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Metamorphoses
Ovid

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Bk VIII:81-151 Scylla, deserted, is changed to a bird.

As she was speaking, Night, most powerful healer of our cares, darkened, and, with the shadows, her boldness grew. The first hours of quiet had come, when sleep soothes hearts that the day's anxieties have wearied: the daughter steals silently into her father's room, and (alas, the evil!) robs him of the fateful lock of hair. Through the middle of the enemy camp she goes (so certain of her worth to them) with the impious prize she has gained, straight to the king: who is startled by her speech to him. "Love drove me to crime! I, Scylla, daughter of King Nisus, deliver, to you, the gods of my house, and my country. I ask no gift but yourself. Take this purple lock of hair as the pledge of my love, and know that I do not deliver merely a lock of his hair to you, but his head!" And she held out her gift in her sinful hand. Minos recoiled from what she offered him, and shaken by the thought of this unnatural act, answered, "May the gods banish you from their world, O you who disgrace this age, and may land and sea be denied you! Be certain I will never allow Crete, which is my world, and the cradle of Jove, to give sanctuary to such a monstrous child."
        
He spoke: and after establishing laws for his defeated enemies, this most just of legislators, ordered the cables to be loosed from his fleet, and the oars of the bronze-beaked ships to be set in motion. When Scylla saw that the ships were drawing away over the sea, and that their master had refused her the reward for her wickedness, exhausting prayer, she succumbed to violent anger, and, her hair streaming, shouted in her fury, stretching our her hands. "Where are you running to, deserting the creator of your success, O you whom I have set above my father, set above my country? Where are you running to, cruel one, whose victory was my crime, and my kindness? Does neither the gift I gave, nor my love, move you, nor the knowledge that all my hopes are contained in you alone? Where shall I go, deserted like this? To my country? It is defeated! Even if it were not, it is closed to me through my treachery! To my father's presence? Whom I betrayed to you? The citizens hate me, with reason, and their neighbours fear my example. I am exposed to the world, so that Crete alone might be open to me. If you deny me Crete, also, and leave me here, in your ingratitude, your mother was not Europa, but the sandbanks of hostile Syrtis, or the Armenian tigress, or Charybdis's whirlpool, stirred by the south wind. Nor are you Jupiter's son, nor was your mother deceived by the image of a bull. That tale of your birth is a lie! Truly a bull begot you: a wild one, never captive of a heifer's love.
        
Nisus, father, punish me! Joy in my pain, walls, that I have betrayed! Now, I confess it, I deserve to be hated, and to die. But let one of those whom I have impiously wounded destroy me! Why should you attack me for my crime, who gained victory through that crime? My sin against my father, and my country, was a kindness to you! Pasiphaë is truly a fit mate for you: that adulteress who fooled the fierce bull with that wooden frame, and carried a hybrid foetus in her womb. Does my speech penetrate your ears, monster of ingratitude, or do the same winds that blow your ships on, blow my words away to nothingness? Now, Now, it is no wonder to me, that Pasiphaë preferred that bull to you: you have more savagery in you than he had. Oh, he is ordering them to run! And the waves resound to the beat of the oars, and I and my land recede. No matter. Oh, in vain, you forget my kindnesses: I shall follow you against your will, clinging to the curved sternpost, dragged over the wide ocean."
        
She had scarcely finished speaking when she leapt into the sea, and swam after the fleet, her passion lending her strength, and clung to the Cretan boat. Her father, who had been newly changed into a sea eagle, soaring through the air on tawny wings, saw her, and dived towards her, as she clung there, to tear at her with his hooked beak. In fear she let go of the sternpost, but as she fell the light breeze seemed to hold her, not letting her touch the water. Feathers spring from her arms: changed into a bird, the rock dove, with its red legs and purple throat, she is called Ciris, "Cutter," and acquired that name from her cutting of the lock of hair.
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