Classical Texts Library >> Ovid, Metamorphoses >> Book 14




1. Creation
2. Four Ages of Man
3. Lycaon
4. Great Deluge
5. Python
6. Daphne & Apollo
7. Io & Jupiter


1. Phaethon
2. Callisto & Jupiter
3. Coronis & Apollo
4. Ocyroe & Aesculapius
5. Battus & Mercury
6. Aglauros & Mercury
7. Europa & Jupiter


1. Cadmus & the Dragon
2. Actaeon
3. Semele & Jupiter
4. Tiresias
5. Narcissus & Echo
6. Pentheus & Bacchus
7. Tyrrhenian Pirates & Bacchus


1. The Minyades
2. Pyramus & Thisbe
3. Mars & Venus
4. Leucothea & Clytie
5. Hermaphroditus
6. Athamas & Ino
7. Cadmus & Harmonia
8. Perseus & Atlas
9. Perseus & Andromeda


1. Perseus & Phineus
2. Pyreneus & the Muses
3. The Pierides & the Muses
4. Pluto & Proserpine
5. Arethusa & Alpheus
6. Triptolemus & Lyncus


1. Arachne & Minerva
2. Niobe
3. Leto & the Lycians
4. Marsyas
5. Tereus & Philomela
6. Orithyia & Boreas


1. Jason & Medea
2. Medea & Aeson
3. Medea & Pelias
4. Medea & Aegeus
5. Aeacus & the Myrmidones
6. Cephalus & Procris


1. Minos & Scylla
2. Daedalus & Icarus
3. Calydonian Boar Hunt
4. Althaea & Meleager
5. Perimela & Achelous
6. Baucis & Philemon
7. Erysichthon & Mestra


1. Hercules & Achelous
2. Nessus & Death of Hercules
3. Galanthis
4. Dryope
5. Iolaus
6. Byblis & Caunus
7. Iphis & Ianthe


1. Orpheus & Eurydice
2. Attis & Cybele
3. Cyparissus
4. Hyacinthus & Apollo
5. The Propoetides
6. Pygmalion
7. Myrrha & Cinyras
8. Atalanta & Hippomenes
9. Adonis


1. Death of Orpheus
2. Midas & Bacchus
3. Midas, Pan & Apollo
4. Hesione
5. Peleus & Thetis
6. Chione & Daedalion
7. Peleus & Psamathe
8. Ceyx & Halcyone
9. Aesacus & Hesperia


1. Agamemnon at Aulis
2. Cygnus & Achilles
3. Caeneus & the Centauromachy
4. Periclymenus & Hercules
5. Death of Achilles


1. Ajax & Ulysses
2. Hecuba & Polymnestor
3. Memnon
4. The Oenotrophi
5. Galatea & Polyphemus
6. Glaucus


1. Scylla & Circe
2. The Cercopes
3. The Cumaean Sibyl
4. Ulysses, Polyphemus & Circe
5. Picus & Circe
6. Diomedes in Italy
7. Aeneas in Latium
8. Vertumnus & Pomona
9. Iphis & Anaxarete
10. Romulus


1. Myscelus, Croton
2. Pythagoras
3. Egeria, Hippolytus
4. Tages, Cipus
5. Aesculapius in Rome
6. Julius Caesar



[1] Now the Euboean dweller in great waves, Glaucus, had left behind the crest of Aetna, raised upward from a giant's head; and left the Cyclops' fields, that never had been torn by harrow or by plough and never were indebted to the toil of oxen yoked; left Zancle, also, and the opposite walls of Rhegium, and the sea, abundant cause of shipwreck, which confined with double shores bounds the Ausonian and Sicilian lands. All these behind him, Glaucus, swimming on with his huge hands through those Tyrrhenian seas, drew near the hills so rich in magic herbs and halls of Circe, daughter of the Sun,—halls filled with men in guise of animals. After due salutations had been given—received by her as kindly—Glaucus said, “You as a goddess, certainly should have compassion upon me, a god; for you alone (if I am worthy of it) can relieve my passion. What the power of herbs can be, Titania, none knows more than I, for by their power I was myself transformed. To make the cause of my strange madness known, I have found Scylla on Italian shores, directly opposite Messenian walls. It shames me to recount my promises, entreaties, and caresses, and at last rejection of my suit. If you have known a power of incantation, I implore you now repeat that incantation here, with sacred lips—If herbs have greater power, use the tried power of herbs. But I would not request a cure—the healing of this wound. Much better than an end of pain, let her share, and feel with me my impassioned flame.”

[25] But Circe was more quick than any other to burn with passion's flame. It may have been her nature or it may have been the work of Venus, angry at her tattling sire. “You might do better,” she replied, “to court one who is willing, one who wants your love, and feels a like desire. You did deserve to win her love, yes, to be wooed yourself. In fact you might be. If you give some hope, you have my word, you shall indeed be wooed. That you may have no doubt, and so retain all confidence in your attraction's power—behold! I am a goddess, and I am the daughter also, of the radiant Sun! And I who am so potent with my charms, and I who am so potent with my herbs, wish only to be yours. Despise her who despises you, and her who is attached to you repay with like attachment—so by one act offer each her just reward.” But Glaucus answered her attempt of love, “The trees will sooner grow in ocean waves, the sea-weed sooner grow on mountain tops, than I shall change my love for graceful! Scylla.”

