The Metamorphoses of Publius Ovidus Naso Vols. I & II - Publio Ovidio Nasone - ebook

Metamorphosis is the title of an epic-mythological poem by the poet Publio Ovidio Nasone and includes fifteen books and over 250 myths. Through this work, Ovid has made famous and sent to the posters numerous mythological stories and tales of Greek and Roman classics.

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The Metamorphoses of Publius Ovidus Naso Vols. I & II


First digital edition 2017 by Gianluca Ruffini


















From bodies various form’d, mutative shapes My Muse would sing: Celestial powers give aid! From you those changes sprung, inspire my pen; Connect each period of my venturous song Unsever’d, from old Chaös’ rude misrule, Till now the world beneath Augustus smiles.

While yet nor earth nor sea their place possest, Nor that cerulean canopy which hangs O’ershadowing all, each undistinguish’d lay, And one dead form all Nature’s features bore; Unshapely, rude, and Chaos justly nam’d. Together struggling laid, each element Confusion strange begat: Sol had not yet Whirl’d through the blue expanse his burning car: Nor Luna yet had lighted forth her lamp, Nor fed her waning light with borrowed rays. No globous earth pois’d inly by its weight, Hung pendent in the circumambient sky: The sky was not: Nor Amphitrité had Clasp’d round the land her wide-encircling arms. Unfirm the earth, with water mix’d and air; Opaque the air; unfluid were the waves. Together clash’d the elements confus’d: Cold strove with heat, and moisture drought oppos’d; Light, heavy, hard, and soft, in combat join’d.

Uprose the world’s great Lord, the strife dissolv’d, The firm earth from the blue sky plac’d apart; Roll’d back the waves from off the land, and fixt Where pure ethereal joins with foggy air. Defin’d each element, and from the mass Chaötic, rang’d select, in concord firm He bound, and all agreed. On high upsprung The fiery ether to the utmost heaven: The atmospheric air, in lightness next, Upfloated: dense the solid earth dragg’d down The heavier mass; and girt on every side By waves circumfluent, seiz’d her place below.

This done, the mass this deity unknown Divides; each part dispos’d in order lays: First earth he rounds, in form a sphere immense, Equal on every side: then bids the seas, Pent in by banks, spread their rude waves abroad, By strong winds vext; and clasp within their arms The tortuous shores: and marshes wide he adds, Pure springs and lakes: he bounds with shelving banks The streams smooth gliding; slowly creeping, some The arid earth absorbs; furious some rush, And in the watery plain their waves disgorge; Their narrow bounds escap’d, to billows rise, And lash the sandy shores. He bade the plains Extend; the vallies sink; the groves to bloom; And rocky hills to lift their heads aloft. And as two zones the northern heaven restrain, The southern two, and one the hotter midst, With five the Godhead girt th’ inclosed earth, And climates five upon its face imprest. The midst from heat inhabitable: snows Eternal cover two: ‘twixt these extremes Two temperate regions lie, where heat and cold Meet in due mixture; ‘bove the whole light air Was hung: as water floats above the land, so fire ‘bove air ascends. Here he bade lodge, Thick clouds and vapors; thunders bellowing loud Terrific to mankind, and winds; which mixt Sharp cold beget. But these to range at large The air throughout, his care forbade. E’en now Their force is scarce withstood; but oft they threat Wild ruin to the universe, though each in separate regions rules his potent blasts. Such is fraternal strife! Far to the east Where Persian mountains greet the rising sun Eurus withdrew. Where sinking Phoebus’ rays Glow on the western shores mild Zephyr fled. Terrific Boreas frozen Scythia seiz’d, Beneath the icy bear. On southern climes from constant clouds the showery Auster rains. The liquid ether high above he spread, Light, calm, and undefil’d by dregs terrene. Scarce were those bounds immutable arrang’d, When upward sprung the stars so long press’d down Beneath the heap chaötic, and along The path of heaven their blazing courses ran.

Next that each separate element might hold Appropriate habitants, the vault of heaven, Bright constellations and the gods receiv’d. To glittering fish allotted were the waves: To earth fierce brutes: to agitated air, Light-plumag’d birds. A being more divine, Of soul exalted more, and form’d to rule The rest was wanting. Then he finish’d MAN! Or by the world’s creator, power supreme, Form’d from an heavenly seed; or new-shap’d earth Late from celestial ether torn, and still Congenial warmth retaining, moisten’d felt, Prometheus’ fire, and moulded took the form Of him all-potent. Others earth behold Pronely; to man a face erect was given. The heavens he bade him view, and raise his eyes High to the stars. Thus earth of late so rude, So shapeless, man, till now unknown, became.

First sprung the age of gold. Unforc’d by laws Strict rectitude and faith, spontaneous then Mankind inspir’d. No judge vindictive frown’d; Unknown alike were punishment and fear: No strict decrees on brazen plates were seen; Nor suppliant crowd, with trembling limbs low bent, Before their judges bow’d. Unknown was law, Yet safe were all. Unhewn from native hills, The pine-tree knew the seas not, nor had view’d Regions unknown, for man not yet had search’d Shores distant from his own. The towns ungirt By trenches deep, laid open to the plain; Nor brazen trump, nor bended horn were seen, Helmet, nor sword; but conscious and secure, Unaw’d by arms the nations tranquil slept. The teeming earth by barrows yet unras’d, By ploughs unwounded, plenteous pour’d her stores. Content with food unforc’d, man pluck’d with ease Young strawberries from the mountains; cornels red; The thorny bramble’s fruit; and acorns shook From Jove’s wide-spreading tree. Spring ever smil’d; And placid Zephyr foster’d with his breeze The flowers unsown, which everlasting bloom’d. Untill’d the land its welcome produce gave, And unmanur’d its hoary crop renew’d. Here streams of milk, there streams of nectar flow’d; And from the ilex, drop by drop distill’d, The yellow honey fell. But, Saturn down To dusky Tartarus banish’d, all the world By Jove was govern’d. Then a silver age Succeeded; by the golden far excell’d; Itself surpassing far the age of brass. The ancient durance of perpetual spring He shorten’d, and in seasons four the year Divided: Winter, summer, lessen’d spring, And various temper’d autumn first were known. Then first the air with parching fervor dry, Glow’d hot; then ice congeal’d by piercing winds Hung pendent; houses then first shelter’d man; Houses by caverns form’d, with thick shrubs fenc’d, And boughs entwin’d with osiers. Then the grain Of Ceres first in lengthen’d furrows lay; And oxen groan’d beneath the weighty yoke. Third after these a brazen race succeeds, More stern in soul, and more in furious war Delighting; still to wicked deeds averse. The last from stubborn iron took its name; And now rush’d in upon the wretched race All impious villainies: Truth, faith, and shame, Fled far; while enter’d fraud, and force, and craft, And plotting, with detested avarice. To winds scarce known the seaman boldly loos’d His sails, and ships which long on lofty hills Had rested, bounded o’er the unsearch’d waves. The cautious measurer now with spacious line Mark’d out the land, in common once to all; Free as the sun-beams, or the lucid air. Nor would the fruits and aliments suffice, The rich earth from her surface threw, but deep Within her womb they digg’d, and thence display’d, Riches, of crimes the prompter, hid far deep Close by the Stygian shades. Now murderous steel, And gold more murderous enter’d into day: Weapon’d with each, war sallied forth and shook With bloody grasp his loud-resounding arms. Now man by rapine lives; friend fears his host; And sire-in-law his son; e’en brethren’s love Is rarely seen: wives plot their husbands’ death; And husbands theirs design: step-mothers fierce The lurid poisons mix: th’ impatient son Enquires the limits of his father’s years: Piety lies neglected; and Astræa, Last of celestial deities on earth, Ascends, and leaves the sanguine-moisten’d land.

