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Therewith she arose, and began to seek the dear maidens of her company, girls of like age with herself, born in the same year, beloved of her heart, the daughters of noble sires, with whom she was always wont to sport, when she was arrayed for the dance, or when she would bathe her bright body at the mouths of the rivers, or would gather fragrant lilies on the leas. ...
Now the girls, so soon as they were come to the flowering meadows, took great delight in various sorts of Aowers, whereof one would pluck sweetbreathed narcissus, another the hyacinth, another the violet, a fourth the creeping thyme; and on the ground there fell many petals of the meadows rich with spring. Others, again, were emulously gathering the fragrant tresses of the yellow crocus; but in the midst of them all the princess culled with her hand the splendor of the crimson rose, and shone preëminent among them all like the foam-born goddess among the Graces. Verily, she was not for long to set her heart's delight upon the flowers. ... For of a truth, the son of Cronus, so soon as he beheld her, was troubled, and his heart was subdued by the sudden shafts of Cypris, who alone can conquer even Jupiter. Therefore, both to avoid the wrath of jealous Juno, and being eager to beguile the maiden's tender heart, he concealed his godhead, and changed his shape, and became a bull. ...
He came into the meadow, and his coming terrified not the maidens, nay, within them all wakened desire to draw nigh the lovely bull, and to touch him, and his heavenly fragrance was scattered afar, exceeding even the sweet perfume of the meadows. And he stood before the feet of fair Europa, and kept licking her neck, and cast his spell over the maiden. And she still caressed him, and gently with her hands she wiped away the deep foam from
his lips, and kissed the bull. Then he lowed so gently, ye would think ye heard the Myg. donian flute uttering a dulcet sound.
He bowed himself before her feet, and, bending back his neck, he gazed on Europa, and showed her his broad back. Then she spake among her deep-tressed maidens, saying,
“Come, dear playmates, maidens of like age with me, let us mount the bull here and
take our pastime, for truly, he will bear us on his back, and carry all of us! And how mild he is, and dear, and gentle to behold, and no whit like other bulls ! A mind as honest as a man's possesses him, and he lacks nothing but speech."
So she spake, and smiling, she sat down on the back of the bull, and the others were about to follow her. But the bull leaped up immediately, now he had gotten her that he desired, and swiftly he sped to the deep. The maiden turned, and called again and again to her dear playmates, stretching out her hands, but they could not reach her. The strand he gained, and forward he sped like a dolphin, faring with unwetted hooves over the wide waves. And the sea, as he came, grew smooth, and the sea-monsters gambolled around, before the feet of Jupiter; and the dolphin rejoiced, and rising from the deeps, he tumbled on the swell of the sea. The Nereïds arose out of the salt water, and all of them came on in orderly array, riding on the backs of sea-beasts. And himself, the thunderous shaker of the world, appeared above the sea, and made smooth the wave, and guided his brother on the salt sea-path, and round him were gathered the Tritons, these hoarse trumpeters of the deep, blowing from their long conchs a bridal melody.
Meanwhile Europa, riding on the back of the divine bull, with one hand clasped the beast's great horn, and with the other caught up the purple fold of her garment, lest it might trail and be wet in the hoar sea's infinite spray. And her deep robe was swelled out by the winds, like the sail of a ship, and lightly still did wast the maiden onward. But when she was now far off from her own country, and neither sea-beat headland nor steep hill could now be seen, but above, the air, and beneath, the limitless deep, timidly she looked around, and uttered her voice, saying,
“ Whither bearest thou me, bull-god? What art thou? How dost thou fare on thy feet through the path of the sea-beasts, nor fearest the sea ? The sea is a path meet for swift ships that traverse the brine, but bulls dread the salt sea-ways. What drink is sweet to thee, what food shalt thou find from the deep? Nay, art thou then some god, for god-like are these deeds of thine.” ...
