My Own Notes

Please Login to save notes.

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


Previous Page 232 of 301 Next Page
Bk XI:749-795 The transformation of Aesacus.

Seeing these birds flying together over the wide sea, some old man praised those affections maintained till the end. Someone near by or the same man (pointing to a long-necked diving bird) said, "That bird also, skimming over the ocean, trailing his slender legs, is a descendant of kings. If you want to trace his ancestry in unbroken line to himself, its source was Ilus the younger, the son of Tros, and his brothers Assaracus, and Ganymede, whom Jove snatched, Ilus’s son, old Laomedon, and his son Priam, whom fate assigned to Troy’s last days. That bird was Hector’s brother, Aesacus, who, if he had not met his strange fate in youth, would perhaps have had no less a name than Hector, though Hecuba, daughter of Dymas, bore Priam the first, the other Aesacus, is said to have been born to Alexirrhoë, daughter of two-horned Granicus, the river-god, in secret, under the shadow of Mount Ida.
He hated cities, and lived in the remote mountains, and insignificant country places, far away from the glittering court, and rarely visited crowded Ilium. Yet he did not have an uncultured heart, or one averse to love, and he often pursued Hesperie, the River Cebren’s daughter, through all the woodland glades, whom he had caught sight of, drying her flowing hair, in the sun, on her father’s shore. The nymph fled on sight, as a frightened hind flees the tawny wolf, or a wild duck, caught far from the pool she left, the hawk. But the Trojan hero, driven by swift love, followed her, driven by swift fear. Behold, a serpent, hidden in the grass, bit her foot with his curving fang, as she fled by, and left his poison in her body. Her flight ended with her life. The lover clasped her unbreathing body and cried: 'I regret, I regret I followed you! But I did not expect this, and it was not worth this to attempt to win you. We two have destroyed you, poor girl: the wound given by a snake, the cause of it all myself! Let me be the more accursed, if I do not send you solace by my death.'
He spoke, and threw himself from a cliff, eroded below by the rough waves, into the sea. Tethys, pitying him, caught him gently as he fell, clothed him with feathers as he floated on the water, and denied him the opportunity to choose his death. The lover was angered, that he was forced to live, against his will, and that his spirit was thwarted, wishing to leave its unhappy residence. When he had gained the new wings on his shoulders, he flew up and threw his body again into the sea. His feathers broke his fall. In a rage, Aesacus dived headlong into the deep and tried endlessly to find a path to death. His love made him lean: his legs are long between the joints: his neck remained long: his head is far from his body. He loves seawater, and from diving there he takes his name, mergus, the diver.
Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page
Go to page:   

Copyright © 2020 Gleeditions, LLC. All rights reserved.