Imagens das páginas
PDF
[graphic]

wo were the sacrifices offered to Mars, and on what acCount :

What rite did the ancient warriors perform before they went out to battle *

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

We have viewed the five celestial gods; let us now look upon the goddesses that follow them in Order. First observe Juno, riding in a golden chariot drawn by peacocks, holding a sceptre in her hand, and wearing a crown beset with roses and

lilies. Juno's chariot is finely represented by Homer; and Hebe is mentioned as her attendant –

At her command rush forth the steeds divine;
Rich with immortal gold their trappings shine:
Bright Hebe waits: by Hebe, ever young,
The whirling wheels are to the chariot hung.
On the bright axle turns the bidden wheel
Of sounding brass; the polish'd axle, steel :
Eight brazen spokes in radiant order flame;
Such as the heav'ns produce : and round the gold
Two brazen rings of work divine were roll’d.
The bossy naves, of solid silver, shone ;
Braces of gold suspend the moving throne ;
The car, behind, an arching figure bore;
The bending concave form'd an arch before :
Silver the beam, th’ extended yoke was gold,
And golden reins th’ immortal coursers hold. Homer.

Juno is the queen of the gods, and both the sister and wife of Jupiter: “Jovisque Et soror et conjux.” Virg. JEn. 1. Her father was Saturn, and her mother Ops; she was born in the island Samos, and there lived till she was married.

[graphic]

She seems very august and majestical. How beautiful is that face, how comely are all her limbs? how well does a sceptre become those hands, and a crown that head how much beauty is there in her smiles? She is full of majesty, and worthy of the greatest admiration.

Her servant is Iris, the daughter of Thaumus and Electra, and sister to the Harpies. She is Juno's messenger, and Mercury is Jupiter's; though Jupiter and the other gods, the Furies, nay, sometimes men have sent her on messages. Because of her swiftness she is painted with wings, and she sometimes rides on a rainbow, as Ovid says:

“Effugit, et remeat per quos modo venerat arcus.” Met. 3. On the same bow she went she soon returns.

It is her office to unloose the souls of women from the chains of the body, as Mercury unlooses those of men. We have an example of this in Dido, who laid violent hands on herself, for when she was almost dead, Juno sent Iris to loose her soul from her body, as Virgil describes at large, in the fourth book of his AEneid:

“Tum Juno omnipotens longum miserata dolorem,
Difficilesque obitus, Irim demisit Olympo,
Quae luctantem animum nexosque resolveret artus.
Ergo Iris croceis per coelum roscida pennis,
Mille trabens varios adverso Sole colores,
Devolat, et supra caput astitit; hunc ego Diti
Sacrum jussa fero, teque isto corpore solvo.
Sic ait, et dextra crinem secat : omnis et una
Dilapsus calor, atque in ventos vita recessit.”

Then Juno, grieving that she should sustain
A death so ling'ring, and so full of pain,
Sent Iris down to free her from the strife
Of lab'ring nature and dissolve her life.
Downward the various goddess took her flight,
And drew a thousand colours from the light;
Then stood about the dying lover's head,
And said, I thus devote thee to the dead:
This off ring to the infernal gods I bear.

Thus while she spoke, she cut the fatal hair:
The struggling soul was loos'd and life dissolv’d in air.

But in this Iris differs from Mercury; for he is sent both from heaven and hell, but she is sent from heaven only. He oftentimes was employed in messages of peace, whence he was called the peacemaker; but Iris was always sent to promote strife and dissension, as if she were the goddess of discord: and therefore some think that her name was given to her from the contention which she perpetually creates; though others say, she was called Iris, because she delivers her messages by speech, and not in writing' QUESTIONS FOR EXA.M.I.N.ATION.

How is Juno represented 2

Repeat Homer's description of her chariot 2

Who is Juno, and what relation does she bear to Jupiter and Saturn ?

How is she represented with regard to her figure ?

Who is Iris, and for what purpose was she employed 2

How is she painted 2

What office does Iris bear with respect to the souls of women 2 In what does Iris differ from Mercury

SEC. 2–THE CHILDREN, AND DISPOSITION OF JUNO.

Vulcan, Mars, and Hebe, were the children of Juno by Jupiter. Although some say that Hebe had no other parent than Juno. Hebe, on account of her extraordinary beauty was, by Jupiter, made goddess of youth, and held the office of cupbearer of Jupiter. But by an unlucky fall she offended the king of the gods, who turned her out from her office, and put Ganymede in her stead.

Juno's worst sault was jealousy, of which the following are instances. Jupiter loved Io, the daughter of Inachus. When Juno observed that Jupiter was absent from heaven she suspected the cause of his absence. Therefore she immediately flew down to the earth after him. As soon as Jupiter perceived

her coming, fearful of a chiding, he turned the young lady into a white cow. Juno seeing the cow, asked who she was, and what was her origin f Jupiter said, she was born on a sudden out of the earth. The cunning goddess, suspecting the matter, desired to have the cow, which Jupiter could not refuse, lest he should increase her suspicion. So Jino, taking the cow, gave it to Argus to keep : this Argus had a hundred eyes, two of which in their turns slept, while the others watched. “Servandam tradidit Argo. Centum luminibus cinctum caput Argus habebat: Inde suis vicibus capiebant bina quietem; Caetera servabant, atque in statione manebant.

Constiterat quocumque modo, spectabat ad Io;
Ante oculos Io, quamvis aversus, habebat.”—0t. Mel M.

The goddess then to Argus straight convey'd Her gift, and him the watchful keeper made. Argus' head a hundred eyes possest, And only two at once reclin'd to rest: The others watch'd, and, in a constant round, Refreshment in alternate courses found. Where'er he turn'd he always Io view'd ; Io he saw, though she behind him stood. Thus was Io under constant confinement; nor was the perpetual vigilance of her keeper the only misfortune; for she was fed with nothing but insipid leaves and bitter herbs. This hardship Jupiter could not endure; therefore, he sent Mercury to Ar. gus, to set Io free. Mercury, under the disguise of a shepherd, came to Argus, and with the music of his pipe lulled him asleep, and then cut off his head. Juno was grieved at Argus’ death, and to make him some amends she turned him into a peacock, an scattered his hundred eyes about the tail of the bird.

“Centumque oculos nox occupat una
Excipit hos, volucrisque suae Saturnia pennis
Collocat, et gemmis caudam stellantibus implet.”
There Argus lies; and all that wond’rous light,

Which gave his hundred eyes their useful sight,
Lies buried now in one eternal night.

« AnteriorContinuar »