[40] The goddess in her jealous rage could not and would not injure him, whom she still loved, but turned her wrath upon the one preferred. She bruised immediately the many herbs most infamous for horrid juices, which, when bruised, she mingled with most artful care and incantations given by Hecate. Then, clothed in azure vestments, she passed through her troop of fawning savage animals, and issued from the center of her hall. Pacing from there to Rhegium, opposite the dangerous rocks of Zancle, she at once entered the tossed waves boiling up with tides: on these as if she walked on the firm shore, she set her feet and, hastening on dry shod, she skimmed along the surface of the deep. Not far away there was an inlet curved, round as a bent bow, which was often used by Scylla as a favorite retreat. There, she withdrew from heat of sea and sky when in the zenith blazed the unclouded sun and cast the shortest shadows on the ground. Circe infected it before that hour, polluting it with monster-breeding drugs. She sprinkled juices over it, distilled from an obnoxious root, and thrice times nine she muttered over it with magic lips, her most mysterious charm involved in words of strangest import and of dubious thought. Scylla came there and waded in waist deep, then saw her loins defiled with barking shapes. Believing they could be no part of her, she ran and tried to drive them back and feared the boisterous canine jaws. But what she fled she carried with her. And, feeling for her thighs, her legs, and feet, she found Cerberian jaws instead. She rises from a rage of dogs, and shaggy backs encircle her shortened loins.

[68] The lover Glaucus wept. He fled the embrace of Circe and her hostile power of herbs and magic spells. But Scylla did not leave the place of her disaster; and, as soon as she had opportunity, for hate of Circe, she robbed Ulysses of his men. She would have wrecked the Trojan ships, if she had not been changed beforehand to a rock which to this day reveals a craggy rim. And even the rock awakes the sailors' dread.


[75] After the Trojan ships, pushed by their oars, had safely passed by Scylla and the fierce Charybdis, and with care had then approached near the Ausonian shore, a roaring gale bore them far southward to the Libyan coast. And then Sidonian Dido, who was doomed not calmly to endure the loss of her loved Phrygian husband, graciously received Aeneas to her home and her regard: and on a pyre, erected with pretense of holy rites, she fell upon the sword. Deceived herself, she there deceived them all. Aeneas, fleeing the new walls built on that sandy shore, revisited the land of Eryx and Acestes, his true friend. There he performed a hallowed sacrifice and paid due honor to his father's tomb. And presently he loosened from that shore the ships which Iris, Juno's minister, had almost burned; and sailing, passed far off the kingdom of the son of Hippotas, in those hot regions smoking with the fumes of burning sulphur, and he left behind the rocky haunt of Achelous' daughters, the Sirens. Then, when his good ship had lost the pilot, he coasted near Inarime, near Prochyta, and near the barren hill which marks another island, Pithecusae, an island named from strange inhabitants.

[91] The father of the gods abhorred the frauds and perjuries of the Cercopians and for the crimes of that bad treacherous race, transformed its men to ugly animals, appearing unlike men, although like men. He had contracted and had bent their limbs, and flattened out their noses, bent back towards their foreheads; he had furrowed every face with wrinkles of old age, and made them live in that spot, after he had covered all their bodies with long yellow ugly hair. Besides all that, he took away from them the use of language and control of tongues, so long inclined to dreadful perjury; and left them always to complain of life and their ill conduct in harsh jabbering.


[101] After Aeneas had passed by all those and seen to his right hand the distant walls guarding the city of Parthenope, he passed on his left hand a mound, grave of the tuneful son of Aeolus. Landing on Cumae's marshy shore, he reached a cavern, home of the long lived Sibylla, and prayed that she would give him at the lake, Avernus, access to his father's shade. She raised her countenance, from gazing on the ground, and with an inspiration given to her by influence of the god, she said, “Much you would have, O man of famous deeds, whose courage is attested by the sword, whose filial piety is proved by flame. But, Trojan, have no fear. I grant your wish, and with my guidance you shall look upon the latest kingdom of the world, shall see Elysian homes and your dear father's shade, for virtue there is everywhere a way.” She spoke, and pointed out to him a branch refulgent with bright gold, found in the woods of Juno of Avernus, and commanded him to pluck it from the stem. Aeneas did what she advised him. Then he saw the wealth of the dread Orcus, and he saw his own ancestors, and beheld the aged ghost of great Anchises. There he learned the laws of that deep region, and what dangers must be undergone by him in future wars.

[120] Retracing with his weary steps the path up to the light, he found relief from toil in converse with the sage Cumaean guide. While in thick dusk he trod the frightful way, “Whether you are a deity,” he said, “Or human and most favored by the gods, to me you always will appear divine. I will confess, too, my existence here is due to your kind aid, for by your will I visited the dark abodes of death, and I escaped the death which I beheld. For this great service, when I shall emerge into the sunlit air, I will erect for you a temple and will burn for you sweet incense kindled at the altar flame.”

[129] The prophetess looked on him and with sighs, “I am no goddess,” she replied, “nor is it well to honor any mortal head with tribute of the holy frankincense. And, that you may not err through ignorance, I tell you life eternal without end was;offered to me, if I would but yield virginity to Phoebus for his love. And, while he hoped for this and in desire offered to bribe me for my virtue, first with gifts, he said, ‘Maiden of Cumae choose whatever you may wish, and you shall gain all that you wish.’ I pointed to a heap of dust collected there, and foolishly replied, `As many birthdays must be given to me as there are particles of sand.' For I forgot to wish them days of changeless youth. He gave long life and offered youth besides, if I would grant his wish. This I refused, I live unwedded still. My happier time has fled away, now comes with tottering step infirm old age, which I shall long endure. You find me ending seven long centuries, and there remain for me, before my years equal the number of those grains of sand, three hundred harvests, three hundred vintages! The time will come, when long increase of days will so contract me from my present size and so far waste away my limbs with age that I shall dwindle to a trifling weight, so trifling, it will never be believed I once was loved and even pleased a god. Perhaps, even Phoebus will not recognize me, or will deny he ever bore me love. But, though I change till eye would never know me, my voice shall live, the fates will leave my voice.”


[154] Sibylla with such words beguild their way from Stygian realms up to the Euboean town. Trojan Aeneas, after he had made due sacrifice in Cumae, touched the shore that had not yet been given his nurse's name. There Macareus of Neritus had come, companion of long tried Ulysses, there he rested, weary of his lengthened toils. He recognized one left in Aetna's cave, greek Achaemenides, and, all amazed to find him yet alive, he said to him, “What chance, or what god, Achaemenides, preserves you? Why is this barbarian ship conveying you a Greek? What land is sought?”

