My Own Notes

Please Login to save notes.

If you are not a registered user, then click here.

Metamorphoses
Ovid

Previous Page 128 of 301 Next Page
     
Bk V:425-486 Calliope sings: Ceres searches for Proserpine.

"Cyane, mourning the rape of the goddess, and the contempt for the sanctities of her fountain, nursed an inconsolable grief in her silent heart, and pined away wholly with sorrow. She melted into those waters whose great goddess she had previously been. You might see her limbs becoming softened, her bones seeming pliant, her nails losing their hardness. First of all the slenderest parts dissolve: her dusky hair, her fingers and toes, her feet and ankles (since it is no great transformation from fragile limbs to cool waters). Next her breast and back, shoulders and flanks slip away, vanishing into tenuous streams. At last the water runs in her ruined veins, and nothing remains that you could touch.
     
Meanwhile the mother, fearing, searches in vain for the maid, through all the earth and sea. Neither the coming of dewy-haired Aurora, nor Hesperus, finds her resting. Lighting pine torches with both hands at Etna's fires, she wanders, unquiet, through the bitter darkness, and when the kindly light has dimmed the stars, she still seeks her child, from the rising of the sun till the setting of the sun.
     
She found herself thirsty and weary from her efforts, and had not moistened her lips at any of the springs, when by chance she saw a hut with a roof of straw, and she knocked on its humble door. At that sound, an old woman emerged, and saw the goddess, and, when she asked for water, gave her something sweet made with malted barley. While she drank what she had been given a rash, foul-mouthed boy stood watching, and taunted her, and called her greedy. The goddess was offended, and threw the liquid she had not yet drunk, mixed with the grains of barley, in his face. His skin, absorbing it, became spotted, and where he had once had arms, he now had legs. A tail was added to his altered limbs, and he shrank to a little shape, so that he has no great power to harm. He is like a lesser lizard, a newt, of tiny size. The old woman wondered and wept, and, trying to touch the creature, it ran from her and searched out a place to hide. It has a name fitting for its offence, stellio, its body starred with various spots.
     
It would take too long to tell through what lands and seas the goddess wandered. Searching the whole earth, she failed to find her daughter: she returned to Sicily, and while crossing it from end to end, she came to Cyane, who if she had not been changed would have told all. But though she wished to, she had neither mouth nor tongue, nor anything with which to speak. Still she revealed clear evidence, known to the mother, and showed Persephone's ribbon, fallen, by chance, into the sacred pool. As soon as she recognised it, the goddess tore her dishevelled hair, and beat her breast again and again with her hands, as if she at last comprehended the rape. She did not know yet where Persephone was, but condemned all the lands, and called them thankless and unworthy of her gift of corn, Sicily, that Trinacria, above all, where she had discovered the traces of her loss.
     
So, in that place, with cruel hands, she broke the ploughs that turned up the soil, and, in her anger, dealt destruction to farmers, and the cattle in their fields, alike, and ordered the ever-faithful land to fail, and spoiled the sowing. The fertility of that country, acclaimed throughout the world, was spoken of as a fiction: the crops died as young shoots, destroyed by too much sun, and then by too much rain. Wind and weather harmed them, and hungry birds gathered the scattered seed. Thistles and darnel and stubborn grasses ruined the wheat harvest."
Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page
  Glossary  
     
Videos
Go to page:   
Top

Copyright © 2020 Gleeditions, LLC. All rights reserved.