The Metamorphoses of Ovid - Literally Translated into English Prose, with Copious Notes - and Explanations
by Publius Ovidius Naso
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[Footnote 29: But very short.—Ver. 329. The Almo falls in the Tiber, close to its own source, whence its present epithet.]

[Footnote 30: Rapid Nar.—Ver. 330. The 'Nar' was a river of Umbria, which fell into the Tiber.]

[Footnote 31: Farfarus.—Ver. 330. This river, flowing slowly through the valleys of the country of the Sabines, received a pleasant shade from the trees with which its banks were lined.]

[Footnote 32: Scythian.—Ver. 331. He alludes to the statue of the Goddess Diana, which, with her worship, Orestes was said to have brought from the Tauric Chersonesus, and to have established at Aricia, in Latium. See the Fasti, Book III. l. 263, and Note.]

[Footnote 33: Ionian Janus.—Ver. 334. Janus was so called because he was thought to have come from Thessaly, and to have crossed the Ionian Sea.]

[Footnote 34: Canens.—Ver. 338. This name literally means 'singing,' being the present participle of the Latin verb 'cano,' 'to sing.']

[Footnote 35: Inflicted wounds.—Ver. 392. The woodpecker is supposed to tap the bark of the tree with his beak, to ascertain, from the sound, if it is hollow, and if there are any insects beneath it.]

[Footnote 36: Tartessian shores.—Ver. 416. 'Tartessia' is here used as a general term for Western, as Tartessus was a city of the Western coast of Spain. It afterwards had the name of Carteia, and is thought to have been situated not far from the site of the present Cadiz, at the mouth of the Baetis, now called the Guadalquivir. Some suppose this name to be the same with the Tarshish of Scripture.]


When names occur in the ancient Mythology, of Oriental origin, we may conclude that they were imported into Greece and Italy from Egypt or Phoenicia; and that their stories were derived from the same sources; such as those of Adonis, Arethusa, Arachne, and Isis. Those that are derived from the Greek languages are attached to fictions of purely Greek origin, such as the fables of Daphne, Galantis, Cygnus, and the Myrmidons; and where the names are of Latin original, we may conclude that their stories originated in Italy: such, for instance, as those of Canens, Picus, Anna Perenna, Flora, Quirinus, and others.

To this rule there are certain exceptions; for both Greece and Italy occasionally appropriated each other's traditions, by substituting the names of one language for those of the other. Thus it would not be safe to affirm positively that the story of Portumnus and Matuta is of Latin origin, since Greece lays an equal claim to it under the names of Leucothoe and Palaemon, while, probably, Cadmus originally introduced it from Phoenicia, under the names of Ino and Melicerta.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus, on the authority of Cato the Censor and Asellius Sempronius, says that the original inhabitants of Italy were a Greek colony. Cato and Sempronius state that they were from Achaia, while Dionysius says that they came from Arcadia, under the command of Oenotrius. Picus is generally supposed to have been one of the aboriginal kings of Italy, who was afterwards Deified. Servius, in his Commentary on the seventh Book of the AEneid, informs us that Picus pretended to know future events, and made use of a woodpecker, which he had tamed, for the purpose of his auguries. On this ground, after his death, it was generally reported that he had been transformed into that bird, and he was ranked among the Dii Indigetes of Latium. Dying in his youth, his wife Canens retired to a solitary spot, where she ended her life, and the intensity of her grief gave rise to the fable that she had pined away into a sound.

It has been suggested that the story took its rise from the oracles of Mars among the Sabines, when a woodpecker was said to give the responses. According to Bochart, it arose from the confusion of the meaning of the Phoenician word 'picea,' which signified a 'diviner.' It is the exuberant fancy of Ovid alone which connects Picus with the story of Circe.


Turnus having demanded succour from Diomedes against AEneas, the Grecian prince, fearing the resentment of Venus, refuses to send him assistance; and relates how some of his followers have been transformed by Venus into birds. An Apulian shepherd surprising some Nymphs, insults them, on which he is changed into a wild olive tree.

Macareus had concluded. And the nurse of AEneas, {now} buried in a marble urn, had {this} short inscription on her tomb:— "My foster-child, of proved piety, here burned me, Caieta, preserved from the Argive flames, with that fire which was my due." The fastened cable is loosened from the grassy bank, and they leave far behind the wiles and the dwelling of the Goddess, of whom so ill a report has been given, and seek the groves where the Tiber, darkened with the shade {of trees}, breaks into the sea with his yellow sands. {AEneas}, too, gains the house and the daughter of Latinus, the {son of} Faunus;[37] but not without warfare. A war is waged with a fierce nation, and Turnus is indignant on account of the wife that had been betrothed to him.[38] All Etruria meets {in battle} with Latium, and long is doubtful victory struggled for with ardent arms. Each side increases his strength with foreign forces, and many take the part of the Rutulians, many that of the Trojan side. Nor {had} AEneas {arrived} in vain at the thresholds of Evander,[39] but Venulus came {in vain} to the great city, of the exiled Diomedes. He, indeed, had founded a very great city under the Iapygian Daunus, and held the lands given to him in dower.

But after Venulus had executed the commands of Turnus, and had asked for aid, the AEtolian hero pleaded his resources as an excuse: that he was not wishful to commit the subjects of his father-in-law to a war, and that he had no men to arm of the nation of his own countrymen; "And that ye may not think this a pretext, although my grief be renewed at the bitter recollection, yet I will endure the recital {of it}. After lofty Ilion was burnt, and Pergamus had fed the Grecian flames, and the Narycian hero,[40] having ravished the virgin, distributed that vengeance upon all, which he alone merited, on account of the virgin; we were dispersed and driven by the winds over the hostile seas; we Greeks had to endure lightning, darkness, rain, and the wrath both of the heavens and of the sea, and Caphareus, the completion of our misery. And not to detain you by relating these sad events in their order, Greece might then have appeared even to Priam, worthy of a tear. Yet the care of the armed universe preserved me, rescued from the waves.

"But again was I driven from Argos, {the land} of my fathers; and genial Venus exacted satisfaction in vengeance for her former wound: and so great hardships did I endure on the deep ocean, so great amid arms on shore, that many a time were they pronounced {happy} by me, whom the storm, common {to all}, and Caphareus, swallowed up in the threatening[41] waves; and I wished that I had been one of them. My companions having now endured the utmost extremities, both in war and on the ocean, lost courage, and demanded an end of their wanderings. But Agmon, of impetuous temper, and then embittered as well by misfortunes, said, 'What does there remain now, ye men, for your patience to refuse to endure? What has Cytherea, (supposing her to desire it), that she can do beyond this? For so long as greater evils are dreaded, there is room for prayers; but where one's lot is the most wretched possible, fear is {trampled} under foot, and the extremity {of misfortune} is free from apprehensions. Let {Venus} herself hear it, if she likes; let her hate, as she does {hate}, all the men under the rule of Diomedes. Yet all of us despise her hate, and this our great power is bought by us at great price.'

"With such expressions does the Pleuronian[42] Agmon provoke Venus against her will, and revive her former anger. His words are approved of by a few. We, the greater number of his friends, rebuke Agmon: and as he is preparing to answer, his voice and the passage of his voice together become diminished; his hair changes into feathers; his neck newly formed, his breast and his back are covered with down; his arms assume longer feathers; and his elbows curve out into light wings. A great part of his foot receives toes; his mouth becomes stiff and hardened with horn, and has its end in a point. Lycus and Idas, and Nycteus, together with Rhetenor, and Abas, are {all} astounded at him; and while they are astounded, they assume a similar form; and the greater portion of my company fly off, and resound around the oars with the flapping of their wings. Shouldst thou inquire what was the form of these birds so suddenly made; although it was not that of swans, yet it was approaching to that of white swans. With difficulty, for my part, do I, the son-in-law of the Iapygian Daunus, possess these abodes and the parched fields with a very small remnant of my companions."

Thus far the grandson of Oeneus. Venulus leaves the Calydonian[43] realms and the Peucetian[44] bays, and the Messapian[45] fields. In these he beholds a cavern, which, overshadowed by a dense grove, and trickling with a smooth stream, the God Pan, the half goat, occupies; but once on a time the Nymphs possessed it. An Apulian shepherd alarmed them, scared away from that spot; and, at first, he terrified them with a sudden fear; afterwards, when their presence of mind returned, and they despised him as he followed, they formed dances, moving their feet to time. The shepherd abused them; and imitating them with grotesque capers, he added rustic abuse in filthy language. Nor was he silent, before the {growing} tree closed his throat. But from this tree and its sap you may understand {what} were his manners. For the wild olive, by its bitter berries, indicates the infamy of his tongue; the coarseness of his words passed into them.

[Footnote 37: Son of Faunus.—Ver. 449. The parents of Latinus were Faunus and Marica.]

[Footnote 38: Betrothed to him.—Ver. 451. Amata, the mother of Lavinia, had promised her to Turnus, in spite of the oracle of Faunus, which had declared that she was destined for a foreign husband.]

[Footnote 39: Evander.—Ver. 456. His history is given by Ovid in the first Book of the Fasti.]

[Footnote 40: Narycian hero.—Ver. 468. Naryx, which was also called Narycium and Naryce, was a city of Locris. He alludes to the divine vengeance which punished Ajax Oileus, who had ravished Cassandra in the temple of Minerva. For this reason the Greeks were said to have been afflicted with shipwreck, on their return after the destruction of Troy.]

[Footnote 41: Threatening.—Ver. 481. 'Importunis' is translated by Clarke, 'plaguy.' For some account of Caphareus, see the Tristia, or Lament, Book I. El. 1. l. 83. and note.]

[Footnote 42: Pleuronian.—Ver. 494. Pleuron was a town of AEtolia, adjoining to Epirus.]

[Footnote 43: Calydonian.—Ver. 512. That part of Apulia, which Diomedes received from Daunus, as a dower with his wife, was called Calydon, from the city of Calydon, in his native AEtolia.]

