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tT. E. PAGE, C.H., LITT.D. 

\z. CAPrS, PH.D., LL.D. tW. H. D. ROUSE, litt.d. 

A. POST, M.A. E. H. WARMINGTON, m.a. f.r hist.soc. 









Ph.D., LL.D. 





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First printed igT6 

Second edition igzz 

Sep,inted zg^s. zg28, xp.p. z,,6, rgsg. zg^ 

1946, 1951 

























Probably no Roman writer has revealed himself 
more frankly in his works than has Publius Ovidius 
Naso. Indeed, the greater part of our knowledge 
of him is gained from his own writings. References 
to his parentage, his early education, his friends, 
his work, his manner of life, his reverses — all lie 
scattered freely through his pages. Especially is 
this true of the Amores, and of the two groups of 
poems written from his exile. The Metamorphoses 
are naturally free from biographical material. Not 
content with occasional references, the poet has 
taken care to leave to posterity a somewhat extended 
and formal account of his life. 

From this {Tristia, iv. 10) we learn that he was 
born at Sulmo in the Pelignian country, 43 B.C., of 
well-to-do parents of equestrian rank, and that he 
had one brother, exactly one year older than himself. 
His own bent, from early childhood, was towards 
poetry ; but in this he was opposed by his practical 
father, who desired that both his sons should prepare 
for the profession of the law, a desire with which 
both the brothers complied, but the younger with 
only half-hearted and temporary devotion. 

Having reached the age of manhood, young Ovid 
found public life utterly distasteful to him, and now 
that he was his own master, he gave loose rein to 
his poetic fancy and abandoned himself to the enjoy- 



ment of the gay social life of Rome. He soon gained 
admission to the choice circle of the poets of his day, 
paying unlimited devotion to the masters of his art, 
and quickly becoming himself the object of no small 
admiration on the part of younger poets. His 
youthful poems soon gained fame among the people 
also, and his love poems became the popular lyrics 
of the town. 

Though extremely susceptible to the influences of 
love, he proudly boasts that his private life was 
above reproach. He contracted two unhappy mar- 
riages in his youth, but his third marriage was a 
lasting joy to him. 

And now his father and his mother died. The 
poet, while deeply mourning their loss with true 
filial devotion, still cannot but rejoice that they died 
before that disgrace came upon him which was to 
darken his own life and the lives of all whom he 
loved. For now, as the early frosts of age were 
beginning to whiten his locks, in the year 8 of our 
era, a sudden calamity fell upon himi, no less than an 
imperial decree against him of perpetual banishment 
to the far-off shores of the Euxine Sea. The cause 
of this decree he only hints at ; but he gives us to 
undersbmd that it was an error of his judgment and 
not of his heart.* 

Exiled to savage Tomi, far from home and friends 
and the delights of his beloved Rome, he was forced 
to live in a rigorous climate, an unlovely land, midst 
a society of uncultured semi-savages. His chief 
solace was the cultivation of his art, and in this he 
spent the tiresome days. He ends his autobiography 

' Augustus, indeed, gave as his reason the immorality of 
Ovid's love poems, but this is generally supposed to be only 
a cluak for a more personal and private reason. 



with a strain of thanksgiving to his muse, and a 
prophecy of his world-wide fame and literary im- 

Though Ovid says that he strove to bear his 
misfortunes with a manly fortitude, the poems of 
his exile abound in plaintive lamentations at his 
hard lot, petitions to his friends in Rome, and 
unmanly subserviency to Augustus, and later to 
Tiberius, in the hope of gaining his recall. These, 
however, were all in vain, and he died at Tomi in 
A.D. 18, after a banishment of nearly ten years. 

Ovid's greatest work, the fruit of the best years 
of the prime of his life, when his imagination had 
ripened and his poetic vigour was at its height, was 
the Metamorphoses, finished in a.d. 7, just before his 

In the poet's own judgnnent, however, the poem 
was not finished, and, in his despair on learning of 
his impending exile, he burned his manuscript. He 
himself tells us of his motive for this rash act 
{Tristia, i. 7) : " On departing from Rome, I burned 
this poem as well as many others of my works, either 
because I was disgusted with poetry which had 
proved my bane, or because this poem was still 
rough and unfinished." But fortunately copies of 
this great work still survived in the hands of friends ; 
and in this letter he begs his friends now to publish 
it, and at the same time he begs his readers to 
remember that the poem has never received its 
author's finishing touches and so to be lenient in 
their judgment of it. 

In the Metamorphoses Ovid attempts no less a task 
than the linking together into one artistically har- 
monious whole all the stories of classical mythology. 
And this he does, until the whole range of wonders 



(miraculous changes, hence the name, Metamorphoses) 
is passed in review, from the dawn of creation, when 
chaos was changed bj divine fiat into the orderly 
universe, down to the very age of the poet himself, 
when the soul of Julius Caesar was changed to a 
star and set in the heavens among the immortals. 
Every important myth is at least touched upon, and 
though the stories differ widely in place and time, 
there is no break in the sequence of narration. The 
poet has seized upon every possible thread of con- 
nexion as he passes on from cycle to cycle of story ; 
and where this connexion is lacking, by various 
ingenious and artistic devices a connecting-link is 

The poem thus forms a manual of classical myth- 
ology, and is the most important source of mythical 
lore for all writers since Ovid's time. This is the 
real, tangible service which he has done the literary 
world. Many of these stories could now be obtained 
from the sources whence Ovid himself drew them — 
from Homer, Hesiod, the Greek tragedians, the 
Alexandrine poets, and many others. And yet many 
stories, but for him, would have been lost to us; 
and all of them he has so vivified by his strong poetic 
imagination that they have come down to us with 
added freshness and life. 

The classic myths have always had a strong fasci- 
nation for later writers, and so numerous are both 
passing and extended references to these in English 
literature, and especially in the poets, that he who 
reads without a classical background reads with 
many lapses of his understanding and appreciation. 
While the English poets have, of course, drawn from 
all classic sources, they are indebted for their myth- 
ology largely to Ovid. The poet would have been 


accessible after 1567 even to writers not "versed in 
Latin, for in that year Golding's translation of Ovid 

An admirable study of the influence of classic 
myth on the writings of Shakespeai-e has been made,* 
in which the author finds that Shakespeare was 
thoroughly familiar with the myths, and makes very 
free use of them. We read : " Though the number 
of definite allusions in Shakespeare is smaller than 
that of the vague ones, they are yet sufficiently 
numerous to admit of satisfactory conclusions. Of 
these allusions, for which a definite source can be 
assigned, it will be found that an overwhelming 
majority are directly due to Ovid, while the re- 
mainder, with few exceptions, are from Vergil. . . . 
Throughout, the influence of Ovid is at least four 
times as great as that of Vergil j the whole character 
of Shakespeare's mythology is essentially Ovidian." 

What is true of Shakespeare is still more true of 
numerous other English poets in respect to their use 
of classical mythology. They do not always, indeed, 
use the myths in Ovid's manner, which is that of one 
whose sole attention is on the story, which he tells 
with eager interest, simply for the sake of telling ; 
and yet such earlier classicists as Spenser and Milton ' 
have so thoroughly imbibed the spirit of the classics 
that they deal with the classic stories quite as sub- 
jectively as Ovid himself But among later English 
poets we find a tendency to objectify the myths, to 
rationalize them, to philosophize upon them, draw 

* Classical Mythology in Shakespeare. By Eobert Kilburn 
Root. New York : Henry Holt and Co., 1903. 

2 See 27ie Classical Mythology of Milton's English Poems. 
By Charles Grosvenor Osgood. New York : Henry Holt and 
Co., 1900. 



lessons from them, and even to burlesque them. 
Perhaps the most interesting development of all is 
found in our own time^ a decided tendency to revamp 
the classical stories, though not always in the classical 
spirit — a kind of Pre-R>iphaelite movement in poetry. 
Prominently in this class of poets should be named 
Walter Savage Landot, Edmund Gosse, Lewis and 
William Morris, and Frederick Tennyson ; while 
many others have caught the same spirit and written 
in the same form. 

The Latin text of this edition is based on that of 
Ehwald, published by Messrs. Weidmann, of Berlin, 
who have generously given permission to use it. 
All deviations of any importance from Ehwald's text 
have been noted, and Ehwald's readings given with 
their sources. 

Chicago, March 1915. 




Bologna. Edited by Franciscus Puteolanus. Printed 
by Azzoguidi, 1471. 

There was also an edition printed at Rome in 
the same year. 

The Aldus edition. Venice, 1502. 

The commentary edition of Burmann, containing, 
besides Burmann's exhaustive notes, those of 
Micylius, Ciofanus, and Heinsius. Amsterdam, 


Hugo Magnus. Gotha, 18922. 

A. Zingerle. Prag, 1884. 

M. Haupt, O. Korii, H. J. Muller, and R. Ehwald. 

Berlin, P 1903, IP 18!)8. The present edition 

follows this text, except as noted. 
R. Merkel. Leipzig, 1888. 

Rudolfus Ehwald. Metamorphoses ex iterata R. 
Merkelii recognitione. Editio maior. Commen- 
tarius criticus ex Hugonis Magni apparatu maxi- 
mam partem transumptus est. Leipzig, 1915. 




ScliOnfeld, Ovids Metamorphosen m ihrem Veihaltnis 
zur antiken Kunsl. Leipzig, 1877. 

Sobieski, Vergil und Ovid nach ihren Gleichnissen in der 
Aeneid und den Metamorphosen. Leniberg, I86I. 

Ebert, Der Anachronismus in Ovids Metamorphosen, 
Ansbach, 1888. 

Liidke, Ueber Lnul-malerei in Ovids Metamorphosen. 
Stralsund, 1871. 

William Breton^ Metamorphosen libros Ovidins quo 
consilio susceperit, qua arte perfecerit. Paris, 

George Lafaye, Les Metamorphoses d'Ovide et leurs 
modeles grecs. Paris, 1904. 

E. K. Rand, Ovid and the Spirit of Metamorphosis. 
Harvard Essays on Classical Subjects (pp. 209- 
238), 1912. 

Rudolph Schevill, Ovid and the Renascence in Spain. 
University of California Press, 1913. 


Frederic Plessis, La Poesie laiine (pp. 410-470). 
Paris, 1909. 

Otto Ribbeck, Geschichte der Romische Dichtung 
(Vol. II, pp. 225-340). Stuttgart, I9OO. 

W. Y. Sellar, The Roman Poets of the Augustan Age : 
Horace and the Elegiac Poets (pp. 324-362). 
Oxford, 1892. 




Burmann, in the second half of the fourth volume of 
his commentary. 

Siebelis-PoUe. Leipzig, 1893. 


Golding ("Shakespeare's Ovid"). London, 1567. 

Reprinted by the De La More Press, London, 

Sandys, Ovid's Metamorpkusis, Englished, Mythologized, 

and Represented in Figures. Oxford, l632. 

Dry den. Pope, Congreve, Addison, and others. 

London, 1717. 
Riley. London, 1851. 
King, Metamorphoses Translated. Edinburgh, 1871. 




In nova fert animus mutatas dicere form as 
corpora ; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas) 
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi 
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen ! 

Ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum 5 
unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe, 
quem dixere chaos : rudis indigestaque moles 
nee quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem 
non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum. 
nullus adhuc mundo praebebat lumina Titan, 10 

nee nova crescendo reparabat cornua Phoebe, 
nee circumfuso pendebat in acre tellus 
ponderibus librata suis, nee bracchia longo 
margine terrarum porrexerat Ampliitrite; 
utque erat et tellus illic et pontus et aer, 15 

sic erat instal)ilis tellus, innabilis unda, 
lucis egens aer ; nulli sua forma manebat, 
obstabatque aliis aliud, quia corpore in uno 
frigida pugnabant calidis, umentia siccis, 
mollia cum duris, sine pondere, habentia pondus. 20 

Hanc deus et melior litem natura diremit. 
nam caelo terras et terris abscidit undas 



My mind is bent to tell of bodies changed into new 
forms. Ye gods, for you yourselves have wrought 
the changes, breathe on these my undertakings, and 
bring down my song in unbroken strains from the 
world's very beginning even unto the present time. 

Before the sea was, and the lands, and the sky 
that hangs over all, the face of Nature showed alike 
in her whole round, which state have men called 
chaos: a rough, unordered mass of things, nothing at 
all save lifeless bulk and warring seeds of ill-matched 
elements heaped in one. No sun as yet shone forth 
upon the world, nor did the waxing moon renew her 
slender horns ; not yet did the earth hang poised by 
her own weight in the circumambient air, nor had 
the ocean stretched her arms along the far reaches 
of the lands. And, though there was both land and 
sea and air, no one could tread that land, or swim 
that sea ; and the air was dark. No form of things 
remained the same; all objects were at odds, for 
within one body cold things strove with hot, and 
moist with dry, s6ft things with hard, things having 
weight with weightless things. 

God — or kindlier Nature — composed this strife ; 
for he rent asunder land from sky, and sea from land. 


et liquidum spisso secrevit ab aere caelum. 

quae postquam evolvit caecoque exemit acervo, 

dissociata locis concordi pace ligavit : 25 

jgnea convexi vis et sine pondere caeli 

emicuit summaque locum sibi fecit in arce ; 

proximus est aer illi levitate locooue ; 

densior his tellus elementaque grandia traxit 

et pressa est gravitate sua ; circumfluus uinor 30 

ultima possedit solidumque coercuit orbem. 

Sic ubi dispositam quisquis fuit ille deorum 
congeriem secuit sectanique in membra coegit, 
principio terram^ ne non aequalis ab omni 
parte foret, magni speciem glomeravit in orbis. 35 
tum freta diftundi rapidisque tumescere ventis 
iussit et ambitae circumdare litora terrae ; 
addidit et fontes et stagna inmensa lacusque 
fluminaque obliquis cinxit declivia ripis, 
quae, diversa locis, partim sorbentur ab ipsa, 40 

in mare perveniunt partim campoque recepta 
liberioris aquae pro ripis litora pulsant. 
iussit et extendi campos, subsidere valles, 
fronde tegi silvas, lapidosos surgere montes, 
utque duae dextra caelum totidemque sinistra 45 

parte secant zonae, quinta est ardentior illis, 
sic onus inclusum numero distinxit eodem 
cura dei, totidemque plagae tellure premuntur. 
quarum quae media est, non est habitabilis aestu : 


and separated the ethereal heavens from the dense 
atmosphere. When thus he had released these ele- 
ments and freed tiiem from the blind heap of things, 
he set them each in its own place and bound them 
fast in harmony. The fiery weightless element that 
forms heaven's vault leaped up and made place for 
itself upon the topmost height. Next came the air 
in lightness and in place. The earth was heavier 
than these, and, drawing with it the grosser ele- 
ments, sank to the bottom by its own weight. The 
streaming water took the last place of all, and held 
the solid land confined in its embrace. 

When he, whoever of the gods it was, had thus 
arranged in order and resolved that chaotic mass, 
and reduced it, thus resolved, to cosmic parts, he 
first moulded the earth into the fonn of a mighty 
ball so that it might be of like form on every side. 
Then he bade the waters to spread abroad, to rise in 
waves beneath the rushing winds, and fling them- 
selves around the shores of the encircled eanth. 
Springs, too, a nd huge, stagnant pools and lakes he 
made, and hemmed down-flowing rivers within their 
shelving banks, whose waters, each far remote from 
each, are partly swallowed by the earth itself, and 
partly flow down to the sea ; and being thus received 
into the expanse of a freer flood, beat now on shores 
instead of banks. Then did he bid plains to stretch 
out, valleys to sink down, woods to be clothed in 
leafage, and the rock-ribbed mountains to arise. And 
as the celestial vault is cut by two zones on the right 
and two on the left, and there is a fifth zone between, 
hotter than these, so did the providence of God mark 
oif the enclosed mass with the same number of zones, 
and the same tracts were stamped upon the earth. 
The central zone of these may not be dwelt in by 



nixtegit alta duas ; totidem inter utramque locavit 50 
temperiemque dedit mixta cum frigore flamma. 

Inminet his aer, qui quanto est pondere terrae, 
pondere aquae levior, tanto est onerosior igni. 
illic et nebulas, illic consistere nubes 
iussit et humanas motura tonitrua mentes 55 

et cum fulminibus facientes frigora ventos. 

His quoque non passim mundi fabricator habendum 
aera permisit ; vix nunc obsistitur illis, 
cum sua quisque regat diverse flamina tractu, 
quin lanient mundum ; tanta est discordia fiatrum. 
Eurus ad Auroram Nabataeaque regna recessit 6l 
Persidaque et radiis iuga subdita matutinis ; 
vesper et occiduo quae litora sole tepescunt, 
proxima sunt Zephyro; Scythiam septemque triones 
horrifer invasit Boreas ; contraria telhis 65 

nubibus adsiduis pluviaque madescit ab Austro. 
haec super inposuit liquidum et gravitate carentem 
aethera nee quicquam terrenae faecis habentem. 

Vix ita limitibus dissaepserat omnia certis, 
cum, quae pressa diu fuerant caligine caeca, 70 

sidera coeperunt toto effervescere caelo ; 
neu regio foret ulla suis animalibus orba, 
astra tenent caeleste solum formaeque deorum, 
cesserunt nitidis habitandae piscibus undae, 
terra feras cepit, volucres agitabilis aer. 75 

Sanctius his animal mentisque capacius altae 
deerat adhuc et quod dominari in cetera posset : 


reason of the heat; deep snow covers two, two he 
placed between and gave. th em tempe rate climate, 
minc^lin g heat with cold. 

~TIie~air hung over all, which is as much heavier 
than fire as the weight of water is lighter than the 
weight of earth. There did the creator bid the 
mists and clouds to take their place, and thunder, 
that should shake the hearts of men, and winds which 
with the thunderbolts make chilling cold. To these 
also the world's creator did not allot the air that they 
might hold it everywhere. Even as it is, they can 
scarce be prevented, though they control their blasts, 
eacli in his separate tract, from tearing the world to 
pieces. So fiercely do these brothers strive together. 
But Eurus drew oflF to the land of the dawn and the 
realms of Araby, and where the Persian hills flush 
beneath the morning— light. The western shores 
which glow with the setting sun are the place of 
Zephyrus; while bristling Boreas betook himself 
to Scythia and the farthest north. The land far 
opposite is wet with constant fog and rain, the home 
of Auster, the South-wind. Above these all he 
placed the liquid, weightless ether, which has naught 
of earthy dregs. 

Scarce had he thus parted off all things within 
their determined bounds, when the stars, which had 
long been lying hid crushed down beneath the dark- 
ness, began to gleam throughout the sky. And, that 
no region might be without its own forms of animate 
life, the stars and divine forms occupied the floor of, 
heaven, the sea fell to the shining fishes for their home, 
earth received the beasts, and the mobile airthebirds. 

A living creature of finer stuff than these, more 
capable of lofty thought, one who could have dominion 
over all the rest, was lacking yet. Then man was born : 



natus homo est, sive hunc divino semine fecit 

ille opifex rerum, mundi melioris origo, 

sive recens tellus seductaque nuper ab alto 80 

aethere cognati retinebat semina caeli. 

quam satus lapeto, mixtam pluvialibus undis, 

finxit in effigiem moderantum cuncta deorum, 

pronaque cum spectent animalia cetera terram, 

OS homini sublime dedit caelumque videre 85 

iussit et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus : 

sic, modo quae fuerat rudis et sine imagine, tellus 

induit ignotas hominum conversa figuras. 

Aurea prima sata est aetas, quae vindice nullo, 
sponte sua, sine lege fidem rectumque colebat. 90 
poena metusque aberant, nee verba minantia fixo 
aere legebantur, nee supplex turba timebat 
iudicis ora sui, sed erant sine iudice tuti. 
nondum caesa suis, peregrinum ut viseret orbem, 
montibus in liquidas pinus descenderat undas, 95 

nullaque mortales praeter sua litora n orant ^ ; 
nondum praecij)ites cingebant oppida fossae ; 
non tuba directi, non aeris cornua flexi. 
non galeae, non ensis erant: sine militis usu 
mollia securae peragebant otia gentes. 100 

ipsa quoque inmunis rastroque intacta nee ullis 
saucia vomeribus per se dabat omnia tellus, 
contentique cibis nullo cogente creatis 
arbuteos fetus montanaque fraga legebant 
cornaque et in duris haerentia mora rubetis 105 

et quae deciderant patula lovis arbore glandes. 


whether the god who made all else, designing a more 
perfect world, made man of his own divine substance, 
or whether the new earth, but lately drawn away 
from heavenly ether, retained still some elements 
of its kindred sky — that earth which the son of 
lapetus mixed with fresh, runnmg water, and 
moulded into the form of the all-controlling gods. 
And, though all other animals are prone, and fix 
their gaze upon the earth, he gave to man an up- 
lifted face and bade him stand erect and turn his 
eyes to heaven. So, then, the earth, which had 
but lately been a rough and formless thing, was 
changed and clothed itself with forms of men before 
T" Golden was that first age, which, with no one to 

I compel, without a law, of its own will, kept faith 
and did the right. There was no fear of punishment, 
no threatening words were to be read on brazen 
tablets; no suppliant throng gazed fearfully upon 
its judge's face; but without judges lived secure. 
Not yet had the pine-tree, felled on its native moun- 
tains, descended thence into the watery plain to visit 
other lands ; men knew no shores except their own. 
Not yet were cities begirt with steep moats ; there were 
no trumpets of straight, no horns of curving brass, no 
swords or helmets. There was no need at all of armed 
men, for nations, secure from war's alarms, passed the 
years in gentle ease. The earth herself, without com- 
pulsion, untouched by hoe or plowshare, of herself 
gave all things needful. And men, content with 
food which came with no one's seeking, gathered 
the arbute fruit, strawberries from the mountain-sides, 
cornel-cherries, berries hanging thick upon the 
prickly bramble, and acorns fallen from the spread- 
ing tree of Jove. Then spring was everlasting, and 



ver erat aetemum, placidique tepentibus auris 

mulcebant zephyri natos sine semine flores ; 

mox etiam fruges tellus inarata ferebat, 

nee renovatus ager gravidis canebat aristis ; 110 

flumina iam lactiSj iam fliimina nectaris ibant, 

flavaque de viridi stillabant ilice mella. 

Postquam Saturno tenebrosa in Tartara misso 
sub love mundus erat, subiit argentea proles, 
auro deterior, fulvo pretiosior aere. 115 

luppiter antiqui contraxit tempora veris 
perque hiemes aestusque et inaequalis autumnos 
et breve ver spatiis exegit quattuor annum, 
turn primum siccis aer fervoribus ustus 
candiiit, et ventis glacies adstricta pependit; 120 
turn primum subiere domos ; domus antra fuerunt 
et densi frutices et vinctae cortice virgae. 
semina tum primum longis Cerealia sulcis 
obruta sunt, pressique iugo gemuere iuvenei. 

Tertia post illam successit ae'nea proles, 125 

saevior ingeniis et ad honida promptior arma, 
non scelerata tamen ; de dure est ultima ferro. 
protinus inrupit venae peioris in aevum 
omne nefas fugitque pudor verumque fidesque ; 
in quorum subiere locum fraudesque dol usque 130 
insidiaeque et vis et amor sceleratus habendi. 
vela dabant ventis nee adhuc bene noverat illos 
navita, quaeque prius steterant in montibus altis, 
fluctibus ignotis exsultavere carinae, 
communemque prius ceu lumina solis et auras 1S5 


gentle zephyrs with warm breath played with the 
flowers that sprang unplanted. Anon the earth, 
until led, brought forth her stores of grain, and the 
fields, though unfallowed, grew white with the heavy, 
bearded wheat.^Streams of milk and streams of 
sweet nectar flowed, and yellow honey was distilled 
from the verdant oak. 

After Saturn had been banished to the dark land 
of death, and the world was under the sway of Jove, 
the silver race came in, lower in the scale than gold, 
but of greater worth than yellow brass. Jove now 
shortened the bounds of the old-time spring, and 
through winter, summer, variable autumn, and brief 
spring completed the year in four seasons. Then first 
the parched air glared white with burning heat, and 
icicles hung down congealed by freezing winds. In 
that age men first sought the shelter of houses. 
Their homes had heretofore been caves, dense 
thickets, and branches bound together with bark. 
Then first the seeds of grain were planted in long 
furrows, and bullocks groaned beneath the heavy 

Next after this and third in order came the brazen 
race, of sterner disposition, and more ready to fly to 
arms savage, but not yet impious. The age of hard 
iron came last. Straightway all evil burst for th into 
this age of baser vein : modesty and truth and faith 
fled the earth, and in their place came tricks and 
plots and snares, violence and cursed love of gain. 
Men now spread sails to the winds, though the sailor 
as yet scarce knew them ; and keels of pine which 
long had stood upon high mountain-sides, now leaped 
insolently over unknown waves. And the ground, 
which had hitherto been a common possession like 
the sunlight and the air, the careful surveyor now 



cautus humum longo signavit limite mensor. 
nee tantum segetes alimentaque debita dives 
poscebatur humus, sed itum est in viscera tenae, 
quasque recondiderat Stygiisque admoverat umbris, 
effodiuntur opes, inritamenta malorum. 140 

iamque nocens ferrum ferroque nocentius aurum 
prodierat, prodit belliim, quod pugnat utroque, 
sanguineaque manu crepitantia concutit arma. 
vivitur ex rapto : non hospes ab hospile tutus, 
non socer a genero, fratrum quoque gratia rara est ; 
inminet exitio vir coniugis, ilia mariti, 146 

lurida terribiles miscent aconita novercae, 
filius ante diem patrios inquirit in annos : 
victa iacet pietas, et virgo caede madentis 
ultima caelestum terras Astraea reliquit. 150 

Neve foret terris securior arduus aether, 
adfectasse ferunt regnum caeleste gigantas 
altaque cong^stos struxisse ad sidera montis. 
turn pater omnipotens misso perfregit Oljmpum 
f'ulmine et excussit subiectae Pelion Ossae. 155 

obruta mole sua cum corpora dira iacerent, 
perfusam multo natorum sanguine Terram 
immaduisse ferunt calidumque animasse cruorem 
et, ne nulla suae stirpis moiiimenta manerent, 
in faciem vertisse honiinuin ; sed et ilia propago l60 
contemptrix superum saevaeque avidissima caedis 
et violenta fuit : scires e sanguine natos. 

Quae pater ut summa vidit Saturnius area, 
ingemit et facto nondum vulgata recenti 


marked out with long-drawn boundary-line. Not 
only did men demand of the bounteous fields the 
crops and sustenance they owed, but they delved as 
well into the very bowels of the eartli ; and the 
wealth which the creator had hidden away and buried 
deep amidst the very Stygian shades^ was brought to 
light, wealth that pricks men on to crime. And now 

baneful iron had come, and gold more baneful than 
iron ; war came, which fights with both, and bran- 
dished in its bloody hands the clashing arms. Men 
lived on plunder. Guest was not safe from host, nor 
father-in-law from son-in-law ; even among brothers 
'twas rare to find affection. The husband longed 
for the death of his wife, she of her husband ; 
murderous stepmothers brewed deadly poisons, and 
sons inquired into their fathers' years before the 

ll time. Piety lay vanquished, a nd the maiden Astraea. 

> la st of the immortals, abjmdonpd tlip blnnd-soMkerl 


And, that high heaven might be no safer than the 
earth, they say that the Giants essayed the very 
throne of heaven, piling huge mountains, one on 
another, clear up to the stars. Then the Almighty 
Father hurled his thunderbolts, shattered Olympus, 
and dashed Pelion down from underlying Ossa. When 
those dread bodies lay o'erwhelmed by their own 
bulk, they say that Mother Earth, drenched with 
their streaming blood, informed that warm gore anew 
with life, and, that some trace of her former offspring 
might remain, she gave it human form. But this 
new stock, too, proved contemptuous of the gods, 
very greedy for slaughter, and passionate. You 
might know that they were sons of blood. 

When Saturn's son from his high throne saw' this 
he groaned, and, recalling the infamous revels of 



foeda Lycaoniae referens convivia mensae 165 

ingentes animo et dignas love concipit iras 
conciliumque vocat : tenuit mora nulla vocatos. 

Est via sublimis, caelo manifesta sereno ; 
lactea nomen habet, candore notabills ipso, 
hac iter est su peris ad magni tecta Tonaiitis 170 

regalemque domum : dextra laevaque deorum 
atria nobilium valvis celebrantur apertis. 
plebs habitat diversa locis : hac parte potentes 
caelicolae clarique suos posuere penates ; 
hie locus est, quern, si verbis audacia detur, iT5 

baud timeam magni dixisse Palatia caeli. 

Ergo ubi marmoreo superi sedere recessu, 
celsior ipse loco sceptroque innixus eburno 
terrificam capitis concussit terque quaterque 
caesariem, cum qua terram, mare, sidera movit. 1 80 
talibus inde modis ora indignantia solvit : 
''non ego pro mundi regno magis anxius ilia 
tempestate fui, qua centum quisque parabat 
inicere anguipedum captivo bracchia caelo. 
nam quamquam ferus hostis erat, tamen illud ab uno 
corpore et ex una pendebat origine bellum ; 1 86 

nunc mihi qua totum Nereus circumsonat orbem, 
perdendum est mortale genus : per flumina iuro 
infera sub terras Stygio labentia luco ! 
cuncta prius temptata, sed inmedicabile corpus 1 90 
ense reddendum, ne pars sincera trahatur. 
sunt mihi semidei, sunt, rustica numina, nymphae 
faunique satyrique et nionticolae silvani ; 
quos quoniam caeli nondum dignamur honore, 


Lycaoii's table — a story still unknown because the 
deed was new — he conceived a mighty wrath worthy 
of the soul of Jove, and summoned a council of the 
gods. Naught delayed their answer to the summons. 

There is a high way, easily seen when the sky is 
clear. 'Tis called the Milky VVay, famed for its 
shining whiteness. By this way the gods fare to the 
halls and royal dwelling of the mighty Thunderer. 
On either side the palaces of the gods of higher rank 
are thronged with guests through folding-doors flung 
wide. The lesser gods dwell apart from these. 
Fronting on this way, the illustrious and strong 
heavenly gods have placed their homes. This is the 
place which, if I may make bold to say it, I would 
not fear to call the Palatia of high heaven. 

So, when the gods had taken their seats within 
the marble council chamber, the king himself, seated 
high above the rest and leaning on his ivory sceptre, 
shook thrice and again his awful locks, wherewith he 
moved the land and sea and sky. Then he opened 
his indignant lips, and thus spoke he : "I was not 
more troubled than now for the sovereignty of the 
world when each one of the serpent-footed giants was 
in act to lay his hundred hands upon the captive 
sky. For, although that was a savage enemy, their 
whole attack sprung from one body and one source. 
But now, wherever old Ocean roars around the earth, 
I must destroy the race of men. By the infernal 
streams that glide beneath the earth through Stygian 
groves, I swear that I have already tried all other means. 
But that which is incurable must be cut away with 
the knife, lest the untainted part also draw infection. 
I have demigods, rustic divinities, nymphs, fauns and 
satyrs, and sylvan deities upon the mountain-slopes. 
Since we do not yet esteem them worthy the honour 



quas dedimus. certe terras habitare sinanms. lysi 

an satis^ o superi, tutos fore creditis illos. 
cum mWn, qui fulmen, qui vos habeoque regoque, 
struxerit insidias notus feritate Lycaon ? " 

Contremuere omnes studiisque ardentibus ausain 
talia deposcunt : sic, cum manus inpia saevit 200 

sanguine Caesareo Romanum exstinguere nomen, 
attonitum taiito subitae terrore ruinae 
humanum genus est totusque perhorruit orbis ; 
nee tlbi grata minus pietas, Auguste, tuorum 
quam fuit ilia lovi. qui postquam voce manuque 205 
murmura conpressit, tenuere silentia cuncti. 
substitit ut clamor pressus gravitate regentis, 
luppiter hoc iterum sermone silentia rupit : 
" ille quidem poenas (curam banc dimittite !) solvit ; 
quod tamen admissum, quae sit vindicta, docebo. 210 
contigerat nostras infamia temporis aures ; 
quam cupiens falsam summo delabor Olympo 
et deus humana lustro sub imagine terras, 
longa mora est, quantum noxae sit ubique repertum, 
enumerare : minor fuit ipsa infamia vero. 215 

Maenala transieram latebris horrenda ferarum 
et cum Cyllene gelidi pineta Lycaei : 
Arcadis hinc sedes et inhospita tecta tyranni 
ingredior, traherent cum sera crepuscula noctein. 
signa dedi venisse deum, vulgusque precari 220 

coeperat : inridet primo pia vota Lycaon, 
mox ait ' experiar deus hie discrimine aperto 
an sit mortalis : nee erit dubitabile verum.' 


of a place in heaven, let us at least allow them to 
dwell in safety in the lands allotted them. Or do 
you think~that they will be safe, when against me, 
who wield the thunderbolt, who have and rule you 
as my subjects, Lycaon, well known for savagery, has 
laid his snares ? " 

All trembled, and with eager zeal demanded 
him who had been guilty of such bold infamy. So, 
when an impious band was mad to blot out the 
name of Rome with Caesar's blood, the human race 
was dazed with a mighty fear of sudden ruin, and the 
whole world shuddered in horror. Nor is the loyalty 
of thy subjects, Augustus, less pleasing to thee than 
that was to Jove. After he, by word and gesture, 
had checked their outcry, all held their peace. 
When now the clamour had subsided, checked by 
his royal authority, Jove once more broke the silence 
with these words : " He has indeed been punished ; 
have no care for that. But what he did and what his 
punishment 1 will relate. An inianiuus re2)ort of the 
age had reached my ears. Eager to prove this false, 
I descended from high Olympus, and as a god dis- 
guised in human form travelled up and down the 
land. It would take too long to recount how great 
impiety was found on everj'^ hand. The infamous 
report was far less than the truth. I had crossed 
Maenala, bristling with the lairs of beasts, Cyllene, 
and the pine-groves of chill Lycaeus. Thence I 
approached the seat and inhospitable abode of the 
Arcadian king, just as the late evening shades were 
ushering in the night. I gave a sign tliat a god had 
come, and the common folk began to worship me. 
Lycaon at first mocked at their pious prayers ; and 
then he said : ' I will soon find out, and that by a 
plain test, whether this fellow be god or njorta?. Nor 

B. 17 


nocte gravem somno necopina perdere morte 
me parat : haec illi placet experientia veri ; 
nee contentus eo, missi de gente Molossa 
obsidis unius iugulum mucrone resolvit 
atque ita semineces partim ferventibus artus 
mollit aquis, partim subiecto torruit igni. 
quod simul inposuit mensis, ego vindice flainma 25 
in dominum dignosque everti tecta penates ; 
territus ipse fugit nactusque silentia ruris 
exuluat frustraque loqui conatur : ab ipso 
colligit OS rabiem solitaeque cupidine caedis 
utitur in pecudes et nunc quoque sanguine gaudet. 
in villos abeunt vestes, in crura lacerti : 28( 

fit lupus et veteris servat vestigia formae ; 
canities eadem est, eadem violentia vultus, 
idem oculi lucent, eadem feritatis imago est. I 

occidit una domus, sed non domus una perire 24( 
digna fuit : qua terra patet, fera regnat Erinys. 
in facinus iurasse putes ! dent ocius omnes, 
quas meruere pati, (sic stat sententia) poenas." 

Dicta lovis pars voce probant stimulosque frementi 
adiciunt, alii partes adsensibus inplent. 24^ 

est tamen humani generis iactura dolori 
omnibus, et quae sit terrae mortalibus orbae 
forma futura rogant, quis sit laturus in aras 
tura, ferisne paret populandas tradere terras, 
talia quaerentes (sibi enim fore cetera curae) 25C 


shall the truth be at all in doubt.' He planned that 
night while I was heavy with sleep to kill me by an 
unexpected murderous attack. Such was the experi- 
ment he adopted to test the truth. And not content 
with that, he took a hostage who had been sent by the 
Molossian race, cut his throat, and some parts of him, 
still warm with life, he boiled, and others he roasted 
over the fire. But no sooner had he placed these before 
me on the table than I, with my avenging bolt, o'er- 
threw the house upon its master and on his guilty 
household. The king himself flies in terror and, gain- 
ing the silent fields, howls aloud, attempting in vain to 
speak. His mouth of itself gathers foam, and with his 
accustomed greed for blood he turns against the sheep, 
delighting still in slaughter. His garments change to 
shaggy hair, his arms to legs. He turns into a vvolf, 
and yet retains some traces of his former shape. There 
is the same grey hair, the same fierce face, the same 
gleaming eyes, the same picture of beastly savagery. 
One house has fallen ; but not one house alone has 
deserved to perish. Wherever the plains of earth 
extend, wild fury reigns supreme. You Avould deem 
it a conspiracy of crime. Let them all pay, and 
quickly too, the penalties which they have deserved. 
So stands my purpose." 

When he had done, some proclaimed their approval 
of his words, and added fuel to his wrath, while 
others played their parts by giving silent consent. 
And yet they all grieved over the threatened loss of 
the human race, and asked what would be the state 
of the world bereft of mortals. Who would bring 
incense to their altars .'' Was he planning to give 
over the world to the wild beasts to despoil ? As 
they thus questioned, their king bade them be 
of good cheer (for the rest should be his care), for 



rex superum trepidare vctat subolemque priori 
(lissimilem populo promittit origine niira. 

lamque erat in totas sparsurus fulmiiia terras; 
sed timuit, ne forte sacer tot ab ignibus aether 
concipei'et flammas longusque ardesceret axis : 255 
esse quoque in fatis reminiscitur, adfore tempus, 
quo mare, quo tellus correptaque regia caeli 
ardeat et mundi moles obsessa laborct. 
tela reponuntur manibus fabricata cyclopum ; 
poena placet diversa, genus mortaie sub undis 260 
perdere et ex omni nimbos demittere caelo. 

Protinus Aeoliis Aquilonem claudit in antris 
et quaecumque fugant inductas flamina nubes 
emittitque Notum. madidis Notus evolat alis, 
terribilem picea tectus caligine vultuin ; 265 

barba gravis nimbis, canis fluit unda capillis ; 
fronte sedent nebulae, rorant pennaeque sinusque. 
utque manu lata pendentia nul)ila pressit, 
fit fragor : hinc densi funduntur ab aethere nimbi ; 
nuntia lunonis varios induta colores 270 

concipit Iris aquas alimentaque nubibus adfert. 
sternuntur segetes et deplorata coloni 
vota iacent, longique perit labor inritus anni. 

Nee caelo contenta suo est lovis ira, sed ilium 
caeruleus frater iuvat auxiliaribus undis. fTS 

convocat hie amnes : qui postquam tecta tyrani/I 
intravere sui, "non est hortamine longo 


he would give them another race of wondrous origin 
far different from the first. 

And now he was in act lo hurl his thunderbolts 
'gainst the whole world ; but he stayed his hand in 
fear lest perchance the sacred heavens should take 
fire from so huge a conflagration, and burn from pole 
to pole. He remembered also that 'twas in the fates 
that a time would come when sea and land, the 
unkindled palace of the sky and the beleaguered struc- 
ture of the universe should be destroyed by fire. 
And so he laid aside the bolts which Cyclopean hands 
had forged. He preferred a different punishment, 
to destroy the human race beneath the waves and to 
send down rain from every quarter of the sky. 

Straightway he shuts the North-wind up in the 
cave of AeoluSj and all blasts soever that put the 
clouds to flight ; but he lets the South-wind loose. 
Forth flies the South-wind with dripping wings, his 
awful face shrouded in pitchy darkness. His beard 
is heavy with rain ; water flows in streams down his 
hoary locks ; dark clouds rest upon his brow ; while 
his wings and garments drip with dew. And, when 
he presses the low-hanging clouds with his broad 
hands, a crashing sound goes forth ; and next the 
dense clouds pour forth their rain. Iris, the mes- 
senger of Juno, clad in robes of many hues, draws 
up water and feeds it to the clouds. The standing 
grain is overthrown; the crops which have been the 
object of the farmers' prayers lie ruined ; and the 
hard labour of the tedious year has come to naught. 

The wrath of Jove is not content with the waters 
from his own sky ; his sea-god brother aids him with 
auxiliary waves. He summons his rivers to council. 
When these have assembled at the palace of their 
king, he says : " Now is no time to employ a long 



nunc " ait " utendum ; vires efFundite vestras : 
sic opus est ! aperite domos ac mole remota 
fluminibus vestris totas inmittite habenas ! " 280 

iusserat ; hi redeunt ac fontibus ora relaxant 
et defienato volvuntur in aequora cursu. 

Ipse tridente suo terram peicussitj at ilia 
intremuit motuque vias patefecit aquarum. 
exspatiata ruunt per apertos flumina campos 285 

cum que satis arbusta simul pecudesque virosque 
tectaque cumque suis rapiunt penetralia sacris. 
si qua domus mansit potuitque resistere tanto 
indeiecta malo, culmen tamen altior huius 
unda tegitj pressaeque latent sub gurgite turres. 290 
iainque mare et tellus nullum discrimen habebant : 
omnia pontus erant, deerant quoque litora ponto. 

Occupat hie collem, cumba sedet alter adunca 
et ducit remos illic, ubi nuper arabat : 
ille supra segetes aut mersae culmina villae 295 

navigat, hie summa piscem deprendit in ulmo. 
figitur in viridi, si fors tulit, ancora prato, 
aut subiecta terunt curvae vineta carinae ; 
et, modo qua graciles gmmen carpsere capellae, 
nunc ibi deformes ponunt sua corpora phocae. SOD 
mirantur sub aqua lucos urbesque domosque 
Nereides, silvasque tenent delphines et altis 
incursant ramis agitataque robora pulsant. 
nat lupus inter oves, fulvos vehit unda leones, 
unda vehit tigres ; nee vires fulminis apro, 305 

crura nee ablato prosunt velocia cervo, 



larangue. Put forth all your strength, for there is 
leed. Open wide your doors, away with all restiaiu- 
ng dykes, and give full rein to all your river steeds." 
>o he commands, and the rivers return, uncurb their 
buntains' mouths, and in unbridled course go racing 

the sea. 

Neptune himself smites the earth with his trident, 
ihe trembles, and at the stroke flings open wide a way 
or the waters. The rivers overleap all bounds and 
iood the open plains. And not alone orchards, crops 
md herds, men and dwellings, but shrines as well 
md their sacred contents do they sweep away. If 
iny house has stood firm, and has been able to resist 
hat huge misfortune undestroyed, still do the over- 
opping waves cover its roof, and its towers lie hid 
)eneath the flood. And now the sea and land have 
10 distinction. All is sea, but a sea without a shore. 

Here one man seeks a hill-top in his flight ; 
.nother sits in his curved skiff", plying the oars where 
ately he has plowed; one sails over his fields of 
;rain or the roof of his buried farmhouse, and one 
akes fish caught in the elm-tree's top. And some- 
imes it chanced that an anchor was embedded in a 
;rassy meadow, or the curving keels brushed over 
he vineyard tops. And where but now the slender 
;oats had browsed, the Hgly sea-calves rested. The 
Jereids are amazed to see beneath the waters groves 
rid cities and the haunts of men. The dolphins in- 
ade the woods, brushing against the high branches, 
nd shake the oak-trees as they knock against them 

1 their course. The wolf swims among the sheep, 
:\u\e tawny lions and tigers are borne along by the 
leaves. Neither does the power of his lightning 
broke avail the boar, nor his swift limbs the stag, 
ince both are alike swept away by the flood ; and 



quaesitisque diu terris, ubi sistere possit, 

in mare lassatis volucris vaga decidit alis. 

obruerat tumulos inmensa licentia ponti, 

pulsabantque novi montana cacumina fluctus. J 

maxima pars unda rapitur ; quibus unda pe.percit, 

illos longa domant inopi ieiunia victu. 

Separat Aonios Oetaeis Phocis ab arvis, 

terra ferax, dum terra fuit, sed tempore in ilio 

pars maris et latus subitarum campus aquarum. i 

mons ibi verticibus petit arduus astra duobus, 

nomine Parnasus, superantque cacumina nubes. 

hie ubi Deucalion (nam cetera texerat aequor) 

cum consorte tori parva rate vectus adhaesit, 

Corycidas nymphas et numina montis adorant i. 

fatidicamque Themin, quae tunc oracla tenebat : 

non illo melior quisquam nee amantior aequi 

vir fuit aut ilia metuentior ulla deorum. 

luppiter ut liquidis stagnare paludibus orbem 

et superesse virum de tot modo milibus imum, i 

et superesse vidit de tot modo milibus uiiam, 

innocuos ambo, cultores numinis ambo, 

nubila disiecit nimbisque aquilone remotis 

et caelo terras ostendit et aethera terris, 

nee maris ira manet, positoque tricuspide telo i 

mulcet aquas rector pelagi supraque profundum 


the wandering bird, after long searching for a place 
to aliglit, falls with weary wings into the sea. The 
sea in unchecked liberty has now buried all the hills, 
and strange waves now beat upon the mountain- 
peaks. Most living things are drowned outright. 
Those who have escaped the water slow starvation 
at last o'ercomes through lack of food. 

The land of Phocis separates the Boeotian from the 
Oetean fields, a fertile land, while still it was a land. 
But at that time it was but a part of the sea, a broad 
expanse of sudden waters. There Mount Parnasus 
lifts its two peaks skyward, high and steep, piercing 
the clouds. When here Deucalion and his wife, 
borne in a little skiff, had come to land — for the sea 
had covered all things else — they first worshipped 
the Corycian nymphs and the mountain deities, and 
the goddess, fate-revealing Themis, who in those 
days kept the oracles. There was no better man 
than he, none more scrupulous of right, nor than she 
was any woman more reverent of the gods. When 
now Jove saw that the world was all one stagnant 
pool, and that only one man was left iVom those who 
were but now so many thousands, and that but one 
woman too was left, both innocent and both wor- 
shippers of God, he rent the clouds asunder, and 
when these had been swept away by the North-wind 
he showed the land once more to the sky, and the 
heavens to the land. Then too the anger of the 
sea subsides, when the sea's great ruler lays by his 
three-pronged spear and calms the waves; and, call- 
ing sea-hued Triton, showing forth above the deep, 
his shoulders thick o'ergrown with shell-fish, he bids 
him blow into his loud-resounding conch, and by that 
signal to recall the floods and streams. He lifts his 
hollow, twisted shell, which grows from the least 



exstantem atque umeros innato murice tectum 
caeruleum Tritona vocat conchaeque sonaiiti 
inspirare iubet fluctusque et flumina signo 
iam revocare dajo : cava biicina suniitur illi, 335 

tortilis, in latum quae turbine crescit ab imo, 
bucina, quae medio concepit ubi aera ponto, 
litora voce replet sub utroque iacentia Phoebo ; 
turn quoque, ut ora dei madida rorantia barba 
contigit et cecinit iussos inflata receptus, 340 

omnibus audita est telluris et aequoris undis, 
et quibus est undis audita, coercuit omnes. 
iam mare litus habet, plenos capit alveus amnts, 
flumina subsidunt collesque exire videntur; 
surgit humus, crescuntloca decrescentibus undis, 345 
postque diem longam nudata cacumina silvae 
ostendunt limumque tenent in fronde relictum 

Redditus orbis erat ; quern postquam vidit inanem 
et desolatas agere alta silentia terras, 
Deucalion lacrimis ita Pyrrham adfatur obortis : 350 
" o soror, o coniunx, o femina sola superstes, 
quam commune mihi genus et patruelis origo^, 
deinde torus iunxit, nunc ipsa pericula iungunt, 
terrarum, quascumque yident occasus et ortus, 
nos duo turba sumus ; possedit cetera pontus, 355 
haec quoque adhuc vitae non est fiducia nostrae 
certa satis ; terrent etiamnum nubila mentem. 
quis tibi, si sine me fatis erepta fuisses, 
nunc animus, miseranda, foret? quo sola timorem 
ferre modo posses ? quo consolante doleres ! 360 

namque ego (crede mihi), si te quoque pontus haberet, 
te sequerer, coniunx, et me quoque pontus haberet. 



and lowest to a broad-swelling whorl — the shell 
which, when in mid-sea it has received the Triton's 
breath, fills with its notes the shores that lie beneath 
the rising and the setting sun. So then, when it 
had touched the sea-god's lips wet with his dripping 
beard, and sounded forth the retreat which had been 
ordered, 'twas heard by all the waters both of land 
and sea ; and all the waters by which 'twas heard it 
held in check. Now tlie sea has shores, the rivers, 
bank full, keep within their channels ; the floods sub- 
side, and hill-tops spring into view ; land rises up, the 
ground increasing as the waves decrease ; and now at 
length, after long burial, the trees show their un- 
covered tops, whose leaves still hold the slime which 
the flood has left. 

The world was indeed restored. But when Deu- 
calion saw that it was an empty world, and that deep 
silence filled the desolated lands, he burst into tears 
and thus addressed his wife : " O sister, O my wife, 
O only woman left on earth, you whom the ties of 
common race and family,^ whom the marriage couch 
has joined to me, and whom nowour very perils join : 
of all the lands which the rising and the setting sun 
behold, we two are the throng. The sea holds all 
the rest. And even this hold which we have upon 
our life is not as yet sufficiently secure. Even yet the 
clouds strike terror to my heart. What would be 
your feelings, now, poor soul, if the fates had willed 
that you be rescued all alone ? How would you bear 
your fear, alone ? who would console your grief.'' 
For be assured that if the sea held you also, I would 
follow you, my wife, and the sea should hold me also. 

1 patruelis origo. See line 390. Deucalion and Pyrrha were 
cousins, a relationship which on the part of the woman is 
Bometimes expressed by soror, 



o utinam possim populos reparare paternis 
artibus atque animas formatae infundere terrae ! 
nunc genus in nobis restat mortale duobus. 365 

sic visum superis : hominumque exempla manemus." 
dixerat, et flebant : placuit caeleste precari 
numen et auxilium per sacras quaerere sortes. 
nulla mora est : adeunt pariter Cephesidas undas, 
ut nondum liquidas, sic iam vada nota secantes. 370 
inde ubi libatos inroravere liquores 
vestibus et capiti, flectunt vestigia sanctae 
ad delubra deae^ quorum fastigia turpi 
pallebant musco stabantque sine ignibus arae. 
ut templi tetigere gradus, procumbit uterque 375 
pronus humi gelidoque pavens dedit oscula saxo 
atque ita "si precibus" dixerunt "numina iustis 
victa remollescunt, si flectitur ira deorum, 
die, Themi, qua generis damnum reparabile nostri 
arte sit, et mersis fer opem, mitissima, rebus I" 380 
Mota dea est sortemque dedit : " discedite templo 
et velate caput cinctasque resolvite vestes 
ossaque post tergum magnae lactate parentis ! " 
obstupuere diu : rumpitque silentia voce 
Pyrrha prior iussisque deae parere recusal, 385 

detque sibi veniam pavido rogat ore pavetque 
Jaedere iactatis maternas ossibus umbras, 
interea repetunt caecis obscura latebris 
verba datae sortis secum inter seque volutant. 
inde Promethides placidis Epimethida dictis 390 

mulcet et " aut fallax " ait " est sollertia nobis, 


Oil, would that by my father's arts I might restore 
the nations, and breathe, as did he, the breath of life 
into the moulded clay. But as it is, on us two only 
depends the human race. Such is the will of Heaven : 
and we remain sole samples of mankind." He 
spoke ; and when they had wept awhile they resolved 
to appeal to the heavenly power and seek his aid 
through sacred oracles. Without delay side by side 
they went to the waters of Ce[)hisus' stream, which, 
while not yet clear, still flowed within their familiar 
banks. From this they took some drops and sprinkled 
them on head and clothing. So having done, they 
bent their steps to the goddess's sacred shrine, whose 
gables were still discoloured with foul moss, and upon 
whose altars the fires were dead. When they had 
reached the temple steps they both fell prone upon 
the ground, and with trembling lips kissed the chili 
stone and said : "If deities are appeased by the 
prayers of the righteous, if the wrath of the gods is 
thus turned aside, O Themis, tell us by what means 
our race may be restored, and bring aid, O most 
merciful, to a world o'erwhelmed." 

The jjoddess was moved and irave this oracle : 
" Depart hence, and with veiled heads and loosened 
robes throw behind you as you go the bones of your 
great mother." Long they stand in dumb amaze ; 
and first Pyrrha breaks the silence and refuses to 
obey the bidding of the goddess. With trembling 
lips she prays for pardon, but dares not outrage her 
mother's ghost by treating her bones as she is bid. 
Meanwhile they go over again the words of the 
oracle, which had been given so full of dark per- 
plexities, and turn them over and over in their minds. 
At last Prometheus' son comibrts the daughter of 
Epimetheus with reassuring words : " Either my wit 



aut (pia sunt nullumque nefas oracula suadent !) 
»nagna parens terra est : lapides in corpora ter«-ae 
ossa reor dici ; iacere hos post terga iubemur." 

Coniugis augurio quamquam Titania mota est, 395 
spes tamen in diibio est : adeo caelestibus ambo 
diffidunt monitis ; sed quid temptare nocebit ? 
descendunt : velantque caput tunicasque recingunt 
et iussos lapides sua post vestigia mittunt. 
saxa (quis hoc credat, nisi sit pro teste vetustas ?) 400 
ponere duritiem coepere suumque rigorem 
mollirique mora mollitaque ducere formam. 
mox ubi creverunt naturaque mitior illis 
contigit, ut quaedam, sic non manifesta videri 
forma potest hominis, sed uti de raarmore coeptis* 
non exacta satis rudibusque simillima signis, 406 

quae tamen ex illis aliquo pars umida suco 
et terrena fuit, versa est in corporis usum ; 
quod solidum est flectique nequit, mutatur in ossa, 
quae raodo vena fuit, sub eodem nomine mansit, 410 
inque brevi spatio superorum numine saxa 
missa viri manibus faciem traxere virorum 
et de femineo reparata est femina iactu. 
inde genus duru^m sumus experiensque laborum 
et documenta damus qua simus origine nati. 4)5 

Cetera diversis tellus animalia formis 
sponte sua peperit, postquam vetus umor ab igne 
percaluit solis, caenumque udaeque paludes 
intumuere aestu, fecundaque semina rerum 

^ coeptis Merkd : coepta MSS. 


is at fyiult, or else (oracles are holy and never counsel 
guilt !) our great mother is the earth, and I think 
that the bones which the goddess speaks of are the 
stones in the earth's body. 'Tis these that we are 
bidden to throw behind us." 

Although Pyrrha is moved by her husband's sur- 
mise, yet liope still Avavers ; so distrustful are they 
both as to the heavenly command. But what harm 
will it do to try .-* They go down, veil their heads, 
ungird their robes, and throw stones behind them 
just as the goddess had bidden. \And the stones — 
who would believe it unless ancient tradition vouched 
for it ? — began at once to lose their hardness and 
stiffness, to grow soft slowly, and softened to take on 
form. Then, when they had grown in size and be- 
come milder in their nature, a certain likeness to the 
human form, indeed, could be seen, still not very 
clear, but such as statues just begun out of marble 
have, not sharply defined, and very like roughly 
blocked-out images; That part of them, however, 
which was earthy and damp with slight moisture, was 
changed to flesh ; but what was solid and incapable 
of bending became bone ; that which was but now 
veins remained under the same name. And in a 
short time, through the operation of the divine will, 
the stones thrown by the man's hand took on the 
form of men, and women were made from the stones 
the woman threw. Hence come the hardness of our 
race and our endurance of toil ; and we give proof 
from what origin we are sprung. 

As to the other forms of animal life, the earth 
spontaneously produced these of divers kinds ; after 
that old moisture remaining from the flood had 
grown warm from the rays of the sun, the slime 
of the wet marshes swelled with heat, and the fertile 



vivaci nutrita solo ceu matris in alvo 420 

creverunt faciemque aliquam cepere morando. 
sic ubi deseruit madidos septerafluus agros 
Nilus et antique sua flumina reddidit alveo 
aetherioque recens exarsit sidere limus, 
plurima cultores versis animalia glaebis 425 

inveniuut et in his quaedam modo coepta per ipsum 
nascendi spatium, quaedam inperfecta suisque 
trunca vident numeris, et eodem in corpore saepe 
altera pars vivit, rudis est pars altera tellus. 
quippe ubi temperiem sunipsere umorque calorque, 
concipiunt, et ab his oriuntur cuncta duobus, 431 

cumque sit ignis aquae pugnax, vapor umidus omnes 
res creat, et discors concordia fetibus apta est. 
ergo ubi diluvio tellus lutuJenta recenti 
soHbus aetheriis almoque ^ recanduit aestu, 435 

edidit innumeras species ; partimque figuras 
rettulit antiquas, partim nova monstra creavit. 

Ilia quidem nollet, sed te quoque, maxime Python, 
turn genuit, populisque novis, incognita serpens, 
terror eras : tantum spatii de monte tenebas. 440 
hunc deus arquitenens et numquam talibus armis 
ante nisi in dammis capreisque fugacibus usus 
mille gravem telis exhausta paene pharetra 
perdidit effuso per vulnera nigra veneno. 
neve operis famam posset delere vetustas, 445 

instituit sacros celebri certamine ludos, 
Pvthia perdomitae serpentis nomine dictos. 
hie iuvenum quicumque manu pedibusve rotave 

1 almo Merlcd: alto MSS 


seeds of life, nourished in that life-giving soil, as in 
a mother's womb, grew and in time took on some 
special form. So when the seven-mouthed Nile has 
receded from the drenched fields and has returned 
again to its former bed, and the fresh slime has been 
heated by the sun's rays, farmers as they turn over 
the lumps of earth find many animate things ; and 
among these some, but now begun, are upon the 
very verge of life, some are unfinished and lacking in 
their proper parts, and oft-times in the same body 
one part is alive and the other still nothing but raw 
earth. For when moisture and heat unite, life is 
conceived, and from these two sources all living 
things spring. And, though fire and water are 
naturally at enmity, still heat and moisture produce 
all things, and this inharmonious harmony is fitted 
to the growth of life. When, therefore, the earth, 
covered with mud from the recent flood, became 
heated up by the hot and genial rays of the sun, she 
brought forth innumerable forms of life ; in part she 
restored the ancient shapes, and in part she created 
creatures new and strange. 

She, indeed, would have wished not so to do, but 
thee also she then bore, tliou huge Python, thou 
snake unknown before, who wast a terror to new- 
created men ; so huge a space of mountain-side didst 
thou fill. This monster the god of the glittering bow' 
destroyed with arms never before used except against 
does and wild she-goats, crushing him with countless 
darts, well-nigh emptying his quiver, till the creature's 
poisonous blood flowed from the black wounds. And, 
that the fame of his deed might not perish through 
lapse of time, he instituted sacred games whose con- 
tests throngs beheld, called Pythian from the name 
of the serpent he had overthrown. At these games, 



vicerat, aesculeae capiebat frondis honorem. 
nondum laurus erat, longoque decentia crine 450 
tempora cingebat de qualibet arbore Phoebus, 

Primus amor Phoebi Daphne Peneia, quem non 
fors ignara dedit, sed saeva Cupidinis ira. 
Delius hunc nuper, victa serpente superbus, 
viderat adducto flectentem cornua nervo 455 

"quid" que " tibi, lascive puer, cum fortibus 

armis ? " 
dixerat : " ista decent umeros gestamina nostros, 
qui dare certa ferae, dare vulnera possumus hosti, 
qui modo pestifero tot iugera ventre prementem 
stravimus innumeris tumidum Pythona sagittis. 460 
tu face nescio quos esto contentus amores 
inritare tua, nee laudes adsere nostras ! " 
filius huic Veneris " figat tuus omnia, Phoebe, 
te meus arcus " ait ; ''' quantoque animalia cedunt 
cuncta deo, tan to minor est tua gloria nostra." 465 
dixit et eliso percussis aere pennis 
inpiger umbrosa Parnasi constitit arce 
eque sagittifera prompsit duo tela pharetra 
diversorum operum : fugat hoc, facit illud aniorem ; 
quod facit, auratum est et cuspide fulget acuta, 470 
quod fugat, obtusum est et habet sub harundine 

hoc deus in nympha Peneide fixit, at illo 
laesit Apollineas traiecta per ossa medul|as ; 
protinus alter amat, fugit altera nomen amantis 
silvarum latebris capitivarumque ferarum 475 



youth who had been victorious in boxinfj, running, 
or the chariot race received the honour of an oaken 
garland. For as yet the laurel-tree was not, and 
Phoebus was wont to wreathe his temples, comely 
with flowing locks, with a garland from any tree. 

Now the first love of Phoebus was Daphne, 
daughter of Peneus, the river-god. It was no blind 
chance that gave this love, but the malicious wrath 
of Cupid. Uelian Apollo, while still exulting over 
his conquest of the serpent, had seen him bending 
his bow with tight-drawn string, and had said : 
"What hast thou to do with the arms of men, thou 
wanton boy .'' That weapon befits my shoulders ; for 
I have strength to give unerring wounds to the wild 
beasts, my foes, and have but now laid low the 
Python swollen with countless darts, covering whole 
acres with plague-engendering form. Do thou be 
content with thy torch to light the hidden fires of 
love, and lay not claim to my honours." And to him 
Venus' son replied : " Thy dart may pierce all things 
else, Apollo, but mine shall pierce thee ; and by as 
much as all living things are less than deity, by so 
much less is thy glory than mine." So saying he 
shook his wings and, dashing upward through the air, 
quickly alighted on the shady peak of Parnasus. 
Tliere he took from his quiver two darts of opposite 
effect : one puts to flight, the other kindles the flame 
of love. The one which kindles love is of gold and 
has a sharp, gleaming point; the other is blunt and 
tipped with lead. This last the god fixed in the 
heart of Peneus' daughter, but with the other he 
smote Apollo, pierchig even unto the bones and 
marrow. Straightway he burned with love ; but she 
fled the very name of love, rejoicing in the deep 
fastnesses of the woods, and in the spoils of beasts 



exuviis gaudens inniiptaeque aemula Phoebes: 

vitta coercebat positos sine lege capillos. 

multi* illam petiere, ilia aversata petentes 

inpatiens expersque viri nemora a via lustrat 

nee, quid Hymen, quid Amor, quid sint coniibia curat. 

saepe pater dixit: " generum mihi, filia, debes," 481 

saepe pater dixit : "debes mihi, nata, nepotes " ; 

ilia velut crimen taedas exosa iugales 

pulchra verecundo sufFunditur ora rubore 

inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis 485 

'*da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime," dixit 

"virginitate frui ! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae." 

ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas 

esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat : 

Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes, 490 

quodque cupit, sperat, suaque ilium oracula fallunt, 

utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis, 

ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator 

vel nimis admovit vel lam sub luce reliquit, 

sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto 495 

uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem. 

spectat inornatos coUo pendere capillos 

et " quid, si comantur ? " ait. videt igne micantes 

sideribus similes oculos, videt oscula, quae non 

est vidisse satis ; laudat digitosque manusque 500 

bracchiaque et nudos media plus parte lacertos ; 

si qua latent, meliora putat. fugit ocior aura 

ilia levi neque ad haec revocantis verba resistit : 

" nympha, precor, Penei, mane I non insequor hostis; 

nympha, mane ! sic agna lupum, sic cerva leonem, 505 



which she had snared, vying with the virgin Phoebe. 
A single fillet bound her locks all unarranged. Many 
sought her ; but she, averse to all suitors, impatient 
of control and without thought for man, roamed the 
pathless woods, nor cared at all what Hymen, love, or 
wedlock might be. Often her father said : " Daughter, 
you owe me a son-in-law " ; and often : " Daughter, 
you owe me grandsons." But she, hating the wedding 
torch as if it were a thing of evil, would blush rosy 
red over her fair face, and, clinging around her 
father's neck with coaxing arms, would say : " O 
father, dearest, grant me to enjoy perpetual virginity. 
Her father has already granted this to Diana." He, 
indeed, yielded to her request. But that beauty of 
thine. Daphne, forbade the fulfilment of thy desire, 
and thy form fitted not with thy prayer. Phoebus 
loves Daphne at sight, and longs to wed her ; and 
what he longs for, that he hopes ; and his own gifts 
of prophecy deceive him. And as the stubble of 
the harvested grain is kindled, as hedges burn with 
the torches which some traveller has chanced to 
put too near, or has gone off and left at break of 
day, so was the god consumed with flames, so did he 
burn in all his heart, and feed his fruitless love on 
hope. He looks at her hair hanging down her neck 
in disarray, and says : " What if it were arrayed }" He 
gazes at her eyes gleaming like stars, he gazes upon 
her lips, which but to gaze on does not satisfy. He 
marvels at her fingers, hands, and wrists, and her arms, 
bare to the shoulder ; and what is hid he deems still 
lovelier. But she flees him swifter than the fleeting 
breeze, nor does she stop when he calls after her: 
'* O nymph, O Peneus' daui^hter, stay ! I who pursue 
thee am no enemy. Oh stay ! So does the lamb flee 
from the wolf; the deer from the lion; so do doves 
on fluttering wing flee from the eagle ; so everv 



sic aquilam penna fugiunt tiepidante columbae, 
hostes quaeque suos : amor est niihi causa sequendi j 
me miserum ! ne prona cadas indignave laedi 
crura notent sentes et sim tibi causa doloris ! 
aspera, qua properas, loca sunt : moderatius, oro, 510 
curre fugamque inhibe^ moderatius insequar ipse, 
cui placeas, inquire tanien: non incola montis, 
non ego sum pastor, non hie armenta gregresque 
horridus observo. nescis, temeraria, nescis, 
quem fugias, ideoquefugis : mihi Delphica tellus 515 
et Claros et Tenedos Patareaque regia servit ; 
luppiter est genitor ; per me, quod eritque fuitque 
estque, patet ; per me concordant carmina nervis. 
certa quidem nostra est, nostra tamen una sagitta 
certior, in vacuo quae vulnera pectore fecit ! 520 

inventum medicina me urn est, opiferque per orbeni 
dicor, et herbarum subiecta potentia nobis, 
ei mihi, quod nullis amor est sanabilis herbis 
nee prosunt domino, quae prosunt omnibus, artes ! " 

Plura locuturum timido Peneia cursu 525 

fugit cumque ipso verba inperfecta reliquit, 
tum quoque visa decens; nudabant corpora venti, 
obviaque adversas vibrabant flamina vestes, 
et levis inpulsos retro dabat aura capillos, 
auctaque forma fuga est. sed enim non sustinet ultra 
perdere blanditias iuvenis deus, utque movebat 531 
ipse Amor, admisso sequitur vestigia passu, 
ut canis in vacuo leporem cum Gallicus arvo 
vidit, et hie praedam ^ledibus petit, ille salutem ; 


creature flees its foes. But love is the cause of my 
pursuit. A.h me I I fear that thou wilt fall, or 
brambles mar thy innocent limbs, and I be cause of 
pain to thee. The region here is rough through 
which thou hastenest. Run with less speed, I pray, 
and hold thy flight. 1, too, will follow with less 
speed. Nay, stop and ask who thy lover is. I am 
no mountain-dweller, no shepherd I, no unkempt 
guardian here of flocks and herds. Thou knowest 
not, rash one, thou knowest not whom thou fleest, 
and for that reason dost thou flee. Mine is the 
Delphian land, and Claros, Tenedos, and the realm 
of Patara acknowledge me as lord. Jove is my 
fatlier. By me what shall be, has been, and what is 
are all revealed ; by me the lyre responds in harmony 
to song. My arrow is sure of aim, but oh, one arrow, 
surer than my own, has wounded my heart but now 
so fancy free. The art of medicine is my discovery. 
I am called Help-Bringer throughout the world; and 
all the potency of herbs is given unto me. Alas, 
that love is curable by no herbs, and the arts which 
heal all others cannot heal their lord ! " 

He would have said more, but the maiden pur- 
sued her frightened way and left him with hii 
words unfinished, even in her desertion seeming fair. 
The winds bared her limbs, the opposing breeze a' set 
her garments a-flutter as she ran, and a light air flung 
her locks streaming behind her. Her beauty was 
enhanced by flight. But the chase drew to an end, 
for the youthful god would not longer waste his time 
in coaxing words, and urged on by love, he pursued 
at utmost speed. Just as when a Gallic hound has 
seen a hare in an open plain, and seeks his prey on 
flying feet, but the hare, safety; he, just about to 
fasten on her, now, even now thinks he has her, and 



alter inhaesuro similis iam iamque tenere 535 

sperat et extento stringit vestigia rostro, 
alter in ambiguo est, an sit eonprensus, et ipsis 
morsibus eripitur tangentiaque ora relinquit : 
sic deus et virgo est hie spe celer, ilia timore. 
qui tanien insequitur pennis adiutus Amoris, 540 

ocior est requiemque negat tergoque fugacis 
inminet et crinem sparsum cervicibus adflat. 
viribus absumptis expalluit ilia citaeque 
victa labore fugae speclans Peneidas undas * 544' 

** fer, pater," inquit " opem ! si flumina numen habetis, 
qua nimium placui, mutando perde figuram 1 " 547 
vix prece finita torpor gravis occupat artus, 
mollia cinguntur tenui praecordia libro, 
in frondem crines, in ramos bracchia crescunt, 550 
pes modo tarn velox pigris radicibus haeret, 
ora cacumen habet : remanet niter unus in ilia. 
Haiic quoque Phoebus amat positaque in stipite 
sentit adhue trepidare novo sub cortice pectus 
conplexusque suis ramos ut membra lacertis 555 

oscula dat ligno ; refugit tamen oscula lignum, 
cui deus " at, quoniam coniunx mea non potes esse, 
iirbor eris certe " dixit " mea I semper habebunt 
te coma, te citharae, te nostrae, laure, pliaretrae ; 
tu G \cibus Latiis aderis, cum laeta Triumphum 560 
vox canet et visent longas Capitolia pompas ; 
postibus Augustis eadem fidissima custos 
ante fores stabis mediamque tuebere quercum, 

* Most MSS. have two verses for 547 : 

qua niraium placui, tellus, ait, hisce, vel istam 
quae facit ut laedar mutando perde figuram. 

Probably quae facit ut laedar was first written as a gloss to qua 
nimium placui, and the line completed by an emendation. 



grazes her very heels with his outstretched muzzle ; 
but she knows not whether or no she be already 
caught, and barely escapes from those sharp fangs 
and leaves behind the jaws just closing on her : so ran 
the god and maid, he sped by hope and she by fear. 
But he ran the more swiftly, borne on the wings of 
love, gave her no time to rest, hung over her fleeing 
shoulders and breathed on the hair that streamed 
over her neck. Now was her strength all gone, and, 
pale with fear and utterly overcome by the toil of her 
swift flight, seeing her father's waters near, she cried : 
" O father, help ! if your waters hold divinity ; change 
and destroy this beauty by which I pleased o'er 
well." Scarce had she thus prayed when a down- 
drairjrinjr numbness seized her limbs, and her soft 
sides were begirt with thin bark. Her hair was 
changed to leaves, her arms to branches. Her feet, 
but now so swift, grew fast in sluggish roots, and her 
head was now but a tree's top. Her gleaming beauty 
alone remained. 

But even now in this new form Apollo loved her; 
and placing his hand upon the trunk, he felt the 
heart still fluttering beneath the bark. He embraced 
the branches as if human limbs, and pressed his lips 
upon the wood. But even the wood shrank from his 
kisses. And the god cried out to this : " Since thou 
canst not be my bride, thou shalt at least be my tree. 
My hair, my lyre, my quiver shall always be entwined 
with thee, 6 laurel. With thee shall Roman generals 
wreathe their heads, when shouts of joy shall acclaim 
their triumph, and long processions climb the Capitol. 
Thou at Augustus' portals shalt stand a trusty 
guardian, and keep watch over the civic crown of 



utque meum intonsis caput est in\ enale capilHs, 
tu quoque perpetuos semper gere frondis honores ! " 
finierat Paean : factis modo laurea ramis 566 

adnuit utque caput visa est agitasse cacunien. 

Est nemus Haemoniae, praerupta quod undique 
silva : vocant Tempe ; per quae Peneus ab imo 
efFusus Pindo spumosis volvitur undis 570 

deiectuque gravi tenues agitantia fumos 
nubila conducit summisque adspergine silvis 
inpluit et sonitu plus quam vicina fatigat : ^o-? 

haec domus, haec sedes, haec sunt penetralia magni 
amnis, in his residens facto de cautibus antro, 575 
undis iura dabat nymphisque colentibus undas. 
conveniunt illuc popularia flumina primum, 
nescia, gratentur consolenturne parentem, 
populifer Sperchios et inrequietus Enipeus 
Apidanusque senex lenisque Amplirj'^sos et Aeas, 580 
moxque amnes alii, qui, qua tulit inpetus illos, 
in mare deducunt fessas erroribus undas. 
Inachus unus abest imoque reconditus antro 
fletibus auget aquas natamque miserrimus lo 
luget ut amissam : nescit, vitane fruatur 585 

an sit apud manes ; sed quam non invenit usquam, 
esse putat nusquam atque animo peiora veretiir. 

Viderat a patrio redeuntem luppiter illam 
flumine et " o virgo love digna tuoque beatum 
nescio quem factura toro, pete " dixerat " umbras 590 
altorum neinorum " (et nemorum monstraverat 

/ umbras) \^\^ 




oak which hangs between. And as my head fs ever 
young and my locks unshorn, so do thou keep the 
beauty of thy leaves perpetual." Paean was done. 
The laurel waved her new-made branches, and 
seemed to move her head-like top in full consent. 

There is a vale in Thessaly which steep-wooded 
slopes surround on every side. Men call it Tempe. 
Through this the River Peneus flows from the foot ot 
Pindus with foam-flecked waters, and by its heavy 
fall forms clouds which drive along fine, smoke-like 
mist, sprinkles the tops of the trees with spray, and 
deafens even remoter regions bv its roar. Here is 
the home, the seat, the inmost haunt of the mighty 
stream. Here, seated in a cave of overhanging rock, 
he was giving laws to his waters, and to his water- 
nymphs. Hither came, first, the rivers of his own 
country, not knowing whether to congratulate or 
console the father of Daphne : the poplar-fringed 
Sperchios, the restless Enipeus, lioary Apidanus, 
gentle Amphrysos and Aeas ; and later all the rivers 
which, by whatsoever way their current carries them, 
lead down their waters, weary with wandering, iuto^ 
the sea. Inachus only does not come ; but, hidden 
away in his deepest cave, he augments his waters 
with his tears, and in utmost wretchedness laments 
his daughter, lo, as lost. He knows not whether she 
still lives or is among the shades. But, since he 
cannot find her anywhere, he thinks she must be 
nowhere, and his anxious soul forbodes things worse 
than death. 

Now Jove had seen her returning from her father's 
stream, and said : " O maiden, worthy of the love of 
Jove, and destined to make some husband happy, 
seek now the shade of these deep woods" — and he 
pointed to the shady woods — " while the sun at his 



dum calet, et medio sol est altissimus orbe! 

quodsi sola times latebras intrare ferarum, 

praeside tuta deo nemorum secreta subibis, 

nee de plebe deo, sed qui caelestia magna 595 

sceptra manu teneo, sed qui vaga fulmina mitto. 

ne fuge me! " fugiebat enim. iam paseua Lernae 

consitaque arboribus Lyrcea reliquerat arva, 

cum deus inducta latas caligine terras 

occuluit tenuitque fugam rapuitque pudorem. 600 

Interea medics luuo dispexit in Argos ^ 
et noctis faciem nebulas fecisse volucres 
sub nitido mirata die, hon fluminis illas 
esse, nee umenti sensit tellure remitti ; 
atque suus coniunx ubi sit circumspicit, ut quae 605 
deprensl totiens iam nosset furta mariti. 
quern postquam caelo non repperit, "aut ego f'allor 
aut ego laedor " ait delapsaque ab aethere summo 
constitit in terris nebulasque recedere iussit. 
coniugis adventum praesenserat inque nitentem 6lO 
Inachidos vultus mutaverat ille iuvencam 
(bos quoque formosa est) : speciem Saturnia vaccae, 
quamquam in vita, probat nee non, et cuius et 

quove sit armento, veri quasi nescia quaerit, 
luppiter e terra genitam mentitur, ut auctor 6l5 
desinat inquiri : petit banc Saturnia munus. 
quid faciat ? crudele suos addicere amores, 
non dare suspectum ect : Pudor est, qui suadeat illinc, 

* Argos Merkel and MiiUer : agfos MSS. 


zenith's height is overwarm. But if thou fearest to 
go alone amongst the haunts of wild beasts, under a 
god's protection shalt thou tread in safety even the 
inmost woods. Nor am I of the common gods, but 
I am he who holds high heaven's sceptre in his 
mighty hand, and hurls tiie roaming thunderbolts. 
Oh, do not flee from me !" — for she was already in 
flight. Now had she left behind the pasture-fields 
of Lerna, and the Lyrcean plains thick-set with 
trees, when the god hid the wide land in a thick, 
dark cloud, caught the fleeing maid and ravished ht*r. 
Meanwhile .[uno chanced to look down upon the 
midst of Argos, and marvelled that quick-rising 
clouds had wrought the aspect of night in the clear 
light of day. She knew tliat they were not river 
mists nor fogs exlialed from the damp earth ; and 
forthwithsshe glanced around to see where her lord 
might be, as one who knew well his oft-discovered 
wiles. When she could not find him in the sky 
she said : " Either I am mistaken or 1 am being 
wronged " ; and gliding down from the top ot heaven, 
slie stood upon the earth and bade the clouds dis- 
perse. But Jove had felt beforehand his spouse's 
coming and had changed the daughter of Inachus 
into a white heifer. Even in this form she still was 
beautiful. Saturnia looked awhile upon the heifer 
in "-rudffinff admiration ; then asked whose she was 
and whence she came or fi-om what herd, as if she 
did not know full well. Jove lyingly declared that 
she had sprung from the earth, that so he might 
forestall all further question as to her origin. 
Thereupon Saturnia asked for the heifer as a gift. 
What should he do? 'Twere a cruel task to sur- 
render his love, but not to do so would arouse 
suspicion. Shame on one side prompts to give her 



hinc dissuadet Amor, victus Pudor esset Amore, 
sed leve si munus sociae generisque torique 620 

vacca negaretur, poterat iion vacca videri ! 

Paelice donata non protinus exuit omnem 
diva metum timuitque lovem et fuit anxia furti, 
donee Arestoridae servandam tradidit Argo. 
centum luminibus cinctum caput Argus habebat 625 
inde suis vicibus capiebant bina quietem, 
cetera servabant atque in statione manebant. 
constiterat quocumque mode, spectabat ad lo, 
ante oculos lo, quamvis aversus, habebat. 
luce sinit pasci ; cum sol tellure sub alta est, 630 
olaudit et indigno circumdat vincula colic, 
frondibus arboreis et amara pascitur herba. 
proque toro teirae non semper gramen habenti 
incubat infelix limosaque flumina polat. 
ilia etiam supplex Argo cum bracchia vellet 635 

tendere, non habuit. quae bracchia tenderet Argo, 
et conata queri mugitus edidit ore 
pertimuitque sonos propriaque exterrita voce est. 
venit et ad ripas, ubi ludere saepe solebat, 
Inachidas : rictus^ novaque ut conspexit in unda 640 
cornua, pertimuit seque exsternata refugit. 
naides ignorant, ignorat et Inachus ipse, 
quae sit ; at ilia patrem sequitur sequiturque sorores 
et patitur tangi seque admirantibus ofFert. 
decerptas senior porrexerat Inachus herbas : 645 

ilia manus lambit patriisque dat oscula palmis 
nee retinet lacrimas et, si modo verba sequantur, 
* Inachidas : rictus Merhd : Inachidas ripas MSS. 


up, but love on the other urges not. Shame by love 
would have been o'ercome ; but if so poor a giit as a 
heifer were refused to her who was both his sister 
and his wife, perchance she had seemed to be no 

Though her rival was at last given up, the goddess 
did not at once put off all suspicion, for she feared 
Jove and further treachery, until she had given her 
over to Argus, the son of Arestor, to keep i'or her. 
Now Argus' head was set about with a hundred eyes, 
which took their rest in sleep two at a time in turn, 
while the others watched and remained on guard. 
In whatsoever way he stood he looked at lo ; even 
when his back was turned he had lo before his eyes. 
In the daytime he allowed her to graze ; but when 
the sun had set beneath the earth he shut her up 
and tied an ignominious halter round her neck. She 
fed on leaves of trees and bitter herbs, and instead 
of a couch the poor thing lay r/pon the ground, 
which was not always grassy, and drank water from 
the muddy streams. When she strove to stretch out 
suppliant arms to Argus, she had no arms to stretch ; 
anil when she attempted to voice her complaints, she 
only mooed. She would start with fear at the sound, 
and was filled with terror at her own voice. She 
came also to the bank of her father's stream, where 
she used to play ; but when she saw, reflected in the 
water, her gaping jaws and sprouting horns, she fled 
in very terror of herself. Her Naiad sisters knew 
not who she was, nor yet her father, Inachus himself. 
But she followed him and her sisters, and offered 
herself to be petted and admired. Old Inachus had 
plucked some grass and held it out to her; she 
licked her father's hand and tried to kiss it. She 
could not restrain her tears, and, if only she could 



oret opem nomenque suum casusque loquatur ; 
littera pro verbis, quam pes in pulvere duxit, 
corporis indicium mutati triste peregit. 650 

"me miserum!" exclamat pater Inachus inque 

cornibus et niveae pendens cervice iuvencae 
" me miseruin ! " ingeminat ; " tune es quaesita 

per omnes 
nata mihi terras ? tu non inventa reperta 
luctus eras levior ! retices nee mutiia nostris 655 
dicta refers, alto tantum suspiria ducis 
pectore, quodque unum potes, ad mea verba 

remugis ! 
at tibi ego ignarus thalamos taedasque parabam, 
spesque fuit generi mihi prima, secunda nepotum. 
de grege nunc tibi vir, nunc de grege natus 

habendus. 660 

nee finire licet tantos mihi morte dolores ; 
se d nocet e sse deum, praeclusaque ianua let! 
aeternum nostros luctus extendit in aevum." 
talia maerentes stellatus submovet Argus 
ereptamque patri diversa in pascua natam 665 

abstrahit. ipse procul montis sublime cacumen 
occupat, unde sedens partes speculatur in omnes. 
Nee superum rector mala tanta Phoronidos 

ferre potest natumque vocat, quem lucida partu 
Pleias enixa est letoque det imperat Argum, 670 

parva mora est alas pedibus virgamqiie potenti 
somniferamsumpsisse manu tegumenque capillis. 
haec ubi disposuit, patria love natus ab arce 
desilit in terras ; illic tegumenque removit 
et posuit pennas, tantummodo virga retenta est : 675 
hac agit ut pastor per devia rura capellas, 



speak, she would tell her name and sad misfortune, 
and beg for aid. But instead of words, she did tell 
the sad story of her changed form with letters which 
she traced in the dust with her hoof. " Ah, woe is 
me ! " exclaimed her father. Inachus ; and, clinging 
to the weeping heifer's horns and snow-white neck : 
"Ah, woe is me! art thou indeed my daughter 
whom I have sought o'er all the earth ? Unfound, 
a lighter grief wast thou than found. Thou art 
silent, and givest me back no answer to my words ; 
thou only heavest deep sighs, and, what alone thou 
canst, thou dost moo in reply. I, in blissful ignor- 
ance, was preparing marriage rites for thee, and had 
hopes, first of a son in-law, and then of grand- 
children. But now from the herd must I find ihee 
a iiusband, and from the herd must I look for erand- 
children. And even by death I may not end my 
crushing woes. It is a dreadful thing to be a god, 
for the door of death is shut to me, and my grief 
must go on without end." As they thus wept 
together star-eyed Argus separated them and drove 
the daughter, torn from her father's arms, to more 
distant pastures. There he perched himself apart 
upon a high mountain-top, where at his ease he 
could keep watch on every side. 

But now the ruler of the heavenly ones can no 
longer bear these great sufferings of lo, and he calls 
his son whom the shining Pleiad bore, and bids him 
do Argus to death. Without delay Mercury puts on 
his winged sandals, takes in his potent hand his 
sleep-producing wand, and dons his magic cap. Thus 
arrayed, the son of Jove leaps down from sky to 
earth, where he removes his cap and lays aside his 
wings. Only his wand he keeps. With this, in the 
character of a shepherd, through the sequestered 

C 4^ 


dum venit, adductas et structis cantat avenis. 
voce nova et captus custos lunonius arte 
"quisquis es, hoc poteras mecum considere saxo " 
Argus ait; "neque enim pecori fecundior ullo 680 
herba loco est, aptamque vides pastoribus unibram." 

Sedit Atlantiades et euntem multa loquendo 
detinuit sennone diem iunctisque canendo 
vincere harundinibus servantia lumina temptat. 
ille tamen pugnat molles evincere somnos 685 

et, quamvis sopor est oculorum parte receptus, 
parte tamen vigilat. quaerit quoque (namque 

fistula nuper erat), qua sit ratione reperta. 


Tum deus " Arcadiae gelidis sub montibus" inquit 
" inter hamadryadas celeberrima Nonacrmas 69O 

naias una fuit : nymphae Syringa vocabant. 
noiTsemel et satyros eluserat ilia sequentes 
et quoscumque deos umbrosaque silva feraxque 
rus habet. Ortygiam studiis ipsaque colebat 
virginitate deam ; ritu quoque cincta Dianae 695 

falleret, ut posset credi Latonia, si non 
corneus huic arcus, si non foret aureus illi ; 
sic quoque fallebat. 

Redeuntem colle Lycaeo 
Pan videt banc pinuque caput praecinctus acuta 
talia verba refert " — restabat verba referre 700 

et precibus spretis fugisse per avia nympham, 


country paths he drives a flock of goats which he has 
collected as he came along, and plays upon his reed 
pipe as he goes. Juno's guardsman is greatly taken 
with the strange sound. " You, there," he calls, 
" whoever you are, you might as well sit beside me 
on this rock ; for nowhere is there richer grass for 
the flock, and you see that there is shade convenient 
for shepherds." 

So Atlas' grandson takes his seat, and fills the 
passing hours witli talk of many things ; and by 
making music on his pipe of reeds he tries to over- 
come those watchful eyes. But Argus strives 
valiantly against his slumberous languor, and though 
he allows some of his eyes to sleep, still he continues 
to watch with the others. He asks also how the 
reed pipe came to be invented ; for at that time it 
had but recently been invented. 

Then said the god : '' On Arcadia's cool mountaia^ 
slopes, among the wood nymphs who dwelt on 
Nonacris, there was one much sought by suitors. Her 
sister nymphs called her Syrinx. More than once 
she had eluded the pursuit of satyrs and all the gods 
who dwell either in the bosky woods or fertile fields. 
But she patterned after the Delian goddess in her 
pursuits and above all in her life of maidenhood. 
When girt after the manner of Diana, she would 
deceive the beholder, and could be mistaken for 
Latona's daughter, were not her bow of horn, were 
not Diana's of gold. But even so she was mistaken 
for the goddess. 

" One day l^an saw her as she was coming back 
from Mount Lycaeus, his head wreathed with a 
crown of sharp pine-needles, and thus addressed 
her. . . ." It remained still to tell what he said and 
to relate how the nymph, spurning his prayers, fled 



donee harenosi placidum Ladonis ad amnem 

venerit; hie illam cursum inpedientibus undia 

ut se mutarent liquidas orasse sorores, 

Panaque cum preiisam sibi iam Syringa putaret, 705 

eorpore pro nymphae calamos tenuisse palustres, 

dunique ibi suspirat, motes in bar undine ventos 

efFeeisse sonum tenuem similemque querenti. 

arte nova voeisque deum duleedine eaptum 

"hoc mihi eoncilium tecum" dixisse " manebit," 710 

atque ita disparibus ealamis ^onpagine cerae 

inter se iunetis nomtn tenuisse puellae. 

talia dicturus vidit Cyllenius omnes 

subcubuisse oculos adopertaque lumina somno ; 

supprimit extemplo vocem firmatque soporem 715 

languida permuleens medieata lumina virga. 

nee mora, faleato nutantem vulnerat ense, 

qua collo est confine caput, saxoque cruentum 

deieit et maculat praeruptam sanguine rupem. 719 

Arge, iaees, quodque in tot lumina lumen habebas, 

exstinetum est, centumque oculos nox occupat una. 

