Dr. Zeus – Book I – Canto XXIIII

Of the best of them
And how he must fall
Of happiness fleeting
And passion’s defeating
Of my cruel twist of fate
So he wouldn’t be late
Of the arrogant wretch he finally became
Just so our house could remain still the same
-Oh halcyon Muses nine-
For your version I simply haven’t the time
Never again will I sing of my son
For soon enough he will be undone
Ever my mind is not sacrosanct
On no hope or god can existence be banked
So now all of you listen, weep and then wail
As he unravels right here, in this very tale

We Did Wait With Baited Breath For My Son Alceides’s Death

Alceides did know what must inexorably be
Thus he lived for the moment, his spirit was free

At first he did blubber and mournfully cried
Now he cared not what he left when he died

For now he knew true what came of the dead
Of what humans ‘came when they weren’t to life wed

They’d flit, they’d flicker down in Dis’s domain
They’d not even ‘member their very own name

Everyone shares this very same fate
And in this way does all life relate

Only in song can dead spirits dwell
But it’s hardly the same – as any can tell

In time he did realize – it just didn’t matter!
Why should he care if men his deeds flatter

For when he is dead, to him it’s the same
If they attribute his actions to Herakles name

Time itself may twist and be bent
But from he him himself they couldn’t be rent

He may be destroyed – his deeds they’d undo
But for now and for him they’d always be true

So for lust, so for sorrow, for the joy of it all
Into inaction he never would fall

Thus Deianeira, his love and his wife
With her he lived out his glories and life

But the cause of his end had already been set
It just, to him, hadn’t come yet

For some time before they came to Nessos’s river
Who would, postmortem, my son’s death deliver

As a ferry himself he had there set
And all of their deaths would this decision beget

For Alceides himself would swim to the bank
While Deianeira perched on Nessos’s flank

But the centaur’s mind was swollen with lust
And he wasn’t one that women could trust

For Alceides is swift as he is strong
And crossed the river before very long

Nessos then chose actions perverse
Of what he could do nothing was worse

He grabbed and he groped, he acted untoward
Deianeira’s desire, her pleas he ignored

Back he returned to their starting shore
While on ears deaf she still did implore

But there was one who did listen – there was one who did care
Alceides, her husband, for her he was there

But he was unsure if he could reach them in time
If he could stop Nessos’s crime

So he elected instead to take out his bow
And draw back the string, aim careful and slow

As straight as Apollo’s his arrow then flew
And Nessos’s torso, it punched it right through

So as then he stumbled down onto the shore
He began to feel as he never before

For as Thanatos came he felt life surrender
His blood further rose right down to his member

So he collapsed, made a sexual sound
His seed spilled out onto the ground

Deianeira he then set down on her feet
But still he refused, he’d not take defeat

“Well” he then said “I can not pretend
That my life has not now come to an end

“But I still have a chance – I may yet atone
I can ensure that you’ll be never alone

“For your husband’s a hero and I know well their kind
They just cannot keep one love in mind

“It will only be time ‘til he does of you tire
There’s no love eternal; Aphrodite’s a liar

“But if you will now a dying man trust
I’ll give you a way to rekindle his lust

“If together you mix all that I’ve spilt
His love for you – it never will wilt

“For that of my orchid and that of my heart
They both for you yearn, each every part

“If onto his chiton their mixture you coat
For you with love will your husband be smote”

This plot Nessos hatched for he knew my son’s trick
How his arrows were deadly with even a prick

The dread hydra’s poison was now in his blood
Which fell from his chest in a thick crimson flood

Enkindle it wouldn’t mad Passion’s flames
The potion instead would put death in his veins

But the words of the centaur, they had struck a chord
For Deianeira wished to be ever adored

So his instructions she followed – she had not a real choice
For at her husband’s seduction would many rejoice

But she never did worry – did never begrudge
Thus I did have to give her a nudge

When Oichalia fell and Lichas returned
I seized ‘pon my chance when of Iole she had learned

For ‘gainst that city Alceides bore grudge
When before their king just wouldn’t budge

There was a contest for his own daughter’s hand
But on Alceides winning he just hadn’t planned

For Eurytos was scared of my powerful son
The husband of Iole he’d not let him ‘come

So Alceides then left, accepted defeat
But now he avenged that old kings conceit

So here now was Lichas, declaring with pride
That they brought back Iole to be her son’s bride

But first they must to me sacrifice
So Alceides sent him to grab something nice

Deianeira he asked to the fineries fetch
And then I sent Envy that damnable wretch

She took on the form of a most common maid
And thus came to help when Deianeira bade

“I must mistress say”  Envy began
“I’m simply not sure that he does marriage plan

“This is the girl that he before did desire
In the sole cause of her capture to satisfy ire?

“Now it’s not that I your husband distrust
But perhaps he means to satisfy lust

“For I never have heard of a man such as him
Not yielding to every sexual whim

“If you pardon my saying for all of your vigor
You now do have a matronly figure

“Might he desire a maiden of youth?
Oh! Please forgiveness – I have been uncouth

“I’m sure he sent for this beauteous dress
Not in order to a young girl impress”

The clothing now gathered did Envy depart
Her craft she truly does turn into art

Left all alone, and Doubt having seed
Deianeira did what I did of her need

That ill fated potion she spread on the cloth
For truly that maid had made her all wroth

And though she her husband intended to keep
Soon for this action she surely would weap

For those venomous clothes Lichas brought to his master
The ritual flames had made them act faster

Aided by heat his flesh it did burn
For any relief Alceides did yearn

He tore at the fabric – it did not help at all
He tore at his flesh – to his knees did he fall

There was nothing to do – they could give no relief
They only could watch and be devoured by grief

And when it was clear he could not the venom expunge
At Lichas, his servant, he did viciously lunge

He grabbed at his ankles and spun him around
From Lichas’s lips came a horrified sound

Out he was thrown, far over the sea
While everyone else did scatter and flee

Thus to Deianeira word had returned
The cause of it all she, that potion, she learned

She did realize then Nessos’s plan
To avenge one’s own death? – they certainly can

She just couldn’t bear the grief and the guilt
There by her hand her own blood was spilt

At the same time he did with everyone plead
To help him now in this time of his need

But the assistance he asked was to help set alight
A pyre he built so he could end his own plight

No one would do it, they all from him shied
But an old friend he suddenly spied

Poias had wandered as he searched for his sheep
And he’d be the one to put Alceides to sleep

He gave him his bow what had once been his joy
That which now did him destroy

And so Poias, that king, did what my son did request
Alceides, at last, he then put to rest

No!

I mustn’t forget I’ll hold onto his name
I simply, I must! I’ll keep it, retain!

His fate is too cruel I made him to die
Be replaced and erased – I have to now try

So as he did burn – when that last life did drain
I held in my heart Herakles name

For after all, while he is exalted in songs
It’s among us gods that he truly belongs

So now setting all of his heroics aside
Defeating the Giants would be his new pride

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