Canto IX: The Mixture of Mortals
IX: The Mixture of Mortals
[The following was sung by Luscinia in a kind of plainsong,
with long melodic lines.]
The Phoenix took to flight, Her very first,
Her wings reflecting in the Setting Sun.
So Jana, newly joined with Jan'e, came
To Sardo, future Janid home, but then
Deserted, uninhabited by Gods
Or Mortals, though it had abundant game.
They picked themselves a comfortable cave
To make Their home, and Jan'e hunted game
In forests thereabouts, and fished lagoons,
And at the seashore He collected shellfish,
While Jana gathered nuts and berries, roots
And leaves; in such a way They ate full well.
The Shining Twins, the wife with husband and
The brother with His sister, burned with love,
And nought delighted them like laying in
Each other's arms and sharing ecstasies
Provided by Their bodies. Greatly pleased
They were with one another's company
For seven years, but then They wished to have
A family. Thus did Jana leave off Leaf
Of License* chewing; soon Her womb was great
With growing child. And so it went, until
Were born six children, when decided They
That They had done enough, and so had earned
Thereafter full unburdened carnal bliss.
And when Their oldest daughter, who was called
Kallisto, Her maturity had reached,
Then Jana brought Her to Her Jan'e, and
He lay with Her, for couplings of this kind
Are not amiss when made by Gods. And so
Did Jan'e mate with all His daughters in
Their time. When Arkas, firstborn boy, did come
Upon His power, Jana did invite
Him to Her bed, and taught Him all delights
Of Love, until by Him Her womb with Life
Was quickened. By Her sons She bore but three
Attractive children, for of bearing She
Had had enough, and so encouraged She
Her boys and girls to play together 'til
They too bore children. Thus our family grew,
The First of Sardo's Families, Holy Janid clan.
For these Their Children, and Grandchildren and
Their Great-grandchildren, caves were newly found
And Janid folk lived happily and dwelled
Together, eating what the Bountiful Estate,
Our Sardo, had unbidden granted them.
[In the following, Aquila (contralto) and Cinxia (soprano) took the
speaking roles of Jan'e and Jana.]
Upon a quiet night came Jana to
Her husband and Her brother. Worried brows
Betrayed Her cares. With true concern She was
Received, and so He asked, "Why art Thou so
Distressed, my Moonchild Jana, Consort Twin?"
She thought a quiet moment and replied,
"The figures of Our children do concern
Me, likewise those of children they have sired."
Now Jan'e was surprised and, anxious, asked,
"What is there that Thou couldst not like about
Them, for They are the image of Us both,
Like Gold and Silver alloyed into rare
Electrum." "Aye, too much like us by far!"
She answered quickly and emphatically.
"Wouldst Thou have them unlike Us?" Jan'e asked,
Confused. Then Jana said, "Hast Thou not looked
On Kuren'e? What thinkst Thou of Her form?"
Then Jan'e thought on Her, who was a great-
Great-granddaughter, and answered, "She is wise,
Attractive, also healthy; She enchants
The hearts of all our boys - and also me.
I like Her breasts the best of all the wives',
Save Thine." Then Jana laughed and said to Him,
"I doubt it not at all, but for our race
It isn't good. Doth Thou not see that each
And ev'ry generation is like Us,
Yet more so? Like unto a tea, the more
We steep in Our own juices, so the more
We strengthen Our own flavor and Our hue
Doth darken - thus increase the bitter and
The sweet together. Though the sweet is good,
In time the bitter will destroy our race."
[Aquila and Cinxia stepped back, and Luscinia finished the canto as
Then Jan'e saw the truth was spoken by
His wife, and so the foll'wing day He called
Together there a party of His kin,
All strong and healthy in their youth, and sent
Them to recruit some settlers, picking them
To come and mate with holy Janid folk.
They traveled first to Curnos*, then they
Turrhenum Mar'e* to Etruria**.
[*Tyrrhenian Sea, **Tuscany]
They there enticed adventurous boys and girls
To come with them, and then returned they back
By way of Curnos. So the Janids first
Accepted Mortal Men and Women in
Their family, alloying the Bronze with Gold
And Silver. Thus they made their substance strong
And durable - untarnished to this day!
to Canto X]
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Last updated: Sat April 21, 2012