Sunday, 16 July 2017

Accession : Witches

Take time to pause; and, by the next new moon--
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship--
Upon that day either prepare to die
For disobedience to your father's will,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana's altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life.

The Latin designation, popular in Europe since the Renaissance, for the goddess of the hunt, in Greek Artemis, who by this time had only allegorical or symbolic meaning. Statues of Diana with the crescent-MOON in her hair, bow and ARROWS in her hand, accompanied by hunting DOGS, adorned especially the gardens of the baroque period.

On occasion, the legendary scene is represented in which ACTEON, having observed the chaste Diana bathing, is transformed into a stag (see DEER) and tom apart by his own hunting dogs. 

The crescent is explained by the fact that the early Italian goddess Diana was originally the goddess of the Moon and only later were the myths relating to Artemis, the mistress of the animals (potnia theron), carried over to her.

Diana seems to have lived on not only in garden sculpture but also as a mythical figure in Italy.

The American mythologist Charles G. Leland (1824-1903) reported in his book Arcadia (1899) about a cult of "WITCHES" (streghe) who revered Diana and appealed to her as a great goddess: "Diana! Diana! Diana! Queen of all magicians and of the dark night, the stars, the moon, all fate and fortune! You, mistress of ebb and flow, who shine at night upon the sea, throwing your light upon the water! You, commander of the sea, in your boat like a half-moon. . ." (from a hymn appearing in a legend in which Melampus has his mother ask that he be given the art of understanding the language of SNAKES). 

Enter PUCK
[Advancing] Welcome, good Robin.
See'st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity:
For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
Seeking sweet favours from this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her;
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flowerets' eyes
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her
And she in mild terms begg'd my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child;
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes:

And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain;
That, he awaking when the other do,
May all to Athens back again repair
And think no more of this night's accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.
Be as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast wont to see:
Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower
Hath such force and blessed power.
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamour'd of an ass.
There lies your love.
How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.
Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep of all these five the sense.
Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!
Music, still
Now, when thou wakest, with thine
own fool's eyes peep.
Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will to-morrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
Fairy king, attend, and mark:
I do hear the morning lark.
Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night's shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.
Come, my lord, and in our flight
Tell me how it came this night
That I sleeping here was found
With these mortals on the ground.


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