“The Story of Narcissus” (lll) – Ovid

by richibi

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937 - Salvador Dali


         The Metamorphosis of Narcissus” (1937)


                   Salvador Dali





              This said, the weeping youth again return’d

              To the clear fountain, 


This said, you’ll remember that Narcissus

had pondered suicide, but was afraid that

such an act would also have an impact on

his reflection


                                          where again he burn’d;


burn’d, from the unusual fire that kindled
his breast


                His tears defac’d the surface of the well,

                With circle after circle, as they fell:


disfiguring reverberations in the water

from the tears


               And now the lovely face but half appears,
               O’er-run with wrinkles, and deform’d with tears.
               “Ah whither,” cries Narcissus, “dost thou fly?
               Let me still feed the flame by which I die;


the flame by which I die, the fire which

burns in his chest

              Let me still see, tho’ I’m no further blest.”


Narcissus will not willingly forego the

sight of his reflection though it will

manifestly not at all still his desire,

nor quell his fate


              Then rends his garment off, and beats his breast:
              His naked bosom redden’d with the blow,
              In such a blush as purple clusters show,
              Ere yet the sun’s autumnal heats refine
              Their sprightly juice, and mellow it to wine.


bruises the colour of wine blush in

purple clusters on his chest where

Narcissus has struck himself


              The glowing beauties of his breast he spies,
              And with a new redoubled passion dies.


The glowing beauties, the throbbing

discolorations left by the redoubled



              As wax dissolves, as ice begins to run,
              And trickle into drops before the sun;
              So melts the youth, and languishes away,
              His beauty withers, and his limbs decay;
              And none of those attractive charms remain,
              To which the slighted Echo su’d in vain.


slighted, rebuffed


Echo, the nymph who’d pursued him,

in vain, if you’ll remember


su’d, sued, implored

              She saw him in his present misery,
              Whom, spight of all her wrongs, she griev’d to see.


spight, in spite

              She answer’d sadly to the lover’s moan,
              Sigh’d back his sighs, and groan’d to ev’ry groan:
              “Ah youth! belov’d in vain,” Narcissus cries;


to his reflection

              “Ah youth! belov’d in vain,” the nymph replies.


Echo can only echo

              “Farewel,” says he; the parting sound scarce fell
              From his faint lips, but she reply’d, “farewel.”


Narcissus, interestingly, is reproduced

not only visually in the water by his

own reflection, but audibly as well by

Echo‘s reverberating sounds


see above

              Then on th’ wholsome earth he gasping lyes,
              ‘Till death shuts up those self-admiring eyes.
              To the cold shades his flitting ghost retires,
              And in the Stygian waves it self admires.


Stygian, of the river Styx, which forms

the boundary between Earth and the


              For him the Naiads and the Dryads mourn,


Naiads, water nymphs


Dryadstree nymphs

              Whom the sad Echo answers in her turn;


Echo also mourns

              And now the sister-nymphs prepare his urn:
              When, looking for his corps, they only found
              A rising stalk, with yellow blossoms crown’d.


corps, corpse, dead body


rising stalk, with yellow blossoms

crown’d, the narcissus, the flower



R ! chard