“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War, X) – Ovid

by richibi


  “Deucalion and Pyrrha Praying before the Statue of the Goddess Themis (c.1542) 





              A mountain of stupendous height there stands
              Betwixt th’ Athenian and Boeotian lands, 


Boetia was, and still is, a region of 

Central Greece, its largest city is,

and was, Thebes, a major rival in

ancient times of Athens

              The bound of fruitful fields, while fields they were, 


bound, boundary, the fruitful fields

within a certain limited area, between 

Athens, here, and Boetia

              But then a field of waters did appear: 

              Parnassus is its name; whose forky rise
              Mounts thro’ the clouds, and mates the lofty skies. 


Parnassus is a mountain in Central 

Greece, however forky, however 

forked, craggy, uneven, sacred 

especially to Apollo, god of too 

many things to list here, and the 

site, at Delphi, on its south-western 

slope, of his Oracle, famous for 

being consulted on a variety of 

matters, from personal to affairs 

of state, its high priestess was 

believed to incarnate the very 

voice of Apollo


Parnassus was also the home, 

incidentally, of the Muses, goddesses 

in their own right, of the several arts, 

who ministered to Apollo

              High on the summit of this dubious cliff,
              Deucalion wafting, moor’d his little skiff. 


Deucalion is the Abrahamic Noah‘s

counterpart, sole survivor, with his 

wife Pyrrha, of the flood 


the cliff is dubious because the

mountain is still deep in water,

its summit precarious yet 


              He with his wife were only left behind
              Of perish’d Man; they two were human kind. 


they two alone were left of humankind,

of perish’d Man


              The mountain nymphs, and Themis they adore, 


Themis, goddess of Divine Justice


              And from her oracles relief implore. 


Deucalion and Pyrrha pray to Themis

at Delphi, its first high priestess, hungry

for, and heedful of, her oracles, counsel


see above


              The most upright of mortal men was he;
              The most sincere, and holy woman, she. 


a chance at a new world


R ! chard