Maetissima mater. This passage will be best illustrated by a short account of the story to which it refers. Tereus king of Thrace had married Progne, the daughter of Pandion king of Athens, and carried her with him into his own kingdom. She, after some time, being desirous of seeing her sister Philomela, whom she had left at Athens, prevailed upon Tereus to sail thither, with a view of conducting her to Thrace. He, becoming enamored of her in the voyage, and finding it impossible for him to obtain the gratification of his passion by her own consent, ravished her; and then, to prevent her from disclosing the secret, and drawing upon him the vengeance of Progne, cut out her tongue, and imprisoned her. However, she found means to work the whole story into a web, which she sent as a present to her sister, who took the opportunity of a festival to rescue her; then killing her own son Itys, served him up in a dish to his father; who, discovering what had been done, would have slain both. But, as he pursued them, Progne was suddenly changed into a swallow, Tereus into a lapwing, Itys into a pheasant, and Philomela into a nightingale. It is to be observed, however, that Ovid differs from common tradition, in making Progne to have been changed into the nightingale, although several others who relate that fable agree with him.
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