Nor high-rais’d heaven was more than earth secure. Giants, ‘tis said, with mad ambition strove To seize the heavenly throne, and mountains pile On mountains till the loftiest stars they touch’d. But with his darted bolt all-powerful Jove, Olympus shatter’d, and from Pelion’s top Dash’d Ossa. There with huge unwieldy bulk Oppress’d, their dreadful corses lay, and soak’d Their parent earth with blood; their parent earth The warm blood vivify’d, and caus’d assume An human form, a monumental type Of fierce progenitors. Heaven they despise, Violent, of slaughter greedy; and their race From blood deriv’d, betray.

Saturnian Jove This from his lofty seat beheld, and sigh’d; The recent bloody fact revolving deep, The Lycaönian feast, to few yet known. Incens’d with mighty rage, rage worthy Jove, He calls the council;--none who hear delay. A path sublime, in cloudless skies fair seen, They tread when tow’rd the mighty thunderer’s dome, His regal court, th’ immortals bend their way. On right and left by folding doors enclos’d, Are halls where gods of rank and power are set; Plebeians far and wide their place select: More potent deities, in heaven most bright, Full in the front possess their shining seats. This place, (might words so bold a form assume) I’d term Palatium of the lofty sky. Here in his marble niche each god was plac’d And on his eburn sceptre leaning, Jove O’er all high tower’d; the dread-inspiring locks Three times he shook; and ocean, earth, and sky, The motion felt and trembled. Then in rage The silence thus he broke: "Not more I fear’d "Our kingdom’s fate in those tempestuous times, "When monsters serpent-footed furious strove, "To clasp within their hundred arms the heavens, "Already captive deem’d. Though fierce our foe, "One race alone warr’d with us, sprung from one. "Now all must perish; all within the bounds "By Nereus circled with his roaring waves. "I swear by Styx, by those infernal streams, "Through shades slow creeping. All I could I’ve try’d. "But lest to parts unsound the taint should spread, "What baffles cure, the knife must lop away. "Our demi-gods we have, we have our nymphs, "Our rustic deities, our satyrs, fawns, "And mountain sylvans, whose deserts we grant "Celestial honors claim not, yet on earth, "By us assign’d, they safely sure should rest. "But, oh! ye sacred powers, but oh! how safe "Are these, when fierce Lycaön plots for me! "Me! whom the thunders and yourselves obey?"

Loud murmurs fill the skies, swift vengeance all With eager voice demand. When impious hands With Cæsar’s blood th’ immortal fame of Rome, Rag’d to extinguish, all the world aghast, With horror shook, and trembled through its frame. Nor was thy subjects’ loyalty to thee More sweet, Augustus, than was theirs to Jove. His hand and voice, to still their noise he rais’d: Their clamors loud were hush’d, all silence kept; When thus the thunderer ends his angry tale: "Dismiss your care, his punishment is o’er; "But hear his crimes, and hear his well-earn’d fate. "Of human vice the fame had reach’d mine ear, "With hop’d exaggeration; gliding down, "From proud Olympus’ brow, I veil’d the god, "And rov’d the world in human form around. "‘Twere long to tell what turpitude I saw "On every side, for rumor far fell short, "Of what I witness’d. Through the dusky woods "Of Mænalus I pass’d, where savage lurk "Fierce monsters; o’er the cold Lycean hill, "With pine-trees waving; and Cyllené’s height. "Thence to th’ Arcadian monarch’s roof I came, "As dusky twilight drew on sable night. "Gave signs a god approach’d. The people crowd "In adoration: but Lycaön turns "Their reverence and piety to scorn. "Then said, not hard the task to ascertain, "If god or mortal, by unerring test: "And plots to slay me when oppress’d with sleep. "Such proof his soul well suited. Impious more, "An hostage from Molossus sent he slew; "His palpitating members part he boil’d, "And o’er the glowing embers roasted part: "These on the board he serves. My vengeful flames "Consume his roof; for his deserts, o’erwhelm "His household gods. Lycaön trembling fled "And gain’d the silent country; loud he howl’d, "And strove in vain to speak; his ravenous mouth "Still thirsts for slaughter; on the harmless flocks "His fury rages, as it wont on man: "Blood glads him still; his vest is shaggy hair; "His arms sink down to legs; a wolf he stands. "Yet former traits his visage still retains; "Grey still his hair; and cruel still his look; "His eyes still glisten; savage all his form. "Thus one house perish’d, but not one alone "The fate deserves. Wherever earth extends, "The fierce Erinnys reigns; men seem conspir’d "In impious bond to sin; and all shall feel "The scourge they merit: fixt is my decree."

Part loud applaud his words, and feed his rage; The rest assent in silence; yet to all, Man’s loss seems grievous; anxious all enquire What form shall earth of him depriv’d assume? Who then shall incense to their altars bring? And if those rich and fertile lands he means A spoil for beasts ferocious? Their despair He bade them banish, and in him confide For what the future needed; held them forth The promise of a race unlike the first; Originating from a wonderous stock.

And now his lightenings were already shot, And earth in flames, but that a fire so vast, He fear’d might reach Olympus, and consume The heavenly axis. Also call’d to mind What fate had doom’d, that all in future times By fire should perish, earth, and sea, and heaven; And all th’ unwieldy fabric of the world Should waste to nought. The Cyclops’ labor’d bolts Aside he laid. A different vengeance now, To drench with rains from every part of heaven, And whelm mankind beneath the rising waves, Pleas’d more th’ immortal. Straightway close he pent The dry north-east, and every blast to showers Adverse, in caves Æolian, and unbarr’d The cell of Notus. Notus rushes forth On pinions dropping rain; his horrid face A pitchy cloud conceals; pregnant with showers His beard; and waters from his grey hairs flow: Mists on his forehead sit; in dews dissolv’d His arms and bosom, seem to melt away. With broad hands seizing on the pendent clouds He press’d them, with a mighty crash they burst, And thick and constant floods from heaven pour down. Iris meantime, in various robe array’d, Collects the waters and supplies the clouds. Prostrate the harvest lies, the tiller’s hopes Turn to despair. The labors of an year, A long, long year, without their fruit are spent. Nor Jove’s own heaven his anger could suffice, His brother brings him his auxiliar waves. He calls the rivers, at their monarch’s call His roof they enter, and in brief he speaks: "Few words we need, pour each his utmost strength, "The cause demands it; ope’ your fountains wide, "Sweep every mound before you, and let gush "Your furious waters with unshorten’d reins." He bids, the watery gods retire, break up Their narrow springs, and furious tow’rd the main Their waters roll: himself his trident rears And smites the earth; earth trembles at the stroke, Yawns wide her bosom, and upon the land A flood disgorges. Wide outspread the streams Rush o’er the open fields; uproot the trees; Sweep harvests, flocks, and men;--nor houses stood; Nor household gods, asylums hereto safe. Where strong-built edifice its walls oppos’d Unlevell’d in the ruin, high above Its roof the billows mounted, and its towers Totter’d, beneath the watery gulf oppress’d. Nor land nor sea their ancient bounds maintain’d, For all around was sea, sea without shore. This seeks a mountain’s top, that gains a skiff, And plies his oars where late he plough’d the plains. O’er fields of corn one sails, or ‘bove the roofs Of towns immerg’d; another in the elm Seizes th’ intangled fish. Perchance in meads The anchor oft is thrown, and oft the keel Tears the subjacent vine-tree. Where were wont The nimble goats to crop the tender grass Unwieldy sea-calves roll. The Nereid nymphs, With wonder, groves, and palaces, and towns, Beneath the waves behold. By dolphins now The woods are tenanted, who furious smite The boughs, and shake the strong oak by their blows. Swims with the flock the wolf; and swept along, Tigers and tawny lions strive in vain. Now not his thundering strength avails the boar; Nor, borne away, the fleet stag’s slender limbs: And land, long sought in vain, to rest her feet, The wandering bird draws in her weary wings, And drops into the waves, whose uncheck’d roll The hills have drown’d; and with un’custom’d surge Foam on the mountain tops. Of man the most They swallow’d; whom their fierce irruption spar’d, By hunger perish’d in their bleak retreat.

