<SPAN name="link2H_4_0021" id="link2H_4_0021">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
Ah, to uphold one's respectable name is not easy. The Lady
Fame has an ancient foe: Cupid, my master and lord.
Oh, by the way, have you heard of the cause of their mutual hatred?
It's an old story, I think—Let me just tell it again.
Powerful ever the goddess, but nevertheless to her fellows
Overbearing and rude, quite unendurable. She
Had by the gods since time out of mind at their banquets been dreaded,
Yelling with brassiest voice orders to great and to small.
Once, in her arrogance even maintained that she had subjected
To her own will, as her slave, Jove's most illustrious son.
"One of these days, O father of deities," cried she in triumph,
"I shall be bringing you my—Hercules, as if new born.
Don't think that Hercules be still that boy whom Alcmene once bore you;
His adulation of me makes him now god upon earth.
When toward Olympus he gazes, I've no doubt you hope that he's looking
Piously toward your knees. Hardly. He's looking for me.
Worthiest man! O the vision of winning my favor makes easy
Hitherto unexplored paths, under that powerful foot.
I do my part, for I meet him halfway and proclaim his adventures
Praising his name in advance, even before he's begun.
One day you'll wed me to Hercules. Hero who Amazons conquered
That day will overwhelm me. Happily I'll call him: spouse."
All of the gods kept their counsel, and none would reply to the braggart,
Lest in a pique she devise vengeance against one of them.
Cupid, escaping attention, slipped off to enslave, however, her hero:
Artlessly conquering by—force of a beautiful girl,
Afterward decked out his couple in mute masquerade: lionskin
Over her shoulders, the club leaned (by much toil) at her side;
Wiry stiff hair of the hero larded with blossoms, a distaff
Laid in his fist, to conform strength to the dalliance of love.
Scene now completed and ready to tease, he goes scampering, shouting
For all Olympus to hear: "Come, see these glorious deeds!
Heaven and Earth and the Sun on his indefatigable journey
Over that infinite path never did witness the like!"
Everyone hastened, gulled by the dissolute boy, who feigning
Earnest, had summoned them all (Fame by no means lagged behind).
Which of the gods will now smile in sweet condescension on Cupid?
—Juno! delighted, of course, seeing a man humbled so.
Fame, on the other hand, stood there ashamed, embarrassed, despairing.
First she just laughed, saying: "Gods, be not deceived. It's a masque.
I know my hero too well to be fooled by disguises of actors."
Soon, though, in pain she perceived: Hercules, none but he.
(Vulcan had not been one thousandth so vexed to discover his playmate
Under his meshes ensnared, caught with his own lusty friend,
Lying just as the wiles of the net at the most crucial moment
Deftly embraced their embrace, trapping their instant of joy.
How those boys, Bacchus and Mercury, guffawed, and freely admitted:
Sweet must be the repose, lying on bosom so fine
Of this magnificent woman. They turned to Vulcan entreating:
"Do not release them just yet. Let us inspect them once more."
And the old cuckold was cuckold enough to comply with their wishes.)
As for poor Fame, in all haste, burning with wrath she must flee.
Since then no armistice has been proclaimed to the feuding between them.
Let her but favor a man, hot in pursuit is the boy.
He whom Fame honors most can least defend against Cupid,
And her most dang'rous attacks strike the most morally proud.
Whoever tries to escape him is dragged down from bad deeds to worse ones.
Yes, he will offer you girls—if like a fool you despise
These, only then do you feel from his bow the arrows most vicious:
Heat of man's love for man, ardent desires toward beasts.
For those ashamed of him Cupid reserves the bitterest passions,
Mingling for hypocrites their pleasure in vice and remorse.
But, at the same time, the goddess seeks him, she's watching and list'ning.
Should find him with you, ill disposed will she be:
Frighten you, frowning austerely, contemptuously, violently casting
Into the worst of repute houses he's known to frequent.
Ah, it's the same with me, too. I haven't escaped her, the goddess.
Jealously she seeks me out, sweet secret love to expose.
I will submit to the ancient law and in silence revere her,
For, when great lords fall out, I like the Greeks must atone.