Ovid (43 BCE - 17 CE / Rome / Italy)
Metamorphoses: Book The Fourteenth
NOW Glaucus, with a lover's haste, bounds o'er
The swelling waves, and seeks the Latian shore.
Messena, Rhegium, and the barren coast
Of flaming Aetna, to his sight are lost:
At length he gains the Tyrrhene seas, and views
The hills where baneful philters Circe brews;
Monsters, in various forms, around her press;
As thus the God salutes the sorceress.
The O Circe, be indulgent to my grief,
Transformation And give a love-sick deity relief.
of Scylla Too well the mighty pow'r of plants I know,
To those my figure, and new Fate I owe.
Against Messena, on th' Ausonian coast,
I Scylla view'd, and from that hour was lost.
In tend'rest sounds I su'd; but still the fair
Was deaf to vows, and pityless to pray'r.
If numbers can avail, exert their pow'r;
Or energy of plants, if plants have more.
I ask no cure; let but the virgin pine
With dying pangs, or agonies, like mine.
No longer Circe could her flame disguise,
But to the suppliant God marine, replies:
When maids are coy, have manlier aims in view;
Leave those that fly, but those that like, pursue.
If love can be by kind compliance won;
See, at your feet, the daughter of the Sun.
Sooner, said Glaucus, shall the ash remove
From mountains, and the swelling surges love;
Or humble sea-weed to the hills repair;
E'er I think any but my Scylla fair.
Strait Circe reddens with a guilty shame,
And vows revenge for her rejected flame.
Fierce liking oft a spight as fierce creates;
For love refus'd, without aversion, hates.
To hurt her hapless rival she proceeds;
And, by the fall of Scylla, Glaucus bleeds.
Some fascinating bev'rage now she brews;
Compos'd of deadly drugs, and baneful juice.
At Rhegium she arrives; the ocean braves,
And treads with unwet feet the boiling waves.
Upon the beach a winding bay there lies,
Shelter'd from seas, and shaded from the skies:
This station Scylla chose: a soft retreat
From chilling winds, and raging Cancer's heat.
The vengeful sorc'ress visits this recess;
Her charm infuses, and infects the place.
Soon as the nymph wades in, her nether parts
Turn into dogs; then at her self she starts.
A ghastly horror in her eyes appears;
But yet she knows not, who it is she fears;
In vain she offers from her self to run,
And drags about her what she strives to shun.
The End of the Fourteenth Book.
Translated into English verse under the direction of
Sir Samuel Garth by John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Joseph Addison,
William Congreve and other eminent hands
Comments about this poem (Metamorphoses: Book The Fourteenth by Ovid )
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