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5 Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum.
Nullus adhuc mundo præbebat lumina Titan, 10
Ponderibus librata suis, nec brachia longo 10 Margine terrarum porrexerat Amphitrite; Quaque fuit tellus, illic et pontus et aer.
15 Sic erat instabilis tellus, innabilis unda, Lucis egens aer: nulli sua forma manebat,
Obstabatque aliis aliud, quia corpore in uno 15 Frigida pugnabant calidis, humentia siccis, Mollia cum duris, sine pondere habentia pondus. 20
Hanc deus et melior litem natura diremit:
Et liquidum spisso secrevit ab aere cælum.
Dissociata locis concordi pace ligavit.
Proximus est aer illi levitate locoque;
Et pressa est gravitate sui ; circumfluus humor 30
Sic ubi dispositam, quisquis fuit ille deorum, Congeriem secuit, sectamque in membra redegit ; 30 Principio terram, ne non æqualis ab omni
Parte foret, magni speciem glomeravit in orbis. 35
Addidit et fontes, et stagna immensa lacusque, 35 Fluminaque obliquis cinxit declivia ripis,
Quæ, diversa locis, partim sorbentur ab ipsa, 40
Jussit et extendi campos, subsidere valles,
Utque duæ dextra cælum totidemque sinistra
Cura dei, totidemque plagæ tellure premuntur :
Nix tegit alta duas; totidem inter utramque locavit,
50 Temperiemque dedit mixta cum frigore flamma. Imminet his aer, qui, quanto est pondere terræ
Pondus aquæ levius, tanto est onerosior igni. 50 Illic et nebulas, illic consistere nubes
Jussit, et humanas motura tonitrua mentes, 55
Aera permisit : vix nunc obsistitur illis,
Quin lanient mundum: tanta est discordia fratrum! 60
Vesper et occiduo quæ litora sole tepescunt,
Æthera nec quicquam terrenæ fæcis habentem. 65 Vix ita limitibus dissepserat omnia certis,
Cum, quæ pressa diu massa latuere sub illa, 70
Neu regio foret ulla suis animantibus orba :
75 Sanctius his animal mentisque capacius altæ Deerat adhuc, et quod dominari in cetera posset.
Natus homo est, sive hunc divino semine fecit 75 Ille opifex rerum, mundi melioris origo,
Sive recens tellus seductaque nuper ab alto
Finxit in effigiem moderantum cuncta deorum. 80 Pronaque cum spectent animalia cetera terram ; Os homini sublime dedit, cælumque tueri
85 Jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus.
Sic, modo quæ fuerat rudis et sine imagine, tellus Induit ignotas hominum conversa figuras.
II. THE AGES OF THE WORLD.
The fable of the ages of the world, which were named after metals, is of primitive antiquity, and is differently presented by different poets. The original account comprehended probably only three Ages: the golden, the silver, and the brazen. The moral view involved in this legend was : “ to represent the relation of the Deity to the wickedness of the human race, and especially the doctrine, that, when wickedness reaches its highest point, the gods destroy mankind.” The original myth was in later times treated by the poets according to the different objects of their poems. The ancient Greek poet Hesiod tells of five ages of mankind : the golden, the silver, the brazen, the heroic, and the iron age. Ovid, on the other hand, of four only: the golden, the silver, the brazen, and the iron age. Ovid (in the whole tissue of his poem) connects also with the narrative of the different world-ages, the legend of the destruction of the human race, which by the will of the gods was annihilated for its wickedness. For to the iron age belong the giants, and that corrupt generation that sprung from them, in which lived Lycaon (s. III.), and the destruction of which was resolved on by the gods. Deucalion alone (s. IV.) was saved from the destruction.