Between th’ Aönian and Actæian lands Lies Phocis; fruitful were the Phocian fields While fields they were, but now o’erwhelm’d, they form A region only of the wide-spread main. Here stands Parnassus with his forked top, Above the clouds high-towering to the stars. To this Deucalion with his consort driven O’er ridgy billows in his bark clung close; For all was sea beside. There bend they down; The nymphs, and mountain gods adore, and she Predicting Themis, then oraculous deem’d. No man more upright than himself had liv’d; Than Pyrrha none more pious heaven had seen.

Now Jove beheld a mighty lake expand Where late was earth, and from the swarming crowds But one man sav’d of woman only one: Both guiltless, pious both. He chas’d the clouds And bade the dry north-east to drive the showers Far distant, and display the earth to heaven, And unto earth the skies. The ocean’s rage Remains no more. Mild Neptune lays aside His three-fork’d weapon, and his surges smoothes; Then calls blue Triton from the dark profound. Above the waves the god his shoulders rears, With inbred purple ting’d: He bids him sound His shelly trump, and back the billows call; And rivers to their banks again remand. The trump he seizes, broad above it wreath’d From narrow base;--the trump whose piercing blast From east to west resounds through every shore. This to his mouth the watery-bearded god Applies, and breathes within the stern command. All hear the sound, or waves of earth or sea, And all who hear obey. Sea finds a shore; Floods flow within their channels; rivers sink; Hills lift their heads; and as the waves decrease, In numerous islets solid earth appears. A tedious time elaps’d, and now the woods Display’d their leafless summits, and their boughs Heavy with mud. At length the world restor’d Deucalion saw, but empty all and void; Deep silence reigning through th’ expansive waste: Tears gush’d while thus his Pyrrha he address’d: "O sister! wife! O woman sole preserv’d! "By nature, kindred, and the marriage-bed, "To me most closely join’d. Now nearer still "By mutual perils. We, of all the earth "Beheld by Sol in his diurnal course, "We two alone remain. The mighty deep "Entombs the rest. Nor sure our safety yet; "Still hang the clouds dark louring. Wretched wife, "What if preserv’d alone? What hadst thou done "Of me bereft? How singly borne the shock? "Where found condolement in thy load of grief? "For me, and trust, my dearest wife, my words,-- "Hadst thou amidst the billows been ingulph’d, "Me also had they swallow’d. Oh! for power "To form mankind, as once my father did, "And in the shapen earth true souls infuse! "In us rests human race, so will the gods, "A sample only of mankind we live." He spoke and Pyrrha’s tears join’d his. To heaven They raise their hands in prayer, and straight resolve To ask through oracles divine its aid. Nor long delay. Quick to Cephisus’ streams They hasten; muddy still Cephisus flows, Yet not beyond its wonted boundaries swol’n. Libations thence they lift, and o’er their heads And garments cast the sprinklings; then their steps To Themis’ temple bend. The roof they found With filthy moss o’ergrown; the altars cold. Prone on the steps they fell, and trembling kiss’d The gelid stones, and thus preferr’d their words: "If righteous prayers can move the heavenly mind, "And soften harsh resolves, and soothe the rage "Of great immortals, say, O Themis, say, "How to the world mankind shall be restor’d; "And grant, most merciful, in our distress "Thy potent aid." The goddess heard their words, And instant gave reply. "The temple leave, "Ungird your garments, veil your heads, and throw "Behind your backs your mighty mother’s bones." Astonish’d long they stood! and Pyrrha first The silence broke; the oracle’s behest Refusing to obey; and earnest pray’d, With trembling tongue for pardon for her sin: Her mother’s shade to violate she dreads, Her bones thus rudely flinging. But meantime Deep in their minds, in dark mysterious veil Obscurely hid, the sentence they revolve. At length Deucalion sooths his wife with words Of cheering import: "Right, if I divine, "No impious deed the deity desires: "Earth is our mighty mother, and her bones "The stony rocks within her; these behind "Our backs to cast, the oracle commands." With joy th’ auspicious augury she hears, But joy with doubt commingled, both so much The heavenly words distrust; yet still they hope The essay cannot harm. The temple left, Their heads they cover, and their vests unbind; And o’er their heads as order’d heave the stones. The stones (incredible! unless the fact Tradition sanction’d doubtless) straight began To lose their rugged firmness, and anon, To soften, and when soft a form assume. Next as they grew in size, they felt infus’d A nature mild, their form resembled man! But incorrectly: marble so appears, Rough hewn to form a statue, ere the hand Completes the shape. What liquid was, and moist, With earthy atoms mixt, soft flesh became; Parts solid and unbending chang’d to bone; In name unalter’d, veins the same remain’d. Thus by the gods’ beneficent decree, And brief the change, the stones Deucalion threw, A manly shape assum’d; but females sprung From those by Pyrrha cast behind; and hence A patient, hard, laborious race we prove, And shew the source, by actions, whence we sprung.

Beings all else the teeming earth produc’d Spontaneous. Heated by the solar rays, The stagnant water quicken’d; marshy fens Swell’d up their oozy loads to meet the beams: And nourish’d by earth’s vivifying soil, The fruitful elements of life increas’d, As in a mother’s womb; and in a while Assum’d a certain shape. So when the floods Of seven-mouth’d Nile desert the moisten’d fields, And to their ancient channels bring their streams, The soft mud fries beneath the scorching sun; And midst the fresh-turn’d earth unnumber’d forms The tiller finds: some scarcely half conceiv’d; Imperfect some, their bodies wanting limbs: And oft he beings sees with parts alive, The rest a clod of earth: for where with heat Due moisture kindly mixes, life will spring: From these in concord all things are produc’d. Though fire with water strives; yet vapour warm, Discordant mixture, gives a birth to all.

Thus when the earth, with filthy ooze bespread From the late deluge, felt the blazing sun; His burning heat productive caus’d spring forth A countless race of beings. Part appear’d In forms before well-known; the rest a group Of monsters strange. Then, but unwilling, she Produc’d terrific Python, serpent huge! A mighty mountain with his bulk he hid; A plague unknown, the new-born race to scare. The quiver-shoulder’d god, unus’d before His arms to launch, save on the flying deer, Or roebuck fleet, the horrid monster slew: A thousand arrows in his sides he fix’d, His quiver’s store exhausting; through the wounds Gush’d the black poison. To contending games, Hence instituted for the serpent slain, The glorious action to preserve through times Succeeding, he the name of Pythian gave. And here the youth who bore the palm away By wrestling, racing, or in chariot swift, With beechen bough was crown’d. Nor yet was known The laurel’s leaf: Apollo’s brows, with hair Deck’d graceful, no peculiar branches bound.

