Myths of Greece and Rome Narrated with Special Reference to Literature and Art

Page: 58

“‘Dear, unclose thine eyes.
Thou mayst look on me now. I go no more,
But am thine own forever.’”
Lewis Morris.
Refer to caption


Then, hand in hand, they winged their flight to Olympus, entered the council hall; and there Cupid presented Psyche, his chosen bride, to the assembled deities, who all promised to be present at the nuptial ceremony. Venus even, forgetting all her Refer to caption

FLYING MERCURY.—Bologna. (National Museum, Florence.)

This, like most other myths, admits of a natural explanation. Apollo (the Sun) was supposed by the ancients to possess great herds of cattle and sheep,—the clouds; and Mercury, the personification of the wind, born in the night, after a few hours’ [134] existence waxes sufficiently strong to drive away the clouds and conceal them, leaving no trace of his passage except a few broken branches and scattered leaves.

Mercury’s wand, cap, and shoes.

The gift of the lyre pleased Apollo so well, that he in return wished to make a present to Mercury, and gave him a magic wand, called Caduceus, which had the power of reconciling all conflicting elements. Mercury, anxious to test it, thrust it between two quarreling snakes, who immediately wound themselves in amity around it. This so pleased him, that he bade them remain there forever, and used the wand on all occasions.

“A snake-encircl’d wand;
By classic authors term’d Caduceus
And highly fam’d for several uses.”