Roman Mythology





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Bulfinch's Age of Fable

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HEBE AND GANYMEDE

Hebe, the daughter of Juno, and goddess of youth, was cup-bearer to the gods. The usual story is that she resigned her office on becoming the wife of Hercules. But there is another statement which our countryman Crawford, the sculptor, has adopted in his group of Hebe and Ganymede, now in the Athenaeum gallery. According to this, Hebe was dismissed from her office in consequence of a fall which she met with one day when in attendance on the gods. Her successor was Ganymede, a Trojan boy, whom Jupiter, in the disguise of an eagle, seized and carried off from the midst of his playfellows on Mount Ida, bore up to heaven, and installed in the vacant place.

Tennyson, in his "Palace of Art," describes among the decorations on the walls a picture representing this legend:

"There, too, flushed Ganymede, his rosy thigh

Half buried in the eagle's down, Sole as a flying star shot through the sky Above the pillared town."

And in Shelley's "Prometheus" Jupiter calls to his cup-bearer thus:

"Pour forth heaven's wine, Idaean Ganymede,

And let it fill the Daedal cups like fire."

The beautiful legend of the "Choice of Hercules" may be found in the "Tatler," No. 97.





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