Penæian Daphne first his bosom charm’d; No casual flame but plann’d by Love’s revenge. Him, Phoebus flush’d with conquest late obtain’d, His bow saw bend, and thus exclaim’d in taunt: "Lascivious boy! How ill with thee assort "Those warlike arms? how much my shoulders more "Beseem the load, whose arm can deadly wounds "In furious beasts, and every foe infix! "I who but now huge Python have o’erthrown; "Swol’n with a thousand darts; his mighty bulk "Whole acres covering with pestiferous weight? "Content in vulgar hearts thy torch to flame, "To me the bow’s superior glory leave." Then Venus’ son: "O Phoebus, nought thy dart "Evades, nor thou canst ‘scape the force of mine: "To thee as others yield, so much my fame "Must ever thine transcend." Thus spoke the boy, And lightly mounting, cleaves the yielding air With beating wings, and on Parnassus’ top Umbrageous rests. There from his quiver drew Two darts of different power: this chases love; And that desire enkindles; form’d of gold It glistens, ending in a point acute: Blunt is the first, tipt with a leaden load; Which Love in Daphne’s tender breast infix’d. The sharper through Apollo’s heart he drove, And through his nerves and bones; instant he loves: She flies of love the name. In shady woods, And spoils of captive beasts alone she joys; To copy Dian’ emulous; her hair In careless tresses form’d, a fillet bound. By numbers sought, averse alike to all; Impatient of their suit, through forests wild, And groves, in maiden ignorance she roams; Nor cares for Cupid, nor hymeneal rites, Nor soft connubial joys. Oft cry’d her sire; "My Daphne, you should bring to me a son; "From you, my child, I hope for grandsons too." But she detesting wedlock as a crime, (Suffus’d her features with a bashful glow) Around his aged neck, her beauteous arms, Winds blandishing, and cries, "O sire, most dear! "One favor grant, perpetual to enjoy "My virgin purity; the mighty Jove "The same indulgence has to Dian’ given." Thy sire complies; but that too beauteous face, And lovely form, thy anxious wish oppose: Apollo loves thee; to thy bed aspires; And looks with anxious hopes, his wish to gain: Futurity, by him for once unseen. As the light stubble when the ears are shorn, The flames consume: as hedges blaze on high From torches by the traveller closely held, Or heedless flung, when morning gilds the world: So flaming burnt the god; so blaz’d his breast, And with fond hopes his vain desires he fed. Her tresses careless flowing o’er her neck He view’d, and, "Oh! how beauteous, deck’d with care," Exclaim’d: her eyes which shone like brilliant fire, Or sparkling stars, he sees; and sees her lips; Unsated with the sight, he burns to touch: Admires her fingers, and her hands, her arms, Half to the shoulder naked: what he sees Though beauteous, what is hid he deems more fair. Fleet as the wind, her fearful flight she wings, Nor stays his fond recalling words to hear: "Daughter of Peneus, stay! no foe pursues, "Stay, beauteous nymph! so flies the lamb the wolf; "The stag the lion; so on trembling wings "The dove avoids the eagle: these are foes, "But love alone me urges to pursue. "Ah me! then, shouldst thou fall, or prickly thorns "Wound thy fair legs, and I the cause of pain! "Rough is the road thou runnest; slack, I pray, "Thy speed; I swear to follow not so fast. "But hear who loves thee; no rough mountain swain; "No shepherd; none in raiments rugged clad, "Tending the lowing herds: rash thoughtless nymph, "Thou fly’st thou know’st not whom, and therefore fly’st! "O’er Delphos’ lands, and Tenedos I sway, "And Claros, and the Pataræan realms. "My sire is Jove. To me are all things known, "Or present, past, or future. Taught by me "Melodious sounds poetic numbers grace. "Sure is my dart, but one more sure I feel "Lodg’d in this bosom; strange to love before. "Medicine me hails inventor; through the world "My help is call’d for; unto me is known "The powers of plants and herbs: ah! hapless I, "Nor plants, nor herbs, afford a cure for love; "Nor arts which all relieve, relieve their lord." All this, and more: but Daphne fearful fled, And left his speech unfinish’d. Lovely then She running seem’d; her limbs the breezes bar’d; Her flying raiment floated on the gale; Her careless tresses to the light air stream’d; Her flight increas’d her beauty. Now no more The god to waste his courteous words endures, But urg’d by love himself, with swifter pace Her footsteps treads: the rapid greyhound so, When in the open field the hare he spies, Trusts to his legs for prey, as she for flight; And now he snaps, and now he thinks to hold, And brushes with his outstretch’d nose her heels; She trembling, half in doubt, or caught or no, Springs from his jaws, and mocks his touching mouth. Thus fled the virgin and the god; he fleet Through hope, and she through fear, but wing’d by love More rapid flew Apollo; spurning rest, Approach’d her close behind, and panting breath’d Upon her floating tresses. Pale with dread, Her strength exhausted in the lengthen’d flight, Old Peneus’ streams she saw, and loud exclaim’d: "O sire, assist me, if within thy streams "Divinity abides. Let earth this form, "Too comely for my peace, quick swallow up; "Or change those beauties to an harmless shape." Her prayer scarce ended, when her lovely limbs A numbness felt; a tender rind enwraps Her beauteous bosom; from her head shoots up Her hair in leaves; in branches spread her arms; Her feet but now so swift, cleave to the earth With roots immoveable; her face at last The summit forms; her bloom the same remains. Still loves the god the tree, and on the trunk His right hand placing, feels her breast yet throb, Beneath the new-grown bark: around the boughs, As yet her limbs, his clasping arms he throws; And burning kisses on the wood imprints. The wood his lips repels. Then thus the god: "O laurel, though to be my bride deny’d, "Yet shalt thou be my tree; my temples bind; "My lyre and quiver shalt thou still adorn: "The brows of Latian conquerors shalt thou grace, "When the glad people sing triumphant hymns, "And the long pomp the capitol ascends. "A faithful guard before Augustus’ gates, "On each side hung; the sturdy oak between. "And as perpetual youth adorns my head "With locks unshorn, thou also still shalt bear "Thy leafy honors in perpetual green." Apollo ended, and the laurel bow’d Her verdant summit as her grateful head.