Excipit hos volucrisque suae Saturnia pennis 
collocat et gemmis caudam stellantibus inplet. 
protinus exarsit nee tempora distulit irae 
horriferamque oculis animoque obiecit Erinyn 725 
paelicis Argolieae stimulosque in pectore caecos 
condidit et profugam per totum terruit orbem. 
ultimus inmenso restabas, Nile, labori ; 
quem simulac tetigit, positisque in margine ripae 
procubuit genibus resupinoque ardua collo, 7S0 



through the pathless wastes until she came to LaJon's 
stream flowing peacefully along his sandy banks ; 
how here, when the water checked her further 
flight, she besought her sisters of the stream to change 
her form ; and how Pan, when now he thought he 
had caught Syrinx, instead of her held naught but 
marsh reeds in his arms ; and while he sighed in 
disappointment, the soft air stirring in the reeds 
gave forth a low and complaining sound. Touched 
by this wonder and charmed by the sweet tones, the 
god exclaimed : "This union, at least, shall I have 
with thee." And so the pipes, made of unequal 
reeds fitted together by a joining of wax, took and 
kept the name of the maiden. When Mercury was 
going on to tell this story, he saw that all those eyes 
had yielded and were closed in sleep. Straightway 
he checks his words, and deepens Argus* slumber 
by passing his magic wand over those sleep-faint 
eyes. And forthwith he smites with his hooked 
sword the nodding head just where it joins the neck, 
and sends it bleeding down the rocks, defiling the 
rugged cliff with blood. Argus, thou liest low; the 
light which thou hadst within thy many fires is all 
put out ; and one darkness fills thy hundred eyes. 

Saturnia took these eyes and set them on the 
feathers of her bird, filling his tail with star-like 
jewels. Straightway she flamed with anger, nor did 
she delay the fulfilment of her wrath. She set a 
terror-bearing fury to work before the eyes and 
heart of her Grecian rival, planted deep within her 
breast a goading fear, and sent her fleeing in terror 
through all the world. Thou, O Nile, alone didst close 
her boundless toil. When she reached the stream, 
she flung herself down on her knees upon the river 
bank ; with head thrown back she raised her face, 



quos potuit solos, tollens ad sidera vultus 
et gemitu et lacrimis et luctisono mugitu 
cum love visa queri finemque orare malorum. 
coniugis ille suae conplexus colla lacertis, 734 

finiat ut poenas tandem, rogat " in " que " futurum 
pone metus " inquit : " numquam tibi causa doloris 
haec erit," et Stygias iubet hoc audire paludes. 

not lenita dea est, vultus capit ilia priores 
fitque, quod ante fuit : fugiunt e corpore saetae, 
cornua decrescunt, fit luminis artior orbis, 740 

contrahitur rictus, redeunt umerique manusque, 
ungulaque in quinos dilapsa absumitur ungues : 
de bove nil superest formae nisi candor in ilia, 
officioque pedum nymphe contenta duorum 
erigitur metuitque loqui, ne more iuvencae 745 

mugiat, et timide verba intermissa retemptat. 
Nunc dea linigera colitur celeberrima turba. 
huie ^ Epaphus magni genitus de semine tandem 
creditur esse lovis perque urbes iuncta parenti 
templa tenetii'^fuit huic animis aequalis et annis 750 
Sole satus Phaethon, quern quondam magna 

nee sibi cedentem Phoeboque parente superbum 
non tulit Inachides "matri " que ait "omnia demens 
credis et es tumidus genitofis imagine falsi." 
erubuit Phaethon iramque pudore repressit 755 

et tulit ad Clymeijfen Epaphi convicia matrem 
"quo" que "magisdoleas,genetrix"ait,"ille ego liber, 

1 buic Meinsiui : nunc MSS. 


which alone she could raise, to the high stars, and with 
groans and tears and agonized mooings she seemed to 
voice her griefs to Jove and to beg him to end her 
woes. Thereupon Jove threw his arms about his 
spouse's neck, and begged her at last to end her 
vengeance, saying : " Lay aside all fear for the future ; 
fihe shall never be source of grief to you again " ; and 
he called upon the Stygian pools to witness his oath. 

The goddess's wrath is soothed ; lo gams back he, \ 
former looks, and becomes what she was before. The | 
rough hair falls away from her body, her horns dis- 
appear, her great round eyes grow smaller, her gaping 
mouth is narrowed, her shoulders and her hands come 
back, and the hoofs are gone, being changed each 
into five nails. No trace of the heifer is left in her 
save only the fair whiteness of her body. And now 
the nymph, able at last to stand upon two feet, 
stands erect; yet fears to speak, lest she moo in the 
heifer's way, and with fear and trembling she resumes 
her long-abandoned speech. ' 

Now, with fullest service, she is worshipped as a 
goddess by the linen-robed throng. A son, Epaphus, 
was born to her, thought to have sprung at length 
from the seed of mighty Jove, and throughout the 
cities dwelt in temples with his mother. He had a 
companion of like mind and age named Phaethon, 
child of the Sun. When this Phaethon was once 
speaking proudly, and refused to give way to him, 
boasting that Phoebus was his father, the grand- 
son of Inachus rebelled and said : " You are a fool to 
believe all your mother tells you, and are swelled 
up with false notions about your father." Phaethon 
grew red with rage, but repi-essed his anger through 
very shame and carried Epaphus' insulting taunt 
straight to his mother, Clymene. "And that you 


ille ferox tacui ! pudet haec opprobria nobis 
et dici potuisse et non potuisse refelli. 
at tu, si modo sum caelesti stirpe creatus, 760 

ede notam tanti generis meque adsere caelo ! " 
dixit et inplicuit materno bracchia collo 
perqiie suum Meropisque caput taedasque sororum 
traderet oravit veri sibi signa parentis, 
ambiguum Clymene precibus Phaethontis an ira 765 
mota magis dicti sibi criminis utraque caelo 
bracchia porrexit spectansque ad lumina solis 
"per iubar hoc " inquit " radiis insigne coruscis, 
nate, tibi iuro, quod nos auditque videtque, 769 

hoc te, quem spectas, hoc te, qui temperat orbem, 
Sole satum ; si ficta loquor, neget ipse videndum 
se mihi, sitque oculis lux ista novissima nostris ! 
nee longus labor est patrios tibi nosse penates. 
unde oritur, domus est terrae contermina nostrae : 
si modo fert animus, gradere et scitabere ab ipso ! " 
emicat extemplo laetus post talia matris 776 

dicta suae Phaethon et concipit aethera mente 
Aetbiopasque suos positosque sub ignibus Indos 
sidereis transit patriosque adit inpiger ortus. 



may grieve the more, mother," he said, " I, the 
higli-spirited, the bold of tongue, had no word to 
say. Ashamed am I that such an insult could have 
been uttered and yet could not be answered. But 
do you, if I am indeed sprung from heavenly seed, 
give me a proof of my high birth, and justify my 
cbiims to divine origin." So spoke the lad, and 
threw his arms around his mother's neck, begging 
her, by his own and Merops' life, by his sisters' 
nuptial torches, to give him some sure token of his 
birth. Clymene, moved (it is uncertain whether by 
the prayers of Phaethon, or more by anger at the 
insult to herself), stretched out both arms to heaven, 
and, turning her eyes on the bright sun, exclaimed : 
" By the splendour of that radiant orb which both 
hears and sees me now, I swear to you, my hov, that 
you are sprung from the Sun, that being whom you 
beliold, tliat being who sways the world. If I speak 
not the truth, may I never see him more, and may 
this be the last time my eyes shall look upon the 
light of day. But it is not difficult for you yourself 
to find your father's house. The place where he 
rises is not far from our own land. If you are so 
minded, go there and ask your question of the sun 
himself." Phaethon leaps up in joy at his mother's 
words, already grasping the heavens in imagination ; 
and after crossing his own Ethiopia and the land of 
Ind lying close beneath the sun, he quickly comes 
to his father's rising-place. 


BOOK 71 


Reoia Solis erat sublimibus alta columnis, 
clara micante auro flammasque imitaiite pyropo. 
cuius ebur nitidum fastigia summa tegebat, 
argenti bifores radiabant lumine valvae. 
materiam superabat opus : nam Mulciber illic i'l 

aequora caelarat medias cingentia terras 
terrarumque orbem caelumque, quod imniinet orbi. 
caeruleos habet unda deos, Tritona canonim 
Proteaque ambiguum ballenarumque prementem 
Aegaeona suis inmania terga lacertis 10 

Doridaque et natas, quarum pars nare videtiir, 
pars in mole sedens viridis siccare capillos, 
pisce vehi quaedam : facies non omnibus una, 
non diversa tamen, qualem decet esse sororum. 
terra viros urbesque gerit silvasque ferasque 15 

fluminaque et nymphas et cetera numina ruris. 
haee super inposita est caeli fulgentis imago, 
signaque sex foribus dextris totidemque sinistris. 

Quo simul adclivi Clymeneia limite proles 
venit et intravit dubitati tecta parentis, 20 

protinus ad palrios sua fert vestigia vultus 
consistitque procul ; neque enim propiora ferebat 
himina : purpurea velatus veste sedebat 


The palace of the Sun stood high on loftj columns, 
bright with glittering gold and bronze that shone 
like fire. Gleaming ivory crowned the gables above ; 
the double folding-doors were radiant with burnished 
silver. And the workmanship was more beautiful 
than the material. For upon the doors Mulciber had 
carved in relief the waters that enfold the central 
earth, the circle of the lands and the sky that over- 
hangs the lands. The sea holds the dark-hued gods : 
tuneful Triton, changeful Proteus, and Aegaeon, his 
strong arms thrown over a pair of huge whales ; 
Doris and her daughters, some of whom are shown 
swimming through the water, some sitting on a rock 
drying their green hair, and some riding on fishes. 
They have not all the same appearance, and yet not 
altogether different ; as it should be with sisters. 
The land has men and cities, woods and beasts, 
rivers, nymphs and other rural deities. Above these 
scenes was placed a representation of the shining 
sky, six signs of the zodiac on the right-hand doors, 
and six signs on the left. 

Now when Clymene's son had climbed the steep 
path which leads thither, and had come beneath thi 
roof of his sire whose fatherhood had been ques 
tioned, straightway he turned him to his father's 
face, but halted some little space away ; for he could 
not bear the radiance at a nearer view. Clad in a 



in solio Phoebus claris lucente smaragdis. 

a dextra laevaque Dies et Mensis et Annus 25 

Saeculaque et positae spatiis aequalibus Horae 

Verque novum stabat cinctum florente corona, 

stabat nuda Aestas et spicea serta gerebat, 

stabat et Autumnus calcatis sordidus uvis 

et glacialis Hiems canos hirsuta capillos. SO 

Ipse loco medius rerum novitate paventem 
Sol oculis iuvenem, quibus adspicit omnia, vidit 
" quae " que " viae tibi causa ? quid hac " ait " aroe 

progenies, Phaethon, baud infitianda parenti?" 
illerefert: "o lux inmensi publica mundi, 35 

Phoebe pater, si das usum mihi nominis huius, 
nee falsa Clymene cu/pam vih imagine celat, 
pignora da, genitor, per quae tua vera propago 
credar, et hunc animis errorem detrahe nostris !'* 
dixerat, at genitor circum caput omne micantes 40 
deposuit radios propiusque accedere iussit 
amplexuque date " nee tu meus esse negari 
dignus es, et Clymene veros " ait " edidit ortus, 
quoque minus dubites, quodvis pete munus, ut illud 
me tribuente feras ! promissi testis adesto 45 

dis iuranda palus, ociliiS incognita nostris ! " 
vix bene desierat, currus rogat ille patcrnos 
inque diem alipedum ius et moderamen equorum, 

Paenituit iurasse patrem : qui terque quaterque 
concuLiens inlustre caput " temeraria " dixit 50 

" vox mea facta tua est ; utinam promissa liceret 


purple robe, Phoebus sat on his throne gleaming 
with brilliant emeralds. To right and left stood Day 
and Month and Year and Century, and the flours 
set at equal distances. Young Spring was there, 
wreathed with a floral crown ; Summer, all unclad 
with garland of ripe grain ; Autumn was there, 
stained with the trodden grape, and icy Winter with 
white and bristly locks. 

Seated in the midst of these, the Sun, with the 
eyes which behold all things, looked on the youth 
filled with terror at the strange new sights, and said: 
" Why hast thou come ? What seekest thou in this 
high dwelling, Phaethon — a son no father need 
deny .'' " The lad replied : " O common light of this 
vast universe, Phoebus, my father, if thou grantest 
me the right to use that name, if Clymene is not 
hiding her shame beneath an unreal pretence, grant 
me a proof, my father, by which all may know me 
for thy true son, and take away this uncertainty 
from my mind." He spoke ; and his father put off 
his glittering crown of light, and bade the boy draw 
nearer. Embracing him, he said: "Thou art both 
worthy to be called my son, and Clymene has told 
thee thy true origin. And, that thou mayst not 
doubt my word, ask what boon thou wilt, that thou 
mayst receive it from my hand. And may that 
Stygian pool whereby gods swear, but which mine 
eyes have never seen, be witness of my promise." 
Scarce had he ceased when the boy asked for his 
father's chariot, and the right to drive his winged 
horses for a day. 

The father repented him of his oath. Thrice and 
again he shook his bright head and said : "Thy words 
have proved mine to have been rashly said. Would 
that I might retract my promise ! For I confess, my 



non dare ! confiteor, solum hoc tibi, nate, nej^arem. 

dissuadere licet : non est tua tuta voluntas ! 

magna petis, Phaethon, et quae nee viribus istis 

munera conveniant nee tarn puerilibus annis : 55 

sors tua mortalis, non est mortale, quod optas. 

plus etiam, quam quod superis contingere possit, 

nescius adfectas ; placeat sibi quisque licebit, 

non tamen ignifero quisquam consistere in axe 

me valet excepto ; vasti quoque rector Olympi, 60 

qui fera terribili iaculatur fulmina dextra, 

non aget hos currus : et quid love maius habemus ? 

ardua prima via est et qua vix mane recentes 

enituntur equi ; medio est altissima caelo, 

unde mare et terras ipsi mihi saepe videre 65 

fit timor et pavida trepidat formidine pectus ; 

ultima prona via est et eget moderamine certo : 

tunc etiam quae me subiectis excipit undis, 

ne ferar in praeceps, Tethys solet ipsa vereri. 

adde, quod adsidua rapitur vertigine caelum 70 

sideraque alta trahit celerique volumine torqueL 

niter in adversum, nee me, qui cetera, vincit 

inpetus, et rapido contrarius evehor orbi. 

finge datos currus : quid ages ? poterisne rotatis 

obvius ire polis, ne te citus auferat axis ? 75 

forsitan et lucos illic urbesque deorum 

concipiasanimo delubraque ditia donis 

esse : per insidias iter est formasque ferarum 1 

utque viam teneas nulloque errore traharis, 

per tamen adversi gradieris cornua tauri 80 



son, that this alone would I refuse thee. But I may 
at least strive to dissuade thee. What thou desirest 
is not safe. Thou askest too great a boon, Phaethon, 
and one which does not befit thy strength and those 
so boyish years. Thy lot is mortal : not for mortals 
is that thou askest. In thy simple ignorance thou 
dost claim more than can be granted to the gods 
themselves. Though each of them may do as he 
will, yet none, save myself, has power to take his 
place in my chariot of fire. Nay, even the loi'd of 
great Olympus, who hurls dread thunderbolts with 
his awful hand, could not drive this cliariot ; and what 
have we greater than Jove? 7'he first part of the 
road is steep, up which my steeds in all their morning 
freshness can scarce make their way. In mid-heaven 
it is exceeding high, whence to look down on sea and 
land oft-times causes even me to tremble, and my 
heart to quake with throbbing fear. The last part 
of the journey is precipitous, and needs an assured 
control. Then even Tethys, who receives me in her 
underlying waters, is wont to fear lest I fall head- 
long. Furthermore, the vault of heaven spins round 
in constant motion, drawing along the lofty stars 
which it whirls at dizzy speed. I make my way 
against this, nor does the swift motion which over- 
comes all else overcome me ; but I drive clear con- 
trary to the swift circuit of the universe. Suppose 
thou hast my chariot. What wilt thou do.'' Wilt 
thou be able to make thy way against the wliirling 
poles that their swift axis sweep thee not away } 
i'erliaps, too, thou deemest there are groves there, 
and cities of the gods, and temples full of rich gifts .'' 
Nay, the course lies amid lurking dangers and fierce 
beasts of prey. And though thou shouldst hold the 
way, and not go straying from the course, still shalt 



Haemoniosque arcus violentique ora Leonis 
Saevaque circuitu curvantcni bracchia longo 
Scorpion atque aliter curvantem bracchia Cancrum. 
nee tibi quadripedes aniinosos ignibus illis, 
quos in pectore habent, quos ore et naribus efflaiit, 85 
in promptu regere est : vix me patiuntur, ubi acres 
incaluere animi cervixque repugnat habenis. — 
at tu, funesti ne sim tibi niuneris auctor, 
nate, cave, dum resque sinit tua corrige vota ' 
scilicet ut nostro genitum te sanguine credas, 90 

pignora eerta petis : do pignora certa timendo 
et patrio pater esse metu probor. adspice vultus 
eoce meos utinamque oculos in pectora posses 
inserere et patrias intus deprendere ciiras ! 
denique quidquid habet dives circumspice miindus 95 
eque tot ac tantis caeli terraeque marisque 
posce bonis aliquid ; nuUam patiere repiilsam. 
deprecor hoc unum, quod vero nomine poena, 
non honor est : poenam, Phaethon, pro munere 

poscis ! 
quid mea colla tenes bl indis, ignare, lacertis ? 100 
ne dubita ! dabitur (Stygias iuravimus undas), 
quodcumque optaris ; sed tu sapientius opta 1 " 
Finittrat monitus ; dictis tamen ille repugnat 
propositumque premit flagratque cupidine currus. 
ergo, qua licuit, genitor cunctatus ad altos 105 

deducit iuvenem, Vulcania munera, currus. 
aureus axis erat, temo aureus, aurea sumraae 
curvatura rotae, raJiorum argenteus ordo ; 


thou pass the horned Bull full in thy path, the Haemo- 
nian Archer, the maw of the raging Lion, the Scorpion, 
curving his savage arms in long sweeps, and the Crab, 
reaching out in the opposite direction. Nor is it an 
easv tiling for thee to control the steeds, hot with 
those strong fires which they have within their 
breasts, which they breathe out from mouth and 
nostrils. Scarce do they suffer my control, when 
their fierce spirits have become heated, and their 
necks rebel against the reins. But do thou, O son, 
beware lest I be the giver of a fatal gift to thee, and 
while still there is time amend thy prayer. Dost 
thou in sooth seek sure pledges that thou art son of 
mine ? Behold, I give sure pledges by my very fear ; 
I show myself thy father by my fatherly anxiety. 
See ! look upon my face. And oh, that thou couldst 
look into my heart as well, and understand a 
father's cares therein ! Then look around, see all 
that the rich world holds, and from those great 
and boundless goods of land and sea and sky ask any- 
thing. Nothing will I deny thee. But this one thing 
I beg thee not to ask, which, if rightly understood, 
is a bane instead of blessing. A bane, my Phaethon, 
dost thou seek as boon. Why dost thou throw thy 
coaxing arms about my neck, thou foolish boy .'' Nay, 
doubt it not, it shall be given — we have sworn it 
by the Styx — whatever thou dost choose. But, oh, 
make wiser choice !" 

The father's warning ended ; yet he fought against 
the words, and urged his first request, burning with 
desire to drive the chariot. So then the lather, 
delaying as far as might be, led forth the youth to 
that high chariot, the work of Vulcan. Its axle was 
of gold, the pole of gold ; its wheels had golden tyres 
and a ring of silver spokes. Along the yoke chrysolites 



per iuga chrysolithi positaeque ex ordine gemmae 
elara i-epercusso reddebant lumina Phoebo. 1 10 

Dumque ea magnanimus Phaethon miratur opusque 
perspicit, ecce vigil rutilo patefecit ab ortu 
purpureas Aurora fores et plena rosarum 
atria : diffugiunt stellae, quarum agmina cogit 
Lucifer et caeli statione novissimus exit. 11/5 

Quern petere ut terras mundumque rubescere vidit 
cornuaque extremae velut evanescere lunae, 
iungere equos Titan velocibus imperat Horis. 
iussa deae celeres peragunt ignemque vomentes, 
ambrosiae suco saturos, praesepibus altis 120 

quadripedes ducunt adduntque sonantia frena. 
turn pater era sui sacro medicamine nati 
contigit et rapidae fecit patientia flammae 
inposuitque comae radios praesagaque luctus 
pectore sollicito repetens suspiria dixit : 125 

" si potes his saltern monitis parere parentis 
parce, puer, stimulis et fortius utere loris ! 
sponte sua properant, labor est inhibere volentes. 
nee tibi directos placeat via quinque per arcus ! 
sectus in obliquum est lato curvamine limes, 130 

zonarumque trium contentus fine polumque 
effugit australem iunctamque aquilonibus arcton • 
hac sit iter ! manifesta rotae vestigia cernes. 
utque ferant aequos et caelum et terra calores, 
nee preme nee summum molire per aethera cursum ! 
altius egressus caelestia tecta cremabis, 136 

inferius terras ; medio tutissimus ibis. 


.and jewels set in fair array gave back their bright 
glow to the reflected rays of Phoebus. 

Now while the ambitious Phaethon is gazing in 
wonder at the workmanship, behold, Aurora, who 
keeps watch in the reddening dawn, has opened wide 
her purple gates, and her courts glowing with rosy 
light. The stars all flee away, and the morning star 
closes their ranks as, last of all, he departs from 
his watch-tower in the sky. 

When Titan saw him setting and the world grow 
red, and the slender horns of the waning moon 
fading from sight, he bade the swift Hours to yoke 
his steeds. The goddesses quickly did his bidding, 
and led the horses from the lofty stalls, breathing 
forth fire and filled with ambrosial food, and they put 
upon them the clanking bridles. Then the father 
anointed his son's face with a sacred ointment, and 
made it proof against the devouring flames ; and he 
placed upon his head the radiant crown, heaving 
deep sighs the while, presaging woe, and said: "If 
thou canst at least obey these thy father's warnings, 
spare the lash, my boy, and more strongly use the 
reins. The horses hasten of their own accord ; the 
hard task is to check their eager feet. And take not 
thy way straight through the five zones of heaven : 
the true path runs slantwise, with a wide curve, and, 
confined within the limits of three zones, avoids the 
southern heavens and the far north as well. This be 
thy route. The tracks of my wheels thou wilt 
clearly see. And, that the sky and earth may have 
equal heat, go not too low, nor yet direct thy course 
along the top of heaven ; for if thou goest too high 
thou wilt burn up the skies, if too low the earth. 
In the middle is the safest path. And turn not off 
too far to the right towards the writhing Serpent ; 



neu te dexterior tortum deciinet ad Anguem, 
neve sinisterior pressam rota ducat ad Aram, 
inter utrumque tene ! Fortunae cetera mando, 140 
quae iuvet et melius quam tu tibi consulat opto. 
dum loquor, Hesperio positas in litore metas 
umida nox tetigit ; non est mora libera nobis ! 
poscimur : effulget tenebris Aurora fugatis. 
corripe lora manu, vel, si motabile pectus 14.5 

est tibi, consiliis, non curribus utere nostris! 
dum potes et solidis etiamnum sedibus adstas, 
dumque male optatos nondum premis inscius axes, 
quae tutus spectes, sine me dare lumina terris! " 

Occupat ille levem iuvenali corpore currum 1 50 
statque super manibusque datas contingere habenas 
gaudet et invito grates agit inde parenti. 

Interea volucres Pyrois et Eous et Aethon, 
Solis equi, quartusque Phlegon hinnitibus auras 
flammiferis inplent pedibusque repagula pulsant. 155 
quae postquam Tethys, fatorum ignara nepotis, 
reppulit et facta est inmensi copia caeli, 
corripuere viam pedibusque per aera motis 
obstantes scindunt nebulas pennisque levati 
praetereunt ortos isdem de partibus Euros. ifiO 

sed leve pondus erat nee quod cognoscere possent 
Solis equi, solitaque iugum gravitate carebat ; 
utque labant curvae iusto sine pondere naves 
perque mare instabiles nimia levitate feruntur, 
sic onere adsueto vacuus dat in aera saltus l65 

succutiturque alte similisque est currus inani. 


nor on the left, where the Altar lies low in the 
heavens, guide thy wheel. Hold on between the 
two. 1 commit all else to Fortune, and may she aid 
thee, and guide thee better than thou dost thyself. 
While I am speaking dewy night has reached her 
goal on the far western shore. We may no longer 
delay. We are summoned. Behold, the dawn is 
glowing, and the shadows all have fled. Here, grasp 
the reins, or, if thy purpose still may be amemled, 
take my counsel, not my chariot, while still thou 
canst, while still thou dost stand on solid ground, 
before thou hast mounted to the car which thou 
hast in ignorance foolishly desired. Let me give 
light to the world, which thou mayst see in 

But the lad has already mounted the swift chariot, 
and, standing proudly, he takes the reins with joy 
into his hands, and thanks his unwilling father for 
the gift 

Meanwhile the sun's swift horses, Pyrois, Eoiis, 
Aethon, and the fourth, Phlegon, fill all the air with 
their fiery whinnying, and paw impatiently against 
their bars. When Tethys, ignorant of her grandson's 
fate, dropped these and gave free course through the 
boundless skies, the horses dashed forth, and with 
swift-flying feet rent the clouds in their path, and, 
borne aloft upon their wings, they passed the east 
winds that have their rising in the same quarter. But 
the weight was light, not such as the horses of the sun 
could feel, and the yoke lacked its accustomed burden. 
And, as curved ships, without their proper ballast, roll 
in the waves, and, unstable because too light, are 
borne out of their course, so the chariot, without its 
accustomed burden, gives leaps into the air, is tossed 
aloft and is like a riderless car. 



Quod simulac sensere, ruunt tritumque relinquunt 
quadriiugi spatium nee quo prius ordine currunt. 
ipse pavet nee qua conimissas flectat habenas 
nee scit qua sit iter, nee, si sciat, iinperet illis, 170 
turn priraum radiis gelidi caluere Triones 
at vetito frustra temptarunt aequore tingui, 
quaeque polo posita est glacial! proxima Serpens, 
frigore pigra prius nee formidabilis uUi, 
incaluit sumpsitque novas fervoribus iras; 175 

te quoque turbatum memorant fugisse, Boote, 
quamvis tardus eras et te tua plaustra tenebant. 

Ut vero summo dispexit ab aethere terras 
infelix Phaethon penitus penitusque patentis, 
palluit et subito genua intremuere timore ^ , 180 
suntque oculis tenebrae per tantuni lumen orboitae^ 
et iara mallet equos numquam tetigisse paterSos^ 
iam cognosse genus piget et valuisse rogaiulo, 
iam Meropis dici eupiens ita fertur, ut acta 
praecipiti pinus borea, eui victa remisit 185 

frena suus rector, quam dis votisque reliquit. 
quid facial? multum caeli post terga relictum, 
ante oculos plus est : animo metitur utrumque 
et modo, quos illi fatum eontingere non est, 
prospicit oecasus, interdum respicit ortus, 190 

quidque agat ignarus stupet et nee frena reniittit 
nee retinere valet nee nomina novit equorum. 
sparsa quoque in vario passim miiacula eaelo 
vastaruinque videt trepidus simulacra ferarum. 
est locus, in geminos ubi braceliia concavat areus 195 


When they feel this, the team run wild and leave 
tlie well-beaten track, and fare no longer in the same 
course as before. The driver is panic-stricken. He 
knows not how to handle the reins entrusted to him, 
nor where the road is ; nor, if he did know, would he 
be able to control the steeds. Then for the first time 
the cold Bears grew hot with the rays of the sun, and 
tried, though all in vain, to plunge into the forbidden 
sea. And the Serpent, which lies nearest the icy 
pole, ever before harmless because sluggish with the 
cold, now grew hot, and conceived great frenzy from 
that fire. They say that you also, Bootes, fled in 
terror, slow though you were, and held back by your 
clumsy ox-cart. 

But when the unhappy Phaethon looked down 
from the top of heaven, and saw the lands lying far, 
far below, he grew pale, his knees trembled with 
sudden fear, and over his eyes came darkness through 
excess of light. And now he would prefer never to 
have touched his father's horses, and repents that he 
has discovered his true origin and prevailed in his 
prayer. Now, eager to be called the son of Merops, 
he is borne along just as a ship driven before the 
headlong blast, whose pilot has let the useless rudder 
go and abandoned the ship to the gods and prayers. 
What shall he do.'' Much of the sky is now behind 
him, but more is still in front ! His thought measures 
both. And now he looks forward to the west, which 
he is destined never to reach, and at times back to 
the east. Dazed, he knows not what to do ; he neither 
lets go the reins nor can he hold them, and he does 
not even know the horses' names. To add to his 
panic fear, he sees scattered everywhere in the sky 
strange figures of huge and savage beasts. There is 
one place where the Scorpion bends out his arms 



Scorpius et cauda flexisque utrimque lacertis 
porrigit in spatium signorum membra duorum : 
hunc puer ut nigri madidum sudore veneni 
vulnera curvata minitantem cuspid e vidit, 
mentis inops gelida formidine lora remisit. 200 

Quae postquam summum tetigere iacentia tergum, 
exspatiantur equi nulloque inhibente per auras 
ignotae regionis eunt, quaque inpetus egit, 
hac sine lege ruunt altoque sub aethere fixis 
incursant stellis rapiuntque per avia currum 205 

et modo summa petunt, modo per declive viasque 
praecipites spatio terrae propiore feruntur, 
inferiusque suis fraternos currere Luna 
admiratur equos, ambustaque nubila fumant. 
corripitur flammis, ut quaeque altissima, tellus 210 
fissaque agit rimas et sucis aret ademptis ; 
pabula canescunt, cum frondibus uritur arbor, 
materiamque suo praebet seges arida damno. 
parva queror : magnae pereunt cum moenibus 

cumque suis totas populis incendia gentis 215 

in ciiierem vertunt ; silvae cum montibus ardent ; 
ardet Athos Taurusque Cilix et Tmolus et Oete 
et turn sicca, prius celeberrima fontibus Ide 
virgineusque Helicon et nondum Oeagrius Haemus : 
ardet in inmensum geminatisignibus Aetne 220 

Parnasusque biceps et Eryx et Cynthus et Othrys 
et tandem nivibus Rhodope caritura Mimasque 
Dindymaque et Mycale natusque ad sacra Citbaeron. 



into two bows; and with tail and arms stretching out 
on both sides, he spreads over the space of tAvo signs. 
When the boy sees this creature reeking with black 
poisonous sweat, and threatening to sting him with 
his curving tail, bereft of wits from chilling fear, down 
he dropped the reins. 

When the horses feel these lying on their backs, 
they break loose from their course, and, with none to 
check them, they roam through unknown regions of 
the air. Wherever their impulse leads them, there 
they rush aimlessly, knocking against the stars set 
deep in the sky and snatching the chariot along 
through uncharted ways. Now they climb up to the 
top of heaven, and now, plunging headlong down, 
they course along nearer the earth. The Moon in 
amazement sees her brother's horses running below 
her own, and the scorched clouds smoke. The 
earth bursts into flame, the highest parts first, and 
splits into deep cracks, and its moisture is all dried 
up. The meadows are burned to white ashes ; the 
trees are consumed, green leaves and all, and the ripe 
grain furnishes fuel for its own destruction. But 
these are small losses which I am lamenting. Great 
cities perish with their walls, and the vast conflagra- 
tion reduces whole nations to ashes. The woods are 
ablaze with the mountains ; Athos is ablaze, Cilician 
Taurus, and Tmolus, and Oete, and Ida, dry at last, 
but hitherto covered with springs, and Helicon, 
haunt of the Muses, and Haemus, not yet linked 
with the name of Oeagrus. Aetna is blazing bound- 
lessly with flames now doubled, and twin-peaked 
Parnasus and Eryx, Cynthus and Othrys, and 
Rhodope, at last destined to lose its snows, Mimas 
and Dindyma, Mycale and Cithaeron, famed for 
sacred rites. Nor does its chilling clime save 



nee prosunt Scythiae sua frigora : Caucasus ardet 
Ossaque cum Pindo .naiorque ambobus Olympus 225 
aeriaeque Alpes et n ibifer Appenninus. 

Turn vero Phaethon cunctis e partibus orbem 
adspicit accensum nee tantos sustinet aestus 
ferventisque auras velut e fornace profunda 
ore trahit currusque suos candescere sentit ; 230 

et neque iam cineres eiectatamque favillam 
ferre potest calidoque involvitur undique fumo, 
quoque eat aut ubi sit, picea caligine tectus 
nescit et arbitrio volucrum raptatur equorum. 

Sanguine turn credunt in corpora summa vocato 
Aethiopum populos nigrum traxisse colorem ; 236 
turn facta est Libye raptis umoribus aestu 
arida, turn nymphae passis fontesque lacusque 
deflevere comis ; quaerit Boeotia Dircen, 
Argos Amymonen, Ephyre Pirenidas undas ; 240 

nee sortita locodistantes flumina ripas 
tuta manent : mediis Tanais fumavit in undis 
Peneusque senex Teuthranteusque Caicus 
et celer Ismenos cum Phegiaco Erymantho 
arsurusque iterum Xanthos flavusque Lycormas, 245 
quique recurvatis ludit Maeandros in undis, 
Mygdoniusque Melas et Taenarius Eu rotas, 
arsit et Euphrates Babylonius, arsit Orontes 
Thermodonque citus Gangesque et Phasis et 

Hister ; 
aestuat Alpheos, ripae Spercheides ardent, 250 

quodque suo Tagus amne vehit, fluit ignibus 

et, quae Maeonias celebrarant carmine ripas, 
flumineae volucres medio caluere Caystro ; 
Nilus in extremum fugit perterritus orbem 
occuluitque caput, quod adhuc latet : ostia septem 
pulverulenta vacant, septem sine flumine valles. 256 



Scythia ; Caucasus burns, and Ossa with Piudus, and 
Olympus, greater than both ; and the heaven- 
piercing Alps and cloud-capped Apennines. 

Then indeed does Phaethon see the earth aflame on 
every hand ; he cannot endure the mighty heat, and 
the air he breathes is like the hot breath of a deep 
furnace. Tiie chariot he feels growing white-hot 
beneath his feet. He can no longer bear the aslies 
and whirling sparks, and is completely shrouded in 
the dense, hot smoke. In this pitchy darkness he 
cannot tell where he is or whither he is going, and 
is swept along at the will of his flying steeds. 

It was then, as men think, that the peoples of 
Aethiopia became black-skinned, since the blood was 
drawn to the surface of their bodies by the heat. 
Then also Libya became a desert, for the heat dried 
up her moisture. Then the nymphs with dishevelled 
hair bewailed their fountains and their pools. 
Boeotia mourns the loss of Dirce ; Argos, Amymone ; 
Corinth, her Pirenian spring. Nor do rivers, whose 
lot had given them more spacious channels, remain 
unscathed. The Don's waters steam ; old Peneus, 
too, Mysian Caicus, and swift Ismenus ; and Arcadian 
Erymanthus, Xanthus, destined once again to burn ; 
tawny Lycormas, and Maeander, playing along upon its 
winding way; Thracian Melas and Laconian Eurotas. 
Babylonian Euphrates burns; Orontes burns, and 
swift Thermodon ; the Ganges, Phasis, Danube ; 
Alpheus boils ; Spercheos' banks are aflame. The 
golden sands of Tagus melt in the intense heat, and 
the swans, which had been wont to throng the 
Maeonian streams in tuneful company, are scorched 
in mid Cayster. The Nile fled in terror to the ends 
of the earth, and hid its head, and it is hidden yet. 
The seven mouths lie empty, filled with dust ; seven 



fors eadem Ismarios Hebrum cum Strymone siccat 
Hesperiosque amnes, Rhenum Rhodanumque 

cuique fuit rerum promissa potentia, Thybrin. 
dissilit omne solum, penetratque in Tartara rimis 260 
lumen et infernum terret cum coniuge regem ; 
et mare contrahitur siccaeque est campus harenae, 
quod modo pontus erat, quosque altum texerat 

exsistunt monies et sparsas Cycladas augent. 
ima petunt pisces, nee se super aequora curvi 265 
toUere consuetas audent delphines in auras ; 
corpora phocarum summo resupina prof undo 
exanimata natant : ipsum quoque Nerea fama est 
Doridaque et natas tepidis latuisse sub antris. 
ter Neptunus aquis cum torvo bracchia vultu 270 

exserere ausus erat, ter non tulit aeris ignes. 

Alma tamen Tellus, ut erat circumdata ponto, 
inter aquas pelagi contractosque undique fontes, 
qui se condiderant in opaeae viscera matris, 
sustulit oppresses collo tenus arida vultus 275 

opposuitque manum fronti magnoque tremore 
omnia concutiens paullum subsedit et infra, 
quam solet esse, fuit sacraque ita voce locuta est : 
"si placet hoc meruique, quid o tua fulmina cessant, 
summe deum? liceat periturae viribus ignis 280 

igne perire tuo clademque auctore levare ! 
vix equidera fauces haec ipsa in verba resolvo " ; 
(presserat era vapor) " tostos en adspice crines 


broad channels^ all without a stream. The same 
aiischance dries up the Thracian rivers, Hebrus and 
Strymon ; also the rivers of the west, the Rliine, 
Rhone, Po, and the Tiber, to whom had been 
promised the mastery of the world. Great cracks 
yawn everywhere, and the light, penetrating to the 
lower world, strikes terror into the infernal king and 
his consort. Even the sea shrinks up, and what was 
but now a great, watery expanse is a dry plain of 
sand. The mountains, which the deep sea had 
covered before, spring forth, and increase the 
numbers of the scattered Cyclades. The fish dive to 
the lowest depths, and the dolphins no longer dare 
to leap curving above the surface of the sea into their 
wonted air. The dead bodies of sea-calves float, with 
upturned belly, on the water's top. They say that 
Nereus himself and Doris and her daughters were 
hot as they lay hid in their caves. Thrice Neptune 
essayed to lift liis arms and august face from out the 
water ; thrice did he desist, unable to bear the fiery 

Not so all-fostering Earth, who, encircled as she 
was by sea, amid the waters of the deep, amid her fast- 
contracting streams which had crowded into her dark 
bowels and hidden there, though parched by heat, 
heaved up her smothered face. Raising her shielding 
hand to her brow and causing all things to shake with 
her mighty trembling, she sank back a little lower 
than her wonted place, and then in awful tones she 
spoke : " If this is thy will, and I have deserved all 
this, why, O king of all the gods, are thy lightnings 
idle .'' If I must die by fire, oh, let me perish by tliy 
fire and lighten my suffering by thought of him who 
sent it. I scarce can open my lips to speak these 
words " — the hot smoke was choking her — " See my 



inque oculis tantum, tantum super ora favillae 1 
hosne mihi fructus, hunc fertilitatis honorem 285 
officiique refers, quod adunci vulnera aratri 
rastrorumque fero totoque exerceor anno, 
quod pecori frondes alimentaque mitia, fruges, 
hiimano generi, vobis quoque tura ministro ? 
sed tamen exitium fac me meruisse : quid undae, 
quid meruit frater ? cur illi tradita sorte 291 

aequora decrescunt et ab aethere longius absunt ? 
quodsi nee fratris nee te mea gratia tangit^ 
at caeli miserere tui ! circumspice utrumque : 
fumat uterque polus ! quos si vitiaverit ignis, 295 
atria vestra ruent ! Atlans en ipse laborat 
vixque suis umeris candentem sustinet axem ! 
si freta, si terrae pereunt, si regia caeli, 
in chaos antiquum confundimur! eripe flammis, 299 
si quid adliiic superest, et rerum consule summae I " 
Dixerat haec Tellus : neque enim toleiaie vaporem 
ulterius potuit nee dicere plura suumque 
rettulit OS in se propioraque manibus antra ; 
at pater omnipotens, superos testatus et ipsiim, 
qui dederat currus, nisi opem ferat, omnia fato 305 
interitura gravi, summam petit arduus arcem, 
unde solet nubes latis inducere terris, 
unde movet tonitrus vibrataque fulmina iactat ; 
sed neque quas posset terris inducere nubes 
tunc habuit, nee quos caelo dimitteret imbres : 310 
intonat et dextra libratum fulmen ab aure 
misit in aurigam pariterque animaque rotisque 


singed hair and all ashes in my eyes, all ashes over 
my face. Is this the return, this the reward thou 
payest of my fertility and dutifulness ? that I bear the 
wounds of the crooked plow and mattock, tormented 
year in, year out? that I provide kindly pasturage for 
the flocks, grain for mankind, incense for the altars of 
the gods ? But, grant that I have deserved destruc- 
tion, what has the sea, what has thy brother done ? 
Why are the waters which fell to him by the third lot 
so shrunken, and so much further from thy sky ? But 
if no consideration for thy brother nor yet for me has 
weight with thee, at least have pity on thy own heavens. 
Look around : the heavens are smoking from pole to 
pole. If the fire shall weaken these, the homes of 
the gods will fall in ruins. See, Atlas himself is 
troubled and can scarce bear up the white-hot vault 
upon his shoulders. If the sea perish and the land 
and the realms of the sky, then are we hurled back 
to primeval chaos. Save from the flames whatever 
yet remains and take thought for the safety of the 

So spoke the Earth and ceased, for she could no 
longer endure the heat ; and she retreated into her- 
self and into the depths nearer the land of shades. 
But the Almighty Father, calling on the gods to 
witness and him above all who had given the chariot, 
that unless he bring aid all things will perish by a 
grievous doom, mounts on high to the top of heaven, 
whence it is his wont to spread the clouds over the 
bro^ad lands, whence he stirs his thundei's and flings his 
hurtling bolts. But now he has no clouds wherewith 
to overspread the earth, nor any rains to send down 
from the sky. He thundered, and, balancing in his 
right hand a bolt, flung it from beside the ear at the 
charioteer and hurled him from the car and from 

D 81 


expulit et saevis conpescuit ignibus ignes. 
consternantur equi et saltu in contraria facto 
coUa iugo eripiunt abruptaque lora reliiiquunt : 315 
illic frena iacent, illic temone revulsus 
axis, in hac radii fractarum parte rotarum 
sparsaque sunt late laceri vestigia currus. 

At Phaethon rutilos flamma populante capillos 
volvitur in praeceps longoque per aera tractu S20 
fertur, ut interdum de caelo stella sereno 
etsi non cecidit, potuit cecidisse videri. 
quern procul a patria diverse maximus orbe 
excipit Eridanus fumantiaque abluit ora. 
Naides Hesperiae trifida fumantia flamma 325 

corpora dant tumulo, signant quoque carmine saxum: 


Nam pater obductos luctu miserabilis aegro 
condiderat vultus, et, si modo credimus, unum 330 
isse diem sine sole ferunt : incendia lumen 
praebebant aliquisque malo fuit usus in illo. 
at Clymene postquam dixit, quaecumque f'uerunt 
in tantis dicenda malis, lugubris et amens 
et laniata sinus totum percensuit orbem 335 

exanimesque artus primo, mox ossa requirens 
repperit ossa tamen peregrina condita ripa 
incubuitque loco nomenque in marmore lectum 
perfudit lacrimis et aperto pectore fovit. 
nee minus Heliades fletus et inania morti 340 



life as well, and thus quenched fire with blasting 
fire. The maddened horses leap apart, wrench tlieir 
necks from the yoke, and breakaway from the parted 
reins. Here lie the reins, there the axle torn from the 
pole ; in another place the spokes of the broken 
wheels, and fragments of the wrecked chariot are 
scattered far and wide. 

But Phaethon^ fire ravaging his ruddy hair, is hurled 
headlong and falls with a long trail through the air ; 
as sometimes a star from the clear heavens, although 
it does not fall, still seems to fall. Him far from his 
native land, in another quarter of the globe, Eridanus 
receives and bathes his steaming face. The Naiads in 
that western land consign his body, still smoking with 
the flames of that forked bolt, to the tomb and carve 
this epitaph upon his stone : 



The wretched father, sick with grief, hid his face ; 
and, if we are to believe report, one whole day went 
without the sun. But the burning world gave light, 
and so even in that disaster was there some service. 
But Clymene, after she had spoken whatever could 
be spoken in such woe, melancholy and distraught and 
tearing her breast, wandered over the whole earth, 
seeking first his lifeless limbs, then his bones ; his 
bones at last she found, but buried on a river-bank 
in a foreign land. Here she prostrates herself upon 
tlie tomb, drenches the dear name carved in the 
marble with her tears, and fondles it against her 
breast. The Heliades, her daughters, join in her 
lamentation, and pour out their tears in useless 
tribute to the dead. With bruising hands beating 



munera dant, lacrimas, et caesae pectora palmis 
non auditurum miseras Phaethonta qucrellas 
nocte dieque vocant adsternunturque sepulcro. 
luna quater iunctis inplerat cornibus orbem ; 
illae more suo (nam morem fecerat usus) S-tS 

plangorem dederant : e quis Phaethusa, sororum 
maxima, cum vellet terra procumbere, questa est 
deriguisse pedes ; ad quam conata venire 
Candida Lampetie subita radice retenta est; 
tertia, cum crinem manibus laniare pararet, 350 

avellit frondes ; haec stipite crura teneri, 
ilia dolet fieri longos sua bracchia ramos, 
dumque ea mirantur, conplectitur inguina cortex 
perque gradus uterum pectusque umerosque manusque 
ambit, et exstabant taiitum ora vocantia matrem. 355 
quid faciat mater, nisi, quo trahat inpetus illam, 
hue eat atque illuc et, dum licet, oscula iungat ? 
non satis est : truncis avellere corpora temptat 
et teneros manibus ramos abrumpit, at inde 
sanguineae manant tamquam de vulnere guttae. 360 
" parce, precor, mater,' ' quaecumque est saucia, clamat, 
" parce, precor : nostrum laceratur in arbore corpus ' 
iamque vale " — cortex in verba novissima venit. 
inde fluunt lacrimae, stillataque sole rigescunt 
de ramis electra novis, quae lucidus amnis S65 

excipit et nuribus mittit gestanda Latinis. 

Adfuit huic monstro proles Stheneleia Cygnus, 
qui tibi materno quamvis a sanguine iunctus, 
mente tamen, Phaethon, propior fuit. ille relic to 


their naked breasts, they call night and day upon 
their brother, who nevermore will hear their sad 
laments, and prostrate themselves upon his sepulchre. 
Four times had the moon with waxing crescents 
reached her full orb ; but they, as was their habit (for 
use had established habit), were mourning still. Then 
one day the eldest, Phaethusa, when she would 
throw herself upon the grave, complained that her 
feet had grown cold and stark; and when the fair 
Lampetia tried to come to her, she was held fast as 
by sudden roots. A third, making to tear her hair, 
found her hands plucking at foliage. One com- 
plained that her ankles were encased in wo(^d, 
another that her arms were changing to long 
branches. And while they look on those things in 
amazement bark closes round their loins, and, by 
degrees, their waists, breasts, shoulders, hands ; and 
all that was free were their lips calling upon 
their mother. What can the frantic mother do but 
run, as impulse carries her, now here, now there, 
and print kisses on their lips.-* That is not enough : 
she tries to tear away the bark from their bodies and 
breaks off slender twigs with her hands. But as she 
does this bloody drops trickle forth as from a wound. 
And each one, as she is wounded, cries out : " Oh, 
spare me, mother ; spare, I beg you. 'Tis my body 
that you are tearing in the tree. And now fare- 
well " — the bark closed over her latest words. Still 
their tears flow on, and these tears, hardened into 
amber by the sun, drop down from the new-made 
trees. The clear river receives them aiid bears tliem 
onward, one day to be worn by tlie brides of Rome 

Cycnus, the son of Sthenelus, was a witness of this 
miracle. Though he was kin to you, O Phaethon, 
by his mother's blood, he was more closely joined in 


(nam Ligurum populos et magnas rexerat urbcs) 370 
imperio ripas virides amnemque querellis 
Eridanum inplerat silvamque sororibus auctam, 
cum vox est tenuata viro canaeque capillos 
dissimulant plumae collumque a pectore longe 
porrigitur digitosque ligat iunctura rubentis, 375 

penna latus velat, tenet os sine acumine rostrum, 
fit nova Cygnus avis nee se caeloque lovique 
tradit, ut iniuste missi memor ignis ab illo ; 
stagna petit patulosque lacus ignetnque perosus 
quae colat elegit contraria flumina flammis. 380 

Squalidus interea genitor Phaethontis et expers 
ipse sui decoris, qualis, cum deficit orbem, 
esse solet, lucemque odit seque ipse diemque 
datque animum in luctus et luctibus adicit iram 
officiumquenegat mundo, " satis " inquit " abaevi 385 
sors mea principiis fuit inreqiiieta, pigetque 
actorum sine fine mihi, sine honore laborum ! 
quilibet alter agat portantes lumina currus ! 
si nemo est omnesque dei non posse fatentur, 
ipse agat ut saltern, dum nostras temptat habenas, 390 
orbatura patres aliquando fulmina ponat ! 
tuin sciet igiiipedum vires expertus equorum 
non meruisse necem, qui non bene rexerit illos. " 

Talia dicentem circumstant omnia Solem 
numina, neve velit tenebras inducere rebus, 395 

supplice voce rogant ; missos quoque luppiter 

excusat prrcibusque minas regaliter addit. 


affection. He, abandoning his kingdom — ibr he ruled 
over the peoples and great cities of Liguria — went 
weeping and lamenting along the green banks of the 
Eridanus, and through the woods which the sisters 
had increased. And as he went his voice became 
thin and shrill ; white plumage hid his hair and his 
neck stretched far out from his breast. A web-like 
membrane joined his reddened fingers, wings clothed 
his sides, and a blunt beak his mouth. So Cycnus 
became a strange new bird — the swan. But he did 
not trust himself to the upper air and Jove, since he 
remembered the fiery bolt which the god had un- 
justly hurled. His favourite haunts were the still 
pools and spreading lakes ; and, hating fire, he 
chose the water for his home, as the opposite of 

Meanwhile Phoebus sits in gloomy mourning garb, 
shorn of his brightness, just as when he is darkened 
by eclipse. He hates himself and the light of day, 
gives over his soul to grief, to grief adds rage, and 
refuses to do service to the world. " Enough," he 
says ; " from time's beginning has my lot been unrest- 
ful ; I am weary of my endless and unrequited toils. 
Let any else who chooses drive the chariot of light. 
If no one will, and all the gods confess that it is beyond 
their power, let Jove himself do it, that, sometime at 
least, while he essays to grasp my reins, he may lay 
aside the bolts that are destined to rob fathers of 
their boys. Then will he know, when he has himself 
tried the strength of those fiery-footed steeds, that he 
who failed to guide them well did not deserve death." 

As he thus speaks all the gods stand around him, 
an I beg him humbly not to plunge the world in dark- 
ness. Jove himself seeks to excuse the bolt he 
hurled, and to his prayers adds threats in royal style. 



colligit amentes et adhuc terrore paventes 
Phoebus equos stimuloque dolens et verbere saevit; 
saevit, erum ^ natumque obiectat et inputat illis. 400 

At pater omnipotens ingentia moenia caeli 
circuit et, ne quid labefactum viribus ignis 
corruat, explorat. quae postquam firma suique 
roboris esse videt, terras hominumque labores 
perspicit. Arcadiae tarn en est inpensior illi 405 

cura suae : fontesque et nondum audentia labi 
fluinina restituit, dat terrae gramina, froiides 
arboribus, laesasque iubet revirescere silvas. 
dum redit itque frequens, in virgine Nonacrina 
haesit, et accepti caluere sub ossibus ignes. 410 

non erat huius opus lanam mollire trahendo 
nee positu variare comas ; ubi fibula vestem, 
vitta coercuerat neglectos alba capillos ; 
et modo leve manu iaculum, mode sumpserat 

miles erat Phoebes : nee Maenalon attigit ulla 415 
gratior hac Triviae ; sed nulla potentia longa est. 

Ulterius medio spatium sol altus habebat, 
cum subit ilia nemus, quod nulla ceciderat aetas ; 
exuit hie umero pharetrara lentosque retendit 
arcus inque solo, quod texerat herba, iacebat 420 

et pictam posita pharetram cervice premebat. 
luppiter ut vidit fessam et custode vacantem, 
*'hoc certe furtum coniunx mea nesciet" inquit, 
" aut si rescierit, sunt, o sunt iurgia tanti ! " 

' erum Merkel : enim MSS, 


Then Phoebus yokes his team again, wild and 
treinbhng still with fear ; and, in his grief, fiercely 
plies them with lash and goad, fiercely he plies them, 
reproaching and taxing them with the death of their^ 
master, his son. 

But now the Almighty Father makes a round of 
the great battlements of heaven and examines to see if 
anything has been loosened by the might of fire. 
When he sees that these are firm with their immortal 
strength, he inspects the earth and the affairs of men. 
Yet Arcadia, above all, is his more earnest care. He 
restores her springs and rivers, which hardly dare as 
yet to flow ; he gives grass again to the ground, 
leaves to the trees, and bids the damaged forests 
grow green again. And as he came and went upon 
his tasks he chanced to see a certain Arcadian 
nymph, and straightway the fire he caught grew hot 
to his very marrow. She had no need to spin soft 
wools nor to arrange her hair in studied elegance. A 
simple brooch fastened her gown and a white fillet 
held Iter loose-flowing hair. And in this garb, now 
with a polished spear, and now a bow in her hand, was 
she arrayed as one of Phoebe's warriors. Nor was 
any nymph who roamed over the slopes of Maenalus 
in higher favour with her goddess than, was she. 
But no favour is of long duration. 

The sun was high o'erhead, just beyond his zenith, 
when the nymph entered the forest that all years had 
left unfelled. Here she took her quiver from her 
shoulder, unstrung her tough bow, and lay down upon 
the grassy ground, with her head pillowed on her 
painted quiver. When Jove saw her there, tired out 
and unprotected : " Here, surely," he said, " my 
consort will know nothing of my guile ; or if she 
learn it, well bought are taunts at such a price." 



protinus induitur faciem cultumque Dianae 425 

atque ait : " o comitumj virgo, pars una mearum, 
in quibus es venata iugis ? " cle caespite virgo 
se levat et " salve numen, me iudice " dixit, 
"audiat ipse licet, maius love." ridet et audit 
et sibi praeferri se gaudet et oscula iungit, 430 

nee moderata satis nee sic a virgine danda. 
qua venata foret silva, narrare parantem 
inpedit amplexu nee se sine crimine prodit. 
ilia quidem contra, quantum modo femina posset 
(adspiceres utinam, Saturnia, mitior esses), 435 

ilia quidem pugnat, sed quern superare puella, 
quisve lovem poterat ? superum petit aethera victor 
luppiter : huic odio nemus est et conscia silva ; 
unde pedem referens paene est oblita pharetram 
tollere cum telis et quem suspenderat arcum. 440 

Ecce, suo comitata choro Dictynna per altum 
Maenalon ingrediens et caede superba ferarum 
adspicit banc visamque vocat : clamata refugit 
et timuit primo, ne luppiter esset in ilia; 
sed postquam pariter nymphas incedere vidit, 445 
sensit abesse dolos numerumque accessit ad harum. 
heu I quam difficile est crimen non prodere vultu ! 
vix oculos attollit humo nee, ut ante solebat, 
iuncta deae lateri nee toto est agmine prima, 
sed silet et laesi dat signa rubore pudoris ; 450 

et, nisi quod virgo est, poterat sentire Diana 
mille notis culpam : nymphae sensisse feruntur. 
orbe resurgebant lunaria cornua none, 



Straightway he put on the features and dress of 
Diana and said : " Dear maid, best loved of all my 
followers, where hast thou been hunting to-day ? " 
The maiden arose from her grassy couch and said : 
" Hail thou, my goddess, greater far than Jove, I say, 
though he himself should hear." Jove laughed to 
hear her, rejoicing to be prized more highly than 
himself; and he kissed her lips, not modestly, nor as 
a maiden kisses. When she began to tell him in 
what woods her hunt had been, he broke in upon her 
story with an embrace, and by this outrage betrayed 
himself She, in truth, struggled against him with 
all her girlish might — hadst thou been there to see, 
Saturnia, thy judgment were more kind ! — but whom 
could a girl o'ercome, or who could prevail against 
Jove ? Jupiter won the day, and went back to the 
sky ; she loathed the forest and the woods that knew 
her secret. As she retraced her path she almost for- 
got to take up the quiver with its arrows, and the 
bow she had hung up. 

But see, Diana, with her train of nymphs, ap- 
proaches along the slopes of Maenalus, proud of her 
trophies of the chase. She sees our maiden and calls 
to her. At first she flees in fear, lest this should be 
Jove in disguise again. But when she sees the other 
nymphs coming too, she is reassured and joins the 
band. Alas, how hard it is not to betray a guilty 
conscience in the face ! She walks with downcast 
eyes, not, as was her wont, close to her goddess, and 
leading all the rest. Her silence and her blushes 
give clear tokens of her plight ; and, were not Diana 
herself a maid, she could know her guilt by a thou- 
sand signs ; it is said that the nymphs knew it. Nine 
times since then the crescent moon had grown full 
orbed, when the goddess, worn with the chase and over- 



cum dea venatu fraternis languida flammis, 

nacta nemus gelidum, de quo cum murmure labens 

ibat et attiitas versabat rivus harenas. 456 

ut loca laudavit, summas pede contigit undas ; 

his quoque laudatis " procul est " ait "arbiter omnis: 

nuda superfusis tinguamus corpora lymphis ! " 

Parrhasis erubuit ; cunctae velamina ponunt ; 460 

una moras quaerit : dubitanti vestis adempta est, 

qua posita nude patuit cum corpore crimen. 

attonitae manibusque uterum celare volenti 

" i procul hinc " dixit " nee sacros poUue fontis ! " 

Cynthia deque suo iussit secedere coetu. 465 

Senserat hoc olim magni matrona Tonantis 
distuleratque graves in idonea tempora poenas. 
causa morae nulla est, et iam puer Areas (id ipsum 
indoluit luno) fuerat de paelice natus. 
quo simul obvertit saevam cum lumine mentem, 470 
" scilicet hoc etiam restabat, adultera " dixit, 
" ut fecunda fores, fieretque iniurva partu 
nota, lovisque mei testatum dedecas esset. 
baud inpune feres : adimam tibi nnmque figuram, 
qua tibi, quaque places nostro, inportuna, marito." 
dixit et adversam prensis a fronte capillis 476 

stravit humi pronam. tendebat bracchia supplex : 
bracchia coeperunt nigris horrescere villis 
curvarique manus et aduncos crescere in unguis 
officioque pedum fungi laudataque quondam 480 

ora lovi lato fieri deformia rictu. 
neve preces animos et verba precantia flectant, 
posse loqui eripitur : vox iracunda minaxque 


come by the hot sun's rays, came to a cool grove 
through which a gently murmuring stream flowed 
over its smooth sands. The place delighted her and 
she dipped her feet into the water. Delighted too 
with this, she said to her companions : " Come, no 
one is near to see ; let us disrobe and bathe us in 
the brook." The Arcadian blushed, and, while all 
the rest obeyed, she only sought excuses for delay. 
But her companions forced her to comply, and there 
her shame was openly confessed. As she stood terror- 
stricken, vainly striving to hide her state, Diana cried : 
" Begone ! and pollute not our sacred pool " ; and so 
expelled her from her company. 

The great Thunderer's wife had known all this 
long since ; but she had put off her vengeance until 
a fitting time. And now that time was come ; for, 
to add a sting to Juno's hate, a boy. Areas, had 
been born of her rival. Whereto when she turned 
her angry mind and her angry eyes, " See there ! " 
she cried, " nothing was left, adulteress, than to 
breed a son, and publish my wrong by his birth, a 
living witness to my lord's shame. But thou shalt 
suffer for it. Yea, for I will take away thy beauty 
wherewith thou dost delight thyself, forward girl, and 
him who is my husband." So saying, she caught her 
by the hair full in front and flung her face-formost to 
the ground. And when the girl stretched out her arms 
in prayer for mercy, her arms began to grow rough 
witli black shaggy hair ; her hands changed into feet 
tipped with sharp claws ; and her lips, which but now 
Jove had praised, were changed to broad, ugly jaws , 
and, that she might not move him with entreating 
prayers, her power of speech was taken from her, and 
only a harsh, terrifying growl came hoarsely from her 
throat. Still her human feelings remained, though 



plenaque terroris rauco de gutture fertur; 

mens antiqua manet, (facta quoque mansit in ursa) 

adsiduoque suos gemitu testata dolores 4-S6 

qualescumque rnanas ad caelum et sidera tollit 

ingratumque lovem, nequeat cum dicere, sentit. 

a ! quotiens, sola non ausa quiescere silva, 

ante domum quondamque suis erravit in agris ! 490 

a ! quotiens per saxa canum latratibus acta est 

venatrixque metu venantum territa fugit ! 

saepe feris latuit visis, oblita quid esset, 

ursaque conspectos in montibus horruit ursos 

pertimuitque lupos, quamvis pater esset in illis. 495 

Ecce Lycaoniae proles ignara parentis, 
Areas adest ter quinque fere natalibus actis; 
dumque feras sequitur, dum saltus eligit aptos 
nexilibusque plagis silvas Erymanthidas ambit, 
incidit in matrem, quae restitit Arcade viso 500 

et cognoscenti similis fuit : ille refugit 
inmotosque oculos in se sine fine tenentem 
nescius extimuit propi usque accedere aventi 
vulnifico fuerat fixurus pectora telo : 
arcuit omnipotens pariterque ipsosque nefasque 505 
sustulit et pariter raptos per inania vento 
inposuit caelo vicinaque sidera fecit. 

Intumuit luno, postquam inter sidera paelex 
fulsit, et ad canam descendit in aequora Telhyn 
Oceanumque senem, quorum reverentia movit 510 
saepe deos, causamque viae scitantibus infit : 
" quaeritis, aetheriis quare regina deorum 


she was now a bear ; with constant raoanings she 
shows her grief, stretches up such hands as are left 
her to the heavens, and, though she cannot speak, 
still feels the ingratitude of Jove. Ah, how often, 
not daring to lie down in the lonely woods, she 
wandered before her home and in the fields that had 
once been hers ! How often was she driven over the 
rocky ways by the baying of hounds and, huntress 
though she was, fled in affright before the hunters ! 
Often she hid at sight of the wild beasts, forgetting 
what she was ; and, though herself a bear, shuddered 
at sight of other bears which she saw on the mountain- 
slopes. She even feared the wolves, although her 
own father, Lycaon, ran with the pack. 

And now Areas, Lycaon's grandson, had reached 
his fifteenth year, ignorant of his mother's plight. 
While he was hunting the wild beasts, seeking out 
their favourite haunts, hemming the Arcadian woods 
with his close-wrought nets, he chanced upon his 
mother, who stopped still at sight of Areas, and 
seemed like one that recognized him. He shrank 
back at those unmoving eyes that were fixed for ever 
upon him, and feared he knew not what ; and when 
she tried to come nearer, he was just in the act of pierc- 
ing her breast with his wound-dealing spear. But the 
Omnipotent stayed his hand, and together he removed 
both themselves and the crime, and together caught 
up through the void in a whirlwind, he set them in 
the heavens and made them neighbouring stivrs. 

Then indeed did Juno's wrath wax hotter still 
when she saw her rival shining in the skv, and 
straight went down to Tethys, venerable goddess of 
the sea, and to old Ocean, whom oft the gods hold in 
reverence. When they asked her the cause of her 
coming, she began : " Do you ask me why I, the 



sedibus hue adsim? pro me tenet altera caelum ! 
mentior, obscurum nisi nox cum fecerit orbem, 
nuper honoratas summo, mea vulnera, caelo 515 

videritis Stellas illic, ubi circulus axem 
ultimas extremum spatioque brevissimus ambit, 
et vero quisquam lunonem laedere nolit 
offensamque tremat, quae prosum sola nocendo ? 519 
o ego quantum egi ! quam vasta potentia nostra est ! 
esse hominem vetui : facta est dea ! sic ego poenas 
sontibus inpono, sic est mea magna potestas ' 
vindicet antiquam faciem vultusque ferinos 
detrahat, Argolica quod in ante Phoronide fecit 
cur non et pulsa ducit lunone meoque 525 

collocat in thalamo socerumque Lycaona sumit ? 
at vos si laesae tangit contemptus alumnae, 
gurgite caeruleo septem prohibete triones 
sideraque in caelo stupri mercede recepta 
pellitCj ne puro tinguatur in aequore paelex !" 530 

Di maris adnuerant : habili Saturnia curru 
ingreditur liquidum pavonibus aethera pictis, 
tam nuper pictis caeso pavonibus Argo, 
quam tu nuper eras, cum candidus ante fuisses, 
corve loquax, subito nigrantis versus in alas. 535 

nam fuit haec quondam niveis argentea jiennis 
ales, ut aequaret totas sine labe columbas, 
nee servaturis vigili Capitolia voce 
cederet anseribus nee amanti flumina cygno. 
lingua fuit damno : lingua faciente loquaci 540 

qui color albus erat, nunc est contrarius albo, 


queen of heaven, am here ? Another queen has 
usurped my heaven. Count my word faise if to- 
night, when darkness has obscured the sky, you see 
not new constellations fresh set, to outrage me, in 
the place of honour in highest heaven, where the 
last and shortest circle encompasses the utmost pole. 
And is there any reason now why anyone should 
hesitate to insult Juno and should fear my wrath, 
who do but help where I would harm ? Oh, what 
great things have I accomplished ! What unbounded 
power is mine ! She whom I drove out of human 
form has now become a goddess. So do I punish 
those who wrong me ! Such is my vaunted might ! 
It only remains for him to release her from her 
bestial form and restore her former features, as he 
did once before in Argive Id's case. Why, now that 
I am deposed, should he not wed and set her in my 
chamber, and become Lycaon's son-in-law ? But do 
you, if the insult to your foster-child moves you, 
debar these bears from your green pools, disown stars 
which have gained heaven at the price of shame, and 
let not that harlot bathe in your j)ure stream." 

The gods of the sea granted her prayer, and 
Saturnia, mounting her swift chariot, was borne back 
through the yielding air by her gaily decked pea- 
cocks, peacocks but lately decked with the slain 
Argus' eyes, at the same time that thy plumage, 
talking raven, though white before, had been suddenly 
changed to black. For he had once been a bird of 
silvery-white plumage, so that he rivalled the spotless 
doves, nor yielded to the geese which one day were 
to save the Capitol with their watchful cries, nor to the 
river-loving swan. But his tongue was his undoing, 
llirough his tongue's fault the talking bird, which 
once was white, was now the opposite of white. 



Pulchrior in tota quam Larisaea Coronis 
non fuit Haemonia : placuit tibi, Delphice, certe, 
duni vel casta fuit vel inobservata, sed ales 
sensit adulteriura Phoebeius, utque latentem 545 

detegeret culpam, non exorabilis index, 
ad dominum tendebat iter, quern gariula motis 
consequitur pennis, scitetur ut omnia, cornix 
auditaque viae causa "non utile carpis " 
inquit "iter: ne sperne meae praesagia linguae! 550 
quid fuerim quid simque vide meritumque require : 
invenies nocuisse fidem. nam tempore quodam 
Pallas Erichthonium, prolem sine matre creatam, 
clauserat Actaeo texta de vimine cista 
virginibusque tribus gemino de Cecrope natis 555 
at legem dederat, sua ne secreta viderent. 
abdita fronde levi densa speculabar ab ulmo, 
quid facerent : commissa duae sine fraude tuentiir, 
Pandrosos atque Herse ; timidas vocat una scrores 
Aglauros nodosque manu diducit, et intus 560 

infantemque vident adporrectumque draconem. 
acta deae refero pro quo mihi gratia talis 
redditur, ut dicar tutela pulsa Minervae 
et ponar post noctis avem ! mea poena volucres 
admonuisse })otest, ne voce pericula quaerant. 565 
at, puto, non ultro nequiquam tale rogantem 
me peliit ! — ipsa licet hoc a Pallade quaeras : 
quamvis irata est, non hoc irata negeAfjH" 


In all Tliessaly there was no fairer maid than 
Corouis of Laris sa. She surely found favour in thy 
eyes, t) Delphic god, so long as she was chaste — or 
undetected. But the bird of Phoebus discovered her 
unchastity, and was posting with all speed, hard- 
hearted tell-tale, to his master to disclose the sin he 
had spied out. The gossiping crow followed him on 
flapping wings and asked the news. But when he 
heard the real object of the trip he said : " 'Tis 
no profitable journey you are taking, my friend. 
Scorn not the forewarning of my tongue. See 
what I used to be and what I am now, and then 
ask the reason for it. You will find that good faith 
was my undoing. Once upon a time a child was 
born, named Erichthonius, a child without a mother. 
Him Pallas hid in a box woven of Actaean osiers, 
and gave this to the three daughters of double-shaped 
Cecrops, with the strict command not to look upon her 
secret. Hidden in the light leaves that grew thick 
over an elm, I set myself to watch what they would 
do. Two of the girls, Pandrosos and Herse, watched 
the box in good faith, but the third, Aglauros, called 
her sisters cowards, and with her hand undid the 
fastenings. And within they saw a baby-boy and 
a snake stretched out beside him. I went and be- 
trayed them to the goddess, and for my pains I was 
turned out of my place as Minerva's attendant and 
put after the bird of night I My punishment ought 
to be a warning to all birds not to invite trouble by 
talking too much. But perhaps (do you say.'') she 
did not seek me out of her own accord, when I asked 
no such thing? Well, you may ask Pallas herself. 
Though she be angry with me now, she will not deny 
that, for all her anger. It is a well-known story. 
I once was a king's daughter, child of the famous 



nam me Phocaica clarus tellure Coroneus 
(nota loquor) genuit, fueramque ego regia virgo 570 
divitibusque procis (ne me contemne) petebar : 
forma mihi nocuit. nam cum per litora lentis 
passibus, ut soleo, summa spatiarer harena, 
vidit et incaluit pelagi deus, utque precando 
tempora cum blandis absumpsit inania verbis, 575 
vim parat et sequitur. fugio densumque relinquo 
litus et in molli nequiquam lassor harena. 
inde deos hominesque voco ; nee contigit ullum 
vox mea morta'em : mota est pro virgine virgo 
auxiliumque tulit. tendebam bracchia caelo : 580 
bracchia coeperunt levibus nigrescere pennis ; 
reicere ex umeris vestem molibar, at ilia 
pluma erat inque cutem radices egerat imas ; 
plangere nuda meis conabar pectora palmis, 
sed neque iam palmas nee pectora nuda gerebam ; 
currebam, nee, ut ante, pedes retinebat harena, 586 
sed summa tollebar humo ; mox alta per auras 
evehor et data sum comes inculpata Minervae. 
quid tamen hoc prodest, si diro facta volucris 
crimine Nyctimene nostro successit honori ? 590 

an quae per totam res est notissima Lesbon, 
non audita tibi est, patrium temerasse cubile 
Nyctimenen ? avis ilia quidem, sed conscia culpae 
conspectum lucemque fugit tenebrisque pudorem 
celat et a cunctis expellitur aethere toto." 595 

Talia dicenti " tibi " ait " revocamina " corvus 
" sint, precor, ista male : nos vanum spernimus omen." 


Coroneus in the land of Phocis, and — nay, scorn me 
not — rich suitors sought me in marriage. But my 
beauty proved my bane. For once, while I paced, 
as is my wont, along the shore with slow steps over 
the sand's top, the god of the ocean saw me and 
grew hot. And when his prayers and coaxing words 
proved but waste of time, he offered force and 
pursued. I ran from him, leaving the hard-packed 
beach, and was quickly worn out, but all to no 
purpose, in the soft sand beyond. Then I cried out 
for help to gods and men, but my cries reached no 
mortal ear. But the virgin goddess heard a virgin's 
prayer and came to my aid. I was stretching my 
arms to heaven, when my arms began to darken with 
light feathers. I strove to cast my mantle from my 
shoulders, but it was feathers, too, which had already 
struck their roots deep into my skin. I tried to beat 
my bare breasts with my hands, but I found I had 
now neither breasts nor hands. I would run ; and 
now the sand did not retard my feet as before, but I 
skimmed lightly along the top of the ground, and 
soon I floated on the air, soaring high ; and so I was 
given to Minerva to be her blameless comrade. But 
of what use was that to me, if, after all, Nyctimene, 
who was changed into a bird because of her vile sinSj 
has been put in my place ? Or have you not heard 
the tale all Lesbos kiiows too well, how Nyctimene 
outraged the sanctity of her father's bed .'' And, bird 
though she now is, still, conscious of her guilt, she 
flees the sight of men and light of day, and tries to 
hide her shame in darkness, outcast by all from the 
whole radiant sky." 

In reply to all this the raven said : ''On your own 
head, I pray, be the evil that warning portends ; I 
scorn the idle presage," continued on his way to his 



nee coeptum dimittit iter dominoque iacentem 
cum iuvene Haemonio vidisse Coronida narrat. 
laurea delapsa est audito crimine amantis, 600 

et pariter vultusque deo plectrumque colorque 
excidit, utque animus tumida fervebat ab ira, 
arma adsueta capit flexumque a cornibus arcum 
tendit et ilia suo totiens cum pectore iuncta 
indevitato traiecit pectora telo. 605 

icta dedit gemitum tractoque a corpora ferro 
Candida puniceo perfudit membra cruore 
et dixit : " potui poenas tibi, Phoebe, dedisse, 
sed peperisse prius ; duo nunc moriemur in una." 
hactenus, et pariter vitam cum sanguine fudit ; 6lO 
corpus inane animae frigus letale secutum est. 

Paenitet heu ! sero poenae crudelis amantem, 
seque, quod audierit, quod sic exarserit, odit ; 
odit avem, per quam crimen causamque dolendi 
scire coactus erat, nee non arcumque manumque 6 15 
odit cumque manu temeraria tela sagittas 
conlapsamque fovet seraque ope vincere fata 
nititur et medicas exercet inaniter artes. 
quae postquam frustra temptata rogumque parari 
vidit et arsuros supremis ignibus artus, 620 

tum vero gemitus (neque enim caelestia tingui 
ora licet lacrimis) alto de corde petitos 
edidit, baud aliter quam cum spectante iuvenca 

lactentis vituli dextra libratus ab aure 


master, and then told him that he had seen Coronis 
lying beside the youth of Tlicssaly. When that 
charge was heard the laurel glided from the lover's 
head ; together countenance and colour changed, and 
the quill dropped from the hand of the god. And as 
his heart became hot with swelling anger he seized 
his accustomed arms, strung his bent bow from the 
horns, and transfixed with unerring shaft the bosom 
which had been so often pressed to his own. The 
smitten maid groaned in agony, and, as the arrow 
was drawn out, her white limbs were drenched with 
her red blood. "'Twas right, O Phoebus," she said, 
" that I should suffer thus from you, but first I should 
have borne my child. But now two of us shall die 
in one." And while she spoke her life ebbed out 
with her streaming blood, and soon her body, its life 
all spent, lay cold in death. 

The lover, alas ! too late repents his cruel act ; he 
hates himself because he listened to the tale and was 
so quick to break out in wrath. He hates the bird 
by which he has been compelled to know the offence 
that brought his grief; bow and hand he hates, and 
with that hand the hasty arrows too. He fondles 
the fallen girl, and too late tries to bring help and 
to conquer fate ; but his healing arts are exercised in 
vain. When his efforts were of no avail, and he saw 
the pyre made ready with the funeral fires which 
were to consume her limbs, then indeed — for the 
cheeks of the heavenly gods may not be wet with 
tears — from his deep heart he uttered piteous groans ; 
such groans as the young cow utters when before her 
eyes the hammer high poised from beside the right 
ear crashes with its resounding blow through the 
hollow temples of her suckling calf. The god pours 
fragrant incense on her unconscious breast, gives her 



tempora discussit claro cava malleus ictu. 625 

ut tamen ingratos in pectora fudit odores 
et dedit amplexus iniustaque iusta peregit, 
non tulit in cineres labi sua Phoebus eosdem 
semina, sed natum flammis uteroque parentis 
eripuit geminique tulit Chironis in antrum, 630 

sperantemque sibi non falsae praemia linguae 
inter aves albas vetuit consistere corvum. 
Semifer interea divinae stirpis alumno 
laetus erat mixtoque oneri gaudebat honore ; 
ecce venit rutilis umeros protecta capillis 635 

f:lia centauri, quam quondam nympha Chariclo 
fluminis in rapidi ripis enisa vocavit 
Ocyroen : non haec artes contenta paternas 
edidicisse fuit, fatorum arcana canebat. 
ergo ubi vaticinos concepit mente furores 640 

incaluitque dec, quem clausum pectore habebat, 
adspicit infantem "toto " que "salutifer orbi 
crescCj puer! " dixit; " tibi se mortalia saepe 
corpora debebunt, animas tibi reddere ademptas 
fas erit, idque semel dis indignantibus ausu>5 64-5 

posse dare hoc iterum flamma prohibebere avita, 
eque deo corpus fies exsangue deusque, 
qui modo corpus eras, et bis tua fata novabis. 
tu quoque, care pater, nunc inmortalis et aevis 
omnibus ut maneas nascendi lege creatus, 650 

posse mori cupies, turn cum cruciabere dirae 
sanguine serpentis per saucia membra recepto ; 
tequp ex aeterno patientem numina n^orlis 


the last embrace, and performs all the fit offices unfitly 
for the dead. But that his own son should perish in 
the same funeral fires he cannot brook. He snatched 
the unborn child from his mother's womb and from the 
devouring flames, and bore him for safe keeping to 
the cave of two-formed Chiron. But the raven, which 
had hoped only for reward from his truth-telling, he 
forbad to take their place among white birds. 

Meantime the Centaur was rejoicing in his foster- 
child of heavenly stock, glad at the honour which the 
task brought with it, when lo ! there comes his 
daughter, her shoulders overmantled with red-gold 
locks, whom once the nymph, Chariclo, bearing her 
to him upon the banks of the swift stream, had called 
thereafter Ocyrhoe. She was not satisfied to have 
learnt her father's art, but she sang prophecy. 
So when she felt in her soul the prophetic madness, 
and was warmed by the divine fire prisoned in her 
breast, she looked upon the child and cried : "O child, 
health-bringer to the whole world, speed thy growth. 
Often shall mortal bodies owe tlieir lives to thee, 
and to thee shall it be counted right to restore 
the spirits of the departed. But having dared 
this once in scorn of the gods, from power to 
give life a second time thou shalt be stayed by thy 
grandsire's lightning. So, from a god shalt thou 
become but a lifeless corpse; but from this corpse 
shalt thou again become a god and twice renew thy 
fates. Thou also, dear father, who art now im- 
mortal and destined by the law of thy birth to last 
through all the ages, shalt some day long for power 
to die, when thou shalt be in agony with all thy 
limbs burning with the fatal Hydra's blood. But at 
last, from immortal the gods shall make thee capable 



efficient, triplicesque deae tua fila resolvent." 

restabat fatis aliquid : suspirat ab imis 6.55 

pectoribus, lacrimaeque genis labuntur obortae. 

atque ita * praevertunt " inquit " me fata, vetorque 

plura loqui, vocisque meae praecluditur usus. 

non fuerant artes tanti, quae numinis iram 

contraxere mihi : mallem nescisse futura ! 660 

iam mihi subduci facies humana videtur, 

iam cibus herba placet, iam latis currere campis 

impetus est : in equam cognataque corpora vertor. 

tota tamen quare .'' pater est mihi nempe biformis." 

talia dicenti pars est extrema querellae 665 

intellecta parum confusaque verba fuerunt ; 

mox nee verba quidem nee equae sonus ille videtur 

sed simulantis equam, parvoque in tempore certos 

edidit hinnitus et bracchia movit in herbas. 

tum digiti coeunt et quinos alligat ungues 67u 

perpetuo cornu levis ungula, crescit et oris 

et colli spatium, longae pars maxima pallae 

Cauda fit, utque vagi crines per coUa iacebant, 

in dextras abiere iubas, pariterque novata est 

et vox et facies ; nomen quoque monstra dedere. 675 

Flebat opemque tuam frustra Philyreius heros, 
Delphice, poscebat. nam nee rescindere magni 
iussa lovis poteras, nee, si rescindere posses, 
tunc aderas : Elim Messeniaque arva colebas. 
illud erat tempus, quo te pastoria pellis 680 

texit, onusque fuit baculum silvestre sinistrae, 
alterius dispar septenis fistula cannis. 


of death, ami the three goddesses shall loose thy 
thread." Still other fates remained to tell ; but 
suddenly she sighed deeply, and with flowing tears 
said : "The fates forestall me and forbid me to speak 
more. My power of speeclvfails me. Not worth the 
cost were those arts which have~i)roiight down the 
wrath of heaven upon me. I would that I had never 
known the future. Now my human shape seems to 
be passing. Now grass pleases as food ; now I am 
eager to race around the broad pastures. I am 
turning into a marc, my kindred shape. But why 
completely.'' Surely my father is half human." Even 
while she spoke, the last part of her complaint became 
scarce understood and her words were all confused. 
Soon they seemed neither words nor yet the sound 
of a horse, but as of one trying to imitate a horse. 
At last she clearly whinnied and her arms became 
legs and moved along the ground. Her fingers drew 
together and one continuous light hoof of horn bound 
together the five nails of her hand. Her mouth 
enlarged, her neck was extended, the train of her 
gown became a tail ; and her locks as they lay roam- 
ing over her neck were become a mane on the right 
side. Now was she changed alike in voice and 
feature ; and this new wonder gave her a new name 
as well. 

The half-divine son of Philyra wept and vainly 
called on thee for aid, O lord of Delphi. For thou 
couldst not revoke the edict of mighty Jove, nor, if 
thou couldst, wast thou then at hand. In those days 
thou wast dwelling in Elis and the Messenian fields. 
Thy garment was a shepherd's cloak, thy staff a stout 
stick from the wood, and a pipe made of seven 
unequal reeds was in thy hand. And while thy 
thoughts were all of love, and while thou didst 



dumque amor est curae, dum te tua fistula mulcet, 

incustoditae Pylios memorantur in agros 

processisse boves : videt has Atlantide Maia 685 

natus et arte sua silvis occultat abactas. 

senserat hoc furtum nemo nisi notus in illo 

rure senex ; Battum vicinia tota vocabat. 

divitis hie saltus herbosaque pascua Neie; 

nobiliumque greges custos servabat equarum 690 

hunc timuit blandaque manu seduxit et illi 

"quisquis es, hospes" ait, *'si forte armenta requiret 

haec aliquis, vidisse nega neu gratia facto 

nulla rependatur, nitidam cape praemia vaccam ! " 

et dedit. Accepta voces hac reddidit hospes : 695 

"tutus eas ! lapis iste prius tua furta loquetur," 

et lapidem ostendit. simulat love natus abire ; 

mox redit et versa pariter cum voce figura 

" rustice, vidisti si quas hoc limite " dixit 

" ire boves, fer opem furtoque silentia deme ! 700 

iuncta suo pariter dabitur tibi femina tauro." 

at senior, postquam est merces geminata, "sub illis 

montibus " inquit " erunt," et erant sub montibus illis. 

risit Atlantiades et " me mihi, perfide, prodis ? 

me mihi prodis ? " ait periuraque pectora vertit 705 

in durum silicem, qui nunc quoque dicitur index, 

inque nihil merito vetus est Lnfamia saxo. 



discourse sweetly on the pipe, the cattle thou wast 
keeping strayed, 'tis said, all unguarded into the 
Pylian fields. There Maia's son spied them, and by 
his native craft drove them into the woods and 
hid them there. Nobody saw the theft except one 
old man well known in that neighbourhood, called 
Battus by all the countryside. He, as a hired 
servant of the wealthy Neleus, was watching a herd 
of blooded mares in the glades and rich pasture- 
fields thereabouts. Mercury feared his tattling and, 
drawing him aside with cajoling hand, said : " Who- 
ever you are, my man, if anyone should chance to 
ask you if you have seen any cattle going by here, 
say that you have not ; and, that your kindness may 
not go unrewarded, you may choose out a sleek heifer 
for your pay " ; and he gave him the heifer forth- 
with. The old man took it and replied : " Go on, 
stranger, and feel safe. That stone will tell of your 
thefts sooner than I " ; and he pointed out a stone. 
The son of Jove pretended to go away, but soon 
came back with changed voice and form, and said : 
" My good fellow, if you have seen any cattle 
going along this way, help me out, and don't 
refuse to tell about it, for they were stolen. I'll 
give you a cow and a bull into the bargain it 
you'll tell." The old man, tem})ted by the 
double reward, said : " You'll find them over there 
at the foot of that mountain." And there, true 
enough, they were. Mercury laughed him to scorn 
and said : " Would you betray me to myself, you 
rogue .^ me to my very face?" So saying, he 
turned the faithless fellow into a flinty stone, 
which even to this day is called touch-stone ; and 
the old reproach still rests upon the undeserving 

' 109 


Hinc se sustulerat paribus caducifer alis, 
Munycliiosque volans agros gratamque Mineivae 
despectabat humum cultique arbusta Lycei. 7 10 

ilia forte die castae de more puellae 
vertice supposito festas in Palladis areas 
pura coionatis portabant sacra canisti is. 
inde revertentes deus adspicit ales iterque 
non agit in rectum, sed in orbem curvat eundem : 7 1 5 
ut voluci'is visis rapid issima miluus extis, 
dum timet et densi circumstant sacra ministri, 
flectitur in gyrum nee longius audet abire 
spemque suam motis avidus circumvolat alis, 
sic super Actaeas agilis Cyllenius arces 720 

inclinat cursus et easdem circinat auras, 
quanto splendidior quam cetera sidera fulget 
Lucifer, et quanto quam Lucifer aurea Phoebe,, 
tanto virginibus praestantior omnibus Herse 
ibat eratque decus pompae comitumque suarum> 725 
obstipuit forma love natus et aethere pendens 
non secus exarsit, quam cum Balearica plumbum 
funda iacit : volat illud et incandescit eundo 
et, quos non habuit, sub nubibus invenit ignes. 
vertit iter caeloquc petit terrena relicto 7S0 

nee se dissimulat : tanta est fiducia formae. 
quae quamquam iusta est, cura tamen adiuvat illam 
permulcetque comas chlamydemque, ut pendeatapte, 
collocat, ut limbus totumque adpareat aurum, 
ut teres in dextra, qua somnos ducit et arcet, 7-35 
virga sit, ut tersis niteant talaria plantis. 


The god of the caduceus had taken himself hence 
on level wings and now as he flew he was looking 
down upon the Munychian fields, the land that 
Minerva loves, and the groves of the learned Lyceum. 
That day chanced to be a festival of Pallas when 
young maidens bore to their goddess' temple mystic 
gifts in flower-wreathed baskets on their heads. 
The winged god saw them as they were returning 
home and directed his way towards them, not 
straight down but sweeping in such a curve as when 
the swift kite has spied the fresh-slain sacrifice, 
afraid to come down while the priests are crowded 
around the victim, and yet not venturing to go quite 
away, he circles around in air and on flapping wings 
greedily hovers over his hoped-for prey ; so did the 
nimble Mercury fly round the Athenian hill, sweep- 
ing in circles through the same spaces of air. As 
Lucifer shines more brightly than all the other stars 
and as the golden moon outshines Lucifer, so much 
was Herse more lovely than all the maidens round 
her, the choice ornament in the solemn procession 
of her comrades. The son of Jove was astounded at 
her beauty, and hanging in mid-air he caught the 
flames of love ; as when a leaden bullet is thrown by 
a Balearic sling, it flies along, is heated by its motion, 
and finds heat in the clouds which it had not before. 
Mercury now turns his course, leaves the air and flies 
to earth, nor seeks to disguise himself; such is the 
confidence of beauty. Yet though that trust be 
lawful, he assists it none the less with pains; he 
smooths his hair, arranges his robe so that it may 
hang neatly and so that all the golden border will 
show. He takes care to have in his right hand his 
smooth wand with which he brings on sleep or drives 
it away, and to have his winged sandals glittering on 
his trim feet. 



Pars secreta domus ebore et testudine cultos 
tres habuit thalamos, quorum tu, Pandrose, dextruin, 
Aglauros laevum, medium possederat Herse. 
quae tenuit laevum, venientem prima notavit 74-0 
Mercurium nomenque dei scitarier ausa est 
et causam adventus ; cui sic respondit Atlantis 
Pleionesque nepos " ego sum, qui iussa per auras 
verba patris porto ; pater est mihi luppiter ipse, 
nee fingam causas, tu tantum fida sorori 745 

esse velis prolisque meae matertera dici : 
Herse causa viae; faveas oramus amaiiti." 
adspicit hunc oculis isdem, quibus abdita nuper 
viderat Aglauros flavae secreta Minervae, 
proque ministerio magni sibi ponderis aurum 750 

postulat : interea tectis excedere cogit. 

