Ovid, Metamorphoses

LCL 43: 86-87

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vel, si credetis, facti quoque credite poenam. si tamen admissum sinit hoc natura videri, 305[gentibus Ismariis et nostro gratulor orbi,] gratulor huic terrae, quod abest regionibus illis, quae tantum genuere nefas: sit dives amomo cinnamaque costumque suum sudataque ligno tura ferat floresque alios Panchaia tellus, 310dum ferat et murram: tanti nova non fuit arbor. ipse negat nocuisse tibi sua tela Cupido, Myrrha, facesque suas a crimine vindicat isto; stipite te Stygio tumidisque adflavit echidnis e tribus una soror: scelus est odisse parentem, 315hic amor est odio maius scelus.—undique lecti te cupiunt proceres, totoque Oriente iuventus ad thalami certamen adest: ex omnibus unum elige, Myrrha, virum, dum ne sit in omnibus unus. illa quidem sentit foedoque repugnat amori et secum ‘quo mente feror? quid molior?’ inquit 321‘di, precor, et pietas sacrataque iura parentum, hoc prohibete nefas scelerique resistite nostro, si tamen hoc scelus est. sed enim damnare negatur hanc Venerem pietas: coeunt animalia nullo 325cetera dilectu, nec habetur turpe iuvencae ferre patrem tergo, fit equo sua filia coniunx, quasque creavit init pecudes caper, ipsaque, cuius semine concepta est, ex illo concipit ales. felices, quibus ista licent! humana malignas 330cura dedit leges, et quod natura remittit, invida iura negant. gentes tamen esse feruntur,


Metamorphoses Book X

it, believe also in the punishment of the deed. If, however, nature allows a crime like this to show itself, [I congratulate the Ismarian people, and this our city;] I congratulate this land on being far away from those regions where such iniquity is possible. Let the land of Panchaia be rich in balsam, let it bear its cinnamon, its costum, its frankincense exuding from the trees, its flowers of many sorts, provided it bear its myrrh-tree, too: a new tree was not worth so great a price. Cupid himself avers that his weapons did not harm you, Myrrha, and clears his torches from that crime of yours. One of the three sisters with firebrand from the Styx and with swollen vipers blasted you. ’Tis a crime to hate one’s father, but such love as this is a greater crime than hate. From every side the pick of princes desire you; from the whole Orient young men are here vying for your couch; out of them all choose one for your husband, Myrrha, only let not one1 be among them all. She, indeed, is fully aware of her vile passion and fights against it and says within herself: ‘To what is my purpose tending? What am I planning? O gods, I pray you, and piety and the sacred rights of parents, keep this sin from me and fight off my crime, if indeed it is a crime. But I am not sure, for piety refuses to condemn such love as this. Other animals mate as they will, nor is it thought base for a heifer to endure her sire, nor for his own offspring to be a horse’s mate; the goat goes in among the flocks which he has fathered, and the very birds conceive from those from whom they were conceived. Happy they who have such privilege! Human civilization has made spiteful laws, and what nature allows, the jealous laws forbid. And

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-metamorphoses.1916