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Bulfinch's Mythology The Age of Fable

Page: 52

"'Let us see this sad procession,' said she, and mounted to a turret, whence through an open window she looked upon the funeral. Scarce had her eyes rested upon the form of Iphis stretched on the bier, when they began to stiffen, and the warm blood in her body to become cold. Endeavoring to step back, she found she could not move her feet; trying to turn away her face, she tried in vain; and by degrees all her limbs became stony like her heart. That you may not doubt the fact, the statue still remains, and stands in the temple of Venus at Salamis, in the exact form of the lady. Now think of these things, my dear, and lay aside your scorn and your delays, and accept a lover. So may neither the vernal frosts blight your young fruits, nor furious winds scatter your blossoms!"

When Vertumnus had spoken thus, he dropped the disguise of an old woman, and stood before her in his proper person, as a comely youth. It appeared to her like the sun bursting through a cloud. He would have renewed his entreaties, but there was no need; his arguments and the sight of his true form prevailed, and the Nymph no longer resisted, but owned a mutual flame.

Pomona was the especial patroness of the apple-orchard, and as such she was invoked by Phillips, the author of a poem on Cider, in blank verse, in the following lines:

  "What soil the apple loves, what care is due
  To orchats, timeliest when to press the fruits,
  Thy gift, Pomona, in Miltonian verse
  Adventurous I presume to sing."

Thomson, in the Seasons, alludes to Phillips:

  "Phillips, Pomona's bard, the second thou
  Who nobly durst, in rhyme-unfettered verse,
  With British freedom, sing the British song."

It will be seen that Thomson refers to the poet's reference to Milton, but it is not true that Phillips is only the second writer of English blank verse. Many other poets beside Milton had used it long before Phillips' time.

But Pomona was also regarded as presiding over other fruits, and, as such, is invoked by Thomson:

  "Bear me, Pomona, to thy citron groves,
  To where the lemon and the piercing lime,
  With the deep orange, glowing through the green,
  Their lighter glories blend. Lay me reclined
  Beneath the spreading tamarind, that shakes,
  Fanned by the breeze, its fever-cooling fruit."

CUPID AND PSYCHE

A certain king had three daughters. (This seems to be one of the latest fables of the Greek mythology. It has not been found earlier than the close of the second century of the Christian era. It bears marks of the higher religious notions of that time.) The two elder were charming girls, but the beauty of the youngest was so wonderful that language is too poor to express its due praise. The fame of her beauty was so great that strangers from neighboring countries came in crowds to enjoy the sight, and looked on her with amazement, paying her that homage which is due only to Venus herself. In fact, Venus found her altars deserted, while men turned their devotion to this young virgin. As she passed along, the people sang her praises, and strewed her way with chaplets and flowers.


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