Page images

Lucifer, the son of Jupiter and Aurora, poetically the morning star.


Sprang radiant from the dawn appearing Morn:
And all the glittering stars that gird the heaven.


Lemnos, an island in the Ægean sea, situated between Tenedos, Imbros,

and Samothrace; it was sacred to Vulcan.

Leda, the mother of Castor and Clytemnestra, Pollux and Helen. Leucadia, now Santa Maura, famous for "The Lover's Leap." Lampetia, a daughter of Apollo and Neæra; she had the charge of the oxen of the sun, on the plains of Sicily, and when they were sacrilegiously attacked by the companions of Ulysses, she ascended to Olympus, to apprise the gods of the insult.

Lampetia mounts th' aerial way,
And kindles into rage the god of day.


Ladon, a river of Arcadia.

Lampteria, a festival in honour of Bacchus.

Laocoon, a son of Priam and Hecuba; he was the priest of Apollo, and was killed by two enormous serpents, which issued from the sea, while he was celebrating a sacrifice to Neptune; this punishment was inflicted upon him for an insult offered to Minerva.

Laocoon, Neptune's priest by lot that year,
With solemn pomp then sacrificed a steer;
When (dreadful to behold!) from sea we spied
Two serpents, ranked abreast, the seas divide,
And smoothly sweep along the swelling tide.
We fled amazed; their destined way they take,
And to Laocoon and his children make:
And first around the tender boys they wind,

Then with their sharpened fangs their limbs and bodies grind.

The wretched father, running to their aid

With pious haste, but vain, they next invade;

Twice round his waist their winding volumes rolled,
And twice about his gasping throat they fold.
The priest thus doubly choked-their crests divide,
And, towering o'er his head, in triumph ride.


Laphria, a name of Diana, in Greece.

Lapitha, a name given to the descendants of Phorbas and Periphas.
Lesbos, a famous island in the Egean sea, now known as Mitylene.
Libertas, the goddess of freedom, worshipped at Rome.

Lotis, a beautiful nymph, changed into the water-lily.

Lotis, fixing here, became

A flowery plant, which still preserves her name.


Lyceum, the school in which Aristotle taught philosophy.

Libya, a country in the north of Africa, famous for its immense deserts.

Beneath the sultry line, exposed it lies
To deadly planets and malignant skies.

Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, and mother of the muses.

The fair haired
Mnemosyne; from her the muses nine

Are born; their brows with golden fillets wreathed,
Whom feasts delight, and rapture sweet of song.

Swoln with applause, and aiming still at more,
He now provokes the sea-gods from the shore,
With envy, Triton heard the martial sound,
And the bold champion, for his challenge, drowned;
Then cast his mangled carcase on the strand.-
The gazing crowd around the body stand.
All weep; but most Æneas mourns his fate,
And hastens to perform the funeral state.

Good Eneas ordered on the shore


A stately tomb, whose top a trumpet bore,
A soldier's falchion, and a seaman's oar.
Thus was his friend interred: and deathless fame
Still to the lofty cape consigns his name.


Misenus, a son of Eolus; he was a friend and follower of Hector, and after his death became attached to Eneas. Misenus was drowned on the coast of Campania, and his body was afterwards found by Æneas, who decreed it an honourable burial.


Mausolus, a king of Caria: the tomb erected to his memory by his wife
Artemisia, was reckoned one of the wonders of the world.
Muta, the goddess of silence.

Muses, the nine daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne; they presided over the liberal arts and sciences. Their names were Clio, Calliope, Euterpe, Erato, Melpomene, Thalia, Terpsichore, and Urania; they are usually represented beautiful virgins, dancing in a circle round Apollo, and singing in chorus: they inhabited the mountains ParHelicon, Pindus, and Pierus.


[blocks in formation]

Mulciber, a title of Vulcan.


Momus, the god of raillery and mirth.

Morpheus, the deity who presided over the visions of the night.
Machaon and Podalirius, the sons of Esculapius, and, like him, famed
for their knowledge of medicine.

To these his skill their parent-god imparts,
Divine professors of the healing arts.


Marmarinus, a name for Apollo.

Massicus, a mountain near Minternæ, celebrated for its wine. Minos, a son of Jupiter and Europa; he was king of Crete, and, from the impartial and equitable manner in which he administered justice, the poets assert that after death he was made supreme judge in the infernal regions;-his colleagues were Eacus and Rhadamanthus.

High on a throne, tremendous to behold,
Stern Minos waves a mace of burnished gold;
Around, ten thousand thousand spectres stand
Through the wide dome of Dis, a trembling band.
Still, as they plead, the fatal lots he rolls,
Absolves the just, and dooms the guilty souls.


Melpomene, the muse who presided over tragedy; she is usually represented with a serious countenance, splendidly attired, and wearing buskins; she has a dagger in one hand, and in the other the emblems of royalty.

Melpomene, whom Jove hath blest,

With melting voice and mournful tongue,
And with a harp above the rest
Hath graced.


Medea, a celebrated sorceress, who assisted Jason in obtaining the golden fleece.

Maia, a daughter of Atlas and Pleione; the mother of Mercury,— changed by Jupiter into a star-the most luminous of the Pleiades.

Maia the fair, on fame if we rely,

Was Atlas' daughter, who sustains the sky.

Maron, a high-priest of Apollo, at Ismara, in Thrace.

The priest of Phoebus at th' Ismarian shrine;
In sacred shade his honoured mansion stood,
Amidst Apollo's consecrated wood.



Merope, one of the Pleiades; she shines with a fainter light than her sisters, because she was the only one of them who was united to a mortal.

Matuta, a Roman deity.

Meduacus, the ancient name for the river Brenta, in Italy.

Mæander, a river of Asia Minor, falling into the Ægean sea; from the sinuosities of its course, Dædelus formed the idea of the Cretan labyrinth.

Famed Mæander, that unwearied strays
Through mazy windings.


Megara, one of the Furies.

she was Medusa, one of the Gorgons, daughter of Phorcys and Ceto; famed for her personal charms; her beautiful hair was changed by Minerva into snakes; she had the power of converting into stone whoever looked upon her.

Where western waves on furthest Libya beat,
Warmed with the setting sun's descend heat,
Dreadful Medusa fixed her horrid seat.
No leafy shade with kind protection shields
The rough, the squalid, unfrequented fields;
No mark of shepherds, or the ploughman's toil,
To tend the flocks, or turn the mellow soil:
But rude with rocks, the region all around
Its mistress and her potent visage owned.
"Twas from this monster, to afflict mankind,
That nature first produced the snaky kind :
On her at first their forky tongues appeared;
From her their dreadful hissings first were heard.


Melanida, a surname for Venus.
Melampyges, a name for Mercury.

Marsyas, a rustic, famed for his skill in playing on the flute, of which the invention is sometimes attributed to him. He contended with Apollo for the mastery in music, and, prior to the contest, it was agreed

« PreviousContinue »