A symbolic representation of Satan presided at the festivals, and he assumed a number of disguises, in all of which we recognize Priapus in degenerated form. He very often appeared in the disguise of a goat; in fact the meeting place is called "Goat's Heath." The association of the goat with priapic ceremonies has already been mentioned.
"I say, Priapus, what vile port!" he said. "Is this some of the vintage you crocked poor old Hinton with?" "Any port in a storm, Falstaff," said the Goblin, mildly. As Forbes was pouring out the coffee loud shouts of "Minters!" greeted the next arrival. This was Johnny Blair of Tennessee and Trinity, the only American among the Scorpions.
Masques and balls, comedies and carnival processions filled the streets and squares and palaces of the Eternal City with a mimicry of pagan festivals, while art went hand in hand with luxury. It seemed as though Bacchus and Pallas and Priapus would be reinstated in their old realm, and yet Rome had not ceased to call herself Christian.
But, Thyrsis, for that thou surely wert wont to sing The Affliction of Daphnis, and hast most deeply meditated the pastoral muse, come hither, and beneath yonder elm let us sit down, in face of Priapus and the fountain fairies, where is that resting- place of the shepherds, and where the oak trees are.
Respected so long as the Roman manners preserved their pristine simplicity, but degraded and vilified in proportion as the morals of that people became corrupted, the very sanctuary itself of Priapus failed to protect him from obloquy and ridicule. Christian writers added their indignant invectives to the biting sarcasms of the poets, and the worship of Priapus would have been annihilated had not superstition and the force of habit, that most indestructible of all human affections, come to the rescue. These two powerful levers of mankind triumphed over reason and Christianity, and succeeded, notwithstanding the strenuous and continued efforts of the latter, in maintaining in some degree the worship of that filthy deity; for the Christian priests, while opposing
And to the mention of a Clementi piano, that short, gentle, sad, old, little sort of piano people will insist upon calling a spinet, in her flat. And so to this.... It was very wonderful and delicious, this first indulgence of sense. It was shabby and underhand. The great god Pan is a glorious god. But Priapus.... She was the most subtle, delightful and tender of created beings.
The houses were easily found by the stranger, as an appropriate emblem appeared over the door. This emblem of Priapus was generally a carved figure, in wood or stone, and was frequently painted to resemble nature more closely. The size ranged from a few inches in length to about two feet.
At times the meeting was at cross roads, a favorite location for Hermes, as stated elsewhere. Satan assumed a number of forms on these occasions other than that of the bearded goat. He was at times a serpent, or again an ox of brass. He was also represented as the trunk of a tree, sometimes as the oak. Priapus is readily recognized in all these various disguises.
To love, for our women, is to play at lying, as children play at hide and seek, a hideous orgy of the heart, worse than the lubricity of the Romans, or the Saturnalia of Priapus; a bastard parody of vice itself, as well as of virtue; a loathsome comedy where all is whispering and sidelong glances, where all is small, elegant, and deformed, like those porcelain monsters brought from China; a lamentable satire on all that is beautiful and ugly, divine and infernal; a shadow without a body, a skeleton of all that God has made."
He recalled to himself all the stories of Curés' servants who shared their masters' bed. Stories told in a whisper at certain general repasts, when the priests of the district met together at the senior's house to observe the feast of some saint or other the great Saint Priapus perhaps and where lively talk and sprightly stories ran merrily round the table.