Mercury and Apollo
– O brother, how I envy you
your swiftness and your grace in flying,
your intelligence and smooth agility,
by cleverness surpassing everyone
and fooling every mind except your own.
– It’s not my fault. I was just born that way
and am a slave in that capacity,
since I always have to work so hard,
just hurrying everywhere with urgent messages
of bad news from the gods to hopeless mortals.
Your vocation is by far more honourable,
being basically and one-sidedly creative,
since you mainly deal with only inspiration.
– But I lack your communicative facility.
The world is not receptive of my influence
except by singular exceptions,
since only geniuses can understand me.
On the other hand, you can be everywhere at once,
communicate with everyone and always get your message through.
I am an isolated god who finds true happiness
in almost only making poetry and music by myself.
For instance, Orpheus did understand me,
but was killed for all his arts by mortals.
– Don’t complain. You are nevertheless supreme
among the gods for your refinement, excellence and beauty,
being actually the only true inspiring power of the gods.
Ask Homer, if you don’t believe me.
– And what happened? Homer was replaced by Virgil
by the Romans, who ran down the world to hell
in chaos, cruelty, dictatorship, intolerance,
barbarity, fanaticism and the Dark Ages.
– But that Roman empire perished,
while you still have Homer left
with Orpheus, Euripides and many others,
not to mention the philosophers
like Plato and Pythagoras, who all were Greeks
or stuck to Greek, like Mark Aurelius.
– Well, you comfort me, no doubt about it,
and I thank you for it, for I really need it
sometimes in my doldrums of melancholy.
What can I do for you, my brother, in return?
– Just keep on being what you are,
remain the paragon of beauty, culture and refinement,
discipline and purity and light of spirit that you always were,
and I’ll be able to perform my work
of constant journeying even better and with smoother swiftness,
while I really couldn’t make good speed
or any speed at all without your inspiration.
– Thank you, brother.