[165] No longer ragged in the clothes he wore and his own master, wearing clothes not tacked with sharp thorns, Achaemenides replied, "Again may I see Polyphemus' jaws out-streaming with their slaughtered human blood; if my own home and Ithaca give more delight to me than this barbarian bark, or if I venerate Aeneas less than my own father. If I should give my all, it never could express my gratitude, that I can speak and breath, and see the heavens illuminated by the gleaming sun—how can I be ungrateful and forget all this? Because of him these limbs of mine were spared the Cyclops' jaws; and, though I were even now to leave the light of life, I should at worst be buried in a tomb—not in his maw. What were my feelings when (unless indeed my terror had deprived me of all sense) left there, I saw you making for the open sea? I wished to shout aloud, but was afraid it would betray me to the enemy. The shoutings of Ulysses nearly caused destruction of your ship and there I saw the Cyclops, when he tore a crag away and hurled the huge rock in the whirling waves; I saw him also throw tremendous stones with his gigantic arms. They flew afar, as if impelled by catapults of war, I was struck dumb with terror lest the waves or stones might overwhelm the ship, forgetting that I still was on the shore! But when your flight had saved you from that death of cruelty, the Cyclops, roaring rage, paced all about Mount Aetna, groping through its forests with his outstretched arms. Deprived of sight, he stumbled there against the rocks, until he reached the sea; and stretching out his gore stained arms into its waters there, he cursed all of the Grecian race, and said, `Oh! that some accident would carry back Ulysses to me, or but one of his companions; against whom my rage might vent itself, whose joints my hand might tear whose blood might drench my throat, whose living limbs might quiver in my teeth. How trifling then, how insignificant would be the loss, of my sight which he took from me!'

[198] "All this and more he said. A ghastly horror took possession of me when I saw his face and every feature streaming yet with blood, his ruthless hands, and the vile open space where his one eye had been, and his coarse limbs, and his beard matted through with human blood. It seemed as if Death were before my eyes, yet that was but the least part of my woe. I seemed upon the point of being caught, my flesh about to be the food of his. Before my mind was fixed the time I saw two bodies of my loved companions dashed three or four times hard against the ground, when he above them, like a lion, crouched, devouring quickly in his hideous jaws, their entrails and their flesh and their crushed bones, white marrowed, and their mangled quivering limbs. A trembling fear seized on me as I stood pallid and without power to move from there, while I recalled him chewing greedily, and belching out his bloody banquet from his huge mouth—vomiting crushed pieces mixed with phlegmy wine—and I feared such a doom in readiness, awaited wretched me. Most carefully concealed for many days, trembling at every sound and fearing death, although desiring death; I fed myself on grass and acorns, mixed with leaves; alone and destitute, despondent unto death, awaiting my destruction I lost hope. In that condition a long while, at last I saw a ship not far off, and by signs prayed for deliverance, as I ran in haste, down to the shore. My prayers prevailed on them. A Trojan ship took in and saved a Greek! And now, O dearest to me of all men, tell me of your adventures, of your chief and comrades, when you sailed out on the sea.”

[223] Then Macareus told him of Aeolus, the son of Hippotas, whose kingdom is the Tuscan sea, whose prison holds the winds, and how Ulysses had received the winds tied in a bull's hide bag, an awesome gift, how nine days with a favoring breeze they sailed and saw afar their longed for native land. How, as the tenth day dawned, the crew was moved by envy and a lust for gold, which they imagined hidden in that leathern bag and so untied the thong which held the winds. These, rushing out, had driven the vessel back over the waves which they had safely passed, back to the harbor of King Aeolus. “From there,” he said, “we sailed until we reached the ancient city of Lamus, Laestrygon.—Antiphates was reigning in that land, and I was sent with two men of our troop, ambassadors to see him. Two of us escaped with difficulty, but the third stained the accursed Lestrygonian's jaws with his devoted blood. Antiphates pursued us, calling out his murderous horde. They came and, hurling stones and heavy beams, they overwhelmed and sank both ships and men. One ship escaped, on which Ulysses sailed.

[242] "Grieving, lamenting for companions lost, we finally arrived at that land which you may discern far off, and, trust my word, far off it should be seen—I saw it near! And oh most righteous Trojan, Venus' son, Aeneas, whom I call no more a foe, I warn you now: avoid the shores of Circe. We moored our ship beside that country too; but, mindful of the dangers we had run with Laestrygons and cruel Polyphemus, refused to go ashore. Ulysses chose some men by lot and told them to seek out a roof which he had seen among the trees. The lot took me, then staunch Polytes next, Eurylochus, Elpenor fond of wine, and eighteen more and brought us to the walls of Circe's dwelling. As we drew near and stood before the door, a thousand wolves rushed out from woods near by, and with the wolves there ran she bears and lionesses, dread to see. And yet we had no cause to fear, for none would harm us with the smallest scratch. Why, they in friendship even wagged their tails and fawned upon us, while we stood in doubt. Then handmaids took us in and led us on through marble halls to the presence of their queen.

[261] She, in a beautiful recess, sat on her throne, clad richly in a shining purple robe, and over it she wore a golden veil. Nereids and nymphs, who never carded fleece with motion of their fingers, nor drew out a ductile thread, were setting potent herbs in proper order and arranging them in baskets—a confusing wealth of flowers were scattered among leaves of every hue: and she prescribed the tasks they all performed. She knew the natural use of every leaf and combinations of their virtues, when mixed properly; and, giving them her close attention, she examined every herb as it was weighed. When she observed us there, and had received our greetings and returned them, she smiled, as if we should be well received. At once she had her maidens bring a drink of parched barley, of honey and strong wine, and curds of milk. And in the nectarous draught she added secretly her baleful drugs.

