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the dwellers in the city. At first the cheek was flushed, and the breath drawn with difficulty. The tongue grew rough and swelled, and the dry mouth stood open, with its veins enlarged, and gasped for the air. Men could not bear the heat of their clothes or their beds, but preferred to lie on the bare ground. Nor could the physicians help, for the disease attacked them also. At last men learned to look upon death as the only deliverer from disease. All restraint laid aside, they crowded round the wells and fountains, and drank, without quenching thirst, till they died. On all sides lay my people strewn like over-ripened apples beneath the tree, or acorns under the storm-shaken oak. You see yonder a temple on the height. It is sacred to Jupiter. Often, while the priest made ready for sacrifice, the victim fell, struck down by disease without waiting for the blow. At length all reverence for sacred things was lost. Bodies were thrown out unburied, wood was wanting for funeral piles, men fought with one another for the possession of them. Finally there were none left to mourn ; sons and husbands, old men and youths, perished alike unlamented.
“Standing before the altar, I raised my eyes to Heaven. 'O Jupiter,' I said, “if thou art indeed my father, give me back my people, or take me also away!' At these words a clap of thunder was heard. “I accept the omen,' I cried. By chance there grew by the place where I stood an oak with widespreading branches, sacred to Jupiter. I observed on it a troop of ants busy with their labor. Observing their numbers with admiration, I said, “Give me, oh, father, citizens as numerous as these, and replenish my empty city. The tree shook, and the branches rustled, though no wind agitated them. Night came on. The tree stood before me in my dreams, with its numerous branches all covered with living, moving creatures, which, falling to the ground, appeared to gain in size, and by-and-by to stand erect, and finally to assume the human form. Then I awoke. My attention was caught by the sound of many voices without. While I began to think I was yet dreaming, Telamon, my son, throwing open the temple-gates, exclaimed, “ Father, approach, and behold things surpassing even
your hopes !' I went forth; I saw a multitude of men, such as I had seen in my dream. While I gazed with wonder and delight, they approached, and kneeling hailed me as their king. I paid my vows to Jove, and proceeded to allot the vacant city to the new-born race. I called them Myrmidons from the ant (myrmex), from which they sprang. They are a diligent and industrious race, eager to gain, and tenacious of their gains.”
The Myrmidons were the soldiers of Achilles, the grandson of King Æacus, in the Trojan War.
§ 64. Antiope was, according to the Odyssey, another daughter of Asopus, therefore a sister of Ægina. But later poets make this darling of Jove daughter of Nycteus, king of Thebes. While she was engaged in the Mænad dances, Jupiter as a satyr, wooed and won her. She bore him two sons, Amphion and Zethus, who, being exposed at birth on Mount Cithæron, grew up among the shepherds, not knowing their parentage. After various adventures Antiope fell into the hands of her uncle Lycus, the usurping king of Thebes, who, egged on by his wife Dirce, treated her with extreme cruelty. Finally, when doomed by Dirce to be dragged to death behind a bull, Antiope found means to inform her children of her kinship to them. As it happened, they had been ordered to execute the cruel sentence upon their mother. But with a band of their fellow-herdsmen, they attacked and slew Lycus instead, and, tying Dirce by the hair of her head to a bull, let her perish by her own device.
While among the herdsmen, Amphion had been the special care of Mercury, who gave him a lyre and taught him to play upon it. His brother Zethus had occupied himself in hunting and tending the flocks. Amphion, himself, is one of the most famous of mythical musicians. Having become king of Thebes, it is said that when he played on his lyre, stones moved of their own accord, and took their places in the wall, with which he was fortifying the city.
1 Roscher, Lfg. 3: 379 (Schirmer). Originals in Pausanias, Apollodorus and Hyginus.
Young ashes pirouetted down
Coquetting with young beeches;
Ran forward to his rhyming,
Came little copses climbing.
The linden broke her ranks and rent
The woodbine wreaths that bind her,
With all her bees behind her:
With cypress promenaded,
By rivers gallopaded.
Came wet-shot alder from the wave,
Came yews, a dismal coterie;
Poussetting with a sloe-tree :
The vine streamed out to follow,
From many a cloudy hollow.
And wasn't it a sight to see,
When, ere his song was ended,
The country-side descended;
Looked down, half-pleased, half-frightened,
The random sunshine lightened.1
The musician's life was, however, not all harmony and happiness. Owing to the pride of his wife, Niobe, daughter of King Tantalus, there befell him and his house a crushing calamity, which is narrated among the exploits of Apollo and Diana.?
$ 65. The kindly interest evinced by the Thunderer toward mortals is displayed in the story of
Baucis and Philemon. — Once on a time, Jupiter, in human shape, visited the land of Phrygia, and with him Mercury, without his wings. They presented themselves as weary travellers at many a door, seeking rest and shelter, but found all closed; for it was late, and the inhospitable inhabitants would not rouse themselves to open for their reception. At last a small thatched cottage received them, where Baucis, a pious old dame, and her husband Philemon had grown old together. Not ashamed of their poverty, they made it endurable by moderate desires and kind dispositions. When the two guests crossed the humble threshold, and bowed their heads to pass under the low door, the old man placed a seat, on which Baucis, bustling and attentive, spread a cloth, and begged them to sit down. Then she raked out the coals from the ashes, kindled a fire, and prepared some pot-herbs and bacon for them. A beechen bowl was filled with warm water, that their guests might wash. While all was doing, they beguiled the time with conversation.
The old woman with trembling hand set the table. One leg was shorter than the rest, but a piece of slate put under restored the level. When it was steady, she rubbed the table down with sweetsmelling herbs. Upon it she set some of chaste Minerva's olives, some cornel berries preserved in vinegar, and added radishes and cheese, with eggs lightly cooked in the ashes. The meal was served in earthen dishes; and an earthen-ware pitcher, with wooden cups, stood beside them. When all was ready, the stew, smoking hot, was set on the table. Some wine, not of the oldest, was added ; and for dessert, apples and wild honey.
Now while the repast proceeded, the old folks were astonished to see that the wine, as fast as it was poured out, renewed itself in the pitcher, of its own accord. Struck with terror, Baucis and Philemon recognized their heavenly guests, fell on their knees, and with clasped hands implored forgiveness for their poor entertainment. There was an old goose, which they kept as the guar