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Inde abiit Pallas, densa circumdata nube Quaque super pontum via visa brevissima, Thebas Virgineumque Helicona petit : quo monte potita Constitit, et doctas sic est affata sorores :
255 5 Fama novi fontis nostras pervenit ad aures,
Dura Medusæi quem præpetis ungula rupit :
Excipit Uranie : « Quæcumque est causa videndi 260 10 Has tibi, diva, domos, animo gratissima nostro est.
Vera tamen fama est, et Pegasus hujus origo
Quæ, mirata diu factas pedis ictibus undas,
265 15 Antraque et innumeris distinctas floribus herbas,
Felicesque vocat pariter studiique locique
“O nisi te virtus opera ad majora tulisset,
270 20 Vera refers, meritoque probas artemque locumque,
Et gratam sortem-tutæ modo simus-habemus.
Vertitur, et nondum me tota mente recepi. 275 25 Daulia Threïcio Phoceaque milite rura
Ceperat ille ferox, injustaque regna tenebat.
280 30 Nec dubitate, precor, tecto grave sidus et imbrem'
Imber erat vitare meo : subiere minores
Desierant imbres, victoque Aquilonibus Austro 285 35 Fusca repurgato fugiebant nubila celo :
Impetus ire fuit; claudit sua tecta Pyreneus,
40 Seque jacit vecors e summæ culmine turris,
Et cadit in vultus, discussique ossibus oris,
Musa loquebatur; pennæ sonuere per auras, Voxque salutantum ramis veniebat ab altis. 295 45 Suspicit et linguæ quærit, tam certa loquentes
Unde sonent, hominemque putat Jove nata locutum.
Miranti sic orsa deæ dea : “ Nuper et istæ 300 50 Auxerunt volucrum victæ certamine turbam.
Pieros has genuit, Pellæis dives in arvis,
Intumuit numero stolidarum turba sororum, 305 55 Perque tot Hæmonias et per tot Achaïdas urbes
Huc venit, et tali committit proelia voce :
Thespiades certate deæ : nec voce nec arte 310 60 Vincemur, totidemque sumus. Vel cedite victæ
Fonte Medusæo et Hyantea Aganippe;
“Turpe quidem contendere erat; sed cedere visum 315 65 Turpius : electæ jurant per flumina Nymphæ, Factaque de vivo pressere sedilia saxo.
Tunc, sine sorte prior quæ se certare professa est, Bella canit Superùm, falsoque in honore Gigantas
Ponit, et extenuat magnorum facta deorum, 320 70 Emissumque ima de sede Typhoea terræ
Colitibus fecisse metum, cunctosque dedisse
Huc quoque terrigenam venisse Typhoea narrat, 325 75 Et se mentitis Superos celasse figuris ;
* Duxque gregis,' dixit,' fit Jupiter : unde recurvis
330 80 Pisce Venus latuit, Cyllenius ibidis alis.'
Hactenus ad citharam vocalia moverat ora:
Surgit Calliope, et prætentat pollice chordas, 339 85 Atque hinc percussis subjungit carmina nervis, Quæ magnam Cererem dicunt et munera magna.
Finierat doctos e nobis maxima cantus. 662 At Nymphæ, vicisse deas Helicona colentes,
Concordi dixere sono. Convicia victæ 90 Cum jacerent; 'Quoniam,' dixit, 'certamine vobis
Supplicium meruisse parum est, maledictaque culpæ
Rident Emathides spernuntque minacia verba, 95 Conatæque loqui et magno clamore protervas 670
Intentare manus, pennas exire per ungues
Ora videt, volucresque novas accedere silvis ; 100 Dumque volunt plangi, per brachia mota levatæ
Aere pendebant, nemorum convicia, picæ.” 676
Nunc quoque in alitibus facundia prisca remansit, Raucaque garrulitas studiumque immane loquendi.