[276] "We took the cups presented to us by her sacred right hand; and, as soon as we, so thirsty, quaffed them with our parching mouths, that ruthless goddess with her outstretched wand touched lightly the topmost hair upon our heads. (Although I am ashamed, I tell you this) stiff bristles quickly grew out over me, and I could speak no more. Instead of words I uttered hoarse murmurs and towards the ground began to bend and gaze with all my face. I felt my mouth take on a hardened skin with a long crooked snout, and my neck swell with muscles. With the very member which a moment earlier had received the cup I now made tracks in sand of the palace court. Then with my friends, who suffered a like change (charms have such power!) I was prisoned in a stye. We saw Eurylochus alone avoid our swinish form, for he refused the cup. If he had drained it, I should still remain one of a bristly herd. Nor would his news have made Ulysses sure of our disaster and brought a swift avenger of our fate.

[291] "Peace bearing Hermes gave him a white flower from a black root, called Moly by the gods. With this protection and the god's advice he entered Circe's hall and, as she gave the treacherous cup and with her magic wand essayed to touch his hair, he drove her back and terrified her with his quick drawn sword. She gave her promise, and, right hands exchanged, he was received unharmed into her couch, where he required the bodies of his friends awarded him, as his prized marriage gift. We then were sprinkled with more favored juice of harmless plants, and smitten on the head with the magic wand reversed. And new charms were repeated, all conversely to the charms which had degraded us. Then, as she sings, more and yet more we raise ourselves erect, the bristles fall off and the fissures leave our cloven feet, our shoulders overcome their lost shape and our arms become attached, as they had been before. With tears of joy we all embrace him, also weeping tears; and we cling fondly to our chieftain's neck; -- not one of us could say a single word till thus we had attested gratitude.”


[308] "The full space of a year detained us there, and I, remaining that long stretch of time, saw many things and heard as much besides: and this among the many other things, was told me secretly by one of the four handmaidens of those rites. While Circe passed her time from all apart except my chief, she brought me to a white marble shape, a youth who bore a woodpecker upon his head. It stood erected in a hallowed place, adorned with many wreaths. When I had asked the statue's name and why he stood revered in that most sacred temple, and what caused that bird he carried on his head; she said:—`Listen, Macareus, and learn from this tale too the power of Circe, and weigh the knowledge well!’

[320] "`Picus, offspring of Saturn, was the king of the Ausonian land, one very fond of horses raised for war. The young man's form was just what you now see, and had you known him as he lived, you would not change a line. His nature was as noble as his shape. He could not yet have seen the steeds contend four times in races held with each fifth year at Grecian Elis. But his good looks had charmed the dryads born on Latin hills, Naiads would pine for him—both goddesses of spring and goddesses of fountains, pined for him, and nymphs that live in streaming Albula, Numicus, Anio's course, brief flowing Almo, and rapid Nar and Farfarus, so cool in its delightful shades; all these and those which haunt the forest lake of Scythian Diana and the other nearby lakes. But, heedless of all these, he loved a nymph whom on the hill, called Palatine, 'tis said, Venilia bore to Janus double faced. When she had reached the age of marriage, she was given to Picus Laurentine, preferred by her above all others—wonderful indeed her beauty, but more wonderful her skill in singing, from which art they called her Canens. The fascination of her voice would move the woods and rocks and tame wild beasts, and stay long rivers, and it even detained the wandering bird.

[341] "`Once, while she sang a lay with high, clear voice, Picus on his keen horse rode in Laurentian fields to hunt the boar, two spears in his left hand, his purple cloak fastened with gold. The daughter of the Sun wandered in woods near by to find new herbs growing on fertile hills, for she had left Circaean fields called so from her own name. From a concealing thicket she observed the youth with wonder. All the gathered herbs dropped from her hands, forgotten, to the ground and a hot fever-flame seemed to pervade her marrow. When she could collect her thought she wanted to confess her great desire, but the swift horse and his surrounding guards prevented her approach. “Still you shall not escape me,” she declared, “although you may be borne on winds, if I but know myself, and if some potency in herbs remains, and if my art of charms does not deceive.”

[358] "`Such were her thoughts, and then she formed an image of a bodiless wild swine and let it cross the trail before the king and rush into a woodland dense with trees, which fallen trunks made pathless for his horse. Picus at once, unconscious of all harm, followed the phantom-prey and, hastily quitting the reeking back of his good steed, he wandered in pursuit of a vain hope, on foot through that deep wood. She seized the chance and by her incantation called strange gods with a strange charm, which had the power to hide the white moon's features and draw thirsty clouds about her father's head. The changing sky then lowered more black at each repeated tone of incantation, and the ground exhaled its vapours, while his people wandered there along the darkened paths until no guard was near to aid the imperiled king.

[372] "`Having now gained an opportunity and place, she said, “O, youth most beautiful! By those fine eyes, which captivated mine, and by that graceful person, which brings me, even me, a goddess, suppliant to you, have pity on my passion; let the Sun, who looks on all things, be your father-in-law; do not despise Circe, the Titaness.” But fiercely he repelled her and her prayer, “Whoever you may be, you are not mine,” he said. “Another lady has my heart. I pray that for a lengthening space of time she may so hold me. I will not pollute conjugal ties with the unhallowed loves of any stranger, while the Fates preserve to me the child of Janus, my dear Canens.” Titan's daughter, when many pleas had failed, said angrily, “You shall not leave me with impunity, and you shall not return to Canens; and by your experience you shall now learn what can be done by her so slighted—what a woman deep in love can do—and Circe is that slighted love.”

[386] "`Then twice she turned herself to face the west and twice to face the East; and three times then she touched the young man with her wand, and sang three incantations. Picus fled, but, marvelling at his unaccustomed speed, he saw new wings, that spread on either side and bore him onward. Angry at the thought of transformation—all so suddenly added a strange bird to the Latian woods, he struck the wild oaks with his hard new beak, and in his rage inflicted many wounds on the long waving branches his wings took the purple of his robe. The piece of gold which he had used so nicely in his robe was changed to golden feathers, and his neck was rich as yellow gold. Nothing remained of Picus as he was except the name.

