Joined: 02 Nov 2012
|Progne being desirous to see her sister, asked Tereus to bring Philomela to her, with which he complied. Tereus fell desperately in love with Philomela; and, as they travelled together, because she refused to favour his addresses, he overpowered her, and cut out her tongue; and returning afterwards to his wife, he pretended that Philomela died on her journey; and that his story might appear true, he shed many tears, and put on mourning. But injuries sharpen the wit, and a desire of revenge makes people cunning: for Philomela, though she was dumb, found out a way to tell her sister of the villany of Tereus.
She described the violence offered her in embroidery, and sent the work folded up to her sister. Progne no sooner viewed it, than she was so transported with passion that she could not speak, her thoughts being wholly taken up in contriving how she should avenge the affront. First, then, she hastened to her sister, and brought her home without Tereus's knowledge. While she was thus meditating revenge, her young son Itys came and embraced his mother; but she carried him aside into the remote parts of the house, and slew him while he hung about her neck. When she had killed him, she cut him into pieces, and dressed the flesh, and gave it to Tereus for supper, who fed heartily on it. After supper he sent for his son Itys: Progne told him what she had done, and Philomela showed him his son's head. Tereus, incensed with rage, rushed on them both with his drawn sword; but they fled away, and fear added wings to their flight; so that Progne became a swallow, and Philomela a nightingale. Tereus was also changed into a hoopoe [upupa.] which is one of the filthiest of all birds. The gods out of pity changed Itys into a pheasant.
The harrowing incident related in the following extract, is but one of a multitude, equally dreadful, which occurred at the storming of Cuidad Rodrigo. It is taken from "Recollections of the war in Spain," by Lieutenant Kennedy."Passing through a narrow street with two Scottish sergeants, I heard the shriek of a female. Looking up, we saw at an open lattice, by the light of a lamp she bore, a girl about sixteen; her hair and dress disordered, the expressive olive countenance marked by an anguish and extreme terror.—A savage in scarlet uniform dragged her backward, accompanying the act with the vilest execrations in English. We entered the court-yard, where the hand of rapine had spared us the necessity of forcing a passage.