Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Sirens Remain the Same

Ulysses and the Sirens, Herbert Draper

As we departed Circe's Island, she warned me of the impending danger ahead as we passed the island of the Sirens. She instructed me to plug up all of the ears of my crewmen and to have them tie me to the mast as the beauteous melodies that came from the Sirens cast a spell over those who hear it. Their tunes cause men to thrust themselves overboard into the sea and ultimately to their death.

I vowed to myself that this would not be the fate of my crew. I obeyed Circe’s advice and filled all of my seamen’s ears with wax. They then bound me to the mast tightly. I instructed them to keep me tied up, even if I begged and pleaded with them to untie me. The Sirens weren’t going to get another ship.

As we sailed by, I became desperate to lunge into the sea, but my crew obeyed my previous orders and just pulled me tighter to the mast. Then, as we sailed away, the music becoming fainter, I gave the signal to unseal their ears and untie me. We had conquered the Sirens.

-- by the Greek poet Homer in his Epos Odyssey, circa eighth century BC.

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"Song of the Sirens" scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou?, 2000 AD.


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