Labyrinthus. Ariadnes corona.
MINOS AND THE MINOTAURKing Minos, when he reached the land of Crete
and left his ships, remembered he had made
a vow to Jupiter, and offered up
a hundred bulls.—The splendid spoils of war
adorned his palace.—
Now the infamous
reproach of Crete had grown, till it exposed
the double-natured shame. So, Minos, moved
to cover his disgrace, resolved to hide
the monster in a prison, and he built
with intricate design, by Daedalus
contrived, an architect of wonderful
ability, and famous. This he planned
of mazey wanderings that deceived the eyes,
and labyrinthic passages involved.
so sports the clear Maeander, in the fields
of Phrygia winding doubtful; back and forth
it meets itself, until the wandering stream
fatigued, impedes its wearied waters' flow;
from source to sea, from sea to source involved.
So Daedalus contrived innumerous paths,
and windings vague, so intricate that he,
the architect, hardly could retrace his steps.
In this the Minotaur was long concealed,
and there devoured Athenian victims sent
three seasons, nine years each, till Theseus, son
of Aegeus, slew him and retraced his way,
finding the path by Ariadne's thread.
Without delay the victor fled from Crete,
together with the loving maid, and sailed
for Dia Isle of Naxos, where he left
the maid forlorn, abandoned. Her, in time,
lamenting and deserted, Bacchus found
and for his love immortalized her name.
He set in the dark heavens the bright crown
that rested on her brows. Through the soft air
it whirled, while all the sparkling jewels changed
to flashing fires, assuming in the sky
between the Serpent-holder and the Kneeler
the well-known shape of Ariadne's Crown.