March 4th, 2008

Eos at The River Lethe

Eos is the rosy-fingered goddess of the dawn. She and her siblings Helios (the Sun) and Selene (the Moon) are numbered amongst the second-generation Titan gods. Eos rises up into the sky from the river Okeanos at the start of each day, and with her rays of light disperse the mists of night. She is sometimes depicted riding in a golden chariot drawn by winged horses, at other times she is shown borne aloft by her own pair of wings.

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Vittoria's melancholy on an overcast day is represented in the lines of Publio Virgilio Marón in his study of Virgil:

“To the mourner by the pyre, then, if Virgil had said anything at all--poets have their own times and ways of speaking--he might have said--or, more probably, he would himself have felt--that capacity for sorrow is a measure of love, that love is often best learnt in sorrow, and that there is nothing for man [or woman!]--better worth learning at whatever cost. And he would have felt the gap in what he said.”

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Ovid's Metamorphoses : Echo and Narcissus

One day, when she [Echo] observed
Narcissus wandering in the pathless woods,
she loved him and she followed him, with soft
and stealthy tread.--The more she followed him
the hotter did she burn, as when the flame
flares upward from the sulphur on the torch.
Oh, how she longed to make her passion known!
To plead in soft entreaty! to implore his love!

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Ovid’s Book of Love II


’Tis is not to the rich [saith Ovid] that I would teach the art of Love. A man who can give presents has no need of any lessons I can teach him. He has wit enough, and to spare, if he can say when he pleases, "Accept this gift." I give him best. His means are mightier than mine. I am the poor man's poet; because I am poor myself and I have known what it is to be in love. Not being able to pay them in presents, I pay my mistresses in poetry. The poor man must be circumspect in his love-affairs; he mustn't permit himself to use strong language; he must put up with many things that a rich lover would never endure.

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Fallen Tree

Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Book VIII

In among these trees there stood a massive oak, old and sturdy, a forest on its own, with wreaths, garlands, and memorial tablets close beside it, testaments to prayers that had been granted. Dryads often held their festive dances underneath this tree, and often they joined hands, formed a line, and circled around its trunk, whose huge circumference was forty feet. That oak stood taller than the other trees as much as they were higher than the grass. But such things did not stop Erysichthon taking axes to the tree. He told his slaves to cut down the sacred oak.

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Ovid: Remedia Amoris

You’re too weak, unable to go, tenderly bound,
and cruel Love presses your neck beneath his foot?
Stop struggling: let your sails be brought before the wind,
where the tide calls, let your oars travel too,
That thirst’s to be quenched, by which you’re desperately parched:

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Ovid: Tristia, Book V

‘laeta fere laetus cecini, cano tristia tristis:
happy, I once sang happy things, sad things
I sing in sadness:’ Ex Ponto III:IX:35

And if any of you ask why I sing so many
sad things: I’ve suffered many sad things.
I don’t compose them with wit or skill,
the content’s inspired by its own misfortunes.
And how little of this fate is in my poetry.
Happy the man who can count his sufferings!

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