Perseus:bib:oclc,24965574, Ovid. Metamorphoses. Brookes More. Boston. Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922.

  1. Glowing with gold, flaming with carbuncles
  2. on stately columns raised, refulgent shone
  3. the palace of the Sun, with polished dome
  4. of ivory gleaming, and with portals twain
  5. of burnished silver. And the workmanship
  6. exceeded all the wealth of gems and gold;
  7. for there had Mulciber engraved the seas
  8. encircling middle earth; the round of earth,
  9. and heaven impending over the land.
  10. And there
  11. amid the waves were azure deities:
  12. melodious Triton and elusive Proteus; there
  13. Aegeaan pressing with his arms the backs.
  14. Of monstrous whales; and Doris in the sea
  15. and all her daughters; some amid the waves
  16. and others sitting on the bank to dry
  17. their sea-green hair, and others borne about
  18. by fishes. Each was made to show a fair
  19. resemblance to her sisters—yet not one
  20. appearance was assigned to all—they seemed
  21. as near alike as sisters should in truth.
  22. And men and cities, woods and savage beasts,
  23. and streams and nymphs, and sylvan deities
  24. were carved upon the land; and over these
  25. an image of the glittering sky was fixed;—
  26. six signs were on the right, six on the left.
  27. Here when audacious Phaethon arrived
  28. by steep ascending paths, without delay
  29. he entered in the shining palace-gates
  30. of his reputed parent, making haste
  31. to stand in his paternal presence. There,
  32. unable to endure the dazzling light,
  33. he waited at a distance.
  34. Phoebus sat,
  35. arrayed in royal purple, on a throne
  36. that glittered with the purest emeralds.—
  37. there to the left and right, Day, Month and Year,
  38. time and the Hours, at equal distance stood;
  39. and vernal Spring stood crowned with wreathed flowers;
  40. and naked Summer stood with sheaves of wheat;
  41. and Autumn stood besmeared with trodden grapes;
  42. and icy Winter rough with hoary hair.
  43. And from the midst, with orbs that view the world,
  44. Phoebus beheld the trembling youth, fear-struck,
  45. in mute amazement, and he said; “Declare
  46. the reason of thy journey. What wilt thou
  47. in this my palace, Phaethon my child
  48. beloved?”
  49. And to him replied the youth;
  50. “O universal light of all the world,
  51. my father Phoebus, if thy name be mine,
  52. if Clymene has not concealed her sin
  53. beneath some pretext, give to me, my sire,
  54. a token to declare thy fatherhood
  55. which may establish my assured descent,
  56. and leave no dark suspicions in our minds.”—
  57. then Phoebus from his shining brows cast down
  58. his circling rays; called Phaethon to him,
  59. and as he held him to his breast replied;
  60. “O child most worthy of thy sire, the truth
  61. was told thee by thy mother; wherefore doubts
  62. to dissipate, consider thy desire,
  63. and ask of me that I may freely give:
  64. yea, let the Nether Lake, beyond our view,
  65. (which is the oath of Gods inviolate)
  66. be witness to my word.”
  67. When this was said
  68. the happy youth at once began to plead
  69. command and guidance of his father's steeds,
  70. wing-footed, and his chariot for a day.
  71. But Phoebus much repented that he sware,
  72. and thrice and four times shook his radiant head;
  73. “Ah, would I might refuse my plighted word;
  74. and oh, that it were lawful to deny
  75. the promised boon.—For I confess, O son,
  76. this only I should keep from thee—and yet
  77. 'Tis lawful to dissuade. It is unsafe
  78. to satisfy thy will. It is a great
  79. request, O Phaethon, which neither suits
  80. thy utmost strength nor tender years; for thou
  81. art mortal, and thou hast aspired to things
  82. immortal. Ignorance has made thy thought
  83. transcend the province of the Gods. I vaunt
  84. no vain exploits; but only I can stand
  85. securely on the flame-fraught axle-tree:
  86. even the Ruler of Olympian Gods,
  87. who hurls fierce lightnings with his great right hand,
  88. may never dare to drive this chariot,
  89. and what art thou to equal mighty Jove?
  90. “The opening path is steep and difficult,
  91. for scarcely can the steeds, refreshed at dawn,
  92. climb up the steeps: and when is reached the height,
  93. extreme of midmost Heaven, and sea and earth
  94. are viewed below, my trembling breast is filled
  95. with fearful apprehensions: and requires
  96. the last precipitous descent a sure
  97. command. Then, also, Tethys, who receives
  98. me in her subject waves, is wont to fear
  99. lest I should fall disastrous. And around
  100. the hastening sky revolves in constant whirl,
  101. drawing the lofty stars with rapid twist.
  102. “I struggle on. The force that overcomes
  103. the heavenly bodies overwhelms me not,
  104. and I am borne against that rapid globe.
  105. Suppose the chariot thine: what canst thou do?
  106. Canst thou drive straight against the twisted pole
  107. and not be carried from the lofty path
  108. by the swift car? Art thou deceived to think
  109. there may be groves and cities of the Gods,
  110. and costly temples wondrously endowed?
  111. “The journey is beset with dreadful snares
  112. and shapes of savage animals. If thou
  113. shouldst hold upon thy way without mistake
  114. yet must thy journey be through Taurus' horns,
  115. and through the Bow Haemonian, and the jaws
  116. of the fierce Lion, and the cruel arms
  117. of Scorpion, bent throughout a vast expanse,—
  118. and Cancer's curving arms reversely bent.
  119. “It is no easy task for thee to rule
  120. the mettled four-foot steeds, enflamed in fires
  121. that kindle in their breasts, forth issuing
  122. in breathings from their mouths and nostrils hot;—
  123. I scarce restrain them, as their struggling necks
  124. pull on the harness, when their heated fires
  125. are thus aroused.
  126. “And, O my son, lest I
  127. may be the author of a baneful gift,
  128. beware, and as the time permits recall
  129. thy rash request. Forsooth thou hast besought
  130. undoubted signs of thy descent from me?
  131. My fears for thee are certain signs that thou
  132. art of my race—by my paternal fears
  133. 'Tis manifest I am thy father. Lo!
  134. Behold my countenance! and oh, that thou
  135. couldst even pierce my bosom with thine eyes,
  136. and so discover my paternal cares!
  137. “Look round thee on the treasured world's delights
  138. and ask the greatest blessing of the sky,
  139. or sea or land, and thou shalt suffer no
  140. repulse: but only this I must deplore,
  141. which rightly named would be a penalty
  142. and not an honour.—Thou hast made request
  143. of punishment and not a gift indeed.
  144. O witless boy! why dost thou hold my neck
  145. with thy caressing arms? For, doubt it not,
  146. as I have sworn it by the Stygian Waves,
  147. whatever thou shalt wish, it shall be given—
  148. but thou shouldst wish more wisely.”
  1. So were all
  2. his admonitions said, availing naught;
  3. for Phaethon resisted his advice,
  4. and urged again his claim, and eagerly burned
  5. to use the chariot. Wherefore, Phoebus long
  6. delaying and reluctant, took the youth
  7. to view the spacious chariot, gift of Vulcan.—
  8. gold was the axle and the beam was gold,
  9. the great Wheel had a golden tire and spokes
  10. of silver; chrysolites and diamonds
  11. reflected from the spangled yoke the light
  12. of Phoebus.
