Friday, March 26, 2010

"I make you his, in making you my own"

Oh raise, fair nymph, your beauteous face above
The waves; nor scorn my presents, and my love.
Come, Galatea, come, and view my face;
I late beheld it, in the watry glass;
And found it lovelier, than I fear'd it was.
Survey my towring stature, and my size:
Not Jove, the Jove you dream, that rules the skies,
Bears such a bulk, or is so largely spread:
My locks (the plenteous harvest of my head)
Hang o'er my manly face; and dangling down,
As with a shady grove, my shoulders crown.
Nor think, because my limbs and body bear
A thick-set underwood of bristling hair,
My shape deform'd; what fouler sight can be,
Than the bald branches of a leafless tree?
Foul is the steed without a flowing mane:
And birds, without their feathers, and their train.
Wool decks the sheep; and Man receives a grace
From bushy limbs, and from a bearded face.
My forehead with a single eye is fill'd,
Round, as a ball, and ample, as a shield.
The glorious lamp of Heav'n, the radiant sun,
Is Nature's eye; and she's content with one.
Add, that my father sways your seas, and I,
Like you, am of the watry family.
I make you his, in making you my own;
You I adore; and kneel to you alone:
Jove, with his fabled thunder, I despise,
And only fear the lightning of your eyes.

From Metamorphoses (Garth translation), Book 13.

Pompeiian fresco with Polyphemus and Galatea, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.

The story of Polyphemus and Galatea. (Spoiler alert--things don't work out so well for Polyphemus.)


Alyssa said...

How I love that what's survived the ravages of time in that fresco is her luscious behind... The original painter had a taste for curves, no?

Oh, and, um, nice poetry, too!

BitterGrace said...

Without a doubt. She has one of the most gorgeous female behinds in the history of art.

I love the Garth translation. I bought the Charles Martin a while back and it's fine...but I just can't warm up to it.