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

by richibi


    “Neptune and Triton (1620 – 1622) 


          Gian Lorenzo Bernini




              When Jupiter, surveying Earth from high,
              Beheld it in a lake of water lie,
              That where so many millions lately liv’d,
              But two, the best of either sex, surviv’d;
              He loos’d the northern wind; 


the new world begins


                                                       fierce Boreas flies
              To puff away the clouds, and purge the skies:
              Serenely, while he blows, the vapours driv’n,
              Discover Heav’n to Earth, and Earth to Heav’n. 


Boreas, ruler of the northern wind, as in 

aurora borealis, at the instigation of the

officiating Jupiter, disperses the clouds, 

drives away the vapours, allowing Heav’n 

to see Earth, and Earth  to see Heav’n, 

nothing between the earth and the 

clear blue sky

              The billows fall, while Neptune lays his mace
              On the rough sea, and smooths its furrow’d face. 


while billows fall, gusts of boreal wind, 

Neptune, god of the Sea, as well and 

simultaneously in the service of Jupiter

smooths the surface of the water by 

laying his mace, a club with spikes, 

upon it, to still the unruly waves

              Already Triton, at his call, appears
              Above the waves; 


Triton, son of Neptune, also a sea deity


                                           a Tyrian robe he wears; 


Tyrian, of Tyre, a city in what is now

Lebanon, but was then Phoenicia, it 

was famous at the time for its cloth 

of a particular colour, Tyrian purple


Tyre is one of the oldest continuously

inhabited cities in the world


              And in his hand a crooked trumpet bears. 


Triton is characteristically depicted 

with a conch shella crooked trumpet 


see above


              The soveraign bids him peaceful sounds inspire,
              And give the waves the signal to retire. 


[t]he soveraign, or sovereign, is none

other than Neptune, his father 

              His writhen shell he takes; whose narrow vent
              Grows by degrees into a large extent, 


writhen, twisted, contorted, as is typical 

of a conch shell, which grows from 

where one blows into it, by degrees,  

towards the much larger opening from 

which the sound emanates


              Then gives it breath; the blast with doubling sound,
              Runs the wide circuit of the world around: 


Triton blows into the conch, gives it 

breath, the blast [ ] doubling [the]

sound, resounding, reverberating, 

the world around, the world over

              The sun first heard it, in his early east,
              And met the rattling ecchos in the west.
              The waters, listning to the trumpet’s roar,
              Obey the summons, and forsake the shore.

the waters begin to recede



R ! chard