Ovid. Metamorphoses. More, Brookes, translator. Boston: Cornhill Publishing Co., 1922.

  1. All this Minerva heard; and she approved
  2. their songs and their resentment; but her heart
  3. was brooding thus, “It is an easy thing
  4. to praise another, I should do as they:
  5. no creature of the earth should ever slight
  6. the majesty that dwells in me,—without
  7. just retribution.”—So her thought was turned
  8. upon the fortune of Arachne — proud,
  9. who would not ever yield to her the praise
  10. won by the art of deftly weaving wool,
  11. a girl who had not fame for place of birth,
  12. nor fame for birth, but only fame for skill!
  13. For it was well known that her father dwelt
  14. in Colophon; where, at his humble trade,
  15. he dyed in Phocean purples, fleecy wool.
  16. Her mother, also of the lower class,
  17. had died. Arachne in a mountain town
  18. by skill had grown so famous in the Land
  19. of Lydia, that unnumbered curious nymphs
  20. eager to witness her dexterity,
  21. deserted the lush vineyards of Timolus;
  22. or even left the cool and flowing streams
  23. of bright Pactolus, to admire the cloth,
  24. or to observe her deftly spinning wool.
  25. So graceful was her motion then,—if she
  26. was twisting the coarse wool in little balls,
  27. or if she teased it with her finger-tips,
  28. or if she softened the fine fleece, drawn forth
  29. in misty films, or if she twirled the smooth
  30. round spindle with her energetic thumb,
  31. or if with needle she embroidered cloth;—
  32. in all her motions one might well perceive
  33. how much Minerva had instructed her:
  34. but this she ever would deny, displeased
  35. to share her fame; and said, “Let her contend
  36. in art with me; and if her skill prevails,
  37. I then will forfeit all!”
  38. Minerva heard,
  39. and came to her, disguised with long grey hair,
  40. and with a staff to steady her weak limbs.
  41. She seemed a feeble woman, very old,
  42. and quavered as she said, “Old age is not
  43. the cause of every ill; experience comes
  44. with lengthened years; and, therefore, you should not
  45. despise my words. It is no harm in you
  46. to long for praise of mortals, when
  47. your nimble hands are spinning the soft wool,—
  48. but you should not deny Minerva's art—
  49. and you should pray that she may pardon you,
  50. for she will grant you pardon if you ask.”
  51. Arachne, scowling with an evil face.
  52. Looked at the goddess, as she dropped her thread.
  53. She hardly could restrain her threatening hand,
  54. and, trembling in her anger, she replied
  55. to you, disguised Minerva:
  56. “Silly fool,—
  57. worn out and witless in your palsied age,
  58. a great age is your great misfortune!— Let
  59. your daughter and your son's wife—if the Gods
  60. have blessed you—let them profit by your words;
  61. within myself, my knowledge is contained
  62. sufficient; you need not believe that your
  63. advice does any good; for I am quite
  64. unchanged in my opinion. Get you gone,—
  65. advise your goddess to come here herself,
  66. and not avoid the contest!”
  67. Instantly,
  68. the goddess said, “Minerva comes to you!”
  69. And with those brief words, put aside the shape
  70. of the old woman, and revealed herself,
  71. Minerva, goddess.
  72. All the other Nymphs
  73. and matrons of Mygdonia worshiped her;
  74. but not Arachne, who defiant stood;—
  75. although at first she flushed up—then went pale—
  76. then blushed again, reluctant.—So, at first,
  77. the sky suffuses, as Aurora moves,
  78. and, quickly when the glorious sun comes up,
  79. pales into white.
  80. She even rushed upon
  81. her own destruction, for she would not give
  82. from her desire to gain the victory.
  83. Nor did the daughter of almighty Jove
  84. decline: disdaining to delay with words,
  85. she hesitated not.
  86. And both, at once,
  87. selected their positions, stretched their webs
  88. with finest warp, and separated warp with sley.
  89. The woof was next inserted in the web
  90. by means of the sharp shuttles, which
  91. their nimble fingers pushed along, so drawn
  92. within the warp, and so the teeth notched in
  93. the moving sley might strike them.—Both, in haste,
  94. girded their garments to their breasts and moved
  95. their skilful arms, beguiling their fatigue
  96. in eager action.
  97. Myriad tints appeared
  98. besides the Tyrian purple—royal dye,
  99. extracted in brass vessels.—As the bow,
  100. that spans new glory in the curving sky,
  101. its glittering rays reflected in the rain,
  102. spreads out a multitude of blended tints,
  103. in scintillating beauty to the sight
  104. of all who gaze upon it; — so the threads,
  105. inwoven, mingled in a thousand tints,
  106. harmonious and contrasting; shot with gold:
  107. and there, depicted in those shining webs,
  108. were shown the histories of ancient days:—
  109. Minerva worked the Athenian Hill of Mars,
  110. where ancient Cecrops built his citadel,
  111. and showed the old contention for the name
  112. it should be given.—Twelve celestial Gods
  113. surrounded Jupiter, on lofty thrones;
  114. and all their features were so nicely drawn,
  115. that each could be distinguished.—Jupiter
  116. appeared as monarch of those judging Gods.
  117. There Neptune, guardian of the sea, was shown
  118. contending with Minerva. As he struck
  119. the Rock with his long trident, a wild horse
  120. sprang forth which he bequeathed to man. He claimed
  121. his right to name the city for that gift.
  122. And then she wove a portrait of herself,
  123. bearing a shield, and in her hand a lance,
  124. sharp-pointed, and a helmet on her head—
  125. her breast well-guarded by her Aegis: there
  126. she struck her spear into the fertile earth,
  127. from which a branch of olive seemed to sprout,
  128. pale with new clustered fruits.—And those twelve Gods,
  129. appeared to judge, that olive as a gift
  130. surpassed the horse which Neptune gave to man.
  131. And, so Arachne, rival of her fame,
  132. might learn the folly of her mad attempt,
  133. from the great deeds of ancient histories,
  134. and what award presumption must expect,
  135. Minerva wove four corners with life scenes
  136. of contest, brightly colored, but of size
  137. diminutive.
  1. In one of these was shown
  2. the snow-clad mountains, Rhodope,
  3. and Haemus, which for punishment were changed
  4. from human beings to those rigid forms,
  5. when they aspired to rival the high Gods.
