“Ocyrrhoe transform’d into a Mare” (II) – Ovid

by richibi


      Indigo Sky Mares


             Laurel Burch





         Thus entring into destiny, the maid

         The secrets of offended Jove betray’d:


the maid, Ocyrrhoe, daughter of Chiron

and [t]he nymph Charicle


Ocyrrhoe had offended Jove, but

especially Hades, Jove’s brother,

ruler of the Underworld, when she

had prophesied that Apollo‘s child

with Coronis would be an acclaimed

healer, thus defraud[ing] the tomb,

thereby saving people from the 

clutches of Hades, the especially 

aggrieved god

         More had she still to say; but now appears

         Oppress’d with sobs and sighs, and drown’d in tears.


Occhyroe would have had more

to prophesy, but was impeded by

involuntary physical spasms


         “My voice,” says she, “is gone, my language fails;

         Through ev’ry limb my kindred shape prevails:


kindred shape, the bodily

characteristics of her father,

her kin, the centaur Chiron 

         Why did the God this fatal gift impart,

         And with prophetick raptures swell my heart!


prophetick raptures, Occhyroe, who

knew her father’s arts, and could

rehearse The depths of prophecy,

had inherited through her father,

Chiron, who had himself received

it from Apollo, his own father, the 

gift of divination, for better, for 

either, we’ll learn, or for worse


         What new desires are these? I long to pace

         O’er flow’ry meadows, and to feed on grass;

         I hasten to a brute, a maid no more;


what’s happening, What new desires

are these?, Occhyroe cries, or nearly

neighs, rather, at this point, I’m

becoming a brute, she groans, an

animal, a maid, no more, she objects


         But why, alas! am I transform’d all o’er?

         My sire does half a human shape retain,

         And in his upper parts preserve the man.”


why, Occhyroe asks, since my

father, Chiron, is partially a man,

am I transform’d all o’er?, why

is there nothing left of me that

is human

         Her tongue no more distinct complaints affords,


distinct, clear, easy to decipher


affords, allows, permits

         But in shrill accents and mis-shapen words

         Pours forth such hideous wailings, as declare

         The human form confounded in the mare:


Occhyroe has become a horse,

the proof is in her braying

         ‘Till by degrees accomplish’d in the beast,

         She neigh’d outright, and all the steed exprest.


all the steed exprest, was

everywhere the very picture 

of a horse

         Her stooping body on her hands is born,


born, borne, carried

         Her hands are turn’d to hoofs, and shod in horn,

         Her yellow tresses ruffle in a mane,

         And in a flowing tail she frisks her train,

         The mare was finish’d in her voice and look,

         And a new name from the new figure took.


Occhyroe can no longer be called

Occhyroe, she is no longer she,

but a new figure, needing to be

identified as something else



R ! chard