Ovid, Metamorphoses

LCL 43: 164-165

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Quo simul intravit manibusque obstantia virgo Somnia dimovit, vestis fulgore reluxit sacra domus, tardaque deus gravitate iacentes vix oculos tollens iterumque iterumque relabens 620summaque percutiens nutanti pectora mento excussit tandem sibi se cubitoque levatus, quid veniat, (cognovit enim) scitatur, at illa: “Somne, quies rerum, placidissime, Somne, deorum, pax animi, quem cura fugit, qui corpora duris 625fessa ministeriis mulces reparasque labori, Somnia, quae veras aequent imitamine formas, Herculea Trachine iube sub imagine regis Alcyonen adeant simulacraque naufraga fingant. imperat hoc luno.” postquam mandata peregit, 630Iris abit: neque enim ulterius tolerare soporis vim poterat, labique ut somnum sensit in artus, effugit et remeat per quos modo venerat arcus. At pater e populo natorum mille suorum excitat artificem simulatoremque figurae 635Morphea: non illo quisquam sollertius alter exprimit incessus vultumque sonumque loquendi; adicit et vestes et consuetissima cuique verba; sed hic solos homines imitatur, at alter fit fera, fit volucris, fit longo corpore serpens: 640hunc Icelon superi, mortale Phobetora vulgus nominat; est etiam diversae tertius artis Phantasos: ille in humum saxumque undamque tra- bemque, quaeque vacant anima, fallaciter omnia transit; regibus hi ducibusque suos ostendere vultus 645nocte solent, populos alii plebemque pererrant. praeterit hos senior cunctisque e fratribus unum


Metamorphoses Book XI

When the maiden entered there and with her hands brushed aside the dream-shapes that blocked her way, the awesome house was lit up with the gleaming of her garments. Then the god, scarce lifting his eyelids heavy with the weight of sleep, sinking back repeatedly and knocking his breast with his nodding chin, at last shook himself free of himself and, resting on an elbow, asked her (for he recognized her) why she came. And she replied: “O Sleep, thou rest of all things, Sleep, mildest of the gods, balm of the soul, who puttest care to flight, soothest our bodies worn with hard ministries, and preparest them for toil again! Fashion a shape that shall seem true form, and bid it go in semblance of the king to Alcyone in Trachin, famed for Hercules. There let it show her the picture of the wreck. This Juno bids.” When she had done her task Iris departed, for she could no longer endure the power of sleep, and when she felt the drowsiness stealing upon her frame she fled away and retraced her course along the arch over which she had lately passed.

But the father rouses Morpheus from the throng of his thousand sons, a cunning imitator of the human form. No other is more skilled than he in representing the gait, the features, and the speech of men; the clothing also and the accustomed words of each he represents. His office is with men alone: another takes the form of beast or bird or the long serpent. Him the gods call Icelos, but mortals name him Phobetor. A third is Phantasos, versed in different arts. He puts on deceptive shapes of earth, rocks, water, trees, all lifeless things. These shapes show themselves by night to kings and chieftains, the rest haunt the throng of common folk. These the old sleep-god passes by, and chooses out of all the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-metamorphoses.1916