And when suddenly
the god stopped her and, with anguish in his cry,
uttered the words: 'He has turned round' -
she comprehended nothing and said softly: 'Who?'
from Rainer Marie Rilke, Orpheus, Hermes, Eurydice
Gods and Mortals in Love
On her wedding day, Eurydice was running in a meadow with Orpheus when she was bitten by a serpent. The poison of the sting killed her and she descended to Hades immediately.
Orpheus was son of Apollo and was blessed with musical talents. Orpheus was so bereft at the loss of Eurydice that he composed music to express the emptiness of his life without her. In desperation, he descended to the underworld to beg for her. Many had approached Hades to beg for loved ones back and all had been denied.
But Orpheus' music softened the hard heart of Hades himself. Hades gave his permission to Orpheus to bring Eurydice back to the world of light with only one condition: Orpheus must not look back as he ascended. He must trust that Eurydice followed him. The journey back was long and difficult and as he glimpsed the light, he turned and looked behind him. Eurydice fell back into the Underworld.
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