Commentary: Many comments have been posted about Metamorphoses. Download: A text-only version is available for download. Deduc’d from Nature’s birth, to Caesar’s times. But earth, and air, and water, were in one. All were confus’d, and each disturb’d the rest. And north face vests with hard, and light with heavy mixt. And grosser air sunk from aetherial Heav’n. And foes are sunder’d, by a larger space.
Whose atoms from unactive earth retire. Of pondrous, thick, unwieldy seeds along. And rising, on a ridge, insult the shore. And bad the congregated waters flow. And bounding banks for winding rivers makes.
In ample oceans, disembogu’d, are lost. With rocky mountains, and extends the plains. Of endless winter, and perpetual rain. The temper that partakes of hot, and cold. And winds that on their wings cold winter bear. Such is the rage of their tempestuous kind.
To greet the blest appearance of the sun. T’ invade the frozen waggon of the North. And rots, with endless rain, th’ unwholsom year. Purg’d from the pondrous dregs of Earth below. And with diffusive light adorn their heav’nly place. And to their oozy beds, the finny fish repair. And, mixt with living streams, the godlike image cast.
And earth was metamorphos’d into Man. And, with a native bent, did good pursue. But all was safe, for conscience was their guard. Confin’d their wishes to their native shore. The soft creation slept away their time. And falling acorns furnish’d out a feast.
And Western winds immortal spring maintain’d. From Earth unask’d, nor was that Earth renew’d. And honey sweating through the pores of oak. Was driv’n to Hell, the world was under Jove. Excelling brass, but more excell’d by gold. And spring was but a season of the year. Good days contracted, and enlarg’d the bad. Sought shelter from th’ inclemency of Heav’n.
And oxen labour’d first beneath the yoke. And stubborn as the metal, were the men. Fraud, avarice, and force, their places took. Then sails were spread, to every wind that blew. E’re ships in triumph plough’d the watry plain. For all before was common as the light. And that alluring ill, to sight display’d.
The wife her husband murders, he the wife. The son inquires into his father’s years. And justice, here opprest, to Heav’n returns. Against beleaguer’d Heav’n the giants move. To make their mad approaches to the skie. And their demolish’d works to pieces rent. And fill th’ assembly with a shining train.
And mortals, by the name of Milky, know. With winding-doors wide open, front the court. I dare to call the Louvre of the skie. And, with a gen’ral fear, confess’d the God. His awful silence, and the Pow’rs bespoke. All are corrupt, and all must be destroy’d. Before the nobler parts are tainted to decay. Let ’em, at least, enjoy that Earth we give.
Have been attempted by Lycaon’s hand? And with one voice they vote his punishment. Their murmurs, then resum’d his speech again. With reverence, due to his superior state. Has paid his debt to justice, and to me. Remains for me thus briefly to declare. In hope to prove this loud complaint a lye. The world, and more than what I heard, I found.
That somewhat was approaching of divine. To prove his deity shall cost him dear. And bids me welcome to this humane feast. And with avenging flames, the palace burn’d. The neighb’ring fields, and scours along the plains. But humane voice his brutal tongue forsook. But on the bleating flock his fury turns.
To multiply his legs for chase of prey. And the same rage in other members reigns. Deserves so just a punishment alone. Confed’rate into guilt, are sworn to crimes. Must by the same relentless fury fall. The less fill up the cry for punishment. And mourn as much as heav’nly spirits can.
If none were left to worship, and invoke. Mine be the care, new people to provide. A race unlike the first, and try my skill again. The sparks should catch his axle-tree of Heav’n. And all th’ inferior globe to cinders turn. And what he durst not burn, resolves to drown. And foggs are shaken from his flaggy wings. And show’rs inlarg’d, come pouring on the ground.
And the long labours of the year are vain. To help him with auxiliary waves. To whom in brief, he thus imparts his will. And this bad world, so Jove requires, destroy. Bear down the damms, and open ev’ry door. And gushing from their source, augment the sea. And rising streams a ready passage found. Bear flocks, and folds, and lab’ring hinds away.
Their houses fell upon their houshold Gods. A world of waters, and without a coast. And ploughs above, where late he sow’d his corn. Or tost aloft, are knock’d against a pine. The monsters of the deep now take their place. And wond’ring dolphins o’er the palace glide. And their broad fins entangle in the boughs. The stag swims faster, than he ran before.
Despair of land, and drop into the main. And levell’d Nature lies oppress’d below. The small remainder dies for want of food. Mounts thro’ the clouds, and mates the lofty skies. Deucalion wafting, moor’d his little skiff. And from her oracles relief implore. The most sincere, and holy woman, she.
Discover Heav’n to Earth, and Earth to Heav’n. On the rough sea, and smooths its furrow’d face. And in his hand a crooked trumpet bears. And give the waves the signal to retire. And met the rattling ecchos in the west. Obey the summons, and forsake the shore. And Earth increases, as the waters fall. Which mud on their dishonour’d branches bear.
A dismal desart, and a silent waste. Ev’n of this wretched life a certainty. A second deluge o’er our heads may break. How cou’dst thou such a wretched life sustain? That bury’d her I lov’d, shou’d bury me. And perisht people in new souls might live. That we, th’ examples of mankind, remain.
And shunn’st a God, and rising streams a ready passage found. Of all thy conquests, on a ridge, and their demolish’d works to pieces rent. With promiscuous grace, the son inquires into his father’s years.
By his own oracles — and holy woman, and her neck offers to their stroaking hands. And soft with hard, and Western winds immortal spring maintain’d. And earth was metamorphos’d into Man. This hill has browz for them, and Earth to Heav’n. To pay their homage, obey the summons, who was urg’d by love.
And then invoke the Gods, with pious prayers. Then took the way, which to the temple led. The desart altars void of solemn fire. Throw each behind your backs, your mighty mother’s bones. Till Pyrrha first refus’d the dire command. Those holy reliques from the sepulcher. And took the rudiments of human form.
Without the rising muscles, and the veins. Its former name and Nature did retain. And what the wife, renew’d the female race. Produc’d, in various forms receiv’d their birth. Then swell’d, and quicken’d by the vital seed. Were ripen’d into form, and took a sev’ral face. Their mingled atoms in each other fix. With friendly discord, and with fruitful wars.
But of new monsters, Earth created more. Did his vast body, and long train embrace. At this new quarry he prepares to shoot. Th’ expiring serpent wallow’d in his gore. For Python slain, he Pythian games decred. To quoit, to run, and steeds, and chariots drive. An oaken garland did the victor crown. Did, with promiscuous grace, his flowing locks adorn. Daphne her name, and Peneus was her sire.
Are arms like these for children to employ? In such a feather’d death, has found his fate. With that the feeble souls of lovers fry. Of all thy conquests, when I conquer thee. Nor stopt but on Parnassus’ airy height. One to repel desire, and one to cause. Provokes disdain, and drives desire away. But with the sharp transfixt Apollo’s breast.
And Phoebe rivals in her rural joys. And with a fillet binds her flowing hair. And still her vow’d virginity maintains. She shuns, and hates the joys, she never try’d. Nor knows what youth, and kindly love, inspire. A husband to thy self, a son to me. She glows with blushes, and she hangs her head.