Vertit ad hanc torvi dea bellica luminis orbem 
et tanto penitus traxit suspiria motu, 
ut pariter pectus positamque in pectore forti 
aegida concuteret : subit, hanc arcana profana 755 
detexisse manu, turn cum sine matre creatam 
Lemnicolae stirpem contra data foedera vidit, 
et gratamque deo fore iam gratamque sorori 
et ditem sumpto, quod avara poposcerat, auro. 
protinus Invidiae nigro squalentia tabo 760 

tecta petit : domus est imis in vallibus huius 
abdita, sole carens, non ulli pervia vento, 
tristis et ignavi plenissima frigoris et quae 
io-ne vacet semper, caligine semper abundet. 
hue ubi pervenit belli metuenda virago, 765 



In a retired part of the house were three chambers, 
richly adorned with ivory and tortoise-shell. The 
right - hand room of these Pandrosos occupied, 
Aglauros the left, and Herse the room between. 
Aglauros first saw the approaching god and made so 
bold as to ask his name and tlie cause of his visit. 
He, grandson of Atlas and Pleione, replied : " I am 
he who carry my father's messages through the 
air. My father is Jove himself. Nor will I con- 
ceal why I am here. Only do you consent to be true 
to your sister, and to be called the aunt of my off- 
spring. I have come here for Herse's sake. I pray 
you favour a lover's suit." Aglauros looked at him 
with the same covetous eyes with which she had 
lately peeped at the secret of the golden-haired 
Minerva, and demanded a mighty weight of gold as 
the price of her service ; meantime, she compelled 
him to leave the palace. 

The warrior goddess now turned her angry eyes 
upon her, and breathed sighs so deep and perturbed 
that her breast and the aegis that lay upon her breast 
shook with her emotion. She remembered that this 
was the girl who had with profaning hands uncovered 
the secret at the time when, contrary to her com- 
mand, she looked upon the son of the Lemnian, 
without mother born. And now she would be in 
favour with the god and with her sister, and rich, 
besides, with the gold which in her greed she had 
demanded. Straightway Minerva sought out the 
cave of Envy, filthy with black gore. Her home 
was hidden away in a deep valley, where no sun 
shines and no breeze blows ; a gruesome place and 
full of a numbing chill. No cheerful fire burns there, 
and the place is wrapped in thick, black log. When 
the warlike maiden goddess came to the cave, she 

B lis 


constitit ante domum (neque enim succedere tectis 
fas habet) et postes extreraa cuspide pulsat. 
concussae patuere fores, videt intus edentem 
vipereas carnes, vitiorum alimenta suorum, 
Invidiam visaque oculos avertit ; at ilia 770 

surgit huino pigre semesaruniqiie rt'iiiiqait 
corpora serpentum passuque incedit inerti. 
utque deam vidit formaque armisqiie decora m, 
ingemuit vultumque deae ad suspiria duxit. 
pallor in ore sedet, macies in corpore toto. 775 

nusquam recta acies, livent robigine dentes, 
pectora felle virent, lingua est suffusa veneiio ; 
risus abest, nisi quem visi movere dolores ; 
nee friiitur somno^ vigilantibus excita curis, 
sed videt ingratos intabescitque videndo 780 

successus hominum carpitque et carpitur una 
suppliciumque suum est. quamvis tamen oderat illam, 
talibus adfata est breviter Tritonia dictis : 
" infice tabe tua natarum Cecropis iinam : 
sic opus est. Aglauros ea est." baud plura locuta 785 
fugit et inpressa tellurem reppulit hasta. 

Ilia deam obliquo fugientem lumine cemens 
murmura parva dedit successurumque Minervae 
indoluit baculumque capit, quod spinea totum 
vincula cingebant, adopertaque nubibus atris, 790 
quacumque ingreditur, florentia proterit arva 
exuritque herbas et summa cacumina carpit 
adflatuque suo populos urbesque domosque 
polluit et tandem Tritonida conspicil arcem 


stood without, for she might not enter that foul 
abode, and beat upon the door with end of spear. 
The battered doors flew open ; and there, sitting 
within, was Envy, eating snakes' flesh, the proper 
food of her venom. At the horrid sitjht the goddess 
turned away her eyes. But that other rose heavily 
from the ground, leaving the snakes' carcasses half 
consumed, and came forward with sluggish step. 
VVHien she saw the goddess, glorious in form and 
armour, she groaned aloud and shaped her counte- 
nance to match the goddess' sigh. Pallor o'erspreads 
her face and her whole body seems to shrivel up. 
Her eyes are all awry, her teeth are foul with mould ; 
green, poisonous gall o'erflows her breast, and venom 
drips down from her tongue. She never smiles, 
save at the sight of another's troubles ; she never 
sleeps, disturbed with wakeful cares ; unwelcome 
to her is the sight of men's success, and with 
the sight she pines away ; she gnaws and is gnawed, 
herself her own punishment. Although she de- 
tested the loathsome thing, yet in curt speech 
Tritonia spoke to her: " Infect with your venom one 
of Cecrops' daughters. Such the task I set. I mean 
Aglauros." Without more words she fled the 
creature's presence and, pushing her spear against 
the ground, sprang lightly back to heaven. 

The hag, eyeing her askance as she flees, mutters 
awhile, grieving to think on the goddess' joy of 
triumph. Then she takes her staff", thick-set with 
thorns, and, wrapped in a mantle of dark cloud, sets 
forth. Wherever she goes, she tramples down the 
flowers, causes the grass to v^ither, blasts the high 
waving trees, and taints Avith the foul pollution of 
her breath whole peoples, cities, homes. At last she 
spies Tritonia's city, splendid with art and wealth 



ingeniis opibusque et festa pace virenleni 795 

vixque tenet lacrimas, quia nil lacrimabile cernit. 
sed postquam thalamos intravit Cecrope natae, 
iussa facit pectusque manu ferrugine tincta 
tangit et hamatis praecordia sentihus inplet 
inspiratque nocens virus pieeumque per ossa 800 

dissipat et medio spargit pulmone venenunij 
neve mali causae spatium per latius errent, 
germanam ante oculos fortunatumque sororis 
coniugium pulchraque deum sub imagine ponit 
cunctaque magna facit ; quibus inritata dolorc 805 
Cecropis occulto mordetur et anxia nocte 
anxia luce gemit lentaque miserrima tabe 
liquitur, ut glacies incerto saucia sole, 
felicisque bonis iion lenius uritur Herses, 
quam cum spinosis ignis supponitur herbis, 810 

quae neque dant flammas lenique tepore crem;intur. 
saepe mori voluit, ne quicquam tale videret, 
saepe velut crimen rigido narrare parenti ; 
denique in adveiso venientem limine sedit 
exclusura deum. cui blandimenta precesque 815 
verbaque iactanti mitissima " desine ! " dixit, 
"hinc ego me non sum nisi te motura repulso." 
" stemus " ait " pacto " velox Cyllenius " isto ! " 
caelestique fores virga patefecit : at illi 
surgere conanti partes, quascumque sedendo 820 

flectitur, ignava nequeunt gravitate moveri : 
ilia quidem pugnat recto se attollere trunco, 
sed genuum iunctura riget, frigusque per ungues 
labitur, et pallent amisso sanguine venae ; 


and peaceful joy ; and she can scarce restrain her 
tears at the sight, because she sees no cause for 
others' tears. Kut. having entered the chamber ol 
Cecrops' daughter, she performed the goddess' bid- 
ding, touched the girl's breast with her festering 
hand and filled her heart with pricking thorns. 
Then she breathed pestilential, poisonous breath into 
her nostrils and spread black venom through her 
very heart and bones. And, to fix a cause for her 
grief. Envy pictured to her imagination her sister, 
her sister's blest marriage and the god in all his 
beauty, magnifying the excellence of everything. 
Maddened by this, Aglauros eats her heart out in 
secret misery ; careworn by day, careworn by night, 
she groans and wastes away most wretchedly with 
slow decay, like ice touched by the fitful sunshine. 
She is consumed by envy of Herse's happiness ; just 
as M'hen a fire is set under a pile of weeds, which 
give out no flames and waste away with slow consump- 
tion. She often longed to die that she might not 
behold such happiness ; often to tell it, as 'twere a 
crime, to her stern father. At last she sat down at 
her sister's threshold, to prevent the god's entrance 
when he should come. And when he coaxed and 
prayed with his most honeyed words, " Have done," 
she said, " for I shall never stir from here till I have 
foiled your purpose." " We'll stand by that bargain," 
Mercury quickly replied, and with a touch of his 
heavenly wand he opened the door. At this the girl 
struggled to get up, but found the limbs she bends in 
sittingmade motionless with dull heaviness; shestrove 
to stand erect, but her knees had stiffened ; a numbing 
chill stole through her limbs, and her flesh was pale 
and bloodless. And, as an incurable cancer spreads 
its evil roots ever more widely and involves sound 



utque malum late solet inmedicabile cancer 825 

serpere et inlaesas vitiatis addere partes, 
sic letalis hiems paullatim in pectora venit 
vitalesque vias et respiramina clausit, 
nee conata loqui est nee, si conata fuisset, 
vocis habebat iter : saxum iam colla tenebat, 830 
oraque duruerant, signumque exsangue sedebat ; 
nee lapis albus erat : sua mens infecerat illam. 

Has ubi verborura poenas mentisque profanae 
cepit Atlantiades, dictas a Pallade terras 
linquit et ingreditur iactatis aethera pennis. 835 

sevocat hunc genitor nee causam fassus amoris 
" fide minister " ait " iussoruni, nate, meorum, 
pelle moram solitoque celer delabere cursu, 
quaeque tuam matrem tellus a parte sinistra 
suspicit (indigenae Sidonida nomine dicunt), 840 
banc pete, quodque procul montano gramine pasci 
armentum regale vides, ad litora verte ! " 
dixit, et expulsi iamdudum moiite iuvenci 
litora iussa petunt, ubi magni filia regis 
ludere virginibus Tyriis comitata solebat. 845 

non bene conveniunt nee in una sede morantur 
maiestas et amor; sceptri gravitate relicta 
ille pater rectorque deum, cui dextra trisulcis 
ignibus armata est, qui nutu concutit orbem, 
induitur faciem tauri niixtusque iuvencis 850 

mugit et in teneris formosus obambulat herbis. 
quippe color nivis est, quam nee vestigia duri 
calcavere pedis nee solvit aquaticus auster. 


with infected parts, so did a deadly chill little 
by little creep to her breast, stopping all vital 
functions and choking off her breath. She no 
longer tried to speak, and, if she had tried, her voice 
would have found no way of utterance. Her neck 
was changed to stone, her features had hardened — 
there she sat, a lifeless statue. Nor was tlie stone^' 
white in colour ; her soul had stained it black. 

VVben Mercury had inflicted this punishment on 
the girl for her impious words and spirit, he left the 
land of Pallas behind him, and flew to heaven on out- 
flung pinions. Here his father calls him aside; and 
not revealing his love affair as the real reason, he says : 
"My son, always faithful to perform my bidding, 
delay not, but swiftly in accustomed flight glide down 
to earth and seek out the land that looks up at your 
mother's star from the left. The natives call it the 
land of Sidon. There you are to drive down to the 
sea-shore the herd of the king's cattle which you will 
see grazing at some distance on the mountain-side." 
He spoke, and quickly the cattle were driven from - 
tlie mountain and headed for the shore, as Jove had 
directed, to a spot where the great king's daughter 
was accustomed to play in company with her Tyrian 
maidens. Majesty and love do not go well together, 
nor tarry long in the same dwelling-place. And so 
the father and ruler of the gods, who wields in his 
right hand the three-forked lightning, whose nod 
shakes the world, laid aside his royal majesty along 
with his sceptre, and took upon him the form of a 
bull. In this form he mingled with the cattle, lowed 
like the rest, and wandered around, beautiful to be- 
hold, on the young grass. His colour was whit>e as 
the untrodden snow, which has not yet been melted 
by the rainy south-wind. The muscles stood rounded 



colla tons exstant, armis palearia pendent, 
comua parva quidem, sed quae contendere possis 855 
facta manu, puraque magis perlucida gemma, 
nullae in fronte minae, nee formidabile lumen : 
pacem vultus habet. miratur Agenore nata, 
quod tarn formosus, quod proelia nulla minetur; 
sed quamvis mitem metuit contingere prime, 860 
mox adit et flores ad Candida porrigit ora. 
gaudet amans et, dum veniat sperata voluptas, 
oscula dat manibus ; vix iam, vix cetera difFert ; 
et nunc adludit viridique exsultat in herba, 
nunc latus in fulvis niveum deponit baremsj^i 865 
paullatimque metu dempto modo pectoTSpfaebet 
virginea plaudenda ^ manu, modo comua sertis 
inpedienda novis ; ausa est quoque regia virgo 
nescia, quern premeret, tergo considere tauri, 
cum deus a terra siccoque a litore sensim 870 

falsa pedum primo vestigia ponit in undis ; 
inde alnt ulterius mediique per aequora ponti 
fert praedam : pavet haec litusque ablata relictum 
respicit et dextra cornum tenet, altera dorso 
inposita est ; tremulae sinuantur flamine vestes. 875 

1 Some MSS. read pulpanda. 



upon his neck, a long dewlap hung down in front; 
his horns were small, but perfect in shape as if carved 
by an artist's liand, cleaner and more clear than 
pearls. His brow and eyes would inspire no fear, 
and his whole expression was peaceful. Agenor's 
daughter looked at him in wondering admiration, 
because he was so beautiful and friendly. But, 
although he seemed so gentle, she was afraid at first 
to touch him. Presently she drew near, and held 
out flowers to his snow-white lips. The disguised 
lover rejoiced and, as a foretaste of future joy, kissed 
her hands. Even so he could scarce restrain his 
passion. And now he jumps sportively about on the 
grass, now lays his snowy body down on the yellow 
sands ; and, when her fear has little bv little been 
allayed, he yields his breast for her maiden hands 
to pat and his horns to entwine with garlands of 
fresh flowers. The princess even dares to sit upou 
his back, little knowing upon whom she rests. The 
god little by little edges away from the dry land, 
and sets his borrowed hoofs in the shallow water ; 
then he goes further out and soon is in full flight 
with his prize on the open ocean. She trembles with 
fear and looks back at the receding shore, holding 
fast a horn with one hand and resting the other on the 
creature's back. And her fluttering garments stream 
behind her in the wind. 




Iamqve deus posita fallacis imagine tauri 

se confessus erat Dictaeaque rura tenebat, 

cum pater ignarus Cadmo perquirere raptam 

imperat et poenam, si non inverierit, addit 

exilium, facto pius et sceleratus eodem. 

orbe pererrato (quis enim deprendere possit 

furta lovis !'') profugus patriamque iramque parentis 

vitat Agenorides Phoebique oracula supplex 

consulit et, quae sit tellus habitanda, requirit. 

"bos tibi" Phoebus ait "solis occurret in arvis, 10 

nullum passa iugum curvique inmunis aratri. 

hac duce carpe vias et, qua requieverit herba, 

moenia fac condas Boeotiaque ilia vocato." 

vix bene Castalio Cadmus descenderat antro, 

incustoditam lente videt ire iuvencam 

nullum servitii signura cervice gerentem. 

subsequitur pressoque legit vestigia passu 

auctoremque viae Phoebum taciturnus adorat. 

iam vada Cephisi Panopesque evaserat arva : 

bos stetit et tollens speciosam cornibus altis 20 



And now the god, having put off disguise of the 
bull, owned himself for what he was, and reached 
the fields of Crete. But the maiden's father, ignorant 
of what had happened, bids his son, Cadmus, go and 
search for the lost girl, and threatens exile as a 
punishment if he does not find her — pious and guilty 
by the same act. After roaming over all the world 
in vain (for who could search out the secret loves of 
Jove ?) Agenor's son becomes an exile, shunning 
his father's country and his father's wrath. Then 
in suppliant wise he consults the oracle of Phoebus, 
seeking thus to learn in what land he is to settle. 
Phoelius replies: "A heifer will meet you in the 
wilderness, one who has never worn the yoke 
or drawn the crooked plough. Follow where she 
leads, and where she lies down to rest upon the 
grass there see that you build your city's walls 
and call the land Boeotia." ^ Hardly had Cadmus 
left the Castalian grotto when he saw a heifer 
moving slowly along, all unguarded and wearing 
on her neck no mark of service. He follows 
in her track witli deliberate steps, silentlv giving 
thanks the while to Phoebus for showing him the 
way. And now the heifer had passed the fords of 
Cephisus and the fields of Panope, when she halted 
and, lifting towards the heavens her beautiful head 
1 i.e. " the land of the heifer." 



ad caelum frontem mugitibus inpulit auras 
atque ita respiciens comites sua terga sequentis 
procubuit teneraque latus submisit in herba. 
Cadmus agit grates peregrinaeque oscula terrae 
figit et ignotos monies agrosque salutat. 25 

Sacra lovi facturus erat : iubet ire ministros 
et petere e vivis libandas fontibus undas. 
silva vetus stabat nulla violata securi, 
et specus in media virgis ac vimine densus 
efiiciens humilem lapidum conpagibus arcum SO 

uberibus fecundus aquis ; ubi conditus antro 
Martius anguis erat, cristis praesignis et auro; 
igne micant oculi, corpus tumet omne venenis, 
tres vibrant linguae, triplici stant ordine denies, 
quem postquam Tyria lucum de gente profecti 35 
infausto tetigere gradu, demissaque in undas 
urna dedit sonitum, longo caput extulit antro 
caeruleus serpens horrendaque sibila misit. 
etfluxere urnae manibus sanguisque reliquit 
corpus et attonitos subitus tremor occupat artus. 4-0 
ille volubilibus squamosos nexibus orbes 
torquet et inmensos saitu sinuatur in arcus 
ac media plus parte leves erectus in auras 
despicit omne nemus tantoque est corpore, quanto, 
si totum spectes, geminas qui separat arctos. 45 

nee mora, Phoenicas, sive illi tela parabant 
sive fugam, sive ipse timor prohibebat utrumque, 


with its spreading horns, she filled the air with her 
lowings; and then, looking back upon tliose who 
were following close behind, she kneeled and let her 
Hank sink down upon the fresh young grass. Cadmus 
gave thanks, reverently pressed his lips upon this 
stranger land, and greeted the unknown mountains 
and the plains. 

With intent to make sacrifice to Jove, he bade his 
attendants hunt out a spring of living water for 
libation. There was a primeval forest there, scarred 
by no axe ; and in its midst a cave thick set about 
with shrubs and pliant twigs. With well-fitted stones 
it fashioned a low arch, whence poured a full-welling 
spring, and deep within dwelt a serpent sacred to 
Mars. The creature had a wondrous golden crest; 
fire flashed from his eyes ; his body was all swollen 
with venom ; his triple tongue flickered out and in 
and his teeth were ranged in triple row. When with 
luckless steps the wayfarers of the Tyrian race had 
reached this grove, they let down their vessels into 
the spring, breaking the silence of the place. At 
this the dark serpent thrust forth his head out of the 
deep cave, hissing horribly. The urns fell from the 
men's hands, their blood ran cold, and, horror-struck, 
they were seized with a sudden trembling. The 
serpent twines his scaly coils in rolluig knots and 
witTi a spring curves himself into a huge bow ; and, 
lifted high by more than half his length into the 
unsubstantial air, he looks down upon the whole 
wood, as huge, could you see him all, as is that 
serpent in the sky that lies outstretched between 
the twin bears. He makes no tarrying, but seizes 
on the Phoenicians, whether they are preparing for 
fighting or for flight or whether very fear holds both 
in check. Some he slays with his fangs, some 



occupat : hos luorsu, longis conplexibus illos, 
hos necat adflatu funesti tabe veneni 

Fecerat exiguas iam sol altissimus umbras : 50 

quae mora sit sociis, miratur Agenore natus 
vestigatque viros. tegumen derepta leoni 
pellis erat^ telum splendent! lancea ferro 
et iaculum teloque animus praestantior omni. 
ut nemus intravit letataque corpora vidit 55 

victoremque supra spatiosi corporis hostem 
tristia sanffuinea lambentem vulnera lingua, 
"aut ultor vestrae, fidissima corpora, mortis, 
aut comes " inquit " ero." dixit dextraque molarem 
sustulit et magnum magno conamine misit. 60 

illius inpulsu cum turribus ardua celsis 
moenia mota forent, serpens sine vuinere mansit 
loricaeque modo squamis defensus et atrae 
duritia pellis validos cute reppulit ictus ; 
at non duritia iaculum quoque vicit eadem, 65 

quod medio lentae spinae curvamine fixum 
constitit et totum descendit in ilia ferrum. 
ille dolore ferox caput in sua terga retorsit 
vulneraque adspexit fixumque hastile momoniit, 
idque ubi vi multa partem labefecit in omneni, 70 
vix tergo eripuit ; ferrum tamen ossibus haesit. 
turn vero postquam solitas accessit ad iras 
causa recens, plenis tumuerunt guttura venis, 
spumaque pestiferos circumfluit albida rictus, 
terraque rasa sonat squamis, quique halitus exit 75 
ore niger Stygio, vitiatas inficit auras. 


he crushes in his constricting folds, and some he ^ 
stifles with the deadly corruption of his poisoned ; 

The sun had reached the middle heavens and 
drawn close the shadows. And now Cadmus, 
wondering what has delayed his companions, starts 
out to trace them. For shield, he has a lion's skin ; 
for weapon, a spear with glittering iron point and a 
javelin; and, better than all weapons, a courageous 
soul. When he enters the wood and sees the corpses 
of his friends all slain, and victorious above them 
their huge-bodied foe licking their piteous wounds 
with bloody tongue, he cries : " O ye poor forms, 
most faithful friends, either I shall avenge your 
death or be your comrade in it." So saying, he heaved 
up a massive stone with his right hand and with 
mighty effort hurled its mighty bulk. Under such a 
blow, high ramparts would have fallen, towers and 
all ; but the serpent went unscathed, protected 
against that strong stroke by his scales as by an iron 
doublet and by his hard, dark skin. But that hard 
skin cannot withstand the javelin too, which now is 
fixed in the middle fold of his tough back and 
penetrates with its iron head deep into his flank. 
The creature, mad with pain, twists back his head, 
views well his wound, and bites at the spear-shaft 
fixed therein. Then, when by violent efforts he had 
loosened this all round, with difficulty he tore it out; 
but the iron head remained fixed in the backbone. 
Then indeed fresh fuel was added to his native 
wrath ; his throat swells with full veins, and white 
foam flecks his horrid jaws. The earth resounds with 
his scraping scales, and such rank breath as exhales 
from the Stygian cave befouls the tainted air. Now 
he coils in huge spiral folds ; now shoots up, straight 



ipse modo inmensum spiris facientibus orbem 
cingitur, interdum longa trabe rectior exstat, 
inpete nunc vasto ceu concitus imbribus amiiis 
fertur et obstantis proturbat pectore silvas. 80 

cedit Agenorides paullum spolioque leonis 
sustinet incursus instantiaque ora retardat 
cuspide praetenta : furit ille et inania duro 
vulnera dat ferro figitque in acumine dentes. 
iamque venenifero sanguis manare palato 85 

coeperat et virides adspergine tinxerat herbas ; 
sed leve vulnus erat, quia se retrahebat ab ictu 
laesaque colla dabat retro plagamque sedere 
cedendo arcebat nee longius ire sinebat, 
donee Agenorides coniectum in gutture ferrum 90 
usque sequens pressit, dum retro quercus eunti 
obstitit et fixa est pariter cum robore cervix, 
pondere serpentis curvata est arbor et ima 
parte flagellari gemuit sua robora cauda. 

Dum spatium victor victi considerat hostis, 95 

vox subito audita est ; neque erat cognoscere 

unde, sed audita est : " quid, Agenore nate, 

serpentem spectas ? et tu sptctabere serpens." 
ille diu pavidus pariter cum mente colorem 
perdiderat, gelidoque comae terrore rigebant: 100 
ecce viri fautrix superas delapsa per auras 
Pallas adest motaeque iubet supponere terrae 
vipereos dentes, populi incrementa futuri. 
paret et, ut presso sulcum patefecit aratro, 
spargit humi iussos, mortalia semina, dentes. 105 

inde (fide maius) glaebae coepere moveri, 


and tall as a tree ; now he moves on with huge rush, 
like a stream in flood, sweeping down with his breast 
the trees in his path. Cadmus gives way a little, re- 
ceiving his foe's rushes on the lion's skin, and holds in 
check the ravening jaws with his spear-point thrust 
well forward. The serpent is furious, bites vainly at 
the hard iron and catches the sharp spear-head be- 
tween his teeth. And now from his venomous throat 
the blood begins to trickle and stains the green grass 
with spattered gore. But the wound is slight, because 
the serpent keeps backing from the thrust, drawing 
away his wounded neck, and by yielding keeps the 
stroke from being driven home nor allows it to go 
deeper. But Cadmus follows him up and presses 
tlie planted point into his throat; until at last an 
o.ik-tree stays his backward course and neck 
and tree are pierced together. The oak bends 
beneath the serpent's weight and the stout trunk 
groans beneath the lashings of his tail. 

While the conqueror stands gazing on the huge 
bulk of his conquered foe, suddenly a voice sounds in 
his ears. He cannot tell whence it comes, but he 
hears it saying : " Why, O son of Agenor, dost thou 
gaze on the serpent thou hast slain ? Thou tooshalt 
be a serpent for men to gaze on." Long he stands 
there, with quaking heart and pallid cheeks, and his 
hair rises up on end with chilling fear. But behold, 
the hero's helper, Pallas, gliding down through the 
high air, stands beside him, and she bids him plow 
the earth and plant therein the dragon's teeth, 
destined to grow into a nation. He obeys and, 
having opened up the furrows with his deep-sunk 
plow, he sows in the ground the teeth as he is bid, a 
man-producing seed. Then, a thing beyond belief, 
the plowed ground begins to stir ; and first there 




priraaque de sulcis acies aciparuit hastae, // 
tegmina mox capitum picto nutantia cono, 
mox umeri pectusque onerataque bracchia telis 
exsistunt, crescitque seges clipeata virorum : 110 

sic, ubi tolluntur festis aulaea theatris, 
surgere signa solent primumque ostendere vultus, 
cetera paullatim, placidoque educta tenore 
tota patent imoque pedes in margine ponunt. 

Territus hoste novo Cadmus capere arma 

parabat : 115 

"ne cape ! " de populo, quern terra creaverat, unus 
exclamat " ne te civilibus insere bellis ! " 
atque ita terrigenis rigido de fratribus unum 
comminus ense ferit, iaculo cadit eminus ipse ; 
hunc quoque qui leto dederat, non longius illo 120 
vivit et exspirat modo quas acceperat auras, 
exemploque pari furit omnis turba, suoque 
Marte cadunt subiti per mutua vulnera fratres, 
iamque brevis vitae spatium sortita iuventus 
sanguineam tepido plangebat pectore matrem, 125 
quinque superstitibus, quorum fuit unus Echion. 
is sua iecit humo monitu Tritonidis arma 
fraternaeque fidem pacis petiitque deditque : 
hos operis comites liabuit Sidonius hospes, 
cum posuit iussus Phoebeissortibus urbem. 130 

lam stabant Thebae, poteras iam, Cadme, videri 
exilio felix : soceri tibi Marsque Venusque 
conligerant ; hue adde genus de coniuge tanta, 
tot natas natosque et, pignora cara, nepotes, 


spring up from the furrows the points of speai-s, then 
helmets with coloured plumes waving ; next shoulders 
of men and breasts and arms laden with weapons 
come up, and the ci*op grows with the shields of 
warriors. So when on festal days the curtain in the 
theatre is raised, figures of men rise up, showing first 
their faces, then little by little all the rest ; until at 
last, drawn up with steady motion, the entire forms 
stand revealed, and plant their feet upon the curtain's 

Frightened by this new foe, Cadmus was preparing 
to take his arms. "Take not your arms," one of the 
earth-sprung brood cried out, " and take no part in 
our fratricidal strife." So saying, with his hard sword 
he clave one of his earth-born brothers, fighting hand 
to hand; and instantly he himself was felled by a' 
javelin thrown from far. But he also who had slain 
this last had no longer to live than his victim, and 
breathed forth the spirit which he had but now 
received. The same dire madness raged in them all, 
and in mutual strife by mutual wounds these brothers 
of an hour perished. And now the youth, who had 
enjoyed so brief a span of life, lay writhing on their 
mother earth warm with their blood — all save five. 
One of these five was Echion, who, at Pallas' bidding, 
drop})ed his weapons to the ground and sought and 
made peace with his surviving brothers. These the 
Sidonian wanderer had as comrades in his task when 
he founded the city granted him by Phoe!)us' oracle. 

And now Thebes stood complete ; now thou couldst 
seem, O Cadmus, even in exile, a happy man. Thou 
hast obtained Mars and Venus, too, as parents of thy 
bride ; add to this blessing children worthy of so 
noble a wife, so many sons and daughters, the pledges 
of thy love, and grandsons, too, now grown to budding 



hos quoque iam iuvenes ; sed scilicet ultima semper 
exspectanda dies hominis, dicique beatus 136 

ante obitum nemo supremaque funera debet. 

Prima nepos inter tot res tibi, Cadme, secundas 
causa fuit luctus, alienaque cornua fronti 
addita, vosque canes satiatae sanguine erili. J 40 

at bene si quaeras, Fortunae crimen in illo, 
non scelus invenies ; quod enim scelus error 
habebat ? 

Mons erat infectus variarum caede ferarum, 
iamque dies medius rerum contraxerat umbras 
et sol ex aequo meta distabat utraque, 145 

cum iuvenis placido per devia lusti-a vagantes 
participes operum conpellat Hjantius ore : 
" lina madent, comites, ferrumque cruore ferarum, 
fortunamque dies habuit satis ; altera lucem 
cum croceis invecta rotis Aurora reducet, 1 .50 

propositum repetemus opus : nunc Phoebus utraque 
distat idem terra finditque vaporibus arva. 
sistite opus praesens nodosaque toUite lina ! " 
iussa viri faciunt intermittuntque laborem. 

Vallis erat piceis et acuta densa cupressu, 155 

lyomine Gargaphie succinctae sacra Dianae, 
cuius in extremo est antrum nemorale recessu 
arte laboratum nulla : simulaverat artem 
ingenio natura suo ; nam pumice vivo 
et levibus tofis nativum duxerat arcum ; l6o 

fons sonat a dextra tenui perlucidus unda^ 
margine gramineo patulos incinctus liiatus. 


manhood. But of a surety man's last day must ever 
be awaited, and none be counted happy till his death, 
till his last funeral rites are paid 

One grandh.'jn of thine, Actaeon, midst all thy 
happiness first brought thee cause of grief, upon whose 
brow strange horns appeared, and whose dogs greedily 
lapped their master's blood. But if you seek the 
truth, you will find the cause of this in fortune's 
fault and not in any crime of his. For what crime 
had mere mischance ? 

'Twas on a mountain stained with the blood of many 
slaughtered beasts ; midday had shortened every 
object's shade, and the sun was at equal distance 
from either goal. Then young Actaeon with friendly 
speech thus addressed his comrades of the chase as 
they fared through the trackless wastes : " Both 
nets and spears, my friends, are dripping with our 
quarry's blood, and the day has given us good luck 
enough. When once more Aurora, borne on her 
saffron car,shall bring back the day, we w ill resume our 
proposed task. Now Phoebus is midway in his course 
and cleaves the very fields with his burning rays. 
Cease then your present task and bear home the 
well-wrought nets." The men performed his bidding 
and ceased their toil. 

There was a vale in that region, thick grown M'ith 
[)ine and cypress with their sharp needles. 'Twas 
called Gargaphie, the sacred haunt of high-girt Diana. 
|Tn its most secret nook there was a well-shaded grotto, 
wrought by no artist's hand. But Nature by her own 
cunning had imitated art ; for she had shaped a native 
arch of the living rock and soft tiifa^ A sparkling 
spring with its slender stream babbled on one side 
and widened into a pool girt with grassy banks. 
Here the goddess of the wild woods, when weary with 



hie dea silvarum venatu fessa solebat 

virgineos artus liquid o perfundere rore. 

quo postquam subiit, nympharum tradidituni l65 

armigerae iaculum pharetramque arcusque retentos, 

altera depositae subiecit bracchia pallae, 

vincla duae pedibus demunt ; nam doctior illis 

Ismenis Crocale sparsos per coUa capillos 

colligit in nodum, quamvis erat ipsa solutis. 1 70 

excipiunt laticem Nepheleque Hyaleque Rhanisque 

et Psecas et Phiale funduntque capacibus urnis. 

dumque ibi perluitur solita Titania lympha, 

ecce nepos Cadmi dilata parte laborum 

per nemus ignotum non certis passibus errans 175 

pervenit in lucum : sic ilium fata ferebant. 

qui simul intravit rorantia fontibus antra, 

sicut erant nudae, viso sua pectora nymphae 

percussere viro subitisque ululatibus omne 

inplevere nemus circumfusaeque Dianam 180 

corporibus texere suis ; tamen altior illis 

ipsa dea est coUoque tenus supereminet omnis. 

qui color infectis adversi solis ab Ictu 

nubibus esse solet aut purpureae Aurorae, 

is fuit in vultu visae sine veste Dianae. 185 

quae, quamquam comitum turba stipata suarum, 

in latus obliquum tamen adstitit oraque retro 

flexit et, ut vellet promptas habuisse sagittas, 

quas habuit sic hausit aquas vultumque virilem 

perfudit spargensque comas ultricibus undis 190 

addidit liaec cladis praenuntia verba futurae : 

" nunc tibi me posito visam velamine narres, 

si poteris narrare, licet ! " nee plura minata 



the chase, was wont to bathe her maiden limbs in the 
crystal water. On this day, having come to the grotto, 
she gives to the keeping of her armour-bearer among 
her nymphs her hunting spear, her quiver, and her 
unstrung bow ; another takes on her arm the robe she 
has laid by ; two unbind her sandals from her feet. 
But Theban Crocale, defter than the rest, binds into a 
knot the locks which have fallen down her mistress' 
neck, her own locks streaming free the while. Others 
bring water, Nephele, Hyale and Rhanis, Psecas and 
Phiale, and pour it out from their capacious urns. 
And while iitaiiia is bathing there in her accustomed 
pool, lo ! Cadmus' grandson, his day's toil deferred, 
comes wandering through the unfamiliar woods with 
unsure footsteps, and enters Diana's gi'ove ; for so 
fate would have it. As soon as he entered the grotto 
bedewed with fountain spray, the naked nymphs 
smote upon tl/eir breasts at sight of the man, and 
filled all the grove with their shrill, sudden cries. 
Then they thronged around Diana, seeking to hide 
her body with their own ; but the goddess stood head 
and shoulders over all the rest. And red as the clouds 
which flush beneath the sun's slant rays, red as the 
rosy dawn, were the cheeks of Diana as she stood 
there in view without her robes. 'Jhen, though the 
band of nymphs pressed close about her, she stood 
turning aside a little and cast back her gaze ; and 
though she would fain have had her arrows ready, 
what she had she took up, the water, and flung it 
into the young man's face. And as she poured the 
avenging dro|)S upon his hair, she spoke these words 
foreboding his coming doom ; " Now you are free to 
tell that you have seen me all unrobed — if you can 
tell." No more than this she spoke ; but on the head 
which she had sprinkled she caused to grow the 



dat sparse capiti vivacis cornua cervi, 

dat spatium collo summasque cacuminat aures 195 

cum pedibusqiie manus, cum longis bracchia mutat 

cruribus et velat maculoso vellere corpus ; 

additus et pavor est : fugit Autonoeius heros 

et se tarn celerem cursu miratur in ipso. 

ut vero VLiltus et cornua vidit in unda, 200 

" me miserum ! " dicturus erat : vox nulla secuta est 1 

ingemuit : vox ilia fuit, lacrimaeque per ora 

non sua fluxerunt ; mens tantum pristina mansit. 

quid faciat ? repetatne domum et regalia tecta 

an lateat silvis? pudor hoc, timor inpedit illud. 205 

Dum dubitat, videre canes, primique Melampus 
Ichnobatesque sagax latratu signa dedere, 
Gnosius Ichnobates, Spartana gente Melampus. 
inde ruunt alii rapida velocius aura, 209 

Pamphagos et Dorceus et Oribasus, Arcades onines, 
Nebrophonusque v'^alens et trux cum Laelape Theron 
et pedibus Pterelas et naribus utilis Agre 
Hylaeusque fero nuper percussus ab apro 
deque lupo concepta Nape pecudesque secuta 
Poemenis et natis comitata Harpyia duobus 215 

et substricta gereus Sicyonius ilia Ladon 
et Dromas et Canace Sticteque et Tigris et Alee 
et niveis I.eucon et villis Asbolus atris 
praevalidusque Lacon et cursu fortis Aello 
et Tlious et Cyprio velox cum fratre Lycisce 220 
et medio nigram frontem distinctus ab albo 
Harpalos et Melaneus hirsutaque corpora Lachiie 
et patre Dictaeo, sed matre Laconide nati 
Labros et Agriodus et acutae vocis Hylactor 

1 The English names of these hounds in their order would 
be : Black-foot. Trail-foUoioer, Voracious, Gazelle, Mountain- 
ranger. Faun-killer, Hurricane, Hunter, Winged, Hunter, 
Sylvan, Olen, Shepherd, Seizer, Catcher, Runner, Onasher, Spot, 



horns of the long-lived stag, stretched out his neck, 
sharpened his ear-tips, gave feet in place of hands, 
changed his arms into long legs, and clothed his body 
with a spotted hide. And last of all she planted fear 
within his heart. Away in flight goes Autonoe's 
heroic son, marvelling to find himself so swift of foot. 
But when he sees his features and his horns in a clear 
pool, "Oh, woe is me!" he tries to say; but no 
words come. He groans — the only speech he has — 
and tears coui'se down his changeling cheeks. Only 
his mind remains unchanged. What is he to do ? 
Shall he go home to the royal palace, or shall he stay 
skulking in the woods ? Shame blocks one course 
and fear the other. 

But while he stands perplexed he sees his hounds.* 
And first come Melampus and keen-scented Ichno- 
bates, baying loud on the trail — Ichnobates a Cretan 
dog, Melampus a Spartan ; then others come rushing 
on swifter than the wind : Pamphagus, Dorceus, and 
Oribasus, Arcadians all ; staunch Nebrophonus, fierce 
Theron and Laelaps ; Pterelas, the swift of foot, and 
keen-scented Agre ; savage Hylaeus, but lately ripped 
up by a wild boar ; the wolf-dog Nape and the trusty 
shepherd Poemenis ; Harpyia with her two pups; 
Sicyonian Ladon, thin in the flanks ; Dromas, Canace, 
Sticte, Tigris, Alee ; white-haired Leucon, black As- 
bolus ; Lacon, renowned for strength, and fleet Aello; 
Thoiis and swift Lycisce with her brother Cyprius ; 
Harpalos, with a white spot in the middle of his black 
forehead; Melaueus and shaggv Lachne ; two dogs 
from a Cretan father and a Spartan mother, Labros 
and Agriodus ; shrill-tongued Hylactor, and others 

Tigress, Might, White, Soot, Spartan, Whirlmnd, Swift, 
Cyprian, Wolf, Grasper, Black, Shag, Fury, White-tooth, Barker, 
Black-hair, Beast-killer, Mountaineer. 



fjuosque referre mora est : ea turba cupidine piacdae 
per rupes scopulosque adituque carenti'a saxa, 2x26 
quaque est difficilis quaque est via nulla, feruntur. 
ille fugit per quae fuerat loca saepe secutus, 
heu ! famulos fugit ipse suos. clamare libebat : 
" Actaeon ego sum : dominum cognoscite vestrum ! " 
verba animo desunt; resonat latratibus aether. 231 
prima Melanchaetes in tergo vulnera fecit, 
proxima Theridamas, Oresitrophus haesit in armo : 
tardius exierant, sed per conpendia mentis 
anticipata via est ; dominum retinentibus illis, 235 
cetera turba coit confertque in corpore dentes. 
iam loca vulneribus desunt ; gemit ille sonumque, 
etsi non hominis, quem non tamen edere possit 
cervus, habet maestisque replet iuga nota querellis 
et genibus pronis supplex similisque roganti 240 

circumfert tacitos tamquam sua bracchia vultus. 
at comites rapidum solitis hortatibus agmen 
ignari instigant oculisque Actaeona quaerunt 
et velut absentem certatim Actaeona clamant 
(ad nomen caput ille refert) et abesse queruiitur 245 
nee capere oblatae segnem spectacula praedae. 
vellet abesse quidem, sed adest; velletque videre, 
non etiam sentire caniim fera facta suorum. 
undique circumstant, mersisque in corpore rostris 
dilacerant falsi dominum sub imagine cervi, 250 



whom it were too long to name. The whole pack, 
keen with the lust of blood, over crags, over cliffs, 
over trackless rocks, where the way is hard, where 
there is no way at all, follow on. He flees over the 
very ground where he has oft-times pursued ; he flees 
(the pity of it !) his own faithful hounds. He longs 
to cry out : " I am Actaeon ! Recognise your own 
master!" But words fail his desire. All the air 
resounds with their baying. And first Melanchaetes 
fixes his fangs in his back, Theridamas next ; 
Oresitrophus has fastened on his shoulder. They had 
set out later than the rest, but by a short-cut across 
the mountain had outstripped their course. While 
they hold back their master's flight, the whole pack 
collects, and all together bury their fangs in his 
body till there is no place left for further wounds. 
He groans and makes a sound which, though not 
human, is still one no deer could utter, and fills the 
heights he knows so Avell with mournful cries. And 
now, down on his knees in suppliant attitude, just 
like one in prayer, he turns his face in silence towards 
them, as if stretching out beseeching arms. But his 
companions, ignorant of his plight, urge on the fierce 
pack with their accustomed shouts, looking all around 
for Actaeon, and call, each louder than the rest, for 
Actaeon, as if he were far away — he turns his head 
at the sound of his name — and complain that he is 
absent and is missing through sloth the sight of the 
quarry brought to bay. Well, indeed, might he wish 
to be absent, but he is here ; and well might he wish 
to see, not to feel, the fierce doings of his own 
hounds. They throng him on every side and, plung- 
ing their muzzles in his flesh, mangle their master 
under the deceiving form of the deer. Nor, as 
they say, till he had been done to death by many 



nee nisi finita per plurima vulnera vita 
ira pharetratae fertur satiata Dianae. 

Rumor in ambiguo est ; aliis violentior aequo 
visa dea est, alii laudant dignamque severa 
virginitate vocant : pars invenit utraque causas. 255 
sola lovis coniunx non tarn, culpetne probetne, 
eloquitur, quam elade domus ab Agenore ductae 
gaudet et a 1 yria collectum paelice transfert 
in generis soeios odium ; subit ecce priori 259 

causa recens, gravidamque dolet de semine magni 
esse lovis Semelen ; dum linguam ad iurgia solvit, 
"profeci quid enim totiens per iurgia ? " dixit, 
" ipsa petenda mihi est ; ipsam, si maxima luno 
rite vocor, perdam, si me geramantia dextra 
sceptra tenere decet, si sum regina lovisque 265 

et soror et coniunx, certe soi-or. at, puto, furto est 
contenta, et thalami brevis est iniuria nostri. 
concipit : id deerat ; manifestaque crimina pleno 
fert utero et mater, quod vix mihi contigit, uno 
de love vult fieri : tanta est fiducia formae. 270 

fallat eam faxo ; nee sum Saturnia, si non 
ab love mersa suo Stygias penetrabit in undas." 

Surgit ab his solio fulvaque recondita nube 
limen adit Semeles nee nubes ante removit 
quam simulavit anum posuitque ad tempera canos 
sulcavitque cutem rugis et curva trementi 276 



wounds, was the wrath of the quiver- bearing goddess 

Common talk wavered this way and that: to some the 
goddess seemed more cruel than was just ; others called 
her act worthy of her austere virginity ; both sides 
found good reasons for their judgment. Jcve's wife 
alone spake no word either in blame or praise, but 
rejoiced in the disaster which had come to Agenor's 
iiouse; for she had now transferred her an^er from 
her Tyrian rival ^ to those who shared her blood. 
And lo ! a fresh pang was added to her former 
grievance and she was smarting with the knowledge 
that Semele was pregnant with the seed of miglity 
Jove. Words of reproach were rising to lier lips, 
but " What," she cried, "have I ever gained by re- 
proaches ? 'Tis she must feel my wrath. Herself, 
if I am duly called most mighty Juno, must I attack 
if I am fit to wield in my hand the jewelled sceptre, if 
I am queen of heaven, the sister and the wife of 
Jove — at least his sister. And yet, methinks, she is 
content with this stolen love, and the insult to my 
bed is but for a moment. But she has conceived — 
that still was lacking — and bears plain proof of her 
guili, in her full womb, and seeks — a fortune that lias 
scarce been mine — to be made a mother from Jove. 
So great is her trust in beauty! But I will cause 
that trust to mock her : I am no daughter of Saturn 
if she go not down to the Stygian pool plunged 
thither by her Jupiter himself." 

On this she rose from her seat, and, wrapped in 
a saffron cloud, she came to the home of Semele. 
But before she put aside her concealing cloud she 
feigned herself an old woman, whitening her hair at 
the temples, furrowing her skin with wrinkles, and 
1 i,e. Euro pa, whose story has already been told. 



membra tiilit passu ; vocem quoque fecit anilem, 

ipsaque erat Beroe, Semeles Epidauria nutrix. 

ergo ubi captato sernione diuque loquendo 

ad nomen venere lovis, suspirat et "opto, 280 

luppiter ut sit " ait ; " metuo tamen omnia : multi 

nomine divorum thalamos iniere pudicos. 

nee tamen esse lovem satis est : det pignus amoris, 

si modo varus is est; quantusque et qualis ab alta 

lunone excipitur, tantus talisque, rogatOj 285 

det tibi conplexus suaque ante insignia sumat ' " 

Talibus ignaram luno Cadmeitia dictis 
formarat: rogat ilia lovem sine nomine munus. 
cui deus " elige ! " ait " nullam patiere repulsam, 
quoque magis credas, Stygii quoque conscia sunto 
iiumina torrentis : timor et deus ille deorum est." 291 
laeta male nimiumque potens perituraque amantis 
obsequio Semele " qualem Saturnia" dixit 
" te solet amplecti. Veneris cum foedus initis, 
da mihi te taleni ! " voluit deus ora luquentis 295 
opprimere : exierat iam vox properata sub auras, 
ingemuit ; neque enim non haec optasse, neque ille 
non iurasse potest, ergo maestissimus altum 
aethera conscendit vultuque sequentia traxit 
nubila, quis nimbos inmixtaque fulgura ventis 300 
addidit et tonitrus et inevitabile fulmen ; 
qua tamen usque potest, vires sibi demere temptat 
nee, quo centimanum deiecerat igue Typhoea, 


walking with bowed form and tottering steps. She 
spoke also in the voice of age and became even as 
Beroe, the Epiduurian nurse of Semele. When, after 
gossiping about many things, they came to mention of 
Jove's name, the old woman sighed and said : " 1 
pray that it be Jupiter ; but I am afraid of all such 
doings. Many, pretending to be gods, have found 
entrance into modest chambers. But to be Jove is 
not enough ; make him prove his love if he is true 
Jove ; as great and glorious as he is when welcomed 
by heavenly Juno, so great and glorious, pray him 
grant thee his embrace, and first don all his 

In such wise did Juno instruct the guileless 
daughter of Cadmus. She in her turn asked Jove 
for a boon, unnamed. The god replied : " Choose 
what thou wilt, and thou shalt suffer no refusal. And 
that thou mayst be more assured, I swear it by the 
divinity of the seething Styx, whose godhead is the 
fear of all the gods." Rejoicing in her evil fortune, 
too much prevailing and doomed to perish through 
her lover's compliance, Semele said : " In such guise 
as Saturnia beholds thee when thou seekest her arms 
in love, so show thyself to me." The god would have 
checked her even as she spoke ; but already her 
words had sped forth into uttered speech. He 
groans ; for neither can she recall her wish, nor he 
his oath. And so in deepest distress he ascends the 
steeps of heaven, and with his beck drew on the 
mists that followed, then mingling clouds and 
lightnings and blasts of wind, he took last the 
thunder and that fire that none can escape. And 
yet whatever way he can he essays to lessen his own 
might, nor arms himself now with that bolt with 
which he had hurled down from heaven Typhoeus 
^' 145 

nunc armatur eo: nimiuni feritatis in illo est. 
est aliud levius fulmeii, cui dextra cyclopum 30.5 

saevitiae flammaeque minus, minus addidit irae : 
tela secunda vocant superi ; capit ilia doniumque 
intrat Agenoream. corpus moitale tunniltus 
non tulit aetherios donisque iiigalibus arsit. 
inperfectus adhuc infans genetricis ab alvo 310 

eripitur patrioque tener (si credere dignum est) 
insuitur femori maternaque tempora conplet. 
furtim ilium primis Ino matertera cunis 
educat, inde datum nymphae Nyseides antris 
occuluere suis lactisque alimenta dedere. 315 

Dumque ea per terras fatali lege geruntur 
tutaque bis geniti sunt incunabula Bacchi, 
forte lovem memorant diffusum nectare cui-as 
seposuisse graves vacuaque agitasse remissos 
cum lunone iocos et " maior vestra profecto est, 320 
quani quae contingit maribus " dixisse " voluplas." 
ilia negat. placuit quae sit sententia docti 
quaerere Tiresiae : Venus huic erat utraque nota. 
nam duo magnorum viridi coeuntia silva 
corpora serpentum baculi violaverat ictu 325 

deque viro factus (mirabile) femina septem 
egerat autumnos ; octavo rursus eosdem 
vidit, et "est vesti-ae si tanta potentia plagae " 
dixit, " ut auctoris sortem in coiltraria mutet, 
nunc quoque vos feriam." percussis atiguibus isdem 
forma prior rediit, genetivaque venit imago. 331 

arbiter hie igitur sumptus de lite iocosa 


of the hundred hands, for that weapon were too 
deadly ; but there is a Hghter bolt, to which the 
Cyclops' hands had given a less devouring flame, a 
wrath less threatening. The gods call them his 
" Second Armoury." With these in hand he enters 
the palace of Agenor's son, the homeof Semele. Her 
mortal body bore not the onrush of heavenly power, 
and by that gift of wedlock she was consumed. The 
babe still not wholly fashioned is snatched from the 
mother's womb and (if report may be believed) sewed 
up in his father's thigh, there to await its fiill time of 
birth. In secret his mother's sister, Ino, watched 
over his infancy; thence he was confided to the 
nymphs of Nysa, who hid him in their cave and 
nurtured him with milk. 

Now while these things were happening on the 
earth by the decrees of fate, when the cradle of 
Bacchus, twice born, was safe, it chanced that Jove 
(as the story goes), while warmed with wine, put cai-e 
aside and bandied good-humoured jests with Juno in 
an idle hour, "I maintain," said he, "that your 
pleasure in love is greater than that which we enjoy." 
She held the opposite view. And so they decided 
to ask the judgment of wise Tiresias. He knew 
both sides of love. For once, with a blow of his staff 
he had outraged two huge serpents mating in the 
green forest ; and, wonderful to relate, from man he 
was changed into a woman, and in that form spent 
seven years. In the eighth year he saw the same 
serpents again and said : " Since in striking you there 
is such magic power as to change the nature of the 
giver of the blow, now will I strike you once again." So 
saying, he struck the serpents and his former state was 
restored and he became as he had been bom. He there- 
fore, being asked to arbitrate the playful dispute of 


dicta lovis firmat : gravius Saturnia iusto 
nee pro materia fertur doluisse suiqiie 
iudicis aeterna damnavit lumina iiocte ; S35 

at pater omnipotens (neque enim licet inrita cui(iuam 
facta del fecisse deo) pro lumine adempto 
scire futura dedit poenainque levavit lioriore. 

Ille per Aonias fama celeberrimus urbes 
inreprehensa dabat populo responsa petenti ; 340 
prima fide vocisque ratae temptamina sumpsit 
caerula Liriope, quam quondam flumine curvo 
inplicuit clausaeque suis Cephisos in undis 
vim tulit : enixa est utero pulchen-ima pleno 
infantem nymphe, iam tunc qui posset amari, 345 
Narcissumque vocat. de quo consultus, an esset 
tempora maturae visurus longa senectae, 
fatidicus vates " si se non noverit " inquit. 
vana diu visa est vox auguris : exitus illam 
resque probat letique genus novitasque furoris. 350 
namque ter ad quinos unum Cephisius annum 
addiderat poteratque puer iuvenisque videri : 
multi ilium iuvenes, multae cupiere puellae ; 
sed fuit in tenera tam dura superbia forma, 
nulli ilium iuvenes, nullae tetigere puellae. 355 

adspicit hunc trepidos agitantem in retia cervos 
vocalis nymphe, quae nee reticere loquenti 
nee prior ipsa loqui didieit, resonabilis Echo. 

Corpus adhue Echo, non vox erat et tamen usum 
garrula non alium, quam nunc habet, oris habebat, 
reddere de multis ut verba novissima posset. 36l 

fecerat hoc luno, quia, cum deprendere posset 


the gods, took sides with Jove. Saturnia, they say, 
grieved more deej)ly than she should and than the 
issue warranted, and condemned the arbitrator to 
perpetual bHndness. But the Ahnighty Father (for no 
god may undo what another god has done) in return 
for his loss of sight gave Tiresias the power to know 
the future, lightening the penalty by the honour. -^ 

He, famed far and near through all the Boeotian 
towns, gave answers that none could censure to those 
who sought his aid. The first to make trial of his 
truth and assured utterances was the nymph, Liriope, 
whom once the river-god, Cephisus, embraced in his 
winding stream and ravished, while imprisoned in 
his waters. When her time came the beauteous 
nymph brought forth a child, whom a nymph might 
love even as a child, and named him Narcissus. 
When asked whetiier this child would live to reach 
well-ripened age, the seer replied : " If he ne'er know 
himself." Long did the saying of the prophet seem 
but empty words. But wiiat befell proved its truth — 
the event, the manner of his death, the strangeness 
of his infatuation. For Narcissus had reached his 
sixteenth year and might seem either boy or man. 
Many youths and many maidens sought his love ; but 
in that slender form was pride so cold that no youth, 
no maiden touched his heart. Once as he was driving: 
the frightened deer into his nets, a certain nymph of 
strange speech beheld him, resounding Echo, who 
could neither hold her peace when others spoke, nor 
yet begin to speak till others had addressed her. 

Up to this time Echo had form and was not a 
voice alone ; and yet, though talkative, she had no 
other use of speech than now — only the power out 
oi many words to repeat the last she heard. Juno 
had made her thus; for often when she might have 



sub love saepc suo nymphas in monte iacentis, 

ilia deam longo prudens sermone tenebat, 

dum fugerent nymphae. postquam hoc Saturnia 

sensit, 365 

*' huius " ait " linguae, qua sum delusa, potestas 
parva tibi dabitur vocisque brevissimus usus," 
reque minas firmat. tamen haec in fine loquendi 
ingeminat voces auditaque verba reportat, 
ergo ubi Narcissum per devia rura vagantem 370 

vidit et incaluit, sequitur vestigia furtim, 
quoque magis sequitur, flamma propiore calescit, 
non aliter quam cum summis circumlita taedis 
admotas rapiunt vivacia sulphura flammas. 
a quotiens voluit blandis accedere dictis 375 

et mollis aiihibere preces I natura repugnat 
nee sinit, incipiat, sed, quod sinit, ilia parata est 
exspectare sonos, ad quos sua verba reniittat. 
forte puer comitum seductus ab agniine fido 
dixerat : " ecquis adest ? " et " adest " responderat 

Echo. 380 

hie stupet, utque aciem partes dimittit in omnis, 
voce "veni !" magna clamat : vocat ilia vocantem. 
respicit et rui'sus nullo veniente "quid" inqiiit 
" me fugis ? " et totidem, quot dixit, verba recepit. 
perstat et alternae deceptus imagine vocis 385 

" hue coeamus" ait, nuUique libentius umquam 
responsura sono "coeamus" rettulit Echo 
et verbis favet ipsa suis egressaque silva 
ibat, ut iniceret sperato bracchia collo ; 
ille fugit fugiensque "manus conplexibus aufer! 390 
ante " ait " emoriar, quam sit tibi copia nostri " ; 


surprised the nymphs in company with her lord 
upon the mountain-sides, Echo would cunningly 
hold the goddess in long talk until the nymphs were 
fled. When Saturnia realized this, she said to her : 
" That tongue of thine, by which I have been tricked, 
shall have its power curtailed and enjoy the briefest 
use of speech." The event confii-med her threat. 
Nevertheless she does repeat the last phrases of a 
speech and returns the words she hears. Now when 
she saw Narcissus wandering througli the fields, she 
was inflamed with love and followed him by stealth ; 
and the more she followed, the more she burned by 
a nearer flame ; as when quick-burning sulphur, 
smeared round the tops of torches, catches fire fi'ora 
another fire brought near. Oh, how often does she 
long to approach him with alluring words and make 
soft prayers to him ! I But her nature forbids this, 
nor does it permit her to begin ; but as it allows, 
she is ready to await the sounds to which she may 
give back her own words. By chance the boy, 
separated from his faithful companions, had cried : 
" Is anyone here ? " and " Here I " cried Echo back. 
Amazed, he looks around in all directions and with 
loud voice cries " Come ! " ; and " Come ! " she calls 
him calling. He looks behind him and, seeing no 
one coming, calls again : " Why do you run from 
me .'' " and hears in answer his own words again. 
He stands still, deceived by the answering voice, 
and "Here let us meet," he cries. Echo, never to 
answer other sound more gladly, cries : " Let us 
meet " ; and to help her own words she comes forth 
from the woods that she may throw her arms around 
the neck she longs to clasp. But he flees at her 
approach and, fleeing, says: "Hands off! embrace 
me not ! May I die before I give you power o'er 



rettulit ilia nihil nisi " sit tibi copia nostri !" ' 

spreta latet silvis pudibundaque frondibus ora 

protegit et soils ex illo vivit in antris; 

sed tamen haeret amor crescitque dolore repulsae ; 

et tenuant vigiles corpus miserabile curae 396 

adducitque cutem macies et in aera sucus 

corporis omnis abit ; vox tantum atque ossa super- 

sunt : 
vox manet, ossa ferunt lapidis traxisse figuram. 
inde latet silvis nulloque in monte videtur, 400 

omnibus auditur : sonus est, qui vivit in ilia. 

Sic hanc, sic alias undis aut montibus ortas 
luserat hie nymphas, sic coetus ante viriles ; 
inde manus aliquis despectus ad aethera toUens 
"sic amet ipse licet, sic non potiatur amato ! " 405 
dixerat : adsensit precibus Rhamnusia iustis. 
fons erat inlimis, nitidis argenteus undis, 
quern neque pastores neque pastae monte capcllae 
cuiitigerant aliudve pecus, quem nulla volucris 
nee fera turbarat nee lapsus ab arbore ramus ; 410 
gramen erat circa, quod proximus umor alebat, 
silvaque sole locum passura tepescere nullo. 
hie puer et studio venandi lassus et aestu 
procubuit faciemque loci f'ontemque secutus, 
dumque sitim sedare cupit, sitis altera crevit, 415 
liumque bibit, visae correptus imagine foimae 
spem sine corpore amat, corpus putat esse, quod 

umbra est. 
adsLupet ipse sibi vultuque inmotus eodem 


me !" "I ;;ive you power o'er me ; " she says, and 
nothing more. Thus spurned, she lurks in the woods, 
hides her shamed face among the foliage, and lives 
from that time on in lonely caves. But still, though 
spurned, her love x'emains and grows on grief; her 
sleepless cares waste away her wretched form ; she 
becomes gaunt and wrinkled and all moisture fades 
from her body into the air. Only her voice 'ind her 
bones remain : then, only voice ; for they say that 
her bones were turned to stone. She hides in woods 
and is seen no more upon the mountain-sides ; but all 
may hear her, for voice, and voice alone, still lives in 

Thus had Narcissus mocked her, thus had he 
mocked other nymphs of the waves or mountains ; 
thus had he mocked the companies of men At last 
one of these scorned youth, lifting up his hands to 
heaven, prayed : " So may he himself love, and not 
gain the thing he loves!" The goddess. Nemesis, 
heard his righteous prayer. There was a clear pool 
with silvery bright water, to which no shepherds 
ever came, or she-goats feeding on the mountain- 
side, or any other cattle ; whose smooth surface 
neither bird nor beast nor falling bough ever rutflKl. 
Grass grew all around its edge, fed by the water near, 
and a coppice that would never suffer the sun to 
warm the spot. Here the youth, worn by the"cliase 
and the heat, lies down, attracted thither by the 
appearance of the place and by the spring. While 
he seeks to slake his thirst another thirst springs 
up, and while he drinks he is smitten by the sight 
of the beautiful form he sees. He loves an unsub- 
stantial hope and thinks that substance which is only 
shadow. He looks in speechless wonder at himself 
and hangs there motionless in the same expression, 



haeret, ut e Pario formatum marmore signum ; 
spectat humi positus geminiim, sua lumina, sidus 420 
et dignos Baccho, dignos et Apolline crines 
inpubesque genas et eburnea coUa decusque 
oris et in niveo mixtum candore ruborem^ 
cunctaque miratur, quibus est mirabilis ipse : 
se cupit inprudens et, qui probat, ipse probatur, 425 
dumque petit, petitur, pariterque accendit et ardet. 
inrita fallaci quotiens dedit oscula fonti, 
in medias quotiens visum captantia coUum 
bracchia mersit aquas nee se depre\.dit in illis ! 
quid videat, nescit ; sed quod videt, uritur illo, 430 
atque oculos idem, qui decipit, incitat error, 
credule, quid frustra simulacra fugacia captas ? 
quod petis, est nusquam; quod amas, avertere, perdes! 
ista repercussae, quam cernis, imaginis umbra est : 
nil habet ista sui ; tecum venitque manetque ; 435 
tecum discedet, si tu discedere possis ! 

Non ilium Cereris, non ilium cura quietis 
abstrahere inde potest, sed opaca fusus in herba 
spectat inexpleto mendacem lumine formam 
perque oculos perit ipse suos ; paullumque levatus 
ad circumstantes tendens sua bracchia silvas 441 

*' ecquis, io silvae, crudelius " inquit "amavit? 
scitis enim et multis latebra opportuna fuistis. 
ecquem, cum vestrae tot agantur saecula vitae, 
qui sic tabuerit, longo meministis in aevo ? 445 

et placet et video ; sed quod videoque place tque, 
non tamen invenio : tantus tenet error amantem. 


like a statue carved from Parian marble. Prone on 
the ground, he gazes at his eyes, twin stars, and his 
locks, worthy of Bacchus, worthy of Apollo ; on his 
smooth cheeks, liis ivory neck, the glorious beauty 
of his face, the blush mingled with snowy white : 
all things, in short, he admires for which he is 
himself admired. Unwittingly he desires himself; 
he praises, and is himself what he praises ; and while 
he seeks, is sought ; equally he kindles love and 
burns with love. How often did he offer vain kisses 
on the elusive pool .'' How often did he plunge his 
arms into the water seeking to clasp the neck he 
sees there, but did not clasp himself in them ! 
What he sees he knows not ; but that which he sees 
he burns for, and the same delusion mocks and 
allures his eyes. O fondly foolish boy, why vainly 
seek to clasp a fleeting image ? What you seek is 
nowhere ; but turn yourself away, and the object of 
your love will be no more. That which you behold 
is but the shadow of a reflected form and has no 
substance of its own. With you it comes, with you 
it stays, and it will go with you — if you can go. - — ' 

No thought of food or rest can draw him from the 
spot ; but, stretched on the shaded grass, he gazes on 
that false image with eyes that cannot look their fill 
and through his own eyes perishes. Raising himself 
a little, and stretching his arms to the trees, he cries : 
" Did anyone, O ye woods, ever love more cruelly 
than I ? You know, for you have been the convenient 
haunts of many lovers. Do you in the ages past, for 
your life is one of centuries, remember anyone who 
has pined away like this .'' I am charmed, and I see ; 
but what I see and what charms me I cannot find — • 
so great a delusion holds my love. And, to make me 
grieve the more, no mighty ocean separates us, no 



(juoque magis doleam, nee nos mare separat ingens 
nee via nee montes nee clausis moenia portis ; 
exigiia proliibeniur aqua ! cupit ipse teneri : 450 
nam quotiens liquidis porreximus oscula lymj)lii<;, 
hie totiens ad me re.nupino nititur ore. 
posse putes tangi : minimum est, quod amantibus 

quisquis es, hue exi ! quid me, puer unice, fallis 
quove petitus abis ? certe nee forma nee aetas 455 
est mea, quam fugias, et amaruut me quoque 

nj'mphae ! 
spem mihi nescio quam vultu promittis amico, 
cumque ego porrexi tibi bracchia, porrigis ultro, 
cum risi, adrides; lacrimas quoque saepe notavi 
me lacrimante tuas ; nutu quoque signa remittis 460 
et, quantum motu formosi suspicor oris, 
verba refers aures non pervenientia nostras ! 
iste ego sum : sensi, nee me mea fallit imago; 
uror amore mei : flammas moveoque feroque. 
quid faciam ? roger anne rogem ? quid deinde rogabo ? 
quod ciipio niecum est : inopem me copia fecit. 4^6 
o uLiiiam a nostro secedere corpore posscm ! 
votum inamantenovum,vellem,quod amamus,abesset. 
iamque dolor vires adimit, nee tempora vitae 
longa nieae superant, prinioque exsliiiguor in aevo. 
nee mihi mors gravis est posituro moite dolores, 471 
hie, qui diligitur, velJem diuUirnior esset ; 
nunc duo Concordes anima moriemur in una.' 

Dixit et ad faciem rediit male sanus eandrm 
et lacrimis turbavit aquas, obscuraque moto 475 



long road, uo mountain ranges, no city vvalls with 
close -shut gates; by a thin barrier of water we are 
kept apart. He himself is eager to be embraced. 
For, often as I stretch my lips towards the lucent 
wave, so often with upturned face he strives to lift 
his lips to mine. You would think he could be 
touched — so small a thing it is that separates our 
loving hearts. Whoever you are, come forth hither ! 
Why, O peerless youth, do you elude me ? or whither 
do you go wiien I strive to reach you ? Surely my 
form and age are not such that you should shun them, 
and me too the nymphs have loved. Some ground 
for hope you offer with your friendly looks, and when 
I have stretched out my arms to you, you stretch 
yours too. W'hen I have smiled, you smile back ; and 
I have often seen tears, when I weep, on your cheeks. 
My becks you answer with your nod ; and, as I sus- 
pect from the movement of your sweet lips, you 
answer my words as well, but words which do not 
reach my ears. — Oh, I am he 1 I have felt it, I know 
now my own image, t burn with love of my own 
self; I both kintlle the flames and suffer them. What 
shall I do.'' Shall I be wooed or woo.'' Why woo at 
all ? What 1 desire, I have ; the very abundance of 
my riches beggars me. Oh, that I might be parted 
from my own body ! and, strange prayer for a lover, 
I would that what I love were absent from me ! And 
now grief is sapping my strength ; but a brief space 
of life remains to me and I am cut oflp in my life's 
prime. Death is nothing to me, for in death I shall 
leave my troubles ; I would he that is loved might live 
longer ; but as it is, we two shall die together in 
one breath." 

He spoke and, half distraught, turned again to the 
same image. His tears ruffled the water, and dimly 



reddita forma lacu est; quam cum vidisset abire, 
" quo refugis ? remane nee me, crudelis, amantem 
desere!" clamavit; "liceat, quod tangere non est, 
adspicere et misero praebere ab'menta furori I " 
dumque dolet, summa vestem deduxit ab ora 480 
nudaque marmoreis percussit pectora palniis. 
pectora traxerunt roseum percussa ruborem, 
non aliter quam poma solent, quae Candida parte, 
parte rubent, aut ut variis solet uva racemis 
ducere purpureum nondum matura colorem. 485 

quae simul adspexit liquefacta rursus in uiula, 
non tulit ulterius, sed ut intabescere flavae 
igne levi cerae matutinaeque pruinae 
sole tepente solent, sic attenuatus amore 
liquitur et tecto paullatim carpitur igni ; 490 

et neque iam color est mixto candore rubori, 
nee vigor et vires et quae modo visa placebant, 
nee corpus remanet, quondam quod amaverat Echo, 
quae tamen ut vidit quamvis irata memorque 
indoluit, quotiensque puer miserabilis "eheu " 495 
dixerat, haec resonis iterabat vocibus " eheu " ; 
cumque suos manibus percusserat ille lacertos, 
haec quoque reddebat sonitum plangoris eundem. 
ultima vox solitam fuit haec spectantis in undam : 
" heu frustra dilecte puer ! " totidemque remisit 500 
verba locus, dictoque vale "vale" inquit et Echo, 
ille caput viridi fessum submisit in herba, 
lumina mors clausit domini mirantia formam : 
turn quoque se, postquam est infema sede receptus, 
in Stygia spectabat aqua, planxere sorores 505 

naides et sectos fratri posuere capillos, 


the image came back from the troubled pool. As he 
saw it thus depart, he cried : " Oh, whither do you 
flee? Stay here, and desert not liim who loves thee, 
cruel one ! Still may it be mine to gaze on what I 
may not touch, and by that gaze feed ray unhappy 
passion." While he thus grieves, he plucks away his 
tunic at its upper fold and beats his bare breast with 
pallid hands. His breast when it is struck takes on 
a delicate glow ; just as apples sometimes, though 
white in part, flush red in other part, or as grapes 
hanging in clusters take on a purple hue when not 
yet ripe. As soon as he sees this, when the water 
has become clear again, he can bear no more ; but, 
as the yellow wax melts before a gentle heat, as hoar 
frost melts before the warm morning sun, so does 
he, wasted with love, pine away, and is slowly con- 
sumed by its hidden fire. No longer has he that 
niddy colour mingling with the white, no longer that 
strength and vigour, and all that lately was so pleasing 
to behold ; scarce does his form remain which once 
Echo had loved so well. But when she saw it, though 
still angry and unforgetful, she felt pity; and as often 
as the poor boy says " Alas ! " again with answering 
utterance she cries "Alas!" and as his hands beat 
his shoulders she gives back the same sounds of woe. 
His last words as he gazed into the familiar spring 
were these : " Alas, dear boy, vainly beloved ! " and 
the place gave back his words. And when he said 
"Farewell!" "Farewell!" said Echo too. He drooped 
his weary head on the green grass and death sealed 
the eyes that marvelled at their master's beauty. 
And even when he had been received into the 
infernal abodes, he kept on gazing on his image in 
the Stygian pool. His naiad-sisters beat their breasts 
and shore their locks in sign of grief for their dear 



planxerunt dryades ; plangeutibus adsonat Echo, 
iamque rogum quassasque faces feretrumque 

parabant : 
nusquam corpus erat ; croceum pro coipore florcm 
iiiveniunt foliis medium cingentibus albis. 510 

P 'Cognita res meritam vati per Achaidas urbes 

,' attulerat famam. nomenque erat auguris ingens ; 

J^' I spernit Echionides tamen hunc ex omnibus uiius 
"^^"^ contemptor superum Pentheus praesagaque ridet 
' . 1^ verba senis tenebrasque etcladem lucis ademptae 515 
'- obicit. ille movens albentia tempox-a canis 

" quam felix esses, si tu quoque luminis huius 
orbus " ait " fieres, ne Bacchlca sacra videres ! 
namque dies aderit, quam non procul auguror 

qua novus hue veniat, proles Semeleia, Liber, 520 
quem nisi templorum fueris dignatus lionore, 
mille lacer spargere locis et sanguine silvas 
foedabis matremque tuam matrisque sorores. 
eveniet I neque enim dignabere numen honore, 
meque sub his tenebris nimium vidisse quereris." 525 
talia dicentem proturbat Echione natus ; 
dicta fides sequitur, responsaque vatis aguntur. 

Liber adest, festisque fremunt ululatibus agri : 
turba ruit, mixtaeque viris matresque nurusque 
vulgusque proceresque ignota ad sacra feruntur. 530 
I'' Quis furor, anguigenae, proles Mavortia, vestras 
attonuit mentes ? " Pentheus ait ; "aerane tantum 
acre repulsa valent et adunco tibia cornu 


brother ; the dryads, too, lamented, and Echo gave 
back their sounds of woe. And now they were pre- 
paring the funeral pile, the brandished torches and 
tlie bier ; but his body was nowhere to be found. 
In place of his body they find a flower, its yellow 
centre girt with white petals. 

When this story was noised abroad it spread the 
well-deserved fame of the seer throughout the cities 
of Greece, and great was the name of Tiresias. Yet 
Echion's son, Pentheus, the scoffer at gods, alone of all 
men flouted the seer, laughed at the old man's words 
of propliecy, and taunted him with his darkness and 
loss of sight. But he, shaking his hoary head in 
warning, said : " How fortunate wouldst thou be if 
this light were dark to thee also, so that thou mightst 
not behold the rites of Bacchus ! For the day will 
come — nay, I foresee 'tis near — when the new god 
shall come hither, Liber, son of Semele. Unless thou 
worship him as is his due, thou shalt be torn into a 
tliousand pieces and scattered everywhere, and shalt 
with thy blood defile the woods and thy mother and 
thy mother's sisters. So shall it come to pass ; for 
thou shalt refuse to honour the god, and shalt com- 
plain that in my blindness I have seen all too well." 
Even while he speaks the son of Echion flings him 
forth ; but his words did indeed come true and his 
prophecies were accomplished. 

The god is now come and the fields resound with 
the wild cries of revellers. The people rush out of 
the city in throngs, men and women, old and young, 
nobles and commons, all mixed together, and hasten 
to celebrate the new rites. " VVhat madness, ye 
sons of the serpent's teeth, ye seed of Mars, has 
dulled your reason?" Pentheus cries. "Can clash- 
ing cymbals, can the pipe of crooked horn, can 



et magicae fraudes, ut, quos non bellicus ensis, 

non tuba terrueiit, non strictis agniina telis, 535 

femineae voces et mota insania vino 

obscenique greges et inania tympana vincant ? 

vosne, senes, mirer, qui longa per aequora vecti 

hac Tyron, hac profugos posuistis sede penates, 

nunc sinitis sine Marte capi ? vosne, acrior aetas, 540 

o iuvenes, propiorque meae, quos arma tenere, 

non thyrsos, galeaque tegi, non fronde decebat ? 

este, precor, memores, qua sitis stirpe cieati, 

illiusque animos, qui multos perdidit unus, 

sumite serpentis ! pro fontibus ille lacuque 545 

interiit : at vos pro fama vincite vestra ! 

ille dedit leto fortes : vos pellite molles- 

et patrium retinete decus ! si fata vetabant 

stare diu Thebas, utinam tormeuta virique 

nioenia diruerent, ferrumque ignisque sonai'ent ! 550 

essenius miseri sine crimine^ sorsque querenda, 

non celanda foret, lacrimaeque pudore carerent ; 

at nunc a puero Thebae capientur inermi, 

quern neque bella iuvant nee tela nee usus equorum, 

sed madidus murra crinis mollesque coronae 555 

purpuraque et pictis intextum vestibus auruin, 

quern quidem ego actutum (inodo vos absistite) cogara 

adsumptumque patrem commentaque sacra fateri. 

an satis Acrisio est animi^ contemnere vanum 

numen et Argolicas venienti claudere portas : 560 

Penthea terrebit cum totis advena Thebis ? 

ite citi " (famulis hoc imperat), "ite ducemquc 



shallow tricks of magic, women's shrill cries, wine- 
heated madness, vulgar throngs and empty drums 
— can all these vanquish men, for whom real war, 
with its drawn swords, the blare of trumpets, and 
lines of glittering spears, had no terrors ? You, ye 
elders, should I give you praise, who sailed the long 
reaches of the sea and planted here your Tyre, here 
your wandering Penates, and who now permit them 
to be taken without a struggle ? Or you, ye young 
men of fresher age and nearer to my own, for whom 
once 'twas seemly to bear arms and not the thyrsus, 
to be sheltered by helmets and not garlands ? Be 
mindful, I pray, from what seed you are sprung, and 
show the spirit of the serpent, who in his single 
strength killed many foes. For his fountain and his 
pool he perished ; but do you conquer for your glory's 
sake ! He did to death brave men : do you but put 
to flight unmanly men and save your ancestral honour. 
If it be the fate of Thebes not to endure for long, I 
would the enginery of war and heroes might batter 
down her walls and that sword and fire might roar 
around her: then should we be unfortunate, but our 
honour without stain ; we should bewail, not seek to 
conceal, our wretched state ; then our tears would be 
without shame. But now our Thebes shall fall before 
an untried boy, whom neither arts of war assist nor 
spears nor horsemen, but whose weapons are scented 
locks, soft garlands, purple and gold inwoven in em- 
broidered robes. But forthwith — only do you stand 
aside — I will force him to confess that his father's 
name is borrowed and his sacred rites a lie. Did 
Acrisius have spirit enough to despise his empty god- 
head, and to shut the gates of Argos in his face, and 
shall Pentheus and all Thebes tremble at this 
wanderer's approach ? Go quickly " — this to his 



attrahite hue vinctuiu ! iussis mora segnis ahesto !"/ 

hunc avus, hunc Athamas, hunc cetera turba suorum 

corripiunt dictis frustraque inhibere laborant. 565 

acrior admonitu est inritaturque retenta 

et crescit rabies moderaminaque ipsa nocebant : 

sic ego torrentem, qua nil obstabat eunti, 

lenius et modico strepitu decurrere vidi ; 

at quacumque trabes obstructaque saxa tenebant, 570 

spumeus et fervens et ab obice saevior ibat. 

Ecce cruentati redeunt et, Bacchus ubi esset, 
quaerenti domino Bacchum vidisse negarunt ; 
" hunc " dixere " tamen comitem famuluaique 

cepimus " et tradunt manibus post terga ligatis 575 
sacra dei quendam Tyrrhena gente secutum. 
Adspicit hunc Pentheus ocuhs^ quos ira tremendos 
/'ecerat, et quamquam poenae vix tempera differt, 
" o periture tuaque aliis documenta dature 
morte," ait, " ede tuum nomen nomenque parentum 
et patriam, morisque novi cur sacra frequentes! " 581 
ille metu vacuus "nomen mihi " dixit " Acoetes, 
patria Maeonia est, humili de plebe parentes. 
non mihi quae duri colerent pater arva iuvenci, 
lanigerosve greges, non uUa armenta rehquit; 585 
pauper et ipse fuit linoque solebat et hamis 
decipere et calamo saHentis ducere pisces. 
ars ilh sua census erat ; cum traderet artem, 
' accipe, quas habeo, studii successor et heres,' 
dixit 'opes' moriensque mihi nihil ille reliquit 590 


slaves — " go, bring this plotter hither, and in chains ! 
Let there be no dull delay to my bidding." His 
grandsire addresses him in words of reprimand, and 
Athamas, and all his counsellors, and they vainly strive 
to curb his will. He is all the more eager for their 
warning ; his mad rage is fretted by restraint and 
grows apace, and their very efforts at control but 
make him worse. So have I seen a river, where 
nothing obstructed its course, flow smoothly on with 
but a gentle murmur ; but, where it was held in check 
by dams of timber and stone set in its way, foaming 
and boiling it went, fiercer for the obstruction. 

But now the slaves come back, all covered with 
blood, and, when their master asks where Bacchus 
is, they say th;it they have not seen him ; " but 
this companion of his," they say, "this priest of his 
sacred rites, we have taken," and they deliver up, 
his hands bound behind his back, one of Etruscan 
stock, a votary of Bacchus. Him Pentheus eyes 
awhile with gaze made terrible by his wrath ; and, 
with difficulty withholding his hand from punish- 
ment, he says : " Thou fellow, doomed to perish and 
by thy death to serve as a warning to others, tell me 
thy name, thy parents, and thy country ; and why 
thou dost devote thyself to this new cult." He 
fearlessly replies: "My name is Acoetes, and my 
country is Maeonia; my parents were but humb'e 
folk. My father left me no fields or sturdy bullocks 
to till them; no woolly sheep, no cattle. He himself 
was poor and used to catch fish with hook and line 
and rod and draw them leaping from the stream. 
His craft was all his wealth ; and when he passed it 
on to me he said : ' Take this craft ; 'tis all my fortune. 
Be you my heir and successor in it.' And in dying 
he left me nothing but the waters. This alone can 



praeter aquas : unum hoc possum adpellare paternuirL 
mox ego, ne scopulis haererem semper in isdem, 
addidici regimen dextra moderante carinae 
flectere et Oleniae sidus pluviale capellae 
Taygetenque Hyadasque oculis Arctonque notavi 595 
ventorumque domos et portus puppibus aptos. 
forte petens Delum Chiae telluris ad oras 
adplicor et dextris adducor litora remis 
doque levis saltus udaeque inmittor harenae : 
nox ibi consumpta est ; aurora rubescere prima 600 
coeperat : exsurgo laticesque inferre reoentis 
admoneo monstroque viam, quae ducat ad undas ; 
ipse quid aura mihi tumulo promittat ab alto 
prospicio comitesque voco repetoque carinam. ' 
' adsumus en' inquit sociorum primus Opheltes, 605 
utque putat, praedam deserto nactus in agro, 
virginea puerum ducit per litora form ». 
ille mero somnoque gravis titubare videtur 
vixque sequi ; specto cultum faciemque gradumque : 
nil ibi, quod credi posset mortale, videbam. 6lO 

et sensi et dixi sociis : 'quod numen in isto 
corpore sit, dubito ; sed corpore numen in isto est ! 
quisquis es, o faveas nostrisque laboribus adsis ; 
his quoque des veniam ! ' ' pro nobis mitte precari ! ' 
Dictys ait, quo non alius conscendere summas 6l5 
ocior antemnas prensoque rudente relabi. 
hoc Libys, hoc flavus, prorae tutela, Melanthus, 
hoc probat Alcimedon et, qui requiemquemodumque 
voce dabat remis, animorum hortator, Epopeus, 


I call my heritage. Soon, that I might iiot always 
stay planted on the selfsame rocks, I learned to steer 
ships with guiding hand ; I studied the stars ; the rainy 
constellation of the Oicnian Goat, Taygete, the 
Hyades, the Bears ; I learned the winds and whence 
they blow ; I learned what harbours are best for ships. 
It chanced that while making for Delos I was driven 
out of my course to the shore of Chios and made the 
land with well-skilled oars. Light leaping, we landed 
on the wet shore and spent the night. As soon as 
the eastern sky began to redden I rose and bade my 
men go for fresh water, showing them the way that 
led to the spring. For niy own task, from a high 
hill I observed the direction of the wind ; then called 
my comrades and started back on board. ' Lo, here 
we are ! ' cried Opheltes, first of all the men, bringing 
with him a prize (so he considered it) which he hail 
found in a deserted field, a little boy with form 
beautiful as a girl's. He seemed to stagger, as if 
o'ercome with wine and sleep, and could scarce 
follow him who led. I gazed on his garb, his face, 
his walk ; and all I saw seemed more to me than mortal. 
This I perceived, and said to my companions : 
' What divinity is in that mortal body I know not ; 
but assuredly a divinity is therein. Whoever thou 
art, be gracious unto us and prosper our under- 
takings. Grant pardon also to these men.' 'Pray 
not for us,' said Dictys, than whom none was more 
quick to climb the topmost yard and slide down on 
firm-grasped rope. Libys seconded this speech ; so 
did yellow-haired Melanthus, the look-out, and 
Alcimedon and Epopeus, who by his voice marked 
the time for the rowers and urged on their flagging 
spirits. And all the rest approved, so blind and 
heedless was their greed for booty. * And yet I 




hoc omnes alii : praedae tam caeca cupido est. G20 
'noil tamen banc sacro violari |)oii(Iere pinum r-^x^C^-uj- 
perpetiar ' dixi : * pars hie mihi maxima iuris' 
inque aditu obsisto : furit audacissimus onini 
de numero Lycabas, qui Tusca pulsu^ al) urbe 
exilium dira poeiiam pro caede luebat ; 625 

is mihi, dum resto, iuvenali guttura pugno 
rupit et excussum misisset in aequora, si iion 
haesissem, quamvis aniens, in fune retentus. 
inpia turba probat factum ; turn denique Bacchus 
(Bacchus enim fuerat), veluti clamore solutus 630 
sit sopor aque mero redeant in pectora sensus, 

* quid facitis ? quis clamor ? ' ait ' qua, dicite, naulae, 
hue ope perveni ? quo me deferre paratis ? ' 
*pone metum ' Proreus, ' et quos contingere portus 
ede velis ! ' dixit ; * terra sistere petita.' 635 

* Naxon ' ait Liber 'cursus advertite vestros ! 
ilia mihi domus est, vobis erit hospita tellus.' 
per mare fallaces perque omnia numina iurant 
sic fore meque iubent pictae dare vela carinae. 
dextera Naxos erat : dextra mihi lintea danti 6'tO 
' quid facis, o demens ? quis te furor — ? ' inquit 

pro se quisque, * tenet ? ^ laevam pete ! ' maxima nutu 
pars mihi significat, pars quid velit aure susurrat. 
obstipui 'capiat' que 'aliquis moderamina I ' dixi 
meque ministerio scelerisque artisque removi. 645 

' pro 86 quisque, ' tenet ? ffeinsius: 'persequiturve tiraor ' 
Burman : pro Be quisque timet MSS. 



shall not permit this ship to be defiletl by such 
sacrilege,' 1 said; 'here must my authority have 
greater weight.' And I resisted their attempt to 
come on board. Then did Lycabas break out into 
wratli, the most reckless man of tlie crew, who, 
driven from Tuscany, was suffering exile as a punish- 
ment for the foul crime of murder. He, while I 
withstood him, tore at my throat with his strong 
hands and would have hurled me overboard, if, scarce 
knowing what I did, I had not clung to a rope that 
held me back. The godless crew applauded Lycabas. 
Then at last Bacchus — for it was he — as if aroused 
from slumber by the outcry, and as if his wine- 
dimmed senses were coming back, said : * What are 
you doing ? Why this uproar ? And tell me, ye 
sailor-men, how did I get here and whither are you 
planning to take me .'' ' 'Be not afraid,' said 
Proreus, * tell me what port you wish to make, 
and you shall be set off at any place you choose.' 
' Then turn your course to Naxos,' said Liber ; ' that 
is my home, and there shall you find, yourselves, a 
friendly land.' By the sea and all its gods the 
treacherous fellows swore that they would do this, 
and bade me get the painted vessel under sail. Naxos 
lay off upon the right ; and as I was setting my sails 
towards the right Opheltes said : ' What are you 
doing, you fool ? what madness — ' and each one 
for himself supplied the words — 'holds you? Take 
the left tack.' The most of them by nods and 
winks let me know what they wanted, and some 
whispered in my ear. I could not believe my senses 
and I said to them : ' Then let someone else take 
the helm ' ; hnd declared that I would have nor 
part nor lot in the'- wicked scheme. They all cried 



increpor a cunctis, totiimque inmiirmurat agmen ; 
e quibus Aethalion * te scilicet onmis in uno 
nostra salus posita est ! ' ait et subit ipse meumque 
explet opus Naxoque petit diversa relicta. 
turn deus inludens, tamquam modo denique 

fraudem 650 

senserit, e pnppi pontum prospectat adunca 
et flenti similis ' non haec inihi litora^ nautae, 
promisistis ' ait, ' non haec mihi terra rogata est ! 
quo merui poenam facto ? quae gloria vestra est, 
si puerum iuvenes, si multi fallitis unum ? ' 655 

iamdudum flebam : lacrimas manus inpia nostras 
ridet et inpellit properantibus aequora remis. 
per tibi nunc ipsum (nee enim praesentior illo 
est deus) adiuro, tam me tibi vera referre 
quam veri maiora fide : stetit aequore puppis 660 
baud aliter, quam si siccum navale teneret. 
illi admirantes remorum in verbere perstant 
velaque deducunt geminaque ope currere temptant : 
inpediunt hederae remos nexuque recurvo 
serpunt et gravidis distinguunt vela corymbis. 665 
ipse racemiferis frontem circumdatus uvis 
pampineis agitat velatam frondibus hastam ; 
quem circa tigres simulacraque inania lyncum 
pictarumque iacent fera corpora pantherarum. 
exsiluere viri, sive hoc insania fecit 670 

sive timor, primusque Medon nigrescere coepit 
corpore et expresso spinae curvamine flecti. 
incipit huic Lycabas : *in quae niiracula ' dixit 
' verteris ? ' et lati rictus et panda loquenti 


out upon me and kept up their wrathful mutterings. 
And one of them, Aethalion, broke out: 'I'd have 
you know, the safety of us all does not depend on 
you alone ! ' So saying, he came and took my place 
at the helm and, leaving the course for Naxos, 
steered off in another direction. Then the god, in 
mockery of them, as if he had just discovered their 
faithlessness, looked out upon the sea from the curved 
stern, and in seeming tears cried out : ' These are not 
the shores you promised me, you sailor-men ; and 
this is not the land I sought. What have I done to 
be so treated ? And what glory will you gain if you, 
grown men, deceive a little boy .'' if you, so many, 
overcome just one.''' I was long since in tears; 
but the godless crew mocked my tears and swept the 
seas with speeding oars. Now by the god himself I 
swear (for there is no god more surely near than he) 
that what I speak is truth, though far beyond 
belief. The ship stands still upon the waves, as if a 
dry-dock held her. The sailors in amaze redouble 
their striving at the oars and make all sail, hoping 
thus to speed their way by twofold power. But ivy 
twines and clings about the oars, creeps upward 
with many a back-flung, catching fold, and decks 
the sails with heavy, hanging clusters. The god 
himself, with his brow garlanded with clustering 
berries, waves a wand wreathed with ivy-leaves. 
Around him lie tigers, the forms (though empty all) 
of lynxes and of fierce spotted panthers. The men 
leap overboard, driven on by madness or by fear. 
And first Medon's body begins to grow dark and his 
back to be bent in a well-marked curve. Lycabas 
starts to say to him : ' Into what strange creature 
are you turning.'' ' But as he speaks his own jaws 
spread wide, his nose becomes hooked, and his skin 



naris erat, squamamque cutis dmata trahebat. 675 
at Libys obstantis dum vult obvertere remos, 
in spatium resilire manus breve vidit et illas 
lam non esse manus, iam piiinas posse vocari. 
alter ad intortos cupiens dare bracehia funes 
bracchia non habuit truncoque repandus in undas 680 
corpore desiluit : falcata novissima cauda est, 
qualia dimidiae sinuantur cornua lunae. 
undique dant saltus multaque adspergiiie rorant 
emerguntque iterum redeuntque sub aequoia rursus 
inque chori ludunt speciem lascivaque iactant 685 
corpora et acceptum patulis mare naribus efflant. 
de modo viginti (tot enim ratis ilia ferebat) 
restabam solus : pavidum gelidumque trementi 
corpore vixque meum firmat deus 'excute' dicens 
' corde metum Diamque tene ! ' delatus in illam GQO 
accessi sacris Baccheaque sacra frequento." 