  6. And in another corner she described
  7. that Pygmy, whom the angry Juno changed
  8. from queen-ship to a crane; because she thought
  9. herself an equal of the living Gods,
  10. she was commanded to wage cruel wars
  11. upon her former subjects. In the third,
  12. she wove the story of Antigone,
  13. who dared compare herself to Juno, queen
  14. of Jupiter, and showed her as she was
  15. transformed into a silly chattering stork,
  16. that praised her beauty, with her ugly beak.—
  17. Despite the powers of Ilion and her sire
  18. Laomedon, her shoulders fledged white wings.
  19. And so, the third part finished, there was left
  20. one corner, where Minerva deftly worked
  21. the story of the father, Cinyras;—
  22. as he was weeping on the temple steps,
  23. which once had been his daughter's living limbs.
  24. And she adorned the border with designs
  25. of peaceful olive—her devoted tree—
  26. which having shown, she made an end of work.
  27. Arachne, of Maeonia, wove, at first
  28. the story of Europa, as the bull
  29. deceived her, and so perfect was her art,
  30. it seemed a real bull in real waves.
  31. Europa seemed to look back towards the land
  32. which she had left; and call in her alarm
  33. to her companions—and as if she feared
  34. the touch of dashing waters, to draw up
  35. her timid feet, while she was sitting on
  36. the bull's back.
  37. And she wove Asteria seized
  38. by the assaulting eagle; and beneath the swan's
  39. white wings showed Leda lying by the stream:
  40. and showed Jove dancing as a Satyr, when
  41. he sought the beautiful Antiope,
  42. to whom was given twins; and how he seemed
  43. Amphitryon when he deceived Alcmena;
  44. and how he courted lovely Danae
  45. luring her as a gleaming shower of gold;
  46. and poor Aegina, hidden in his flame,
  47. jove as a shepherd with Mnemosyne;
  48. and beautiful Proserpina, involved
  49. by him, apparent as a spotted snake.
  50. And in her web, Arachne wove the scenes
  51. of Neptune:—who was shown first as a bull,
  52. when he was deep in love with virgin Arne
  53. then as Enipeus when the giant twins,
  54. Aloidae, were begot; and as the ram
  55. that gambolled with Bisaltis; as a horse
  56. loved by the fruitful Ceres, golden haired,
  57. all-bounteous mother of the yellow grain;
  58. and as the bird that hovered round snake-haired
  59. Medusa, mother of the winged horse;
  60. and as the dolphin, sporting with the Nymph,
  61. Melantho.—All of these were woven true
  62. to life, in proper shades.
  63. And there she showed
  64. Apollo, when disguised in various forms:
  65. as when he seemed a rustic; and as when
  66. he wore hawk-wings, and then the tawny skin
  67. of a great lion; and once more when he
  68. deluded Isse, as a shepherd lad.
  69. And there was Bacchus, when he was disguised
  70. as a large cluster of fictitious grapes;
  71. deluding by that wile the beautiful
  72. Erigone;—and Saturn, as a steed,
  73. begetter of the dual-natured Chiron.
  74. And then Arachne, to complete her work,
  75. wove all around the web a patterned edge
  76. of interlacing flowers and ivy leaves.
  77. Minerva could not find a fleck or flaw—
  78. even Envy can not censure perfect art—
  79. enraged because Arachne had such skill
  80. she ripped the web, and ruined all the scenes
  81. that showed those wicked actions of the Gods;
  82. and with her boxwood shuttle in her hand,
  83. struck the unhappy mortal on her head,—
  84. struck sharply thrice, and even once again.
  85. Arachne's spirit, deigning not to brook
  86. such insult, brooded on it, till she tied
  87. a cord around her neck, and hung herself.
  88. Minerva, moved to pity at the sight,
  89. sustained and saved her from that bitter death;
  90. but, angry still, pronounced another doom:
  91. “Although I grant you life, most wicked one,
  92. your fate shall be to dangle on a cord,
  93. and your posterity forever shall
  94. take your example, that your punishment
  95. may last forever!” Even as she spoke,
  96. before withdrawing from her victim's sight,
  97. she sprinkled her with juice—extract of herbs
  98. of Hecate.
  99. At once all hair fell off,
  100. her nose and ears remained not, and her head
  101. shrunk rapidly in size, as well as all
  102. her body, leaving her diminutive.—
  103. Her slender fingers gathered to her sides
  104. as long thin legs; and all her other parts
  105. were fast absorbed in her abdomen—whence
  106. she vented a fine thread;—and ever since,
  107. Arachne, as a spider, weaves her web.
  1. All Lydia was astonished at her fate
  2. the Rumor spread to Phrygia, soon the world
  3. was filled with fear and wonder. Niobe
  4. had known her long before,—when in Maeonia
  5. near to Mount Sipylus; but the sad fate
  6. which overtook Arachne, lost on her,
  7. she never ceased her boasting and refused
  8. to honor the great Gods.
  9. So many things
  10. increased her pride: She loved to boast
  11. her husband's skill, their noble family,
  12. the rising grandeur of their kingdom. Such
  13. felicities were great delights to her;
  14. but nothing could exceed the haughty way
  15. she boasted of her children: and, in truth,
  16. Niobe might have been adjudged on earth,
  17. the happiest mother of mankind, if pride
  18. had not destroyed her wit.
  19. It happened then,
  20. that Manto, daughter of Tiresias,
  21. who told the future; when she felt the fire
  22. of prophecy descend upon her, rushed
  23. upon the street and shouted in the midst:
  24. “You women of Ismenus! go and give
  25. to high Latona and her children, twain,
  26. incense and prayer. Go, and with laurel wreathe
  27. your hair in garlands, as your sacred prayers
  28. arise to heaven. Give heed, for by my speech
  29. Latona has ordained these holy rites.”
  30. At once, the Theban women wreathe their brows
  31. with laurel, and they cast in hallowed flame
  32. the grateful incense, while they supplicate
  33. all favors of the ever-living Gods.
  34. And while they worship, Niobe comes there,
  35. surrounded with a troup that follow her,
  36. and most conspicuous in her purple robe,
  37. bright with inwoven threads of yellow gold.
  38. Beautiful in her anger, she tosses back
  39. her graceful head. The glory of her hair
  40. shines on her shoulders. Standing forth,
  41. she looks upon them with her haughty eyes,
  42. and taunts them, “Madness has prevailed on you
  43. to worship some imagined Gods of Heaven,
  44. which you have only heard of; but the Gods
  45. that truly are on earth, and can be seen,
  46. are all neglected! Come, explain to me,
  47. why is Latona worshiped and adored,
  48. and frankincense not offered unto me?
