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flow; and, borne on a whirlwind to her native mountain, she still remains, a mass of rock, from which a trickling stream flows, the tribute of her never-ending grief.1
"Amid nine daughters slain by Artemis
'Thou heardest, Artemis, my daily prayer
One prayer remains
For me to offer yet.
More than nine arrows: bend thy bow; aim here!
§ 78. The Lamentation for LinrisX- How the people of Argos fell under the displeasure of Apollo is told in the story of Linus, a beautiful son of Apollo and Psamathe. In fear of her father the king, Psamathe exposed the child on the mountains, where, brought up by shepherds among the lambs, he was in tender youth torn to pieces by dogs. Meanwhile Psamathe, herself, was driven from her father's home, wherefore Apollo sent against the land of the Argives a monster that for a season destroyed the children, but at last was slain by a noble youth named Coroebus. To appease the wrathful
1 Ovid, Metam. 6: 165-312.
2 From W. S. Landor's Niobe.
deity, a shrine was erected midway between Argos and Delphi; and every year Linus and his mother were bewailed in melancholy lays by the mothers and children of Argos, especially by such as had lost by death their own beloved.
§ 79. iEsculapius. —The Thessalian princess Coronis (or the Messenian, Arsinoe) bore to Apollo a child who was named ^Esculapius. On his mother's death the infant was intrusted to the charge of Chiron, most famous of the Centaurs, himself instructed by Apollo and Diana in hunting, medicine, music, and the art of prophecy. When the sage returned to his home bearing the infant, his daughter Ocyrrhoe came forth to meet him, and at sight of the child burst into a prophetic strain, foretelling the glory that he should achieve. ^Esculapius, when grown up, became a renowned physician; in one instance he even succeeded in restoring the dead to life. Pluto resented this; and, at his request, Jupiter struck the bold physician with lightning and killed him, but after his death received him into the number of the gods.1
§ 80. Apollo in Exile. — Apollo, indignant at the destruction of this son, wreaked his vengeance on the innocent workmen who had made the thunderbolt. These were the Cyclopes, who had their workshop under Mount ^Etna, from which the smoke and flames of their furnaces are constantly issuing. Apollo shot his arrows at the Cyclopes, a deed which so incensed Jupiter that he condemned him to serve a mortal for the space of one year. Accordingly, Apollo went into the service of Admetus, king of Thessaly, and pastured his flocks for him on the verdant banks of the river Amphrysus. How the god lived among men, and what they thought of him, is well told in the following verses : —
1 Cicero, Natura Deorum, 3, 22.
THE SHEPHERD OF KING ADMErUS.i
There came a youth upon the earth,
Some thousand years ago,
Upon an empty tortoise-shell
He stretched some chords, and drew Music that made men's bosoms swell Fearless, or brimmed their eyes with dew.
Then King Admetus, one who had
Pure taste by right divine,
And so, well pleased with being soothed
Into a sweet half-sleep, Three times his kingly beard he smoothed, And made him viceroy o'er his sheep.
His words were simple words enough,
And yet he used them so,
Men called him but a shiftless youth,
In whom no good they saw;
They knew not how he learned at all,
For idly, hour by hour,
It seemed the loveliness of things
Did teach him all their use, For, in mere weeds, and stones, and springs, He found a healing power profuse.
Men granted that his speech was wise,
But, when a glance they caught
Yet after he was dead and gone
And e'en his memory dim,
And day by day more holy grew
§ 81. Admetus and Alcestis.1 — Admetus was a suitor, with others, for the hand of Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, who promised her to him who should come for her in a chariot drawn by lions and boars. This task Admetus performed by the assistance of his divine herdsman, and was made happy in the possession of Alcestis. But Admetus fell ill, and being near to death, Apollo prevailed on the Fates to spare him on condition that some one should consent to die in his stead. Admetus, in his joy at this reprieve, thought little of the ransom, and, perhaps remembering the declarations of attachment which he had often heard from his courtiers and dependents, fancied that it would be easy to find a substitute. But it was not so. Brave warriors, who would willingly have perilled their lives for their prince, shrunk from the thought of dying for him on the bed of sickness; and old servants who had experienced his bounty and that of his house from their childhood up were not willing to lay down the scanty remnant of their days to show their gratitude. Men asked, "Why does not one of his parents do it? They cannot in the course of nature live much longer, and who can feel like them the call to rescue the life they gave from an untimely end?" But the parents, distressed though they were at the thought of losing him, shrunk from the
1 See Commentary, § 81.
call. Then Alcestis, with a generous self-devotion, proffered herself as the substitute. Admetus, fond as he was of life, would not have submitted to receive it at such a cost; but there was no remedy. The condition imposed by the Fates had been met, and the decree was irrevocable. As Admetus revived, Alcestis sickened, rapidly sank, and died.
Just after the funeral procession had left the palace, Hercules, the son of Jupiter and Alcmena, arrived. He, to whom no labor was too arduous, resolved to attempt her rescue. Said he : —
"I will go lie in wait for Death, black-stoled
1 From Browning's Balaustion's Adventure. The Greek form of the proper names has been retained.