Perseus:bib:oclc,24965574, Ovid. Metamorphoses. Brookes More. Boston. Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922.

  1. While with his songs, Orpheus, the bard of Thrace,
  2. allured the trees, the savage animals,
  3. and even the insensate rocks, to follow him;
  4. Ciconian matrons, with their raving breasts
  5. concealed in skins of forest animals,
  6. from the summit of a hill observed him there,
  7. attuning love songs to a sounding harp.
  8. One of those women, as her tangled hair
  9. was tossed upon the light breeze shouted, “See!
  10. Here is the poet who has scorned our love!”
  11. Then hurled her spear at the melodious mouth
  12. of great Apollo's bard: but the spear's point,
  13. trailing in flight a garland of fresh leaves,
  14. made but a harmless bruise and wounded not.
  15. The weapon of another was a stone,
  16. which in the very air was overpowered
  17. by the true harmony of his voice and lyre,
  18. and so disabled lay before his feet,
  19. as asking pardon for that vain attempt.
  20. The madness of such warfare then increased.
  21. All moderation is entirely lost,
  22. and a wild Fury overcomes the right.—
  23. although their weapons would have lost all force,
  24. subjected to the power of Orpheus' harp,
  25. the clamorous discord of their boxwood pipes,
  26. the blaring of their horns, their tambourines
  27. and clapping hands and Bacchanalian yells,
  28. with hideous discords drowned his voice and harp.—
  29. at last the stones that heard his song no more
  30. fell crimson with the Thracian poet's blood.
  31. Before his life was taken, the maenads turned
  32. their threatening hands upon the many birds,
  33. which still were charmed by Orpheus as he sang,
  34. the serpents, and the company of beasts—
  35. fabulous audience of that worshipped bard.
  36. And then they turned on him their blood-stained hands:
  37. and flocked together swiftly, as wild birds,
  38. which, by some chance, may see the bird of night
  39. beneath the sun. And as the savage dogs
  40. rush on the doomed stag, loosed some bright fore-noon,
  41. on blood-sand of the amphitheatre;
  42. they rushed against the bard, with swift
  43. hurled thyrsi which, adorned with emerald leaves
  44. had not till then been used for cruelty.
  45. And some threw clods, and others branches torn
  46. from trees; and others threw flint stones at him,
  47. and, that no lack of weapons might restrain
  48. their savage fury then, not far from there
  49. by chance they found some oxen which turned up
  50. the soil with ploughshares, and in fields nearby
  51. were strong-armed peasants, who with eager sweat
  52. worked for the harvest as they dug hard fields;
  53. and all those peasants, when they saw the troop
  54. of frantic women, ran away and left
  55. their implements of labor strown upon
  56. deserted fields—harrows and heavy rakes
  57. and their long spades
  58. after the savage mob
  59. had seized upon those implements, and torn
  60. to pieces oxen armed with threatening horns,
  61. they hastened to destroy the harmless bard,
  62. devoted Orpheus; and with impious hate,
  63. murdered him, while his out-stretched hands implored
  64. their mercy—the first and only time his voice
  65. had no persuasion. O great Jupiter!
  66. Through those same lips which had controlled the rocks
  67. and which had overcome ferocious beasts,
  68. his life breathed forth, departed in the air.
  69. The mournful birds, the stricken animals,
  70. the hard stones and the weeping woods, all these
  71. that often had followed your inspiring voice,
  72. bewailed your death; while trees dropped their green leaves,
  73. mourning for you, as if they tore their hair.
  74. They say sad rivers swelled with their own tears—
  75. naiads and dryads with dishevelled hair
  76. wore garments of dark color.
  77. His torn limbs
  78. were scattered in strange places. Hebrus then
  79. received his head and harp—and, wonderful!
  80. While his loved harp was floating down the stream,
  81. it mourned for him beyond my power to tell.
  82. His tongue though lifeless, uttered a mournful sound
  83. and mournfully the river's banks replied:
  84. onward borne by the river to the sea
  85. they left their native stream and reached the shore
  86. of Lesbos at Methymna. Instantly,
  87. a furious serpent rose to attack the head
  88. of Orpheus, cast up on that foreign sand—
  89. the hair still wet with spray. Phoebus at last
  90. appeared and saved the head from that attack:
  91. before the serpent could inflict a sting,
  92. he drove it off, and hardened its wide jaws
  93. to rigid stone.
  94. Meanwhile the fleeting shade
  95. of Orpheus had descended under earth:
  96. remembering now those regions that he saw
  97. when there before, he sought Eurydice
  98. through fields frequented by the blest; and when
  99. he found her, folded her in eager arms.
  100. Then lovingly they wandered side by side,
  101. or he would follow when she chose to lead,
  102. or at another time he walked in front,
  103. looking back, safely,—at Eurydice.
  104. Bacchus would not permit the wickedness
  105. of those who slaughtered Orpheus to remain
  106. unpunished. Grieving for the loss of his
  107. loved bard of sacred rites, at once he bound
  108. with twisted roots the feet of everyone
  109. of those Edonian women who had caused
  110. the crime of Orpheus' death.
  111. Their toes grew long.
  112. He thrust the sharp points in the solid earth.
  113. As when a bird entangled in a snare,
  114. hid by the cunning fowler, knows too late
  115. that it is held, then vainly beats its wings,
  116. and fluttering only makes more tight the noose
  117. with every struggle; so each woman-fiend
  118. whose feet were sinking in the soil, when she
  119. attempted flight, was held by deepening roots.
  120. And while she looks down where her toes and nails
  121. and feet should be, she sees wood growing up
  122. from them and covering all her graceful legs.
  123. Full of delirious grief, endeavoring
  124. to smite with right hand on her changing thigh,
  125. she strikes on solid oak. Her tender breast
  126. and shoulders are transformed to rigid oak.
  127. You would declare that her extended arms
  128. are real branches of a forest tree,
  129. and such a thought would be the very truth.
  1. And not content with this, Bacchus resolved
  2. to leave that land, and with a worthier train
  3. went to the vineyards of his own Tmolus
  4. and to Pactolus, though the river was
  5. not golden, nor admired for precious sands.
  6. His usual throng of Satyrs and of Bacchanals
  7. surrounded him; but not Silenus, who
  8. was then detained from him. The Phrygian folk
  9. had captured him, as he was staggering, faint
  10. with palsied age and wine. And after they
  11. bound him in garlands, they led him to their king
  12. Midas, to whom with the Cecropian
  13. Eumolpus, Thracian Orpheus had shown all
  14. the Bacchic rites. When Midas recognized
  15. his old time friend Silenus, who had been
  16. so often his companion in the rites
  17. of Bacchus, he kept joyful festival,
  18. with his old comrade, twice five days and nights.
  19. Upon the eleventh day, when Lucifer
  20. had dimmed the lofty multitude of stars,
  21. King Midas and Silenus went from there
  22. joyful together to the Lydian lands.
