Home Introduction Persons Geogr. Sources Events Mijn blog(Nederlands)
Religion Subjects Images Queries Links Contact Do not fly Iberia
This is a non-commercial site. Any revenues from Google ads are used to improve the site.

Custom Search
Quote of the day: He had assumed such a new character that
Notes
Display Latin text
Display Dutch text


Ovid XIV Chapter 4: 154-222 Macareus meets Achaemenides again
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
As the Sibyl spoke these words, they emerged, by the rising path, from the Stygian regions, into the city of Cumae of the Euboeans. Trojan Aeneas came to the shore that was later named after his nurse Caieta, where he carried out her funeral rites, as accepted, according to custom. This was also the place where Macareus of Neritos, a companion of sorely tried Ulysses, had settled, after the interminable weariness of hardship. Macareus now recognised Achaemenides, among the Trojans, he, who had been given up as lost, by Ulysses, long ago, among the rocks of Aetna. Astonished to discover him, unexpectedly, still alive, he asked: 'What god or chance preserved you, Achaemenides? Why does a Trojan vessel now carry a Greek? What land is your ship bound for? Achaemenides, no longer clothed in rags, his shreds of clothing held together with thorns, but himself again, replied to his questions, in these words: 'If this ship is not more to me than Ithaca and my home, if I revere Aeneas less than my father, let me gaze at Polyphemus once more, with his gaping mouth dripping human blood. I can never thank Aeneas enough, even if I offered my all. Could I forget, or be ungrateful for, the fact that I speak and breathe and see the sky and the sun's glory? Aeneas granted that my life did not end in the monster's jaws, and when I leave the light of day, now, I shall be buried in the tomb, not, indeed, in its belly. What were my feelings, then (if fear had not robbed me of all sense and feeling), abandoned, seeing you making for the open sea? I wanted to shout to you, but feared to reveal myself to the enemy. Indeed, Ulysses's shout nearly wrecked your vessel. I watched as Cyclops tore an enormous boulder from the mountainside, and threw it into the midst of the waves. I watched again as he hurled huge stones, as if from a catapult, using the power of his gigantic arms, and, forgetting I was not on board the ship, I was terrified that the waves and air they displaced would sink her. When you escaped by flight from certain death, Polyphemus roamed over the whole of Aetna, groaning, and groping through the woods with his hands, stumbling, bereft of his sight, among the rocks. Stretching out his arms, spattered with blood, to the sea, he cursed the Greek race like the plague, saying: "O, if only chance would return Ulysses to me, or one of his companions, on whom I could vent my wrath, whose entrails I could eat, whose living body I could tear with my hands, whose blood could fill my gullet, and whose torn limbs could quiver between my teeth: the damage to me of my lost sight would count little or nothing then!" Fiercely he shouted, this and more. I was pale with fear, looking at his face still dripping with gore, his cruel chands, the empty eye-socket, his limbs and beard coated with human blood. Death was in front of my eyes, but that was still the least of evils. Now he'll catch me, I thought, now he'll merge my innards with his own, and the image stuck in my mind of the moment when I saw him hurl two of my friends against the ground, three, four times, and crouching over them like a shaggy lion, he filled his greedy jaws with flesh and entrails, bones full of white marrow, and warm limbs. Trembling seized me: I stood there, pale and downcast, watching him chew and spit out his bloody feast, vomiting up lumps of matter, mixed with wine. I imagined a like fate was being prepared for my wretched self. I hid for many days, trembling at every sound, scared of dying but longing to be dead, staving off hunger with acorns, and a mixture of leaves and grasses, alone, without help or hope, left to torture and death. After a long stretch of time, I spied this ship far off, begging them by gestures to rescue me, and ran to the shore and moved their pity: a Trojan ship received a Greek! Now, dearest of comrades, tell me of your fortunes too, and of your leader, and the company that has entrusted itself to the sea with you.'

Event: Polyphemus