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Roughens the placid deep with eager breath of the morning,
Urges the waves, and impels, to the threshold of journeying Phæbus, -
They, at first, blown outward unroughly when Dawn is a-rising,
Limp slow-footed, and loiter with laughter lightsomely plashing,
But, with the freshening gale, creep quicker and thicker together,
Till on horizon they float refulgent of luminous purple, -
So from the portal withdrawing the pomp Thessalian departed
Faring on world-wide ways to the far-off homes of their fathers.

Now when they were aloof, drew nigh from Pelion's summit
Chiron bearing gifts from copses and glades of the woodland - .
Gifts that the meadows yield: what flowers on Thessaly's mountains,
Or, by waves of the stream, the prolific breath of the West Wind,
Warming, woos to the day, all such in bunches assorted
Bore he. Flattered with odors the whole house brake into laughter.
Came there next Peneüs, abandoning verdurous Tempe-
Tempe embowered deep mid superimpendent forests.

And after the river-god, who bore with him nodding plane-trees and lofty beeches, straight slim laurels, the lithe poplars, and the airy cypress to plant about the palace that thick foliage might give it shade, followed Prometheus, the bold and cunning of heart, wearing still the marks of his ancient punishment on the rocks of Caucasus. Finally the father of the gods himself came, with his holy spouse and his offspring, — all, save Phoebus and his one sister, who naturally looked askance upon a union to be productive of untold misfortune to their favored town of Troy.

... When now the gods had reclined their limbs on the ivory couches,
Viands many and rare were heaped on the banqueting tables,
Whilst the decrepit Sisters of Fate, their tottering bodies
Solemnly swayed, and rehearsed their soothfast vaticination.
- Lo, each tremulous frame was wrapped in robe of a whiteness,
Down to the ankles that fell, with nethermost border of purple,
While on ambrosial brows there rested fillets like snowflakes.
They, at a task eternal their hands religiously plying,
Held in the left on high, with wool enfolded, a distaff,
Delicate fibres wherefrom, drawn down, were shaped by the right hand -
Shaped by fingers upturned, - but the down-turned thumb set a-whirling,
Poised with perfected whorl, the industrious shaft of the spindle.

Still, as they span, as they span, was the tooth kept nipping and smoothing,
And to the withered lip clung morsels of wool as they smoothed it -
Filaments erstwhile rough that stood from the twist of the surface.
Close at their feet, meantime, were woven baskets of wicker
Guarding the soft white balls of the wool respiendent within them.
Thus then, parting the strands, these Three with resonant voices
Uttered, in chant divine, predestined sooth of the future -
Prophecy neither in time, nor yet in eternity, shaken.

“Thou that exaltest renown of thy name with the name of thy valor, Bulwark Emathian, blest above sires in the offspring of promise, Hear with thine ears this day what oracles fall from the Sisters Chanting the fates for thee; — but you, ye destiny-drawing Spindles, hasten the threads of the destinies set for the future !

“Rideth the orb upon high that heralds boon unto bridegrooms —
Hesperus, — cometh anon with star propitious the virgin,
Speedeth thy soul to subdue — submerge it with love at the flood-tide.
Hasten, ye spindles, and run, yea, gallop, ye thread-running spindles !

“Erstwhile, never a home hath roofed like generous loving,
Never before hath Love conjoinèd lovers so dearly, -
Never with harmony such as endureth for Thetis and Peleus.
Hasten, ye spindles, and run, yea, gallop, ye thread-running spindles !

“Born unto you shall be the undaunted heart of Achilles,
Aye, by his brave breast known, unknown by his back to the foeman,
Victor in onslaught, victor in devious reach of the race-course,
Fleeter of foot than feet of the stag that lighten and vanish, -
Hasten, ye spindles, and run, yea, gallop, ye thread-running spindles !”

