The Deaf Satyr part 2


    He was a capricious satyr.

    He had two court counselors: a lark and an ass. The first had lost her prestige when the satyr went deaf. Formerly, when, weary with lust, he softly played his flute, the lark accompanied him.

    Afterward, in his great forest, where he could not hear even the voice of Olympian thunder, the patient animal of the long ears served him as mount, while the lark, at break of dawn, flew out of his hands, singing on her flight to the skies.

    The forest was vast. To the lark belonged the tree-tops; to the ass, the pasture. The lark was greeted by the first gleams of dawn; she drank dew in the shoots; she awoke the oak, singing to it, “Old oak, awake.” She rejoice ‘ in a kiss from the sun; she was beloved by the morning star.

    And the blue firmament so vast knew that she, so tiny, dwelt beneath its immensity. The ass (though he had not yet conversed with Kant) was an expert in philosophy, according to common report. The satyr, who saw him browsing in the pasture, swaying his ears with a solemn air, held such a thinker in high esteem. In those days the ass was not so famous as to-day. As he moved his jaws, one could hardly have imagined that men yet would write in his praise: Daniel Heinsius, in Latin; Passerat, Buffon and the great Hugo, in French; Posada and Valderrama, in Spanish.

    The strange noise of his throat

    Phlegmatically, if the flies bit him, he would frighten them off with his tail, kick from time to time and send forth, under the vault of the woods, the strange noise of his throat. He was the petted favorite there. As he took his midday nap on the dark and grateful earth, the plants and flowers gave out their sweetest scents. And the great trees inclined their foliage to lend him shade.

    It was in those days that Orpheus, affrighted at the misery of mankind, bethought himself to flee to the woods, where the trunks and the stones would understand him and listen in ecstasy, and where he could tremble with harmony and the fire of love and life to the sounds of his instrument.

    When Orpheus plucked his lyre there was a smile on the countenance of Apollo. Demeter thrilled with pleasure. The palm-trees shed their pollen, the seeds burst, the lions gently moved their manes. Once a carnation flew from its stem transformed into a red butterfly, and a star came down from the heavens in thrall and became a fleur delis.

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