Saturday, March 31, 2012

What Makes the World Go Round

He is more than quarter-master with the gods,
Tenet Thetide æquor, umbras Æaco, coelum Jove:
("He divides the empire of the sea with Thetis,-- of the Shades, with Æacus,-- of the Heaven, with Jove.")
and hath not so much possession as dominion. Jupiter himself was turned into a satyr, shepherd, a bull, a swan, a golden shower, and what not, for love; that as Lucian's Juno right well objected to him, ludus amoris tu es, thou art Cupid's whirligig: how did he insult over all the other gods, Mars, Neptune, Pan, Mercury, Bacchus, and the rest? Lucian brings in Jupiter complaining of Cupid that he could not be quiet for him; and the moon lamenting that she was so impotently besotted on Endymion, even Venus herself confessing as much, how rudely and in what sort her own son Cupid had used her being his mother, "now drawing her to Mount Ida, for the love of that Trojan Anchises, now to Libanus for that Assyrian youth's sake. And although she threatened to break his bow and arrows, to clip his wings, and whipped him besides on the bare buttocks with her pantofle, yet all would not serve, he was too headstrong and unruly." That monster-conquering Hercules was tamed by him:
Quem non mille feræ, quem non Sthenelejus hostis, Nec potuit Juno vincere, vicit amor.
("Whom neither beasts nor enemies could tame, Nor Juno's might subdue, Love quell'd the same.")
Your bravest soldiers and most generous spirits are enervated with it, ubi mulieribus blanditiis permittunt se, et inquinantur amplexibus. Apollo, that took upon him to cure all diseases, could not help himself of this; and therefore Socrates calls Love a tyrant, and brings him triumphing in a chariot, whom Petrarch imitates in his triumph of Love, and Fracastorius, in an elegant poem expresseth at large, Cupid riding, Mars and Apollo following his chariot, Psyche weeping, etc.

--Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy

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