Within Æmonia lies a grove, inclos’d By steep and lofty hills on every side: ‘Tis Tempé call’d. From lowest Pindus pour’d Here Peneus rolls his foaming waves along: Thick clouds of smoke, and dark and vapoury mists The violent falls produce, sprinkling the tops Of proudest forests with the plenteous dew; And distant parts astounding with the roar. Here holds the watery deity his throne; Here his retreat most sacred; seated here, Within the rock-form’d cavern, to the streams And stream-residing nymphs, his laws he gives. Here flock the neighbouring river-gods, in doubt Or to condole, or gratulate the sire. Here Spercheus came, whose banks with poplars wave; Rapid Enipeus; Apidanus slow; Amphrysos gently flowing; Æäs mild; And other streams which wind their various course, Till in the sea their weary wanderings end, By natural bent directed. Absent sole Was Inachus; deep in his gloomy cave Dark hidden, with his tears he swells his floods. He, wretched sire, his Iö’s loss bewails; Witless if living air she still enjoys, Or with the shades she dwells; and no where found He dreads the worst, and thinks her not to be. The beauteous damsel from her father’s banks Jove saw returning, and, "O, maid!" exclaim’d, "Worthy of Jove, whose charms will shortly bless "Some youth desertless; come, and seek the shade, "Yon lofty groves afford," and shew’d the groves, "While now Sol scorches from heaven’s midmost height. "Fear not the forests to explore alone, "But in their deepest shades adventurous go; "A god shall guard thee: no plebeian god, "But he whose mighty hand the sceptre grasps "Of rule celestial, and the lightening flings. "O fly me not" for Iö fled, amaz’d. Now Lerna’s pastures, and Lyrcæa’s lands With trees thick-planted, far behind were left; When with a sudden mist the god conceal’d The wide-spread earth, and stopp’d her eager flight; And in his arms the struggling maid compress’d. Meantime did Juno cast her eyes below, The floating clouds surpris’d to see produce A night-like shade amidst so bright a day. No common clouds, from streams exhal’d, she knew; Nor misty vapours from the humid earth. Suspicions rise; her sharpness oft had caught Her amorous husband in his thefts of love. She search’d around the sky, its lord explor’d, But not in heaven he sate; then loud exclaim’d: "Much must I err, or much my bed is wrong’d." Down sliding from the topmost heaven, on earth She lights, and bids the cloudy mists recede. Prepar’d already, Jove the nymph had chang’d, And in a lovely heifer’s form she stood. A shape so beauteous fair, though sore chagrin’d, Unwilling Juno prais’d; and whence she came, And who her owner asks; and of what herd? Her prying art, as witless of the truth, To baffle, from the earth he feigns her sprung; And straight Saturnia begs the beauteous gift. Embarrass’d now he stands, the nymph to leave Abandon’d, were too cruel; to deny His wife, suspicious: shame compliance urg’d; Love strong dissuaded: love had vanquish’d shame, Save that a paltry cow to her refus’d, Associate of his race and bed, he fear’d More than a cow the goddess would suspect. Her rival now she holds; but anxious, still She Jove distrusts, and fears her prize to lose; Nor safe she deem’d her, till to Argus’ care Committed. Round the jailor’s watchful head An hundred eyes were set. Two clos’d in turn; The rest with watchful care, kept cautious guard. Howe’er he stands, on Iö still he looks; His face averse, yet still his eyes behold. By day she pastures, but beneath the earth When Phoebus sinks, he drags her to the stall, And binds with cords her undeserving neck. Arbutus’ leaves, and bitter herbs her food: Her wretched bed is oft the cold damp earth; A strawy couch deny’d: the muddy stream Her constant drink: when suppliant she would raise Her arms to Argus, arms to raise were none. To moan she tries; loud bellowings echo wide, She starts and trembles at her voice’s roar. Now to the banks she comes where oft she’d play’d, The banks of Inachus, and in his streams Her new-form’d horns beheld; in wild affright From them she strove, and from herself to fly. Her sister Naïads know her not, nor he Griev’d Inachus, his long-lost daughter knows. But she her sisters and her sire pursues; Invites their touch, as wondering they caress. Old Inachus the gather’d herbs presents; She licks his hands, and presses with her lips His dear paternal fingers. Tears flow quick, And could words follow she would ask his aid; And speak her name, and lamentable state. Marks for her words she form’d, which in the dust Trac’d by her hoof, disclos’d her mournful change. "Ah wretch!" her sire exclaim’d, "unhappy wretch!" And o’er the weeping heifer’s snowy neck, His arms he threw, and round her horns he hung With sobs redoubled: "Art thou then, my child, "Through earth’s extent so sought? Ah! less my grief, "To find thee not, than thus transform’d to find! "But dumb thou art, nor with responsive words, "Me cheerest. From thy deep chest sighs alone "Thou utterest, and loud lowings to my words: "Thou canst no more. Unwitting I prepar’d "Thy marriage torches, anxious to behold "A son, and next a son of thine to see. "Now from the herd a husband must thou seek, "Now with the herd thy sons must wander forth. "Nor death my woes can finish: curst the gift "Of immortality. Eternal grief "Must still corrode me; Lethé’s gate is clos’d." Thus griev’d the god, when starry Argus tore His charge away, and to a distant mead Drove her to pasture; he a lofty hill’s Commanding prospect chose, and seated there View’d all around alike on every side.

But now heaven’s ruler could no more contain, To see the sorrows Iö felt: he calls His son, of brightest Pleiäd mother born, And bids him quickly compass Argus’ death. Instant around his heels his wings he binds; His rod somniferous grasps; nor leaves his cap. Accoutred thus, from native heights he springs, And lights on earth; removes his cap; his wings Unlooses; and his wand alone retains: Through devious paths with this, a shepherd now, A flock he drives of goats, and tunes his pipe Of reeds constructed. Argus hears the sound, Junonian guard, and captivated cries, "Come, stranger, sit with me upon this mount: "Nor for thy flock more fertile pasture grows, "Than round this spot;--and here the shade thou seest "To shepherds’ ease inviting." Hermes sate, And with his converse stay’d declining day. Long he discours’d, and anxious strove to lull With music sweet, the all-observant eyes; But long he strove in vain: soft slumber’s bonds Argus opposes; of his numerous lights, Part sleep, but others jealous watch his charge. And now he questions whence the pipe was form’d, The pipe but new-discover’d to the world.

Then thus the god: "A lovely Naiäd nymph, "With bleak Arcadia’s Hamadryads nurs’d, "And on Nonacriné for beauty fam’d "Was Syrinx. Oft the satyrs wild she fled; "Nor these alone, but every god that roves "In shady forests, or in fertile fields. "Dian’ she follows, and her virgin life. "Like Dian’ cinctur’d, she might Dian’ seem, "Save that a golden bow the goddess bears; "The nymph a bow of horn: yet still to most "Mistake was easy. From Lycæum’s height, "His head encompass’d with the pointed pine, "Returning, her the lustful Pan espy’d, "And cry’d: Fair virgin grant a god’s request, "A god who burns to wed thee. Here he stays. "Through pathless forests flies the nymph, and scorns "His warm intreaties, till the gravelly stream "Of Ladon, smoothly winding, she beheld. "The waves impede her flight. She earnest prays "Her sister-nymphs her human form to change. "Now thinks the sylvan god his clasping arms "Inclose her, whilst he grasps but marshy reeds. "He mournful sighs; the light reeds catch his breath, "And soft reverberate the plaintive sound. "The dulcet movement charms th’ enraptur’d god, "Who, thus forever shall we join, exclaims! "With wax combin’d th’ unequal reeds he forms "A pipe, which still the virgin’s name retains." While thus the god, he every eye beheld Weigh’d heavy, sink in sleep, and stopp’d his tale. His magic rod o’er every lid he draws, His sleep confirming, and with crooked blade Severs his nodding head, and down the mount The bloody ruin hurls, the craggy rock With gore besmearing. Low, thou Argus liest! Extinct thy hundred lights; one night obscure Eclipsing all. But Juno seiz’d the rays, And on the plumage of her favor’d bird, In gaudy pride, the starry gems she plac’d.

With furious ire she flam’d, and instant sent The dread Erinnys to the Argive maid. Before her eyes, within her breast she dwelt A secret torment, and in terror drove Her exil’d through the world. ‘Twas thou, O Nile! Her tedious wandering ended. On thy banks Weary’d she kneel’d, and on her back, supine Her neck she lean’d: her sad face to the skies, What could she more? she lifted. Unto Jove By groans, and tears, and mournful lows she plain’d, And begg’d her woes might end. The mighty god Around his consort’s neck embracing hung. And pray’d her wrath might finish. "Fear no more "A rival love, in her," he said, "to see;" And bade the Stygian streams his words record. Appeas’d the goddess, Iö straight resumes Her wonted shape, as lovely as before. The rough hair flies; the crooked horns are shed; Her visual orbits narrow; and her mouth In size contracts; her arms and hands return; Parted in five small nails her hoofs are lost: Nought of the lovely heifer now remains, Save the bright splendor. On her feet erect With two now only furnish’d, stands the maid. To speak she fears, lest bellowing sounds should break, And timid tries her long-forgotten words. Of mighty fame a goddess now, she hears Of nations linen-clad the pious prayers.

