Friday, January 29, 2010

"And, by the fall of Scylla, Glaucus bleeds"

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.
Oppress'd with grief the pitying God appears:
And swells the rising surges with his tears;
From the detested sorceress he flies;
Her art reviles, and her address denies:
Whilst hapless Scylla, chang'd to rocks, decrees
Destruction to those barques, that beat the seas.

From "The Transformation of Scylla," Book XIV of Metamorphoses, Garth translation.

Circe and Scylla, John Melhuish Strudwick, 1890.

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