A Twelfe Night Merriment
Played by youths of the parish at the College of S. John the Baptist in Oxford, 6 January 1602 [1603 modern style]
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
Only mentioned. Lyriope mentions Apollo when she refers to Tyresias as "holy priest of Apollo." Later, she utters his name again when she exclaims that "Apollo cries, gnotti seauton." According to Greek mythology, he was the god of sunlight, arts and sciences (the Roman version of this god is known as Phoebus. He was son to Jove / Jupiter.)
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions Bacchus when, flattering Narcissus, he praises his slender belly in relation to that of Bacchus. Later, Narcissus also mentions him when he falls in love with his own image in the water of the well, unaware of the fact that it is his own reflection. He states his intention to fast for love: "Not care of Ceres, Morpheus, nor of Bacchus, / That is meate, drinke and sleepe from hence shall lake us." According to Greek mythology, Bacchusson to Zeuswas the god of wine and vegetation. He is usually characterized in two ways: either as the god of vegetation (of the fruit of the trees), or as the popular god of wine and cheer, who showed mortals how to cultivate grapevines and make wine. As the latter, he is portrayed as a pleasantly-plump, belly-protruding drowsy and merry god.
Also called Cephise. Cephisus is a river-god, husband to Lyriope and father to Narcissus. He describes himself as a "brave river / Who is all water." He loves his son for being an obedient boy. He is waiting for Tyresias, the Prophet, with his wife and son, but he is tired and wants to leave, because he thinks he is not coming. When Tyresias finally arrives, Cephisus explains to him that they want him to tell their son his fortune. But the wise man replies with a riddle: 'If he does not discover himself'. The moment the river-god learns the sad fate that is awaiting his beloved son, he despairs and wants to drown himself. According to Greek mythology, Kephisos was a River-God son to Oceanos and Thethys. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Cephisus was husband to Liriope and father to Narcissus.
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions her when, praising Narcissus's cheeks, he claims that they have a "farre better lustre / than Ceres when the sunne in Harvest busts her." Later, Narcissus refers to her when he falls in love with his own image in the water of the well, unaware of the fact that it is his own reflection. He states his intention to fast for love: "Not care of Ceres, Morpheus, nor of Bacchus, / That is meate, drinke and sleepe from hence shall lake us." According to Roman mythology, Ceres is the Corn Goddess, daughter to Saturn and sister to Jupiter.
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions Charon when he is seriously wounded by Dorastus, and about to die. At that moment he thinks of "Charons ferry." According to Greek mythology, Charonson to Erebus and Nyx, and portrayed as a sulky old man, or as a winged demon carrying a double hammeris the ferryman of the dead. He ferries the souls of the deceased (that are brought to him by Hermes) across the river Acheron. He only accepts those dead people that have been buried or burned with the proper rites, and if they pay a coin for their passage. But those who are not admitted by Charon are doomed to wander on the banks of the Styx for a hundred years.
Clinias is a young man. He goes with Dorastus to meet Tyresias, because they want to know their fortune. The Prophet replies that they will die soon. But they misunderstand him, and think the old man meant "dye" instead of "die." Later, Clinias meets Narcissus and, infatuated by the looks of the boy, he praises his beauty and competes with Dorastus for his love. But Narcissus explains that he is also a man, and, therefore, he cannot love them. Clinias insists on it, but he is made to realise that his love is unrequited. Afterwards, while he is seeking Dorastus, he is fooled by Eccho and, believing that Eccho's challenging words were Dorastus', as soon as he faces him, there is a misunderstanding between them, then they fight and kill each other.
Clois, also spelled Cloris, is a nymph. She praises Narcissus's beauty as she converses with Florida. Then, when she meets him, she woos him, and declares her faithful love to him. But she is turned down by Narcissus, and decides to go and die of love with her friend Florida, whose love for Narcissus is also unrequited. According to Greek mythology, Cloris is the goddess of flowers.
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions him when, prasing Narcissus's eyes, he exclaims, "What are Cupids eyes to those of thine?" According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the god of love, the son to Venus and Vulcan, normally represented as a little blind boy with wings. However, according to a story about Cupid/Eros and Psyche in Greek mythology, he was a most beautiful god of golden curls who married fair Psyche.
