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and often prayed for Hymen to appear.
But Telethusa, fearing that event,
the marriage which Ianthe keenly sought,
procrastinated, causing first delay
by some pretended illness; and then gave
pretence of omens and of visions seen,
sufficient for delay, until she had
exhausted every avenue of excuse,
and only one more day remained before
the fateful time, it was so near at hand.
Despairing then of finding other cause
which might prevent the fated wedding-day,
the mother took the circled fillets from
her own head, and her daughter's head, and prayed,
as she embraced the altar—her long hair
spread out upon the flowing breeze—and said:
“O Isis, goddess of Paraetonium,
the Mareotic fields, Pharos, and Nile
of seven horns divided—oh give help!
Goddess of nations! heal us of our fears!
I saw you, goddess, and your symbols once,
and I adored them all, the clashing sounds
of sistra and the torches of your train,
and I took careful note of your commands,
for which my daughter lives to see the sun,
and also I have so escaped from harm;—
all this is of your counsel and your gift;
oh, pity both of us—and give us aid!”
Tears emphasized her prayer; the goddess seemed
to move—in truth it was the altar moved;
the firm doors of the temple even shook—
and her horns, crescent, flashed with gleams of light,
and her loud sistrum rattled noisily.
Although not quite free of all fear, yet pleased
by that good omen, gladly the mother left
the temple with her daughter Iphis, who
beside her walked, but with a lengthened stride.
Her face seemed of a darker hue, her strength
seemed greater, and her features were more stern.
Her hair once long, was unadorned and short.
There is more vigor in her than she showed
in her girl ways. For in the name of truth,
Iphis, who was a girl, is now a man!
Make offerings at the temple and rejoice
without a fear!—They offer at the shrines,
and add a votive tablet, on which this
inscription is engraved:
these gifts are paid
by Iphis as a man which as a maid
he vowed to give.
The morrow's dawn
revealed the wide world; on the day agreed,
Venus, Juno and Hymen, all have met
our happy lovers at the marriage fires;
and Iphis, a new man, gained his Ianthe.
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