The Age of Fable eBook

Thomas Bulfinch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 980 pages of information about The Age of Fable.

   “So stands the statue that enchants the world;
    So bending tries to veil the matchless boast,
    The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.”

Byron also alludes to this statue.  Speaking of the Florence Museum, he says: 

   “There, too, the goddess loves in stone, and fills
    The air around with beauty;” etc.

And in the next stanza,

   “Blood, pulse, and breast confirm the Dardan shepherd’s prize.”

See this last allusion explained in Chapter XXVII.

THE APOLLO BELVEDERE

The most highly esteemed of all the remains of ancient sculpture is the statue of Apollo, called the Belvedere, from the name of the apartment of the Pope’s palace at Rome in which it was placed.  The artist is unknown.  It is supposed to be a work of Roman art, of about the first century of our era.  It is a standing figure, in marble, more than seven feet high, naked except for the cloak which is fastened around the neck and hangs over the extended left arm.  It is supposed to represent the god in the moment when he has shot the arrow to destroy the monster Python. (See Chapter iii.) The victorious divinity is in the act of stepping forward.  The left arm, which seems to have held the bow, is outstretched, and the head is turned in the same direction.  In attitude and proportion the graceful majesty of the figure is unsurpassed.  The effect is completed by the countenance, where on the perfection of youthful godlike beauty there dwells the consciousness of triumphant power.

THE DIANA A LA BICHE

The Diana of the Hind, in the palace of the Louvre, may be considered the counterpart to the Apollo Belvedere.  The attitude much resembles that of the Apollo, the sizes correspond and also the style of execution.  It is a work of the highest order, though by no means equal to the Apollo.  The attitude is that of hurried and eager motion, the face that of a huntress in the excitement of the chase.  The left hand is extended over the forehead of the Hind, which runs by her side, the right arm reaches backward over the shoulder to draw an arrow from the quiver.

THE POETS OF MYTHOLOGY

Homer, from whose poems of the “Iliad” and “Odyssey” we have taken the chief part of our chapters of the Trojan war and the return of the Grecians, is almost as mythical a personage as the heroes he celebrates.  The traditionary story is that he was a wandering minstrel, blind and old, who travelled from place to place singing his lays to the music of his harp, in the courts of princes or the cottages of peasants, and dependent upon the voluntary offerings of his hearers for support.  Byron calls him “The blind old man of Scio’s rocky isle,” and a well-known epigram, alluding to the uncertainty of the fact of his birthplace, says: 

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The Age of Fable from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook