(2006-01-12 23:50:24) 下一个

Apollo presents lyre to Orpheus

ORPHEUS was the son of Apollo and the Muse Calliope. He was presented by his father with a lyre and taught to play upon it, which he did to such perfection that nothing could withstand the charm of his music. Not only his fellow-mortals, but wild beasts were softened by his strains, and gathering round him laid by their fierceness, and stood entranced with his lay.

Hymen had been called to bless with his presence the nuptials of Orpheus with Eurydice; but though he attended, he brought no happy omens with him. His very torch smoked and brought tears into their eyes. In coincidence with such prognostics, Eurydice, shortly after her marriage, while wandering with the nymphs, her companions, was seen by the shepherd Aristaeus, who was struck by her beauty and made advances to her. She fled, and in flying trod upon a snake in the grass, was bitten in the foot, and died.

Orpheus sang his grief to all who breathed the upper air, both gods and men, and finding it all unavailing resolved to seek his wife in the regions of the dead (Hades). 

As he sang these tender strains, the very ghosts shed tears. Tantalus, in spite of his thirst, stopped for a moment his efforts for water, Ixion's wheel stood still, the vulture ceased to tear the giant's liver.

Then for the first time, it is said, the cheeks of the Furies were wet with tears. Proserpine could not resist, and Pluto himself gave way. Eurydice was called. She came from among the new-arrived ghosts, limping with her wounded foot. Orpheus was permitted to take her away with him on one condition, that he should not turn around to look at her till they should have reached the upper air.

Under this condition they proceeded on their way, he leading, she following, through passages dark and steep, in total silence, till they had nearly reached the outlet into the cheerful upper world, when Orpheus, in a moment of forgetfulness, to assure himself that she was still following, cast a glance behind him, when instantly she was borne away. Stretching out their arms to embrace each other, they grasped only the air!

Dying now a second time, she yet cannot reproach her husband, for how can she blame his impatience to behold her? "Farewell," she said, "a last farewell,"- and was hurried away, so fast that the sound hardly reached his ears.

Orpheus endeavoured to follow her, and besought permission to return and try once more for her release; but the stern ferryman (Charon) repulsed him and refused passage. Seven days he lingered about the brink, without food or sleep; he sang his complaints to the rocks and mountains, melting the hearts of tigers and moving the oaks from their stations.

He held himself aloof from womankind, dwelling constantly on the recollection of his sad mischance. The Thracian maidens tried their best to captivate him, but he repulsed their advances.

The women raised a scream and drowned the voice of the music, and then the missiles reached him and soon were stained with his blood. The maniacs tore him limb from limb, and threw his head and his lyre into the river Hebrus, down which they floated, murmuring sad music, to which the shores responded a plaintive symphony.

The Death of Orpheus

The Muses gathered up the fragments of his body and buried them at Libethra, where the nightingale is said to sing over his grave more sweetly than in any other part of Greece.

His lyre was placed by Jupiter among the stars (constellation of Lyra). His shade passed a second time to Tartarus where he sought out his Eurydice and embraced her with eager arms. They roam the happy fields together now, sometimes he leading, sometimes she; and Orpheus gazes as much as he will upon her, no longer incurring a penalty for a thoughtless glance.

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影云 回复 悄悄话 z.z.

really enjoying your thoughts here too!!!

知凡 回复 悄悄话 作舟,还是你思想深刻周全,我说我无知,是因为其实我不怎么懂爱情的概念或知识,只是读了你们介绍的诗才这样想这样说的。。。



LTG 回复 悄悄话 zf: "...我说的爱情是指海上的那两道光。。。"

No wonder "人人渴望爱,可我们见到过伟大的爱情吗?研究爱情的人远远多于真正相爱的人。。。"


thanks for your thoughtful opinions.....

please don't worry about saying "wrong or foolish" words....

i think all friends who share ideas on here are very intelligent and well-schooled....

i was trying to talk about "love" within the scope of that myth.....you seem to generalize "love"....

when you generalize, you take the risk of "speaking for others"...for example, do you think people, the happy farmers' marriage, don't know about love? their marriage lacks love? etc., etc.....

that was why i said not all "loves" are the same....

but it is perfectl okay for you to say "this is the kind of love i am talking about"....

everyone has his/her take on love.....but the striking aspect about Orpheus is the punishment he got.....do people receive the same punishment also for love?

