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To thee their vows rough Germans pay,
The barbarous mothers pray
To thee, the greatest guardian of their thrones.
They bend, they vow, and still they fear
They fear that you would raise
And break their empire, or confine their praise.
Sure Hope and Friendship, clothed in white,
The chiefest glories of thy train ;
Though you enraged retreat,
Thy garment changed, forsake the falling great.
PLUTUS, the god of riches, was the son of Ceres and Jason: the care of his infancy devolved upon the goddess Fortuna, who
is therefore sometimes drawn with him seated in her lap, to intimate the connection between them. This god appears to have been of Grecian origin, but was also known and worshipped at Rome. He is frequently represented as blind, from a similar reason to that named in the case of Fortune,—lame, because riches are usually acquired slowly and by degrees,—and with wings, to shew that he often takes flight suddenly from those whom he has favoured. Plutus is described as being of a bountiful and generous disposition, but fickle and uncertain.
Plutus, all-bountiful, who roams
And him that meets him on his way, whose hands
CHARON, the grisly boatman of the infernal regions, was the son of Erebus and Nox, and is usually depicted as a robust old man, with a hideously wrinkled countenance, piercing eyes, and a shagged white beard, The office of Charon was to conduct the souls of those who had received funeral rites across
the Styx, for which each passenger paid him a piece of money; on this account it was customary, amongst the ancients, to place a small coin either under the tongue, or in the hand of the deceased, as an offering to Charon, who had power to refuse a passage to those who neglected to propitiate him in this manner. A similar custom was observed by the Egyptians.
Those who fell in battle, and did not receive the honours of sepulture, were condemned to wander for a hundred years on the cold and barren shores of Styx, before they were admitted to the tribunal of Minos and his fellow judges.
In relating the exploits of the powerful sorceress, Erictho, Lucan speaks of the unwillingness of Charon to permit those to revisit Earth whom he had once ferried across the gloomy river.
Thou, old Charon, horrible and hoar !
Pharsalia, book 6.
Our lots are cast, Fate shakes the urn,
Will doom his soul to Charon's boat,
HORACE, ode 3.
ESCULAPIUS was the son of Apollo and Coronis, daughter of Phlegias, and was committed, during his early years, to the Care of Chiron, the centaur, his mother having perished by lightning from the anger of Apollo. He was nourished in his infancy by a goat, belonging to Arasthanas, and protected by his dog, and was judged to be of illustrious descent from the resplendent rays which surrounded his head, when discovered by the master of the flock, from which the goat had strayed. Esculapius was indebted to this preceptor for instruction in the science of physic, and was hence termed the god of medicine.
He accompanied the Argonauts in their expedition to Colchis, and became much renowned for his skill in the healing art. He incurred the anger of Pluto by restoring many persons to life; and Jupiter, to whom the grisly king complained, struck Æsculapius with thunder: Apollo, furious at the loss of his son, retaliated by destroying the Cyclops, who
rge the thunderbolts. Divine honours were paid to Esculapius after his decease, at Smyrna, Athens, Epidaurus, and Pergamus. At Rome he was worshipped with peculiar solem
nity; the cock and the serpent were deemed sacred to him, and his sacrifices consisted of goats, pigs, lambs, and bulls.
Esculapius is generally depicted as a venerable old man, with a flowing beard, holding in his hand a staff enwreathed with a serpent. He married Epione; and by her had two sons, who inherited their father's skill in medicine, and four daughters, of whom Hygeia, the goddess of health, is the most celebrated.
When the dreadful plague desolated Rome, A. U. C. 462, the Romans implored the aid of the god of medicine, and, in gratitude for his timely assistance, erected a temple to his honour, in which he was represented under the form of a huge and splendid serpent, an evident allusion to the miracle narrated in the Old Testament, when the multitude were cured of the pestilence by looking, with faith, on the brazen serpent displayed by Moses.
Melodious maids of Pindus, who inspire
While dubious they remained, the wasting light