''Praebuimuslongis" Pentheus "ambagibusaures," 
inquit " ut ira mora vires absumere posset, 
praecipitem, famuli, rapite hunc cruciataque diris 
corpora tormentis Stygiae demittite nocti ! " 695 

protinus abstractus solidis Tyrrlienus Acoetes 
clauditur in tectis ; et dum crudelia iussae 
instrumenta necis ferrumque ignesque parantur, 
sponte sua patuisse fores la2)sasque lacertis 
sponte sua fama est nuUo solvente catenas. 700 

Perstat Echionides, nee iam iubet ire, sed ipse 
vadit, ubi el actus facienda ad sacra Cithaeron 
cantibus et clara bacchantum voce sonabat. 


becomes hard and covered with scales. But Libys, 
while he seeks to ply the sluggish oars, sees his hands 
suddenly shrunk in size to things that can no longer 
be called hands at all, but fins. Another, catching 
at a twisted rope with his arms, finds he has no arms 
and goes plunging backwards with limbless body into 
the sea : the end of his tail is curved like the horns 
of a half-moon. They leap about on every side, 
sending up showers of spray ; they emerge from the 
water, only to return to the depths again ; they 
sport like a troupe of dancers, tossing their bodies in 
wanton sport and drawing in and blowing out the 
water from their broad nostrils. Of but now twenty 
men — for the ship bore so many — I alone remained. 
And, as I stood quaking and trembling with cold 
fear, and hardly knowing what I did, the god spoke 
words of cheer to me and said : * Be of good 
courage, and hold on your course to Naxos.' Arrived 
there, I have joined the rites and am one of the 
Bacchanalian throng." 

iheu I'ciiLlieub said: "We have lent ear to this 
long, rambling tale, that by such delay our anger 
might lose its miglit. Ye slaves, now hurry him 
away, rack his body with fearsome tortures, and 
so send him down to Stygian night." Straightway 
Acoetes, the Tyrrhenian, was dragged out and shut 
up in a strong dungeon. And while the slaves were 
getting the cruel instruments of torture ready, the 
iron, the fire — of their own accord the doors flew 
open wide ; of their own accord, with no one loosing 
them, the chains fell from the prisoner's arms. 

But Pentheus stood fixed in his purpose. He no 
longer sent messengers, but went himself to where 
Cithaeron, the chosen seat for the god's sacred rites, 
was resounding -with son^and the shrill cries of wor- 



ut fremit acer equus^ cum bellicus acre canoro 
signa dedit tubicen pugnaeque adsumit amorem, 705 
Penthea sic ictus longis ululatibus aether 
movitj at audito clamore recanduit ira. 

Monte fei*e medio est, cingentibus ultima silvis, 
purus ab arboribus, spectabilis undique, campus : 
hie oculis ilium cernentem sacra profanis 710 

prima videt, prima est insano concita cursu, 
prima suum misso violavit Penthea thyrso 
mater et ''o geminae " clamavit "adeste sorores ' 
ille aper, in nostris errat qui maximus agris, 
ille mihi feriendus aper." ruit omnis in unum 715 
turbafurens ; cunctae coeunttrepidumque sequuntur, 
iam trepidum, iam verba minus violenta loqiientem, 
iam se damnantem, iam se peccasse fatentem. 
saucius ille tamen " fer opem, matertera " dixit 
" Autonoe ! moveant animos Actaeonis umbrae ! " 720 
ilia, quis Actaeon, nescit dextramque precantis 
abstulit, Inoo lacerata est altera raptu. 
non habet infelix quae matri bracchia tendat, 
trunca sed ostendens deiectis vulnera membris 
"ads[)ice, mater !" ait. visis ululavit Agaue 725 
collaque iactavit movitque per aera crinem 
avulsumque caput digitis conplexa cruentis 
clamat : " io comites, opus haec victoria nostrum est ! " 
non citius frondes autumni frigore tactas 
iamque male haerentes alta ra})it arbore ventus, 730 
quam sunt membra viri manibus direpta nefandis. 
talibus exemplis monitae nova sacra frequentant 
turaque dant sanctasque colunt Ismenides aras, 


shippers. As a spirited horse snorts when the brazen 
trumpet with tuneful voice sounds out the battle and 
his eagerness for the fray waxes hot, so did the air, 
pulsing with the long-drawn cries, stir Pentheus, and 
the wild uproar in his ears heated his wrath white-hot. 
About midway of the mountain, bordered with 
thick woods, was an open plain, free from trees, in 
full view from every side. Here, as Pentheus was 
spying with profane eyes upon the sacred rites, his 
mother was the first to see him, first to rush madly 
on him, first with hurled thyrsus to smite her son. 
" Ho, there, my sisters, come ! " she cried, "see that 
huge boar prowling in our fields. Now must I rend 
him." The whole mad throng rush on him ; from all 
sides they come and pursue the frightened wretch — 
yes, frightened now, and speaking milder words, 
cursing his folly and confessing that he has sinned. 
Sore wounded, he cries out : " Oh help, my aunt, 
Autonoe ! Let the ghost of Actaeon move your 
heart." She knows not who Actaeon is, and tears the 
suppliant's right arm away ; Ino in frenzy rends away 
his left. And now the wretched man has no arms to 
stretch out in prayer to his mother; but. showing 
his mangled stumps where his arms have been torn 
away, he cries : " Oh, mother, see ! " Agave howls 
madly at the sight and tosses her head with wildly 
streaming hair. Off" she tears his head, and holding 
it in bloody hands, she yells: "See, comrades, see 
my toil and its reward of victory ! " Not more quickly 
are leaves, when touched by the first cold of autumn 
and now lightly clinging, whirled from the lofty tree 
by the wind than is Pentheus torn limb from limb 
by those impious hands. Taught by such a warning, 
the Thebans throng the new god's sacred rites, burn 
incense, and bow down before his shrines. 




At non Alcithoe Minyeias orgia censet 
accipienda dei, sed adhuc temeraria Bacchum 
progeniem negat esse lovis sociasque sorores 
inpietatis habet. festum celebrare sacerdos 
inmunesque operum famulas dominasque suorum 5 
pectora pelle tegi, crinales solvere vittas, 
serta coma, manibus frondentis sumere thyrsos 
iusserat et saevam laesi fore numinis iram 
vaticinatus erat : parent matresque nurusque 
telasque calathosque infectaque pensa reponunt 10 
turaque dant Bacchumque vocant Bromiumque 

ignigenamque satumque iterum solumque bimatrem ; 
additur his Nyseus iiidetonsusque Thyoneus 
et cum Lenaeo genialis consitor uvae 
Nycteliusque Eleleusque parens et lacchus etEuhan, 
et quae praeterea per Graias plurima gentes l6 

nomina. Liber, babes, tibi enim inconsumptaiuventa 


^ " The noisy one." 

2 " The deliverer from care." 

3 " Of Nysa," a city in India, connected traditionally with 
the infancy of Bacchus. 

4 " Son of Thyone," the name given to his mother, Semele, 
after her translation to the skies. 

6 "God of the wine-press." 

« So named from the fact that his orgies were celebrated in 
the night. 



But not Minyas' daugliter Alcithoe; she will not 
have the god's holy revels admitted ; nay, so bold 
is she that she denies Bacchus to be Jove's son ! 
And her sisters are with her in the impious deed. 
The priest had bidden the people to celebrate a 
Bacchic festival : all serving-women must be excused 
from toil ; with their mistresses they must cover 
their breasts with the skins of beasts, they must 
loosen the ribands of their hair, and with garlands 
upon their heads they must hold in their hands the 
vine-wreathed tiiyrsus. And he liad prophesied that 
the wrath of the god would be merciless if he were 
disregarded. The matrons and young wives all obey, 
put by weaving and work-baskets, leave their tasks 
unfinished ; they burn incense, calling on Bacchus, 
naming him also Bromius,* Lyaeus,^ son of the 
thunderbolt, twice born, child of two mothers ; they 
hail him as Nyseus^ also, Thyoneus * of the unshorn 
locks, Lenaeus,* planter of the joy-giving vine, 
Nyctelius,^ father Eleleus,' lacchus,^ and Euhan, 
and all the many names besides by which thou art 
known, O Liber,' throughout the towns of Greece. 

' From the wild cries uttered by hia worshippers in the 

8 A name identified with Bacchus. 

8 Either from liber, " the free," or from libo, " he to whom 
libations of wine are poured. " 



tu puer aeternus, tu formosissimus alto 
conspiceris caelo ; tibi, cum sine cornibus adstas, 
virgineum caput est ; Oriens tibi victus, adusque 20 
decolor extremo qua tinguitur India Gange. 
Penthea tu, venerande, bipeniiiferumque Lycurgum 
sacrilegos mactas, Tyrrhenaque mittis in aequor 
corpora, tu biiugum pictis insignia frenis 
coUa premis lyncum. bacchae satyrique sequuntur, 25 
quique senex ferula titubantis ebrius artus 
sustinet et pando non fortiter liaeret asello, 
quacumqne ingrederis, clamor iuvenalis et una 
femineae voces inpulsaque tympana palmis 
concavaque aera sonant longoque foramina buxus. 30 

" Placatus mitisque " rogant Ismenides " adsis," 
iussaque sacra colunt ; solae Minyeides intus 
intempestiva turbantes festa Minerva 
aut ducunt lanas aut stamina pollice versant 
aut haerent telae famulasque laboribus urguent. 35 
e quibus una levi deducens pollice filum 
" dum cessant aliae commentaque sacra frequentant, 
nos quoque, quas Pallas, melior dea, detinet " inquit, 
"utile opus manuum vario sermone levemus 
perque vices aliquid, quod tempora longa videri 40 
non sinat, in medium vacuas referamus ad aures ! " 
dicta probant primamque iubent narrare sorores. 
ilia, quid e multis referat (nam plurima norat), 
cogitat et dubia est, de te, Babylonia, narret, 
Derceti, quam versa squamis velantibus artus 45 

stagna Palaestini credunt motasse figura, 


For thine is unending youth, eternal boyhood ; thou 
art the most lovely in the lofty sky ; thy face is 
virgin-seeming, if without hcn-ns thou stand before 
us. The Orient owns thy sway, even to the bounds 
where remotest Ganges laves swart India. Pentheus 
thou didst destroy, thou awful god, and Lycurgus, 
armed with the two-edged battle-axe (impious were 
they both), and didst burl the Tuscan sailors into the 
sea. Lynxes, with bright reins harnessed, draw thy 
car ; bacchant women and satyrs follow thee, and 
that old man who, drunk with wine, supports his 
staggering limbs on his staff, and clings weakly to his 
misshapen ass. Where'er thou goest, glad shouts 
of youths and cries of women echo round, with drum 
of tambourine, the cymbals' clash, and the shrill 
piping of the flute. 

" Oh, be thou with us, merciful and mild ! " the 
Theban women cry ; and perform the sacred rites as 
the priest bids them. The daughters of Minyas 
alone stay within, marring the festival, and out ot 
due time ply their household tasks, spinning wool, 
thumbing the turning threads, or keep close to the 
loom, and press their maidens with work. Then one 
of them, drawing the thread the while with deft 
thumb, says : " While other women are deserting 
their tasks and thronging this so-called festival, let 
us also, who keep to Pallas, a truer goddess, lighten 
with various talk the serviceable work of our hands, 
and to beguile the tedious hours, let us take turns 
in telling stories, while all the others listen." The 
sisters agree and bid her be first to speak. She 
mused awhile which she should tell of many tales, 
for very many she knew. She was in doubt whether 
to tell of thee, Dercetis of Babylon, who, as the 
Syrians believe, changed to a fish, all covered with 



an magis, ut sumptis illius filia pennis 
extremes albis in turribus egerit annos, 
nais an ut cantu nimiumque potentibus herbis 
verteritin tacitos iuvenalia corpora pisces, 50 

donee idem passa est, an, quae poma alba ferebat 
ut nunc nigra ferat contactu sanguinis arbor : 
hoc placet, haec quoniam vulgaris fabula non est ; 
talibus orsa modis lana sua fila sequente : 

" Pyramus et Thisbe, iuvenum pulcherrimus alter, 
altera, quas Oriens habuit, praelata puellis, 56 

contiguas tenuere domos, ubi dicitur altam 
coctilibus muris cinxisse Semiramis urbem. 
notitiam priniosque gradus vicinia fecit, 
tempore crevit amor ; taedae quoque iui'e coissent, 60 
sed vetuere patres : quod non potuere vetare, 
ex aequo captis ardebant mentibus ambo. 
conscius omnis abest ; nutu signisque loquuntur, 
quoque magis tegitur, tectus magis aestuat ignis, 
fissus erat tenui rima, quam duxerat olim, 65 

cum fieret, paries domui communis utrique. 
id vitium nulli per saecula longa notatum — 
quid non sentit amor? — primi vidistis amantes 
et vocis fecistis iter, tutaeque per illud 
mui-mure blanditiae minimo transire solebant. 70 

saepe, ubi constiterant hinc Tliisbe, Pyramus illinc, 
inque vices fuerat captatus anhelitus oris, 
*invide' dicebant ' paries, quid amantibus obstas? 
quantum erat, ut sineres toto nos corpore iungi 
aut, hoc si nimium est, vel ad oscula danda pateres ? 


scales, and swims in a pool ; or how her daughter, 
changed to a pure white dove, spent her last years 
perched on high battlements ; or how a certain 
nymph, by uicantation and herbs too potent, changed 
the bodies of some boys into mute fishes, and at last 
herself became a fish; or how the mulberry-tree, 
which once had borne white fruit, now has fruit dark 
red, from the bloody stain. The last seems best. 
This tale, not commonly known as yet, she tells, 
spinning her wool the while. 

" Pyramus and Thisbe — he, the most beautiful 
youth, and she, loveliest maid of all the East — dwelt 
in houses side by side, in the city which Semiramis 
is said to have surrounded with walls of bi-ick. Their 
nearness made the first steps of their acquaintance. 
In time love grew, and they would have been joined 
in marriage, too, but their parents forbade. Still, 
what no parents could forbid, sore smitten in heart 
they burned with mutual love. They had no go- 
between, but communicated by nods and signs ; and 
the more they covered up the fire, the more it burned. 
There was a slender chink in the party-wall of the 
two houses, which it had at some former time received 
when it was building. This chink, which no one had 
ever discovered through all these years — but what 
does love not see ? — you lovers first discovered and 
made it the channel of speech. Safe through this 
your loving words used to pass in tiny whispers. 
Often, when they had taken their positions, on this 
side Thisbe, and Pyramus on that, and when each 
in tm-n had listened eagerly for the other's breath, 
*0 envious wall,' they would say, 'why do you 
stand between lovers? How small a thing 'twould 
be for you to permit us to embrace each other, or, if 
this be too much, to open for our kisses ! But we are 



nee sumus ingrati : tibi nos debere fatemur, 76 

quod datus est verbis ad arnicas transitus auris.' 
talia diversa nequiquam sede locuti 
sub noctem dixere ' vale ' partique dedere 
oscula quisque suae non pervenientia contra. 80 

postera nocturnos Aurora removerat ignes, 
solque pruinosas radiis siccaverat herbas : 
ad solitum coiere locum, turn murniure parvo 
multa prius questi statuunt, ut nocte silenti 
fallere custodes foribusque excedere temptent, 85 
cumque domo exierint, urbis quoque tecta relinquant, 
neve sit errandum lato spatiantibus arvo, 
conveniant ad busta Nini lateantque sub umbra 
arboris : arbor ibi niveis uberrima pomis 
(ardua morus erat) gelido contermina fonti. 90 

pacta placent ; et lux, tarde discedere visa, 
praecipitatur aquis, et aquis nox exit ab isdem. 
" Callida per tenebras versato cardine Tliisbe 
egreditur fallitque suos adopertaque vultum 
pervenit ad tumulum dictaque sub arbore sedit. 95 
audacem faciebat amor, venit ecce recenti 
caede leaena boum spumantis oblita rictus 
depositura sitim vicini fontis in unda ; 
quam procul ad lunae radios Babylonia Thisbe 
vidit et obscurum timido pede fugit in antrum, 100 
dumque fugit, tergo velamina lapsa reliquit. 
ut lea saeva sitira multa conpescuit unda, 
dum redit in silvas, inventos forte sine ipsa 
ore cruentato tenues laniavit amictus. 



not ungrateful. We owe it to you, we admit, that a 
passage is allowed by which our words may go through 
to loving ears.' So, separated all to no purpose, they 
would talk, and as night came on they said good-bye 
and printed, each on his own side of the wall, kisses 
that did not go through. The next morning had put 
out the starry beacons of the night, and the sun's 
rays had dried the frosty grass ; they came together 
at the accustomed place. Then first in low whispers 
they lamented bitterly, then decided when all had 
become still that night to try to elude their guar- 
dians' watchful eyes and steal out of doors; and, 
when they had gotten out, they would leave the city 
as well ; and that they might not run the risk of 
missing one another, as they wandered in the open 
country, they were to meet at Ninus' tomb and hide 
in the shade of a tree. Now there was a tree there 
hanging full of snow-white berries, a tall mulberry, 
and not far away was a cool spring. They liked the 
plan, and slow the day seemed to go. But at last 
the sun went plunging down beneath the waves, and 
from the same waves the night came up. 

" NowThisbe, carefully opening the door, steals out^ 
through the darkness, seen of none, and arrives duly 
at the tomb with her face well veiled and sits down 
under the trysting-tree. Love made her bold. But 
see ! here comes a lioness, her jaws all dripping with 
the blood of fresh-slain cattle, to slake her thirst at 
the neighbouring spring. Var off under the rays of 
the moon Babylonian Thisbe sees her, and flees with 
trembling feet into the deep cavern, and as she flees 
she leaves her cloak on the ground behind her. When 
the savage lioness has quenched her thirst by copious 
draughts of water, returning to the woods she comes 
by chance upon the light garment (but without the 



serius egressus vestigia vidit in alto 105 

pulvere certa ferae totoque expalluit ore 

Pyramus; ut vero vestem quoque sanguine tinctam 

repperit, ' una duos ' inquit ' nox perdet amantes, 

e quibus ilia fuit longa dignissima vita ; 

nostra nocens anima est. ego te, miseranda, peremi, 

in loca plena metus qui iussi nocte venires 111 

nee prior hue veni. nostrum divellite corpus 

et scelerata fero consumite viscera morsu, 

o quicumque sub hac habitatis rupe leones ! 

sed timidi est optare necem.' velamina Thisbes 1 15 

tollit et ad pactae secum fert arboiis umbram, 

utque dedit notae lacrimas, dedit oscula vesti, 

'accipe nunc' inquit 'nostri quoque sanguinis 

haustus ! ' 
quoque erat accinctus, demisit in ilia ferrum, 
nee mora, ferventi moriens e vulnere traxit. 1 20 

ut iacuit resupinus humo, cruor emicat alte, 
non aliter quam cum vitiato fistula plumbo 
scinditur et tenui stridente foramine longas 
eiaculatur aquas atque ictibus aera rumpit. 
arborei fetus adspergine caedis in atram 125 

vertuntur faciem, madefactaque sanguine radix 
purpureo tinguit pendentia mora colore. 

" Ecce metu nondum posito, ne fallat amantem, 
ilia redit iuvenemque oculis animoque requirit, 
quantaque vitarit narrare pericula gestit ; 130 

utque locum et visa cognoscit in arbore formam, 
sic facit incertam pomi color : haeret, an haec sit. 


girl herself!) and tears it with bloody jaws.^ Pyramus, 
coming out a little later, sees the tracks of the beast 
plain in the deep dust and grows deadly pale at the 
sisht. But when he saw the cloak too, smeared with 
blood, he cried : ' One night shall bring two lovers 
to death. But she of the two was more worthy of 
long life ; on my head lies all the guilt. Oh, I have 
been the cause of your death, poor girl, in that I bade 
you come forth by night into this dangerous place, 
and did not myself come liitlier first. Come, rend 
my body and devour my guilty flesh with your fierce j 
fangs, O all ye lions who have/your lairs beneath\ 
tliis clift'! But 'tis a coward's part merely to pray 
for death.' He picks up Thisbe's cloak and carries 
it to the shade of the trysting-tree. And while 
he kisses the familiar garment and bedews it with 
his tears he cries : ' Drink now my blood too.' So 
saying, he drew the sword which he wore girt about 
him, i)lunged the blade into his side, and straightway, 
with his dying effort, drew the sword from his warm 
wound. As he lay stretched upon the earth the 
spouting blood leaped high ; just as when a pipe has 
broken at a weak spot in the lead and through the 
small hissing aperture sends spurting forth long 
streams of water, cleaving the air with its jets. The 
fruit of the tree, sprinkleil with the blood, was changed 
to a dark red colour ; and the roots, soaked with his 
gore, also tinged the hanging berries with the same 
purple hue. 

" And now comes Thisbe from her hiding-place, 
still trembling, but fearful also that her lover will 
miss her; she seeks for him both with eyes and 
soul, eager to tell him how great perils she has 
escaped. And while she recognizes the place and 
the shape of the well-known tree, still the colour 



dum dubitat, tremebunda videt pulsare cruentum 

membra solum, retroque pedem tulit, oraque buxo 

pallidiora gerens exhorruit aequoris instar, 135 

quod tremit, exigua cum summum stringitur aura, 

sed postquam remorata suos cognovit amores, 

percutit indignos claro plangore lacertos 

et laniata comas amplexaque corpus amatum 

vulnera supplevit lacrimis fletumque cruori 140 

miscuit et gelidis in vultibus oscula figens 

' Pyrame/ clamavit, ' quis te mihi casus ademiti 

Pyrame, responde ! tua te carissima Thisbe 

nominal; exaiidi vultusque attoUe iacentes!* 

ad nomen Thisbes oculos a morte gravatos 145 

Pyramus erexit visaque recondidit ilia. 

" Quae postquam vestcmque suam cognovit et ense 
vidit ebur vacuum, ' tua te manus ' inquit ' amorque 
perdidit, infelix ! est et mihi fortis in unum 
hoc manus, est et amor : dabit hie in vulnera vires, 
persequar extinctum letique miserrima dicar 151 

causa comesque tui : quique a me morte revelli 
heu sola poteras, poteris nee morte revelli. 
hoc tamen amborum verbis estote rogati, 
o multum miseri meus illiusque parentes, 155 

ut, quos certusamor, quos hora novissima iuiixit, 
conponi tumulo non invideatis eodem ; 
at tu quae ramis arbor miserabile corpus 
nunc tegis uniiis, mox estectura duoriim, 
signa tene caedis pullosque et luctibus aptos l60 
semper habe fetus, gemini monimenta cruoris.' 


of its fruit mystifies her. She doubts if it be this. 
While she hesitates, she sees somebody's limbs 
writhing on the bloody ground, and stai'ts back, 
paler than boxwood, and shivering like the sea 
when a slight breeze ruffles its surface. But when 
after a little while she recognizes her lover, she 
smites her innocent arms with loud blows of grief, 
and tears her hair ; and embracing the well-beloved 
form, she fills his wounds with tears, mingling these 
with his blood. And as she kissed his lips, now cold 
in death, she wailed : * O my Pyramus, what mis- 
chance has reft you from me .'' Pyramus ! answer 
me. 'Tis your dearest Thisbe calling you. Oh, 
listen, and lift your drooping head ! ' At the name 
of Thisbe, Pyramus lifted his eyes, now heavy with 
death, and having looked upon her face, closed them 

" Now when she saw her own cloak and the ivory 
scabbard empty of the sword, she said : ' 'Twas your 
own hand and your love, poor boy, that took your life. 
I, too, have a hand brave for this one deed ; I, too, 
have love. This shall give me strength for the fatal 
blow. I will follow you in death, and men shall say 
that I was the most wretched cause and comrade of 
your fate. Whom death alone had power to part from 
me, not even death shall have power to part from 
me. O wretched parents, mine and his, be ye en- 
treated of this by the prayers of us both, that you 
begrudge us not that we, whom faithful love, whom 
the hour of death has joined, should be laid togethei 
in the same tomb. And do you, O tree, who no\» 
shade with your branches the poor body of one, and 
soon will shade two, keep the marks of our death and 
always bear your fruit of a dark colour, meet for 
\iouming, as a memorial of our double death.' 



dixit et aptato pectus mucrone sub imum 

incubuit ferro, quod adhuc a caede tepebat. 

vota tamen tetigere deos, tetigere parentes ; 

nam color in porno est, ubi permaturuit, ater, l65 

quodque rogis superest, una requiescit in urna.",^ 

Desierat : mediumqne fuit breve tempus, etorsa est 
dicere Leuconoe : vocem tenuere sorores. 
" hunc quoque, siderea qui temperat omnia luce, 
cepit amor Solem : Solis referemus amores. 170 

primus adulterium Veneris cum Marte putatur 
hie vidisse deus ; videt hie deus omnia primus, 
indoluit facto lunonigenaeque marito 
furta tori furtique locum monstravit, at illi 
et mens et quod opus fabrilis dextra tenebat 175 

cxcidit : extemplo graciles ex acre catenas 
retiaque et laqueos, quae lumina fallere possent, 
elimat. non illud opus tenuissima vincant 
scamina, non summo quae pendet aranea tigno ; 
utque levis tactus momentaque parva sequantur, 180 
efficit et lecto circumdata collocat arte, 
ut venere torum coniunx et adulter in unum, 
arte viri vinclisque nova ratione paratis 
in mediis ambo deprensi amplexibus haerent. 
Lemnius extemplo valvas patefecit eburnas 185 

inmisitque deos ; illi iacuere ligati 
turpiter, atque aliquis de dis non tristibus optat 
sic fieri turpis ; superi risere, diuque 
haec fuit in toto notissima fabula caelo. 

" Exigit indicii memorera Cythereia poenam 190 


She spoke, and fitting the point beneath her breast, 
she fell forward on the sword which was still M'irni 
with her lover's blood. Her prayers touched the 
gods and touched the parents ; for the colour of the 
mulberry fruit is dark red when it is ripe, and all 
that remained from both funeral pyres rests in a 
common urn."^V^ 

The tale was aone. Then, after a brief interval, 
Leuconoe began, while her sisters held their peace. 
"Even the Sun, wlio with his central light guides all 
the stars, has felt the power of love. The Sun's 
loves we will relate. This god was first, 'tis said, to 
see the shame of Mars and Venus; this god sees all 
things first. Shocked at the sight, he revealed her 
sin to the goddess' husband, Vulcan, Juno's son, and 
where it was committed. Then Vulcan's mind reeled 
and the work upon which he was engaged fell from 
his hands. Straightway he fashioned a net of fine 
links of bronze, so thin that they would escape detec- 
tion of the eye. Not the finest threads of wool would 
surpass that work ; no, not the web which the spider 
lets down from the ceiling beam. He made the web 
in such a way that it would yield to the slightest 
touch, the least movement, and then he spread it 
deftly over the couch. Now when the goddess and 
her paramour had come thither, by the husband's art 
and by the net so cunningly prepared they were both 
caught and held fast in each other's arms. Straight- 
way Vulcan, the Lemnian, opened wide the ivory 
doors and invited in the other gods. There lay the 
two in chains, disgracefully, and some one of the 
merry gods prayed that he might be so disgraced. 
The gods laughed, and for a long time this story was 
the talk of heaven. 

" But the goddess of Cythera did not forget the one 



inque vices ilium, tectos qui laesit amores, 

laedit amore pari, quid nunc, H3'perione nate, 

forma colorque tibi radiataque lumina prosunt? 

nempe, tuis omnes qui terras ignibus uris, 

ureris igne novo ; quique omnia cernere debes, 19.5 

Leucothoen spectas et virgine figis in una, 

quos mundo debes, oculos. modo surgis Eoo 

temperius caelo, modo serius incidis undis, 

spectandique mora brumalis porrigis horas ; 

deficis interdum, vitiumque in lumina mentis 200 

transit et obscurus mortalia pectora terres. 

nee tibi quod lunae terris propioris imago 

obstiterit, palles : facit hunc amor iste colorem. 

diligis banc unam, nee te Clymeneque Rhodosque 

nee tenet Aeaeae genetrix pulcherrima Circes 205 

quaeque tuos Clytie quamvis despecta petebat 

concubitus ipsoque illo grave vulnus habebat 

tempore : Leucotboe multarum oblivia fecit, 

gentis odoriferae quam formosissima partu 

edidit Eurynome ; sed postquam filia crevit, 210 

quam mater cunctas, tnm matrem filia vicit. 

rexit Achaemenias urbes pater Orchamus isque 

Septimus a prisco numeratur origiiie Belo. 

" Axe sub Hesperio sunt pascua Solis equorum : 
ambrosiam pro gramine habent ; ea fessa diurnis 215 
membra ministeriis nutrit reparatque labori. 
dumque ibi quadrupedes caelestia pabula carpunt 
noxque vicem peragit, thalamos deus intrat 



who had spied on her, and took fitting vengeance 
on him ; and he that betrayed her stolen love was 
equally betrayed in love. What now avail, O son of 
Hyperion, thy beauty and brightness and radiant 
beams ? For thou, who dost inflame all lands with thy 
fires, art thyself inflamed by a strange fire. Thou who 
shouldst behold all things, dost gaze on Leucothoe 
alone, and on one maiden dost thou fix those eyes 
which belong to the whole world. Anon too early 
dost thou rise in the eastern sky, and anon too late 
dost thou sink beneath the waves, and through thy 
long lingering over her dost prolong the short wintry 
hours. Sometimes thy beams fail utterly, thy heart's 
darkness passing to thy rays, and darkened thou dost 
terrify the hearts of men. Nor is it that the moon 
has come 'twixt thee and earth that thou art dark ; 
'tis that love of thine alone that makes thy face so 
wan. Thou delightest in her alone. Now neither 
Clymene seems fair to thee, nor the maid of Rhodes, 
nor Aeaean Circes' mother, tliough most beautiful, 
nor Clytie, who, although scorned by thee, still seeks 
thy love and even now bears its deep wounds in her 
heart. Leucothoe makes thee forgetful of them all, 
she whom most fair Eurynome bore in the land of 
spices. But, after the daughter came to womanhood, 
as the mother surpassed all in loveliness, so did the 
daughter surpass her. Her father, Orchamus, ruled 
over the cities of Persia, himself the seventh in line 
from ancient Belus. 

" Beneath the western skies lie the pastures of the 
Sun's horses. Here not common grass, but ambrosia 
is their food. On this their bodies, weary with their 
service of the day, are refreshed and gain new strength 
for toil. While here his horses crop their celestial 
pasturage and Night takes her turn of toil, the 



versus in Eurynomes faciem genetricis, et inter 
bis sex Leucothoen famulas ad lumina cernit 220 
levia versato ducentem stamina fuso. 
ergo ubi ceu mater carae dedit oscula natae, 
'res' ait 'arcana est: famulae, discedite neve 
eripite arbitrium matri secreta loquendi.' 
paruerant, thalamoque deus sine teste relicto 225 
' ille ego sum ' dixit, ' qui longum metier annum, 
omnia qui video, per quern videt omnia tellus, 
mundi oculus : mihi, crede, places.' pavet ilia 

et eolus et fusus digitis cecidere remissis. 
ipse timor decuit. nee longius ille moratus 230 

in veram rediit speciem solitumque nitorem ; 
at virgo quamvis inopino territa visu 
victa nitore dei posita vim passa querella est. 

" Invidit Clytie (neque enim moderatus in ilia 
Solis amor fuerat) stimulataque paelicis ira 235 

vulgat adulterium diffamatumque parenti 
indicat. ille ferox inmansuetusque precantem 
tendentemque manus ad lumina Solis et ' ille 
vim tulit invitae ' dicentem defodit alta 
crudus humo tumulumque super gravis addit 

harenae. 240 

(lissipat hunc radiis Hyperione natus iterque 
dat tibi, qua possis defossos promere vultus; 
nee tu iam poteras enectum pondere terrae 
toUere, nympha, caput corpusque exsangue iacebas; 
nil illo fertur volucrum moderator equorum 245 



god enters the apartments of his love, assuming the 
form of Eurynome, her mother. Inhere he discovers 
Leucothoe, surrounded by her twelve maidens, spin- 
ning fine wool with whirling spindle. Then having 
kissed her, just as her mother would have kissed her 
dear daugliter, he says : ' Mine is a private matter. 
Retire, ye slaves, and let not a mother want the right 
to a private speech.' The slaves obey; and now the 
god, when the last witness has left the room, declares : 
* Lo, I am he who measure out the year, who behold 
all things, by wliom the earth beholds all things — 
the world's eye. I tell thee thou hast found favour 
in my sight.' The nymph is filled with fear ; distaff 
and spindle fall unheeded from her limp fingers. 
Her very fear becomes her. Then he, no longer 
tarrying, resumes his own form and his wonted 
splendour. But the maiden, though in terror at this 
sudden apparition, yet, overwhelmed by his radiance, 
at last without protest suffers the ardent wooing of 
the god. 

" Clytie was jealous, for love of the Sun still burned 
uncontrolled in her. Burning now with wrath at the 
sight of her rival, she spread abroad the story, and 
especially to the father did she tell his daughter's 
shame. He, fierce and merciless, unheeding her 
prayers, unheeding her arms stretched out to the 
Sun, and unheeding her cry, * He overbore my will,' 
with brutal cruelty buried her deep in the earth, and 
heaped on the spot a heavy mound of sand. The 
son of Hyperion rent this with his rays, and made a 
way by which you might put forth your buried head ; 
but too late, for now, poor nymph, you could not lift 
your head, crushed beneath the heavy earth, and you 
lay there, a lifeless corpse. Naught more pitiful than 
that sight, they say, did the driver of the swift steeds 



post Phaethonteos vidisse dolentius ignes. 

ille quidem gelidos radiorum viribus artus 

si queat in vivum temptat revocare calorem; 

sed quoniam tantis fatum conatibus obstat, 

nectare odorato sparsit corpusque locumque 250 

multaque praequestus ' tanges tamen aethera' dixit. 

protinus inbutum caelesti nectare corpus 

dilicuit terramque suo madefecit odore, 

virgaque per glaebas sensim radicibus actis 

turea surrexit tumulumque cacumine rupit. 255 

"At Clytien, quamvis amor excusare doJorem 
indiciumque dolor poterat, non amplius auctor 
lucis adit Venerisque modiim sibi fecit in ilia, 
tabuit ex illo dementer amoribus usa ; 
nympharum inpatiens et sub love nocte dieque 260 
sedit humo nuda nudis inuompta capillis, 
perque novem luces expers undaeque cibique 
rore mero lacrimisque suis ieiuiiia pavit 
nee se movit humo ; tantum spectabat euntis 
era del vultusque suos flectebat ad ilium. 265 

membra ferunt haesisse solo, partemque coloris 
luridus exsangues pallor convertit in herbas ; 
est in parte rubor violaeque simillimus ora 
flos tegit. ilia suum, quamvis radice tenetur, 
vertitur ad Solem mutataque servat amorem." 270 

Dixerat, et factum mirabile ceperat auris ; 
pars fieri potuisse negant, pars omnia veros 
posse deos memorant : sed non est Bacchus in illis, 
poscitur Alcithoe, postquam siluere sorores. 


see since Phaethon's burning death. He tried^indeed, 
by his warm rays to recall those death-cold limbs to 
the warmth of life. But since grim fate opposed all 
his efforts, he sprinkled the body and the ground 
with fragrant nectar, and preluding with many 
words of grief, he said : * In spite of fate shalt thou 
reach the upper air.' Straightway the body, soaked 
with the celestial nectar, melted away and filled the 
earth around with its sweet fragrance. Then did a 
shrub of frankincense, with deep-driven roots, rise 
slowly through the soil and its top cleaved the 

"But Clytie, though love could excuse her gi^ief, and 
grief her tattling, was sought no more by the great 
hght-giver, nor did he find aught to love in her. 
For this cause she pined away, her love turned to mad- 
ness. Unable to endure her sister nymphs,beneaththe 
open sky, by night and day, she sat upon the bare 
ground, naked, bareheaded, unkempt. For nine 
whole days she sat, tasting neither drink nor food, her 
hunger fed by naught save pure dew and tears, and 
moved not from the ground. Only she gazed on the 
face of her god as he went his way, and turned her facf: 
towards him. They say that her limbs grew fast to the 
soil and her deathly pallor changed in part to a blood- 
less plant; but in part 'twas red, and a flower, much 
like a violet, came where her face had been. Still, 
though roots hold her fast, she turns ever towards 
the sun and, though changed herself, preserves her , 
love unchanged." 

The story-teller ceased ; the wonderful tale had 
held their ears. Some of the sisters say tliat such 
things could not happen ; others declare that true 
gods can do anything. But Bacchus is not one of 
these. Alcithoe is next called for when the sisters 



quae radio st&ntis percurrens stamina telae 275 

" vulgatos taceoi" dixit " pastoris amores 
Daphnidis Idaei, quem nymphe paelicis ira 
contulit in saxum : tantus dolor urit amantes; 
nee loquor, ut quondam naturae iiu-e novato 
ambiguus fuerit mode vir, modo femina Sithon. 280 
te quoque, nunc adamas, quondam fidissime parvo, 
Celmi, lovi largoque satos Curetas ab imbri 
et Crocon in parvos versum cum Smilace flores 
praetereo dulcique animos novitate tenebo. 

" Unde sit infamis, quare male fortibus undis 285 
Salmacis enervet tactosque remolliat artus, 
discite. causa latet, vis est notissima fontis. 
Mercurio puerum diva Cythereide natum 
naides Idaeis enutrivere sub antris, 
cuius erat facies, in qua materque paterque 290 

cognosci possent ; nomen quoque traxit ab illis. 
is tria cum primum fecit quinquennia, monies 
deseruit patrios Idaque altrice relicta 
ignotis errare locis, ignota videre 
flumina gaudebat, studio minuente laborem. 295 

ille etiam Lycias urbes Lyciaeque propinquos 
Caras adit : videt hie stagnum lucentis ad imum 
usque solum lymphae ; non illic canna palustris 
nee steriles ulvse nee acuta cuspide iunci ; 
perspicuus liquor est ; stagni tamen ultima vivo 300 
caespite cinguntur semperque virentibus herbis. 
nympha colit, sed nee venatibus apta nee arcus 
flectere quae soleat nee quae contendere cursu, 


have become silent again. Running her shuttle 
swiftly through the threads of her loom, she said : 
" J will pass by the well-known love of Daphnis, the 
shepherd-boy of Ida, whom a nymph, in anger at her 
rival, changed to stone : so great is the burning smart 
which jealous lovers feel. Nor will I tell how once 
Sithon, the natural laws reversed, lived of changing 
sex, now woman and now man. How you also, 
Celmis, now adamant, were once most faithful friend 
of little Jove ; how the Curates sprang from copious 
showers ; how Crocus and his beloved Smilax were 
changed into tiny flowers. All these stories I will 
pass by and will charm your minds with a tale that is 
pleasing because new. 

" How the fountain of Salmacis is of ill-repute, how 
it enervates with its enfeebling waters and renders 
soft and weak all men who bathe therein, you shall 
now hear. The cause is hidden ; but the enfeebling 
power of the fountain is well known. A little son of 
Hermes and of the goddess of Cythera the naiads 
nursed within Ida's caves. In his fair face mother 
and father could be clearly seen ; his name also he 
took from them. When fifteen years had passed, he 
left his native mountains and abandoned his foster- 
mother, Ida, delightinff to wander in unknown lands 
and to see strange rivers, his eagerness making light 
of toil. He came even to the Lycian cities and to 
the Carians, who dwell hard by the land of Lycia. 
Here he saw a pool of water crystal clear to the very 
bottom. No marshy reeds grew there, no unfruitful 
swamp-grass, nor spiky rushes ; it is clear water. 
But the edges of the pool are bordered with fresh 
grass, and herbage ever green. A nymph dwells in 
the pool, one that loves not hunting, nor is wont 
to bend the bow or strive with speed of foot. She 



solaque naiadum celeri non nota Dianae. 

saepe suas illi fama est dixisse sorores SOS 

* Salmaci, vel iaculum vel pictas sume pharetras 

et tua cum duris venatibus otia misce ! ' 

nee iaculum sumit nee pictas ilia pharetras, 

nee sua cum duris venatibus otia miscet, 

sed modo fonte suo formosos perluit artus, 310 

saepe Cytoriaco deducit peetine crines 

et, quid se deceat, spectatas consulit undas ; 

nunc perlucenti circumdata corpus amictu 

mollibus aut foliis aut mollibus incubat herbis, 

saepe legit flores. ettum quoque forte legebat, 315 

cum puerum vidit visumque optavit habere. 

" Nee tamen ante adiit, etsi properabat adire, 
quam se conposuit, quam circumspexit amictus 
et finxit vultum et meruit formosa videri. 
tunc sic orsa loqui : * puer o dignissime credi 320 
esse deus, seu tu deus es, potes esse Cupido, 
sive es mortalis, qui te genuere, beati, 
et frater felix, et fortunata profecto, 
si qua tibi soror est, et quae dedit ubera nutrix; 
sed longe cunctis longeque beatior ilia, 325 

si qua tibi sponsa est, si quam dignabere taeda. 
haec tibi sive aliqua est, mea sit furtiva voluptas, 
seu nulla est, ego sim, thalamumque ineamus 

nais ab his tacuit. pueri rubor ora notavit ; 
nescit enim, quid amor; sed et erubuisse decebat : 
hie color aprica pendentibus arbore pomis 331 

aut ebori tincto est aut sub candore rubenti, 
cum frustra resonant aera auxiliaria, lunae. 
poscenti nymphae sine fine sororia saltern 


only of the naiads follows not in swift Diana's train. 
Often, 'tis said, her sisters would chide her : ' Sal- 
macis, take now either hunting-spear or painted 
quiver, and vary your ease with the hardships of the 
hunt.' But she takes no hunting-spear, no painted 
quiver, nor does she vary her ease with the hardships 
of the hunt ; but at times she bathes her shapely 
limbs in her own pool ; often combs her hair with a 
boxwood comb, often looks in the mirror-like waters to 
see what best becomes her. Now, wrapped in a trans- 
parent robe, she lies down to rest on the soft grass 
or the soft herbage. Often she gathers flowers ; and 
on this occasion, too, she chanced to be gathering 
flowers when she saw the boy and longed to possess 
what she saw. 

" Not yet, however, did she approach him, though 
she was eager to do so, until she had calmed herself, 
until she had arranged her robes and composed her 
countenance, and taken all pains to appear beautiful. 
Then did she speak : ' O youth, most worthy to be 
believed a god, if thou art indeed a god, thou must be 
Cupid ; or if thou art mortal, happy are they who 
gave thee birth, blest is thy brother, fortunate indeed 
any sister of thine and thy nurse who gave thee suck. 
But far, oh, far happier than they all is she, if any be 
thy promised bride, if thou shalt deem any worthy to 
be thy wife. If there be any such, let mine be stolen 
joy ; if not, may I be thine, thy bride, and may we be 
joined in wedlock.' The maiden said no more. But the 
boy blushed rosy red ; for he knew not what love is. 
But still the blush became him well. Such colour have 
apples hanging in sunny orchards, or painted ivory; 
such has the moon, eclipsed, red under white, when 
brazen vessels clash vainly for her relief. When the 
nymph begged and prayed for at least a sister's kiss^ 



oscula iamque manus ad ebuniea colla ferenti 335 
'desinis? aut fugio tecumque ' ait 'ista relinquo.' 
Salmacis extimuit ' loca ' que ' haec tibi libera 

hospes ' ait simiilatque gradu discedere verso, 
turn quoque respiciens, fruticumque recondita 

delituit flexuque genu submisit ; at ille, 340 

scilicet ut vacuis et inobservatus in herbis, 
hue it et hinc illuc et in adludentibus undis 
summa pedum taloque tenus vestigia tinguit ; 
nee mora, temperie blandarum captus aquarum 
mollia de tenero velamina corpore ponit. StS 

turn vero stupuit nudaeque cupidine formae 
Salmacis exarsit, flagrant quoque liimina nymphae, 
non aliter quam cum puro nitidissinius orbe 
opposita speculi referitur imagine Phoebus ; 
vixque moram patitur, vix iam sua gaudia differt, 350 
iam cupit amplecti, iam se male continet amens. 
ille cavis velox adplauso corpore palmis 
desilit in latices alternaque bracchia ducens 
in liquidis translucet aquis, ut eburnea si quis 
signa tegat claro vel Candida lilia vitro. S55 

' vicimus et meus est ' exclamat nais, et omni 
veste procul iacta mediis inmittitur undis, 
pugnantemque tenet, luctantiaque oscula carpit, 
subiectatque manus, invitaque pectora tangit, 
et nunc hac iuveni, nunc circumfunditur iliac ; 360 
denique nitentem contra elabique volentem 
inplicat ut serpens, quam regia sustinet ales 
sublimemque rapit : pendens caput ilia pedesque 
adligat et cauda spatiantes inplicat alas ; 
utve Solent hederae longos intexere truncos, 365 
utque sub aequoribus deprensum polypus hostem 



and was in act to throw her arms round his snowy 
neck, he cried : ' Have done, or I must flee and leave 
this spot — and you.' Salmacis trembled at this threat 
and said : ' I yield the place to you, 'air stranger,' 
and turning away, pretended to depart. But even so 
she often looked back, and deep in a neighbouring 
thicket she hid herself, crouching on bended knees. 
But the boy, freely as if unmatched and alone, walks 
up and down on the grass, dips his toes in the lapping 
waters, and his feet. Then quickly, charmed with the 
coolness of the soothing stream, he threw aside the 
thin garments from his slender form. Then was the 
nymph as one spellbound, and her love kindled as she 
gazed at the naked form. Her eyes shone bright as 
when the sun's dazzling face is reflected from the 
surface of a glass held opposite his rays. Scarce can 
she endure delay, scarce bear her joy postponed, so 
eager to hold him in her arms, so madly incontinent. 
He, clapping his body with hollow palms, dives into 
the pool, and swimming with alternate strokes flashes 
with gleaming body tlirough the transparent flood, as 
if one should encase ivory figures or white lilies in 
translucent glass. ' I win, and he is mine ! ' cries the 
naiad, and casting off all her garments dives also into 
the waters : she holds him fast though he strives 
against her, steals reluctant kisses, fondles him, 
touches his unwilling breast, clings to him on this 
side and on that. At length, as he tries his best to 
break away from her, she wraps him round with her 
embrace, as a serpent, when the king of birds has 
caught her and is bearing her on high : which, hang- 
ing from his claws, wraps her folds around his heatl 
and feet and entangles his flapping wings with her 
tail ; or as the ivy oft-times embraces great trunks of 
trees, or as the sea-polyp holds its enemy caught 


continet ex omni dimissis parte flagellis. 
perstat Atlantiades sperataque gaudia nymphae 
denegat, ilia premit commissaque corpore toto 
sicut inhaerebat, 'pugnes licet, inprobe/ dixit, 370 
*non tamen efFugies. ita di iubeatis, et istum 
nulla dies a me nee me dediicat ab isto.' 
vota suos habuere deos ; nam mixta duorum 
corpora iunguntur, faciesque inducitur illis 
una. velut, si quis conducat cortice ramos, 375 

crescendo iungi pariterque adolescere cernit, 
sic ubi conplexu coierunt membra tenaci, 
nee duo sunt et forma duplex, nee femina dici 
nee puer ut possit, neutrumque et utrumque videntur. 

" Ergo ubi se liquidas, quo vir descenderat, undas 
semimarem fecisse videt mollitaque in illis 381 

membra, manus tendens, sed iam non voce virili 
Hermaphroditus ait: 'nato date munera vestro, 
et pater et genetrix, amborum nomen habenti : 
quisquis in hos fontes vir venerit, exeat inde 385 
semivir et tactis subito mollescat in undis ! " 
motus uterque parens nati rata verba biformis 
fecit et incesto fontem medicamine tinxit," 

Finis erat dictis, sed adhuc Minyeia proles 
urguet opus spernitque deum festumque profanat, 
tympana cum subito non adparentia raucis 391 

obstrepuere sonis, et ad unco tibia cornu 
tinnulaque aera sonant ; redolent murraeque crocique, 
resque fide maior, coepere virescere telae 
inque hederae faciem pendens frondescere vestis ; 395 


beneath the sea, its tentacles embracing him on every 
side. The son of Atlas resists as best he may and 
denies the nymph the joy she craves; but she holds 
on, and clings as if grown fast to him. ' Strive as you 
may, wicked boy,' she cries, ' still shall you not 
escape me. Grant me this, ye gods, and may no day 
ever come that shall separate him from me or me from 
him.' The gods heard her prayer. For their two 
bodies, joined together as they were, were merged in 
one, with one face and form for both. As when one 
grafts a twig on some tree, he sees the branches grow 
one, and with common life come to maturity, so were 
these two bodies knit in close embrace : they were 
no longer two, nor such as to be called, one, woman, 
and one, man. They seemed neither, and yet both. 

"When now he saw that the waters into which he 
had plunged had made him but half-man, and that 
his limbs had become enfeebled there, stretching 
out his hands and speaking, though not with manly 
tones, Hermaphroditus cried : ' Oh, grant this boon, 
my father and my mother, to your .son who bears the 
names of both : whoever comes into this pool as man 
may he go forth half-man, and may he weaken at 
touch of the water.' His parents heard the prayer of 
their two-formed son and charged the waters with 
that uncanny power." 

Alcithoe was done ; but still did the daughters of 
Minyas ply their tasks, despising the god and pro- 
faning his holy day : when suddenly unseen timbrels 
sounded harshly in their ears, and flutes, with curving 
horns, and tinkling cymbals ; the air was full of the 
sweet scent of saffron and of myrrh ; and, past all 
belief, their weft turned green, the hanging cloth 
changed into vines of ivy ; part became grape-vines, 
and what were but now threads became clinging 



pars abit in vites, et quae modo fila fiierunt, 
palmite mutantur; de stamine pampinus exit; 
purpura fulgorem pictis adcommodat uvis. 
iamque dies exactus erat, tempusque subibat^ 
quod tu nee tenebras nee possia dicere lucem, 400 
sed cum luce tamen dubiae confinia noctis : 
tecta repente quati pinguesque ardere videntur 
lampades et rutilis conlucere ignibus aedes 
falsaque saevarum simulacra ululare ferarum, 
fumida iamdudum latitant per tecta sorores 405 

diversaeque locis ignes ac lumina vitant, 
dumque petunt tenebras, parvos membrana per artus 
porrigitur tenuique includit bracchia pinna ; 
nee qua perdiderint veterem ratione figuram, 
scire sinunt tenebrae : non illas pluma levavit, 410 
sustinuere tamen se perlucentibus alis 
conataeque loqui minimam et pro corpore vocem 
emittunt peraguntque levi stridore querellas. 
tectaque, non silvas celebrant lucemque peiosae 
nocte volant seroque tenent a vespere nomen. 415 

Turn vero totis Bacclii memorabile Thebis 
numen erat, magnasque novi matertera vires 
narrat ubiquc dei de totque sororibus experg 
una doloris erat, nisi quern fecere sorores : 
adspicit hanc natis thalamoque Athamantishabentem 
sublimes animos et alumno numine luno 421 

nee tulit et secum : ''potuit de paelice natus 



tendrils ; vine-leaves sprang out along the warp, and 
bright-hued clusters matched the purple tapestry. 
And now the day was ended and the time was come 
when you could not say 'twas dark or light ; it was 
the borderland of night, yet with a gleam of day. 
Suddenly the whole house seemed to tremble, the 
oil-fed lamps to flare up, and all the rooms to be 
ablaze with ruddy fires, while ghostly beasts howled 
round. Meanwhile the sisters are seeking hiding- 
places through the smoke-filled rooms, in various 
corners trying to avoid the flames and glare of light. 
And while they seek to hide, a skinny covering 
overspreads their slender limbs, and thin wings 
enclose their arms. And in what fashion they have 
lost their former shape they know not for the 
darkness No feathered pinions uplift them, yet 
they sustain themselves on transparent wings. 
They try to speak, but utter only the tiniest sound 
as befits their shrivelled forms, and give voice to 
their grief in thin squeaks. Houses, not forests, are 
their favourite haunts ; and, hating the light of day, 
they flit by night and from late eventide derive their 

Then, truly, was the divinity of Bacchus acknow- 
ledged throughout all Thebes, and his mother's 
sister, Ino, would be telling of the wonderful powers 
of the new god everywhere. She alone of all her 
sisters knew naught of grief, except what she felt 
for them. She, proud of her children, of her 
husband, Athamas, and proud above all of her divine 
foster-son, is seen by Juno, who could not bear the 
sight. "That child of my rival," she said, com- 
muning with herself, " had power to change the 

* i.e. vespertilionet, "creatures that flit about in the twi- 
light," i.e. bats. 



vertere Maeonios pelagoque inmergere nautas 

et laceranda suae nati dare viscera matri 

et triplices operire iiovis Minyeidas alis : 425 

nil poterit luno nisi inultos flere dolores ? 

idque mihi satis est ? haec una potentia nostra est ? 

ipse docet, quid agam (fas est et ab hoste doceri), 

quidque furor valeat, Penthea caede satisque 

ae super ostendit : cur non stimuletur eatque 43(? 

per cognata suis exempla fui-oribus Ino ? " 

Est via declivis funesta nubila taxo : 
ducit ad infernas per muta silentia sedes ; 
Styx nebulas exbalat iners, umbraeque recentes 
descendunt iliac simulacraque functa sepulcris : 435 
pallor hiemsque tenent late loca senta, novique, 
qua sit iter, manes, Stygiam quoa ducat ad urbem, 
ignorant, ubi sit nigri fera regia Ditis. 
mille capax aditus et apertas undique portas 
urbs habet, utque fretum de tola flumina terra, 440 
sic omnes animas locus accipit ille nee ulli 
exiguus populo est turbamve accedere sentit. 
errant exsangues sine corpore et ossibus umbrae, 
parsque forum celebrant, pars imi tecta tyranni, 
pars aliquas artes, antiquae imitamina vitae.^ 445 

Sustinet ire illuc caelesti sede relicta 447 

(tantum odiis iraeque dabat) Saturnia luno ; 
quo simul iiitravit sacroque a corpore prossum 
ingemuit limen, tria Cerberus extulit ora 450 

1 446 exercent, aliam partem sua poena coercet. This line, 
included in tome manuscripts, it rejected by most editort. 



Maeonian sailors and plunge them in the sea, to 
cause the flesh of a son to be torn in pieces by his 
own mother, and to enwrap the three daughters of 
Minyas with strange wings ; and shall naught be 
given to Juno, save to bemoan her wrongs still 
unavenged ? Does that suffice me ? Is this my 
only power ? But he himself teaches me what to 
do. Tis proper to learn even from an enemy. To 
what length madness can go he has proved enough and 
to spare by the slaughter of Pentheus. Why should 
not Ino be stung to madness too, and, urged by her 
fury, go where her kinswomen have led the way ?" 

There is a down-sloping path, by deadly yew-trees 
shaded, which leads through dumb silence to the 
infernal realms. The sluggish Styx there exhales its 
vaporous breath ; and by that way come down the 
spirits of the new-dead, shades of those who have 
received due funeral rites. This is a wide-extending 
waste, wan and cold ; and the shades newly arrived 
know not where the road is which leads to the Stygian 
city where lies the dread palace of black Dis. This 
city has a thousand wide approaches and gates open 
on all sides ; and as the ocean receives the rivers that 
flow down from all the earth, so does this place 
receive all souls ; it is not too small for any people, 
nor does it feel the accession of a throng. There 
wander the shades bloodless, without body and bone. 
Some throng the forum, some the palace of the under- 
world king ; others ply some craft in imitation of their 
former life. 

Thither, leaving her abode in heaven, Saturnian 
Juno endured to go; so much did she grant to her 
hate and wrath. When she made entrance there, 
and the threshold groaned beneath the weight of her 
sacred form, Cerberus reared up his threefold head 
H 209 


et tres latratus simul edidit ; ilia sorores 

Nocte vocat genitas, grave et inplacabile nuraen : 

carceris ante fores clausas adaraante sedebant 

deque suis atros pectebaut crinibus angues. 

quam simul agnorunt inter caliginis umbras, 455 

surrexere deae ; sedes scelerata vocatur : 

viscera praebebat Tityos lanianda novemque 

iugeribus distentus erat ; tibi, Tantale, nullae 

deprenduntur aquae, quaeque inminet, effugit 

arbos ; 
aut petis aut urgues rediturum, Sisyphe saxum ; 460 
volvitur Ixion et se sequiturque fugitque, 
molirique suis letum patruelibus ansae 
adsiduae repetunt, quas perdant, Belides undas. 

Quos omnes acie postquam Saturnia torva 
vidit et ante omnes Ixiona, rursus ab illo 46'5 

Sisyphon adspiciens " cur hie e fratribus " inquit 
" perpetuas patitur poenas, Athamanta superbum 
regia dives habet, qui me cum coniuge semper 
sprevit ? " et exponit causas odiique viaeque, 
quidque velit : quod vellet, erat, ne regia Cadmi 470 
staret, et in facinus traherent Athamanta sorores. 
imperium, promissa, preces confundit in unum 
sollicitatque deas: sic haec lunone locuta, 
Tisi phone canos, ut erat, turbata capillos 
movit et obstantes reiecit ab ore colubras 475 

atque ita " non longis opus est ambagibus," inquit ; 
" facta puta, quaecumque iubes ; inamabile regnum 
desere teque refer caeli melioris ad auras." 


and uttered his threefold baying. The goddess sum- 
moned the Furies, sisters born of Night, divinities 
deadly and implacable. Before hell's closed gates 
of adamant they sat, combing the while black snakes 
from their hair. When they recognized Juno ap- 
proaching through the thick gloom, the goddesses 
arose. This place is called the Accursed Place. Piere 
Tityos offered his vitals to be torn, lying stretched 
out over nine broad acres. Thy lips can catch no 
water, Tantalus, and the tree that overhangs ever 
eludes thee. Thou, Sisyphus, dost either push or 
chase the rock that must always be rolling down the 
hill again. There whirls Ixion on his wheel, both 
following himself and fleeing, all in one ; and the 
Belides, for daring to work destruction on their 
cousin-husbands, with unremitting toil seek again 
and again the waters, only to lose them. 

On all these Saturnia looks with frowning eyes, 
but especially on Ixion; then, turning her gaze from 
him to Sisyphus, she says : " Why does this of all the 
brothers suffer unending pains, while Athamas dwells 
proudly in a rich palace — Athamas, who with his wife 
has always scorned my godhead .'' " And she explains 
the causes of her hatred and of her journey hither, 
and what she wants. What she wanted was that the 
house of Cadmus should fall, and that the Fury-sisters 
should drive Athamas to madness. Commands, 
promises, prayers she poured out all in one, and 
begged the goddesses to aid her. When Juno had 
done, Tisiphone, just as she was, shook her tangled 
grey locks, tossed back the straggling snakes i'rom 
her face, and said: "There is no need of long ex- 
planations; consider done all that you ask. Leave 
this unlovely realm and go back to the sweeter airs 
of your native skies." Juno went back rejoicing ; 



laeta redit luno, quam caelum intrare parantem 
roratis lustravit aquis Thaumantias Iris. 480 

Nee mora, Tisiphone madefactam sanguine sumit 
inportuna facem, fluidoque eruore rubentem 
induitur pallam, tortoque incingitur angue 
egrediturque domo. Luctus comitatur eiintein 
et Pavor et Terror trepidoque Insania vultu. 485 

limine constiterat : postes tremuisse feruntur 
Aeolii pallorque fores infecit acernas ^ 
solque locum fugit. monstris exterrita coniunx, 
territus est Athamas, tectoque exire parabant : 
obstitit infelix aditumque obsedit Erinys, 490 

nexaque vipereis distendens bracchia nodis 
caesariem ^xcussit : motae sonuere colubrae 
parsque iacent umeris, pars circum pectora lapsae 
sibila dant saniemque vomunt linguisque coruscant. 
inde duos mediis abrumpit crinibus angues 495 i 

pestiferaque manu raptos inmisit, at illi * 

Inoosque sinus Athamanteosque pererrant 
inspirantque graves animos ; nee vulnera membris 
ulla ferunt : mens est, quae diros sentiat ictus, 
attulerat secum liquid! quoque monstra veneni, 500 
oris Cerberei spumas et virus Echidnae J 

erroresque vagos caecaeque oblivia mentis 
et scelus et lacrimas rabiemque et caedis amorem, 
omnia trita simul, quae sanguine mixta recenti 
coxerat acre cavo viridi versata cicuta ; 505 

1 aceruas MSS.- Avernus Merhel. 




and as she was entering heaven, Iris, the daughter of 
Thaumus, sprinkled her o'er with purifying water. 

Straightway the fell Tisiphone seized a torch 
which had been steeped in gore, put on a robe red 
with dripping blood, girt round her waist a writhing 
snake, and started forth. Grief went along with her, 
Terror and Dread and Madness, too, with quivering 
face. She stood upon the doomed threshold. They 
say the very door-posts of the house of Aeolus ^ 
shrank away from her ; the polished oaken doors 
grew dim and the sun hid his face. Ino was mad 
with terror at the monstrous sight, and her husband, 
Athamas, was filled with fear. They made to leave 
their palace, but the baleful Fury stood in tlieir way 
and blocked their exit. And stretching her arms, 
wreathed with vipers, she shook out her locks : 
disturbed, the serpents hissed horribly. A part lay 
on her shoulders, part twined round her breast, 
hissing, vomiting venomous gore, and darting out 
their tongues. Then she tears away two serpents 
from the midst of her tresses, and with deadly aim 
hurls them at her victims. The snakes go gliding 
over the breasts of Ino and of Athamas and breathe 
upon them their pestilential breath. No wounds 
their bodies suffer; 'tis their minds that feel the 
deadly stroke. The Fury, not content with this, 
had brought horrid poisons too — froth of Cerberus' 
jaws, the venom of the Hydra, strange hallucinations 
and utter forgetfulness, crime and tears, mad love of 
slaughter, all mixed together with fresh blood and 
green hemlock juice, and brewed in a brazen 
cauldron. And while they stood quaking there, 
over the breasts of both she poured this maddening 
poison brew, and made it sink to their being's core. 
* The father of Athamaa. 



dumque pavent illi, vergit furiale venenum 

pectus in amborum praecordiaque intima movit. 

turn face iactata per eundem saepius orbem 

consequitur motis velocitei' ignibus ignes. 

sic victrix iussique potens ad inania magni 510 

regna redit Ditis sumptumque recingitur anguem. 

Protinus Aeolides media furibundus in aula 
clamat " io, comites, his retia tendite silvis ! 
hie modo cum gemina visa est mihi prole leaena " 
utque ferae sequitur vestigia coniugis amens 515 

deque sinu matris ridentem et parva Learchum 
bracchia tendentem rapit et bis terque per auras 
more rotat fundae rigidoque infantia saxo 
discutit era ferox ; turn denique concita mater, 
seu dolor hoc fecit seu sparsi causa veneni, 520 

exululat passisque fugit male sana capillis 
teque ferens parvum nudis, Melicerta, lacertis 
*'eulioe Bacche " sonat : Bacchi sub nomine luno 
risit et " hos usus praestet tibi " dixit " alumnus ! " 
inminet aequoribus scopulus : pars ima cavatur 525 
fluctibus et tectas defendit ab imbribus undas, 
summa riget frontemque in apertum porrigit 

aequor ; 
occupat hunc (vires insania fecerat) Ino 
seque super pontum nullo tardata timore 
mittit onusque suum ; percussa recanduit unda. 530 

At Venus, inmeritae neptis miserata labores, 
sic patruo blandita suo est " o numen aquarum, 
proxima cui caelo cessit, Neptune, potestas, 


Then, catcliing up her torch, she whirled it rapidly 
round and round and kindled fire by the swiftly 
moving fire. So, her task accomplished and her 
victory won, she retraced her way to the unsub- 
stantial realm of mighty Dis, and there laid off the 
serpents she had worn. 

Straightway cried Athamas, the son of Aeolus, 
madly raving in his palace halls : " Ho ! my comrades, 
spread the nets here in these woods ! 1 saw here 
but now a lioness with her two cubs " ; and madly 
pursued his wife's tracks as if she were a beast of 
prey. His son, Learchus, laughing and stretcliing 
out his little hands in glee, he snatched from the 
mother's arms, and whirling him round and round 
through the air like a sling, he madly dashed the 
baby's head against a rough rock. Then the mother, 
stung to madness too, either by grief or by the 
sprinkled poison's force, howled wildly, and, quite 
bereft of sense, with hair streaming, she fled away, 
bearing thee, little Melicerta, in her naked arms, 
and shouting " Ho ! Bacchus ! " as she fled. At the 
name of Bacchus, Juno laughed in scorn and said : 
"So may your foster-son ever bless you!" A cliff 
o'erhung the sea, the lower part of which had been 
hollowed out by the beating waves, and sheltered 
the waters underneath from the rain. Its top stood 
high and sharp and stretched far out in front over 
the deep. To this spot — for madness had made her 
strong — Ino climbed, and held by no natural fears, 
she leaped with her child far out above the sea. 
The water where sne fell was churned white with 

But Venus, pitying the undeserved sufferings of 
her granddaughter, thus addressed her uncle with 
coaxing words : " O Neptune, god of waters, whose 



magna quidem posco, sed tu miserere meorum, 
iactari quos cernis in lonio inmenso, 535 

at dis adde tuis. aliqua et mihi gratia ponto est, 
si tamen in dio quondam concreta profundo 
spuma fui Graiumque manet mihi nomen ab 

adnuit oranti Neptunus et abstulit illis, 
quod mortale fuit, maiestatemque verendam 540 

inposuit nomenque simul faciemque novavit 
Leucotlioeque deum cum matre Palaemona dixit. 

Sidoniae comites, quantum valuere secutae 
signa pedum, primo videre novissima saxo ; 
nee dubium de morte ratae Cadmeida palmis 545 
deplanxere domum scissae cum veste capillos, 
utque parum iustae nimiumque in paelice saevae 
invidiam fecere deae. convicia luno 
non tulit et " faciam vos ipsas maxima" dixit 
'* saevitiae raonimenta meae"; res dicta secuta 

est. 550 

nam quae praecipue fuerat pia, "persequar" inquit 
" in freta reginam " saltumque datura moveri 
baud usquam potuit scopuloque adfixa cohaesit ; 
altera, dum solito temptat plangore ferire 
pectora, temptatos sensit riguisse lacertos ; 555 

ilia, manus ut forte tetenderat in maris undas ; 
saxea facta manus in easdem porrigit undas ; 
huius, ut arreptum laniabat vertice crinem, 
duratos subito digitos in crine videres : 
quo quaeque in gestu deprensa est, haesit in illo. 560 



power is second to heaven alone, I ask great things, 
I know ; but do thou pity these my friends, whom 
thou seest plunged in the broad Ionian sea, and 
receive them among thy sea-deities. Some favour is 
due to me from the sea, if in its sacred depths my 
being sprang once from foam, and in the Greek 
tongue I have a name from this." Neptune con- 
sented to her prayer and, taking from Ino and her 
son all that was mortal, gave them a being to be 
revered, changing both name and form ; for he 
called the new god Palaemon, and his goddess- 
mother, Leucothoe. 

The Theban women who had been Ino's com- 
panions followed on her track as best they could, 
and saw her last act from the edge ot the rock. 
Nothing doubting that she had been killed, in 
mourning for the house of Cadmus they beat their 
breasts with their hands, tore their hair, and rent 
their garments; and they upbraided Juno, saying 
that she was unjust and too cruel to the woman 
who had wronged her. Juno could not brook their 
reproaches and said : " I will make yourselves the 
greatest monument of my cruelty." No sooner said 
than done. For she who had been most devoted to 
the queen cried : " I shall follow my queen into the 
sea " ; and was just about to take the leap when she 
was unable to move at all, and stood fixed fast to the 
rock. A second, while she was preparing again to 
smite her breasts as she had been doing, felt her 
lifted arms grow stiff. Another had by chance 
stretched out her hands towards the waters of the 
sea, but now 'twas a figure of stone that stretched 
out hands to those same waters. Still another, 
plucking at her hair to tear it out, you might 
see with sudden stiffened fingers still in act to 



pars volucres factae, quae nunc quoque gurgite in 

aequora destringunt summis Ismenides alls. 

Nescit Agenorides natam parvumque nepotem 
aequoris esse deos ; luctu serieque malorum 
victus et ostentis, quae plurima viderat, exit 565 

conditor urbe sua, tamquam fortuna locorum, 
non sua se premeret, longisque erratibus actus 
contigit Illyricos profuga cum coniuge fines, 
iamque malis annisque graves dum prima retractant 
fata domiis releguntque suos sermone labores, 570 
" num sacer ille mea traiectus cuspide serpens " 
Cadmus ait " fuerat, tum cum Sidone profectus 
vipereos sparsi per humum, nova semina, dentes ? 
quern si cura deum tarn certa vindicat ira, 
ipse precor serpens in longam porrigar alvum." 575 
dixit, et ut serpens in longam tenditur alvum 
durataeque cuti squamas increscere sentit 
nigraque caeruleis variari corpora guttis 
in pectusque cadit pronus, commissaque in iinum 
paullatim tereti tenuantur acumine crura. 580 

bracchia iam restant : quae restant bracchia tendit 
et lacrimis per adhuc humana fluentibus ora 
" accede, o coniunx, accede, miserrima " dixit, 
''dumque aliquid superest de me, me tange 

accipe, dum manus est, dum non totum occupat 

anguis." 585 



tear. Each turned to stone and kept the pose in 
which she was overtaken. Still others were changed 
to birds, and they also, once Theban women, now on 
light wings skimtlie water over that pool. 

Cadmus was all unaware that his daughter and 
little grandson had been changed to deities of the 
sea. Overcome with grief at the misfortunes which 
had been heaped upon him, and awed by the 
many portents he had seen, he fled from the city 
which he had founded, as if the fortune of the 
place and not his own evil fate were overwhelming 
him. Driven on through long wanderings, at last 
his flight brought him with his wife to the borders of 
lllyria. Here, overborne by the weight of woe and 
age, they reviewed the early misfortunes of their 
house and their own troubles. Cadmus said : " Was 
that a sacred serpent which my spear transfixed 
g ago when, fresh come from Sidon, I scat- 


tered his teeth on the earth, seed of a strange 
crop of men ? If it be this the gods have been 
avenging with such unerring wrath, I pray that 
I, too, may be a serpent, and stretch myself in 

long snaky form " Even as he spoke he was 

stretched out in long snaky form ; he felt his skin 
hardening and scales growing on it, while iridescent 
spots besprinkled his darkening body. He fell 
prone upon his belly, and his legs were gradually 
moulded together into one and drawn out into a 
slender, pointed tail. His arms yet remained ; while 
they remained, he stretched them out, and with 
tears flowing down his still human cheeks he cried : 
" Come near, oh, come, my most wretched wife, and 
while still there is something left of me, touch me, 
take my hand, while I have a hand, while still the 
serpent does not usurp me quite." He wanted to 



ille quidem vult plura loqui, sed lingua repente 
in partes est fissa duas, nee verba volenti 
sufficiunt, quotiensque aliquos parat edere questusj 
sibilat : hanc illi vocem natura reliquit. 
nuda manu feriens exclamat pectora coniunx : 590 
"Cadme, mane teque, infelix, his exue monstris ' 
Cadme, quid hoc ? ubi pes, ubi sunt umerique 

et color et facies et, dum loquor, omnia ? cur non 
me quoque, caelestes, in eandem vertitis anguem ? " 
dixerat, ille suae lambebat coniugis ora 595 

inque sinus caros, veluti cognosceret, ibat 
et dabat aniplexus adsuetaque colla petebat. 
quisquis adest (aderant comites), terrentur ; at ilia 
lubrica permulcet cristati colla draconis, 
et subito duo sunt iunctoque volumine serpunt, 600 
donee in adpositi nemoris subiere latebras, 
nunc quoque nee fugiunt hominem nee vulnere 

quidque prius fuerint, placidi meminere dracones. 

Sed tamen ambobus versae solacia formae 
magna nepos dederat, quem debellata colebat 605 
India, quem positis celebrabat Achaia templis; 
solus Abantiades ab origine cretus eadem 
Acrisius superest, qui moenibus arceat urbis 
Argolicae contraque deum ferat arma genusque 
non putet esse deum : neque enim lovis esse putabat 
Persea, quem pluvio Danae conceperat auro. 6ll 

mox tamen Acrisium (tanta est praesentia veri) 
tarn violasse deum quam non agnosse nepotem 


say much more, but his tongue was of a sudden cleft 
in two ; words failed him, and whenever he tried to 
utter some sad complaint, it was a hiss ; this was the 
only voice which Nature left him. Then his wife, 
smiting her naked breasts witli her hands, cried out: 
"O Cadmus, stay, unhappy man, and put off this 
monstrous form ! Cadmus, what does this mean ? 
VVliere are your feet ? Where are your shoulders and 
your hands, your colour, face, and, while I speak, 
your — everything ? Why, O ye gods of heaven, do 
you not change me also into the same serpent form ? " 
She spoke ; he licked his wife's face and glided into 
her dear breasts as if familiar there, embraced her, 
and sought his wonted place about her neck, All who 
were there — for they had comrades with them — were 
filled with horror. But she only stroked the sleek 
neck of the crested dragon, and suddenly there were 
two serpents there with intertwining folds, which 
after a little while crawled off and hid in the neigh- 
bouring woods. Now also, as of yore, they neither 
fear mankind nor wound them, mild creatures, 
remembering what once they were. 

But both in their altered form found great comfort 
in their grandson, whom conquered India now wor- 
shipped, whose temples Greece had filled with 
adoring throngs. There was one only, Acrisius, the 
son of Abas, sprung from the same stock, who forbade 
the entrance of Bacchus within the walls of his city, 
Argos, who violently opposed the god, and diil not 
admit that he was the son of Jove. Nor did he 
admit that Perseus was son of Jove, whom Daiiae had 
conceived of a golden shower. And yet, such is the 
power of truth, Acrisius in the end was sorry that 
he had repulsed the god and had not acknowledged 
his grandson. The one had now been received to a 



paenitet : inpositus iam caelo est alter, at alter 
Viperei referens spolium raemorabile monstri 6l5 
aera carpebat tenerum stridentibus alis, 
cumque super Libycas victor penderet harenas, 
Gorgonei capitis guttae cecidere cruentae ; 
quas humus exceptas varios animavit in angues, 
unde frequens ilia est infestaque terra colubris. 620 

Inde per inmensum ventis discordibus actus 
nunc hue, nunc illuc exemplo nubis aquosae 
fertur et ex alto seductas aethere longe 
despectat terras totumque supervolat orbem. 
ter gelidas arctos, ter cancri bracchia vidit, 625 

saepe sub occasus, saepe est ablatus in ortus, 
iamque cadente die, veritus se credere nocti, 
constitit Hesperio, regnis Atlantis, in orbe 
exiguamque petit requiem, dum Lucifer ignes 
evocet Aurox'ae, currus Aurora diurnos. 630 

hie hominum cunctos ingenti corpore praestans 
lapetionides Atlas fuit : ultima tellus 
rege sub hoc et pontus erat, qui Solis anhelis 
aequora subdit equis et fessos excipit axes, 
mille greges illi totidemque armenta per herbas 635 
errabant, et humum vicinia nulla premebat ; 
arboreae frondes auro radiante nitentes 
ex auro ramos, ex auro poma tegebant, 
" hospes " ait Perseus illi, ''seu gloria tangit 
te generis magni, generis mihi luppiter auctor ; 640 
sivees mirator rerum, mirabere nostras; 
hospitium requiemque peto." memor ille vetustae 
sortis erat ; Themis hanc dederat Parnasia sortem ; 


place in heaven ; but the other, bearing the wonder- 
ful spoil of the snake-haired monster, was taking his 
way through the thin air on whirring wings. As he 
was flying over the sandy wastes of Libya, bloody 
drops from the Gorgon's head fell down ; and the 
earth received them as they fell and changed them 
into snakes of various kinds. And for this cause the 
land of Libya is full of deadly serpents. 

From there he was driven through the vast 
stretches of air by warring winds and borne, now 
hither, now thither, like a cloud of mist. He looked 
down from his great height upon the lands lying 
below and flew over the whole world. Thrice did he 
see the cold Bears, and thrice the Crab's spreading 
claws ; time and again to the west, and as often back 
to the east was he carried. And now, as daylight was 
fading, fearing to trust himself to flight by night, he 
alighted on the borders of the West, in the realm of 
Atlafi Here he sought a little rest until the morn- 
ing star should wake the fires of dawn and the dawn 
lead out the fiery car of day. Here, far surpassing 
all men in huge bulk of body, was Atlas, of the stock 
of lapetus. He ruled this edge of the world and 
the sea which spread its waters to receive the Sun's 
panting horses and his weary car. A thousand 
flocks he had, and as many herds, wandering at will 
over the grassy plains ; and no other realm was near 
to hem in his land, A tree he had whose leaves were 
of gleaming gold, concealing golden branches and 
golden fruits. " Good sir," said Perseus, addressing 
him, "if glory of high birth means anything to you, 
Jove is my father; or if you adrnire great deeds, you 
surely will admire mine. I crave your hospitality 
and a chance to rest." But Atlas bethought him of 
an old oracle, which Themis of Parnasus had given : 



"tempus, Atla, veniet, tua quo spoliabitur auro 
arbor, et hunc praedae titulum love natus habebit." 
id metuens solidis pomaria clauserat Atlas 646 

moenibus et vasto dederat servanda draconi 
arcebatque suis externos finibus omnes. 
huic quoque " vade procul, ne longe gloria rerum, 
quam mentiris " ait, " longe tibi luppiter absit ! " 650 
vimque minis add it manibusque expel! ere teniptat 
cunctantem et placidis miscentem fortia dictis. 
viribus inferior (quis enim par esset Atlantis 
viribus ?) " at, quoniam parvi tibi gratia nostra est, 
accipe munus ! " ait laevaque a parte Medusae 655 
ipse retro versus squalentia protulit ora. 
quantus erat, mens factus Atlas ; nam barba comaeque 
in silvas abeunt, iuga sunt umerique manusque, 
quod caput ante fuit, summo est in monte cacumen, 
ossa lapis fiunt ; turn partes altus in omnes 660 

crevit in inmensum (sic di statuistis), et omne 
cum tot sideribus caelum requievit in illo. 

Clauserat Hippotades aeterno carcere ventos, 
admonitorque operum caelo clarissimus alto 
Lucifer ortus erat : pennis ligat ille resumptis 6G5 
parte ab utraque pedes teloque accingitur unco 
et liquidum motis talaribus aera findit. 
gentibus innumeris circumque infraque relictis 
Aethiopum populos Cepheaque conspicit arva. 
illic inmeritam maternae pendere linguae 670 

Andromedan poenas iniustus iusserat Ammon ; 
quam simul ad duras religatam bracchia cautes 


" Atlas, the time will come when your tree will be 
spoiled of its gold, and he who gets the glory of this 
spoil will be Jove's son." Fearing this, Atlas had 
enclosed his orchard with massive walls and had put 
a huge dragon there to watch it ; and he kept oft' all 
strangers from his boundaries. And now to Perseus, 
too, he said : " Hence afar, lest the glory of your 
deeds, which you falsely brag of, and lest this Jupiter 
of yours be far from aiding you." He added force to 
threats, and was trying to thrust out the other, who 
held back and manfully resisted while he urged his 
case with soothing speech. At length, finding him- 
self unequal in strength — for who would be a match 
in strength for Atlas ? — he said : " Well, since so 
small a favour you will not grant to me, let me give 
you a boon " ; and, himself turning his back, he held 
out from his left hand the ghastly Medusa-head. 
Straightway Atlas became a mountain huge as the 
giant had been ; his beard and hair were changed to 
trees, his shoulders and arms to spreading ridges ; 
what had been his head was now the mountain's top, 
and his bones were changed to stones. Then he 
grew to monstrous size in all his parts — for so, O 
gods, ye had willed it — and the whole heaven with 
all its stars rested upon his head. 

Now Aeolus, the son of Hippotas, had shut the 
winds in their everlasting prison, and the bright 
morning star that wakes men to their toil had 
risen in the heavens. Then Perseus bound on l)oth 
his feet the wings he had laid by, girt on his hooked 
sword, and soon in swift flight was cleaving the 
thin air. Having left behind countless peoples all 
aroimd him and below, he spied at last the 
Ethiopians and Cepheus' realm. There unrighteous 
Ammon had bidden Andromeda, though innocent, to 



vidit Abantiades, nisi quod levis aura capillos 
moverat et tepido manabant lumina fletu, 
marmoreum ratus esset opus ; traliit insciusignes 675 
et stupet eximiae correptus imagine formae 
paene suas quatere est oblitus in aere pennas. 
ut stetit, " o " dixit " non istis digna catenis, 
sed quibus inter se cupidi iunguntur amantes, 
pande requirenti nomen terraeque tuumque, 680 

et cur vincla geras." prinio silet ilia necaudet 
adpellare virum virgo, manibusque modestos 
celasset viiltus, si non religata fuisset ; 
lumina^ quod potuit, lacrimis inplevit obortis. 
saepius instanti, sua ne delicta fateri 68a 

nolle videretur, nomen terraeque suumque, 
quantaque maternae fuerit fiducia tormae, 
indicat, et nondiim memoratis omnibus unda 
insonuit, veniensque inmenso belua ponto 
inminet et latum sub pectore possidet aequor. 690 
conclamat virgo : genitor lugubris et una 
mater adest, ambo miseri, sed iustius ilia, 
nee secum auxilium, sed dignos tempore flatus 
plangoremque ferunt vinctoque in corpore adhaerentj 
cum sic iiospes ait " lacrimarum longamanere 695 
tempora vos poterunt, ad opem brevis hora ferendam 

banc ego si peterem Perseus love natus et ilia, 
quam clausam inplevit fecundo luppiter auro, 
Gorgon is angiiicomae Perseus superator et alis 
aerias ausus iactatis ire per auras, 700 



pay the penalty of her mother's words. As soon as 
Perseus saw her there bound by the arms to a rough 
chff — save that her hair gently stirred in the breeze, 
and the warm tears were trickling down her cheeks, 
he would have thought her a marble statue — he 
took fire unwitting, and stood dumb. Smitten by the 
sight of her exquisite beauty, he almost forgot to 
move his wings in the air. Then, when he alighted 
near the maiden, he said : " Oh ! those are not the 
chains you deserve to wear, but rather those that link 
fond lovers together ! Tell me, for I would know, 
your country's name and yours, and why you are 
chained here." She was silent at first, for, being a 
maid, she did not dare address a man ; she would have 
hidden her face modestly with her hands but that 
her hands were bound. Her eyes were free, and 
these filled with rising tears. As he continued to 
urge her, she, lest she should seem to be trying to 
conceal some fault of her own, told him her name 
and her country, and what sinful boasting her mother 
had made of her own beauty. While she was yet 
speaking, there came a loud sound from the sea, and 
there, advancing over the broad expanse, a monstrous 
creature loomed up, breasting the wide waves. The 
maiden shrieked. The grieving father and the mother 
are at hand, both wretched, but she more justly so. 
They have no helj) to give, but only wailings and loud 
beatings of the breast, befitting the occasion, and 
they hang to the girl's chained form. Then speaks 
the stranger : " There will be long time for weeping 
by and by ; but time for helping is very short. If I 
sought this maid as Perseus, son of Jove and that 
imprisoned one whom Jove filled with his life-giving 
shower ; if as Perseus, victor over Gorgon of the 
snaky locks, and as he who has dared to ride the 



praefener cunctis certe gener ; addere tantis 
dotibus et meritum, faveant modo numinaj tempto: 
ut mea sit servata mea virtute, paciscor." 
accipiunt legem (quis enim dubitaret ?) et orant 
promittuntque super regnum dotale parentes. 705 

Ecce, velut navis praefixo concita rostro 
sulcat aquas iuvenum sudantibus acta lacertis, 
sic fera dimotis inpulsu pectoris undis ; 
tantum aberat scopulis, quantum Balearica torto 
funda potest plumbo medii transmittere caeli, 710 
cum subito iuvenis pedibus tellure repulsa 
arduus in nubes abiit : ut in aequore summo 
umbra viri visa est, visa fera saevit in umbra, 
/utque lovis praepes, vacuo cum vidit in arvo 
] praebentem Phoebo liventia terga draconem, 715 
] occupat aversum, neu saeva retorqueat ora, 
squamigeris avidos figit cervicibus ungues, 
sic celeri missus praeceps per inane volatu 
terga ferae pressit dextroque frenientis in armo 
Inachides ferrum curvo tenus abdidit hamo. 720 

vulnere laesa gravi modo se sublimis in auras 
attollit, modo subdit aquis, modo more ferocis 
versat apri, quem turba canum circumsona terret. 
ille avidos morsus velocibus effugit alis 
quaque patet, nunc terga cavis super obsita conchis, 
nunc laterum costas, nunc qua tenuissima cauda 726 
desinit in piscem, falcato verberat ense ; 
belua puniceo mixtos cum sanguine fluctus 
ore vomit : maduere graves adspergine pennae. 


winds of heaven on fluttering wings, surely I should 
be preferred to all suitors as your son-in-law. But 
now I shall try to add to these great gifts the gift of 
service, too, if only the gods will favour me. That 
she be mine if saved by my valour is my bargain," The 
parents accept the condition — for who would refuse ? 
— and beg him to save her, promising him a kingdom 
as dowry in addition. 