  13. While aspiring Phaethon admired
  14. the glittering chariot and its workmanship,
  15. the vigilant Aurora opened forth
  16. her purple portals from the ruddy east,
  17. disclosing halls replete with roses. All
  18. the stars took flight, while Lucifer, the last
  19. to quit his vigil, gathered that great host
  20. and disappeared from his celestial watch.
  21. And when his father, Phoebus, saw the earth
  22. and the wide universe in glowing tints
  23. arrayed, as waned the Moon's diminished horns,
  24. far-distant, then he bade the nimble Hours
  25. to yoke the steeds.—At once the Deities
  26. accomplished his commands, and led the steeds,
  27. ambrosia-fed and snorting flames, from out
  28. their spacious stalls; and fixed their sounding bits.
  29. Then with a hallowed drug the father touched
  30. the stripling's face, to make him proof against
  31. the rapid flame, and wrought around his hair
  32. the sun-rays. But, foreboding grief, he said,
  33. while many a sigh heaved from his anxious breast;
  34. “If thou canst only heed thy father's voice—
  35. be sparing of the whip and use with nerve
  36. the reins; for of their own accord the steeds
  37. will hasten. Difficult are they to check
  38. in full career. Thou must not drive the car
  39. directly through five circles, for the track
  40. takes a wide curve, obliquely, and is bound
  41. by the extreme edge of three zones.—It avoids
  42. the Southern Pole, and it avoids the Bear
  43. that roams around the north. The way is plain;
  44. the traces of the Wheel are manifest.
  45. “Observe with care that both the earth and sky
  46. have their appropriate heat—Drive not too low,
  47. nor urge the chariot through the highest plane;
  48. for if thy course attain too great a height
  49. thou wilt consume the mansions of the sky,
  50. and if too low the land will scorch with heat.
  51. “Take thou the middle plane, where all is safe;
  52. nor let the Wheel turn over to the right
  53. and bear thee to the twisted Snake! nor let
  54. it take thee to the Altar on the left—
  55. so close to earth—but steer the middle course.—
  56. to Fortune I commit thy fate, whose care
  57. for thee so reckless of thyself I pray.
  58. “While I am speaking humid night has touched
  59. the margin of Hesperian shores. 'Tis not
  60. for us to idle; we are called away;—
  61. when bright Aurora shines the darkness flies.
  62. Take up the reins! But if thy stubborn breast
  63. be capable of change use not our car,
  64. but heed my counsel while the time permits,
  65. and while thy feet are on a solid base,
  66. but not, according to thy foolish wish,
  67. pressing the axle. Rather let me light
  68. the world beneath thy safe and wondering gaze.”
  69. But Phaethon with youthful vigor leaped,
  70. and in the light-made chariot lightly stood:
  71. and he rejoiced, and with the reins in hand
  72. thanked his reluctant parent.
  73. Instantly
  74. Eous, Aethon, Pyrois and Phlegon,
  75. the winged horses of the Sun, gave vent
  76. to flame-like neighs that filled the shaking air;
  77. they pawed the barriers with their shining hoofs.
  78. Then Tethys, witless of her grandson's fate
  79. let back the barriers,—and the universe
  80. was theirs to traverse. Taking the well-known road,
  81. and moving through the air with winged feet,
  82. they pierced resisting clouds, and spreading wide
  83. their pinions soared upon the eastern wind,
  84. far-wafted from that realm. But Phaethon,
  85. so easy of their yoke, lost all control,
  86. and the great car was tossed,—as tapered ships
  87. when lightened of their ballast toss and heave
  88. unsteady in the surging seas: the car
  89. leaped lightly in the air, and in the heights
  90. was tossed unsteady as an empty shell.
  91. Soon as the steeds perceived it, with a rush
  92. impetuous, they left the beaten track;
  93. regardless of all order and control;
  94. and Phaethon filled with fear, knew not to guide
  95. with trusted reins, nor where the way might be—
  96. nor, if he knew, could he control their flight.
  97. Warmed in the sunshine, never felt before,
  98. the gelid Triones attempted vain
  99. to bathe in seas forbid: the Serpent cold
  100. and torpid by the frozen Pole, too cold
  101. for contest, warmed, and rage assumed from heat
  102. bootes, troubled by the heat, took flight,
  103. impeded by his wain.
  104. And as from skies
  105. of utmost height unhappy Phaethon
  106. beheld the earth receding from his view,
  107. a pallor spread his cheeks with sudden fear;
  108. his knees began to quake; and through the flare
  109. of vast effulgence darkness closed his eyes.
  110. Now vainy he regrets he ever touched
  111. his father's steeds, and he is stunned with grief
  112. that so entreating he prevailed to know
  113. his true descent. He rather would be called
  114. the son of Merops. As a ship is tossed
  115. by raging Boreas, when the conquered helm
  116. has been abandoned, and the pilot leaves
  117. the vessel to his vows and to the Gods;
  118. so, helpless, he is borne along the sky.
  119. What can he? Much of heaven remains behind;
  120. a longer distance is in front of him—
  121. each way is measured in his anxious mind.—
  122. at first his gaze is fixed upon the west,
  123. which fate has destined he shall never reach,
  124. and then his eyes turn backward to the east.—
  125. so, stupefied and dazed he neither dares
  126. to loose the bits, nor tighten on the reins,
  127. and he is ignorant of the horses' names.
  1. He sees horrific wonders scattered round,
  2. and images of hideous animals.—
  3. and there's a spot where Scorpion bends his claws
  4. in double circles, and with tail and arms
  5. on either side, stretches his limbs throughout
  6. the space of two Celestial Signs; and when
  7. the lad beheld him, steeped in oozing slime
  8. of venom, swart, and threatening to strike
  9. grim wounds with jagged spear-points, he was lost;
  10. and, fixed in chills of horror, dropped the reins.
  11. When these they felt upon their rising backs,
  12. the startled steeds sprang forthwith; and, unchecked,
  13. through atmospheres of regions unexplored,
  14. thence goaded by their unchecked violence,
  15. broke through the lawful bounds, and rushed upon
  16. the high fixed stars. They dragged the chariot
  17. through devious ways, and soared amid the heights;
  18. dashed down deep pathways, far, precipitous,
  19. and gained a level near the scorching earth.
  20. Phoebe is wondering that her brother's steeds
  21. run lower than her own, and sees the smoke
  22. of scorching clouds. The highest altitudes
  23. are caught in flames, and as their moistures dry
  24. they crack in chasms. The grass is blighted; trees
  25. are burnt up with their leaves; the ripe brown crops
  26. give fuel for self destruction—Oh what small
  27. complaints! Great cities perish with their walls,
  28. and peopled nations are consumed to dust—
  29. the forests and the mountains are destroyed.
  30. Cilician Taurus, Athos and Tmolus,
  31. and Oeta are burning; and the far-famed Ida
  32. and all her cooling rills are dry and burning,
  33. and virgin Helicon, and Hoemos—later
  34. Oeagrius called—and Aetna with tremendous,
  35. redoubled flames, and double-peaked Parnassus,
  36. Sicilian Eryx, Cynthus—Othrys, pine-clad,
  37. and Rhodope, deprived his snowy mantle,
  38. and Dindyma and Mycale and Mimas,
  39. and Mount Cithaeron, famed for sacred rites:
  40. and Scythia, though a land of frost, is burning,
  41. and Caucasus,—and Ossa burns with Pindus,—
  42. and greater than those two Olympus burns—
  43. the lofty Alps, the cloud-topped Apennines.
