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famous Athens. Now at a distance, rising from the flood, the fields of Salamis she espies, lying apart from the waves, and now she sees the shining Cyclades on this side the Venus of Sunium opens to her; on that, opposite, Hermione's town.1 Then she leaves Delos, dearest beyond all to the mother of the Nereids and to Aegean Neptune; 2 she sees afar Cythnus, girt with foaming shore, and draws near to marble-white Paros and green Donysa, with Aegina and health-bringing Seriphus.3 Now at length her strength flees from her weary frame, her head falls back heavy on her bended neck, her marblewhite arms grow livid under the close-drawn knots. Monsters of the sea, giant forms of the deep, throng about her on all sides, and in the blue-grey waters threaten her with lashing tails and gaping mouths. Onward she moves, tossed to and fro by uncertain winds (even as a tiny skiff when it follows a great fleet, and an African hurricane riots upon the wintry sea) until Neptune's spouse, queen of the azure realm, brooked it not that such a beauteous form should be harassed by the waves, and transformed the maiden's hapless limbs. But still she purposed not to clothe the gentle maid with scales for ever, or establish her amid treacherous fishes (all too greedy is Amphitrite's flock): rather she raised her aloft on airy wings, that she might live on earth as Ciris, named from the deed wrought 5-Ciris, more beauteous than Leda's Amyclaean swan.
1 The poet incorrectly substitutes Venus (Aphrodite) for Athena, who had a temple on Cape Sunium. Hermione was 2 cf. Aen. III. 74.
in the Argolid.
3 An allusion, probably, to the story of Danae and Perseus, whose ark was washed upon the coast of Seriphus.
5 Ciris is from Keiрew, "cut" or "shear."
Hic velut in niveo tenera est cum primitus ovo 490 effigies animantis et internodia membris imperfecta novo fluitant concreta calore, sic liquido Scyllae circumfusum aequore corpus semiferi incertis etiam nunc partibus artus undique mutabant atque undique mutabantur. oris honos primum et multis optata labella et patulae frontis species concrescere in unum coepere et gracili mentum producere rostro; tum qua se medium capitis discrimen agebat, ecce repente, velut patrios imitatus honores, puniceam concussit apex in vertice cristam; at mollis varios intexens pluma colores marmoreum volucri vestivit tegmine corpus lentaque perpetuas fuderunt bracchia pinnas. inde alias partes minioque infecta rubenti crura nova macies obduxit squalida pelle et pedibus teneris unguis adfixit acutos. et tamen hoc demum miserae succurrere pacto vix fuerat placida Neptuni coniuge dignum. numquam illam post haec oculi videre suorum purpureas flavo retinentem vertice vittas, non thalamus Syrio fragrans accepit amomo, nullae illam sedes: quid enim cum sedibus illi? quae simul ut sese cano de gurgite velox cum sonitu ad caelum stridentibus extulit alis et multum late dispersit in aequora rorem, infelix virgo nequiquam a morte recepta incultum solis in rupibus exigit aevum, rupibus et scopulis et litoribus desertis.
cum Heinsius: iam.
517 a Aldine edition 1534: omitted in MSS.
490 Hereon, as when at first in a snowy egg there is the soft outline of a living thing, and the limbs' imperfect junctures, as they grow together in unwonted heat, float about, yet incomplete; so with Scylla's body, encompassed by the waters of the deep, while the parts were even yet uncertain, the half-human joints were changing it throughout, and throughout were being changed. First, the lovely face and those lips yearned for by many, and the broad brow's charm, began to grow together and to prolong the chin with a slender beak. Then, where on the head the line appeared that parts the hair in equal portions, lo! of a sudden, as if copying her sire's glory, on her crown a tuft waved its crimson crest, while soft plumes, blending varied hues, clothed her marble-white body with vesture of wings, and the feeble arms put forth long feathers. Then other parts and the legs, coloured with blushing crimson, an unfamiliar leanness overlaid with rough skin, and to the tender feet fastened sharp nails. And yet to succour the hapless maiden in this manner only was scarce worthy of Neptune's gentle spouse. Never hereafter did the eyes of her kin behold her tying back her purple fillets upon her golden head; no chamber, fragrant with Syrian spice, no home welcomed her; what, indeed, had she to do with home? And soon as from the hoary tide with speed and uproar she arose to the sky on whirring wings, and far and wide has scattered a cloud of spray o'er the waters, the hapless maid, vainly recovered from death, lives her wild life among the lonely rocks— the rocks and cliffs and deserted shores.
Nec tamen hoc ipsum poena sine: :namque deum omnia qui imperio terrarum milia versat, commotus talem ad superos volitare puellam, cum pater exstinctus caeca sub nocte lateret, illi pro pietate sua (nam saepe nitentum sanguine taurorum supplex resperserat aras, saepe deum largo decorarat munere sedes) reddidit optatam mutato corpore vitam fecitque in terris haliaeetos ales ut esset:
quippe aquilis semper gaudet deus ille coruscis.
huic vero miserae, quoniam damnata deorum
iudicio, fatique et coniugis, ante fuisset,
infesti apposuit odium crudele parentis.
namque ut in aetherio signorum munere praestans,
et Ciris memori servant ad saecula fato.
520 ipsum B2 iterum B1AR (explained by Vollmer as referring to her sufferings after the metamorphosis). 522 superos] celum B1.
524 nitentum edition of 1507: videmus: vigentum Ellis. 525 respexerat BH1. auras BHLA.
526 longo decoravit AR. sedem A1. 529 aquilis] aliis B1: aliquis HA1R.
531 fatique E. B. Greene: patrisque Heyne: patriaeque Sillig: pactique (=plighted) Ellis: natique.
533 lumine Schrader.
534 stellatum Juntine edition: stellarum.
535 fugat B: fugant.
520 Yet even this not without penalty: for the king of the gods, who with his power sways all regions of the world, being grieved that a maid so wicked should be flitting to the world above, while under dark night's cover her father's light was quenched, unto him by reason of his piety (for oft with the blood of sleek bulls had he suppliantly besprinkled the altars, and oft with lavish gifts had he adorned the homes of the gods) granted under changed form the life he had craved, and suffered him to be on earth a winged sea-eagle, for in lightning-swift eagles that god ever delights. But upon that unhappy maid, since she had first been condemned by judgment of the gods, of fate and of her husband,1 he laid an angry father's relentless hate. For even as, amid the grandeur of heaven's constellations, the glorious Scorpion, which alone I have seen bestarred with two-fold brilliance, puts to rout in alternate strife the gleaming Orion: so the sea-eagle and the Ciris, with ever remindful fate, maintain the fierceness of mutual wrath from age to age. Wherever she flees,
cleaving the light air with her wings, lo! savage and ruthless, with loud whirr Nisus follows through the sky; where Nisus mounts skyward, she flees in haste, cleaving the light air with her wings.2
1 Minos was the coniunx (to be) of Scylla.