Only mentioned. Narcissus mentions him when, on hearing how Florida and Clois praise him, he states, "Oedipus I am not, I am Davus." His reply is based on a line in Terence's comedy Andria: a character named Davus, a scheming slave who, unwilling to offer an answer to a question, protests that he is Davus, not Oedipus. Therefore Narcissus' answer to the nymphs expresses his reluctance to confront a difficult questionboth of them love him, and he is not willing to choose.
Dorastus is a young man. He encourages Clinias to go and meet Tyresias, to ask him about their fortune. The prophet tells them they will die soon. But the boys misunderstand the old man, and they assume they are going to "dye," therefore Dorastus chooses to dye "orange tawny" and he advised his friend Clinias to dye white. Then both youths meet Narcissus. Dorastus praises his beauty and asks him to requit his love. But Narcissus explain he is a man, and, as such, he cannot fall in love with another man. Dorastus, however, does not seem to care about their gender, and Narcissus makes it clear that he has to turn him down. Later, Dorastus, seeking Narcissus, is fooled by Eccho. Thinking the challenging words of the nymph are Clinias' words, when, afterwards, he faces the latter, there is a misunderstanding between them, they fight and kill each other.
Eccho is a nymph, daughter to Juno. She used to be extremely talkative, and she was punished for it. Now she lives in wild woods, moist mountains, high valleys and steepy plains, and she "cannot speake a woord, nor halfe a sillable, unless you speake before so intelligible." She fools Dorastus while he is seeking Narcissus, and later, she also teases Clinias, when he is searching for Dorastus. That will provoke a misunderstanding that will lead them to kill each other. Later, Eccho will also fool Narcissus, and lead him to his death. At the end, the nymph explains that, for lack of lovesince she had also fallen in love with Narcissusshe could not eat nor drink, and "of her nothinge remainsde but bone," which was later turned to stone. Thus, only her voice was left. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, one day the nymph Echo saw Narcissus in the fields, as he was driving deer into his nets. She still retained her body and was not just a voice, nevertheless she could only repeat the last words of those who had spoken before her. Ovid explains that Juno had punished her in that way because whenever she had tried to catch the nymphs lying before her Jupiter, on the mountain slopes, Echo had intentionally engaged her in long conversations, thus giving the other nymphs plenty of time to escape. When Eccho saw Narcissus in the fields, she was infatuated by his beauty and, inflamed with love, she followed him secretly. She wished to be able to get close to him with seductive words, but her nature denied her that. She could only reply to his last words. Finally, unable to resist her impulses any longer, she decided to come out of the woods to embrace him, but, to her dismay, he ran from her. Feeling scorned, she resolved to wander in the woods and hide her face in shame among the leaves. Due to her unrequited love, from that time on the nymph lived in lonely caves. But still she could not avoid loving him, and her love was increased by the sadness of rejection. Sleeplessness wasted her sad form, and, thus languishing, her body's strength vanished into the air to such an extent that only her bones and the sound of her voice were left. Her voice remained, but it seems that her bones were changed to shapes of stone. She is said to hide in the woods, no longer to be seen, but to be heard by everyone.
Only mentioned. Dorastus mentions Endimion when he meets Tyresias, whom he describes as a man with white hair "like silver moon [...] who kissed her minion [...] Endimion." According to Greek mythology, Selene, goddess of the moon, fell in love with Endymioneither a beautiful young man or a shepherd, according to different storiesand asked Zeus to grant him immortality. Then, the king of gods put him into a dreamless eternal sleep to preserve his beauty. And, thus, Selene visited him every night.
Only mentioned, they are referred to as the three thread-thrumming sisters. Cephisus mentions the Fates when he learns the sad fortune that is awaiting his son. According to Greek mythology, the three Fates have the destiny of all mankind in their hands. Clotho spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures it and Atropos is in charge of cutting it.
Florida is a nymph. She appears with Clois, and, as the latter, she also praises Narcissus's beauty. She woos him and declares her faithful love for him. When they are both turned down by Narcissus, she suggests that she and Cloris should go and die, "for poets of our loves shall write the stones." Curiosly, Flora (rather than Florida), according to Roman mythology, was the goddess of spring-time and flowers. She was identified with her Greek counterpart, Cloris.
The Porter enters when supper is over, and offers the master and mistress
of the house, and their guests, some Christmas entertainment. First, he
lets in the choir boys, who sing a song. Then, when they finish, he does
not let them go, and he even decides to keep their earnings for himself. As
he realizes they are getting angry, he urges them to dance a morris dance.