[Footnote 44: Peucetian.—Ver. 513. Apulia was divided by the river Aufidus into two parts, Peucetia and Daunia. Peucetia was to the East, and Daunia lay to the West. According to Antoninus Liberalis, Daunus, Iapyx, and Peucetius, the sons of Lycaon, were the first to colonize these parts.]

[Footnote 45: Messapian.—Ver. 513. Messapia was a name given to a part of Calabria, from its king Messapus, who aided Turnus against AEneas.]


Latinus having been told by an oracle that a foreign prince should come into his country and marry his daughter Lavinia, received AEneas hospitably, and formed an alliance with him, promising him his daughter in marriage; on which Turnus, who was the nephew of Amata, his wife, and to whom Lavinia was betrothed, declared war against AEneas.

The ancient historians tell us, that, on returning from the siege of Troy, Diomedes found that his throne had been usurped by Cyllabarus, who had married his wife AEgiale. Not having sufficient forces to dispossess the intruder, he sought a retreat in Italy, where he built the city of Argyripa, or Argos Hippium. Diomedes having married the daughter of Daunus, quarrelled with his father-in-law, and was killed in fight; on which his companions fled to an adjacent island, which, from his name, was called Diomedea. It was afterwards reported, that on their flight they were changed into birds, and that Venus inflicted this punishment, in consequence of Diomedes having wounded her at the siege of Troy. Of this story a confused version is here presented by Ovid, who makes the transformation to take place in the lifetime of Diomedes. It is supposed that the fact of the island being the favourite resort of swans and herons, facilitated this story of their transformation. Pliny and Solinus add to this marvellous account by stating, that these birds fawned upon all Greeks who entered the island, and fled from the people of all other nations. Ovid says that the birds resembled swans, while other writers thought them to be herons, storks, or falcons.

The ancient authors are utterly silent as to the rude shepherd who was changed into a wild olive, but the story was probably derived by Ovid from some local tradition.

FABLES IX. AND X. [XIV.527-608]

Turnus sets fire to the fleet of AEneas: but Cybele transforms the ships into sea Nymphs. After the death of Turnus, his capital, Ardea, is burnt, and a bird arises out of the flames. Venus obtains of Jupiter that her son, after so many heroic deeds, shall be received into the number of the Gods.

When the ambassador had returned thence, bringing word that the AEtolian arms had been refused them, the Rutulians carried on the warfare prepared for, without their forces; and much blood was shed on either side. Lo! Turnus bears the devouring torches against the {ships}, fabrics of pine; and those, whom the waves have spared, are {now} in dread of fire. And now the flames were burning the pitch and the wax, and the other elements of flame, and were mounting the lofty mast to the sails, and the benches of the curved ships were smoking; when the holy Mother of the Gods, remembering that these pines were cut down on the heights of Ida, filled the air with the tinkling of the clashing cymbal, and with the noise of the blown boxwood {pipe}. Borne through the yielding air by her harnessed lions, she said: "Turnus, in vain dost thou hurl the flames with thy sacrilegious right hand; I will save {the ships}, and the devouring flames shall not, with my permission, burn a portion, and the {very} limbs of my groves."

As the Goddess speaks, it thunders; and following the thunder, heavy showers fall, together with bounding hailstones; the brothers, sons of Astraeus, arouse both the air and the swelling waves with sudden conflicts, and rush to the battle. The genial Mother, using the strength of one of these, first bursts the hempen cables of the Phrygian fleet, and carries the ships headlong, and buries them beneath the ocean. Their hardness being now softened, and their wood being changed into flesh, the crooked sterns are changed into the features of the head; the oars taper off in fingers and swimming feet; that which has been so before, is {still} the side; and the keel, laid below in the middle of the ship, is changed, for the purposes of the back bone. The cordage becomes soft hair, the yards {become} arms. Their colour is azure, as it was before. As Naiads of the ocean, with their virgin sports they agitate those waves, which before they dreaded; and, born on the rugged mountains, they inhabit the flowing sea; their origin influences them not. And yet, not forgetting how many dangers they endured on the boisterous ocean, often do they give a helping hand to the tossed ships; unless any one is carrying men of the Grecian race.

Still keeping in mind the Phrygian catastrophe, they hated the Pelasgians; and, with joyful countenances, they looked upon the fragments of the ship of him of Neritos; and with pleasure did they see the ship of Alcinoues[46] become hard upon the breakers, and stone growing over the wood.

There is a hope that, the fleet having received life in the form of sea Nymphs, the Rutulian may desist from the war through fear, on account of this prodigy. He persists, {however}, and each side has {its own} Deities;[47] and they have courage, equal to the Gods. And now they do not seek kingdoms as a dower, nor the sceptre of a father-in-law, nor thee, virgin Lavinia, but {only} to conquer; and they wage the war through shame at desisting. At length, Venus sees the arms of her son victorious, and Turnus falls; Ardea falls, which, while Turnus lived, was called 'the mighty.' After ruthless flames consumed it, and its houses sank down amid the heated embers, a bird, then known for the first time, flew aloft from the midst of the heap, and beat the ashes with the flapping of its wings. The voice, the leanness, the paleness, and every thing that befits a captured city, and the very name of the city, remain in that {bird}; and Ardea itself is bewailed by {the beating of} its wings.

And now the merit of AEneas had obliged all the Deities, and Juno herself, to put an end to their former resentment; when, the power of the rising Iuelus being now well established, the hero, the son of Cytherea, was ripe for heaven, Venus, too, had solicited the Gods above; and hanging round the neck of her parent had said: "My father, {who hast} never {proved} unkind to me at any time, I beseech thee now to be most indulgent {to me}; and to grant, dearest {father}, to my AEneas, who, {born} of my blood, has made thee a grandsire, a godhead, {even} though of the lowest class; so that thou only grant him one. It is enough to have once beheld the unsightly realms, {enough} to have once passed over the Stygian streams." The Gods assented; nor did his royal wife keep her countenance unmoved; {but}, with pleased countenance, she nodded assent. Then her father said; "You are worthy of the gift of heaven; both thou who askest, and he, for whom thou askest: receive, my daughter, what thou dost desire." {Thus} he decrees. She rejoices, and gives thanks to her parent; and, borne by her harnessed doves through the light air, she arrives at the Laurentine shores; where Numicius,[48] covered with reeds, winds to the neighbouring sea with the waters of his stream. Him she bids to wash off from AEneas whatever is subject to death, and to bear it beneath the ocean in his silent course.

The horned {river} performed the commands of Venus; and with his waters washed away from AEneas whatever was mortal, and sprinkled him. His superior essence remained. His mother anointed his body {thus} purified with divine odours, and touched his face with ambrosia, mingled with sweet nectar, and made him a God. Him the people of Quirinus, called Indiges,[49] and endowed with a temple and with altars.

[Footnote 46: Ship of Alcinoues.—Ver. 565. Alcinoues, the king of the Phaeacians, having saved Ulysses from shipwreck, gave him a ship in which to return to Ithaca. Neptune, to revenge the injuries of his son Polyphemus, changed the ship into a rock.]

[Footnote 47: Its own Deities.—Ver. 568. The Trojans were aided by Venus, while Juno favoured the Rutulians.]

[Footnote 48: Numicius.—Ver. 599. Livy, in the first Book of his History, seems to say that AEneas lost his life in a battle, fought near the Numicius, a river of Latium. He is generally supposed to have been drowned there.]

[Footnote 49: Indiges.—Ver. 608. Cicero says, that 'those, who for their merits were reckoned in the number of the Gods, and who formerly living on earth, and afterwards lived among the Gods (in Diis agerent), were called Indigetes;' thus implying that the word 'Indiges' came from 'in Diis ago;' 'to live among the Gods.' This seems a rather far-fetched derivation. The true meaning of the word seems to be 'native,' or 'indigenous;' and it applies to a person Deified, and considered as a tutelary Deity of his native country. Most probably, it is derived from 'in,' or 'indu,' the old Latin form of 'in,' and geino (for ginomai), 'to be born.' Some would derive the word from 'in,' negative, and 'ago,' to speak, as signifying Deities, whose names were not be mentioned.]


It is asserted by some writers, that when the ships of AEneas were set on fire by Turnus, a tempest arose, which extinguished the flames; on which circumstance the story here related by Ovid was founded. Perhaps Virgil was the author of the fiction, as he is the first known to have related it, and is closely followed by Ovid in the account of the delivery of the ships.

The story of the heron arising out of the flames of Ardea seems to be founded on a very simple fact. It is merely a poetical method of accounting for the Latin name of that bird, which was very plentiful in the vicinity of the city of Ardea, and, perhaps, thence derived its name of 'ardea.' The story may have been the more readily suggested to the punning mind of Ovid, from the resemblance of the Latin verb 'ardeo,' signifying 'to burn,' to that name.

Some of the ancient authors say, that after killing Turnus and marrying Lavinia, AEneas was killed in battle with Mezentius, after a reign of three years, leaving his wife pregnant with a son, afterwards known by the name of Sylvius. His body not being found after the battle, it was given out that his Goddess mother had translated him to heaven, and he was thenceforth honoured by the name of Jupiter Indiges.

FABLE XI. [XIV.609-697]

Vertumnus, enamoured of Pomona, assumes several shapes for the purpose of gaining her favour; and having transformed himself into an old woman, succeeds in effecting his object.

From that time Alba and the Latin state were under the sway of Ascanius with the two names;[50] Sylvius[51] succeeded him; sprung of whom, Latinus had a renewed name, together with the ancient sceptre. Alba succeeded the illustrious Latinus; Epitos {sprang} from him; {and} next to him {were} Capetus, and Capys; but Capys was the first {of these}. Tiberinus received the sovereignty after them; and, drowned in the waves of the Etrurian river, he gave his name to the stream. By him Remulus and the fierce Acrota were begotten; Remulus, {who was} the elder, an imitator of the lightnings, perished by the stroke[52] of a thunder-bolt. Acrota, more moderate than his brother {in his views}, handed down the sceptre to the valiant Aventinus, who lies buried on the same mount over which he had reigned; and to that mountain he gave his name. And now Proca held sway over the Palatine nation.