  44. And Phaethon, as he inhaled the air,
  45. burning and scorching as a furnace blast,
  46. and saw destruction on the flaming world,
  47. and his great chariot wreathed in quenchless fires,
  48. was suddenly unable to endure the heat,
  49. the smoke and cinders, and he swooned away.—
  50. if he had known the way, those winged steeds
  51. would rush as wild unguided.—
  52. then the skin
  53. of Ethiopians took a swarthy hue,
  54. the hot blood tingling to the surface: then
  55. the heat dried up the land of Libya;
  56. dishevelled, the lorn Nymphs, lamenting, sought
  57. for all their emptied springs and lakes in vain;
  58. Boeotia wailed for Dirce's cooling wave,
  59. and Argos wailed for Amymone's stream—
  60. and even Corinth for the clear Pyrene.
  61. Not safer from the flames were distant streams;—
  62. the Tanais in middle stream was steaming
  63. and old Peneus and Teuthrantian Caicus,
  64. Ismenus, rapid and Arcadian Erymanthus;
  65. and even Xanthus destined for a second burning,
  66. and tawny-waved Lycormas, and Meander,
  67. turning and twisting, and Thracian Melas burns,
  68. and the Laconian Eurotas burns,
  69. the mighty Babylonian Euphrates,
  70. Orontes and the Ganges, swift Thermodon,
  71. Ister and Phasis and Alpheus boil.
  72. The banks of Spercheus burn, the gold of Tagus
  73. is melting in the flames. The swans whose songs
  74. enhanced the beauties of Maeonian banks
  75. are scalded in the Cayster's middle wave.
  76. The Nile affrighted fled to parts remote,
  77. and hid his head forever from the world:
  78. now empty are his seven mouths, and dry
  79. without or wave or stream; and also dry
  80. Ismenian Hebrus, Strymon and the streams
  81. of Hesper-Land, the rivers Rhine and Rhone,
  82. and Po, and Tiber, ruler of the world.
  83. And even as the ground asunder burst,
  84. the light amazed in gloomy Tartarus
  85. the King Infernal and his Spouse. The sea
  86. contracted and his level waste became
  87. a sandy desert. The huge mountain tops,
  88. once covered by the ocean's waves, reared up,
  89. by which the scattered Cyclades increased.
  90. Even the fishes sought for deeper pools;—
  91. the crooked dolphins dared not skip the waves;
  92. the lifeless sea-calves floated on the top;
  93. and it is even famed that Nereus hid
  94. with Doris and her daughters, deep below
  95. in seething caverns. With a dauntless mien
  96. thrice Neptune tried to thrust his arms above
  97. the waters;—thrice the heated air overcame
  98. his courage.
  99. Then the genial Earth, although
  100. surrounded by the waters of the sea,
  101. was parched and dry; for all her streams had hid
  102. deep in the darkness of her winding caves.—
  103. she lifted her productive countenance,
  104. up to her rounded neck, and held her palms
  105. on her sad brows; and as the mountains huge
  106. trembled and tottered, beneath her wonted plane
  107. declined she for a space—and thus began,
  108. with parched voice;
  109. “If this is thy decree,
  110. O, Highest of the Gods,—if I have sinned
  111. why do thy lightnings linger? For if doomed
  112. by fires consuming I to perish must,
  113. let me now die in thy celestial flames—
  114. hurled by thine arm—and thus alleviate,
  115. by thine omnipotence, this agony.
  116. “How difficult to open my parched mouth,
  117. and speak these words! (the vapours choking her),
  118. behold my scorching hair, and see the clouds
  119. of ashes falling on my blinded eyes,
  120. and on my features! What a recompense
  121. for my fertility! How often I
  122. have suffered from the wounds of crooked plows
  123. and rending harrows—tortured year by year!
  124. For this I give to cattle juicy leaves
  125. and fruits to man and frankincense to thee!
  126. “Suppose destruction is my just award
  127. what have the waters and thy brother done?
  128. Why should thy brother's cooling waves decrease
  129. and thus recede so distant from the skies?
  130. If not thy brother's good nor mine may touch
  131. thy mercy, let the pity of thy Heaven,
  132. for lo, the smoking poles on either side
  133. attest, if flames consume them or destroy,
  134. the ruin of thy palace. Atlas, huge,
  135. with restive shoulders hardly can support
  136. the burning heavens. If the seas and lands
  137. together perish and thy palace fall,
  138. the universe confused will plunge once more
  139. to ancient Chaos. Save it from this wreck—
  140. if anything survive the fury of the flames.”
  1. So made the tortured Earth an end of speech;
  2. and she was fain to hide her countenance
  3. in caves that border on the nether night.
  4. But now the Almighty Father, having called
  5. to witness all the Gods of Heaven, and him
  6. who gave the car, that, else his power be shown,
  7. must perish all in dire confusion, high
  8. he mounted to the altitude from which
  9. he spreads the mantling clouds, and fulminates
  10. his dreadful thunders and swift lightning-bolts
  11. terrific.—Clouds were none to find on the earth,
  12. and the surrounding skies were void of rain.—
  13. Jove, having reached that summit, stood and poised
  14. in his almighty hand a flashing dart,
  15. and, hurling it, deprived of life and seat
  16. the youthful charioteer, and struck with fire
  17. the raging flames— and by the same great force
  18. those flames enveloping the earth were quenched,
  19. and he who caused their fury lost his life.
  20. Frantic in their affright the horses sprang
  21. across the bounded way and cast their yokes,
  22. and through the tangled harness lightly leaped.
  23. And here the scattered harness lay, and there
  24. the shattered axle, wrenched from off the pole,
  25. and various portions of the broken car;
  26. spokes of the broken Wheel were scattered round.
  27. And far fell Phaethon with flaming hair;
  28. as haply from the summer sky appears
  29. a falling star, although it never drops
  30. to startled earth.—Far distant from his home
  31. the deep Eridanus received the lad
  32. and bathed his foaming face. His body charred
  33. by triple flames Hesperian Naiads bore,
  34. still smoking, to a tomb, and this engraved
  35. upon the stone; “Here Phaethon's remains
  36. lie buried. He who drove his father's car
  37. and fell, although he made a great attempt.”
  38. Filled with consuming woe, his father hid
  39. his countenance which grief had overcast.
  40. And now, surpassing our belief, they say
  41. a day passed over with no glowing sun;—
  42. but light-affording flames appeared to change
  43. disaster to the cause of good.
  44. Amazed,
  45. the woeful Clymene, when she had moaned
  46. in grief, amid her lamentations tore
  47. her bosom, as across the world she roamed,
  48. at first to seek his lifeless corpse, and then
  49. his bones. She wandered to that distant land
  50. and found at last his bones ensepulchred.
  51. There, clinging to the grave she fell and bathed
  52. with many tears his name on marble carved,
  53. and with her bosom warmed the freezing
  54. stone.
