Ovid, Metamorphoses

LCL 43: 84-85

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constitit et timide ‘si, di, dare cuncta potestis, 275sit coniunx, opto,’ non ausus ‘eburnea virgo’ dicere, Pygmalion ‘similis mea’ dixit ‘eburnae.’ sensit, ut ipsa suis aderat Venus aurea festis, vota quid illa velint et, amici numinis omen, flamma ter accensa est apicemque per aera duxit. 280ut rediit, simulacra suae petit ille puellae incumbensque toro dedit oscula: visa tepere est; admovet os iterum, manibus quoque pectora temptat: temptatum mollescit ebur positoque rigore subsidit digitis ceditque, ut Hymettia sole 285cera remollescit tractataque pollice multas flectitur in facies ipsoque fit utilis usu. dum stupet et dubie gaudet fallique veretur, rursus amans rursusque manu sua vota retractat. corpus erat! saliunt temptatae pollice venae. 290tum vero Paphius plenissima concipit heros verba, quibus Veneri grates agat, oraque tandem ore suo non falsa premit, dataque oscula virgo sensit et erubuit timidumque ad lumina lumen attollens pariter cum caelo vidit amantem. 295coniugio, quod fecit, adest dea, iamque coactis cornibus in plenum noviens lunaribus orbem illa Paphon genuit, de qua tenet insula nomen. “Editus hac ille est, qui si sine prole fuisset, inter felices Cinyras potuisset haberi. dira canam; procul hinc natae, procul este parentes 301aut, mea si vestras mulcebunt carmina mentes, desit in hac mihi parte fides, nec credite factum,


Metamorphoses Book X

brought his gift to the altar, stood and falteringly prayed: ‘If ye, O gods, can give all things, I pray to have as wife——’ he did not dare add ‘my ivory maid,’ but said, ‘one like my ivory maid.’ But golden Venus (for she herself was present at her feast) knew what that prayer meant; and, as an omen of her favouring deity, thrice did the flame burn brightly and leap high in air. When he returned he sought the image of his maid, and bending over the couch he kissed her. She seemed warm to his touch. Again he kissed her, and with his hands also he touched her breast. The ivory grew soft to his touch and, its hardness vanishing, gave and yielded beneath his fingers, as Hymettian wax grows soft under the sun and, moulded by the thumb, is easily shaped to many forms and becomes usable through use itself. The lover stands amazed, rejoices still in doubt, fears he is mistaken, and tries his hopes again and yet again with his hand. Yes, it was real flesh! The veins were pulsing beneath his testing finger. Then did the Paphian hero pour out copious thanks to Venus, and again pressed with his lips real lips at last. The maiden felt the kisses, blushed and, lifting her timid eyes up to the light, she saw the sky and her lover at the same time. The goddess graced with her presence the marriage she had made; and ere the ninth moon had brought her crescent to the full, a daughter was born to them, Paphos, from whom the island takes its name.

“Cinyras was her son and, had he been without offspring, might have been counted fortunate. A horrible tale I have to tell. Far hence be daughters, far hence, fathers; or, if your minds find pleasure in my songs, do not give credence to this story, and believe that it never happened; or, if you do believe

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-metamorphoses.1916