But see ! as a swift ship with its sharp beak 
ploAvs the waves, driven by stout rowers' sweating 
arms, so does the monster come, rolling back the 
water from either side as his breast surges through. 
And now he was as far from the cliff as is the space 
through which a Baleaiic sling can send its whizzing 
bullet ; when suddenly the youth, springing up from 
the earth, mounted high into the clouds. When the 
monster saw the hero's shadow on the surface of 
the sea, he savagely attacked the shadow. And aj j 
the bird of Jove, wlien it has seen in an open field a i 
serpent sunning its mottled body, swoops down upon \ 
him from behind ; and, lest the serpent twist back ( 
his deadly fangs, the bird buries deep his sharp claws 1 
in the creature's scaly neck ; so did Perseus, plunging J 
headlong in a swift swoop through the empty air, 
attack the roaring monster from above, and in his right 
shoulder buried his sword clear down to the curved 
hook. Smarting under the deep wound, the creature 
now reared himself high in air, now plunged beneath 
the waves, now turned like a fierce wild-boar when 
around him a noisy pack of bounds give tongue. 
Perseus eludes the greedyjang^ by help of his swift 
wings ; and where the vulnerable points lie open to 
attack, he smites with his hooked sword, now at the 
back, thick-set with barnacles, now on the sides, now 
where the tail is most slender and changes into 



nee bibulis ultra Perseus talaribus ausus 730 

credere conspexit scopulum, qui vertice summo 
stantibus exstat aquis, operitur ab aequore moto. 
nixus eo rupisque ten ens iuga prima sinistra 
ter quater exegit repetita per ilia ferrum. 
litora cum plausu clamor superasque deorum 735 

inplevere domos : gaudent generumque salutant 
auxiliumque domus servatoremque fatentur 
Cassiope Cepheusque pater ; resoluta catenis 
incedit virgo, pretiumque et causa laboris. 
ipse manus hausta victrices abluit unda, 740 

anguiferumque caput dura ne laedat harena, 
moUit humum foliis natasque sub aequore virgas 
sternit et inponit Phorcynidos era Medusae, 
virga recens bibulaque etiamnum viva medulla 
vim i-apuit monstri tactuque induruit huius 745 

percepitque novum ramis et fronde rigorem. 
at pelagi nymphae factum mirabile temptant 
pluribus in virgis et idem contingere gaudent 
seminaque ex ill is iterant iactata per undas : 
nunc quoque curaliis eadem natura remansit, 750 
duritiam tacto capiant ut ab acre quodque 
• vimen in aequore erat, fiat super aequora saxum. 
Dis tribus ille focos totidem de caespite ponit, 
laevum Mercurio, dextrum tibi, bellica virgo, 
ara lovis media est ; mactatur vacca Minervae, 755 
ali})edi vitulus, taurus tibi, sumnie deorum, 



the form of fish. The beast belches forth waters 
mixed with purple blood. Meanwhile Perseus' wings 
are growing heavy, soaked with spray, and he dares 
not depend further on his drenched pinions. He 
spies a rock whose top projects above the surface 
when the waves are still, but which is hidden by the 
roughened sea. Resting on this and holding an edge 
of the rock with his left hand, thrice and again he 
plunges his sword into the vitals of the monster. At 
this the shores and the high seats of the gods re-echo 
with wild shouts of applause, Cassiope and Cepheus 
rejoice and salute the hero as son-in-law, calling him 
prop and saviour of their house. The maiden also 
now comes forward, freed from chains, she, the prize 
as well as cause of his feat. He washes his victorious 
hands in water drawn for him ; and, that the Gorgon's 
snaky head may not be brui■^ed on the hard sand, he 
softens the ground with leaves, strews seaweed over 
these, and lays on this the head of Medusa, daughter 
of Phorcys. The fresh weed twigs, but now alive and 
porous to the core, absorb the power of the monster 
and harden at its touch and take a strange stiffness 
in their stems and leaves. And the sea-nymphs test 
the wonder on more twigs and are delighted to find 
the same thing happening to them all ; and, by 
scattering these twigs as seeds, propagate the 
wondrous thing throughout their waters. And even 
till this day the same nature has remained in coral so 
that they harden when exposed to air, and what was 
a pliant twig beneath the sea is turned to stone, 

Now Perseus builds to three gods three altars of 
turf, the left to Mercury, the right to thee, O warlike 
maid, and the central one to Jove, To Minerva he 
slays a cow, a young bullock to the winged god, and 



protinus Andromedan et tanti praemia facti 
indotata rapit ; taedas Hymenaeus Amorque 
praecutiunt ; largis satiantur odoribus ignes, 
sertaque dependent tectis et ubique lyraeque 760 
tibiaque et cantus, animi felicia laeti 
argumenta, sonant ; reseratis aurea valvis 
atria tota patent, pulcliroque instructa paratu 
Cephenum proceres ineunt convivia regis. 

Postquam epulis functi generosi munere Bacchi 765 
diffudere animos, cultusque genusque locorum 
quaerit Lyncides moresque animumque virorum ; 767 
qui simul edocuit, "nunc, o fortissime," dixit 769 
*'fare, precor, Perseu, quanta virtute quibusque 770 
artibus abstuleris crinita draconibus ora ! " 
narrat Agenorides gelido sub Atlante iacenteni 
esse locum solidae tutum munimine molis ; 
cuius in introitu geminas habitasse sorores 
Phorcidas unius partitas luminis usum ; 775 

id se sollerti furtim, dum traditur, astu 
supposita cepisse manu perque abdita longe 
deviaque et silvis horrentia saxa fragosis 
Gorgoneas tetigisse demos passimque per agros 
perque vias vidisse hominum simulacra ferarumque 
in silicem ex ipsis visa conversa Medusa. 781 

se tamen horrendae clipei, quern laeva gerebat, 
aere repercusso formam adspexisse Medusae, 
dumque gravis somnus colubrasque ipsamque tenebat, 
eripuisse caput collo ; pennisque fugacem 785 

Pegason et fratrem matris de sanguine natos. 


a bull to thee, thou greatest of the gods. Forthwith 
the hero claims Andromeda as the prize of his great 
deed, seeking no further dowry. Hymen and Love 
shake the marriage torch ; the fires are fed full with 
incense rich and fragrant, garlands deck the dwell- 
ings, and everywhere lyre and flute and songs 
resound, blessed proofs of inward joy. The huge 
folding-doors swing back and reveal the great 
golden palace-hall with a rich banquet spread, 
where Cepheus' princely courtiers grace the feast. 

When they have had their fill of food, and their 
hearts have expanded with Bacchus' generous gift, 
then Perseus seeks to know the manner of the region 
thereabouts, its peoples, customs, and the spirit of its 
men. The prince who answered him then said : 
" Now tell us, pray, O Perseus, by what woundrous 
valour, by what arts you won the Gorgon's snaky 
head." The hero, answering, told how beneath cold 
Atlas there was a place safe under the protection of 
the rocky mass. At the entrance to this place two 
sisters dwelt, both daughters of old Phorcys, who 
shared one eye between them. This eye by craft 
and stealth, while it was being passed from one 
sister to the other, Perseus stole away, and travelling 
far through trackless and secret ways, rough woods, 
and bristling rocks, he came at last to where the 
Gorgons lived. On all sides through the fields and 
along the ways he saw the forms of men and beasts 
changed into stone by one look at Medusa's face. 
But he himself had looked upon the image of that 
dread face reflected from the bright bronze shield his 
left hand bore ; and while deep sleep held fast both 
the snakes and her who wore them, he smote her head 
clean from her neck, and from the blood of his mother 
swift- winged Pegasus and his brother sprang. 



Addidit et longi non falsa pericula cursus, 
quae freta, quas terras sub se vidisset ab alto 
et quae iactatis tetigisset sidera pennis ; 
ante exspectatum tacuit taaien. excipit unus 7^0 
exnumero procerum quaerens, cur sola sororum 
gesserit alternis inmixtos crinibus anffues. 
hospes ait : " quoniam scitaris digna relatu, 
accipe quaesiti causam. clarissima forma 
multorumque fuit spes invidiosa procorum 795 

ilia, nee in tota conspectior ulla capillis 
pars fuit : inveni, qui se vidisse referret. 
banc pelagi rector templo vitiasse Minervae 
dicitur : aversa est et castos aegide vultus 
nata lovis texit, neve hoc inpune fuisset, 800 

Gorgoneum crinem turpes mutavit in hydros, 
nunc quoque, ut attonitos formidine terreat hostes, 
pectore in adverso, quos fecit, sustinet angues.*' 




The hero further told of his long journeys and 
perils passed, all true, what seas, what lands he had 
beheld from his high flight, what stars he had 
touched on beating wings. He ceased, while they 
waited still to hear more. But one of the princes 
asked him why Medusa only of the sisters wore 
serpents mingled with her hair. The guest replied : 
"Since what you ask is a tale well worth the telling, 
hear then the cause. She was once most beautiful 
in form, and the jealous hope of many suitors. Of 
all her beauties, lier hair was the most beautiful — 
for so I learned from one who said he had seen 
her. 'Tis said that in Minerva's temple Neptune, 
lord of the Ocean, ravished her. Jove's daughter 
turned away and hid her chaste eyes behind her 
aegis. And, that the deed might be punished as was 
[lue, she changed the Gorgon's locks to ugly snakes. 
And now to frighten her fear-numbed foes, she still 
wears upon lier breast the snakes which she has made." 




DvMQVE ea Cephenum medio Danaeius heros 

agmine commemorat, fremida regalia turba 

atria conplentur, nee coniugialia festa 

qui canat est clamor, sed qui fera nuntiet arma ; 

inque repentinos convivia versa tumultus t 

adsimilare freto possis, quod saeva quietum 

ventorum rabies motis exasperat undis. 

primus in his Phineus, belli temerarius auctor ; 

fraxineam quatiens aeratae cuspidis hastam 

" en" ait, " en adsum praereptae coniugis ultor ; K 

nee mihi te pennae nee falsum versus in aurum 

luppiter eripiet ! " conanti mittere Cepheus 

"quid facis ? " exclamat, "quae te, germane, 

mens agit in facinus ? meritisne haec gratia tantis 
redditur? hac vitam servatae dote rependis ? li 

quam tibi non Perseus, verum si quaeris, ademit, 
sed grave Nereidum numen, sed corniger Ammon, 
sed quae visceribus veniebat belua ponti 
exsaturanda meis ; illo tibi tempore rapta est, 
quo peritura fuit, nisi si, crudelis, id ipsum 2( 

exigis, ut pereat, luctuque levabere nostro. 


While the heroic son of Danae is relating these 
adventures amongst the Ethiopian chiefs', the royal 
halls are filled with confused uproar : not the loud 
sound that sings a song of marriage, but one that 
presages the fierce strife of arms. And the feast, 
turned suddenly to tumult, you could liken to the 
sea, whose peaceful waters the raging winds lash to 
boisterous waves. First among them is Phineus, 
brother of the king, rash instigator of strife, who 
brandishes an ashen spear with bronze point. 
"Behold," says he, "here am I, come to avenge 
the theft of my bride. Your wings shall not save 
you this time, nor Jove, changed to seeming gold." 
As he was in the act of hurling his spear, Cepheus 
cried out : " What are you doing, brother ? What mad 
folly is driving you to crime ? Is this the way you 
thank our guest for his brave deeds ? Is this the 
dower you give for the maiden saved ? If 'tis the 
truth you want, it was not Perseus who took her 
fiom you, but the dread deity of the Nereids, but 
horned Amnion, but that sea-monster who came to 
glut his maw upon my own flesh and blood. 'Twas 
then you lost her when she was exposed to die ; 
unless, perchance, your cruel heart demands this 
very thing — her death, and seeks by my grief to ease 
its own. It seems it is not enough that you saw her 
chained, and that you brought no aid, uncle though 



scilicet baud satis est, quod te spectante revinctaest 
et nullam quod opem patruus sponsusve tulisti ; 
insuper, a quoquam quod sit servata, dolebis 
praemiaque eripies ? quae si tibi magna videntur, 25 
ex illis scopulis, ubi erant adfixa, petisses. 
nunc sine, qui petiit, per quern haec non orba 

ferre, quod et meritis et voce est pactus, eumque 
non tibi, sed certae praelatum intellege morti." 

Ille nihil contra, sed et hunc et Persea vultu 30 
alterno spectans petat hunc ignorat an ilium : 
cunctatusque brevi contortam viribus hastam, 
quantas ira dabat, nequiquam in Persea misit. 
ut stetit ilia toro, stratis turn denique Perseus 
exsiluit teloque ferox inimica remisso S5 

pectora rupisset, nisi post altaria Phineus 
isset : et (indignum) scelerato profuit ara. 
fronte tamen Rhoeti non inrita cuspis adhaesit, 
qui postquam cecidit ferrumque ex osse revulsum est 
calcitrat et positas adspergit sanguine mensas. 40 
tum vero indomitas ardescit vulgus in iras, 
telaque coniciunt, et sunt, qui Cephea dicunt 
cum genero debere mori ; sed limine tecti 
exierat Cepheus testatus iusque fidemque 
hospitiique deos, ea se prohibente moveri. 45 

bellica Pallas adest et protegit aegide fratrem 
datque animos. 

Erat Indus Athis, quem flumine Gange 
edita Limnaee vitreis peperisse sub undis 


you were, and promised husband : will you grieve^ 
besides, that someone did save her, and will you rob 
him of his prize ? If tliis prize seems so precious in 
your sight, you should have taken it from those rocks 
where it was chained. Now let the man who did 
take it, by whom 1 have been saved from childless- 
ness in my old age, keep what he has gained by his 
deserving deeds and by my promise. And be 
assured of this : that he has not been preferred to 
you, but to certain death." 

Phineus made no reply ; but, looking now on him 
and now on Perseus, he was in doubt at which 
to aim his spear. Delaying a little space, he 
hurled it with all the strength that wrath gave at 
Perseus ; but in vain. When the weapon struck 
and stood fast in the bench, then at last Perseus 
leapt gallantly up and hurled back the spear, which 
would have pierced his foeman's heart ; but Phineus 
had already taken refuge behind the altar, and, 
shame I the wretch found safety there. Still was 
the weapon not without effect, for it struck full in 
Rhoetus' face. Down he fell, and when the spear 
had been wrenched forth from the bone he writhed 
about and sprinkled the well-spread table with his 
blood. And now the mob was fired to wrath un- 
quenchable. They hurled their spears, and there 
were some who said that Cepheus ought to perish 
with his son-in-law. But Cepheus had already with- 
drawn from the palace, calling to witness Justice, 
Faith, and the gods of hospitality that this was done 
against his protest. Then came warlike Pallas, pro- 
tectiiig her brother with her shield, and making 
him stout of heart. 

There was an Indian youth, Athis by name, whom 
Limnaee, a nymph of Ganges' stream, is said to have 
i- 2-Vl 


creditur, egregius forma, quam divite cultu 
augebat, bis adliuc octonis integer annis, 50 

indutus chlamydem Tyriam, quam limbusobibat 
aureus *, ornabant aurata monih'a collum 
^t madidos murra curvum crinale capillos; 
ille quidem iaculo quamvis distantia misso 
figere doctus erat, sed tendere doctior arcus. 55 

turn quoque lenta manu flectentem cornua Perseus 
stipite, qui media positus fumabat in ara, 
perculit et fractis confudit in ossibus ora. 

Hunc ubi laudatos iactantem in sanguine vultus 
Assyrius vidit Lycabas, iunctissimus illi 60 

et conies et veri non dissimulator amoris, 
postquam exhalantem sub acerbo vulnere vitam 
deploravit Athin, quos ille tetenderat arcus 
arripit et " mecum tibi sint certamina! " dixit; 
"nee longum pueri fato laetabere, quo plus 65 

invidiae quam laudis habes." haec omnia nondum 
dixerat : emicuit nervo penetrabile tehim 
vitatumque tamen sinuosa veste pependit. 
vertit in hunc harpen spectatam caede Medusae 
Acrisioniades adigitque in pectus ; at ille 70 

iam moriens oculis sub nocte natantibus atia 
circumspexit Athin seque adclinavit ad ilium 
et tulit ad manes iunctae solacia mortis. 

Ecce Syenites, genitus Metione, Phorbas 
et Libys Amphimedon, avidi committere pugman,75 
sanguine, quo late tellus madefacta tepebat, 
conciderant lapsi ; surgentibus obstitit ensis, 
alterius costis, iugulo Phorbantis adactus. 


brought forth beneath her crystal waters. He was 
of surpassing beauty, which his rich robes enhanced, 
a sturdy boy of sixteen years, clad in a purple mantle 
fringed with gold; a golden chain adorned his neck, 
and a golden circlet held his locks in place, perfumed 
with myrrh. He was well skilled to hurl the javelin 
at the most distant mark, but with more skill could 
bend the bow, When now he was in the very act of 
bending his stout bow, Perseus snatched up a brand 
which lay smouldering on the altar and smote the 
youth, crushing his face to splintered bones. 

When Assyrian Lycabas beheld him, his lovely 
features defiled with blood -Ly cabas, his closest 
comrade and his declared true lover — he wept aloud 
for Athis, who lay gasping out his life beneath that 
bitter wound ; then he caught up the bow which 
Athis had bent, and cried : " Now you have me to 
fight, and not long shall you plume yourself on a 
boy's death, which brings you more contempt than 
glory." Before he had finished speaking the keen 
arrow fleshed from the bowstring ; but it missed its 
mark and stuck harmless in a fold of Perseus' robe. 
Acrisius' grandson quickly turned on him that hook 
which had been fleshed in Medusa's death, and drove 
it into his breast. But he, even in death, with his 
eyes swimming in the black darkness, looked round 
for Atliis, fell down by his side, and bore to the 
shadows this comfort, that in death they were not 

Then Phorbas of Syene, Metion's son, and Libyan 
Amphimedon, eager to join in the fray, slipped and 
fell in the blood with which all the floor was wet. As 
they strove to rise the sword met them, driven 
through the ribs of one and through the other's 



At non Actoriden Erytum, cui lata bipennis 
telum erat, hamato Perseus petit ense, sed altis 80 
exstantem signis multaeque in pondere niassae 
ingrentem manibus tollit cratera duabus 
infligitque viro ; rutilum vomit ille cruorem 
at resupinus humum moribundo vertice pulsat. 
inde Semiramio Polydaemona sanguine cretum 85 
Caucasiumque Abarin Sperchionidenque Lycetum 
intonsumque comas Helicem Phlegyanque Clytumque 
sternit et exstructos morientum calcat acervos. 

Nee I hineus ausus concurrere comminus hosti 
intorquet iaculum, quod detulit error in Idan, 90 
expertem frustra belli et neutra arma secutum. 
ille tuens oculis inmitem Pliinea torvis 
"quandoquidem in partes" ait " abstrahor, accipe, 

quem fecisti, hostem pensaque hoc vulnere vulnus ! " 
iamque remissurus tractum de corpore telum 95 

sanguine defectos cecidit conlapsus in artus. 

Tum quoque Cephenum post regem primus Hodites, 
ense iacet Clymeni, Prothoenora percutit Hypseus, 
Hypsea Lyncides. fuit et grandaevus in illis 
Emathion, aequi cultor timidusque deorum, 1 00 

quem quoniam prohibent anni bellare, loquendo 
piignat et incessit scelerataque devovet arma ; 
huic Chromis amplexo tremulis altaria palmis 
decutit ense caput, quod protinus incidit arae 
atque ibi semianimi verba exsecrantia lingua 105 

edidit et medics animam exspiravit in ignes. 


But Eurytus, the son of Actor^ who wielded a 
broad, two-edged battle-axe, Perseus did not attack 
with his hooked sword,but lifting high in botli hands 
a huge mixing-bowl heavily embossed and ponderous, 
he hurled it crashing at the man. The red blood 
spouted forth as he lay dying on his back, beating 
the floor with his head. Then in rapid succession 
Perseus laid low Polydaemon, descended from 
Queen Semiramis, Caucasian Abaris, Lycetus who 
dwelt by Spercheos, Helices of unshorn locks, 
Phlegyas and Clytus, treading the while on heajis of 
dying men. 

Phineus did not dare to come to close combat with 
his enemy, but hurled his javelin. This was ill- 
aimed and struck Idas, who all to no purpose had 
kept out of the fight, taking sides with neither party. 
He, gazing with angry eyes upon cruel Phineus, 
said: "Since I am forced into the strife, O Phineus, 
accept the foeman you have made, and score me 
wound for wound." And he was just about to hurl 
back the javelin which he had drawn out of his own 
body, when he fell fainting, his limbs all drained of 

Then also Hodites, first of the Ethiopians after the 
king, fell by the sword of Ciymenus ; Hypseus smote 
Prothoenor ; Lyncides, Hypseus. Amid the throng 
was one old m;in, Emathion, who loved justice and 
revered the gods. He, since his years forbade war- 
fare, fought with the tongue, and strode forward 
and cursed their impious arms. As he clung to the 
altar-horns with age-enfeebled hands Chromis struck 
off his head with his sword : the head fell straight 
on the altar, and there the still half-conscious ton <rue 
kept up its execrations and the life was breathed out 
in the midst of the altar-fires. 

24 5 


Hinc gemini fratres Broteasque et caestibus 

invicti, vinci si possent caestibus enses, 
Phinea cecidere manu Cererisque sacerdos 
Ampycus albenti velatus tempora vitta, 110 

tu quoque, Lampetide, non hos adhibendus ad 

sed qui, pads opus, citharam cum voce moveres ; 
iussus eras celebrare dapes festumque canendo. 
cui procul adstaiiti plectrumque inbelle tenenti 
Pettalus inridens "Stygiis cane cetera " dixit 115 
"manibus ! " et laevo mucronem tempore fixit ; 
concidit et digitis morientibus ille retemptat 
fila lyrae, casuque fuit miserabile carmen, 
nee sinit hunc inpune ferox cecidisse Lycormas 
raptaque de dextro robusta repagula posti 120 

ossibus inlisit mediae cervicis, at ille 
procubuit terrae raactati more iuvenci. 
demere temptabat laevi quoque robora postis 
Ciiiypliius Pelates ; temptanti dextera fixa est 
cuspide Mai-maridae Corythi lignoque cohaesit; 125 
haerenti latus hausit Abas, nee corruit ille, 
sed retinente manum moriens e poste pependit. 
sternitur et Melaneus, Perseia castra secutus, 
et Nasamoniaci Dorylas ditissimus agri, 
dives agri Dorylas, quo non possederat alter 130 

latius aut totidem tollebat turis acervos. 
hiiius in obliquo missum stetit inguine ferrum : 
letifer ille locus, quern postquam vulneris auctor 
singultantem animam et versantem lumina vidit 
Bactrius Halcyoneus, " lioc, quod premis," inquit 

" habeto 135 

de tot agris terrae ! " corpusque exsangue reliiiquit. 
torquet in hunc hastam calido de vulnere raptam 



Next fell two brothers by Phineus' hand, Broteas 
and Amnion, invincible with gauntlets, if gauntlets 
could but contend with swords ; and AmpycuSj Ceres' 
priest, his temples wreathed with white fillets. You, 
too, Lampetides, not intended for such a scene as this, 
but for a peaceful task, to ply lute and voice : you had 
been bidden to grace the feast and sing the festal 
song. To him standing apart and holding his 
peaceful quill, Pettalus mocking cried : " Go sing 
the rest of your song to the Stygian shades," and 
pierced the left temple with his steel. He fell, and 
with dying fingers again essays the strings, and as 
he fell there was a lamentable sound. Nor did 
Lycormas, madtlened at the sight, suffer him to 
perish unavenged; but, tearing out a stout bar from 
the door-post on the right, he broke the murderer's 
neck with a crashing blow. And Pettalus fell to the 
earth like a slaughtered bull. Cinyphian Pelates 
essayed to tear away another bar from the left post, 
but in the act his right hand was pierced by the spear 
of Corythus of Marmarida, and pinned to the wood. 
There fastened, Abas thrust him through the side ; 
nor did lie fall, but, dying, hung down from the post 
to which his hand was nailed. Melaneus, too, was 
slain, one of Perseus' side ; and Dorylas, the richest 
man in the land of Nasamonia — Dorylas, rich in 
land, than whom none held a wider domain, none 
heaped so many piles of spices. Into his groin a 
spear hurled from the side struck ; that place is fatal. 
When Bactrian Halcyoneus, who hurled the spear, 
beheld him gasping out his life and rolling his eyes 
in death, he said: "This land alone on which you lie 
of all your lands shall you possess," and left the lifeless 
body. Against him Perseus, swift to avenge, hurled 
the spear snatched from the warm wound, which, 



ultor Abantiades ; media quae nare recepta 
cervice exacta est in partesque eininet ambas ; 
dumque manuni Fortuna iuvat, Clytiumque 

Claninque, 140 

matre satos una, diverso viilnere fudit : 
nam Clytii per utrumque gravi librata lacerto 
fraxinus acta femur, iaculum Clanis ore momor- 

occidit et Celadon Mendesius, occidit Astreus 
matre Palaestina dubio genitore creatus, 145 

Aethionque sagax quondam ventura videre, 
tunc ave deceptus taisa, regisque Thoactes 
armiger et caeso genitore infamis Agyrtes. 

Plus tamen exhausto superest; namque omnibus 

opprimere est animus, coniurata undique pugnant 1 50 
agmina pro causa meritum inpugnante fidemque ; 
hac pro parte socer frustra pius et nova coniunx 
cum genetrice favent ululatuque atria conplent, 
sed Sonus armorum superat gemitusque cadentum, 
pollutosque simul multo Bellona penates 155 

sanguine perfundit renovataque proelia miscet. 

Circueunt unum Phineus et mille secuti 
Phinea : tela volant hibema grandine plura 
praeter utrumque latus praeterque et lumen et 

adplicat hie umeros ad magnae saxa columnae l60 
tutaque terga gerens adversaque in agmina versus 
sustinet instantes : instabat parte sinistra 
Chaonius Molpeus, dextra Nabataeus Ethemon. 
tigris ut auditis diversa valle duorum 
exstimulata fame mugitibus armentorum 1 65 

nescit, utro potius ruat, et mere ardet utroque, 
sic dubius Perseus, dextra laevane feratur, 
Molpea traiecti submovit vulnere cruris 




striking the nose, was driven through the neck, and 
stuck out on both sides. And, while fortune favoured 
him, he slew also Clytius and Clanis, both born of 
one mother, but each with a different wound. For 
through both thighs of Clytius went the ashen spear, 
hurled by his mighty arm ; the other dart Clanis 
ciunched with his jaw. There fell also Mendesian 
Celadon; Astreus, too, whose mother was a Syrian, 
and his father unknown ; Aethion, once wise to see 
what is to come, but now tricked by a false omen ; 
Tiioactes, armour-bearer of the king ; Agyrtes, 
infamous for that he had slain his sire. 

Yet more remains, faint with toil though he is ; 
for all are bent on crushing him alone. On all sides 
the banded lines assail him, in a cause that repudiated 
merit and plighted word. On his side his father-in- 
law with useless loyalty and his bride and her mother 
range themselves, and fill all the hall with their 
shrieks. But their cries are drowned in the clash 
of arms and the groans of dying men; while Bellona 
drenches and pollutes with blood the sacred home, 
and ever renews the strife. 

Now he stands alone where Phineus and a thousand 
followers close round him. Thicker than winter hail 
fly the spears, past right side and left, past eyes and 
ears. He stands with his back against a great stone 
column and, so protected in the rear, faces the 
opposing crowds and their impetuous attack. The 
attack is made on the left by Chaonian Molpeus, and 
by Arabian Ethemon on the right. Just as a tigress, 
pricked by hunger, that hears the bellowing of two 
herds in two several valleys, knows not which to rush 
upon, but burns to rush on both ; so Perseus hesi- 
tates whether to smite on right or left ; he stops 
Molpeus with a wound through the leg and was 



contentusque fuga est ; neque enim dat tempus 

sed furit et cupiens alto dare vulnera coUo 170 

non circumspectis exactum viribus ensem 
fregit, in extrema percussae parte columnae: 
lamina dissiluit dominique in gutture fixa est. 
non tamen ad letum causas satis ilia valentes 
plaga dedit ; trepidum Perseus et inermia frustra 1 75 
bracchia tendentem Cyllenide confodit harpe. 

Verum ubi virtutem turbae succumbere vidit, 
"auxilium " Perseus, " quoniam sic cogitis ipsi," 
dixit " ab hoste petam : vultus avertite vestros, 
si quis amicus adest ! " et Gorgonis extulit era. 180 
"quaere alium, tua quern moveant miracula" dixit 
Thescelus ; utque manu iaculum t'atale parabat 
mittere, in hoc liaesit signum de marmore gestu. 
proximus Iniic Ampyx animi plenissima magni 
pectora Lyncidae gladio j)etit : inque petenilo 185 
dextera diriguit nee citra mota nee ultra est. 
at Nileus, qui se genitum septcmplice Nile 
ementitus erat, clipeo quoque flumina septem 
argento partim, partim caelaverat auro, 
** adspice " ait " Perseu, nostrae primordia gentis : 190 
magna feres tacitas solacia mortis ad umbras, 
a tanto cecidisse viro " ; pars ultima vocis 
in medio suppressa sono est, adapertaque velle 
ora loqui credas, nee sunt ea pervia verbis, 
increpat hos " vitio " que " animi, non viribus ** 

inquit 195 

" Gorgoneis torpetis " Eryx. ** incurrite mecura 


content to let him go ; but Ethemon gives him no time, 
and comes rushing on, eager to wound him in the 
neck, and drives his sword with mighty power but 
careless aim, and breaks it on the edge of the great 
stone column : the blade flies ofi" and sticks in its 
owner's throat. The stroke indeed is not deep 
enough for death ; but as he stands there trembling 
and stretching out his empty hands (but all in vain), 
Perseus thrusts him through with Mercury's hooked 

Ijut when Perseus saw his own strength was no 
match for the superior numbers of his foes, he ex- 
claimed : " Since you yourselves force me to it, I 
shall seek aid from my own enemy. Turn away your 
faces, if any friend be here." So saying, he raised 
on high the Gorgon's head. " Seek someone else 
to frighten with your magic arts," cried Thescelus, 
and raised his deadly javelin in act to throw ; but in 
that very act he stood immovable, a marble statue. 
Next after him Ampyx thrust his sword full at the 
heart of the great-sou led I'erseus ; but in that thrust 
his right hand stiffened and moved neither this way 
nor that. But Nileus, who lalsely claimed that he 
was sprung from the sevenfold Nile, and who had 
on his shield engraved the image of the stream's 
seven mouths, part silver and part gold, cried : ''See, 
O Perseus, the source whence I have sprung. Surely 
a i;reat consolation for your death will you carry to 
the silent shades, that you have fallen by so great a 
man " — his last words were cut off in mid-speech ; 
you would suppose that his open lips still strove to 
speak, but they no longer gave passage to his words. 
These two Eryx rebuked, saying : " 'Tis from defect 
of courage, not from any power of the Gorgon's head, 
that you stand rigid. Rush in with me and hurl to 



et prosternite humi invenem magica arma moven- 

tem !" 
incursurus erat : tenuit vestigia tellus, 
inmotusque silex armataque mansit imago. 

Hi tamen ex merito poenas subiere, sed unus 200 
miles erat Persei : pro quo dum pugnat, Aconteus 
Gorgone conspecta saxo concrevit oborto ; 
quem ratus Astyages etiamnum vivere, longo 
ense ferit : sonuit tinnitibus ensis acutis. 
dum stupet Astyages, naturam traxit eandem, 205 
marmoreoque manet vultus mirantis in ore. 
nomina longa mora est media de plebe virorum 
dicere : bis centum restabant corpora pugnae, 
Gorgone bis centum riguerunt corpora visa. 

Paenitet iniusti turn denique Phinea belli; 210 
sed quid agat .'' simulacra videt diversa figiiris 
adgnoscitque suos et noinine quemque vocatum 
poscit opem credensque parum sibi proxima tangit 
corpora : marmor erant ; avertitur atque ita supplex 
confessasque manus obliqiiaque bracchia tendens 2 1 5 
" vincis " ait, " Perseu ! remove tua monstra tuaeque 
saxificos vultus, quaecumque ea, tolle Medusae, 
telle, precor ! non nos odium regnique cupido 
coupulit ad bellum, pro coniuge movimus arma ! 
causa fuit meritis melior tua, tempore nostra : 220 
non cessisse piget; nihil, o fortissime, praeter 
banc animam concede niilii, tua cetera sunto !" 
talia dicenti neque eum, quem voce rogabat, 
respicere audenti "quod" ait, " timidissime Phineu, 


tlie earth this fellow and his magic arms ! " He had 
begun the rush, but the floor held his feet fast and 
there he stayed, a motionless rock, an image in full 

These, indeed, deserved the punishment they 
received. But there was one, Aconteus, a soldier 
on Perseus' side, who, while fighting for his friend, 
chanced to look upon the Gorgon's face and hardened 
into stone. Astyages, thinking him still a living 
man, smote upon him with his long sword. The 
sword gave out a sharp clanging sound ; and while 
Astyages stood amazed, the same sti'ange power got 
hold on him, and he stood there still with a look o£ 
wonder on his marble face. It would take too Ions 
to tell the names of thr rank and file who perished. 
Two hundred men survived the fight; two hundred 
saw the Gorgon and turned to stone. 

But now at last Phineus repents him of this un- 
righteous strife. But what is he to do.'' He sees 
images in various attitudes and knows the men for 
his own ; he calls each one by name, prays for his 
aid, and hardly believing his eyes, he touches those 
who are nearest him: marble, all! He turns his 
face away, and so stretching out sidewa3's suppliant 
hands that confess defeat, he says : " Perseus, you 
are my conqueror. Remove that dreadful thing ; 
that petrifying Medusa-head of yours — whosoever slie 
may be, oh, take it aw^ay, I beg. It was not hate of 
you and lust for the kingly power that drove me to 
this war. It was my wife I fought for. Your claim 
was better in merit, mine in time. I am content to 
yield. Grant me now nothing, O bravest of men, 
save this my life. All the rest be yours." As he thus 
spoke, not daring to look at him to whom he praved, 
Perseus replied : " Most craven Phineus, dismiss your 



et possum tribuisse et magnum est munus inerti, — 

pone metum ! — tribuam : nullo violabere ferro. 226 

quin etiam mansura dabo monimenta per aevum, 

inque dome soceri semper spectabere nostri, 

ut niea se sponsi soletur imagine coniunx." 

dixit et in partem Pliorcynida transtulit illam, 230 

ad quam se trepido Phiiieus obverterat ore. 

tum quoque conanti sua vertere lumina cervix 

dirigiiit, saxoque oculorum induruit umor, 

sed tamen os timidum vultusque in marmore supplex 

submissaeque manus faciesque obnoxia mansit- 235 

Victor Abantiades patrios cum coniuge muros 
intrat et inmeriti vindex ultorque parentis 
adgreditur Proetum ; nam fratre per arma fugato 
Acrisioneas Proetus possederat arces. 
sed nee ope armorum nee, quam male ceperat, arce 
torva colubriferi superavit lumina monstri. 241 

Te tamen, o parvae rector, Polydeeta, Seriphi, 
nee iuvenis virtus per tot spectata labores 
nee mala moUierant, sed inexorabile durus 
exerces odium, nee iniqua finis in ira est ; 245 

detrectas etiam laudem fictamque Medusae 
arguis esse necem. " da!)imus tibi pignora verL . 

parcite luminihus !" Perseus ait oraque regis I 

ore Medusaeo silicem sine sanguine fecit.  

Hactenus aurigenae comitem Tritonia fratri 250 




fears ; what I can ^ive (and 'tis a great boon for your 
coward soul), I will grant : you shall not suffer by the 
sword. Nay, but I will make of you a monument 
that shall endure for ages; and in the house of my 
father-in-law you shall always stand on view, that so 
my wife may find solace in the statue of her promised 
lord." So saying, he bore the Gorgon-head where 
Phineus had turned his fear-struck face. Then, even 
as he strove to avert his eyes, his neck grew hard 
and the very tears upon his cheeks were changed to 
stone. And now in marble was fixed the cowardly 
face, the suppliant look, the pleading hands, the 
whole cringing attitude. 

Victorious Perseus, together with his bride, now 
returns to his ancestral city ; and there, to avenge 
his grandsire, who little deserved this championship, 
he wars on Proetus. For Proetus had driven his 
brother out by force of arms, and seized the strong- 
hold of Acrisius. But neither by the force of arms, 
nor by the stronghold he had basely seized, could he 
resist the baleful gaze of that dread snake-wreathed 

But you, O Polydectes, ruler of Little Seriphus, 
were not softened by the young man's valour, tried 
in so many feats, nor by his troubles ; but you were 
hard and unrelenting in hate, and your unjust anger 
knew no end. You even refused him his honour, 
and declared that the death of Medusa was all a lie. 
" We will give you proof of that," then Perseus said ; 
" protect your eyes ! " (this to his friends). And 
with the Medusa-face he changed the features of 
the king to bloodless stone. 

During all this time Tritonia ^ had been the 
comrade of her brother born of the golden shower. 

1 Athena. 



se dedit ; inde cava circumdata nube Seriphon 
deserit, a dextra Cythiio Gyaroque relictis, 
quaque super pontum via visa brevissima, Thebas 
virgineumque Helicona petit, quo monte potita 
constitit et doctas sic est adfata sorores : 255 

"fama novi fontis nostras pervenit ad auras, 
dura Medusaei quem praepetis ungula rupit. 
is mihi causa viae ; volui mirabile factum 
cernere ; vidi ipsum materno sanguine nasci." 
excipit Uranie : ''^quaecumque est causa videndi 260 
has tibi, diva, domos, animo gratissinia nostro es. 
vera tamen fama est : est Pegasus huius origo 
fontis" et ad latices deduxit Pallada sacros. 
quae mirata diu factas pedis ictibus undas 
silvarum luces circumspicit antiquarum 265 

antraque et innumeris distiiictas floribus herbas 
felicesque vocat pariter studioque locoque 
Mnemonidas; quam sic adfata est una sororum : 
" o, nisi te virtus opera ad maiora tulisset, 
in partem ventura chori Tritonia nostri, 270 

vera refers meritoque probas artesque locumque, 
et gratam sortem, tutae modo simus, habemus. 
sed (vetitum est adeo sceleri nihil) omnia terrent 
virgineas mentes, dirusque ante ora Pyreneus 
vertitur, et nondum tota me mente recepi. 275 

Daulida Threicio Phoceaque milite rura 
ceperat ille ferox iniustaque regna tenebat ; 
templa petebamus Parnasia : vidit euntes 
nostraque fallaci veneratus numina vultu 279 

* Mnemonides' (cognorat enim), ' consistite ' dixit 


But now, wrapped in a hollow cloud, she left Seriphus, 
and, passing Cythnus and Gyarus on the right, by 
the shortest course over the sea she made for Thebes 
and Helicon, home of the Muses. On this mountain 
she aliehted.and thus addressed the sisters versed in 
song: "The fame of a new spring has reached my ears, 
which broke out under the hard hoof of the winged 
horse of Medusa. This is the cause of my journey : 
I wished to see the marvellous thing. The horse 
himself I saw boni from his mother's blood." Urania 
replied : " Whatever cause has brought thee to see 
our home, O goddess, thou art most welcome to our 
hearts. But the tale is true, and Pegasus did indeed 
produce our S{)ring." And she led Pallas aside to 
the sacred waters. She long admired the spring 
made by the stroke of the horse's hoof; then looked 
round on the ancient woods, the grottoes, and the 
grass, spangled with countless flowers. She declared 
the daughters of Mnemosyne to be happy alike in 
their favourite pursuits and in their home. And thus 
one of the sisters answered her : " O thou, Tritonia, 
who wouldst so fitly join our band, had not thy merits 
raised thee to far greater tasks, thou sayest truth and 
dost justly praise our arts and our home. We have 
indeed a happy lot — were we but safe in it. But 
(such is the licence of the time) all things affright 
our virgin souls, and the vision of fierce Pyreneus is 
ever before our eyes, and I have not yet recovered 
from my fear. This bold king with his Thracian 
soldiery had captured Daulis and the Phocian fields, 
and ruled that realm which he had unjustly gained. 
It chanced that we were journeying to the temple on 
Parnasus. He saw us going, and feigning a reverence 
for our divinity, he said : * O daughters of Mnemosyne ' 
— for he knew us — ' stay your steps and do not hesitate 



' nee dubitate, precor, tecto grave siclus et imbrem* 
(imber erat) ' vitare meo ; subiere minores 
saepe casas superi.' dictis et tempore motae 
adnuimusque viro primasque intravimus aedes. 
desierant iinbres, victoque aquilonibus austro 285 
fusca repurgato fugiebant nubila caelo : 
inpetus ire fuit ; claudit sua tecta Pyreneus 
vimqne parat, quam nos sumptis efFugimus alis. 
'ipse secuturo similis stetit arduus arce 
'qua' que 'via est vobis, erit et mihi' dixit * eadem ' 
seque iacit vecors e summae culmine turris 291 

et cadit in vultus discussisque ossibus oris 
tundit humum moriens scelerato sanguine tinctam." 

Musa loquebatur : pennae sonuere per auras, 
voxque salutantum ramis veniebat ab altis. 295 

suspicit et linguae quaerit tarn certa loquentes 
unde sonent hominemque putat love nata locutum ; 
ales erat. numeroque noveni sua fata querentes 
institerant ramis imitantes omnia picae. 
miranti sic orsa deae dea " nuper et istae 800 

auxerunt volucrum victae certamine turbain. 
Pieros has genuit Pellaeis dives in arvis, 
Paeonis Euippe mater fuit ; ilia potentem 
Lucinam noviens, noviens paritura, vocavit. 
intumuit numero stolidarum turba sororum S05 

perque tot Haemonias et per tot Achaidas urbes 
hue venit et tali committit proelia voce : 
'desinite indoctum vana dulccdine vulgus 
fallere ; nobiscum^ si qua est fiducia vobis, 



to take shelter beneath my roof against the lowering 
sky and the rain'- — for rain was falling — 'gods have 
often entered a humbler home.' Moved by his words 
and by the storm, we yielded to the man and entered 
hisportal. And now the rain had ceased, the south wind 
had been routed by the north, and the dusky clouds 
were in full flight from the brightening sky. We 
were fain to go on our way ; but Pyreneus shut his 
doors, and offered us violence. This we escaped by 
donning our wings. He, as if he would follow us, 
took his stand on a lofty battlement and cried to us : 
' What way you take, the same will I take also'; and, 
quite bereft of sense, he leaped from the pinnacle of 
tlie tower. Headlong he fell, crushing his bones and 
dyeing the ground in death with his accursed blood." 
While the muse was still speaking, the sound of 
whirring wings was heard and words of greeting 
came from the liigh branches of the trees. Jove's 
daughter looked up and tried to see whence came 
the sound which was so clearly speech. She thought 
some human being spoke ; but it was a bird. Nine 
birds, lamenting their fate, had alighted in the 
branches, magpies, which can imitate any sound they 
please. When Minerva wondered at the siglit, the 
other addressed her, goddess to goddess : " 'Tis but 
lately those creatures also, conquered in a strife, have 
been added to the throng of birds. Pierus, lord of 
the rich domain of Pella, was their father, and Euippe 
of I'aeonia was their mother. Nine times brought to 
the birth, nine times she called for help on mighty 
Lucina. Swollen with pride of numbers, this throng 
of senseless sisters journeyed through all the towns 
of Haemonia and all tlie towns of Achaia to us, and 
thus defied us to a contest in song : ' Cease to de- 
ceive the unsophisticated rabble with your pretence 



Thespiades, certate, deae. nee voce, nee arte SIO 
vinceniur totidemque sumiis : vel cedite victae 
fonte Medusaeo et Hyantea Aganippe, 
vel nos Emathiis ad Paeonas usque nivosos 
cedemus campis ! dirimant certamina nymphae.* 

" Turpe quidem contendere erat, sed cedere visum 
turpius ; electae iurant per flumina nymphae 3l6 

factaque de vivo pressere sedilia saxo. 
tunc sine sorte prior quae se ceitare professa est, 
bella canit superum falsoque in honore gigantas 
ponit et extenuat magnorum facta deorum; 320 

emissumque ima de sede Typhoea terrae 
caelitibus fecisse metum cunctosque dedisse 
terga fugae, donee f'essos Aegyptia tellus 
ceperit et septem discretus in ostia Nilus. 
hue quoque terrigenam venisse 'J'yphoea narrat 325 
et se mentitis superos celasse figuris ; 
' duxque gregis ' dixit ^fit luppiter : unde recurvis 
nunc quoque format us Libys est cum cornibus Ammon; 
Delius in corvo, proles Semeleia capro, 
fele soror Phoebi, nivea Saturnia vacca, S30 

pisce Venus latuit, Cyllenius ibidis alis.' 

" Hactenus ad citharam vocalia nioverat ora: 
poscimur Aonides, — sed forsitan otia non sint, 
nee nostris praebere vacet tibi cantibus aures." 
" ne dubita vestrumque mihi refer ordine carmen !" 
Pallas ait nemorisque levi consedit in umbi'a ; 336 
Musa refert : "dedimus summam certaminis uni; 
surgit et inmissos hedera eollecta capillos 
Calliope querulas praetemptat pollice chordas 


of song. Come, strive with us, ye Thespian god- 
desses, if you dare. Neither in voice nor in skill 
can we be conquered, and our numbers are the same. 
If you are conquered, yield us Medusa's spring and 
Boeotian Aganippe ; or we will yield to you the 
Emathian plains even to snow-clad Paeonia ; and let 
the nymphs be judges of our strife.' 

" It was a shame to strive with them, but it seemed 
greater shame to yield. So the nymphs were chosen 
judges and took oath by their streams, and they set 
them down upon benches of living rock. Then with- 
out drawing lots she who had proposed the contest 
first began. She sang of the battle of the gods and 
giants, ascribing undeserved honour to the giants, 
and belittling the deeds of the mighty gods : how 
Tyj)hoeus, sprung from the lowest depths of earth, 
inspired the heavenly gods with fear, and how they 
all turned their backs and fled, until, weary, they 
found refuge in the land of Egypt and the seven- 
mouthed Nile. How even there Typhoeus, son of 
earth, pursued them, and the gods hid themselves in 
lying shapes: 'Jove thus became a ram,' said she, 
' the lord of flocks, whence Libyan Ammon even to 
this day is represented with curving horns; Apollo 
hid in a crow's shape, Baccluis in a goat; the sister 
of Phoebus in a cat, Juno in a snow-white cow 
Venus in a fish. Mercury in an ibis bird.' 

" So far had she sung, tuning voice to harp ; we, 
the Aonian sisters, were challenged to reply — but 
perhaps you have not leisure, and care not to listen to 
our song ? " " Nay, have no doubt," Pallas exclaimed, 
" l)ut sing now your song in due order." And she 
took her seat in the pleasant shade of the forest. The 
muse replied : " We gave the conduct of our strife to 
one. Calliope ; who rose and, with her flowing tresses 



atque haec percussis subiungit carmina nervis : 346 
' Prima Ceres unco glaebam dimovit aratro, 
prima dedit fruges alimentaque mitia terris, 
prima dedit leges; Cereris sunt omnia munus; 
ilia canenda mihi est. utinam modo dicere possim 
carmina dignadea ! certe dea carmine digna est. 345 

" ' Vasta giganteis ingesta est insula membris 
Trinacris et magnis subiectum molibus urguet 
aetherias ausum sperare Typlioea sedes. 
nititur ille quidem pugnatque resurgere saepe, 
dextra sed Ausonio manus est subiecta Peloro, 350 
laeva, Pachyne, tibi, Lilybaeo crura premuntur, 
degravat Aetna caput, sub qua resupinus harenas 
eiectat flammamque fero vomit ore Typhoeus. 
saepe remoliri luctatur pondera terrae 
ojjpidaque et magnos devolvere corpore montes : 355 
inde tremit tellus, et rex pavet ipse silent uni, 
ne pateat latoque solum retegatur hiatu 
ii)missusque dies trepidantes terreat umbras, 
banc inetuens cladem tenebrosa sede tyrannus 
exierat curruque atrorum vectus equorum S(JO 

ambibat Siculae cautus fundamina terrae. 
postquam exploratum satis est loca nulla labare 
depositique metus, videt hunc Erycina vagantem 
monte suo residens natumque amplexa volucrem 
" arma manusque meae, mea, nate, potentia " dixit, 
" ilia, quibus superas omnes, cape tela, Ciipido, '6^6 


bound in an ivy wreath, tried the plaintive chords 
witli lier thumb, and then, with sweeping chords, she 
sang this song ; ' Ceres was the first to turn the glebe 
with the hooked j^lowshare ; she first gave corn and 
kindly sustenance to the world ; she first gave laws. 
All things are the gift of Ceres ; she must be the 
subject of my song. Would that I could worthily sing 
of her ; surely the goddess is worthy of my song. 

" ' The huge island of Sicily had been heaped upon 
the body of the giant, and wdth its vast weight was 
resting on Ty})hoeus, who had dared to aspire to the 
heights of heaven. He struggles indeed, and strives 
often to rise again ; but his right hand is held down 
by Ausonian Pclorus and his left by you, Pachynus. 
Lilybaeum rests on his legs, and Aetna's weight is on 
his head. Flung on liis back beneath this mountain, 
the fierce Typhoeus spouts forth ashes and vomits 
flames from his mouth. Often he puts forth all his 
strength to push off the weight of earth and to roll the 
cities and great mountains from his body: then the 
earth quakes, and even tlie king of the silent land is 
afraid lest the crust of the earth split open in wide 
seams and lest the light of day be let in and affright the 
trembling shades. Fearing this disaster, the king of 
the lower world had left his gloomy realm and, 
drawn in his chariot with its sable steeds, was tra- 
versing the land of Sicily, carefully examinhig its 
foundations. After he had examined all to his 
satisfaction, and found that no points were giving 
way, he put aside his fears. Then Venus Erycina saw 
him wandering to and fro, as she was seated on her 
sacred mountain, and embracing her winged son, 
she exclaimed : " O son, both arms and hands to 
me, and source of all my power, take now those 
shafts, Cupid, with which you conquer all, and shoot 



inque dei pectus celeres moliie sagittas, 

cui triplicis cessit fortuna novissima regni. 

tu superos ipsumque lovem, tu numina ponti 

victa domas ipsumque, regit qui numina pouti : 370 

Tartara quid cessant ? cur non matrisque tuumque 

imperium prefers ? agitur pars tertia mundi, 

et tamen in caelo, quae iam patientia nostra est, 

spernimur, ac mecum vires minuuntur Amoris. 

Pallada nonne vides iaculatricemque Dianam 375 

abscessisse mihi? Cereris quoque filia virgo, 

si patiemur, erit ; nam spes adfectat easdem. 

at tu pro socio, si qua est ea gratia, regno 

iunge deam patruo." dixit Venus ; ille pharetram . 

solvit et arbitrio matris de mille sagittis 380 

unam seposuit, sed qua nee acutior ulla 

nee minus incerta est nee quae magis audiat arcus, 

oppositoque genu curvavit flexile cornura 

inque cor hamata percussit harundine Ditem. 

" ' Haud procul Hennaeis lacus est a moenibus altae,J 
nomine Fergus, aquae : non illo plura Caystros 386| 
carmina c) cnorum labentibus audit in undis. 
silva coronat aquas cingens latus omne suisque 
frondibusut velo Phoebeos submovet ictus ; 
frigora dant rami, tyrios humus umida flores : 39C 
perpetuum ver est. quo dum Proserpina luco 
ludit et aut violas aut Candida lilia carpit, 
dumque puellari studio calatliosque sinumque 
inplet et aequales certat superare legendo, 
paene simul visa est dilectaque raptaque Diti : SQ5 
usque adeo est properatus amor, dea territa maesto 


your swift arrows into the heart of that god to whom 
the final lot of the triple kingdom fell. You rule the 
gods, and Jove himself; you conquer and control t'.ie 
deities of the sea, and the very king that rules 
the deities of the sea. Why does Tartarus hold back ? 
Why do you not extend your mother's empire and 
your own? The third part of the world is at stake. 
And yet in heaven, such is our long-suffering, we are 
despised, and with my own, the power of love is 
weakening. Do you not see that Pallas and huntress 
Diana have revolted against me ? And Ceres' 
daughter, too, will remain a virgin if we suffer it; 
for she aspires to be like them. But do you, in 
behalf of our joint sovereignty, if you take any pride 
in that, join the goddess to her uncle in the bonds of 
love." So Venus spoke. The god of love loosed iiis 
quiver at his mother's bidding and selected from his 
thousand arrows one, the sharpest and the surest and 
the most obedient to the bow. Then he bent the 
pliant bow across his knee and with his barbed arrow 
smote Dis through the heart. 

"'Not far from Henna's walls there is a deep pool 
of water, Fergus by name. Not Cayster on its gliding 
waters hears more songs of swans than does this pool. 
A wood crowns the heights around its waters on every 
side, and with its foliage as with an awning keeps off 
the sun's hot rays. The branches afford a pleasing 
coolness, and the well-watered ground bears bright- 
coloured Howers. There spring is everlasting. Within 
this grove Proserpina was playing, and gathering 
violets or white liUes. And while with girlish eager- 
ness she was fillins; her basket and her bosom, and 
striving to surpass her mates in gathering, almost in 
one act did Pluto see and love and carry her away : 
so precipitate was his love. The terrified girl called 



et matrem et comites, sed matrem saepius, ore 

clamat, et ut summa vestem laniarat ab ora, 

collecti flores tunicis cecidere remissis, 

tantaque simplicitas puerilibus adfuit annis, 400 

haec quoque virgineum movit iactura dolorem. 

raptor agit currus et nomine quemque vocaiido 

exhortatur equos, quorum per colla iubasque 

excutit obscura tinctas ferrugine habenas, 

perque lacus altos et olentia sulphure ferLur 405 

stagna Palicorum rupta ferventia terra 

et qua Bacchiadae, bimari gens orta Corintho, 

inter inaequales posuerunt moenia porLus. 

" ' Est medium Cyanes et Pisaeae Arethusae, 
quod coit angustis inclusum comibus aequor : 410 
hie fuit, a cuius stagnum quoque nomine dictum 

inter Sicelidas Cyane celeberrima nymphas. 
gurgite quae medio summa tenus exstitit alvo 
adgnovitque deam "nee longius ibitis ! " inquit ; 
"non potes invitae Cereris gener esse: roganda, 415 
non rapienda fuit. quodsi conponere magnis 
parva mihi fas est, et me dilexit Anapis ; 
exorata tamen, nee, ut haec, exterrita nupsi." 
dixit et in partes diversas bracchia tendens 
obstitit. baud ultra tenuit Saturnius iram 420 

terribilesque hortatus equos in gurgitis ima 
contortum valido sceptrum regale lacerto 
condidit; icta viam tellus in Tartara fecit 
et pronos currus medio cratere recepit. 


plaintively on her mother and her companions, but 
more often upon her mother. ,_ And since she had 
torn her garment at its upper edge, the flowers 
which she had gatliered fell out of her loosened 
tunic ; and such was the innocence of her girlish 
fears, the loss of her flowers even at such a time 
aroused new grief. Her captor sped his chariot and 
urged on his horses, calling each by name, and 
shaking the dark-dyed reins on their necks and 
manes. Through deep lakes he galloped, through 
the pools of the Palici, reeking with sulphur and 
boiling up from a crevice of the earth, and where 
the Bacchiadae, a race sprung from Corinth between 
two seas, had built a city between two harbours of 
unequal size. 

" ' There is between Cyane and Pisaean Arethusa a 
bay of the sea, its waters confined by narrowing 
points of land. Here was Cyane, the most famous 
of the Sicilian nymphs, from whose name the pool 
itself was called. Slie stood forth from the midst of 
her pool as far as her waist, and recognizing the 
goddess cried to Dis : "No further shall you go! 
riiou canst not be the son-in-law of Ceres against 
her will. The maiden should have been wooed, not 
ravished. But, if it is proper for me to compare small 
things with great, I also have been wooed, by 
Anapis, and I wedded him, too, yielding to prayer, 
however, not to fear, like this maiden." She spoke 
and, stretching her arms on either side, blocked his 
way. No longer could the son of Saturn hold his 
wrath, and urging on his terrible steeds, he whirled 
his royal sceptre with strong right arm and smote 
the pool to its bottom. The smitten earth opened 
up a road to Tartarus and received the down-plunging 
chariot in her cavernous depths. 



" * At Cyane, raptamque deam contemptaque fontis 
iura sui maerenSj inconsolabile vulnus 426 

mente gerit tacita lacrimisque absumitur omnis 
et, quarum fuerat magnum modo numen, in illas 
extenuatur aquas : molliri membra videres, 
ossa pati flexus, ungues posuisse rigorem ; 430 

primaque de tota tenuissima quaeque liquescunt, 
caerulei crines digitique et crura pedesque ; 
nam brevis in gelidas membris exilibus undas 
transitus est; post haee umeri tergusque latusque 
pectoraque in tenues abeunt evanida rivos ; 435 

denique pro vivo vitiatas sanguine venas 
[jj-mpha subit, restatque nihil, quod prendere posses. 

"' Interea pavidae nequiquam filia matri 
omnibus est terris, omni quaesita profundo. 
illam non udis veniens Aurora capillis 440 

cessantem vidit, non Hesperus ; ilia duabus 
flammiferas pinus manibus succendit ab Aetna 
perque pruinosas tulit inrequieta tenebras ; 
rursus ubi alma dies hebetarat sidera, natam 
solis ab occasu solis quaerebat ad ortus. 445 

fessa labore sitira conlegerat, oraque nul!i 
conluerant fontes, cum tectam stramine vidit 
forte casam parvasque fores pulsavit ; at inde 
prodit anus divamque videt lymphamque roganti 
dulce dedit, tosta quod texerat ante polenta. 450 

dum bibit ilia datum, duri puer oris et audax 
constitit ante deam risitque avidamque vocavit. 
offensa est neque adluic epota parte loquentem 
cum liquido mixta perfudit diva polenta : 


" * But Cyane, grieving for the rape of the goddess 
nd for her fountain's rights thus set at naught, nursed 
,n incurable wound in her silent heartland dissolved 
,11 away in tears ; and into those very waters was she 
nelted whose great divinity she had been but now. 
fou might see her limbs softening, her bones becom- 
ng flexible, her nails losing their hardness. And first 
if all melt the slenderest parts : her dark hair, her 
ingers, legs and feet ; for it is no great change from 
lender limbs to cool water. Next after these, her 
boulders, back and sides and breasts vanibh into thin 
vatery streams. And finally, in place of living blood, 
dear water flows through her weakened veins and 
lotliing is left that you can touch. 

" ' Meanwhile all in vain the affrighted mother 
leeks her daughter in every land, on every deep. Not 
\urora. rising with dewy tresses, not Hesperus sees 
ler pausing in the search She kindles two pine 
;orches in the fires of Aetna, and wanders without 
■est through the frosty shades of night ; again, when 
;he genial day had dimmed the stars, she was still 
;eeking her daughter from the setting to the rising 
>f the sun. Faint with toil and athirst, she had 
noistened her lips in no fountain, when she chanced 
;o see a hut thatched with straw, and knocked at 
ts lowly door. Then out came an old woman and 
jeheld the goddess, and when she asked for water 
jave her a sweet drink with parched barley floating 
ipon it. While she drank, a coarse, saucy boy stood 
vatching her, and mocked her and called her greedy, 
she was offended, and threw what she had not yet 
Irunk, with the barley grains, full in his face. Straight- 
way his face was spotted, his arms were changed to 
egs, and a tail was added to his transformed limbs ; 
16 shrank to tiny size, that he might have no great 


conbibit os maculas et, quae modo bracchia gessit, 
crura gcrit; cauda est mutatis addita membris, 4-56 
inque brevem formam, ne sit vis magna nocendi, 
contrahitur, parvaque minor mensura lacerta est. 
mirantem flentemque et tangere monstra parantem 
fugit anum latebramque petit aptumque pudori 460 
nomen habet variis stellatus corpora guttis. 

" ' Quas dea per terras et quas erraverit undas, 
dicere longa mora est ; quaerenti defuit orbis ; 
Sicaniam repetit, dumque omnia lustrat eundo, 
venit et ad Cyan en. ea ni mutata fuisset, 465 

omnia narrasset ; sed et os et lingua volenti 
dicere non aderant, nee, quo loqueretur, habebat ; 
signa tamen manifesta dedit notamque parenti, 
illo forte loco delapsam in gurgite sacro 
Persephones zonam summis ostendit in undis. 470 
quam simul agnovit, tamquam tum denique raptam 
scisset, inornatos laniavit diva capillos 
et repetita suis percussit pectora palmis. - 

nescit adliuc, ubi sit; terras tamen increpat omnes ^ 
ingratasque vocat nee frugum munere dignas, 475 
Trinacriam ante alias, in qua vestigia damni 
repperit. ergo illic saeva vertentia glaebas 
fregit aratra manu parilique irata colonos 
ruricolasque boves leto dedit arvaque 
fallere depositum vitiataque semina fecit. 480 

fertilitas terrae latum vulgata per orbem 
falsa iacet : primis segetes moriuntur in herbis, 
et modo sol nimius, nimius modo corripit imber ; 
sideraque ventique nocent, avidaeque volucres 



power to harm, and became in form a lizard, though 
yet smaller in size. The old woman wondered and 
wept, and reached out to touch the marvellous thing, 
but he fled from her and sought a hiding-place. He 
has a name ^ suited to his offence, since his body is 
starred with bright-coloured spots. 

" ' Over what lands and what seas the goddess 
wandered it would take long to tell. When there 
was no more a place to search in, she came back to 
Sicily, and in the course of her wanderings here she 
came to Cyane. If the nynij)h had not been changed 
to water, she would have told her all. But, though 
she wished to tell, she had neither lips nor tongue, 
nor aught wherewith to speak. But still she gave 
clear evidence, and showed on the surface of her pool 
what the mother knew well, Persephone's girdle, 
which had chanced to fall upon the sacred waters. 
As soon as she knew this, just as if she had then for 
the first time learned that her daughter had been 
stolen, the goddess tore her unkempt locks and 
smote her breast again and again with her hands. 
She did not know as yet where her child was ; still 
she reproaclied all lands, calling them ungrateful and 
unworthy of the gift of corn ; but Sicily above all 
other lands, where she had found traces of her loss. 
So there with angry hand she broke in pieces the 
plows that turn the glebe, and in her rage she i;ave 
lo destruction farmers and cattle alike, and bade tlie 
plowed fields to betray their trust, and blighted the 
seed. The fertility of this land, famous throughout 
the world, lay false to its good name ; the crops died 
in early blade, now too much heat, now too iiuich 
rain destro3'ing them. Stars and winds were baleful, 
and greedy birds ate up the seed as soon as it was 
1 Le. itfllio, a iin&rd or nevrt. 



semina iacta legiint ; lolium tribulique fatigant 485 
triticeas messes et inexpugiiabile gramen. 

***Tum caput Eleis Alpheias extulit undis 
rorantesqiie comas a fronte removit ad aures 
atque ait " o toto quaesitae virginis orbe 
et frugum genetrix, inmensos siste labores 490 

neve tibi fidae violenta irascere teiTae. 
terra nihil meruit patuitque invita rapinae^ 
nee sum pro patria supplex : hue hospita veni, 
Pisa mihi patria est et ab Elide ducimus ortus, 
Sicaniam peregrina coloj sed gratior omni 495 

haec mihi terra solo est : hos nunc Arethusa penates, 
hanc habeo sedem. quam tu, mitissima, serva. 
mota loco cur sim tantique per aequoris undas 
advehar Ortygiam, veniet narratibus hora 
tempestiva meis, cum tu curaque levata 500 

et vultus melioris eris. mihi pervia tellus 
praebet iter, subterque imas ablata carernas 
hie caput attollo desuetaque sidera cerno. 
ergo dum Stygio sub terris gurgite labor, 
visa tua est oculis illic Proserpina nostris : 505 

ilia quidem tristis neque adhuc interrita vultu^, 
sed regina tanien, sed opaci maxima mundi, 
sed tamen inferni pollens matrona tyranni ! " 
Mater ad auditas stupuit ceu saxea voces 
attonitaeque diu similis fuit, utque dolore 510 

pulsa gravi gravis est amentia, curribus oras 
exit in aetherias : ibi toto nubila vultu 
ante lovem passis stetit invidiosa capillis 


sown ; lares and thorns and stubborn grasses choked 
the Avheat. 

" * Then did Arethusa, Alpheus' daughter, lift her 
head from her Elean pool and, brushing her dripping 
locks backfrom her brows, thus addressed the goddess: 
" O thou mother of the maiden sought through all the 
earth, thou mother of fruits, cease now thy boundless 
toils and do not be so grievously wroth with the land 
which has been true to thee. The land is innocent; 
igainst its will it opened to the robbery. It is not 
for my own country that I pray, for I came a stranger 
liither. Pisa is my native land, and from Elis have I 
sprung ; I dwell in Sicily a foreigner. But I love this 
country more than all ; this is now my home, here 
is my dwelling-place. And now, 1 pray thee, save 
it, O most merciful. Why I moved from my place 
md why I came to Sicily, through such wastes of sea, 
1 fitting time will come to tell thee, when thou shalt 
l>e free from care and of a more cheerful countenance, 
riie solid earth opened a way before me, and passing 
Lhroui;h the lowest depths, I here lifted my head 
igain and beheld the stars that had grown unfamiliar, 
riierefore, while I was gliding beneath the earth in my 
Stygian stream, I saw Proserpina there with these 
/ery eyes. She seemed sad indeed, and her face was 
still perturbed with fear ; but yet she was a queen, 
the great queen of that world of darkness, the mighty 
consort of the tyrant of the underworld." The mother 
upon hearing these words stood as if turned to stone, 
md was for a long tmie like one bereft of reason. But 
when her overwhelming frenzy had given way to over- 
whelming pain, she set forth inherchariot to the realms 
jf heaven. There, with clouded countenance, with 
jishevelled hair, and full of indignation, she appeared 
Defore Jove and said : " I have come, O Jupiter, as 
K' S78 


pro que " meo veni supplex tibi, luppitur," inquit 
sanguine proque tuo : si nulla est gratia matris, 515 
nata patrem moveat, neu sit tibi cura, precamur, 
vilior illius, quod nostro est edita partu. 
en quaesita diu tandem mihi nata reperta est, 
si reperire vocas amittere certius, aut si 
scire, ubi sit, reperire vocas. quod rapta, feremus, 520 
dummodo reddat earn ! neque enim praedone marito 
filia digna tua est, si iam mea filia non est." 
luppiter excepit "commune est pignus onusque 
nata mihi tecum ; sed si modo nomina rebus 
addere vera placet, non hoc iniuria factum, 525 

verum amor est; neque erit nobis gener ille pudori, 
tu modo, diva, velis. ut desint cetera, quantum est 
esse lovis fratrem ! quid, quod nee cetera desunt 
nee cedit nisi sorte mihi ? — sed tanta cupido 
si tibi discidii est, repetet Proserpina caelum, 530 
lege tamen certa, si nullos contigit illic 
ore cibos; nam sic Parcarum foedere cautum est." 
"* Dixerat, at Cereri certum est educere natam; 
non ita fata sinunt, quoniam ieiunia virgo 
solverat at, cultis dum simplex errat in hortis, 535 
poeniceum curva decerpserat arbore pomura 
sumptaque pallenti septem de coiticegrana 
presserat ore suo, solusque ex omnibus illud 
Ascalaphus vidit, quern quondam dicitur Orphne, 
inter Avernales baud ignotissima nymplias, 540 

ex Acheronte suo silvis peperisse sub atris; 
vidit et indicio reditum crudelis ademit. 


suppliant in behalf of my child and your own. If you 
have no regard for the mother, at least let the daughter 
touch her father's heart. And let not your care 
for her be less because I am her mother. See, my 
daughter, sought so long, has at last been found, if 
you call it finding more certainly to lose her, or if you 
call it finding merely to know where she is. That 
she has been stolen, I will bear, if only he will bring 
her back ; for your daughter does not deserve to have 
a robber for a husband — if now she is not mine." 
And Jove replied : " She is, indeed, our daughter, 
yours and mine, our common pledge and care. But 
if only we are willing to give right names to things, 
this is no harm that has been done, but only love. 
Nor will he shame us for a son-in-law — do you but 
consent, goddess. Though all else be lacking, how 
crreat a thing it is to be Jove's brother ! But what 
that other things are not lacking, and that he does not 
yield place to me — save only by the lot .'' But if you 
so greatly desire to separate them, Proserpina shall 
return to heaven, but on one condition only : if in 
the lower-world no food has as yet touched her lips. 
For so have the fates decreed." 

"' He spoke; but Ceres was resolved to have her 
daughter back. Not so the fates ; for the girl had 
already broken her fast, and Avhile, simple child that 
she was, she wandered in the trim gardens, she had 
plucked a purple pomegranate hanging from a 
bending bough, and peeling oft' the yellowish rind, she 
had eaten seven of the seeds. The only one who 
saw tiie act was Ascalaphus, whom Orphne, not the 
least famous of the Avernal nymphs, is said to have 
borne to her own Acheron within the dark groves of 
the lower-world. The boy saw, and by his cruel 
tattling thwarted the girl's return to earth. Then 



ingemuit regina Erebi testemque profanam 

fecit avem sparsumque caput Phlegethontide lympha 

in rostrum et plumas et gtandia lumina vertit. 545 

ille sibi ablatus fulvis amicitur in alis 

inqne caput crescit longosque reflectitur ungues 

vixque movet natas per inertia bracchia pennas 

foedaque fit volucris, venturi nuntia luctus, 

ignavus bubo, dirum mortalibus omen. 550 

" ' Hie tamen indicio poenam linguaque videri 
commeruisse potest ; vobis, Acheloides, unde 
pluma pedesque avium, cum virginis ora geratis ? 
an quia, cum legeret vernos Proserpina flores, 
in comitum numero, doctae Sirenes, eratis ? 555 

quam postquam toto frustra quaesistis in orbe, 
{)iotinus, ut vestram sentirent aequora curam, 
posse super fluctus alarum insistere remis 
optastis facilesque deos habuistis et artus 
vidistis vestros subitis flavescere pennis. 560 

ne tamen ille canor mulcendas natus ad aures 
tantaque dos oris linguae deperderet usum, 
virginei vultus et vox humana remansit. 

" ' At medius fratrisque sui maestaeque sororis 
luppiter ex aequo volventem dividit annum : 565 

nunc dea, regnorum numen commune duorum, 
cum matre est totidem, totidem cum coniuge 

vertitur extemplo facies et mentis et oris ; 
nam modo quae poterat Diti quoque maesta videri. 
laeta deae frons est, ut sol, qui tectus aquosis 57P 
nubibus ante fuit, victis e nubibus exit. 


was the queen of Erebus enraged^ and changed the 
informer into an ill-omened bird ; throwing in his 
face a handful of water from the Phlegethon, she 
gave him a beak and feathers and big eyes. Robbed 
of himself, he is now clothed in yellow wings ; he 
grows into a head and long, hooked claws ; but he 
scarce moves the feathers that sprout all over his 
sluggish arms. He has become a loathsome bird, 
prophet of woe, the slothful screech-owl, a bird of 
evil omen to men. 

" ' He indeed can seem to have merited his punish- 
ment because of his tattling tongue. But, daughters 
of Acheloiis, why have you the feathers and feet of 
birds, though you still have maidens' features .'' Is 
it because, when Proserpina was gathering the spring 
flowers, you were among the number of her com- 
panions, ye Sirens, skilled in song ? After you had 
sought in vain for her through all the lands, that the 
sea also might know your search, you prayed that 
you might float on beating wings above the w^aves : 
you found the gods ready, and suddenly vou saw 
your limbs covered with golden plumage. But. that 
you might not lose your tuneful voices, so soothing 
to the ear, and that rich dower of song, maiden 
features and human voice remained. 

" ' But now Jove, holding the balance between his 
brother and his grieving sister, divides the revolving 
year into two equal parts. Now the goddess, the 
common divinity of two realms, spends half the 
mouths with her mother and with her husband, half. 
Straightway the bearing of her heart and face is 
changed. For she who but lately even to Dis seemed 
sad, now wears a joyful countenance; like the sun 
which, long concealed behind dark and misty clouds, 
disperses the clouds and reveals his face. 



" ' Exigit alma Ceres nata secura recepta, 
quae tibi causa fugae, cur sis, Arethusa, sacer fons. 
conticuere undae quariim dea sustulit alto 
fonte caput viridesque manu siccata capillos 575 

fluminis Elei veteres narravit amoves. 
" pars ego nympharum, quae sunt in Achaide," dixit 
"una fui,nec me studiosius altera saltus 
legit nee posuit studiosius altera casses. 
sed qiiamvis formae numquam mihi fama pctita est, 
quamvis fortis eram, formosae nomen habebam, 581 
nee mea me facies nimium laudata iuvabat, 
quaque aliae gaudere solent, ego rustica dote 
corporis erubui criraenque placere putavi. 
lassa revertebar (meinini) Styraphalide silva ; 585 
aestus erat, magnumque labor geminaverat aestum : 
invenio sine vertice aquas, sine murmure euntes, 
perspicuas ad humum, per quas numerabilis alte 
calculus omnis erat, quas tu vix ire putares. 
cana salicta dabant nutritaque populus unda 5^Q 

sponte sua natas ripis declivibus umbras, 
accessi primumque pedis vestigia tinxi, 
poplite deinde tenus ; neque eo contenta, recingor 
mollifique inpono salici velamina curvae 
nudaque mergor aquis. quas dum ferioque trahoque 
mille modis labens excussaque bracchia iacto, 596 
nescio quod medio sensi sub gurgite murmur 
territaque insisto propioris margine ripae. 
'quo pioperas, Arethusa?' suis Alpheus ab undis, 
'quo properas?' iterum rauco mihi dixerat ore. 6"00 


" ' Now kindly Ceres, happy in the recovery of her 
daughter, asks of you, Arethusa, why you fled, why 
yon are now a sacred s[)ring. The waters fall silent 
while their goddess lifts her head from her deep 
^pring, and dries iier green locks with her hands, 
and tells the old story of the Elean river's love. " I 
used to be one of the nymphs," she says, " who 
iiave their dwelling in Achaia, and no other was 
iiore eager in scouring the glades, or in setting the 
lunting-nets. But although 1 never sought the fame 
jf beauty, althou^^h 1 was brave, I had the name of 
aeautirul. Nor did my beauty, all too often praised, 
Tive me any joy ; and my dower of charming form, 
n which other maids rejoice, made me blush like a 
country girl, and I deemed it wrong to please. 
Wearied with the chase, I was returning, I remem- 
ber, from the Stymphalian wood ; the heat was great 
md my toil had made it double. I came upon a 
stream flowing witliout eddy, and without sound, 
irystal-clear to the bottom, in whose depths you 
might count every pebble, waters which you would 
scarcely think to be moving. Silvery willows and 
poplars fed by the water gave natural shade to the 
boft-sloping banks. I came to the water's edge and 
fii'st dipped my feet, then in I went up to the knees : 
not satisfied with this, 1 removed my robes, and 
banging the soft garments on a drooping willow, 
aaked I plunged into the wattrs. And while I beat 
them, drawing them and gliding in a thousand turns 
ind tossing my arms, I thought I heard a kind ot 
murmur deep in the ))ool. In terror I leaped on the 
[learer bank. Then Alpheus called from his waters : 
 Whither in haste, Arethusa ? Whither in such 
baste?' Twice in his hoarse voice he called to me. 
As I was, without my robes, I fled; for my robes were 




sicut eram fugio sine vestibus (altera vestes 

ripa nieas habuit) : tanto magis instat et ardet, 

et quia nuda fui, sum visa paratior illi. 

sic ego currebam, sic me ferus ille premebat,  

ut fugere accijiitrem penna trepidante columbae, 605 

ut solet accipiter trepidas urguere colunibas. 

usque sub Orchouienon Psophidaque Cyllenenque 

Maenaliosque sinus gelidumque Erymanthon et 

currere sustinui, nee me velocior ille ; 
sed tolerare diu cursus ego viribus inpar 6lO 

non poteram, longi patiens erat ille laboris. 
per tamen et campos, per opertos arbore montes, 
saxa quoque et rupes et, qua via nulla^ cucurri. 
sol erat a tergo : vidi praecetiere longam 
ante pedes umbram, nisi si timor ilia videbat; 6l5 
sed certe sonitusque pedum terrebat et ingens 
crinales vittas adHabat anhelitus oris, 
fessa labore fugae ' fer opem, deprendimur,' inquam 
'armigerae, Dictynna/ tuae, cui saepe dedisti 
ferre tuos arcus inclusaque tela pharetra ! ' 620 

mota dea est spissisque ferens e nubibus unam 
me super iniecit : lustrat caligine tectam 
amnis et ignarus circum cava nubila quaerit 
bisque locum, quo me dea texerat, inscius ambit 
et bis ' io Arelhusa ' vocavit, ' io Arethusa ! ' 625 

quid mihi tunc animi miserae fuit ? anne quod agnae 

si qua lupos audit circum stabula alti frementes, 
aut lepori, qui vepre latens liostilia cernit 
ora canum nullosque audet dare corpore motus ? 
non tamen abscedit ; neque enim vestigia cernit 630 
longius ulla pedum : servat nubemque locumque. 
occupat obsessos sudor mihi frigidus artus, 

* Dictj una. Heinsiin : VinDa MS3, 


on the other bank. So much the more he pressed on 
and Imrned with love ; naked I seemed readier for 
his taking. So did I flee and so did he hotly press 
after me, as doves on fluttering pinions flee the havi'k, 
as the hawk pursues the fi'ightened doves. Even past 
Orchomenus, past Psophis and Cyllene, past the combs 
of Maenalus, chill Erymanthus and Elis, I kept my 
flight; nor was he swifter of foot than I. But I, 
being ill-matched in strength, could not long keep 
up my speed, while he could sustain a long pursuit. 
Yet through level plains, over mountains covered 
with trees, over rocks also and cliffs, and where there 
was no way at all, I ran. The sun was at ray back. 
1 saw my pursuer's long shadow stretching out ahead 
of me — unless it was fear that saw it — but surely I 
heard the terrifying sound of feet, and his deep-pant- 
ing breath fanned my hair. Then, forspent with the 
toil of flight, I cried aloud; 'O help me or I am 
caught, help thy armour-bearer, goddess of the nets, 
to whom so often thou hast given thy bow to bear 
and thy quiver, with all its arrows ! ' The goddess 
heard, and threw an impenetrable cloud of mist about 
me. The river-god circled around me, wrapped in the 
darkness, and at fault quested about the hollow mist. 
And twice he went round the place where the god- 
dess had hidden me, unknowing, and twice he called, 
' Arethusa ! O Arethusa ! ' How did I feel then, 
poor wretch ! Was I not as the lamb, when it hears 
the wolves howling around the fold.-* or the hare 
which, hiding in the brambles, sees the dogs' deadly 
muzzles and dares not make the slightest motion ? 
But he went not far away, for he saw no traces of 
my feet further on ; he watched the cloud and the 
place. Cold sweat poured down my beleaguered limbs 
and the dark di-ops rained down from my whole body. 



caeruleaeque cadunt toto de corpore guttae, 
quaque pedem movi, manat lacus, eque capillis 
ros cadit, et citius, qiiara nunc tibi facta renarro, 635 
in latices mutor. sed enim cognoscit amatas 
amnis aquas positoque viri, quod sumpserat, ore 
vertitur in proprias, ut se mihi misceat, undas. 
Delia rupit humum, caecisque ego niersa cavernis 
advehor Ortygiam, quae me cognomine divae 640 
grata meae superas eduxit prima sub auras." 

" * Hac Arethusa tenus ; geminos dea fertilis angues 
curribus admovit frenisque coercuit era 
et medium caeli terraeque per aera vecta est 
atque levem currum Tritonida misit in urbem 645 
Triptolemo partimque rudi data seminaiussit 
spargere humo, partim post tempora longa recultae. 
iam super Europen sublimis et Asida terram 
vectus erat iuvenis : Scythieas advertitur eras, 
rex ibi Lyncus erat ; regis subit ille penates. 650 
qua veniat, causamque viae nomenque rogatus 
et patriam, "patria est clarae mihi " dixit " Athenae; 
Triptolemusnomen; veni nee puppe per undas, 
nee pede per terras : patuit mihi pervius aether, 
dona fero Cereris, latos quae sparsa per agros 655 
frugiferas messes alimentaque mitia reddant." 
barbarus invidit tantique ut muneris auctor 
ipse sit, hospitio recipit somnoque gravatum 
adgreditur ferro: conantem figere pectus 


Wherever I put my foot a pool trickled out, and from 
my hair fell the drops, and sooner than I can now 
tell the tale I was changed to a stream of water. 
But sure enough he recognized in the waters the 
maid he loved ; and laying aside the form of a man 
which he had assumed, he changed back to his own 
watery shape to mingle with me. My Delian goddess 
cleft the earth, and I, plunging down into the 
dark depths, was borne hither to Ortygia, which I 
love because it bears my goddess' name, and this first 
received me to the upper air." 

" ' With this, Arethusa's tale was done. Then the 
goddess of fertility yoked her two dragons to her car, 
curbing their mouths with the bit, and rode away 
through the air midway between heaven and earth, 
until she came at last to Pallas city Here she gave 
her fleet car to Triptolemus, and bade him scatter the 
seeds of grain she gave, part in the unfilled earth and 
part in fields that had long lain fallow. And now 
higii over Europe and the land of Asia theyoutn held 
his course and came to Scythia, where Lyncus ruled 
as king. He entered the royal palace. The king 
asked him how he came and why, what was his name 
and country : he said : " My country is far-famed 
Athens ; Triptolemus, my name. 1 came neither by 
ship over the sea, nor on foot by land ; the air opened 
a path for me. I bring the gifts of Ceres, which, 
if you sprinkle them over your wide fields, will 
give a fruitful harvest and food not wild." The 
barbaric king heard with envy. And, that he 
himself might be the giver of so great a boon, 
he received his guest with hospitality, and when he 
was lieavy with sleep, he attacked him with the 
sword. Him, in the very act oi piercing the stranger's 
breast, Ceres transformed into a lynx ; and back 



lynca Ceres fecit rursusque per aera iussit 660 

Mopsopium iuvenem sacros agitare iugales.* 
" Finierat dictos e nobis maxima cantus ; 
at nymphae vicisse deas Heliconacolentes 
concordi dixere sono : convicia victae ' 

cum iacerent, ' quoniam ' dixi ' certamine vobis 665 
supplieium meruisse parum est maledictaque culpae 
additis et non est patientia libera nobis, 
ibimus in poenas et, qua vocat ira, sequemur.' 
rident Emathides spernuntque minacia verba, 
conantesque loqui et magno clamore protervas 670 
intentare manus pennas exire per ungues 
adspexere suos, operiri bracchia plumis, 
alteraque alterius rigido concrescere rostro 
ora videt volucresque novas accedere silvis ; 
dumque volunt plangi, per bracchia mota levatae 675 
acre pendebant, nemorum convicia, picae. 
Nunc quoque in alitibus facundia prisca remansit 
raucaque garrulitas studiumque inmane loquendi," 



through the air she bade the Athenian drive her 
sacred team.' 

"Our eldest sister here ended the song I have just 
rehearsed ; then the nymphs with one voice agreed 
tliat the goddesses of Helicon had w^on. When the 
conquered sisters retorted with reviling, I made 
answer : ' Since it was not enough that you have 
earned punishment by your challenge and you add 
hisults to your offence, and since our patience is not 
without end, we shall proceed to punishment and 
indulge our resentment.' The Pierides mocked, and 
scorned her threatening words. But as they tried to 
speak, and with loud outcries brandished their hands 
in saucy gestures, they saw feathers sprouting on their 
fingers, and plumage covering their arms ; each saw 
another's face stiffening into a hard beak, and new 
forms of birds added to the woods. And while they 
strove to beat their breasts, uplifted by their flapping 
arms, they hung in the air, magpies, the scandal 
of the woods. Even now in their feathered form 
their old-time gift of speech remains, their hoarse 
garrulity, their boundless passion for talk." 




Praebverat dictis Tritonia talibus aures 

caiminaque Aonidum iustamque probaverat iram ; 

turn secum : " laudare parum est, lau demur et ipsae 

numina nee sperni sine poena nostra sinamus." 

Maeoniaeque animum fatis intendit Arachnes, 5 

quam sibi lanificae non cedere laudibus artis 

audierat. non ilia loco nee origine gentis 

clara, sed arte fuit : pater huic Colophonius Idmon 

Phocaieo bibulas tinguebat murice lanas ; 

occiderat mater, sed et haec de plebe suoque 10 

aequa viro fuerat; Lydas tamen ilia per urbes 

quaesierat studio nomen memorabile, quamvis 

orta domo parva parvis habitabat Hypaepis. 

huius ut adspicerent opus admirabile, saepe 

deseruere sui nymphae vineta Timoli, 1 5 

deseruere suas nymphae Pactolides undas. 

nee factas solum vestes, spectare iuvabat 

turn quoque, cum fierent : tantus decor adfuit arti, 

sive rudem primos lanam glomerabat in orbes, 

seu digitis subigebat opus repetitaque longo 20 

vellera moUibat nebulas aequantia tractu, 

sive levi teretem versabat pollice fusum, 



Tritonia had listened to this tale, and had approved 
of the muses' song and their just resentment. And 
tJien to herself she said : " To praise is not enough ; 
let me be praised myself and not allow my divinity 
to be scouted without punishment." So saying, she 
turned her mind to the iate of Maeonian Arachne, 
who she had heard would not yield to her the palm 
in the art of spinning and weaving wool. Neither 
for place of birth nor birth itself had the girl fame, 
butonly for her skill. Her father, Idmon of Coloi^hon, 
used to dye the absorbent wool for her with Phocaean 
purple. Her mother was now dead ; but she was 
low-born herself, and had a husband of the same 
degree. Nevertheless, the girl, Arachne, had gained 
fame for her skill throughout the i.ydian towns, 
although she herself had sprung from a humble home 
and dwelt in the hamlet of Hypaepa. Often, to watch 
her wondrous skill, the nymphs would leave their 
own vineyards on Timolus' slopes, and the water- 
nymphs of Pactolus would leave their waters. And 
'twas a pleasure not alone to see her finished work, 
but to watch her as she worked ; so graceful and deft 
was she. Whether she was winding the rough yarn 
into a new ball, or shaping the stuff with her fingers, 
reaching back to the distaff for more wool, fleecy as a 
cloud, to draw into long soft threads, or giving a twist 
with practised thumb to the graceful spindle, or 



seu pingebat acu ; scires a Pallade doctam. 
quod tamen ipsa negat tantaque offensa magistra 
"certet" ait " mecum : nihil est, quod victa re- 
cusem ! " "25 

Pallas anum simulat : falsosque in tempora canos 
addit et infirmos baculo quoque sustinet artus. 
turn sic orsa loqui " non omnia grandior aetas, 
quae fugiamus, habet : seris venit usus ab annis. 
consilium ne sperne meum : tibi fama petatur 30 
inter mortales faciendae maxima lanae ; 
cede deae veniamque tuis, temeraria, dictis 
supplice voce roga : veniam dabit ilia roganti." 
adspicit banc torvis inceptaque fila relinquit 
vixque manus retinens confessaque vultibus iram 35 i 
talibus obscuram resecuta est Pallada dictis : 
" mentis inops longaque venis confecta senecta, 
et nimium vixisse diu nocet. audiat istas, 
si qua tibi nurus est, si qua est tibi filia, voces; 
consilii satis est in me mihi, neve monendo 40* 

profecisse putes, eadem est sententia nobis, 
cur non ipsa venit ? cur haec certamina vitat ? " 
tum dea " venit ! " ait formamque removit anilem 
Palladaque exhibuit : venerantur numina nymphae 
Mygdonidesque nurus ; sola est non territa virgo, 45 
sed tamen exsiluit/ subitusque invita notavit 
ora rubor rursusque evanuit, ut solet aer 
purpureus fieri, cum primum Aurora movelur, 
et breve post tempus candescere solis ab ortu. 

' 'Extiiluit Merkel : eruhnit MSS. 


embroidering with her needle : you could know that 
Pallas had taught her. Yet she denied it, and, 
offended at the suggestion of a teacher ever so great, 
she said : " Let her but strive with me ; and if I lose 
there is nothing which I would not forfeit." 

Then Pallas assumed the form of an old woman, 
put false locks of grey upon her head, took a staff in 
her hand to sustain her tottering limbs, and thus she 
besran : " Old aare has some things at least that are 
not to be despised ; experience comes with riper 
years. Do not scorn my advice : seek all the fame 
you will among mortal men for handling wool ; but 
yield place to the goddess, and with humble prayer 
beg her jjardon for your words, reckless girl. She 
will grant you pardon if you ask it." But she re- 
garded the old woman with sullen eyes, dropped the 
threads she was working, and, scarce holding her 
hand from violence, with open anger in her face she 
answered the disguised Pallas : " Doting in mind, 
you come to me, and spent with old age ; and it is 
too long life that is your bane. Go, talk to your 
daiigiiter-in-law, or to your daughter, if such you 
have. I am quite able to advise myself. To show 
you that you have done no good by your advice, we 
are both of the same opinion. Why does not your 
goddess come herself .'' Why does she avoid a contest 
with me.''" Then the goddess exclaimed : "She has 
come ! " and throwing aside her old woman's disguise, 
she revealed Pallas. The nymphs worshipped her 
godhead, and the Mygdonian women ; Arachne alone 
remained unafraid, though she did start up and a 
sudden flush marked her unwilling cheeks and again 
faded ; as when the sky grows crimson when the 
dawn first appears, and after a little while when the 
sun is up it pales again. Still she persists in her 



perstat in incepto stolidaeque cupidine palmae 50 
in sua fata ruit; neque enim love nata recusal 
nee monet ulterius nee iam certamina diflert. 
.baud mora, constitviunt diversis partibus anibae 
at gracili geminas intendunt staniine telas : 
tela iugo vincta est, stamen secernit harundo, 55 

inseritur medium radiis subtemen acutis, 
quod digiti expediunt, atque inter stamina ductum 
percusso feriunt insecti pectine dentes. 
utraqne festinant cinctaeque ad pectora vestes 
bracchia docta movent, studio fallente laborem. 60 
illic et Tyrium quae purpura sensit aenum 
texitur et tenues parvi discriminis umbrae ; 
qualis ab imbre solent peroussis solibus arcus 
inficere ingenti longum curvamine caelum ; 
in quo diversi niteant cum mille colores, 65 

transitus ipse tamen spectantia lumina fallit: 
usque adeo, quod tangit, idem est ; tamen ultima 

illic et lentum filis inmittitur aurum 
et vetus in tela deducitur argumentum. 

Cecropia Pallas scopulum Mavortis in area 70 

pingit et antiquam de terrae nomine litem. 
bis sex caelestes medio love sedibus altis 
augusta gravitate sedent ; sua quemque deorum 
inscribit facies : lovis est regalis imago ; 
stare deum pelagi longoque ferire tridente 75 

aspera saxa facit, medioque e vulnere saxi 
exsiluisse fretum, quo pignore vindicet urbem; 
at sibi dat clipeum, dat acutae cuspidis hastam, 


challenge, and stupidly confident and eager for 
victory, she rushes on her fate. For Jove's daughter 
refuses not, nor again warns her or puts off the 
contest any longer. They both set up the looms in 
different places without delay and they stretch the 
fine warp upon them. The web is bound upon the 
beam, the reed separates the threads of the warp, 
the woof is threaded through them by the sharp 
shuttles which their busy fingers ply, and when shot 
through the threads of the warp, the notched teeth 
of the hammering slay beat it into place. They speed 
on the Avork with their mantles close girt about their 
breasts and move back and forth their well-trained 
hands, their eager zeal beguiling their toil. There 
are inwoven the purple threads dyed in Tyrian kettles, 
and lighter colours insensibly shading off from these. 
As when after a storm of rain the sun'a rays strike 
through, and a rainbow, with its huge curve, stains 
the wide sky, though a thousand different colours 
shine in it, the eye cannot detect the change from 
each one to the next ; so like appear the adjacent 
colours, but the extremes are plainly different. There, 
too, they weave in pliant threads of gold, and trace 
in the weft some ancient tale. 

Pallas pictures the hill of Mars on the citadel of 
Cecrops ^ and that old dispute over the naming of the 
land. There sit twelve heavenly gods on lofty 
thrones in awful majesty, Jove in their midst ; each 
god she pictures with his own familiar features ; 
Jove's is a royal figure. There stands the god of 
ocean, and with his long trident smites the rugged 
cliff, and from the cleft rock sea-water leaps forth ; 
a token to claim the city for his own. To herself 

- Ovid here confuses the Acropolis with the Areopagus. Sea 
Herod., viri. 56; Apollodnrus, iii. 14, 1. 



dat galeam capiti, defenditur aegide pectus, 

percussamque sua simulat de cuspide terrain 80 

edere cum bacis fetum canentis olivae ; 

inirarique deos : operis Victoria finis. 

ut tamen exemplis intellegat aemula laudis, 

quod pretium speret pro tam furialilnis ausis 

quattuor in partes certamina quattuor additj 85 

clara colore suo, brevibus distincta sigillis : 

Threiciam Rhodopen liabet angulus unus et Haemom, 

nunc gelidos montes, mortalia corpora quomlam, 

nomina summorum sibi qui tribuere deorum ; 

altera Pygmaeae fatum miserabile matris 90 

pars habet : lianc luno victam certamine iussit 

esse gruem populisque suis indicere belluin ; 

pinxit et Antigonen, ausam contendere quondam 

cuui magni consorte lovis, quam regia luno 

in volucrem vertit, nee profuit Ilion illi 95 

Laomedonve pater, sumptis quin Candida pennis 

ipsa sibi plaudat crepitante ciconia rostro ; 

qui superest solus, Cinyran habet angulus orbum ; 

isque gradus templi, natarum membra suarum, 

amplectcns saxoque iacens lacrimare videtur. 100 

circuit extremas oleis pacalibus oras, 

is modus est operisque sua facit arbore finem. 

Maeonis elusam designat imagine tauri 
Europam : verum taurum, freta vera putares; 
ipsa videbatur terras spectare relictas 105 

et comites clamare suas tactumque vereri 
adsilientis aquae timidasque reducere plantas. 
fecit et Asterien aquila luctante teneri, 


the goddess gives a shield and a sharp-pointed spear^ 
and a hehnet for her head ; the aegis guards her 
breast ; and from the earth smitten by her spear's 
point upsprings a pale-green olive-tree hanging 
tlilck with fruit ; and the gods look on in wonder. 
Victory crowns her work. Then, that her rival 
may know by pictured warnings what reward she may 
expect for her mad darings siie weaves in the four 
corners of the web four scenes of contest, each clear 
with its own colours and in miniature design. One 
corner shows Thracian Rhodi j)e and Haemus, now 
huge, bleak mountains, but once audacious mortals 
who dared assume the names of the most high gods. 
A second corner shows the wretched fate of the 
Pygmaean queen, whom Juno conquered in a strife, 
then changed into a crane, and bade her war upon 
those whom once she ruled. Again she pictures 
how Antigone once dared to set herself against the 
consort of mighty Jove, and how Queen Juno changed 
her into a bird ; Ilium availed her nothing, nor 
Laomcdon, her father ; nay, she is clothed in white 
feathers, and claps her rattling bill, a stork. The 
remaining corner shows Cinyras bereft of his 
daughters; there, embracing the marble temple- 
steps, once their limbs, he lies on the stone, and seems 
to weep. The goddess then wove around her work a 
border of j)edceful olive-wreath. This was the end ; 
and so, with her own tree, her task was done. 

Arachne pictures Europa cheated by the disguise 
of the bull : a real bull and real waves you would 
think them. The maid seems to be looking back 
upon the land she has left, calling on her companions, 
and, fearful of the touch of the leaping waves, to be 
drawing back her timid feet. She wrought Asterie, 
held by the struggling eagle ; she wrought Leda, 



fecit olorinis Ledam recubare sub alis ; 

addidit, ut satjri celatus imagine pulchram 110 

Iiippiter inplerit gemino Nycteida fetu, 

Amphitryon fuerit, cum te, TirjTithia, cepit, 

aureus ut Danaen, Asopida luserit ignis, 

Mnemosynen pastor, varius Deoida serpens. 

te quoque mutatum torvo, Neptune, iuvenco 115 

virgine in Aeolia posuit ; tu visus Enipeus 

gignis Aloidas, aries Bisaltida fallis, 

et te flava comas frugum mitissima mater 

sensit equum, sensit volucrem crinita colubris 

mater equi volucris, sensit delphina Melantho : 120 

omnibus his faciemque suam faciemque locorum 

reddidit, est illic agrestis imagine Phoebus, 

utque modo accipitris pennas, modo terga leonis 

gesserit, ut pastor Macareida luserit Issen, 

Liber ut Evigonen falsa deceperit uva, 12^ 

ut Saturn us equo geminum Chirona crearit. 

ultima pars telae, tenui circumdata limbo, 

nexilibus flores hederis habet intertextos. 

Non illud Pallas, non illud carpere Livor 
possit opus : doluit successu flava virago 180 

et rupit pictas, caelestia crimina, vestes, 
utque Cytoriaco radium de monte tenebat, 
ter quater Idmoniae frontem percussit Arachnes. 
non tulit infelix laqueoque animosa ligavit 
guttura : pendentem Pallas miserata levavit 135 

atque ita " vive quidem, pende tamen, inproba " dixit, 
♦' lexque eadem poenae, ne sis secura futuri, 
dicta tuo generi serisque nepotibus esto ! " 



beneath the swan's whisks. She added how, in a satyr's 
image hidden, Jove filled lovely Antiope with twin 
otl'spiing ; how he was Amphitryon when he cheated 
thee, Alcmena ; how in a golden shower he tricked 
Danae ; Aegina, as a flame ; Mnemosyne, as a 
shepherd ; Deo's daughter, as a spotted snake. 
Thee also, Nej)tune, she jiictured, changed to a grim 
bull with the Aeolian maiden ; now as Enipeus thou 
dost beget the Aloidae, as a ram deceivedst Bisaltis. 
The golden-haired mother of corn, most gentle, 
knew thee as a horse ; the snake-haired mother of 
the winged horse knew thee as a winged bird ; 
Melantho knew thee as a dolphin. To all these 
Araclme gave their own shapes and appropriate 
surroundings. Here is Phoebus like a countryman; 
and she shows how he wore now a hawk's feathers, 
now a lion's skin ; how as a shepherd he tricked 
Macareus' daughter, Isse ; how Bacchus deceived 
Erigone with the false bunch of grapes ; how Saturn 
in a horse's shape begot the centaur, Chiron. The 
edge of the web with its narrow border is filled with 
flowers and clinging ivy intertwined. 

Not Pallas, nor Envy himself, could find a flaw in 
that work. The golden-haired goddess was in- 
dignant at her success, and rent tlie embroidered 
■web with its heavenly crimes ; and, as she held a 
shuttle of Cytorian boxwood, thrice and again she 
struck Idmonian Arachne's head. The wretched 
girl could not endure it, and put a noose about her 
bold neck. As she hung, Pallas lifted her in pity, 
and said : " Live on, indeed, wicked girl, but hang 
thou still ; and let this same doom of punishment 
(that thou mayst fear for future times as well) be 
declared upon thy race, even to remote posterity." 
So saying, as she turned to go she sprinkled her with 



post ea discedens sueis Hecateidos herbae 

sparsit : et extemplo tristi medicamiue tactae 140 

defluxere comae, cum quis et naris et aures, 

fitque caput minimum ; toto quoque corpore parva est : 

in latere exiles digiti pro cruribus haerent, 

cetera venter habet, de quo tamen ilia remittit 

stamen et exercet aranea telas. 145 

Lj'dia tota fremit, Phrygiaeque per oppida facti 
rumor it et magnum sei'monibus occupat orbem. 
ante suos Niobe thalamos cognoverat illam, 
tum cum Maeoniam virgo Sipylumque colebat ; 
nee tamen admonita est poena popularis Arachnes, 1 50 
cedere caelitibus veibisque minoribus uti. 
multa dabaut animos ; sed enim nee coniugis artes 
nee genus amborum magnique potentia regni 
sic placuere illi, quamvis ea cuncta placerent, 
ut sua progenies ; et felicisbima matrum 155 

dicta foi'et Niobe, si non sibi visa fuisset. 
nam sata Tiresia venturi praescia Manto 
per medias fuerat divino concita motu 
vaticinata vias : " Ismenides, ite frequentes 
et date Latonae Latonigenisque duobus 160 

cum prece tura pia lauroque innectite crinem : 
ore meo Latona iubet." paretur, et omnes 
Thebaides iussis sua tempora frondibus ornant 
turaque dant Sanctis et verba precantia flammis. 

Ecce venit comitum Niobe celeberrima turba l65 
vestibus intexto Phrygiis spectabilis auro 
et, quantum ira sinit, formosa movensque decoro 
cum capite inmissos umerum per utrumque capillos. 



the juices of tiecate's herb ; and forthwith her hair, 
touched by the poison, fell off, and with it both nose 
and ears ; and the head shrank up ; her whole body 
also was small ; the slender fingers clung to her side 
as legs ; the rest was belly. Still from this she ever 
spins a thread ; and now, as a spider, she exercises^ 
her old-time weaver-art. 

All Lydia is in a tumult ; the story spreads 
throughout the towns of Phrygia and fills the whole 
world with talk. Now Niobe, before her marriage, 
had known Arachne, when, as a girl, she dwelt in 
Maeonia, near Mount Sipylus. And yet she did not 
take warning by her countrywoman's fate to give 
place to the gods and speak tiiem reverently. Many 
things gave her pride ; but in truth neither her hus- 
band's art nor the high birth of botli and their royal 
power and state so pleased her, although all those 
did please, as her children did. And Niobe would 
have been called most blessed of mothers, had she 
not seemed so to herself. For Manto, daughter of 
Tiresias, whose eyes could see what was to come, 
had fared through the streets of Thebes inspired by 
divine impulse, and proclaiming to all she met : 
"Women of Thebes, go throng Latona's temple, and 
ffive to her and to her children twain incense and 
pious prayer, wreathing your hair with laurel. By my 
mouth l.atona speaks." They obe}' ; all the Theban 
women deck their temples with laurel wreaths and 
burn incense in the altar flames, with words of prayer. 

But lo ! comes Niobe, tln-onged about with a 
numerous following, a notable figure in Phrygian 
robes wrought with threads of gold, and beautiful 
as far as anger suffered her to be ; and she tosses 
her shapely head with the hair falling on eitlier 
shoulder. She halts and, drawn up to her full 



constitit, utque oculos circumtulit alta superbos, 

" quis furor auditos" inquit "praeponere visis 170 

caelestes? aut cur colitur Latona per aras, 

numen adhuc sine ture meum est? mihi Tantalus 

cui licuit soli superorum tangere mensas; 
Pleiadum soror est genetrix mea ; maximus Atlas 
est avus, aetherium qui fert cervicibus axem ; 175 
luppiter alter avus ; socero quoque glorior illo. 
me gentes metuunt Phrygiae, me regia Cadmi 
sub domina est, fidibusque mei commissa mariti 
moenia cum populis a meque viroque reguntur. 
in quamcumque domus advert! lumina partem, 180 
inmensae spectantur opes ; accedit eodem 
digna dea fades ; hue natas adice septem 
et totidem iuvenes et mox generosque nurusque ! 
quaerite nunc, habeat quam nostra superbia causam, 
nescio quoque audete satam Titanida Coeo 185 

Latonam praeferre mihi, cui maxima quondam 
exiguam sedem pariturae terra negavit ! 
nee caelo nee hurao nee aquis dea vestra reeepta est: 
exsul erat nmndi, donee miserata vagantem 
Miospita tu terris erras, ego' dixit *in undis ' 190 
instabilemque locum Delos dedit. ilia duorum 
facta parens : uteri pars haec est septima nostri. 
sum felix (quis enim neget hoe ?) felixque manebo 
(hoc quoque quis dubitet ?) : tutam me copia fecit, 
maior sum quam cui possit Fortuna nocere, 195 

multaque ut eripiat, multo mihi plura relinquet. 



lei.^ht, casts her haughty eyes around and cries : 
' What madness this, to prefer gods whom you have 
mly heard of to those whom you have seen ? Or 
vhy is Latona worshipped at these altars, while my 
livinity still waits for incense? I have Tantalus 
;o my father, the only mortal ever allowed to touch 
;he table of the gods ; my mother is a sister of the 
Pleiades ; most mighty Atlas is one grandfather, 
A'ho supports the vault of heaven on his shoulders; 
ny other grandsire is Jove himself, and I boast him 
IS my father-in-law as well. The Phrygian nations 
liold me in reverent fear. I am queen of Cadmus' 
royal house, and the walls of Thebes, erected by the 
magic of my husband's lyre, togetiier with its people, 
acknowledffe me and him as their rulers. Wherever 
I turn my eyes in the palace I see great stores of 
wealth. Besides, I have beauty worthy of a goddess ; 
add to all this that I have seven daughters and as 
many sons, and soon shall have sons- and daughters- 
in-law. Ask now what cai:se I have for pride ; and 
then presume to prefer to me the Titaness, Latona, 
daughter of Coeus, whoever he may be — Latona, to 
whom the broad earth once refused a tiny spot for 
bringing forth her children. Neither heaven nor 
earth nor sea was open for this goddess of yours ; she 
was outlawed from the universe, until Delos, pitying 
the wanderer, said to her : ' You are a vagrant on 
the land ; I, on the sea,' and gave her a place that 
stood never still. And there she bore two children, 
the seventh part only of my offspring. Surely I am 
happy. Who can deny it ? And happy I shall remain. 
This also who can doubt ? My very abundance has 
made me safe. I am too great for P'ortune to harm ; 
tnough she should take many from me, still many 
more will she leave to me. My blessings have 



excessere metum mea iain bona, fingite demi 
huic aliquid populo natoium posse nieorum : 
non tamen ad mimeruni redigar spoliata duorum, 
Latonae turbam, qua quantum distat ab orba ? 200 
ite — sat est — propere sacris laurumque capillis 
ponite ! " — deponunt et sacra infecta relinqiiunt, 
quodque licet, tacito venerantur murmure iiumen. 

Indignata dea est siimmoqiie in vertice C3'ntlii 
talibus est dictis gemina cum prole loouta : 205 

" en ego vestra parens, vobis animosa creatis, 
et nisi lunoni nulli cessura dearum, 
an dea sim, dubitor perqiie omnia saecula ciiltis 
arceor, o nati, nisi vos succurritis, aris. 
nee dolor hie solus ; diro convicia facto 210 

Tantalis adiecit vosque est postponere natis 
ansa suis et me, quod in ipsam reccidat, orbam 
dixit et exhibuit linguam scelerata paternam." 
adiectura preces erat his Latona relatis : 
" desine ! " Phoebus ait, " poenae mora longa querella 
est!" 215 

dixit idem Phoebe, celerique per aera lapsu 
contigerant tecti Cadmeida nubibus arcem. 

Planus erat lateque patens prope moenia campus, 
adsiduis pulsatus equis, ubi turba rotarum 
duraque mollierat subiectas ungula glaebas. 220 

pars ibi de septem genitis Amphione fortes 
conscendunt in equos Tyrioque rubentia suco 
terga premunt auroque graves moderantur habenas. 
e quibus Ismenus, qui matri sarcina quondam 



banished fear. Even suppose that some part of this 
tribe of children could be taken from me, not even 
so despoiled would 1 be reduced to the number 
of two, Latona's throng, with which how far is she 
from childlessness ? Away with you, hasteii, you 
have sacrificed enouijh, and take off those laurels 
from your hair." They take off the wreaths and 
leave the sacrifice unfinished ; but, as they may, they 
still worship the goddess with unspoken words. 

'Ihe goddess was angry, and on the top of Cynthus 
she thus addressed Apollo and Diana : " Lo, I, your 
mother, proud of your birth and willing to yield 
place to no goddess save Juno oidy, I have had my 
divinity called in question ; and through all coming 
ages I shall be denied worship at the altar, unless 
you, my children, come to my aid. Nor is this my 
only cause for resentment. This daughter of Tan- 
talus has added ijisult to her injuries : she has dared 
to prefer her own children to you, and has called me 
childless — may that fall on her head ! — and by her 
impious speech has displayed her father's unbridled 
tongue." To this story ot her wrongs Latona would 
have added prayers ; but here Phoebus cried : " Have 
done ! a long complaint is but delay of punishment ! " 
Phoebe said the same. 1 hen, swiftly gliding through 
the air, they alighted on Cadmus' citadel, covered 
in clouds. 

There was a broad and level plain near the walls, 
beaten by the constant tread of horses, where a host 
of wheels and the hard hoof had levelled the clods 
beneath them. There some of Amphion's seven 
sons mounted their strong horses, sitting firm on 
their backs bright with Tyrian purple, and guided 
them with rich gold-mounted bridles. While one of 
these, Ismenus, who was his mother's first-born son, 



prima suae fuerat, dum certum flectit in orbem 225 

quadripedis cursus spumantiaque ora coeicet, 

" ei mihi ! " conclamat medioque in pectoie fixa 

tela gerit frenisque manu moriente remissis 

in latus a dextro paullatim defluit armo. 

proximus audito sonitu per inane pharetrae 230 

frena dabat Sipylus, veluti cum praescius imbris 

nube fugit visa pendentiaque undique rector 

carbasa deducit, ne qua levis effluat aura : 

frena taraen dantem non evitabile telum 

consequitur, summaque tremens cervice sagitta 235 

haesitj et exstabat nudum de gutture ferrum ; 

ille, ut erat, pronus, per crura admissa iubasque 

volvitur et calido tellurern sanguine foedat. 

Phaedimus infelix et aviti nominis heres 

Tantalus, ut solito finem inposuere lal)orij 240 

transierant ad opus nitidae iuvenale palaestrae ; 

et iam contulerant arto luctantia nexu 

pectora pectoribus ; cum tento concita nervo, 

sicut erant iuncti, traiecit utrumque sagitta. 

ingemuere simul, simul incurvata dolore 245 

membra solo posuere, simul suprema iacentes 

lumina versarunt, animam simul exhalaruut. 

adspicit Alphenor laniataque pectora plangens 

advolat, ut gelidos conplexibus adlevet artus, 

inque pio cadit officio; nam Delius illi 250 

intima fatifero rupit praecordia fei*ro. 

quod simul eductum est, pars et pulmonis in hamis 

eruta cumque anima cruor est efFusus in auras. 

at non intoiisum simplex Damasichthona vulnus 



was guiding his charger's course round the curving 
track and pulling hard on the foaming bit, " Ah 
me!" he cried, and, with an arrow fixed in his 
breast, he dropped the reins from his dying hands 
and slowly sank sidewise down to the earth over his 
horse's right shoulder. Next, hearing through the 
void air the sound of the rattling quiver, Sipylus 
gave full rein ; as when a shipmaster, conscious of 
an approaching storm, flees at the sight of a cloud 
and crowds on all sail that he may catch each pass- 
ing breeze. He gave full rein, and as he gave it 
the arrow that none may escape overtook him, and 
the shaft stuck quivering in his neck ; while the iron 
point showed from his throat in front. He, leaning 
forward, as he was, pitched over the galloping 
horse's mane and legs, and stained the ground with 
his warm blood. Unhappy Phaedimus and Tantalus, 
who bore his grandsire's name, when they had 
finished their wonted task had passed to the youth- 
ful exercise of the shining wrestling-match. And 
now they were straining together, breast to breast, 
in close embrace, when an arrow, sped from the 
drawn bow, pierced them both just as they stood 
clasped together. They groaned together ; together 
they fell writhing in pain to the ground ; together as 
they lay they moved their dying eyes ; together they 
breathed their last. Alphenor saw them die, and 
beating his breast in agony, he ran to lift up their 
cold bodies in his arms ; and in this pious duty he 
fell ; for Apollo pierced him through the midriff 
with death-dealing steel. When this was removed, 
a piece of his lungs was drawn out sticking to the 
barbs, and his life-blood came rushing forth into 
the air. But one wound was not all that pierced 
youthful Damasichthon. He was struck where the 




adficit : ictus erat, qua crus esse incipit et qua 255 
mollia nervosus facit internodia poples. 
dumque manu temptat trahei'e exitiabile telum, 
altera per iugulum pennis tenus acta sagitta est. 
expulit banc sanguis seque eiaculatus in altum 
emicat et longe terebrata jjrosilit aura, 260 

ultimus Ilioneus non profectura precando 
bracchia sustulerat " di " que " o communiter omnes," 
dixerat ignarus, non omnes esse rogandos 
"parcite !" motus erat, cum iam revocabile telum 
non fuit, arcitenens ; minimo tamen occidit ille 265 
vulnere, non alte percusso corde sagitta, 

Fama mali populique dolor lacrimaeque suorum 
tam subitae matrem certam fecere ruinae, 
mirantem potuisse irascentemque, quod ausi 
hoc essent superi, quod tantum iuris haberent ; 270 
nam pater Ampliion ferro per pectus adacto 
finierat moriens pariter cum luce dolorem, 
heu ! quantum haec Niobe Niobe distabat ab ilia, 
quae mode Latois populum submoverat aris 
et mediam tulerat giessus resupina per m-bem 275 
invidiosa suis ; at nunc miseranda vel hosti ! 
corporibus gelidis incumbit et ordine nullo 
oscula dispensat natos suprema per omnes ; 
a quibus ad caelimi liventia bracchia tollens 
" pascere, crudelis, nostro, Latona, dolore, 280 

pascere" ait "satiaque meo tua pectora luctu ! 
corque ferum satia ! " dixit, " per funera septem ' 
efferor : exsulta victrixque inimica triumpha ! 
cur autem victrix ? miserae mihi plura supersunt, 
quam tibi felici ; post tot quoque funera vinco ! " 285 
* Line 282 bracketed by Ehsald. 



lower leg just begins, and where the sinews of tiie 
hough give a soft spot ; and while he was trying to 
tlraw out the fatal shaft with his hand, a second 
arrow was driven clear to the feathers through his 
throat. The blood drove it forth and gushing out 
spurted high in air in a long, slender stream. 
Ilioneus was the last ; stretching out his arms in 
prayer doomed to be vain, he cried : " Oh, spare me, 
all ye gods," not knowing that he need not pray to 
them all. The archer-god was moved to pity, but 
too late to recall his shaft. Still the youth fell 
smitten by a slight wound only, since the arrow did 
not deeply pierce his heart. 

Rumour of the trouble, the people's grief, and the 
tears of her own friends informed the mother of this 
sudden disaster, amazed that it could have happened, 
and angry because the gods had dared so far, that 
they should have such power ; for the father, Am- 
phion, had ah-eady driven a dagger through his heart, 
and so in dying had ended his grief and life together. 
Alas, how different now was this Niobe from that 
Niobe who had but now driven the people from 
Latona's altar, and had walked proudly through the 
city streets, enviable then to her friends, but now 
one for even her enemies to pity. She threw her- 
self upon the cold bodies of her sons, wildly giving 
the last kisses to them all. From them she lifted 
her bruised arms to high heaven and cried : " Feed 
now upon my grief, cruel Latona, feed and glut your 
heart on my sorrow. Yes, glut your bloodthirsty 
heart ! In my seven sons have I suffered sevenfold 
death. Exult, and triumph in your hateful victory. 
But why victory? In my misery I still have more 
than you in your felicity. After so many deaths, 
I triumph still ! " 



Dixerat, et sonuit contento nervus ab arcu^ 
qui praeter Nioben unam conteiruit omnes : 
ilia malo est audax. — stabant cum vestibus atris 
ante toros fratrum demisso crine sorores ; 
e quibus una trahrns haerentia viscere tela 2.Q0 

iiiposito fratri moribunda relanguit ore ; 
altera solari miseram conata parentem 
conticuit subito diiplicataque vulnere caeco est. 
oraque compressit, nisi "postquam spiritus ibat.^ 
haec frustra fugiens coUabitur, ilia sorori 295 

inmoritur ; latet haec, illam trepidare videres. 
sexque datis leto diversaque vulnera passis 
ultima restabat, quam toto corpore mater, 
tota veste tegens " unam minimamque relinque ! 
de multis minimam posco" clamavit " et unam." 300 
dumque rogat, pro qua rogat, occidit : orba resedit 
exanimes inter natos natasque virumque 
deriguitque malis ; nullos movet aura capillos, 
in vultu color est sine sanguine, lumina maestis 
stant inmota genis, nihil est in imagine vivum. 305 
ipsa quoque interius cum duro lingua palato 
congelat, et venae desistunt posse moveri ; 
nee fleet] cervix nee bracchia reddere motus 
nee pes ire potest ; intra quoque viscera saxum est. 
flet tamen et validi circumdata turbine venti 310 

in patriam rapta est : ibi fixa cacumine montis 
liquitur, et lacrimas etiam nunc marmora manant. 

Tum vero cuncti manifestam numinis iram 
femina virque timent eultuque inpensius omnea 

' Line £94 bracketed by Ehwald. 



She spoke, and the taut bowstring twanged, which 
terrified all save Niobe alone ; misery made her bold. 
The sisters were standing about their brothers' biers, 
with loosened hair and robed in black. One of these, 
while drawing out the shaft fixed in a brother's 
vitals, sank down with her face upon him, fainting 
and dying. A second, attempting to console her 
grieving mother, ceased suddenly, and was bent in 
agony by an unseen wound. She closed her lips till 
her dying breath had passed. One fell while trying 
in vain to flee. Another died upon her sister ; one 
hid, and one stood trembling in full view. And 
now six had suffered various wounds and died ; the 
last remained. The mother, covering her with her 
croucliing body and her sheltering robes, cried out : 
" Oh, leave me one, the littlest ! Of all my many 
children, the littlest I beg you spare— just one!" 
And even while she prayed, she for whom she 
prayed fell dead. Now does the childless mother 
sit down amid the lifeless bodies of her sons, her 
daughters, and her husband, in stony grief. Her 
hair stirs not in the breeze ; her face is pale and 
bloodless, and her eyes are fixed and staring in her 
sad face. There is nothing alive in the picture. 
Her very tongue is silent, frozen to her mouth's roof, 
and her veins can move no longer ; her neck cannot 
bend nor her arms move nor her feet go. Within 
also her vitals are stone. But still she weeps ; and, 
caught up in a strong, whirling wind, she is rapt away 
to her own native land. There, set on a mountain's 
peak, she weeps ; and even to this day tears trickle 
from the marble. 

Then truly do all men and women fear the wrath 
of the goddess so openly displayed ; and all more 
zealously than ever worship the dread divinity of 



magna gemelliparae venerantur numina divae ; SI 5 
utque fit, a facto propiore priora renarrant. 
e quibus unus ait : " Lyciae quoque fertilis agris 
non inpune deam veteres sprevere coloni. 
res obscura quidem est ignobilitate virorum, 
mira tamen : vidi praesens stagnumque loctimque 
prodi.gio notum. nam me iam grandior aevo 321 
inpatiensque viae genitor deducere lectos 
iusserat inde boves gentisque illius emiti 
ipse ducem dederat, cum quo dum pascua lustre, 
ecce lacu medio sacrorum nigra favilla 325 

ara vetus stabat tremulis circumdata cannis. 
restitit et pavido ' faveas mihi 1 ' raurmure dixit 
dux raeus, et simili ' faveas ! ' ego murmure dixi. 
Naiadum Faunine foret tamen ara rogabam 
indigenaene dei, cum talia rettulit hospes : 330 

'non hac, o iuvenis, niontanum numen in ara est; 
ilia suam vocat banc, cui quondam regia couiunx 
orbem interdixit, quam vix enatica Delos 
orautem accepit turn, cum levis insula nabat ; 
illic incumbens cum Palladis arbore palmae 835 

edidit invita geminos Latona noverca. 
hinc quoque lunonem fugisse puerpera fertur 
inque suo portasse sinu, duo numina, natos. 
iamque Chimaeriferae, cum sol gravis ureret arva, 
Snibus in Lyciae longo dea fessa labore 340 



the twin gods' mother. And, as usual, stirred by 
the later, they tell over former tales. Then one 
of them begins: "So also in the fertile fields of 
Lycia, peasants of olden time scorned the goddess 
and suffered for it. The story is little known 
because of tlie humble estate of the men concerned, 
but it is remarkable. 1 myself saw the pool and the 
place made famous by the wonder. For mv father, 
who at tliat time was getting on in years anil too 
weak to travel far, had bidden me go and drive 
down from that country some choice steers which 
were grazing there, and had given me a man of that 
nation to serve as guide. While 1 fared through the 
grassy glades with him, there, in the midst of a lake 
an ancient altar was standing, black with the fires of 
many sacrifices, surrounded with shivering reeds. My 
guide halted and said with awe-struck whisper: ' Be 
merciful to me ! ' and in like whisper 1 said : 
* Be merciful ! ' Then I asked my guide whether 
this was an altar to the Naiads, or Faunus, or some 
deity of the place, and he replied : ' No, young man ; 
no mountain deity dwells in this altar. She claims 
its worship, whom the queen of heaven once shut 
out from all the world, whom wandering Delos 
would scarce acce})t at her prayer, when it was an 
island, lightly floating on the sea. There, reclining 
on the palm and Pallas' tree,^ in spite of their step- 
mother, she brought forth her twin babes. Even 
thence the new-made mother is said to have fled 
from Juno, can*yiiig in her bosom her infant children, 
both divine. And now, having reached the borders 
of Lycia, home of the Chimaera, when the hot sun 
beat fiercely upon the fields, the goddess, weary 
of her long struggle, was faint by reason of the 

^ i.e. the olive. 



sidereo siccata sitim collegit ab aestu, 

uberaque ebiberant avidi lactantia nati. 

forte lacum mediocris aquae prospexit in imis 

vallibus ; agrestes illic fruticosa legebant 

vimina cum iuncis gratamque paludibus ulvam ; 345 

accessit positoque genu Titania terram 

pressitj ut hauriret gelidos potura liquores. 

rustica turba vetat ; dea sic adfata vetantis : 

"quid prohibetis aquis ? usus communis aqu.irum est 

nee solem proprium natura nee aera fecit 3501 

nee tenues undas : ad publica munera veni ; 

quae tamen ut detis, supplex peto. non ego nostros 

abluere hie artus lassataque membra parabani, 

sed relevare sitim. caret os umore loquentis, 

et fauces arent, vixque est via vocis in illis. 355| 

haustus aquae mihi nectar erit, vitamque fatebor 

accepisse simul : vitain dederitis in unda. 

hi quoque vos moveant, qui nostro bracchia tendunt 

parva sinu," et casu tendebant bracchia nati. 

quem non blanda deae potuissent verba movere ? 

hi tamen orantem perstant prohibere minasque, 36ll 

ni procul abscedat, conviciaque insuper addunt. 

nee satis est, ipsos etiam pedibusque manuque 

turbavere lacus imoque e gurgite moUem 

hue illuc limum saltu movere maligno. 36' 

distulit ira sitim ; neque enim iam filia Coei 

supplicat indignis nee dicere sustinet ultra 

rerba minora dea tollensque ad sidera palmas 

" aeternum stagno " dixit " vivatis in isto ! " 



sun's heat and parched with thirst ; and the 
hungry children had drained her breasts dry of 
milk. She chanced to see a lake of no great 
size down in a deep vale ; some rustics were there 
gathering bushy osiers, with fine swamp-grass and 
rushes of the marsh. Latona came to the water's 
edge and kneeled on the ground to quench her 
thirst with a cooling draught. But the rustic rabble 
would not let her drink. Then she besought them : 
"Why do you deny me water? The enjoyment of 
water is a common right. Nature has not made the 
sun private to any, nor the air, nor soft water. This 
common right I seek ; and yet I beg you to give it to 
me as a favour. I was not preparing to bathe my 
limbs or my weary body here in your pool, but only 
to quench my thirst. Even as I speak, my mouth is 
dry of moisture, my throat is parched, and my voice 
can scarce find utterance. A drink of water will be 
nectar to me, and I shall confess that I have received 
life with it ; yes, life you will be giving me if you 
let me drink. These children too, let them touch 
your hearts, who from my bosom stretch out their 
little arms." And it chanced that the children did 
stretch out their arms. Who would not have been 
touched by the goddess' gentle words .^ Yet for all 
her prayers they persisted in denying with threats 
if she did not go away ; they even added insulting 
words. Not content with that, they soiled the pool 
itself with their feet and hands, and stirred up the 
soft mud from the bottom, leaping about, all for pure 
meanness. Then wrath postponed thirst ; for Coeus' 
daughter could neither humble herself longer to 
those unruly fellows, nor could she endure to speak 
with less power than a goddess ; but stretching up 
her hands to heaven, she cried : " Live then for ever 



eveniunt optata deae : iiivat esse sub undis 370 

et modo tota cava siibmergere membra palude, 
nunc proferre caput, summo modo gurgite nare, 
saepe super ripam stagni consistere, saepe 
in gelidos resilire lacus, sed nunc quoque turpes 
litibus exercent linguas pulsoque pudore, 375 

quamvis sint sub aqua, sub aqua maledicere temptant. 
vox quoque iam rauca est, inflataque colla tumescuut, 
i{)saque dilatant patulos convicia rictus ; A 

turpe caput tendunt, colla intercepta videntur, 
spina viret, venter, pars maxima corporis, albet, 380 
liiuosoque novae saliunt in gurgite ranae ' " 

Sic ubi nescio quis Lycia de gente virorum 
rettulit exitium, satyri reminiscitur alter, 
quern Tritoniaca Latous harundine victum 
adfecit poena. " quid me mihi detrahis ?" inqiiit; 
"a I piget, a ! non est " clamabat " tibia tanti." 386 
clamanti cutis est summos direpta per artus, 
nee quicquam nisi vulnus erat; cruor uudique manat, 
detectique patent nervi, trepidaeque sine ulla 
pelle micant venae ; salientia viscera possis 390 

et perlucentes numerare in pectore fibras. 
ilium ruricolae, silvarum numina, fauni 
et satyri fratres et tunc quoque earns Olympus 
et nymphae flerunt, et quisquis montibus illis 
lanigerosque greges armentaque bucera pavit. 395 
fertilis inmaduit madefactaque terra caducas 
concepit lacrimas ac venis perbibit imis ; 
quas ubi fecit aqiiam, vacuas emisit in auras. 


in that pool." It fell out as the goddess prayed. It 

is their delight to live in water ; now to plunge their 

bodies quite beneath the enveloping pool, now to 

thrust forth their heads, now to swim upon the surface. 

Often they sit upon the sedgy bank and often leap 

back into the cool lake. But even now, as of old, 

they exercise their foul tongues in quarrel, and 

all shameless, though they may be under water, even 

under the water they try to utter maledictions. Now 

also their voices are hoarse, their inflated throats 

swell up, and their constant quarrelling distends their 

wide jaws ; they stretch their ugly heads, the necks 

seem to have disappeared. Their backs are green ; 

their bellies, the largest part of the body, are white ; 

and as new-made frogs they leap in the muddy 

pool.'" / 

Then, when this unknown story-teller had told the 

destruction of the Lycian peasants, another recalled 

the satyr whom the son of Latona had conquered in 

a contest on Pallas' reed, and punished. " Why do vou 

tear me from myself ?" he cried. "Oh, I repent! Oh, 

a flute is not worth such price ! " As he screams, his 

skin is stripped off the surface of his body, and he is 

all one wound : blood flows down on every side, the 

sinews lie bare, his veins throb and quiver Avith no skin 

to cover them : you could count the entrails as they 

palpitate, and the vitals showing clearly in his breast. 

The country people, the sylvan deities, fauns and his 

brother satyrs, and Olympus, whom even then he 

still loved, the nymphs, all wept for him, and every 

shepherd who fed his woolly sheep or horned kine on 

those mountains. The fruitful earth was soaked, and 

soaking caught those tears and drank them deep into 

her veins. Changing these then to water, she sent 

them forth into the free air. Thence the stream 



inde petens rapidus ripis declivibus aequor 

Marsya nomen habet, Phrygiae liquidissimus amnis. 

Talibus extemplo redit ad praesentia dictis 401 
vulgus et exstinctum cum stirpe Amphiona luget; 
mater in invidia est : banc tunc quoque dieitur unus 
flesse Pelops umeroque, suas a pectore postquam 
deduxit vestes, ebur ostendisse sinistro. 405 

concolor hie umerus nascendi tempore dextro 
corporeusque fuit; manibus mox caesa paternis 
membra ferunt iunxisse deos, aliisque repertis, 
qui locus est iuguli medius summique lacerti, 
defuit: inpositum est non conparentis in usum 410 
partis ebur, factoque Pelops fuit integer illo. 

Finitimi proceres coeunt, urbesque propinquae 
oravere suos ire ad solacia reges, 
Argosque et Sparte Pelopeiadesque Mycenae 
et nondum torvae Calydon invisa Dianae 415 

Orchomenosque ferax et nobilis acre Corinthus 
Messeneque ferox Patraeque humilesque Cleonae 
et Nelea Pylos neque adhuc Pittheia Troezen, 
quaeqiie urbes aliae bimari clauduntur ab Isthmo 
exteriusque sitae bimari spectantur ab Isthmo ; 420 
credere quis posset? solae cessastis Athenae. 
obstitit officio bellum, subvectaque ponto 
barbara Mopsopios terrebant agmina muros. 

Threicius Tereus haec auxiliaribus armis 
fiiderat et clarum vincendo nomen habebat ; 425 



within its sloping banks ran down quickly to the sea, 
and had the name of Marsyas, the clearest river in 
all Phrygia. 

Straightway the company turns from such old tales 
to the present, and mourns Amphion dead with his 
children. They all blame the mother ; but even then 
one man, her brother Pelops, is said to have wept for 
her, and, drawing aside his garment from his breast, 
to have revealed the ivory patch on the left shoulder. 
This at the time of his birth had been of the same 
colour as his right, and of flesh. But later, when his 
father had cut him in pieces, tliey say that the gods 
joined the parts together again ; they found all the 
others, but one part was lacking where the neck and 
upper aiTu unite. A piece of ivory was made to take 
the place of the part which could not be found ; and^ 
so Pelops was made whole again. 

Now all the neighbouring princes assembled, and 
the near-by cities urged their kings to go and offer 
sympathy : Argos and Sparta and Peloponnesian 
Mycenae ; Calydon, which had not yet incurred 
Diana's wrath ; fertile Orchonienos and Corinth, 
famed for works of bronze ; warlike Messene, Patrae, 
and low-lying Cleonae; Nelean Pylos and Troezen, not 
yet ruled by Pittheus ; and all the other cities which 
are shut off by the Isthmus between its two seas, and 
those which are outside visible from the Isthmus be- 
tweenits two seas.^ Butofall cities — whocould believe 
it ? — you, Athens, alone did nothing. War hindered 
this friendly service, and barbaric hordes from over- 
sea held the walls of Mopsopia^ in alarm. Now Tereus 
of Thrace had put these to flight with his relieving 
troops, and by the victory had a great name. And 

* That is, the Peloponnese and Northern Greece. 
9 Athens, from King: Mnpsopiuit. 



quern sibi Pandion opibusque virisque potentem 
et genus a magno ducentem forte Gradivo 
conubio Procnes iunxit ; non pronuba luno, 
non Hymenaeus adest, non illi Gratia lecto : 
Eumenides tenuere faces de funere raptas, 430 

Eumenides stravere torum, tectoque profanus 
incubuit bubo thalamique in culmine sedit. 
hac ave coniuncti Procne Tereusque, parentes 
hac ave sunt facti ; gratata est scilicet illis 
Thracia, disque ipsi grates egere ; diemque, 435 

quaque data est claro Pandione nata tyranno 
quaque erat ortus Itys, festum iussere vocari : 
usque adeo latet utilitas. 

Jam tempora Titan 
qiiinque per autumnos repetiti duxerat antii, 
cum blaiidita viro Procne ** si gratia " dixit 440 

" ulla mea est, vel me visendam mitte sorori, 
vel soior hue veniat : redituram tempore parvo 
promittes socero ; magni mihi muneris instar 
germanam vidisse dabis." iubet ille carinas 
in freta deduci veloque et remige portus 445 

Cecropios intrat Piraeaque litora tangit. 
ut primum soceri data copia, dextera dextrae 
iungitur, et fausto committitur omine sermo. 
coeperat, adventus causam, mandata referre 
coniugis et celeres missae spondere recursus : 450 
ecce venit magno dives Philomela paratu, 
divitior forma ; quales audire solemus 
naidas et dryadas mediis incedere silvis, 


since he was strong in wealth and in men, and traced 
his descent, as it happened, fi-om Gradivus, Pandion, 
king of Athens, allied him to himself by wedding 
him to Procne. But neither Juno, bridal goddess, 
nor Hymen, nor the Graces were present at that 
wedding. The Furies lighted them with torches 
stolen from a funeral; the Furies spread the couch, 
and the uncanny screech-owl brooded and sat on the 
roof of their chamber. Under this omen were 
Procne and Tereus wedded ; under this omen was 
their child conceived. Thrace, indeed, rejoiced with 
them, and they themselves gave thanks to the gods ; 
both the day on which Pandion's daughter was 
married to their illustrious king, and that day on 
which Itys was born, tliey made a festival : even so 
is our true advantage hidden. 

Now Titan through five autumnal seasons had 
brought round the revolving years, when Procne 
coaxingly to her husband said : " If I have found any 
favour in your sight, either send me to visit my sister 
or let my sister come to me. You will promise my 
father that after a brief stay she shall return. If you 
give me a chance to see my sister you will confer on 
me a precious boon." Tereus accordingly bade them 
launch his ship, and plying oar and sail, he entered 
the Cecropian harbour and came to land on the shore 
of Piraeus. As soon as he came into the presence of 
his father-in-law they joined right hands, and the 
talk began with good wishes for their health. He 
had begun to tell of his wife's request, which was 
the cause of his coming, and to promise a speedy 
return should the sister be sent home with him, when 
lo 1 Philomela entered, attired in rich apparel, but 
richer still in beauty ; such as we are wont to hear the 
naiads described, and dryads when they move about 



si modo des illis cultus similesque paratus. 
non secus exarsit conspecta virgine Tereus, 455 

quam si quis canis ignem supponat aristis 
aut frondem positasque cremet faenilibus herbas. 
digna quidem facies ; sed et hunc innata libido 
exstimulat, pronumque genus regionibus illis 
in Venerem est : flagrat vitio gentisque suoque. 460 
impetus est illi comitum corrumpere curam 
nutricisque fidem nee non ingentibus ipsam 
sollicitare datis totumque inpendere regnum 
aut rapere et saevo raptam defendere bello; 
et nihil est, quod non effreno captus amore 465 

ausit, nee capiunt inclusas pectora flammas. 
iamque moras male fert cupidoque revertitur ore 
ad mandata Procnes et agit sua vota sub ilia, 
facundum faciebat amor, quotiensque rogabat 
ulterius iusto, Procnen ita velle ferebat. 470 

addidit et lacrimas, tamquam mandasset et illas. 
pro superi, quantum mortalia pectora caecae 
noctis habent ! ipso sceleris molimine Tereus 
creditur esse pius laudemque a crimine sumit. 
quid, quod idem Philomela cupit, patriosque lacerti& 
blanda tenens umeros, ut eat visura sororem, 476 
perque suam contraque suam petit ipsa salutem, 
spectat eam Tereus praecontrectatque videndo 
osculaque et collo circumdata bracchia cernens 
omnia pro stimulis facibusque ciboque furoris 480 
accipit, et quotiens amplectitur ilia parentem, 
esse parens vellet : neque enim minus inpius esset. 


in the deep woods, if only one should give to them 
refinement and apparel like hers. The moment he 
saw the maiden Tereus was inHamed with love, quick 
as if one should set fire to ripe grain, or dry leaves, or 
hay stored away in the mow. Her beauty, indeed, 
was worth it ; but in his case his own passionate nature 
pricked him on, and, besides, the men of his clime are 
quick to love : his own fire and his nation's burnt in 
him. His impulse was to corrupt her attendants' 
care and her nurse's faithfulness, and even by rich 
gifts to tempt the girl herself, even at the cost of all 
his kingdom ; or else to ravish her and to defend his 
act by bloody war. There was nothing which he 
would not do or dare, smitten by this mad passion. 
His heart could scarce contain the fires that burnt 
in it. Now, impatient of delay, he eagerly repeated 
Procne's request, pleading his own cause under her 
name. Love made him eloquent, and as often as he 
asked more urgently than he siiould, he would say 
that Procne wished it so. He even added tears to 
his entreaties, as though she had bidden him to do 
this too. Ye gods, what blind nigiit rules in the 
hearts of men! In the very act of pushing on his 
shameful plan Tereus gets credit for a kind heart 
and wins praise from wickedness. Ay, more — 
Philomela herself has the same wish ; winding 
her arms about her father's neck, she coaxes him 
to let her visit her sister ; by her own welfare (yes, 
and against it, too) she urges her prayer. Tereus 
gazes at her, and as he looks feels her already in his 
arms ; as he sees her kisses and her arms about her 
father's neck, all this goads him on, food and fuel 
for his passion ; and whenever she embraces her 
father he wishes that he were in the father'.q 
•ylf^e — indeed, if he were, his intent would be no 



vincitur ambarum genitor prece : gaudet agitque 

ilia patri grates et successisse duabiis 

id putat infelix, quod erit lugubre duabus. 485 

lam labor exiguus Phoebo restabat, eqiiique 
pulsabant pedibus spatium declivis Olsinpi : 
regales epulae mensis et Bacchus in auro 
ponitur; hinc placido dantur sua corpora somno. 
at rex Odrysius, quamvis secessit, in ilia 490 

aestuat et repetens faciem motusque manusque 
qualia vult fingit quae nondum vidit et ignes 
ipse suos nutrit cura removente soporem. 
lux erat, et generi dextram conplexus euntis 
Pandion comitem lacrimis commendat obortis : 49.*^ 
" hajic ego, care gener, quoniam pia causa coegit, 
et voluere ambae (voluisti tu quoque, Tereu) 
do tibi perque fidem cognataque pectora supplex 
per superos oro patrio ut tuearis amore 
et mihi soUicitae lenimen dulce senectae 500 

quam primum (omnis erit nobis mora longa) remittas ; 
tu quoque quam primum (satis est procul esse 

si pietas ulla est, ad me, Philomela, redito ! " 
raandabat pariterque suae dabat oscula natae, 
et lacrimae mites inter mandata cadebant; 505 

utque fide pignus dextras utriusque poj)oscit 
inter seque datas iunxit natamque nepotemque 
absentes pro se memori rogat ore salutent; 
supremumque vale pleno singultibus ore 
vix dixit timuitque suae praesagia mentis. 610 



less impious. The father yields to the prayers of 
both. The girl is filled with joy ; she tlianks her 
father and, poor unhappy wretch, she deems that 
success for both sisters which is to prove a woeful 
happenin<:f for them both. 

Now Phoebus' toils were almost done and his 
horses were pacing down the western sky. A royal 
feast was spread, wine in cups of gold. Then they 
lay them down to peaceful slumber. But although 
the Thracian king retired, his heart seethes with 
thoughts of her. Recalling her look, her move- 
ment, her hands, he pictures at will what he has 
not yet seen, and feeds his own fires, his thoughts 
preventing sleep. Morning came ; and Pandion, 
wringing his son-in-law's hand as he was departing, 
consigned his daughter to him with many tears and 
said : " Dear son, since a natural plea has won 
me, and both my daughters have wished it, and 
you also have wished it, my Tereus, I give her to 
your keeping ; and by your honour and the ties that 
bind us, by the gods, 1 pray you guard her with a 
father's love, and as soon as possible — it will seem a 
long time in any case to me — send back to me tliis 
sweet solace of my tedious years. And do you, 
my Philomela, if you love me, come back to me as 
soon as possible ; it is enough that your sister is so 
far away." Thus he made his last requests and 
kissed his child good-bye, and gentle tears fell as he 
spoke the woi'ds ; and he asked both their right 
hands as pledge of their promise, and joined them 
together and begged that they would remember to 
greet for him his daughter and her son. His voice 
broke with sobs, he could hardly say farewell, as he 
feared the forebodings of his mind. 



Ut semel inposita est pictae Philomela carinae, 
admotumque fretum remis tellusque lepulsa est, 
" vicimus ! " exclamat, " mecum mea vota feniiitur !" 
exsultatque et vix animo sua gaudia differt 
barbarus et nusquam lumen detorquet ab ilia, 515 
non aiiter quam cum pedibus praedator obuiicis 
deposuit nido leporem lovis ales in alto; 
nulla fuga est capto, spectat sua praemia raptor. 

lamque iter effectum, iamque in sua litora fessis 
puppibus exierant, cum rex Pandione natam 520 

in stabula alta trahit, silvis obscura vetustis, 
atque ibi pallentem trepidanique et cuncta timentem 
et iam cum lacrimis, ubi sit germana, rogantem 
includit fassusque nefas et virginem etunam 
vi superat frustra clamato saepe parente, 525 

saepe sorore sua, magnis super omnia divis. 
ilia tremit velut agna pavens, quae saucia cani 
ore excussa lupi nondum sibi tuta videtur, 
utque columba suo madefactis sanguine plumis 
horret adhuc avidosque timet, quibus haeserat,ungues. 
mox ubi mens rediit, passos laniata capillos, 531 

lugenti similis caesis plangore lacertis 
intendens palmas " o diris barbare factis, 
o crudelis " ait, "nee te mandata parentis 
cum lacrimis movere piis nee cura sororis 535 

nee mea virginitas nee coniugialia iura? 
omnia turbasti ; paelex ego facta sororis, 
tu geminus coniunx, hostis mihi debita Procne ' 


As soon as Philomela was safely embarked upon 
the painted ship and the sea was churned beneath 
the oars and tlie land was left behind, Tereus ex- 
claimed : " I have won ! in my ship I carry the ful- 
filment of my prayers!" The barbarous fellow 
triumphs, he can scarce postpone his joys, and never 
turns his eyes from her, as when the ravenous bird 
of Jove has dropped in his high eyrie some hare 
caught in his hooked talons ; the captive has no chance 
to escape, the captor gloats over his prize. 

And now they were at the end of their journey, 
now, leaving the travel-worn ship, they had landed on 
their own shores; when the king dragged oflPandion's 
daughter to a hut deep hidden in the ancient woods ; 
and there, pale and trembling and all fear, begging 
with tears to know where her sister was, he shut her 
up. Then, openly confessing his horrid purpose, he 
violated her, just a weak girl and all alone, vainly 
calling, often on her father, often on her sister, but 
most of all upon the great gods. She trembled like 
a frightened lamb, which, torn and cast aside by a 
grey wolf, cannot yet believe that it is safe ; and 
like a dove which, with its own blood all smeared 
over its plumage, still palpitates with fright, still 
fears those greedy claws that have pierced it. Soon, 
when her senses came back, she dragged at her 
loosened hair, and like one in mourning, beating and 
tearing her arms, with outstretched hands she cried : 
" Oh, what a horrible thing you have done, bar- 
barous, cruel wretch ! Do you care nothing for my 
father's injunctions, his affectionate tears, my sister's 
love, my own virginity, the bonds of wedlock .'' You 
have confused all natural relations : I have become a 
concubine, my sister's rival ; you, a husband to both. 
Now Procne must be my enemv. Why do you not 



quin animam banc, ne quod facinus tibi, perfide,restetj 
eripis ? atque utinam fecisses ante nefandos 54>0 

concubitus : vacuas babuissem criminis umbras, 
si tamen haec superi cernunt, si numina divum 
sunt aliquid^ si non perierunt omnia mecum^ 
quandocumque mibi poenas dabis ! ipsa pudore 
proiecto tua facta loquar : si copia detur, 545 

in populos veniam ; si silvis clausa tenebor, 
in])lebo silvas et conscia saxa movebo ; 
audiet haec aether et si deus ullus in illo est!" 

Talibus ira feri postqnam commota tyranni 
nee minor hac metus est, causa stimulatus utraque, 
quo fuit accinctus, vagina bberat ensem 551 

arreptamque coma fixis post terga lacertis 
vincla pati cogit; iugulum Philomela parabat 
spemque suae mortis viso conceperat ense : 
ille indignantem et nomen patris usque vocantem 
luctantemque loqui conprensam forcipe linguam 556 
abstulit ense fero. radix micat ultima linguae, 
ipsa iacet terraeque tremens inmurmurat atrae, 
utque salire solet mutilatae cauda colubrae, 
palpitat et moriens dominae vestigia quaerit. 560 
hoc quoque post facinus (vix ausim credere) fertur 
saepe sua lacerum repetisse libidine corpus. 

Sustinet ad Procnen post talia facta reverti ; 
coniuge quae viso gernianam quaerit, at ille 


take my life, that no crime may be left undone, you 
traitor? Aye, would that you had killed me beioi-e 
you wronged me so. Then would my shade have 
been innocent and clean. If those who dwell on 
high see these things, nay, if there are any gods at all, 
if all things have not perished with me, sooner or later 
you shall pay dearly for this deed. 1 will myself 
east shame aside and proclaim what you have done. 
If I should have the chance, I would go where people 
throng and tell it ; if I am kept shut up in these 
woods, I will fill the woods with my story and move 
the very rocks to pity. The air of heaven shall hear 
it, and, if there is any god in heaven, he shall hear it 

The savage tyrant's wrath was aroused by these 
words, and his fear no less. Pricked on by both 
these spurs, he drew his sword wliich was hanging 
by his side in its sheath, caught her by the hair, and 
twisting her arms behind her back, he bound them 
fast. At sight of the sword Philomela gladly ofiered 
her throat to the stroke, filled with the eager hope 
of death. But he seized her tongue with pincers, 
as it protested against the outrage, calling ever on 
the name of her father and struggling to speak, and 
cut it off with his merciless blade. The mangled 
root quivers, while the severed tongue lies pal- 
pitating on the dark earth, faintly murmuring ; and, 
as the severed tail of a mangled snake is wont to 
writhe, it twitches convulsively, and with its last 
dying movement it seeks its mistress's feet. Even 
after this horrid deed— one would scarce believe 
it — the monarch is said to have worked his lustful 
will again and again upon the poor mangled form. 

With such crimes upon his soul he had the face 
to return to Procne's presence. She on seeing him 



dat gemitus fictos commentaque funera narrat, 565 

et lacrimae fecere fidem. velamina Procne 

deripit ex umeris auro fulgentia lato 

induiturque atras vestes et inane sepulcrum 

constituit falsisque piacula manibus infert 

et luget non sic lugendae fata sororis. 570 

Signa deus bis sex acto lustraverat anno ; 
quid faciat Philomela ? fugam custodia claudit, 
structa rigent solido stabulorum moenia saxo, 
OS mutum facti caret indice. grande doloris 
ingenium est, miserisque venit sollertia rebus : 575 
stamina barbarica suspendit callida tela 
purpureasque notas filis intexuit albis, 
indicium sceleris ; perfectaque tradidit uni, 
utque ferat dominae, gestu rogat ; ilia rogata 
pertulit ad Procnen nee seit, quid tradat in illis. 580 
evolvit vestes saevi matrona tyranni 
fortunaeque suae carmen miserabile legit 
et (mirum potuisse) silet : dolor ora repressit, 
verbaque quaerenti satis indignantia linguae 
defuerunt, nee flere vacat, sed fasque nefasque 585 
confusura ruit poenaeque in imagine tota est. 

Tempus erat, quo sacra sclent trieterica Bacchi 
Sithoniae celebrare nurus : (nox conscia sacris, 
nocte sonat Rhodope tinnitibus aeris acuti) 
nocte sua est egressa domo regina deique 590 

ritibus instruitur furialiaque accipit arnia; 


at once asked where her sister was. He groaned in 
pretended grief and told a made-up story of death; 
his tears gave credence to the tale. Tlien Procne 
tore from her shoulders the robe gleaming with 
a broad golden border and put on black weeds ; she 
built also a cenotaph in honour of her sister, brought 
pious offerings to her imagined spirit, and mourned 
her sister's late, not meet so to be mourned. 

Now through the twelve signs, a whole year's 
journey, has the sun-god passed. And what shall 
Philomela do ? A guard prevents her flight ; stout 
walls of solid stone fence in the hut ; speechless lips 
can give no token of her wrongs. But grief has 
sharp wits, and in trouble cunning comes. She 
hangs a Thracian web on her loom, and skilfully 
weaving purple signs on a white background, she 
thus tells the story of her wrongs. This web, when 
completed, she gives to her one attendant and 
begs her with gestures to carry it to the queen. The 
old woman, as she was bid, takes the web to Procne, 
not knowing what she bears in it. The savage tyrant's 
wife unrolls the cloth, reads the pitiable tale of her 
misfortune, and (a miracle that she could ! ) says 
not a word. Grief chokes the words that rise to her 
lips, and her questing tongue can find no words 
strong enough to express her outraged feelings. Here 
is no room for tears, but she hurries on to confound 
right and wrong, her whole soul bent on the thought 
of vengeance. 

It was the time when the Thracian matrons were 
wont to celebrate the biennial festival of Bacchus. 
Night was in their secret ; by night Mount Rhodope 
would resound with the shrill clash of brazen 
cymbals ; so by night the queen goes forth from her 
house, equips herself for the rites of the god and 



vite caput tegitur, lateri cervina sinistro 
vellera dependent, umero levis incubat hasta. 
concita per silvas turba comitante siuiiuni 
terribilis Procne furiisque agitata doloris, 595 

Bacche, tuas simulat : venit ad stabula avia tandem 
exululatque euhoeque sonat portasque refringit 
germanamque rapit raptaeque insignia Bacchi 
induit et vultus hederarum frondibus abdit 
attonitamque trahens intra sua moenia ducit. 600 

Ut sensit tetigisse domum Philomela nefandam, 
horruit infelix totoque expalluit ore ; 
nacta locum Procne sacroruni pignora demit 
oiaque develat miserae pudibunda sororis 
amplexumque petit; sed n^n attoUere contra 605 
sustJHet haec oculos paelex sibi visa sororia 
deiectoque in humum vultu iurare volenti 
testarique decs, per vim sibi dedecus illiid 
inlatum, pro voce manus fuit. ardet et iram 
non capit ipsa suam Procne fletumque sororis 6l0 
corripiens "non est lacrimis hoc " inquit "agendum, 
sed ferro, sed si quid habes, quod vincere ferrum 
possit. in omne nefas ego me, germana, paravi : 
aut ego, cum facibus regalia tecta creinabo, 
artificem mediis inmittam Terea flammis 6l5 

aut linguam atque oculos et quae tibi membra 

abstulerunt ferro rapiam aut per vulnera mille 
sontem animam expellam ! magnum, quodcumque 

paravi ; 
quid sit, adtuic dubito." 


rions the array of frenzy ; her head was wreatlied with 
trailing vines, a deer-skin hung from her left side, a 
light spear rested on her shoulder. Swift she goes 
through the woods with an attendant throng of her 
companions, and driven on by the madness of grief, 
Procne, terrific in her rage, mimics thy madness, 
O Bacchus ! She comes to the secluded lodge at last, 
shrieks aloud and cries "Euhoe 1" breaks down the 
doors, seizes her sister, arrays her in the trappings of 
a Bacchante, hides her face with ivy-leaves, and, 
dragging her along in amazement, leads her within 
her own walls. 

When Philomela perceived that she had entered 
that accursed house the poor girl shook with horror 
and grew pale as death. Procne found a place, and 
took off the trappings of the Bacchic rites and, 
uncovering the shame-blanched face of her wretched 
sister, folded her in her arms. But Philomela could 
not lift her eyes to her sister, feeling herself to have 
wronired her. And, with her f^ice turned to the 
ground, longing to swear and call all the gods to 
witness that that shame had been forced upon her, 
she made her hand serve for voice. But Procne was all 
on fire, could not contam her own wrath, and chiding 
her sister's weeping, she said : " This is no time for 
tears, but for the sword, for something stronger than 
the sword, if you have such a thing. 1 am prepared 
for any crime, my sister ; either to fire this palace 
with a torch, and to cast Tereus, the author of our 
wronjrs, into the fiaminsr ruins, or to cut out his 
tongue and his eyes, to cut off the parts which 
brought shame to you, and drive his guilty soul out 
through a thousand wounds. I am prepared for some 
great deed; but what it shall be I am still in doubt." 



Peragit dum talia Procne, 
ad matrem veniebat Itys ; quid possit, ab illo 620 
admonita est oculisque tuens inmitibus "a! quam 
es similis patri ! " dixit nee plura locuta 
triste parat facinus tacitaque exaestuat ira. 
ut tamen accessit natus matrique salutem 
attulit et parvis adduxit colla lacertis 625 

mixtaque blanditiis puerilibus oscula iunxit, 
mota quidem est genetrix, infractaque constitit ira 
invitique oculi lacrimis maduere coactis ; 
sed simul ex nimia mentem ' pietate labare 
sensit, ab hoc iterum est ad vultus versa sororis (i30 
inque vicem spectans ambos "cur admovet " inquit 
" alter blanditias, rapta silet altera lingua ? 
quam vocat hie matrenij cur non vocat ilia sororein ? 
cui sis nupta, vide, Pandione nata ! marito 
degeneras ? scelus est pietas in coniuge Tereo." 635 
nee mora, traxit Ityn, veluti Gangetica cervae 
lactentem fetum per silvas tigris opacas, 
utque domus altae partem tenuere remotam, 
tendentemque manus et iam sua fata videntem 
et " mater ! mater ! " clamantem et colla petentem 
ense ferit Procne, lateri qua pectus adhaeret, 641 
nee vultum vertit. satis illi ad fata vel unum 
vulnus erat : iugulum ferro Philomela resolvit, 
vivaque adhuc animaeque aliquid retinentia membra 
dilaniant. pars inde cavis exsultat aenis, 6i5 

pars veribus stridunt ; manant penetralia tabo. 

His adhibet coniunx ignarum Terea mensis 
et patrii moris sacrum mentita, quod uni 

' mentem cod. Oiofani: matrem iV^. lliinsius. 


Wliile Prociie was thus speaking Itys came into 
tiis mother's presence. His coming suggested what 
5he could do, and regarding him with pitiless eyes, 
she said : " Ah, how hke your father you are ! " 
Saying no more, she began to plan a terrible deed and 
boiled with inward rage. Butwhen the boy came up to 
iier and greeted his mother, put his little arms around 
fier neck and kissed her in his winsome, boyish way, 
ber mother-heart was touched, her wrath fell away, 
ind her eyes, though all unwilling, were wet with 
tears that flowed in spite of her. But when she 
perceived that her purpose was wavering through 
excess of mother-love, she turned again from her son 
to her sister; and gazing at both in turn, she 
said: "Why is one able to make soft, pretty 
speeches, while her ravished tongue dooms the other 
to silence ? Since he calls me mother, why does she 
not call me sister ? Remember whose wife you 
are, daughter of Pandion I Will you be faithless to 
y^our husband? But faithfulness to such a husband 
as Tereus is a crime." Without more words she 
dragged Itys away, as a tigress drags a suckling 
fawn through the dark woods on Ganges' banks. 
And when they reached a remote part of the great 
house, while the boy stretched out pleading hands as 
he saw his fate, and screamed, " Mother ! mother ! " 
and sought to throw his arms around her neck, Procne 
smote him with a knife between breast and side — and 
with no change of face. This one stroke sufficed to 
Slay the laa ; tjut rhilomela cut the throat also, and 
they cut up the body still warm and quivering with 
life. Part bubbles in brazen kettles, part sputters on 
spits; while the whole room drips with gore. 

This is the feast to which the wife invites Tereus, 
little knowing what it is. She pretends that it is a 


fas sit adire viro, comites famulosque removit. M 

ipse sedens solio Tereus sublimis avito 650 

vescitur inque suam sua viscera congerit alvum, J 

tantaque nox animi est, " Ityn hue accersite I " dixit, 
dissimulare nequit crudelia gaudia Procne 
iamque suae cupiens exsistere nuntia cladis 654 

"intus habes, quern poscis " ait : circumspicit ille 
atque, ubi sit, quaerit ; quaerenti iterumque vocanti, 
sicut erat sparsis furiali caede capillis, 
prosiluit Ityosque caput Philomela cruentum 
misit in ora patris nee tempore maluit uUo 
posse loqui et meritis testari gaudia dictis. 660 

Thracius ingenti mensas clamore repellit 
vipereasque ciet Stygia de valle sorores 
et modo, si posset, reserato pectore diras 
egerere inde dapes emersaque viscera gestit, 
flet modo seque vocat bustum miserabile nati, 66^ 
nunc sequitur nudo genitas Pandione ferro. 
corpora Cecropidum pennis pendere putares : 
pendebant pennis. quarum petit altera silvas, 
altera teeta subit, neque adhuc de pectore caedis 
excessere notae, signataque sanguine pluma est. 670 
ille dolore suo poenaeque cupidine velox 
vertitur in volucrem, cui stant in vertice cristae. 
prominet inmodicum pro longa cuspide rostrum ; 
nomen epops volucri, facies armata videtur. 



sacred feast after their ancestral fashion, of which 
Dnly a husband may partake, and removes all 
attendants and slaves. So Tereus, sitting alone in 
his higli ancestral banquet-chair, begins the feast 
and gorges himself with flesh of his own flesh. And 
in the utter blindness of his understanding he cries : 
"Go, call me Itys hither! " Procne cannot hide her 
cruel joy, and eager to be the messenger of her 
bloody news, she says : " You have, within, him whom 
you want." He looks about and asks where the 
boy is. And then, as he asks and calls again for his 
son, just as she was, with streaming hair, and all 
stained with her mad deed of blood, Philomela 
springs forward and hurls the gory head of Itys 
straight into his fatlier's face; nor was there ever 
any time when she longed more to be able to speak, 
and to express her joy in fitting words. Then the 
Thracian king overturns the table with a great cry 
and invokes the snaky sisters from the Stygian pit. 
Now, if he could, he would gladly lay open his 
breast and take thence the horrid feast and vomit 
forth the flesh of his son ; now he weeps bitterly and 
calls himself his son's most wretched tomb ; then 
with drawn sword he pursues the two daughters of 
Pandion. As they fly from him you would think 
that the bodies of the two Athenians were poised on 
wings : they were poised on wings ! One flies to the 
woods, the other rises to the roof. And even now 
their breasts have not lost the marks of their mur- 
derous deed, their feathers are stained with blood. 
Tereus, swift in pursuit because of his grief and eager 
desire for vengeance, is himself changed into a bird. 
Upon his head a stiff crest appears, and a huge beak 
stands forth instead of his long sword. He is the, 
hoopoe, with the look of one armed for war. 



Hie dolor ante diem longaeque extrema senectae 
tempora Tartareas Pandiona misit ad umbras. 676 
sceptra loci rerumque capit moderamen Erechtheus, 
iustitia dubium validisne potentior armis. 
quattuor ille quidem iuvenes totidemque crearat 
femineae sortis^ sed erat par forma duarum. 680 

e quibus Aeolides Cephalus te coniuge felix, 
Procri, fuit ; Boreae Tereus Tliracesque nocebant, 
dilectaque diu caruit deus Orithyia, 
dum rogat et precibus mavult quam viribus uti ; 
ast ubi blanditiis agitur nil, horridus ira, 685 

quae solita est illi nimiumque domestiea vento, 
" et merito ! " dixit ; " quid enim mea tela reliqui, 
saevitiam et vires iramque animosque minaces, 
admovique preces, quarum me dedecet usus ? 
apta mihi vis est : vi tristia nubila pello, 690 

vi freta concutio nodosaque robora verto 
induroque iiives et terras grandine pulso ; 
idem ego, cum fratres caelo sum nactus aperto 
(nam mihi campus is est), tanto molimine luctor, 
ut medius nostris concursibus insonet aether 695 

exsiliantque cavis elisi nubibus ignes ; 
idem ego, cum subii convexa foramina terrae 
supj)osuique ferox imis mea terga cavernis, 
sollicito manes totumque tremoribus orbem. 
hac ope debueram thalamos petiisse, socerque 700 
non orandus erat mihi sed faciendus Erechtheus." 


This woe shortened the days of old Pandion and 
sent him down to the shades of Tartarus before old 
age came to its full term. His sceptre and the 
state's control fell to Erechtheus, equally famed for 
justice and for prowess in arms. Four sons were 
born to him and four daughters also. Of these 
daughters two were of equal beauty, of whom thou, 
Procris, didst make happy in wedlock Cephalus, the 
grandson of Aeolus. Boreas was not favoured because 
of Tereus and the Thracians i ; and so the god was 
long kept from his beloved Orithyia, while he wooed 
and preferred to use prayers rather than force. But 
when he could accomplish nothing by soothing words, 
rough with anger, which was the norlh-wiiul's 
usual and more natural mood, he said : " I have 
deserved it ! For why have I given up my own 
weapons, fierceness and force, rage and threatening 
moods, and had recourse to prayers, which do not at 
all become me ? Force is my fit instrument. By 
force I drive on the gloomy clouds, by force I shake 
the sea, I overturn gnarled oaks, pack hard the snow, 
and pelt the earth with hail. So also when I meet 
my brothers in the open sky — for that is my battle- 
ground — I struggle with them so fiercely that the 
mid-heavens thunder with our meeting and fires leap 
bursting: out of the hollow clouds. So also when I 
have entered the vaulted hollows of the earth, and 
have set my strong back beneath her lowest caverns, 
I fright the ghosts and the whole world, too, by my 
heavings. By this means I should have sought my 
wife. I should not have begged Erechtheus to be 
iny father-in-law, but made him to be so." With 

* Since the home of Boreas was in the north, he was 
included in the hatced felt at Athens for Tereus and the 



haec Boreas aut his non Tnteriora locutus 

excussit pennas, quarum iactatibus omnis 

adflata est tell us latumque perhorruit aequor, 

pulvereamque trahens per summa cacumina pallam 

verrit humum pavidamque metu caligiiie tectus 706 

Orithyian amans fulvis amplectitur alis. 

dum volat, arserunt agitati fortius igues, 

nee prius aerii cursus suppressit habenas, 

quam Ciconum tenuit populos et moenia raptor. 710 

illic et gelidi coniunx Actaea tyranni 

et genetrix facta est, partus enixa gemejlos, 

cetera qui matris, pennas genitoris haberent. 

non tamen has una memorant cum corpore natas, 

barbaque dum rutilis aberat subnixa capillis, 715 

inplumes Calaisqiie puer Zetesque fuerunt; 

mox pariter pennae ritu coepere volucrum 

cingere utrumque latus, pariter flavescere malae. 

ergo ubi concessit tempus puerile iuventae, 

vellera cum Minyis nitido radiantia villo 7:^0 

per mare non notum prima petiere carina. 


these words or others no less boisterous, Boreas shook 
his wings, whose mighty flutterings sent a blast over 
all \he earth, and ruffled the broad ocean. And 
trailing along his dusty mantle over the mountain- 
tops, he swept the land ; and wrapped in darkness, 
the lover embraced with his tawny wings his Orithyia, 
who was trembling sore with fear. As he flew his 
own flames were fanned and burned stronger. Nor 
did the robber check his airy flight until he came to 
the people and the city of the Cicones. There did the 
Athenian girl become the bride of the cold monarch, 
and mother, when she brought forth twin sons, who 
had all else of their mother, but their father's wings. 
Yet these wings, they say, were not born with their 
bodies; while the beard was not yet to be seen 
beneath their yellow locks, both Calais and Zetes 
were wingless, but soon and at the same time wings 
began to spring out on either side after the fashion 
of birds, and the cheeks began to grow tawny. So 
these two youths, when boyhood was passed and 
they had grown to man's estate, went with the 
Minyans over an unknown sea in that first ship to seek 
the bright gleaming fleece of gold. y^' 




lAsTQVE fretum Minyae Pagasaea puppe secabant, 
perpetuaque trahens inopem sub nocte senectam 
Phiiieus visus erat, iuvenesque Aquilone creati 
virgineas voliicres raiseri senis ore fugarant, 
multaque perpessi claro sub lasone tandem 5 

contigerant rapidas limosi Phasidos undas. 
dumque adeunt regem Phrixeaque vellera poscunt 
lexque datur Minyis magnorum horrenda laborum, 
concipit iiiterea validos Aeetias ignes 
et luctata diu, postquam ratione furorem 1 

vincere non poterat, " frustra, Medea, repugnas : 
nescio quis deus obstat," ait, " mirumque, nisi hoc est, 
aut aliquid ceite simile huic, quod amare vocatur. 
nam cur iussa patris iiimium mihi dura videntur ? 
sunt quoque dura nimis ! cur, quem mode denique vidi, 
ne pereat, timeo ? quae tanti causa timoris ? 1 6 

excute virgineo conceptas peetore flammas, 
si potes, infelix ! si possem, sanior essem ! 
sed gravat invitam nova vis, aliudque cupido, 
mens aliud suadet : video meliora proboque, 20 

deteriora sequor. quid in hospite, regia virgo, 


And now the Minyans were plowing the deep 
in their Thessalian ship. They had seen Phineus, 
spending his last days helpless in perpetual night; 
and the sons of Boreas had driven the harpies from 
the presence of the unhappy king. Having expe- 
rienced many adventures under their illustriouo 
leader Jason, they reached at last the swift waters 
of muddy Phasis. There, while they were approach- 
ing the king and demanding the fleece that Phrixus 
had given to him, while the dreadful condition with 
its great tasks was being proposed to the Minyans, 
meanwhile the daughter of King Aeetes conceived an 
overpowering passion. Long she fought against it, 
and when by reason she could not rid her of her 
madness she cried : " In vain, Medea, do you fight. 
Some god or other is opposing you ; I wonder if 
this is not what is called love, or at least something 
like this. For why do the mandates of my father seem 
too harsh ? They certainly are too harsh. Why do 
I fear lest he perish whom I have but now seen for 
the first time ? What is the cause of all this fear ? 
Come, thrust from your maiden breast these flames 
that you feel, if you can, unhappy girl. Ah, if I could, 
I should be more myself. But some strange power 
holds me down against my will. Desire persuades 
me one way, reason another. I see the better and 
approve it, but I follow the worse. Why do yon, a 



ureris et thalamos alieni concipis orbis? 

haec quoque terra potest,quod ames,dare. vivat an ille 

occidat, in dis est. vivat tamen ! idque precari 

vel sine amore licet : quid enim commisit lason ? 25 

quern, nisi crudelem, non tangat lasonis aetas 

et genus et virtus? quern non, ut cetera desint, 

ore inovere potest ? certe mea pectora movit. 

at nisi opem tulero, taurorum adflabitur ore 

concurretque suae segeti, tellure creatis 30 

hostibus, aut avido dabitur fera praeda draconi. 

hoc ego si patiar, turn me de tigride natam, 

turn ferrum et scopulos gestare in corde fatebor ' 

cur non et specto pereuntem oculosque videndo 

conscelero ? cur non tauros exhortor in ilium > 35 

terrigenasque feros insopitumque draconem ? 

di meliora velint ! quamquam non ista precanda, 

sed facienda mihi. — prodamne ego regna parentis, 

atque ope nescio quis servabitur advena nostra, 

ut per me sospes sine me det lintea ventis 40 

virque sit alterius, poenae Medea relinquar? 

si faeere hoc aliamve potest praeponere nobis, 

occidat iiigratus ! sed non is vultus in illo, 

non ea nobilitas animo est, ea gratia formae, 

ut timeam fraudem meritique oblivia nostri. 45 

et dabit ante fidem, cogamque in foedera testes 

esse deos. quid tuta times? accingere et omnem 

pelle moram : tibi se semper debebit lason, 

te face sollemni iunget sibi perque Pelasgas 




royal maiden, burn for a stranger, and think upon 
marriajje with a foreign world ? This land also can 
give you something to love. Whether he live or die 
is in the lap of the gods. Yet may he live ! This I 
may pray for even without loving him. For what 
has Jason done r Who that is not heartless would 
not be moved by Jason's youth, his noble birth, his 
manhood ? Who, though the rest were lacking, would 
not be touched by his beauty.'' Certainly he has 
touched my heart. But unless I help him he will be 
breathed on by the bulls' fiery breath, and he will 
have to meet an enemy of his own sowing sprung 
from the earth, or he will be given as prey like any 
wild beast to tiie greedy dragon. If I permit this, 
then shall I confess that 1 am the child of a tigress 
and that I have iron and stone in my heart. 
But why can I not look on as he dies, and why is such 
a sight defilement for my eyes ? Why do I not urge 
on the bulls against him, and the fierce earth-born 
warriors, and the sleepless dragon ? Heaven fortfend ! 
and yet that is not matter for my prayers, but for my 
deeds. Shalll then betray my fatlier's throne.'' and 
shall an unknown stranger be preserved by my aid, 
that, when saved by me, he may sail off without me, 
and become another's husband, while I, Medea, am 
left for punishment? If he can do that, if he can prefer 
another woman to me, let him perish, ungrateful man. 
But no : his look, his loftiness of soul, his grace of form 
are not such that I need fear deceit or forgetfulness 
of my service. And he shall give me his pledge 
beforehand, and I will compel the gods to be 
witnesses of our troth. Why do you fear when all 
is safe ? Now for action, and away with all delay ' 
Jason shall always owe himself to you, he shall join 
you to himself in solemn wedlock. Then you shall 



servatrix urbes matrum celebrabere turba. 50 

ergo ego germanam fratremque patremque deosque 
et natal e solum ventis ablata relinquam? 
iiempe pater saevus, nempe est mea barbara tellus, 
frater adhuc infans ; stant mecum vota sororis, 
niaximus intra me deus est ! non magna relinquam, 
magna sequar : titulum servatae pubis Achivae 5( 
notitiamque soli melioris et oppida, quorum 
hie quoque fama viget, cultusque artesque locorum, 
quemque ego cum rebus, quas totus possidet orbis, 
Aesoniden mutasse velim, quo coniuge felix 60 

et dis cara ferar et vertice sidera tangam. 
quid, quod neseio qui mediis concurrere in undis 
dicuntur montes ratibiisque inimica Charybdis 
nunc sorbere fretum, nunc reddere, cinctaque saevis 
Scylla rapax canibus Siculo latrare profundo ! 65 

nempe tenens, quod amo, gremioque in lasonis 

per freta longa ferar ; nil ilium amplexa verebor 
aut, siquid metuam, metuam de coniuge solo. — 
coniugiumne vocas speciosaque nomina culpae 
inponis, Medea, tuae ? — quin adspice, quantum 70 
adgrediare nefas, et, dum licet, effuge crimen ! " 
dixit, et ante oculos rectum pietasque pudorque 
constiterant, et victa dabat iam terga Cupido. 

Ibat ad antiquas Hecates Perseidos aras, 
quas nemus umbrosum secretaque silva tegebat, 75 
et iam fortis erat, pulsusque recesserat ardor, 
cum videt Aesoniden exstinctaque flamma reluxit. 



be hailed as his deliverer through the cities of 
Greece by throngs of women. And shall I then 
sail away and leave my sister here, my brother, 
father, gods, and native land? Indeed my father is a 
stern man, indeed my native land is barbarous, my 
brother is still a child, my sister's goodwill is on my 
side; and the greatest god is within me! I shall 
not be leaving great things, but going to great 
things : the title of saviour of the Achaean youth, 
acquaintance with a better land, cities, whose fame 
is mighty even here, the culture and arts of civilized 
countries, and the man I would not give in exchange 
for all that the wide world holds — the son of Aeson ; 
with him as my husband I shall be called the beloved 
of heaven, and with my head shall touch the stars. 
But wliat of certain mountains, which, they say, come 
clashing together in mid-sea ; and Charybdis, the 
sailor's dread, who now sucks in and again spews 
forth the waves ; and greedy Scylla, girt about with 
savage dogs, baying in the Sicilian seas ! Nay, holding 
that which I love, and resting in Jason's arms, I 
shall fare over the long reaches of the sea ; in his safe 
embrace I shall fear nothing ; or if I fear at all, I 
shall fear for my husband only. But do you call it 
marriage, Medea, and do you give fair-seeming names 
to your fault r Nay, rather, look ahead and see how 
great a wickedness you are approaching and flee it 
while you may." She spoke, and before her eyes 
stood righteousness, fill il affection, and modesty ; and 
love, defeated, was now on the point of flight. 

She took her way to an ancient altar of Hecate, 
the daughter of Perse, hidden in the deep shades of 
a forest. And now she was strong of purpose and 
the flames of her vanquished passion had died down ; 
when she saw the son oi Aeson and the dying flame 



erubuere genae, totoque recanduit ore, 

utque solet ventis alimenta adsumere, quaeque 

parva sub inducta latuit scintilla favilla 80 

crescere et in veteres agitata resurgere vires, 

sic iam lenis amor, iam quem languere putares, 

ut vidit iuvenem, sp-^c^e praesentis inarsit. 

et casu solito formobior Aesone natus 

ilia luce fuit : posses ignoscere amanti. 85 

spectat et in vultu veluti turn denique viso 

lumina fixa tenet nee se mortalia demens 

ora videre putat nee se declinat ab illo ; 

ut vero coepitque loqui dextramque prehendit 

hospes et auxilium submissa voce rogavit oo 

promisitque torum, lacrimis ait ilia profusis : 

" quid faciam, video : non ignorantia veri 

decipiet, sed amor, servabere munere nostro, 

servatus promissa date ! " per sacra triformis 

ille deae lucoque foret quod numen in illo 95 

perque patrem soceri cernentem cuncta futuri 

eventusque suos et tanta pericula iurat: 

creditus accepit cantatas protinus herbas 

edidicitque usum laetusque in tecta recessit. 

Postera depulerat Stellas Aurora micantes : 100 
conveniunt populi sacrum Mavortis in arvum 
consistuntque iugis ; medio rex ipse resedit 
agmine purpureus sceptroque insignis eburno. 
ecce adamanteis Vulcanum naribus efflant 
aeripedes tauri, tactaeque vaporibus herbae 105 

ardent, utque solent pleni resonare camini^ 


leaped up again. Her cheeks grew red, then all her 
face became pale again ; and as a tiny spark, which 
has lain hidden beneath the ashes, is fed by a breath 
of wind, then grows and regains its former strength 
as it is fanned to life ; so now her smouldering love, 
which you would have thought all but dying, at sight 
of the young hero standing before her blazed up again. 
It chanced that the son of Aeson was more beautiful 
than usual that day : you could pardon her for loving 
him. She gazed upon him and held her eyes fixed 
on his face as if she had never seen him before ; and 
in her infatuation she thought the face she gazed on 
more than mortal, nor could she turn herself away 
from him. But when the stranger began to speak, 
grasped her right hand, and in low tones asked for 
her aid and promised marriage in return, she burst 
into tears and said : " I see what I am about to do, 
nor shall ignorance of the truth be my undoing, but 
love itself. You shall be preserved by my assistance ; 
but when preserved, fulfil your promise." He swore 
he would be true by the sacred rites of the threefold 
goddess, by whatever divinity might be in that 
grove, by the all-beholding father of his father-in- 
law who was to be, by his own successes and his 
mighty perils. She believed ; and straight he re- 
ceived the magic herbs and learnt their use, then 
withdrew full of joy into his lodging. 

The next dawn had put to flight the twinkling 
stars. Then the throngs gathered into the sacred 
field of Mars and took their stand on the heights. 
In the midst of the company sat the king himself, 
clad in purple, and conspicuous with his ivory sceptre. 

See ! here come the brazen-footed bulls, breathing 

fire from nostrils of adamant. The very grass shrivels 
upatthetouchof theirhot breath. And as full furnaces 



aut ub. terrena silices fornace soluti 
concipiunt ignem liquidarum adspergine aquarum, 
pectora sic intus clausas volventia flammas 
gutturaque usta sonant; tamen illis Aesone natus 
obvius it. vert ere truces venientis ad ora Ill| 

terribiles vultus praefixaque cornua ferro 
pulvereumque solum pede pulsavere bisulco 
fumificisque locum mugitibus inpleverunt. 
deriguere metu Minyae ; subit ille nee ignes 115i 

sensit anhelatos ; tantum medicamina possunt, 
pendulaque audaci mulcet palearia dextra 
suppositosque iugo pondus grave cogit aratri 
ducere et insuetum ferro proscindere campum : 
mirantur Colchi, Minyae clamoribus augent 120 

adiciuntque animos. galea turn sumit aena 
vipereos dentes et aratos spargit in agros. 
semina mollit humus valido praetincta veneno, 
et crescunt fiuntque sati nova corpora dentes, 
utque hominis speciem materna sumit in alvo 125 
perque suos intus numeros conponitur infans 
nee nisi maturus communes exit in auras, 
sic, ubi visceribus gravidae telluris imago 
eff'ecta est hominis, feto consurgit in arvo, 
quodque magis mirum est, simul edita concutit arma. 
quos ubi viderunt praeacutae cuspidis hastas 131 

in caput Haemonii iuvenis torquere parantis, 
demisere metu vultumque animumque Pelasgi ; 
ipsa quoque extimuit, quae tutum fecerat ilium, 
utque peti vidit iuvenem tot ab hostibus unum, 135 


are wont to roar, or as limestones burned in the lime- 
kiln hiss and grow hot when water is poured upon 
them ; so did the bulls' chests and parched throats 
rumble with the fires pent up within. Nevertheless 
the son of Aeson went forward to meet them. As he 
came towards them the fierce beasts turned upon him 
terrible faces and sharp horns tipped with iron, pawed 
the dusty earth with their cloven feet, and filled the 
place with their fiery bellowings. The Minyans 
were stark with fear ; he went up to the bulls, not 
feeling their hot breath at all, so great is the power 
of charmed drugs ; and stroking their hanging dew- 
laps with fearless hand, he placed the yoke on their 
necks and made them draw the heavy plow and cut 
through the field that had never felt steel before. 
The Colchians are amazed ; but the Minyans shouted 
aloud and increased their hero's courage. Next he 
took from a brazen helmet the serpent's teeth and 
sowed them broadcast in the plowed field. The 
earth softened these seeds steeped in virulent 
poison and the sown teeth swelled up and took on new 
forms. And just as in its mother's body an infant 
gradually assumes human form, and is perfected 
within through all its parts, and does not come forth 
to the common air until it is fully formed ; so, 
when the forms of men had been completed in the 
womb of the pregnant eartli, they rose up on the 
teeming soil and, what is yet more wonderful, each 
clashed weapons that had been brought forth with 
him. When the Greeks saw them preparing to 
hurl sharp-pointed spears at the head of the 
Thessalian hero, their faces fell with fear and their 
hearts failed them. She also, who had safeguarded 
him, was sore afraid ; and when she saw him, one 
man, attacked by so many foes, she grew pale, and 



palluit et subito sine sanguine frigida sedit, 
neve parum valeant a se data gramina, carmen 
auxiliare canit secretasque advocat artes^ 
ille gravem medios silicem iaculatus in hostes 
a se depulsum IVrartem conveitit in ipsos : 140 

terrigenae pereunt per mutua vulnera fratres 
civilique cadunt acie. gratantur Achivi 
victoreniqiie tenent avidisque amplexibus haerent. 
tu quoque vietorem conplecti, barbara, velles : 
obstitit incepto pudor, at conplexa fuisses * 146 

sed te, ne faceres, tenuit reverentia famae. 
quod licet, adfectu tacito laetaris agisque 
carminibus grates et dis auctoribus horum. 

