Metamorphoses is in General Books.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 22 December 1662. 22 Dec 1662. Six or seven o'clock and so up, and by the fireside read a good part of "Advice to a Daughter", which a simple coxcomb (33) has wrote against Osborne, but in all my life I never did nor can expect to see so much nonsense in print.
Thence to my Lord's, who is getting himself ready for his journey to Hinchingbroke. And by and by, after eating something, and talking with me about many things, and telling me his mind, upon my asking about Sarah (who, it seems, only married of late, but is also said to be turned a great drunkard, which I am ashamed of), that he likes her service well, and do not love a strange face, but will not endure the fault, but hath bade me speak to her and advise her if she hath a mind to stay with him, which I will do. My Lord and his people being gone, I walked to Mr. Coventry's (34) chamber, where I found him gone out into the Park with the Duke (29), so the boy being there ready with my things, I shifted myself into a riding-habitt, and followed him through White Hall, and in the Park Mr. Coventry's (34) people having a horse ready for me (so fine a one that I was almost afeard to get upon him, but I did, and found myself more feared than hurt) and I got up and followed the Duke (29), who, with some of his people (among others Mr. Coventry (34)) was riding out. And with them to Hide Park. Where Mr. Coventry (34) asking leave of the Duke (29), he bid us go to Woolwich. So he and I to the waterside, and our horses coming by the ferry, we by oars over to Lambeth, and from thence, with brave discourse by the way, rode to Woolwich, where we eat and drank at Mr. Peat's, and discoursed of many businesses, and put in practice my new way of the Call-book, which will be of great use. Here, having staid a good while, we got up again and brought night home with us and foul weather. So over to Whitehall to his chamber, whither my boy came, who had staid in St. James's Park by my mistake all day, looking for me.
Thence took my things that I put off to-day, and by coach, being very wet and cold, on my feet home, and presently shifted myself, and so had the barber come; and my wife and I to read "Ovid's Metamorphoses", which I brought her home from Paul's Churchyard to-night, having called for it by the way, and so to bed, [Continues tomorrow]
Metamorphoses Book I
Metamorphoses Book I Line 452 to 566 Daphne and Phoebus
452. Daphne, the daughter of a River God was first beloved by Phoebus, the great God of glorious light. 'Twas not a cause of chance but out of Cupid's vengeful spite that she was fated to torment the lord of light. For Phoebus, proud of Python's death, beheld that impish god of Love upon a time when he was bending his diminished bow, and voicing his contempt in anger said; "What, wanton boy, are mighty arms to thee, great weapons suited to the needs of war? The bow is only for the use of those large deities of heaven whose strength may deal wounds, mortal, to the savage beasts of prey; and who courageous overcome their foes.—it is a proper weapon to the use of such as slew with arrows Python, huge, whose pestilential carcase vast extent covered. Content thee with the flames thy torch enkindles (fires too subtle for my thought) and leave to me the glory that is mine." To him, undaunted, Venus, son replied; "O Phoebus, thou canst conquer all the world with thy strong bow and arrows, but with this small arrow I shall pierce thy vaunting breast! And by the measure that thy might exceeds the broken powers of thy defeated foes, so is thy glory less than mine."
466. No more he said, but with his wings expanded thence flew lightly to Parnassus, lofty peak. There, from his quiver he plucked arrows twain, most curiously wrought of different art; one love exciting, one repelling love. The dart of love was glittering, gold and sharp, the other had a blunted tip of lead; and with that dull lead dart he shot the Nymph, but with the keen point of the golden dart he pierced the bone and marrow of the God. Immediately the one with love was filled, the other, scouting at the thought of love, rejoiced in the deep shadow of the woods, and as the virgin Phoebe (who denies the joys of love and loves the joys of chase) a maiden's fillet bound her flowing hair,—and her pure mind denied the love of man. Beloved and wooed she wandered silent paths, for never could her modesty endure the glance of man or listen to his love. Her grieving father spoke to her, "Alas, my daughter, I have wished a son in law, and now you owe a grandchild to the joy of my old age." But Daphne only hung her head to hide her shame. The nuptial torch seemed criminal to her. She even clung, caressing, with her arms around his neck, and pled, "My dearest father let me live a virgin always, for remember Jove did grant it to Diana at her birth."
