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Bulfinch's Mythology The Age of Fable

Page: 132

The vocal statue of Memnon is a favorite subject of allusion with the poets. Darwin, in his Botanic Garden, says,

  "So to the sacred Sun in Memnon's fane
  Spontaneous concords choired the matin strain;
  Touched by his orient beam responsive rings
  The living lyre and vibrates all its strings;
  Accordant aisles the tender tones prolong,
  And holy echoes swell the adoring song."

ACIS AND GALATEA

Scylla was a fair virgin of Sicily, a favorite of the Sea-Nymphs. She had many suitors, but repelled them all, and would go to the grotto of Galatea, and tell her how she was persecuted. One day the goddess, while Scylla dressed her hair, listened to the story, and then replied, "Yet, maiden, your persecutors are of the not ungentle race of men, whom if you will you can repel; but I, the daughter of Nereus, and protected by such a band of sisters, found no escape from the passion of the Cyclops but in the depths of the sea;" and tears stopped her utterance, which when the pitying maiden had wiped away with her delicate finger, and soothed the goddess, "Tell me, dearest," said she, "the cause of your grief." Galatea then said, "Acis was the son of Faunus and a Naiad. His father and mother loved him dearly, but their love was not equal to mine. For the beautiful youth attached himself to me alone, and he was just sixteen years old, the down just beginning to darken his cheeks. As much as I sought his society, so much did the cyclops seek mine; and if you ask me whether my love for Acis or my hatred for Polyphemus was the stronger, I cannot tell you; they were in equal measure. Oh, Venus, how great is thy power! This fierce giant, the terror of the woods, whom no hapless stranger escaped unharmed, who defied even Jove himself, learned to feel what love was, and touched with a passion for me, forgot his flocks and his well-stored caverns. Then, for the first time, he began to take some care of his appearance, and to try to make himself agreeable; he harrowed those coarse locks of his with a comb, and mowed his beard with a sickle, looked at his harsh features in the water, and composed his countenance. His love of slaughter, his fierceness and thirst of blood prevailed no more, and ships that touched at his island went away in safety. He paced up and down the sea-shore, imprinting huge tracks with his heavy tread, and, when weary, lay tranquilly in his cave.

"There is a cliff which projects into the sea, which washes it on either side. Thither one day the huge Cyclops ascended, and sat down while his flocks spread themselves around. Laying down his staff which would have served for a mast to hold a vessel's sail, and taking his instrument, compacted of numerous pipes, he made the hills and the waters echo the music of his song. I lay hid under a rock, by the side of my beloved Acis, and listened to the distant strain. It was full of extravagant praises of my beauty, mingled with passionate reproaches of my coldness and cruelty.


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