  49. For my divinity is known to you.
  50. “Tantalus was my father, who alone
  51. approached the tables of the Gods in heaven;
  52. my mother, sister of the Pleiades,
  53. was daughter of huge Atlas, who supports
  54. the world upon his shoulders; I can boast
  55. of Jupiter as father of my sire,
  56. I count him also as my father-in-law.
  57. The peoples of my Phrygia dread my power,
  58. and I am mistress of the palace built
  59. by Cadmus. By my husband, I am queen
  60. of those great walls that reared themselves
  61. to the sweet music of his sounding lyre.
  62. We rule together all the people they
  63. encompass and defend. And everywhere
  64. my gaze is turned, an evidence of wealth
  65. is witnessed.
  66. “In my features you can see
  67. the beauty of a goddess, but above
  68. that majesty is all the glory due
  69. to me, the mother of my seven sons
  70. and daughters seven. And the time will come
  71. when by their marriage they will magnify
  72. the circle of my power invincible.
  73. “All must acknowledge my just cause of pride
  74. and must no longer worship, in despite
  75. of my superior birth, this deity,
  76. a daughter of ignoble Coeus, whom
  77. one time the great Earth would not even grant
  78. sufficient space for travail: whom the Heavens,
  79. the Land, the Sea together once compelled
  80. to wander, hopeless on all hostile shores!
  81. Throughout the world she found herself rebuffed,
  82. till Delos, sorry for the vagrant, said,
  83. ‘Homeless you roam the lands, and I the seas!’
  84. And even her refuge always was adrift.
  85. “And there she bore two children, who, compared
  86. with mine, are but as one to seven. Who
  87. denies my fortunate condition?—Who
  88. can doubt my future?—I am surely safe.
  89. “The wealth of my abundance is too strong
  90. for Fortune to assail me. Let her rage
  91. despoil me of large substance; yet so much
  92. would still be mine, for I have risen above
  93. the blight of apprehension. But, suppose
  94. a few of my fair children should be taken!
  95. Even so deprived, I could not be reduced
  96. to only two, as this Latona, who,
  97. might quite as well be childless.—Get you gone
  98. from this insensate sacrifice. Make haste!
  99. Cast off the wreathing laurels from your brows!”
  100. They plucked the garlands from their hair, and left
  101. the sacrifice, obedient to her will,
  102. although in gentle murmurs they adored
  103. the goddess Niobe had so defamed.
  104. Latona, furious when she heard the speech,
  105. flew swiftly to the utmost peak of Cynthus,
  106. and spoke to her two children in these words:
  107. “Behold your mother, proud of having borne
  108. such glorious children! I will yield
  109. prestige before no goddess—save alone
  110. immortal Juno! I have been debased,
  111. and driven for all ages from my own—
  112. my altars, unto me devoted long,
  113. and so must languish through eternity,
  114. unless by you sustained. Nor is this all;.
  115. That daughter of Tantalus, bold Niobe,
  116. has added curses to her evil deeds,
  117. and with a tongue as wicked as her sire's,
  118. has raised her base-born children over mine.
  119. Has even called me childless! A sad fate
  120. more surely should be hers! Oh, I entreat”—
  121. But Phoebus answered her, “No more complaint
  122. is necessary, for it only serves
  123. to hinder the swift sequel of her doom.”
  124. And with the same words Phoebe answered her.
  125. And having spoken, they descended through
  126. the shielding shadows of surrounding clouds,
  127. and hovered on the citadel of Cadmus.
  1. There, far below them, was a level plain
  2. which swept around those walls; where trampling steeds,
  3. with horny hoofs, and multitudinous wheels,
  4. had beaten a wide track. And on the field
  5. the older sons of Niobe on steeds
  6. emblazoned with bright dyes and harness rich
  7. with studded gold were circling.—One of these,
  8. Ismenus, first-born of his mother, while
  9. controlling his fleet courser's foaming mouth,
  10. cried out, “Ah wretched me!” A shaft had pierced
  11. the middle of his breast; and as the reins
  12. dropped slowly on the rapid courser's neck,
  13. his drooping form fell forward to the ground.
  14. Not far from him, his brother, Sipylus,
  15. could hear the whistling of a fatal shaft,
  16. and in his fright urged on the plunging steed:
  17. as when the watchful pilot, sensible
  18. of storms approaching, crowds on sail,
  19. hoping to catch a momentary breeze,
  20. so fled he, urging an impetuous flight;
  21. but, while he fled the shaft, unerring, flew;
  22. transfixed him with its quivering death; struck where
  23. the neck supports the head and the sharp point
  24. protruded from his throat. In his swift flight,
  25. as he was leaning forward, he was struck;
  26. and, rolling over the wild horse's neck
  27. pitched to the ground, and stained it with his blood.
  28. Unhappy Phaedimus, and Tantalus,
  29. (So named from his maternal grandsire) now
  30. had finished coursing on the track, and smooth.
  31. Shining with oil, were wrestling in the field;
  32. and while those brothers struggled—breast to breast—
  33. another arrow, hurtling from the sky,
  34. pierced them together, just as they were clinched.
  35. The mingled sound that issued from two throats
  36. was like a single groan. Convulsed with pain,
  37. the wrestlers fell together on the ground,
  38. where, stricken with a double agony,
  39. rolling their eyeballs, they sobbed out their lives.
  40. Alphenor saw them die—beating his breast
  41. in agony—ran to lift in his arms
  42. their lifeless bodies cold—while doing this
  43. he fell upon them. Phoebus struck him so,
  44. piercing his midriff in a vital part,
  45. with fatal shot, which, when he pulled it forth,
  46. dragged with its barb a torn clot of his lung—
  47. his blood and life poured out upon the air.
  48. The youthful Damasicthon next was struck,
  49. not only once; an arrow pierced his leg
  50. just where the sinews of the thigh begin,
  51. and as he turned and stooped to pluck it out,
  52. another keen shaft shot into his neck,
  53. up to the fletching.—The blood drove it out,
  54. and spouted after it in crimson jets.
  55. Then, Ilioneus, last of seven sons,
  56. lifted his unavailing arms in prayer,
  57. and cried, “O Universal Deities,
  58. gods of eternal heaven, spare my life!”—
  59. Besought too late, Apollo of the Bow,
  60. could not prevail against the deadly shaft,
  61. already on its way: and yet his will,
  62. compellant, acted to retard its flight,
  63. so that it cut no deeper than his heart.
  64. The rumors of an awful tragedy,—
  65. the wailings of sad Niobe's loved friends,—
  66. the terror of her grieving relatives,—
  67. all gave some knowledge of her sudden loss:
  68. but so bewildered and enraged her mind,
  69. that she could hardly realize the Gods
  70. had privilege to dare against her might.
  71. Nor would she, till her lord, Amphion, thrust
  72. his sword deep in his breast, by which his life
  73. and anguish both were ended in dark night.