  23. There Midas put Silenus carefully
  24. under the care of his loved foster-child,
  25. young Bacchus. He with great delight, because
  26. he had his foster-father once again,
  27. allowed the king to choose his own reward—
  28. a welcome offer, but it led to harm.
  29. And Midas made this ill-advised reply:
  30. “Cause whatsoever I shall touch to change
  31. at once to yellow gold.” Bacchus agreed
  32. to his unfortunate request, with grief
  33. that Midas chose for harm and not for good.
  34. The Berecynthian hero, king of Phrygia,
  35. with joy at his misfortune went away,
  36. and instantly began to test the worth
  37. of Bacchus' word by touching everything.
  38. Doubtful himself of his new power, he pulled
  39. a twig down from a holm-oak, growing on
  40. a low hung branch. The twig was turned to gold.
  41. He lifted up a dark stone from the ground
  42. and it turned pale with gold. He touched a clod
  43. and by his potent touch the clod became
  44. a mass of shining gold. He plucked some ripe,
  45. dry spears of grain, and all that wheat he touched
  46. was golden. Then he held an apple which
  47. he gathered from a tree, and you would think
  48. that the Hesperides had given it.
  49. If he but touched a lofty door, at once
  50. each door-post seemed to glisten. When he washed
  51. his hands in liquid streams, the lustrous drops
  52. upon his hands might have been those which once
  53. astonished Danae. He could not now
  54. conceive his large hopes in his grasping mind,
  55. as he imagined everything of gold.
  56. And, while he was rejoicing in great wealth,
  57. his servants set a table for his meal,
  58. with many dainties and with needful bread:
  59. but when he touched the gift of Ceres with
  60. his right hand, instantly the gift of Ceres
  61. stiffened to gold; or if he tried to bite
  62. with hungry teeth a tender bit of meat,
  63. the dainty, as his teeth but touched it, shone
  64. at once with yellow shreds and flakes of gold.
  65. And wine, another gift of Bacchus, when
  66. he mixed it in pure water, can be seen
  67. in his astonished mouth as liquid gold.
  68. Confounded by his strange misfortune—rich
  69. and wretched—he was anxious to escape
  70. from his unhappy wealth. He hated all
  71. he had so lately longed for. Plenty could
  72. not lessen hunger and no remedy
  73. relieved his dry, parched throat. The hated gold
  74. tormented him no more than he deserved.
  75. Lifting his hands and shining arms to heaven,
  76. he moaned. “Oh pardon me, father Lenaeus!
  77. I have done wrong, but pity me, I pray,
  78. and save me from this curse that looked so fair.”
  79. How patient are the gods! Bacchus forthwith,
  80. because King Midas had confessed his fault,
  81. restored him and annulled the promise given,
  82. annulled the favor granted, and he said:
  83. “That you may not be always cased in gold,
  84. which you unhappily desired, depart
  85. to the stream that flows by that great town of Sardis
  86. and upward trace its waters, as they glide
  87. past Lydian heights, until you find their source.
  88. Then, where the spring leaps out from mountain rock,
  89. plunge head and body in the snowy foam.
  90. At once the flood will take away your curse.”
  91. King Midas did as he was told and plunged
  92. beneath the water at the river's source.
  93. And the gold virtue granted by the god,
  94. as it departed from his body, tinged
  95. the stream with gold. And even to this hour
  96. adjoining fields, touched by this ancient vein
  97. of gold, are hardened where the river flows
  98. and colored with the gold that Midas left.
  1. Abhorring riches he inhabited
  2. the woods and fields, and followed Pan who dwells
  3. always in mountain-caves: but still obtuse
  4. remained, from which his foolish mind again,
  5. by an absurd decision, harmed his life.
  6. He followed Pan up to the lofty mount
  7. Tmolus, which from its great height looks far
  8. across the sea. Steep and erect it stands
  9. between great Sardis and the small Hypaepa.
  10. While Pan was boasting there to mountain nymphs
  11. of his great skill in music, and while he
  12. was warbling a gay tune upon the reeds,
  13. cemented with soft wax, in his conceit
  14. he dared to boast to them how he despised
  15. Apollo's music when compared with his—.
  16. At last to prove it, he agreed to stand
  17. against Apollo in a contest which
  18. it was agreed should be decided by
  19. Tmolus as their umpire.
  20. This old god
  21. sat down on his own mountain, and first eased
  22. his ears of many mountain growing trees,
  23. oak leaves were wreathed upon his azure hair
  24. and acorns from his hollow temples hung.
  25. First to the Shepherd-god Tmolus spoke:
  26. “My judgment shall be yours with no delay.
  27. Pan made some rustic sounds on his rough reeds,
  28. delighting Midas with his uncouth notes;
  29. for Midas chanced to be there when he played.
  30. When Pan had ceased, divine Tmolus turned
  31. to Phoebus, and the forest likewise turned
  32. just as he moved. Apollo's golden locks
  33. were richly wreathed with fresh Parnassian laurel;
  34. his robe of Tyrian purple swept the ground;
  35. his left hand held his lyre, adorned with gems
  36. and Indian ivory. His right hand held
  37. the plectrum—as an artist he stood there
  38. before Tmolus, while his skilful thumb
  39. touching the strings made charming melody.
  40. Delighted with Apollo's artful touch,
  41. Tmolus ordered Pan to hold his reeds
  42. excelled by beauty of Apollo's lyre.
  43. That judgment of the sacred mountain god
  44. pleased all those present, all but Midas, who
  45. blaming Tmolus called the award unjust.
  46. The Delian god forbids his stupid ears
  47. to hold their native human shape;
  48. and, drawing them out to a hideous length,
  49. he fills them with gray hairs, and makes them both
  50. unsteady, wagging at the lower part:
  51. still human, only this one part condemned,
  52. Midas had ears of a slow-moving ass.
  53. Midas, careful to hide his long ears, wore
  54. a purple turban over both, which hid
  55. his foul disgrace from laughter. But one day
  56. a servant, who was chosen to cut his hair
  57. with steel, when it was long, saw his disgrace.
  58. He did not dare reveal what he had seen,
  59. but eager, to disclose the secret, dug
  60. a shallow hole, and in a low voice told
  61. what kind of ears were on his master's head.
  62. All this he whispered in the hollow earth
  63. he dug, and then he buried all he said
  64. by throwing back the loose earth in the hole
  65. so everything was silent when he left.
  66. A grove thick set with quivering reeds
  67. began to grow there, and when it matured,
  68. about twelve months after that servant left,
  69. the grove betrayed its planter. For, moved by
  70. a gentle South Wind, it repeated all
  71. the words which he had whispered, and disclosed
  72. from earth the secret of his master's ears.
  1. His vengence now complete, Latona's son
  2. borne through the liquid air, departed from
  3. Tmolus, and then rested on the land
  4. of Laomedon, this side the narrow sea
  5. dividing Phrygia from the land of Thrace.