  55. And all the daughters of the Sun went there
  56. giving their tears, alas a useless gift;—
  57. they wept and beat their breasts, and day and night
  58. called, “Phaethon,” who heard not any sound
  59. of their complaint:—and there they lay foredone,
  60. all scattered round the tomb.
  61. The silent moon
  62. had four times joined her horns and filled her disk,
  63. while they, according to an ancient rite,
  64. made lamentation. Prone upon the ground,
  65. the eldest, Phaethusa, would arise
  66. from there, but found her feet were growing stiff;
  67. and uttered moan. Lampetia wished to aid
  68. her sister but was hindered by new roots;
  69. a third when she would tear her hair, plucked forth
  70. but leaves: another wailed to find her legs
  71. were fastened in a tree; another moaned
  72. to find her arms to branches had been changed.
  73. And while they wondered, bark enclosed their thighs,
  74. and covered their smooth bellies, and their breasts,
  75. and shoulders and their hands, but left untouched
  76. their lips that called upon their mother's name.
  77. What can she do for them? Hither she runs
  78. and thither runs, wherever frenzy leads.
  79. She kisses them, alas, while yet she may!
  80. But not content with this, she tried to hale
  81. their bodies from the trees; and she would tear
  82. the tender branches with her hands, but lo!
  83. The blood oozed out as from a bleeding wound;
  84. and as she wounded them they shrieked aloud,
  85. “Spare me! O mother spare me; in the tree
  86. my flesh is torn! farewell! farewell! farewell!”
  87. And as they spoke the bark enclosed their lips.
  88. Their tears flow forth, and from the new-formed
  89. boughs
  90. amber distils and slowly hardens in the sun;
  91. and far from there upon the waves is borne
  92. to deck the Latin women.
  93. Cycnus, son
  94. of Sthenelus, by his maternal house
  95. akin to Phaethon, and thrice by love
  96. allied, beheld this wonderful event.—
  97. he left his kingdom of Liguria,
  98. and all its peopled cities, to lament
  99. where the sad sisters had increased the woods,
  100. beside the green banks of Eridanus.
  101. There, as he made complaint, his manly voice
  102. began to pipe a treble, shrill; and long
  103. gray plumes concealed his hair. A slender neck
  104. extended from his breast, and reddening toes
  105. were joined together by a membrane. Wings
  106. grew from his sides, and from his mouth was made
  107. a blunted beak. Now Cycnus is a swan,
  108. and yet he fears to trust the skies and Jove,
  109. for he remembers fires, unjustly sent,
  110. and therefore shuns the heat that he abhors,
  111. and haunts the spacious lakes and pools and streams
  112. that quench the fires.
  113. In squalid garb, meanwhile,
  114. and destitute of all his rays, the sire
  115. of Phaethon, as dark as when eclipse bedims
  116. his Wheel, abhors himself and hates the light,
  117. shuns the bright day, gives up his mind to grief,
  118. adds passion to his woe, denies the earth
  119. his countenance, and thus laments; “My lot
  120. was ever restless from the dawn of time,
  121. and I am weary of this labour, void
  122. and endless. Therefore, let who will urge forth
  123. my car, light-bearing, and if none may dare,
  124. when all the Gods of Heaven acknowledge it,
  125. let Jove himself essay the task. Perchance,
  126. when he takes up the reins, he may forget
  127. his dreadful lightning that bereaves of child
  128. a father's love; and as he tries the strength
  129. of those flame-footed steeds will know, in truth,
  130. the lad who failed to guide my chariot
  131. deserved not death.”
  132. But all the Deities
  133. encircle Phoebus as he makes complaint,
  134. and with their supplications they entreat
  135. him not to plunge the world in darkness. Jove
  136. would find excuses for the lightning-bolt,
  137. hurled from his hand, and adds imperious threats
  138. to his entreaties. Phoebus calls his steeds,
  139. frenzied with their maddening fires, and
  140. breaks
  141. their fury, as he vents with stinging lash
  142. his rage upon them, and in passion lays
  143. on them the death of Phaethon his son.
  1. Now after Phaethon had suffered death
  2. for the vast ruin wrought by scorching flames,
  3. all the great walls of Heaven's circumference,
  4. unmeasured, views the Father of the Gods,
  5. with searching care, that none impaired by heat
  6. may fall in ruins. Well assured they stand
  7. in self-sustaining strength, his view, at last,
  8. on all the mundane works of man is turned;—
  9. his loving gaze long resting on his own
  10. Arcadia. And he starts the streams and springs
  11. that long have feared to flow; paints the wide earth
  12. with verdant fields; covers the trees with leaves,
  13. and clothes the injured forests in their green.
  14. While wandering in the world, he stopped amazed,
  15. when he beheld the lovely Nymph, Calisto,
  16. and fires of love were kindled in his breast.
  17. Calisto was not clothed in sumptuous robes,
  18. nor did she deck her hair in artful coils;
  19. but with a buckle she would gird her robe,
  20. and bind her long hair with a fillet white.
  21. She bore a slender javelin in her hand,
  22. or held the curving bow; and thus in arms
  23. as chaste Diana, none of Maenalus
  24. was loved by that fair goddess more than she.
  25. But everything must change. When bright the sun
  26. rolled down the sky, beyond his middle course,
  27. she pierced a secret thicket, known to her,
  28. and having slipped the quiver from her arm,
  29. she loosed the bended bow, and softly down
  30. upon the velvet turf reclining, pressed
  31. her white neck on the quiver while she slept.
  32. When Jupiter beheld her, negligent
  33. and beautiful, he argued thus, “How can
  34. my consort, Juno, learn of this? And yet,
  35. if chance should give her knowledge, what care I?
  36. Let gain offset the scolding of her tongue!”
  37. This said, the god transformed himself and took
  38. Diana's form—assumed Diana's dress
  39. and imitating her awoke the maid,
  40. and spoke in gentle tones, “What mountain slope,
  41. O virgin of my train, hath been thy chase?”
  42. Which, having heard, Calisto, rose and said,
  43. “Hail, goddess! greater than celestial Jove!
  44. I would declare it though he heard the words.”
  45. Jove heard and smiled, well pleased to be preferred
  46. above himself, and kissed her many times,
  47. and strained her in his arms, while she began
  48. to tell the varied fortunes of her hunt.—
  49. but when his ardent love was known to her,
  50. she struggled to escape from his embrace:
  51. ah, how could she, a tender maid, resist
  52. almighty Jove?—Be sure, Saturnia
  53. if thou hadst only witnessed her thy heart
  54. had shown more pity!—
  55. Jupiter on wings,
  56. transcendent, sought his glorious heights;
  57. but she, in haste departing from that grove,
  58. almost forgot her quiver and her bow.
  59. Behold, Diana, with her virgin train,
  60. when hunting on the slopes of Maenalus,
  61. amidst the pleasures of exciting sport,
  62. espied the Nymph and called her, who, afraid
  63. that Jove apparelled in disguise deceived,
  64. drew backward for a moment, till appeared
  65. to her the lovely Nymphs that followed: thus,
  66. assured deceit was none, she ventured near.
  67. Alas, how difficult to hide disgrace!
  68. She could not raise her vision from the ground,
  69. nor as the leader of the hunting Nymphs,
  70. as was her wont, walk by the goddess' side.