  74. Alas, proud Niobe, once haughty queen!
  75. Proud Niobe who but so lately drove
  76. her people from Latona's altars, while,
  77. moving majestic through the midst, she hears
  78. their plaudits, now so bitterly debased,
  79. her meanest enemy may pity her!—
  80. She fell upon the bodies of her sons,
  81. and in a frenzy of maternal grief,
  82. kissed their unfeeling lips. Then unto Heaven
  83. with arms accusing, railed upon her foe:
  84. “Glut your revenge! Latona, glut your rage!
  85. Yea, let my lamentations be your joy!
  86. Go—satiate your flinty heart with death!
  87. Are not my seven sons all dead? Am I
  88. not waiting to be carried to my grave?—
  89. exult and triumph, my victorious foe!
  90. Victorious? Nay!—Much more remains to me
  91. in all my utmost sorrow, than to you,
  92. you gloater upon vengeance—Undismayed,
  93. I stand victorious in my Field of Woe!”
  94. no sooner had she spoken, than the cord
  95. twanged from the ever-ready bow; and all
  96. who heard the fatal sound, again were filled
  97. with fear,—save Niobe, in misery bold,—
  98. defiant in misfortune.—Clothed in black,
  99. the sisters of the stricken brothers stood,
  100. with hair disheveled, by the funeral biers.
  101. And one while plucking from her brother's heart
  102. a shaft, swooned unto death, fell on her face—
  103. on her dear brother's corpse. Another girl,
  104. while she consoled her mother, suddenly,
  105. was stricken with an unseen, deadly wound;
  106. and doubled in convulsions, closed her lips,
  107. tight held them, till both breath and life were lost.
  108. Another, vainly rushed away from death—
  109. she met it, and pitched head-first to the ground;
  110. and still another died upon her corse,
  111. another vainly sought a secret death,
  112. and, then another slipped beyond's life's edge.
  113. So, altogether, six of seven died—
  114. each victim, strickened in a different way.
  115. One child remained. Then in a frenzy-fear
  116. the mother, as she covered her with all
  117. her garments and her body, wailed—“Oh, leave
  118. me this one child! the youngest of them all!
  119. My darling daughter—only leave me one!”
  120. But even while she was entreating for its life—
  121. the life was taken from her only child.
  122. Childless— she crouched beside her slaughtered sons,
  123. her lifeless daughters, and her husband's corpse.
  124. The breeze not even moved her fallen hair,
  125. a chill of marble spread upon her flesh,
  126. beneath her pale, set brows, her eyes moved not,
  127. her bitter tongue turned stiff in her hard jaws,
  128. her lovely veins congealed, and her stiff neck
  129. and rigid hands could neither bend nor move.—
  130. her limbs and body, all were changed to stone.
  131. Yet ever would she weep: and as her tears
  132. were falling she was carried from the place,
  133. enveloped in a storm and mighty wind,
  134. far, to her native land, where fixed upon
  135. a mountain summit she dissolves in tears,—
  136. and to this day the marble drips with tears.
  1. All men and women, after this event,
  2. feared to incur Latona's fateful wrath,
  3. and worshiped with more zeal the Deity,
  4. mother of twins.—And, as it is the way
  5. of men to talk of many other things
  6. after a strong occurrence, they recalled
  7. what other deeds the goddess had performed;—
  8. and one of them recited this event:
  9. 'Twas in the ancient days of long-ago,—
  10. some rustics, in the fertile fields of Lycia,
  11. heedless, insulted the goddess to their harm:—
  12. perhaps you've never heard of this event,
  13. because those country clowns were little known.
  14. The event was wonderful, but I can vouch
  15. the truth of it. I visited the place
  16. and I have seen the pool of water, where
  17. happened the miracle I now relate.
  18. My good old father, then advanced in years,
  19. incapable of travel, ordered me
  20. to fetch some cattle—thoroughbreds—from there,
  21. and had secured a Lycian for my guide,
  22. as I traversed the pastures, with the man,
  23. it chanced, I saw an ancient altar,—grimed
  24. with sacrificial ashes—in the midst
  25. of a large pool, with sedge and reeds around,
  26. a-quiver in the breeze. And there my guide
  27. stood on the marge, and with an awe-struck voice
  28. began to whisper, “Be propitious, hear
  29. my supplications, and forget not me!”
  30. And I, observing him, echoed the words,
  31. “Forget not me!” which, having done, I turned
  32. to him and said, “Whose altar can this be?
  33. Perhaps a sacred altar of the Fauns,
  34. or of the Naiads, or a native God?”
  35. To which my guide replied, “Young man, such Gods
  36. may not be worshiped at this altar. She
  37. whom once the royal Juno drove away
  38. to wander a harsh world, alone permits
  39. this altar to be used: that goddess whom
  40. the wandering Isle of Delos, at the time
  41. it drifted as the foam, almost refused
  42. a refuge.
  43. There Latona, as she leaned
  44. against a palm-tree—and against the tree
  45. most sacred to Minerva, brought forth twins,
  46. although their harsh step-mother, Juno, strove
  47. to interfere.—And from the island forced
  48. to fly by jealous Juno, on her breast
  49. she bore her children, twin Divinities.
  50. At last, outwearied with the toil, and parched
  51. with thirst—long-wandering in those heated days
  52. over the arid land of Lycia, where
  53. was bred the dire Chimaera— at the time
  54. her parching breasts were drained, she saw this pool
  55. of crystal water, shimmering in the vale.
  56. Some countrymen were there to gather reeds,
  57. and useful osiers, and the bulrush, found
  58. with sedge in fenny pools. To them approached
  59. Latona, and she knelt upon the merge
  60. to cool her thirst, with some refreshing water.
  61. But those clowns forbade her and the goddess cried,
  62. as they so wickedly opposed her need:
  63. “Why do you so resist my bitter thirst?
  64. The use of water is the sacred right
  65. of all mankind, for Nature has not made
  66. the sun and air and water, for the sole
  67. estate of any creature; and to Her
  68. kind bounty I appeal, although of you
  69. I humbly beg the use of it. Not here
  70. do I intend to bathe my wearied limbs.
  71. I only wish to quench an urgent thirst,
  72. for, even as I speak, my cracking lips
  73. and mouth so parched, almost deny me words.
  74. A drink of water will be like a draught
  75. of nectar, giving life; and I shall owe
  76. to you the bounty and my life renewed.—
  77. ah, let these tender infants, whose weak arms
  78. implore you from my bosom, but incline
  79. your hearts to pity!” And just as she spoke,
  80. it chanced the children did stretch out their arms
  81. and who would not be touched to hear such words,
  82. as spoken by this goddess, and refuse?