[397] "`While all this happened his attendants called on Picus often but in vain throughout surrounding fields, and finding not a trace of their young king, at length by chance they met with Circe, who had cleared the darkened air and let the clouds disperse before the wind and clear rays of the sun. Then with good cause they blamed her, they demanded the return of their lost king, and with their hunting spears they threatened her. She, sprinkling baleful drugs and poison juices over them, invoked the aid of Night and all the gods of Night from Erebus and Chaos, and desired the aid of Hecat with long, wailing cries. Most wonderful to tell, the forests leaped from fixed localities and the torn soil uttered deep groans, the trees surrounding changed from life-green to sick pallor, and the grass was moistened with besprinkling drops of blood; the stones sent forth harsh longings, unknown dogs barked loudly, and the ground became a mass of filthy snakes, and unsubstantial hosts of the departed flitted without sound. The men all quaked appalled. With magic rod she touched their faces, pale and all amazed, and at her touch the youths took on strange forms of wild animals. None kept his proper shape.

[416] "`The setting sun is resting low upon the far Tartessian shores, and now in vain her husband is expected by the eyes of longing Canens. Her slaves and people run about through all the forest, holding lights to meet him. Nor is it enough for that dear nymph to weep and frenzied tear her hair and beat her breast—she did all that and more. Distracted she rushed forth and wandered through the Latin fields. Six nights, six brightening dawns found her quite unrefreshed with food or sleep wandering at random over hill and dale. The Tiber saw her last, with grief and toil wearied and lying on his widespread bank. In tears she poured out words with a faint voice, lamenting her sad woe, as when the swan about to die sings a funereal dirge. Melting with grief at last she pined away; her flesh, her bones, her marrow liquified and vanished by degrees as formless air and yet the story lingers near that place, fitly named Canens by old-time Camenae!.’

[435] "Such things I heard and saw through a long year. Sluggish, inactive through our idleness, we were all ordered to embark again out on the deep, again to set our sails. The Titaness explained the doubtful paths, the great extent and peril, of wild seas. I was alarmed, I will confess to you; so, having reached these shores, I have remained.”


[441] Macareus finished. And Aeneas' nurse, now buried in a marble urn, had this brief, strange inscription on her tomb:-- "My foster-child of proven piety, burned me Caieta here: although I was at first preserved from Argive fire, I later burned with fire which was my due.” The cable loosened from the grassy bank, they steered a course which kept them well away from ill famed Circe's wiles and from her home and sought the groves where Tiber dark with shade, breaks with his yellow sands into the sea. Aeneas then fell heir to the home and won the daughter of Latinus, Faunus' son, not without war. A people very fierce made war, and Turnus, their young chief, indignant fought to hold a promised bride. With Latium all Etruria was embroiled, a victory hard to win was sought through war. By foreign aid each side got further strength: the camp of Rutuli abounds in men, and many throng the opposing camp of Troy. Aeneas did not find Evander's home in vain. But Venulus with no success came to the realm of exiled Diomed. That hero had marked out his mighty walls with favor of Iapygian Daunus and held fields that came to him as marriage dower.

[460] When Venulus, by Turnus' orders, made request for aid, the Aetolian hero said that he was poor in men: he did not wish to risk in battle himself nor any troops belonging to his father-in-law and had no troops of his that he could arm for battle. “Lest you should think I feign,” he then went on “Although my grief must be renewed because of bitter recollections of the past, I will endure recital now to you:-- "After the lofty Ilion was burnt and Pergama had fed the Grecian flames, and Ajax, the Narycian hero, had brought from a virgin, for a virgin wronged, the punishment which he alone deserved on our whole expedition, we were then dispersed and driven by violent winds over the hostile seas; and we, the Greeks, had to endure in darkness, lightning, rain, the wrath both of the heavens and of the sea, and Caphareus, the climax of our woe. Not to detain you by relating such unhappy things in order, Greece might then have seemed to merit even Priam's tears. Although well armed Minerva's care preserved me then and brought me safe through rocks and waves, from my native Argos I was driven again, for outraged Venus took her full revenge remembering still that wound of long ago; and I endured such hardships on the deep, and hazards amid armies on the shore, that often I called those happy whom the storm—an ill that came on all, or Cephareus had drowned. I even wished I had been one of them.

[483] "My best companions having now endured utmost extremities in wars and seas, lost courage and demanded a swift end of our long wandering. Acmon, by nature hot, and much embittered by misfortune, said, `What now remains for you, my friends, that patience can endure? What can be done by Venus (if she wants to) more than she already has done? While we have a dread of greater evils, reason will be found for patience; but, when fortune brings her worst, we scorn and trample fear beneath our feet. Upon the height of woe, why should we care? Let Venus listen, let her hate Diomed more than all others—as indeed she does, we all despise her hate. At a great price we have bought and won the right to such contempt!’ With language of this kind Pleuronian Acmon. Provoking Venus further than before, revived her former anger. His fierce words were then approved of by a few, while we the greater number of his real friends, rebuked the words of Acmon: and while he prepared to answer us, his voice, and even the passage of his voice, were both at once diminished, his hair changed to feathers, while his neck took a new form. His breast and back covered themselves with down, and both his arms grew longer feathers, and his elbows curved into light wings, much of each foot was changed to long toes, and his mouth grew still and hard with pointed horn. Amazed at his swift change were Lycus, Abas, Nycteus and Rhexenor. And, while they stared, they took his feathered shape. The larger portion of my company flew from their boat, resounding all around our oars with flapping of new-fashioned wings. If you should ask the form of these strange birds they were like snowy swans, though not the same. Now as Iapygian Daunus' son-in-law I scarcely hold this town and arid fields with my small remnant of trustworthy men.”


