Tales from Ovid: 24 Passages from the Metamorphoses
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A powerful version of the Latin classic by England's late Poet Laureate, now in paperback.When it was published in 1997, Tales from Ovid was immediately recognized as a classic in its own right, as the best rering of Ovid in generations, and as a major book in Ted Hughes's oeuvre. The Metamorphoses of Ovid stands with the works of Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton as a classic of world poetry; Hughes translated twenty-four of its stories with great power and directness. The result is the liveliest twentieth-century version of the classic, at once a delight for the Latinist and an appealing introduction to Ovid for the general reader.
might have been modified. But it was no good. Desperately as she denied him The God of gods went off home contented As if from heavenly bliss to heavenly bliss. The girl wept. Suddenly, she hated the forest, The flowers, that had watched while it happened. She was in such a hurry to get away She almost abandoned her bow and her quiver. Diana, coming along the ridge of Maenalus With her virgin troop, after hard hunting, Saw her darling, and called her. Callisto’s Jumpy terror of Diana’s
halt, labouring for air That scorched his mouth and torched his lungs, With most of the course to go. This was the moment For flinging one of my apples out past her – He bounced it in front of her feet and away to the left. ‘Startled to see such a gorgeous trinket Simply tossed aside, she could not resist it. While she veered to snatch it up Hippomenes was ahead, breasting the crest Of the crowd’s roar. ‘But Atalanta came back in with a vengeance. She passed him so lightly he felt to
off worse. Then came a bigger pang – A prong of pure terror That jabbed his very centre And opened A whole new order of agony. At last he understood. His roar shook the woods of Oeta. His frantic hands knew they were too late As he scattered the altarstones and tore At the folds of the horrible garment. Wherever the weave came away It lifted sheets of steaming skin with it. Either it clung, Stronger than he was, or tore free Only where the muscles tore free, Writhing rags and
located The child She tried to hide and pray for. Niobe gazed at the corpses. All her children were dead. Her husband was dead. Her face hardened And whitened, as the blood left it. Her very hair hardened Like hair carved by a chisel. Her open eyes became stones. Her whole body A stone. Life drained from every part of it. Her tongue Solidified in her stone mouth. Her feet could not move, her hands Could not move: they were stone, Her veins were stone veins. Her bowels, her
and its brightness combined Like a tear Or a single bead of sweat – Into the bottomless fires of the first, last forge. Afraid that he might just touch off that future With such weapons, forged in that same smithy, He reversed his ideas. He dipped his anger in the thought of water. Rain, downpour, deluge, flood – these Could drown the human race, and be harmless. In a moment he had withdrawn the blast That fixes the Northern ice. He tethered the parching winds Off mountains and out