The adulterous love of Jupiter for Io, the pretty heifer.
"What do I see? A form connected to the cliffs And beaten by the winds. Did you sin? Is this your punishment? Where then I am? Answer to the unfortunate vagrant. Enough - oh enough - I only suffered too much already- This wander - this long, long wander - I do not find any place where to leave my suffering! It is a young girl who speaks to you Although her head carries horns." Promethea connected to a rock Recognized Io because he knew her story "I know you, Io, daugther of Inachos You ignited the heart of Zeus And Hera took you in hatred, It is Her who obliges you to this escape Which does not know any end." They spoke familiarly And he told him her story: "You see there, an animal, a famished animal Who flees, thrown into panic, by great awkward jumps O how ashame I am...." It is Hera the jealous wife of the god, Who was the direct cause of such misfortunes But Zeus remained the most responsible for it. "He wanted to bring me in the solitudes of the forests Where the shades worries me That are the retreats of the wild animals and the Satyrs in search of orgasms He offered himself to protect me and he said:" "Do not flee from me! O Virgin, so worthy of Jupiter. Which will make the happiness of whom you will admit into your couch Come and taste to the shade of the high forests." "He sent in my virginal bedroom Always, during the night, Some dreams which murmured tender and soft words:" "O happy, happy young girl, Why keep your virginity for so long a time? The arrow of desire transpierced the heart of Zeus By you, He wants to capture love Let Me transpierce your hymena With my divine arrow." "And always, each night, such dreams seized me." Zeus could well be the Father of the Gods and of the Men He feared between all, the jealousy of Hera his wife A fear greater than His love for the soft Io. He tried to hide Io from the sight of Hera He wrapped the earth with a thick cloud And the day became darker than the night. But Hera understood the stratagema And She suspected Zeus from being responsible for it She came down into the earth And she ordered the cloud to dissipate. Zeus seized Io and went hiding Himself But Hera quickly found Him Besides a charming heifer with shining sides Which he says he had never seen before Since she was suddenly born from the earth at this very moment. Hera noted that the heifer was extremely pretty And ask Zeus to offer her as a gift to Her. Zeus understood whereas that if He refused He would reveal the object of His relations with Io He thus gave the charming heifer as a gift to His wife "After all, she is only an unimportant small cow." He said to Himself: To prevent that the two lovers meet, Hera entrusted the heifer, to Argus the son of Arestor Who had hundred eyes so that When he slept, He always keep some ones of them open. And whatever she does Of going to feed herself in the fields Or to drink herself into the Inachus close by Or to go to sleep a bond around her neck He always had Io under his eyes. Zeus was sad for the little Io. And He always dreamed to transpierce of His dart Whom He Himself had transformed into a heifer But He was too coward and He feared more than all The despotic moods of His divine wife. He then asked for the death of Argus To his son Hermes, the messenger of the Gods.. Hermes approached Argus disguised into a shepherd He played with the pipeau, melodies Which were to deaden Argus. "Eh! you, whom you can be, Why wouldn't you come and sit close to me on this rock? One is in the shade here - a good place for a shepherd." Because the sound of the pipeau was pleasant to Argus. Argus did not fall asleep completely Hermes then told him a long story That of Pan and of his love For a nymph named Syrinx, With a monotonous voice which would have normally Plunged Argus into a deep sleep. Pan said to the still virgin nymph, She had offered her virginity in homage to the goddess: "You will be mine, Syrinx!" And at the very moment when he was going to rape her, She was changed into tuft of reeds By the goddess of Ortygie; And Pan transformed her in what she is now: "A pipeau of shepherd Made of reeds joined by beeswax." Argus found the story quite tedious And he fell asleep leaving open None of his hundred eyes, And Hermes promptly killed him. But Io therefore, was not saved Hera who was taking care of everything Sent to her, a gigantic horsefly with vicious manners To persecute her and to prick her as to make her insane Io said to Promethea: "He brings me out throughout the beach. I can neither drink nor nourish myself, And never he does permit me to sleep. He inserts his dart between my thighs And pours there his viscous venom, I do not have any more rest; Not that this does displease me But that this be, when I love it." Promethea tried then, to comfort her But he could not do anything for her Before a distance future She will have to wander still, in these dangerous countries. Thus she would skirt the sea which will be called Ionienne And the Bosphorus and the Gue of the Cow also And she will be comforted, reaching The banks of the Nile Where Zeus will give her back finally, her human form. "Learn this, charming Io You will be happy one day And from your race will be born A glorious being, with a valorous heart, Whose arc will release me Me, Promethea, whom who gave the fire to men, His name will be Heracles." And Io disappeared leaving Promethea Tied up to his rock.
Marco Polo or the imaginary journey (Mythologies, translated august 2000) © 1999 Jean-Pierre Lapointe
Ovide, the metamorphosis, and the paintings of the great-masters, music by Yokubota.