as she ,

passed But for none of them had Syrinx a word of


.

kindness She had no wish for love


. .

Bu t v tr l y I k w hi m t
as fo r L o e, u no no ,

I h av p a i at ly t r d my l i p th r fr m
e ss o n e u ne s e e o ,

A d fr m that fat th c ar l g d all t


n o e e e e ss o s o .

L ADY M A R G A R E T S AC K V ILL E .

1 97
19 8 A B OOK O F MYTH S

To only of the gods did sh e give her l oya l all e


on e

g ia n ce She .worshipped Diana and with her followed


,

the c hase As sh e lightly sped through the forest sh e


.

might have been Diana herself and there were those ,

who said they would not know nymph from goddess ,

but that the g oddess c arried a silver bow while that of ,

Syrinx was made of horn Fearles s an d without a c are


.
,

or sorrow Syrin x passed her happy da ys Not for all


, .

the g old of Midas would sh e have changed pla c es with


those l ove lorn nymphs who sighe d their hearts ou t for
-

love o f a god or of a man Heartw h ol e fan cy free gay


.
, ,

and happy and lithe and strong as a young boy whose ,

j oy it is to run and to ex c el in the chase was S yrinx , ,

whose white arms against the greenwood tree s dazzle d


the eye s of the watching fauns when sh e drew ba ck h er
h ow to speed an arro w at the stag sh e had hunted sin c e
early d awn E a c h m orning that sh e awok e was the
.

morning of a day of j oy each night that sh e l ay down


to rest it was to sleep as a chil d w h o smiles in hi s slee p
,

at the remembran c e of a p erfe c t day .

But to Syrinx who knew n o fear Fear c ame at last


, , .

She wa s returning on e evening from the shadowy hills ,

untired by the c has e that had lasted for many an hour ,

when fa c e to face sh e met w ith on e whom hitherto sh e


, ,

had only seen from afar O f him the other nymphs spok e
.

often Who was so great as Pan


.

Pan who ruled the ,

woods None c ould stand against Pan Those who de


. .

e d him must ever come under his power in the end He .

was Fear ; he was Youth ; he wa s Joy ; he Was Love ; he


wa s B e ast ; h e wa s Po wer ; h e wa s Man ; he was God .
SYRINX 19 9

H e was Life itself S o did they talk and Syrinx listened


.
,

with a smile N ot Pan himself c ould brin g Fear to her


. .

Yet when he met her in the silent loneliness of a


great forest and stoo d in her path and gazed on her with
eyes of j oyous amazement that one s o fair should be in
his king do m without his having had knowledge of it ,

Syrin x fe lt somethin g c om e to her heart that n ever


b efore had assailed it .


Pan s head was c rowned with sharp pine l eave s His -
.

fa c e was you ng and beautiful and yet older than the,

mountain s and the sea s Sadness and j oy were in hi s


.

eyes at the same time and at the same moment there


,

l ooked ou t from them unutterable tendernes s and merci


less cruelty For only a littl e spa c e of time did he stand
.

and hold her eyes with his own and then in l ow caressing
,

voi c e he spok e and his words were l ike the song of a


,

bird to his mate like the cal l of the earth to the su n in


,

spring like the l ap of the waves when they tell the rocks
,

of their eternal l onging Of love he spoke of love that


.
,


deman ded love and of the nymph s most perfe ct beauty
, .

Yet as he spok e the unknown thing c am e an d s mote


,

w ith icy hand s the heart of Syrinx .


Ah ! I have Fear ! I have Fear ! sh e c rie d an d ,

more crue l grew the crue lty in the eyes of Pan but hi s ,

words were still the word s of passionate tenderness .

Like a bird that trembles help l ess before the serpent


, ,

that woul d slay it so did Syrinx the huntress stand and


, ,

her fa c e in the shade of the forest was like a white lily in


the night But when the god would have draw n her
.

clos e to him and kissed her red l ip s Fear leapt to Terror , ,


2 00 A BOO K OF MYTHS
and Terror winged her feet Never in the chase with .

Diana had sh e run as n ow sh e ran But like a rushing .

storm di d P an pursue her and when he laughed sh e ,

knew that what the nymphs had said was true h e was
P ow er h e was Fear h e was B ea st h e was Life itself .

The dar kness of the forest swiftly grew more dark The .

cl imbing trails of iv y and the fragrant c ree p ing p l ants


c aught her yin g feet and made her stumb le Branches .

and twigs grew a l ive and snatched at her an d baulked


h er as sh e p assed Trees b l ocked her path Al l Nature
. .

had grown cruel and everywhere there see med to her


,

to be a murmur of mo cking laughter l aughter from the ,

c rea tures of P an echoing the mer c i l ess merri m ent of


,

their l ord and master Nearer he ca m e ever nearer


.
, .

Almost sh e c ould fee l his brea th o n her ne ck ; bu t


even a s he stretched ou t his ar m s to seize the nymp h
w ho s e breath came with s obs l i k e that of a you ng
doe spent by the chase they rea ched the brink of ,

the river L ade n An d to her


. watery sisters the
nymph s of the river Syr i nx breathe d a de sp erate prayer
,

for p ity and for hel p then stumb l ed forwar d a qu arry


, ,

ru n to the d eath .

