Sunday, November 3, 2019

Just Say No: Daphne, Ovid's Meta.I.453 - 490

Primus amor Phoebi Daphne Peneia, quem non
fors ignara dedit, sed saeva Cupidinis ira,
Delius hunc nuper, victa serpente superbus,
viderat adducto flectentem cornua nervo               455
'quid' que 'tibi, lascive puer, cum fortibus armis?'
dixerat: 'ista decent umeros gestamina nostros,
qui dare certa ferae, dare vulnera possumus hosti,
qui modo pestifero tot iugera ventre prementem
stravimus innumeris tumidum Pythona sagittis.               460
tu face nescio quos esto contentus amores
inritare tua, nec laudes adsere nostras!'
filius huic Veneris 'figat tuus omnia, Phoebe,
te meus arcus' ait; 'quantoque animalia cedunt
cuncta deo, tanto minor est tua gloria nostra.'               465
dixit et eliso percussis aere pennis
inpiger umbrosa Parnasi constitit arce
eque sagittifera prompsit duo tela pharetra
diversorum operum: fugat hoc, facit illud amorem;
quod facit, auratum est et cuspide fulget acuta,               470
quod fugat, obtusum est et habet sub harundine plumbum.
hoc deus in nympha Peneide fixit, at illo
laesit Apollineas traiecta per ossa medullas;
protinus alter amat, fugit altera nomen amantis
silvarum latebris captivarumque ferarum               475
exuviis gaudens innuptaeque aemula Phoebes:
vitta coercebat positos sine lege capillos.
multi illam petiere, illa aversata petentes
inpatiens expersque viri nemora avia lustrat
nec, quid Hymen, quid Amor, quid sint conubia curat.               480
saepe pater dixit: 'generum mihi, filia, debes,'
saepe pater dixit: 'debes mihi, nata, nepotes';
illa velut crimen taedas exosa iugales
pulchra verecundo suffuderat ora rubore
inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis               485
'da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime,' dixit
'virginitate frui! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae.'
ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat:
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,               490


--Ovid, Metamorphoses I. 453 - 490

The first love of Phoebus was Daphne, the daughter of Peneus. This did not happen by blind chance, but by the savage wrath of Cupid.

Here's what happened: Apollo, cocky from his recent victory at Delphi, saw the winged god practicing with his bow and arrow, and said, "What's a little kid like you doing playing with a grown up weapon? This is MY weapon, that I use to shoot prey and enemies alike. I just now used it to slay the savage Python, as it coiled over acres of land, using endless arrows. Little boy, be content with your dabbles of darts and don't bother with my big boy toys."

The son of Venus replied, "Your bow shoots at everything, Phoebus, but my bow will shoot you! As lowly as the animals are that fall by your hand, I will humble your glory with my own." Thus he spoke, and with the wind beneath his wings, made his way upon Mount Parnassus. There he reached for his quiver and grabbed two weapons, each with a different purpose: a golden arrow that conceived love, and a leaden one that euthanized it.  The god shot the leaden arrow into Daphne, but the other arrow pierced Apollo's marrow deep within his bones. Immediately Apollo falls in love...

...and the girl shuns the name of love. Like the ever-virgin Diana, she lurks in the hidden places of savage beasts as they roamed the forest, and lets her hair run wild. Many men tried to court her, but she, unwilling to get to know a man's touch, would shun her suitors, wandering deeper into the forest. She didn't care for love, or courtship, or marriage.

Often her father said, "Daughter, you owe me a son-in-law. Daughter, you owe me grandchildren!"
But she, thinking the sex act to be the most foul offense, would blush, embrace her father and counter, "Let me enjoy my virginity forever, dearest father! Diana's father let her do so, let me be free, too!"

He acquiesced, but little one, that beauty of yours got in the way of your plans, and got you into trouble. For as soon as Phoebus saw Daphne, he fell in love, and tried to get into her pants...

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