488. But though her father promised her desire, her loveliness prevailed against their will; for, Phoebus when he saw her waxed distraught, and filled with wonder his sick fancy raised delusive hopes, and his own oracles deceived him.—As the stubble in the field flares up, or as the stacked wheat is consumed by flames, enkindled from a spark or torch the chance pedestrian may neglect at dawn; so was the bosom of the god consumed, and so desire flamed in his stricken heart. He saw her bright hair waving on her neck;—"How beautiful if properly arranged!" He saw her eyes like stars of sparkling fire, her lips for kissing sweetest, and her hands and fingers and her arms; her shoulders white as ivory;—and whatever was not seen more beautiful must be.
502. Swift as the wind from his pursuing feet the virgin fled, and neither stopped nor heeded as he called; "O Nymph! O Daphne! I entreat thee stay, it is no enemy that follows thee—why, so the lamb leaps from the raging wolf, and from the lion runs the timid faun, and from the eagle flies the trembling dove, all hasten from their natural enemy but I alone pursue for my dear love. Alas, if thou shouldst fall and mar thy face, or tear upon the bramble thy soft thighs, or should I prove unwilling cause of pain! The wilderness is rough and dangerous, and I beseech thee be more careful—I will follow slowly.—Ask of whom thou wilt, and thou shalt learn that I am not a churl—I am no mountain dweller of rude caves, nor clown compelled to watch the sheep and goats; and neither canst thou know from whom thy feet fly fearful, or thou wouldst not leave me thus. The Delphic Land, the Pataraean Realm, Claros and Tenedos revere my name, and my immortal sire is Jupiter. The present, past and future are through me in sacred oracles revealed to man, and from my harp the harmonies of sound are borrowed by their bards to praise the Gods. My bow is certain, but a flaming shaft surpassing mine has pierced my heart—untouched before. The art of medicine is my invention, and the power of herbs; but though the world declare my useful works there is no herb to medicate my wound, and all the arts that save have failed their lord."
525. But even as he made his plaint, the Nymph with timid footsteps fled from his approach, and left him to his murmurs and his pain. Lovely the virgin seemed as the soft wind exposed her limbs, and as the zephyrs fond fluttered amid her garments, and the breeze fanned lightly in her flowing hair. She seemed most lovely to his fancy in her flight; and mad with love he followed in her steps, and silent hastened his increasing speed. As when the greyhound sees the frightened hare flit over the plain:—With eager nose outstretched, impetuous, he rushes on his prey, and gains upon her till he treads her feet, and almost fastens in her side his fangs; but she, whilst dreading that her end is near, is suddenly delivered from her fright; so was it with the god and virgin: one with hope pursued, the other fled in fear; and he who followed, borne on wings of love, permitted her no rest and gained on her, until his warm breath mingled in her hair. Her strength spent, pale and faint, with pleading eyes she gazed upon her father's waves and prayed, "Help me my father, if thy flowing streams have virtue! Cover me, O mother Earth! Destroy the beauty that has injured me, or change the body that destroys my life." Before her prayer was ended, torpor seized on all her body, and a thin bark closed around her gentle bosom, and her hair became as moving leaves; her arms were changed to waving branches, and her active feet as clinging roots were fastened to the ground—her face was hidden with encircling leaves.—
553. Phoebus admired and loved the graceful tree, (For still, though changed, her slender form remained) and with his right hand lingering on the trunk he felt her bosom throbbing in the bark. He clung to trunk and branch as though to twine. His form with hers, and fondly kissed the wood that shrank from every kiss. And thus the God; "Although thou canst not be my bride, thou shalt be called my chosen tree, and thy green leaves, O Laurel! shall forever crown my brows, be wreathed around my quiver and my lyre; the Roman heroes shall be crowned with thee, as long processions climb the Capitol and chanting throngs proclaim their victories; and as a faithful warden thou shalt guard the civic crown of oak leaves fixed between thy branches, and before Augustan gates. And as my youthful head is never shorn, so, also, shalt thou ever bear thy leaves unchanging to thy glory." Here the God, Phoebus Apollo, ended his lament, and unto him the Laurel bent her boughs, so lately fashioned; and it seemed to him her graceful nod gave answer to his love.