Under this king Pomona lived; than her, no one among the Hamadryads of Latium more skilfully tended her gardens, and no one was more attentive to the produce of the trees; thence she derives her name. She {cares} not {for} woods, or streams; {but} she loves the country, and the boughs that bear the thriving fruit. Her right hand is not weighed down with a javelin, but with a curved pruning-knife, with which, at one time she crops the {too} luxuriant shoots, and reduces the branches that straggle without order; at another time, she is engrafting the sucker in the divided bark, and is {so} finding nourishment for a stranger nursling. Nor does she suffer them to endure thirst; she waters, too, the winding fibres of the twisting root with the flowing waters. This is her delight, this her pursuit; and no desire has she for love. But fearing the violence of the rustics, she closes her orchard within {a wall}, and both forbids and flies from the approach of males.

What did not the Satyrs do, a youthful crew expert at the dance, and the Pans with their brows wreathed with pine, and Sylvanus, ever more youthful than his years, and the God who scares the thieves either with his pruning-hook or with his groin, in order that they might gain her? But yet Vertumnus exceeded even these in his love, nor was he more fortunate than the rest. O! how often did he carry the ears of corn in a basket, under the guise of a hardy reaper; and he was the very picture of a reaper! Many a time, having his temples bound with fresh bay, he would appear to have been turning over the mowed grass. He often bore a whip in his sturdy hand, so that you would have sworn that he had that instant been unyoking the wearied oxen. A pruning-knife being given him, he was a woodman, and the pruner of the vine. {Now} he was carrying a ladder, {and} you would suppose he was going to gather fruit. {Sometimes} he was a soldier, with a sword, {and sometimes} a fisherman, taking up the rod; in fact, by means of many a shape, he often obtained access for himself, that he might enjoy the pleasure of gazing on her beauty.

He, too, having bound his brows with a coloured cap,[53] leaning on a stick, with white hair placed around his temples, assumed the shape of an old woman, and entered the well-cultivated gardens, and admired the fruit; and he said, "So much better off {art thou}!" and {then} he gave her, thus commended, a few kisses, such as no real old woman {ever} could have given; and stooping, seated himself upon the grass, looking up at the branches bending under the load of autumn. There was an elm opposite, widely spread with swelling grapes; after he had praised it, together with the vine united {to it}, he said, "{Aye}, but if this trunk stood unwedded,[54] without the vine, it would have nothing to attract beyond its leaves; this vine, too, while it finds rest against the elm, joined to it, if it were not united to it, would lie prostrate on the ground; {and} yet thou art not influenced by the example of this tree, and thou dost avoid marriage, and dost not care to be united. I {only} wish that thou wouldst desire it: Helen would not {then} be wooed by more suitors, nor she who caused the battles of the Lapithae, nor the wife of Ulysses, {so} bold against the cowards. Even now, while thou dost avoid them courting thee, and dost turn away in disgust, a thousand suitors desire thee; both Demigod and Gods, and the Deities which inhabit the mountains of Alba.

"But thou, if thou art wise, {and} if thou dost wish to make a good match, and to listen to an old woman, (who loves thee more than them all, and more than thou dost believe) despise a common alliance, and choose for thyself Vertumnus, as the partner of thy couch; and take me as a surety {for him}. He is not better known, even to himself, than he is to me. He is not wandering about, straying here and there, throughout all the world; these spots only does he frequent; and he does not, like a great part of thy wooers, fall in love with her whom he sees last. Thou wilt be his first and his last love, and to thee alone does he devote his life. Besides, he is young, he has naturally the gift of gracefulness, he can readily change himself into every shape, and he will become whatever he shall be bidden, even shouldst thou bid him be everything. {And} besides, have you {not both} the same tastes? Is {not} he the first to have the fruits which are thy delight? and does he {not} hold thy gifts in his joyous right hand? But now he neither longs for the fruit plucked from the tree, nor the herbs that the garden produces, with their pleasant juices, nor anything else, but thyself. Have pity on his passion! and fancy that he who wooes thee is here present, pleading with my lips; fear, too, the avenging Deities, and the Idalian {Goddess}, who abhors cruel hearts, and the vengeful anger of her of Rhamnus.[55]

"And that thou mayst the more stand in awe of them, (for old age has given me the opportunity of knowing many things) I will relate some facts very well known throughout all Cyprus, by which thou mayst the more easily be persuaded and relent."

[Footnote 50: The two names.—Ver. 609. The other name of Ascanius was Iuelus. Alba Longa was built by Ascanius.]

[Footnote 51: Sylvius.—Ver. 610. See the lists of the Alban kings, as given by Ovid, Livy, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Eusebius, compared in the notes to the Translation of the Fasti, Book IV. line 43.]

[Footnote 52: By the stroke.—Ver. 618. Possibly both Remulus (if there ever was such a person) and Tullus Hostilius may have fallen victims to some electrical experiments which they were making; this may have given rise to the story that they had been struck with lightning for imitating the prerogative of Jupiter.]

[Footnote 53: A coloured cap.—Ver. 654. 'Picta redimitus tempora mitra,' is rendered by Clarke, 'Having his temples wrapped up in a painted bonnet.' The 'mitra,' which was worn on the head by females, was a broad cloth band of various colours. The use of it was derived from the Eastern nations, and, probably, it was very similar to our turban. It was much used by the Phrygians, and in later times among the Greeks and Romans. It is supposed that it was worn in a broad fillet round the head, and was tied under the chin with bands. When Clodius went disguised in female apparel to the rites of Bona Dea, he wore a 'mitra.']

[Footnote 54: Stood unwedded.—Ver. 663. Ovid probably derived this notion from the language of the Roman husbandmen. Columella and other writers on agricultural matters often make mention of a 'maritus ulmus,' and a 'nupta vitis,' in contradistinction to those trees which stood by themselves.]

[Footnote 55: Her of Rhamnus.—Ver. 694. See Book III. l. 406.]


Among the Deities borrowed by the Romans from the people of Etruria, were Vertumnus and Pomona, who presided over gardens and fruits. Propertius represents Vertumnus as rejoicing at having left Tusculum for the Roman Forum. According to Varro and Festus, the Romans offered sacrifices to these Deities, and they had their respective temples and altars at Rome, the priest of Pomona being called 'Flamen Pomonalis.' It is probable that this story originated in the fancy of the Poet.

The name of Vertumnus, from 'verto,' 'to change,' perhaps relates to the vicissitudes of the seasons; and if this story refers to any tradition, its meaning may have been, that in his taking various forms, to please Pomona, the change of seasons requisite for bringing the fruits to ripeness was symbolized. It is possible that in the disguises of a labourer, a reaper, and an old woman, the Poet may intend to pourtray the spring, the harvest, and the winter.

There was a market at Rome, near the temple of this God, who was regarded as one of the tutelary Deities of the traders. Horace alludes to his temple which was in the Vicus Tuscus, or Etrurian Street, which led to the Circus Maximus. According to some authors, he was an ancient king of Etruria, who paid great attention to his gardens, and, after his death, was considered to have the tutelage of them.


Vertumnus relates to Pomona how Anaxarete was changed into a rock after her disdain of his advances had forced her lover Iphis to hang himself. After the death of Amulius and Numitor, Romulus builds Rome, and becomes the first king of it. Tatius declares war against him, and is favoured by Juno, while Venus protects the Romans. Romulus and Hersilia are added to the number of the Deities, under the names of Quirinus and Ora.

Iphis, born of an humble family, had beheld the noble Anaxarete, sprung from the race of the ancient Teucer;[56] he had seen her, and had felt the flame in all his bones; and struggling a long time, when he could not subdue his passion by reason, he came suppliantly to her doors. And now having confessed to her nurse his unfortunate passion, he besought her, by the hopes {she reposed} in her nursling, not to be hard-hearted to him; and at another time, complimenting each of the numerous servants, he besought their kind interest with an anxious voice. He often gave his words to be borne on the flattering tablets; sometimes he fastened garlands, wet with the dew of his tears, upon the door-posts, and laid his tender side upon the hard threshold, and uttered reproaches against the obdurate bolt.

She, more deaf than the sea, swelling when {the Constellation of} the Kids is setting, and harder than the iron which the Norican fire[57] refines, and than the rock which in its native state is yet held fast by the firm roots, despises, and laughs at him; and to her cruel deeds, in her pride, she adds boastful words, and deprives her lover of even hope. Iphis, unable to endure this prolonged pain, endured his torments no {longer}; and before her doors he spoke these words as his last: "Thou art the conquerer, Anaxarete; and no more annoyances wilt thou have to bear from me. Prepare the joyous triumph, invoke the God Paean, and crown thyself with the shining laurel. For thou art the conqueror, and of my own will I die; do thou, {woman} of iron, rejoice. At least, thou wilt be obliged to commend something in me, and there will be one point in which I shall be pleasing to thee, and thou wilt confess my merits. Yet remember that my affection for thee has not ended sooner than my life; and that at the same moment I am about to be deprived of a twofold light. And report shall not come to thee as the messenger of my death; I myself will come, doubt it not; and I myself will be seen in person, that thou mayst satiate thy cruel eyes with my lifeless body. But if, ye Gods above, you take cognizance of the fortunes of mortals, be mindful of me; beyond this, my tongue is unable to pray; and cause me to be remembered in times far distant; and give those hours to Fame which you have taken away from my existence."

{Thus} he said; and raising his swimming eyes and his pallid arms to the door-posts, so often adorned by him with wreaths, when he had fastened a noose at the end of a halter upon the door; he said,— "Are these the garlands that delight thee, cruel and unnatural {woman}?" And he placed his head within it; but even then he was turned towards her; and he hung a hapless burden, by his strangled throat. The door, struck by the motion of his feet as they quivered, seemed to utter a sound, as {of one} groaning much, and flying open, it discovered the deed; the servants cried aloud, and after lifting him up in vain, they carried him to the house of his mother (for his father was dead). She received him into her bosom; and embracing the cold limbs of her child, after she had uttered the words that are {natural} to wretched mothers, and had performed the {usual} actions of wretched mothers, she was preceding[58] the tearful funeral through the midst of the city, and was carrying his ghastly corpse on the bier, to be committed to the flames.

