Tag Archives: classical myth

“The Blinding of the Cyclops Polyphemus”

Modern Heroic Couplets by Paul Burgess–inspired by a scene in Homer [Book 9 of The Odyssey; one might view these lines as a compressed adaptation and modernization of a much longer passage.]

While clutching at his mutilated eye,
To Ulysses, the Cyclops gave reply:
“An oracle, whose words I could recite,
Predicted that the man who’d take my sight
Would be the famous hero Ulysses.
From mini morsels, shorter than my knees,
I had no fear of death or even harm—
A shadow might have caused me more alarm!
Assuming only force could make me blind,
I was not ready for a deadly mind.

 

–Anyone interested in Homer, Classical Poetry, or Early Modern English Literature* should check out George Chapman’s brilliant translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey. The following link leads to information on an inexpensive edition of the translation so famously praised by Keats: http://www.amazon.com/Chapmans-Homer-Odyssey-Classics-Literature/dp/1840221178/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401367076&sr=1-3&keywords=wordsworth+classics+chapman%27s+homer

*from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods in which Shakespeare was one among several brilliant minds

“Jove and Arcadian Callisto” [Practical Morals from Mythology]

Further advice for surviving in the world of Classical Mythology, by Paul Burgess

If you’d prefer to not become a bear,
Do not let Jove remove your underwear.

[Callisto’s “crime” was having a child after being raped by Jove. For this crime, Hera turned the girl into a bear. A moral we see throughout the classics is: Do not let one of the Universe’s most powerful entities rape you…]

“Zeus and Io”* [Practical Morals from Mythology]

Further advice for surviving in the world of Classical Mythology, by Paul Burgess

If Zeus decides it’s you he’d like to woo,
In time, you might be saying only “Moo.”*

*Zeus/Jove turned his love interest Io into a cow to hide her from his wife.

“Venus/Aphrodite Turns ‘Forgetful’, Insufficiently Grateful Hippomenes and Atalanta into Lions” [Practical Morals from Mythology”]

“Venus/Aphrodite Turns ‘Forgetful’, Insufficiently Grateful Hippomenes and Atalanta into Lions” [Practical Morals from Mythology”] by Paul Burgess

If gods provide in any way for you,
Be sure to thank them each instant or two.

“The Death of Hercules*” (or “Hercules and Deianira”) [Morals from Mythology]by Paul Burgess

“The Death of Hercules*” (or “Hercules and Deianira”) [Morals from Mythology]*

Beware of garments given by your wife.
A shirt one day might take away your life.

*The mighty hero who was killed by a poisoned shirt…