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Canens is a Roman Goddess of song, famous for the beauty of Her singing. She was a daughter of the Sea-nymph Venilia, who presided over the winds and coastal waters, and Janus, one of the most important Gods of Rome. Canens was Herself considered a wood nymph, who, according to Ovid, was born on the Palatine Hill in Rome. She was very lovely, but lovelier still was Her voice: She was able to tame the wild beasts, calm roaring rivers, and move the stones and trees with the power of Her singing. She is connected with Faunus, the God of the wild animals—in some legends She is His mother, in others, Faunus is the husband of Her mother Venilia. The name Canens comes from the Latin verb canere meaning "to sing", with the additional nuances of celebrating, chanting and foretelling (the same root gives us both "chant" and "incantation").

In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Canens was betrothed to Picus, the King of Laurentum (a city on the Tiber River about sixteen miles south of Rome). He was the young son of Saturn, famed for His prophetic skills, as well as for His very great beauty. They loved each other deeply and fiercely, but one day when Picus was out hunting He caught the eye of the Greek sorceress Circe. Circe did Her best to seperate Him from His friends and lead Him astray, by sending a phantom boar across His path; when they were alone She declared Her love. Being deeply devoted to Canens He of course refused: angered at this Circe transformed Him into a woodpecker, which still bears his name, picus, in Latin. Circe is of course not a Goddess local to Rome—She was however famous in myth for Her jealous and vindictive behavior towards lovers and rivals, and this is probably why She was chosen in this role in the legend. Canens, upon finding out that Picus was missing, became insane with grief. She ran off into the woods, crying His name, and searched for Him for six days and nights without sleeping or eating. At last She gave up, collapsing on the banks of the Tiber river, and sang one last sad song for Him before melting away.

She lingered on as a disembodied voice, which became known as the Voice of the Woods. The Woods referred to are likely the Silva Laurentina, great woods of laurel near Picus's city of Laurentum, which were also famous for the quantity of wild boar that roamed there. The place on the banks of the Tiber where She disappeared was given Her name, according to Ovid, by the Muses.