  6. The promontory of Sigaeum right
  7. and on the left Rhoetaeum loftily arose;
  8. and at that place an ancient altar had
  9. been dedicated to great Jove, the god
  10. Panomphaean. And near that place he saw
  11. laomedon, beginning then to build
  12. the walls of famous Troy. He was convinced
  13. the task exceeded all the power of man,
  14. requiring great resource. Together with
  15. the trident-bearing father of the deep,
  16. he assumed a mortal form: and those two gods
  17. agreed to labor for a sum of gold
  18. and built the mighty wall. But that false king
  19. refused all payment, adding perjury
  20. to his false bargaining. Neptune, enraged,
  21. said, “You shall not escape your punishment.”
  22. And he drove all his waters high upon
  23. the shores of Troy—built there through perfidy.
  24. The sad land seemed a sea: the hard-earned wealth
  25. of all its farmers was destroyed
  26. and overwhelmed by furious waves.
  27. This awful punishment was not enough.
  28. The daughter of the king was soon required
  29. as food for a sea-monster—. Hesione
  30. was chained to rugged rocks. But Hercules
  31. delivered from all harm the royal maid
  32. and justly he demanded of the king,
  33. her father, payment of the promised steeds;
  34. but that perfidious king refused to keep
  35. his promise. Hercules enraged, because
  36. all payment was denied to him for his
  37. great service, captured the twice-perjured walls
  38. of conquered Troy. And as a fair reward,
  39. he gave to Telamon, who fought for him,
  40. Hesione, loved daughter of that king.
  41. For Peleus had a goddess as his bride
  42. and he was prouder of his father-in-law
  43. than of his grandsire. Since not he alone
  44. was grandson of great Jove, but he alone
  45. was honored with a goddess for a wife.
  1. To Thetis, aged Proteus once had said,
  2. “Oh goddess of the waves, you shall conceive,
  3. and you shall be the mother of a youth
  4. who by heroic actions will surpass
  5. the deeds of his own father, and your son
  6. shall be superior to his father's power.”
  7. So Jupiter, although the flame of love
  8. for Thetis burned his breast, would not embrace
  9. the lovely daughter of the sea, and urged
  10. his grandson Peleus, son of Aeacus,
  11. to wed the green haired maid without delay.
  12. There is a curved bay of Haemonia,
  13. where like an arch, two bending arms
  14. project out in the waves, as if to form
  15. a harbor; but the water is not deep—
  16. although enough to hide a shoal of sand.
  17. It has a firm shore which will not retain
  18. a foot's impression, nor delay the step—
  19. no seaweeds grow in that vicinity.
  20. There is a grove of myrtle near that place
  21. thick-hung with berries, blended of twin shades.
  22. A cave within the middle of that grove
  23. is found, and whether it was formed by art
  24. or nature is not known, although it seems
  25. a work of art. There Thetis often went,
  26. quite naked, seated on her dolphin, which
  27. was harnessed. Peleus seized her there when she
  28. was fast asleep: and after he had tried
  29. to win her by entreaties, while she long
  30. continued to resist him, he resolved
  31. to conquer her by violence, and seized
  32. her neck with both arms. She resorted then
  33. to all her usual art, and often changed:
  34. her shape as it was known, so that he failed
  35. in his attempt. At first she was a bird,
  36. but while she seemed a bird he held her fast;
  37. and then she changed herself to a large tree,
  38. and Peleus clung with ardor to the tree;
  39. her third disguise was as a spotted tigress,
  40. which frightened him so that he lost his hold.
  41. Then, as he poured wine on the heaving sea,
  42. he prayed unto the sea green gods and gave
  43. them sacrifice of sheep entrails, and smoke
  44. of frankincense. He ceased not, till at last
  45. the prophet of Carpathia, as he rose
  46. up from a deep wave, said, “Hark unto me,
  47. O son of Aeacus! and you shall have
  48. the bride your heart desires: when she at rest
  49. lies sleeping in the cool wave, you must bind
  50. her while she is unwary, with strong cords
  51. and complicated bonds, And never let
  52. her arts deceive you when she imitates
  53. a hundred varied forms, but hold her fast,
  54. whatever she may seem, until she shall
  55. at length assume the shape she had at first.”
  56. So Proteus cautioned him, and hid his face
  57. beneath the waves as his last words were said.
  58. Now Titan was descending and the pole
  59. of his bright chariot as it downward bent
  60. illuminated the Hesperian main;
  61. and at that time the lovely Nereid,
  62. Thetis, departing from her ocean wave,
  63. entered the cavern for desired repose.
  64. Peleus was waiting there. Immediately,
  65. just as he seized upon the virgin's limbs,
  66. she changed her shape and perservered
  67. until convinced she could not overcome
  68. his hold—for her two arms were forced apart—
  69. she groaned and said, “You could not overcome
  70. me in this way, but some divinity
  71. has given you the power.” Then she appeared
  72. as Thetis: and, when Peleus saw her now
  73. deprived of all deceptions, he embraced
  74. her and was father of the great Achilles.
  1. Great Peleus' heart was filled with happiness;
  2. because of his great son and Thetis his
  3. dear wife: he was blest in everything, except
  4. in killing Phocus. The Trachinian land
  5. received him guilty of his brother's blood;
  6. when he fled, banished from his native home.
  7. There Ceyx, who had the fine countenance
  8. of Lucifer his father, reigned as king,
  9. without the cost of violence or blood.
  10. Before this time his days had always given
  11. him joy and comfort, but all now was changed,
  12. for he was mourning a loved brother's death.
  13. Peleus, outwearied with his journey's length.
  14. Left his fine flock of sheep and all the herds
  15. he had brought with him, not far from the walls
  16. of that city, where Ceyx long had reigned.
  17. He entered with an olive branch all swathed
  18. in woolen fillets, symbol of good will,
  19. and with a suppliant hand disclosed his name.
  20. He told the monarch who he was, also
  21. his father's name. But he concealed his crime,
  22. giving untruthful reasons for his flight:
  23. and begged a refuge either in town or field.
  24. The king of Trachyn answered with kind words:
  25. “Ah, Peleus, even the lowest ranks enjoy
  26. our bounties and our hospitality,
  27. and you bring with you powers which compell
  28. attention and respect. Your name is so
  29. illustrious, and is not Jupiter
  30. your grandsire? Do not lose your time by such
  31. entreaties. Everything you may desire
  32. is yours as soon as known, and all you see
  33. is partly yours, but in how sad a state!”
  34. And then he wept. When Peleus and his friends
  35. asked him the reason of his grief he said,
  36. “Perchance you deem that bird which lives on prey,
  37. which is the terror of all other birds,
  38. had always feathered wings? It was a man.
  39. And now the vigor of its courage is
  40. as great as when well known by his man's name,
  41. Daedalion, bold in wars and strong and harsh,
  42. and not afraid to hazard violence.
  43. His father was unequalled Lucifer,
  44. star of the Morning, who at dawn brings forth
  45. Aurora, and withdraws the last of all
  46. the shining stars of heaven.—My brother named
  47. daedalion, son of that great star, was fond
  48. of cruel warfare, while I cherished peace
  49. and loved the quiet of my married life.
