My Own Notes

Please Login to save notes.

If you are not a registered user, then click here.


Previous Page 104 of 301 Next Page
Bk IV:274-316 Alcithoë tells the story of Salmacis.
When the sisters are silent, Alcithoëis called on next. Standing there, running her shuttle through the threads on her loom, she said, "I will say nothing of that well-known story, the love of Daphnis, the Idaean shepherd-boy, whom a nymph, angered by a rival, turned to stone: so great is the pain that inflames lovers. Neither will I tell you how, the laws of nature conspiring to alter, Sithonbecame of indeterminate sex, now man, now woman: how Celmis, you too, now changed to steel, were a most loyal friend to the infant Jupiter: how the Cureteswere born from vast showers of rain: how Crocus and Smilax were turned into tiny flowers. I will reject all those, and charm your imaginations with a sweet, new story.
"Now you will hear where the pool of Salmacis got its bad reputation from, how its enervating waters weaken, and soften the limbs they touch. The cause is hidden, but the fountain’s effect is widely known. The Naiads nursed a child born of Hermes, and a goddess, Cytherean Aphrodite, in Mount Ida’s caves. His features were such that, in them, both mother and father could be seen: and from them he took his name, Hermaphroditus.
"When he was fifteen years old, he left his native mountains and Ida, his nursery, delighted to wander in unknown lands, and gaze at unknown rivers, his enthusiasm making light of travel. He even reached the Lyciancities, and the Cariansby Lycia. Here he saw a pool of water, clear to its very depths. There were no marsh reeds round it, no sterile sedge, no spikes of rushes: it is crystal liquid. The edges of the pool are bordered by fresh turf, and the grass is always green. A nymph lives there, but she is not skilled for the chase, or used to flexing the bow, or the effort of running, the only Naiad not known by swift-footed Diana.
"Often, it’s said, her sisters would tell her, 'Salmacis, take up the hunting-spear or the painted quiver and vary your idleness with some hard work, hunting!'  But she takes up neither the hunting spear nor the painted quiver, and will not vary her idleness with the hardship of hunting. She only bathes her shapely limbs in the pool, often combs out her hair, with a comb that is made of boxwood from Cytorus, and looks in the water to see what suits it best. Then draped in a translucent robe, she lies down on the soft leaves, or in the soft grass. Often she gathers flowers. And she was also busy gathering them, then, when she saw the boy, and what she saw she longed to have."
Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page
Go to page:   

Copyright © 2020 Gleeditions, LLC. All rights reserved.