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Ovid XIII Chapter 15: 898-968 Glaucus tells Scylla of his transformation
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Galatea finished speaking and the group of Nereids went away, swimming through the placid waves. Scylla returned to the beach, not daring to trust herself to mid-ocean, and either wandered naked along the parched sand, or, when she was tired, found a remote, sheltered pool, and cooled her limbs in its enclosed waters. See, Glaucus comes, skimming the water, a new inhabitant of the sea, his form recently altered, at Anthedon opposite Euboea. Seeing the girl, he stood still, desiring her, and said whatever he thought might stop her running away. Nevertheless she ran, and, with the swiftness of fear, came to the top of a mountain standing near the shore. It faced the wide sea, rising to a single peak, its wooded summit leaning far out over the water. Here she stopped, and from a place of safety, marvelled at his colour; the hair that hid his shoulders and covered his back; and his groin below that merged into a winding fish's tail; she not knowing whether he was god or monster. He saw her, and, leaning on a rock that stood nearby, he said: 'Girl, I am no freak or wild creature, but a god of the sea. Proteus, Triton, or Palaemon son of Athamas, have no greater power in the ocean. Mortal once, but no doubt destined for the deep, even then I worked the waves: now drawing in the drag nets full of fish, now sitting on a rock, casting, with rod and line. There is a beach, bounded by a green field, one side bordered by sea, the other by grass, that horned cattle have not damaged by grazing, that placid sheep or shaggy goats have not cropped. No bees intent on gathering pollen plundered the flowers there; no garlands came from there for the heads of revellers; no one had ever mown it, scythe in hand. I was the first to sit there on the turf, drying my sea-soaked lines, and laying out in order the fish I had caught, to count them, that either chance or innocence had brought to my curved hook. This will sound like a tale, but what would I get from lying? Touching the grass, my catch began to stir, and shift about, and swim over land as if they were in the sea. While I hesitated and wondered, the complete shoal fled into their native waters, leaving behind their new master, their new land. I stood dumbfounded, for a while not believing it, searching for the cause. Had some god done it, or the juice of some herb? "Yet what herb has such power?" I asked, and gathering some herbage in my hand, I bit what I had gathered with my teeth. My throat had scarcely swallowed the strange juice, when suddenly I felt my heart trembling inside me, my breast seized with yearning for that other element. Unable to hold out for long, crying out: "Land, I will never return to, goodbye!" I immersed my body in the sea. The gods of the sea received me, thinking me worth the honour of their company, and asked Oceanus and Tethys to purge what was mortal in me. I was purified by them, and, cleansed of sin by an incantation nine times repeated, they ordered me to bathe my body in a hundred rivers. Immediately streams from every side poured their waters over my head. So much I can tell of you of those marvelous things, so much of them I remember: then my mind knew no more. When later I came to, my whole body was altered from what I was before, and my mind was not the same. Then I saw, for the first time, this dark green beard, my hair that sweeps the wide sea, these giant shoulders and dusky arms, these legs that curve below into a fish's fins. Yet what use is this shape, or that I was pleasing to the ocean gods? What use is it to be a god, if these things do not move you?' As the god spoke these words, looking to say more, Scylla abandoned him. Then Glaucus, maddened, and angered by her rejection, sought the wondrous halls of Circe, daughter of the Sun. |
Event: Glaucus, Scylla and Circe
Desierat Galatea loqui, coetuque soluto |
discedunt placidisque natant Nereides undis.
Scylla redit; neque enim medio se credere ponto
audet, et aut bibula sine vestibus errat harena
aut, ubi lassata est, seductos nacta recessus
gurgitis, inclusa sua membra refrigerat unda:
ecce fretum stringens, alti novus incola ponti,
nuper in Euboica versis Anthedone membris,
Glaucus adest, visaeque cupidine virginis haeret
et, quaecumque putat fugientem posse morari,
verba refert; fugit illa tamen veloxque timore
pervenit in summum positi prope litora montis.
ante fretum est ingens, apicem conlectus in unum
longa sub arboribus convexus in aequora vertex:
constitit hic et tuta loco, monstrumne deusne
ille sit, ignorans admiraturque colorem
caesariemque umeros subiectaque terga tegentem,
ultimaque excipiat quod tortilis inguina piscis.
sensit et innitens, quae stabat proxima, moli
'non ego prodigium nec sum fera belua, virgo,
sed deus' inquit 'aquae: nec maius in aequora Proteus
ius habet et Triton Athamantiadesque Palaemon.
ante tamen mortalis eram, sed, scilicet altis
debitus aequoribus, iam tum exercebar in illis;
nam modo ducebam ducentia retia pisces,
nunc in mole sedens moderabar harundine linum.
sunt viridi prato confinia litora, quorum
altera pars undis, pars altera cingitur herbis,
quas neque cornigerae morsu laesere iuvencae,
nec placidae carpsistis oves hirtaeve capellae;
non apis inde tulit conlectos sedula flores,
non data sunt capiti genialia serta, neque umquam
falciferae secuere manus; ego primus in illo
caespite consedi, dum lina madentia sicco,
utque recenserem captivos ordine pisces,
insuper exposui, quos aut in retia casus
aut sua credulitas in aduncos egerat hamos.
res similis fictae, sed quid mihi fingere prodest?
gramine contacto coepit mea praeda moveri
et mutare latus terraque ut in aequore niti.
dumque moror mirorque simul, fugit omnis in undas
turba suas dominumque novum litusque relinquunt.
obstipui dubitoque diu causamque requiro,
num deus hoc aliquis, num sucus fecerit herbae:
"quae tamen has" inquam "vires habet herba?" manuque
pabula decerpsi decerptaque dente momordi.
vix bene conbiberant ignotos guttura sucos,
cum subito trepidare intus praecordia sensi
alteriusque rapi naturae pectus amore;
nec potui restare diu "repetenda" que "numquam
terra, vale!" dixi corpusque sub aequora mersi.
di maris exceptum socio dignantur honore,
utque mihi, quaecumque feram, mortalia demant,
Oceanum Tethynque rogant: ego lustror ab illis,
et purgante nefas noviens mihi carmine dicto
pectora fluminibus iubeor supponere centum;
nec mora, diversis lapsi de partibus amnes
totaque vertuntur supra caput aequora nostrum.
hactenus acta tibi possum memoranda referre,
hactenus haec memini, nec mens mea cetera sensit.
quae postquam rediit, alium me corpore toto,
ac fueram nuper, neque eundem mente recepi:
hanc ego tum primum viridem ferrugine barbam
caesariemque meam, quam longa per aequora verro,
ingentesque umeros et caerula bracchia vidi
cruraque pinnigero curvata novissima pisce.
quid tamen haec species, quid dis placuisse marinis,
quid iuvat esse deum, si tu non tangeris istis?'
talia dicentem, dicturum plura, reliquit
Scylla deum; furit ille inritatusque repulsa
prodigiosa petit Titanidos atria Circes.