By chance, her house was near the road where the mournful procession was passing, and the sound of lamentation came to the ears of the hardhearted Anaxarete, whom now an avenging Deity pursued. Moved, however, she said:— "Let us behold these sad obsequies;" and she ascended to an upper room[59] with wide windows. And scarce had she well seen Iphis laid out on the bier, {when} her eyes became stiffened, and a paleness coming on, the warm blood fled from her body. And as she endeavoured to turn her steps back again, she stood fixed {there}; and as she endeavoured to turn away her face, this too she was unable to do; and by degrees the stone, which already existed in her cruel breast, took possession of her limbs.

"And, that thou mayst not think this a fiction, Salamis still keeps the statue under the form of the maiden; it has also a temple under the name of 'Venus, the looker-out.' Remembering these things, O Nymph, lay aside this prolonged disdain, and unite thyself to one who loves thee. Then, may neither cold in the spring nip thy fruit in the bud, nor may the rude winds strike them off in blossom." When the God, fitted for every shape, had in vain uttered these words, he returned to his youthful form,[60] and took off from himself the garb of the old woman. And such did he appear to her, as, when the form of the sun, in all his brilliancy, has dispelled the opposing clouds, and has shone forth, no cloud intercepting {his rays}. And he {now} purposed violence, but there was no need for force, and the Nymph was captivated by the form of the God, and was sensible of a reciprocal wound.

Next, the soldiery of the wicked Amulius held sway over the realms of Ausonia; and by the aid of his grandsons, the aged Numitor gained the kingdom that he had lost; and on the festival of Pales, the walls of the City were founded. Tatius and the Sabine fathers waged war; and {then}, the way to the citadel being laid open, by a just retribution, Tarpeia lost her life, the arms being heaped {upon her}. On this, they, sprung from {the town of} Cures, just like silent wolves, suppressed their voices with their lips, and fell upon the bodies {now} overpowered by sleep, and rushed to the gates, which the son of Ilia had shut with a strong bolt. But {Juno}, the daughter of Saturn, herself opened one, and made not a sound at the turning of the hinge. Venus alone perceived that the bars of the gate had fallen down; and she would have shut it, were it not, that it is never allowed for a Deity to annul the acts of the {other} Gods. The Naiads of Ausonia occupied a spot near {the temple of} Janus, {a place} besprinkled by a cold fountain; of these she implored aid. Nor did the Nymphs resist, the Goddess making so fair a request; and they gave vent to the springs and the streams of the fountain. But not yet were the paths closed to the open {temple of} Janus, and the water had not stopped the way. They placed sulphur, with its faint blue light, beneath the plenteous fountain, and they applied fire to the hollowed channels, with smoking pitch.

By these and other violent means, the vapour penetrated to the very sources of the fountain; and {you}, ye waters, which, so lately, were able to rival the coldness of the Alps, yielded not {in heat} to the flames themselves. The two door-posts smoked with the flaming spray; and the gate, which was in vain left open for the fierce Sabines, was rendered impassable by this new-made fountain, until the warlike soldiers had assumed their arms. After Romulus had readily led them onward, and the Roman ground was covered with Sabine bodies, and was covered with its own {people,} and the accursed sword had mingled the blood of the son-in-law with the gore of the father-in-law; they determined that the war should end in peace, and that they would not contend with weapons to the last extremity, and that Tatius should share in the sovereignty.

Tatius was {now} dead, and thou, Romulus, wast giving laws in common to both peoples; when Mavors,[61] his helmet laid aside, in such words as these addressed the Parent of both Gods and men: "The time is {now} come, O father, (since the Roman state is established on a strong foundation, and is no longer dependent on the guardianship of but one), for thee to give the reward which was promised to me, and to thy grandson {so} deserving of it, and, removed from earth, to admit him to heaven. Thou saidst to me once, a council of the Gods being present, (for I remember it, and with grateful mind I remarked the affectionate speech), he shall be one, whom thou shalt raise to the azure heaven. Let the tenor of thy words be {now} performed."

The all-powerful {God} nodded in assent, and he obscured the air with thick clouds, and alarmed the City with thunder and lightning. Gradivus knew that this was a signal given to him for the promised removal; and, leaning on his lance, he boldly mounted {behind} his steeds, laden with the blood-stained pole {of the chariot}, and urged them on with the lash of the whip; and descending along the steep air, he stood on the summit of the hill of the woody Palatium; and he took away the son of Ilia, that moment giving out his royal ordinances to his own Quirites. His mortal body glided through the yielding air; just as the leaden plummet, discharged from the broad sling, is wont to dissolve itself[62] in mid air. A beauteous appearance succeeded, one more suitable to the lofty couches[63] of heaven, and a form, such as that of Quirinus arrayed in his regal robe. His wife was lamenting him as lost; when the royal Juno commanded Iris to descend to Hersilia, along her bending path; and thus to convey to the bereft {wife} her commands:—

"O matron, the especial glory of the Latian and of the Sabine race; thou woman, most worthy to have been before the wife of a hero so great, {and} now of Quirinus; cease thy weeping, and if thou hast a wish to see thy husband, under my guidance repair to the grove which flourishes on the hill of Quirinus, and overshadows the temple of the Roman king." Iris obeys, and gliding down to earth along her tinted bow, she addressed Hersilia in the words enjoined. She, with a modest countenance, hardly raising her eyes, replies, "O Goddess, (for {though} it is not in my power to say who thou art, {yet}, still it is clear that thou art a Goddess), lead me, O lead me on, and present to me the features of my husband. If the Fates should but allow me to be enabled once to behold these, I will confess that I have beheld Heaven."

There was no delay; with the virgin daughter of Thaumas she ascended the hill of Romulus. There, a star falling from the skies, fell upon the earth; the hair of Hersilia set on fire from the blaze of this, ascended with the star to the skies. The founder of the Roman city received her with his well-known hands; and, together with her body, he changed her former name; and he called her Ora; which Goddess is still united to Quirmus.

[Footnote 56: Ancient Teucer.—Ver. 698. When Teucer returned home after the Trojan war, his father Telamon banished him, for not having revenged the death of his brother Ajax, which was imputed to Ulysses, as having been the occasion of it, by depriving him of the armour of Achilles. Thus exiled, he fled to Cyprus, where he founded the city of Salamis.]

[Footnote 57: Norican fire.—Ver. 712. Noricum was a district of Germany, between the Danube and the Alps. It is still famous for its excellent steel; the goodness of which, Pliny attributes partly to the superior quality of the ore, and partly to the temperature of the climate.]

[Footnote 58: She was preceding.—Ver. 746. It was customary for the relations, both male and female, to attend the body to the tomb or the funeral pile. Among the Greeks, the male relatives walked in front of the body, preceded by the head mourners, while the female relations walked behind. Among the Romans, all the relations walked behind the corpse; the males having their heads veiled, and the females with their heads bare and hair dishevelled, contrary to the usual practice of each sex.]

[Footnote 59: An upper room.—Ver. 752. Anaxarete went to an upper room, to look out into the street, as the apartments on the ground floor were rarely lighted with windows. The principal apartments on the ground floor received their light from above, and the smaller rooms there, usually derived their light from the larger ones; while on the other hand, the rooms on the upper floor were usually lighted with windows. The conduct of Anaxarete reminds us of that of Marcella, the hardhearted shepherdess, which so aroused the indignation of the amiable, but unfortunate, Don Quixotte.]

[Footnote 60: His youthful form.—Ver. 766-7. 'In juvenem rediit: et anilia demit Instrumenta sibi.' These words are thus translated by Clarke: 'He returned into a young fellow, and takes off his old woman's accoutrements from him.' We hear of the accoutrements of a cavalry officer much more frequently than we do those of an old woman.]

[Footnote 61: Mavors.—Ver. 806. Mavors, which is often used by the poets as a name of Mars, probably gave rise to the latter name as a contracted form of it.]

[Footnote 62: To dissolve itself.—Ver. 826. Not only, as we have already remarked, was it a notion among the ancients that the leaden plummet thrown from the sling grew red hot; but they occasionally went still further, and asserted that, from the rapidity of the motion, it melted and disappeared altogether. See note to Book II. l. 727.]

[Footnote 63: Lofty couches.—Ver. 827. The 'pulvinaria' were the cushions, or couches, placed in the temples of the Gods, for the use of the Divinities; which probably their priests (like their brethren who administered to Bel) did not omit to enjoy. At the festivals of the 'lectisternia,' the statues of the Gods were placed upon these cushions. The images of the Deities in the Roman Circus, were also placed on a 'pulvinar.']


We are not informed that the story of Iphis, hanging himself for love of Anaxarete, is based upon any actual occurrence, though probably it was, as Salamis is mentioned as the scene of it. The transformation of Anaxarete into a stone, seems only to be the usual metaphor employed by the poets to denote extreme insensibility.

Following the example of Homer, who represents the Gods as divided into the favourers of the Greeks and of the Trojans, he represents the Sabines as entering Rome, while Juno opens the gates for them; on which the Nymphs of the spot pour forth streams of flame, which oblige them to return. He tells the same story in the first Book of the Fasti, where Janus is introduced as taking credit to himself for doing what the Nymphs are here said to have effected.

As Dionysius of Halicarnassus gives some account of these transactions, on the authority of the ancient Roman historians, it will be sufficient here to give the substance thereof. Jealous of the increasing power of Romulus, the Sabines collected an army, and marched to attack his city. A virgin named Tarpeia, whose father commanded the guard, perceiving the golden bracelets which the Sabines wore on their arms, offered Tatius to open the gate to him, if he would give her these jewels. This condition being assented to, the enemy was admitted into the town; and Tarpeia, who is said by some writers only to have intended to disarm the Sabines, by demanding their bucklers, which she pretended were included in the original agreement, was killed on the spot, by the violence of the blows; Tatius having ordered that they should be thrown on her head.

