Hero and Leander
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 18.07.2015 - 28 Seiten
Hero and Leander is a poem by Christopher Marlowe that retells the Greek myth of Hero and Leander. After Marlowe's untimely death it was completed by George Chapman. The minor poet Henry Petowe published an alternative completion to the poem. The poem was first published posthumously, five years after Marlowe's demise. Marlowe's poem relates the Greek legend of Hero and Leander, young lovers living in cities on opposite sides of the Hellespont, a narrow stretch of the sea in what is now northwestern Turkey, and which separates Europe and Asia. Hero is a priestess or devotee of Venus (goddess of love and beauty) in Sestos, who lives in chastity despite being devoted to the goddess of love. At a festival in honour of her deity, Venus and Adonis, she is seen by Leander, a youth from Abydos on the opposite side of the Hellespont. Leander falls in love with her, and she reciprocates, although cautiously, as she has made a vow of chastity to Venus. Leander convinces her to abandon her fears. Hero lives in a high tower overlooking the water; he asks her to light a lamp in her window, and he promises to swim the Hellespont each night to be with her. She complies. On his first night's swim, Leander is spotted by Neptune (Roman god of the sea), who confuses him with Ganymede and carries him to the bottom of the ocean. Discovering his mistake, the god returns him to shore with a bracelet supposed to keep him safe from drowning. Leander emerges from the Hellespont, finds Hero's tower and knocks on the door, which Hero then opens to find him standing stark naked. She lets him "whisper in her ear, / Flatter, entreat, promise, protest, and swear," and after a series of coy, half-hearted attempts to "defend the fort" she yields to bliss. The poem breaks off as dawn is breaking.
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