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MYTHS OF THE GREAT DIVINITIES OF HEAVEN.
1. MYTHS OF JUPITER AND JUNO.
$ 57. Not a few of the adventures of Jupiter turn upon his love affairs. Among the immortals, his queen had rivals in his affection : for instance, Latona, a goddess of darkness, daughter of the Titans Cæus and Phæbe. This goddess became, as we have already seen, the mother of Apollo and Diana. The ire of Juno against her was never appeased. In consequence of it, numerous trials were visited upon Latona, some of which find a place among the adventures of her children.
$ 58. Not only with immortals but with mortals were Jupiter's relations sometimes of a dubious character. His devotion to the beautiful daughters of men involved him in frequent altercations with his justly jealous spouse. Of his fondness for Danaë, whom he approached in a shower of gold, particulars are given in the story of her son Perseus ; of his love for Alcmene, the granddaughter of that Perseus, we are informed in the myths of her son Hercules; and of his attentions to Leda, whom he wooed in guise of a swan, we learn in the accounts of their children Pollux and Helen. Other love passages, upon which narratives depend, concern Io, Callisto, Europa, Semele, Ægina, and Antiope.
$ 59. Io l was of divine ancestry. Her father was the river-god Inachus, son of Oceanus. It is said that Juno, one day, perceiving the skies suddenly overcast, surmised that her husband had raised a cloud to hide some escapade. She brushed away the darkness, and saw him, on the banks of a glassy river, with a beautiful heifer standing near. Juno suspected, with reason, that the heifer's form
concealed some fair nymph of mortal mould. It was Io, whom Jupiter, when he became aware of the approach of his wife, had changed into that form.
The ox-eyed goddess joined her husband, noticed the heifer, praised its beauty, and asked whose it was, and of what herd. Jupiter, to stop questions, replied that it was a fresh creation from the earth. Juno begged it as a gift. What could the king of gods and men do? He was loath to surrender his sweetheart to his wife ; yet how refuse so trilling a present as a heifer? He could not, without exciting suspicion; and he, therefore, consented. The goddess delivered the heifer to Argus, to be strictly watched.
Now Argus had a hundred eyes in his head, and never went
to sleep with more than two at a time, so that he kept watch of Io constantly. He suffered her to graze through the day, and at night tied a rope round her neck. She would have stretched out her arms to implore freedom of Argus, but that she had no arms to stretch out, and her voice was a bellow. She yearned in vain to make herself known to her father. At length she bethought herself of writing, and inscribed her name - it was a short one with her hoof on the sand. Inachus recognized it, and discovering that his daughter, whom he had long sought in vain, was hidden under this disguise, mourned over her. While he thus lamented, Argus, observing, drove her away, and took his seat on a bank, from whence he could see in every direction.
Jupiter, grieved by the sufferings of his mistress, sent Mercury to despatch Argus. Mercury took his sleep-producing wand, and presented himself on earth as a shepherd driving his flock. As he strolled, he blew upon his syrinx or Pandæan pipes. Argus listened with delight. “Young man,” said he, “come and take a seat by me on this stone. There is no better place for your flock to graze in than hereabouts, and here is a pleasant shade such as shepherds love." Mercury sat down, talked, told stories till it grew late, and played upon his pipes his most soothing strains, hoping to lull the watchful eyes to sleep, but in vain ; for Argus still contrived to keep some of his eyes open, though he shut the rest.
But among other stories, Mercury told him how the instrument on which he played was invented. “There was a certain nymph,” said he, “whose name was Syrinx, — much beloved by the satyrs and spirits of the wood. She would have none of them, but was a faithful worshipper of Diana, and followed the chase. Pan, meeting her one day, wooed her with many compliments, likening her to Diana of the silver bow. Without stopping to hear him, she ran away. But on the bank of the river he overtook her. She called for help on her friends, the water-nymphs. They heard and consented. Pan threw his arms around what he supposed to be the form of the nymph, and found he embraced only a tuft of reeds. As he breathed a sigh, the air sounded through the reeds, and produced a plaintive melody. Whereupon, the god, charmed with the novelty, and with the sweetness of the music, said, “Thus, then, at least, you shall be mine.' Taking some of the reeds, of unequal lengths, and placing them together, side by side, he made an instrument and called it Syrinx, in honor of the nymph.” Before Mercury had finished his story he saw the eyes of Argus all asleep. At once he slew him, and set Io free. The eyes of Argus Juno took and scattered as ornaments on the tail of her peacock, where they remain to this day.
But the vengeance of Juno was not yet satiated. She sent a gadfly to torment Io, who, in her fight, swam through the sea, named after her, Ionian. Afterward, roaming over many lands, she reached at last the banks of the Nile. Then Jupiter interceded for her; and upon his engaging not to pay her any further attention, Juno consented to restore her to her form.
In a poem dedicated to Leigh Hunt, by Keats, the following allusion to the story of Pan and Syrinx occurs :
“So did he feel who pulled the boughs aside,
That we might look into a forest wide, ...
$ 60. Callisto of Arcadia was another maiden who excited the jealousy of Juno. Her, the goddess changed into a bear. Often, frightened by the dogs, Callisto, though lately a huntress, fled in terror from the hunters. Often, too, she fled from the wild beasts, forgetting that she was now a wild beast herself; and bear, as she was, she feared the bears.
One day a youth espied her as he was hunting. She saw him, and recognized him as her son Arcas, grown to manhood. She stopped and felt inclined to embrace him. He, alarmed, raised his hunting-spear, and was on the point of transfixing her, but
Jupiter arrested the crime, and snatching away both of them, placed them in the heavens as the Great and Little Bear.
Juno, enraged at seeing her rival so set in honor, hastened to ancient Tethys and Oceanus, and, complaining that she was supplanted in Heaven, cried, “So do my punishments result — such is the extent of my power! I forbade her to wear human form, - she and her hateful son are placed among the stars. Better that she should have resumed her former shape, as I permitted Io to do. Perhaps my husband means to take her to wife, and put me away! But you, my foster-parents, if you feel for me, and see with displeasure this unworthy treatment of me, show it, I beseech you, by forbidding this guilty couple from coming into your waters.” The powers of the Ocean assented, and consequently the two constellations of the Great and Little Bear move round and round in the neighborhood of the pole, but never sink, as do the other stars, beneath the Ocean.
$ 61. Europa was the daughter of Agenor, king of Phænicia, son of the god Neptune. The story of Jupiter's love for her is thus told by the idyllic poet, Moschus :
To Europa, princess of Asia, once on a time, a sweet dream was sent by Cypris, when the third watch of the night sets in, and near is the dawning; when sleep more sweet than honey rests on the eyelids, limb-loosening sleep, that binds the eyes with his soft bond, when the flock of truthful dreams fares wandering. ...
Then she beheld two continents at strife for her sake, Asia and the further shore, both in the shape of women. Of these one had the guise of a stranger, the other of a lady of that land, and closer still she clung about her maiden, and kept saying how she was her mother, and herself had nursed Europa. But that other with mighty hands, and forcefully, kept haling the maiden, nothing loth; declaring that, by the will of ægis-bearing Jupiter, Europa was destined to be her prize.
But Europa leaped forth from her strown bed in terror, with beating heart, in such clear vision had she beheld the dream. . . . And she said, “ Ah! who was the alien woman that I beheld in my sleep? How strange a longing for her seized my heart, yea, and how graciously she herself did welcome me, and regard me as it had been her own child! Ye blessed gods, I pray you, prosper the fulfilment of the dream!”
1 Ovid, Metam. 2:410 et seg.