Quo tibi, Pasiphaë, pretiosas sumere vestes? Ille tuus nullas sentit adulter opes. 305Quid tibi cum speculo, montana armenta petenti? Quid totiens positas fingis, inepta, comas? Crede tamen speculo, quod te negat esse iuvencam. Quam cuperes fronti cornua nata tuae! Sive placet Minos, nullus quaeratur adulter: 310Sive virum mavis fallere, falle viro! In nemus et saltus thalamo regina relicto Fertur, ut Aonio concita Baccha deo. A, quotiens vaccam vultu spectavit iniquo, Et dixit “domino cur placet ista meo? 315Aspice, ut ante ipsum teneris exultet in herbis: Nec dubito, quin se stulta decere putet.” Dixit, et ingenti iamdudum de grege duci lussit et inmeritam sub iuga curva trahi, Aut cadere ante aras commentaque sacra coegit, 320Et tenuit laeta paelicis exta manu. Paelicibus quotiens placavit numina caesis, Atque ait, exta tenens “ite, placete meo!” Et modo se Europen fieri, modo postulat Io, Altera quod bos est, altera vecta bove. 325Hanc tamen implevit, vacca deceptus acerna, Dux gregis, et partu proditus auctor erat. Cressa Thyesteo si se abstinuisset amore (Et quantum est uno posse carere viro?), Non medium rupisset iter, curruque retorto 330Auroram versis Phoebus adisset equi. Filia purpureos Niso furata capillos Pube premit rabidos inguinibusque canes.
Pasiphaë, to wear thy purple gowns? that lover of thine recks not of any splendour. What dost thou with a mirror, seeking the herds upon the mountains? Why so oft, foolish one, dost thou dress thy braided hair? Nay, believe thy mirror when it tells thee thou art no heifer. How hadst thou wished that horns grew on thy brow! If ’tis Minos pleases thee, seek no adulterer; or if thou wilt deceive thy man, with a man deceive him! Leaving her bower the queen hies her to the woods and glens, like a Bacchanal sped by the Aonian god. Ah, how oft did she look askance upon a cow, and say, “Why does she find favour with my lord? See how she sports before him on the tender grass: nor doubt I but the foolish thing imagines she is comely.” She spoke, and straightway ordered her to be taken from the mighty herd, and undeserving to be dragged beneath the curving yoke, or forced her to fall before the altar in a feigned sacrifice, and held in exultant hands her rival’s entrails. How oft with her rivals’ bodies did she appease the gods, and say, as she held their entrails, “Now go and find favour with my lord!” And now she craves to be Europa and now to be Io, for the one was a cow, and the other was borne by a cow’s mate. Her none the less did the leader of the herd make pregnant, deceived by a cow of maple-wood, and by her offspring was the sire betrayed. Had the Cretan woman1 abstained from love for Thyestes (and is it such a feat to be able to do without a particular man?), Phoebus had not broken off in mid-career, and wresting his car about turned round his steeds to face the dawn. From Nisus his daughter2 stole the purple hairs, and now holds raving hounds within her womb and loins. The son of