  83. But still those clowns persisted in their wrong
  84. against the goddess; for they hindered her,
  85. and threatened with their foul, abusive tongues
  86. to frighten her away—and, worse than all,
  87. they even muddied with their hands and feet
  88. the clear pool; forcing the vile, slimy dregs
  89. up from the bottom, in a spiteful way,
  90. by jumping up and down.—Enraged at this,
  91. she felt no further thirst, nor would she deign
  92. to supplicate again; but, feeling all
  93. the outraged majesty of her high state,
  94. she raised her hands to Heaven, and exclaimed,
  95. “Forever may you live in that mud-pool!”
  96. The curse as soon as uttered took effect,
  97. and every one of them began to swim
  98. beneath the water, and to leap and plunge
  99. deep in the pool.—Now, up they raise their heads,
  100. now swim upon the surface, now they squat
  101. themselves around the marshy margent, now
  102. they plump again down to the chilly deeps.
  103. And, ever and again, with croaking throats,
  104. indulge offensive strife upon the banks,
  105. or even under water, boom abuse.
  106. Their ugly voices cause their bloated necks
  107. to puff out; and their widened jaws are made
  108. still wider in the venting of their spleen.
  109. Their backs, so closely fastened to their heads,
  110. make them appear as if their shrunken necks
  111. have been cut off. Their backbones are dark green;
  112. white are their bellies, now their largest part.—
  113. Forever since that time, the foolish frogs
  114. muddy their own pools, where they leap and dive.
  1. So he related how the clowns were changed
  2. to leaping frogs; and after he was through,
  3. another told the tale of Marsyas, in these words:
  4. The Satyr Marsyas, when he played the flute
  5. in rivalry against Apollo's lyre,
  6. lost that audacious contest and, alas!
  7. His life was forfeit; for, they had agreed
  8. the one who lost should be the victor's prey.
  9. And, as Apollo punished him, he cried,
  10. “Ah-h-h! why are you now tearing me apart?
  11. A flute has not the value of my life!”
  12. Even as he shrieked out in his agony,
  13. his living skin was ripped off from his limbs,
  14. till his whole body was a flaming wound,
  15. with nerves and veins and viscera exposed.
  16. But all the weeping people of that land,
  17. and all the Fauns and Sylvan Deities,
  18. and all the Satyrs, and Olympus, his
  19. loved pupil—even then renowned in song,
  20. and all the Nymphs, lamented his sad fate;
  21. and all the shepherds, roaming on the hills,
  22. lamented as they tended fleecy flocks.
  23. And all those falling tears, on fruitful Earth,
  24. descended to her deepest veins, as drip
  25. the moistening dews,—and, gathering as a fount,
  26. turned upward from her secret-winding caves,
  27. to issue, sparkling, in the sun-kissed air,
  28. the clearest river in the land of Phrygia,—
  29. through which it swiftly flows between steep banks
  30. down to the sea: and, therefore, from his name,
  31. 'Tis called “The Marsyas” to this very day.
  32. And after this was told, the people turned
  33. and wept for Niobe's loved children dead,
  34. and also, mourned Amphion, sorrow-slain.
  35. The Theban people hated Niobe,
  36. but Pelops, her own brother, mourned her death;
  37. and as he rent his garment, and laid bare
  38. his white left shoulder, you could see the part
  39. composed of ivory.—At his birth 'twas all
  40. of healthy flesh; but when his father cut
  41. his limbs asunder, and the Gods restored
  42. his life, all parts were rightly joined, except
  43. part of one shoulder, which was wanting; so
  44. to serve the purpose of the missing flesh,
  45. a piece of ivory was inserted there,
  46. making his body by such means complete.
  1. The lords of many cities that were near,
  2. now met together and implored their kings
  3. to mourn with Pelops those unhappy deeds.—
  4. The lords of Argos; Sparta and Mycenae;
  5. and Calydon, before it had incurred
  6. the hatred of Diana, goddess of the chase;
  7. fertile Orchomenus and Corinth, great
  8. in wealth of brass; Patrae and fierce Messena;
  9. Cleone, small; and Pylus and Troezen,
  10. not ruled by Pittheus then,—and also, all
  11. the other cities which are shut off by
  12. the Isthmus there dividing by its two seas,
  13. and all the cities which are seen from there.
  14. What seemed most wonderful, of all those towns
  15. Athens alone was wanting, for a war
  16. had gathered from the distant seas, a host
  17. of savage warriors had alarmed her walls,
  18. and hindered her from mourning for the dead.
  19. Now Tereus, then the mighty king of Thrace,
  20. came to the aid of Athens as defense
  21. from that fierce horde; and there by his great deeds
  22. achieved a glorious fame. Since his descent
  23. was boasted from the mighty Gradivus,
  24. and he was gifted with enormous wealth,
  25. Pandion, king of Athens, gave to him
  26. in sacred wedlock his dear daughter, Procne.
  27. But Juno, guardian of the sacred rites
  28. attended not, nor Hymenaeus, nor
  29. the Graces. But the Furies snatched up brands
  30. from burning funeral pyres, and brandished them
  31. as torches. They prepared the nuptial couch,—
  32. a boding owl flew over the bride's room,
  33. and then sat silently upon the roof.
  34. With such bad omens Tereus married her,
  35. sad Procne, and those omens cast a gloom
  36. on all the household till the fateful birth
  37. of their first born. All Thrace went wild with joy—
  38. and even they, rejoicing, blessed the Gods,
  39. when he, the little Itys, saw the light;
  40. and they ordained each year their wedding day,
  41. and every year the birthday of their child,
  42. should be observed with festival and song:
  43. so the sad veil of fate conceals from us
  44. our future woes.
  45. Now Titan had drawn forth
  46. the changing seasons through five autumns, when,
  47. in gentle accents, Procne spoke these words:
  48. “My dearest husband, if you love me, let
  49. me visit my dear sister, or consent
  50. that she may come to us and promise her
  51. that she may soon return. If you will but
  52. permit me to enjoy her company
  53. my heart will bless you as I bless the Gods.”
  54. At once the monarch ordered his long ships
  55. to launch upon the sea; and driven by sail,
  56. and hastened by the swiftly sweeping oars,
  57. they entered the deep port of Athens, where
  58. he made fair landing on the fortified
  59. Piraeus. There, when time was opportune
  60. to greet his father-in-law and shake his hand,
  61. they both exchanged their wishes for good health,
  62. and Tereus told the reason why he came.
