The Bear-Guard, Arctophylax

The Bear Guard, born the son of Zeus, who took
Callisto when from heaven he did look;
The king beheld her beauty and did sate
Himself and made her for a time his mate;
His son was murdered to revenge the deed:
His grandsire thought some mischief good to breed.
Callisto was his daughter, and he sought
Revenge, conceiving in his heart a thought,
Which he brought forth and took his grandson’s life,
And trimmed him for the table with his knife.
To see if Zeus knew all, he called him there,
And set a lavish table in his lair:
But Zeus was wroth, for when he saw the meat,
He knew Lycaon guilty of deceit,
And in his rage he overturned the board,
And promptly to his former form restored
His son and placed him in a goat herd’s care,
And when he grew he went to hunt a bear,
Not knowing that his mother had exchanged
Her human form, and to the bear been changed.
He overstepped the temple’s boundary,
A crime which carried a death penalty:
But Zeus, he snatched them up into the sky
In order that they’d live and never die;
He placed his son in heaven with the Bear
To guard and make it his eternal care.
So, Arctophylax, Bear-Guard he was called,
When in the heavens he had been installed.
But lightning struck Lycaon’s house when Zeus
Hurled down his bolt, revenging the abuse.
He turned Lycaon to a wolf to feast
On flesh to be thenceforth a savage beast.

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