"Singing." A nymph, daughter of Janus and Venilia, born on the Palatine Hill. She was said to be of rare beauty but even rarer was her gift of song with which she could move rocks and trees, make wild beasts gentle, halt rivers, and detain wandering birds. When she reached marriageable age she was given to Picus, the son of Saturn and king of Ausonia.

The sorceress Circe fell in love with Picus, but he rejected her and so she turned him into a woodpecker. Canens and her servants searched the woods but were unable to find him, so she rushed out herself and roamed madly through the fields of Latium for six nights and days. She then lay herself down, weary with grief and journeying, and poured out her words of grief in a final song. Little by little she wastes away until nothing is left, becoming a vox et prætorca nihil — a voice and nothing more.



  • Bartelink, Dr. G.J.M. (1988). Prisma van de mythologie. Utrecht: Het Spectrum.
  • Ovid. Metamorphoses xiv, 320-434.