“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War) – Ovid


    The Giant (1943) 


      Nicholas Roerich



The Giants’ War

            Nor were the Gods themselves more safe above;  

“justice” might have returned to Heaven

but that didn’t mean the Gods there 

were not affected by strife, nor immune 

            Against beleaguer’d Heav’n the giants move. 


where do the giants come from, who 

knows, I suspect there might be a

vestigial recollection here of larger 

entities, dinosaurs, for instance, 

lurking in our prehistoric memory, 

our primeval consciousness, finding 

expression and acknowledgment 

in our myths

            Hills pil’d on hills, on mountains mountains lie,
            To make their mad approaches to the skie. 


the giants were piling hills on hills, 

mountains on mountains, building 

pathways, however “mad”

notion, to the “skie”, or sky


see above

            ‘Till Jove, no longer patient, took his time
            T’ avenge with thunder their audacious crime: 


Jove, god of thunder


            Red light’ning plaid along the firmament,
            And their demolish’d works to pieces rent. 


lightning “plaid”, or played, at the edge 

of the heavens, destroying there the 

“works” the giants had erected, the 

high hills, the expanded, the extended, 



rent, past participle of the verb to rend,

to tear asunder


            Sing’d with the flames, and with the bolts transfixt,
            With native Earth, their blood the monsters mixt; 


the blood of these giants, “[s]ing’d with 

flames”, and “transfixt”, or pierced, 

riven, by thunderbolts, mixes with earth


            The blood, indu’d with animating heat, 


hot, propulsive, generating blood


indu’d, or endued, which is to say,

supplied with


            Did in th’ impregnant Earth new sons beget: 


the blood of the giants impregnates 

the Earth, begetting sons, there, and 


            They, like the seed from which they sprung, accurst, 

            Against the Gods immortal hatred nurst,

the sins of the father are carried on to  

their sons, and daughters, who maintain, 

have maintained, “nurst”, or nursed, the 

primitive rancour


            An impious, arrogant, and cruel brood;
            Expressing their original from blood. 


the children of the giants were recognizably 

the children of these “original[s]”, these

preliminary giants, an impious, arrogant, 

and cruel brood”

            Which when the king of Gods beheld from high 


the king of Gods, Jove

            (Withal revolving in his memory, 

            What he himself had found on Earth of late,
            Lycaon’s guilt, and his inhumane treat), 


“withal revolving”, or having revolved,

considered,“in his memory”, what he’d 

recently seen on Earth, the reprehensible 

behaviour of a certain Lycaon, Lycaon’s

monstrous discourtesies, his “inhumane

treat[ment]”, of which we’ll hear later


            He sigh’d; nor longer with his pity strove;
            But kindled to a wrath becoming Jove: 

an ire, a fury, worthy of the king of Gods 


stay tuned


R ! chard