  50. This brother, powerful in the art of war,
  51. subdued strong kings and nations.—And 'tis he
  52. transformed from manhood, now a bird of prey,
  53. that so relentlessly pursues the doves,
  54. known as the pride of Thisbe's citizens.
  55. “My brother had a daughter Chione
  56. so beautiful she pleased a thousand men,
  57. when she had reached the marriageable age
  58. of twice seven years. It happened by some chance
  59. that Phoebus and the son of Maia, who
  60. returned—one from his Delphi, the other from
  61. Cyllene's heights—beheld this lovely maid
  62. both at the same time, and were both inflamed
  63. with passion. Phoebus waited till the night.
  64. Hermes could not endure delay and with
  65. the magic of his wand, that causes sleep,
  66. he touched the virgin's face; and instantly,
  67. as if entranced, she lay there fast asleep,
  68. and suffered violence from the ardent god.
  69. When night bespangled the wide heaven with stars,
  70. Phoebus became an aged crone and gained
  71. the joy he had deferred until that hour.
  72. “When her mature womb had completed time
  73. Autolycus was born, a crafty son,
  74. who certainly inherited the skill
  75. of wingfoot Mereury, his artful sire,
  76. notorious now; for every kind of theft.
  77. In fact, Autolycus with Mercury's craft,
  78. loved to make white of black, and black of white.
  79. “But Phoebus' child, for Chione bore twins,
  80. was named Philammon, like his sire, well known.
  81. To all men for the beauty of his song.
  82. And famous for his handling of the lyre.
  83. “What benefit in life did she obtain
  84. because she pleased! two gods and bore such twins?
  85. Was she blest by good fortune then because
  86. she was the daughter of a valiant father,
  87. and even the grandchild of the Morning Star?
  88. Can glory be a curse? Often it is.
  89. “And surely it was so for Chione.
  90. It was a prejudice that harmed her days
  91. because she vaunted that she did surpass
  92. Diana's beauty and decried her charms:
  93. the goddess in hot anger answered her,
  94. sarcastically, ‘If my face cannot
  95. give satisfaction, let me try my deeds.’
  96. “Without delay Diana bent her bow,
  97. and from the string an arrow swiftly flew,
  98. and pierced the vaunting tongue of Chione.
  99. Her tongue was silenced, and she tried in vain
  100. to speak or make a sound, and while she tried
  101. her life departed with the flowing blood.
  102. “Embracing her, I shared her father's grief.
  103. I spoke consoling words to my dear brother,
  104. he heard them as a cliff might hear the sea.
  105. And he lamented bitterly the loss
  106. of his dear daughter, snatched away from him.
  107. “Ah! when he saw her burning, he was filled
  108. with such an uncontrolled despair, he rushed
  109. four times to leap upon the blazing pyre;
  110. and after he had been four times repulsed,
  111. he turned and rushed away in headlong flight
  112. through trackless country, as a bullock flees,
  113. his swollen neck pierced with sharp hornet-stings,
  114. it seemed to me he ran beyond the speed
  115. of any human being. You would think
  116. his feet had taken wings, he left us far
  117. behind and swift in his desire for death
  118. he stood at last upon Parnassus' height.
  119. “Apollo pitied him.—And when Daedalion
  120. leaped over the steep cliff, Apollo's power
  121. transformed him to a bird; supported him
  122. while he was hovering in the air upon
  123. uncertain wings, of such a sudden growth.
  124. Apollo, also, gave him a curved beak,
  125. and to his slender toes gave crooked claws.
  126. His former courage still remains, with strength
  127. greater than usual in birds. He changed
  128. to a fierce hawk; cruel to all, he vents
  129. his rage on other birds. Grieving himself
  130. he is a cause of grief to all his kind.”
  131. While Ceyx, the royal son of Lucifer,
  132. told these great wonders of his brother's life;
  133. Onetor, who had watched the while those herds
  134. which Peleus had assigned to him, ran up
  135. with panting speed; and cried out as he ran,
  136. “Peleus, Peleus! I bring you dreadful news!”
  137. Peleus asked him to tell what had gone wrong
  138. and with King Ceyx he listened in suspense.
  1. “I drove the weary bullocks to the shore,”
  2. Onetor then began, “About the time
  3. when the high burning Sun in middle course,
  4. could look back on as much as might be seen
  5. remaining: and some cattle had then bent
  6. their knees on yellow sand; and as they lay
  7. might view the expanse of water stretched beyond.
  8. Some with slow steps were wandering here and there,
  9. and others swimming, stretched their lofty necks
  10. above the waves. A temple near that sea
  11. was fair to view, although 'twas not adorned
  12. with gold nor marble. It was richly made
  13. of beams, and shaded with an ancient grove.
  14. “A sailor, while he dried his nets upon
  15. the shore nearby, declared that aged Nereus
  16. possessed it with his Nereids, as the gods
  17. who ruled the neighboring waters. Very near
  18. it is a marsh, made by the encroaching waves,
  19. all thickly covered with low willow trees.
  20. “From there a loud uncanny crashing sound
  21. alarms the neighborhood. A monster-wolf!
  22. All stained with mud he breaks forth from the marsh,
  23. his thundering jaws thick-covered with vile foam
  24. and clotted blood—his fierce eyes flashing flames
  25. of crimson: and though he was raging, both
  26. with fury and with hunger, the true cause
  27. of his fierce passions was Ferocity.
  28. “He never paused to sate his ravenous hunger
  29. with the first cattle that he fell upon,
  30. but mangled the whole herd, as if at war.
  31. And some of us, while we defended them,
  32. were wounded with his fatal bite and killed.—
  33. the shore and nearest waves were red with blood,
  34. and marshy fens were filled with mournful sounds—
  35. the longings of our cattle.—This delay
  36. is dangerous. We must not hesitate.
  37. We must unite before all is destroyed!
  38. Take up your arms. Arm! and unite, I say!
  39. And bear our weapons for the cause of Right!”
  40. So spoke the countryman, and yet the loss
  41. had no effect on Peleus, though severe,
  42. for he, remembering his red crime, believed
  43. the Nereid had given him that loss—
  44. a just misfortune, as an offering
  45. to the departed Phocus. After this,
  46. King Ceyx, while he put his armor on,
  47. ordered his men to arm themselves with their
  48. best weapons, and to follow his command.
  49. But his fond wife, Halcyone, aroused
  50. by such a tumult, ran to him in haste;
  51. in such haste that her hair was still unfinished,
  52. and such as had been done, she threw
  53. in wild disorder.—Clinging to the neck
  54. of her loved husband, she entreated him
  55. with words and tears, to send his men along.
  56. But keep himself at home and so to save
  57. two lives in one.
  58. But Peleus said “O queen,
  59. 'Tis sweet and commendable in you to fear
  60. but needless. Though you promise generous aid,
  61. my hope lies not in fighting with the beast,
  62. I must appease a goddess of the sea.
  63. And the divinity of ocean must
  64. be properly adored.”
