Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey:
—The town of Abdera, notwithstanding Democritus lived there, trying all the powers of irony and laughter to reclaim it, was the vilest and most profligate town in all Thrace. What for poisons, conspiracies, and assassinations,—libels, pasquinades, and tumults, there was no going there by day—’twas worse by night.
Now, when things were at the worst, it came to pass that the Andromeda of Euripides being represented at Abdera, the whole orchestra was delighted with it: but of all the passages which delighted them, nothing operated more upon their imaginations than the tender strokes of nature which the poet had wrought up in that pathetic speech of Perseus, O Cupid, prince of gods and men! &c. Every man almost spoke pure iambics the next day, and talked of nothing but Perseus his pathetic address,—“O Cupid! prince of gods and men!”—in every street of Abdera, in every house, “O Cupid! Cupid!”—in every mouth, like the natural notes of some sweet melody which drop from it, whether it will or no,—nothing but “Cupid! Cupid! prince of gods and men!”—The fire caught—and the whole city, like the heart of one man, open’d itself to Love.
No pharmacopolist could sell one grain of hellebore,—not a single armourer had a heart to forge one instrument of death;—Friendship and Virtue met together, and kiss’d each other in the street; the golden age returned, and hung over the town of Abdera—every Abderite took his eaten pipe, and every Abderitish woman left her purple web, and chastely sat her down and listened to the song.
’Twas only in the power, says the Fragment, of the God whose empire extendeth from heaven to earth, and even to the depths of the sea, to have done this.