Dr. Zeus – Book I – Canto XXVIII

Of a mad cruel king
Who did pain to all bring
Of a crafty disguise
On which they had been advised
Of an offering sour
To test a god’s power
Of a man most sadistic
Driven into the thicket
-Oh Halcyon Muses nine-
For your version I simply haven’t the time
As the end of these men I did bring
Their final fate, I shall sing
After all, you were not there
For you they did not care
So listen now as I do recall
How did come man’s penultimate fall

They Sang no Songs, These Men of Bronze

There was a time before of greater despair
When in men’s souls nothing was fair

I many stories of horror had heard
But their full extent seemed truly absurd

The tales that they told I could scarcely believe
But they had no reason, no cause to deceive

Thus I decided to test them myself
To see if they cared just for violence and wealth

Apollo I told to let them divine
That a god would appear – to give a clear sign

But if I came plane, if I came true
No one would act as they normally do

No, I did need look unassuming
So my stature they could not be presuming

And while it’s easy to change my own form
Me, my wife, I did ask to inform

For she, more than all of the rest,
‘Round humans can hide herself best

Her godly glamour she’d dissemble well
Who she was, even I couldn’t tell

While Alcmene and I, our past give her pause
Still could she see that ‘twas a good cause

So she passed this skill unto me
And free was I to anything be

Thus once my message Apollo had sent
I went to see if Virtue truly was spent

Down to Earth did I descend
To Arcadia did my way wend

As a common worker I did myself show
And to the citadel I then tried to go

All those around gave no second look
Me for a mortal they clearly mistook

But before I got to the massive wall’s door
A man warned me what might be in store

“Do not go” he hurriedly said
“Or I fear you soon will be dead

“The birds have said that a god will appear
But for the King this is not near enough clear

“Many strangers have arrived as of late
And all have walked through Lycaon’s gate

“He, I fear, has conjured some test
To see if they’re they or just one of the rest

“Of them none have yet to return
So my advice please do not spurn”

Thinking his words seemed to be true
I knew that my task I did need to see through

But as Fear did his heart squeeze
I spoke in order to put him at ease

“Do not worry, I’ve no cause for alarm
I am sure that he not can me harm”

From his eyes I could see it was clear
He knew the god finally was here

So I went back to that great wooden wall
And with a booming voice, inside I did call

Before me, then, the door did open
Soon I’d see if their souls were broken

To me the king did himself come
He as well as his fifty odd sons

“Welcome!” he said with a genuine smile
“We’ve not had a guest in quite a long while”

Thus his first words were truly a lie
But ‘twas unclear what his face did belie

“Come, let us together feast
Recently we caught a great wild beast”

He led me to his table, ‘twas made of oak
And, when we were seated, once more he spoke

“Before we eat we’ll honour the gods
So with them we’ll not be at odds”

Onto a fire they put bones wreathed in fat
Which burned, blackened, and cracked

Then they brought some fine roasted meat
But I saw through their twisted deceit

I dropped my disguise, bellowed, flipped the table
You intended to trick did you think you’d be able?

I know this is human, your very last guest
Did you think once found that I’d be impressed?

You’ve killed them all whom to you came
But who, for the first, was the one you have slain?

Like a beast in the corner he did cower and shiver
But the truth, to me, he did then deliver

“He was a hostage,” he said “one from Epirus
Revenge did not worry, I thought they would fear us”

Not only!” I yelled “did you kill all your guests!
But you slaughtered a hostage for your very first test?

You and your kin I can not forgive
None of you sons shall I allow now to live

I raised up my arm and my lightning I cast
None survived that electrified blast

But Lycaon, him, did not then kill
For punishment, he was needing more still

His features twisted, his mind it was torn
As I blighted him with an animal form

For as I said his smile was real
But ‘twas not for truth but for what he did feel

He loved what he did – he loved what he’d done
For him causing pain was all sorts of fun

So I left him that smile – oh so sincere
And gave him a body all men do fear

A hulking grey wolf I did then him make
In trade for the lives that he did take

But still not enough – he deserved more than the worst
Any pups he sired as well would be cursed

Though in that body he would remain
They would receive a dissimilar pain

For most of the time they would as humans be
Only the moon, full, would set their wolf free

But my flaming ire could not be subsumed
It, then me, wholly consumed

“By Styx” I swore “I still can’t this stand
I’ll wash away this impious land”

So I, all wrapped within rage,
Did then declare the end of an age

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s