previous next

Marsyas. Pelops.


So he related how the clowns were changed
to leaping frogs; and after he was through,
another told the tale of Marsyas, in these words:

The Satyr Marsyas, when he played the flute
in rivalry against Apollo's lyre,
lost that audacious contest and, alas!
His life was forfeit; for, they had agreed
the one who lost should be the victor's prey.
And, as Apollo punished him, he cried,
“Ah-h-h! why are you now tearing me apart?
A flute has not the value of my life!”

Even as he shrieked out in his agony,
his living skin was ripped off from his limbs,
till his whole body was a flaming wound,
with nerves and veins and viscera exposed.

But all the weeping people of that land,
and all the Fauns and Sylvan Deities,
and all the Satyrs, and Olympus, his
loved pupil—even then renowned in song,
and all the Nymphs, lamented his sad fate;
and all the shepherds, roaming on the hills,
lamented as they tended fleecy flocks.

And all those falling tears, on fruitful Earth,
descended to her deepest veins, as drip
the moistening dews,—and, gathering as a fount,
turned upward from her secret-winding caves,
to issue, sparkling, in the sun-kissed air,
the clearest river in the land of Phrygia,—
through which it swiftly flows between steep banks
down to the sea: and, therefore, from his name,
'Tis called “The Marsyas” to this very day.

And after this was told, the people turned
and wept for Niobe's loved children dead,
and also, mourned Amphion, sorrow-slain.


The Theban people hated Niobe,
but Pelops, her own brother, mourned her death;
and as he rent his garment, and laid bare
his white left shoulder, you could see the part
composed of ivory.—At his birth 'twas all
of healthy flesh; but when his father cut
his limbs asunder, and the Gods restored
his life, all parts were rightly joined, except
part of one shoulder, which was wanting; so
to serve the purpose of the missing flesh,
a piece of ivory was inserted there,
making his body by such means complete.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus English (Arthur Golding, 1567)
load focus Latin (Hugo Magnus, 1892)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Phrygia (Turkey) (1)
Olympus (Vermont, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: