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Looking for More Great Reads? Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Read it Forward Read it first. Unbound Worlds Exploring the science fiction and fantasy universe. Stay in Touch Sign up. Whether He who made all things aimed at the best, Creating man from his own living fluid, Or if earth, lately fallen through heaven's aether, Took an immortal image from the skies, Held it in clay which son of Iapetus Mixed with the spray of brightly running waters — It had a godlike figure and was man.
While other beasts, heads bent, stared at wild earth, The new creation gazed into blue sky; Then careless things took shape, change followed change And with it unknown species of mankind. Then living creatures trusted one another; People did well without the thought of ill: Nothing forbidden in a book of laws, No fears, no prohibitions read in bronze, Or in the sculptured face of judge and master.
The innocent earth Learned neither spade nor plough; she gave her Riches as fruit hangs from the tree: Spnngtide the single Season of the year, and through that hour The soft breath of the south in flowering leaf, In white waves of the wheat across the meadows, Season of milk and wine in amber streams And honey pouring from the green-lipped oak.
After old Saturn fell to Death's dark country Straitly Jove ruled the world with silver charm, Less radiant than gold, less false than brass. And it was then that Jove split up the year In shifty Autumn, wild Winter, and short Spring, Summer that glared with heat: Now grain was planted and the plough pierced earth; The dnven ox whimpered beneath the yoke. Third came the age of bronze, less soft than silver, And men in bronze were quick with sword and spear, Yet all feared Jove.
Then came the age of iron And from it poured the very blood of evil: The mountain oak, the pine were felled and stripped, Their long beams swaying above uncharted Ocean. Then land, once like the gift of sunlit air, Was cut in properties, estates, and holdings: There, in his sacred mines, All that drives men to avarice and murder Shone in the dark: Men fed on loot and lust; the guest feared host; Neighbour looked warily with smiles at neighbour; And fathers had good reasons to distrust Their eager sons-in-law. If brothers loved Each other, the sight was rare, and watchful Husbands prayed for death of wives, stepmothers Made poison a dessert at dinner — sons Counted the hours that led to fathers' graves.
Piety was overthrown, and Astraea, Last-born sister of the skies, left the blood- Sweating earth to drink its blood, and turning Lightly swiftly found her place in heaven. Soon it was rumoured that earth's taste for blood Was threatening heaven: It was reported that when the mountains With monsters fell from grace, trailing their blood, Then earth, remembering earlier sons and daughters, Made human images from blood-wet clay, The new breed godless, violent in mind; One saw too clearly they were born of blood.
When Jove from his high seat looked down on earth He sighed aloud: Jove's anger burned his soul, Was worthy of it: On evenings when deepest heavens are clear One sees a highroad called The Milky Way Where gods walk out upon a path of stars To Jove the Thunderer; on either side Of palace and high hall, great doors fall open To the chambered light; guests wandering where Nobility receives its worshippers. The lesser deities do not live here; I choose to call it Palatine of Heaven.
As gods assembled at Jove's throne in state He stood above them leaning on his sceptre, Shook heavy locks three times and once again As land, sea, sky rocked with his weighted gesture; Then lips grown thick with rage began to speak: They were one breed, one will. But now when Ocean Storms helpless earth, all traces of mankind Should be destroyed.
I swear by all the rivers Of deepest Hell my best is done to conquer Human ill; the best is not enough; taint Must be cut from flesh as with a cleansing Knife the body cured. I am protector Of nymphs, fauns, satyrs, and small gods who wander The village street, down lanes, up shaded hills; Since we have found no home for them in heaven, The lands they live in must be cleared of evil, Where Lycaon, known for his will against me, Walks like a beast and hides his traps in forests. And as they spoke the scene was like the day When hands of madness washed in Caesar's blood Threatened to blot the very name of Rome, When all the world stood dazed by thought of ruin.
He waved for silence with an easy hand; Their murmuring ceased and he resumed his lecture: I had heard evil rumours of mankind And with the hope of proving them untrue I stepped down from Olympus incognito, No longer Jovian but extremely human, A traveller walking up and down the world. It takes too long to list the crimes I saw — Rumours were less amazing than the truth. I crossed Maenala where every bush and cave Was hideously alive with boars, bears, foxes, Then through Cyllene and the frost-pine forest Of Lycaeus, and as that twilight dwindled To ever-increasing dark I stepped across Rough threshold where Lycaon, bitter tyrant Of Arcadian wildness, lived.
I raised My hand, peasant and shepherd fell before me To offer prayers at which insane Lycaon Looking at them and me began to roar, 'Soon we shall know if this is god or man; I shall have proof of its divinity. When I had feasted So he had planned and heavily asleep, Lifted to bed, he hoped to murder me. Nor was this scheme enough; he took a Northern Hostage from a cell, slit the poor devilish Monster's throat and tossed his warm and bleeding Vitals in a pot, the rest he roasted. This was the dinner that he put before me.
My thunderbolt struck the king's house to ruins, And he, wild master, ran like beast to field Crying his terror which cannot utter words But howls in fear, his foaming lips and jaws, Quick with the thought of blood, harry the sheep. His house has fallen; others shall follow him; Far as earth reaches, Furies rule the land; All men have joined in Hell's conspiracy — Since I have said it: Who would bring myrrh and sweet herbs to their altars?
Did Jove decide to give the earth to beasts? Then Jove raised thunderbolt against the earth — And checked the blow. Would heaven break in fire, And flames pour over earth from pole to pole? He then remembered that the Fates had scored A certain distant hour when sea and land, Earth and the vault of heaven would be consumed In universal fire. He put aside The lightning spear Cyclopean hands Made as his weapon to assert his will: Another doom for man came to his mind A death that stormed beneath the waves, and fell From air, and then dark rain began to fall.
And as rain fell Iris, handmaid of Juno, In rainbow dress drew water from earth's streams Replenishing the clouds.
Nor did rain cease. Wheat fell before the storm, the uncut harvest Drifting in rivers as the waters turned; The farmers' prayer unheard within the tempest, The heavy labour of long years undone. Nor was Jove's rage appeased by pouring heavens. Neptune arrived with armies of the waters, Rivers assembled at his ocean's floor To hear his orders: Under the blow of Neptune's fork earth trembled, And way was open for a sea of waters: Where land was the great nvers toppled orchards, Uncut corn, cottages, sheep, men, and cattle Into the flood Even stone shnnes and temples Were washed away, and if farmhouse or barn Or palace still stood its ground, the waves Climbed over door and lintel, up roof and tower.
All vanished as though lost in glassy waters, Road, highway, valley, and hill swept into ocean, All was a moving sea without a shore. Another caught fish from the floating branches Of the tallest elms; ships' anchors dropping In grass-grown meadows and swift keels sped Over green hill and vineyard. Where yesterday Thin-legged goats stepped on their way to pasture, The bearded seal dozed through the deep sea hours, And mermaids drifting with new-opened eyes Gazed into cities that were walked by men.
The leaping dolphins dashed through grove and covert Splashing their sides against oak bough and tree Till the dim forest swayed beneath the waters; Over them pursuing wolf swam with the sheep. The exhausted lion drifting with the tiger, The plunging thrust of the wild boar, the lightning Step of the deer perished within the vortex Of the waters; wing-spent, the circling bird Wheeled his slow flight into unceasing waves.
Green hills then joined the valleys of the sea And mountain peaks were islands in strange waters; And almost every being that breathed on earth Drowned as it met the flood; those who survived Died of starvation on the shores of mountains. There, in a little boat young Deucalion And his bride sailed to the mountaintop that Now was island and stepped ashore.
Their first Thought was to pray, to praise the Delphic nymphs, To give their thanks to Pan and most to Themis Who from her grottoes was the voice of Fate; She in that day was queen of oracles.
Deucalion had been the best of men; His wife, his heart devoted to the gods. Of many thousands sent To untimely death, only this gentle innocent And his bride were left to praise the fortunate Will of God. Jove swept the clouds aside and made A channel where the North Wind opened heaven: And earth again looked upward to the sky, Again the heavens showered earth with light.
Then even the distant reaches of the seas Fell quiet and to soothe the rocking waters Neptune let fall his tnple-headed spear. Then ocean's master called to sea-wreathed Triton Who at echo of Neptune's voice came from the sea Like a tower of sea-green beard, sea creatures, Sea shells, grey waters sliding from his green shoulders To sound his horn, to wind the gliding rivers Back to their sources, back to nils and streams. At Neptune's order Triton lifted up His curved sea shell, a trumpet at his lips Which in the underworld of deepest seas Sounds Triton's music to the distant shores Behind the morning and the evening suns; And as his voice was heard through land and ocean The floods and rivers moved at his command.
Over all earth the shores of lakes appeared Hillsides and river banks, wet fields and meadow, As floods receded and quays came into view: A cliff, then a plateau, a hill, a meadow, As from a tomb a forest rose and then One saw trees with lean seaweeds tangled Among their glittering leaves and wave-tossed boughs. It was a world reborn but Deucalion Looked out on silent miles of ebbing waters.
The living are lost beneath a dwindling sea.
The Metamorphoses (Signet Classics) [Ovid, Horace Gregory, Sara Myers] on uzotoqadoh.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A masterpiece of Western. Ovid—Publius Ovidius Naso—(43 bce–ce 17 or 18) was born into a wealthy Roman family and became the most distinguished poet of his time. He died in exile.
Even the ledge of mountain where we stand May drop to darkness; and even the bncf shadow Of clouds that drift and fade is the return Of midnight to the terror in my heart. And you, dear soul, what if the Fates had swept You on these pale rocks alone, to whom would you Confess your gnef, your tears?
For if wild sea Had claimed you then I would have followed after; O had I Father's gift I would breathe life Into the lifeless earth, but who are we To recreate mankind? It is the will Of heaven to bring us here and we the last Of human creatures on this earth. And hand in hand they came to Cephisus, Whose waters, scarcely clear, still ran in freshets Between its grassy sides. They dipped their hands Into the sacred stream, in pnestly fashion Scattered living waters on bowed head and tunics.
And from the river they walked to Themis' shrine Whose fires were ashes and where wall and cornice Still dnpped with seaweed and the creeping moss. Then falling to their knees they kissed the stones Where sea-washed altar turned their tears to ice And trembling lips to speech. How shall we please the gods? Can piety In prayer, can goodness still wake pity in The gods' anger that destroys mankind? O merciful lady, how can we save Our brothers, the very race of man from hell, From eternal nothingness now and forever? Then Pyrrha spoke Her words in tears: O forgive me, Goddess. But what harm could be done?
They left the temple With floating robes and veiled heads, then furtively Dropped pebbles in their trail and as they ran Some find this fable more than fabulous, But we must keep faith with our ancient legends Pebbles grew into rocks, rocks into statues That looked like men; the darker parts still wet With earth were flesh, dry elements were bones, And veins began to stir with human blood — Such were the inclinations of heaven's will. The stones that Deucalion dropped were men, And those that fell from his wife's hands were women.
Beyond, behind the years of loss and hardship We trace a stony heritage of being.
As heat and water Become one body, so life begins; though fire And water are at war, life's origins Awake discordant harmonies that move The entire world. Therefore when fires Of newly wakened sun turned toward the earth Where waters still receded from her sides, All living things in multitudes of being Became her progeny once more. Some were Of ancient lineage and colors And others were mysterious and new. Wherever the monster turned, green darkness fell In winding paths through sacred grove and bnar. Then bright Apollo with his sun-tipped arrows Whose swiftness stilled the flight of goat and deer Aimed at the beast with darts that fell in showers.
So Python perished, but not until his wounds Were black with blood and God Apollo's quiver Almost spent. That is the reason why Apollo's games are called the Pythian Feast, In memory of the serpent's golden death, In honor of the god's swift victory — The Feast that brings fleet-footed, swift-riding Youth garlands of oak leaf as they win the race. This was before the laurel wreath became Apollo's gift of grace in shrine and temple Before he twined the green immortal laurel Within the sunlight of his golden hair. Still heated by his conquest of the snake, Phoebus saw Cupid wind a tight-strung bow, "Who is this lecherous child," said he, "who plays With weapons and is not a man?
The bow Was made for me; I am the one who kills A worthy enemy, wild beasts — and look at Great Python wallowing in blood, his body Covers half the countryside. Your business Is not to play with arrows, but set afire Your little torch that guides unwary lovers. Then Cupid aimed at Phoebus, and love's arrow With fire of lightning pierced his bones; Apollo walked as in a tower of flames. As Phoebus burned with love young Daphne fled As though she feared love's name, as if she were The wraith of virgin Phoebe, huntress and child Who trapped small creatures of the bushband fen, And ran with floating hair through green-deep forest; Nor would she hear of lovers or of men, Nor cared for promise of a wedding day, Nor Hymen's night of love.
Do what Diana's father did for her. At one look Phoebus loved her; as he gazed, "Daphne," he thought, "is mine," but did not think His prophecy might fail him — his hopes, desires Had outpaced all the Dehan oracles; Then as September fields of wheat and straw Take fire from a careless traveller's torch Left smouldering in the wind that wakes the dawn, So did Apollo's heart break into flames, The sterile fires that feed on empty hopes. And while he gazed at Daphne's floating hair That fell in tendrils at her throat and forehead He thought, "What if that fair head wore a crown?
Though staring does not satisfy desire, His eyes praised all they saw — her lips, her fingers, Her hands, her naked arms from wrist to shoulder; And what they did not see they thought the best. Yet she ran from him swifter than light air That turns to nothingness as we pursue it, Nor did she stop to hear Apollo calling.
Rest where time waits But where you vanish the way is rough; briar And thom and fallen rock make wounds that bleed, And green pits open where swift unwary fall. Surely my home is not in mountain passes, Nor am I shepherd or wild-haired stable boy. O ignorant, unknowing, thoughtless child Who runs in darkness — and from whom? Jove is my father and I am lord of Delphi; My temples stand at Claros, Patara, And beyond the cities, glimmering Tenebros, Enchanted island of the eastern seas. Where caves and temples speak you hear my voices, The past, the present, and the yet to come; My lyre sounds the soul of harmony; My arrows never fail — and yet one arrow More certain of its aim than mine wakes fire Behind the chambers of an indifferent heart.
And if you wait, learn more. I am physician, The good physician of magic in clever herbs And artful grasses; yet herbs are feeble cures, Unhealthy diet for one who falls in love, Nor can physician cure himself — " As Daphne ran Phoebus had more to say, and she, distracted, In flight, in fear, wind flowing through her dress And her wild hair — she grew more beautiful The more he followed her and saw wind tear Her dress and the short tunic that she wore, The girl a naked wraith in wilderness.
And as they ran young Phoebus saved his breath For greater speed to close the race, to circle The spent girl in an open field, to harry The chase as greyhound races hare, His teeth, his black jaws glancing at her heels. Even now Phoebus embraced the lovely tree Whose heart he felt still beating in its side; He stroked its branches, kissed the sprouting bark, And as the tree still seemed to sway, to shudder At his touch, Apollo whispered, "Daphne, Who cannot be my wife must be the seal, The sign of all I own, immortal leaf Twined in my hair as hers, and by this sign My constant love, my honour shall be shown: When Roman captains home from victory Ride with the Legions up Capitohne, Their heads will shine with laurels and wherever The Augustus sets his gates, plain or frontier, Or Roman city wall, the bronze oak leaf And the green-pointed laurel shall guard the portal And grace the Roman crown.
Here in the dark Of hanging rocks, The Father of the Waters, Old Peneus, sits in court directing colleges Of greenhaired girls who haunt the forests, Who lead lost travellers to the banks of rivers Which he commands. First to his dark throne came The waters of his land: Yet Inachus Deep in his darkest cave did not arrive, He wept and swelled the waters with his tears, He wept for Io his lost child, his daughter.
Nor did he know if she still walked the earth, Or wandered underground among the shades, Yet gone she was, perhaps dropped into nowhere, Darker than Hades and less sure than death. Now it so happened that all-seeing Jove Saw Io walking by her father's stream And said, "O lovely child, and you a virgin! Such beauty merits the rewards of Jove As well as making mortal husbands happy.
Ovid's re-creation of myths as stones, within a theme of eternal change, liberated him from the necessity of following a Homeric precedent such as Virgil employed in the wnting of his great Roman epic. Of course Bernini's art is overlaid with Christian feeling and Ber- nini's Rome is of the seventeenth century; there are elements in Ovid's masterpiece of heavier weight and of coarser fibre than what we see in Bernini's gifts to Rome. The son of Jove had seemed to disappear, But actually he changed his voice and features, And asked a question at the old man's side, "My friend, have you seen any cattle here? And not until she reached the blessed Nile Were trials exhausted, and the curse grown weak Permitted her to fall upon her knees, To raise her face, her forelegs in the sand, Until she saw the stars, to moo, to weep, To moan at Jove and send her hopes to heaven. Summary Discuss Reviews 0 The Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid is a narrative poem in fifteen books that describes the creation and history of the world. Across their panels Vulcan carved the waters That held mid-earth, its continents and islands And sky above it, and in seas below The dark gods, song-lipped Triton, ever shifting Proteus, Aegaeon, his arms tossed round The backs of two great whales, beside them, Doris And her daughters, mermaids, some gliding Through glassy waves, and other girls rock-seated Sunning green hair while others as though racing The spray on backs of fishes, each with her own Gesture and look, were sisterly, of one Large family of the sea Then men and cities, Girls of the forest, nymphs, and all the little Provincial deities and on each panel Above them wheeled the blazing sky, six signs Of Zodiac on right and six on left.
Young lady, take a rest beneath the trees" — He pointed to a deep grove m the forest — "The noonday heat destroys a fair complexion. Why not lie down' And if you fear to walk Where lions tread, I'll go with you, even in Dark woods; a god's protection is what you need, Nor am I of the common race of gods: As Io fell Juno looked down at Argos And from clear skies witnessed a single cloud Bring midnight into noon. Something was wrong; The cloud was neither fog nor river mist, But of an origin that could have been divine, A cause that made her think of Jove, his habits Of deception, his craftiness, which well She knew even before this hour.
She glanced Through heaven and he was gone. But thoughtful Jove felt the arrival. Of Juno's spirit in the air, and changed the girl Into a milk-white cow even as cow the child Was beautiful and Juno gazing at her Half admitted the creature's charms — then quickly, As though she questioned nothing else, she asked The creature's breed, and why it came, And Jove to close discussion briefly lied: And if he did there would be further questions, More explanations; the cow would then seem Other than merely cow, more valuable Perhaps.
The ethics of the case, shame, love, Poor Io's plight — and what did Juno know Or half suspect? Jove knew That she, both wife and sister, knew him well. Though her unhappy rival was hers to keep Queen Juno also had a troubled mind: What would Jove turn to next? By day the monster Let her graze, but at each sunset drove her, Haltered, half starved, weary, to evening diets Of withered leaves, stale drink — and off to bed He plunged the creature on sharp stones and clay.
Whenever she tried to stretch her arms toward Argos, Her arms were forelegs and her weeping voice Was very like the moaning of a cow Which frightened her and had no charms for Argos; At times she wandered where her father's river Winds through the fields, where once on innocent Days she walked and played, and now looking Down as in a mirror she saw great horns Above her ears and saw a great mouth open That was her mouth; the appantion ran And was the shadow beneath her feet, fear Following fear.
Nor did her sisters know That it was she who walked beside them, nor Did her father guess that she, the creature Whom they caressed, was Io, his hand kissed By her thick tongue. If only she could speak, Tell him her name, her story — he could save her! At last with one hoof spelling words in dust, Her misadventures told, her father threw His arms around her white neck.
Perhaps it would be better Not to find you, however lost you were, I looking for you everywhere on earth. Nor shall death close his doors upon my grief, Even my disgrace shall seem to be immortall" And as they wept aloud, rough, star-eyed Argos Thrust Io from her father's side and drove Her to a pasture far from home, where, seated On a well-worn mountaintop, an easy throne, He viewed the country with his searchlight eyes. But now the stern director of heaven's laws Had seen, had heard enough of Io's tears — She, after all, was Ocean's fair granddaughter; He called his son — and Maia's son as well — And told the boy to see that watchful Argos Would meet an early unexpected death.
Then Mercury, wing-shod and with a wand Which as he waved it put his friends to sleep, Took up his cap and with a step through air Came down to earth. He dropped his wings, his cap, But kept his wand, then, as a shepherd straying A lonely road, he caught a few wild goats, Kicked them in line, and as he led his flock Piped an unearthly song. Argos who had No ear for any kind of music was enchanted; He called out, "Boy, whoever you may be, Sit at my side.
There is no better grass That grows than this and the neat shade above it Is wonderful for shepherds; why not sit down? She had a birdlike voice; her sisters called Her Syrinx — twittering and singing, the girl Was difficult to trap, heard here or there, She slipped through clutches of most nimble satyrs, And eluded the pursuit through field and forest Of rural gods.
She envied, imitated The virgin attitudes of Queen Diana — Her dress, her manner, all but the goddess' Golden bow was hers, and some few lovers Mistook her for Diana; the chase continued. Pipes are my pleasure; they are mine to keep. With jeweller's art the raging Juno — she Was Saturn's daughter in her frenzy — set The monster's eyes as stars in the tail feathers Of her pet bird, the peacock, then inflamed With further rages called the dread Ennyes, Instructed one of them to haunt poor Io, Until the creature, fear eating at its heart, Ran mad by day, by night, throughout the world.
And not until she reached the blessed Nile Were trials exhausted, and the curse grown weak Permitted her to fall upon her knees, To raise her face, her forelegs in the sand, Until she saw the stars, to moo, to weep, To moan at Jove and send her hopes to heaven. Epaphus had a friend named Phacthon, Child of the Sun, of temper like his own, Hasty, hot, proud, and both boys loved to talk. Phaethon said that Phoebus was his father; The grandson of Inachus, not impressed, Said, "What a baby, what a crazy fool' Do you believe all that your mother tells Or wants to think is true?
What fancy dreams Some people have as fathers! If I was born of heaven Let me know now, give me the right to say Whose son I am. Then Clymene, Whether through Phaethon's pleas or by her own Anger at slighted honour, raised her hands To tall noon shining in the sky; she stared Into the whitest fires of the sun: Yet where your father lives is not too far; Go if you wish; the Sun will answer questions. Current productions of Hamlet tend to stress the scenes between Hamlet and his mother, the guilty queen. There are relatively few memorable stories of father-son relationships, the first of which is the Homeric Ulysses-Telemachus story, so ad- mirably reinterpreted by James Joyce in his Ulysses.
The Biblical David and Absalom story is still another classic. Ovid's Phoebus Apollo-Phaeton story is of that line, and one of the best in classical literature. Phaetons doubts as to his paternity, his need to settle them, his bright, impulsive temper, his wilfulness are signs of Ovid's genius in portraying character.
No less so are the skills with which he shows a fatherly Phoebus Apollo, his indulgence to his son, and the futility of his warnings, which may be taken as Ovid's warm yet ironic commentary on the helplessness of an elder genera- tion in teaching a younger generation anything Ovid's Phoebus Apollo, both in his earlier pursuit of Daphne and in his grief over the loss of Phaeton, is less awe-inspiring, less godlike than the god whose arrows fall on Thebes to curse the reign of Oedipus in Sophocles' play.
Ovid's Apollo shows something of the great dis- tance between the religious depth of Sophoclean tragedy and the lighter, more domestic temper of Ovidian feeling. Across their panels Vulcan carved the waters That held mid-earth, its continents and islands And sky above it, and in seas below The dark gods, song-lipped Triton, ever shifting Proteus, Aegaeon, his arms tossed round The backs of two great whales, beside them, Doris And her daughters, mermaids, some gliding Through glassy waves, and other girls rock-seated Sunning green hair while others as though racing The spray on backs of fishes, each with her own Gesture and look, were sisterly, of one Large family of the sea Then men and cities, Girls of the forest, nymphs, and all the little Provincial deities and on each panel Above them wheeled the blazing sky, six signs Of Zodiac on right and six on left.
When bright Clymene's son had stepped the stairs Across the entrance of his father's palace, The very fatherhood now placed in doubt, He faced his sire, but stepped back from the glare That dazzled him: The Sun sat in the center of the hall; His eyes glanced everywhere and fixed the boy Who stood trembling at the new world he saw, To whom Sun said, "Why here, Phaethon? What do you look for in my aethereal chambers?
To meet a father? You, the son no father Should deny? Ask any favour My hand can give — by all the lakes of Hades, Which I have never seen, yet gods swear by them, The gift is yours to take. Four times he shook his fiery golden hair; "Your words prove mine have been too quickly said, 1 would be happy to unsay them now, For what you ask is the one gift that I Would keep beyond your reach; let me attempt To unpersuade you of your wish, a dangerous one That asks too much, too far beyond your strength, Or any boy's. Though each god has his charms, Great Jove who with his right hand hurls dread thunder Through sky and air can scarcely nde with me — And who in heaven's more powerful than Jove?
At first the way is steep where even through Refreshing dawn, horse, rider hardly climb; Even mid-heaven's road is perilous high Where one look downward onto earth and sea Unmans my heart, and as the course declines A sharp, a precipitous drop, a chfflike fall Where hand and eye must be both firm and clever: Tethys, who greets me at the bottom of her waters, Fears I might tip headfirst into her sea — This while the firmament circles round forever And carries with it distant stars and planets At whirling, blinding speed which mazes all But me, who with a wary hand drive clean Through the swift courses of the sky But you?
Can you ride counter to the whirling axis Of space, of sky, and yet ride clear? Perhaps You dream unearthly forests on your path: Cities of gods, and temples pouring gifts, Yet all the way is filled with hidden terror, And if you hold the road, the horned Bull, The enchanted Archer, the open mouth Of the wild Lion, Scorpion and Crab With hairy, knifelike tails, claws reaching Each against each, to meet, to face the other, Are in your way Nor then are horses easy To control: Then let me warn you, Phaethon my son: My yielding to your wish looks like your death — And there is time for you to change your mind — Do you need further proof that you are mine?
The true sign is my fear: If you could understand, O son! Turn here, See all the riches of the world, the light Of land, sea, sky within your eyes — take all, Take anything, nothing shall be denied. Except what you desire, which if you knew It is a curse, my Phaethon, and not The honour and the hope within your mind. What are these arms around my neck, my fool, My innocent? You must not doubt my word Which I have sworn to grant you by Death's waters. My promise holds — but make a wiser wish! Then Phoebus took him To work of art from Vulcan's hands swift axles Of gold, of gold the harness, beam, and golden Tires on silver-spoked wheels, the cross-piece Set with topaz, chrysolite, their eyes lit By the restless, gleaming light of Phoebus' hair.
While eager Phaethon gazed at Vulcan's craft, Aurora, sleepless in the waking dawn, Swung wide her purple gates and rose-tipped light Flowed through her stairs and halls, retreating stars Were closed in ranks by Lucifer who vanished Even from his watchtower in the morning sky. When Titan saw that Lucifer had gone, The world rose-tinted light, and thin moon's Crescent fading into sky, he called the speeding Hours to dress his team, which they, quick goddesses, Had done at once and led the horses, fed With ambrosia and breathing fire, from Their vaulted stalls, and slipped over their heads The janglmg bridles.
