Bulfinch's Mythology The Age of Fable

Page: 39

  "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
  A stately pleasure-dome decree,
  Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
  Through caverns measureless to man,
  Down to a sunless sea."

In one of Moore's juvenile poems he alludes to the same story, and to the practice of throwing garlands, or other light objects on the stream to be carried downward by it, and afterwards thrown out when the river comes again to light.

  "Oh, my beloved, how divinely sweet
  Is the pure joy when kindred spirits meet!
  Like him the river-god, whose waters flow,
  With love their only light, through caves below,
  Wafting in triumph all the flowery braids
  And festal rings, with which Olympic maids
  Have decked his current, as an offering meet
  To lay at Arethusa's shining feet.
  Think, when he meets at last his fountain bride,
  What perfect love must thrill the blended tide!
  Each lost in each, till mingling into one,
  Their lot the same for shadow or for sun,
  A type of true love, to the deep they run."

The following extract from Moore's Rhymes on the Road gives an account of a celebrated picture by Albano at Milan, called a Dance of Loves:

  "'Tis for the theft of Enna's flower from earth
  These urchins celebrate their dance of mirth,
  Round the green tree, like fays upon a heath,
  Those that are nearest linked in order bright,
  Cheek after cheek, like rosebuds in a wreath;
  And those more distant showing from beneath
  The others' wings their little eyes of light.
  While see! Among the clouds, their eldest brother,
  But just flown up, tells with a smile of bliss,
  This prank of Pluto to his charmed mother,
  Who turns to greet the tidings with a kiss."


Glaucus was a fisherman. One day he had drawn his nets to land, and had taken a great many fishes of various kinds. So he emptied his net, and proceeded to sort the fishes on the grass. The place where he stood was a beautiful island in the river, a solitary spot, uninhabited, and not used for pasturage of cattle, nor ever visited by any but himself. On a sudden, the fishes, which had been laid on the grass, began to revive and move their fins as if they were in the water; and while he looked on astonished, they one and all moved off to the water, plunged in and swam away. He did not know what to make of this, whether some god had done it, or some secret power in the herbage. "What herb has such a power?" he exclaimed; and gathering some, he tasted it. Scarce had the juices of the plant reached his palate when he found himself agitated with a longing desire for the water. He could no longer restrain himself, but bidding farewell to earth, he plunged into the stream. The gods of the water received him graciously, and admitted him to the honor of their society. They obtained the consent of Oceanus and Tethys, the sovereigns of the sea, that all that was mortal in him should be washed away. A hundred rivers poured their waters over him . Then he lost all sense of his former nature and all consciousness. When he recovered, he found himself changed in form and mind. His hair was sea-green, and trailed behind him on the water; his shoulders grew broad, and what had been thighs and legs assumed the form of a fish's tail. The sea-gods complimented him on the change of his appearance, and he himself was pleased with his looks.