Ovid's Metamorphoses: Translations, Books 1-3
Alan Mandelbaum, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1993.
Rolfe Humphries, Indiana University Press, 1955.
More (?) from Perseus site

I. 431-33, Mandelbaum
"For tempering each other, heat and moisture 
engender life: the union of these two 
produces everything. Though it is true 
that fire is the enemy of water, 
moist heat is the creator of all things: 
discordant concord is the path life needs." 

I 427-31, Humphries
"When moisture
Unites with heat, life is conceived; all things
come from this union. Fire may fight with water, 
But heat and moisture generate all things. 
Their discord being productive. So when earth,
After that flood, still muddy, took the heat, 
Felt the warmth fire of sunlight, she conceived, 
Brought forth, after their fashion, all the creatures...."

II, 655-71, Mandelbaum
"But there was more she had to prophesy. 
And from her deepest heart Ocyrhoe sighed, 
and tears ran down her cheeks; she said: 'The Fates 
 have checked my speech. I am allowed to say 
no more; they will not let me use my voice. 
What good was there in having learned this art, 
if now it only draws the wrath of gods against me? Would I not be better off 
Without the power to predict the course of days to come?' 
I can already sense that they are stripping all my human semblance"

II, 655-71, Humphries
"But there was more to tell, but suddenly she sighed,
Ending through tears: 'The Fates forbid my speaking.
My power of speech, it seems, was hardly worth it,
This future-knowing, which brings down upon me 
The wrath of Heaven. To have known the future - 
I would rather not have known it. Human features
Seem to be going from me.'

Envy: Aglauros
II, 759-76,  800-807, Mandelbaum 
Minerva hurried to the house of Envy: 
a squalid den that dripped with gore, a filthy, 
secluded cavern in a deep-set valley: 
it knows no sun, no breath of wind - a grim 
and frozen place forever gripped by sloth; 
within that space, there is no  kindly hearth. 
And is always full of dense, dark fog.... 

...There within 
she saw that Envy was intent upon 
a meal of viper flesh, the meat that fed 
her vice. Minerva turned aside her eyes. 
But Envy sluggishly rose from the ground, 
leaving the half-chewed dregs of serpents' flesh 
and coming forward with her faltering steps. 
And when she saw the splendid goddess dressed 
in gleaming armor, Envy moaned: her face 
Contracted as she sighed. That face is wan, 
that body shriveled; and her gaze is not 
direct; her teeth are filled with filth and rot; 
her breast is green with gall, and poison coats 
her tongue. She never smiles except when some 
sad sight brings her delight; she is denied 
sweet sleep, for she is too preoccupied, 
forever vigilant; when men succeed, 
she is displeased - success means her defeat. 
she gnaws at others and at her own self - 
her never-ending, self-inflicted hell.... 

And that the venom may be strong - 
And never falter - Envy sets before 
Aglauros' eyes the image of her sister 
wed joyfully to such a handsome god. 
So Envy heightened Herse's happy lot. 

Incited by these images, Aglauros 
begins to feel the bite of secret grief; 
by night, by day, she longs, she moans; she's worn 
away, a slow decay, like ice that's pierced 
by fitful sunrays. She is now undone 
by Herses's happiness, a course that mimes 
a fire beneath of heap of thorny weeds: 
they don't go up in flames; they are consumed 
by faint but never-ending heat. At times 
she wants to die - never to see the sight 
of Herse's joy....

TO COME: Humphries translation

III300-306, Mandelbaum
.".......But Jove 
attempts to mute his force as best he can. 
He sets aside the bolt of fire that felled 
Typhoeus of  a hundred hands - a shaft 
too fierce; instead he takes a lighter bolt, 
In which the Cyclops' hands had mixed less wrath, 
Less fury, fire and menace: "Second Shafts" 
is what the gods have called such weaponry. 
With these in hand, he visits Semele. 
Her mortal body can't withstand the flash 
of force so heavenly; that nuptial gift, 
consumes her flesh: she is reduced to ash." 

III 308-12 , Humphries
"....Still, he tries to temper
His armament, and leaves the bolts behind him.
With which he hurled Typhoeus down from Heaven. 
Those weapons are too savage. He has others
Made in Cyclops' workshop, somewhat lighter, 
Less full of rage and fire, second-string weapons 
In the slang of the gods. And these he takes and enters
The house of Semele. Her mortal body
Could not endure that rush, and in that mating, 
That gift, burned utterly...."

III 426-36, More
But he strove
to mitigate his power, and armed him not
with flames overwhelming as had put to flight
his hundred-handed foe Typhoeus--flames
too dreadful. Other thunder-bolts he took,
forged by the Cyclops of a milder heat,
with which insignia of his majesty,
sad and reluctant, he appeared to her.--
her mortal form could not endure the shock
and she was burned to ashes in his sight.

III, 424-31, 446-49, Mandelbaum
he wants himself; he praises, but his praise 
is for himself; he is the seeker and 
the sought, the longer-for and the one who longs; 
he is the arsonist - and is the scorched.... 

.....But why 
o foolish boy, do you persist? Why try 
to grip an image? He does not exist - 
the one you love and long for. If you turn 
away, he'll fade; the face that you discern 
is but a shadow, your reflected form. 
that shape has nothing of its own: it comes 
with you, with you  it stays; it will retreat 
when you have gone.... 

And there's another reason for my sorrow: 
it's no great sea that sunders him from me, 
no endless road, no mountain peak, no town's 
high walls with gates shut tight: no, we are kept 
apart by nothing but the thinnest stretch 
of water...." 

III, 425-33, 447-49, Humphries
......Foolish boy, 
He wants himself; the loved becomes the lover, 
The seeker sought, the kindler burns...

Why try to catch an always fleeing image, 
Poor credulous youngster? What you seek is nowhere
And if you turn away, you will take with you 
The boy you love. The vision is only shadow, 
Only reflection, lacking any substance. 
It comes with you, it stays with you, it goes
Away with you, if you can go away....

To make it worse, no sea, no road, no mountain, 
No city-wall, no gate, no barrier, parts us
But a thin film of water."

More's translation (from Perseus site)
All that is lovely in himself he loves,
and in his witless way he wants himself:--
he who approves is equally approved;
he seeks, is sought, he burns and he is burnt.

.... But why, O foolish boy,
so vainly catching at this flitting form?
The cheat that you are seeking has no place.
Avert your gaze and you will lose your love,
for this that holds your eyes is nothing save
the image of yourself reflected back to you.
It comes and waits with you; it has no life;
it will depart if you will only go.

Ovid Resource Page     Themis
Phaethon and Phaethon translations
Ovid Chat Transcript I - Books 1-3

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