Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Possible link between Cupid and Psyche and Nightwish

Been a while since I posted a Nightwish song! High time again.

Their song "Planet Hell" repeats these lyrics: "Save yourself a penny for the ferryman/Save yourself and let them suffer." At first I assumed this was just describing a horrible place. But when I read the full version of "Cupid and Psyche" (the earliest known version in the history of "Beauty and the Beast"), I discovered that one of her tasks was to take the ferry to hell. She is given two halfpence to carry in her mouth (I don't know why) and specifically instructed, "and it shall come to passe as thou sittest in the boat thou shalt see an old man swimming on the top of the river, holding up his deadly hands, and desiring thee to receive him into the barke, but have no regard to his piteous cry..." and other sorry creatures Psyche is forbidden to share her pennies with, because otherwise she'll never leave hell. The people pleading for help, we are told, are traps set by Venus, so Psyche is not actually guilty of cruelty.

Was this an intentional allusion to Cupid and Psyche, as Beauty and the Beast is a favorite theme of songwriter Tuomas Holopainen? Who knows.

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