  71. Her silence and her blushes were the signs
  72. of injured honour. Ah Diana, thou,
  73. if thou wert not a virgin, wouldst perceive
  74. and pity her unfortunate distress.
  75. The Moon's bent horns were rising from their ninth
  76. sojourn, when, fainting from Apollo's flames,
  77. the goddess of the Chase observed a cool
  78. umbrageous grove, from which a murmuring stream
  79. ran babbling gently over golden sands.
  80. When she approved the spot, lightly she struck
  81. her foot against the ripples of the stream,
  82. and praising it began; “Far from the gaze
  83. of all the curious we may bathe our limbs,
  84. and sport in this clear water.” Quickly they
  85. undid their garments,—but Calisto hid
  86. behind the others, till they knew her state.—
  87. Diana in a rage exclaimed, “Away!
  88. Thou must not desecrate our sacred springs!”
  89. And she was driven thence.
  1. Ere this transpired,
  2. observed the consort of the Thunder-God
  3. her altered mien; but she for ripening time
  4. withheld severe resentment. Now delay
  5. was needless for distracted Juno heard
  6. Calisto of the god of Heaven had borne
  7. a boy called Arcas. Full of jealous rage,
  8. her eyes and thoughts enkindled as she cried;
  9. “And only this was wanting to complete
  10. your wickedness, that you should bear a son
  11. and flaunt abroad the infamy of Jove!
  12. Unpunished you shall not escape, for I
  13. will spoil the beauty that has made you proud
  14. and dazzled Jupiter with wanton art.”
  15. So saying, by her forehead's tresses seized
  16. the goddess on her rival; and she dragged
  17. her roughly to the ground. Pleading she raised
  18. her suppliant arms and begged for mercy.—While
  19. she pled, black hair spread over her white limbs;
  20. her hands were lengthened into feet, and claws
  21. long-curving tipped them; snarling jaws deformed
  22. the mouth that Jove had kissed. And lest her prayers
  23. and piteous words might move some listening God,
  24. and give remembrance, speech was so denied,
  25. that only from her throat came angry growls,
  26. now uttered hoarse and threatening.
  27. Still remains
  28. her understanding, though her body, thus
  29. transformed, makes her appear a savage bear.—
  30. her sorrows are expressed in many a groan,
  31. repeated as she lifts her hands—if we
  32. may call them so—repeated as she lifts
  33. them towards the stars and skies, ungrateful Jove
  34. regarding; but her voice accuses not.
  35. Afraid to rest in unfrequented woods,
  36. she wandered in the fields that once were hers,
  37. around her well-known dwelling. Over crags,
  38. in terror, she was driven by the cries
  39. of hounds; and many a time she fled in fear,
  40. a huntress from the hunters, or she hid
  41. from savage animals; forgetting her
  42. transformed condition. Changed into a bear,
  43. she fled affrighted from the bears that haunt
  44. the rugged mountains; and she feared and fled
  45. the wolves,—although her father was a wolf.
  46. When thrice five birthdays rounded out the youth
  47. of Arcas, offspring of Lycaon's child,
  48. he hunted in the forest of his choice;
  49. where, hanging with his platted nets the trees
  50. of Erymanthian forest, he espied
  51. his transformed mother,—but he knew her not;
  52. no one had told him of his parentage.
  53. Knowing her child, she stood with levelled gaze,
  54. amazed and mute as he began approach;
  55. but Arcas, frightened at the sight drew back
  56. to pierce his mother's breast with wounding spear.—
  57. but not permitting it the god of Heaven
  58. averted, and removed them from that crime.
  59. He, in a mighty wind—through vacant space,
  60. upbore them to the dome of starry heaven,
  61. and fixed them, Constellations, bright amid
  62. the starry host.
  63. Juno on high beheld
  64. Calisto crowned with glory—great with rage
  65. her bosom heaved. She flew across the sea,
  66. to hoary Tethys and to old Oceanus,
  67. whom all the Gods revere, and thus to them
  68. in answer to their words she made address;
  69. “And is it wondered that the Queen of Gods
  70. comes hither from ethereal abodes?
  71. My rival sits upon the Throne of Heaven:
  72. yea, when the wing of Night has darkened
  73. let my fair word be deemed of no repute,
  74. if you behold not in the height of Heaven
  75. those new made stars, now honoured to my shame,
  76. conspicuous; fixed in the highest dome of space
  77. that circles the utmost axis of the world.
  78. “Who, then, should hesitate to put affront
  79. on Juno? matchless goddess! each offense
  80. redounds in benefit! Who dreads her rage?
  81. Oh boundless powers! Oh unimagined deeds!
  82. My enemy assumes a goddess' form
  83. when my decree deprives her human shape;—
  84. and thus the guilty rue their chastisement!
  85. “Now let high Jove to human shape transform
  86. this hideous beast, as once before he changed
  87. his Io from a heifer.—Let him now
  88. divorce his Juno and consort with her,
  89. and lead Calisto to his couch, and take
  90. that wolf, Lycaon, for a father-in-law!
  91. “Oh, if an injury to me, your child,
  92. may move your pity! drive the Seven Stars
  93. from waters crystalline and azure-tint,
  94. and your domain debar from those that shine
  95. in Heaven, rewarded for Jove's wickedness.—
  96. bathe not a concubine in waters pure.”—
  1. the Gods of Ocean granted her request.
  2. High in her graceful chariot through the air,
  3. translucent, wends the goddess, glorious child
  4. of Saturn, with her peacocks many-hued:
  5. her peacocks, by the death of Argus limned,
  6. so gay were made when black as midnight turned
  7. thy wings, O chattering raven! white of yore.
  8. For, long ago the ravens were not black—
  9. their plumage then was white as any dove—
  10. white-feathered, snow-white as the geese that guard
  11. with watchful cries the Capitol: as white
  12. as swans that haunt the streams. Disgrace reversed
  13. the raven's hue from white to black, because
  14. offense was given by his chattering tongue.
  15. O glorious Phoebus! dutiful to thee,
  16. Coronis of Larissa, fairest maid
  17. of all Aemonia, was a grateful charm,
  18. a joy to thee whilst faithful to thy love,—
  19. while none defamed her chastity. But when
  20. the Raven, bird of Phoebus, learned the Nymph
  21. had been unfaithful, mischief-bent that bird,
  22. spreading his white wings, hastened to impart
  23. the sad news to his master. After him
  24. the prattling Crow followed with flapping wings,
  25. eager to learn what caused the Raven's haste.
  26. Concealing nothing, with his busy tongue
  27. the Raven gave the scandal to that bird:
  28. and unto him the prattling Crow replied;
  29. “A fruitless errand has befooled thy wits!
  30. Take timely warning of my fateful cries:
  31. consider what I was and what I am:
  32. was justice done? 'Twas my fidelity
  33. that caused my downfall. For, it came to pass,
  34. within a basket, fashioned of small twigs,
  35. Minerva had enclosed that spawn; begot
  36. without a mother, Ericthonius;
  37. which to the wardship of three virgins, born
  38. of double-natured Cecrops, she consigned
  39. with this injunction, ‘Look ye not therein,
  40. nor learn the secret.’—
  41. “But I saw their deeds
  42. while hidden in the leaves of a great tree
  43. two of the sisters, Herse and Pandrosos,
  44. observed the charge, but scoffing at their fears,
  45. the third, Aglauros, with her nimble hands
  46. untied the knotted cords, and there disclosed
  47. a serpent and an infant. This I told
  48. Minerva; but in turn, she took away
  49. her long protection, and degraded me
  50. beneath the boding Owl.—My punishment
  51. should warn the birds how many dangers they
  52. incur from chattering tongues.