So that both earth and sky take equal heat, Ride then the middle of the road, don't sway too far Toward Wnthing Serpent on the nght, nor left Where Altar swings low in the heavens, steer Clean between the two. May she be at your side to guide you better Than you lead yourself. Even as I speak Mist-carrymg night falls to the Western Isles. We wait no longer; we are called to go. See how Aurora shines and shadows vanish; Pick up the rems, or if your will has changed, Take my advice and not my chariot, Even before you mount, since you are still on earth, The folly of your desire may be undone, And you, secure, shall see me light the world.
Meanwhile the Sun's wild horses, Pyrois, Eous, Aethon, and the fourth, Phlegon, Filled all the air with fiery whinnying And with impatient hoofs stormed at the bars Which Tethys, mindless of her grandson's fate, Dropped to the ground. The way had opened Into sky and space: Weightless the hones flared, flying from their Accustomed course, their fear-struck driver, shaken Knew neither how to rein them, nor the road Beneath their feet which even had he known He could not steer the horses in their flight. Now for the first time since the world began The circuit of the frozen Northern Bears Glowed with sun's heat, the creatures almost leaped Though they could not into forbidden seas.
Then the cold Serpent at the ice-bound Pole Grew mad with fire and it was said that Bootes, herdsman of the Northern skies, Slow as he was, and hampered by his cart, Sweated with heat and fear and ran away. When the unlucky Phaethon looked down From the top run of heaven to small and far Lands under him, he turned weak, pale, knees shaking, And, in the blazing light, dark filled his eyes: He wished he had not known his father's horses, Nor who his father was, he wished undone His prayer, his hope — he wished himself to be The son of Merops.
And it was as though The boy were in a boat, piercing the storm, As though its futile pilot dropped the rudder And gave the ship to sail the will of gods.
What could he do? Although much of his way Unrolled behind him, there were greater reaches Of sky to go; he tried to measure both, Forward to West where he was fated never To arrive, backward to East — mazed, helpless, He neither held the reins nor let them go, Nor could he call the horses by their names. Scorpion's arms and tail Opening, closing across two regions of The Zodiac itself; he saw the creature Black, shining with poisoned sweat, about to sting With arched and pointed tail.
Then Phaethon, Numbed, chilled, and broken, dropped the reins. As the reins fell across their flanks the horses Broke from their course; riderless charging, wild, Wherever their desire turned, they followed, Flaming against the deep-set stars and tossing Their chariot through wilderness of air. Up to the top of heaven they blazed, then down Almost to earth. The Moon in wonder saw Her brother's chargers race beneath her own, Break smoking through the clouds, the earth in flames, Mountains touched first, hills, plateaus, plains, The dry earth canyon-split, the fields spread white In ashes; trees, leaves were branches of the flames While miles of grain were fuel for their own fires — But these were the lesser losses I regret.
The great walled cities perished; nations fell, Forests and mountains fed each other's flames: Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell. Crime And Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne. Les Miserables Victor Hugo. The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy. The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky. An American Tragedy Theodore Dreiser. The Philosophy of Aristotle Aristotle. Review quote "Reading Mandelbaum's extraordinary translation, one imagines Ovid in his darkest moods with the heart of Baudelaire. Mandelbaum's translation is brilliant.
It throws off the stiff and mild homogeneity of former translations and exposes the vivid colors of mockery, laughter, and poison woven so beautifully by the master. The number and variety of the metamorphoses are stunning: An elegantly entertaining and enthralling narrative. About Ovid Ovid--Publius Ovidius Naso-- 43 bce-ce 17 or 18 was born into a wealthy Roman family and became the most distinguished poet of his time.
He died in exile on the Black Sea, far from Rome and his literary life. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book.