There was built out from the shore a mole, constructed to break the assaults of the sea, and stem its violent ingress. She leaped upon this barrier and (it was wonderful she could do so) she flew, and striking the air with wings produced on the instant, skimmed along the surface of the water, an unhappy bird. As she flew, her throat poured forth sounds full of grief, and like the voice of one lamenting. When she touched the mute and bloodless body, she enfolded its beloved limbs with her new- formed wings, and tried to give kisses with her horny beak. Whether Ceyx felt it, or whether it was only the action of the waves, those who looked on doubted, but the body seemed to raise its head. But indeed he did feel it, and by the pitying gods both of them were changed into birds. They mate and have their young ones. For seven placid days, in winter time, Halcyone broods over her nest, which floats upon the sea. Then the way is safe to seamen. Aeolus guards the winds, and keeps them from disturbing the deep. The sea is given up, for the time, to his grandchildren.
The following lines from Byron's Bride of Abydos might seem borrowed from the concluding part of this description, if it were not stated that the author derived the suggestion from observing the motion of a floating corpse.
"As shaken on his restless pillow, His head heaves with the heaving billow; That hand, whose motion is not life, Yet feebly seems to menace strife, Flung by the tossing tide on high,. Then levelled with the wave "
Milton, in his Hymn for the Nativity, thus alludes to the fable of the Halcyon:
"But peaceful was the night Wherein the Prince of light His reign of peace upon the earth began; The winds with wonder whist, Smoothly the waters kist, Whispering new joys to the mild ocean Who now hath quite forgot to rave While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave."
Keats, also, in Endymion, says:
"O magic sleep! O comfortable bird That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind Till it is hushed and smooth."
Chapter VI Vertumnus and Pomona. Cupid and Psyche