  63. He was relating all his wife's desire.
  64. Promising Philomela's safe return
  65. from a brief visit, when Philomela appeared
  66. rich in her costly raiment, yet more rich
  67. in charm and beauty, just as if a fair
  68. Dryad or Naiad should be so attired,
  69. appearing radiant, from dark solitudes.
  70. As if someone should kindle whitening corn
  71. or the dry leaves, or hay piled in a stack;
  72. so Tereus, when he saw the beautiful
  73. and blushing virgin, was consumed with love.
  74. Her modest beauty was a worthy cause
  75. of worthy love; but by his heritage,
  76. derived from a debasing clime, his love
  77. was base; and fires unholy burned within
  78. from his own lawless nature, just as fierce
  79. as are the habits of his evil race.
  80. In the wild frenzy of his wicked heart,
  81. he thought he would corrupt her trusted maid,
  82. her tried attendants, and corrupt even
  83. her virtue with large presents: he would waste
  84. his kingdom in the effort.—He prepared
  85. to seize her at the risk of cruel war.
  86. And he would do or dare all things to feed
  87. his raging flame.—He could not brook delay.
  88. With most impassioned words he begged for her,
  89. pretending he gave voice to Procne's hopes.—
  90. his own desire made him wax eloquent,
  91. as often as his words exceeded bounds,
  92. he pleaded he was uttering Procne's words.
  93. His hypocritic eyes were filled with tears,
  94. as though they represented her desire—
  95. and, O you Gods above, what devious ways
  96. are harbored in the hearts of mortals! Through
  97. his villainous desire he gathered praise,
  98. and many lauded him for the great love
  99. he bore his wife.
  100. And even Philomela
  101. desires her own undoing; and with fond
  102. embraces nestles to her father, while
  103. she pleads for his consent, that she may go
  104. to visit her dear sister.—Tereus viewed
  105. her pretty pleading, and in his hot heart,
  106. imagined he was then embracing her;
  107. and as he saw her kiss her father's lips,
  108. her arms around his neck, it seemed that each
  109. caress was his; and so his fire increased.
  110. He even wished he were her father; though,
  111. if it were so, his passion would no less
  112. be impious.—Overcome at last by these
  113. entreaties, her kind father gave consent.
  114. Greatly she joyed and thanked him for her own
  115. misfortune. She imagined a success,
  116. instead of all the sorrow that would come.
  117. The day declining, little of his toil
  118. remained for Phoebus. Now his flaming steeds
  119. were beating with their hoofs the downward slope
  120. of high Olympus; and the regal feast
  121. was set before the guests, and flashing wine
  122. was poured in golden vessels, and the feast
  123. went merrily, until the satisfied
  124. assembly sought in gentle sleep their rest.
  125. Not so, the love-hot Tereus, king of Thrace,
  126. who, sleepless, imaged in his doting mind
  127. the form of Philomela, recalled the shape
  128. of her fair hands, and in his memory
  129. reviewed her movements. And his flaming heart
  130. pictured her beauties yet unseen.—He fed
  131. his frenzy on itself, and could not sleep.
  132. Fair broke the day; and now the ancient king,
  133. Pandion, took his son-in-law's right hand
  134. to bid farewell; and, as he wept,
  135. commended his dear daughter, Philomela,
  136. unto his guarding care. “And in your care,
  137. my son-in-law, I trust my daughter's health.
  138. Good reason, grounded on my love, compels
  139. my sad approval. You have begged for her,
  140. and both my daughters have persuaded me.
  141. Wherefore, I do entreat you and implore
  142. your honor, as I call upon the Gods,
  143. that you will ever shield her with the love
  144. of a kind father and return her safe,
  145. as soon as may be—my last comfort given
  146. to bless my doting age. And all delay
  147. will agitate and vex my failing heart.
  148. “And, O my dearest daughter, Philomela,
  149. if you have any love for me, return
  150. without too long delay and comfort me,
  151. lest I may grieve; for it is quite enough
  152. that I should suffer while your sister stays away.”
  1. The old king made them promise, and he kissed
  2. his daughter, while he wept. Then did he join
  3. their hands in pledge of their fidelity,
  4. and, as he gave his blessing, cautioned them
  5. to kiss his absent daughter and her son
  6. for his dear sake. Then as he spoke a last
  7. farewell, his trembling voice was filled with sobs.
  8. And he could hardly speak;—for a great fear
  9. from some vague intuition of his mind,
  10. surged over him, and he was left forlorn.
  11. So soon as Philomela was safe aboard
  12. the painted ship and as the sailors urged
  13. the swiftly gliding keel across the deep
  14. and the dim land fast-faded from their view,
  15. then Tereus, in exultant humor, thought,
  16. “Now all is well, the object of my love
  17. sails with me while the sailors ply the oars.”,
  18. He scarcely could control his barbarous
  19. desire—with difficulty stayed his lust,
  20. he followed all her actions with hot eyes. —
  21. So, when the ravenous bird of Jupiter
  22. has caught with crooked talons the poor hare,
  23. and dropped it—ruthless,—in his lofty nest,
  24. where there is no escape, his cruel eyes
  25. gloat on the victim he anticipates.
  26. And now, as Tereus reached his journey's end,
  27. they landed from the travel-wearied ship,
  28. safe on the shores of his own kingdom. Then
  29. he hastened with the frightened Philomela
  30. into most wild and silent solitudes
  31. of an old forest; where, concealed among
  32. deep thickets a forbidding old house stood:
  33. there he immured the pale and trembling maid,
  34. who, vainly in her fright, began to call
  35. upon her absent sister,—and her tears
  36. implored his pity. His obdurate mind
  37. could not be softened by such piteous cries;
  38. but even while her agonizing screams
  39. implored her sister's and her father's aid,
  40. and while she vainly called upon the Gods,
  41. he overmastered her with brutal force.—
  42. The poor child trembled as a frightened lamb,
  43. which, just delivered from the frothing jaws
  44. of a gaunt wolf, dreads every moving twig.
  45. She trembled as a timid injured dove,
  46. (her feathers dripping with her own life-blood)
  47. that dreads the ravening talons of a hawk
  48. from which some fortune has delivered her.
  49. But presently, as consciousness returned,
  50. she tore her streaming hair and beat her arms,
  51. and, stretching forth her hands in frenzied grief,
  52. cried out, “Oh, barbarous and brutal wretch!
  53. Unnatural monster of abhorrent deeds!
  54. Could not my anxious father's parting words,
  55. nor his foreboding tears restrain your lust?
  56. Have you no slight regard for your chaste wife,
  57. my dearest sister, and are you without
  58. all honor, so to spoil virginity
  59. now making me invade my sister's claim,
  60. you have befouled the sacred fount of life,—
  61. you are a lawless bond of double sin!
