“Ocyrrhoe transform’d into a Mare” – Ovid

by richibi



       Centaur and Nymph


              Arnold Böcklin




                  Old Chiron took the babe with secret joy,                 

                  Proud of the charge of the celestial boy.

                  His daughter too, whom on the sandy shore

                  The nymph Charicle to the centaur bore,

                  With hair dishevel’d on her shoulders, came

                  To see the child, Ocyrrhoe was her name;


Ocyrrhoe, daughter of Chiron and [t]he

nymph Chariclec[o]me …[t]see

the child


With hair dishevel’d on her shoulders,

there’s a suggestion here, regarding

Charicle, of madness, or possession


the child, the babethe celestial boy,

the infant, ript, by its very father,

Apollo, from his unfaithful lover,

Coronis’, womb, and [given] … to

the centaur Chiron”s charge, into

its, or his, care


                  She knew her father’s arts, and could rehearse

                  The depths of prophecy in sounding verse.


it appears that Ocyrrhoe, daughter of

Chiron and the nymph Charicle, was

a poetess, was possessed, on her

father’s side, of poetry, could reveal,  

decipher, or rehearse / The depths

of prophecy, in sounding verse, was

able, as wordmongers sometimes do,

to tell truth, deliver, in rhyme, incisive


              Once, as the sacred infant she survey’d,


the sacred infant, the child born of

Apollo and Coronis 


              The God was kindled in the raving maid,


The God, the child, the sacred infant,

by virtue of being half, if only half,

divine, having been fathered by the

god, Apollo


kindled, inspired


the raving maid, Ocyrrhoe, beset by

neurotic, irrational, though prophetic,

it is proposed, powers

                   And thus she utter’d her prophetick tale:

                  “Hail, great physician of the world, all-hail;


great physician of the world, the fated

child of Apollo and Coronis would

become a healer of legend


                  Hail, mighty infant, who in years to come

                  Shalt heal the nations, and defraud the tomb;


defraud the tomb, recall from the

hereafter, resuscitate, revive,

return to life

                  Swift be thy growth! thy triumphs unconfin’d!

                  Make kingdoms thicker, and increase mankind.


thicker, more populated

                  Thy daring art shall animate the dead,


Thy daring art, medicine, the mighty

infant will eventually be recognized

as a celebrated man of healing 

                  And draw the thunder on thy guilty head:


guilty head, when Hades, king of the

Underworld, complained to Zeus, his

brother, that the mighty infant was

stealing his subjects, the departed,

Zeus shot the great physician down,

acknowledging the healer’s guilt, of

his defraud[ing] the tomb, condemning

the culprit with a punishing, an

annihilating, thunderbolt


                  Then shalt thou dye, but from the dark abode

                  Rise up victorious, and be twice a God.


Apollo, aggrieved, had had his son,

the child, the sacred infant, reinstated,

after tortuous ministrations, as an

immortal god, an entirely, however,

other story


                  And thou, my sire, not destin’d by thy birth

                  To turn to dust, and mix with common earth,

                  How wilt thou toss, and rave, and long to dye,

                  And quit thy claim to immortality;

                  When thou shalt feel, enrag’d with inward pains,

                  The Hydra’s venom rankling in thy veins?


the child, the sire, not destin’d by [its] birth

/ To turn to dust, which is to say, to be no

longer mortal but immortal, how will it, not

wanting particularly to survive, quit [its]

claim to immortality, deal with the

impossibility of dying, [w]hen [it] shal[l]

feel, enrag’d with inward pains, agonies,

that compel it to seek personal annihilation


Hydra, a snakelike monster with many

heads, whose venom and very breath

were poisonous, stationed at one of

the entrances to the Underworld


                  The Gods, in pity, shall contract thy date,

                  And give thee over to the pow’r of Fate.”


contract thy date, make mortal,

subject once again to Fate



R ! chard