  65. A lofty tower
  66. is near there, and upon its extreme height
  67. a signal-fire is burning night and day,
  68. known to the grateful ships. They all went there;
  69. and from its summit they beheld with sighs,
  70. the mangled cattle scattered on the shore,
  71. and saw the ravager among the herd,
  72. his blood-stained jaws and long hair dripping blood.
  73. Then Peleus stretched his arms out towards the sea,
  74. and he implored the azure Psamathe
  75. to lay aside her wrath and give him aid.
  76. But she was deaf to any word of Peleus
  77. entreating her, and would not offer aid,
  78. till Thetis, interceding on behalf
  79. of her afflicted husband, moved her will.
  80. The monster-wolf persisted in his rage,
  81. even when the sea nymph bade him turn aside.
  82. His keen ferocity increased by taste
  83. of new sweet blood; till Psamathe, while he
  84. was seizing the last mangled heifer's neck,
  85. transformed him to hard marble. Every part
  86. of that ferocious monster's shape remained
  87. but it was changed to marble colored stone,
  88. which showed the monster was no more a wolf,
  89. and should no longer be a cause of fear.
  90. But still, the guiding Fates did not permit
  91. the banished Peleus to continue there,
  92. in this land governed by the friendly king.
  93. A wandering exile, he proceeded north
  94. into Magnesia; and was purified
  95. of guilt by King Acastus of that land.
  1. King Ceyx, disturbed by his loved brother's fate
  2. and prodigies which happened since that time,
  3. prepared to venture to the Clarian god,
  4. that he might there consult the oracle,
  5. so sanctified to consolation of distress:
  6. for then the way to Delphi was unsafe
  7. because of Phorbas and his Phlegyans.
  8. Before he went he told his faithful queen,
  9. his dear Halcyone. She felt at once
  10. terror creep through the marrow of her bones,
  11. pallor of boxwood overspread her face,
  12. and her two cheeks were wet with gushing tears.
  13. Three times she tried to speak while tears and sobs
  14. delayed her voice, until at last she said:—
  15. “What fault of mine, my dearest, has so changed
  16. your usual thoughts? Where is that care for me
  17. that always has stood first? Can you leave me
  18. for this long journey with no anxious fear—
  19. Halcyone, forsaken in these halls?
  20. Will this long journey be a pleasant change
  21. because far from you I should be more dear?
  22. Perhaps you think you will go there by land,
  23. and I shall only grieve, and shall not fear
  24. the sea affrights me with its tragic face.
  25. Just lately I observed some broken planks
  26. upon our seashore, and I've read and read
  27. the names of seamen on their empty tombs!
  28. “Oh, let no false assurance fill your mind
  29. because your father-in-law is Aeolus.
  30. Who in a dungeon shuts the stormful winds
  31. and smoothes at will the troubled ocean waves
  32. soon as the winds get freedom from his power,
  33. they take entire possession of the deep,
  34. and nothing is forbidden their attack;
  35. and all the rights of every land and sea
  36. are disregarded by them. They insult
  37. even the clouds of heaven and their wild
  38. concussions urge the lightnings to strike fires.
  39. The more I know of them, for I knew
  40. them in my childhood and I often saw
  41. them from my father's home, the more I fear.
  42. “But, O dear husband! if this new resolve
  43. can not be altered by my prayers and fears,
  44. and if you are determined, take me, too:
  45. some comfort may be gained, if in the storms
  46. we may be tossed together. I shall fear
  47. only the ills that really come to us,
  48. together we can certainly endure
  49. discomforts till we gain that distant land.”
  50. Such words and tears of the daughter of Aeolus
  51. gave Ceyx, famed son of the Morning Star,
  52. much thought and sorrow; for the flame of love
  53. burned in his heart as strongly as in hers.
  54. Reluctant to give up the voyage, even more
  55. to make Halcyone his partner on
  56. the dangerous sea, he answered her complaints
  57. in many ways to pacify her breast,
  58. but could not comfort her until at last
  59. he said, “This separation from your love
  60. will be most sorrowful; and so I swear
  61. to you, as witnessed by the sacred fire
  62. of my Star-father, if the fates permit
  63. my safe return, I will come back to you
  64. before the moon has rounded twice her orb.”
  65. These promises gave hope of his return.
  66. Without delay he ordered a ship should
  67. be drawn forth from the dock, launched in the sea,
  68. and properly supplied against the needs
  69. of travel.—Seeing this, Halcyone,
  70. as if aware of future woe, shuddered,
  71. wept, and embraced him, and in extreme woe
  72. said with a sad voice, “Ah—Farewell!” and then,
  73. her nerveless body sank down to the ground.
  74. While Ceyx longed for some pretext to delay,
  75. the youthful oarsmen, chosen for their strength,
  76. in double rows began to draw the oars
  77. back towards their hardy breasts, cutting the waves
  78. with equal strokes. She raised her weeping eyes
  79. and saw her husband on the high-curved stern.
  80. He by his waving hand made signs to her,
  81. and she returned his signals. Then the ship
  82. moved farther from the shore until her eyes
  83. could not distinguish his loved countenance.
  84. Still, while she could, she followed with her gaze
  85. the fading hull; and, when that too was lost
  86. far in the distance, she remained and gazed
  87. at the white topsails, waving from the mast.
  88. But, when she could no longer see the sails,
  89. with anxious heart she sought her lonely couch
  90. and laid herself upon it. Couch and room
  91. renewed her sorrow and reminded her
  92. how much of life was absent on the sea.
  93. The ship had left the harbor, and the breeze
  94. shook the taut rigging. Now the captain bade
  95. the idle oars be drawn up to the sides.
  96. They ran the pointed sailyards up the mast
  97. and with spread canvas caught the coming breeze.
  98. Perhaps the ship had not sailed half her course,
  99. on every side the land was out of sight
  100. in fact at a great distance, when, towards dark
  101. the sea grew white with its increasing waves,
  102. while boisterous east winds blew with violence.—
  103. prompt in his duty, the captain warns his crew,
  104. “Lower the top sails—quick—furl all the sails
  105. tight to the yards!”—He ordered, but the storm
  106. bore all his words away, his voice could not
  107. be heard above the roaring of the sea.
  108. But of their own accord some sailors rushed
  109. to draw the oars in, others to secure
  110. the sides from danger, and some strove to pull
  111. the sails down from the wind. One pumps the waves
  112. up from the hold, and pours the rushing sea
  113. again into the sea; another takes
  114. the yards off.—While such things are being done
  115. without command or order, the wild storm
  116. increases, and on every side fierce winds
  117. wage a destructive warfare, which stirs up
  118. the furious waters to their utmost power.
  119. Even the captain, terrified, confessed
  120. he did not know the status of the ship,
  121. and could not order nor forbid the men—
  122. so great the storm, so far beyond his skill.
