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Paintings › View › Thisbe 1909   
The Rose Bower (1910)
. The Rose Bower (1910)
 
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Gathering Summer Flowers in a Devonshire Garden (1893)
. Gathering Summer Flowers in a Devonshire Garden (1893)
 
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Flora [picking flowers] (1890)
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Ulysses and the Sirens (1891)
. Ulysses and the Sirens (1891)
 
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Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (1891)
. Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (1891)
 
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  bullet  1909 . Oil on canvas
  bullet  Private Collection
Actual Size (W x H): 58.5cm x 96.5cm [ 23.05" x 38.02" ]
John William Waterhouse: Thisbe - 1909 John William Waterhouse: Thisbe - 1909

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Pyramus and Thisbe
As told by the Ovid, This story is similar to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

It takes place in ancient Babylon, where these two children grew up in a one-room house that was connected to the other. Over the years, they fell in love with each other, but could only talk through a hole in their wall because their parents refused them to see each other.

Finally, Pyramus got fed up with his parents and so did Thisbe. They decided to run off one night and elope. Pyramus gave Thisbe the location of the place they would meet, and they agreed.

Thisbe was the first to arrive at the first Mulberry bush outside of the city, but as she was waiting, a lioness walked by with her jaws covered in blood from a previous kill that day. Thisbe, frightened at her sight, ran non-stop to the nearest cave. Soon after, Pyramus walked by and saw a cloak, his love gift to her, covered in blood and torn to pieces with the footprints of the lioness left behind. He immediately thought that his only love had been killed by a hungry lion, and unsheathed his sword (her love gift to him), letting the cold, hard steel pierce his broken heart. Thisbe, bringing courage to her heart, ran back and found her only love lying on the ground next to the blood-covered Mulberry bush with his sword impaling his chest.

She gasped in horror as she asked the still breathing Pyramus what happened. Barely able to stay awake, he told her what happened and she cried in sorrow. She took Pyramus' blood-stained sword and asked him to wait for her while she brought the blade into her own soft flesh. Thus they died together, in love and peace.

This is why the berries on the Mulberry bush are red, instead of their original white, in commemoration of the two young lovers and their great sacrifice. Edwand Rivers
Encyclopedia Mythica



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