The Metamorphoses of Ovid - Literally Translated into English Prose, with Copious Notes - and Explanations
by Publius Ovidius Naso
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"Perhaps you may think that this bird, which lives upon prey, and affrights all the birds, always had wings. It was a man; and as great is the vigour of its courage, as he {who was} Daedalion by name was active, and bold in war, and ready for violence; {he was} sprung from him, for his father, who summons forth[24] Aurora, and withdraws the last from the heavens. Peace was cherished by me; the care of maintaining peace and my marriage contract was mine; cruel warfare pleased my brother; that prowess of his subdued both kings and nations, which, changed, now chases the Thisbean doves.[25] Chione was his daughter, who, highly endowed with beauty, was pleasing to a thousand suitors, when marriageable at the age of twice seven years. By chance Phoebus, and the son of Maia, returning, the one from his own Delphi, the other from the heights of Cyllene, beheld her at the same moment, and at the same moment were inspired with passion. Apollo defers his hope of enjoyment until the hours of night; the other brooks no delay, and with his wand, that causes sleep, touches the maiden's face. At the potent touch she lies entranced, and suffers violence from the God. Night has {now} bespangled the heavens with stars; Phoebus personates an old woman, and takes those delights before enjoyed {in imagination}. When her mature womb had completed the {destined} time, Autolycus was born, a crafty offspring of the stock of the God with winged feet, ingenious at every kind of theft, {and} who used, not degenerating from his father's skill,[26] to make white out of black, and black out of white. From Phoebus was born (for she brought forth twins) Philammon, famous for his tuneful song, and for his lyre.

"{But} what avails it for her to have brought forth two children, and to have been pleasing to two Gods, and to have sprung from a valiant father, and the Thunderer as her ancestor?[27] Is even glory {thus} prejudicial to many? To her, at least, it was a prejudice; who dared to prefer herself to Diana, and decried the charms of the Goddess. But violent wrath was excited in her, and she said, 'We will please her by our deeds.'[28] And there was no delay: she bent her bow, and let fly an arrow from the string, and pierced with the reed the tongue that deserved it. The tongue was silent; nor did her voice, and the words which she attempted {to utter, now} follow; and life, with her blood, left her, as she endeavoured to speak. Oh hapless affection! What pain did I {then} endure in my heart, as her uncle, and what consolations did I give to my affectionate brother? These the father received no otherwise than rocks do the murmurs of the ocean, and he bitterly lamented his daughter {thus} snatched from him. But when he beheld her burning, four times had he an impulse to rush into the midst of the pile; thence repulsed, four times did he commit his swift limbs to flight, and, like an ox, bearing upon his galled neck the stings of hornets, he rushed where there was no path. Already did he seem to me to run faster than a human being, and you would have supposed that his feet had assumed wings. Therefore he outran all; and, made swift by the desire for death, he gained the heights of Parnassus.

"Apollo pitying him, when Daedalion would have thrown himself from the top of the rock, made him into a bird, and supported him, hovering {in the air} upon {these} sudden wings; and he gave him a curved beak, and crooked claws on his talons, his former courage, and strength greater {in proportion} than his body; and, now {become} a hawk, sufficiently benignant to none, he rages {equally} against all birds; and grieving {himself}, becomes the cause of grief to others."

While the son of Lucifer is relating these wonders about his brother, hastening with panting speed, Phocaean Antenor, the keeper of his herds, runs up to him. "Alas, Peleus! Peleus!" says he, "I am the messenger to thee of a great calamity;" and {then} Peleus bids him declare whatever news it is that he has brought; and the Trachinian hero himself is in suspense, and trembles through apprehension. The other tells {his story:} "I had driven the weary bullocks to the winding shore, when the Sun at his height, in the midst of his course, could look back on as much of it as he could see to be {now} remaining; and a part of the oxen had bent their knees on the yellow sands, and, as they lay, viewed the expanse of the wide waters; some, with slow steps, were wandering here and there; others were swimming, and appearing with their lofty necks above the waves. A temple is hard by the sea, adorned neither with marble nor with gold, but {made} of solid beams, and shaded with an ancient grove; the Nereids and Nereus possess it. A sailor, while he was drying his nets upon the shore, told us that these were the Gods of the temple. Adjacent to this is a marsh, planted thickly with numerous willows, which the water of the stagnating waves of the sea has made into a swamp. From that spot, a huge monster, a wolf, roaring with a loud bellowing, alarms the neighbouring places, and comes forth from the thicket of the marsh, {both} having his thundering jaws covered with foam and with clotted blood, {and} his eyes suffused with red flame. Though he was raging both with fury and with hunger, still was he more excited by fury; for he did not care to satisfy his hunger by the slaughter of the oxen, and to satiate his dreadful appetite, but he mangled the whole herd, and, like a true foe, pulled each {to the ground}. Some, too, of ourselves, while we were defending them, wounded with his fatal bite, were killed. The shore and the nearest waves were red with blood, and the fens were filled with the lowings {of the herd}. But delay is dangerous, and the case does not allow us to hesitate: while anything is {still} left, let us all unite, and let us take up arms, arms, {I say}, and in a body let us bear weapons."

{Thus} speaks the countryman. And the loss does not affect Peleus; but, remembering his crime, he considers that the bereaved Nereid has sent these misfortunes of his, as an offering to the departed Phocus. The Oetaean king[29] commands his men to put on their armour, and to take up stout weapons; together with whom, he himself is preparing to go. But Halcyone, his wife, alarmed at the tumult, runs out, and not yet having arranged all her hair, even that which is {arranged} she throws in disorder; and clinging to the neck of her husband, she entreats him, both with words and tears, to send assistance without himself, and {so} to save two lives in one. The son of AEacus says to her, "O queen, lay aside thy commendable and affectionate fears; the kindness of thy proposal is {too} great {for me}. It does not please me, that arms should be employed against this new monster. The Divinity of the sea must be adored." There is a lofty tower; a fire {is} upon the extreme summit,[30] a place grateful to wearied ships. They go up there, and with sighs they behold the bulls lying scattered upon the sea shore, and the cruel ravager with blood-stained mouth, having his long hair stained with gore. Peleus, thence extending his hands towards the open sea, entreats the azure Psamathe to lay aside her wrath, and to give him her aid. But she is not moved by the words of the son of AEacus, thus entreating. Thetis, interceding on behalf of her husband, obtains that favour {for him}.

But still the wolf persists, not recalled from the furious slaughter, {and} keenly urged by the sweetness of the blood; until she changes him into marble, as he is fastening on the neck of a mangled heifer. His body preserves every thing except its colour. The colour of the stone shows that he is not now a wolf, and ought not now to be feared. Still, the Fates do not permit the banished Peleus to settle in this land: the wandering exile goes to the Magnetes,[31] and there receives from the Haemonian Acastus[32] an expiation of the murder.

[Footnote 18: Embraces of Thetis.—Ver. 226. Fulgentius suggests, that the meaning of this is, that Jupiter, or fire, will not unite with Thetis, who represents water.]

[Footnote 19: Son of AEacus.—Ver. 227. Peleus was the son of AEacus, who was the son of Jupiter, by AEgina, the daughter of AEsopus.]

[Footnote 20: Upon its waters.—Ver. 247. While libations were made to the other Divinities, either on their altars, or on the ground, the marine Deities were so honoured by pouring wine on the waves of the sea.]

[Footnote 21: Carpathian.—Ver. 249. The Carpathian sea was so called from the Isle of Carpathus, which lay between the island of Rhodes and the Egyptian coast.]

[Footnote 22: Trachinian land.—Ver. 269. Apollodorus says, that Peleus, when exiled, repaired to Phthia, and not to the city of Trachyn.]

[Footnote 23: Symbols of peace.—Ver. 276. The 'velamenta' were branches of olive, surrounded with bandages of wool, which were held in the hands of those who begged for mercy or pardon. The wool covering the hand was emblematical of peace, the hand being thereby rendered powerless to effect mischief.]

[Footnote 24: Who summons forth.—Ver. 296. This is a periphrasis for Lucifer, or the Morning Star, which precedes, and appears to summon the dawn.]

[Footnote 25: Thisbean doves.—Ver. 300. Thisbe was a town of Boeotia, so called from Thisbe, the daughter of AEsopus. It was famous for the number of doves which it produced.]

[Footnote 26: Father's skill.—Ver. 314. Being the son of Mercury, who was noted for his thieving propensities.]

[Footnote 27: Her ancestor.—Ver. 319. Jupiter was the great-grandfather of Chione, being the father of Lucifer, and the grandfather of Daedalion.]

[Footnote 28: By our deeds.—Ver. 323. This is said sarcastically, as much as to say, 'If I do not please her by my looks, at least I will by my actions.']

[Footnote 29: The Oetaean king.—Ver. 383. Namely, Ceyx, the king of Trachyn, which city Hercules had founded, at the foot of Mount Oeta.]

[Footnote 30: The extreme summit.—Ver. 393. The upper stories of the ancient light-houses had windows looking towards the sea; and torches, or fires (probably in cressets, or fire-pans, at the end of poles), were kept burning on them by night, to guide vessels. 'Pharos,' or 'Pharus,' the name given to light-houses, is derived from the celebrated one built on the island of Pharos, at the entrance of the port of Alexandria. It was erected by Sostratus, of Cnidos, at the expense of one of the Ptolemies, and cost 800 talents. It was of huge dimensions, square, and constructed of white stone. It contained many stories, and diminished in width from below upwards. There were 'phari,' or 'light-houses,' at Ostia, Ravenna, Capreae, and Brundisium.]

[Footnote 31: The Magnetes.—Ver. 408. The Magnetes were the people of Magnesia, a district of Thessaly. They were famed for their skill in horsemanship.]

[Footnote 32: Haemonian Acastus.—Ver. 409. Acastus was the son of Pelias. His wife Hippolyta, being enamoured of Peleus, and he not encouraging her advances, she accused him of having made an attempt on her virtue. On this, Acastus determined upon his death; and having taken him to Mount Pelion, on the pretext of hunting, he took away his arms, and left him there, to be torn to pieces by the wild beasts. Mercury, or, according to some, Chiron, came to his assistance, and gave him a sword made by Vulcan, with which he slew Acastus and his wife.]


Thetis being a woman of extraordinary beauty, it is not improbable, that in the Epithalamia that were composed on her marriage, it was asserted, that the Gods had contended for her hand, and had been forced to give way, in obedience to the superior power of destiny. Hyginus says that Prometheus was the only person that was acquainted with the oracle; and that he imparted it to Jupiter, on condition that he would deliver him from the eagle that tormented him: whereupon the God sent Hercules to Mount Caucasus, to perform his promise. It was on the occasion of this marriage that the Goddess Discord presented the golden apple, the dispute for which occasioned the Trojan war. The part of the story which relates how she assumed various forms, to avoid the advances of Peleus, is perhaps an ingenious method of stating, that having several suitors, she was originally disinclined to Peleus, and used every pretext to avoid him, until, by the advice of a wise friend, he found means to remove all the difficulties which opposed his alliance with her.

Some writers state that Thetis was the daughter of Chiron; but Euripides, in a fragment of his Iphigenia, tells us that Achilles, who was the son of this marriage, took a pride in carrying the figure of a Nereid on his shield. The three sons of AEacus were Peleus, Telamon, and Phocus; while they were playing at quoits, the latter accidentally received a blow from Peleus, which killed him. Ovid, however, seems here to imply that Peleus killed his brother purposely.

The story of Chione most probably took its rise from the difference between the inclinations of the two children that she bore. Autolycus, being cunning, and addicted to theft, he was styled the son of Mercury; while Philammon being a lover of music, Apollo was said to be his father. According to Pausanias, Autolycus was the son of Daedalion, and not of Chione. The story of the wolf, the minister of the vengeance of Psamathe, for the death of Phocus, is probably built on historical grounds. AEacus had two wives, AEgina and Psamathe, the sister of Thetis; by the first he had Peleus and Telamon; by the second, Phocus. Lycomedes, the king of Scyros, the brother of Psamathe, resolved to revenge the death of his nephew, whom Peleus had killed: and declared war against Ceyx, for receiving him into his dominions. The troops of Lycomedes ravaged the country, and carried away the flocks of Peleus: on which prayers and entreaties were resorted to, with the view of pacifying him; which object having been effected, he withdrew his troops. On this, it was rumoured that he was changed into a rock, after having ravaged the country like a wild beast, which comparison was perhaps suggested by the fact of his name being partly compounded of the word lukos, 'a wolf.'

FABLE VII. [XI.410-748]

Ceyx, going to Claros, to consult the oracle about his brother's fate, is shipwrecked on the voyage. Juno sends Iris to the God of Sleep, who, at her request, dispatches Morpheus to Halcyone, in a dream, to inform her of the death of her husband. She awakes in the morning, full of solicitude, and goes to the shore where she finds the body of Ceyx thrown up by the waves. She is about to cast herself into the sea in despair, when the Gods transform them both into king-fishers.

In the mean time, Ceyx being disturbed in mind, both on account of the strange fate of his brother, and {the wonders} that had succeeded his brother, prepares to go to the Clarian God, that he may consult the sacred oracle, the consolation of mortals: for the profane Phorbas,[33] with his Phlegyans, renders the {oracle} of Delphi inaccessible. Yet he first makes thee acquainted with his design, most faithful Halcyone, whose bones receive a chill, and a paleness, much resembling boxwood, comes over her face, and her cheeks are wet with tears gushing forth. Three times attempting to speak, three times she moistens her face with tears, and, sobs interrupting her affectionate complaints, she says:—

"What fault of mine, my dearest, has changed thy mind? Where is that care of me, which once used to exist? Canst thou now be absent without anxiety, thy Halcyone being left behind? Now, is a long journey pleasing to thee? Now, am I dearer to thee when at a distance? But I suppose thy journey is by land, and I shall only grieve, and shall not fear as well, and my anxiety will be free from apprehension. The seas and the aspect of the stormy ocean affright me. And lately I beheld broken planks on the sea shore; and often have I read the names upon tombs,[34] without bodies {there buried}. And let not any deceitful assurance influence thy mind, that the grandson of Hippotas[35] is thy father-in-law; who confines the strong winds in prison, and assuages the seas when he pleases. When, once let loose, the winds have taken possession of the deep, nothing is forbidden to them; every land and every sea is disregarded by them. Even the clouds of heaven do they insult, and by their bold onsets strike forth the brilliant fires.[36] The more I know them, (for I do know them, and, when little, have often seen them in my father's abode,) the more I think they are to be dreaded. But if thy resolution, my dear husband, cannot be altered by my entreaties, and if thou art {but} too determined to go; take me, too, as well. At least, we shall be tossed together; nor shall I fear anything, but what I shall be {then} suffering; and together we shall endure whatever shall happen; together we shall be carried over the wide seas."

By such words and the tears of the daughter of AEolus, is her husband, son of the {Morning} Star, {much} affected; for the flame {of love} exists no less in him. But he neither wishes to abandon his proposed voyage, nor to admit Halcyone to a share in the danger; and he says, in answer, many things to console her timorous breast. And yet she does not, on that account, approve of his reasons. To them he adds this alleviation, with which alone he influences his affectionate {wife}: "All delay will, indeed, be tedious to me; but I swear to thee by the fire of my sire, (if only the fates allow me to return,) that I will come back before the moon has twice completed her orb." When, by these promises, a hope has been given her of his {speedy} return, he forthwith orders a ship, drawn out of the dock, to be launched in the sea, and to be supplied with its {proper} equipments. On seeing this, Halcyone again shuddered, as though presaging the future, and shed her flowing tears, and gave him embraces; and at last, in extreme misery, she said, with a sad voice, "Farewell!" and then she sank with all her body {to the ground}.

But the youths, while Ceyx is {still} seeking pretexts for delay, in double rows,[37] draw the oars towards their hardy breasts, and cleave the main with equal strokes. She raises her weeping eyes, and sees her husband standing on the crooked stern, and by waving his hand making the first signs to her; and she returns the signals. When the land has receded further, and her eyes are unable to distinguish his countenance: {still}, while she can, she follows the retreating ship with her sight. When this too, borne onward, cannot be distinguished from the distance; still she looks at the sails waving from the top of the mast. When she no {longer} sees the sails; she anxiously seeks her deserted bed, and lays herself on the couch. The bed, and the spot, renew the tears of Halcyone, and remind her what part {of herself} is wanting.

They have {now} gone out of harbour, and the breeze shakes the rigging; the sailor urges the pendent oars towards their sides;[38] and fixes the sailyards[39] on the top of the mast, and spreads the canvass full from the mast, and catches the coming breezes. Either the smaller part, or, at least, not more than half her course, had {now} been cut by the ship, and both lands were at a great distance, when, towards night, the sea began to grow white with swelling waves, and the boisterous East wind to blow with greater violence. Presently the master cries, "At once, lower the top sails, and furl the whole of the sail to the yards!" He orders, {but} the adverse storm impedes the execution; and the roaring of the sea does not allow any voice to be heard.

Yet, of their own accord, some hasten to draw in the oars, some to secure the sides, some to withdraw the sails from the winds. This one pumps up the waves, and pours back the sea into the sea; another takes off the yards. While these things are being done without any order, the raging storm is increasing, and the fierce winds wage war on every side, and stir up the furious main. The master of the ship is himself alarmed, and himself confesses that he does not know what is their {present} condition, nor what to order or forbid; so great is the amount of their misfortunes, and more powerful than all his skill. For the men are making a noise with their shouts, the cordage with its rattling, the heavy waves with the dashing of {other} waves, the skies with the thunder. The sea is upturned with billows, and appears to reach the heavens, and to sprinkle the surrounding clouds with its foam. And one while, when it turns up the yellow sands from the bottom, it is of the same colour with them; at another time {it is} blacker than the Stygian waves. Sometimes it is level, and is white with resounding foam. The Trachinian ship too, is influenced by these vicissitudes; and now aloft, as though from the summit of a mountain, it seems to look down upon the vallies and the depths of Acheron; at another moment, when the engulphing sea has surrounded it, sunk below, it seems to be looking at heaven above from the infernal waters. Struck on its side by the waves, it often sends forth a low crashing sound, and beaten against, it sounds with no less noise, than on an occasion when the iron battering ram, or the balista, is shaking the shattered towers. And as fierce lions are wont, gaining strength in their career, to rush with their breasts upon the weapons, and arms extended {against them}; so the water, when upon the rising of the winds it had rushed onwards, advanced against the rigging of the ship, and was much higher than it.

And now the bolts shrink, and despoiled of their covering of wax,[40] the seams open wide, and afford a passage to the fatal waves. Behold! vast showers fall from the dissolving clouds, and you would believe that the whole of the heavens is descending into the deep, and that the swelling sea is ascending to the tracts of heaven. The sails are wet with the rain, and the waves of the ocean are mingled with the waters of the skies. The firmament is without its fires; {and} the gloomy night is oppressed both with its own darkness and that of the storm. Yet the lightnings disperse these, and give light as they flash; the waters are on fire with the flames of the thunder-bolts. And now, too, the waves make an inroad into the hollow texture of the ship; and as a soldier, superior to all the rest of the number, after he has often sprung forward against the fortifications of a defended city, at length gains his desires; and, inflamed with the desire of glory, {though but} one among a thousand more, he still mounts the wall, so, when the violent waves have beaten against the lofty sides, the fury of the tenth wave,[41] rising more impetuously {than the rest}, rushes onward; and it ceases not to attack the wearied ship, before it descends within the walls, as it were, of the captured bark. Part, then, of the sea is still attempting to get into the ship, part is within it. All are now in alarm, with no less intensity than a city is wont to be alarmed, while some are undermining the walls without, and others within have possession of the walls. {All} art fails them, and their courage sinks; and as many {shapes of} death seem to rush and to break in {upon them}, as the waves that approach. One does not refrain from tears; another is stupefied; another calls those happy[42] whom funeral rites await; another, in his prayers, addresses the Gods, and lifting up his hands in vain to that heaven which he sees not, implores their aid. His brothers and his parent recur to the mind of another; to another, his home, with his pledges {of affection}, and {so} what has been left behind by each.