  123. Then he gave up control, while frightened men
  124. shouted above the rattled cordage shocks,
  125. and heavy waves were dashed against huge waves,
  126. and ail the sky reverberated with
  127. terrific thunders. The deep sea upturned
  128. tremendous billows, which appeared to reach
  129. so near the heaven they touched the heavy clouds
  130. with foam of their tossed waters.—At one time,
  131. while the great billows churned up yellow sand
  132. from off the bottom, the wild rolling waves
  133. were of that color. At another time
  134. they were more black than water of the Styx.
  135. Sometimes they levelled, white with lashing foam.
  1. The ship was tossed about in the wild storm:
  2. aloft as from a mountain peak it seemed
  3. to look down on the valley and the depth
  4. of Acheron; and, when sunk down in a trough
  5. of waves engulfing, it appeared to look
  6. up at the zenith from infernal seas.
  7. Often the waves fell on the sides with crash
  8. as terrible as when a flying stone
  9. or iron ram shatters a citadel.
  10. As lions, mustering up their strength anew,
  11. might hurl their breasts against the spears
  12. and outstretched arms of huntsmen, so the waves,
  13. upon the rising of the winds, rushed forth
  14. against the battered sides of the tossed ship
  15. and rose much higher than the slanting masts.
  16. The ship-bolts lost their grip, the loosened planks,
  17. despoiled of covering wax, gave open seams,
  18. through which streamed water of the fatal waves.—
  19. vast sheets of rain pour from dissolving clouds,
  20. so suddenly, it seemed that all the heavens
  21. were flung into the deep, while swelling seas
  22. ascended to the emptied fields of heaven!
  23. The sails are drenched with rain, the salt sea waves
  24. are mingled with the waters of the skies.
  25. The firmament is black without a star,
  26. and night is doubly dark with its own gloom
  27. and blackness of the storm. Quick lightning makes
  28. the black skies glitter, and the waves are fired
  29. with flames of thunder-bolts. Now floods leap up
  30. into the very middle of the ship.
  31. Just as a soldier, more courageous than
  32. the rest of his brave fellows, after he
  33. has often charged against the embattled walls
  34. of a defended city, gains at length
  35. the place which he has fought for; all inflamed
  36. with his desire of glory, scales the wall
  37. and stands alone among a thousand foes;
  38. so, when destructive waves have beat against
  39. the ship's high sides, the tenth wave with known power,
  40. rushes more furious than the nine before,
  41. nor ceases to attack the failing ship,
  42. until dashed high above the captured walls
  43. it surges in the hold. Part of the sea
  44. is still attempting to get in the ship,
  45. and part is in it. All are panic stricken,
  46. like men within a doomed and shaken town;
  47. who see some foes attack the walls without,
  48. and others hold possession of the walls
  49. within the city. Every art has failed,
  50. their courage sinks. With every coming wave
  51. another death seems rushing in upon them.
  52. One sailor yields in tears; another falls
  53. down, stupefied; another calls those blest
  54. whom funeral rites await; another prays,
  55. addressing trusted gods, lifting his hands
  56. up to that heaven unseen, as vainly he
  57. implores some aid divine, and one in fright
  58. recalls his brothers and his parent, while
  59. another names his children and his home:
  60. each frightened sailor thinks of all he left.
  61. King Ceyx thinks only of Halcyone,
  62. no other name is on his lips but hers:
  63. and though he longs for her, yet he is glad
  64. that she is safe at home. Ah, how he tried
  65. to look back to the shore of his loved land,
  66. to turn his last gaze towards his wife and home.
  67. But he has lost direction.—The tossed sea
  68. is raging in a hurricane so vast,
  69. and all the sky is hidden by the gloom
  70. of thickened storm-clouds, doubled in pitch-black.
  71. The mast is shattered by the violence
  72. of drenching tempests, and the useless helm
  73. is broken. One undaunted giant wave
  74. stands over wreck and spoil, and looks down like
  75. a conqueror upon the other waves:
  76. then falls as heavily as if some god
  77. should hurl Mount Athos or Mount Pindus, torn
  78. from rock foundations, into that wide sea:
  79. so, with down-rushing weight and violence
  80. it struck and plunged the ship to the lowest deeps.
  81. And as the ship sank, many of the crew
  82. sank overwhelmed in deep surrounding waves,
  83. never to rise from suffocating death:
  84. but some in desperation, clung for life
  85. to broken timbers and escaped that fate.
  86. King Ceyx clung to a fragment of the wreck
  87. with that majestic hand which often before
  88. had proudly swayed the sceptre. And in vain,
  89. alas, he called upon his father's name,
  90. alas, he begged his father-in-law's support.
  91. But, while he swam, his lips most frequently
  92. pronounced that dearest name, “Halcyone!”
  93. He longs to have his body carried by waves
  94. to her dear gaze and have at last,
  95. entombment by the hands of his loved friends.
  96. Swimming, he called Halcyone—far off,
  97. as often as the billows would allow
  98. his lips to open, and among the waves
  99. his darling's name was murmured, till at last
  100. a night-black arch of water swept above
  101. the highest waves and buried him beneath
  102. engulfing billows.
  103. Lucifer was dim
  104. past recognition when the dawn appeared
  105. and, since he never could depart from heaven,
  106. soon hid his grieving countenance in clouds.
  107. Meanwhile, Halcyone, all unaware
  108. of his sad wreck, counts off the passing nights
  109. and hastens to prepare for him his clothes
  110. that he may wear as soon as he returns to her;
  111. and she is choosing what to wear herself,
  112. and vainly promises his safe return—
  113. all this indeed, while she in hallowed prayer
  114. is giving frankincense to please the gods:
  115. and first of loving adorations, she
  116. paid at the shrine of Juno. There she prayed
  117. for Ceyx—after he had suffered death,
  118. that he might journey safely and return
  119. and might love her above all other women,
  120. this one last prayer alone was granted to her
  121. but Juno could not long accept as hers
  122. these supplications on behalf of one
  123. then dead; and that she might persuade Halcyone
  124. to turn her death-polluted hands away
  125. from hallowed altars, Juno said in haste,
  126. “O, Iris, best of all my messengers,
  127. go quickly to the dreadful court of Sleep,
  128. and in my name command him to despatch
  129. a dream in the shape of Ceyx, who is dead,
  130. and tell Halcyone the woeful truth.”
  131. So she commanded.—Iris instantly
  132. assumed a garment of a thousand tints;
  133. and as she marked the high skies with her arch,
  134. went swiftly thence as ordered, to the place
  135. where Sleep was then concealed beneath a rock.
  1. Near the Cimmerian Land there is a cave,
  2. with a long entrance, in a hallowed mountain,
  3. the home of slothful Sleep. To that dark cave
  4. the Sun, when rising or in middle skies,
  5. or setting, never can approach with light.
  6. There dense fogs, mingled with the dark, exhale
  7. darkness from the black soil—and all that place
  8. is shadowed in a deep mysterious gloom.
