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the heavenly powers who had made both, and rejoiced in the speed of both, were not willing that either should conquer. The javelin was destined to a sad office. It appears that Cephalus, when weary of the chase, was wont to stretch himself in a certain shady nook to enjoy the breeze. Sometimes he would say aloud, “Come, gentle Aura, sweet goddess of the breeze, come and allay the heat that burns me.” Some one, foolishly believing that he addressed a maiden, told the secret to Procris. Hoping against hope, she stole out after him the next morning, and concealed herself in the place which the informer had indicated. Cephalus, when tired with sport, stretched himself on the green bank, and summoned fair Aura, as usual. Suddenly he heard, or thought he heard, a sound as of a sob in the bushes. Supposing it to proceed from some wild animal, he threw his javelin at the spot. A cry told him that the weapon had too surely met its mark. He rushed to the place, and raised his wounded Procris from the earth. She, at last, opened her feeble eyes, and forced herself to utter these words: “I implore thee, if thou hast ever loved me, if I have ever deserved kindness at thy hands, my husband, grant me this last request; marry not that odious Breeze !” So saying, she expired in her lover's arms. An altogether different story is the following:
Procris, the nymph, had wedded Cephalus; —
He, till the spring had warmed to slow-winged days
Named her his love; but now, in unknown ways,
Turned from her own, and even farther ranged
Beholding with the hours her husband changed,
So, on a day, she rose and found him not.
Alone, with wet, sad eye, she watched the shade Brighten below a soft-rayed sun that shot Arrows of light through all the deep-leaved glade;
i Austin Dobson, The Death of Procris.
Then, with weak hands, she knotted up the braid
Of her brown hair, and o'er her shoulders cast
Her golden girdle's clasp to join, and past
And all day long her slight spear devious flew,
And harmless swerved her arrows from their aim,
Before her ran the still unwounded game.
And, lo! a hart that panted with the chase.
And swift she gat her to a leafy place,
Leaping he went, this hunter Cephalus,
But in his hand his cornel bow he bare,
Fleet as his dogs, a lean Laconian pair.
Move in the covert, deeming that apart
But Procris lay among the white wind-flowers,
Shot in the throat. From out the little wound
Drip from the leaves upon the sodden ground.
That watched her dumbly with a wistful fear,
§ 113. The son of Aurora and Cephalus was Phosphor, the Star of Morning. His son Ceyx, king of Trachis in Thessaly, had married Halcyone, daughter of Æolus. Their reign was happy until the brother of Ceyx met his death. The direful prodigies
1 Ovid, Metam. 11:583-748.
that followed this event made Ceyx feel that the gods were hostile to him. He thought best therefore to make a voyage to Claros in Ionia, to consult the oracle of Apollo. In spite of his wife's entreaties (for as daughter of the god of winds, she knew how dreadful a thing a storm at sea was), Ceyx set sail. He was shipwrecked and drowned. His last prayer was that the waves might bear his body to the sight of Halcyone, and that it might receive burial at her hands.
In the meanwhile Halcyone counted the days till her husband's promised return. To all the gods she offered frequent incense, but more than all to Juno. The goddess, at last, could not bear to be further pleaded with for one already dead. Calling Iris, she enjoined her to approach the drowsy dwelling of Somnus, and bid him send a vision to Halcyone, in the form of Ceyx, to reveal the sad event.
The Cave of Sleep. — Iris puts on her robe of many colors, and tinging the sky with her bow, seeks the cave near the Cimmerian country, which is the abode of the dull god, Somnus. Here Phoebus dare not come. Clouds and shadows are exhaled from the ground, and the light glimmers faintly. The cock never there calls aloud to Aurora, nor watch-dog nor goose disturbs the silence. No wild beast, nor cattle, nor branch moved with the wind, nor sound of human conversation breaks the stillness. From the bottom of the rock the river Lethe flows, and by its murmur invites to sleep. Poppies grow before the door of the cave, from whose juices Night distils slumbers, which she scatters over the darkened earth. There is no gate to creak on its hinges, nor any watchman. In the midst, on a couch of black ebony, adorned with black plumes and black curtains, the god reclines, his limbs relaxed in sleep. Around him lie dreams, resembling all various forms, as many as the harvest bears stalks, or the forest leaves, or the seashore sandgrains.