{The remembrance of} Halcyone affects Ceyx; on the lips of Ceyx there is nothing but Halcyone; and though her alone he regrets, still he rejoices that she is absent. {Gladly}, too, would he look back to the shore of his native land, and turn his last glance towards his home; but he knows not where it is. The sea is raging in a hurricane[43] so vast, and all the sky is concealed beneath the shade brought on by the clouds of pitchy darkness, and the face of the night is redoubled {in gloom}. The mast is broken by the violence of the drenching tempest; the helm, too, is broken; and the undaunted wave, standing over its spoil, looks down like a conqueror, upon the waves as they encircle {below}. Nor, when precipitated, does it rush down less violently, than if any {God} were to hurl Athos or Pindus, torn up from its foundations, into the open sea; and with its weight and its violence together, it sinks the ship to the bottom. With her, a great part of the crew overwhelmed in the deep water, and not rising again to the air, meet their fate. Some seize hold of portions and broken pieces of the ship. Ceyx himself seizes a fragment of the wreck, with that hand with which he was wont {to wield} the sceptre, and in vain, alas! he invokes his father, and his father-in-law. But chiefly on his lips, as he swims, is his wife Halcyone. Her he thinks of, and {her name} he repeats: he prays the waves to impel his body before her eyes; and that when dead he may be entombed by the hands of his friends. While he {still} swims, he calls upon Halcyone far away, as often as the billows allow[44] him to open his mouth, and in the very waves he murmurs {her name}. {When}, lo! a darkening arch[45] of waters breaks over the middle of the waves, and buries his head sinking beneath the bursting billow. Lucifer was obscured that night, and such that you could not have recognized him; and since he was not allowed to depart from the heavens,[46] he concealed his face beneath thick clouds.

In the meantime, the daughter of AEolus, ignorant of so great misfortunes, reckons the nights; and now she hastens {to prepare} the garments[47] for him to put on, and now, those which, when he comes, she herself may wear, and vainly promises herself his return. She, indeed, piously offers frankincense to all the Gods above; but, before all, she pays her adorations at the temple of Juno, and comes to the altars on behalf of her husband, who is not in existence. And she prays that her husband may be safe, and that he may return, and may prefer no woman before her. But this {last} alone can be her lot, out of so many of her wishes. But the Goddess endures not any longer to be supplicated on behalf of one who is dead; and, that she may repel her polluted hands[48] from the altars,—she says, "Iris, most faithful messenger of my words, hasten quickly to the soporiferous court of Sleep, and command him, under the form of Ceyx who is dead, to send a vision to Halcyone, to relate her real misfortune." {Thus} she says. Iris assumes garment of a thousand colours, and, marking the heavens with her curving arch, she repairs to the abode of the king, {Sleep}, as bidden, concealed beneath a rock.

There is near the Cimmerians[49] a cave with a long recess, a hollowed mountain, the home and the habitation of slothful Sleep, into which the Sun, {whether} rising, or in his mid course, or setting, can never come. Fogs mingled with darkness are exhaled from the ground, and {it is} a twilight with a dubious light. No wakeful bird, with the notes of his crested features, there calls forth the morn; nor do the watchful dogs, or the geese more sagacious[50] than the dogs, break the silence with their voices. No wild beasts, no cattle, no boughs waving with the breeze, no {loud} outbursts of the human voice, {there} make any sound; mute Rest has there her abode. But from the bottom of the rock runs a stream, the waters of Lethe,[51] through which the rivulet, trickling with a murmuring noise amid the sounding pebbles, invites sleep. Before the doors of the cavern, poppies bloom in abundance, and innumerable herbs, from the juice of which the humid night gathers sleep, and spreads it over the darkened Earth. There is no door in the whole dwelling, to make a noise by the turning of the hinges; no porter at the entrance. But in the middle is a couch, raised high upon black ebony, stuffed with feathers, of a dark colour, concealed by a dark coverlet; on which the God himself lies, his limbs dissolved in sloth. Around him lie, in every direction, imitating divers shapes, unsubstantial dreams as many as the harvest bears ears of corn, the wood green leaves, the shore the sands thrown up. Into this, soon as the maiden had entered, and had put aside with her hands the visions that were in her way, the sacred house shone with the splendour of her garment, and the God, with difficulty lifting up his eyes sunk in languid sloth, again and again relapsing, and striking the upper part of his breast with his nodding chin, at last aroused himself from his {dozing}; and, raised on his elbow, he inquired why she had come; for he knew {who she was}.

But she {replied}, "Sleep, thou repose of all things; Sleep, thou gentlest of the Deities; thou peace of the mind, from which care flies, who dost soothe the hearts {of men}, wearied with the toils of the day, and refittest them for labour, command a vision, that resembles in similitude the real shape, to go to Halcyone, in Herculean Trachyn, in the form of the king, and to assume the form of one that has suffered shipwreck. Juno commands this." After Iris had executed her commission, she departed; for she could no longer endure the effects of the vapour; and, as soon as she perceived sleep creeping over her limbs, she took to flight,[52] and departed along the bow by which she had come just before.

But Father {Sleep}, out of the multitude of his thousand sons, raises Morpheus,[53] a {skilful} artist, and an imitator of {any human} shape. No one more dexterously than he mimics the gait, and the countenance, and the mode of speaking; he adds the dress, too, and the words most commonly used by any one. But he imitates men only; for another one becomes a wild beast, becomes a bird, {or} becomes a serpent, with its lengthened body: this one, the Gods above call Icelos; the tribe of mortals, Phobetor. There is likewise a third, {master} of a different art, {called} Phantasos: he cleverly changes {himself} into earth, and stone, and water, and a tree, and all those things which are destitute of life. These are wont, by night, to show their features to kings and to generals, {while} others wander amid the people and the commonalty. These, Sleep, the aged {God}, passes by, and selects Morpheus alone from all his brothers, to execute the commands of the daughter of Thaumas; and again he both drops his head, sunk in languid drowsiness, and shrinks back within the lofty couch.

{Morpheus} flies through the dark with wings that make no noise, and in a short space of intervening time arrives at the Haemonian city; and, laying aside his wings from off his body, he assumes the form of Ceyx; and in that form, wan, and like one without blood, without garments, he stands before the bed of his wretched wife. The beard of the hero appears to be dripping, and the water to be falling thickly from his soaking hair. Then leaning on the bed, with tears running down his face, he says these words: "My most wretched wife, dost thou recognise {thy} Ceyx, or are my looks {so} changed with death? Observe me; thou wilt {surely} know me: and, instead of thy husband, thou wilt find the ghost of thy husband. Thy prayers, Halcyone, have availed me nothing; I have perished. Do not promise thyself, {thus} deceived, my {return}. The cloudy South wind caught my ship in the AEgean Sea,[54] and dashed it to pieces, tossed by the mighty blasts; and the waves choked my utterance, in vain calling upon thy name. It is no untruthful messenger that tells thee this: thou dost not hear these things through vague rumours. I, myself, shipwrecked, in person, am telling thee my fate. Come, arise then, shed tears, and put on mourning; and do not send me unlamented to the phantom {realms of} Tartarus."

To these words Morpheus adds a voice, which she may believe to be that of her husband. He seems, too, to be shedding real tears, and his hands have the gesture of Ceyx. As she weeps, Halcyone groans aloud, and moves her arms in her sleep, and catching at his body, grasps the air; and she cries aloud, "Stay, whither dost thou hurry? We will go together." Disturbed by her own voice, and by the appearance of her husband, she shakes off sleep; and first she looks about there, to see if he, who has been so lately seen, is there; for the servants, roused by her voice, have brought in lights. After she has found him nowhere, she smites her face with her hands, and tears her garments from off her breast, and beats her breast itself. Nor cares she to loosen her hair; she tears it, and says to her nurse, as she inquires what is the occasion of her sorrow: "Halcyone is no more! no more! with her own Ceyx is she dead. Away with words of comfort. He has perished by shipwreck. I have seen him, and I knew him; and as he departed, desirous to detain him, I extended my hands towards him. The ghost fled: but, yet it was the undoubted and the real ghost of my husband. It had not, indeed, if thou askest me {that}, his wonted features; nor was he looking cheerful with his former countenance. Hapless, I beheld him, pale, and naked, and with his hair still dripping. Lo! ill-fated {man}, he stood on this very spot;" and she seeks the prints of his footsteps, if any are left. "This it was, this is what I dreaded in my ill-boding mind, and I entreated that thou wouldst not, deserting me, follow the winds. But, I could have wished, since thou didst depart to perish, that, at least, thou hadst taken me as well. To have gone with thee, {yes}, with thee, would have been an advantage to me; for then neither should I have spent any part of my life otherwise than together with thee, nor would my death have been divided {from thee}. Now, absent {from thee}, I perish; now, absent, I am tossed on the waves; and the sea has thee without me.

"My heart were more cruel than the sea itself, were I to strive to protract my life any further; and, were I to struggle to survive so great a misfortune. But I will not struggle, nor, hapless one, will I abandon thee; and, at least, I will {now} come to be thy companion. And, in the tomb, if the urn {does} not, yet the inscription[55] shall unite us: if {I touch} not thy bones with my bones, still will I unite thy name with my name." Grief forbids her saying more, and wailings come between each word, and groans are heaved from her sorrow-stricken breast.

It is {now} morning: she goes forth from her abode to the sea-shore, and, wretched, repairs to that place from which she had seen him go, and says, "While he lingered, and while he was loosening the cables, at his departure, he gave me kisses upon this sea-shore;" and while she calls to recollection the incidents which she had observed with her eyes, and looks out upon the sea, she observes on the flowing wave, I know not what {object}, like a body, within a distant space: and at first she is doubtful what it is. After the water has brought it a little nearer, and, although it is {still} distant, it is plain that it is a corpse. Ignorant who it may be, because it is ship-wrecked, she is moved at the omen, and, though unknown, would fain give it a tear. "Alas! thou wretched one!" she says, "whoever thou art; and if thou hast any wife!" Driven by the waves, the body approaches nearer. The more she looks at it, the less and the less is she mistress of her senses. And now she sees it brought close to the land, that now she can well distinguish it: it is her husband. "'Tis he!" she exclaims, and, on the instant, she tears her face, her hair, {and} her garments; and, extending her trembling hands towards Ceyx, she says, "And is it thus, Oh dearest husband! is it thus, Oh ill-fated one! that thou dost return to me?"