The same historian says, that opinions were divided as to the death of Romulus, and that many writers had written, that as he was haranguing his army, the sky became overcast, and a thick darkness coming on, it was followed by a violent tempest, in which he disappeared; on which it was believed that Mars had taken him up to heaven. Others assert that he was killed by the citizens, for having sent back the hostages of the Veientes without their consent, and for assuming an air of superiority, which their lawless spirits could ill brook. For these reasons, his officers assassinated him, and cut his body in pieces; each of them carrying off some portion, that it might be privately interred. According to Livy, great consternation was the consequence of his death; and the people beginning to suspect that the senators had committed the crime, Julius Proculus asserted that Romulus had appeared to him, and assured him of the fact of his having been Deified. His speech on the occasion is given by Livy, and Ovid relates the same story in the second Book of the Fasti. On this, the Roman people paid him divine honours as a God, under the name of Quirinus, one of the epithets of Mars. He had a chief priest, who was called 'Flamen Quirinalis.'

His wife, Hersilia, also had divine honours paid to her, jointly with him, under the name of Ora, or 'Horta.' According to Plutarch, she had the latter name from the exhortation which she had given to the youths to distinguish themselves by courage.


FABLE I. [XV.1-59]

Myscelos is warned, in a dream, to leave Argos, and to settle in Italy. When on the point of departing, he is seized under a law which forbids the Argives to leave the city without the permission of the magistrates. Being brought up for judgment, through a miracle he is acquitted. He retires to Italy, where he builds the city of Crotona.

Meanwhile, one is being sought who can bear a weight of such magnitude, and can succeed a king so great. Fame, the harbinger of truth, destines the illustrious Numa for the sovereign power. He does not deem it sufficient to be acquainted with the ceremonials of the Sabine nation; in his expansive mind he conceives greater views, and inquires into the nature of things. 'Twas love of this pursuit, his country and cares left behind, that caused him to penetrate to the city of the stranger Hercules. To him, making the inquiry what founder it was that had erected a Grecian city on the Italian shores, one of the more aged natives, who was not unacquainted with {the history of} the past, thus replied:

"The son of Jove, enriched with the oxen of Iberia, is said to have reached the Lacinian shores,[1] from the ocean, after a prosperous voyage, and, while his herd was straying along the soft pastures, himself to have entered the abode of the great Croton, no inhospitable dwelling, and to have rested in repose after his prolonged labours, and to have said thus at departing: 'In the time of thy grandsons this shall be the site of a city;' and his promise was fulfilled. For there was a certain Myscelos, the son of Alemon, an Argive, most favoured by the Gods in those times. Lying upon him, as he is overwhelmed with the drowsiness of sleep, the club-bearer, {Hercules}, addresses him: 'Come, {now}, desert thy native abodes; go, {and} repair to the pebbly streams of the distant AEsar.'[2] And he utters threats, many and fearful, if he does not obey: after that, at once both sleep and the God depart. The son of Alemon arises, and ponders his recent vision in his thoughtful mind; and for a long time his opinions are divided among themselves. The Deity orders him to depart; the laws forbid his going; and death has been awarded as the punishment of him who attempts to leave his country.

"The brilliant Sun had {now} hidden his shining head in the ocean, and darkest Night had put forth her starry face, {when} the same God seemed to be present, and to give the same commands, and to utter threats, more numerous and more severe, if he does not obey. He was alarmed; and {now} he was also preparing to transfer his country's home to a new settlement, {when} a rumour arose in the city, and he was accused of holding the laws in contempt. And, when the accusation had first been made, and his crime was evident, proved without a witness, the accused, in neglected garb, raising his face and his hands towards the Gods above, says, 'Oh thou! for whom the twice six labours have created the privilege of the heavens, aid me, I pray; for thou wast the cause of my offence.' It was the ancient custom, by means of white and black pebbles, with the one to condemn the accused, with the other to acquit them of the charge; and on this occasion thus was the sad sentence passed, and every black pebble was cast into the ruthless urn. Soon as it, being inverted, poured forth the pebbles to be counted, the colour of them all was changed from black to white, and the sentence, changed to a favourable one by the aid of Hercules, acquitted the son of Alemon.

"He gives thanks to the parent, the son of Amphitryon,[3] and with favouring gales sails over the Ionian sea, and passes by the Lacedaemonian Tarentum,[4] and Sybaris, and the Salentine Neaethus,[5] and the bay of Thurium,[6] and Temesa, and the fields of Iapyx;[7] and having with difficulty coasted along the spots which skirt these shores, he finds the destined mouth of the river AEsar; and, not far thence, a mound, beneath which the ground was covering the sacred bones of Croton. And there, on the appointed land, did he found his walls, and he transferred the name of him that was {there} entombed to his city. By established tradition, it was known that such was the original of that place, and of the city built on the Italian coasts."

[Footnote 1: Lacinian shores.—Ver. 13. Lacinium was a promontory of Italy, not far from Crotona.]

[Footnote 2: Distant AEsar.—Ver. 23. The AEsar was a little stream of Calabria, which flowed into the sea, near the city of Crotona.]

[Footnote 3: Son of Amphitryon.—Ver. 49. Hercules was the putative son of Amphitryon, king of Thebes, who was the husband of his mother Alcmena.]

[Footnote 4: Tarentum.—Ver. 50. Tarentum was a famous city of Calabria, said to have been founded by Taras, the son of Neptune. It was afterwards enlarged by Phalanthus, a Lacedaemonian, whence its present epithet.]

[Footnote 5: Neaethus.—Ver. 51. This was a river of the Salentine territory, near Crotona.]

[Footnote 6: Thurium.—Ver. 52. Thurium was a city of Calabria, which received its name from a fountain in its vicinity. It was also called Thuria and Thurion.]

[Footnote 7: Fields of Iapyx.—Ver. 52. Iapygia was a name which Calabria received from Iapyx, the son of Daedalus. There was also a city of Calabria, named Iapygia, and a promontory, called Iapygium.]


To the story here told of Micylus, or Myscelus, as most of the ancient writers call him, another one was superadded. Suidas, on the authority of the Scholiast of Aristophanes, says that Myscelus, having consulted the oracle, concerning the colony which he was about to lead into a foreign country, was told that he must settle at the place where he should meet with rain in a clear sky, ex aithrias. His faith surmounting the apparent impossibility of having both fair and foul weather at the same moment, he obeyed the oracle, and put to sea; and, after experiencing many dangers, he landed in Italy. Being full of uncertainty where to fix his colony, he was reduced to great distress; on which his wife, whose name was Aithrias, with the view of comforting him, embraced him, and bedewed his face with her tears. He immediately adopted the presage, and understood the spot where he then was to be the site of his intended city.

Strabo says that Myscelus, who was so called from the smallness of his legs, designing to found a colony in a foreign land, arrived on the coast of Italy. Observing that the spot which the oracle had pointed out enjoyed a healthy climate, though the soil was not so fertile as in the adjacent plains, he went once more to consult the oracle; but was answered that he must not refuse what was offered him; an answer which was afterwards turned into a proverb. On this, he founded the city of Crotona, and another colony founded the city of Sybaris on the spot which he had preferred; a place which afterwards became infamous for its voluptuousness and profligacy.


Pythagoras comes to the city of Crotona, and teaches the principles of his philosophy. His reputation draws Numa Pompilius to hear his discourses; on which he expounds his principles, and, more especially, enlarges on the transmigration of the soul, and the practice of eating animal food.

There was a man, a Samian by birth; but he had fled from both Samos and its rulers,[8] and, through hatred of tyranny, he was a voluntary exile. He too, mentally, held converse with the Gods, although far distant in the region of the heavens; and what nature refused to human vision, he viewed with the eyes of his mind. And when he had examined all things with his mind, and with watchful study, he gave them to be learned by the public; and he sought the crowds of people {as they sat} in silence, and wondered at the revealed origin of the vast universe, and the cause of things, and what nature {meant}, and what was God; whence {came} the snow, what was the cause of lightning; {whether it was} Jupiter, or whether the winds that thundered when the cloud was rent asunder; what it was that shook the earth; by what laws the stars took their course; and whatever {besides} lay concealed {from mortals}.

He, too, was the first to forbid animals to be served up at table, and he was the first that opened his lips, learned indeed, but still not obtaining credit, in such words as these: "Forbear, mortals, to pollute your bodies with {such} abominable food. There is the corn; there are the apples that bear down the branches by their weight, and {there are} the grapes swelling upon the vines; there are the herbs that are pleasant; there are some that can become tender, and be softened by {the action of} fire. The flowing milk, too, is not denied you, nor honey redolent of the bloom of the thyme. The lavish Earth yields her riches, and her agreable food, and affords dainties without slaughter and bloodshed. The beasts satisfy their hunger with flesh; and yet not all of them; for the horse, and the sheep, and the herds subsist on grass. But those whose disposition is cruel and fierce, the Armenian tigers, and the raging lions, and the bears together with the wolves, revel in their diet with blood. Alas! what a crime is it, for entrails to be buried in entrails, and for one ravening body to grow fat on {other} carcases crammed {into} it; and for one living creature to exist through the death of another living creature! And does, forsooth! amid so great an abundance, which the earth, that best of mothers, produces, nothing delight you but to gnaw with savage teeth the sad {produce of your} wounds, and to revive the habits of the Cyclops? And can you not appease the hunger of a voracious and ill-regulated stomach unless you first destroy another? But that age of old, to which we have given the name of 'Golden,' was blest in the produce of the trees, and in the herbs which the earth produces, and it did not pollute the mouth with blood.