  62. “Oh, this dark punishment was not my due!
  63. Come, finish with my murder your black deed,
  64. so nothing wicked may remain undone.
  65. But oh, if you had only slaughtered me
  66. before your criminal embrace befouled
  67. my purity, I should have had a shade
  68. entirely pure, and free from any stain!
  69. Oh, if there is a Majesty in Heaven,
  70. and if my ruin has not wrecked the world,
  71. then, you shall suffer for this grievous wrong
  72. and time shall hasten to avenge my wreck.
  73. “I shall declare your sin before the world,
  74. and publish my own shame to punish you!
  75. And if I'm prisoned in the solitudes,
  76. my voice will wake the echoes in the wood
  77. and move the conscious rocks. Hear me, O Heaven!
  78. And let my imprecations rouse the Gods—
  79. ah-h-h, if there can be a god in Heaven!”
  80. Her cries aroused the dastard tyrant's wrath,
  81. and frightened him, lest ever his foul deed
  82. might shock his kingdom: and, roused at once
  83. by rage and guilty fear; he seized her hair,
  84. forced her weak arms against her back, and bound
  85. them fast with brazen chains, then drew his sword.
  86. When she first saw his sword above her head.
  87. Flashing and sharp, she wished only for death,
  88. and offered her bare throat: but while she screamed,
  89. and, struggling, called upon her father's name,
  90. he caught her tongue with pincers, pitiless,
  91. And cut it with his sword.—The mangled root
  92. still quivered, but the bleeding tongue itself,
  93. fell murmuring on the blood-stained floor. As the tail
  94. of a slain snake still writhes upon the ground,
  95. so did the throbbing tongue; and, while it died,
  96. moved up to her, as if to seek her feet.—
  97. And, it is said that after this foul crime,
  98. the monster violated her again.
  99. And after these vile deeds, that wicked king
  100. returned to Procne, who, when she first met
  101. her brutal husband, anxiously inquired
  102. for tidings of her sister; but with sighs
  103. and tears, he told a false tale of her death,
  104. and with such woe that all believed it true.
  105. Then Procne, full of lamentation, took
  106. her royal robe, bordered with purest gold,
  107. and putting it away, assumed instead
  108. garments of sable mourning; and she built
  109. a noble sepulchre, and offered there
  110. her pious gifts to an imagined shade;—
  111. lamenting the sad death of her who lived.
  112. A year had passed by since that awful date—
  113. the sun had coursed the Zodiac's twelve signs.
  114. But what could Philomela hope or do?
  115. For like a jail the strong walls of the house
  116. were built of massive stone, and guards around
  117. prevented flight; and mutilated, she
  118. could not communicate with anyone
  119. to tell her injuries and tragic woe.
  120. But even in despair and utmost grief,
  121. there is an ingenuity which gives
  122. inventive genius to protect from harm:
  123. and now, the grief-distracted Philomela
  124. wove in a warp with purple marks and white,
  125. a story of the crime; and when 'twas done
  126. she gave it to her one attendant there
  127. and begged her by appropriate signs to take
  128. it secretly to Procne. She took the web,
  129. she carried it to Procne, with no thought
  130. of words or messages by art conveyed.
  131. The wife of that inhuman tyrant took
  132. the cloth, and after she unwrapped it saw
  133. and understood the mournful record sent.
  134. She pondered it in silence and her tongue
  135. could find no words to utter her despair;—
  136. her grief and frenzy were too great for tears.—
  137. In a mad rage her rapid mind counfounded
  138. the right and wrong—intent upon revenge.
  1. Since it was now the time of festival,
  2. when all the Thracian matrons celebrate
  3. the rites of Bacchus—every third year thus—
  4. night then was in their secret; and at night
  5. the slopes of Rhodope resounded loud
  6. with clashing of shrill cymbals. So, at night
  7. the frantic queen of Tereus left her home
  8. and, clothed according to the well known rites
  9. of Bacchus, hurried to the wilderness.
  10. Her head was covered with the green vine leaves;
  11. and from her left side native deer skin hung;
  12. and on her shoulder rested a light spear.—
  13. so fashioned, the revengeful Procne rushed
  14. through the dark woods, attended by a host
  15. of screaming followers, and wild with rage,
  16. pretended it was Bacchus urged her forth.
  17. At last she reached the lonely building, where
  18. her sister, Philomela, was immured;
  19. and as she howled and shouted “Ee-woh-ee-e!”,
  20. She forced the massive doors; and having seized
  21. her sister, instantly concealed her face
  22. in ivy leaves, arrayed her in the trappings
  23. of Bacchanalian rites. When this was done,
  24. they rushed from there, demented, to the house
  25. where as the Queen of Tereus, Procne dwelt.
  26. When Philomela knew she had arrived
  27. at that accursed house, her countenance,
  28. though pale with grief, took on a ghastlier hue:
  29. and, wretched in her misery and fright,
  30. she shuddered in convulsions.—Procne took
  31. the symbols, Bacchanalian, from her then,
  32. and as she held her in a strict embrace
  33. unveiled her downcast head. But she refused
  34. to lift her eyes, and fixing her sad gaze
  35. on vacant space, she raised her hand, instead;
  36. as if in oath she called upon the Gods
  37. to witness truly she had done no wrong,
  38. but suffered a disgrace of violence.—
  39. Lo, Procne, wild with a consuming rage,
  40. cut short her sister's terror in these words,
  41. “This is no time for weeping! awful deeds
  42. demand a great revenge—take up the sword,
  43. and any weapon fiercer than its edge!
  44. My breast is hardened to the worst of crime
  45. make haste with me! together let us put
  46. this palace to the torch!
  47. “Come, let us maim,
  48. the beastly Tereus with revenging iron,
  49. cut out his tongue, and quench his cruel eyes,
  50. and hurl and burn him writhing in the flames!
  51. Or, shall we pierce him with a grisly blade,
  52. and let his black soul issue from deep wounds
  53. a thousand.—Slaughter him with every death
  54. imagined in the misery of hate!”
  55. While Procne still was raving out such words,
  56. Itys, her son, was hastening to his mother;
  57. and when she saw him, her revengeful eyes
  58. conceiving a dark punishment, she said,
  59. “Aha! here comes the image of his father!”
  60. She gave no other warning, but prepared
  61. to execute a horrible revenge.
  62. But when the tender child came up to her,
  63. and called her “mother”, put his little arms
  64. around her neck, and when he smiled and kissed
  65. her often, gracious in his cunning ways,—
  66. again the instinct of true motherhood
  67. pulsed in her veins, and moved to pity, she
  68. began to weep in spite of her resolve.