  9. No wakeful bird with visage crested high
  10. calls forth the morning's beauty in clear notes;
  11. nor do the watchful dogs, more watchful geese,
  12. nor wild beasts, cattle, nor the waving trees,
  13. make sound or whisper; and the human voice
  14. is never heard there—silent Rest is there.
  15. But, from the bottom of a rock beneath,
  16. Lethean waters of a stream ooze forth,
  17. sounds of a rivulet, which trickle with
  18. soft murmuring amid the pebbles and
  19. invite soft sleep. Before the cavern doors
  20. most fertile poppies and a wealth of herbs
  21. bloom in abundance, from the juice of which
  22. the humid night-hours gather sleep and spread
  23. it over darkened Earth. No door is in
  24. that cavern-home and not a hinge's noise
  25. nor guarding porter's voice disturbs the calm.
  26. But in the middle is a resting-couch,
  27. raised high on night-black ebony and soft
  28. with feathered cushions, all jet black, concealed
  29. by a rich coverlet as dark as night,
  30. on which the god of sleep, dissolved in sloth
  31. lies with unmoving limbs. Around him there
  32. in all directions, unsubstantial dreams
  33. recline in imitation of all shapes—
  34. as many as the uncounted ears of corn
  35. at harvest—as the myriad leaves of trees—
  36. or tiny sand grains spread upon the shore.
  37. As soon as Iris entered that dread gloom,
  38. she pushed aside the visions in her way
  39. with her fair glowing hands; and instantly,
  40. that sacred cavern of the god of Sleep
  41. was all illuminated with the glow
  42. and splendor of her garment.—Out of himself
  43. the god with difficulty lifted up
  44. his lanquid eyes. From this small sign of life
  45. relapsing many times to languid sloth,
  46. while nodding, with his chin he struck his breast
  47. again and again. At last he roused himself
  48. from gloom and slumber; and, while raised upon
  49. his elbow, he enquired of Iris why
  50. she came to him.—He knew her by her name.
  51. She answered him, “O, Sleep, divine repose
  52. of all things! Gentlest of the deities!
  53. Peace to the troubled mind, from which you drive
  54. the cares of life, restorer of men's strength
  55. when wearied with the toils of day, command
  56. a vision that shall seem the actual form
  57. of royal Ceyx to visit Trachin famed
  58. for Hercules and tell Halcyone
  59. his death by shipwreck. It is Juno's wish.”
  60. Iris departed after this was said.
  61. For she no longer could endure the effect
  62. of slumber-vapor; and as soon as she
  63. knew sleep was creeping over her tired limbs
  64. she flew from there—and she departed by
  65. the rainbow, over which she came before.
  66. Out of the multitude—his thousand sons—
  67. the god of sleep raised Morpheus by his power.
  68. Most skillful of his sons, who had the art
  69. of imitating any human shape;
  70. and dexterously could imitate in men
  71. the gait and countenance, and every mode
  72. of speaking. He could simulate the dress
  73. and customary words of any man
  74. he chose to represent—but he could not
  75. assume the form of anything but man.
  76. Such was his art. Another of Sleep's sons
  77. could imitate all kinds of animals;
  78. such as a wild beast or a flying bird,
  79. or even a serpent with its twisted shape;
  80. and that son, by the gods above was called
  81. Icelos—but the inhabitants of earth
  82. called him Phobetor—and a third son, named
  83. Phantasos, cleverly could change himself
  84. into the forms of earth that have no life;
  85. into a statue, water, or a tree.
  86. It was the habit of these three to show
  87. themselves at night to kings and generals;
  88. and other sons would frequently appear
  89. among the people of the common class.
  90. All such the aged god of Sleep passed by.
  91. Selecting only Morpheus from among
  92. the many brothers to accomplish this,
  93. and execute what Iris had desired.
  94. And after all that work, he dropped his head,
  95. and sank again in languid drowsiness,
  96. shrinking to sloth within his lofty couch.
  97. Morpheus at once flew through the night
  98. of darkness, on his wings that make no sound,
  99. and in brief space of intervening time,
  100. arrived at the Haemonian city walls;
  101. and there he laid aside his wings, and took
  102. the face and form of Ceyx. In that form
  103. as one deprived of life, devoid of clothes,
  104. wan and ghastly, he stood beside the bed
  105. of the sad wife. The hero's beard seemed dripping,
  106. sea water streamed down from his drenching hair.
  107. Then leaning on the bed, while dropping tears
  108. were running down his cheeks, he said these words:
  109. “Most wretched wife, can you still recognize
  110. your own loved Ceyx, or have my looks changed:
  111. so much with death you can not?—Look at me,
  112. and you will be assured I am your own:
  113. but here instead of your dear husband, you
  114. will find only his ghost. Your faithful prayers
  115. did not avail, Halcyone, and I
  116. have perished. Give up all deluding hopes
  117. of my return. The stormy Southwind caught
  118. my ship while sailing the Aegean sea;
  119. and there, tossed by the mighty wind, my ship
  120. was dashed to pieces. While I vainly called
  121. upon your name, the angry waters closed
  122. above my drowning head and it is no
  123. uncertain messenger that tells you this
  124. and nothing from vague rumors has been told.
  125. But it is I myself, come from the wreck,
  126. now telling you my fate. Come then, arise
  127. shed tears, and put on mourning; do not send
  128. me unlamented, down to Tartarus.”
  129. And Morpheus added to these words a voice
  130. which she would certainly believe was her
  131. beloved husband's; and he seemed to be
  132. shedding fond human tears; and even his hands
  133. were moved in gestures that Ceyx often used.
  134. Halcyone shed tears and groaned aloud,
  135. and, as she moved her arms and caught at his
  136. dear body, she embraced the vacant air
  137. she cried out loudly, “Stay, oh stay with me!
  138. Why do you hurry from me? We will go
  139. together!” Agitated by her own
  140. excited voice; and by what seemed to be
  141. her own dear husband, she awoke from sleep.
  142. And first looked all about her to persuade
  143. herself that he whom she had lately seen
  144. must yet be with her, for she had aroused
  145. the servants who in haste brought lights desired.
  146. When she could find him nowhere, in despair
  147. she struck her face and tore her garment from
  148. her breast and beat her breast with mourning hands.
  149. She did not wait to loosen her long hair;
  150. but tore it with her hands and to her nurse,
  151. who asked the cause of her wild grief, she cried:
  152. “Alas, Halcyone is no more! no more!
  153. with her own Ceyx she is dead! is dead!
  154. Away with words of comfort, he is lost
  155. by shipwreck! I have seen him, and I knew
  156. him surely—as a ghost he came to me;
  157. and when desirous to detain him, I
  158. stretched forth my arms to him, his ghost left me—
  159. it vanished from me; but it surely was
  160. the ghost of my dead husband. If you ask
  161. description of it, I must truly say
  162. he did not have his well known features—he
  163. was not so cheerful as he was in life!
  164. Alas, I saw him pale and naked, with
  165. his hair still dripping—his ghost from the waves
  166. stood on this very spot:” and while she moaned
  167. she sought his footprints on the floor. “Alas,
  168. this was my fear, and this is what my mind
  169. shuddered to think of, when I begged that you
  170. would not desert me for the wind's control.
