‘Artemis, with bow and quiver,
Stands aloft on Mount Olympus,
As the doe and hind, in silence,
Jump the clear and Star-lit river.
‘Swift they run. Like magic carpets
Are the green and silver forests.
Watch the bears – and bees with honey –
As the Goddess hits her target.
‘“Bravo, Sister!” beams Apollo –
Gazing at the sea below them –
“Never did you miss with arrow!”
Sinks the form of bold Orion”.
‘Lord Apollo watches, silent,
As the virgin’s beau drifts skyward.
Watches as the only question
O’er her virtue learns his lesson.
‘By a cedar stands she grieving,
Bows her head in shame, a-weeping,
Cries upon the smelted moon beams,
Chastens, then, her ruthless sibling.
‘“King of priests, my Lord Apollo,
‘Reasons for his death ring hollow.
While the muses – nine that love thee –
Contemplate their selves, you’d fool me!”
Laughs the god: “Your love’s a martyr,”
Facing fear the charging Taurus,
“Tempted by the Atlas daughters,
Girls who shine on lucid waters.”
“Have a drink on me,” says Chiron
“Trouble not your self with worry.
Stand I guard; the heart of darkness
Sits behind me, far beyond thee.
“Child of Earth and Starry Heaven –
Lake of Memory; shun the cypress!”
From the stream that’s clear as crystal
Drinks Orion, knows he’s timeless.
‘“If I’m made to stand here waiting –
Forced by ties which bind, eternal -”
Hale Orion roars in fury,
“My revenge shall wax infernal!
‘”Long for I the Winter solstice,
When the Sea Goat meets the Sun King.
On that day the horn of plenty
Brims. How long will this event be?
‘“Might of oceans, old Poseidon,
Let the fishes swim beside me?
Lest you grant this one diversion,
I shall die of boredom, nightly.
“Tell me this, as well, oh wise one,
When does Hades mete out mercy,
When young Eros drinks the ocean,
Aphrodite reaches thirty?
‘”Hestia’s hearth is icy cold,
Or Hermes sighs and says, ‘I’m old;’
Hera gives her heart to Echo,
Atlas cries and lets the Earth go?”
Now, since the god inspires me,
I follow where he leads, to open Delphi,
The very heavens, bring you revelation
Of mysteries, great matters never traced
By any mind before, and matters lost
Or hidden and forgotten, these I sing.
There is no greater wonder than to range
The starry heights, to leave the earth’s dull regions,
To ride the clouds, to stand on Atlas’ shoulders,
And see, far off, far down, the little figures
Wandering here and there, devoid of reason,
Anxious, in fear of death, and so advise them,
And so make fate an open book.
Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book 15, on The Teachings of Pythagoras