Then bore she Epaphus, whose birth deriv’d From mighty Jove, his temples through the land, An equal worship with his mother’s claim. Him Phaëton, bright Phoebus’ youthful son, In years and spirit equall’d, whose proud boasts, To all his sire preferring, Iö’s son Thus check’d: "O simple! thee thy mother’s arts "To ought persuade. A feigned sire thou boast’st." Deep blush’d the youth, but shame his rage repress’d, And each reproach to Clymené he bore. "This too," he says, "O mother, irks me more, "That I so bold, so fierce, urg’d no defence: "Which shame is greater? that they dare accuse, "Or that accus’d, we cannot prove them false? "Do thou my mother, if from heaven indeed "Descent I claim, prove from what stock I spring. "My race divine assert." He said, and flung Around her neck his arms; and by his life, The life of Merops, and his sisters’ hopes Of nuptial bliss, adjures her to obtain Proofs of his birth celestial. Prayers like these The mother doubtless mov’d; and rage no less To hear the defamation. Up to heaven Her arms she raises, gazing on the sun, And cries, "My child! by yon bright rays I swear "In brilliance glittering, which now hear and view, "Our every word and action thou art sprung "From him, the sun thou see’st; the sun who rules "With tempering sway the seasons: If untrue "My words, let me his light no more behold! "Nor long the toil to seek thy father’s dome, "His palace whence he rises borders close "On our land’s confines If thou dar’st the task, "Go forth, and from himself thy birth enquire." Elate to hear her words, the youth departs Instant, and all the sky in mind he grasps. Through Æthiopia’s regions swiftly went, With India plac’d beneath the burning zone: And quickly reach’d his own paternal east.

The Second Book.

Palace of the Sun. Phaëton’s reception by his father. His request to drive the chariot. The Sun’s useless arguments to dissuade him from the attempt. Description of the car. Cautions how to perform the journey. Terror of Phaëton, and his inability to rule the horses. Conflagration of the world. Petition of Earth to Jupiter, and death of Phaëton by thunder. Grief of Clymené, and of his sisters. Change of the latter to poplars, and their tears to amber. Transformation of Cycnus to a swan. Mourning of Phoebus. Jupiter’s descent to earth; and amour with Calistho. Birth of Arcas, and transformation of Calistho to a bear; and afterwards with Arcas to a constellation. Story of Coronis. Tale of the daw to the raven. Change of the raven’s color. Esculapius. Ocyrrhoë’s prophecies, and transformation to a mare. Apollo’s herds stolen by Mercury. Battus’ double-dealing, and change to a touchstone. Mercury’s love for Hersé. Envy. Aglauros changed to a statue. Rape of Europa.


By towering columns bright with burnish’d gold, And fiery gems, which blaz’d their light around, Upborne, the palace stood. The lofty roof With ivory smooth incas’d. The folding doors, Of silver shone, but much by sculpture grac’d, For Vulcan there with curious hand had carv’d The ocean girding in the land; the land; And heaven o’ershadowing: here cerulean gods Sport in the waves, grim Triton with his shell; Proteus shape-changing; and Ægeon huge,-- His mighty arms upon the large broad backs Of whales hard pressing: Doris and her nymphs: Some sportive swimming; on a rocky seat Some their green tresses drying; others borne By fish swift-gliding: nor the same all seem’d, Yet sister-like a close resembling look Each face pervaded. Earth her natives bore, Mankind; and woods, and cities, there were seen; Wild beasts, and streams, and nymphs, and rural gods. ‘Bove all the bright display of heaven was hung - Six signs celestial o’er each portal grav’d.

