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Friday, January 27, 2012

Orpheus January 27

Orpheus: Take Li’l Wayne, roll him in Paul McCartney and John Lennon, dip him in Beethoven and Mozart, and sprinkle with Louis Armstrong: that was Orpheus, greatest musician who ever lived.  They say when he played, the trees would bend down and rivers would stop to listen. 1 Orpheus was one of the original Argonauts, which is a pretty impressive thing for a musician to have on his resume, but his big claim to fame had to do with Eurydice, his lover.  He and Eurydice were deliriously happy until she was bitten by a snake and died. 2  Distraught over her loss, he went into the underworld to retrieve her.  He played so movingly, that big fat tears rolled down Persephone’s face – Hades doesn’t seem to have been a music lover – and agreed to send Eurydice back with Orpheus.  On One Condition.  There’s always One Condition, isn’t there?  Just when you think you’ll get your sweetheart back from the dead, here comes One Condition lurking into the room to lob a stinker.  Orpheus’ One Condition was he couldn’t look back – Eurydice would follow him back to the land of the living, but he couldn’t take a peak to check until they were safely out.  A snap, right?  Well, not for Orpheus.  Great musician, but no willpower.  Just as he was reaching daylight, he stole one quick glance.  What he saw was this: Eurydice’s back as she turned around to head back down because he’d blown it.  So having lost his lover, not once, but twice, to death, Orpheus did the only thing he could do.  He wrote a song about it.  Orpheus came to a bad end in Thrace.  Some Thracian groupies, learning he was single again, wanted him to party with them, but Orpheus just wanted to sing about Eurydice.  "Quit singing about her!" they said.  "We like your old stuff!"  Finally they figured enough was enough, and they tore him to pieces. 3

1. The river part is pretty impressive, but what else has a tree got to do?
2. They always blame a snake, you notice that?
3. Fans!


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