These were they that held Cyparissus
, rocky Pytho, holy Crisa, Daulis, and Panopeus; they also that dwelt in Anemorea and Hyampolis, and about the waters of the river Cephissus, and Lilaea by the springs of the Cephissus; with their chieftains came forty ships, and they marshalled the forces of the Phoceans, which were stationed next to the Boeotians, on their left.
Next is the brief story of Cyparissus, a boy who accidentally kills his pet deer (10.86-147).
Ovid then tells the story of Cyparissus, a boy beloved by Apollo (deo dilectus ab illo, 107).
The scenes in the National Gallery are Apollo Killing the Cyclops, The Punishment of Midas by Apollo, Apollo and Daphne, The Transformation of Cyparissus
(only the lower, larger portion), Mercury Stealing the Herds of Admetus Guarded by Apollo, Apollo Slaying the Nymph Coronus, and Apollo and Neptune with Laomedon.
Anxious-looking Medea flies into the sky on a chariot pulled by dragons, and Cyparissus
looks at the stag he has accidentally killed and is then doomed to spend eternity mourning.
We will be pitiless with Carya, who was transformed into a walnut tree; and with Phyllis, who died for love and was turned into an almond tree; and with Cyparissus
, who accidentally killed the deer who kept him company and in his pain asked the gods to change him into a cypress, the tree that always cries, the tree of the dead.
Orpheus's first songs focus on Ganymede (the boy Jove seized and made his cupbearer) and the fetishized love of the boy Cyparissus
for his pet deer.
As it stands in H.D.'s Collected Poems, 1914-1944, "The God" sequence deliberately revises Ovid's Metamorphosis, rewriting and resituating the stories linked by Ovid to the Orpheus myth.(6) In Ovid, the Orpheus series of stories begins with Orpheus's descent to the underworld and his winning/ losing Eurydice; Ovid interpolates the story of Cyparissus
and then has Orpheus narrate the stories of Ganymede, Apollo and Hyacinthus, Pygmalion, Cinyras and Myrrha, and Adonis, within which Aphrodite tells the story of Atalanta that ends Book Ten.
But his fascinating case in point is a drawing by Giuliano Romano that appears to show Apollo making love to Hyacinthus or Cyparissus
. A female witness to this male lovemaking holds her finger to her lips, a gesture traditionally thought to originate with Harpocrates, god of silence.
He then cites the example of Jupiter and Ganymede, for the High Middle Ages the paradigmatic case of homoerotic love, in addition to Apollo's love for the youths Hyacinthus and Cyparissus
, and the cross-dressing of Bacchus.(27) It is hard to imagine a more self-reflexive question.
An overlooked parallel to this described scene, if not a partial source for it, in which an individual weeps for a stricken deer, may be found in Ovid's story of Cyparissus, in the tenth book of the Metamorphoses.(2) In this tale, Cyparissus, by accident, fatally wounds a friendly stag to which he has become strongly attached.
This aspect of the Cyparissus story joins with several other classical references in As You Like It to characters found in the tenth book of the Metamorphoses, like Orlando's and Jaques' respective alusions to the story of Atlanta (III.ii.144, III.ii.272), and Rosalind's adoption, in her masculine guise, of the name Ganymede.