Furthermore, he invites them to offer a play to his master and mistress,
and the play the boys choose to perform is the story of Narcissus. When the
performance is over, the Porter is also responsible for the epilogue. At
the end, he reveals his name is Frances. Frances Clarke was the Porter of
St John's College, Oxford.
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions Gorgon when he praises Narcissus's beauty, affirming that his face is "more faire than the head of Gorgon." According to Greek mythology, a Gorgon is a female monster with snakes for hair. There are three of them (Phorcys, Ceto and Medusa), and their faces are so ugly that those who see them become petrified. But Clinias may be referring here to the former state of Medusa, who was a lovely and beautiful lady before she was actually turned into a Gorgon. She was so fair that Poseidon fell in love with her and seduced her in one of the temples devoted to the cult of Athena. The goddess punished such an affront by turning Medusa into a horrible Gorgon.
Only mentioned. Florida mentions Hasparus when she sees Narcissus, praising
his beauty calling him "most brightest Hasparus."
Only mentioned. Florida mentions Helen when, declaring her love for
Narcissus, she refers to her faithfulness in the following terms, "as true
as Helen was to Menela / so true will be thy Florida." According to Greek
mythology, Helen, the most beautiful of women, was daughter to Zeus and
Leda. She married Menelaus, King od Sparta. However, while he was absent,
she was abducted by Paris, Prince of Troy. This event led to the Trojan
War. When Troy fell, Menelaus recovered his wife, who had not ceased to
love himshe had only deserted him for another yielding to Venus's might.
Thus, she became reconciled with her husband, and they reigned happily in
Sparta for years.
A "ghost character." Hobs is mentioned by the Porter when he tries to make the
choir boys stay. He tells them an anecdote that took place at "Hobses"
Only mentioned. Cephisus mentions "the blind poet Homer" when he is
praising the beauty of his wife, Lyriope, explaining that she surpassed all
the nymphs and goddesses "in his Iliads" and "his Odysses."
A "ghost character." Tyresias mentions Jove when he reveals the reason for his
blindness. He explains that it was Jove's wife and sister, Juno, who turned
him blind. Jove is later also mentioned by Eccho, when she comments that,
instead of doing the same as other nymphs, that is, "lay allways under
Jove," she used to go away, telling tales. Afterwards, he is mentioned by
Clinias when, teased by Eccho, he exclaims "I trust in Jove." Eccho will
repeat "Trust in Jove," and Clinias will retort, "Jove helpes then if we
fight." According to Roman mythology, Iove or Jupiter (or Greek Zeus) was
the supreme ruler of gods and goddesses.
A "ghost character." Juno is wife and sister to Jove. Tyresias mentions Juno
when he explains why he is blind. He just says that she deprived him of his
sight, because they were the biggest gods, and they fell out. Later, Juno
is mentioned by Eccho, when she reveals that she is daughter to the
goddess. According to Roman mythology, Juno (Greek Hera) was an ancient
goddess and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She was also sister and wife
to Jove (Greek Zeus). According to Greek mythology, Zeus and Hera,
discussing about the relative happiness of man and woman, referred the
matter to Tyresias, since he had a practical knowledge of both conditions
having been changed into a woman for seven years. He supported Zeus's
affirmation that a woman possessed the more enjoyments. Hera, on her part,
incensed, blinded him. But Zeus, in compensation, rewarded him with the
power of prophecy.
Only mentioned. Jupiter is mentioned by Tyresias when he is reading
Narcissus's hand"the hillocke of great Jupiter"to tell him his fortune.
Only mentioned. Narcissus mentions Lachesis when, about to die, he utters
the words "Lachesis, loppe thy loome." According to Greek mythology,
Lachesis was one of the three fatesthe one that was in charge of
measuring the length of the thread of life.
Lyriope is a nymph of the sea, married to Cephisus and mother of Narcissus.
She wears the colours bluelike the billowswhitelike foamand greenlike water. She begs her husband to wait for Tyresias, the profet, a
little longer. At the end, when he comes, her husband asks him about their
son's fortune. When she learns the sad fate that is awaiting Narcissus, she
urges the sage to tell them a way of remedying that future. But she cannot
understand Tyresias's answer ("If he does not discover himself"). According
to Greek mythology, Liriope was a Naiad. The Naiads were nymphs of bodies
of fresh water, and they abode in rivers, streams, brooks, springs,
fountains, lakes, ponds, wells and marshes. One day, Liriope was clasped by
the river-god Cephisus in his winding streams, and taken by force under the
waves. Being the fairest and loveliest of nymphs, Liriope gave birth to
Narcissus, a beautiful child everyone could fall in love with.