[512] So Diomed made answer. Venulus soon after left the Calydonian realms, Peucetian bays, and the Messapian fields. Among those fields he saw a darkened cave in woods and waving reeds. The halfgoat Pan now lives there, but in older time the nymphs possessed it. An Apulian shepherd scared them from that spot. At first he terrified them with a sudden fear, but soon in scorn, as they considered what the intruder was, they danced before him, moving feet to time. The shepherd clown abused them, capering, grotesquely imitating graceful steps, and railed at them with coarse and foolish words. He was not silent till a tree's new bark had closed his mouth for now he is a tree. And the wild olive's fruit took bitterness from him. It has the tartness of his tongue.

[527] When the ambassadors returned and told their tale about Aetolian arms refused, the bold Rutulians carried on the war without those forces, and much blood was shed. Then Turnus with a greedy torch drew near the Trojan fleet, well built of close-knit pine. What had escaped the waves, now feared the flame. Soon Mulciber was burning pitch and wax and other food of fire, up the high masts he ran and fed upon the tight furled sails, and even the benches in the curved hull smoked. When the holy mother of the gods, recalling how those same pines were felled on Ida's crest, filled the wind with a sound of cymbals clashed and trill of boxwood flutes. Borne through light air by her famed lion yoke, she came and said, “In vain you cast the fire with impious hand, Turnus, for I will save this burning fleet. I will not let the greedy flame consume trees that were part and members of my grove.” It thundered while she spoke, and heavy clouds, following the thunder, brought a storm of bounding hail. The Astraean brothers filled both air and swollen waters with their rage and rushed to battle. With the aid of one of them the kindly mother broke the ropes which held the Phrygian ships, and, drawing all prow foremost, plunged them underneath the wave. Softening quickly in the waters quiet depth, their wood was changed to flesh, the curving prows were metamorphosed into human heads, blades of the oars made feet, the looms were changed to swimming legs, the sides turned human flanks, each keel below the middle of a ship transformed became a spine, the cordage changed to soft hair, and the sail yards changed to arms. The azure color of the ships remained.

[555] As sea-nymphs in the water they began to agitate with virgin sports the waves, which they had always dreaded. Natives of the rugged mountains they are now so changed, they swim and dwell in the soft flowing sea, with every influence of birth forgot. Never forgetful of the myriad risks they have endured among the boisterous waves, they often give a helping hand to ships tossed in the power of storms—unless, of course, the ship might carry men of Grecian race. Never forgetful of the Phrygians and catastrophe, their hatred was so great of all Pelasgians, that they looked with joy upon the fragments of Ulysses' ship; and were delighted when they saw the ship of King Alcinous growing hard upon the breakers, as its wood was turned to stone.

[566] Many were hopeful that a fleet which had received life strangely in the forms of nymphs would cause the chieftain of the Rutuli to feel such awe that he would end their strife. But he continued fighting, and each side had its own gods, and each had courage too, which often can be as potent as the gods. Now they forgot the kingdom as a dower, forgot the scepter of a father-in-law, and even forgot the pure Lavinia: their one thought was to conquer, and they waged war to prevent the shame of a defeat. But Venus finally beheld the arms of her victorious son; for Turnus fell, and Ardea fell, a town which, while he lived, was counted strong. The Trojan swords destroyed it.—All its houses burned and sank down in the heated embers: and a bird not known before that time, flew upward from a wrecked heap, beating the dead ashes with its flapping wings. The voice, the lean pale look, the sorrows of a captured city, even the name of the ruined city, all these things remain in that bird—Ardea's fallen walls are beaten in lamentation by his wings.

[581] The merit of Aeneas now had moved the gods. Even Juno stayed her lasting hate, when, with the state of young Iulus safe, the hero son of Cytherea was prepared for heaven. In a council of the gods Venus arose, embraced her father's neck, and said: “ My father, ever kind to me, I do beseech your kind indulgence now; grant, dearest, to Aeneas, my own son and also your own grandson, grant to him a godhead power, although of lowest class, sufficient if but granted. It is enough to have looked once upon the unlovely realm. And once to have gone across the Stygian streams.” The gods assented, and the queen of Jove nodded consent with calm, approving face. The father said, “You well deserve the gift, both you who ask it, and the one for whom you ask it: what you most desire is yours, my daughter.” He decreed, and she rejoiced and thanked her parent. Borne by harnessed doves over and through the light air, she arrived safe on Laurentine shores: Numicius there winds through his tall reeds to the neighboring sea the waters of his stream: and there she willed Numicius should wash perfectly away from her Aeneas every part that might be subject unto death; and bear it far with quiet current into Neptune's realm. The horned Numicius satisfied the will of Venus; and with flowing waters washed from her Aeneas every mortal part, and sprinkled him, so that the essential part of immortality remained alone, and she anointed him, thus purified, with heavenly essence, and she touched his face with sweetest nectar and ambrosia mixt, thereby transforming him into a god. The throng of the Quirini later named the new god Indiges, and honored him.


[609] Under the scepter of Ascanius the Latin state, transferred, was Alban too. Silvius ruled after him. Latinus then, wearing the crown, brought back an older name. Illustrious Alba followed after him, Epytus next in time, and Capys next, then Capetus. And reigning after them King Tiberinus followed. He was drowned in waves of that Etrurian stream, to which he gave his name. His sons were Remulus and fierce Acrota—each in turn was king. The elder, Remulus, would imitate the lightning, and he perished by a flash of lightning. Then Acrota, not so rash, succeeded to his brother, and he left his scepter to the valiant Aventinus, hill-buried on the very mountain which he ruled upon and which received his name. And Proca ruled then—on the Palatine.