"Then, both did the birds move their wings in safety in the air, and the hare without fear wander in the midst of the fields; then its own credulity had not suspended the fish from the hook; every place was without treachery, and in dread of no injury, and was full of peace. Afterwards, {some one}, no good adviser[9] (whoever among mortals he might have been), envied this simple food, and engulphed in his greedy paunch victuals made from a carcase; 'twas he that opened the path to wickedness; and I can believe that the steel, {since} stained with blood, first grew warm from the slaughter of wild beasts. And that had been sufficient. I confess that the bodies {of animals} that seek our destruction are put to death with no breach of the sacred laws; but, although they might be put to death, yet they were not to be eaten as well. Then this wickedness proceeded still further; and the swine is believed to have deserved death as the first victim, because it grubbed up the seeds with its turned-up snout, and cut short the hopes of the year. Having gnawed the vine, the goat was led[10] for slaughter to the altars of the avenging Bacchus. Their own faults were the ruin of the two. But why have you deserved this, ye sheep? a harmless breed, and born for the service of man; who carry the nectar in your full udders; who afford your wool as soft coverings for us, and who assist us more by your life than by your death. Why have the oxen deserved this, an animal without guile and deceit, innocent, harmless, born to endure labour? In fact, the man is ungrateful, and not worthy of the gifts of the harvest, who could, just after taking off the weight of the curving plough, slaughter the tiller of his fields; who could strike, with the axe, that neck worn bare with labour, through which he had so oft turned up the hard ground, {and} had afforded so many a harvest.

"And it is not enough for such wickedness to be committed; they have imputed to the Gods themselves this abomination; and they believe that a Deity in the heavens can rejoice in the slaughter of the laborious ox. A victim free from a blemish, and most beauteous in form (for 'tis being sightly that brings destruction), adorned with garlands and gold, is placed upon the altars, and, in its ignorance, it hears one praying, and sees the corn, which it has helped to produce, placed on its forehead between its horns; and, felled, it stains with its blood the knives perhaps before seen by it in the limpid water. Immediately, they examine the entrails snatched from its throbbing breast, and in them they seek out the intentions of the Deities. Whence comes it that men have so great a hankering for forbidden food? Do you presume to feed {on flesh}, O race of mortals? Do it not, I beseech you; and give attention to my exhortations. And when you shall be presenting the limbs of slaughtered oxen to your palates, know and consider that you are devouring your {tillers of the ground}. And since a God impels me to speak, I will duly obey the God that {so} prompts me to speak; and I will pronounce my own Delphic {warnings}, and disclose the heavens themselves; and I will reveal the oracles of the Divine will. I will sing of wondrous things, never investigated by the intellects of the ancients, and {things} which have long lain concealed. It delights me to range among the lofty stars; it delights me, having left the earth and this sluggish spot {far behind}, to be borne amid the clouds, and to be supported on the shoulders of the mighty Atlas; and to look down from afar on minds wandering {in uncertainty}, and devoid of reason; and so to advise them alarmed and dreading extinction, and to unfold the range of things ordained by fate.

"O race! stricken by the alarms of icy death, why do you dread Styx? why the shades, why empty names, the stock subjects of the poets, and the atonements of an imaginary world? Whether the funeral pile consumes your bodies with flames, or old age with gradual dissolution, believe that they cannot suffer any injury. Souls are not subject to death; and having left their former abode, they ever inhabit new dwellings, and, {there} received, live on.

"I, myself, for I remember it, in the days of the Trojan war, was Euphorbus,[11] the son of Panthoues, in whose opposing breast once was planted the heavy spear of the younger son of Atreus. I lately recognised the shield, {once} the burden of my left arm, in the temple of Juno, at Argos, the realm of Abas. All things are {ever} changing; nothing perishes. The soul wanders about and comes from that spot to this, from this to that, and takes possession of any limbs whatever; it both passes from the beasts to human bodies, and {so does} our {soul} into the beasts; and in no {lapse} of time does it perish. And as the pliable wax is moulded into new forms, and no {longer} abides as it was {before}, nor preserves the same shape, but yet is still the same {wax}, so I tell you that the soul is ever the same, but passes into different forms. Therefore, that natural affection may not be vanquished by the craving of the appetite, cease, I warn you, to expel the souls of your kindred {from their bodies} by this dreadful slaughter; and let not blood be nourished with blood.

"And, since I am {now} borne over the wide ocean, and I have given my full sails to the winds, there is nothing in all the world that continues in the same state. All things are flowing {onward},[12] and every shape is assumed in a fleeting course. Even time itself glides on with a constant progress, no otherwise than a river. For neither can the river, nor the fleeting hour stop in its course; but, as wave is impelled by wave, and the one before is pressed on by that which follows, and {itself} presses on that before it; so do the moments similarly fly on, and similarly do they follow, and they are ever renewed. For the moment which was before, is past; and that which was not, {now} exists; and every minute is replaced. You see, too, the night emerge and proceed onward to the dawn, and this brilliant light of the day succeed the dark night. Nor is there the same appearance in the heavens, when all things in their weariness lie in the midst of repose, and when Lucifer is coming forth on his white steed; and, again, there is another appearance, when {Aurora}, the daughter of Pallas, preceding the day, tints the world about to be delivered to Phoebus. The disk itself of {that} God, when it is rising from beneath the earth, is of ruddy colour in the morning, and when it is hiding beneath the earth it is of a ruddy colour. At its height it is of brilliant whiteness, because there the nature of the aether is purer, and far away, he avoids {all} infection from the earth. Nor can there ever be the same or a similar appearance of the nocturnal Diana; and always that of the present day is less than on the morrow, if she is on the increase; {but} greater if she is contracting her orb.

"And further. Do you not see the year, affording a resemblance of our life, assume four {different} appearances? for, in early Spring, it is mild, and {like} a nursling, and greatly resembling the age of youth. Then, the blade is shooting, and void of strength, it swells, and is flaccid, and delights the husbandman in his expectations. Then, all things are in blossom, and the genial meadow smiles with the tints of its flowers; and not as yet is there any vigour in the leaves. The year {now} waxing stronger, after the Spring, passes into the Summer; and in its youth it becomes robust. And indeed no season is there more vigorous, or more fruitful, or which glows with greater warmth. Autumn follows, the ardour of youth {now} removed, ripe, and placed between youth and old age, moderate in his temperature, with a {few} white hairs sprinkled over his temples. Then comes aged Winter, repulsive with his tremulous steps, either stript of his locks, or white with those which he has.

"Our own bodies too are changing always and without any intermission, and to-morrow we shall not be what we were or what we {now} are. The time was, when only as embryos, and the earliest hope of human beings, we lived in the womb of the mother. Nature applied her skilful hands, and willed not that our bodies should be tortured {by} being shut up within the entrails of the distended parent, and brought us forth from our dwelling into the vacant air. Brought to light, the infant lies without {any} strength; soon, {like} a quadruped, it uses its limbs after the manner of the brutes; and by degrees it stands upright, shaking, and with knees still unsteady, the sinews being supported by some assistance. Then he becomes strong and swift, and passes over the hours of youth; and the years of middle age, too, now past, he glides adown the steep path of declining age. This undermines and destroys the robustness of former years; and Milo,[13] {now} grown old, weeps when he sees the arms, which equalled those of Hercules in the massiveness of the solid muscles, hang weak and exhausted. The daughter of Tyndarus weeps, too, as she beholds in her mirror the wrinkles of old age, and enquires of herself why it is that she was twice ravished. Thou, Time, the consumer of {all} things, and thou, hateful Old Age, {together} destroy all things; and, by degrees ye consume each thing, decayed by the teeth of age, with a slow death.

"These things too, which we call elements, are not of unchanging duration; pay attention, and I will teach you what changes they undergo.

"The everlasting universe contains four elementary bodies. Two of these, {namely}, earth and water, are heavy, and are borne downwards by their weight; and as many are devoid of weight, and air, and fire still purer than air, nothing pressing them, seek the higher regions. Although these are separated in space, yet all things are made from them, and are resolved into them. Both the earth dissolving distils into flowing water; the water, too, evaporating, departs in the breezes and the air; its weight being removed again, the most subtle air shoots upwards into the fires {of the aether} on high. Thence do they return back again, and the same order is unravelled; for fire becoming gross, passes into dense air; this {changes} into water, and earth is formed of the water made dense. Nor does its own form remain to each; and nature, the renewer of {all} things, re-forms one shape from another. And, believe me, in this universe so vast, nothing perishes; but it varies and changes its appearance; and to begin to be something different from what it was before, is called being born; and to cease to be the same thing, {is to be said} to die. Whereas, perhaps, those things are transferred hither, and these things thither; yet, in the whole, all things {ever} exist.

"For my part, I cannot believe that anything lasts long under the same form. 'Twas thus, ye ages, that ye came down to the iron from the gold; 'tis thus, that thou hast so often changed the lot of {various} places. I have beheld that {as} sea, which once had been the most solid earth. I have seen land made from the sea; and far away from the ocean the sea-shells lay, and old anchors were found {there} on the tops of the mountains. That which was a plain, a current of water has made into a valley, and by a flood the mountain has been levelled into a plain; the ground that was swampy is parched with dry sand; and places which have endured drought, are wet with standing pools. Here nature has opened fresh springs, but there she has shut them up; and rivers have burst forth, aroused by ancient earthquakes; or, vanishing, they have subsided.

"Thus, after the Lycus[14] has been swallowed up by a chasm in the earth, it burst forth far thence, and springs up afresh at another mouth. Thus the great Erasinus[15] is at one time swallowed up, and then flowing with its stream concealed, is cast up again on the Argive plains. They say, too, that the Mysus, tired of its spring and of its former banks, now flows in another direction, {as} the Caicus. The Amenanus,[16] too, at one time flows, rolling along the Sicilian sands, {and} at another is dry, its springs being stopped up. Formerly, {the water of} the Anigros[17] was used for drinking; it now pours out water which you would decline to touch; since, (unless all credit must be denied to the poets), the {Centaurs}, the double-limbed mortals, there washed the wounds which the bow of the club-bearing Hercules had made. And what besides? Does not the Hypanis[18] too, which before was sweet, rising from the Scythian mountains, become impregnated with bitter salts? Antissa,[19] Pharos,[20] and Phoenician Tyre,[21] were once surrounded by waves; no one of these is now an island. The ancient inhabitants had Leucas[22] annexed to the continent; now the sea surrounds it. Zancle,[23] too, is said to have been united to Italy, until the sea cut off the neighbouring region, and repelled the land with its waves {flowing} between.