Metamorphoses Book III
Metamorphoses Book III Lines 339 to 508 Narcissus and Echo, The House of Cadmus
339. Tiresias' fame of prophecy was spread through all the cities of Aonia, for his unerring answers unto all who listened to his words. And first of those that harkened to his fateful prophecies, a lovely Nymph, named Liriope, came with her dear son, who then fifteen, might seem a man or boy—he who was born to her upon the green merge of Cephissus' stream—that mighty River-God whom she declared the father of her boy. – she questioned him. Imploring him to tell her if her son, unequalled for his beauty, whom she called Narcissus, might attain a ripe old age. To which the blind seer answered in these words, "If he but fail to recognize himself, a long life he may have, beneath the sun,"—so, frivolous the prophet's words appeared; and yet the event, the manner of his death, the strange delusion of his frenzied love, confirmed it. Three times five years so were passed. Another five-years, and the lad might seem a young man or a boy. And many a youth, and many a damsel sought to gain his love; but such his mood and spirit and his pride, none gained his favour.
359. Once a noisy Nymph, (who never held her tongue when others spoke, who never spoke till others had begun) mocking Echo, spied him as he drove, in his delusive nets, some timid stags.—For Echo was a Nymph, in olden time,—and, more than vapid sound,—possessed a form: and she was then deprived the use of speech, except to babble and repeat the words, once spoken, over and over. Juno confused her silly tongue, because she often held that glorious goddess with her endless tales, till many a hapless Nymph, from Jove's embrace, had made escape adown a mountain. But for this, the goddess might have caught them. Thus the glorious Juno, when she knew her guile; "Your tongue, so freely wagged at my expense, shall be of little use; your endless voice, much shorter than your tongue." At once the Nymph was stricken as the goddess had decreed;—and, ever since, she only mocks the sounds of others' voices, or, perchance, returns their final words.
370. One day, when she observed Narcissus wandering in the pathless woods, she loved him and she followed him, with soft and stealthy tread.—The more she followed him the hotter did she burn, as when the flame flares upward from the sulphur on the torch. Oh, how she longed to make her passion known! To plead in soft entreaty! to implore his love! But now, till others have begun, a mute of Nature she must be. She cannot choose but wait the moment when his voice may give to her an answer. Presently the youth, by chance divided from his trusted friends, cries loudly, "Who is here?" and Echo, "Here!" Replies. Amazed, he casts his eyes around, and calls with louder voice, "Come here!" "Come here!" She calls the youth who calls.—He turns to see who calls him and, beholding naught exclaims, "Avoid me not!" "Avoid me not!" returns. He tries again, again, and is deceived by this alternate voice, and calls aloud; "Oh let us come together!" Echo cries, "Oh let us come together!" Never sound seemed sweeter to the Nymph, and from the woods she hastens in accordance with her words, and strives to wind her arms around his neck. He flies from her and as he leaves her says, "Take off your hands! you shall not fold your arms around me. Better death than such a one should ever caress me!" Naught she answers save, "Caress me!" Thus rejected she lies hid in the deep woods, hiding her blushing face with the green leaves; and ever after lives concealed in lonely caverns in the hills. But her great love increases with neglect; her miserable body wastes away, wakeful with sorrows; leanness shrivels up her skin, and all her lovely features melt, as if dissolved upon the wafting winds—nothing remains except her bones and voice—her voice continues, in the wilderness; her bones have turned to stone. She lies concealed in the wild woods, nor is she ever seen on lonely mountain range; for, though we hear her calling in the hills, 'tis but a voice, a voice that lives, that lives among the hills.
