from the White House, down a street filled with homeless
By this name the Latins designated the Muses, but included under it also some other deities, principally nymphs of fountains. Egeria was one of them, whose fountain and grotto are still shown. It was said that Numa, the second king of Rome, was favored by this nymph with secret interviews, in which she taught him those lessons of wisdom and of law which he embodied in the institutions of his rising nation. After the death of Numa the nymph pined away and was changed into a fountain.
Byron, in Childe Harold, Canto IV., thus alludes to Egeria and her grotto:
"Here didst thou dwell in this enchanted cover, Egeria! All thy heavenly bosom beating For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover; The purple midnight veiled that mystic meeting With her most starry canopy."
Tennyson, also, in his Palace of Art, gives us a glimpse of the royal lover expecting the interview.
"Holding one hand against his ear, To list a footfall ere he saw The wood-nymph, stayed the Tuscan king to hear Of wisdom and of law."
When so many less active agencies were personified, it is not to be supposed that the winds failed to be so. They were Boreas or Aquilo, the north wind, Zephyrus or Favonius, the west, Notus or Auster, the south, and Eurus, the east. The first two have been chiefly celebrated by the poets, the former as the type of rudeness, the latter of gentleness. Boreas loved the nymph Orithyia, and tried to play the lover's part, but met with poor success. It was hard for him to breathe gently, and sighing was out of the question. Weary at last of fruitless endeavors, he acted out his true character, seized the maiden and carried her off. Their children were Zetes and Calais, winged warriors, who accompanied the Argonautic expedition, and did good service in an encounter with those monstrous birds the Harpies.
Zephyrus was the lover of Flora. Milton alludes to them in Paradise Lost, where he describes Adam waking and contemplating Eve still asleep:
"He on his side Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love Hung over her enamored, and beheld Beauty which, whether waking or asleep, Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice, Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, Her hand soft touching, whispered thus, 'Awake! My fairest, my espoused, my latest found, Heaven's last, best gift, my ever-new delight.'"