Ovid, Metamorphoses

LCL 42: 292-293

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50perstat in incepto stolidaeque cupidine palmae in sua fata ruit; neque enim Iove nata recusat nec monet ulterius nec iam certamina differt. haud mora, constituunt diversis partibus ambae et gracili geminas intendunt stamine telas: 55tela iugo vincta est, stamen secernit harundo, inseritur medium radiis subtemen acutis, quod digiti expediunt, atque inter stamina ductum percusso paviunt insecti pectine dentes. utraque festinant cinctaeque ad pectora vestes 60bracchia docta movent, studio fallente laborem. illic et Tyrium quae purpura sensit aenum texitur et tenues parvi discriminis umbrae; qualis ab imbre solent percussis solibus arcus inficere ingenti longum curvamine caelum; 65in quo diversi niteant cum mille colores, transitus ipse tamen spectantia lumina fallit: usque adeo, quod tangit, idem est; tamen ultima distant. illic et lentum filis inmittitur aurum et vetus in tela deducitur argumentum. 70Cecropia Pallas scopulum Mavortis in arce pingit et antiquam de terrae nomine litem. bis sex caelestes medio Iove sedibus altis augusta gravitate sedent; sua quemque deorum inscribit facies: Iovis est regalis imago; 75stare deum pelagi longoque ferire tridente aspera saxa facit, medioque e vulnere saxi exsiluisse fretum, quo pignore vindicet urbem; at sibi dat clipeum, dat acutae cuspidis hastam,


Metamorphoses Book VI

challenge, and stupidly confident and eager for victory, she rushes on her fate. For Jove’s daughter refuses not, nor again warns her or puts off the contest any longer. They both set up the looms in different places without delay and they stretch the fine warp upon them. The web is bound upon the beam, the reed separates the threads of the warp, the woof is threaded through them by the sharp shuttles which their busy fingers ply, and when shot through the threads of the warp, the notched teeth of the hammering slay tap it into place. They speed on the work with their mantles close girt about their breasts and move back and forth their well-trained hands, their eager zeal beguiling their toil. There are inwoven the purple threads dyed in Tyrian kettles, and lighter colours insensibly shading off from these. As when after a storm of rain the sun’s rays strike through, and a rainbow, with its huge curve, stains the wide sky, though a thousand different colours shine in it, the eye cannot detect the change from each one to the next; so like appear the adjacent colours, but the extremes are plainly different. There, too, they weave in pliant threads of gold, and trace in the weft some ancient tale.

Pallas pictures the hills of Mars on the citadel of Cecrops1 and that old dispute over the naming of the land. There sit twelve heavenly gods on lofty thrones in awful majesty, Jove in their midst; each god she pictures with his own familiar features; Jove’s is a royal figure. There stands the god of ocean, and with his long trident smites the rugged cliff, and from the cleft rock sea-water leaps forth; a token to claim the city for his own. To herself

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-metamorphoses.1916