[623] Under this king, Pomona lived, and none of all the Latin hamadryads could attend her garden with more skill, and none was more attentive to the fruitful trees, because of them her name was given to her. She cared not for the forests or the streams, but loved the country and the boughs that bear delicious fruit. Her right hand never felt a javelin's weight, always she loved to hold a sharp curved pruning-knife with which she would at one time crop too largely growing shoots, or at another time reduce the branch that straggled; at another time she would engraft a sucker in divided bark, and so find nourishment for some young, strange nursling. She never suffered them to thirst, for she would water every winding thread of twisting roots with freshly flowing streams.

[634] All this was her delight, her chief pursuit; she never felt the least desire of love; but fearful of some rustic's violence, she had her orchard closed within a wall; and both forbade and fled the approach of males. What did not satyrs do to gain her love, a youthful crew expert at every dance? And also Pans their brows wreathed with the pine, Silenus too, more youthful than his years, and that god who is ever scaring thieves with pruning-hook or limb—what did they not to gain her love? And though Vertumnus did exceed them in his love, yet he was not more fortunate than they. How often disguised as a rough reaper he brought her barley ears—truly he seemed a reaper to the life! Often he came, his temples wreathed with hay, as if he had been tossing new mown grass. He often held a whip in his tough hand, you could have sworn he had a moment before unyoked his wearied oxen. When he had a pruning-knife, he seemed to rear fine fruit in orchard trees or in the well kept vines. When he came with a ladder, you would think he must be gathering fruit. Sometimes he was a soldier with a sword—a fisherman, the rod held in his hand.—In fact by means of many shapes he often had obtained access to her and joyed in seeing her beauty.

[654] At length he had his brows bound with a cap of color, and then leaning on a stick, with white hair round his temples, he assumed the shape of an old woman. Entering so the cultivated garden, he admired the fruit and said, “But you are so much lovelier!” And, while he praised her, gave some kisses too, such as no real beldame ever gave. The bent old creature then sat on the grass. Gazing at branches weighed down with their fruit of autumn. Opposite to them there was an elm-tree beautiful with shining grapes; and, after he had praised it with the vine embracing it, he said, “But only think, if this trunk stood unwedded to this vine, it would have nothing to attract our hearts beyond its leaves, and this delightful vine, united to the elm tree finds its rest; but, if not so joined to it, would fall down, prostrate upon the ground. And yet you find no warning in the example of this tree. You have avoided marriage, with no wish to be united -- I must wish that you would change and soon desire it. Helen would not have so many suitors for her hand, nor she who caused the battles of the Lapithae, nor would the wife of timid, and not bold, Ulysses. Even now, while you avoid those who are courting you, and while you turn in your disgust, a thousand suitors want to marry you—the demigods and gods, and deities of Alba's mountain-tops.

[675] "But you, if you are wise, and wish to make a good match, listen patiently to me, an old, old woman (I love you much more than all of them, more than you dream or think). Despise all common persons, and choose now Vertumnus as the partner of your couch, and you may take me as a surety for him. He is not better known even to himself, than he is known to me. And he is not now wandering everywhere, from here to there throughout the world. He always will frequent the places near here; and he does not, like so many of your wooers, fall in love with her he happens to have seen the last. You are his first and last love, and to you alone will he devote his life. Besides all—he is young and has a natural gift of grace, so that he can most readily transform himself to any wanted shape, and will become whatever you may wish—even though you ask him things unseen before. And only think, have you not the same tastes? Will he not be the first to welcome fruits which are your great delight? And does he not hold your gifts safely in his glad right hand? But now he does not long for any fruit plucked from the tree, and has no thought of herbs with pleasant juices that the garden gives; he cannot think of anything but you. Have pity on his passion, and believe that he who woos you is here and he pleads with my lips. You should not forget to fear avenging deities, and the Idalian, who hate all cruel hearts, and also dread the fierce revenge of her of Rhamnus-Land. And that you may stand more in awe of them, (old age has given me opportunities of knowing many things) I will relate some happenings known in Cyprus, by which you may be persuaded and relent with ease.


[698] "Iphis, born of a humble family, had seen the famed Anaxarete, who was of the race of ancient Teucer.—He had seen her and felt fire inflame his bones. Struggling a long time, he could not subdue his passion by his reason, so he came a suppliant to her doors. And having now confessed his ardent passion to her nurse, besought her by the hopes reposed in her by the loved girl, not to give him a cold heart and at another time, with fair words given to each of many servants he besought their kindest interest with an anxious voice. He often gave them coaxing words engraved on tablets of soft wax; and sometimes he would fasten garlands, wet with dew of tears, upon the door-posts; and he often laid his tender side nightlong on the hard threshold, sadly reproaching the obdurate bolt. Deafer than the deep sea that rises high when the rainy Constellation of the Kids is setting; harder than the iron which the fire of Noricum refines; more hard than rock which in its native state is fixed firm rooted; she despised and laughed at him and, adding to her cruel deeds and pride, she boasted and deprived him of all hope.

[716] "Iphis, unable to endure such pain prolonged, spoke these, his final words, before her door: `Anaxarete, you have conquered me, and you shall have no more annoyances to bear from me. Be joyful and prepare your triumph, and invoke god Paean, crown yourself with shining laurel. You are now my conqueror, and I resigned will die. Woman of iron, rejoice in victory! At least, you will commend me for one thing, one point in which I must please even you, and cause you to confess my right of praise. Remember that my star crossed love for you died only with the last breath of my life. And now in one short moment I shall be deprived a twofold light; and no report will come to you, no messenger of death. But doubt not, I will come to you so that I can be seen in person, and you may then satiate your cruel eyesight with my lifeless body. If, you gods above! You have some knowledge of our mortal ways remember me, for now my tongue can pray no longer. Let me be renowned in times far distant and give all those hours to Fame which you have taken from my life on earth.’ Then to the doorpost which he often had adorned with floral wreaths he lifted up his swimming eyes and both his pallid arms, and, when he had fastened over the capital a rope that held a dangling noose, he said,—`Are these the garlands that delight your heart? You cruel and unnatural woman?'— Then, thrust in his head, turning even then towards her, and hung a hapless weight with broken neck. The door, struck by the motion of his feet as they were quivering, seemed to utter sounds of groaning, and, when it flew open, showed the sad sight. All the servants cried aloud, and after they had tried in vain to save him, carried him from there to his mother's house, (to her because his father was then dead).