"Should you seek Helice and Buris,[24] cities of Achaia, you will find them beneath the waves, and the sailors are still wont to point out {these} levelled towns, with their walls buried under water.

"There is a high hill near Troezen of Pittheus, without any trees, once a very level surface of a plain, {but} now a hill; for (frightful to tell) the raging power[25] of the winds, pent up in dark caverns, desiring to find some vent and having long struggled in vain to enjoy a freer air, as there was no opening in all their prison and it was not pervious to their blasts, swelled out the extended earth, just as the breath of the mouth is wont to inflate a bladder, or the hide[26] stripped from the two-horned goat. That swelling remained on the spot, and {still} preserves the appearance of a high hill, and has grown hard in length of time. Though many other {instances} may occur, either heard of by, or known to, yourselves, {yet} I will mention a few more. And besides, does not water, as well, both produce and receive new forms? In the middle of the day, thy waters, horned Ammon,[27] are frozen, at the rising and at the setting {of the sun} they are warm. On applying its waters, Athamanis[28] is said to kindle wood when the waning moon has shrunk into her smallest orb. The Ciconians have a river,[29] which when drunk of, turns the entrails into stone, and lays {a covering of} marble on things that are touched by it. The Crathis[30] and the Sybaris adjacent to it, in our own country, make the hair similar {in hue} to amber and gold.

"And, what is still more wonderful, there are some streams which are able to change, not only bodies, but even the mind. By whom has not Salmacis,[31] with its obscene waters, been heard of? {Who has not heard}, too, of that lake of AEthiopia,[32] of which, if any body drinks with his mouth, he either becomes mad, or falls into a sleep wondrous for its heaviness? Whoever quenches his thirst from the Clitorian spring[33] hates wine, and in his sobriety takes pleasure in pure water. Whether it is that there is a virtue in the water, the opposite of heating wine, or whether, as the natives tell us, after the son of Amithaon,[34] by his charms and his herbs, had delivered the raving daughters of Proetus from the Furies, he threw the medicines for the mind in that stream; and a hatred of wine remained in those waters.

"The river Lyncestis[35] flows unlike that {stream} in its effect; for as soon as any one has drunk of it with immoderate throat, he reels, just as if he had been drinking unmixed wine. There is a place in Arcadia, (the ancients called it Pheneos,)[36] suspicious for the twofold nature of its water. Stand in dread of it at night; if drunk of in the night time, it is injurious; in the daytime, it is drunk of without any ill effects. So lakes and rivers have, some, one property, and some another. There was a time when Ortygia[37] was floating on the waves, now it is fixed. The Argo dreaded the Symplegades tossed by the assaults of the waves dashing against them; they now stand immoveable, and resist {the attacks of} the winds.

"Nor will AEtna, which burns with its sulphureous furnaces, always be a fiery {mountain}; nor yet was it always fiery. For, if the earth is an animal, and is alive, and has lungs that breathe forth flames in many a place, it may change the passages for its breathing, and oft as it is moved, may close these caverns {and} open others; or if the light winds are shut up in its lowermost caverns, and strike rocks against rocks, and matter that contains the elements of flame, {and} it takes fire at the concussion, the winds {once} calmed, the caverns will become cool; or, if the bituminous qualities take fire, or yellow sulphur is being dried up with a smouldering smoke, still, when the earth shall no longer give food and unctuous fuel to the flame, its energies being exhausted in length of time, and when nutriment shall be wanting to its devouring nature, it will not {be able to} endure hunger, and left destitute, it will desert its flames.

"The story is, that in the far Northern Pallene[38] there are persons, who are wont to have their bodies covered with light feathers, when they have nine times entered the Tritonian lake. For my part I do not believe it; {but} the Scythian women, as well, having their limbs sprinkled with poison, are said to employ the same arts. But if we are to give any credit[39] to things proved {by experience}, do you not see that whatever bodies are consumed by length of time, or by dissolving heat, are changed into small animals? Come too, bury some choice bullocks {just} slain, it is a thing well ascertained by experience, {that} flower-gathering bees are produced promiscuously from the putrefying entrails. These, after the manner of their producers, inhabit the fields, delight in toil, and labour in hope. The warlike steed,[40] buried in the ground, is the source of the hornet. If you take off the bending claws from the crab of the sea-shore, {and} bury the rest in the earth, a scorpion will come forth from the part {so} buried, and will threaten with its crooked tail.

"The silkworms, too, that are wont to cover the leaves with their white threads, a thing observable by husbandmen, change their forms into that of the deadly moth.[41] Mud contains seed that generate green frogs; and it produces them deprived of feet;[42] soon it gives them legs adapted for swimming; and that the same may be fitted for long leaps, the length of the hinder ones exceeds {that of} the fore legs. And it is not a cub[43] which the bear produces at the moment of birth, but a mass of flesh hardly alive. By licking, the mother forms it into limbs, and brings it into a shape, such as she herself has. Do you not see, that the offspring of the honey bees, which the hexagonal cell conceals, are produced without limbs, and that they assume both feet and wings {only} after a time. Unless he knew it was the case, could any one suppose it possible that the bird of Juno, which carries stars on its tail, and the {eagle}, the armour-bearer of Jove, and the doves of Cytherea, and all the race of birds, are produced from the middle portion of an egg? There are some who believe that human marrow changes into a serpent,[44] when the spine has putrefied in the enclosed sepulchre.

"But these {which I have named} derive their origin from other particulars; there is one bird which renews and reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It lives not on corn or grass, but on drops of frankincense, and the juices of the amomum. This {bird}, when it has completed the five ages of its life, with its talons and its crooked beak constructs for itself a nest in the branches of a holm-oak, or on the top of a quivering palm. As soon as it has strewed in this cassia and ears of sweet spikenard and bruised cinnamon with yellow myrrh, it lays itself down on it, and finishes its life in the midst of odours. They say that thence, from the body of its parent, is reproduced a little Phoenix, which is destined to live as many years. When time has given it strength, and it is able to bear the weight, it lightens the branches of the lofty tree of the burden of the nest, and dutifully carries both its own cradle and the sepulchre of its parent; and, having reached the city of Hyperion through the yielding air, it lays it down before the sacred doors in the temple of Hyperion.

"And if there is any wondrous novelty in these things, {still more} may we be surprised that the hyaena changes its sex,[45] and that the one which has just now, as a female, submitted to the embrace of the male, is now become a male itself. That animal, too, which feeds upon[46] the winds and the air, immediately assumes, from its contact, any colour whatever. Conquered India presented her lynxes to Bacchus crowned with clusters; {and}, as they tell, whatever the bladder of these discharges is changed into stone,[47] and hardens by contact with the air. So coral, too, as soon as it has come up to the air becomes hard; beneath the waves it was a soft plant.[48] "The day will fail me, and Phoebus will bathe his panting steeds in the deep sea, before I can embrace in my discourse all things that are changed into new forms. So in lapse of time, we see nations change, and these gaining strength, {while} those are falling. So Troy was great, both in her riches and her men, and for ten years could afford so much blood; {whereas}, now laid low, she only shows her ancient ruins, and, instead of her wealth, {she points at} the tombs of her ancestors. Sparta was famed;[49] great Mycenae flourished; so, too, the citadel of Cecrops, and that of Amphion. {Now} Sparta is a contemptible spot; lofty Mycenae is laid low. What now is Thebes, the city of Oedipus, but a {mere} story? What remains of Athens, the city of Pandion, but its name?

"Now, too, there is a report that Dardanian Rome is rising; which, close to the waters of Tiber that rises in the Apennines, is laying the foundations of her greatness beneath a vast structure. She then, in her growth, is changing her form, and will one day be the mistress of the boundless earth. So they say that the soothsayers, and the oracles, revealers of destiny, declare; and, so far as I recollect, Helenus, the son of Priam, said to AEneas, as he was lamenting, and in doubt as to his safety, when {now} the Trojan state was sinking, 'Son of a Goddess, if thou dost thyself well understand the presentiment of my mind, Troy shall not, thou being preserved, entirely fall. The flames and the sword shall afford thee a passage. Thou shalt go, and, together with thee, thou shalt bear ruined Pergamus; until a foreign soil, more friendly than thy native land, shall be the lot of Troy and thyself. Even now do I see that our Phrygian posterity are destined {to build} a city, so great as neither now exists, nor will exist, nor has been seen in former times. Through a long lapse of ages, other distinguished men shall make it powerful, but one born[50] of the blood of Iuelus shall make it the mistress of the world. After the earth shall have enjoyed his presence, the aethereal abodes shall gain him, and heaven shall be his destination.' Remembering it, I call to mind that Helenus prophesied this to AEneas, who bore the Penates {from Troy}; and I rejoice that my kindred walls are rising apace, and that to such good purpose for the Phrygians the Pelasgians conquered.

"But that we may not range afar with steeds that forget to hasten to the goal; the heavens, and whatever there is beneath them, and the earth, and whatever is upon it, change their form. We too, {who are} a portion of the universe, (since we are not only bodies, but are fleeting souls as well, and can enter into beasts {as our} abode, and be hidden within the breasts of the cattle), should allow those bodies which may contain the souls of our parents, or of our brothers, or of those allied with us by some tie, or of men at all events, to be safe and unmolested; and we ought not to fill[51] our entrails with victuals fit for Thyestes. How greatly he disgraces himself, how in his impiety does he prepare himself for shedding human blood, who cuts the throat of the calf with the knife, and gives a deaf ear to its lowings! or who can kill the kid as it sends forth cries like those of a child; or who can feed upon the bird to which he himself has given food. How much is there wanting in these instances for downright criminality? A {short} step {only} is there thence {to it}!

