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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Love gods

ganymede.jpg

The Raising of Ganymede (1886) by Gustave Moreau.

The story of the love between Zeus, king of the gods, and Ganymede, the handsome son of the Trojan king, goes back at least three thousand years and its roots disappear into the prehistoric neolithic. (more)

hylas.jpg

Hylas (1846) by HW Bissen.

Not for us only, Nicias, (vain the dream,)
Sprung from what god soe’er, was Eros born:
Not to us only grace doth graceful seem,
Frail things who wot not of the coming morn.
No—for Amphitryon’s iron-hearted son [Heracles],
Who braved the lion, was the slave of one:—

A fair curled creature, Hylas was his name.
He taught him, as a father might his child,
All songs whereby himself had risen to fame;
Nor ever from his side would be beguiled
When noon was high, nor when white steeds convey
Back to heaven’s gates the chariot of the day,

Nor when the hen’s shrill brood becomes aware
Of bed-time, as the mother’s flapping wings
Shadow the dust-browned beam. ‘Twas all his care
To shape unto his own imaginings
And to the harness train his favourite youth,
Till he became a man in very truth.

Theocritus, Idyll XIII: Hylas.

pan_daphnis.jpg

Pan teaching Daphnis to play the panpipes; Roman copy of a Greek original from the 3rd-2nd centuries BCE by Heliodoros.

hyacinth.jpg

The Death of Hyacinthos (1801) by Jean Broc.

‘You too, Hyacinthus, of Amyclae, Phoebus would have placed in heaven, if sad fate had given him time to do so. Still, as it is, you are immortal, and whenever spring drives winter away, and Aries follows watery Pisces, you also rise, and flower in the green turf. My father, Phoebus, loved you above all others: and Delphi, at the centre of the world, lost its presiding deity, while the god frequented Eurotas, and Sparta without its walls, doing no honour to the zither or the bow. Forgetting his usual pursuits, he did not object to carrying the nets, handling the dogs, or travelling as a companion, over the rough mountain ridges, and by constant partnership feeding the flames.

‘Now, the sun was midway between the vanished and the future night, equally far from either extreme: they stripped off their clothes, and gleaming with the rich olive oil, they had rubbed themselves with, they began a contest with the broad discus. Phoebus went first, balancing it, and hurling it high into the air, scattering the clouds with its weight. Its mass took a long time to fall back to the hard ground, showing strength and skill combined. Immediately the Taenarian boy, without thinking, ran forward to pick up the disc, prompted by his eagerness to throw, but the solid earth threw it back, hitting you in the face, with the rebound, Hyacinthus.

‘The god is as white as the boy, and cradles the fallen body. Now he tries to revive you, now to staunch your dreadful wound, and now applies herbs to hold back your departing spirit. His arts are useless: the wound is incurable. Just as if, when someone, in a garden, breaks violets, stiff poppies, or the lilies, with their bristling yellow stamens, and, suddenly, they droop, bowing their weakened heads, unable to support themselves, and their tops gaze at the soil: so his dying head drops, and, with failing strength, the neck is overburdened, and sinks onto the shoulder.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Bk X:143-219 Orpheus sings: Ganymede; Hyacinthus

Previously on { feuilleton }
Three stages of Icarus
The end of Orpheus

 


 

Posted in {art}, {books}, {gay}, {painting}, {religion}, {sculpture}.

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“feed your head”