Leda’s Seduction by a Swan: Erotica from Pompeii 79AD … and Beyond

Archaeologists found erotica dated 79AD in long lost Pompeii which is is a vast archaeological site in South Italy! The Roman fresco depicts a myth in which Zeus turned into a swan and raped the Queen of Sparta!  

A NOTE: I was directed to these famous poems by that cricketer and  drama Professor from Flinders University Michael Morley who also penned this comment: “I have kept a swan outfit in my wardrobe for many years, but, alas, I don’t think it’s up to Zeus’ standard, as the only times I flapped out in it, there was no real favourable response from any females, let alone regal ones.”

I add: he now relies on the piano for his ventures.

…. and he has been good enough to direct me to famous poems on this Roman tale…. that by Yeats and another by Riike… but then indicated that the only two translations he “checked out via Google are woeful”; while noting that “there is a fascinating link to the wonderful actor Oskar Werner reading the poem in German with English prose translation over accompanying images. It’s a subject famous in the visual arts: there’s a gorgeous Cezanne painting as well.” Needless to say, Morley is fluent in Deutsch!

THE POEM BY W. B. YEATS 1865-1939

Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
                    Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
  ***  **

Leda und der Schwan von Léon Riesener


Francois Boucher

NB: these selectiosns are from http://www.dailyartmagazine.com/the-best-of-leda-and-a-swan-paintings/



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2 responses to “Leda’s Seduction by a Swan: Erotica from Pompeii 79AD … and Beyond

  1. Loved it!
    Close on the heels of having seen The Children Act,,, in which Yeats plays a significant part!
    Jeni xxx

  2. Pingback: Facing Charles Sarvan: Mark his Obliteration of Context | Thuppahi's Blog

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