“Circe” by Louis Chalon, c. 1888
When Ulysses, after the fall of Troy, as the “Odyssey” relates it, went voyaging in search of adventures, he landed at the island of Aeaea, to the westward of Sicily, which was ruled over by the fairhaired and beautiful sorceress Circe, the daughter of the Sun. Around her wonderful palace, where she sat enthroned on a golden throne, in a pond of lotus and lilies, roved herds of beasts, wolves, lions, tigers, oxen, and the like, which had once been human beings and whom she had transformed by her spells. The companions of Ulysses, feasting and drinking her drugged wine while guests at her palace, were converted by her incantations into swine, but the hero himself, forewarned by Mercury and provided by him with a supply of mystic herb called moly, was proof against her sorcerey. His invulnerability, courage, and manly beauty captivated the lovely witch, and for a year he remained her guest, when, having induced her, out of her love for him, to disenchant his companions, he resumed his voyage. Louis Chalon, the painter, is a native of Paris, and a pupil of Jules Lefebvre and G. Boulanger.