  53. “Not my desire
  54. impelled me to report to her, nor did
  55. I crave protection; which, if thou wilt ask
  56. Minerva, though enraged she must confirm.
  57. And when is told to thee what lately fame
  58. established, thou wilt not despise the Crow.
  59. “Begot by Coronaeus, who was lord
  60. of all the land of Phocis, I was once
  61. a royal virgin, sought by suitors rich
  62. and powerful. But beauty proved the cause
  63. of my misfortune; for it came to pass,
  64. as I was slowly walking on the sands
  65. that skirt the merge of ocean, where was oft
  66. my wont to roam, the god of Ocean gazed
  67. impassioned, and with honied words implored
  68. my love—but finding that I paid no heed,
  69. and all his words despised, he fumed with rage
  70. and followed me.
  71. “I fled from that sea-shore,
  72. to fields of shifting sands that all my steps
  73. delayed: and in despair upon the Gods
  74. and all mankind I called for aid, but I
  75. was quite alone and helpless. Presently
  76. the chaste Minerva, me, a virgin, heard
  77. and me assistance gave: for as my arms
  78. implored the Heavens, downy feathers grew
  79. from out the flesh; and as I tried to cast
  80. my mantle from my shoulders, wings appeared
  81. upon my tender sides; and as I strove
  82. to beat my naked bosom with my hands,
  83. nor hands remained nor naked breast to beat.
  84. “I ran, and as I sped the sands no more
  85. delayed me; I was soaring from the ground;
  86. and as I winged the air, Minerva chose
  87. me for a life-companion; but alas,
  88. although my life was blameless, fate or chance
  89. deprived me of Minerva's loving aid;
  90. for soon Nictimene succeeded me
  91. to her protection and deserved esteem.—
  92. it happened in this way,—Nictimene
  93. committed the most wicked crimes, for which
  94. Minerva changed her to the bird of night—
  95. and ever since has claimed her as her own
  96. instead of me; and this despite the deed
  97. for which she shuns the glorious light of day,
  98. and conscious of her crime conceals her shame
  99. in the dark night—Minerva's Owl now called.
  100. All the glad birds of day, indignant shun,
  101. and chase her from the skies.”
  102. But now replied
  103. the Raven to the Crow, that talked so much,
  104. “A mischief fall upon your prating head
  105. for this detention of my flight. Your words
  106. and warnings I despise.” With which retort
  107. he winged upon his journey, swiftly thence
  108. in haste, despite the warning to inform
  109. his patron, Phoebus, how he saw the fair
  110. Coronis with a lad of Thessaly.
  111. And when Apollo, Phoebus, heard the tale
  112. the busy Raven made such haste to tell,
  113. he dropped his plectrum and his laurel wreath,
  114. and his bright countenance went white with rage.
  115. He seized his trusted arms, and having bent
  116. his certain bow, pierced with a deadly shaft
  117. that bosom which so often he had pressed
  118. against his own.
  119. Coronis moaned in pain,—
  120. and as she drew the keen shaft from the wound,
  121. her snow-white limbs were bathed in purple blood:
  122. and thus she wailed, “Ah, Phoebus! punishment
  123. is justly mine! but wherefore didst thou not
  124. await the hour of birth? for by my death
  125. an innocent is slain.” This said, her soul
  126. expired with her life-blood, and death congealed
  127. her drooping form.
  128. Sadly the love-lore God
  129. repents his jealous deed; regrets too late
  130. his ready credence to the Raven's tale.
  131. Mourning his thoughtless deed, blaming himself,
  132. he vents his rage upon the talking bird;
  133. he hates his bow, the string, his own right hand,
  134. the fateful arrow. As a last resource,
  135. and thus to overcome her destiny,
  136. he strove to cherish her beloved form;
  137. for vain were all his medicinal arts.
  138. But when he saw upraised the funeral pyre,
  139. where wreathed in flames her body should be burnt,
  140. the sorrow of his heart welled forth in sighs;
  141. but tearless orbed, for no celestial face
  142. may tide of woe bedew. So grieves the poor dam,
  143. when, swinging from his right the flashing ax,
  144. the butcher with a sounding blow divides
  145. the hollow temples of her sucking calf.
  146. Yet, after Phoebus poured the fragrant myrrh,
  147. sweet perfumes on her breast, that now once more
  148. against his own he pressed, and after all
  149. the prematurely hastened rites were done,
  150. he would not suffer the offspring of his loins
  151. to mingle with her ashes, but he plucked
  152. from out the flames, forth from the mother's thighs
  153. his child, unborn, and carried to the cave
  154. of double-natured Chiron.
  155. Then to him
  156. he called the silly raven, high in hopes
  157. of large requital due for all his words;
  158. but, angry with his meddling ways, the God
  159. turned the white feathers of that bird to black
  160. and then forbade forever more to perch
  161. among the favoured birds whose plumes are white.
  1. Chiron, the Centaur, taught his pupil; proud
  2. that he was honoured by that God-like charge.
  3. Behold, his lovely daughter, who was born
  4. beside the margin of a rapid stream,
  5. came forward, with her yellow hair as gold
  6. adown her shoulders.—She was known by name
  7. Ocyroe. The hidden things that Fate
  8. conceals, she had the power to tell; for not
  9. content was she to learn her father's arts,
  10. but rather pondered on mysterious things.
  11. So, when the god of Frenzy warmed her breast,
  12. gazing on Aesculapius,—the child
  13. of Phoebus and Coronis, while her soul
  14. was gifted, with prophetic voice she said;
  15. “O thou who wilt bestow on all the world
  16. the blessed boon of health, increase in strength!
  17. To thee shall mortals often owe their lives:
  18. to thee is given the power to raise the dead.
  19. But when against the power of Deities
  20. thou shalt presume to dare thy mortal skill,
  21. the bolts of Jove will shatter thy great might,
  22. and health no more be thine from thence to grant.
  23. And from a god thou shalt return to dust,
  24. and once again from dust become a God;
  25. and thou shalt thus renew thy destiny.—
  26. “And thou, dear father Chiron, brought to birth
  27. with pledge of an immortal life, informed
  28. with ever-during strength, when biting flames
  29. of torment from the baneful serpent's blood
  30. are coursing in thy veins, thou shalt implore
  31. a welcome death; and thy immortal life
  32. the Gods shall suffer to the power of death.—
  33. and the three Destinies shall cut thy thread.”
  34. She would continue these prophetic words
  35. but tears unbidden trickled down her face;
  36. and, as it seemed her sighs would break her heart,
  37. she thus bewailed; “The Fates constrain my speech
  38. and I can say no more; my power has gone.
  39. Alas, my art, although of little force
  40. and doubtful worth, has brought upon my head
  41. the wrath of Heaven.
  42. “Oh wherefore did I know
  43. to cast the future? Now my human form
  44. puts on another shape, and the long grass
  45. affords me needed nourishment. I want
  46. to range the boundless plains and have become,
  47. in image of my father's kind, a mare:
  48. but gaining this, why lose my human shape?