If we ask after the probable origin of naming the ages of men after metals, it very likely took its rise from brass (copper), the first of all the metals that people learnt to work, and the only one that for a long time they did work. The art of working in metal, through which the murderous sword, violence, and war spread over the human race, was the source of the earth's misery. The godless race that, armed with brass, brought war into the world, was thence called the brazen age. And, in opposition to this, the ideal of purity was named the golden age, after the noblest of metals; between these the poet inserted the silver one. Afterwards man learnt to work in the harder metal, iron; and thus the iron age succeeded to the brazen one. Moreover, in Ovid,“ the great World-year is divided into four nicely graduated worldages, answering to the four seasons of the year. Like the solar year, it began with the golden spring, and ended with the black iron winter."
Aurea prima sata est ætas, quæ vindice nullo,
Ære ligabantur, nec supplex turba timebat 5. Judicis ora sui, sed erant sine judice tuti.
Nondum cæsa suis, peregrinum ut viseret orbem,
Montibus in liquidas pinus descenderat undas, 95
Nondum præcipites cingebant oppida fossæ ; 10 Non tuba directi, non æris cornua flexi,
Non galeæ, non ensis erat : sine militis usu
100 Ipsa quoque immunis rastroque intacta, nec ullis
Saucia vomeribus, per se dabat omnia tellus ; 15 Contentique cibis nullo cogente creatis,
Arbuteos foetus montanaque fraga legebant,
Ver erat æternum, placidique tepentibus auris 20 Mulcebant Zephyri natos sine semine flores.
Mox etiam fruges tellus inarata ferebat,
Flavaque de viridi stillabant ilice mella. 25 Postquam, Saturno tenebrosa in Tartara misso,
Sub Jove mundus erat; subiit argentea proles,
115 Jupiter antiqui contraxit tempora veris,
Perque hiemes æstusque et inæquales autumnos 30 Et breve ver spatiis exegit quatuor annum.
Tum primum siccis aer fervoribus ustus
Et densi frutices et vinctæ cortice virgæ.
Tertia post illas successit ahenea proles, 125 Sævior ingeniis et ad horrida promptior arma,
Non scelerata tamen. De duro est ultima ferro. 40 Protinus irrupit venæ pejoris in ævum
Omne nefas ; fugere pudor verumque fidesque;
Vela dabant ventis, nec adhuc bene noverat illos 45 Navita; quæque diu steterant in montibus altis,
Fluctibus ignotis insultavere carinæ.
Cautus humum longo signavit limite mensor.
Nec tantum segetes alimentaque debita dives
Quasque recondiderat Stygiisque admoverat umbris,
140 Jamque nocens ferrum, ferroque nocentius aurum
Prodierat; prodit bellum, quod pugnat utroque, 55 Sanguineaque manu crepitantia concutit arma.
Vivitur ex rapto : non hospes ab hospite tutus, Non socer a genero; fratrum quoque gratia rara est.
145 Imminet exitio vir conjugis, illa mariti ;
Lurida terribiles miscent aconita novercæ ; 60 Filius ante diem patrios inquirit in annos.
Victa jacet pietas, et Virgo cæde madentes,
In the corrupt iron age of the world lived the atrocious race of the giants. They were sprung from the earth, huge shapes furnished with a hundred arms, and dragon-limbs. They threatened to storm heaven, and for this purpose piled three mountains one upon another, Olympus, Ossa, and Pelion. But Jupiter's lightning-flash dashed down the piled-up mountains, and under them the offenders found their grave. Out of the blood, however, of those who were thus crushed there sprung up from the earth a new race, which possessed the human shape indeed, but with it the savage, god-despising disposition of the giants. Jupiter himself had gone down from heaven, in order to convince himself of the blood-thirsty impiety of the race that sprung from blood. And when he had seen all their crimes (quce scelera, v. 1), and the Arcadian king Lycaon had at a banquet scoffed at him (Jove) himself, setting before him human flesh as food, and meditating a further crime ; Jupiter destroyed his palace with consuming flame, changed him into a ravenous wolf, and thus, with him, began the punishment of the human race. The tale of what took place is related by Jupiter himself, at an assembly of the gods.
Quæ scelera ut summa vidit Saturnius arce ;