Peleus apud Ceycem.
DAEDALION CHANGED TO A HAWKGreat Peleus' heart was filled with happiness;
because of his great son and Thetis his
dear wife: he was blest in everything, except
in killing Phocus. The Trachinian land
received him guilty of his brother's blood;
when he fled, banished from his native home.
There Ceyx, who had the fine countenance
of Lucifer his father, reigned as king,
without the cost of violence or blood.
Before this time his days had always given
him joy and comfort, but all now was changed,
for he was mourning a loved brother's death.
Peleus, outwearied with his journey's length.
Left his fine flock of sheep and all the herds
he had brought with him, not far from the walls
of that city, where Ceyx long had reigned.
He entered with an olive branch all swathed
in woolen fillets, symbol of good will,
and with a suppliant hand disclosed his name.
He told the monarch who he was, also
his father's name. But he concealed his crime,
giving untruthful reasons for his flight:
and begged a refuge either in town or field.
The king of Trachyn answered with kind words:
“Ah, Peleus, even the lowest ranks enjoy
our bounties and our hospitality,
and you bring with you powers which compell
attention and respect. Your name is so
illustrious, and is not Jupiter
your grandsire? Do not lose your time by such
entreaties. Everything you may desire
is yours as soon as known, and all you see
is partly yours, but in how sad a state!”
And then he wept. When Peleus and his friends
asked him the reason of his grief he said,
“Perchance you deem that bird which lives on prey,
which is the terror of all other birds,
had always feathered wings? It was a man.
And now the vigor of its courage is
as great as when well known by his man's name,
Daedalion, bold in wars and strong and harsh,
and not afraid to hazard violence.
His father was unequalled Lucifer,
star of the Morning, who at dawn brings forth
Aurora, and withdraws the last of all
the shining stars of heaven.—My brother named
daedalion, son of that great star, was fond
of cruel warfare, while I cherished peace
and loved the quiet of my married life.
This brother, powerful in the art of war,
subdued strong kings and nations.—And 'tis he
transformed from manhood, now a bird of prey,
that so relentlessly pursues the doves,
known as the pride of Thisbe's citizens.
“My brother had a daughter Chione
so beautiful she pleased a thousand men,
when she had reached the marriageable age
of twice seven years. It happened by some chance
that Phoebus and the son of Maia, who
returned—one from his Delphi, the other from
Cyllene's heights—beheld this lovely maid
both at the same time, and were both inflamed
with passion. Phoebus waited till the night.
Hermes could not endure delay and with
the magic of his wand, that causes sleep,
he touched the virgin's face; and instantly,
as if entranced, she lay there fast asleep,
and suffered violence from the ardent god.
When night bespangled the wide heaven with stars,
Phoebus became an aged crone and gained
the joy he had deferred until that hour.
“When her mature womb had completed time
Autolycus was born, a crafty son,
who certainly inherited the skill
of wingfoot Mereury, his artful sire,
notorious now; for every kind of theft.
In fact, Autolycus with Mercury's craft,
loved to make white of black, and black of white.
“But Phoebus' child, for Chione bore twins,
was named Philammon, like his sire, well known.
To all men for the beauty of his song.
And famous for his handling of the lyre.
“What benefit in life did she obtain
because she pleased! two gods and bore such twins?
Was she blest by good fortune then because
she was the daughter of a valiant father,
and even the grandchild of the Morning Star?
Can glory be a curse? Often it is.
“And surely it was so for Chione.
It was a prejudice that harmed her days
because she vaunted that she did surpass
Diana's beauty and decried her charms:
the goddess in hot anger answered her,
sarcastically, ‘If my face cannot
give satisfaction, let me try my deeds.’
“Without delay Diana bent her bow,
and from the string an arrow swiftly flew,
and pierced the vaunting tongue of Chione.
Her tongue was silenced, and she tried in vain
to speak or make a sound, and while she tried
her life departed with the flowing blood.
“Embracing her, I shared her father's grief.
I spoke consoling words to my dear brother,
he heard them as a cliff might hear the sea.
And he lamented bitterly the loss
of his dear daughter, snatched away from him.
“Ah! when he saw her burning, he was filled
with such an uncontrolled despair, he rushed
four times to leap upon the blazing pyre;
and after he had been four times repulsed,
he turned and rushed away in headlong flight
through trackless country, as a bullock flees,
his swollen neck pierced with sharp hornet-stings,
it seemed to me he ran beyond the speed
of any human being. You would think
his feet had taken wings, he left us far
behind and swift in his desire for death
he stood at last upon Parnassus' height.
“Apollo pitied him.—And when Daedalion
leaped over the steep cliff, Apollo's power
transformed him to a bird; supported him
while he was hovering in the air upon
uncertain wings, of such a sudden growth.
Apollo, also, gave him a curved beak,
and to his slender toes gave crooked claws.
His former courage still remains, with strength
greater than usual in birds. He changed
to a fierce hawk; cruel to all, he vents
his rage on other birds. Grieving himself
he is a cause of grief to all his kind.”
PELEUS AND THE WOLFWhile Ceyx, the royal son of Lucifer,
told these great wonders of his brother's life;
Onetor, who had watched the while those herds
which Peleus had assigned to him, ran up
with panting speed; and cried out as he ran,
“Peleus, Peleus! I bring you dreadful news!”
Peleus asked him to tell what had gone wrong
and with King Ceyx he listened in suspense.