  49. My father's form is one of twain combined.”
  50. And as she wailed the words became confused
  51. and scarcely understood; and soon her speech
  52. was only as the whinny of a mare.
  53. Down to the meadow's green her arms were stretched;
  54. her fingers joined together, and smooth hoofs
  55. made of five nails a single piece of horn.
  56. Her face and neck were lengthened, and her hair
  57. swept downward as a tail; the scattered locks
  58. that clung around her neck were made a mane,
  59. tossed over to the right. Her voice and shape
  60. were altogether changed, and since that day
  61. the change has given her a different name.
  1. In vain her hero father, Chiron, prayed
  2. the glorious God, Apollo, her to aid.
  3. He could not thwart the will of mighty Jove;
  4. and if the power were his, far from the spot,
  5. from thence afar his footsteps trod the fields
  6. of Elis and Messenia, far from thence.
  7. Now while Apollo wandered on those plains,—
  8. his shoulders covered with a shepherd's skin,
  9. his left hand holding his long shepherd's staff,
  10. his right hand busied with the seven reeds
  11. of seven sizes, brooding over the death
  12. of Hymenaeus, lost from his delight;
  13. while mournful ditties on the reeds were tuned,—
  14. his kine, forgotten, strayed away to graze
  15. over the plains of Pylos. Mercury
  16. observed them, unattended, and from thence
  17. drove them away and hid them in the forest.
  18. So deftly did he steal them, no one knew
  19. or noticed save an ancient forester,
  20. well known to all the neighbor-folk, by them
  21. called Battus. He was keeper of that wood,
  22. and that green pasture where the blooded mares
  23. of rich Neleus grazed.
  24. As Mercury
  25. distrusted him, he led him to one side
  26. and said; “Good stranger, whosoever thou art,
  27. if any one should haply question thee,
  28. if thou hast seen these kine, deny it all;
  29. and for thy good will, ere the deed is done,
  30. I give as thy reward this handsome cow.”
  31. Now when the gift was his, old Battus said,
  32. “Go hence in safety, if it be thy will;
  33. and should my tongue betray thee, let that stone
  34. make mention of the theft.” And as he spoke,
  35. he pointed to a stone.
  36. The son of Jove
  37. pretended to depart, but quickly changed
  38. his voice and features, and retraced his steps,
  39. and thus again addressed that ancient man;
  40. “Kind sir, if thou wouldst earn a fair reward,
  41. a heifer and a bull, if thou hast seen
  42. some cattle pass, I pray thee give thy help,
  43. and tell me of the theft.” So the reward
  44. was doubled; and the old man answered him,
  45. “Beyond those hills they be,” and so they were
  46. ‘Beyond those hills.’
  47. And, laughing, Mercury said,
  48. “Thou treacherous man to me dost thou betray
  49. myself? Dost thou bewray me to myself?”
  50. The god indignant turned his perjured breast
  51. into a stone which even now is called
  52. “The Spy of Pylos,” a disgraceful name,
  53. derived from days of old, but undeserved.
  1. High in the dome of Heaven, behold the bright
  2. Caduceus-Bearer soared on balanced wings;
  3. and far below him through a fruitful grove,
  4. devoted to Minerva's hallowed reign,
  5. some virgins bearing on their lovely heads,
  6. in wicker baskets wreathed and decked with flowers,
  7. their sacred offerings to the citadel
  8. of that chaste goddess. And the winged God,
  9. while circling in the clear unbounded skies,
  10. beheld that train of virgins, beautiful,
  11. as they were thence returning on their way.
  12. Not forward on a level line he flew,
  13. but wheeled in circles round. Lo, the swift kite
  14. swoops round the smoking entrails, while the priests
  15. enclose in guarded ranks their sacrifice:
  16. wary with fear, that swiftest of all birds,
  17. dares not to venture from his vantage height,
  18. but greedily hovers on his waving wings
  19. around his keen desire. So, the bright God
  20. circled those towers, Actaean, round and round,
  21. in mazey circles, greedy as the bird.
  22. As much as Lucifer outshines the stars
  23. that emulate the glory of his rays,
  24. as greatly as bright Phoebe pales thy light,
  25. O lustrous Lucifer! so far surpassed
  26. in beauty the fair maiden Herse, all
  27. those lovely virgins of that sacred train,
  28. departing joyous from Minerva's grove.
  29. The Son of Jove, astonished, while he wheeled
  30. on balanced pinions through the yielding air,
  31. burned hot; as oft from Balearic sling
  32. the leaden missile, hurled with sudden force,
  33. burns in a glowing heat beneath the clouds.
  34. Then sloped the god his course from airy height,
  35. and turned a different way; another way
  36. he went without disguise, in confidence
  37. of his celestial grace. But though he knew
  38. his face was beautiful, he combed his hair,
  39. and fixed his flowing raiment, that the fringe
  40. of radiant gold appeared. And in his hand
  41. he waved his long smooth wand, with which he gives
  42. the wakeful sleep or waketh ridded eyes.
  43. He proudly glanced upon his twinkling feet
  44. that sparkled with their scintillating wings.
  45. In a secluded part of that great fane,
  46. devoted to Minerva's hallowed rites,
  47. three chambers were adorned with tortoise shell
  48. and ivory and precious woods inlaid;
  49. and there, devoted to Minerva's praise,
  50. three well known sisters dwelt. Upon the right
  51. dwelt Pandrosos and over on the left
  52. Aglauros dwelt, and Herse occupied
  53. the room between those two.
  54. When Mercury
  55. drew near to them, Aglauros first espied
  56. the God, and ventured to enquire his name,
  57. and wherefore he was come. Then gracious spoke
  58. to her in answer the bright son of Jove;
  59. “Behold the god who carries through the air
  60. the mandates of almighty Jupiter!
  61. But I come hither not to waste my time
  62. in idle words, but rather to beseech
  63. thy kindness and good aid, that I may win
  64. the love of thy devoted sister Herse.”
  65. Aglauros, on the son of Jupiter,
  66. gazed with those eyes that only lately viewed
  67. the guarded secret of the yellow-haired
  68. Minerva, and demanded as her price
  69. gold of great weight; before he paid denied
  70. admittance of the house.
  71. Minerva turned,
  72. with orbs of stern displeasure, towards the maid
  73. Aglauros; and her bosom heaved with sighs
  74. so deeply laboured that her Aegis-shield
  75. was shaken on her valiant breast. For she
  76. remembered when Aglauros gave to view
  77. her charge, with impious hand, that monster form
  78. without a mother, maugre Nature's law,
  79. what time the god who dwells on Lemnos loved.—
  80. now to requite the god and sister; her
  81. to punish whose demand of gold was great;
  82. Minerva to the Cave of Envy sped.
  83. Dark, hideous with black gore, her dread abode
  84. is hidden in the deepest hollowed cave,
  85. in utmost limits where the genial sun
  86. may never shine, and where the breathing winds
  87. may never venture; dismal, bitter cold,
  88. untempered by the warmth of welcome fires,
  89. involved forever in abounding gloom.
