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Metamorphoses
Ovid

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Bk IX:439-516 Byblis falls in love with her twin brother Caunus.

Jupiter's words swayed the gods: and no one could sustain their objection when they saw Rhadamanthos, Aeacus and Minos wearied with the years. When he was in his prime, Minos had made great nations tremble at his very name: now he was weak, and feared Miletus, who was proud of his strength and parentage, the son of Phoebus Apollo and the nymph Deione. Though Minos believed Miletus might plot an insurrection, he still did not dare to deny him his home. On your own initiative, Miletus, you left, cutting the waters of the Aegean in your swift ship, and built a city on the soil of Asia, that still carries its founder's name.
        
There you knew Cyanee, the daughter of Maeander, whose stream so often curves back on itself, when she was following her father's winding shores. Twin children were born to her, of outstanding beauty of body, Byblis and her brother Caunus.
        
Byblis, seized by a passion, for her brother, scion of Apollo; that Byblis serves for a warning to girls, against illicit love. She loved, not as a sister loves a brother, nor as she should. At first, it is true, she did not understand the fires of passion, or think it wrong, to kiss, together, often, or throw her arms round her brother's neck. For a long time she was deceived by the misleading likeness to sisterly affection. Gradually the nature of her love went astray, and she came looking for her brother carefully dressed, and over-anxious to look beautiful. If anyone seemed more beautiful to him, she was jealous. But her own feelings were not clear to her, and though she had no inner longing for passion, nevertheless it burned. And now she called him her lord, now she hated the name that made them related, now she wrongly wished him to call her Byblis, rather than sister. While she is awake she still dare not allow her mind its illicit hope, but, deep in peaceful dreams, she often sees what she loves, and is also seen, held in her brother's arms, and she blushes, though lost in sleep.
        
When sleep has vanished, she lies there for a long time, recalling, to herself, the imagery of her dream, and at last utters these inner doubts: "Alas for me! What does it mean, this vision out of the night's silence? How I would hate it to be true! Why do I see these things in sleep? He is truly handsome, even to unfriendly eyes, and is pleasing, and if he were not my brother I could love him, and he would be worthy of me. Being his sister is the reality that harms me. Let sleep often return with similar visions, as long as I am not tempted to do any such thing while awake! A dream lacks witnesses, but does not lack pleasure's counterpart. By winged Cupid, and Venus, his tender mother, how great the joy I had! How clearly passion touched me! How my whole heart melted where I lay! What joy in remembrance! Though its pleasure was short-lived, and night rushed onwards, envious of my imaginings.
        
O if I could have been joined to you, with another's name, Caunus, how good a daughter-in-law I could have been to your father! O Caunus, how good a son-in-law you could have been to my father! We would have had everything shared between us, except our grandparents: I would have wanted you to be nobler than me! You, most beautiful one, will make someone else the mother of your children, but to me, whom evil luck has given the same parents, you will be nothing but a brother. What separates us: that we will share as one. What does my vision signify to me? What weight indeed do dreams have? Or perhapsthe gods forbiddreams do have weight? Certainly, the gods have possessed their sisters. So, Saturn led Ops, his blood-kin, to join with him, and Oceanus, Tethys, and the ruler of Olympus, Juno. The gods have their own laws! Why try to relate human affairs to other, divine, behaviour? Either my forbidden passion will be driven from my heart, or if I cannot achieve that, I pray to be loved, before I am laid out on my deathbed, and my brother kisses me there. Yet that needs both our wills! Suppose it pleases me: it may seem a sin to him.
        
Still, the sons of Aeolus, god of the winds, were not afraid to marry their sisters! Where did I learn that? Why do I have such ready examples? Where is this leading? Vanish, far off, illicit flames, and let my brother not be loved, except as a sister may love him! Yet, if he himself were first captured by love of me, I might perhaps be able to indulge this madness. Then let me woo him, whom I would not reject, if he were wooing!Can you say it? Can you acknowledge it?Love compels me: I can! Or if shame closes my lips, a secret letter will confess my hidden passions."
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