“Metamorphoses” – Ovid, 104


      The West Wind (1891)


            Winslow Homer




next, the creation of climate 


          And as five zones th’ aetherial regions bind,

          Five, correspondent, are to Earth assign’d: 


the five zones are the equatorial zone, the two 

temperate zones, and the polar zones

          The sun with rays, directly darting down,

           Fires all beneath, and fries the middle zone: 


the equator gets the brunt of it


          The two beneath the distant poles, complain

          Of endless winter, and perpetual rain. 


the poles get the other brunt of it


          Betwixt th’ extreams, two happier climates hold

          The temper that partakes of hot, and cold. 


temper”, as in “temperate”, as in zones


          The fields of liquid air, inclosing all, 

          Surround the compass of this earthly ball:

fields of liquid air, cloud covers


          The lighter parts lye next the fires above; 


fires above, the sun and the stars 

         The grosser near the watry surface move:

“grosser” air, less pure, less aetherial

          Thick clouds are spread, and storms engender there, 

          And thunder’s voice, which wretched mortals fear, 

          And winds that on their wings cold winter bear. 


they gravitate towards the denser earth, creating

conditions “there” for storms, strife, thunder


ever so ominously


          Nor were those blustring brethren left at large,

          On seas, and shores, their fury to discharge: 


blustring brethren, the winds, are not, we learn,  

not apportioned, not not allocated

          Bound as they are, and circumscrib’d in place,

          They rend the world, resistless, where they pass;

          And mighty marks of mischief leave behind;

          Such is the rage of their tempestuous kind. 


tempests, tsunamis, hurricanes



they call the winds 

          First Eurus to the rising morn is sent

          (The regions of the balmy continent);

          And Eastern realms, where early Persians run,

          To greet the blest appearance of the sun. 

          Westward, the wanton Zephyr wings his flight;

          Pleas’d with the remnants of departing light: 

          Fierce Boreas, with his off-spring, issues forth

          T’ invade the frozen waggon of the North.  


where we encounter, incidentally, aurorae borealis

          While frowning Auster seeks the Southern sphere;

          And rots, with endless rain, th’ unwholsom year.


it is to be noted that in 8 AD, when Metamorphoses 

was purportedly first published, one gathers from 

the text that the world was understood to be 

spherical, with two poles, the boreal and the 

austral, from which we later get the eponymously 

named Australia 


the world went flat, note, only later in the 

Middle Ages


R ! chard