Galatea then said, "Acis was the son of Faunus
and a Naiad. His father and mother loved him dearly, but their
love was not equal to mine. For the beautiful youth attached
himself to me alone, and he was just sixteen years old, the down
just beginning to darken his cheeks. As much as I sought his
society, so much did the cyclops seek mine; and if you ask me
whether my love for Acis or my hatred for Polyphemus was the
stronger, I cannot tell you; they were in equal measure. Oh,
Venus, how great is thy power!
This fierce giant, the terror of
the woods, whom no hapless stranger escaped unharmed, who defied
even Jove himself, learned to feel what love was, and touched
with a passion for me, forgot his flocks and his well-stored
caverns. Then, for the first time, he began to take some care of
his appearance, and to try to make himself agreeable; he harrowed
those coarse locks of his with a comb, and mowed his beard with a
sickle, looked at his harsh features in the water, and composed
his countenance. His love of slaughter, his fierceness and
thirst of blood prevailed no more, and ships that touched at his
island went away in safety.
He paced up and down the sea-shore,
imprinting huge tracks with his heavy tread, and, when weary, lay
tranquilly in his cave.
"There is a cliff which projects into the sea, which washes it on
either side. Thither one day the huge Cyclops ascended, and sat
down while his flocks spread themselves around. Laying down his
staff which would have served for a mast to hold a vessel's sail,
and taking his instrument, compacted of numerous pipes, he made
the hills and the waters echo the music of his song. I lay hid
under a rock, by the side of my beloved Acis, and listened to the
distant strain. It was full of extravagant praises of my beauty,
mingled with passionate reproaches of my coldness and cruelty.
"When he had finished he rose up, and like a raging bull, that
cannot stand still, wandered off into the woods.
Acis and I
thought no more of him, till on a sudden he came to a spot which
gave him a view of us as we sat. 'I see you,' he exclaimed, 'and
I will make this the last of your love-meetings.' His voice was
a roar such as an angry Cyclops alone could utter. AEtna
trembled at the sound. I, overcome with terror, plunged into the
water. Acis turned and fled, crying, 'Save me, Galatea, save me,
my parents!" The Cyclops pursued him, and tearing a rock from
the side of the mountain hurled it at him. Though only a corner
of it touched him it overwhelmed him.
"All that fate left in my power I did for Acis. I endowed him
with the honors of his grandfather the river-god. The purple
blood flowed out from under the rock, but by degrees grew paler
and looked like the stream of a river rendered turbid by rains,
and in time it became clear. The rock cleaved open, and the
water, as it gushed from the chasm, uttered a pleasing murmur."
Thus Acis was changed into a river, and the river retains the
name of Acis.
The Legend and Myth of Acis and Galatea
The Myth of Acis and Galatea
The story of Acis and Galatea is featured in the book
entitled 'The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods
and Heroes' by Thomas Bulfinch. Thomas
Bulfinch's study of Greek and Roman Mythology, was first published in