A mole, made by the hand of man, adjoins the waves, which breaks the first fury of the ocean, and weakens the first shock of its waters. Upon that she leaped, and 'tis wondrous that she could. She flew, and beating the light air with her wings newly formed, she, a wretched bird, skimmed the surface of the water. And, while she flew, her croaking mouth, with its slender bill, uttered a sound like that of one in sadness, and full of complaining. But when she touched the body, dumb, and without blood, embracing the beloved limbs with her new-made wings, in vain she gave him cold kisses with her hardened bill. The people were in doubt whether Ceyx was sensible of this, or whether, by the motion of the wave, he seemed to raise his countenance; but {really} he was sensible of it; and, at length, through the pity of the Gods above, both were changed into birds. Meeting with the same fate, even then their love remained. Nor, when {now} birds, is the conjugal tie dissolved: they couple, and they become parents; and for seven calm days,[56] in the winter-time, does Halcyone brood upon her nest floating on the sea.[57] Then the passage of the deep is safe; AEolus keeps the winds in, and restrains them from sallying forth, and secures a {smooth} sea for his descendants.

[Footnote 33: The profane Phorbas.—Ver. 414. The temple at Delphi was much nearer and more convenient for Ceyx to resort to; but at that period it was in the hands of the Phlegyans, a people of Thessaly, of predatory and lawless habits, who had plundered the Delphic shrine. They were destroyed by thunderbolts and pestilence, or, according to some authors, by Neptune, who swept them away in a flood. Phorbas, here mentioned, was one of the Lapithae, a savage robber, who forced strangers to box with him, and then slew them. Having the presumption to challenge the Gods, he was slain by Apollo.]

[Footnote 34: Names upon tombs.—Ver. 429. Cenotaphs, or honorary tombs, were erected in honour of those, who having been drowned, their bodies could not be found. One great reason for erecting these memorials was the notion, that the souls of those who had received no funeral honours, wandered in agony on the banks of the Styx for the space of one hundred years.]

[Footnote 35: Hippotas.—Ver. 431. AEolus was the grandson of Hippotas, through his daughter Sergesta, who bore AEolus to Jupiter. Ovid says that he was the father of Halcyone; but, according to Lucian, she was the daughter of AEolus the Hellenian, the grandson of Deucalion.]

[Footnote 36: Brilliant fires.—Ver. 436. Ovid probably here had in view the description given by Lucretius, commencing Book i. line 272.]

[Footnote 37: In double rows.—Ver. 462. By this it is implied that the ship of Ceyx was a 'biremis,' or one with two ranks of rowers; one rank being placed above the other. Pliny the Elder attributes the invention of the 'biremis' to the Erythraeans. Those with three ranks of rowers were introduced by the Corinthians; while Dionysius, the first king of Sicily, was the inventor of the Quadriremis, or ship with four ranks of rowers. Quinqueremes, or those with five ranks, are said to have been the invention of the Salaminians. The first use of those with six ranks has been ascribed to the Syracusans. Ships were sometimes built with twelve, twenty, and even forty ranks of rowers, but they appear to have been intended rather for curiosity than for use. As, of course, the labour of each ascending rank increased, through the necessity of the higher ranks using longer oars, the pay of the lowest rank was the lowest, their work being the easiest. Where there were twenty ranks or more, the upper oars required more than one man to manage them. Ptolemy Philopater had a vessel built as a curiosity, which had no less than four thousand rowers.]

[Footnote 38: Towards their sides.—Ver. 475. 'Obvertere lateri remos' most probably means 'To feather the oars,' which it is especially necessary to do in a gale, to avoid the retarding power of the wind against the surface of the blade of the oar.]

[Footnote 39: Fixes the sail-yards.—Ver. 476. 'Cornua' means, literally, 'The ends or points of the sail-yards,' or 'Antennae:' but here the word is used to signify the sail-yards themselves.]

[Footnote 40: Covering of wax.—Ver. 514. The 'Cera' with which the seams of the ships were stopped, was most probably a composition of wax and pitch, or other bituminous and resinous substances.]

[Footnote 41: The tenth wave.—Ver. 530. This is said in allusion to the belief that every tenth wave exceeded the others in violence.]

[Footnote 42: Calls those happy.—Ver. 540. Those who died on shore would obtain funeral rites; while those who perished by shipwreck might become food for the fishes, a fate which was regarded by the ancients with peculiar horror. Another reason for thus regarding death by shipwreck, was the general belief among the ancients, that the soul was an emanation from aether, or fire, and that it was contrary to the laws of nature for it to be extinguished by water. Ovid says in his Tristia, or Lament (Book I. El. 2, l. 51-57), 'I fear not death: 'tis the dreadful kind of death; Take away the shipwreck: then death will be a gain to me. 'Tis something for one, either dying a natural death, or by the sword, to lay his breathless corpse in the firm ground, and to impart his wishes to his kindred, and to hope for a sepulchre, and not to be food for the fishes of the sea.']

[Footnote 43: A hurricane.—Ver. 548-9. 'Tanta vertigine pontus Fervet' is transcribed by Clarke, 'The sea is confounded with so great a vertigo.']

[Footnote 44: The billows allow.—Ver. 566. 'Quoties sinit hiscere fluctus' is rendered by Clarke, 'As oft as the waves suffer him to gape.']

[Footnote 45: A darkening arch.—Ver. 568. Possibly 'niger arcus' means a sweeping wave, black with the sand which it has swept from the depths of the ocean; or else with the reflection of the dark clouds.]

[Footnote 46: From the heavens.—Ver. 571. The word Olympus is frequently used by the poets to signify 'the heavens;' as the mountain of that name in Thessaly, from its extreme height, was supposed to be the abode of the Gods.]

[Footnote 47: Prepare the garments.—Ver. 575. Horace tells us that their clients wove garments for the Roman patricians; and the females of noble family did the same for their husbands, children, and brothers. Ovid, in the Fasti, describes Lucretia as making a 'lacerna,' or cloak, for her husband Collatinus. She says to her hand-maidens, 'With all speed there must be sent to your master a cloak made with our hands.' (Book ii. l. 746.) Suetonius tells us that Augustus would wear no clothes but those made by his wife, sister, or daughter.]

[Footnote 48: Polluted hands.—Ver. 584. All persons who had been engaged in the burial of the dead were considered to be polluted, and were not allowed to enter the temples of the Gods till they had been purified. Among the Greeks, persons who had been supposed to have died in foreign countries, and whose funeral rites had been performed in an honorary manner by their own relatives, if it turned out that they were not dead, and they returned to their own country, were considered impure, and were only purified by being dressed in swaddling clothes, and treated like new-born infants. We shall, then, be hardly surprised at Juno considering Halcyone to be polluted by the death of her husband Ceyx, although at a distance, and as yet unknown to her.]

[Footnote 49: The Cimmerians.—Ver. 592. Ovid appropriately places the abode of the drowsy God in the cold, damp, and foggy regions of the Cimmerians, who are supposed, by some authors, to have been a people of Sarmatia, or Scythia, near the Palus Maeotis, or sea of Azof. Other writers suppose that a fabulous race of people, said to live near Baiae in Italy, and to inhabit dark caves throughout the day, while they sallied forth to plunder at night, are here referred to. This description of the abode of Sleep, and of his appearance and attendants, is supposed to have been borrowed by Ovid from one of the Greek poets.]

[Footnote 50: Geese more sagacious.—Ver. 599. This is said in compliment to the geese, for the service they rendered, in giving the alarm, and saving the Capitol, when in danger of being taken by the Gauls.]

[Footnote 51: Waters of Lethe.—Ver. 603. After the dead had tasted the waters of Lethe, one of the rivers of Hell, it was supposed that they lost all recollection of the events of their former life.]

[Footnote 52: Took to flight.—Ver. 632. Clarke translates this line, 'Away she scours, and returns through the bow through which she had come.']

[Footnote 53: Morpheus.—Ver. 635. Morpheus was so called from the Greek morphe, 'shape,' or 'figure,' because he assumed various shapes. Icelos has his name from the Greek ikelos, 'like,' for a similar reason. Phobetor is from the Greek phobos, 'fear,' because it was his office to terrify mortals. Lucian appears to mean the same Deity, under the name of Taraxion. Phantasos is from the Greek phantasos, 'fancy.']

[Footnote 54: In the AEgean Sea.—Ver. 663. The AEgean Sea lay between the city of Trachyn and the coast of Ionia, whither Ceyx had gone.]

[Footnote 55: The inscription.—Ver. 706. The epitaphs on the tombs of the ancients usually contained the name of the person, his age, and (with the Greeks) some account of the principal events of his life. Halcyone, in her affectionate grief, promises her husband, at least, an honorary funeral, and a share in her own epitaph.]

[Footnote 56: Seven calm days.—Ver. 745. Simonides mentions eleven as being the number of the days; Philochorus, nine; but Demagoras says seven, the number here adopted by Ovid.]

[Footnote 57: Floating on the sea.—Ver. 746. The male of the kingfisher was said by the ancients to be so constant to his mate, that on her death he refused to couple with any other, for which reason the poets considered that bird as the emblem of conjugal affection. The sea was supposed to be always calm when the female was sitting; from which time of serenity, our proverb, which speaks of 'Halcyon days,' takes its rise.]


According to the testimony of several of the ancient writers, Ceyx was the king of Trachyn, and was a prince of great knowledge and experience; and many had recourse to him to atone for the murders which they had committed, whether through imprudence or otherwise. Pausanias says that Eurystheus having summoned Ceyx to deliver up to him the children of Hercules, that prince, who was not able to maintain a war against so powerful a king, sent the youths to Theseus, who took them into his protection.

