4.4.13

Daphne


D is for "Daphne"

"There from [Love's] quiver drew Two darts of different power:—this chases love; And that desire enkindles; form'd of gold It glistens, ending in a point acute: Blunt is the first, tipt with a leaden load; Which Love in Daphne's tender breast infix'd. The sharper through Apollo's heart he drove, And through his nerves and bones;—instant he loves: She flies of love the name." Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book I, Lines 64-71




If you learned any Greek/Roman mythology in high school or college, you probably read about Daphne. I enjoy refreshing my memory of the ancient gods and goddesses, and figure Day 4 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is a great opportunity to revisit mythology. 

Not to mention, one of my absolutely favorite sculptures is of Daphne and Apollo.

If you don't know the story, it's basically this: 

Apollo, angry with Love/Cupid, the son of Venus, for daring to shoot arrows like he does, insults Cupid and boasts of his shooting prowess. Cupid retorts that, although Apollo's arrows hit all things, Apollo will be transfixed by his, Cupid's, arrow.

So Cupid shoots Apollo and Daphne with two of his arrows. But to exact his revenge for Apollo's insults, instead of shooting them both with the same type of arrow, Cupid shoots Apollo with one of gold, which kindles love, and he shoots Daphne with an arrow of lead, which happens to repel love. 

Apollo, mad for Daphne, tries to convince her of his love. Terrified of love, Daphne flees. Apollo pursues, and they run through the countryside. Finally, as she tires, Apollo is near to catching her. Daphne cries out to her father, the river god, Peneus, to save her. In answer, Peneus turns Daphne into a laurel tree. Despite her being transfigured into wood, Apollo can't help but love her, and so he promises to wear her branches upon his head and use them in his lyre and quiver. From then on, wreaths of laurel branches become a victor's crown.

It's a classic tragedy. Unrequited love, ending in the death of a character. It's a story which inspired one of the most gorgeous statues in the world, in my opinion. I've had the honor of seeing Bernini's statue in person at the Borghese Gallery in Italy. I could stare at it all day long, it's that captivating.



For another view, click here.


"Thus fled the virgin and the god;—he fleet Through hope, and she through fear,—but wing'd by love More rapid flew Apollo;—spurning rest, Approach'd her close behind, and panting breath'd Upon her floating tresses. Pale with dread, Her strength exhausted in the lengthen'd flight, Old Peneus' streams she saw, and loud exclaim'd:— “O sire, assist me, if within thy streams “Divinity abides. Let earth this form, “Too comely for my peace, quick swallow up; “Or change those beauties to an harmless shape.” Her prayer scarce ended, when her lovely limbs A numbness felt; a tender rind enwraps Her beauteous bosom; from her head shoots up Her hair in leaves; in branches spread her arms; Her feet but now so swift, cleave to the earth With roots immoveable; her face at last The summit forms; her bloom the same remains. Still loves the god the tree, and on the trunk His right hand placing, feels her breast yet throb, Beneath the new-grown bark: around the boughs, As yet her limbs, his clasping arms he throws; And burning kisses on the wood imprints." Ovid's Metamorphoses Book I, Lines 541-55

~I.E.

Day 1: Absolution

Day 2: Biography

Day 3: Confidence