Eros and Psyche (Robert Bridges)

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Eros and Psyche is a narrative poem with strong romantic and tragic themes: first published in 1885 by Robert Bridges.

Bridges' Eros and Psyche retells the Eros (Cupid) and Psyche myth first recorded by Lucius Apuleius in his book The Golden Ass.[1] The work received critical acclaim; Coventry Patmore expressing the opinion that Bridge's version would become the standard form of Apuleius myth.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

As Psyche - the youngest daughter of a petty Cretan king - grows into the full flower of womanhood, she becomes worshiped by the common people as the living apotheosis of Aphrodite. Aphrodite - noting her worshipers forsaking her temples to instead ask for the princess' blessings - demands speedy vengeance. Commanding her own son (Cupid) for her purpose: Aphrodite orders him to make the Princess Psyche fall in love with some ugly, worthless vagabond. Cupid departs upon his mission.

Cupid's capriciousness - his delight in making gods and men love someone unobtainable - is amply repaid by the Fates: who now condemn him to experience the same. Arriving in Crete and seeing Psyche: Cupid himself falls helplessly in love with her, and resolves to marry her himself and protect her from his own mother's jealous ire. Cupid whisks his beloved Psyche away to a secret dwelling place - conjured into existence by his own divine powers: here Psyche can remain in safety, being protected watched and served by friendly spirits.[3]

Structure[edit]

The poem is divided into twelve cantos - one for each of the twelve months of the year - which gives the poem a certain, almost "pastoral" feel. The number of stanzas in each canto equals the number of days in that month: so the first canto March has 31 stanzas, the second canto April has 30 stanzas, and so on. Each stanza is a septet (i.e. comprises exactly seven lines) which follow the same end-rhyming schema of a-b-a-b-c-c-b.[4]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bridges, Robert. The Poems of Robert Bridges. London: Oxford University Press, 1953. pp. 89-184
  2. ^ Stanford, D. E. ;In the classic mode: the achievement of Robert Bridges University of Delaware Press 1978, p67 ISBN 978-0-87413-118-5
  3. ^ Bridges, Robert. The Poems of Robert Bridges. London: Oxford University Press, 1953. pp. 89-184.
  4. ^ Bridges, Robert. The Poems of Robert Bridges. London: Oxford University Press, 1953. pp. 89-ff.