Cassiopeia, queen whose awful boast
Brought Poseidon’s wrath up on all the coast;
For she was vain, and thought herself supreme,
And in her fancy, her fictitious dream
She took for truth, declaring she was best
In beauty; and for this the god distressed
The nation, but with all the others she
Was placed in heaven for all mankind to see.
When Archer rises, then she does the same,
And sets when Scorpion rises. But her shame,
It still remains: Zeus set her upside down;
For on her pride, the God did rightly frown:
So she revolves head downwards for all time
To mark her folly, and shame her for her crime.
Athena, goddess who sprang from the mind
Of Zeus, in whom all wisdom is refined,
In whom perfection of all things is found,
Who makes all heaven by his will move round,
She placed Andromeda on high to show
The deeds of Perseus, when he dwelt below.
With arms outstretched, Andromeda appears,
As though the serpent still its head uprears;
From this did Perseus deliver her,
And after this her woman’s will did spur
Her to abandon father, mother, home,
And to set off with Perseus to roam
The earth with him, wherever he did lead,
Though her father and mother both did plead
That she should stay with them: but she refused;
For by their weakness she had been abused.
‘Gainst the Nereids did her mother boast,
And so the serpent had ravaged their coast;
Her father being weak declined to fight,
Nor would he punish his wife for her slight.
But he determined his posterity
He’d sacrifice to the monster of the sea.
The hero saved Andromeda by force,
And so, she wisely chose the stronger horse.
In heaven she was placed to mark these deeds,
And he who would be wise all heaven heeds;
For, by the gods is written in the sky
The wisdom by which all ascend on high.
How Perseus among the stars was placed,
That all his tale might never be erased,
Endeavour we to tell and make it plain:
Zeus placed him there, for heaven’s his domain.
Gorgon Medusa’s head is in his hand,
The sight of which no mortal man could stand;
For man to see it bore a dreadful cost,
Who’er beheld it turned to stone and lost
His life. The Gorgons’ guards had but one eye,
They passed about, and when the time was nigh
For one to pass it to the next the son
Of Zeus, he seized it, and then not a one
Could see him, for he hurled the orb into
The Lake Tritonis, then breached the guard and slew
Medusa with the sickle he received
From Hephaistos; the Gorgon was relieved
Of her head, but her face pointed away.
He then departed thence without delay.
The Grey Sisters, having lost their eye, were blind
And could not hinder or their own way find.
Upon his feet Perseus wore the gift
He got from Hermes, shoes exceeding swift.
Gorgon Medusa’s head was later pressed
By Athena on to her godly breast.
But Perseus, he rises with the Bull
And Ram, and he sets when his time is full
And when the Archer and Capricorn rise,
Fulfilling the years in the nightly skies.
The heavens tell the tale that oft repeats,
Which births great daring deeds and noble feats;
How, against the gods, arrogance offends,
And weakness then its prime duty suspends;
The beautiful it ceases to protect,
Until its house and seed is nearly wrecked.
Then, what is good beholds calamity,
And fights until it has the mastery.
The wicked seed of Chaos it destroys:
This done, the fruits of Beauty it enjoys.
For Cepheus took up Andromeda,
After that his wife Cassiopeia
Boasted that the sea nymphs were less beautiful
Than she. For this, Poseidon was wrathful;
He sent the serpent Cetus to his coasts,
Whose savagery did put an end to boasts.
Cepheus, he chained his daughter to a rock,
And cowered, waiting for the gruesome shock;
Posterity he sacrificed to save
Himself and all his kingdom from the grave.
But when the son of Zeus arrived, he sought
The monster out, and bravely rose and fought,
And slew the serpent with the Gorgon head,
Whose awful gaze was death in all its dread.
So, Perseus took Andromeda as prize,
And feasted on her beauty with his eyes.
What weakness had relinquished in its fear,
The strong received, and cherished what was dear.
The coward king, who would have lost it all,
Received the hero in his banquet hall.
And in the heavens, Cepheus was placed,
Where all his stars by men can yet be traced.
This record stands that all may know that Zeus
Shall rise and render serpent fiends abuse.