|Poets drinking from the Castalian Spring|
Painting by Heinrich Füger (1751-1818)
Noun. Archaic or poetical. Also Castaly. Early 17th century.
[Alteration of Latin Castalia from Greek Kastalia, the fountain sacred to the Muses on Mount Parnassus.]
A spring of pure water; a source of inspiration.
Apollo, already in my bad books for the beastly way he treated Cassandra, shows himself to be a proper oik again in the story of Castalia, a nymph who, like Cassandra, had the misfortune of catching Apollo's ever-randy eye. In a rather rash bid to escape his amorous attentions, Castalie threw herself into a well and Apollo, who really must learn to handle rejection better, responded by magically turning Castalie into a fountain (rather than, say, helping her out of the well, apologising profusely for the mixup, and resolving to be less pushy in the future). Drinking from these Castalian waters, however, was said to inspire the genius of poetry, and thus Castalie in English has come to mean the source of one's inspiration. Still, Apollo ... what a plonker.
Do you have a Castalie?
Do inspire us by leaving an amusing comment in the box below.