Pervigilem superest herbis sopire draconem, 
qui crista linguisque tribus praesignis et uncis 150 
dentibus horrendus custos erat arboris aureae. 
hunc postquam sparsit Lethaei gramine suci 
verbaque ter dixit placidos facientia somnos, 
quae mare turbatum, quae concita flumina sistunt, 
somnus in ignotos oculos sibi venit, et auro 155 

heros Aesonius potitur spolioqne superbus 
muneris auctorem secum, spolia altera, portans 
victor lolciacos tetigit cum coniuge portus. 

Haemoniae matres pro gnatis dona receptis 
grandaevique ferunt patres congestaque flamma l60 
tura liquefaciunt, inductaque cornibus aurum 
victima vota litat, sed abest gratantibus Aeson 

^ ZAne 145 bracketed by Ehvxtld. 


sat there suddenly cold and bloodless. And, lest the 
charmed herbs which she had given him should not 
be strong enough, she chanted a spell to help them 
and called in her secret arts. But he hurled a heavy 
rock into the midst of his enemies and so turned 
their fury away from him upon themselves. The 
earth-born brethren perished by each other's 
wounds and fell fighting in internecine strife. Then 
did the Greeks congratulate the victorious youth, 
catching him in their arms and clinging to him in 
eager embraces. You also, barbarian maiden, would 
gladly have embraced the victor; your modesty stood 
in the way. Still, you would have embraced him ; 
but respect for common talk held you back. What 
was allowed you did, gazing on him with silent joy 
and thanking your spells and the gods who gave them. 

There remained the taskof putting to sleep the ever- 
watchful dragon with magic herbs. This creature, 
distinguished by a crest, a three-forked tongue and 
hooked fangs, was the awful guardian of the golden 
tree. After Jason had sprinkled upon him the 
Lethaean juice of a certain herb and thrice had 
recited the words that bring peaceful slumber, which 
stay the swollen sea and swift-flowing rivers, then 
sleep came to those eyes which had never known 
sleep before, and the heroic son of Aeson gained the 
golden fleece. Proud of this spoil and bearing with 
him the giver of his prize, another spoil, the victor 
and his wife in due time reached the harbour ot 

The Thessalian mothers and aged fathers bring 
gifts in honour of their sons' safe return, and burn 
incense heaped on the altar flames, and the victim 
with gilded horns which they have vowed is slain. 
But Aeson is absent from the rejoicing throng, being 



iam propior leto fessusque senilibus annis, 
cum sic Aesonides : "o cui debere salutem 
confiteor, coniunx, quamquam mihi ciincta dedisti 
excessitque fidem meritorum summa tuoium, l66 

si tamen hoc possunt (quid enim noii carmina 

possunt ?) 
deme meis annis et demptos adde parenti ! " 
nee teiiuit lacrimas : mota est pietate rogantis, 
dissimilemque animum subiit Ateta relictus ; 170 

nee tamen adfectus talis eonfessa "quod " inquit 
"excidit ore tuo, coniunx, scelus ? ergo ego cuiquam 
posse tuae videor spatium transcribere vitae ? 
nee sinat hoc Hecate, nee tu ])t'tis aequa ; sed isto, 
quod petis, experiar mains dare munus, lason. 175 
arte mea soceri longum temptabimus aevum, 
non annis revoeare tuis, modo diva triformis 
adiuvet et praesens ingentibus adnuat ausis." 
Tres aberant noctes, ut cornua tota coirent 
efficerentque orbem ; postquam plenissinia fulsit 180 
ae solida terras spectavit imagine luna, 
egreditur tectis vestes induta reeinctas, 
nuda pedem, nudos umeris infusa capillos, 
fertque vagos mediae per muta silentia noctis 
ineomitata gradus : homines volucresque ferasque 185 
solverat alta quies, nullo cum murmure saepes,^ 
inmotaeque silent frondes, silet umidus aer, 
sidera sola mieant : ad quae sua bracchia tendens 
ter se convertit, ter sumptis flumine crinem 
inroravit aquis ternisque ululatibus ora 190 

^ <Sb Merkcl. Ehicald with some MSS. gives two lines for 186 j 
solverat alta quies, nullo cum murmure serpunt: 
sopitis similes, nullo cum murmure saepes. 


now near death and heavy with the weight of years. 
Then says the son of Aeson: "O wife, to whom I freely 
own my dehverance is due, although you have already 
given me all, and the suno of your benefits has ex- 
ceeded all my hopes ; still, if your spells can do this 
— and what can they not do ? — take some portion 
from iny own years of life and give this to my father." 
And he could not restrain his tears. Medea was moved 
by the petitioner's filial love, and the thought of 
Aeetes deserted came into her mind, how different 
from Jason's ! Still, not confessing such feelings, she 
replied : " What impious words have Mien from your 
lips, my husband? Can I then transfer to any man, 
think you, a portion of your life ? Neither would 
Hecate permit this, nor is your request right. But a 
greater boon than what you ask, my Jason, will I try 
to give. By my art and not your years I will try 
to renew your father's long span of life, if only 
the three-formed goddess will help me and grant 
her present aid in this great deed which I dare 

There were yet three nights before the horns of 
the moon would meet and make the round orb. 
When the moon shone at her fullest and looked 
down upon the earth with unbroken shape, Medea 
went forth from her house clad in flowing robes, 
barefoot, her hair unadorned and streaming down 
her shoulders ; and all alone she wandered out into 
the deep stillness of midnight. Men, birds, and 
beasts were sunk in profound repose ; there was no 
sound in the hedgerow ; the leaves hung mute and 
motionless ; the dewy air was still. Only the stars 
twinkled. Stretching up her arms to these, she 
turned thrice about, thrice sprinkled water caught 
up from a flowing stream upon her head and thrice 


solvit et in dura submisso poplite terra 
"Nox" ait "arcanis fidissima, quaeque diurnis 
aurea cum luna succeditis ignibus astra, 
tuque, triceps Hecate, quae coeptis conscia nostris 
adiutrixque venis cantusque artisque magorum, 195 
quaeque magos, Tellus, pollentibus instruis herbis, 
auraeque et venti montesque amnesque lacusque, 
dique omnes nemorum, dique omnes noctis adeste, 
quorum ope, cum volui, ripis mirantibus amnes 
in fontes rediere suos, concussaque sisto, 200 

stantia concutio cantu freta, nubila pello 
nubilaque induco, ventos abigoque vocoque, 
vipereas rumpo verbis et carmine fauces, 
vivaque saxa sua convulsaque robora terra 
et silvas moveo iubeoque tremescere montis 20£ 

et mugire solum manesque exire sepulcris! 
te quoque, Luna, traho, quamvis Temesaea Jabores 
aera tuos minuant ; currus quoque carmine nostro 
pallet avi, pallet nostris Aurora venenis ! 
vos mihi taurorum flammas hebetastis et unco 210 
inpatiens oneris collum pressistis aratro, 
vos serpentigenis in se fera bell a dedistis 
custodemque rudem somni sopistis et aurum 
vindice decepto Graias misistis in urbes : 
nunc opus est sucis, per quos renovata senectus 215 
in florem redeat primosque recolligat annos, 



gave tongue in wailing cries. Then she kneeled 
down upon the hard earth and prayed : " O Night, 
faitliful preserver of mysteries, and ye bright stars, 
whose ffolden beams with the moon succeed the fires 
of day ; thou three-formed Hecate, who knowest our 
undertakings and comest to the aid of the spells 
and arts of magicians ; and thou, O Earth, who 
dost provide the magicians with thy potent herbs ; 
ye breezes and winds, ye mountains and streams and 
pools ; all ye gods of the groves, all ye gods of the 
night : be with me now. With your help when I 
have willed it^ the streams have run back to their 
fountain-heads, while the banks wondered ; I lay 
the swollen, and stir up the calm seas by my spell ; 
I drive the clouds and bring on the clouds ; the 
winds I dispel and summon ; I break the jaws of 
serpents with my incantations ; living rocks and oaks 
I root up from their own soil ; I move the forests, I 
bid the mountains shake, the earth to rumble and 
the ghosts to come forth from their tombs. Thee 
also, Luna, do I draw from the sky, though the 
clanging bronze of Temesa strive to aid thy throes ^ ; 
even the chariot of the Sun, my grandsire, pales at 
my song ; Aurora pales at my poisons. You dulled the 
bulls' flames at my command ; you pressed under the 
curved plow those necks which had endured no 
weight. You turned the savage onslaught of the 
serpent-born band against themselves ; you lulled 
the watcher who knew no sleep, and beguiling the 
defender sent the golden prize back to the cities of 
Greece. Now I have need of juices by whose aid 
old age may be renewed and may turn back to the 
bloom of youth and regain its early years. And you 

1 At an eclipse it was usual to make a noise in order to 
frighten away the malignant influence. 



et dabitis. neque enim micuerunt sidera frustra, 
nee frustra volucrum tractus eervice draconum 
currus adest." aderat demissus ab aethere currus. 
quo simul adscendit frenataque eolla draconum 220 
pennulsit manibusque leves agitavit habenas, 
sublimis rapitur subiectaque Thessala Tempe 
dispicit et certis regionibus adplicat angues : 
et quas Ossa tulit, quas altum Pelion herbas 
Othrysque et Pindus, quas Pindo maior Olympus, 225 
perspicit et placitas partim radice revellit, 
partim succidit curvamine falcis aenae. 
multa quoque Apidani placuerunt gramina ripis, 
multa quoque Amphrysi, neque eras inmunis, Eaipeu ; 
nee non Peneos nee non Spercheides undae 230 

contribuere aliquid iuncosaque litora Boebes; 
carpsit et Euboica vivax Anthedone gramen, 
nondum mutato vulgatum corpore Glauci. 

Et iam nona dies curru pennisque draconum 
nonaque nox omnes lustrantem viderat agros, 235 
cum rediit ; neque erant tacti nisi odore dracones, 
et tamen annosae pellem posuere senectae. 
constitit adveniens citra limenque foresque 
et tantum caelo tegitur refugitque viriles 
contactus, statuitque aras de caespite binas, 240 

dexteriore Hecates, ast laeva parte luventae. 
has ubi verbenis silvaque incinxit agresti, 
baud procul egesta scrobibus tellure duabus 
sacra facit cultrpsque in guttura velleris atx'i 
conicit et patulas perfundit sanguine fossas ; 245 


will give them ; for not in vain have the stars 
gleamed in reply, not in vain is my car at hand, 
drawn by winged dragons." There was the car, 
sent down from the sky. When she had mounted 
therein and stroked the bridled necks of the dragon 
team, shaking the light reins witii her hands she 
was whirled aloft. She looked down on Thessalian 
Tempe lying below, and turned her dragons towards 
regions that she knew. All the herbs that Ossa bore, 
and high Pelion, Othrys and Pindiis and Olympus, 
greater than Pindus, she surveyed : and those that 
pleased her, some she plucked up by the roots and 
some she cut off with the curved blade of a bronze 
pruning-hook. Many grasses also she chose from 
the banks of the Apidanus, many from Amphrysus. 
Nor were you, Enipeus, left without toll ; Peneus 
also, and Spercheus gave something, and the reedy 
banks of Boebe. From Euboean Anthedon she 
culled a grass that gives long life, a herb not yet 
made famous by the change which it produced in 
Glaucus' body. 

And now nine days and nine nights had seen her 
traversing all lands, drawn in her car by her winged 
dragons, when she returned. The dragons had not 
been touched save by the odour of the herbs, and yet 
they sloughed off their skins of many long years. 
As she came Medea stopped this side of the threshold 
and the door; covered by the sky alone, she avoided 
her husband's embrace, and built two turf altars, 
one on the right to Hecate and one on the left to 
Youth. She wreathed these with boughs from the 
wild wood, then hard by she dug two ditches in the 
earth and performed her rites ; plunging her knife 
into the throat of a black sheep, she drenched the 
open ditches with his blood. Next she poured upon 



turn super invergens liquid! carchesia vini 
alteraque invergens tepidi carchesia lactis, 
verba siniul fudit terrenaque numina civit 
umbrarumque rogat rapta cum coniuge regem, 
ne properent artus anima fraudare senili. 250 

Quos ubi placavit precibusque et murmure longo, 
Aesonis efFetum proferri corpus ad auras 
iussit et in plenos resolutum carmine somnos 
exanimi similem stratis porrexit in herbis. 
hinc procul Aesoniden, procul hinc iubet ire ministros 
et monet arcanis oculos removere profanos. 256 

diffugiunt iussi ; passis Medea capillis 
bacchantum ritu flagrantis circuit aras 
multifidasque faces in fossa sanguinis atra 
tinguit et infectas geminis accendit in aris 260 

terque senem flamnia, ter aqua, ter sulphure lustrat 

Interea validum posito medicamen aeno 
fervet et exsultat spumisque tumentibus albet. 
illic Haeuionia radices valle resectas 
seminaque floresque et sucos incoquit acres ; 265 

adicit extremo lapides Oriente petitos 
et quas Oceani refluum mare lavit harenas ; 
addit et exceptas luna pernocte pruinas 
et strigis infamis ipsis cum carnibus alas 
inque virum soliti vultus mutare ferinos 270 

ambigui prosecta !upi ; nee defuit illis 
squamea Cinyphii tenuis membrana chelydri 
vivacisque iecur cervi ; quibus insuper addit 
ova caputque novem cornicis saecula passae. 
bis et mille aliis postquam sine nomine rebus 275 


it bowls of liquid wine, and again bowls of milk 
still warm, while at the same time she uttered her 
incantations, called up the deities of the eartli, and 
prayed the king of the sliades with his stolen bride 
not to be in haste to rob the old man's body of the 
breath of life. 

When she had appeased all these divinities by 
long, low-muttered prayers, she bade her people 
bring out under the open sky old Aeson's worn-out 
body ; and having buried him in a deep slumber by 
her spells, like one dead she stretched him out on a 
bed of herbs. Far hence she bade Jason go, far 
hence all the attendants, and warned them not to 
look witli profane eyes upon her secret rites. They 
retired as she had bidden. Medea, with streaming 
hair after the fashion of the Bacchantes, moved round 
the blazing altars, and dipping many-cleft sticks in 
the dark pools of blood, she lit the gory sticks at the 
altar tlaines. Thrice she purified the old man with 
fire, thrice with water, thrice with sulphur. 

Meanwhile the strong potion in the bronze pot is 
boiling, leaping and frothing white with the swelling 
foam. In this pot she boils roots cut in a Thessalian 
vale, together with seeds, flowers, and strong juices. 
She adds to these ingredients pebbles sought for in 
the farthest Orient and sands which the ebbinjr tide 
of Ocean laves. She adds hoar frost gathered under 
the full moon, the wings of the uncanny screech-owl 
with the flesh as well, and the entrails of a werewolf 
which has the power of changing its wild-beast 
features into a man's. There also in the pot is the scaly 
skin of a slender Cinyphian water-snake, the liver of 
a long-lived stag, to which she adds also eggs and the 
head of a crow nine generations old. When with these 
and a thousand other nameless things the barbarian 



propositiim instruxit mortali barbara maius, 

arenti ramo iampridem mitis olivae 

omnia confudit summisque inniiscuit ima. 

ecce vetus calido versatus stipes aeno 

fit viridis primo nee longo tempore frondes 280 

induit et subito gravidis oneratur olivis : 

at qiiaciimque eavo spumas eieeit aeno 

ignis et in terram guttae cecidere calentes, 

vernat humus, floresque et mollia pabula surgunt. 

quae simul ac viilit, stricto Medea recludit 285 

ense senis iugulum veteremque exire cruorem 

j)assa replet sucis ; quos postquam conbibit Aeson 

aut ore acceptos aut vulnere, barba comaeque 

canitie posita nigrum rapuere colorem, 

pulsa fugit macies, abeunt pallorque situsque, 290 

adiectoque cavae supplentur corpore rugae, 

membraque luxuriant : Aeson miratur et olim 

ante quater denos hunc se reminiscitur annos. 

Viderat ex alto tanti miracula monstri 
Liber et admonitus, iuvenes nutricibus annos 295 
posse suis reddi, capit hoc a Colchide niunus. 

Neve doli cessent, odium cum coniuge falsum 
Fhasias adsiniulat Peliaeque ad limina supplex 
confugit ; atque illam, quoniam gravis ipse senecta est 
excipiunt natae ; quas tempore callida parvo 300 
Colchis amicitiae mendacis imagine cepit, 
dumque refert inter meritorum maxima demjitos 
Aesonis esse situs atque hac in parte moratur, 
sj)es est virginibus Pelia subiecta creatis, 


woman had {)repared her more than mortal 
plan, she stirred it all up with a branch of the 
fruitful olive long since dry and well mixed the 
top and bottom together. And io, the old dr^ 
stick, when moved about in the hot broth, grew 
green at first, in a short time put forth leaves, 
and then suddenly was loaded with teeming 
olives. And wherever the froth bubbled over 
from the hollow pot, and the hot drops fell upon 
the ground, the earth gi-cw green and (lowers and 
soft grass sprang up. When she saw this, Medea 
unsheathed her knife and cut the old man's throat; 
then, letting the old blood all run out, she filled his 
veins with lier brew. When Aeson had drunk this 
in part through his lips and part through the wound, 
his beard and hair lost their hoar}' grey and quickly 
became black again ; his leanness vanished, away 
went the pallor and the look of neglect, the deep 
wrinkles were filled out with new flesh, his limbs had 
the strength of youth. Aeson was filled with wonder, 
and remembered that this was he forty years ago. / 

Now Bacchus had witnessed this marvel from his 
station in the sky, and learning from this that his 
own nurses might be restored to their youthful years, 
he obtained this boon from the Colchian woman. 

That malice migiit have its turn, the Phasian 
woman feigned a quarrel with her husband, and fled 
as a suppliant to the house of Pelias. There, since 
the king himself was heavy with years, his daughters 
gave her hospitable reception. These girls the crafty 
Colchian in a short time won over by a false show of 
friendliness ; and while she was relating among the 
most remarkable of her achievements the rejuvena- 
tion of Aeson, dwelling particularly on that, the 
daughters of Pelias were induced to hope that by 


arte suum parili revirescere posse parentem, 305 

idque petunt pretiumque iubent sine fine pacisci. 
ilia brevi spatio silet et tlubitare videtur 
suspenditque animos ficta gravitate rogaiites. 
mox ubi pollicita est, " quo sit fiducia maior 
muneris huius" ait, "qui vestri maxim us aevo est 310 
dux gregis inter oves, agnus medicamine fiet." 
protinus innumeris effetus laniger annis 
attrahitur flexo circum cava tempora cornu ; 
cuius ut Haemonio marcentia guttura cultro 
fodit et exiguo maculavit sanguine ferrum, 315 

membra simul pecudis validosque venefica sucos 
mergit in acre cavo : minuunt ea corporis artus 
cornuaque exurunt nee non cum cornibus annos, 
et tener auditur medio balatus aeno : 
nee mora, balatum mirantibus exsilit agnus 320 

lascivitque fuga lactantiaque ubera quaerit. 

Obstipuere satae Pelia, promissaque postquam 
exhibuere fidem, tum vero inpensius instant, 
ter iuga Phoebus equis in Hibero flumine mersis 
dempserat et quarta radiantia nocte micabant 325 
sidera, cum rapido fallax Aeetias igni 
iniponit purum laticem et sine viribus herbas. 
iamque neci similis resoluto corpore regem 
et cum rege suo custodes somnus habebat, 
quem dederant cantus magicaeque potentia linguae ; 
intrarant iussae cum Colchide limina natae 331 




skill like this their own father might be made young 
again. And they beg this boon, bidding her name 
the price, no matter how great. She made no reply 
for a little wlule ant! seemed to hesitate, keeping the 
minds of her suppliants in suspense by feigned deep 
meditation. When she had at length given her 
promise, she said to them : "That you may have the 
greater confidence in this boon, the oldest leader of 
the flock among your sheep shall become a lamb 
again by my drugs." Straightway a woolly ram, 
worn out with untold years, was brought forward, 
his great horns curving round his hollow temples. 
When the witch cut his scrawny throat with her 
Thessalian knife, barely staining the weapon with his 
scanty blood, she plunged his carcass into a kettle of 
bronze, throwing in at the same time juices of great 
potency. These made his body shrink, burnt away 
bis horns, and with his horns, his years. And now a 
thin bleating was heard from within the pot ; and, 
even while they were wondering at the sound, out 
jumped a lamb and ran frisking away to find some 
udder to give him milk. 

Pelias' daughters looked on in amazement ; and now 
that these promises had been performed, they urged 
their request still more eagerly than before. Three 
times had Phoebus unyoked his steeds after their 
plunge in Ebro's stream, and on the fourth night the 
stars were shining bright in the sky, when the trea- 
cherous daughter of Aeetes set some clear water over 
a hot fire and put therein herbs of no potency. And 
now a death-like sleep held the king, his body all 
relaxed, and with the king his guards, sleep which 
incantations and the potency of magic words had 
given. The king's daughters, as they were bid, 
entered his chamber with the Colchian and stood 



ambierantque torum : "quid nunc dubitatis inertes?  

stringite" ait "gladios veteremque haurite crurorem, 

ut repleam vacuas iuvenali sanguine venas ! 

in manibus vestris vita est aetasque parentis : 335 

si pietas ulla est nee spes agitatis inanis, 

officium praestate patri telisque senectam 

exigite, et saniem coniecto emittite ferro ! " 

his, ut quaeque pia est, hortatibus inpia prima est 

et, ne sit scelerata, facit scelus : baud tamen ictus 340 

ulla suos spectare potest, oculosque reflectunt, 

caecaque dant saevis aversae vulnera dextris. 

ille cruore fluens, cubito tamen adlevat artus, 

semilacerque toro temptat consurgere, et inter 

tot medius gladios pallentia bracchia tendens SiS 

" quid facitis, gnatae ? quid vos in fata parentis 

armat?" ait: cecidere illis animique manusque; 

plura loeuturo cum verbis guttura Colchis 

abstulit et calidis laniatum mersit in undis. 

Quod nisi pennatis serpentibus isset in auras, 350 
non exempta foret poenae : fugit alta suj)erque 
Pelion umbrosum, Philyreia tecta, superque 
Othryn et eventu veteris loca nota Cerambi : 
hie ope nympliarum sublatus in aera pennis, 
cum gravis infuso tellus foret obruta ponto, 355 

Deucalioneas effugit inobrutus undas. 
Aeoliam Pitanen a laeva parte relinquit 
factaque de saxo longi simulacra draconis 
Idaeumque nemus, quo nati furta, iuvencum, 
occuluit Liber falsi sub imagine cervi, 860 



around his bed. " Why do you hesitate now, you 
laggards ? " Medea said. " Come, draw your swords, 
and let out his old blood that I may refill his empty 
veins with young blood again. In your own hands 
rests your father's life and youth. If you have any 
filial love, and if the hopes are not vain that you are 
cherishing, come, do your duty by your father; drive 
out age at your weapon's point ; let out his enfeebled 
blood with the stroke of the steel." Spurred on by 
tliese words, as each was filial she became first in 
the unfilial act, and that she might not be wicked did 
the wicked deed. Nevertheless, none could bear to 
see her own blows ; they turned their eyes away ; and 
so with averted faces they blindly struclc with cruel 
hands. The old man, streaming with blood, still 
raised himself on his elboAv and half mangled tried 
to get up from his bed ; and with all those swords 
round him, he stretched out his pale arms and cried: 
"What are you doing, my daughters.'' Wliat ai-ms 
you to your father's death ? " Their courage left 
them, their hands fell. When he would have spoken 
fu'-ther, the Colchian cut his throat and plunged his 
mangled body into the boiling water. 

But had sne not gone away through the air drawn 
by her winged dragons, she would not have escaped 
punishment. High up she sped over shady Felion, 
the home of Chiron, over Othrys and the regions 
made famous by the adventure of old Cerambus. 
(He, by the aid of the nymphs borne up into the air 
on wings, at the time when the heavy earth had sunk 
beneath the overwhelming sea, escaped Deucalion's 
flood undrowned.) Aeolian Pitane she passed by on 
the left, with its huge ser{)ent image made of stone ; 
and Ida's grove, where Bacchus, to conceal his son's 
theft, changed the bullock into the seeming form of 



quaque pater Corythi parva tumulatus harena est, 

et quos Maera novo latratu terruit agros, 

Eurypylique urbem, qua Coae cornua matres 

gesserunt turn, cum discederel Herculis agmen, 

Phoebeamque Rhodon et lalysios Telchinas, 365 

quoi-um oculos ipso vitiantes omnia visu 

luppiter exosus fraternis subdidit undis ; 

transit et antiquae Cartheia moenia Ceae, 

qua pater Alcidamas placidam de corpore natae 

miraturus erat nasci potuisse colunibam. 370 

inde lacus Hyries videt et Cycneia Tempe, 

quae subitus celebravit olor : nam Phyllius illie 

imperio pueri volucrisque ferumque leonem 

tradiderat domitos ; taiirum quoque vincere iussus 

vicerat et spreto totiens iratus amore 375 

praemia poscenti taurum suprema negabat ; 

ille indignatus "cupies dare" dixit et alto 

desiluit saxo ; cuncti cecidisse putabant ; 

factus olor niveis pendebat in aere pennis ; 

at genetrix Hyrie, servatum nescia, flendo 380 

dilicuit stagnumque suo de nomine fecit. 

adiacet his Pleui'on, in qua trepidantibus alis 

Ophias effugit natorum vulnera Combe ; 

inde Calaureae Letoidos adspicit arva 

in volucrem versi cum coniuge conscia regis. 3SS 

dextera Cyllene est, in qua cum matre Menephron 

concubiturus erat saevarum more ferarum ; 

Cephison procul hinc deflentem fata nepotis 



a stag ; where tlie father of Corythus lay buried 
beneath a small mound of sand ; where Maera spread 
terror through the fields by her strange barking ; 
over the city of Eurypylus wliere the women of Cos 
wore horns wdiat time the band of Hercules with- 
drew ; over Rhodes, beloved of Phoebus ; and the 
Telchines of lalysus whose eyes, blighting all things 
by their very glance, Jupiter in scorn and hatred 
plunged beneath his brother's waves. She passed 
also the walls of ancient Carthaea on the island of 
Cea, where father Alcidamas was sometime to marvel 
that a peaceful dove could have sprung from his 
daughter's body. Next Hyrie's lake she saw, and 
Tempe, which Cycnus' sudden change into a swan 
made famous. For there Phyllius, at the command 
of a boy, had tamed and brought him wild birds and a 
savage lion ; being commanded to tame a wild bull 
also, he had tamed him, but angry that so often his 
love was spurned, he withheld the last gift of the 
bull from the boy who asked it ; whereupon the boy 
in anger said, " You will wish you had given it," 
and leaped forthwith from a cliff. They all thought 
that he had fallen ; but changed to a swan he re- 
mained floating in the air on snowy wings. But 
Hyrie, his mother, not knowing that her son was 
saved, melted away in tears and became a pool of the 
same name. Near these regions lies Pleuron, where 
Combe, the daughter of 0})hius, escaped death at the 
hands of her sons on fluttering wings. After that, 
she sees the fertile island of Calaurea, sacred to 
Latona, the island that saw the king and his wife 
both changed into birds. On her right lies Cyllene, 
which Menephron was doomed to defile with incest 
after the wild beasts' fashion. Far off from here she 
looks down on the Cephisus, bewailing the fate of his 

N 369 


respicit in tumidam phocen ab Apolline versi 
Eumelique domum lugentis in aei*e natum. 390 

Tandem vipereis Ephyren Pirenida pennis 
contigit : hie aevo veteres mortalia primo 
corpora vulgarunt pluvialibus edita fungis. 
sed postquam Colcliis arsit nova nupta venenis 
flagrantemque domum regis mare vidit utrumque, 395 
sanguine natorum perfunditur inpius ensis, 
ultaque se male mater lasonis effugit arma. 
hinc Titaniacis ablata draconibus iiitrat 
Palladias arces, quae te, iustissima Phene, 
teque, senex Peripha, pariter videre volantes 400 
innixamque novis neptem Polypemonis alis. 
excipit banc Aegeus facto damnandus in uno, 
nee satis hospitium est, thalami quoque foedere iungit. 

lamque aderat Theseus, proles ignara parenti, 
qui virtute sua bimarem pacaverat Isthmon : 405 

huius in exitium miscet Medea, quod olim 
attulerat secum Scythicis aconiton ab oris, 
illud Echidneae memorant e dentibus ortum 
esse canis : specus est tenebroso caecus hiatu, 
est via declivis, per quam Tirynthius heros 410 

restantem contraque diem radiosque micantes 
obliquantem oculos nexis adamante catenis 
Cerberon abstraxit, rabida qui concitus ira 
inplevit pariter ternis latratibus auras 
et sparsit virides spumis albentibus agros ; 415 



grandson changed by Apollo into a plump sea-calf; 
and upon the home of Eumelus, who lamented that 
his son now dwelt in air. 

At length, upborne by the snaky wings, she reached 
Corinth of the sacred spring. Here, according to 
ancient tradition, in the earliest times men's bodies 
sprang from mushrooms. But after the new wife had 
been burnt by the G^lchian witchcraft, and the two 
seas had seen the king's palace aflame, she stained 
her impious sword in the blood of her sons ; and 
then, after this horrid vengeance, the mother fled 
Jason's sword. Borne hence by her dragons s{)rung 
from Titans' blood, she entered the citadel of Pallas, 
which beheld you, most righteous Phene, and you, 
old Periphas, flying side by side, and the grand- 
daughter^ of Polypemon upborne by new-sprung 
wings. Aegeus received her, that one deed enough 
to doom him ; but he was not content with hos- 
pitality : he made her his wife as well. 

And now came Theseus, a son that his father knew 
not ; who by his manly prowess had established 
peace on the Isthmus between its two seas. Bent 
on his destruction, Medea mixed in a cup a poison 
which she had brought long ago from the Scythian 
shores. This poison, they say, came from the mouth 
of the Echidnean dog. There is a cavern with a 
dark, yawning throat and a way down-sloping, along 
which Hercules, the hero of Tiryns, dragged Cer- 
berus with chains wTought of adamant, while the 
great dog fought and turned away his eyes from 
the bright light of day. He, goaded on to mad 
frenzy, filled all the air with his threefold howls, 
and sprinkled the green fields with white foam. 
Men think that these flecks of foam grew ; and, 

^ Alcyone. 



has concresse putant nactasque alimenta feracis 

fecundique soli vires cepisse nocendi ; 

quae quia nascuntur dura vivacia caute, 

agrestes aconita vocant. ea coniugis astu 

ipse })ai-ens Aegeus nato porrexit ut hosti. 420 

sumpserat ignara Theseus data pocula dextra, 

cum pater in capulo gladii cognovit eburno 

signa sui generis facinusque excussit ab ore. 

efiugit ilia necem nebulis per carmina motis ; 

At genitor, quamquam laetatur sospite nato, 425 
attonitus tamen est, ingens discrimine parvo 
committi potuisse nefas : fovet ignibus aras 
muneribusque deos inplet, feriuntque secures 
colla torosa bourn vinctorum tempora vittis. 
nullus Erechthidis fertur celebratior illo 430 

inluxisse dies : agitant convivia patres 
et medium vulgus nee non et carmina vino 
ingenium faciente canunt : " te, maxime Theseu, 
mirata est Marathon Cretaei sanguine tauri, 
quodque suis securus arat Cromyona colonus, 435 
muniis opusque tuum est ; tellus Epidauria per te 
clavigeram vidit Vulcani occumbere prolem, 
vidit et inmitem Cephisias ora Procrusten, 
Cercyonis letuin vidit Cerealis Eleusin. 
occidit ille Sinis magnis male viribus usus, 440 

qui poterat curvare trabes et agebat ab alto 
ad terram late sparsuras corpora pinus. 
tutus ad Alcathoen, Lelegeia nioenia, limes 
conposito Scirone patet, sparsisque latronis 


drawing nourishment from the rich, rank soil, they 
gained power to hurt ; and because they spring up 
and flourish on hard rocks, the country folk call 
them aconite.^ This poison, through the treachery 
of his wife, father Aegeus himself presented to his 
son as though to a stranger. Theseus had taken and 
raised the cup in his unwitting hand, when the father 
recognized the tokens of his own family on the ivory 
hilt of the sword which Theseus wore, and he dashed 
the vile thing from his lips. But Medea escaped 
death in a dark whirlwind her witch songs raised. 

But the father, though he rejoiced at his son's 
deliverance, was still horror-struck that so monstrous 
an iniquity could have been so nearly done. He 
kindled fires upon the altars, made generous gifts 
to the gods ; his axes struck at the brawny necks of 
bulls with ribbons about their horns. It is said that 
no day ever dawned for the Athenians more glad 
than that. The elders and the common folk made 
merry together. Together they sang their songs, 
with wit inspired by wine : " You, O most mighty 
Theseus, Marathon extols for the blood of tlie Cretan 
bull ; and that the fanner of Cromyon may till his 
fields without fear of the sow is your gift and your 
deed. Through you the land of Epidaurus saw Vul- 
can's club-wielding son ^ laid low ; the banks of Cephi- 
sus saw the merciless Procrustes slain; Eleusis, the 
town of Ceres, beheld Cercyon's death. By your hand 
fell that Sinis of great strength turned to evil uses, 
who could bend the trunks of trees, and force down 
to earth the pine-tops to shoot men's bodies far out 
through the air. A way lies safe and open now to 
Alcathoe and the Lelegeian walls, now that Sciron is 
no more. To this robber's scattered bones both land 
1 i.e. "growing without soil." * Periphetes. 



terra negat sedem, sedem negat ossibus unda ; 445 
quae iactata diu fertur durasse vetustas 
in scopulos : scopulis nomen Scironis inhaeret. 
si titulos annosque tuos numerare velimus, 
facta prement annos. pro te, fortissime, vota 
publica suscipimus, Bacchitibi sumimus haustws." 450 
consonat adsensu populi precibusque laventum 
regia, nee tota tristis locus ullus in urbe est. 

Nee tamen (usque adeo nulla est sincera voluptas, 
solHcitumque aliquid laetis intervenit) Aegeus 
gaudia percepit nato secura recepto : 455 

bella parat Minos ; qui quamquam milite, quamquani 
classe valet, patria tamen est firmissimus ira 
Androgeique necem iustis ulciscitur armis. 
ante tamen bello vires adquirit arnicas, 
quaque potens habitus volucri freta classe pererrat : 
hinc Anaphen sibi iungit et Astypaleia regna, 46 1 
(promissis Anaphen, regna Astypaleia bello) ; 
hinc humilem Myconon cretosaque rura Cimoli 
florentemque thymo Syron planamque Seriphon 
marmoreamque Paron, quamque inpia prodidit Arne 
Sithonis : accepto, quod avara poposcerat, auro 466 
mutata est in avem, quae nunc quoque diligit aurum, 
nigra pedes, nigris velata monedula pennis. 

At non Oliaros Didymaeque et Tenos et Andros 
et Gyaros nitidaeque ferax Peparethos olivae 470 
Gnosiacas iuvere rates ; latere inde sinistro 
Oenopiam Minos petit, Aeacideia regna : 
Oenopiam veteres adpellavere, sed ipse 
Aeacus Aeginam genetricis nomine dixit. 


and sea denied a resting-place ; but, long tossed 
about, it is said that in time they hardened into 
cliffs; and the cliffs still bear the name of Sciron. 
If we should wish to count your praises and your 
years, your deeds would exceed your years. For 
you, brave hero, we give public thanks and prayers, 
to you we drain our cups of wine." The palace 
resounds with the applause of the people and the 
prayers of the happy revellers ; nowhere in the whole 
city is there any place for gloom. 

And yet — so true it is that there is no pleasure 
unalloyed, and some care always comes to mar our 
joys — Aegeus' rejoicing over his son's return was not 
unmixed with care. Minos was threatening war. 
Strong in men and ships, he was yet most strong in 
fatherly resentment and with just arms was seeking 
to avenge the death of his son Androgeos. But first 
he sought for friendly aid for his warfare ; and he 
scoured the sea in the swift fleet in which his chief 
strength lay. He joined to his cause Anaphe and 
Astypalaea, the first by promises, the second by 
threats of war ; the low-lying Myconus and the 
chalky fields of Cimolus ; Syros covered with wild 
thyme, level Seriphos, Paros of the marble cliffs, and 
that place which impious Sithonian Arne betrayed, 
and having received the gold which she in her 
greed had demanded, was changed into a bird 
which even now delights in gold, a black-footed, 
black-winged daw. 

But Oliaros and Didymae, Tenos, Andros, Gyaros 
and Peparetlios, rich in glossy olives, gave no aid to 
the Cretan fleet. Sailing thence to the left, Minos 
sought Oenopia, the realm of the Aeacidae. Men of 
old time had called the place Oenopia ; but Aeacus 
himself styled it Aegina by his mother's name. At 



turba ruit tantaeque virum cognoscere famae 475 

expetit ; occurrunt illi Telamonque minorque 

quam Telamon Peleus et proles tertia Phocus ; 

ipse quoque egi'editur tardus gravitate senili 

Aeacus et, quae sit veniendi causa requirit. 

admouitus patrii luctus suspirat et illi 480 

dicta refert rector populorum talia centum : 

" arma iuves ore pro gnato sumpta piaeque 

pars sis militiae ; tumulo solacia posco." 

huic Asopiades " petis iiirita" dixit " et urbi 

non facienda meae ; neque enim coniunctior ulla 485 

Cecropidis est hac tellus : ea foedera nobis." 

tristis abit ''stabunt" que " tibi tua foedera magiio" 

dixit et utilius bellum putat esse minari 

quam gerere atque suas ibi praeconsumere vires. 

classis ab Oenopiis etiamnum Lyctia muris 490 

spectari poterat, cum pleno concita velo 

Attica puppis adest in portusque intrat amicos, 

quae Cephalum patriaeque simul mandata ferebat. 

Aeacidae longo iuvenes post tempore visum 

agnovere tamen Cephalum dextrasque dedere 495 

inque patris duxere domum : spectabilis heros 

et veteris retinens etiamnum pignora formae 

Lngreditur ramumque tenens popularis olivae 

a dextra laevaque duos aetate minores 

niaior habet, Clyton et Buten, Pallante creatos. 500 

Postquam congressus primi sua verba tuleruat, 
Cecropidum Cephalus peragit mandata rogatque 
auxilium foedusque refert et iura parentum, 
imperiumque peti totius Achaidos addit. 


his approach a rabble rushed forth, eager to see and 
know so famous a man. Him Telamon met, And 
Peleus, younger than Telamon, and Phocus, third in 
age. Aeacus himself came also, slow with the weight 
of years, and asked him what was the cause of his 
coming. Reminded of his fatherly grief, the ruler 
of a hundred cities sighed and thus made answer : 
" I beg you aid the ai*ms which for my son's sake I 
have taken up ; and be a part of my pious warfare. 
Repose for the dead I ask." To him Aeacus replied: 
" You ask in vain that which my city cannot give ; 
for no land is more closely linked to the Athenians 
than this : so strong are the treaties between us." 
The other, disappointed, turned away saying : " Your 
treaty shall cost you dear " ; for he thought it were 
better to threaten war than to wage it and to waste 
his strength there untimely. Still the Cretan fleet 
could be seen from the Oenopian walls, when, 
driven on under full sail, an Attic ship arrived and 
entered the friendly port, bringing Cephalus and 
his country's greetings. The men of the house of 
Aeacus, though it was long since they had seen 
Cephalus, yet knew him, grasped his hand, and 
brought him into their father's house. The hero 
advanced, the centre of all eyes, retaining even yet 
the traces of his old beauty and charm, bearinijc a 
branch of his country's olive, and, himself the elder, 
flanked on right and left by two of lesser age, Clytos 
and Butes, sons of Pallas. 

After they had exchanged gi-eetings, Cephalus 
delivered the message of the Athenians, asking for 
aid and quoting the ancestral league and treaty 
between their two nations. He added that not 
alone Athens but the sovereignty over all Greece 
was Minos' aim. When thus his eloquence had com- 



sic ubi mandatam iuvit facundia causam, 505 

Aeacus, in capulo sceptri nitente sinistra, 
" ne petite auxilium, sed sumite " dixit, " Athenae, 
nee dubie vires^quas haec habet insula, vestras 
ducite et omnia, quae rerum status iste niearum. 
robora non desunt ; superat mihi miles et hosti; 510 
gratia dis, felix etinexcusabiie tempus." 
" imnio ita sit " Cephalus, " crescat tua civibus opto 
urbs " ait ; " adveniens equidem niodo gaudia oepi, 
cum tam pulchra mihi, tarn par aetate inventus 
obvia processit ; multos tamen inde require, 515 

quos quondam vidi vestra prius urbe receptus." 
Aeacus ingemuit tristique ita voce locutus : 
" flebile principium melior fortuna secuta est ; 
hanc utinam possem vobis memorare sine illo ! 
ordine nunc repetam, neu longa ambage morer vos, 
ossa cinisque iacent, memori quos mente requiris, 521 
et quota pars illi rerum periere mearum ! 
dira lues ira populis lunonis iniquae 
incidit exosae dictas a paelice terras, 
dum visum mortale malum tantaeque latebat 525 

causa nocens cladis, pugnatum est arte medendi : 
exitium superabat opem, quae victa iacebat. 
principio caelum spissa caligine terras 
pressit et ignavos inclusit nubibus aestus ; 
dumque quater iunctis explevit cornibus orbem 530 
Luna, quater plenum tenuata retexuit orbem, 
letiferis calidi spirarunt aestibus austri. 
constat et in fontis vitium venisse lacusque, 
miliaque incultos serpentum multa per agros 
errasse atque suis fluvios temerasse venenis. 535 



mended his cause, Aeacus, his left hand resting on the 
sceptre's hilt, exclaimed : "Ask not our aid, but take 
it, Athens ; and boldly count your own the forces 
which this island holds, and all things which the state 
of my affairs supplies. Warlike strength is not lacking; 
I have soldiers enough for myself and for my enemy. 
Tlianks to the gods, the times are happy, and without 
excuse for my refusal." " May it prove even so," 
said Cephalus, " and may your city multiply in men. 
In truth, as I came hither, 1 was rejoiced to meet 
youth so fair, so matched in age. And yet I miss 
many among them whom I saw before when last I 
visited your city." Aeacus groaned and with sad 
voice thus replied: "It was an unhappy beginning, 
but better fortune followed. Would that 1 could tell 
you the last without the first ! Now 1 will take 
each in turn ; and, not to delay you with long circum- 
locution, they are but bones and dust whom with 
kindly interest you ask for. And oh, how large a part 
of all my kingdom perished with them .' A dire 
pestilence came on my people through angry Juno's 
wrath, who hated us for that our land was called by 
her rival's name. So long as the scourge seemed of 
mortal origin and the cause of the terrible plague 
was still unknown, we fought against it with the 
physician's art. But the power of destruction ex- 
ceeded our resources, which were completely baffled. 
At first heaven rested down upon the earth in thick 
blackness, and held the sluggish heat confined in the 
clouds. And while the moon four times waxed to a 
full orb with horns complete, and four times waned 
from that full orb, hot south winds blew on us with 
pestilential breath. Consistently with this, the bale- 
ful infection reached our springs and pools ; thousands 
of serpents crawled over our deserted fields and defiled 



strage canum primo volucrumque oviiimque boumque 
inque feris subiti deprensa potentia morbi. 
concidere infelix validos miratur arator 
inter opus tauros niedioque recumbere sulco ; 
lanigeris gregibus balatus dantibus aegros 540 

sponte sua lanaeque cadunt et corpora tabent ; 
acer equus quondam magnaeque in pulvere famae 
degenerat palmas veterumque oblitus honorum 
ad praesepe gemit leto moriturus inerti. 
non aper irasci meminit, non fidere cursu 54!5 

cerva nee armentis incurrere fortibus ursi. 
omnia languor habet : silvisque agrisque viisque 
coriiora foeda iacent, vitiantur odoribus aurae. 
mira loquar : non ilia canes avidaeque volueres, 
non cani tetigere lupi ; dilapsa liquescunt 550 

adflatuque nocent et agunt contagia late. 

" Pervenit ad miseros damno graviore colonos 
pestis et in magnae dominatur nioenibus urbis. 
viscera torrentur primo, flammaeque latentis 
indicium rubor est et ductus anhelitus ; igni 555 

aspera lingua tumet, tepidisque arentia ventis 
ora patent, auraeque graves captantur hiatu. 
non stratum, non ulla pati velamina possunt, 
sed dura terra ponunt praecordia, nee fit 
corpus humo gelidum, sed humus de corpore fervet. 
nee moderator adest, inque ipsos saeva medentes 56l 
erumpit clades, obsuntque auctoribus artes ; 
quo propior quisque est servitque fidelius aegro, 
in partem leti citius venit, utque salutis 


our risers with their poison. At first the swift power 
of the disease was confined to the destruction of dogs 
and birds, sheep and cattle, or among the wild beasts. 
The luckless plowman marvels to see his strong bulls 
fall in the midst of their task and sink down in the 
furrow. The woolly flocks bleat feebly while their 
wool falls off of itself and their bodies pine away. 
The liorse, once of high courage and of great renown 
on the race-course, lias now lost his victorious spirit 
and, forgetting his former glory, groans in his 
stall, doomed to an inglorious death. The boar 
forgets his rage, the hind to trust his fleetness, the 
bears to attack the stronger herds. Lethargy holds 
all. In woods and fields and roads foul carcasses 
lie ; and the air is defiled by the stench. And, 
strange to say, neither dogs nor ravenous birds nor 
grey wolves did touch them. The bodies lie rotting 
on the ground, blast with their stench, and spread the 
contagion far and near. 

" At last, now grown stronger, the pestilence attacks 
the wretched countrymen, and loi-ds it within the great 
city's walls. As the first symptoms, the vitalsare burnt 
up, and a sign of the lurking fire is a red flush and 
panting, feverish breath. The tongue is rough and 
swollen with fever ; the lips stand apart, parched with 
hot respiration, and catch gasping at the heavy air. 
The stricken can endure no bed, no covering of any kind, 
but throw themselves face down on the hard ground ; 
but their bodies gain no coolness from the ground ; 
rather is the ground heated by their bodies. No one 
can control the pest, but it fiercely breaks out upon the 
very pliysicians, and tlieir arts do but injure those who 
use them. The nearer one is to the sick and the more 
faithfully he serves them, the more quickly is he him- 
self stricken unto death. And as the hope of life 



spes abiit finemque vident in funere morbi, 565 

indulgent animis et nulla, quid utile, cura est : 
utile enim nil est. passim positoque pudore 
fontibus et fluviis puteisque capacibus haerent, 
nee sitis est exstincta prius quam vita bibendo. 
inde graves multi nequeunt consurgere et ipsis 570 
inmoriuntur aquis, aliquis tamen haurit et illas ; 
tantaque sunt miseris invisi taedia lecti, 
prosiliunt aut, si prohibent consistere vires, 
corpora devolvunt in humum fugiuntque penates 
quisque sues, sua cuique domus funesta videtur, 575 
et quia causa latet, locus est in crimine parvus, 
semianimes errare viis, dum stare valebant, 
adspiceres, flentes alios terraque iacentes 
lassaque versantes supremo lumina motu ; 
membraque pendentis tendunt ad sidera caeli, 580 
hie illic, ubi mors deprenderat, exhalantes. 

" Quid mihi tunc animi fuit ? an, quod debuit esse, 
ut vitam odissem et cuperem pars esse meorum ? 
quo se cumque acies oculorum flexerat, illic 
vulgus erat stratum, veluti cum putria motis 585 

poma cadunt ramis agitataque ilice glandes. 
templa vides contra gradibus sublimia longis : 
luppiter ilia tenet, quis non altaribus illis 
inrita tura dedit .'' quotiens pro coniuge coniunx, 
pro gnato genitor dum verba precantia dicit, 590 

non exoratis animam finivit in aris, 
inque manu turis pars inconsumpta reperta est ! 
admoti quotiens templis, dum vota sacerdos 
concipit et fundit durum inter cornua vinum, 


deserts them and they see the end of their malady 
only in death, they indulge their desires, and they 
have no care for what is best — tor nothing is best. 
Everywhere, shameless they lie, in fountain-basins, in 
streams and roomy wells ; nor by drinking is their 
thirst quenched so long as life remains. Many of 
these are too weak to rise, and die in the very water ; 
and yet others drink even that water. To many poor 
wretches so great is the irksomeness of their hateful 
beds that they jump out, or, if they have not strength 
enough to stand, they roll out on the ground. They 
flee from their own hames : for each man's home 
seems a place of death to him. Since the cause of the 
disease is hidden, that small spot is held to blame. 
You might have seen them wandering half dead along 
the ways while they could keep on their feet, others 
lying on the ground and weeping bitterly, turning their 
dull eyes upward with a last weak effort, and stretch- 
ing out their arms to the sky that hung over them 
like a pall — here, there, wherever death has caught 
them, breathing out their lives. 

" What were my feelings then ? Was it not natural 
that I should hate life and long to be with my friends .'' 
Wherever I turned my eyes there was a confused heap 
of dead, as mellow apples fall when the boughs are 
shaken, and acorns from the wind-tossed oak. You 
see a temple yonder, raised on high, approached by a 
long flight of steps. It is sacred to Jupiter. Who 
did not bear his fruitless offerings to those altars ? 
How often a husband for his wife's sake, a father for 
his son, while still uttering his praj^er, has died before 
the implacable altars, and in his hand a portion of 
the incense was unused! How often the sacrificial 
bulls brought to the temples, while yet the priest 
was praying "md pouring pure wine between their 



baud exspectato ceciderunt vulnere tauri ! 595 

ipse ego sacra lovi pro me patriaque tribusque 

cum fVicerem natis, mugitus vietima diros 

edidit et subito conlapsa sine ietibus uUis 

exiguo tinxit subiectos sanguine cultros. 

exta quoque aegra notas veri monitusque deorum 600 

perdidei-ant : tristes penetrant ad viscera morbi. 

ante sacros vidi proiecta cadavera postes, 

ante ipsas, quo mors foret invidiosior, aras, 

pars animam laqueo claudunt mortisque timorem 

morte fugant ultroque vocant venientia fata. 605 

corpora missa neci nullis de more feruntur 

funeribus (neque enim capiebant funera portae) : 

aut inhumata premunt terras aut dantur in altos 

indotata rogos ; et iam reverentia nulla est, 

deque rogis pugnant alienisque ignibus ardent. 6lO 

qui laci-iment, desunt, indefletaeque vagantur 

matrumque nuruumque animae iuvenurnque senum- 

nee locus in tumulos, nee sufficit arbor in ignes. 

Attoiiitus tanto miserarum turbine rerum, 
' luppiter o ! ' dixi, * si te non falsa loquuntur 6l5 
dicta sub amplexus Aeginae Asopidos isse, 
nee te, magne pater, nostri pudet esse parentem, 
aut mihi redde meos aut me quoque conde sepulcro I ' 
ille notam fulgore dedit tonitruque secundo. 
* accipio sintque ista precor felicia mentis 620 

signa tuae ! ' dixi, ' quod das mihi, pigneror omen.' 
forte fuit iuxta patulis rarissima ramis 
sacra lovi quercus de semine Dodonaeo ; 


horns, have fallen without waiting for the stroke ! 
I While I myself was sacrificing to Jove on my own 
behalf and for my country and my three sons, the 
victim uttered dreadful bellowings and, suddenly 
falling without any stroke of mine, it barely stained 
the knife with its scanty blood ; the diseased entrails 
also had lost the marks of truth and the warnings of 
the gods: for to the very vitals does the grim pest go. 
Before the temple doors I saw tlie corpses cast away, 
nay, before the very altars, that their deatli might be 
even more odious. Some hung themselves, driving 
away the fear of death by death and going out to 
meet their approaching fate. The dead bodies were 
not borne out to burial in the accustomed way ; for 
the gates would not accommodate so many funerals. 
They either lie on the ground unburied, or else they 
are piled high on funeral pyres without honours. And 
by this time there is no reverence for the dead ; men 
fight for pyres, and with stolen flames they burn. 
There are none left to mourn the dead. Unwept 
they go wandering out, the souls of matrons and of 
brides, of men both young and old. There was no 
more space for graves, nor wood for fires. 

" Dazed by such an overwhelming flood of woe, I 
cried to Jove : ' O Jove, if it is not falsely said that 
thou didst love Aegina, daughter of Asopus, and if tl)ou, 
great father, art not ashamed to be our father, eitlier 
give me back my people or consign me also to the tomb,' 
He gave a sign with lightning and a peal of thunder 
in assent. ' I accept the sign,' I said, ' and may those 
tokens of thy mind towards us be happy signs. The 
omen which thou givest me I take as pledge.' It 
chanced there was an oak near by with branches un- 
usually widespread, sacred to Jove and of Dodona's 
stock. Here we spied a swarm of grain-gathering 



hie nos frugilegas adspeximus agmine longo 

grande onus exiguo formicas ore gerentes 

rugosoque suum servantes cortice callem ; 

dum numerum niiror, ' totidem, pater optime,' dixi, 

' tu mihi da cives et inania moenia supple ! ' 

intremuit ramisque sonum sine flamine metis 

alta dedit quercus : pavido mihi membra timore 630 

horruerant, stabantque comae ; tamen oseula terrae 

roboribusque dedi, nee me sperare fatebar ; 

sperabam tamen atque animo mea vota fovebam. 

nox subit, et curis exercila corpora somnus 

occupat : ante oculos eadem mihi quercus adesse 635 

et ramis totidem totidemque animalia ramis 

ferre suis visa est pariterque tremescere motu 

graniferumque agmen subiectis spargere in arvis ; 

crescere quod subito et maius maiusque videri 

ac se tollere humo rectoque adsistere trunco 640 

et maciem numerumque pedum nigrumque colorem 

ponere et humanam membris inducere formam. 

somnus abit : damno vigil ans mea visa querorque 

in superis opis esse nihil ; at in aedibus ingens 644 

murmur erat, vocesque hominum exaudire videbar 

iam mihi desuetas ; dum suspicor has quoque somnl 

esse, venit Telamon properus foribusque reclusis 

' speque fideque, pater ', dixit ' maiora videbis : 

egredere ! ' egredior, qualesque in imagine somni 

visus eram vidisse viros, ex ordine tales 650 

adspicio noscoque : adeunt regemque salutant. 

vota lovi solvo populisque recentibus urbem 

partior et vacuos priscis cultoribus agros, 



ants in a long column, bearing heavy loads with their 
tiny mouths, and keeping their own path along the 
wrinkled bark. Wondering at their numbers, I said : 
'O most excellent father, grant thou me just as many 
subjects, and fill my empty walls.' The lofty oak 
trembled and moved its branches, rustling in the 
windless air. My limbs were horror-smit with quak- 
ing fear and my hair stood on end. Yet I kissed the 
earth and the oak-tree ; nor diti I own my hopes to 
myself, and yet I did hope and I cherished my desires 
within my mind. Night came and sleep claimed our 
care-worn bodies. Before my eyes the same oak-tree 
seemed to stand, with just as many branches and with 
just as many creatures on its branches, to shake with 
the same motion, and to scatter the grain-bearing 
column on the ground below. These seemed sud- 
denly to grow larger and ever larger, to raise 
themselves from the ground and stand with form 
erect, to throw off their leanness, their many feet, 
their black colour, and to take on human limbs 
and a human form. Then sleep departed. Once 
awake I thought lightly of my vision, bewailing 
that there was no help in the gods. But there 
was a great confused noise in the palace, and I 
seemed to hear the voices of men to which I was 
long unused. And while I half believed that this 
also was a trick of sleep, Telamon came running and, 
throwing open th-^ door, exclaimed : ' O father, more 
than you believed or hoped for shall you see. Come 
out ! ' I went without, and there just such men as 
I had seen in my dream I now saw and recognized 
with my waking eyes. They approached and greeted 
aae as king. I gave thanks to Jove, and to my new 
subjects I portioned out my city and my fields, for- 
saken by their former occupants; and I called them 



Myrmidonasque voco nee origine nomina fraudo. 
corpora vldisti ; mores, quos ante gerebant, 6o5 

nunc quoque habent : parcum genus est patiensque 

quaesitique tenax, et qui quaesita reservent. 
hi te ad bella pares annis animisque sequentur, 
cum primmn qui te feliciter attulit eurus" 
(eurusenimattulerat)"fueritmutatusinaustrum." 660 

Talibus atque aliis longuni sermonibus illi 
inplevere diem ; lucis pars ultima mensae 
est data, nox somnis. iubar aureus extulerat Sol, 
flabat adhuc eurus redituraque vela tenebat : 
ad Cephalum Pallante sati, cui grandior aetas, 665 
ad regem Cephalus simul et Pallante creati 
conveniunt, sed adhuc regem sopor altus habebat. 
excipit Aeacides illos in limine Phocus ; 
nam Telamon fraterque vires ad bella legebant. 
Phocus in interius spatium pulchrosque recessus 670 
Cecropidas ducit, cum quis simul ipse resedit. 
adspicit Aeoliden ignota ex arbore factum 
ferre manu iaculum, cuius fuit aurea cuspis. 
pauca prius mediis sermonibus ille locutus 
" sum nemorum studiosus " ait " caedisque ferirjae ; 
qua tamen e silva teneas hastile recisum, 676 

iamdudum dubito : certe si fraxinus esset, 
fulva colore foret ; si cornus, nodus inesset. 
unde sit, ignoro, sed non formosius isto 
viderunt oculi telum iaculabile nostri." 680 

excipit Actaeis e fratribus alter et " usum 


Myrmidons/ nor did I cheat the name of its origin. 
You have seen their bodies ; the habits which they 
had before they still keep, a thrifty race, inured to 
toil, keen in pursuit of gain and keeping what they 
get. Ihese men will follow you to the wars well 
matched in years and courage, as soon as the east 
wind which brought you so fortunately hither" — for 
the east wind it was that brought him — " shall have 
changed to the south." / 

With such and other talk they filled the lingei-lng 
day. The last hours of the tiay were given to feasting, 
the night to sleep. When the golden sun had shown 
his light, the east wind was still blowing and kept 
the sails from the homeward voyage. The sons of 
Pallas came to Cephalus, who was the older, and 
Cephalus with the sons of Pallas went together to 
the king. But deep sleep still held the king. Phocus, 
son of Aeacus, received them at the threshold ; for 
Telamon and his brother were marshalling the men 
for war. Into the inner court and beautiful apart- 
ments Phocus conducted the Athenians, and there 
they sat them down together. There Phocus noticed 
tliat Cephalus carried in his hand a javelin with a 
golden head, and a shaft made of some strange wood. 
After some talk, he said abruptly : " I am devoted to 
the woods and the hunting of wild beasts. Still, I 
have for some time been wondering from what wood 
that weapon you hold is made. Surely if it were 
of ash it would be of deep yellow hue ; if it were of 
cornel-wood there would be knots upon it. What 
wood it is made of I cannot tell ; but my eyes have 
never seen a javelin for throwing more beautiful 
than that." And one of the Athenian brothers 
replied: "You will admire the weapon's use more 
1 Fancifully derived from fniipfir)^, an ant. 



maiorem specie mirabere " dixit " in isto. 
consequitur, quodcumque petit, fortunaque missum 
non regit, et revolat nullo referente cruentum." 
turn vero iuveuis Nereius omnia quaerit, 685 

cur sit et unde datum, quis tanti muneris auctor. 
quae petit, ille refert, sed enim narrare pudori est, 
qua tulerit mercede ; silet tactusque dolore 
coniujiis amissae lacrimis ita fatur obortis : 
" hoc me, nate dea, (quis possit credere ?) telum 69O 
flere facit facie tque diu, si vivere nobis 
fata diu dederint ; hoc me cum coniuge cara 
perdidit : hoc utinam caruissem munere semper ' 
" Procris erat, si forte magis pervenit ad aures 
Orithyia tuas, raptae sorer Orithyiae, 695 

si faciem moresque velis conferre duarum, 
dignior ipsa rapi ! pater banc mihi iunxit Erechtheus, 
hanc mihi iunxit amor : feHx dicebar eramque ; 
non ita dis visum est, aut nunc quoque forsitan essem, 
alter agebatur post sacra iugaha mensis, 700 

cum me cornigeris tendentem retia cervis 
vertice de summo semper florentis Hymetti 
lutea mane videt pulsis Aurora tenebris 
invitumque rapit. hceat mihi vera referre 
pace deae : quod sit roseo spectabilis ore, 705 

quod teneat lucis, teneat confinia noctis, 
nectareis quod alatur aqiiis, ego Procrin amabarn ; 
pectore Procris erat, Procris mihi semper in ore. 
sacra tori coitusque novos tlialamosque recentes 
primaque deserti referebam foedera lecti : 710 



than its beauty ; it goes straight to any mark, 
and chance does not guide its flight ; and it flies 
back, all bloody, with no hand to bring it." Then 
indeed young Phocus was eager to know why it was 
so, and whence it came, who was the giver of so 
wonderful a gift. Cephalus told what the youth, 
asked, but he was ashamed to tell at what price 
he gained it. He was silent; then, touched with 
grief lor his lost wife, he burst into tears and said : 
" It is this weapon makes me weep, thou son of a 
goddess — who could believe it ? — and long will it 
make me weep if the fates shall give me long life. 
This destroyed me and my dear wife together. And 
oh, that I had never had it ! My wife was Procris, 
or, if bv more likely chance the name of Orithyia has 
come to your ears, the sister of the ravished Orithyia. 
If you should compare the form and bearing of the 
two, Procris herself is the more worthy to be ravished 
away. It is she that her father, Erechtheus, joined 
to'me ; it is she that love joined to me. I was called 
happy, and happy I was. But the gods decreed it 
otherwise, or, perchance, I should be happy still. It 
was in the second month after our marriage rites. 
I was spreading my nets to catch the antlered deer, 
wlien from the top of ever-blooming Hymettus the 
golden goddess of the dawn, havmg put the shades 
to flight, beheld me and carried me away, against 
my will : may the goddess pardon me for telling the 
simple truth ; but as truly as she shines with the 
1)1 usH of roses on her face, as truly as she holds 
the portals of the day and night, and drinks the 
juices of nectar, it was Procris I loved ; Procris was 
in my heart, Procris was ever on my lips. I kept 
talking of my wedding and its fresh joys of love 
and the first union of my now deserted couch. The 



raota (lea est et ' siste tuas, ingrate, querellas ; 
Procrin habe ! ' dixit, ' quod si mea provida mens est, 
non habuisse voles.' meque illi irata remisit. 
cum redeo mecumque deae memorata retracto, 
esse metus eoepit, ne iura iugalia coniunx 715 

non bene servasset : facies aetasque iubebat 
credere adulteriumj prohibebant credere mores ; 
sed tamen afueram, sed et haec erat, unde redibam, 
criminis exemplum, sed cuncta timemus amantes. 
quaerere, quod doleam, statuo donisque pudicam 720 
sollicitare fidem ; favet huie Aurora timori 
inmutatque meam (videor sensisse) figuram. 
Palladias ineo non cognoscendus Atheaas 
ingrediorque domum ; culpa domus ipsa carebat 
castaque signa dabat dominoque erat anxia rapto : 
vix aditus per mille dolos ad Erechthida factus. 726 
ut vidi, obstipui meditataque paene reliqui 
temptamenta fide ; male me, quin vera faterer, 
continui, male, quin, ut oportuit, oscula ferrem. 
tristis erat (sed nulla tamen formosior ilia 730 

esse potest tristi) desidei'ioque dolebat 
coniugis abrepti : tu collige, qualis in ilia, 
Phoce, decor fuerit, quam sic dolor ipse decebat ! 
quid referam, quotiens temptamina nostra pudici 
reppulerint mores, quotiens 'ego ' dixerit ' uni 735 
server ; ubicumque est, uni mea gaudia servo.' 
cui non ista fide satis experientia sano 
magna foret ? non sum contentus et in mea pugno 


goddess was provoked and exclaimed : ' Cease your 
complaints, ungrateful boy; keep your Procris ! but, 
if my mind can foresee at all, you will come to wish 
that you had never had her'; and in a rage she sent 
me back to her. As I was going home, and turned 
over in- my mind the goddess' warning, I began to 
fear that my wife herself had not kept her marriage 
vows. Her beauty and her youth made me fear 
unfaithfulness ; but her character forbade that 
fear. Still, I had been absent long, and she from 
whom I was returning was herself an example of 
unfaithfulness ; and besides, we lovers fear every- 
thing. I decided to make a cause for grievance and 
to tempt her chaste faith by gifts. Aurora helped me 
in this jealous undertaking and clianged my form ; (1 
seemed to feel the change). And so, unrecognizable 
I entered Athens, Pallas' sacred city, and went into my 
house. The household itself was blameless, showed no 
sign of aught amiss, was only anxious for its lost lord. 
With much difficulty and by a thousand wiles I gained 
the presence of Erechtheus' daughter ; and when I 
looked upon her my heart failed me and I almost 
abandoned the test of her fidelity which I had 
planned. I scarce kept from confessing the truth, 
from kissing her as was her due. She was sad ; but 
no woman could be more beautiful than was she in 
her sadness. She was eill grief with longing for the 
husband who had been torn away from her. Imagine, 
Phocus, how beautiful she was, how that grief itself 
became her. Why should I tell how often her chastity 
repelled my temptations ? To every plea she said : 
' I keep myself for one alone. Wherever he is I keep 
my love for one.' What husband in his senses would 
not have found that test of her fidelity enough ? But 
I was not content and strove on to my own undoing i 


vulnera I cum census dare me pro nocte loquendo 
muneraque augendo tandem dubitare coegi, 740 

exclamo male victor: 'adestj mala, fictus adulter! 
verus eram coniunx ! me, perfida, teste teneris.' 
ilia nihil ; tacito tantummodo victa pudore 
insidiosa male cum coniuge limina fugit ; 
ofFensaque mei genus omne perosa virorum 745 

montibus errabat, studiis operata Dianae. 
tum mihi deserto violentior ignis ad ossa 
pervenit : orabam veniam et peccasse fatebar 
et potuisse datis siraili succumbere culpae 
me quoque muneribus, si munera tanta darentur. 750 
hoc mihi confesso, laesum prius ulta pudorem, 
redditur et dulces concorditer exigit annos ; 
dat mihi praeterea, tamquam se parva dedisset 
dona, canem munus ; quern cum sua traderet illi 
Cynthia, 'currendo superabit' dixerat 'omnes.' 755 
dat simul et iaculum, manibus quod, cernis, habemus. 
muneris alterius quae sit fortuna, requiris ? 
accipe mirandum : novitate movebere facti ! 
"Carmina Laiades non intellecta priorum 
solverat ingeiiiis, et praecipitata iacebat 760 

inmemor ambagum vates obscura suarum : 
protinus Aoniis inmittitur altera Thebis 763 

(scilicet alma Themis nee talia linquit inulta !) 762 
pestis, et exitio multi pecorumque suoque 
rurigenae pavere feram ; vicina iuventus 765 



By promising to give fortunes for her favour, and at 
last, by adding to my promised gifts, I forced her to 
hesitate. Then, victor to my sorrow, I exclaimed : 
* False one, he that is here is a feigned adulterer ! 
I was really your husband ! By my own witness, 
traitress, you are detected ! ' She, not a word. Only 
in silence, overwhelmed with shame, she fled her 
treacherous husband and his house. In hate for me, 
loathing the whole race of men, she wandered over 
the mountains, devoted to Diana's pursuits. Then 
in my loneliness the fire of love burned more fiercely, 
penetrating to the marrow. I craved pardon, owned 
that I had sinned, confessed that 1 too might have 
yielded in the same way under the temptation of 
gifts, if so great gifts were offered to me. When I 
had made this confession and she had sufficiently 
avenged her outraged feelings, she came back to me 
and we spent sweet years together in harmony. She 
gave me besides, as though she had given but small 
gifts in herself, a wonderful hound which her own 
Cynthia had given, and said as she gave : * He will 
surpass all otlier hounds in speed.' She gave me a 
javelin also, this one which, as you see, I hold in my 
hands. Would you know the story of both gifts } 
Hear the wonderful story: you will be moved by the/ 
strangeness of the deed. 

" Oedipus, the son of Laius, had solved the riddle 
which had been inscrutable to the understanding 
of all before ; fallen headlong she lay, the dark 
prophet, forgetful of her own riddle. Straightway a 
second monster was sent against Aonian Thebes (and 
surely kind Themis does not let such things go un- 
punished !) and many country dwellers were in terror 
of the fierce creature, fearing both for their own and 
their flocks' destruction. We, the neighbouring youths, 



venimus et latos indagine cinximus agros. 

ilia levi velox superabat retia saltu 

sumniaque transibat positarum lina plagarum : 

copula detrahitur canibus, quos ilia sequentes 

efFugit et centum non segnior alite ludit. 770 

poscor et ipse meum consensu Laelapa magno 

(muneris hoc nomen) : ianuludum vincula pugnat 

exuere ipse sibi colloque morantia tendit. 

vix bene missus erat, nee iara poteramus, ubi esset, 

scire ; pedum calidus vestigia pulvis habebat, 775 

ipse oculis ereptus erat : non ocior illo 

hasta nee excussae contorto verbere glandes 

nee Gortyniaco calamus levis exit ab arcu. 

collis apex medii subiectis inminet arvis : 

tollor eo capioque novi spectacula cursus, 780 

quo modo deprendi, modo se subducere ab ipso 

vulnere visa iera est ; nee limite callida recto 

in spatiumque fugit, sed decipit ora sequentis 

et redit in gyrum, ne sit suus inpetus hosti : 

inminet hie sequiturque parem similisque teiienti 

non tenet et vanos exercet in aera morsus. 786 

ad iaculi vertebar opem ; quod dextera librat 

dum mea, dum digitos amentis addere tenipto, 

luuiina deflexi. revocalaque rursus eodem 

rettuleram : et medio (mirum) duo marmora campo 

adspicio ; fugcre hoc, illud captare putares. 791 

scilicet invictos ambo certamine cursus - 

esse deus voluit, si quis deus adfuit illis." 



came and encircled the broad fields with our hunting:- 
nets. 3ut that swift beast leaped over the nets, over 
the veiy tops of the toils which we had spread. Then 
we let slip our hounds from the leash ; but she 
escaped their pursuit and mocked the hundred dogs 
with speed like any bird. Then all the hunters called 
upon me for my Laelaps (that is the name of the hound 
my wife had given me). Long since he had been 
struggling to get loose from the leash and straining 
his neck against the strap that held him. Scarce 
was he well released when we could not tell where 
he was. The warm dust kept the imprint of his feet, 
he himself had quite disappeared from sight. No 
spear is swifter than he, nor leaden bullets thrown 
by a whirled sling, or the light reed shot from a 
Gortynian bow. There was a high hill near by, whose 
top overlooked the surrounding plain. Thither I 
climbed and gained a view of that strange chase, 
in which the beast seemed now to be caught and 
now to slip from the dog's very teeth. Nor does the 
cunning creature flee in a straight course off into the 
distance, but it eludes the pursuer's jaws and wheels 
sharply round, so that its enemy may lose his spring. 
Tlie dog presses him hard, follows him step for step, 
and, while he seems to hold him, does not hold, and 
snaps at the empty air. I turned to my javelin's aid. 
As my right hand was balancing it, while I was 
fitting my fingers into the loop, I turned jny eyes 
aside for a single moment ; and when I turned them 
back again to the same spot — oh, wonderful ! 1 saw 
two marble images in the plain ; the one you would 
think was fleeing, the other catching at the prey. 
Doubtless some god must have willed, if there was 
any god with them, that both should be unconquered 
in their race." Thus far he spoke and fell silent. 



hactenus,ettacuit; "iaculoquod crimen in ipso est?" 
Phocus ait ; iaculi sic crimina reddidit ille : 795 

" Gaudia principium nostri sunt, Phoce, doloris : 
ilia prius referam. iuvat o meminisse beati 
temporis, Aeacida, quo primos rite per annos 
coniuge eram felix, felix erat ilia marito. 
mutua cura duos et amor socialis habebat, 800 

nee lovis ilia meo thalamos praeferret amori, 
nee me quae caperet, non si Venus ipsa veniret, 
ulla erat ; aequales urebant pectora flammae, 
sole fere radiis feriente cacumina primis 
venatum in silvas iuveiialiter ire solebam 805 

nee mecum famuli nee equi nee naribus acres 
ire canes nee lina sequi nodosa solebant : 
tutus eram iaculo ; sed cum satiata ferinae 
dextera caedis erat, repetebam frigus et uml)ras 
et quae de gelidis exibat vallibus aura : 810 

aura petebatur medio mihi lenis in aestu, 
auram exspectabam, requies erat ilia labori. 
' aura ' (recordor enim), ' venias ' cantare solebam, 
' meque iuves intresque sinus, gratissima, nostros, 
utque facis, relevare velis, quibus urimur, aestus ! ' 
forsitan addiderim (sic me mea fata trahebant), 8l6 
blanditias plures et ' tu mihi magna voluptas ' 
dicere sim solitus, ' tu me reficisque fovesque, 
tu facis, ut silvas, ut amem loca sola : meoque 
spiritus iste tuus semper captatur ab ore.' 820 

vocibus ambiguis deceptam praebuit aurem 
nescio quis nomenque aurae tam saepe vocatum 


" But what charge have you to bring against the 
javelin itself?" asked I'hocus. The other thus told 
what charge he liad against the javelin : 

" My joys, Phocus, were the beginning of my woe. 
These I will describe first. Oh, what a joy it is, son 
of Aeacus, to remember the blessed time when during 
those first years I was happy in my wife, as I should 
be, and she was happy in her husband. Mutual 
cares and mutual love bound us together. Not Jove's 
love would she have preferred to mine ; nor was 
there any woman who could lure me away from her, 
no, not if Venus herself should come. An equal 
passion burned in both our two hearts. In the early 
morning, when the sun's first rays touched the tops 
of the hills, with a young man's eagerness I used to 
go hunting in the woods. Nor did 1 take attendants 
with me, or horses or keen-scented dogs or knotted 
nets. I was safe with my javelin. But when my 
hand had had its fill of slaughter of wild creatures, I 
would come back to the cool shade and the breeze 
that came forth from the cool valleys. I wooed the 
breeze, blowing gently on me in my heat ; the breeze 
I waited for. She was my labour's rest. ' Come, 
Aura,' I remember I used to cry, ' come soothe 
me ; come into my breast, most welcome one, and, 
as indeed you do, relieve the heat with which I burn.' 
Perhaps I would add, for so my fates drew me 
on, more endearments, and say : ' Thou art m}' 
greatest joy; thou dost refresh and comfort me; 
thou makest me to love the woods and so itary 
places. It is ever my joy to feel thy breath upon 
my face.' Some one overhearing these words was 
deceived by their double meaning; and, thinking 
that the word 'Aura' so often on my lips was a 
nymph's name, was convinced that I was in love with 


esse putat nymphae : nympham niihi credit amari. 
criminis extemplo ficti temerarius index 
Procrin adit linguaque refert audita susurra. 825 

creduJa res amor est : subito conlapsa dolore, 
ut mihi narratur, cecidit ; longoque refecta 
tempore se miseram, se fati dixit iniqui 
deque fide questa est et crimine concita vano, 
quod nil est, metuit, metuit sine corpore nomen 830 
et dolet infelix veluti de paelice vera, 
saepe tamen dubitat speratque miserrima falli 
indicioque fidera negat et, nisi viderit ipsa, 
damnatura sui non est delicta mariti. 
postera depulerant Aurorae lumina noctem : 835 

egredior silvamque peto vietorque per herbas 
' aura, veni ' dixi ' nostroque medere labori ! ' 
et subito gemitus inter mea verba videbar 
nescio quos audisse ; 'veni' tamen, 'optima !' dixi. 
fronde levem rursus strepitum faeiente caduca 840 
sum ratus esse feram telumque volatile misi : 
Procris erat medioque tenens in pectore vulnus 
* ei mihi ' conclamat ! vox est ubi cognita fidae 
coniugis, ad vocem praeceps amensque cucurri. 844 
semianimem et sparsas foedantem sanguine vestes 
et sua (me miserum !) de vulnere dona trahentem 
invenio corpusque meo mihi carius ulnis 
mollibus attollo scissaque a pectore veste 
vulnera saeva ligo conorque inhibere cruorem 
neu me morte sua sceleratum deserat, oro. 850 



some nymph. Straightway the rash tell-tale went 
to Procris with the story of my supposed unfaithful- 
ness and reported in whispers what he had heard. 
A credulous thing is love. Smitten with sudden 
pain (as I heard the story), she fell down in a 
swoon. Reviving at last, she called herself wretched, 
victim of cruel fate; complained of my unfaithful- 
ness, and, excited by an empty charge, she feared a 
mere nothing, feared an empty name and grieved, 
poor girl, as over a real rival. And yet slie would 
often doubt and hope in her depth of misery that 
she was mistaken ; she refused to believe the story 
she had heard, and, unless she saw it with her own 
eyes, would not think her husband guilty of such 
sin. The next morning, when the early dawn had 
banished night, I left the house and sought the 
woods ; there, successful, as I lay on the grass, I 
cried : * Come, Aura, come and soothe my toil ' — 
and suddenly, while I was speaking, I thought I 
heard a groan. ' Come, dearest one,' 1 cried again. 
And as the fallen leaves made a slight rustling sound, 
I thought it was some beast and hurled my javelin 
at the place. It was Procris, and, clutching at the 
wound in her breast, she cried, ' Oh, woe is me.' 
When I recognized the voice of my faithful wife, 
I nished headlong towards the sound, beside myself 
with horror. There I found her dying, her disor- 
dered garments stained with blood, and oh, the pity ! 
trying to draw the very weapon she had given me 
from her wounded breast. With loving arms I raised 
her body, dearer to me than my own, tore open the 
garment from her breast and bound up the cruel 
wound, and tried to staunch the blood, praying 
that she would not leave me stainedC with her 
death. She, though strength failed her, with a 
n 401 


viribus ilia carens et iam moribunda coegit 
haec se pauca loqui : ' per iiostri foedera lecti 
perque deos supplex oro superosque meosque, 
per si quid merui de te bene perque manentem 
nunc quoque, cum pereo, causam mihi mortis aniorem, 
ne thalamis Auram patiare innubere nostris ! ' 856 
dixit, et errorem turn denique nominis esse 
et scnsi et docui. sed quid docuisse iuvabat ? 
labitur, et parvae fugiunt cum sanguine vires, 
dumque aliquid spectare potest, me spectat et in me 
infelicem aniniam nostroque exhalat in ore ; 86 1 

sed vultu meliore mori secura videtur." 

Flentibus haec lacrimans heros memorabat, et ecce 
Aeacus ingreditur duplici cum prole novoque 
mihte ; quern Cephalus cum fortibus accipit armis. 865 



dying effort forced herself to say these few words : 
' By the union of our love, by the gods above and 
my own gods, by all that I have done for you, and by 
the love that still I bear you in my dying hour, the 
cause of my own death, I beg you, do not let this 
Aura take my place.' And then I knew at last that 
it was a mistake in the name, and I told her the 
truth. But what availed then the telling .'' She fell 
back in my arms and her last faint strength fled with 
her blood. So long as she could look at anything 
she looked at me and breathed out her unhappy 
spirit on my lips. But she seemed to die content 
and with a happy look upon her face." 

This story the hero told with many tears. And 
now Aeacus came in with his two sons and his new 
levied band of soldiers, which Cephalus received with 
their valiant arms. 




Iam nitidum retegente diem iiocL|sq'.ie fugante 

tempora Lucifero cadit Eurus, et umida surgunt 

nubila: dant placidi cursum redeuntibus Austri 

Aeacidis Cephaloque ; quibus feliciter acti 

ante exspectatum portus tenuere petitos. 5 

interea Minos Lelegeia litora vastat 

praetemptatque sui vires Mavortis in urbe 

Aieathoi, quam Nisus habet, cm splendidus ostro 

inter honoratos medioque in vertice canos 

crfiiis inhaerebat, magni fiducia regni. 10 

Sexta resurgebant orientis cornua lunae, 
et pendebat adhiic belli fortuna, diuque 
inter utrumque volat dubiis Victoria pennis. 
regia turris erat vocalibus addita muris, 
in quibus auratam proles Letoia fertur 15 

deposuisse lyram : saxo sonus eius inhaesit. 
saepe illuc solita est ascendere filia Nisi 
et petere exiguo resonantia saxa lapillo, 
turn cum pax esset ; bello quoque saepe solebat 
spectare ex ilia rigidi certamina Martis, 20 

iamque mora belli procerum quoque nomina norat 
armaque equosque habitusque Cydonaeasque 

pharetras ; 


Now when Lucifer had banished night and ushered 
in tlie shining day^ the ea,st wind fell and moist 
clouds arose. The peaceful south wind offered a 
safe return to Cephalus and the mustered troops of 
Aeacus, and, speeding their voyage, brought them, 
sooner than they had hoped, to their desired haven. 
Meanwhile King Minos was laying waste the coast 
of Megara, and was trying his martial strength 
against the city of Alcathoiis/ where Nisus reigned. 
This Nisus had growing on his head, amidst his locks 
of honoured grey, a brilliant purple lock on whose 
preservation rested the safety of his throne. 

Six times had the new moon shown her horns, 
and still the fate of war hung in the balance ; so long 
did Victory hover on doubtful wings between the 
two. There was a royal tower reared on the tuneful 
walls where Latona's son was said to have laid down 
his golden lyre, whose music still lingered in the 
stones. Often to this tower the dausrhter of Kinar 
Nisus used to climb and set the rocks resounding 
with a pebble, in the day when peace was. Also 
after the war began she would often look out from 
this place upon the rough martial combats. And 
now, as the war dragged on, she had come to know 
even the names of the warring chieftains, their arms, 
their horses, their dress, their Cretan quivers. And 

1 i.e. Megara. 



noverat ante alios faciem ducis Europaei, 

plus etiam, quam nosse sat est/ hac iudice Minos, 

seu caput abdiderat cristata casside pennis, 25 

in galea formosus erat ; seu sumpserat aere 

fulgentem clipeura, clipeum sumpsisse decebat; 

torserat adductis hastilia lenta lacertis : 

laud.ibat virgo iunctam cum viribus artem ; 

inposito calamo patulos sinuaverat arcus : SO 

sic Phoebum sumptis iurabat stare sagittis ; 

cum vero faciem dempto nudaverat aere 

pifrpureusque albi stratis insignia pictis 

terga premebat equi spumantiaque ora regebat, 

vix sua, vix sanae virgo Niseia compos 35 

mentis erat : felix iaculum, q^iod tapgeret ille, 

quaeque manu premeret, i'elicia frena vocabat. 

impetus est i]l_li, liceat modo, ferre per agmen 

virgineos h ostil e gra^us, est impetus illi 

turribus e summis i n Gnos ia mittere corpus 40 

c astra vel aeratas hosti recludere portas, 

vel siquid Minos aliud velit. utque sedebat 

Candida Dictaei spectans tentoria regis, 

"laeter," ait " doleamne geri lacrimabile bellum, 

in dubio est; doleo, quod Minos liostis amanti est, 45 

sed nisi bella forent, numquam mihi cognitus esset ! 

me tamen accepta poterat deponere bellum 

obside : me comitem, me pacis pignus haberet. 

si quae te peperit, talis, pulcherrime rerum, 

qualis es, ipsa fuit, merito deus arsit in ilia, 50 

o ego ter felix, si pennis lapsa per auras 

Gnosiaci possem castris insistere regis 

fassaque me flammasque raeas, qua dote, rogarem, 



above all others did she know the face of their 
leader, Europa's son, yes, better than she should. 
If he had hidden his head in a crested casque, Minos 
in a helmet was lovely to her eyes : or if he carried his 
shining golden shield, the shield became him well. 
Did he hurl his tough spear with tense muscles, the 
girl admired the strength and the skill he showed. 
Did he bend the wide-curving bow with arrow fitted 
to the string, thus she would swear that Phoebus 
stood with arrows in his hand. But when unhelmed 
he showed his face, when clad in purple he bestrode 
his milk-white steed gorgeous with broidered trap- 
pings, and managed the foaming bit, then was Nisus' 
liaughter hardly her owti, hardly mistress of a sane 
mind. Happy the javelin which he touched and 
happy the reins which he held in his hand, she 
thought. She longed, were it but allowed, to speed 
her maiden steps through the foemen's line ; she 
longed to leap down from her lofty tower into the 
Cretan camp, to open the city's bronze-bound gates to 
the enemy, to do any other thing which Minos might 
desire. And, as she sat gazing at the white tents of 
the Cretan ting, she said : " Whether I should rejoice 
or grieve at this woeful war, I cannot tell. I grieve 
because Minos is the foe of her who loves him ; but 
if there were no war, he would never have been 
known to me. Suppose he had me as a hostage, then 
he could give up the war ; I should be in his com- 
pany, should be a pledge of peace. I fshe who bore 
you, O loveliest of all the world, was such as you are, 
good reason was it that the god burned for her. Oh, 
thrice happy should I be, lfoiily_I might -fly through 
the air and stand within the camp of the Cretan king, 
and confess my love, and ask what dower he would 
wish to be paid for me. Only let him not ask my 



vellet emi, tan turn patrias ne posceret arces ! 

nam pereant potius sperata cubilia, quam sim 56 

proditione potens ! — quamvis saepe utile vinci 

victoris placidi fecit dementia multis. 

iusta gerit certe pro nato bella perempto : 

et causaque valet caiisamque tenentibus armiSj 

et, piito, vincemur ; qui si manet exitus urbem, 60 

cur suus haec illi reseret mea moenia Mavors 

et non noster amor ? melius sine caede moraque 

inpensaque sui poterit superare cruoris. 

non metuam certe, ne quis tua pectora, Minos, 

vulneret inprudens : quis enim tam durus, ut in te 65 

dirigere inraitem non inscius audeat hastam?"! 

coepta placent, et stat sententia tradere secum 

dotalem patriam finemque inponere bello; 

verum velle parum est I "aditus custodia servat, 

claustraque portarum genitor tenet : hunc ego solum 

infelix timeo, solus mea vota moratur. 71 

di facerent, sine patre foremJJ sibi quisque profecto 

est deus : ignavis precibus Fortuna repugnat. 

altera iamdudum succensa cupidine tanto 

perdere gauderet, quodcumque obstaret amori. 75 

et cur ulla foret me fortior ? ire per ignes 

et gladios ausim ; nee in hoc tamen ignibus ullis 

aut gladiis opus est, opus est mihi crine paterno. 

ilia mihi est auro pretiosior, ilia beatam 

purpura me votique mei factura potentem." 80 

Talia dicenti curarum maxima nutrix 
nox intervenit, tenebrisque audacia crevit. 
prima quies aderat, qua curis fessa diurnig 



country's citadel. For may all my hopes of wedlock 
perish ere I gain it by treachery. And yet oft-times 
many have found it good to be overcome, when an 
ajipeased victor has been merciful. Surely he wages 
a just war for his murdered son ; and he is strong 
both in his cause and in the arms that defend his 
cause. We shall be conquered, I ara sure. And if 
that doom awaits our city, why shall his warrior 
hand unbar these walls of ours, and not my love? 
Far better will it be without massacre and suspense 
and the cost of his own blood for him to conquer. 
In that case truly I should not fear lest someone 
should pierce your breast unwittingly, dear Minos ; 
for, if not unwitting, who so cruel that he could bring 
himself to throw his pitiless spear at you .'' " She 
likes the plan, and decides to give up herself with 
her country as her dowry, and so to end the war. 
But merely to will is not enough. "A watch guards 
the entry ; my father holds the keys of the city 
gates. Him only do I fear, unhappy ! Only he delays 
the wish of my heart. Would to God I had no father ! 
But surely everyone is his own god ; Fortune resists 
half-hearted prayers. Another girl in my place, 
fired with so great a love, would long since have 
destroyed, and that with joy, whatever stood in the 
way of her love. And why should another be braver 
than I.'' Through fire and sword would I dare go. 
And yet here there is no need of fire or sword. 
I need but my father's lock of " hair. That is 
to me more precious than gold ; that purple lock 
will make me blest, will give me my heart's 

While she thus spoke night came on, most potent 
healer of our cares ; and with the darkness her 
boldness grew. J he first rest had come, when sleep 



pectora somnus habet : thalamos taciturna paternos 
intrat et (heu facinus !) fatali nata parentem 85 

crine suum spoliat praedaque potita nefanda 
per medios hostes (meriti fiducia tanta est) 88 

pervenit ad regem ; quern sic adfata paventem est : 
" suasit amor facinus : proles ego regia Nisi 90 

Scylla tibi trado patriaeque meo^que penates ; 
praemia nulla peto nisi te : cape pignus amoris 
purpureura crinem nee me nunc tradere crinem, 
sed patrium tibi crede caput ! " scelerataque dextra 
munera porrexit/^Minos porrecta refiigit 95 

turbatusque novi respondit imagine facti : 
" di te suramoveant, o nostri infamia saecli, 
orbe suo, tellusque tibi pontusque negetur ! 
certe ego non patiar lovis incunabula, Creten, 
qui meus est orbis, tantum contingere monstrum." 1 00 

Dixit, et ut leges captis iustissimus auctor 
hostibus inposuit, classis retinacula solvi 
iussit et aeratas impleri remige puppes. 

