The Age of Fable eBook

Thomas Bulfinch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,207 pages of information about The Age of Fable.

    “As once with prayers in passion flowing,
       Pygmalion embraced the stone,
     Till from the frozen marble glowing,
       The light of feeling o’er him shone,
     So did I clasp with young devotion
       Bright nature to a poet’s heart;
     Till breath and warmth and vital motion
       Seemed through the statue form to dart.

    “And then, in all my ardor sharing,
       The silent form expression found;
     Returned my kiss of youthful daring,
       And understood my heart’s quick sound. 
     Then lived for me the bright creation,
       The silver rill with song was rife;
     The trees, the roses shared sensation,
       An echo of my boundless life.”

    —­S.  G. B.


Dryope and Iole were sisters.  The former was the wife of Andraemon, beloved by her husband, and happy in the birth of her first child.  One day the sisters strolled to the bank of a stream that sloped gradually down to the water’s edge, while the upland was overgrown with myrtles.  They were intending to gather flowers for forming garlands for the altars of the nymphs, and Dryope carried her child at her bosom, precious burden, and nursed him as she walked.  Near the water grew a lotus plant, full of purple flowers.  Dryope gathered some and offered them to the baby, and Iole was about to do the same, when she perceived blood dropping from the places where her sister had broken them off the stem.  The plant was no other than the nymph Lotis, who, running from a base pursuer, had been changed into this form.  This they learned from the country people when it was too late.

Dryope, horror-struck when she perceived what she had done, would gladly have hastened from the spot, but found her feet rooted to the ground.  She tried to pull them away, but moved nothing but her upper limbs.  The woodiness crept upward, and by degrees invested her body.  In anguish she attempted to tear her hair, but found her hands filled with leaves.  The infant felt his mother’s bosom begin to harden, and the milk cease to flow.  Iole looked on at the sad fate of her sister, and could render no assistance.  She embraced the growing trunk, as if she would hold back the advancing wood, and would gladly have been enveloped in the same bark.  At this moment Andraemon, the husband of Dryope, with her father, approached; and when they asked for Dryope, Iole pointed them to the new-formed lotus.  They embraced the trunk of the yet warm tree, and showered their kisses on its leaves.

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The Age of Fable from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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