To recover from the melancholy consequent upon the death of his brother Daedalion and his niece Chione, he went to Claros to consult the oracle of Apollo, and was shipwrecked on his return; on which, his wife, Halcyone, was so afflicted, that she died of grief, or else threw herself into the sea, as Hyginus informs us. It was said that they were changed into the birds which we call kingfishers, a story which, probably, has no other foundation than the name of Halcyone, which signifies that bird; which by the ancients was considered to be the symbol of conjugal affection.

Apollodorus, however, does not give us so favourable an idea of the virtue of these persons as Ovid has done. According to him, it was their pride which proved the cause of their destruction. Jupiter enraged at Ceyx, because he had assumed his name as Halcyone had done that of Juno, changed them both into birds, he becoming a cormorant, and she a kingfisher. This story is remarkable for the beautiful and affecting manner in which it is told.

FABLE VIII. [XI.749-795]

The Nymph Hesperia flying from AEsacus, who is enamoured of her, is bitten by a serpent, and instantly dies from the effects of the wound. He is so afflicted at her death, that he throws himself into the sea, and is transformed into a didapper.

Some old man[58] observes them as they fly over the widely extended seas, and commends their love, preserved to the end {of their existence}. One, close by, or the same, if chance so orders it, says, "This one, too, which you see, as it cuts through the sea, and having its legs drawn up," pointing at a didapper, with its wide throat, "was the son of a king. And, if you want to come down to him in one lengthened series, his ancestors are Ilus, and Assaracus, and Ganymede,[59] snatched away by Jupiter, and the aged Laomedon, and Priam, to whom were allotted the last days of Troy. He himself was the brother of Hector, and had he not experienced a strange fate in his early youth, perhaps he would have had a name not inferior to {that} of Hector; although the daughter of Dymas bore this {last}. Alexirhoe, the daughter of the two-horned Granicus,[60] is said secretly to have brought forth AEsacus, under shady Ida.

"He loathed the cities, and distant from the splendid court, frequented the lonely mountains, and the unambitious fields; nor went but rarely among the throngs of Ilium. Yet, not having a breast either churlish, or impregnable to love, he espies Hesperie, the daughter of Cebrenus,[61] on the banks of her sire, who has been often sought by him throughout all the woods, drying her locks, thrown over her shoulders, in the sun. The Nymph, {thus} seen, takes to flight, just as the frightened hind from the tawny wolf; and {as} the water-duck, surprised at a distance, having left her {wonted} stream, from the hawk. Her the Trojan hero pursues, and, swift with love, closely follows her, made swift by fear. Behold! a snake, lurking in the grass, with its barbed sting, wounds her foot as she flies, and leaves its venom in her body. With her flight is her life cut short. Frantic, he embraces her breathless, and cries aloud,— "I grieve, I grieve that {ever} I pursued {thee}. But I did not apprehend this; nor was it of so much value to me to conquer. We two have proved the destruction of wretched thee. The wound was given by the serpent; by me was the occasion given. I should be more guilty than he, did I not give the consolation for thy fate by my own death." {Thus} he said; and from a rock which the hoarse waves had undermined, he hurled himself into the sea. Tethys, pitying him as he fell, received him softly, and covered him with feathers as he swam through the sea; and the power of obtaining the death he sought was not granted to him. The lover is vexed that, against his will, he is obliged to live on, and that opposition is made to his spirit, desirous to depart from its wretched abode. And, as he has assumed newformed wings on his shoulders, he flies aloft, and again he throws his body in the waves: his feathers break the fall. AEsacus is enraged; and headlong he plunges into the deep,[62] and incessantly tries the way of destruction. Love caused his leanness; the spaces between the joints of his legs are long; his neck remains long, {and} his head is far away from his body. He loves the sea, and has his name because he plunges[63] in it.

[Footnote 58: Some old man.—Ver. 749-50. 'Hos aliquis senior—spectat;' these words are translated by Clarke, 'Some old blade spies them.']

[Footnote 59: Ganymede.—Ver. 756. Ovid need not have inserted Assaracus and Ganymede, as they were only the brothers of Ilus, and the three were the sons of Tros. Ilus was the father of Laomedon, whose son was Priam, the father of AEsacus.]

[Footnote 60: Granicus.—Ver. 763. The Granicus was a river of Mysia, near which Alexander the Great defeated Darius with immense slaughter.]

[Footnote 61: Cebrenus.—Ver. 769. The Cebrenus was a little stream of Phrygia, not far from Troy.]

[Footnote 62: Plunges into the deep.—Ver. 791-2. 'Inque profundum Pronus abit,' Clarke renders, 'Goes plumb down into the deep.' Certainly this is nearer to its French origin, 'a plomb,' than the present form, 'plump down;' but, like many other instances in his translation, it decidedly does not help us, as he professes to do, to 'the attainment of the elegancy of this great Poet.']

[Footnote 63: Because he plunges.—Ver. 795. He accounts for the Latin name of the diver, or didapper, 'mergus,' by saying that it was so called, 'a mergendo,' from its diving, which doubtless was the origin of the name, though not taking its rise in the fiction here related by the Poet.]


Ovid and Apollodorus agree that AEsacus was the son of Priam, and that he was changed into a didapper, or diver, but they differ in the other circumstances of his life. Instead of being the son of Alexirhoe, Apollodorus says that he was the son of Priam and Arisbe the daughter of Merope, his first wife; that his father made him marry Sterope, who dying very young, he was so afflicted at her death, that he threw himself into the sea. He also says that Priam having repudiated Arisbe to marry Hecuba, the daughter of Cisseus, AEsacus seeing his mother-in-law pregnant of her second son, foretold his father that her progeny would be the cause of a bloody war, which would end in the destruction of the kingdom of Troy; and that upon this prediction, the infant, when born, was exposed on Mount Ida.

Tzetzes adds, that AEsacus told his father that it was absolutely necessary to put to death both the mother and the infant which was born on that same day; on which Priam being informed that Cilla, the wife of Thymaetes, being delivered on that day of a son, he ordered them both to be killed; thinking thereby to escape the realization of the prediction. Servius, on the authority of Euphorion, relates the story in much the same manner; but a poet quoted by Cicero in his first book on Divination, says that it was the oracle of Zelia, a little town at the foot of Mount Ida, which gave that answer as an interpretation of the dream of Hecuba. Pausanias says it was the sibyl Herophila who interpreted the dream, while other ancient writers state that it was Cassandra. Apollodorus says that AEsacus learned from his grandfather Merops the art of foretelling things to come.



The Greeks assemble their troops at Aulis, to proceed against the city of Troy, and revenge the rape of Helen; but the fleet is detained in port by contrary winds. Calchas, the priest, after a prediction concerning the success of the expedition, declares that the weather will never be favourable till Agamemnon shall have sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia. She is immediately led to the altar for that purpose; but Diana, appeased by this act of obedience, carries away the maiden, and substitutes a hind in her place, on which a fair wind arises. Upon the Greeks landing at Troy, a battle is fought, in which Protesilaues is killed by Hector, and Achilles kills Cygnus, a Trojan, on which his father Neptune transforms him into a swan.

His father Priam mourned him, not knowing that AEsacus, having assumed wings, was {still} living; Hector, too, with his brothers, made unavailing offerings[1] at a tomb, that bore his name {on it}. The presence of Paris was wanting, at this mournful office: who, soon after, brought into his country a lengthened war, together with a ravished wife;[2] and a thousand ships[3] uniting together, followed him, and, together {with them}, the whole body[4] of the Pelasgian nation. Nor would vengeance have been delayed, had not the raging winds made the seas impassable, and the Boeotian land detained in fishy Aulis the ships ready to depart. Here, when they had prepared a sacrifice to Jupiter, after the manner of their country, as the ancient altar was heated with kindled fires, the Greeks beheld an azure-coloured serpent creep into a plane tree, which was standing near the sacrifice they had begun. There was on the top of the tree a nest of twice four birds, which the serpent seized[5] together, and the dam as she fluttered around {the scene of} her loss, and he buried them in his greedy maw. All stood amazed. But {Calchas}, the son of Thestor, a soothsayer, foreseeing the truth, says, "Rejoice, Pelasgians, we shall conquer. Troy will fall, but the continuance of our toil will be long;" and he allots the nine birds to the years of the war. {The serpent}, just as he is, coiling around the green branches in the tree, becomes a stone, and, under the form of a serpent, retains that stone {form}.

Nereus continued boisterous in the Ionian waves, and did not impel the sails onwards; and there are some who think that Neptune favoured Troy, because he made the walls of the city. But not {so} the son of Thestor. For neither was he ignorant, nor did he conceal, that the wrath of the virgin Goddess must be appeased by the blood of a virgin. After the public good had prevailed over affection, and the king over the father, and Iphigenia, ready to offer her chaste blood, stood before the altar, while the priests were weeping; the Goddess was appeased, and cast a mist before their eyes, and, amid the service and the hurry of the rites, and the voices of the suppliants, is said to have changed Iphigenia, the Mycenian maiden, for a substituted hind. Wherefore, when the Goddess was appeased by a death which was {more} fitting, and at the same moment the wrath of Phoebe, and of the sea was past, the thousand ships received the winds astern, and having suffered much, they gained the Phrygian shore.

There is a spot in the middle of the world, between the land and the sea, and the regions of heaven, the confines of the threefold universe, whence is beheld whatever anywhere exists, although it may be in far {distant} regions, and every sound pierces the hollow ears. {Of this place} Fame is possessed, and chooses for herself a habitation on the top[6] of a tower, and has added innumerable avenues, and a thousand openings to her house, and has closed the entrances with no gates. Night and day are they open. It is all of sounding brass; it is all resounding, and it reechoes the voice, and repeats what it hears. Within there is no rest, and silence in no part. Nor yet is there a clamour, but the murmur of a low voice, such as is wont to arise from the waves of the sea, if one listens at a distance, or like the sound which the end of the thundering {makes} when Jupiter has clashed the black clouds together. A crowd occupies the hall; the fickle vulgar come and go; and a thousand rumours, false mixed with true, wander up and down, and circulate confused words. Of these, some fill the empty ears with conversation; some are carrying elsewhere what is told them; the measure of the fiction is ever on the increase, and each fresh narrator adds something to what he has heard. There, is Credulity, there, rash Mistake, and empty Joy, and alarmed Fears, and sudden Sedition, and Whispers of doubtful origin. She sees what things are done in heaven and on the sea, and on the earth; and she pries into the whole universe.

