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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.

"Amid nine daughters slain by Artemis
Stood Niobe; she rais'd her head above
Those beauteous forms which had brought down the scath
Whence all nine fell, rais'd it, and stood erect,
And thus bespake the goddess enthroned on high:

Thou heardest, Artemis, my daily prayer
That thou wouldst guide these children in the pass
Of virtue, through the tangling wilds of youth,
And thou didst ever guide them: was it just
To smite them for a beauty such as thine?
Deserv'd they death because thy grace appear'd
In ever modest motion? 'twas thy gift,
The richest gift that youth from heaven receives.
True, I did boldly say they might compare
Even with thyself in virgin purity:
May not a mother in her pride repeat
What every mortal said ?

One prayer remains
For me to offer yet.
Thy quiver holds
More than nine arrows: bend thy bow; aim here!
I see, I see it glimmering through a cloud.
Artemis, thou at length art merciful :
My children will not hear the faqat twang.'” 2

$ 78. The Lamentation for Linus. 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 Corcebus. 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. Æsculapius. — The Thessalian princess Coronis (or the Messenian, Arsinoë) bore to Apollo a child who was named Æsculapius. 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 Ocyrrhoë came forth to meet him, and at sight of the child burst into a prophetic strain, foretelling the glory that he should achieve. Æsculapius, 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.'

$ 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 Ætna, 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 : –

i Cicero, Natura Deorum, 3, 22.

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There came a youth upon the earth,

Some thousand years ago,
Whose slender hands were nothing worth,
Whether to plough, or reap, or sow.

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,
Decreed his singing not too bad
To hear between the cups of wine :

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,
That what in other mouths was rough
In his seemed musical and low.

Men called him but a shiftless youth,

In whom no good they saw;
And yet, unwittingly, in truth,
They made his careless words their law.

They knew not how he learned at all,

For idly, hour by hour,
He sat and watched the dead leaves fall,
Or mused upon a common flower.

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.

1 J. R. Lowell.

Men granted that his speech was wise,

But, when a glance they caught
Of his 'slim grace and woman's eyes,
They laughed, and called him good-for-naught.

Yet after he was dead and gone

And e'en his memory dim,
Earth seemed more sweet to live upon,
More full of love, because of him.

And day by day more holy grew

Each spot where he had trod,
Till after-poets only knew
Their first-born brother as a god.

§ 81. Admetus and Alcestis. — 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
King of the corpses!1 I shall find him, sure,
Drinking, beside the tomb, o' the sacrifice:
And if I lie in ambuscade, and leap
Out of my lair, and seize - encircle him
Till one hand join the other round about -
There lives not who shall pull him out from me,
Rib-mauled, before he let the woman go!
But even say I miss the booty, - say,
Death comes not to the boltered blood, — why, then,
Down go I, to the unsunned dwelling-place
Of Koré and the king there, - make demand,
Confident I shall bring Alkestis back,
So as to put her in the hands of him
My host, that housed me, never drove me off:
Though stricken with sore sorrow hid the stroke,
Being a noble heart and honoring me!
Who of Thessalians, more than this man, loves
The stranger? Who that now inhabits Greece?
Wherefore he shall not say the man was vile
Whom he befriended, — native noble heart!”
So, one look upward, as if Zeus might laugh
Approval of his human progeny, —
One summons of the whole magnific frame,
Each sinew to its service, — up he caught,
And over shoulder cast the lion-shag,
Let the club go, - for had he not those hands?

The Greek form of the proper

From Browning's Balaustion's Adventure. names has been retained

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