Ovid, Metamorphoses

LCL 42: 2-3

Go To Section
Go To Section



Liber I

In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas) adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen! 5Ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe, quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum. 10nullus adhuc mundo praebebat lumina Titan, nec nova crescendo reparabat cornua Phoebe, nec circumfuso pendebat in aere tellus ponderibus librata suis, nec bracchia longo margine terrarum porrexerat Amphitrite; 15utque erat et tellus illic et pontus et aer, sic erat instabilis tellus, innabilis unda, lucis egens aer; nulli sua forma manebat, obstabatque aliis aliud, quia corpore in uno frigida pugnabant calidis, umentia siccis, 20mollia cum duris, sine pondere, habentia pondus. Hanc deus et melior litem natura diremit. nam caelo terras et terris abscidit undas


Metamorphoses Book I


Book I

My mind is bent to tell of bodies changed into new forms. Ye gods, for you yourselves have wrought the changes, breathe on these my undertakings, and bring down my song in unbroken strains from the world’s very beginning even unto the present time.

Before the sea was, and the lands, and the sky that hangs over all, the face of Nature showed alike in her whole round, which state have men called chaos: a rough, unordered mass of things, nothing at all save lifeless bulk and warring seeds of ill-matched elements heaped in one. No sun as yet shone forth upon the world, nor did the waxing moon renew her slender horns; not yet did the earth hang poised by her own weight in the circumambient air, nor had the ocean stretched her arms along the far reaches of the lands. And, though there was both land and sea and air, no one could tread that land, or swim that sea; and the air was dark. No form of things remained the same; all objects were at odds, for within one body cold things strove with hot, and moist with dry, soft things with hard, things having weight with weightless things.

God—or kindlier Nature—composed this strife; for he rent asunder land from sky, and sea from land,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-metamorphoses.1916