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Which follows in the wake of mighty ships,
When Afric storms rage o'er the wintry main;
Till such a grace of form disturbing her,
Unable to behold her wretched limbs,

The pow'rful wife of Neptune, from her realm
Cerulean, the virgin's members changed.
Still she chose not the outer girl to clothe

With scales, and trust her tender limbs to fish ;
Too greedy is the Amphitritan race;
Better she bear herself aloft on wings,

That she may, from her name of Ciris held
On earth, an Egret be more beautiful
Than e'er was Leda's Amyclæan swan:

And, like as in the snow-white egg, at first
The image of the tender breathing thing
And portions 'twixt the joints, imperfect-shaped,
Float until thicken'd by the novel heat,
The limbs, half-animal, doubtful in parts,
On ev'ry side changed Scylla's (beauteous) form,
And were on ev'ry side, too, changed themselves.
At first, the graceful (outline) of the mouth,
And then the (lovely) lips, by many sought,
And widespread brow, began to grow as one;
The chin to lengthen to a slender beak.
Then, where the middle of the head divides,
Behold, as though it were her father's pride,
High on her head there waves a purple crest;
Then the soft plumage, mingling varied hues,
Her marble frame clothed like a feather'd fowl;
Her listless arms extend as lengthy wings;







Inde alias partes, minioque infecta rubenti
Crura, nova macies obduxit squalida pelli,
Et pedibus teneris ungues confixit acutos.
Et tamen hoc demum miseræ succurrere pacto
Vix fuerat placida Neptuni conjuge dignum.
Nunquam illam posthac oculi videre suorum
Purpureas flavo retinentem vertice vittas;
Non thalamus Tyrio fragrans accepit amomo,
Nullæ illam sedes. Quid jam cum sedibus illi ?
Quæ simul ut sese cano de gurgite velox
Cum sonitu ad cœlum stridentibus extulit alis,
Et multum late dispersit in æquore rorem ;
Infelix virgo, nequidquam a morte recepta,
Incultum solis in rupibus exigit ævum,




Rupibus et scopulis, et litoribus desertis.

Nec tamen hoc iterum pœna sine: namque deum rex,


Omnia qui imperio terrarum millia versat,

Commotus talem ad superos volitare puellam,

Quum pater exstinctus cæca sub nocte lateret,
Illi pro pietate sua-nam sæpe tepenti
Sanguine taurorum supplex resperserat aras;
Sæpe deum largo decorarat munere sedes-
Reddidit optatam mutato corpore vitam,
Fecit et in terris Haliæetus ales ut esset:

Quippe aquilis semper gaudet deus ille coruscus.
Huic vero miseræ, quoniam damnata deorum

Judicio natique et conjugis ante fuisset,



Her legs with red vermilion are stain'd,

Their ill-fared leanness with new skin being spread;

And claws form sharp upon her tender feet.
And yet to help the poor girl by this plan
Was scarcely worthy Neptune's gentle wife.
Ne'er afterwards did eyes behold her tie
The purple fillets of her golden hair;
No Tyrian perfumed chamber her received;
No seats, for now what use of seats to her?
When from the crested waves she bore herself
Swiftly on rustling wings (glad) towards the sky,
Widely she plash'd the foam upon the sea.
Unhappy maid, rescued in vain from death,
She leads a hopeless life, 'mid lonely rocks,
'Mid rocks and crags, and on deserted shores.
Nor yet in this devoid of punishment,
For he who all things to his will can turn,

The king of gods, being vex'd that such a girl
Could fly to upper air, the while her sire

Lay lost in hopeless night, restored to him.

His wish'd-for life-'twas for his piety,

Since, with warm blood of bulls, he suppliant oft
Jove's altars had besprinkled; often had
The temples of the gods with plenteous gifts
Adorn'd-he changed his form, giving him wings,
That a Sea-eagle he might be on earth;
For e'er in eagles Jupiter delights.
T'wards her, unhappy one, since she had been
Condemn'd erst by the gods' decree, and that
Of the (intended) son-in-law, her spouse,







Infesti apposuitque odium crudele parentis.

Namque, ut in ætherio signorum munere præstans,
Unum quem duplici stellarum sidere vidi,
Scorpius alternis clarum fugat Oriona:
Sic inter sese tristes Haliæetus iras

Et Ciris memori servant ad sæcula fato.
Quacumque illa levem fugiens secat æthera pennis,
Ecce inimicus atrox magno stridore per auras
Insequitur Nisus: qua se fert Nisus ad auras,
Illa levem fugiens raptim secat æthera pennis.




In her sire's anger'd breast dire hate was sown;
For as, excelling 'mongst ethereal signs,
One of the stars I've seen with double light,
Scorpio bright Orion flies, by turns,

So the Sea-eagle and the Egret 'twixt them,
Mindful of th' destiny (allotted them),
Each to the other bears eternal hate,
Where'er she flying cleaves ethereal space,
Behold, cruel Nisus, hostile, follows her


With a shrill scream along the sky where'er
Nisus betakes himself amid the sky,


She, quickly flying, cleaves ethereal space.




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