• Scylla freto postquam deductas nare carinas 
nee praestare ducem sceleris sibi praemia vidit, 105 
consumptis precibus violentam transit in iram 
intendensque manus passis furibunda capillis 
"quo fugis " ex<;lamat " meritorum auctore relicta, 

1^ o patriae praelate meae, praelate parenti ?J 
quo fugis, inmitis, cuius victoria nostrum 1 10 

et scelus et merituni est ? nee te data munera, nee te 
noster amor movit, nee quod spes omnis in unum 



holds the heart weary with the cares of day : the 
daughter steals silently into her father's chamber, 
and — oh, the horrid crime I — she despoils him of the 
tress where his life lay. With this cursed prize, 
through the midst of her foes, so sure is she of a 
welcome for her deed, she goes straight to the 
king ; and thus she addresses him, startled at her 
presence : " Love has led me to this deed. I, 
Scylla, daughter of King Nisus, do here deliver 
to your hands my country and my house. I ask 
no reward save only you. Take as the pledge of 
my love this purple lock, and know that I am giving 
to you not a lock, but my father's life." And in her 
sin- stained hand she held out the prize to him. 
Minos recoiled from the proffered gift, and, in horror 
at the sight of so unnatural an act, he replied : 
" May the gods banish you from their world, O foul 
disgrace of our age 1 May both land and sea be 
denied to you ! Be sure that I shall not permit so 
vile a monster to set foot on Crete, my world, 
the cradle of Jove's infancy." 

He spoke ; and when this most upright lawgiver 
had imposed laws upon his conquered foes, he bade 
loose the hawsers of the fleet, and the rowers to man 
the bronze-bound ships. When Scylla saw that the 
ships were launched and afloat, and that the king 
refused her the reward of her sin, having prayed 
until she could pray no more, she became violently 
enraged, and stretching out her hands, with streaming 
hair and mad with passion, she exclaimed : " Whither 
do you flee,abandoning the giver of your success, Oyou 
whom I put before my fatherland, before my father } 
Whither do you flee, you cruel man, whose victory 
is my sin, 'tis true, but is my merit also .'' Does 
not the gift I gave move you, do not my love and 



te mea congesta est? nam quo deserta revertar? 
in patriam ? superata iacet ! sed finge manere : 
proditione mea clausa est niihi ! patris ad ora ? il5 
quem tibi donavi ! cives odere merentem, 
finitimi exemplum metuunt: exponimur orbe -'""'^ ' 

'^■' terrarum, nobis ut Crete sola pateret. 

hac quoque si prohibes et nos, ingrate, relinquis, 

A non genetrix Europa tibi est, sed inhospita Syrtis, 120 
Armeniae tigres austroque agitata Charybdis. 
Nee love tu natus, nee mater imagine tauri 
ducta tua est : generis falsa est ea fabula ! verus 
et ferus et captus nullius amore iuvencae, ^t- ^'^ 

qui te progenuit, taurus fuit.^ exige poenas, '■" 125 
Nise pater ! gaudete malis modo prodita nostris 
moenia ! nam, fateor, merui et sum digna perire. 
sed tamen ex illis aliquis, quos impia laesi, 
me perimat ! cur, qui vicisti crimine nostro, 
insequeris crimen ? scelus hoc patriaeque patrique, 
officium tibi sit ! te vere coniuge digna est, 131 

quae torvum ligno decepit adultera taurum 
discordemque utero fetum tulit. ecquid ad an res 
perveniunt mea dicta tuas, an inania venti 
verba ferunt idemque tuas, ingrate, carinas ? 135 

iam iam Pasiphaen non est mirabile taurum 
praeposuisse tibi : tu plus feritatis habebas. 
me miseram ! properare iubet ! divulsaque remis 
unda sonat, mecumque simul mea terra recedit 


all my hopes built on you alone? Desertetl, whither 
sliall I go ? Back to my fatherland ? It lies over- 
thrown. But suppose it still remained : it is closed 
to me by my treachery. To my father's presence ? 
him whom I betrayed to you ? My countrymen 
hate me, and with just cause ; the neighbouring 
peoples fear my example. I am banished from all 
the world, that Crete alone might be open to me. 
And if you forbid me Crete as well, and, O un- 
grateful, leave me here, Europa is not your mother, 
but the inhospitable Syrtis, the Armenian tigress 
and storm-tossed Charybdis. You are no son of Jove, 
nor was your mother tricked by the false semblance 
of a bull. That story of your birth is a lie : it was a 
real bull that l)egot you, a fierce, wild thing that 
loved no heifer. Inflict my punishment, O Nisuu, 
my fatlier ! Rejoice in my woes, O ye walls that 1 
have but now betrayed ! For I confess I have merited 
your hate and I deserve to die. But let some one 
of those whom I have foully injured slay me. Why 
should you, who have triumphed through my sin, 
punish my sin ? Let this act which was a crime 
against my country and my father be but a service in 
your eyes. She is a true mate ^ for you who with 
unnatural passion deceived the savage bull by that 
shape of wood and bore a hybrid offspring in her 
womb. Does my voice reach your ears ? Or do 
the same winds blow away my words to emptiness 
that fill your sails, you ingrate .'' Now, now I do 
not wonder that Pasiphae preferred the bull to vou, 
for you were a more savage beast than he. Alas for 
me ! He orders his men to haste away I and the 
waves resound as the oars dash into them, and I 
and my land are both fading from his sight. But it 
I Pasiphae, the wife of Minos and mother of the Minotaur. 



nil agis, o frustra meritorum oblite meorum : 140 

insequar invitum puppimque amplexa recurvam 
per freta longa trahar." Vix dixerat, insilit undis 
consequiturque rates faciente cupidine vires 
Gnosiacaeque haeret comes invidiosa carinae. 
quam pater ut vidit (nam iam pendebat in aura 1 45 
et modo factus erat fulvis haliaeetus alis), 
ibat, ut haerentem rostro laceraret adunco ; 
ilia metu puppim dimisit, et aura cadentem 
sustinuisse levis, ne tangeret aequora, visa est. 
pluma fuit : plumis in avem mutata vocatur 150 

Ciris et a tonso est hoc nomen adepta capillo. i 

Vota lovi Minos taurorum corpora centum 
solvit, ut egressus ratibus Curetida terram 
contigit, et spoliis decorata est regia fixis. 
creverat obprobrium generis, foedumque patebat 155 
matris adulterium monstri novitate biformis ; 
destinat hunc Minos thalamo removere pudorem 
multiplicique domo caecisque includere tectis. 
Daedalus ingenio fabrae celeberrimus artis 
ponit opuj turbatque notas et lumina flexu l6o 

ducit in errorem variarum ambage viarum. 
noil secus ac liquidus Phrygiis Maeandrus in arvis 
ludit et ambiguo lapsu refiuitque fluitque 
occiirrensque sibi venturas aspicit undas 
et nunc ad fontes, nunc ad mare versus apertum l65 
incertas exercet aquas, ita Daedalus implet 


is in vain ; you have forgotten niy deserts in vain ; I 
shall follow you ai^ainst your will, and clinging to the 
curving stern, I shall be drawn over the long reaches 
of the sea." Scarce had she spoken when she 
leaped into the water, swam after the ship, her 
passion giving strength, and clung, hateful and un- 
welcome, to the Cretan boat. When her father saw 
her — for he was hovering in the air, having but now 
been changed into an osprey with tawny wings — he 
came on that he might tear her, as she clung there, 
with his hooked beak. In terror she let go her 
hold upon the boat, and as she fell the light air 
seemed to hold her up and keep her from touching 
the water. She was like a feather ! Changed to a 
feathered bird, she is called Ciris, and takes this 
name from the sliorn lock of hair.^ 

Minos duly paid his vows to Jove, a hundred 
bulls, when he disembarked upon the Cretan strand; 
and he hung up his spoils of war to adorn his palace. 
But now his family's disgrace had grown big, and 
the queen's foul adultery was revealed to all by her 
strange hybrid monster-child. Minos planned to 
remove chis shame from his house and to hide it 
away in a labyrinthine enclosure with blind passages. 
Daedalus, a man famous for his hkill in the builder's 
art, planned and performed the work. He confused 
the usual passages and deceived the eye by a con- 
flicting maze of divers winding paths. Just as the 
watery Maeander plays in the Phrygian fields, flows 
back and forth in doubtful course and, turning back 
on itself, beholds its own waves coming on their way, 
and sends its uncertain waters now towards their 
source and now towards the open sea : so Daedalus 
made those innumerable winding passages, and was 
1 Clris, as if from ice/pw, " I cut." 



innumeras errore vias vixque ipse reverti 
ad limen potuit : tanta est fallacia tecti.^ 

Quo postquam geminam tauri iuvenisque figuram 
clausit, et Actaeo bis pastum sanguine monstrum 1 70 
tertia sors annis domuit repetita novcnis, 
utque ope virginea nullis iterata priorum 
ianua difficilis filo est inventa relecto, 
protinus Aegides rapta Minoide Diam 
vela dedit comitemque suam crudelis in illo 175 

litore destituit ; desertae et multa querent! 
amplexus et opem Liber tulit utque perenni 
sidere clara foret, sumptam de fronte coronam 
inmisit eaelo : tenues volat ilia per auras 
dumque volat, gemmae nitidos vertuntur in ignes 180 
consistuntque loco specie remanente coronae, 
qui medius Nixique genu est Anguemque tenentis. 

Daedalus interea Creten longumque perosus 
exilium tactusque loci natal is amore 
clausus erat pelago. " terras licet " inquit " et undas 
obstruat : et caelum certe patet; ibimus iliac: 186 
omnia possideat, non possidet aera Minos." 
dixit et ignotas animum dimittit in artes 
naturamque novat. nam ponit in ordine pennas 
a minima coeptas, longam breviore sequent!, 190 

ut clivo crevisse putes : sic rustica quondam 
fistula disparibus paulatim surgit avenis ; 
turn lino medias et ceris alligat imas 
atque ita conpositas parvo curvamine flectit, 



himself scarce able to find his way back to the place 
of entry, so deceptive was the enclosure he had built. 

In this labyrinth Minos shut up the monster of the 
bull-man form and twice he fed him on Athenian 
blood; but the third tribute, demanded after each 
nine years, brought the creature's overthrow. And 
when, by the virgin Ariadne's help, the difficult 
entrance, which no former adventurer had ever 
reached again, was found by winding up the thread, 
straightway the son of Aegeus, taking Minos' 
daughter, spread his sails for Dia ; and on that shore 
he cruelly abandoned his companion. To her, 
deserted and bewailing bitterly, Bacchus brought 
love and help. And, that she might shine among 
the deathless stars, he sent the crown she wore up 
to tlie skies. Through the thin air it flew ; and as it 
flew its gems were changed to gleaming fires and, still 
keeping the appearance of a crown, it took its place 
between the Kneeler ^ and the Serpent-holder.^ 

Meanwhile Daedalus, hating Crete and his long 
exile, and longing to see his native land, was shut in 
by the sea. " Though he may block escape by land 
and water," he said, "yet the sky is open, and by 
that way will I go. Though Minos rules over all, he 
does not rule the air." So saying, he sets his mind 
at work upon unknown arts, and changes the laws of 
nature. For he lays feathers in order, beginning at 
the smallest, short next to long, so that you would 
think they had grown upon a slope. Just so the 
old-fashioned rustic pan-pipes with their unequal 
reeds rise one above another. Then he fastened 
the feathers together with twine and wax at the 
middle and bottom ; and, thus arranged, he bent 
them with a gentle curve, so that they looked like 
^ Tiio constellation of Hercules. 3 Ophiuchus. 



ut veras imitetur aves. puer Icarus una 195 

stabat et ignarus, sua se tractare pericla, 

ore renidenti modo, quas vaga moverat aura, 

captabat plumas, flavam modo poUice ceram 

mollibat lusuque sue mirabile patris 

imped iebat opus, postquara manus ultima coepto 200 

inposita est, geminas opifex libravit in alas 

ipse suum corpus motaque pependit in aura ; 

instruit et natum "medio" que "ut limite curras, 

Icare,' nit "moneo, ne, si demissior ibis, 

unda gravet pennas, si celsior, ignis adurat : 205 

inter utrumque vola. nee te spectare Booten 

aut Helicen iubeo strictumque Orionis ensem : 

me duce carpe viam I " pariter praecepta volandi 

tradit et ignotas umeris accommodat alas. 

inter opus monitusque genae maduere seniles, 210 

et patriae tremuere manus ; dedit oscula nato 

non iterum repetenda suo pennisque levatus 

ante volat comilique timet, velut ales, ab alto 

quae teneram prolem produxit in aera nido, 

hortaturque sequi damnosasque erudit artes 215 

et movet ipse suas et nati respicit alas. 

hos aliquis tremula dum captat harundine pisces, 

aut pastor baculo stivave innixus arator 

vidit et obstipuit, quique aethera carpere possent, 

crediditesse deos. et iam lunonia laeva 220 

parte Samos(fuerant Delosque Parosque relictae) 

dextra Lebinthus erat fecundaque melle Calymne, 

cum puer audaci coepit gaudere volatu 



real birds' wings. His son, Icarus, was standing by 
and, little knowing that he was handling his own 
peril, with gleeful face would now catch at the 
feathers which some passing breeze had blown about, 
now mould the yellow wax with his thumb, and by his 
sport would hinder his father's wondrous task. When 
now the finishing touches had been put upon the 
work, the master workman himself balanced his body 
on two wings and hung poised on the beaten air. He 
taught his son also and said : " 1 warn you, Icarus, 
to fly in a middle course, lest, if you go too low, the 
water may weight your wings ; if you go too high, 
the fire may burn them. Fly between the two. 
And I bid you not to shape your course by Bootes or 
Helice or the drawn sword of Orion, but fly where 
I shall lead," At the same time he tells him the 
rules of flight and fits the strange wings on his boy's 
shoulders. While he works and talks the old man's 
cheeks are wet with tears, and his fatherly hands 
tremble. He kissed his son, which he was destined 
never again to do, and rising on his wings, he flew on 
ahead, fearing for his companion, just 1 ike a bird w hich 
has led forth her fledglings from the high nest into the 
unsubstantial air. He encourages the boy to follow, 
instructs him in the fatal art of flight, himself flap- 
ping his wings and looking back on his son. Now 
some fisherman spies them, angling for fish with his 
flexible rod, or a shepherd, leaning upon his crook, 
or a plowman, on his plow-handles — spies them 
and stands stupefied, and believes them to be 
gods that they could fly through the air. And now 
Juno's sacred Samos had been passed on the left, and 
Delos and Paros ; Lebinthus was on the right and 
Calymne, rich in honey, when the boy began to 
rejoice in his bold flight and, deserting his leader, 



deseruitque ducem caelique cupidine tractus 
altius egit iter, rapidi vicinia solis 225 

mollit odoratas, pennarum vincula, ceras ; 
tabuerant cerae : nudos quatit ille lacertos, 
remigioque carens non ullas percipit auras, 
oraque caerulea patrium clamantia nomen 
excipiuntur aqua, quae nomen traxit ab illo. 230 

at pater infelix, nee iam pater, " Icare," dixit, 
"leare," dixit "ubi es ? qua te regione requirara ?" 
" Icare " dicebat : pennas aspexit in undis 
devovitque suas artes corpusque sepulcro 
condidit, et tell us a nomine dicta sepulti. 235 

Hunc miseri tumulo ponentem corpora nati 
garrula limoso prospexit ab elice perdix 
et plausit pennis testataque gaudia cantu est, 
unica tunc volucris nee visa prioribus annis, 
factaque nuper avis longum tibi, Daedale, crimen, 240 
namque huic tradiderat, fatorum ignai'a, docendain 
progeniem germana suam, natalibus actis 
bis puerum senis, animi ad praecepta capacis ; 
ille etiam medio spinas in pisce notatas 
traxit in exemplum ferroque incidit acuto 245 

perpetuos dentes et serrae repperit usum ; 
primus et ex uno duo ferrea bracchia node 
vinxit, ut aequali spatio distantibus illis 
altera pars staret, pars altera duceret orbem. 
Daedalus invidit sacraque ex arce Minervae 250 

praecipitem misit, lapsum mentitus ; at ilium, 
quae favet ingeniis, excepit Pallas avemque 
reddidit et medio velavit in aere pennis, 


led bv a desire for the open sky, directed his course 
to a greater height. The scorching rays of the nearer 
sun softened the fragrant wax which heUl his wings. 
The wax melted ; his arms were bare as he beat them 
up and down, but, lacking wings, they took no hold 
on the air. His lips, calling to the last upon his 
father's name, were drowned in the dark blue sea, 
which took its name from him. But the unhappy 
father, now no longer father, called : " Icarus, Icarus, 
where are you ? In what place shall I seek you ? 
Icarus," he called again ; and then he spied tlie 
wings floating on the deep, and cursed his skill. 
He buried the body in a tomb, and the land was 
called from the name of the buried boy. - A /^ 

As he was consigning the body of his ill-fated son 
to the tomb, a chattering partridge looked out from 
a muddy ditch and clapped her wings uttering a 
joyful note. She was at that time a strange bird, 
of a kind never seen before, and but lately made a 
bird ; a lasting reproach to you, Daedalus. For the 
man's sister, ignorant of the fates, had sent him 
her son to be trained, a kd of teachable mind, who 
had now passed his twelfth birthday. This boy, 
moreover, observed the backbone of a fish and, 
taking it as a model, cut a row of teeth in a 
thin strip of iron and thus invented the saw. He 
also was the first to bind two arms of iron together 
at a joint, so that, w'hile the arms kept the same 
distance apart, one might stand still while the other 
should trace a circle. Daedalus envied the lad and 
thrust him down headlong from the sacred citadel of 
Minerva, with a lying tale that the boy had fallen. 
But Pallas, who favours the quick of wit, caught him 
up and made him a bird, and clothed him with 
feathers in mid-air. His old quickness of wit passed 



sed vigor ingenii quondam velocis in alas 
inque pedes abiit ; nomen, quod et ante, remansit, 
non tamen haec alte volucris sua corpora tollit, 256 
nee facit in ramis altoque cacumine nidos : 
propter humum volitat ponitque in saepibus ova 
antiquique memor metuit sublimia casus. 

lamque fatigatum tellus Aetnaea tenebat 260 

Daedalon, et sumptis pro supplice Cocalus armis 
mitis habebatur ; iam lamentabile Athenae 
pendere desierant Thesea laude tributum : 
templa coronantur, bellatricemque Minervam 
cum love disque vocant aliis, quos sanguine vote 265 
muneribusque datis et acerris turis honorant ; 
sparserat Argolicas nomen vaga fama per urbes 
Theseos, et populi, quos dives Achaia cepit, 
huius opem magnis inploravere periclis, 
huius opem Caljdon, quamvis Meleagron haberet, 
sollicita supplex petiit prece : causa petendi 271 

sus erat, infestae famulus vindexque Dianae. 
Oenea namque ferunt pleni successibus anni 
primitias frugum Cereri, sua vina Lyaeo, 
Palladios flavae latices libasse Minervae ; 275 

coeptus ab agricolis superos pervenit ad onmes 
anibitiosus honor : solas sine ture relictas 
praeteritae cessasse ferunt Latoidos aras. 
tangit et ira deos. " at non inpune feremus, 
quacque inhonoratae, non et dicemurinultae " 280 
inquit, et Oeneos ultorem spreta per agros 



into his wings and legs, but he kept the name which 
he had before. Still the bird does not lift her body 
high in flight nor build her nest on trees or on high 
points of rock ; but she flutters along near the ground 
and lays her eggs in hedgerows ; and, remembering 
that old fall, she is ever fearful of lofty places. '^ 
Now the land of Aetna received the weary Daedalus, 
where King Cocalus took up arms in the sup- 
pliant's defence and was esteemed most kind.^ Now 
also Athens, thanks to Theseus, had ceased to pay 
her doleful tribute. The temple is wreathed with 
flowers, the people call on Minerva, goddess of 
battles, with Jove and the other gods, whom they 
worship with sacrificial blood, Avith gifts and burning 
incense. Quick-flying fame had spread the name of 
Theseus through all the towns of Greece, and all 
the peoples of rich Achaia prayed his help in their 
own great perils. Suppliant Calydon sought his help 
with anxious prayers, although she had her Meleager. 
Tlie cause of seeking was a monster boar, the 
servant and avenger of outraged Diana. For they 
say that Oeneus, king of Calydon, in thanksgiving 
for a bounteous harvest-time, paid the first-fruits 
of the grain to Ceres, paid his wine to Bacchus, 
and her own flowing oil to golden-haired Minerva. 
Beginning with the rural deities, the honour they 
craved was paid to all the gods of lieaven ; (only 
Diana's altar was passed by (tliey say) and left with- 
out its incense.N Anger also can move the gods. " But 
we shall not bear this without vengeance," she said ; 
" and though unhonoured, it shall not be said that 
we are unavenged." And the scorned goddess sent 
over Oeneus' fields an avenging boar, as great as 

1 This phrase has no point, and there seems to be something 
wrong with the text. 



misit aprum, quanto maiores herbida tauros 
non habet Epiros, sed habent Sicula arva minores : 
sanguine et igue micant oculi, riget ardua cervix, 
et setae similef Tigidis hastilibus horrent : * 285 

- fervida cum raucb latos stridore per armos 287 

spuma fluit, dentes aequantur dentibus Indis, 
fulmen ab ore venit, frondes afflatibus ardent. 
is modo crescentes segetes proculcat in herba, 2.90 
nunc matura xnetit fleturi vota colonT 
et Cererem in spicis intercipit : area frustra 
et frustra exspectant promissas horrea messes, 
sternuntur gravidi longo cum palmite fetus 
bacaque cum ramis semper frondentis olivae. 295 

saevit et in pecudes : non has pastorve canisve, 
non armenta truces possunt defendere tauri. 
difFugiuiit populi nee se nisi moenibus urbis 
esse putant tutos, donee Meleagros et una 
leeta manus iuvenum coiere cupidine laudis : 300 
Tyndaridae gemini, spectatus caestibus alter, 
alter equo, primaeque ratis molitor lason, 
et cum Pirithoo, felix concordia, Theseus, 
et duo Thestiadae prolesque Aphareia, Ljnceus 
et velox Idas, et iam non femina Caeneus, 305 

Leucippusque ferox iaculoque insignis Acastus 
Hippothousque Dryasque etcretusAmyntore Phoenix 
Actoridaeque pares et missus ab Elide Phyleus. 
nee Telamon aberat magnique creator Achillis 
cumque Pheretiade et Hyanteo lolao 310 

1 Ehwald omits, as well as line 2S6 : 

stantque velut vaUum, velut alta hastilia setae. 


the bulls which feed on grassy Epirus, and greater 
than those of Sicily. His eyes glowed with blood 
and fire ; his neck was stiff and high ; his bristles 
stood up like lines of stiff spear-shafts ; amidst deep, 
hoarse arunts the hot foam flecked his broad 
shoulders ; his tusks were long as the Indian ele- 
phant's, lightning flashed from his mouth, the her- 
bage shrivelled beneath his breath. Now he trampled 
down the young corn in the blade, and now he laid 
waste the full-grown crops of some farmer who was 
doomed to mourn, and cut off the ripe grain in the 
ear. In vain the threshing-floor, in vain the granary 
awaited the promised harvests. The heavy bunches 
of grapes with their trailing vines were cast down, and 
berry and branch of the olive whose leaf never withers. 
He vents his rage on the cattle, too. Neither 
herdsmen nor dogs can protect them, nor can the 
fierce bulls defend their herds. The people flee in 
all directions, nor do they count themselves safe 
until protected by a city's walls. Then at last 
Meleager and a picked band of youths assembled, 
fired with the love of glory : the twin sons of Leda, 
wife of Tyndarus, one famousj for boxing, the other 
for horsemanship ; Jason, the first ship's builder ; 
Theseus and Pirithoiis, inseparable friends ; the two 
sons of Thestius^; Lynceus and swift-footed Idas, 
sons of Aphareus ; Caeneus,^ no longer a woman ; 
warlike Leucippus and Acastus, famed for his javelin ; 
Hippothoiis and Dryas; Phoenix, the son of Amyntor; 
Actor's two sons^ and Elean Phyleus. Telamon was 
also there, and the father of great Achilles ; and, 
along with the son of Pheres * and Bototian lolaus, 

1 Plexippus and Toxeus, brothers of Althaea, the mother of. 
* See XII. 189 ff. « Eurytus and Cleatus. 4 Admetiis. 



inpiger Eurytion et cursu invictus Echion 
Naryciusque Lelex Panopeusque Hyleusque feroxque 
Hippasus et primis etiamnum Nestor in annis, 
et quos Hippocoon antiquis misit Amyelis, 
Penelopaeque socer cum Parrhasio Ancaeo, 315 

Ampycidesque sagax et adhuc a coniuge tutus 
Oeclides nemorisque decus Tegeaea Lycaei : 
rasilis huic summam mordebat iibula vestem, 
crinis erat simplex, nodum conlectus in unum^ 
ex umero pendens resonabat eburnea laevo 320 

telorum custos, arcum quoque laeva tenebat ; 
talis erat cultu. facies, quam dicere vere 
virgineam in puero, i>uen!em in virgine possis. 
banc pariter vidit, pariter Calydonius heros 
optavit renuente deo flammasque latentes 325 

hausit et "o felix, siquem dignabitur" inquit 
" ista virum ! " nee plura sinit tempusque pudorque 
dicere : maius opus magni certaminis urguet. 
tj^^Ajrd^ Silva frequens trabibus, quam nulla ceciderat aetas, 
incipit a piano devexaque prospicit arva : 330 

quo postquam venere viri, pars retia tendunt, 
vincula pars adimunt canibus, pars pressa sequuntur 
signa pedum, cupiuntque suum reperire periclum. 
concava vallis erat, quo se demittere rivi 
adsuerunt pluvialis aquae ; tenet ima lacunae 335 
lenta salix ulvaeque leves iuncique palustres 
viminaque et longa parvae sub harundine cannac : 


were Eurytion, quick in action, and Echion, of un- 
conquered speed ; Locrian Lelex, Panopeus, Hyleus 
and Hippasus, keen for the fray ; Nestor, then in 
the prime of his years ; and those whom Hippocoon 
sent from ancient Amyclae ; the father-in-law or 
Penelope,^ and Arcadian Ancaeus ; Ampycus' pro- 
phetic sonj^ and the son ^ of Oecleus, who had not 
yet been ruined by his wife ; and Atalanta of Tegea, 
the pride of the Arcadian woods. A poHshed buckle 
clasped her robe at the neck; her hair, plainly dressed, 
was caught up in one knot. From her left shoulder 
hung an ivory quiver, resounding as she moved, with 
its shafts, and her left hand held a bow. Such was 
she in dress. As for her face, it was one which you 
could truly say was maidenly for a boy or boyish 
for a maiden. As soon as his eyes fell on her, the 
Calydonian hero straightway longed for her (but 
God forbade) ; he felt the flames of love steal 
through his heart ; and " O happy man," he said, 
" if ever that maiden shall deem any man worthy to 
be hers." Neither the occasion nor his own modesty 
permitted him more words ; the greater task of the 
mighty conflict urged him to action. 

There was a dense forest, that past ages had never 
touclied with the axe, rising from the plain and look- 
ing out on the downward-sloping fields. When the 
heroes came to this, some stretched the hunting-nets, 
some slipped the leashes from the dogs, some fol- 
lowed the well-marked trail as they longed to come 
at their dangerous enemy. There was a deep dell, 
where the rain-water from above drained down ; the 
lowest part of this marshy spot was covered with a 
growth of pliant willows, sedge-grass and swamp- 
rushes, osiers and tall bulrushes, with an under- 

* Laertes. * Mopsus. 3 Amphiaraiis. 




hinc aper excitus medios violentus in hostes 
fertur, ut excussis elisi nubibus ignes. 
sternitur incursu nemus, et propulsa fragorem S40 
_ - silva dat : exclamaut iuvenes praetentaque forti 
-' r tela tenent dextra lajto vibrantia ferro. 

ille ruit spargitque canes, ut quisque furenti 

obstat, et obliquo latrantes dissipat ictu. 

cuspis Echionio primum eontorta lacerto 345 

vana fuit truneoque dedit lave vulnus acerno ; 

proxima, si nimiis mittentis viribus usa 

non foret, in tergo visa est haesura petlto: 

longius it ; auctor teli Pagasaeus Jason. 

" Phoebe/' ait Ampycides, " si te coluique coloque, 

da niihi, quod petitur, certo contingere telo ! " 351 

qua potuit, precibus deus adnuit : ictus ab illo est, 

sed sine vulnere aper : ferrum Diana volanti 

abstulerat iaculo ; lignum sine acumine venit. 

ira feri mota est, nee fulmine lenius arsit : 355 

emicat ex oculis, spirat quoque pectore flamma, 

utque volat moles adducto concita nervo, 

cum petit aut muros aut plenas milite tuiTes, 

in iuvenes certo sic impete vulnificus sus 

fertur et Eupalamon Pelagonaqne, dextra tuentes 360 

cornua, prosternit : socii rapuere iacentes ; 

at non letiferos effugit Enaesimus ictus 

Hippocoonte satus : trepidantera et terga parantem 

vertere succisso liquerunt poplite nervl. 



growth of small reeds. From this covert the boar 
was roused and launched himself with a mad rush 
against his foes, like lightning struck out from the 
clashing clouds. The grove is laid low by his on- 
rush, and the trees crash as he knocks against them. 
The heroes raise a halloo and with unflinching hands 
hold their spears poised with the broad iron heads 
well forward. The boar comes rushing on, scatters 
the dogs one after another as they strive to stop his 
mad rush, and thrusts off the baying pack with his 
deadly sidelong stroke. The first spear, thrown by 
Echion's arm, missed its aim and struck glancing on 
the trunk of a maple-tree. The next, if it had not 
been thrown with too much force, seemed sure of 
transfixing the back where it was aimed. It went 
too far. Jason of Pagasae was the marksman. Then 
Mopsus cried : " O Phoebus, if I have ever worshipped 
and do still worship thee, grant me with unerring spear 
to reach my mark." So far as possible the god heard 
his prayer. His spear did strike the boar, but with- 
out injury; for Diana had wrenched the iron point 
from the javelin as it sped, and pointless the wooden 
shaft struck home. But the beast's savage anger 
was roused, and it burned hotter than the lightning. 
Fire gleamed from his eyes, seemed to breathe from 
his throat. And, as a huge rock, shot from a catapult 
sling, Hies through the air against walls or turrets 
filled with soldiei-y ; so with irresistible and death- 
dealing force the beast rushed on the youths, and 
overbore Eupalamus and Pelagon, who were stationed 
on the extreme right. Their comrades caught them 
up as they lay. But Enaesimus, the son of Hippo- 
coon, did not escape the boar's fatal stroke. As he 
in fear was just turning to run he was hamstrung 
and his muscles gave way beneath him. Pylian 



forsitaii et Pylius citra Troiana perisset 365 

tempora, sed sumpto posita conamine ab hasta 
arboris insiluit, quae stabat proxima, ramis 
despexitque, loco tutus, quem fugerat, hostem. 
dentibus ille ferox in querno stipite tritis 
inminet exitio fidensque recentibus armis 370 

Eurvtidae magni rostro femur hausit adunco. 
at gemini, noiulum caelestia sidera, fratres, 
ambo conspicui, nive c.'.ndidioribus ambo 
vectabantur equis, ambo vibrata per auras 
hastarum tremulo quatiebant spicula motu. 375 

vuhiera fecissent, nisi saetiger inter opacas 
nee iaculis isset nee equo loca pervia 
persequitur Telamon studioque incautus eundi 
pronus ab arborea cecidit radice retentus. 
dum levat hunc Peleus, celerem Tegeaea sagittam 
inposuit nervo siiiuatoque expubt arcu : 381 

fixa sub aure feri summum destrinxit harundo 
corpus et exiguo rubefecit sanguine saetas ; 
nee tamen ilia sui successu laetior ictus 
quam Meleagros erat: primus vidisse putatur 385 
et primus sociis visum ostendisse cruorem 
et "meritum " dixisse "feres viituLis honorem." 
erubuere viri seque exhortantur et addunt - 
cum clamore animos iaciuntque sine ordine tela : 
turba nocet iactis et, quos petit, impedit ictus. 390 
~ecce furens contra sua fata bipennifer Areas 


Nestor came near perishing before he ever went to 
the Trojan War ; but, putting forth all his strength, 
he leaped by his spear-pole into the branches of a 
tree which stood near by, and from this place of 
safety he looked down upon the foe he had escaped. 
The raging beast whetted his tusks on an oak-tree's 
trunk ; and, threatening destruction and emboldened 
by his freshly sharpened tusks, ripped up the thigh 
of the mighty Hippasus with one sweeping blow. 
But now the twin brothers,^ not yet set in the starry 
heavens, came riding up, both conspicuous among the 
rest, both on horses whiter than snow, both poising 
their spears, which they threw quivering Ihrough the 
air. And they would have struck the boar had not 
the bristly monster taken refuge in the dense woods, 
whither neither spear nor horse could follow him. 
Telamon did attempt to follow, and in his eagerness, 
careless where he went, he fell prone on the ground, 
caught by a projecting root. While Peleus was 
helping him to rise, Atalanta notched a swift arrow 
on the cord and sent it speeding from her bent bow. 
The arrow just grazed the top of the boar's back and 
remained stuck beneath his ear, staining the bristles 
with a trickle of blood. Nor did she show more joy 
over the success of her own stroke than Meleager. 
He was the first to see the blood, the first to point it 
out to his companions, and to say : " Due honour 
shall your brave deed receive." The men, flushed 
with shame, spurred each other on, gaining courage 
as they cried out, hurling their spears in disorder. 
The mass of missiles made them of no effect, and 
kept them from striking as they were meant to do. 
Then Ancaeus, the Arcadian, armed with a two- 
headed axe raging to meet his fate, cried out : 
* Castor and Pollux, 
f 4S3 


'' discite, femineis quid tela virilia praestent, 

o iuvenes, opeiique meo concedite I " dixit. 

" ipsa suis licet hunc Latonia pi-otegat armis, 

invita tamen hunc perimet mea dextra Diana." 395 

talia magniloquo tumidus metaoraverat ore 

ancipitemque nianu tollens utraque securim 

institerat digitis pronus suspensus in ictus : 

occn})at audentem, quaque est via proxima leto, 

summa ferus geminos direxit ad inguina denies. 4.00 

concidit Ancaeus glomerataque sanguine multo 

viscera lapsa flaunt : madefacta est terra cruore. 

ibat in adversum proles Ixionis hostem 

Pirithous valida quatiens venabula dextra ; 

cui " procul " Aegides " o me mihi carior " inquit 405 

" pars animae consiste meae ! licet^^HTtius esse 

fortibus : Ancaeo nocuit temeraria virtus." 

dixit et aerata torsit grave cuspide cornum ; 

quo bene librato votique potente future 

obstitit aesculea frondosus ab arbore ramus. 410 

misit et Aesonides iaculura : quod casus ab illo 

vertit in inmeriti fatum latrantis et inter 

ilia coniectum tellure per ilia fixum est. 

at manus Oenidae variat^ missisque duabus 

hasta prior terra, medio stetit altera tergo. 415 

nee mora, dum saevit, dum corpora versat in orbcra 

stridentemque novo spumam cum sanguine fundit, 

vulneris auctor adest hostemque inritat ad iram 

splendidaque adversos venabula condit in armos. 



"Learn now, O 3'ouths, how far a man's weapons 
surpass a girl's; and leave this task to me. Though 
Latona's daughter herself shield this boar with her 
own arrows, in spite of Diana shall my good right 
arm destroy him." So, swollen with pride and with 
boastful li[)s, he spoke : and, heaving up in both 
hands his two-edg^ed axe, he stood on tiptoe, poised 
to strike. The Boar made in upon his bold enemy, 
and, as the nearest point for death, he fiercely struck 
at the upper part of the groins with his two tusks. 
Ancaeus fell ; his entrails poured out amid streams 
of blood and the ground was soaked with gore. 
Then Ixion's son, Pirithoiis, advanced against the 
foe, brandishing a hunting-spear in his strong right 
hand. To him Theseus cried out in alarm : '• Keep 
away, O dearer to me than my own self, my soul's 
other half; it is no shame for brave men to fight 
at long range. Ancaeus' rash valour has proved 
his bane." He spoke and hurled his own heavy 
shaft with its sharp bronze point. Though this was 
well aimed and seemed sure to reach the mark, a leafy 
branch of an oak-tree turned it aside. Then the son 
of Aeson hurled his javelin, which chance caused to 
swerve from its aim and fatally wound an innocent 
dog, passing clear through his flanks and pinning 
him to the ground. But the hand of Meleager had 
a different fortune : he threw two spears, the fix'st 
of which stood in the earth, but the second stuck 
squarely in the middle of the creature's back. 
Straightway, while the boar rages and whirls round 
and round, spouting forth foam and fresh blood in a 
hissing stream, the giver of the wound presses his 
advantage, pricks his enemy on to madness, and at 
last plunges his gleaming hunting-spear right through 
the shoulder. The others vent their joy by wild 



gaudia testantur socii clamore secundo 420 

victricemque i^etiint dextrae coniungere dextram 
inmanemqiie ferum multa tellure iacentem 
mirantes spectant neque adhuc contingere tutum 
esse putant, sed tela tamen sua quisque cruentat. 

Ipse pede inposito caput exitiabile pressit 425 

atque ita " sume mei spolium, Nonacria, iuris," 
dixit " et in partem veniat mea gloria tecum." 
protinus exuvias rigidis horrentia saetis 
terga dat et magnis insignia dentibus ora. 
illi laetitiae est cum munere muneris auctor ; 4S0 
invidere alii, to toque erat agmine murmur. 
e quibus ingenti tendentes bracchia voce 
" pone age nee titulos intercipe, femina, nostros/' 
Thestiadae clamant, " nee te fiducia formae 
decipiat, ne sit longe tibi captus amore 435 

auctor," et huic adimunt munus, ius muneris illi. 
non tulit et tumida frendens Mavortius ira 
" discite, raptores alieni " dixit " honoris, 
facta minis quantum distent," hausitque nefando 
pectora Plexippi nil tale timentia ferro. 440 

Toxea, quid faciat, dubium pariterque volentem 
ulcis'ci fratrem fraternaque fata timentem 
baud patitur dubitare diu calidumque priori 
caede recalfecit consorti sanguine telumj 

Dona deum templis nato victore ferebat, 445 

9um videt exstinctos fratres Althaea referri. 
^uae plangore dato maestis clamoribus urbem 


shouts of applause and crowd around to press the 
victor's hantl. They gaze in wonder at the huge 
beast lying stretched out over so much ground, and 
still think it hardly safe to touch him. But each 
dips his spear in the blood. 

Then Meleager, standing with his foot upon that 
death-dealing head, spoke thus to Atalanta: " 'J'ake 
thou the prize that is of my right, O fair Arcadian, and 
let my glory be shared with thee." And therewith 
he presented her with the spoils : the skin with its 
bristling spikes, and the head remarkable for its 
huge tusks. She rejoiced in the gift and no less in 
the giver; but the others begrudged it, and an angry 
murmur rose through the whole company. Then 
two, the sons of Thestius, stretching out their arms, 
cried with a loud voice : " Let be, girl, and do not 
usurp our honours. And be not deceived by trusting 
in your beauty, lest this lovesick giver be far from 
helping you." And they took from her the gift, and 
from him the right of giving. This was more than 
that son of Mars could bear, and, gnashing his teelh 
with rage, he cried : " Learn then, you that plunder 
another's rights, the difference between deeds and 
threats," ar.d plunged his im})ious steel deep in 
I'lexippus' heart, who was taken o(F his guard. Then, 
as Toxeus stood hesitating what to do, wishing to 
avenge his brother, but at the same time fearing to 
share his brother's fate, Meleager gave him scant 
time to hesitate, but, while his spear was still warm 
with its first victim's slaughter, he warmed it again 
in his comrade's blood. ^^ 

Althaea in the temple of the gods was offering 
thanksgiving for her son's victory, when she saw the 
corpses of her brothers carried in. She beat her 
breast and filled the city with woeful lamentation, 



inplet et auratis mutavit vestibus atras ; 

at simul est auctor necis editus, excidit omnis 

luctus et a lacrimis in poenae versus amorem est. 450 

Stipes erat, quem, cum partus enixa iaceret 
Thest;."is, in flammam triplices posuere sorores 
staminaque inpresso fatalia pollice nentes 
"tempora" dixerunt " eadem lignoque tibique, 
o modo nate, damus." quo postquam carmine dicto 
excessere deae, flagraiitem mater ab igne 456 

eripuit ramum sparsitque liquentibus undis. 
ille diu fuerat penetralibus abditus imis 
servatusque tuos, iuvenis, servaverat annos. 
protulit hunc genetrix taedasque et fragmina poni 
imperat et positis inimicos admovet ignes. . 46 1 
tum conata quater fl.immis inponere ramum 
eoepta quater tenuit : pugnat materque soro- |ue, 
et diversa trahunt unum duo nomina pectus, 
saepe metu sceleris pallebant ora futuri, 465 

saepe suum fervens oculis dabat ira ruborem, 
et modo nescio quid similis crudele minanti 
vultus erat, modo quem misei*eri credere posses ; 
cumque ferus lacrimas animi siccaverat ardor, 
inveniebantur lacrimae tamen, utque carina, 470 

quam ventus ventoque rapit contrarius aestus, 
vim geminam sentit paretque incerta duobus, 
Thestias baud aUter dubiis afFectibus errat 
inque vices ponit positamque resuscitat iram. 
incipit esse tamen melior germana parente 475 

et consanguineas ut sanguine leniat umbras, 
inpietate pia est. nam postquam pestifer ignis 


and changed her gohl-spangled robes for black. 
But when she learned who was their murderer, her 
grief all fell away and was changed from tears to the 
passion for vengeance. 

riiere was a billet of wood which, wlien the 
daughter of Thestius lay in childbirth, the three 
sisters threw into the fire and, spinning the threads 
of life with firm-pressed thumb, they sang: "An 
equal span of life we give to thee and to this wood, 
O babe new-born." When the three goddesses iiad 
sung this prophecy and vanished, the mother snatched 
the blazing brand from the fire, and quenched it in 
water. Long had it lain hidden away in a secret 
place and, guarded safe, had safeguarded your life, O 
youth. And now the mother brought out this billet 
and bade her servants make a heap of pine-knots 
and fine kindling, and lit the pile with cruel flame. 
Then four times she made to throw the billet in the 
flames and four times she held her hard. Mother 
and sister strove in her, and the two names tore one 
heart this way and that. Often her cheeks grew 
pale with fear of the impious thing she planned ; as 
often blazing wrath gave its own colour to her eyes. 
Now she looked like one threatening some cruel deed, 
and now you would think her pitiful. And when the 
fierce anger of iier heart had dried up her tears, still 
tears would come again. And as a ship, driven by 
the wind, and against the wind by the tide, feels the 
double force and yields uncertainly to both, so 
Thestius' daughter wavered betwixt opposing pas- 
sions ; now quenched her wrath and now fanned it v' 
a.-'-ain. At last the sister in her overcomes the mother, 
itnd, that she may appease with blood the shades of 
her blood-kin, she is pious in impiety. For when 
the devouring flames grow hot, she cries : " Be that 



convaluit, "rogiis iste cremet niea viscera" dixit, 
utque manu clira lignum fatale teiiebat, 
ante sepulcrales infelix adstitit aras 480 

"poenarum" que " deae triplices, furialibus," inquit 
''Eunienides, sacris vultus advertite vestros ! 
ulciscor facioque nefas ; mors morte pianda est, 
in scelus addendum scelus est, in funera fuiius : 
per coacervatos pereat domus inpialuctus ! 485 

an felix Oeneus nato victore fruetur, 
Thestius orbus erit? melius lugebitis ambo. 
vos modo, fraterni manes animaeque recentes, 
officium sentite meum magnoque paratas 
accipite inferias, uteri mala pignora nostri ! 490 

ei mihi ! quo rapior ? fratres, ignoscite matri ! 
deficiunt ad coepta manus : meruisse fateniur 
ilium, cur pereat ; mortis mihi displicet auctor. 
ergo inpune feret vivusque et victor et ipso 
successu tumidus regnum Calydonis habebit, 495 

vos cinis exiguus gelidaeque iacebitis umbrae ? 
haud equidem patiar : pereat sceleratus et ille 
spemque patris regnumque trahat pati'iaeque ruinam ! 
mens ubi materna est ? ubi sunt pia iura parentum 
et quos sustinui bis mensum quinque labores ? 500 
o utinam primis arsisses ignibus infans, 
idque ego passa foreni ! vixisti munere nostro ; 
nunc merito moriere tuo ! cape praemia facti 
bisque datam, primum partu, mox stipite rapto, 
redde animam vel me fraternis adde sepulcris ! 505 
et cupio et nequeo. quid agam ? modo vulnera fratrum 
ante oculos mihi sunt et tantae caedis imago, 


the funeral pyre of my own flesh." And, as she held 
the foteful billet m her relentless hand and stood, 
unhappy wretch, before the sepulchral fires, she 
said ; " O ye triple goddesses of vengeance, Eu- 
menides, behold these fearful rites. I avenge and 
I do a wicked deed : death must be atoned by 
death ; to crime must crime be added, death to 
death. Tlu-ough woes on woes heaped up let this 
accuised house go on to ruin ! Shall happy Oeneus 
rejoice in his victorious son and Thestius be child- 
less ? 'Twill be better for you both to grieve. Only 
do you, my brothers' manes, fresh-made ghosts, appre- 
ciate my service, and accept the sacrifice I offer at so 
heavy cost, the baleful tribute of my womb. Ah me, 
whither am I hurrying } Brothers, forgive a mother's 
heart ! My hands refuse to finish what they began. 
I confess that he deserves to die ; but that I should 
be the agent of his death, I cannot bear. And shall 
he go scathless then ? Sliall he live, victorious 
and puffed up with his own success, and lord it in 
Calydon, while you are naught but a handful of 
ashes, shivering ghosts.'' I will not sutler it. Let 
the wretch die and drag to ruin with him his 
father's hopes, his kingdom and his fatherland ! 
VV'here is my mother-luve .'^ Where are parents' 
pious cares.'' VV'here are those pangs which ten long 
months I bore .'' O that you had perished in your 
infancy by those first fires, and I had suffered it! 
You lived by my gift; now you shall die by your 
own desert; pay the price of your deed. Give back 
the life I twice gave you, once at your birth, once 
when I saved the brand ; or else add me to my 
brothers' pyre. I both desire to act, and cannot. Oh, 
what shall I do ? Now I can see only my brothers' 
wounds, the sight of that deed of blood : and now 


nunc animum pietas maternaque nomina frangunt. 
me miseram ! male vincetis, sed vincitCj fratres, 
dummodo, quae dedero vobis, solacia vosque 510 

ipsa sequar ! " dixit dextraque aversa trementi 
funereum torrem medios coniecit in ignes : 
aut dedit aut visus gemitus est ipse dedisse 
stipes, ut invitis conreptus ab ignibus arsit, 

Inscius atque absens flainma Meleagros ab ilia 515 
oritur et caecis torreri viscera sentit 
ignibus ac magnos superat virtute dolores. 
quod tamen ignavo cadat et sine sanguine leto, 
maeret et Ancaei felicia vulnera dicit 
grandaevunique patrem fratresque piasque sorores 
cum gemitu sociamque tori vocat ore supremo, 521 
forsitan et matrem. crescunt ignisque dolorque 
languescuntque iterum ; simul est exstinctus uterque, 
inque leves abiit paulatim spii'itus auras 
paulatim cana prunam velante favilla. 525 

Alta iacet Cah'don : lugent iuvenesque senesque, 
vulgusque proceresque gemunt, scissaeque capillos 
jjlanguntur matres Calydonides Eueninae ; 
pulvere canitiem genitor vultusque seniles 
foedat humi fusus spatiosumque increpat aevum. 530 
nam de matre manus diri sibi conscia facti 
exegit poenas acto per viscera ferro. 
non mihi si centum deus era sonantia Unguis 
ingeniumque capax totumque Helicorra'dedisset, 
tristia persequerer miserarum dicta sororum. 535 

inmemores decoris liventia pectora tundunt, 
dumque raanet corpus, corpus refoventque foventque, 


love and the name of mother break me down. Woe 
is me, my brothers ! It is ill that you should win, but 
win you shall ; only let me have the solace that I grant 
to you, and let me iollow you I " She spoke, and 
turning away her face, witli trembling hand she threw 
the fatal billet into the flames. The brand either 
gave or seemed to give a groan as it was caught and 
consumed by the unwilling fire. 

Unconscious, far away, Meleager burns with those 
flames ; he feels his vitals scorching with hidden fire, 
and o'ercomes the great pain with fortitude. But 
yet he grieves that he must die a cowardly ami 
bloodless deatli, and he calls Ancaeus happy for the 
wounds he suffered. With groans of pain he calls 
with his dying breath on his aged father, his 
brothers and loving sisters and his wife, perchance 
also upon his mother. The fire and his pains increase, 
and then die down. Both fire and pain go out 
together; his spirit gradually slips away into the 
thin air as white ashes gradually overspread the 
glowing coals. 

Lofty Calydon is brought low. Young men and 
old, chieftains and commons, lament and groan ; and 
the Calydonian women, dwellers by Euenus' stream, 
tear their hair and beat their breasts. The father, 
prone on the ground, defiles his white hair and his 
aged head with dust, and laments that he has lived 
too long. For tlie mother, now knowing her awful 
deed, has punished herself, driving a dagger through 
her heart. Not if some god had given me a hundred 
mouths each with its tongue, a master's genius, and 
all Helicon's inspiration, could I describe the piteous 
prayers of those poor sisters. Careless of decency, they 
beat and bruise their breasts; and, while theirbrother's 
corpse remains, they caress that corpse over and 



oscula dant ipsi, posito dant oscula lecto. 

post cinerem cineres haustos ad pectora pressant 

adf'usaeque iacent tumulo signataque saxo 540 

nomina conplexae lacrimas in nomina fundunt. 

quas Parthaoniae tandem Latonia clade 

exsatiata domus praeter Gorgenque nurumque 

nobilis Alcmenae natis in corpore pennis 

adlevat et longas per bracchia porrigit alas 545 

corneaque ora facit versasque per aera mittitj 

Interea Theseus sociati parte laboris 
functus Erechtheas Tritonidos ibat ad arces. 
clausit iter fecitque moras Achelous eunti 
imbre tumens : " succede meis/' ait " indite, tectis, 
Cecropida, nee te committe rapacibus undis : 551 
ferre trabes solidas obliqu^que volvere magno 
murmure saxa solent. vidi contermina ripae 
cum gregibus stabula alta trahi ; nee fortibus illic 
profuit armentis nee equis velocibus esse. 555 

multa quoque hie torrens nivibus de nionte solutis 
corpora turbineo iuvenalia flumine mersit. 
tutior est requies, solito duni flumina currant 
limite, dum tenues capiat suus alveus undas."rf 
adnuit Aegides " utar," que " Acheloe, dornoque 560 
consilioque tuo " respondit ; et usus utroque est. 
pumice multicavo nee levibus atria topliis 
structa subit : molli tellus erat umida muscc, 


over, kiss him and kiss the bier as it stands before 
them. And, when he is ashes, they gather the 
ashes and press them to their hearts, throw them- 
selves on his tomb in abandonment of grief and, 
clasping the stone on which his name has been 
carved, they drench the name with their tears. At 
length Diana, satisfied with the destruction of Par- 
thaon's house, made feathers spring on their bodies — 
all save Gorge and great Alcmena's daughter-in-law * 
— stretclied out long wings over their arms, gave 
them a horny beak, and sent them transfigured into 
the air.^ -^ 

Meanwhile Theseus, liaving done his part in the 
confederate task, was on his way back to Tritonia's 
city where Krechtheus ruled. But Acheloiis, swollen 
with rain, blocked his way and delayed his jour- 
ney, " Enter my house, illustrious hero of Athens," 
said the river-god, "and do not entrust yourself to 
my greedy waters. The current is wont to sweep 
down solid trunks of trees and huge boulders in zig- 
zag course with crash and roar. I have seen great 
stables that stood near by the bank swept away, cattle 
and all, and in that current neither strength availed 
the ox nor speed the horse. Many a strong man 
also has been overwhehned in its whirling pools 
when swollen by melting snows from the mountain- 
sides. It is safer for you to rest until the waters 
shall run within their accustomed bounds, until its 
own bed shall hold the slender stream." The son of 
Aegeus replied: "I will use both your house, Acheloiis, 
and your advice." And he did use them both. He 
entered the river-god's dark dwelling, built of porous 
pumice and rough tufa ; the floor was damp with soft 

1 Deianira, the wife of Hercules. 

8 These birds were called Mdeagrides, gninea-hene. 



summa lacunabant alterno murice conchae. 

iamqiie cluas lucis partes Hyperione menso 565 

discubuere toris Theseus comitesque laborum, 

hac Ixionides, ilia Troezenius lieros 

parte Lelex, raris iam sparsus tempora canis, 

quosque alios pnrili fuerat dignatiis honore 

Aninis Acarnanum, laetissimus hospite tanto. 570 

protinus adpositas nudae vestigia nymphae 

instruxere epulis mensas dapibusque remotis 

in gemma posiiere merura. tum maximus heros, 

aequora prospiciens oculis subiecta, " quis " inquit 

"ille locus?" (digitoque ostendit) " et insula 

nomen 575 

quod gerit ilia, doce, quamquam non una videtur ! " 
Amnis ad haec "non est" inquit "quod cernitis 

unum : 
quinque iacent terrae ; spatium discrimina fallit. 
quoque minus spretae factum mirere Dianae, 
naides hae fuerant, quae cum bis quinque iuvencos 
mactassent rurisque deos ad sacra vocassent, 581 

inmemores nostri festas duxere choreas, 
intumui, quantusque feror, cum plurimus umquam, 
tantus eram, pariterque animis inmanis at undis 
a silvis silvas et ab arvis arva revulsi 585 

cumque loco nymphas, memoi'es tum denique nostri, 
in ireta provolvi. fluctus nosterque marisque 
continuam diduxit humum partesque resolvit 
in totidem, mediis quot cernis Echinadas undisy' 
I ut tamen ipse vides, procul, en procul una recessit 
I insula, grata mihi ; Perimelen navita dicit : 591 



moss, conchs and purple-shells panelled the ceiling. 
Now had the blazing sun traversed two-thirds of his 
daily course, when Theseus and iiis comrades of the 
chase disposed themselves upon the couches. Ixion's 
son ^ lay here, and there Lelex, the hero of Troezen, 
took his place, his temples already sprinkled with 
grey ; and otliers who had been deemed worthy of 
equal honour by the Acarnanian river-god, who was 
filled with joy in his noble guest. Without delay 
barefoot nymphs set the feast upon the tables, and 
then when the food had been removed, they set out 
the wine in jewelled cups. Then the noble hero, 
looking forth upon the wide water spread before his 
eyes, pointed with his finger and said : " What place 
is that ? Tell me the name which that island bears. 
And yet it seems not to be one island." The river- 
god replied: "No, what you see is not one island, 
i'here are five islands lying there together; but the 
distance hides their divisions. And, that you may 
wonder the less at what Diana did when she 
was slighted, those islantls once were nymphs, 
who, when they had slaughtered ten bullocks 
and had invited all the other rural gods to their 
sacred feast, forgot me as they led the festal dance. 
I swelled with rage, as full as when my flood flows 
at the fullest; and so, terrible in wrath, terrible in 
flood, I tore forests from forests, fields from fields ; 
and with the place they stood on, I swept the nymphs 
away, who at last remembered me then, into the sea. 
There my flood and the sea, united, cleft the undivided 
ground into as many parts as now you see the 
Echinades yonder amid the waves. But, as you 
yourself see, away, look, far away beyond the others 
is one island that I love : the sailors call it Perimele. 

1 Pirithoiis. 



hiiic ego virgineum dilectae nomen ademl ; 

quod pater Hippodamas aegre tulit inque profun- 

propulit e seopulo periturae corpora natae. 
excepi nantemque ferens 'o proxima mundi 
regna vagae ' dixi ' sortite, Tridentifer, undae, 5P6 
adfer opem mersaeque, precor, feritate paterna; 601 
da, Neptune, locum ; vel sit locus ipsa licebit ! ' 
dum loquor, aniplexa est artus nova terra natantes 609 

1 et gravis increvit mutatis insula membris." 6^0 

Amnis ab his tacuit. factum mirabile cunctos 
moverat : inridet eredentes, utque deorum 
spretor erat mentisque ferox, Ixione natus 
" ficta refers nimiumque putas, Aclieloe, potentes 
esse deos," dixit " si dant adimuntque figuras." 6l5 
obstipiiere omiies nee talia dicta probarunt, 
ante omnesque Lelex animo maturus et aevo, 
sic ait: "inmensa est finemque potentia caeli 
non habet, et quicquid superi voluere, peractum est, 
quoque minus dubites, tiliae contermina quercus 620 
collibus est Phrygiis modico circumdata muro ; 
ipse locum vidi ; nam me Pelopeia Pittheus 
misit in arva suo quondam regnata parenti. 

I baud procul hinc stagnum est, tellus habitabilis olim, 
nunc celebres mergis fulicisque palustribus undae ; 
luppiter hue specie mortali cumque parente 626 

venit Atlantiades positis caducifer alis. 
mille domos adiere locum requiemque petentes, 
mille domes elausere serae ; tamen una recepit, 


She was beloved by me, and from her I took the name 
of maiden. Her father, Hippodamas, was enraged 
with this, and he hurled his daughter to her death 
down from a high cliff into the deep. I caught her, 
and supporting her as she swam, I cried: 'O thou 
god of the trident, to whom the lot gave the kingdom 
next to the world, even the wandering waves, bring 
aid, I pray, to one drowned by a father's cruelty; 
give her a place, O Neptune, or else let her become 
a place herself.' While I prayed a new land em- 
braced her floating form and a solid island grew 
from her transformed shajie." 

With these words the river was silent. The story 
of the miracle had moved the hearts of all. But one 
mocked at their credulity, a scoffer at the gods, one 
reckless in sj)irit, Ixion's son, Pirithoiis. "These are 
but fairy-tales you tell, Acheloiis," he said, "and 
you concede too much power to the gods, if they 
give and take away the forms of things." All the 
rest were shocked and disapproved such words, and 
especially Lelex, ripe both in mind and years, who 
replied : " The power of heaven is indeed immeasur- 
able and has no bounds ; and whatever the gods 
decree is done. And, that you may believe it, there 
stand in the Phrygian hill-country an oak and a 
linden-tree side by side, surrounded by a low wall. 
I have myself seen the spot ; for Pittheus sent me to 
Phrygia, where his father once ruled. Not far from 
the place I speak of is a marsh, once a habitable land, 
bixt now water, the haunt of divers and coots. Hither 
came Jupiter in the guise of a mortal, and with his 
father came Atlas' grandson, he that bears the 
caduceus, his wings laid aside. To a thousand 
homes they came, seeking a place for rest; a thousand 
homes were barred against tbe.K> Still one kouse 




parva quidem, stipulis et canna tecta palustri, 630 

sed pia Baucis anus parilique aetate Philemon 

ilia sunt annis iuncti iuvenalibus, ilia 

consenuere casa paupertatemque fatendo 

effecere levem nee iniqua mente ferendo ; 

nee refert, dominos illic famulosne requiras: 635 

tota donius duo sunt, idem parentque inbentque^'^ 

ergo ubi caelicolae parvos tetigere penates 

summissotjue humiles intrarunt vertice postes, 

membra senex posito iussit relevare sedili ; 

quo superiniecit textum rude sedula Baucis 640 

inque foco tepiclum cinerem dimovit et ignes 

suscitat hesternos foliisque et cortice sicco 

nutrit et ad flammas anima producit anili 

multifidasque faces ramaliaque arida tecto 

detulit et minuit parvoque admovit aeno, 645 

quodque suus coniunx riguo conlegerat horto, - 

truncat bolus foliis ; furca levat ille bicoini • 

sordida terga suis nigro pendentia tiguo 

servatotjue diu resecat de tergore partem 

exiguam sectamque doniat ferventibus undis. 650 

interea medias fallunt sermonibus boras ^ 

* * * * torus de molli fluniinis ulva 655 

inpositus lecto sponda pedibusque salignis, 

vestibus hunc velant, (juas non nisi tempore festo 

sternere consuerant, sed et haec vilisque vetusque 

vestis erat, lecto non indignanda saligno. 

adcubuere dei. mensam succincta tremensque 660 

* 2'he following lines are omitted by Ehwald : 

sentirique moram prohibent. erat alveus illlo 
fagineus, dura clavo suspeiisus ab ansa : 
is tepidis impletur aquis artusque fovendoa 
accipit, in medio torus est de mollibus ulvis. 



received them, humble indeed, thatched witli straw 
and reeds from the marsh ; but pious old Baucis and 
Philemon, of equal age, were in that cottage wedded 
in their youth, and in that cottage had grown old 
together; there they made their poverty light by 
owning it, and by bearing it in a contented spirit. 
It was of no use to ask for masters or for servants in 
that house ; they two were the whole household, 
together they served and ruled. And so wlien the 
heavenly ones came to this humble home and, 
stooping, entered in at the lowly door, the old man 
set out a bench and bade them rest their limbs, while 
over this bench busy Baucis threw a rough covering. 
Then she raked aside the warm ashes on the hearth 
and fanned yesterday's coals to life, whicli she fed 
with leaves and dry bark, blowing them into flame 
with the breath of her old body. Then she took down 
from the roof some fine-sj)lit wood and dry twigs, 
broke them up and placed them under the little 
copper kettle. And she took the cabbage which her 
husband had brought in from the well-watered garden 
and lopped off the outside leaves. Meanwhile the old 
man -with a forked stick reached down a chine of 
smoked bacon, which was hanging from a blackened 
beam and, cutting off a little piece of the long- 
cherished pork, he put it to cook in the boiling 
water. Meanwhile they beguiled the intervening 
time with their talk * * * * a mattress of soft sedge- 
grass was placed on a couch with frame and feet of 
willow. They threw drapery over this, which they 
were not accustomed to bring out except on festal 
days ; but even tliis was a cheap thing and well- 
worn, a very good match for the willow couch. The 
gods reclined. The old woman, with her skirts 
tucked up, with trembling hands set out the table, 




ponit anus, mensae sed erat pes tertius inpar : 
testa parem fecit ; quae postquam subdita elivum 
sustulit, aequatam mentae tersere virentes. 
ponitur hie bicolor sincerae baca Minervae 
conditaque in liquida corna autuinnalia faece 665 

intibaque et radix et lactis massa coacti 
ovaque non acri leviter versata favilla, 
omnia fictilibus. post haec caelatus eodera 
sistitur argento crater fabricataque fago 
pocula, qua cava sunt, flaventibus inlita ceris ; 670 
parva mora est, epulasque foci misere calentes, 
nee longae rursus referuntur vina senectae 
dantque locum mensis paulum seducta secundis: 
hie nux, hie mixta est rugosis carica palmis 
prunaque et in patulis redolentia mala canistris 675 
et de purpureis conlectae vitibus uvae, 
Candidas in medio favus est ; super omnia vultus 
accessere boni nee iners pauperque voluntas./ 

" Interea totiens haustum cratera repleri 
sponle sua per seque vident succrescere vina : 680 
attoniti novitate pavent manibusque supinis 
concipiunt Baucisque preces timidusque Philemon 
et veniam dapibus nullisque paratibus orant. 
unicus anser erat, niinimae custodia villae : 
quem dis hospitibus domini mactare parabant ; 685 
ille celer penna tardos aetate fatigat 
eluditque diu tandemque est visus ad ipsos 
confugisse deos : superi vetuere necari. 


But one of its three legs was too short ; so she 
propped it up with a potsherd. When this had 
levelled the slope, she wiped it, thus levelled, with 
green mint. Next she i)laced on the board some 
olives, green and ripe, truLhIul Minerva's berries, and 
some autumnal cornel-cherries pickled in the lees 
of wine : endives and radishes, cream cheese and 
eggs, lightly roasted in the Avarm ashes, all served 
in earthen dishes. After these viands, an embossed 
mixin<r-bowl of the same costlv ware was set on 
together with cups of beechwood coated on the 
inside with yellow wax. A moment and the hearth 
sent its steaming viands on, and wine of no great 
age was brought out, which was then pushed aside 
to give a small space for the second course. Here 
were nuts and figs, with dried dates, plums and 
fragrant apples in broad baskets, and purple grapes 
just picked from the vines; in the centre of the 
table was a comb of clear white honey. Besides all 
this, pleasant faces were at the board and lively and 
abounding goodwill. 

"Meanwhile they saw that the mixing-bowl, as often 
as it was drained, kept filling of its own accord, 
and that the wine welled up of itself. The two old 
people saw this strange sight with amaze and fear, 
and with upturned hands they both uttered a prayer, 
Baucis and the trembling old Philemon, and they 
craved indulgence for their fare and meagre entertain- 
ment. They had one goose, the guardian of their tiny 
estate ; and him the hosts were preparing to kill 
for their divine guests. But the goose was swift of 
wing, ajid quite wore the slow old people out in their 
efforts to catch him. He eluded their grasp for a 
long time, and finally seemed to flee for refuge to 
the gods themselves. Then the gods told them not 



'dique sumus, meritasque luet vicinia poenas 

inpia ' clixeiunt ; ' vohis inmunibus liuius 690 

esse mali dabitur ; modo vestra relinquite tecta 

ac nostros comitate gradus et in ardua montis 

ite simul ! ' parent ambo baculisque levati 

nituntur lonj^o vestigia ponere clivo. 

tanturn aberant snmmo, quantum semel ire sagitta 6.95 

missa potest: flexere oculos et mersa palude 

cetera prospiciunt, tantum sua tecta manere, 

dumque ea mirantur, dum deflent fata suorum, 

ilia vetus dominis etiam casa parva duobus 

vertitur in temj)lum : furcas subiere columnae, 700 

stramina flavescunt aurataque tecta videntur 

caelataeque fores adopertaque niarmore tellus, 

talia tum placido Saturnius edidit ore : 

' dicite, iuste senex et femina coniuge iusto 

digna, quid optetis.' cum Baucide pauca locutus 705 

indicium snperis aperit commune IMiileinon : 

'esse sucerdotes delubraque vestra tueri 

poscimus, et quoniam Concordes egimus annos, 

auferat hora duos eadem, nee coniugis umquam 

busta meae videam, neu sim tumnlandus ab ilia.' 710 

vota fides sequitur: templi tutela fuere, 

donee vita data est; annis aevoque soluti 

ante gradus s.icros cum starent forte locique 

narrarent casus, frondere Philemona Baucis, 

Baucida conspexit senior frondere Philemon. 715 

iamque super geminos crescente cacumine vultus 

mutua, dum licuit, reddebant dicta 'vale' que 

'o coniunx ' dixere simul, simul abdita texit 

45 V 


to kill the goose. 'V^e are gods/ they said, *and 
this wicked neighbourhood shall be punished as it 
deserves ; but to joa shall be given exemption from 
this punishment. Leave now your dwelling and come 
with us to that tall mountain yonder.' They both 
obeyed and, propped on their staves, they struggled 
up the long slop>e. "♦Vhen they were a bowibot 
distant from the top. they looked back and saw 
the whole country-side covered with water, only 
their own house remaining. And, while they 
wondered at this, while they wept for the fate 
of their neighbours, that old house of theirs, which 
had been small even for its two occupants, was 
changed into a temple. Marble columns took 
the place of the forked wooden supports ; the straw 
grew yellow and became a golden roof; there were 
gates richly carved, a marble pavement covered the 
ground. Then calmly the son of Saturn ?f>oke : 
' Now ask of us, thou good old man, and tliou wife, 
worthy of thy good husband, any boon you will.' 
When he had spoken a word with Baucis, Philemon 
announced their joint decision to the gods : ' We ask 
that we may be your priests, and guard your temple : 
and, since we have spent our lives in constant com- 
pany, we pray that the same hour may bring death 
to both of us — that I may never see my wife's tomb, 
nor be buried by her.' Their request was granted. 
They had the care of the temple as long as they 
lived. And at last, when, spent with extreme old 
age, they chanced to stand before the sacred edifice 
talking of old times, Baucis saw Philemon putting 
forth leaves, PhUemon saw Baucis ; and as the tree- 
top formed over their two faces, while still they 
could they cried with the same words : * Farewell, 
dear mate,' just as the bark closed over and hid 


n . OVID 

ora frutex : ostendit adhuc Thyneius illic 

incola de geniino vicinos corpore triincos. 720 

haec mihi non vani (neque erat, cur fallere vellent) 

narravere senes ; equidem pendentia vidi 

serta super ramos ponensque vecentia dixi 

'cura deum di sunt, et, qui coluei*e, colantur.'.j^"''^ 

Desierat, cunctosque'jet res et moyerai auctor, 725 
Thesea praecipue"; quem factl^kudire volentem 
mira de^im)innixus cubito Lalydonms amnis 
talibus adloquitur : "sunt, o fortissime, quormn 
forma semel mota est et in hoc renovamine mansit; 
sunt, quibus in plures ius est transire figuras, 730 
ut tibi, conplexi terram maris incola, Proteu. 
nam modo te iuvenem, modo te videre leonem, 
nunc violentus aper, nunc, quem tetigisse limcrent, 
anguis eras, modo te faclebant cornua taurum ; 
saepe lapis poteras, arbor quoque saepe videi'i, 735 
interdum, faciem liquidarum imitatus aquarum, 
flumen eras, interdum undis contrarius ignis. 

*' Nee minus Autolyci coniunx, Erysichthone nata, 
iuris habet : pater huius erat, qui numina divum 
sperneret et nuUos aris adoleret odoi-es ; , , 740 
ille etiam Cereale nemus violasse securi » ^] 

dicitur et lucos ferro temerasse vetustos. 
stabat in his ingens annoso robore quercus, 
una nemus ; vittae mediam memoresque tabellae 
sertaque cingebant, voti argumenta potentis, 745 


their lips. Even to this day the Bithynian peasant 
in that region points out two trees standing close to- 
gether, and growing from one double trunk. These 
things were toltl me by staid old men who could have 
had no reason to deceive. With my own eyes I saw 
votive wreaths hanging from the boughs, and placing 
fresh wreaths there myself, I said : ' Those whom 
the gods care for are gods ; let those who have 
worshipped be worshi])ped.' " / 

Lelex made an end : both the tale and the teller 
had moved them all ; Theseus especially. When 
he would hear more of the wonderful doings of the 
gods, the Calydonian river god, propped upon his 
elbow, tims addressed him : " Some there are, 
bravest of heroes, whose form has been once changed 
and remained in its new state. To others the power 
is given to assume many forms, as to thee, Proteus, 
dweller in the earth-embracing sea. For now men 
saw thee as a youth, now as a lion ; now thou wast a 
raging boar, now a serpent whom men would fear 
to touch ; now horns made thee a bull ; often thou 
couldst appear as a stone, often, again, a tree ; some- 
times, assuming the form of flowing water, thou 
wast a stream, and sometimes a flame, the water's 

" No less power had the wife of Autolycus, Ery- 
sichthon's daughter. This Erysichthon was a man 
who scorned the gods and burnt no sacrifice on their 
altars. He, so the story goes, once violated the 
sacred grove of Ceres with the axe and profaned 
those ancient trees with steel. Tiiere stood among 
these a mighty oak with strength matured by cen- 
turies of growth, itself a grove. Round about it 
hung woollen fillets, votive tablets, and wreaths of 
flowers, witnesses of granted prayers. Often beneath 



saepe sub hac dryades festas duxere choreas, 
saepe etiam manibus nexis ex ordine trunci 
circuiere modum, mensuraque roboris ulnas 
quinque ter inplebat, nee non et cetera tantum 
silva sub hac, silva quantum fuit herba sub omni. 750 
non tamen idcirco ferrum Triopeius ilia 
abstinuit famulosque iiibet succidere sacrum 
robur, et ut iussos cunctari vidit, ab uno 
edidit haec rapta sceleratus verba securi : 

* non dilectadeae solum, sed et ipsa licebit 755 
sit dea, iam tanget frondente cacumine terram.' 
dixit, et obliquos duna telum librat in ictus, 
contremuit gemitumque dedit Deoia quercus, 

et pariter frondes, pariter pallescere glandes 
coepere ac longi pallorem ducere rami. 76() 

cuius ut in trunco fecit manus inpia vulnus^ 
baud aliter fluxit discusso eortice sanguis, 
quam solet, ante aras ingens ubi victima taurus 
concidit, abrupta cruor e cervice profundi, 
obstipuere omnes, aliquisque ex omnibus audet 
deterrere nefas saevamque inhibere bi])ennem : 766 
aspicit hunc ' mentis ' que ' piae cape praemia ! ' dixit 
Thessalus inque virum convertit ab arbore ferrum 
detruncatque caput repetitaque robora caedit, 
redditus et medio sonus est de robore talis : 770 

* nympha sub hoc ego sum Cereri gratissima ligno, 
quae tibi factorum poenas instare tuorum 
vaticinor moriens, nostri solacia leti.' 
persequitur scelus ille suum, labefactaque tandem 
ictibus innuuieris adductaque funibus arbor 775 
corruit et multam prostravit pondere silv^.m. 

458 "^ 


this tree dryads held their festival dances ; often 
with hand linked to hand inline they would encircle 
the great tree whose mighty girth was iull fifteen 
ells. It towered as high above other trees as they 
were higher than the grass that grew beneath. Yet 
not for this did Triopas' son ^ withhold his axe, as 
he bade his slaves cut down the sacred oak. But 
when he saw that they shrank back, the wretch 
snatched an axe from one of them and said : ' Though 
this be not only the tree that the goddess loves, but 
even the goddess herself, now shall its leafy top touch 
the ground.' He spoke; and while he poised his 
axe for the slanting stroke, the oak of Deo ^ trembled 
and gave forth a groan ; at the same time its leaves 
and its acorns grew pale, its long branches took on a 
pallid hue. But when that impious stroke cut into 
the trunk, blood came streaming forth from the 
severed bark, even as when a huge sacrificial bull has 
fallen at the altar, and from his smitten neck the 
blood pours forth. All were astonied, and one, 
bolder than the rest, tried to stop his wicked deed 
and stay his cruel axe. But the Thessalian looked at 
him and said : 'Take that to pay you for your pious 
thought ! ' and, turning the axe from the tree against 
the man, lopped oif his head. Then, as he struck 
the oak blow after blow, from within the tree a voice 
was heard : ' I, a nymph most dear to Ceres, dwell 
within this wood, and I j)roj>hesy with my dying 
breath, and find my death's solace in it, that punish- 
ment is at hand for what you do.' But he accomplished 
his crime ; and at length the tree, weakened by 
countless blows and drawn down by ropes, fell and 
with its weight laid low a wide stretch of woods 

* ErysichthoD. ^ i.e. Ceres. 



" Attonitae diyades damno nemorumque suoque, { 

omnes germanae, Cererem cum vestibus atris 
maerentes adeunt poenamque Erysichthonis orant. 
adnuit his capitisque sui pulcherrima motii 7 HO 

concussit gravidis oncratos messibus agros, 
moliturque genus pocnae miserabile, si non 
ille suis esset nulli miserabilis actis, 
pestifera lacerare Fame, quae quatenus ipsi 
non adeunda deae est (neque enim Cereremque Fa- 
memque 785 

fata coire sinunt), montani niiminis unam 
talibus agrestem conpellat oreada dictis : 
' est locus extremis Scythiae glacialis in oris, 
triste solum, sterilis, sine fruge, sine arbore tellus ; 
Frigus iners illic habitant Pallorque Tremorque 790 
et ieiuna Fames : ea se in praecordia condat 
sacrilegi scelerata, iube, nee copia reium 
vincat earn superetque meas certamine vires, 
neve viae spatium te teneat, accipe cunus, 
accipe, quos frenis alte moderere, dracones! ' 795 
et dedit ; ilia dato subvecta per aera cuiru 
devenit in Scythiam : rigidique cacumine mor)l,is 
(Caucason appellant) sorpeiitum col la levavit 
quaesitamque Famem lapidoso vidit in agro 
unguibus et raras vellentem dentibus herbas. 800 
hirtus erat crinis, cava lumina, pallor in ore. 
Libra incana situ, scabrae rubigine fauces, 
dura cutis, per quam spectari viscera possent ; 
ossa sub incurvis exstabant arida lumbis, ' 
ventris erat pro venti-e locus ; pendere putares 805 
pectus et a spinae tantummodo crate teneri. 



" All the dryad sisters were stupefied at their own 
and their forest's loss and, mourning, clad in 
black robes, tliey went to Ceres and prayed her to 
punish Erysichthon. The beautiful goddess con- 
sented, and with a nod of her head shook the fields 
heavy with ripening grain. She planned in her 
mind a punishmejit tliat might make men pity (but 
that no man could pity him for such deeds), to rack 
him with dreadful Famine. But, since the goddess 
herself could not go to her (for the fates do not 
permit Ceres and Famine to come together), she 
summoned one of the mountain deities, a rustic 
oread, and thus addressed her: 'There is a place 
on the farthest border of icy Scythia, a gloomy 
and barren soil, a land without corn, without trees. 
Sluggish Cold dwells there and Pallor, Fear, and 
gaunt Famine. So, bid Famine hide herself in the 
sinful stomach of that impious wretch. Let no 
abundance satisfy her, and let her overcome my 
utmost power to feed. And, that the vast journey 
may not daunt you, take my chariot and my winged 
dragons and guide them aloft.' And she gave the 
reins into her hands. The nymph, borne through 
the air in her borrowed chariot, came to Scythia, and 
on a bleak mountain-top which men call Caucasus, 
unyoked her dragon steeds. Seeking out Famine, she 
saw her in a stony field, plucking with nails and 
teeth at the scanty herbage. Her hair hung in matted 
locks, her eyes were sunken, her face ghastly pale ; her 
lips were wan and foul, her throat rough Avith scurf; 
her skin was hard and dry so that the entrails could 
be seen through it ; her skinny hip-bones bulged 
out beneath her hollow loins, and her belly was but 
a belly's place ; her breast seemed to be hanging free 
and just to be held by the framework of the spine ; 



auxerat articulos macies, genuumque tumebat 
orbis, et inmodico prodibant tubere tali. 

" Hanc procul ut vidit, (neque enira est accedere 
ausa) refert mandata deae paulumque morata, 810 
quamquam aberat longe, qiiamquam modo venerat 

visa tamen sensisse faniem retroque dracones 
egit in Haemoniam versis sublimis habenis. 

" Dicta Fames Cereris, quamvis contraria semper 
illius est operi, peragit perque aera vento 815 

ad iussam delata domiim est, et protinus intrat 
sacrilegi thalamos altoque soj)ore solutum 
(noctis enim tempus) geminis amplectitur ulnis, 
seqiie \iro inspirat, faucesque et pectus et ora 
adflat et in vacuis spargit ieiunia venis ; 820 

functaque mandate fecundum deserit orbem 
inque domos inopes adsueta revertitur antra. 

" Lenis adhuc Somnus placidis Erysichthona pennis 
mulcebat : petit ille dapes sub imagine somni, 
oraque vana movet dentemque in dente fatigat, 825 
exercetque eibo delusum guttur inani 
proque epulis tenues nequiquam devorat auras; 
ut vero est expulsa quies, furit ardor edendi 
perque avidas fauces incensaque viscera regnat. 
nee mora ; quod pontus, quod terra, quod educat aer, 
poscit et adpositis queritur ieiunia mensis 831 

inque epulis epulas quaerit ; quodcjue urbibus esse, 
quodque satis poterat populo, non sufficit uni, 
plusque cupit, quo j)lLira snam demittit in alvuni. 
utque fretum recipit de tota Humina terra 835 



her thinness made her joints seem large, her knees 
were swollen, and her ankles were great bulging 

" V/lien the nymph saw her in the distance (for she 
did not dare approach her), she delivered to her the 
goddess' commands. And, though she tarried but 
a little while, though she kept far from her and had 
but now arrived, still she seemed to feel the famine. 
Then, mounting high in air, she turned her course 
and drove the dragons back to Thessaly. 

"Famine did the bidding of Ceres, although their 
tasks are ever opposite, and flew through the air on 
the wings of the wind to the appointed mansion. 
Straight she entered the chamber of the impious 
king, who was sunk in deep slumber (for it was night) ; 
there she wrapped her skinny arms about him and 
filled him with herself, breathing upon his throat 
and breast and lips; and in his hollow veins she 
planted hunger. When her dut}' was done, she left 
the fertile world, and returned to the homes of want 
and her familiar caverns. 

" Still gentle Sleep, hovering on peaceful wings, 
soothes Erysichthon. And in his sleep he dreams of 
feasting, champs his jaws on nothing, wearies tooth 
upon tooth, cheats his gullet with fancied food ; for 
his banquet is nothing but empty air. But when he 
awakes, a wild craving for food lords it in his ravenous 
jaws and in his burning stomach. Straightway he 
calls for all that sea and land and air can furnish ; 
with loaded tables before him, he complains still of 
hunger ; in the midst of feasts seeks other feasts. 
What would be enouoh for whole cities, enoui^^h for 
a whole nation, is not enough for one. The more he 
sends down into his maw the more he wants. And 
as the ocean receives the streams from a whole land 



nee satiatur aquis perej^rinosque ebibit amnes, 
utque rapax ignis non umquam alimenta recusal 
innumerasque faces creinat et, quo copia maior 
est data, plura petit turbaque voracior ipsa est : 
sic epulas omnes Erysichthonis ora profani 840 

accipiunt poscuntque simul. cibus omnis in illo 
causa cibi est, semperque locus fit inanis edendo. 
" lamque fame patrias altaque voragine ventris 
attenuarat opes, sed inattenuata manebat 
turn quoque dira fames, inplacataeque vigebat 845 
flamma gulae. tandem, demisso in viscera censu, 
filia restabat, non illo digua parente. 
banc quoque vendit inops : dominum generosa recusat 
et vicina suas tendens super aequora palmas 
' eripe me domino, qui raptae praemia nobis 850 

virginitatis habes ! ' ait : baec Neptunus habebat ; 
qui prece non spreta, quamvis modo visa sequenti 
esset ero, formamque novat vultumque virilem 
induit et cultus pisces capientibus aptos. 
banc dominus spectans * o qui pendentia parvo 855 
aera cibocelas, moderator harundiiiis,' inquit 

* sic mare conpositum, sic sit tibi piscis in unda 
credulus et nullos, nisi fixus, sentiat hamos : 

quae modo cum vili turbatis veste capillis 859 

litore in hoc steterat (nam stantem in litore vidi), 
die, ubi sit : neque enim vestigia longius exstant.' 
ilia dei munus bene cedere sensit et a se 
se quaeri gaudens his est resecuta rogantem : 

* quisquis es, ignoscas ; in nuUam lamina partem 


and is not filled with his waters, but swallows up the 
streams that come to it from afar ; and as the all- 
devouring fire never refuses fuel, but burns countless 
logs, seeks ever more as more is given it, and is 
more greedy by reason of the quantity : so do the 
lips of impious Erysichthon receive all those banquets, 
and ask for more. All food in him is but the cause 
of food, and ever does he become empty by eating. 

" And now famine and his belly's deep abyss 
had exhausted his ancestral stores ; but even then 
ravenous Famine remained unexhausted and his 
raging greed was still unappeased. At last, when 
all his fortunes had been swallowed up, there re- 
mained only his daughter, worthy of a better fatlier. 
Penniless, he sold even her. The high-spirited girl 
refused a master, anil stretching out her hands ovei 
the neighbouring waves, she cried: 'Save me from 
slavery, O thou who hast already stolen my virginity.' 
This Neptune had taken ; he did not refuse her 
prayer ; and though her master following her had 
seen her but now, the god changed her form, gave 
her the features of a man and garments proper to a 
fisherman. Her master, looking at this person, said : 
' Ho, you who conceal the dangling hook in a little 
bait, you that handle the rod ; so may the sea be 
calm, so be the fish trustful in the wave for youi 
catching, and feel no hook until you strike : where 
is she, tell me, who but now stood on this shore with 
mean garments and disordered hair, for I saw her 
standing upon the shore, and her tracks go no 
farther I ' She perceived by this that the god's 
gift was working well, and, delighted that one asked 
her of herself, answered his question in these words : 
' Whoever you are, excuse me, sir ; I have not taken 
my eyes from this pool to look in any direction. I 


gurgite ab hoc flexi studioque operatus inhaesi, 865 
quoque minus dubites, sic has deus aequoris antes 
adiuvet, ut nemo iamdudum litore in isto, 
me tamen excepto, nee femina constitit uUa.' 
credidit et verso dominus pede pressit harenam 
elususque abiit : illi sua reddita forma est. 870 

ast ubi habere suam transformia corpora sensit^ 
saepe pater dominis Triopeida tradit, at ilia 
nunc equa, nunc ales, modo bos, modo cervus abibat 
praebebatque avido non iusta alimenta parenti. 
vis tamen ilia mali postquam consumpserat omnera 
materiam dederatque gravi nova pabula morbo, 876 
i])se suos artus lacero divellere morsu 
coepit et infelix minuendo corpus alebat. — 

" Quid moror externis? etiam mihi nempe novaiidi 
corporis, o iuvenis, numero finita, potestas. 880 

nam modo, qui nunc sum, videor, modo flector in 

armenti modo dux vires in cornua sumo, — 
cornua, dum potui. nunc pars caret altera telo 
froutis, ut ipse vides." gemitus sunt verba secutL 



have been altogether bent on my fishing. And that 
you may believe me, so may the god of the sea assist 
this art of mine, as it is true that for a long time back 
no man has stood upon this shore except myself, and 
no woman, either.' Her master believed, and turning 
upon the sands, he left the spot, completely deceived, 
Then her former shape was given back to her. But 
when her father perceived that his daughter had the 
power to change her form, he sold her often and to 
many masters. But now in the form of a mare, now 
bird, now cow, now deer, away she went, and so found 
food, though not fairly, for her greedy father. At 
last, when the strength of the plague had consumed 
all these provisions, and but added to his fatal 
malady, the wretched man began to tear his own* 
flesh with his greedy teeth and, by consuming^Jiis^ 
own body, fed himself. 

" But why do I dwell on tales of others .'' I myself, 
young sirs, have often changed my form ; but my 
power is limited in its range. For sometimes I 
appear as you see me now ; sometimes I change to 
a serpent ; again I am leader of a herd and put my 
strength into my horns — horns, I say, so long as I 
could. But now one of the weapons of my forehead 
is gone, as you yourself can see." He ended with a 

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