“Metamorphoses” – Ovid, 103


     Chaos (The Creation) (1841) 


                Ivan Aivazovsky




        But God, or Nature, while they thus contend,

        To these intestine discords put an end:


intestine, of the entrails, intestine discords, 

a stomach ache, already the 

anthropomorphization of the deity, our 

gods created in our own image


        Then earth from air, and seas from earth were driv’n,

        And grosser air sunk from aetherial Heav’n. 


the elements begin to find, and form, each 

their distinctive identities


grosser air, less pure than that of Heaven


        Thus disembroil’d, they take their proper place;

        The next of kin, contiguously embrace; 


the elements fall in line, like congregates with 


        And foes are sunder’d, by a larger space. 


space expands



examples follow


        The force of fire ascended first on high,

        And took its dwelling in the vaulted sky:

        Then air succeeds, in lightness next to fire;

        Whose atoms from unactive earth retire.

        Earth sinks beneath, and draws a num’rous throng

        Of pondrous, thick, unwieldy seeds along.


there are the seeds again, the jarring seeds,

within the primordial Chaos, cloying to what 

will become the Earth 


note also the introduction of gravity, what

goes up, what goes down


         About her coasts, unruly waters roar;

         And rising, on a ridge, insult the shore


water vies with earth for its place upon the 

strand, in waves, tides, still, even thousands 

of years later


        Thus when the God, whatever God was he,


note the indecision here, the less adamant 

profession of the deity before the imprint

of uncompromising Christianity, when 

there would’ve been no wars of religion, 

the wars were for territory 


          Had form’d the whole, and made the parts agree,

          That no unequal portions might be found,


a God who would’ve presided, who would’ve

called the elements to order, and proportion


          He moulded Earth into a spacious round:

          Then with a breath, he gave the winds to blow;

          And bad the congregated waters flow. 


bad, or bade, as in called upon to perform a task

          He adds the running springs, and standing lakes;

          And bounding banks for winding rivers makes.

          Some part, in Earth are swallow’d up, the most

          In ample oceans, disembogu’d, are lost. 


disembogue is said of a waterway that joins a

larger current, a stream disembogues into a 

river, a river into a sea, or an ocean


          He shades the woods, the vallies he restrains

          With rocky mountains, and extends the plains. 


sounds like Vancouver



R ! chard