So the sisters prophesied the future of the hero, Achilles. How by him the Trojans should fall, as fall the ears of corn when they are yellow before the scythe, — how because of him Scamander should run red, warm with blood, choked with blind bodies, into the whirling Hellespont; how finally he, himself, in his prime, should fall, and how on his tomb should be sacrificed the fair Polyxena, daughter of Priam, whom he had loved. “So,” says Catullus, “sang the Fates. For those were the days before piety and righteous action were spurned by mankind, the days when

Jupiter and his immortals deigned to consort with zealous man, to enjoy the sweet odor of his burnt-offering, to march beside him to battle, to swell his shout in victory and his lament in defeat, to smile on his peaceful harvests, to recline at his banquets, and to bless the weddings of fair women and goodly heroes. But now, alas," concludes Catullus, “ godliness and chastity, truth, wisdom, and honor have departed from among men":

Wherefore the gods no more vouchsafe their presence to mortals,
Suffer themselves no more to be touched by the ray of the morning.
But there were gods in the pure, — in the golden prime of the Ages.

$ 165 b. Atreus was the son of Pelops and Hippodamia and grandson of Tantalus, therefore great-grandson of Jove. Both by blood and by marriage he was connected with Theseus. He took to wife Aërope, granddaughter of Minos II., king of Crete, and by her had two sons, Agamemnon, the general of the Grecian army in the Trojan War, and Menelaus, at whose solicitation the war was undertaken. Of Atreus it may be said that with cannibal atrocity like that of his grandsire, Tantalus, he on one occasion wreaked his vengeance on a brother, Thyestes, by causing him to eat the flesh of two of his own children. A son of this Thyestes, Ægisthus by name, revived, in due time, against Agamemnon the treacherous feud that had existed between their fathers.

§ 165 C. Tyndareus was king of Lacedæmon (Sparta). His wife was Leda, daughter of Thestius of Calydon, and sister of Althæa, the mother of Meleager and Dejanira. To Tyndareus Leda bore Castor and Clytemnestra ; to Jove she bore Pollux and Helen. The two former were mortal ; the two latter, immortal. Clytemnestra was married to Agamemnon of Mycenæ, to whom she bore three children, — Electra, Iphigenia, and Orestes. Helen, the fair immediate cause of the Trojan War, became the wife of Menelaus, who with her obtained the kingdom of Sparta.

$ 166. Castor and Pollux are mentioned here because of their kinship with Helen. They had, however, disappeared from earth

before the Siege of Troy was undertaken. They are famous for their fraternal affection. Endowed with various manly virtues, — Castor, a horse-tamer, Pollux, a boxer, — they made all expeditions in common. Together, they joined the Calydonian hunt. Together, they accompanied the Argonauts. During the voyage to Colchis it is said that, a storm arising, Orpheus prayed to the Samothracian gods, and played on his harp, and that when the storm ceased, stars appeared on the heads of the brothers. Hence they came to be honored as patrons of voyagers.

When Theseus and his friend Pirithoüs had carried off Helen from Sparta, the youthful heroes, Castor and Pollux, with their followers, hasted to her rescue. Theseus being absent from Attica, the brothers recovered their sister. Still later, we find Castor and Pollux engaged in a combat with Idas and Lynceus of Messene, whose brides they had attempted to abduct. Castor was slain ; but Pollux, inconsolable for the loss of his brother, besought Jupiter to be permitted to give his own life as a ransom for him. Jupiter so far consented as to allow the two brothers to enjoy the boon of life alternately, each spending one day under the earth and the next in the heavenly abodes. According to another version, Jupiter rewarded the attachment of the brothers by placing them among the stars as Gemini, the Twins. They received heroic honors as the Tyndaridæ (sons of Tyndareus); divine honors they received under the name of Dioscuri (sons of Jove).

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... Back comes the chief in triumph

Who in the hour of fight
Hath seen the great Twin Brethren

In harness on his right.
Safe comes the ship to haven,

Through billows and through gales
If once the great Twin Brethren

Sit shining on the sails.1

1 Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome, The Battle of Lake Regillus,

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