  69. Feeling the tender impulse of her love
  70. unnerving her, she turned her eyes from him
  71. and looked upon her sister, and from her
  72. glanced at her darling boy again. And so,
  73. while she was looking at them both, by turns,
  74. she said, “Why does the little one prevail
  75. with pretty words, while Philomela stands
  76. in silence always, with her tongue torn out?
  77. She cannot call her sister, whom he calls
  78. his mother! Oh, you daughter of Pandion,
  79. consider what a wretch your husband is!
  80. The wife of such a monster must be flint;
  81. compassion in her heart is but a crime.”
  82. No more she hesitated, but as swift
  83. as the fierce tigress of the Ganges leaps,
  84. seizes the suckling offspring of the hind,
  85. and drags it through the forest to its lair;
  86. so, Procne seized and dragged the frightened boy
  87. to a most lonely section of the house;
  88. and there she put him to the cruel sword,
  89. while he, aware of his sad fate, stretched forth
  90. his little hands, and cried, “Ah, mother,—ah!—”
  91. And clung to her—clung to her, while she struck—
  92. her fixed eyes, maddened, glaring horribly—
  93. struck wildly, lopping off his tender limbs.
  94. But Philomela cut through his tender throat.
  95. Then they together, mangled his remains,
  96. still quivering with the remnant of his life,
  97. and boiled a part of him in steaming pots,
  98. that bubbled over with the dead child's blood,
  99. and roasted other parts on hissing spits.
  100. And, after all was ready, Procne bade
  101. her husband, Tereus, to the loathsome feast,
  102. and with a false pretense of sacred rites,
  103. according to the custom of her land,
  104. by which, but one man may partake of it,
  105. she sent the servants from the banquet hall.—
  106. Tereus, majestic on his ancient throne
  107. high in imagined state, devoured his son,
  108. and gorged himself with flesh of his own flesh—
  109. and in his rage of gluttony called out
  110. for Itys to attend and share the feast!
  111. Curst with a joy she could conceal no more,
  112. and eager to gloat over his distress,
  113. Procne cried out,
  114. “Inside yourself, you have
  115. the thing that you are asking for!” — Amazed,
  116. he looked around and called his son again:—
  117. that instant, Philomela sprang forth—her hair
  118. disordered, and all stained with blood of murder,
  119. unable then to speak, she hurled the head
  120. of Itys in his father's fear-struck face,
  121. and more than ever longed for fitting words.
  122. The Thracian Tereus overturned the table,
  123. and howling, called up from the Stygian pit,
  124. the viperous sisters. Tearing at his breast,
  125. in miserable efforts to disgorge
  126. the half-digested gobbets of his son,
  127. he called himself his own child's sepulchre,
  128. and wept the hot tears of a frenzied man.
  129. Then with his sword he rushed at the two sisters.
  130. Fleeing from him, they seemed to rise on wings,
  131. and it was true, for they had changed to birds.
  132. Then Philomela, flitting to the woods,
  133. found refuge in the leaves: but Procne flew
  134. straight to the sheltering gables of a roof—
  135. and always, if you look, you can observe
  136. the brand of murder on the swallow's breast—
  137. red feathers from that day. And Tereus, swift
  138. in his great agitation, and his will
  139. to wreak a fierce revenge, himself is turned
  140. into a crested bird. His long, sharp beak
  141. is given him instead of a long sword,
  142. and so, because his beak is long and sharp,
  143. he rightly bears the name of Hoopoe.
  1. Before the number of his years was told,
  2. Pandion with the shades of Tartarus,
  3. because of this, has wandered in sad dooms.
  4. Erectheus, next in line, with mighty sway
  5. and justice, ruled all Athens on the throne
  6. left vacant by the good Pandion's death.
  7. Four daughters and four sons were granted him;
  8. and of his daughters, two were beautiful,
  9. and one of these was wed to Cephalus,
  10. grandson of Aeolus. — But mighty Boreas
  11. desired the hand of Orithyia, fair
  12. and lovable.—King Tereus and the Thracians
  13. were then such obstacles to Boreas
  14. the god was long kept from his dear beloved.
  15. Although the great king (who compels the cold
  16. north-wind) had sought with prayers to win her hand,
  17. and urged his love in gentleness, not force.
  18. When quite aware his wishes were disdained,
  19. he roughly said, with customary rage
  20. and violence: “Away with sentimental talk!
  21. My prayers and kind intentions are despised,
  22. but I should blame nobody but myself;
  23. then why should I, despising my great strength,
  24. debase myself to weakness and soft prayers?—
  25. might is my right, and violence my strength!—
  26. by force I drive the force of gloomy clouds.
  27. “Tremendous actions are the wine of life!—
  28. monarch of Violence, rolling on clouds,
  29. I toss wide waters, and I fell huge trees—
  30. knotted old oaks—and whirled upon ice-wings,
  31. I scatter the light snow, and pelt the Earth
  32. with sleet and hail! I rush through boundless voids.
  33. My thunders rumble in the hollow clouds—
  34. and crash upon my brothers—fire to fire!
  35. “Possessed of daemon-rage, I penetrate,
  36. sheer to the utmost caverns of old Earth;
  37. and straining, up from those unfathomed deeps,
  38. scatter the terror-stricken shades of hell;
  39. and hurl death-dealing earthquakes through the world!
  40. “Such are the fateful powers I should use,
  41. and never trust entreaties to prevail,
  42. or win my bride—Force is the law of life!”
  43. And now impetuous Boreas, having howled
  44. resounding words, unrolled his rustling wings—
  45. that fan the earth and ruffle the wide sea—
  46. and, swiftly wrapping untrod mountain peaks
  47. in whirling mantles of far-woven dust,
  48. thence downward hovered to the darkened world;
  49. and, canopied in artificial night
  50. of swarthy overshadowing wings, caught up
  51. the trembling Orithyia to his breast:
  52. nor did he hesitate in airy course
  53. until his huge wings fanned the chilling winds
  54. around Ciconian Walls.
  55. There, she was pledged
  56. the wife of that cold, northern king of storms;
  57. and unto him she gave those hero twins,
  58. endowed with wings of their immortal sire,
  59. and graceful in their mother's form and face.
  60. Their bird-like wings were not fledged at their birth
  61. and those twin boys, Zetes and Calais,
  62. at first were void of feathers and soft down.
  63. But when their golden hair and beards were grown,
  64. wings like an eagle's came;—and feather-down
  65. grew golden on their cheeks: and when from youth
  66. they entered manhood, quick they were to join
  67. the Argonauts, who for the Golden Fleece,
  68. sought in that first ship, ventured on the sea.