elements of this tale probably originated before the dawn of writing,
the story itself was put to paper by Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43
B.C. – 17 A.D.) in his Metamorphoses (VIII, 611-724) and was
translated into English by John Dryden (1631-1700).
As I have taken the liberty of excerpting salient points of the
story to suit the purposes of this exhibit, viewers are encouraged to
read it elsewhere in its entirety. The version presented here is
extracted from the very volume suggested by Professor Robinson, namely:
Literature in Translation, edited by Kevin Guinagh and
Alfred Paul Dorjahn (Longmans, Green and Co., 1942 – 1960).
Only a brief story, Baucis
& Philemon nevertheless contains a number of diverse
threads reminiscent of the Bible, including: the flood; Lot and his
wife and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; Mary Magdalene washing
Christ’s feet; and the miracle of the loaves and fish. Moreover, it
illustrates any number of virtues always worth attention, including:
devotion, friendship, frugality, generosity, gratitude, hospitality,
humility, prudence, and reverence.
For this reader, Baucis
& Philemon is such a powerful love story that, even
after first reading it almost sixty years ago, instead of just river
boulders, trees, or even a happy, oblivious couple, I often see Baucis
and Philemon living, toiling and loving together, at least until the
Twelfth of Never…