In an ancient Homeric hymn the myth of the rape of Persě phònê (Proserpine), by Pluto, the monarch of the under-world, and of the consequent wanderings of her mother Ceres, is related in its earlier form ; but Ovid, who indulges his playful fancy in varying the particulars of the tale, refers it to the influence of Amor and his mother Venus. When Typhõeus (he says), who was buried beneath Sicily, shook the land so that the earth threatened to burst and let in light to the realm of the Shades, Pluto, sovereign of the voiceless dead (rex silentum, v. 16), stepped into the upper-world to secure the darkness of his domains from the beams of the sun. The dart of Amor strikes him, and Proserpine, the virgin daughter of Ceres, is forcibly carried off by him to the realm of the dead. The bereaved mother, in deep sorrow, wanders day and night over the globe, seeking her daughter; but not finding her, she ceases to excite and maintain the fruitfulness of the earth : the grain perishes in the ear; and great distress afflicts all lands. In this state of things Arethūsa, who by a subterranean channel comes from Greece to Sicily, and had observed the rape, tells her the fate of her daughter. Proserpine, however, having broken her fast in the underworld, cannot entirely quit it, but is allowed to divide her residence, and spend a part of the year among the blessed gods, the rest in the under-world. Thus, at the beginning of spring, when flowers and herbs sprout afresh from the earth, Proserpine comes up to visit her mother; but at the end of autumn, when the grain is committed to the earth, she returns to the under-world. Ceres is satisfied with this arrangement, and gives to Triptolěmus (afterwards of high renown as king of Attica), the son of the king of Eleusis (from whom she had met with a friendly reception during her disconsolate wanderings over the earth), the car drawn by dragons, which glides through the air, that he may thus carry further the seed distributed by the goddess, and partly re-establish, partly introduce agriculture in the countries of the earth. The inhabitants of Attica maintained, that from a field by Eleusis the cultivation of grain was propagated amongst all nations. In all probability, the method of cultivating corn had, before the time of Triptolēmus, been introduced into Attica from Egypt. Erectheus had promoted and improved the practice; but in process of time it was in danger of being again lost, or, as the myth says, while Ceres was mourning for her daughter Proserpine, the earth bore no fruits. What is meant by this, is that the successful cultivation of corn depends on a correct determination of the proper time for sowing; a determination which was rendered difficult by the uncertain division of the year, inasmuch as the names of the several months did not always precisely coincide with the seasons, which depend on the position of the sun. Consequently a husbandman, who did not himself know how to observe the position of the stars, and was unable thence to re gnize the season, as determined by the position of the sun, might easily miss the right seed-time, and so lose the desired harvest. And as among the country people this mistake of seedtime became general, the cultivation of grain was at a stand-stillCeres was mourning. Now it was with a view to fix the time for sowing, that Triptolēmus attached the cultivation of corn to the worship of Ceres, by chief festivals, the greater and less Eleusinia, the times of which were annually determined with exactness by the priests, who observed the stars. The greater Eleusinia were held in autumn, when the winter sowing takes place, and Proserpine returns to the under-world ; the lesser Eleusinia in the spring, the time for the summer sowing; and then Proserpine again ascends from the under-world. Thus through these institutions he became a benefactor to his country, and a benefactor, too, to other nations, that adopted his precepts.
Into the tale of the rape of Proserpine and the grief of Ceres, Ovid has interwoven several other legends : a) The nymph Cyånê is changed into water by Pluto, whom she opposes ; v. 69 -97. b) Ceres changes a boy, who mocks at her, into a spotted lizard ; v. 98—121. c) Ascalăphus, because of his treachery, is changed by Proserpine into a screech-owl ; v. 193—210. d) Arethūsa tells Ceres, how she became changed into a fountain ; v. 222—301. e) The Scythian king Lyncus is changed into a lynx; v. 302-321.
Prima Ceres unco glebam dimovit aratro, 341
Illa canenda mihi est. Utinam modo dicere possem 5 Carmina digna dea! Certe dea carmine digna est.
Vasta Giganteis injecta est insula membris 346 Trinacris, et magnis subjectum molibus urget Ætherias ausum sperare Typhoea sedes.
Nititur ille quidem pugnatque resurgere sæpe ; 10 Dextra sed Ausonio manus est subjecta Peloro, 350
Læva, Pachyne, tibi, Lilybæo crura premuntur,
Sæpe remoliri luctatur pondera terræ, 15 Oppidaque et magnos devolvere corpore montes : 355
Inde tremit tellus, et rex pavet ipse silentum,
Hanc metuens cladem tenebrosa sede tyrannus 20 Exierat, curruque atrorum vectus equorum 360
Ambibat Siculæ cautus fundamina terræ.
Monte suo residens, natumque amplexa volucrem, 25 “ Arma manusque meæ, mea, nate, potentia,” dixit,
Illa, quibus superas omnes, cape tela, Cupido, 366
Tu Superos ipsumque Jovem, tu numina ponti 30 Victa domas ipsumque, regit qui numina ponti: 370
Tartara quid cessant? Cur non matrisque tuumque