The daring youth, the steep ascent attain’d, O’erstepp’d the threshold of his dubious sire, And hasty rush’d to meet paternal eyes; But sudden stay’d: so fierce a blaze of light No nearer he sustain’d. In purple clad, The god a regal emerald throne upheld; Encircled round by hours which space the day; By days themselves; and ages, months, and years. Crown’d with a flowery garland Spring appear’d: Chaplets of grain the swarthy brows adorn’d Of naked Summer: smear’d with trodden grapes Stood Autumn: icy Winter fill’d the groupe;- Snow-white his shaggy locks. Sol from the midst His eyes all-seeing glanc’d upon the youth, Startled and trembling at the wonderous sight; And cried: "What brings my Phaëton, my son, "Whose sire shall ne’er disclaim him? tell me now, "What here thou seekest?" Thus the youth replies: "O father, Phoebus, universal light! "If justly, I thy honor’d name may use, "Nor proudly boasting Clymené conceals "A crime by falshood; grant paternal signs, "The world convincing that from thee I spring; "Reproachful doubts erasing from my mind." He said; the sire the glittering rays removes That blaz’d around his head,--invites him nigh, And thus embracing: "Proud I own thee, son, "For all is true by Clymené disclos’d. "If still thou doubtest, name the gift thou lik’st, "That shalt thou have; for that will I bestow. "Ye streams unseen, which hear celestial oaths "My vows attest!" But scarce had Phoebus spoke, When Phaëton, the fiery car demands, Demands his sway the winged-footed steeds One day should suffer. Soon the solemn oath Phoebus lamented: three times mournful shook His glorious tresses and in sorrow cry’d "Would I could yet deny thee! O my son! "All else with gladness will I hear thee ask; "List to persuasion, perseverance sure "Will risk thy ruin. Phaëton, my child! "The task thou seek’st is arduous; far unfit "For those weak arms, and age so immature. "Mortal, thou would’st a seat immortal press. "Ignorant of grasping more than all the gods "Attempt to manage. Every power we grant "Diverse excels; but I of all the gods, "Have force in that igniferous car to stand. "Ev’n Jove, the ruler of Olympus vast, "Whose right hand terrible fierce lightenings hurls, "This chariot never rul’d: and who than Jove, "More mighty deem we? Steep the first ascent, "The fresh steeds clamber up the height with pain: "High in mid heaven arriv’d, to view beneath "Ocean and earth, oft strikes even me with fear, "And with dread palpitation shakes my breast. "Prerupt the end, and asks a firm restraint; "Tethys herself who nightly me receives, "Beneath the waves, fears oft my headlong fall. "Nor all; the skies a constant whirling bears "In rapid motion, and the heavenly orbs "Sweep with them swift; I strive the adverse my; "Nor can th’ impetuous force which whirls the rest "Bear with them me; I stem the rapid world "With force superior. Grant, the car I yield, "Could’st thou the swift rotation of the poles "Stem nervous, nor be borne with them along? "Perchance imagination fills thy mind, "With groves, and dwellings of celestial gods, "And temples richly deck’d with offer’d gold, "Where thou shall pass. Far else; thy journey lies, "Through ambushes, and savage monsters’ forms. "Ev’n shouldst thou lucky not erratic stray, "Yet must thou pass the Bull’s opposing horns; "The bow Hæmonian, by the Centaur bent; "The Lion’s countenance grim; the Scorpion’s claws "Bent cruel in a circuit large; the Crab "In lesser compass curving. Hard the task "To rule the steeds with those fierce fires inflam’d, "Within their breasts, which through their nostrils glow. "Scarce bear they my control, when mad with heat "Their high necks spurn the rein. But, oh! my son, "Beware lest I a fatal gift bestow. "Retract, while yet thou may’st, thy rash demand. "Sure tokens thou requir’st to prove thee sprung "From me, the genuine offspring of my blood: "My anxious trembling is a token true; "Paternal terrors plainly prove the sire. "Lo! on my features fix thine eyes; as well, "I would thou could’st them place within my breast, "And view the anguish of a father’s cares. "Last throw thy looks around; the riches view, "Whatever earth contains, and some demand; "Some of so many and such mighty gifts: "In heaven, or earth, or sea, ‘tis undeny’d. "This only would I grant not, as its grant "Is punishment, not favor. Phaëton "Asks evil for a gift. Why, foolish boy, "Hang on my neck thus coaxing with thine arms? "Whate’er thou would’st, thou shalt. The Stygian streams "Have heard me swear. But make a wiser wish." His admonition ceas’d, but all advice Was bootless: still his resolution holds; To guide the chariot still his bosom burns. The sire, his every effort vain, at length Forth to the lofty car, Vulcanian gift, Brings the rash youth. Of gold the axle shone; The pole of gold; by gold the rolling wheels Were circled; every spoke with silver bright; Upon the seat bright chrysolites display’d, With various jewels shed a dazzling light, From Sol reflected. All the high-soul’d youth Admir’d, and while he curious view’d each part, Behold Aurora from the purple east Wide throws the ruddy portals, and displays The halls with roses strewn: the starry host Fly, driven by Lucifer, himself the last To quit his heavenly station. Sol beheld The earth and sky grow red, and Luna’s horns Blunt, and prepar’d to vanish. Straight he bade The flying hours to yoke the steeds: his words The nimble goddesses obey, and lead The steeds fire-breathing from their lofty stalls, Ambrosia fed, and fix the sounding reins. Then with a sacred ointment Phoebus smear’d The face of Phaëton,--unscorch’d to bear The fervid blaze; and on his head a crown Of rays he fix’d. His smother’d sighs within His anxious breast, sad presages of woe Suppressing, thus he spoke: "If now my words "Though late, thou heedest, spare, O boy! the lash, "But tightly grasp the reins: unbid they run, "They fly; to check their flight thy labor asks. "Not through the five bright zones thy journey lies: "Obliquely winds the path, with spacious curve, "Three girdles only touching; leaving far "The pole Antarctic, and the northern Bear: "Be this thy track; there plain thou may’st discern "The marks my wheels have made. Since heaven and earth "An equal portion of my influence claim; "Press not the car too low, nor mount aloft "Near topmost heaven: there would’st thou fire the roof "Celestial; here the earth thou would’st consume. "For safety keep the midst. Let thy right wheel "Approach the tortuous Snake not: nor thy left "Press near the Altar: hold the midmost course. "Fortune the rest must rule; may she assist "Thy undertaking; for thy safety act "Better than thou. But more delay deny’d, "Lo! whilst I speak the dewy night has touch’d "The boundaries plac’d upon th’ Hesperian shore. "I’m call’d, for, darkness fled, Aurora shines. "Seize then, the reins, or if thy mind relents, "My counsel rather than my chariot take. "Now whilst thou can’st; whilst on a solid base "Thou standest, ere thou yet unskilful mount’st "The chariot ev’lly wish’d: give me to dart "Those rays on earth which thou may’st safely view:" Agile the youth bounds from his sire, and stands Proud in the chariot; joyously he holds Th’ entrusted reigns, and from the seat glad thanks Th’ unwilling parent gives. Meantime neigh’d loud In curling flames, the winged steeds of Sol, Pyroeis, Æthon, Phlegon, Eous swift; And with impatient hoofs the barrier beat; Which Tethys, ignorant of her grandson’s fate, Drove back, and open laid the range of heaven. Swiftly they hasten, swiftly fly their heels, Through the thin air, and through opposing clouds. Pois’d by their wings the eastern gales they pass, Which started with them: but their burthen light, Small felt the pressure on the chariot seat: Not what the steeds of Sol had felt before. As ships unpois’d reel tottering through the waves, Light and unsteady, rambling o’er the main; So bounds the car, void of its ‘custom’d weight, High-toss’d as though unfill’d. This quick perceiv’d, Fierce rush the four-yok’d steeds, and quit the path Beaten before, and tread a road unknown. Trembling the youth nor knows to pull the reins Which side, nor knowing would the steeds obey. Then first the frozen Triönes from Sol Felt warm, and try’d, but try’d in vain, to dip Beneath the sea. The frozen polar snake, Sluggish with cold, and indolently mild, Warm’d, and dire fierceness gather’d from the flames. Thou too, Boötes, fled’st away disturb’d, Though slow thy flight, retarded by thy teams. And now the luckless Phaëton his eyes Cast on the earth remote, far distant spread Beneath the lofty sky; pale grew his face With sudden terror; trembled his weak knees; O’ercome with light his eyes in darkness sunk: Glad were he now, his father’s steeds untouch’d: Griev’d that his race he knows; griev’d his request Was undeny’d: glad were he now if call’d The son of Merops. Ev’n as Boreas sweeps Furious the vessel, when the pilot leaves The helm to heaven, and puts his trust in prayers So was he hurry’d. What remains to do? Vast space of heaven behind him lies; much more He forward views. Each distance in his mind Compar’d he measures. Now he forward bends To view the west, forbidden him to reach; Now to the east he backward turns his eyes. With terror stunn’d his trembling hands refuse To hold the reins with vigor; yet he holds. The coursers’ names, affrighted he forgets: Trembling he views the various monsters spread Through every part above; and figures huge Of beasts ferocious. Heaven a spot contains, Where Scorpio bends in two wide bows his arms, His tail, and doubly-stretching claws; the space Encompassing of two celestial signs. Soon as the youth the monstrous beast beheld, Black poison sweating, and with crooked sting Threatening fierce wounds, he nerveless dropp’d the reins: Pale dread o’ercame him. Quick the steeds perceiv’d The loose thongs playing on their backs, and rush’d Wide from the path, uncheck’d; through regions strange, Now here, now there, impetuous; unrestrain’d, Amidst the loftiest stars they dash, and drag The car through pathless places: upward now They labor; headlong now they down descend, Nearing the earth. With wonder Luna sees Her brother’s coursers run beneath her own; And sees the burnt clouds smoking. Lofty points Of earth, feel first the flames, and fissures wide, Departing moisture prove. The forage green, Whitens; trees crackle with their burning leaves; And ripe corn adds its fuel to the blaze. Why mourn we trifles? Mighty cities fall; Their walls protect them not; their dwellers sink To ashes with them. Woods on mountains flame; Athos, Cilician Taurus, Tmolus, burn; Oeté, and Ide, her pleasant fountains dry; With virgin Helicon, and Hæmus high, OEagrius since. Now with redoubled flames Fierce Etna blazes; Eryx, Othrys too; Cynthus, and fam’d Parnassus’ double top, And Rhodopé, at length of snow depriv’d: Dindyma, Mimas, and the sacred hill Cythæron nam’d, and lofty Mycalé: Nor aid their snows the Scythians: Ossa burns, Pindus, and Caucasus, and, loftier still, The huge Olympus; with the towering Alps; And cloud-capt Apennines. Now the youth, Beholds earth flaming fierce from every part; The heat o’erpowers him; fiery air he breathes As from a furnace; and the car he rides Glows with the flame beneath him: sore annoy’d On every side by cinders, and by smoke Hot curling round him. Whither now he drives, Or where he is, he knows not; in a cloud Of pitchy night involv’d; swept as the steeds Swift-flying will. The Æthiopians then, ‘Tis said, their sable tincture first receiv’d; Their purple blood the glowing heat call’d forth To tinge their skins. Then dry’d the scorching fire From arid Lybia all her fertile streams. Now with dishevell’d locks the nymphs bewail’d Their fountains and their lakes. Boeotia mourns The loss of Dircé: Argos Amymoné: Corinth laments Pirené. Nor yet safe Were rivers bounded by far distant shores, Tanais’ midmost waves fume to the sky; And ancient Peneus smokes: Ismenos swift; Caïcus, Teuthrantean; and the flood Of Phocis, Erymanthus: Xanthus too, Doom’d to be fir’d again: Lycormas brown; Mæander’s sportive oft recircling waves; Mygdonian Melas; and the Spartan flood, Eurotas; with Euphrates burn: and burn, Orontes; and the rapid Thermodoon; Ganges; and Phasis; and the Ister swift. Alpheus boils; the banks of Spercheus burn; And Tagus’ golden sands the flames dissolve. Stream-loving swans, whose song melodious rung Throughout Mæonian regions, feel the heat, Caïster’s streams amid. In terror Nile Fled to the farthest earth, and sunk his head, Yet undiscover’d! void the seven-fold stream, His mouth seven dry and dusty vales disclos’d. Now Hebrus dries, and Strymon, Thracian floods: And streams Hesperian, Rhine; and Rhone; and Po; And Tiber, destin’d all the world to rule. Asunder split the globe, and through the chinks Darted the light to hell: the novel blaze, Pluto and Proserpine with terror view’d. The ocean shrinks; a dry and scorching plain Where late was sea appears. Hills lift their heads Late by the deep waves hid, and countless seem The scatter’d Cyclades. Deep crouch the fish; The crooked dolphins dare not leap aloft, As, custom’d in the air; with breasts upturn’d The gasping sea-calves float upon the waves: Nereus, with Doris and her daughter-nymphs Deep plung’d to seek their low, but tepid caves. Thrice Neptune ventur’d to upraise his arms Grim frowning, thrice the flames too fierce he found, And shrunk beneath the waters. Earth at length, (By streams and founts encircled, for her womb Trembling they sought for refuge) rais’d on high Her face omniferous, dry and parch’d with heat; Her burning forehead shaded with her hand; Shook all with tremor huge; then shrank for shade Beneath, and gasping, thus to heaven she plain’d:

"Almighty lord! if such thy sovereign will, "And I deserve it, why thy lightenings hold "Thus idle? If by fire to perish doom’d, "Be it by thine, an honorable fate! "Scarce can my lips now utter forth my pains! Volumes of smoke oppress’d her "See, my hair "Sing’d with the flames! Behold my face, my eyes, "Scorch’d with hot embers! Is no better boon "Due for the fruits I furnish? Such reward, "Suits it my fertile crops? or cruel wounds "Of harrow, rake, and plough, which through the year "Enforc’d I suffer? For the herds I bring "Green herbs and grass; bland aliments, ripe fruit "For man; and incense for ye mighty gods: "Faulty is this? But grant thy wrath deserv’d, "How do the waves, thy brother’s realm offend? "Why does the main, to him by lot decreed, "Shrink and retreat from heaven? Thy brother’s weal, "Say it concerns thee not, nor my distress; "Care for thy own paternal heaven may move. "Thine eyes cast round, black smoke from either pole "Mounts! soon the greedy flames your halls will seize. "Lo! Atlas labors; scarcely he sustains "The burning load. If earth and ocean flame, "And heaven too perish, all to chaös turn’d, "Confounded we shall sink. Snatch from the flames "What yet, if ought, remains, and nature save." No more could Earth, for now thick vapors rose, Her speech obstructing; down she shrunk her head, And shelter’d ‘midst the cool Tartarian shades.

Now Jove, the gods, all witness to the fact Conven’d; ev’n Sol, the donor of the car, That but for him the world in ruins soon Would lie. The loftiest height of heaven he gains, Whence clouds he wont upon the wide-spread earth To shower; from whence his thunders loud he hurl’d; And quivering lightenings flung: but now nor clouds, Nor showers to rain on earth the sovereign had. He thunders; from his right-ear pois’d, the bolt Hurls on the charioteer. Life, and the car, Phaëton quits at once; his fatal fires, By fires more fierce extinguish’d. Startled prance The steeds confounded; free their fiery necks From the torn reins: here lie the traces broke; There the strong axle, sever’d from the seat; Spokes of the shatter’d wheels are here display’d; And scatter’d far and wide the car’s remains. Hurl’d headlong falls the youth, his golden locks, Flame as he tumbles, swept through empty air, A lengthen’d track he forms: so seems a star In night serene, but only seems, to shoot. Far from paternal home, the mighty Po Receiv’d his burning corps, and quench’d the flames.

Due rites the nymphs Hesperian gave the limbs From the fork’d lightening flaming. On his tomb This epitaph they grav’d: "Here Phaëton "Intombed rests; the charioteer so bold, "Of Phoebus’ car, which though he fail’d to rule, "He perish’d greatly daring." Griev’d his sire, Veil’d his sad face; and, were tradition true, One day saw not the sun; the embers blaz’d Sufficient light: thus may misfortune aid.

When Clymené with all that sorrow could To ease her woes give utterance, loud had wail’d In wild lament; all spark of reason fled, Her bosom tearing, through the world she roam’d. And now his limbs inanimate she sought; Then for his whiten’d bones: his bones she found, On banks far distant from his home inhum’d. Prone on his tomb her form she flung, and pour’d Her tears in floods upon the graven lines: And with her bosom bar’d, the cold stone warm’d. His sisters’ love their fruitless offerings bring, Their griefs and briny droppings; cruel tear Their beauteous bosoms; while they loudly call Phaëton, deaf to all their mournful cries. Stretch’d on his tomb, by night, by day they call’d. Till Luna’s circle four times fill’d was seen; Their blows still given as ‘custom’d, (use had made Their forms of grief as nature). Sudden plain’d Fair Phaëthusa, eldest of the three, Of stiffen’d feet; as on the tomb she strove To cast her body prone. Lampetie bright, Rushing in hope to aid, a shooting root Abruptly held. With lifted hands the third Her locks to tear attempted; but green leaves Tore off instead. Now this laments her legs, Bound with thin bark; that mourns to see her arms Shoot in long branches. While they wonder thus, Th’ increasing bark their bodies upward veils, Their breasts, their arms, and hands, with gradual growth: Their mouths alone remain; which loudly call Their mother. What a mother could, she did: What could she do? save, here and there to fly, Where blind affection dragg’d her; and while yet, ‘Twas given to join, join with them mouth to mouth. Nor this contents; she strives to tear the rind, Their limbs enwrapping; and the tender boughs Pluck from their hands: but from the rended spot The sanguine drops flow swift. Each suffering nymph Cries, "Spare me, mother! spare your wounded child; "I suffer in the tree. farewell! farewell!" For as they spoke the rind their mouths inclos’d. From these new branches tears were dropp’d, and shap’d By solar heat, bright amber straight compos’d. Dropt in the lucid stream, the prize was borne To Latium, and its gayest nymphs adorn’d.

This wonderous change Sthenelian Cycnus saw; To thee, O Phaëton, by kindred join’d, But by affection closer. He his realms, (For o’er Liguria’s large and populous towns He reign’d) had then relinquish’d. With his plaints, The Po’s wide stream was fill’d; and fill’d the banks With his lamentings; ev’n the woods, whose shade The sister poplars thicken’d. Soon he feels His utterance shrill and weak: his streaming locks Soft snowy plumes displace: high from his chest, His lengthen’d neck extends: a filmy web Unites his ruddy toes: his sides are cloth’d With quills and feathers: where his mouth was seen Expanded, now a blunted beak obtains; And Cycnus stands a bird; but bird unknown In days of yore. Mistrustful still of Jove, His heaven he shuns; as mindful of the flames From thence unjustly hurl’d. Wide lakes and ponds He seeks to habit now; indignant shuns What favors fire, and joys in purling streams.

Meantime was Phoebus dull, his blaze obscur’d, As when eclips’d his orb: his rays he hates; Himself; and even the day. To grief his soul He gives, and anger to his grief he joins; Depriving earth of all its wonted light. "Troubled my lot has been," he cry’d, "since first "Was publish’d my existence: urg’d my toil "Endless, still unremitted, still unprais’d. "Now let who will my furious chariot drive "Flammiferous! If every god shall shrink "Inadequate, let Jove the task attempt: "Then while my reins he tries, at least those flames, "Which cause parental grief must peaceful rest. "Then when the fiery flaming coursers strain "His nervous arms, no more he’ll judge the youth "Of death deserving, who could less control." Sol, grieving thus, the deities surround, And suppliant beg that earth may mourn no more, By darkness ‘whelm’d. Ev’n Jove concession gave, And why his fiery bolts were launch’d explain’d; But threats and prayers majestically mix’d. The steeds with terror trembling, Phoebus seiz’d, Wild from their late affright, and rein’d their jaws; Furious he wields his goad and lash, and fierce He storms, and their impetuous fury blames At every blow, as murderers of his son.