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Metamorphoses
Ovid

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Bk VII:796-865 The death of Procris.

"Phocus, my happiness was the beginning of my sorrow, and I will speak of happiness first. Son of Aeacus, what a joy it is to remember that blessed time, when, in those early years, I was delighted, and rightly so, with my wife, and she was delighted with her husband. We two had mutual cares, and a shared love. She would not have preferred Jupiter's bed to my love, and no woman could have captured me, not if Venus herself had come there. An equal flame burnt in our hearts. 
        
Just after dawn, when the first rays struck the hilltops, full of youthfulness, I used to go hunting in the woods. I used to take no servants, or horses, or keen-scented hounds, or knotted snares. I trusted in my spear. But when my right hand was sated with the slaughter of wild creatures, I would return to the cool of the shade, and the breeze, aura, out of the chill valleys. I courted the breeze, gentle to me, in the midst of the heat: I waited for aura: she was rest for my labour. 'Aura' (Indeed, I remember) I used to call, 'Come to me, delight me, enter my breast, most pleasing one, and, as you do, be willing to ease this heat I burn with!' Perhaps I did add more endearments (so my fate led me on). 'You are my greatest pleasure,' I used to say. 'You revive me, and cherish me. You make me love the woods and lonely places. It is always your breath I try to catch with my lips.'
        
Someone, I don't know who, hearing the ambiguous words, represented my speech as a betrayal, and thought the word aura I called so often, was the name of a nymph, a nymph he believed I loved. Immediately the unthinking witness went to Procris with the tale of my imagined disloyalty, and whispered what he had heard. Love is a credulous thing. Overcome with sudden pain, they tell me that she fainted. After a long time she revived, weeping for herself, calling her fate evil. She complained of my faithlessness, and troubled by an imaginary crime, she feared what was nothing, feared a name without substance, and grieved, the unhappy woman, as though aura were a real rival.
        
Yet she often doubted, and hoped, in her misery, that she was wrong, declaring she would not believe it, and unless she witnessed it herself, would not condemn her husband as guilty of any crime. Next morning, when Dawn's light had dispelled the night I left to seek the woods, and, victorious from the hunt, lying on the grass, I said, 'Aura, come and relieve my suffering!' and suddenly, amongst my words, I thought I heard someone's moan. 'Come, dearest!' I still said, and as the fallen leaves made a rustling sound in reply, I thought it was a wild creature, and threw my spear quickly. It was Procris. Clasping the wound in her breast she cried out, 'Ah, me!'
        
Recognising it as the voice of my faithful wife, I ran headlong and frantic towards that voice. I found her half-alive, her clothes sprinkled with drops of blood, and (what misery!) trying to pull this spear, her gift to me, from the wound. I lifted her body, dearer to me than my own, with gentle arms, tore the fabric from her breast, and bound up the cruel wound, trying to stem the blood, begging her not to leave me, guilty of her death. Though her strength was failing, and even though she was dying, she forced herself to speak a little. 'By the bed we swore to share, by the gods that I entreat, those that are above, and those that are of my house, by any good I have deserved of you, and by the abiding love, that still, while I die, remains, that is itself the cause of my death, do not allow this Aura to marry you in my place!' She spoke, and then I knew at last the error of the name, and told her. But what was the use of telling? She wavered, and the little strength she had ebbed away with her blood. While she could still gaze at anything, she gazed at me; and to me, and on my lips, breathed out her unfortunate spirit. And her look seemed easier then, untroubled by death."
        
The hero, weeping, had told this sorrowful tale, when, behold, Aeacus entered with his two sons, and their newly enlisted men, whom Cephalus then accepted, with all their heavy armour.
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