Ovid, Metamorphoses

LCL 43: 166-167

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Morphea, qui peragat Thaumantidos edita, Somnus eligit et rursus molli languore solutus deposuitque caput stratoque recondidit alto. 650Ille volat nullos strepitus facientibus alis per tenebras intraque morae breve tempus in urbem pervenit Haemoniam, positisque e corpore pennis in faciem Ceycis abit sumptaque figura luridus, exanimi similis, sine vestibus ullis, 655coniugis ante torum miserae stetit: uda videtur barba viri, madidisque gravis fluere unda capillis. tum lecto incumbens fletu super ora profuso haec ait: “agnoscis Ceyca, miserrima coniunx, an mea mutata est facies nece? respice: nosces 660inveniesque tuo pro coniuge coniugis umbram! nil opis, Alcyone, nobis tua vota tulerunt! occidimus! falso tibi me promittere noli! nubilus Aegaeo deprendit in aequore navem auster et ingenti iactatam flamine solvit, 665oraque nostra tuum frustra clamantia nomen inplerunt fluctus.—non haec tibi nuntiat auctor ambiguus, non ista vagis rumoribus audis: ipse ego fata tibi praesens mea naufragus edo. surge, age, da lacrimas lugubriaque indue nec me 670indeploratum sub inania Tartara mitte!” adicit his vocem Morpheus, quam coniugis illa crederet esse sui (fletus quoque fundere veros visus erat), gestumque manus Ceycis habebat. ingemit Alcyone lacrimans, motatque lacertos 675per somnum corpusque petens amplectitur auras exclamatque: “mane! quo te rapis? ibimus una.”


Metamorphoses Book XI

brethren Morpheus alone to do the bidding of Iris, Thaumas’ daughter. This done, once more in soft drowsiness he droops his head and settles it down upon his high couch.

But Morpheus flits away through the darkness on noiseless wings and quickly comes to the Haemonian city. There, putting off his wings, he takes the face and form of Ceyx, wan like the dead, and stands naked before the couch of the hapless wife. His beard is wet, and water drips from his sodden hair. Then with streaming eyes he bends over her couch and says: “Do you recognize your Ceyx, O most wretched wife? or is my face changed in death? Look on me! You will know me then and find in place of husband your husband’s shade. No help, Alcyone, have your prayers brought to me: I am dead. Cherish no longer your vain hope of me. For stormy Austei caught my ship on the Aegean sea and, tossing her in his fierce blasts, wrecked her there. My lips, calling vainly upon your name, drank in the waves. And this tale no uncertain messenger brings to you, nor do you hear it in the words of vague report; but I myself, wrecked as you see me, tell you of my fate. Get you up, then, and weep for me; put on your mourning garments and let me not go unlamented to the cheerless land of shades.” These words spoke Morpheus, and that, too, in a voice she might well believe her husband’s; he seemed also to weep real tears, and his hands performed the gestures of Ceyx. Alcyone groaned tearfully, stirred her arms in sleep, and seeking his body, held only air in her embrace. She cried aloud: “Wait for me! Whither do you hasten? I will go with you.” Aroused by her own voice and by the image of her

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-metamorphoses.1916