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and as he clung around her horns and neck
repeated while she groaned, “Ah wretched me!
Art thou my daughter sought in every clime?
When lost I could not grieve for thee as now
that thou art found; thy sighs instead of words
heave up from thy deep breast, thy longings give
me answer. I prepared the nuptial torch
and bridal chamber, in my ignorance,
since my first hope was for a son in law;
and then I dreamed of children from the match:
but now the herd may furnish thee a mate,
and all thy issue of the herd must be.
Oh that a righteous death would end my grief!—
it is a dreadful thing to be a God!
Behold the lethal gate of death is shut
against me, and my growing grief must last
While thus he moaned
came starry Argus there, and Io bore
from her lamenting father. Thence he led
his charge to other pastures; and removed
from her, upon a lofty mountain sat,
whence he could always watch her, undisturbed.
The sovereign god no longer could endure
to witness Io's woes. He called his son,
whom Maia brightest of the Pleiades
brought forth, and bade him slay the star eyed guard,
argus. He seized his sleep compelling wand
and fastened waving wings on his swift feet,
and deftly fixed his brimmed hat on his head:—
lo, Mercury, the favoured son of Jove,
descending to the earth from heaven's plains,
put off his cap and wings,— though still retained
his wand with which he drove through pathless wilds
some stray she goats, and as a shepherd fared,
piping on oaten reeds melodious tunes.
Argus, delighted with the charming sound
of this new art began; “Whoever thou art,
sit with me on this stone beneath the trees
in cooling shade, whilst browse the tended flock
abundant herbs; for thou canst see the shade
is fit for shepherds.” Wherefore, Mercury
sat down beside the keeper and conversed
of various things—passing the laggard hours.—
then soothly piped he on the joined reeds
to lull those ever watchful eyes asleep;
but Argus strove his languor to subdue,
and though some drowsy eyes might slumber, still
were some that vigil kept. Again he spoke,
(for the pipes were yet a recent art)
“I pray thee tell what chance discovered these.”
To him the God, “ A famous Naiad dwelt
among the Hamadryads, on the cold
Arcadian summit Nonacris, whose name
was Syrinx. Often she escaped the Gods,
that wandered in the groves of sylvan shades,
and often fled from Satyrs that pursued.
Vowing virginity, in all pursuits
she strove to emulate Diana's ways:
and as that graceful goddess wears her robe,
so Syrinx girded hers that one might well
believe Diana there. Even though her bow
were made of horn, Diana's wrought of gold,
vet might she well deceive.
“Now chanced it Pan.
Whose head was girt with prickly pines, espied
the Nymph returning from the Lycian Hill,
and these words uttered he: ”—But Mercury
refrained from further speech, and Pan's appeal
remains untold. If he had told it all,
the tale of Syrinx would have followed thus:—
but she despised the prayers of Pan, and fled
through pathless wilds until she had arrived
the placid Ladon's sandy stream, whose waves
prevented her escape. There she implored
her sister Nymphs to change her form: and Pan,
believing he had caught her, held instead
some marsh reeds for the body of the Nymph;
and while he sighed the moving winds began
to utter plaintive music in the reeds,
so sweet and voice like that poor Pan exclaimed;
“Forever this discovery shall remain
a sweet communion binding thee to me.”—
and this explains why reeds of different length,
when joined together by cementing wax,
derive the name of Syrinx from the maid.
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