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions Mavors when, praising Narcissus's beauty,
he claims that his breath is sweeter than "the sweat hot breath of blowing
Mavors." According to Roman mythology Mavors or Mars was son to Jove and
Juno. His Greek equivalent is Ares, the god of war and masculinity, son to
Zeus and Hera.
Only mentioned. Florida mentions him when, declaring her love for
Narcissus, she refers to her faithfulness in the following terms: "As true
as Helen was to Menela / So true will be thy Florida." According to the
Iliad and the Odyssey, Menelaus, son to Atreus, and younger brother to
Agamemnon, was king of Sparta. He married fair Helen, who, one day, in her
husband's absence, was abducted by Paris, Prince of Troy. Then, Menelaus,
accompanied by the other Greek kings, led an expedition against Troy, thus
beginning the Trojan War. When Troy fell, he became reconciled with his
wife, but a long series of adventures were still awaiting them before they
could finally reach Sparta. See Helen.
Only mentioned. Narcissus mentions Morpheus when, falling in love with his
own image in the water of the well, unaware of the fact that it is his own
reflection, he states his intention to fast for love: "Not care of Ceres,
Morpheus, nor of Bacchus, / That is meate, drinke and sleepe from hence
shall lake us." According to Greek mythology, Morpheus was one form of the
god of dreams. He was in charge of fashioning dreams as the gods desired
them to be sent to men.
A "ghost character." Mother Bunch is mentioned by the Porter when he tries to
make the choir boys stay. Mother Bunch is a familiar character of British
folklore. She was a celebrated ale-wife in Thomas Dekker in The Shoemaker's
Holiday, performed in the Rose Theatre in 1599. She also appears in
Dekker's Satiro-mastix, produced in 1601. Later, the popularity of this
character grew to the extent that, in 1604, a work entitled Pasquil's
Jests, mixed with Mother Bunch's Merriments was published. And, in 1760,
there appeared, in two parts, Mother Bunch's Closet newly Broke Open
containing rare secrets of art and nature, tried and experienced by learned
philosophers, and recommended to all ingenious young men and maids,
teaching them how to get good wives and husbands. Nowadays, Mother Bunch's
Fairy Tales are very popular in nurseries.
A "ghost character." Mother Hubbard is mentioned by the Porter when he tries to
make the choir boys stay. Mother Hubbard is also a familiar character of
British folklore, probably another ale-wife. She became extremely popular
thanks to Old Mother Hubbard, a nursery rhyme written by Sarah Catherine
Martin and printed in 1805, which was certainly based on earlier material,
as the inclusion of that name in Narcissus: A Twelfe Night Merriment
MOTHER HUBBARD'S SON
A "ghost character." Son to Mother Hubbard. He is mentioned by the Porter when
he tries to make the choir boys stay.
Narcissus, also spelled Narcisse, is son to Cephisus and Lyriope. He is an obedient and beautiful
child. The first time he appears, he is waiting for Tyresias, the Prophet,
with his mother and father, but he does not actually hear the prophecy.
Later, he challenges Cupid, equaling his own beauty to that of the god. He
then meets Dorastus and Clinias, and at their praising his beauty and
declaring their love for him, he thinks they are being misled by his fair
appearance, and that they have taking him for a woman. Therefore, he tries
to make them realize their mistake. To his surprise, they do not seem to
mind, and still insist on wooing him and on his requiting their love.
Astonished, he explains he cannot love another man. Later, two nymphs
Florida and Cloispraise his beauty, but he turns them down as well. Then
he runs away for about ten miles and a half, escaping from Dorastus and
Clinias. Tired and weary, he is seen by the nymph Eccho, who also falls in
love with him, and watches him from a distance, repeating his last words.