She has made it known that Grecian ships are on their way, with valiant troops: nor does the enemy appear in arms unlooked for. The Trojans oppose their landing, and defend the shore, and thou, Protesilaues,[7] art, by the decrees of fate, the first to fall by the spear of Hector;[8] and the battles {now} commenced, and the courageous spirits of {the Trojans}, and Hector, {till then} unknown, cost the Greeks dear. Nor do the Phrygians experience at small expense of blood what the Grecian right hand can do. And now the Sigaean shores are red {with blood}: now Cygnus, the son of Neptune, has slain a thousand men. Now is Achilles pressing on in his chariot, and levelling the Trojan ranks, with the blow of his Peleian spear; and seeking through the lines either Cygnus or Hector, he engages with Cygnus: Hector is reserved for the tenth year. Then animating the horses, having their white necks pressed with the yoke, he directed his chariot against the enemy, and brandishing his quivering spear with his arm, he said, "O youth, whoever thou art, take this consolation in thy death, that thou art slain by the Haemonian Achilles."

Thus far the grandson of AEacus. His heavy lance followed his words. But, although there was no missing in the unerring lance, yet it availed nothing, by the sharpness of its point, {thus} discharged; and as it only bruised his breast with a blunt stroke, {the other} said, "Thou son of a Goddess, (for by report have we known of thee beforehand) why art thou surprised that wounds are warded off from me? (for {Achilles} was surprised); not this helmet that thou seest tawny with the horse's mane, nor the hollowed shield, the burden of my left arm, are assistant to me; from them ornament {alone} is sought; for this cause, too, Mars is wont to take up arms. All the assistance of defensive armour shall be removed, {and} yet I shall come off unhurt. It is something to be born, not of a Nereid,[9] but {of one} who rules both Nereus and his daughter, and the whole ocean."

{Thus} he spoke; and he hurled against the descendant of AEacus his dart, destined to stick in the rim of his shield; it broke through both the brass and the next nine folds of bull's hide; but stopping in the tenth circle {of the hide}, the hero wrenched it out, and again hurled the quivering weapon with a strong hand; again his body was without a wound, and unharmed, nor was a third spear able {even} to graze Cygnus, unprotected, and exposing himself. Achilles raged no otherwise than as a bull,[10] in the open Circus,[11] when with his dreadful horns he butts against the purple-coloured garments, used as the means of provoking him, and perceives that his wounds are evaded. Still, he examines whether the point has chanced to fall from off the spear. It is {still} adhering to the shaft. "My hand then is weak," says he, "and it has spent {all} the strength it had before, upon one man. For decidedly it was strong enough, both when at first I overthrew the walls of Lyrnessus, or when I filled both Tenedos and Eetionian[12] Thebes with their own blood. Or when Caycus[13] flowed empurpled with the slaughter of its people: and Telephus[14] was twice sensible of the virtue of my spear. Here, too, where so many have been slain, heaps of whom I both have made along this shore, and I {now} behold, my right hand has proved mighty, and is mighty."

{Thus} he spoke; and as if he distrusted what he had done before, he hurled his spear against Menoetes, one of the Lycian multitude,[15] who {was} standing opposite, and he tore asunder both his coat of mail, and his breast beneath it. He beating the solid earth with his dying head, he drew the same weapon from out of the reeking wound, and said, "This is the hand, this the lance, with which I conquered but now. The same will I use against him; in his {case}, I pray that the event may prove the same." Thus he said, and he hurled it at Cygnus, nor did the ashen lance miss him; and, not escaped {by him}, it resounded on his left shoulder: thence it was repelled, as though by a wall, or a solid rock. Yet Achilles saw Cygnus marked with blood, where he had been struck, and he rejoiced, {but in} vain. There was no wound; that was the blood of Menoetes.

Then indeed, raging, he leaps headlong from his lofty chariot, and hand to hand, with his gleaming sword striking at his fearless foe, he perceives that the shield and the helmet are pierced with his sword, and that his weapon, too, is blunted upon his hard body. He endures it no longer; and drawing back his shield, he three or four times strikes the face of the hero, and his hollow temples, with the hilt of the sword; and following, he presses onward as the other gives ground, and confounds him, and drives him on, and gives him no respite in his confusion. Horror seizes on him, and darkness swims before his eyes; and as he moves backwards his retreating steps, a stone in the middle of the field stands in his way. Impelled over this, with his breast upwards, Achilles throws Cygnus with great violence, and dashes him[16] to the earth. Then, pressing down his breast with his shield and his hard knees, he draws tight the straps of his helmet; which, fastened beneath his pressed chin, squeeze close his throat, and take away his respiration and the passage of his breath.

He is preparing to strip his vanquished {foe}; he sees {nothing but} his armour, left behind. The God of the Ocean changed his body into a white bird, of which he {so} lately bore the name.

[Footnote 1: Unavailing offerings.—Ver. 3. 'Inferias inanes' is a poetical expression, signifying the offering sacrifices of honey, milk, wine, blood, flowers, frankincense, and other things, at a tomb, which was empty or honorary. The Greeks called these kind of sacrifices by the name of choai.]

[Footnote 2: A ravished wife.—Ver. 5. This was Helen, the wife of Menelaues, whose abduction by Paris was the cause of the Trojan war.]

[Footnote 3: A thousand ships.—Ver. 7. That is, a thousand in round numbers. For Homer makes them, 1186; Dictys Cretensis, 1225; and Dares, 1140.]

[Footnote 4: The whole body.—Ver. 7. The adjective 'commune' is here used substantively, and signifies 'the whole body.']

[Footnote 5: Serpent seized.—Ver. 16-17. Clarke translates this line, 'Which the snake whipt up, as also the dam flying about her loss, and buried them in his greedy paunch.']

[Footnote 6: On the top.—Ver. 43. 'Summaque domum sibi legit in arce,' is translated by Clarke, 'And chooses there a house for herself, on the very tip-top of it.']

[Footnote 7: Protesilaues.—Ver. 68. He was the husband of Laodamia, the daughter of Acastus. His father was Iphiclus, who was noted for his extreme swiftness.]

[Footnote 8: Spear of Hector.—Ver. 67. Some writers say that he fell by the hand of AEneas.]

[Footnote 9: Of a Nereid.—Ver. 93. Cygnus says this sarcastically, in allusion to Achilles being born of Thetis, a daughter of Nereus.]

[Footnote 10: As a bull.—Ver. 103-4. Clarke translates these lines in this comical strain: 'Achilles was as mad as a bull in the open Circus, when he pushes at the red coat, stuffed, used on purpose to provoke him.']

[Footnote 11: The open Circus.—Ver. 104. We learn from Seneca, that it was the custom in the 'venationes' of the Circus to irritate the bull against his antagonist, by thrusting in his path figures stuffed with straw or hay, and covered with red cloth. Similar means are used to provoke the bull in the Spanish bull-fights of the present day.]

[Footnote 12: Eetionian.—Ver. 110. Eetion, the father of Andromache, the wife of Hector, was the king of Thebes in Cilicia, which place was ravaged by the Greeks for having sent assistance to the Trojans.]

[Footnote 13: Caycus.—Ver. 111. The Caycus was a river of Mysia, in Asia Minor, which country had incurred the resentment of the Greeks, for having assisted the Trojans.]

[Footnote 14: Telephus.—Ver. 112. Telephus, the son of Hercules and the Nymph Auge, was wounded in combat by Achilles. By the direction of the oracle, he applied to Achilles for his cure, which was effected by means of the rust of the weapon with which the wound was made.]

[Footnote 15: Lycian multitude.—Ver. 116. The Lycians, whose territory was in Asia Minor, between Caria and Pamphylia, were allies of the Trojans.]

[Footnote 16: And dashes him.—Ver. 139. Clarke renders this line, 'He overset him, and thwacked him against the ground.']


It is not improbable that the prediction of Calchas, at Aulis, that the war against Troy would endure nine years, had no other foundation than his desire to check an enterprise which must be attended with much bloodshed, and difficulties of the most formidable nature. It is not unlikely, too, that this interpretation of the story of the serpent devouring the birds may have been planned by some of the Grecian generals, who did not dare openly to refuse their assistance to Agamemnon. The story of Iphigenia was, perhaps, founded on a similar policy. The ancient poets and historians are by no means agreed as to the fate of Iphigenia, as some say that she really was sacrificed, while others state that she was transformed into a she-bear, others into an old woman, and Nicander affirms that she was changed into a heifer.

There is no story more celebrated among the ancients than that of the intended immolation of Iphigenia. Euripides wrote two tragedies on the subject. Homer, however, makes no allusion to the story of Iphigenia; but he mentions Iphianassa, the daughter of Agamemnon, who was sent for, to be a hostage on his reconciliation with Achilles; she is probably the same person that is meant by the later poets, under the name of Iphigenia.

It has been suggested by some modern commentators, that the story of Iphigenia was founded on the sacrifice of his own daughter, by Jeptha, the judge of Israel, which circumstance happened much about the same time. The story of the substitution of the hind for the damsel, when about to be slain, was possibly founded on the substituted offering for Isaac when about to be offered by his father; for it is not probable that the people of Greece were entirely ignorant of the existence of the books of Moses, and that wonderful narrative would be not unlikely to make an impression on minds ever ready to be attracted by the marvellous. Some writers have taken pains to show that Agamemnon did not sacrifice, or contemplate sacrificing, his own daughter, by asserting that the Iphigenia here mentioned was the daughter of Helen, who was educated by Clytemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon, and the sister of Helen. Pausanias also adopts this view, and gives for his authorities Euphorion of Chalcis, Alexander, Stesichorus, and the people of Argos, who preserved a tradition to the same effect.

