Dr. Zeus – Book I – Canto XXII

Of giving a start
For I broke it apart
Of a circuitous chace
To find a new place
Of those damned little whelps
How Athene did help
Of new nobility sewn into the ground
That beginning of Thebes – how he did found
-Oh halcyon Muses nine-
For your version I simply haven’t the time
This is no tale of planned nobility
Rather one of all our stupidity
This story of errors is simply comedic
How both of my sons undermined my edict
But they and I failed, both ben and malevolent
And so now I sing these songs irreverent

Oh All Of The Madness That Does Surround Cadmus

Agenor’s sons next I would aid
For for my actions they unfairly had paid

But I could not to him return his dear daughter
She was happy in Crete where her people did laud her

So no way had I to that family unite
The best I could do was to end their long flight

So thus I declared, I spoke it and made fate
That they’d each have a home, their wanderings sate

For never could they return to their home
Their father, his rancour, time only had grown

Stubborn, insistent, he ever would stay
If they came back alone them he would slay

So subtle I’d guide, do deeds anonymous
And give each a land for them all eponymous

First ‘twas Phoinix whom I did guide
I gave him Phoenicia in which he’d take pride

Cilix did settle in a similar place
And while Cilicia’s lesser Love did him grace
For Thasos, my nephew, there with him stayed
They had such love as together they laidHowever by the time it was Cadmus’s turn
Of my plans Apollo did learn

As always he was desirous of power
So at any my plan he with ire would glower
Thus he’d pretend, proffer futures untrue
Forcing my hand in what I must do

Through the guise of a girl he’d offer men words
Craft them a fate, silly, absurd

“You must first find a hepher” he then to them spoke
“One free of labour, unknowing of yoke

“You have to her follow, you mustn’t lose sight
Or it never will end, this harrowing flight

“For only where she does lie down and sleep
Only there Peace can you keep

There you can make a new home
Elsewise, forever you ever shall roam”

Now he may be an ass but Apollo is clever
His wits rival mine, the lord of the weather

For it did sound like a prophecy true
So now they did what they thought they must do

And while a critter by chance might lead them right
It just as easy could lead them to plight

I knew what to do, myself I’d degrade
But ‘twas a price I willingly paid

I had to them lead, I must show the way
Me they did need to know where they’d stay

While for the sister I became a strong bull
A cow now for the brother to the prophecy fillSo at the base of the mount where Apollo sewed lies
There I did wait in bovine disguise

As soon as they saw me I went on their way
Not long as a hepher I wished then to stay
I led to the east and a bit to the south
Till all them were hungry and dry in the mouth

At length we arrived where they needed to be
‘Twas ideal for a city all them could see

So a ritual they began to prepare
So at last Strife would them spare

They did need living water from spring or a creek
The prince sent his men to the wilds to seek

They went to a forest, dense, overgrown
But ‘twas not just Apollo whose deceit had been sewn

For too Ares knew where I wished to them take
And deep in a cavern he had hid a great snake

So when they rejoiced for their water they’d found
Deep in his cave he was disturbed by their sound

It set out in a flash, as quick as the light
So sudden upon them – they could not fathom its might

They’d not try to fight – they abandoned their arms
They just ran away in panicked alarm

So one at a time it swallowed them up
‘Pon Cadmus’s warriors, that snake it did sup

But just as it heard them at the mouth of its cave
By their deaths a grave warning to Cadmus they gave

So unlike his fellows he was ready for war
Though he had not a clue what was in store

Still when through the brush he saw the great beast
It thought from his shock it would continue its feast

Its great fangs with venom were flecked
As it lunged out at Cadus who with his shield did protect

But there is a reason why his name is so grand
He recovered at once and a strike he did land

His spear it dug deep into the snake`s side
And the tip of it broke, lodged into its hide

Hissing and seething it started to back
But courage Cadmus in no way did lack

He pressed the attacked, now with his sword
He wouldn’t retreat, he’d always move toward

The dragon he cornered against a great tree
However it tried it just couldn’t flee

With a powerful thrust he drove through its head
Now pinned to the tree – it surely was dead

But Cadmus was granted no moment’s respite
For Athene appeared in her glory and might

“Cadmus she said, “you must do what I say
If you wish for your city, if you wish here to stay

“It’s fangs from its mouth you have to pry loose
And into the ground you’ll sew every tooth”

My daughter then left, she did not explain
Leaving Cadmus alone, who could no knowledge feign

But still, he would do what he was told
For no one wishes to Athene them scold

Though none could predict what would result
As the ground did shake in violent tumult

Out from each tooth that he had sewn

Sprung forth a man, all fully grown

Cadmus was wary, it only make sense
His every aspect showed he was tense

But one of the soldiers did to him say
“This isn’t your fight, your arms you may lay”

But that unfortunate man – as soon as he spoke
There was a spear in his neck – on his blood he did choke

All of the men who from the snake had been born
Turned on each other as their bodies were torn

It was chaos, it was madness, a real hurly burly
With Cadmus at side, nervous and squirly

It didn’t take long till there were only five left
But then they did stop, were of bloodlust bereft

Himself Eichon introduced as well as his brothers
Those born of beast – those having no mother

Together those six laid the foundation of Thebes
All them the royals to lead all the plebes

Thus Athene did save me, let me stay on my way
But still with her plan Cadmus did play

Some of the teeth he chose not to plant
But Athene won’t punish, she mustn’t, she can’t

For this she had done for simply my sake
Any action right now and her successes would break

And I’m sure that she’ll find some future use
Some stories in time those teeth will produce

But these aren’t the tales for me to now tell
For next I’ll address when I great power did fell

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