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soever and howsoever each has spoken of such disastrous state, 'tis all dreams: rather let the Ciris become known, and not a Scylla who was but one of many maidens.1
92 Therefore, ye divine Muses, who, when I essayed to put forth my abstruse songs, granted me the high rewards I craved-ye, whose pure columns not seldom are stained by the altar-offerings that I bring; at whose temple-doors the hyacinths yield their bloom, or the sweet blushing narcissus, or the crocus and lilies, blended with alternate marigolds, and on whose threshold are scattered blooming roses-now come, ye goddesses, now breathe a special grace upon this toil, and crown this fresh scroll with glory immortal!
101 Near to the home of Pandion 2 lie cities between the Attic hills and Theseus' gleaming shores, smiling from afar with their roseate shells; and, worthy to yield to none of these in repute, stands Megara, whose walls were reared by the toil of Alcathous by the toil of Alcathous and Phoebus, for him the god aided; whence too the stones, imitating the lyre's shrill notes, often, when smitten, re-echo Cyllene's murmurs, and in their sound attest the ancient love of Phoebus. This city the prince who in those days was eminent above others in arms, even Minos, had ravaged and laid waste with his fleet, because Polyidos,5 fleeing from the Carpathian
1 The subject, then, is to be that Scylla who was transformed into the sea-fowl, called Ciris. 2 Athens.
3 This is the Megarid, which abounds in white marble, interspersed with shells. Here Theseus founded the Isthmian games.
4i.e. the music of the lyre. Mercury, its inventor, was born on Cyllene; cf. Aen. VIII. 139.
5 The priest who was said to have once restored Glaucus, son of Minos, to life.
Carpathium fugiens et flumina Caeratea
sed neque tum cives neque tum rex ipse veretur
tam patriam incolumem Nisi regnumque futurum concordes stabili firmarant numine Parcae.
ergo omnis cano residebat cura capillo, aurea sollemni comptum quem fibula ritu crobylus et tereti nectebant dente cicadae.
Nec vero haec urbis custodia vana fuisset (nec fuerat), ni Scylla novo correpta furore, Scylla, patris miseri patriaeque inventa sepulchrum, o nimium cupidis Minon inhiasset ocellis. sed malus ille puer, quem nec sua flectere mater iratum potuit, quem nec pater atque avus idem Iuppiter (ille etiam Poenos domitare leones et validas docuit viris mansuescere tigris,
116 tum-tum Haupt: tunc-tunc.
118 icere Ellis: dicere HA1R: ducere A2L: deicere Vollmer reicere Heinsius. 126 cano caro Aldine 1517.
128 crobylus et Loensis: corpsel(la)e or corselle: Cecropiae et Scaliger: morsilis et Ellis.
129 urbis Heinsius: vobis.
130 ruerat Ribbeck.
132 Minon Bücheler: Minoa Lachmann: si non.
136 rabidas Heyne.
sea and the streams of Caeratus, had taken shelter in the ancestral home of Nisus. Seeking to win him back in war, the Gortynian hero 1 was strewing the Attic land with Cretan arrows. But neither in that hour do the citizens, nor in that hour does the king himself, fear to strike down the troops that flock in hostile band to the walls, or valorously to blunt the spirit of the unconquered foe, since it is enough to remember the answer of the gods. For surmounting the king's head (wondrous to tell) uprose white hair (the temples were decked with laurel), and midway on its crown was a roseate lock. As long as this preserved its nature, so long had the Fates, voicing in unison their fixed will,2 given assurance that Nisus' country and kingdom would be secure. Thus all their care was centred in that hoary hair, which, adorned in wonted fashion, a golden buckle and close roll bound with a cicada's shapely clasp.3
129 Nor truly would this defence of the city have been vain (nor had it been) were it not that Scylla, swept away by fresh madness-Scylla, who proved to be the ruin of her hapless father and her fatherland— gaped and gazed upon Minos, ah! with too passionate eyes. But that mischievous boy, whom, when angered, neither his mother could sway, nor he, who was at once father and father's father, even Jupiter 5 (he even quelled Punic lions, and taught the stout strength of tigers to soften; he even taught gods
1 cf. Eclogues, VI. 60. 2 cf. Eclogues, IV. 47.
3 Thucydides (1. 6) tells us that the old Athenians used to wear the hair on the top of the head in a knot, and secured with a pin shaped like a cicada.
cf. Lucr. 1. 36, and Munro ad locum.
5 Venus, daughter of Jupiter, was by Jupiter mother of Cupid.
ille etiam divos, homines-sed dicere magnum est),
cum lapsa e manibus fugit pila, cumque relapsa est, procurrit virgo. quod uti ne prodita ludo auratam gracili solvisses corpore pallam!
omnia quae retinere gradum cursusque morari
causa pia est: timuit fratri te ostendere Iuno.
at levis ille deus, cui semper ad ulciscendum quaeritur ex omni verborum iniuria dictu, aurea fulgenti depromens tela pharetra
139 Most editors make the parenthesis begin with cuius. As
140 So Ellis. olim di Ribbeck: olim se (si).
141 nonnulli. licitam Unger: lictam L: liceat HAR. 143 caterva.
149 cumque] quoque Unger. relapsa est Heinsius: relaps(a)e or relaxe MSS.
151 auratam Jacobs: aurea iam (sc. pila): aureolam Housman. solvisses Barth: solvisset.
154 non numquam A.
155 iure Barth: iura.
158 ad ulciscendum Aldine edition 1517: adolescendum
159 dictu H: dicto LAR.
and men-but too large is the theme!), that same tiny boy at this time whetted the stern wrath of mighty Juno, whose home, forbidden to all, the perjured maid (perjuries goddesses remember from of old, yet remember long!) had unwittingly profaned; for, as she was engaging in the goddess' rites, she indulged in a frolic, and went far beyond the band of matrons and her companions, rejoicing in the ungirdled robe that plays about her body, and throwing loose its swelling folds, as the North wind tosses it about. Not yet had the fire tasted the holy offerings; not yet had the priestess bathed in the wonted water and adorned her head with pale olive-leaves, when the ball slipped away from her hands, and as it rebounds the maiden runs forward. Would that thou hadst not been beguiled by play, and hadst not loosened the golden robe on thy slender body! O would that thou hadst ever with thee all thy apparel, which might have kept back thy steps and stayed thy course! Never would thy hand have profaned the sanctuary of the goddess, nor wouldst thou, unhappy one, with an oath have made vain expiation! 2 And yet who would suppose that perjury had been thy bane? There is a righteous plea: Juno feared to show thee to her brother.3 But that fickle god (by whom whatever falsehood lurks in any spoken word is ever sought for punishment), drawing golden shafts from his gleaming
1 The story of the perjury is obscure. As to the parenthesis, "the inveteracy of the habit might be supposed to prevent its long continuance in any particular case (ELLIS).
2 Scylla must have sworn that she had not perjured herself. 3 Juno's wrath, which could easily be aroused because of the amorous Jupiter, was feared by Scylla, who therefore swore falsely that she had not exposed her limbs in the temple of the goddess. 417