Lucretius, Virgil, and Diodorus Siculus are in the number of those who assert that Iphigenia actually was immolated. According to Dictys the Cretan, and several of the ancient scholiasts, Ulysses having left the Grecian camp without the knowledge of Agamemnon, went to Argos, and returned with Iphigenia, under the pretext that her father intended to marry her to Achilles. Some writers state that Achilles was in love with Iphigenia; and that he was greatly enraged at Ulysses for bringing her to the camp, and opposed her sacrifice to the utmost of his power.

Ovid then proceeds to recount the adventures of the Greeks, after their arrival at Troy. An oracle had warned the Greeks, that he who should be the first to land on the Trojan shores, would inevitably be slain. Protesilaues seeing that this prediction damped the courage of his companions, led the way, and sacrificed his life for the safety of his friends, being slain by Hector immediately on his landing. Cygnus, signalizing himself by his bravery, attracted the attention of Achilles, who singled him out as a worthy antagonist. It was said that this hero was the son of Neptune; perhaps because he was powerful by sea, and the prince of some island in the Archipelago. He was said to be invulnerable, most probably because his shield was arrow-proof. The story of his transformation into a swan, has evidently no other foundation than the resemblance between his name and that of that bird.


A truce ensuing, the Grecian chiefs having assembled at a feast, express their surprise at the fact of Cygnus being invulnerable. Nestor, by way of showing a still more surprising instance, relates how the Nymph Caenis, the daughter of Elatus, having yielded to the caresses of Neptune, was transformed by him into a man, and made invulnerable. Caeneus being present at the wedding feast of Pirithoues, the son of Ixion, where Eurytus was a guest, the latter, being elevated with wine, made an attempt upon Hippodamia, the bride; on which a quarrel arose between the Centaurs and the Lapithae. After many on both sides had been slain, Caeneus still remained unhurt; on which, the Centaurs having heaped up trunks of trees upon him, he was pressed to death; Neptune then changed his body into a bird.

This toil[17] {and} this combat brought on a cessation for many days; and both sides rested, laying aside their arms. And while a watchful guard was keeping the Phrygian walls, and a watchful guard was keeping the Argive trenches, a festive day had arrived, on which Achilles, the conqueror of Cygnus, appeased Pallas with the blood of a heifer, adorned with fillets. As soon as he had placed its entrails[18] upon the glowing altars, and the smell, acceptable to the Deities, mounted up to the skies, the sacred rites had their share, the other part was served up at the table. The chiefs reclined on couches, and sated their bodies with roasted flesh,[19] and banished both their cares and their thirst with wine. No harps, no melody of voices,[20] no long pipe of boxwood pierced with many a hole, delights them; but in discourse they pass the night, and valour is the subject-matter of their conversation. They relate the combats of the enemy and their own; and often do they delight to recount, in turn, both the dangers that they have encountered and that they have surmounted. For of what {else} should Achilles speak? or of what, in preference, should they speak before the great Achilles? {But} especially the recent victory over the conquered Cygnus was the subject of discourse. It seemed wonderful to them all, that the body of the youth was penetrable by no weapon, and was susceptible of no wounds, and that it blunted the steel itself. This same thing, the grandson of AEacus, this, the Greeks wondered at.

When thus Nestor says {to them}: "Cygnus has been the only despiser of weapons in your time, and penetrable by no blows. But I myself formerly saw the Perrhaebean[21] Caeneus bear a thousand blows with his body unhurt; Caeneus the Perrhaebean, {I say}, who, famous for his achievements, inhabited Othrys. And that this, too, might be the more wondrous in him, he was born a woman." They are surprised, whoever are present, at the singular nature of this prodigy, and they beg him to tell the story. Among them, Achilles says, "Pray tell us, (for we all have the same desire to hear it,) O eloquent old man,[22] the wisdom of our age; who was {this} Caeneus, {and} why changed to the opposite sex? in what war, and in the engagements of what contest was he known to thee? by whom was he conquered, if he was conquered by any one?"

Then the aged man {replied}: "Although tardy old age is a disadvantage to me, and many things which I saw in my early years escape me {now}, yet I remember most {of them}; and there is nothing, amid so many transactions of war and peace, that is more firmly fixed in my mind than that circumstance. And if extended age could make any one a witness of many deeds, I have lived two hundred[23] years, {and} now my third century is being passed {by me}. Caenis, the daughter of Elatus, was remarkable for her charms; the most beauteous virgin among the Thessalian maids, and one sighed for in vain by the wishes of many wooers through the neighbouring {cities}, and through thy cities, Achilles, for she was thy countrywoman. Perhaps, too, Peleus would have attempted that alliance; but at that time the marriage of thy mother had either befallen him, or had been promised him. Caenis did not enter into any nuptial ties; and as she was walking along the lonely shore, she suffered violence from the God of the ocean. 'Twas thus that report stated; and when Neptune had experienced the pleasures of this new amour, he said, 'Be thy wishes secure from all repulse; choose whatever thou mayst desire.' The same report has related this too; Caenis replied, 'This mishap makes my desire extreme, that I may not be in a condition to suffer any such thing {in future}. Grant that I be no {longer} a woman, {and} thou wilt have granted me all.' She spoke these last words with a hoarser tone, and the voice might seem to be that of a man, as {indeed} it was.

"For now the God of the deep ocean had consented to her wish; and had granted moreover that he should not be able to be pierced by any wounds, or to fall by {any} steel. Exulting in his privilege, the Atracian[24] departed; and {now} spent his time in manly exercises, and roamed over the Peneian plains. {Pirithoues}, the son of the bold Ixion, had married Hippodame,[25] and had bidden the cloud-born monsters to sit down at the tables ranged in order, in a cave shaded with trees. The Haemonian nobles were there; I, too, was there, and the festive palace resounded with the confused rout. Lo! they sing the marriage song, and the halls smoke with the fires;[26] the maiden, too, is there, remarkable for her beauty, surrounded by a crowd of matrons and newly married women. We {all} pronounce Pirithoues fortunate in her for a wife; an omen which we had well nigh falsified. For thy breast, Eurytus, most savage of the savage Centaurs, is inflamed as much with wine as with seeing the maiden; and drunkenness, redoubled by lust, holds sway {over thee}. On the sudden the tables being overset, disturb the feast, and the bride is violently dragged away by her seized hair. Eurytus snatches up Hippodame, {and} the others such as each one fancies, or is able {to seize}; and there is {all} the appearance of a captured city. The house rings with the cries of women. Quickly we all rise; and first, Theseus says, 'What madness, Eurytus, is impelling thee, who, while I {still} live, dost provoke Pirithoues, and, in thy ignorance, in one dost injure two?' And that the valiant hero may not say these things in vain, he pushes them off as they are pressing on, and takes her whom they have seized away from them as they grow furious.

"He says nothing in answer, nor, indeed, can he defend such actions by words; but he attacks the face of her protector with insolent hands, and strikes his generous breast. By chance, there is near at hand an ancient bowl, rough with projecting figures, which, huge as it is, the son of AEgeus, himself huger {still}, takes up and hurls full in his face. He, vomiting both from his wounds and his mouth clots of blood,[27] and brains and wine together, lying on his back, kicks on the soaking sand. {The} double-limbed[28] {Centaurs} are inflamed at the death of their brother; and all vying, with one voice exclaim, 'To arms! to arms!' Wine gives them courage, and, in the first onset, cups hurled are flying about, and shattered casks[29] and hollow cauldrons; things before adapted for a banquet, now for war and slaughter. First, the son of Ophion, Amycus, did not hesitate to spoil the interior of the house of its ornaments; and first, from the shrine he tore up a chandelier,[30] thick set with blazing lamps; and lifting it on high, like him who attempts to break the white neck of the bull with sacrificial axe, he dashed it against the forehead of Celadon the Lapithean, and left his skull mashed into his face, no {longer} to be recognized. His eyes started out, and the bones of his face being dashed to pieces, his nose was driven back, and was fixed in the middle of his palate. Him, Belates the Pellaean, having torn away the foot of a maple table, laid flat on the ground, with his chin sunk upon his breast, and vomiting forth his teeth mixed with blood; and sent him, by a twofold wound, to the shades of Tartarus.

"As Gryneus stood next, looking at the smoking altar with a grim look, he said, '{And} why do we not make use of this?' and {then} he raised an immense altar, together with its fire; and hurled it into the midst of the throng of the Lapithae, and struck down two {of them}, Broteus and Orius. The mother of Orius was Mycale, who was known by her incantations to have often drawn down the horns of the struggling moon. {On this} Exadius says, 'Thou shalt not go unpunished, if only the opportunity of getting a weapon is given me;' and, as his weapon, he wields the antlers of a votive stag,[31] which were upon a lofty pine-tree. With the double branches of these, Gryneus is pierced through the eyes, and has those eyes scooped out. A part of them adheres to the antlers, a part runs down his beard, and hangs down clotted with gore. Lo! Rhoetus snatches up an immense flaming brand, from the middle of the altar, and on the right side breaks through the temples of Charaxus, covered with yellow hair. His locks, seized by the violent flames, burn like dry corn, and the blood seared in the wound emits a terrific noise in its hissing, such as the iron glowing in the flames is often wont to emit, which, when the smith has drawn it out with the crooked pincers, he plunges into the trough; whereon it whizzes, and, sinking in the bubbling water, hisses. Wounded, he shakes the devouring fire from his locks, and takes upon his shoulders the threshold, torn up out of the ground, a {whole} waggon-load, which its very weight hinders him from throwing full against the foe. The stony mass, too, bears down Cometes, a friend, who is standing at a short distance; nor does Rhoetus {then} restrain his joy, {and} he says, 'In such manner do I pray that the rest of the throng of thy party may be brave;' and {then} he increases the wound, redoubled with the half-burnt stake, and three or four times he breaks the sutures of his head with heavy blows, and its bones sink within the oozing brains.

