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naturae rerum magnis intexere chartis ;
aeternum ut sophiae coniunctum carmine nomen 40 nostra tuum senibus loqueretur pagina saeclis.
Sed quoniam ad tantas nunc primum nascimur artes, nunc primum teneros firmamus robore nervos, haec tamen interea, quae possumus, in quibus aevi prima rudimenta et iuvenes exegimus annos, accipe dona meo multum vigilata labore promissa atque diu iam tandem <reddita vota> impia prodigiis ut quondam exterrita amoris Scylla novos avium sublimis in aere coetus viderit et tenui conscendens aethera pinna caeruleis sua tecta supervolitaverit alis, hanc pro purpureo poenam scelerata capillo, pro patris solvens excisa et funditus urbe.
Complures illam et magni, Messalla, poetae (nam verum fateamur: amat Polyhymnia verum) longe alia perhibent mutatam membra figura Scyllaeum monstro saxum infestasse voraci; illam esse, aerumnis quam saepe legamus Ulixi, candida succinctam latrantibus inguina monstris, Dulichias vexasse rates et gurgite in alto deprensos nautas canibus lacerasse marinis. sed neque Maeoniae patiuntur credere chartae nec malus istorum dubiis erroribus auctor. namque alias alii volgo finxere puellas,
40 alterno Heinsius. ut omitted.
47 reddita vota conjectured by Leo. In LA the verse runs : et promissa tuis non magna exordia rebus.
43 amoris Scaliger: miris Heinsius: mollis Ellis: amplis. 53 pro(h) Sillig, Vollmer. patria Haupt.
57 So Haupt. monstra saxosum infectata vocavi A: vocari HL.
celestial chariot, into a great poem on Nature, so that unto late ages our page might speak thy name, linked in song with Wisdom's theme.
42 But seeing that now for the first time our infant efforts are turned to such high arts,2 since now first we are making strong our youthful sinews, this theme, nevertheless-'tis all we can offerwhereon we have spent life's earliest schooling, and the years of our youth-do thou meanwhile accept, a gift wrought by me with many a toilsome vigil, vow long promised and now at last fulfilled. 'Tis the story of how, once upon a time, unfilial Scylla, frenzied by love's portents, saw in the sky aloft strange gatherings of birds, and, mounting the heaven on slender pinion, hovered on azure wings above her home, paying this penalty, accursed one, for the crimson lock, and for the utter uprooting of her father's city.
54 Many great poets tell us, Messalla (for let us confess the truth: 'tis truth Polyhymnia loves) that she, with limbs changed to far different form, haunted the rock of Scylla with her voracious bulk. She it is, they say, of whom we read in the toils of Ulysses, how that, with howling monsters girt about her white waist, she often harried the Ithacan barques and in the swirling depths tore asunder with her sea-dogs the sailors she had clutched.3 But neither do Homer's pages suffer us to credit this tale nor does he who is the pernicious source 5 of those poets' sundry mistakes. For various writers have commonly feigned various maidens as the
1 cf. Aen. x. 216.
2 Viz. Epicurean philosophy. 3 cf. Eclogues, VI. 74 ff. 4i.e. in Odyssey, XII. 5 Who this is, is unknown. So Curcio. Benoist follows Sillig in rendering "the cause of the perilous wanderings of those mariners" (Ulysses and his crew), i.e. Neptune.
quae Colophoniaco Scyllae dicantur Homero.
docta Palaepaphiae testatur voce Pachynus.
66 ait Heyne: ei Sillig. Crataeis] erithei: Hecateis Ellis. 67 generavit Echidna Housman: genuit gravena.
70 iactis] exactis LA2.
72 saeva] sola Ruardi: sicca Haupt.
73-83 transpositions due to Reitzenstein. 75 suae] tuae: sui Loensis.
Vollmer conjectures ut cum
79 et] heu Schwabe: en Leo: haec Ellis. Leo arranges thus: 78, 83, 84, 79, 80.
84 voto intervertere Sillig: votorum vertere. 85 consaepta Sillig : quod saepta.
86 vixit eratque Haupt.
87 merito rumore Loensis: meritorum more.
88 Palaephatia. . . papyrus Aldine edition 1517.
Scyllas named by Colophon's Homer. He himself says that Crataeis was her mother; but whether Crataeis or Echidna bare that twy-formed monster; or whether neither was her mother, and throughout the poem she but portrays the sin of lustfulness and love's incontinence,2 or whether, transformed through scattered poisons, the luckless maiden (luckless, I say, for of what wrong had she been guilty? Father Neptume himself had embraced the frightened maid on the lonely strand, and broken his conjugal vow to chaste Amphitrite) beheld awful shapes plant themselves about her:
how often, alas! did she marvel and grow pale at her strange limbs! how often, alas! did she turn in terror from her own baying! but still long afterwards she exacted penalty, for when the delight of his consort was riding upon the deep, she herself confounded the savage sea with much blood 3-or whether, as 'tis said, seeing that she excelled all women in beauty, and in avarice made wanton havoc of her eager lovers, she of a sudden became fenced about with fell fishes and dogs, for that she, a woman, dared to defraud the powers divine, and to withhold from Venus the vow-appointed price, even the payment which a base harlot, encompassed by a thronging crowd of youths, and stirred with a wild and savage spirit, had imposed upon her loversthat by this report she was with reason defamed, Pachynus has learned and so bears witness, speaking by the lips of Venus, queen of Old Paphos :--what1 Odyssey, XII. 125.
2 The assumption being that the description of Scylla is allegorical.
This probably refers to the transformation of Scylla. The cura is Neptune, husband of Amphitrite.
4 There seems to have been an inscription about Scylla in the temple of Venus at Pachynus.
quidquid et ut quisque est tali de clade locutus, somnia sunt potius liceat notescere Cirin atque unam ex multis Scyllam non esse puellis. Quare quae cantus meditanti mittere caecos magna mihi cupido tribuistis praemia, divae Pierides, quarum castos altaria postis
munere saepe meo inficiunt, foribusque hyacinthi 95 deponunt flores aut suave rubens narcissus
aut crocus alterna coniungens lilia caltha sparsaque liminibus floret rosa, nunc age, divae, praecipue nostro nunc aspirate labori
atque novum aeterno praetexite honore volumen. 100 Sunt Pandioniis vicinae sedibus urbes
Actaeos inter colles et candida Thesei purpureis late ridentia litora conchis, quarum non ulli fama concedere digna
stat Megara, Alcathoi quondam munita labore, Alcathoi Phoebique: deus namque adfuit illi; unde etiam citharae voces imitatus acutas saepe lapis recrepat Cyllenia murmura pulsus et veterem sonitu Phoebi testatur amorem. hanc urbem, ante alios qui tum florebat in armis, 110 fecerat infestam populator remige Minos,
hospitio quod se Nisi Polyidos avito
90 somnia sunt Heinsius: omnia sunt iam Nisi Leo. 92 caecos] certos L.
94 aluaria "hives Unger: alabastria Bergk: calparia Haupt: aliparia Winton. 95 floribusque AR. 105 Alcathoi Ribbeck: Aethei: Argei Heinsius. munita Aldine 1517: mutata. 106 decus.
110 tunc AR.
107 imitantur HLA.
109 honorem HL.