Pyramus and Thisbe love (8AD)

a poem by rm shanmugam chettiar, India

Pyramus and Thisbe were close neighbours.
Pyramus and Thisbe were intimate lovers.
His parents and her parents were rivals.
They lived in the city of Babylon.
The houses connected by a common wall,
Both families were near and hence hostile.
Pyramus was handsome and Thisbe, pretty;
They were growing near, and hence fell in love. 1

Pyramus and Thisbe were forbidden to love.
Because forbidden, they were attracted.
Pyramus and Thisbe were prohibited to talk.
She found a way to talk to her lover.
She found a crack on the wall dividing
The twin houses, and threw a stone to draw
His eyes and both whispered love each other. 2

They fixed their tryst one day near Nina’s tomb
Under a mulberry tree for being together,
And to transact their feelings for each other.
Thisbe arrived the spot a little earlier,
By when she found a lioness with her mouth
Bloody from a recent kill, approaching.
Terrified at the sight she fled the spot,
Her clock slipping down behind her by then. 3

Pyramus arrived a little later
And was horrified at the shocking sight
Of his sweetheart’s clock, which the lioness had torn
And left the traces of the blood behind
All along the track, to instantly conclude
That the lady had been devoured by some beast.
Pyramus killed himself, falling on his sword-
A Babylonian way of suicide. 4

His killing himself had caused a splash of blood
That stained the white mulberry fruits dark purple.
After a while, Thisbe came back to the site,
Where she saw Pyramus body in the pool of blood.
Racked with uncontrollable agony,
She took her lover’s sword and threw her body
Onto it and ended her life with him.
The deaths of the both are the play of fate. 5

With her dying breath, she pleaded with the gods
That be in a single tomb their bodies
And that the mulberry trees in that site
Bear fruit in the hue of dark and not white,
In the memory of their tragic love.
Mulberry fruits turn dark when they are ripe.
Ovid’s is the oldest surviving version
Of the story published in 8 AD. 6

Story Location Clue: The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is remembered in the mosaic displays of Paphos. This city is located west of the Troodos Mountains.
This tale was the inspiration for W. Shakespeare to write play Romeo and Juliet.

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