"Victorious, he passes on to Evagrus, and Corythus, and Dryas; of which {number}, when Corythus, having his cheeks covered[32] with their first down, has fallen, Evagrus says, 'What glory has been acquired by thee, in killing a boy?' Rhoetus permits him to say no more, and fiercely thrusts the glowing flames into the open mouth of the hero, as he is speaking, and through the mouth into the breast. Thee, too, cruel Dryas, he pursues, whirling the fire around his head, but the same issue does not await thee as well. Thou piercest him with a stake burnt at the end, while triumphing in the success of an uninterrupted slaughter, in the spot where the neck is united to the shoulder. Rhoetus groans aloud, and with difficulty wrenches the stake out of the hard bone, and, drenched in his own blood, he flies. Orneus flies, too, and Lycabas, and Medon, wounded in his right shoulder-blade, and Thaumas with Pisenor; Mermerus, too, who lately excelled all in speed of foot, {but} now goes more slowly from the wound he has received; Pholus, too, and Melaneus, and Abas a hunter of boars, and Astylos the augur, who has in vain dissuaded his own party from this warfare. He also says to Nessus,[33] as he dreads the wounds, 'Fly not! {for} thou shalt be reserved for the bow of Hercules.' But Eurynomus and Lycidas, and Areos, and Imbreus did not escape death, all of whom the right hand of Dryas pierced right through. Thou, too, Crenaeus, didst receive a wound in front,[34] although thou didst turn thy back in flight; for looking back, thou didst receive the fatal steel between thy two eyes, where the nose is joined to the lower part of the forehead. In the midst of so much noise, Aphidas was lying fast asleep from the wine which he had drunk incessantly, and was not aroused, and in his languid hand was grasping the mixed bowl, stretched at full length upon the shaggy skin of a bear of Ossa. Soon as Phorbas beheld him from afar, wielding no arms, he inserted his fingers in the strap of his lance,[35] and said, 'Drink thy wine mingled with {the water of} Styx;' and, delaying no longer, he hurled his javelin against the youth, and the ash pointed with steel was driven into his neck, as, by chance, he lay {there} on his back. His death happened without his being sensible of it; and the blood flowed from his full throat, both upon the couch and into the bowl itself.

"I saw Petraeus endeavouring to tear up an acorn-bearing oak from the earth; {and}, as he was grasping it in his embrace, and was shaking it on this side and that, and was moving about the loosened tree, the lance of Pirithoues hurled at the ribs of Petraeus, transfixed his struggling breast together with the tough oak. They said, {too}, that Lycus fell by the valour of Pirithoues, {and} that Chromis fell {by the hand} of Pirithoues. But each of them {gave} less glory to the conqueror, than Dictys and Helops gave. Helops was transfixed by the javelin, which passed right through his temples, and, hurled from the right side, penetrated to his left ear. Dictys, slipping from the steep point of a rock, while, in his fear, he is flying from the pursuing son of Ixion, falls down headlong, and, by the weight of his body, breaks a huge ash tree, and spits his own entrails upon it, {thus} broken. Aphareus advances {as} his avenger, and endeavours to hurl a stone torn away from the mountain. As he is endeavouring {to do so}, the son of AEgeus attacks him with an oaken club, and breaks the huge bones of his arm, and has neither leisure, nor, {indeed}, does he care to put his useless body to death; and he leaps upon the back of the tall Bianor, not used to bear[36] any other than himself; and he fixes his knees in his ribs, and holding his long hair, seized with his left hand, shatters his face, and his threatening features, and his very hard temples, with the knotty oak. With his oak, {too}, he levels Nedymnus, and Lycotas the darter, and Hippasus having his breast covered with his flowing beard, and Ripheus, who towered above the topmost woods, and Tereus, who used to carry home the bears, caught in the Haemonian mountains, alive and raging.

"Demoleon could not any longer endure Theseus enjoying this success in the combat, and he tried with vast efforts to tear up from the thick-set wood an aged pine; because he could not effect this, he hurled it, broken short, against his foe. But Theseus withdrew afar from the approaching missile, through the warning of Pallas; so {at least} he himself wished it to be thought. Yet the tree did not fall without effect: for it struck off from the throat of the tall Crantor, both his breast and his left shoulder. He, Achilles, had been the armour-bearer of thy father: him Amyntor, king of the Dolopians,[37] when conquered in war, had given to the son of AEacus, as a pledge and confirmation of peace. When Peleus saw him at a distance, mangled with a foul wound, he said, 'Accept however, Crantor, most beloved of youths, this sacrifice;' and, with a strong arm, and energy of intention, he hurled his ashen lance against Demoleon, which broke through the enclosures of his ribs, and quivered, sticking amid the bones. He draws out with his hand the shaft without the point; even that follows, with much difficulty; the point is retained within his lungs. The very pain gives vigour to his resolution; {though} wounded, he rears against the enemy, and tramples upon the hero with his horse's feet. The other receives the re-echoing strokes upon his helmet and his shield, and defends his shoulders, and holds his arms extended before him, and through the shoulder-blades he pierces two breasts[38] at one stroke. But first, from afar, he had consigned to death Phlegraeus, and Hyles; in closer combat, Hiphinoues and Clanis. To these is added Dorylas, who had his temples covered with a wolf's skin, and the real horns of oxen reddened with much blood, that performed the duty of a cruel weapon.

"To him I said, for courage gave me strength, 'Behold, how much thy horns are inferior to my steel;' and {then} I threw my javelin. When he could not avoid this, he held up his right hand before his forehead, about to receive the blow; {and} to his forehead his hand was pinned. A shout arose; but Peleus struck him delaying, and overpowered by the painful wound, (for he was standing next to him) with his sword beneath the middle of his belly. He leaped forth, and fiercely dragged his own bowels on the ground, and trod on them {thus} dragged, and burst them {thus} trodden; and he entangled his legs, as well in them, and fell down, with his belly emptied {of its inner parts}. Nor did thy beauty, Cyllarus,[39] save thee while fighting, if only we allow beauty to that {monstrous} nature {of thine}. His beard was beginning {to grow}; the colour of his beard was that of gold; and golden-coloured hair was hanging from his shoulders to the middle of his shoulder-blades. In his face there was a pleasing briskness; his neck, and his shoulders, and his hands, and his breast {were} resembling the applauded statues of the artists, and {so} in those parts in which he was a man; nor was the shape of the horse beneath that {shape}, faulty and inferior to {that of} the man. Give him {but} the neck and the head {of a horse, and} he would be worthy of Castor. So fit is his back to be sat upon, so stands his breast erect with muscle; {he is} all over blacker than black pitch; yet his tail is white; the colour, too, of his legs is white. Many a female of his own kind longed for him; but Hylonome alone gained him, than whom no female more handsome lived in the lofty woods, among the half beasts. She alone attaches Cyllarus, both by her blandishments, and by loving, and by confessing that she loves him. Her care, too, of her person is as great as can be in those limbs: so that her hair is smoothed with a comb; so that she now decks herself with rosemary, now with violets or roses, {and} sometimes she wears white lilies; and twice a day she washes her face with streams that fall from the height of the Pagasaean wood; {and} twice she dips her body in the stream: and she throws over her shoulder or her left side no skins but what are becoming, and are those of choice beasts.

"Their love was equal: together they wandered upon the mountains; together they entered the caves; and then, too, together had they entered the Lapithaean house; together were they waging the fierce warfare. The author {of the deed} is unknown: {but} a javelin came from the left side, and pierced thee, Cyllarus, below {the spot} where the breast is joined to the neck. The heart, being pierced with a small wound, grew cold, together with the whole body, after the weapon was drawn out. Immediately, Hylonome receives his dying limbs, and cherishes the wound, by laying her hand on it, and places her mouth on his, and strives to stop the fleeting life. When she sees him dead, having uttered what the clamour hinders from reaching my ears, she falls upon the weapon that has pierced him, and as she dies, embraces her husband. He, too, {now} stands before my eyes, Phaeocomes, {namely}, who had bound six lions' skins together with connecting knots; covered all over, both horse and man. He, having discharged the trunk of a tree, which two yokes of oxen joined together could hardly have moved, battered the son of Phonolenus on the top of his head. The very broad round form of his skull was broken; and through his mouth, and through his hollow nostrils, and his eyes, and his ears, his softened brains poured down; just as curdled milk is wont through the oaken twigs, or as {any} liquor flows under the weight of a well-pierced sieve, and is squeezed out thick through the numerous holes. But I, while he was preparing to strip him of his arms as he lay, (this thy sire knows,) plunged my sword into the lower part of his belly, as he was spoiling him. Chthonius, too, and Teleboas, lay {pierced} by my sword. The former was bearing a two-forked bough {as his weapon}, the latter a javelin; with his javelin he gave me a wound. You see the marks; look! the old scar is still visible.

"Then ought I[40] to have been sent to the taking of Troy; then I might, if not have overcome, {still} have stayed the arms of the mighty Hector. But at that time Hector was not existing, or {but} a boy; {and} now my age is failing. Why tell thee of Periphas, the conqueror of the two-formed Pyretus? Why of Ampyx, who fixed his cornel-wood spear, without a point, full in the face of the four-footed Oeclus? Macareus, struck down the Pelethronian[41] Erigdupus,[42] by driving a crowbar into his breast. I remember, too, that a hunting spear, hurled by the hand of Nessus, was buried in the groin of Cymelus. And do not believe that Mopsus,[43] the son of Ampycus, only foretold things to come; a two-formed {monster} was slain by Mopsus, darting {at him}, and Odites in vain attempted to speak, his tongue being nailed to his chin, and his chin to his throat. Caeneus had put five to death, Stiphelus, and Bromus, and Antimachus, and Helimus, and Pyracmos, wielding the axe. I do not remember {their respective} wounds, {but} I marked their numbers, and their names. Latreus, most huge both in his limbs and his body, sallied forth, armed with the spoils of Emathian[44] Halesus, whom he had consigned to death. His age was between that of a youth, and an old man; his vigour that of a youth; grey hairs variegated his temples. Conspicuous by his buckler, and his helmet, and his Macedonian pike;[45] and turning his face towards both sides, he brandished his arms, and rode in one same round, and vaunting, poured forth thus many words into the yielding air:—

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