402. Thus he deceived the Nymph and many more, sprung from the mountains or the sparkling waves; and thus he slighted many an amorous youth.—and therefore, some one whom he once despised, lifting his hands to Heaven, implored the Gods, "If he should love deny him what he loves!" and as the prayer was uttered it was heard by Nemesis, who granted her assent.
407. There was a fountain silver-clear and bright, which neither shepherds nor the wild she-goats, that range the hills, nor any cattle's mouth had touched—its waters were unsullied—birds disturbed it not; nor animals, nor boughs that fall so often from the trees. Around sweet grasses nourished by the stream grew; trees that shaded from the sun let balmy airs temper its waters. Here Narcissus, tired of hunting and the heated noon, lay down, attracted by the peaceful solitudes and by the glassy spring. There as he stooped to quench his thirst another thirst increased. While he is drinking he beholds himself reflected in the mirrored pool—and loves; loves an imagined body which contains no substance, for he deems the mirrored shade a thing of life to love. He cannot move, for so he marvels at himself, and lies with countenance unchanged, as if indeed a statue carved of Parian marble. Long, supine upon the bank, his gaze is fixed on his own eyes, twin stars; his fingers shaped as Bacchus might desire, his flowing hair as glorious as Apollo's, and his cheeks youthful and smooth; his ivory neck, his mouth dreaming in sweetness, his complexion fair and blushing as the rose in snow-drift white. All that is lovely in himself he loves, and in his witless way he wants himself:—he who approves is equally approved; he seeks, is sought, he burns and he is burnt. And how he kisses the deceitful fount; and how he thrusts his arms to catch the neck that's pictured in the middle of the stream! Yet never may he wreathe his arms around that image of himself. He knows not what he there beholds, but what he sees inflames his longing, and the error that deceives allures his eyes. But why, O foolish boy, so vainly catching at this flitting form? The cheat that you are seeking has no place. Avert your gaze and you will lose your love, for this that holds your eyes is nothing save the image of yourself reflected back to you. It comes and waits with you; it has no life; it will depart if you will only go.
Metamorphoses Book IV Pyramus and Thisbe
Metamorphoses Book IV Pyramus and Thisbe Lines 55 to 80
When Pyramus and Thisbe, who were known the one most handsome of all youthful men, the other loveliest of all eastern girls,—lived in adjoining houses, near the walls that Queen Semiramis had built of brick around her famous city, they grew fond, and loved each other—meeting often there—and as the days went by their love increased. They wished to join in marriage, but that joy their fathers had forbidden them to hope; and yet the passion that with equal strength inflamed their minds no parents could forbid. No relatives had guessed their secret love, for all their converse was by nods and signs; and as a smoldering fire may gather heat, the more 'tis smothered, so their love increased. Now, it so happened, a partition built between their houses, many years ago, was made defective with a little chink; a small defect observed by none, although for ages there; but what is hid from love? Our lovers found the secret opening, and used its passage to convey the sounds of gentle, murmured words, whose tuneful note passed oft in safety through that hidden way. There, many a time, they stood on either side, Thisbe on one and Pyramus the other, and when their warm breath touched from lip to lip, their sighs were such as this: "Thou envious wall why art thou standing in the way of those who die for love? What harm could happen thee shouldst thou permit us to enjoy our love? But if we ask too much, let us persuade that thou wilt open while we kiss but once: for, we are not ungrateful; unto thee we own our debt; here thou hast left a way that breathed words may enter loving ears.," so vainly whispered they, and when the night began to darken they exchanged farewells; made presence that they kissed a fond farewell vain kisses that to love might none avail.
Metamorphoses Book IV Pyramus and Thisbe Lines 81 to 92
When dawn removed the glimmering lamps of night, and the bright sun had dried the dewy grass again they met where they had told their love; and now complaining of their hapless fate, in murmurs gentle, they at last resolved, away to slip upon the quiet night, elude their parents, and, as soon as free, quit the great builded city and their homes. Fearful to wander in the pathless fields, they chose a trysting place, the tomb of Ninus, where safely they might hide unseen, beneath the shadow of a tall mulberry tree, covered with snow-white fruit, close by a spring. All is arranged according to their hopes: and now the daylight, seeming slowly moved, sinks in the deep waves, and the tardy night arises from the spot where day declines.
