Juno, now reconciled to him, gave him her daughter Hebe in marriage.
The poet Schiller, in one of his pieces called the “Ideal and Life,” illustrates the contrast between the practical and the imaginative in some beautiful stanzas, of which the last two may be thus translated:
“Deep degraded to a coward’s
Endless contests bore Alcides brave,
Through the thorny path of suffering led;
Slew the Hydra, crushed the lion’s might,
Threw himself, to bring his friend to light,
Living, in the skiff that bears the dead.
All the torments, every toil of earth
Juno’s hatred on him could impose,
Well he bore them, from his fated birth
To life’s grandly mournful close.
“Till the god, the earthly
From the man in flames asunder taken,
Drank the heavenly ether’s purer breath.
Joyous in the new unwonted lightness,
Soared he upwards to celestial brightness,
Earth’s dark heavy burden lost in death.
High Olympus gives harmonious greeting
To the hall where reigns his sire adored;
Youth’s bright goddess, with a blush at meeting,
Gives the nectar to her lord.”
—S. G. B.
Hebe, the daughter of Juno, and goddess of youth, was cup-bearer to the gods. The usual story is that she resigned her office on becoming the wife of Hercules. But there is another statement which our countryman Crawford, the sculptor, has adopted in his group of Hebe and Ganymede, now in the Athenaeum gallery. According to this, Hebe was dismissed from her office in consequence of a fall which she met with one day when in attendance on the gods. Her successor was Ganymede, a Trojan boy, whom Jupiter, in the disguise of an eagle, seized and carried off from the midst of his playfellows on Mount Ida, bore up to heaven, and installed in the vacant place.
Tennyson, in his “Palace of Art,” describes among the decorations on the walls a picture representing this legend:
“There, too, flushed Ganymede,
his rosy thigh
Half buried in the eagle’s down,
Sole as a flying star shot through the sky
Above the pillared town.”