Metamorphoses (Oxford World's Classics)
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Metamorphoses--the best-known poem by one of the wittiest poets of classical antiquity--takes as its theme change and transformation, as illustrated by Greco-Roman myth and legend. Melville's new translation reproduces the grace and fluency of Ovid's style, and its modern idiom offers a fresh understanding of Ovid's unique and elusive vision of reality.
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wondering how he should deal with such an abundance of qualified suitors, went to his daughter, ran over their names and asked her whom she would choose for her husband. At first she said nothing and merely gazed on her father’s face, her eyes suffused with her warm salt tears in her mental turmoil. Interpreting these as a token of maidenly modesty, Cinyras said, “Don’t cry!” as he dried her cheeks and tenderly kissed her. Ecstatic with joy at the kiss, the girl replied to his
safely penned in my cave. If you asked me, I shouldn’t be able to tell you how many there are; only a poor man counts his sheep. But you needn’t believe what I say in their praise. If you come to the fold, you will see for yourself that their legs can hardly straddle the udders, they’re so distended. You’ll see my lambs in their snug warm pens and my baby goats. I always have pailfuls of rich white milk, and I keep one part to be drunk as it is, while the rest is hardened by rennet
passed the fields of the Cyclops, which never had known the working of harrow or plough and owed no debt to yoked oxen. He’d passed Messána and also the walls of Rhégium opposite, finding his way through the dangerous strait, where the waters are bounded by Italy’s soil on the one side and Sicily’s coast on the other. Thence powerfully swimming across the Etruscan Sea,* he arrived at the herb-green hills and the halls of Circe, the sun god’s daughter, halls that were crowded with
in scorn of Bacchus, profaning his feast day. Suddenly, out of nowhere, their ears were harshly assaulted by clattering drums, the fearful skirling of Phrýgian pipes* and the strident clashing of cymbals. The perfume of myrrh and of saffron pervaded the air. Then, hard to believe, the looms began to grow green and the weaving to change into leafy curtains of ivy. * Part of it turned into vines, with the threads transformed into tendrils. Fronds shot out of the warp, and the purple dye in
face. There wasn’t a sign of life in her features. The palate inside her mouth went hard, and even her tongue was frozen and stiff. The blood could no longer course in her veins. She had lost the power to incline her neck, or to raise an arm, or to walk on her feet; and her inner organs were turned to stone. Yet her weeping goes on. In the swirl of a mighty wind she was swept away to her native land. There, set on a mountain summit,* she pines to this day, and the tears trickle down the