知凡 回复 悄悄话 作舟,谢谢你的回复。。。


而现代人,人人渴望爱,可我们见到过伟大的爱情吗?研究爱情的人远远多于真正相爱的人。。。你列举的那些"love stories" 那是苟且偷生不是我说的爱情。。。

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -



ZZ: “i didn't understand these myth very well before...now i am learning more....”

LTG 回复 悄悄话 like everyone's comments a lot.....


agree with you said about "因为每个人的爱都是即痛苦又幸福...."



i am not sure about this ... if there is any logic in it, it is like saying, "all lives are the same more or less"....right??

but, each life is so different....

of course, there are many many "similar love stories" in which a man and a woman love each other against all odds, etc. etc.....

in real life, many "love stories" are merely "stories of institutional unions"...like it or not, many people i know of in China simply get married because they don't know what "love" is and they don't know what to do with themselves if they don't get married like anybody else....

so, there is the element called "culture," or "tradition" or something of that sort....

this myth tells us that not all 爱情 is the same....that is, not every man can do what Orpheus has done, metaphorically, i mean....

Orpheus didn't love Eurydice because she can give him a lovely baby and cook and does laundry for him and live a life in peace like the happy farmers, for example....

i didn't understand these myth very well before...now i am learning more....

thanks, y.y. for ZTing the poem.....

keep the great thoughts coming :)

影云 回复 悄悄话 agree with z.z.; i think, love matures too which means it has its own growing pain . . . Vision and depth of love by itself is determined by the one carrying love . . .
影云 回复 悄悄话 Ending of that poem . . .Orpheus and Eurydice, a poem of Czeslaw Milosz

. . .
It happened as he expected. He turned his head
And behind him on the path was no one.

Sun. And sky. And in the sky white clouds.
Only now everything cried to him; Eurydice!
How will I love without you, my consoling one!
But there was a fragrant scent of herbs, the low humming of bees,
And he fell asleep with his cheek on the sun-warmed earth

知凡 回复 悄悄话 希腊神话流传至今,在文字去记载前,已有很多的变化和装饰,使之有许多的象征,关联和含义。。。

其实从古至今,东方西方,所有的爱情都是一样的,结局也大同小异。。。如果爱,没有什么好分析好评价的,爱是等想清楚了再爱?还是爱完了再做总结? 爱有就有,没有就没有。。。我喜欢读神话或童话中的爱情故事,是因为里面有相爱的爱侣。。。现代人幻想爱情的,多还在茫茫人海里寻觅;研究透了爱情的“聪明人”,比如李敖,放弃了爱情。。。有一对男女的对话很给我启发“你为什么爱我?”“因为我傻。。。”所以现代人不傻的人连爱情的感觉都没有。。。“Being foolish/Is part of human”。。。爱情是美好的,傻也可爱。。。“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.”。。。


I love you because you are everywhere.
You don’t need a name in order to be
Kissed by angels. You are the Angel
Who carries the message to the troubled,
The disheartened, the discouraged, the
Lost, the forgotten, the timid, the wicked…
You make each one of them realize
The equal importance, the same
Beauty in every breathing thing.

《I love you because you are different》
作舟诗集 回复 悄悄话 hi mermaid, yy:

good to know you are all familiar with the greek myth....

this stroy strikes me as a very typical greek myth:

love --- death --- gore/punishment


usually, naiive people would think "love" is all about romance, sweetchildish
stories or middle class complacency, etc. etc...


since the very beginning of time, "love" always comes with a "price"....

this story seems to open to many different interpretations i think.....
地中海人鱼 回复 悄悄话 YY 和LTG 好!!!


影云 回复 悄悄话 yes, same story, but the poet gives it a different meaning . . . when i have time, i will post it here . . .(a long one, lazy to type : )

i like greek mythology a lot, used to read Ovid's metamorpheses, very beautifully written . . .those stories, no matter how old they are, can always come back as new inspiration . . . :)
作舟诗集 回复 悄悄话 really???

it is one of the most mesmerizing love stories of all time!!!

very greekish too :)

grest contrast between love and gore....
影云 回复 悄悄话 What a coincidence!
I just read Orpheus and Eurydice, a poem of Czeslaw Milosz
love this story so much. . .