ObeliskMetamorphoses

Book 14

8 CE

The Transformation of Scylla

Now Glaucus, with a lover’s haste, bounds o'er
The swelling waves, and seeks the Latian shore.
Messena, Rhegium, and the barren coast
Of flaming Aetna, to his sight are lost:
At length he gains the Tyrrhene seas, and views
The hills where baneful philters Circe brews;
Monsters, in various forms, around her press;
As thus the God salutes the sorceress.
O Circe, be indulgent to my grief,
And give a love-sick deity relief.
Too well the mighty pow'r of plants I know,
To those my figure, and new Fate I owe.
Against Messena, on th’ Ausonian coast,
I Scylla view'd, and from that hour was lost.
In tend'rest sounds I su'd; but still the fair
Was deaf to vows, and pityless to pray'r.
If numbers can avail, exert their pow'r;
Or energy of plants, if plants have more.
I ask no cure; let but the virgin pine
With dying pangs, or agonies, like mine.

No longer Circe could her flame disguise,
But to the suppliant God marine, replies:

When maids are coy, have manlier aims in view;
Leave those that fly, but those that like, pursue.
If love can be by kind compliance won;
See, at your feet, the daughter of the Sun.

Sooner, said Glaucus, shall the ash remove
From mountains, and the swelling surges love;
Or humble sea-weed to the hills repair;
E'er I think any but my Scylla fair.

Strait Circe reddens with a guilty shame,
And vows revenge for her rejected flame.
Fierce liking oft a spight as fierce creates;
For love refus'd, without aversion, hates.
To hurt her hapless rival she proceeds;
And, by the fall of Scylla, Glaucus bleeds.

Some fascinating bev'rage now she brews;
Compos'd of deadly drugs, and baneful juice.
At Rhegium she arrives; the ocean braves,
And treads with unwet feet the boiling waves.
Upon the beach a winding bay there lies,
Shelter'd from seas, and shaded from the skies:
This station Scylla chose: a soft retreat
From chilling winds, and raging Cancer’s heat.
The vengeful sorc'ress visits this recess;
Her charm infuses, and infects the place.
Soon as the nymph wades in, her nether parts
Turn into dogs; then at her self she starts.
A ghastly horror in her eyes appears;
But yet she knows not, who it is she fears;
In vain she offers from her self to run,
And drags about her what she strives to shun.

[Editor’s note: all online versions of the Metamorphoses end here, with the remainder of the 14th book, and the 15th book missing. We're planning to transcribe the missing content soon.]

Further reading atclassics.mit.edu
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