[743] "She held him to her bosom and embraced the cold limbs of her dead child. After she had uttered words so natural to the grief of wretched mothers—after she had done what wretched mothers do at such sad times, she led a tearful funeral through the streets, the pale corpse following high upon the bier, on to a pyre laid in the central square. By chance, Anaxarete's house was near the way through which the mournful funeral was going with the corpse, and the sad sound of wailing reached the ears of that proud girl—hardhearted, and already goaded on by an avenging god. Moved by the sound, she said; `Let me observe their sniveling rites.' And she ascended to an upper room, provided with wide windows. Scarcely had she looked at Iphis, laid out on the bier, when her eyes stiffened, and she turned all white, as warm blood left her body. She tried then to turn back from the window, but she stood transfixed there. She then tried to turn her face away from that sad sight, but could not move; and by degrees the stone, which always had existed, petrified in her cold breast, and took possession of her heart and limbs. This is not fiction, and that you may know, Salamis keeps that statue safe today, formed of the virgin and has also built a temple called, `Venus the watchful Goddess.’ Warned by her fate, O sweet nymph, lay aside prolonged disdain, and cheerfully unite yourself to one who loves you. Then may frost of springtime never nip your fruit in bud, nor rude winds strike the blossom.”

[765] When the god, fitted for every shape, had said these words in vain he laid the old woman's form aside and was again a youth. On her he seemed to blaze, as when the full light of the brilliant Sun, after it has dispelled opposing clouds, has shone forth with not one to intercept. He purposed violence, but there was then no need of force. The lovely nymph was charmed, was captivated by the god's bright form and felt a passion answering to his love.


[772] At Proca's death unjust Amulius seized with his troops the whole Ausonian wealth. And yet old Numitor, obtaining aid from his two grandsons, won the land again which he had lost; and on the festival of Pales were the city walls begun. King Tatius with his Sabines went to war; Tarpeia, who betrayed the citadel, died justly underneath the weight of arms. Then troops from Cures crept, like silent wolves, without a word toward men subdued by sleep and tried the gates that Ilia's son had barred. Then Saturn's daughter opened wide a gate, turning the silent hinge. Venus alone perceived the bars of that gate falling down. She surely would have closed it, were it not impossible for any deity to countervail the acts of other gods.

[785] The Naiads of Ausonia occupied a spring that welled up close to Janus' fane. To them she prayed for aid. The fountain-nymphs could not resist the prayer of Venus, when she made her worthy plea and they released all waters under ground. Till then the path by Janus' fane was open, never yet had floods risen to impede the way. But now they laid hot sulphur of a faint blue light beneath the streaming fountain and with care applied fire to the hallowed ways with smoking pitch. By these and many other violent means hot vapors penetrated to the source of the good fountain.—Only think of it! Those waters which had rivalled the cold Alps, now rivalled with their heat the flames themselves! And, while each gate post steamed with boiling spray, the gate, which had been opened (but in vain) to hardy Sabines just outside, was made impassable by the heated fountain's flood, till Roman soldiers had regained their arms. After brave Romulus had led them forth and covered Roman ground with Sabines dead and its own people; and the accursed sword shed blood of father-in-law and son-in-law, with peace they chose at last to end the war, rather than fight on to the bitter end: Tatius and Romulus divide the throne.

[805] Tatius had fallen, and you, O Romulus, were giving laws to peoples now made one, when Mars put off his helmet and addressed the father of gods and men in words like these: “The time has come, for now the Roman state has been established on a strong foundation and no more must rely on one man's strength the time has come for you to give the prize, promised to me and your deserving grandson, to raise him from the earth and grant him here a fitting place in heaven. One day you said to me before a council of the gods, (for I recall now with a grateful mind how I took note of your most gracious speech) `Him you shall lift up to the blue of heaven.’ Now let all know the meaning of your words!” The god all-powerful nodded his assent, and he obscured the air with heavy clouds and on a trembling world he sent below harsh thunder and bright lightning. Mars at once perceived it was a signal plainly given for promised change—so, leaning on a spear, he mounted boldly into his chariot, and over bloodstained yoke and eager steeds he swung and cracked the loud-resounding lash. Descending through steep air, he halted on the wooded summit of the Palatine and there, while Ilia's son was giving laws—needing no pomp and circumstance of kings, Mars caught him up. His mortal flesh dissolved into thin air, as when a ball of lead shot up from a broad sling melts all away and soon is lost in heaven. A nobler shape was given him, one more fitted to adorn rich couches in high heaven, the shape divine of Quirinus clad in the trabea.

[829] His queen, Hersilia, wept continually, regarding him as lost, till regal Juno commanded Iris to glide down along her curving bow and bring to her these words: “O matron, glory of the Latin race and of the Sabines, worthy to have been the consort chosen by so great a man and now to be his partner as the god Quirinus, weep no more. If you desire to see your husband, let me guide you up to a grove that crowns the hill of Quirinus, shading a temple of the Roman king.” Iris obeyed her will, and, gliding down to earth along her tinted bow, conveyed the message to Hersilia; who replied, with modest look and hardly lifted eye, “Goddess (although it is not in my power to say your name, I am quite certain you must be a goddess), lead me, O lead me until you show to me the hallowed form of my beloved husband. If the Fates will but permit me once again to see his features, I will say I have won heaven.” At once Hersilia and the virgin child of Thaumas, went together up the hill of Romulus. Descending through thin air there came a star, and then Hersilia her tresses glowing fiery in the light, rose with that star, as it returned through air. And her the founder of the Roman state received with dear, familiar hands. He changed her old time form and with the form her name. He called her Hora and let her become a goddess, now the mate of Quirinus.