Dr. Zeus – Book I – Canto XII

Of a great hero’s start
From whom many take heart
Of his moderate wit
Which did not hinder a bit
Of protecting the herd
The king’s plan, absurd
Of his best known symbol
Which proved him strong, proved him nimble
-Oh Halcyon Muses nine-
For your version I simply haven’t the time
While my tale may not stray far from your own
I wish to sing on the seed I have sewn
More than the rest he was the best of my sons
With far greater morals than immortal ones
So now shall I sing of his first epic task
And the glory in which he did bask

With Many Alceides Did Lie To Create All Those Heracleidai

While they were all worried with what I had done
I was concerned with my demi-god son

I tried well to Alceides life lead
For for him we’d truly have need

By his nineteenth year he was massive in size
All could see my strength in his eyes

And he did shepherd his families flock
So through this I thought to take stock

For up by the peak near the top of Kithairon
Was a most savage beast, a powerful lion

It I enraged and provided more strength
I had it harry the shepherds at length

Many a flock was savaged and killed
For I give it a hunger that couldn’t be filled

The cattle of Thespios it also did stalk
So to him Alceides decided to talk

He went to his city to say what he’d do
And once the king saw him, his parents he knew

So Alceides he made a most honoured guest
For surely he knew how to use this chance best

Together at evening they had a great feast
Once it was morning he’d hunt for the beast

But he wouldn’t get rest, that was for sure
For he’d be tempted with a most potent lure

In the mid of the night a woman came by
One looking with Alceides to lie

She took to his bed – he gave no resistance
And he followed her every insistence

All through the night did those two sleep
But up with his stamina she just couldn’t keep

She then fell asleep, fully worn out
But Alceides, still wired, stalked all about

Though in the morning the night too its toll
He could not the beast track with his attention whole

While some trace of the lion he found
But he didn’t yet see it, could not hear a sound

Thus to Thespia he came back dejected
Fearing he’d be from the city ejected

But the king he did speak to him soft
He said  “keep your hope high keep it aloft

“Many men have followed this call
Most, of it, found no sign at all

“And, well, for all of the rest
They were not up to the lion’s own test

“But do not fear for none had your might
They’d surely not give it much of a fight

“Now, come, join me for dinner once more”
He said as he walked through a great oaken door

But after they ate and retired for rest
She appeared once more with carnal behest

Again and again as before did they fuck
To know such a woman he assumed it was luck

But once more when the night passed to morn
He found himself weary and worn

Thus still he was only able to track
He began to wonder what he did lack

But the king, again, said all was quite well
He could not see intentions – my son couldn’t tell

Thus the pattern repeated each day
Where by night with the woman he’d lay

And always he would fail at his task
Then to feast the king would him ask

Fifty times did this pattern repeat
Until a night where she didn’t him greet

While disappointed at the lack of their fun
This was the reason he hadn’t yet won

So when Dawn greeted with rosy red fingers
Sleep didn’t clutch, did not with him linger

Before even the noon of that day had passed by
He found the lion where in the sun it did lie

With a twitch of its tail it knew he was there
It was able to smell his strength on the air

At him it did turn and loudly did roar
It saw him a challenge, would not Mercy implore

They circled each other, did ever draw near
Neither was willing to give into Fear

Then all of a sudden together they leapt
But my son did not draw the weapons he kept

In the mid of air they violently crashed
They wrestled, they bit, for hours they clashed

But finally its jaws he managed to hold
It no longer could kill with countenance cold

For now in the grip of his powerful arm
It had no hope to do any harm

With the swiftest of twists he snapped its furred neck
And thus he did all the cattle protect

And though not used to end the beast’s life
He then did take a very sharp knife

With the greatest of skill and the greatest of care
He took its skin, its hide, and its hair

He brought it to Thespia, back to that city
Had made it a cloak, so warm and so pretty

The skull, it fit right on over his head
For ’twas harder than iron, than bronze, and than lead

Two of its legs he tied round his thick neck
And his back the rest did protect

This was to be that lion’s last penance
For being to all a most horrid menace

He strode into the king’s great and grand hall
He showed what he’d done, showed it to all

“Thank you!” he said before all of the rest
“Truly you’ve proved that your line’s the best

“To mark the end of your being here
Let’s once more join with good food and cheer”

But that evening when all they did sup
Alceides still didn’t know what was up

Thespios’s wife was sitting right there
Megamede, so bold and so fair

Their daughters too, fifty in number
Each of whom made him think of missed slumber

But still could he not see what he’d done
That he had bedded each every one

So even when he bid them farewell
That they all bore his sons, he just couldn’t tell

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