So spake she, and the horned bull made answer to her again : "Take courage, maiden, and dread not the swell of the deep. Behold, I am Jupiter, even I, though, closely beheld, I wear the form of a bull, for I can put on the semblance of what thing I will. But 'tis love of thee that has compelled me to measure out so great a space of the salt sea, in a bull's shape. So Crete shall presently receive thee, Crete that was mine own foster-mother, where thy bridal chamber shall be.” 1
According to tradition, from this princess the continent of Europe acquired its name. Her three sons are famous in Greek myth : Minos, who became king of Crete, and after his death a judge in the lower world ; Rhadamanthus, who was also regarded
i Translated by Andrew Lang: Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, London,
as king and judge in the world of ghosts; and Sarpedon, who was ancestor of the Lycians.
The adventures of Europa's brother Cadmus, who by the command of his father went forth in quest of the lost maiden, fall under the myths of Mars.?
§ 62. Semele was the daughter of Cadmus, founder of Thebes. She was descended, through both parents, from the gods; for her mother Harmonia was daughter to Mars and the laughterloving Venus. To Semele Jupiter had appeared, and had paid court in unostentatious manner and simple guise. But Juno, to gratify her resentment against this new rival for her lord's affections, contrived a plan for her destruction. Assuming the form of Beroë, the aged nurse of Semele, she insinuated doubts whether it was indeed Jove himself who came as a lover. Heaving a sigh, she said, “I hope it will turn out so, but I can't help being afraid. People are not always what they pretend to be. If he is indeed Jove, make him give some proof of it. Ask him to come arrayed in all his splendors, such as he wears in Heaven. That will put the matter beyond a doubt." Semele was persuaded to try the experiment. She asks a favor, without naming what it is. Jove gives his promise, and confirms it with the irrevocable oath, attesting the river Styx, terrible to the gods themselves. Then she made known her request. The god would have stopped her as she spake, but she was too quick for him. The words escaped, and he could neither unsay his promise nor her request. In deep distress he left her, and returned to the upper regions. There he clothed himself in his splendors, not putting on all his terrors, as when he overthrew the giants, but what is known among the gods as his lesser panoply. With thunders and lightnings he entered the chamber of Semele. Her mortal frame could not endure the splendors of the immortal radiance. She was consumed to ashes. Her son was the god Bacchus.Semele, in the blissful seats of Heaven, whither she was transported by the sor
2 Ovid, Metam. 3: 260 et seq.
8 $$ 46, 102-104.
rowful Jove, has been represented as recounting thus the story of her doom :
“What were the garden-bowers of Thebes to me?
“There came a change: a glory fell to me.
“ Yea, Jupiter! But why this mortal guise,
One night he sware to grant whate'er I asked:
% The Heavens shot one swift sheet of lurid flame;
The world crashed: from a body scathed and torn
• Died?' – So the Theban maidens think, and laugh,
Saying, “She had her wish, that Semele!'
§ 63. Ægina. — The extent to which those who were concerned only indirectly in Jupiter's love affairs might yet be involved in the consequences of them, is illustrated by the fortunes of Ægina. This maiden, the daughter of Asopus, a river-god, attracted the attention of Jupiter, who straightway ran off with her. Now, on the one hand, Sisyphus, king of Corinth, having witnessed the intrigue, was indiscreet enough to disclose it. Forthwith the vengeance of the king of gods and men fell upon him. He was condemned to Hades, and attempting to escape thence, had resort to a series of deceptions that resulted in his eternal punishment.” On the other hand, the inhabitants of the island that had the misfortune to bear Ægina's name incurred the displeasure of Juno, who devastated their land with a plague. The following account of this calamity is placed in the mouth of Æacus, king of the island :3 —
“At the beginning the sky seemed to settle down upon the earth, and thick clouds shut in the heated air. For four months together a deadly south wind prevailed. The disorder affected the wells and springs. Thousands of snakes crept over the land, and shed their poison in the fountains. The force of the disease was first spent on the lower animals, — dogs, cattle, sheep, and birds. The oxen fell in the midst of their work. The wool dropped from the bleating sheep. The horse groaned at his stall, and died an inglorious death. Everything languished ; dead bodies lay in the roads, the fields, and the woods; the air was poisoned by them. Next the disease attacked the country people, and then 1 From E. R. Sill's Semele.
2 Commentary, $ 107; \ 175. 3 Ovid, Metam. 7: 172 et seq.