W ith an exul tant shout Pan gra sp e d her as sh e fell


,
.

And 10 in his arms he he l d no exquisite body with


,

er c ely be ating heart but a clump of s lender reeds


, .

Bafed he stood for a l ittle s pace and as he stood the , , ,

s avagery of the beast faded from his eye s that were


fathomless as d ark m ountain tarns where the su n

rays se l dom c ome and there c ame into them a man s
,

unutterable woe At the reeds by the river he gazed


. ,
SYRIN X 20 1

an d sighed a great sigh the sigh that comes from the


,

heart of a god who thinks of the pain of the w orld Like .

a gentle zephyr the sigh breathed through the reeds ,

and from the reed s there c ame a sound a s of the s obbing



sorrow of the world s desire Then P an d rew hi s s harp
.

knife a n d with it he cut s even of the reed s that grew


,

by the murmuring river .


Thus shalt thou still be mine my Syrinx he s ai d , , .

D eftly he bound them together cut them into u n ,

equal lengths and fashioned for himse lf an instru ment


, ,

that to this day is c alled the Syrinx or Pan s P ipe s , .

S o di d the god make music .

And all that night he sat by the s w ift ow in g river -


,

and the musi c from his pipe of ree d s was so sweet and
yet so passing sad that it seeme d as though the very
,

heart of the earth itself were telling of its sadness Thus .

Syrin x still lives still dies :


A
no e ot f m u i c by it w br e ath l ai
s s o n s n,

oB l w t d r ly fr m th frai l h art f a r e d
n en e o e e o e ,

an das the evening light c ome s down on silent p l a c e s


and the trembling shadows fall on the water We can ,

hear her mou rnful whisper through the swaying reeds ,

brown and si lvery golden that grow by l onely lo chan


-
,

and lake an d river .


THE DEAT H O F AD ONIS
Th e fair t y t h t h at v r m ai d
es ou e e en s

d r am c c iv e d
e on e .
"

L E W IS M O RRI S .

THE i deally beau tiful woman a subj e ct throughout th e ,

centur ies for all the greatest powers of s culptor s and


painter s ar t is Venus or Aphrodite goddess of beauty
, , ,

and of love And he who shares with her an unending


.

suprema cy of perfection of form is not one of the gods ,

her equals but a mortal lad who was the son of a king
, , .

As Aphrodite sported on e day with Eros the little god ,

of l ove by a cc ident she wounded her s elf with on e of his


,

arrows And straightway there c ame into h er heart a


.

strang e l onging and an a che su ch as the mortal victims


of the bow o f Eros knew well While still the ache .

re m ained sh e heard in a forest of Cyprus the baying


, , ,

of hound s and the shouts o f those who urged them on in

the chase For her the chase possessed no charms and


.
,

She stood aside while the quarry burst through the


branches and thi ck undergrowth of the wood and the ,

hounds followed in hot pursuit But sh e drew her .

breath sharply and her eyes opened wide in amazed


,

gladness when sh e looked on the perfe ct beauty of the


,

e et footed hunter who was only a little less swift than


-
,

the shining spear that sped from his hand w ith the sure
ness of a bolt from the hand of Zeus And sh e knew .

202
THE DE ATH O F AD ONIS 2 03

th atthis must be none o th er than Adonis so n of the ,

king of Paphos of whose matchless b e au ty sh e had


,

heard not only the dweller s on earth but the O lympians


,

themselves speak in wonder While gods and men were


.

ready to pay homage to hi s marvellous loveliness to ,

Adonis himself it counted for nothing But in the.

vigour of his perfect frame he rej oiced ; in his eetn ess


of foot in the power of that arm that Mi chael Angelo
,

has modelled in the quickness and sureness of his aim


, ,

for the b oy Was a mighty hunter with a pas sion for the

Aphrodite felt that her heart wa s n o l onger her ow n ,

an d knew that the wound that the arrow of Eros had

dealt would never heal until sh e knew that Adonis loved


her No l onger was sh e to be found by the Cytherian
.

shores or in those places on c e held by her most dear ,

and the other gods smiled when they beheld her vying
with Diana in the chase an d following Adonis as he
pursued the roe the wolf and the wild boar through the
, ,

dark forest and up the mountain side The pride of the


.

godde s s of love must often have hung its head For .

her l ove was a thing that Adonis could not understand .

He he l d her Something better than his dog a little ,


dearer than his horse and wondered at her whim to
,

follow his hou nds through brake and marsh and lonely
forest Hi s re ckless c ourage was her pride and her
.

torture Be c ause he was to her so innitely dear his


.
,

path s ee m ed ever be strewn with dangers But when .

sh e spoke to him with anxious warning and begged hi m

to beware of the er c e beasts that might one day turn


2 04 A BO O K OF MYTHS

on him and bring him death the boy l aughed mockingly ,

and w i th scorn .