  171. But how I wish, since you were sailing forth
  172. to perish, that you had but taken me
  173. with you. If I had gone with you, it would
  174. have been advantage to me, for I should
  175. have shared the whole course of my life with you
  176. and you would not have met a separate death.
  177. I linger here but I have met my death,
  178. I toss on waves, and drift upon the sea.
  179. “My heart would be more cruel than the waves,
  180. if it should ask me to endure this life—
  181. if I should struggle to survive such grief.
  182. I will not strive nor leave you so forlorn,
  183. at least I'll follow you to death. If not
  184. the urn at least the lettered stone
  185. shall keep us still together. If your bones
  186. are not united with my bones, 'tis sure
  187. our names must be united.”Overcome
  188. with grief, she could not say another word—
  189. but she continued wailing, and her groans
  190. were heaved up from her sorrow-stricken breast.
  191. At early dawn, she went from her abode
  192. down to the seashore, where most wretchedly,
  193. she stood upon the spot from which he sailed,
  194. and sadly said; “He lingered here while he
  195. was loosening the cables, and he kissed
  196. me on this seashore when he left me here.”
  197. And while she called to recollection all
  198. that she had seen when standing there, and while
  199. she looked far out on flowing waves from there,
  200. she noticed floating on the distant sea—
  201. what shall I say? At first even she could not
  202. be sure of what she saw. But presently
  203. although still distant—it was certainly
  204. a floating corpse. She could not see what man
  205. he might be, but because it seemed to her
  206. it surely was a shipwrecked body, she
  207. was moved as at an omen and began
  208. to weep; and, moaning as she stood there, said:—
  209. “Ah wretched one, whoever it may be,
  210. ah, wretched is the wife whom you have left!”
  211. As driven by the waves the body came
  212. still nearer to her, she was less and less
  213. the mistress of herself, the more she looked
  214. upon it; and, when it was close enough
  215. for her to see its features, she beheld
  216. her husband. “It is he,” she cried and then
  217. she tore her face, her hair, her royal robe
  218. and then, extending both her trembling hands
  219. towards Ceyx, “So dearest one! So do you come
  220. to me again?” She cried, “O luckless mate.”
  221. A mole, made by the craft of man, adjoins
  222. the sea and breaks the shoreward rush of waves.
  223. To this she leaped—it seemed impossible—
  224. and then, while beating the light air with wings
  225. that instant formed upon her, she flew on,
  226. a mourning bird, and skimmed above the waves.
  227. And while she lightly flew across the sea
  228. her clacking mouth with its long slender bill,
  229. full of complaining, uttered moaning sounds:
  230. but when she touched the still and pallied form,
  231. embracing his dear limbs with her new wings,
  232. she gave cold kisses with her hardened bill.
  233. All those who saw it doubted whether Ceyx
  234. could feel her kisses; and it seemed to them
  235. the moving waves had raised his countenance.
  236. But he was truly conscious of her grief;
  237. and through the pity of the gods above,
  238. at last they both were changed to flying birds,
  239. together in their fate. Their love lived on,
  240. nor in these birds were marriage bonds dissolved,
  241. and they soon coupled and were parent birds.
  242. Each winter during seven full days of calm
  243. Halcyone broods on her floating nest—
  244. her nest that sails upon a halcyon sea:
  245. the passage of the deep is free from storms,
  246. throughout those seven full days; and Aeolus
  247. restraining harmful winds, within their cave,
  248. for his descendants' sake gives halcyon seas.
  1. An old man saw the two birds fly across
  2. the wide extended sea and praised their love,
  3. undying to the end. His old friend who
  4. stood near him, said, “There is another bird,
  5. which you can see skimming above the waves
  6. with folded legs drawn up;” and as he spoke,
  7. he pointed at a divedapper, which had
  8. a long throat, and continued, “It was first
  9. the son of a great king, as Ceyx, was:
  10. and if you wish to know his ancestry,
  11. I can assure you he descended from
  12. Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymede—
  13. taken by Jupiter, and old Laomedon,
  14. and Priam, ruler at the fall of Troy.
  15. “Aesacus was the brother of the great
  16. illustrious Hector; and, if he had not
  17. been victimized by a strange fate in youth,
  18. he would have equalled Hector's glorious fame,
  19. Hector was child of Hecuba, who was
  20. daughter of Dymas. Alexirhoe,
  21. the daughter of the two-horned Granicus,
  22. so rumor has it, secretly brought forth
  23. Aesacus, hidden under Ida's shade.
  24. “He loathed the city and away from court,
  25. frequented lonely mountains and the fields
  26. of unambitious peasants. Rarely he
  27. was seen among the throngs of Ilium.—
  28. yet, neither churlish nor impregnable
  29. to love's appeal, he saw Hesperia,
  30. the daughter of Cebrenus, while she was
  31. once resting on the velvet-shaded banks
  32. of her sire's cherished stream. Aesacus had
  33. so often sought for her throughout the woods.
  34. “Just when he saw her, while she rested there,
  35. her hair spread on her shoulders to the sun,
  36. she saw him, and without delay she fled,
  37. even as the frightened deer runs from the wolf
  38. or as the water-duck, when she has left
  39. her favored stream, surprised, flies from the hawk.
  40. Aesacus followed her, as swift with love
  41. as she was swift with fear. But in the grass
  42. a lurking snake struck at her rosy heel
  43. and left its venom in her flesh.—And so,
  44. her flight was ended by untimely death.
  45. “Oh, frantic, he embraced her breathless form,
  46. and cried: ‘Alas, alas, that I pursued!
  47. I did not dream of such a dreadful fate!
  48. Success was not worth such a price
  49. I and the snake together caused your death—
  50. the serpent gave the wound, I was the cause.
  51. Mine is the greater guilt, and by my death
  52. I'll give you consolation for your death!’ ”
  53. “He said those words and leaped on a high rock,
  54. which years of sounding waves had undermined,
  55. and hurled himself into the sea below.
  56. “Tethys was moved with pity for his fall,
  57. received him softly, and then covered him
  58. with feathers, as he swam among the waves.
  59. The death he sought for was not granted him.
  60. At this the lover was wroth. Against his will,
  61. he was obliged to live in his distress,
  62. with opposition to his spirit that desired
  63. departure from the wretched pain of life.
  64. “As he assumed upon his shoulders wings
  65. newformed, he flew aloft and from that height
  66. again he plunged his body in the waves
  67. his feathers broke all danger of that fall—
  68. and this new bird, Aesacus, plunged headlong
  69. into the deep, and tried incessantly
  70. that method of destruction. His great love
  71. unsatisfied, made his sad body lean,
  72. till even the spaces fixed between the joints
  73. of his legs have grown long; his neck is long;
  74. so that his head is far away from his
  75. lean body. Still he hunts the sea
  76. and takes his name from diving in the waves.