Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sleeping Endymion

Endymion and Selene by Victor Florence-Pollett, 1850-60

Legend tells how Myia (the fly's ancient name) was once a maiden, exceeding fair, but over-given to talk and chatter and song, Selene's rival for the love of Endymion. When the young man slept, she was for ever waking him with her gossip and tunes and merriment, till he lost patience, and Selene in wrath turned her to what she now is. And therefore it is that she still, in memory of Endymion, grudges all sleepers their rest, and most of all the young and tender. Her very bite and blood-thirst tell not of savagery, but of love and human kindness; she is but enjoying mankind as she may, and sipping beauty.

- from The Fly: An Appreciation by Lucian of Samosata (c. AD 125 – after AD 180)

The Sleep of Endymion by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, 1791


The Fly: An Appreciation, The Works of Lucian of Samosata, translated by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1905(4 volumes).