Feeling teased, he goes away, and finds a well. As he is drinking, he sees
his own face refelected in the water. But he does not recognize his own
face, he thinks it belongs to another person, and, unawares, he falls in
love, desperately, with his own reflection in the water of the well. Then
Eccho repeats his last words again, and he associates Eccho's utterances to
that face he has fallen in love with, amounting to his despair. Thus,
feeling his love is unrequited, he finally dies of love. According to
Greek mythology, Narcissus was son to Cephisus and Liriope. When he was
just a child, his parents consulted Tyresias, an old sage with prophetic
vision, whether their son would live a long life, and they received an
enigmatic reply: 'If he does not discover himself." When Narcissus reached
the age of sixteen, many young boys and girls, including the nymph Eccho,
desired him, but his pride led him to reject them all. But one of those who
had been turned down, lifting hands to the skies, implored "So may he
himself love, and so may he fail to command what he loves!" and he was
heard by goddess Nemesis. Meanwhile, Narcissus arrived near a fountain with
fresh and clear water, and he decided to quench his thirst there. As he was
drinking, he was infatuated by the vision of his reflected form, and he
immediately fell in love with and desired himself. He suffers at the
thought that they are just separated by a little water, but, still, he
cannot have his beloved one. Finally, he realizes he is desperately in love
with himself. Then, he started to be weakened by love, and worn away by his
passion. He lost his color, strength, shape, and finally, his breath. He
is said to have become a flower, with a yellow heart surrounded by white
Only mentioned. Narcissus mentions Oedipus when, after Florida and Clois
praise his beauty, he states: "Oedipus I am not, I am Davus." His reply is
based on a line in Terence's comedy Andria: uttered by a character named
Davus. (See Davus.) Oedipus is famous for having solved the riddle of the
Sphinx. Therefore, Narcissus implies that if he were Oedipus, he would be
able to offer the nymphs an answer, but he is not.
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions him when he praises Narcissus's beauty,
comparing his throat to "the pipe of Pan." According to Greek mythology,
Pan was the god of flocks, forests and fields, and also the god of
shepherds and of music. He is often accompanied by revelers dancing to the
tune of his seven-reed pipe.
Only mentioned. Cephisus mentions Phebus, also spelled Phibbus, when he first addresses to his
son, Narcissus, as they are waiting for the prophet, and explains him that
the sun has gone and "Phebus with queene Thetis is a doinge." Later,
Lyriope mentions Phibbus when she claims that "One Phibbus walls is
written: knowe thyselfe." According to Roman mythology, Phoebus was son to
Jupiter and Latona, and brother to Diana. He was the god of the sun. He was
also the god of archery, music and prophecy. His Greek version, Apollo, is
famous for his oracle at Delphi, where people traveled to in order to
divine the future. The inscription "Know thyself" could be read on the
pediment of the temple.
Only mentioned. He is a juggler. Narcissus mentions him when he explains to
Florida and Clois that if he loves anyone, that is "Tickler and Piper."
Primus is one of the choir boys. He asks the Porter to tell his mistress to
bestow something on them before they go. When he realizes the Porter has no
intention to let them go, he wonders if he wants them to perform a play.
Then they exeunt, to enter later as actors in the play Narcissus.
Only mentioned. Clois mentions Pyramus when, declaring her love for
Narcissus, she refers to her faithfulness in the following terms: "As was
to trusty Pyramus truest Thisbee / So true to you will ever thy sweete
Clois bee." According to mythology, Pyramus was the most handsome youth,
and Thisbe the most beautiful lady in all Babylonia. Their parents lived in
adjoining houses. They loved each other dearly, and would have married, if
their parents had not forbidden them to do it. Nevertheless, both lovers
found a crack in the wall that parted both houses, and managed to converse,
through it, with signs and glances. Thus, they arranged a secret meeting
near a monument, and one evening, Thisbe secretly stole forth, arrived at
the place and sat under a tree. But she was soon shocked by the sight of a
lioness. The girl fled and dropped her veil. At the sight of the veil, the
lioness tossed and tore it with her bloody jaws. Pyramus, who had been
delayed, arrived at the meeting place and there he only found the torn and
bloody veil. He immediately thought Thisbe had been killed by a lion and
that he was to blame for it, due to his delay. In his suffering and
despair, he drew his sword and plunged it into his heart. Meanwhile,
Thisbe, approached the meeting place again, and recognizing the lifeless
body of her beloved Pyramus, and realizing what had happened, she killed
herself as wellafter asking to be buried with her dear Pyramus, which was
done as she had requested.
Only mentioned. Dorastus mentions Rhadamant when, slain by Clinias, he
sends he own "ghost" "unto Rhadamant." Thomas Kyd introduces a Rhadamant in
his play The Spanish Tragedy (c. 1587), whom he presents as a judge of the
underworld. According to Greek mythology, Rhadamanthus was one of the three
judges of the Underworldthe others being Minos and Aeacus. He was wise
and just. Rhadamantus was brother to Minos, and son to Zeus and Europa
(whom the god had abducted). Both brothers were adopted by Europa's
husband, Asterius, king of Crete. Interestingly, according to Greek
history, Rhadamant (15751550 b. C.) was the unifier of Crete, and he was
succeeded by Minos the Great (15501500 b. C.).