Metamorphoses Book IV Pyramus and Thisbe Lines 93 to 104
Quickly, the clever Thisbe having first deceived her parents, opened the closed door. She flitted in the silent night away; and, having veiled her face, reached the great tomb, and sat beneath the tree; love made her bold. There, as she waited, a great lioness approached the nearby spring to quench her thirst: her frothing jaws incarnadined with blood of slaughtered oxen. As the moon was bright, Thisbe could see her, and affrighted fled with trembling footstep to a gloomy cave; and as she ran she slipped and dropped her veil, which fluttered to the ground. She did not dare to save it. Wherefore, when the savage beast had taken a great draft and slaked her thirst, and thence had turned to seek her forest lair, she found it on her way, and full of rage, tore it and stained it with her bloody jaws: but Thisbe, fortunate, escaped unseen.
Metamorphoses Book IV Pyramus and Thisbe Lines 105 127
Now Pyramus had not gone out so soon as Thisbe to the tryst; and, when he saw the certain traces of that savage beast, imprinted in the yielding dust, his face went white with fear; but when he found the veil covered with blood, he cried; "Alas, one night has caused the ruin of two lovers! Thou wert most deserving of completed days, but as for me, my heart is guilty! I destroyed thee! O my love! I bade thee come out in the dark night to a lonely haunt, and failed to go before. Oh! whatever lurks beneath this rock, though ravenous lion, tear my guilty flesh, and with most cruel jaws devour my cursed entrails! What? Not so; it is a craven's part to wish for death!" So he stopped briefly; and took up the veil; went straightway to the shadow of the tree; and as his tears bedewed the well-known veil, he kissed it oft and sighing said, "Kisses and tears are thine, receive my blood as well." And he imbrued the steel, girt at his side, deep in his bowels; and plucked it from the wound, a-faint with death. As he fell back to earth, his spurting blood shot upward in the air; so, when decay has rift a leaden pipe a hissing jet of water spurts on high.—By that dark tide the berries on the tree assumed a deeper tint, for as the roots soaked up the blood the pendent mulberries were dyed a purple tint.
Metamorphoses Book IV Pyramus and Thisbe Lines 128 146
Thisbe returned, though trembling still with fright, for now she thought her lover must await her at the tree, and she should haste before he feared for her. Longing to tell him of her great escape she sadly looked for him with faithful eyes; but when she saw the spot and the changed tree, she doubted could they be the same, for so the colour of the hanging fruit deceived. While doubt dismayed her, on the ground she saw the wounded body covered with its blood;—she started backward, and her face grew pale and ashen; and she shuddered like the sea, which trembles when its face is lightly skimmed by the chill breezes;—and she paused a space;—but when she knew it was the one she loved, she struck her tender breast and tore her hair. Then wreathing in her arms his loved form, she bathed the wound with tears, mingling her grief in his unquenched blood; and as she kissed his death-cold features wailed; "Ah Pyramus, what cruel fate has taken thy life away? Pyramus! Pyramus! awake! awake! It is thy dearest Thisbe calls thee! Lift thy drooping head! Alas,"—At Thisbe's name he raised his eyes, though languorous in death, and darkness gathered round him as he gazed.