There c ame at last a day when she ask e d him what


he did on the morrow and Adonis told her with sparkling
,

eyes that had n o heed for her beauty that he had word ,

o f a wild boar larger older more erc e than any he


, , ,

had ever sl ain and which before the chariot of Diana


, ,

next passed over the l and of Cypru s woul d be lying ,

d ead with a spear Wound thr ough it -


.

With terrib l e foreboding Ap hr odite tried to dissua d e ,

hi m from his venture .

0 ,
a d vi d th u k w t t what it i
be se o no

s no s

W ith jav l i p i t a ch r l i h wi t g r
e n s

o n u s s ne o o e,

Wh t h o se v r h ath d h w h tt th s ti ll
us es ne e s e e e e e ,

L i k t a m rtal b t c h r b t t k i l l
e o o u e , en o .

Ala s,au ght e s t e m that fa f thi


he n e s ce o n e,

T whi c h l v y p ay tr i butary gaz ;



o o e s e es es

N th y ft ha d w t l i p
or so d c ry ta l yn
n s, s ee s, a n s e e,

Wh f l l p rf c ti all th w r ld am az ;
ose u e e on e o es

B t havi g th
u at va ta g w d r u s d r a d
n ee n e on o e

W ld r t th s e b a ti
ou oo h r t th m a d
e e u e s as e oo s e e .

S H A K E SP EAR E .

al l her w arnings Adonis woul d but give smiles


To , .

111 would it be c ome him to slink abashed away before


the ercen ess of an ol d monster of the woods and , ,

laughing in the pride of a whole hearted boy at a woman s -


idle fears he sped homewards with his hounds


, .

With the gnawing dread of a mortal wom an in her


soul Aphrodite spent the next hours Early sh e sought
, .

the forest that sh e might again plead with Adonis and ,


THE DEATH O F AD ONIS 2 05

maybe p ersuade him for love of her to give u p the


, ,

perilous chase because sh e love d him so .

But even as the rosy gates of the Dawn Were opening ,

Adonis had begun his hunt and from afar o ff the goddess
,

c ould hear the baying of his hounds Yet surely their .

clamour Was n ot that of hounds in full cry nor wa s it the ,

triumphant noise that they so fiercely make as they pull


down their vanquished quarry but rather was it baying , ,

mou rnful as that of the hounds of Hecate S wift a s a .

great bir d Ap hrodite reached the spot from when c e


,

c ame the sound that made her tremble .

Amidst the trampled brake where many a hound l ay ,

stiff and dead While others disembowelled by the tusks


, ,

of the boar howled aloud in morta l agony lay Adonis


, , .

As he l ay he
, knew the strange sl ow c hill whi ch , ,

stealing tells the young that it is death
, .

And as in ewtrem is he thought of past things man


, , ,

h ood c ame to Adonis and he knew something of th e


meaning of the love of Aphroditea love stronger than
life than time than death itse lf His hounds and his
, , .

spear seemed but plaything s now Only the eternitie s .

remained bright Life and black robed Death ,


-
.

Very still he l ay as though he sle pt marble white


,
-
,

and beautiful as a statue Wrought by the hand of a god .

But from the cruel wound in the white thigh ripped ,

open by the boar s profaning tusk the red blood dripped



, ,

in rhythmic ow crimsoning the green mos s under him


, .

With a moan o f unutterable anguish Aphrodite threw ,

herself beside him and pillowed his dear head in her


,


tender arm s Then for a little while life s e mbers
.
, ,
206 A B O O K O F MYTHS
i ckered up his c old l ips tried to form themselves into
,

a smile of understanding and held themselves up to hers .

And while they kissed the soul of Adonis passed away


, , .

A cru l c ru l w
d h i thi g h hath A d i s b t a d p r w u d
e ,
e ou n on s on , u ee e o n

i
n h e h art d th Cy th e r a
r e b ear A b t h im h i d ar h d e
o e
1
. ou s e ou n s ar

l u dly bay i g
o d th ym p h s f th e wi ld w d wai l hi m ; b t
n , an e n o oo s u

Ap hr d it W i th b u d l ck thr gh th e gla d g wa d ri g
o e un o n o s ou es oe s n e n

wr t ch d with hair brai d d with f e t a d all d d th th r a s


e e , un e ,
e un s n e ,
an e o ns

s h pa e w d h
e ss d p l ck th e b l
s oun m f h e a cr e d b l d
er an u o s so o r s oo .

S hri ll h wai l d w th e w d l a d h e i b r
s e s as A d th riv e r s
o n oo n s s o ne . n e

b wai l th e rr w of A p hr di t
e so d th e w e ll
o e we pi g A d
s is o e , an s ar e n on on

th e m u tai o Th w r h
n nsd f. a g i h d Cy th r a throu gh
e o e s us re or n u s ,
an e e

a ll th m ou t i k e e s thr u gh e v ry d e ll d th utte r p it e s d ir g
e n a n- n ,
o e o ou e :

Woe , w oe f or Cy therea he ha th p erished, the l ovely Adon is


,