  90. When the fair champion came to this abode
  91. she stood before its entrance, for she deemed
  92. it not a lawful thing to enter there:
  93. and she whose arm is mortal to her foes,
  94. struck the black door-posts with her pointed spear,
  95. and shook them to the center. Straight the doors
  96. flew open, and, behold, within was Envy
  97. ravening the flesh of vipers, self-begot,
  98. the nutriment of her depraved desires.—
  99. when the great goddess met her evil gaze
  100. she turned her eyes away. But Envy slow,
  101. in sluggish languor from the ground uprose,
  102. and left the scattered serpents half-devoured;
  103. then moving with a sullen pace approached.—
  104. and when she saw the gracious goddess, girt
  105. with beauty and resplendent in her arms,
  106. she groaned aloud and fetched up heavy sighs.
  107. Her face is pale, her body long and lean,
  108. her shifting eyes glance to the left and right,
  109. her snaggle teeth are covered with black rust,
  110. her hanging paps overflow with bitter gall,
  111. her slavered tongue drips venom to the ground;
  112. busy in schemes and watchful in dark snares
  113. sweet sleep is banished from her blood-shot eyes;
  114. her smiles are only seen when others weep;
  115. with sorrow she observes the fortunate,
  116. and pines away as she beholds their joy;
  117. her own existence is her punishment,
  118. and while tormenting she torments herself.
  119. Although Minerva held her in deep scorn
  120. she thus commanded her with winged words;
  121. “Instil thy poison in Aglauros, child
  122. of Cecrops; I command thee; do my will.”
  123. She spake; and spurning with her spear the ground
  124. departed; and the sad and furtive-eyed
  125. envy observed her in her glorious flight:
  126. she murmured at the goddess, great in arms:
  127. but waiting not she took in hand her staff,
  128. which bands of thorns encircled as a wreath,
  129. and veiled in midnight clouds departed thence.
  130. She blasted on her way the ripening fields;
  131. scorched the green meadows, starred with flowers,
  132. and breathed a pestilence throughout the land
  133. and the great cities. When her eyes beheld
  134. the glorious citadel of Athens, great
  135. in art and wealth, abode of joyful peace,
  136. she hardly could refrain from shedding tears,
  137. that nothing might be witnessed worthy tears.
  138. She sought the chamber where Aglauros slept,
  139. and hastened to obey the God's behest.
  140. She touched the maiden's bosom with her hands,
  141. foul with corrupting stains, and pierced her heart
  142. with jagged thorns, and breathed upon her face
  143. a noxious venom; and distilled through all
  144. the marrow of her bones, and in her lungs,
  145. a poison blacker than the ooze of pitch.
  146. And lest the canker of her poisoned soul
  147. might spread unchecked throughout increasing space,
  148. she caused a vision of her sister's form
  149. to rise before her, happy with the God
  150. who shone in his celestial beauty. All
  151. appeared more beautiful than real life.—
  152. when the most wretched daughter of Cecrops
  153. had seen the vision secret torment seized
  154. on all her vitals; and she groaned aloud,
  155. tormented by her frenzy day and night.
  156. A slow consumption wasted her away,
  157. as ice is melted by the slant sunbeam,
  158. when the cool clouds are flitting in the sky.
  159. If she but thought of Herse's happiness
  160. she burned, as thorny bushes are consumed
  161. with smoldering embers under steaming stems.
  162. She could not bear to see her sister's joy,
  163. and longed for death, an end of misery;
  164. or schemed to end the torture of her mind
  165. by telling all she knew in shameful words,
  166. whispered to her austere and upright sire.
  167. But after many agonizing hours,
  168. she sat before the threshold of their home
  169. to intercept the God, who as he neared
  170. spoke softly in smooth blandishment.
  171. “Enough,” she said, “I will not move from here
  172. until thou hast departed from my sight.”
  173. “Let us adhere to that which was agreed.”
  174. Rejoined the graceful-formed Cyllenian God,
  175. who as he spoke thrust open with a touch
  176. of his compelling wand the carved door.
  177. But when she made an effort to arise,
  178. her thighs felt heavy, rigid and benumbed;
  179. and as she struggled to arise her knees
  180. were stiffened? and her nails turned pale and cold;
  181. her veins grew pallid as the blood congealed.
  182. And even as the dreaded cancer spreads
  183. through all the body, adding to its taint
  184. the flesh uninjured; so, a deadly chill
  185. entered by slow degrees her breast, and stopped
  186. her breathing, and the passages of life.
  187. She did not try to speak, but had she made
  188. an effort to complain there was not left
  189. a passage for her voice. Her neck was changed
  190. to rigid stone, her countenance felt hard;
  191. she sat a bloodless statue, but of stone
  192. not marble-white—her mind had stained it black.
  1. So from the land of Pallas went the God,
  2. his great revenge accomplished on the head
  3. of impious Aglauros; and he soared
  4. on waving wings into the opened skies:
  5. and there his father called him to his side,
  6. and said,—with words to hide his passion;—Son,—
  7. thou faithful minister of my commands.—
  8. let naught delay thee—swiftly take the way,
  9. accustomed, to the land of Sidon (which
  10. adores thy mother's star upon the left)
  11. when there, drive over to the sounding shore
  12. that royal herd, which far away is fed
  13. on mountain grass.—
  14. he spoke, and instantly
  15. the herd was driven from the mountain side;
  16. then headed for the shore, as Jove desired,—
  17. to where the great king's daughter often went
  18. in play, attended by the maids of Tyre.—
  19. can love abide the majesty of kings?
  20. Love cannot always dwell upon a throne.—
  21. Jove laid aside his glorious dignity,
  22. for he assumed the semblance of a bull
  23. and mingled with the bullocks in the groves,
  24. his colour white as virgin snow, untrod,
  25. unmelted by the watery Southern Wind.
  26. His neck was thick with muscles, dewlaps hung
  27. between his shoulders; and his polished horns,
  28. so small and beautifully set, appeared
  29. the artifice of man; fashioned as fair
  30. and more transparent than a lucent gem.
  31. His forehead was not lowered for attack,
  32. nor was there fury in his open eyes;
  33. the love of peace was in his countenance.
  34. When she beheld his beauty and mild eyes,
  35. the daughter of Agenor was amazed;
  36. but, daring not to touch him, stood apart
  37. until her virgin fears were quieted;
  38. then, near him, fragrant flowers in her hand
  39. she offered,—tempting, to his gentle mouth:
  40. and then the loving god in his great joy
  41. kissed her sweet hands, and could not wait her will.
  42. Jove then began to frisk upon the grass,
  43. or laid his snow-white side on the smooth sand,
  44. yellow and golden. As her courage grew
  45. he gave his breast one moment for caress,
  46. or bent his head for garlands newly made,
  47. wreathed for his polished horns.
  48. The royal maid,
  49. unwitting what she did, at length sat down
  50. upon the bull's broad back. Then by degrees
  51. the god moved from the land and from the shore,
  52. and placed his feet, that seemed but shining hoofs,
  53. in shallow water by the sandy merge;
  54. and not a moment resting bore her thence,
  55. across the surface of the Middle Sea,
  56. while she affrighted gazed upon the shore—
  57. so fast receding. And she held his horn
  58. with her right hand, and, steadied by the left,
  59. held on his ample back—and in the breeze
  60. her waving garments fluttered as they went.