Metamorphoses Book IV Pyramus and Thisbe Lines 147 to 166
And then she saw her veil; and near it lay his ivory sheath—but not the trusty sword and once again she wailed; "Thy own right hand, and thy great passion have destroyed thee!—And I? my hand shall be as bold as thine—my love shall nerve me to the fatal deed—thee, I will follow to eternity – though I be censured for the wretched cause, so surely I shall share thy wretched fate:—alas, whom death could me alone bereave, thou shalt not from my love be reft by death! And, O ye wretched parents, mine and his, let our misfortunes and our pleadings melt your hearts, that ye no more deny to those whom constant love and lasting death unite—entomb us in a single sepulchre. And, O thou tree of many-branching boughs, spreading dark shadows on the corpse of one, destined to cover twain, take thou our fate upon thy head; mourn our untimely deaths; let thy fruit darken for a memory, an emblem of our blood." No more she said; and having fixed the point below her breast, she fell on the keen sword, still warm with his red blood. But though her death was out of Nature's law her prayer was answered, for it moved the Gods and moved their parents. Now the Gods have changed the ripened fruit which darkens on the branch: and from the funeral pile their parents sealed their gathered ashes in a single urn.
Metamorphoses Book XIV
Metamorphoses Book XIV Lines 1 to 74 Scylla Transformed into a Rock
Metamorphoses Book XIV Lines 1 to 24
Now the Euboean dweller in great waves, Glaucus, had left behind the crest of Aetna, raised upward from a giant's head; and left the Cyclops' fields, that never had been torn by harrow or by plough and never were indebted to the toil of oxen yoked; left Zancle, also, and the opposite walls of Rhegium, and the sea, abundant cause of shipwreck, which confined with double shores bounds the Ausonian and Sicilian lands. All these behind him, Glaucus, swimming on with his huge hands through those Tyrrhenian seas, drew near the hills so rich in magic herbs and halls of Circe, daughter of the Sun,—halls filled with men in guise of animals. After due salutations had been given—received by her as kindly—Glaucus said, "You as a goddess, certainly should have compassion upon me, a god; for you alone (if I am worthy of it) can relieve my passion. What the power of herbs can be, Titania, none knows more than I, for by their power I was myself transformed. To make the cause of my strange madness known, I have found Scylla on Italian shores, directly opposite Messenian walls. It shames me to recount my promises, entreaties, and caresses, and at last rejection of my suit. If you have known a power of incantation, I implore you now repeat that incantation here, with sacred lips—If herbs have greater power, use the tried power of herbs. But I would not request a cure—the healing of this wound. Much better than an end of pain, let her share, and feel with me my impassioned flame."
Metamorphoses Book XIV Lines 25 39
The goddess in her jealous rage could not and would not injure him, whom she still loved, but turned her wrath upon the one preferred. She bruised immediately the many herbs most infamous for horrid juices, which, when bruised, she mingled with most artful care and incantations given by Hecate. Then, clothed in azure vestments, she passed through her troop of fawning savage animals, and issued from the center of her hall. Pacing from there to Rhegium, opposite the dangerous rocks of Zancle, she at once entered the tossed waves boiling up with tides: on these as if she walked on the firm shore, she set her feet and, hastening on dry shod, she skimmed along the surface of the deep. Not far away there was an inlet curved, round as a bent bow, which was often used by Scylla as a favorite retreat. There, she withdrew from heat of sea and sky when in the zenith blazed the unclouded sun and cast the shortest shadows on the ground. Circe infected it before that hour, polluting it with monster-breeding drugs. She sprinkled juices over it, distilled from an obnoxious root, and thrice times nine she muttered over it with magic lips, her most mysterious charm involved in words of strangest import and of dubious thought. Scylla came there and waded in waist deep, then saw her loins defiled with barking shapes. Believing they could be no part of her, she ran and tried to drive them back and feared the boisterous canine jaws. But what she fled she carried with her. And, feeling for her thighs, her legs, and feet, she found Cerberian jaws instead. She rises from a rage of dogs, and shaggy backs encircle her shortened loins.
Metamorphoses Book XIV Lines 40 67
The lover Glaucus wept. He fled the embrace of Circe and her hostile power of herbs and magic spells. But Scylla did not leave the place of her disaster; and, as soon as she had opportunity, for hate of Circe, she robbed Ulysses of his men. She would have wrecked the Trojan ships, if she had not been changed beforehand to a rock which to this day reveals a craggy rim. And even the rock awakes the sailors' dread.