"Let the bull plough, or let it owe its death to aged years; let the sheep furnish us a defence against the shivering Boreas; let the well-fed she-goats afford their udders to be pressed by the hand. Away with your nets, and your springes and snares and treacherous contrivances; deceive not the bird with the bird-limed twig; deceive not the deer with the dreaded feather foils;[52] and do not conceal the barbed hooks in the deceitful bait. If any thing is noxious, destroy it, but even then only destroy it. Let your appetites abstain from it for food, and let them consume {a more} befitting sustenance."

[Footnote 8: And its rulers.—Ver. 61. Pythagoras is said to have fled from the tyranny of Polycrates, the king of Samos.]

[Footnote 9: No good adviser.—Ver. 103. Clarke translates 'Non utilis auctor,' 'Some good-for-nothing introducer.']

[Footnote 10: The goat is led.—Ver 114. See the Fasti, Book I. l. 361.]

[Footnote 11: Was Euphorbus.—Ver. 161. Diogenes Laertius, in the life of Pythagoras, says that Pythagoras affirmed, that he was, first, AEthalides; secondly, Euphorbus, which he proved by recognizing his shield hung up among the spoil in the temple of Juno, at Argos; next, Hermotimus; then, Pyrrhus and fifthly, Pythagoras.]

[Footnote 12: Flowing onward.—Ver. 178. 'Cuncta fluunt' is translated by Clarke, 'All things are in a flux.']

[Footnote 13: Milo.—Ver. 229. Milo, of Crotona, was an athlete of such strength that he was said to be able to kill a bull with a blow of his fist, and then to carry it with ease on his shoulders, and afterwards to devour it. His hands being caught within the portions of the trunk of a tree, which he was trying to cleave asunder, he became a prey to wild beasts.]

[Footnote 14: Lycus.—Ver. 273. There were several rivers of this name. The one here referred to was also called by the name of Marsyas, and flowed past the city of Laodicea, in Lydia.]

[Footnote 15: Erasinus.—Ver. 276. This was a river of Arcadia, which running out of the Stymphalian marsh, under the name of Stymphalus, disappeared in the earth, and rose again in the Argive territory, under the name of Erasinus.]

[Footnote 16: Amenanus.—Ver. 279. This was a little river of Sicily, rising in Mount AEtna, and falling into the sea near the city of Catania.]

[Footnote 17: Anigros.—Ver. 282. The Anigros, flowing from the mountain of Lapitha, in Arcadia, had waters of a fetid smell, in which no fish could exist. Pausanias thinks that this smell proceeded from the soil, and not the water. He adds, that some said that Chiron, others that Polenor, when wounded by the arrow of Hercules, washed the wound in the water of this river, which became impure from its contact with the venom of the Hydra.]

[Footnote 18: Hypanis.—Ver. 285. Now the Bog. It falls into the Black Sea.]

[Footnote 19: Antissa.—Ver. 287. This island, in the AEgean Sea, was said to have been formerly united to Lesbos.]

[Footnote 20: Pharos.—Ver. 287. According to Herodotus, this island was once a whole day's sail from the main land of Egypt. In later times, having been increased by the mud discharged by the Nile, it was united to the shore by a bridge.]

[Footnote 21: Tyre.—Ver. 288. Tyre once stood on an island, separated from the shore by a strait, seven hundred paces in width. Alexander the Great, when besieging it, united it to the main land by a causeway. This, however, does not aid the argument of Pythagoras, who intends to recount the changes wrought by nature, and not by the hand of man. Besides, it is not easy to see how Pythagoras could refer to a fact which took place several hundred years after his death.]

[Footnote 22: Leucas.—Ver. 289. The island of Leucas was formerly a peninsula, on the coast of Acarnania.]

[Footnote 23: Zancle.—Ver. 290. Under this name he means the whole of the isle of Sicily, which was supposed to have once joined the shores of Italy.]

[Footnote 24: Helice and Buris.—Ver. 293. We learn from Pliny the Elder and Orosius, that Helice and Buris, cities of Achaia at the mouth of the Corinthian gulf, were swallowed up by an earthquake, and that their remains could be seen in the sea. A similar fate attended Port Royal, in the island of Jamaica, in the year 1692. Its houses are said to be still visible beneath the waves.]

[Footnote 25: The raging power.—Ver. 299. Pausanias tells us, that in the time of Antigonus, king of Macedonia, warm waters burst from the earth, through the action of subterranean fires, near the city of Troezen. Perhaps the 'tumulus' here mentioned sprang up at the same time.]

[Footnote 26: Or the hide.—Ver. 305. He alludes to the goat-skins, which formed the 'utres,' or leathern bottles, for wine and oil.]

[Footnote 27: Horned Ammon.—Ver. 309. The lake of Ammon, in Libya, which is here referred to, is thus described by Quintius Curtius (Book IV. c. 7)— 'There is also another grove at Ammon; in the middle it contains a fountain, which they call 'the water of the Sun.' At daybreak it is tepid; at mid-day, when the heat is intense, it is ice cold. As the evening approaches, it grows warmer; at midnight, it boils and bubbles; and as the morning approaches, its midnight heat goes off.' Jupiter was worshipped in its vicinity, under the form of a ram.]

[Footnote 28: Athamanis.—Ver. 311. This wonderful fountain was said to be in Dodona, the grove sacred to Jupiter.]

[Footnote 29: Have a river.—Ver. 313. Possibly the Hebrus is here meant. The petrifying qualities of some streams is a fact well known to naturalists.]

[Footnote 30: The Crathis.—Ver. 315. Crathis and Sybaris were streams of Calabria, flowing into the sea, near Crotona. Euripides and Strabo tell the same story of the river Crathis. Pliny the Elder, in his thirty-second Book, says— 'Theophrastus tells us that Crathis, a river of the Thurians, produces whiteness, whereas the Sybaris causes blackness, in sheep and cattle. Men, too, are sensible of this difference; for those who drink of the Sybaris, become more swarthy and hardy, with the hair curling; while those who drink of the Crathis become fairer, and more effeminate with the hair straight.']

[Footnote 31: Salmacis.—Ver. 319. See Book IV. l. 285.]

[Footnote 32: Lake of AEthiopia.—Ver. 320. Possibly these may be the waters of trial, mentioned by Porphyry, as being used among the Indians. He says, that, according to their influence on the person accused, when drunk of by him, he was acquitted or condemned.]

[Footnote 33: Clitorian spring.—Ver. 322. Clitorium was a town of Arcadia. Pliny the Elder, quoting from Varro, mentions the quality here referred to.]

[Footnote 34: Son of Amithaon.—Ver. 325. Melampus, the physician, the son of Amithaon, cured Mera, Euryale, Lysippe, and Iphianassa, the daughters of Proetus, king of Argos, of madness, which Venus was said to have inflicted on them for boasting of their superior beauty. Their derangement consisted in the fancy that they were changed into cows. Melampus afterwards married Iphianassa. He was said to have employed the herb hellebore in the cure, which thence obtained the name of 'melampodium.']

[Footnote 35: Lyncestis.—Ver. 329. The Lyncesti were the people of the town of Lyncus, in Epirus. This stream flowed past that place.]

[Footnote 36: Pheneos.—Ver. 332. Pheneos was the name of a town of Arcadia, afterwards called 'Nonacris.' In its neighbourhood, according to Pausanias, was a rock, from which water oozed drop by drop, which the Greeks called 'the water of Styx.' At certain periods it was said to be fatal to men and cattle, to break vessels with which it came in contact, and to melt all metals. Ovid is the only author that mentions the difference in its qualities by day and by night.]

[Footnote 37: Ortygia.—Ver. 337. Ortygia, or Deloe, was said to have floated till it was made fast by Jupiter as a resting-place for Latona, when pregnant with Apollo and Diana. The Symplegades, or Cyanean Islands, were also said to have formerly floated.]

[Footnote 38: Far Northern Pallene.—Ver. 356. Pallene was the name of a mountain and a city of Thrace. Tritonis was a lake in the neighbourhood. Vibius Sequester says, 'When a person has nine times bathed himself in the Tritonian lake, in Thrace, he is changed into a bird.' The continuous fall of fleecy snow in that neighbourhood is supposed by some to have given rise to the story.]

[Footnote 39: Give any credit.—Ver. 361. This was a very common notion among the ancients. See the story of Aristaeus and the recovery of his bees, in the Fourth Book of Virgil's Georgics, I. 281-314. It is also told by Ovid in the Fasti, Book I. l. 377.]

[Footnote 40: The warlike steed.—Ver. 368. Pliny the Elder, Nicander, and Varro state that bees and hornets are produced from the carcase of the horse. Pliny also says, that beetles are generated by the putrefying carcase of the ass.]

[Footnote 41: Deadly moth.—Ver. 374. Pliny, in the twenty-eighth Book of his History, says, 'The moth, too, that flies at the flame of the lamp, is numbered among the bad potions,' evidently alluding to their being used in philtres or incantations. There is a kind called the death's head moth; but it is so called simply from the figure of a skull, which appears very exactly represented on its body, and not on account of any noxious qualities known to be inherent in it.]

[Footnote 42: Deprived of feet.—Ver. 376. He alludes to frogs when in the tadpole state.]

[Footnote 43: Not a cub.—Ver. 379. This was long the common belief. Pliny says, speaking of the cub of the bear, 'These are white and shapeless lumps of flesh, a little bigger than mice, without eyes, and without hair; the claws, however, are prominent. These the dams by degrees reduce to shape.']

[Footnote 44: Into a serpent.—Ver. 390. Pliny tells the same story; and Antigonus (on Miracles, ch. 96) goes still further, and says, that the persons to whom this happens, after death, are able to smell the snakes while they are yet alive. The fiction, very probably, was invented with the praiseworthy object of securing freedom from molestation for the bones of the dead.]

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