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions Saturne when, praising Narcissus's beauty,
he affirms that his veins are "blewer than Saturne shine." According to
Greek mythology, Chronos (Roman Saturn), was Zeus's father, thence his
"blue blood." Also, Saturn was associated with one of the four humours of
ancient medicine, melancholy, by Medieval and Renaissance scholars.
Secundus is another choir boy. He complains because the Porter intends to
keep their earnings for himself. When he hears that the Porter wants them
to perform a play, he explains that they have nails in their shoes, and
that it would be better to have something laid on the ground, so that they
will not damage it. Then they exeunt, to enter later as actors in the play
Only mentioned. Clinias mentions Silenus when, praising Narcissus's beauty,
he admires his strength, remarking that he is stronger than Silenus.
According to Greek mythology, Silenus was either son to Hermes, or to Pan.
Usually portrayed as the elderly companion of Dionysus, he was fat and
bald, and had the tail and ears of a horse.
Tertius is the third choir boy. He just wants to leave with his friends. He
is the one who explains that they will play a tragedy. Then they exeunt, to
enter later as actors to perform the play Narcissus.
Only mentioned. Cephisus mentions Queen Thetis when he first addresses to
his son Narcissus, explaining that the sun has gone, and that "Phebus with
queene Thetis is a doinge." According to Greek mythology, Thetis was a
goddess of the sea, daughter to the sea god Nereus and to Doris. She, like
Phoebus, had the gift of prophesy. Besides, she had also the power to
change her shape at will.
Only mentioned. Clois mentions Thisbee when, declaring her love for
Narcissus, she refers to her faithfulness in the following terms: "As was
to trusty Pyramus truest Thisbee / So true to you will ever thy sweete
Clois bee." For the story of Pyramus and Thisbee, see "Pyramus."
Only mentioned. Ticker is a juggler. Narcissus mentions him when he
explains to Florida and Clois that if he loves anyone, that is "Tickler and
A "ghost character." The Porter mentions Tom when he tries to make the choir
boys stay. He says that Tom ran under the hovel with a kettle on his head.
Tyresias is a sage duke and a blind prophet. As he is travelling, he
arrives at the place where Cephisus, Lyriope and Narcissus have been
waiting for him for some time. He explains he was turned blind by Juno when
he foretold that she and Jove were going to fall outwhich happened
indeed. Then he was also turned into a woman for seven years. When he
finishes his account, he is asked by Cephisus to tell him his son's
fortune. Tyresias reads the child's hand and explains that his line of life
is too brief, concluding that he can only make out "dolefull dumpes, decay,
death and destruction." At Lyriope's asking him for a way to prevent that
from happening, he answers her with the enigmatic words: 'If he does not
discover himself.' Later, he continues his way, and he meets Dorastus and
Clinias. They also want to know their fate, and he reveals that they will
die soon. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Tiresias was a blind seer from
Thebes. His story starts when, one day, he separated two mating snakes
which, in their turn, punished him, magically transforming him into a
woman. He had to stay like that for seven years, until he tried to separate
other two snakes, to see if the enchantment was reversed, and it worked.
His story caught the attention of Juno and Jupiter, who where contending
over the relative happiness of man and woman, and decided to refer the
matter to Tiresias, for his having experienced both conditions. Tiresias
had to favor Jupiter, affirming that the pleasure women derived was
greater. Incensed, Juno made Tiresias blind, but Jupiter, gratified,
bestowed him with the power of seeing the future.
Only mentioned. Tyresias mentions "Venus girdle" and "Venus mount" when he
is reading the lines in Narcissus's hand to tell him his fortune. Later,
Clinias mentions the goddess when, praising Narcissus's beauty, he says "To
passe from braunch to barke, from rine to roote, Venus her husband hath not
such a foote." Afterwards, Florida and Clois mention her when they see
Narcissus, because his beauty makes them identify him with the goddess.
According to Roman mythology Venus was born when Gaia, Goddes of Mother
Earth, angrily sliced off her husband'sUranus'sgenitals and threw them
into the sea. There, they mixed with the foam and formed Venus, a goddess
unconcerned with maternal issues and devoted to pleasure and sensuality.
Even though she married, she was mainly concerned with her fair appearance
and her extramarital affairs.