Publius Ovidius Naso
8 CE (over 2,000 years ago)
Latin (Augustan Age)
Praebuerat dictis Tritonia talibus aures carminaque Aonidum iustamque probaverat iram; tum secum:
(Diana had offered her ears to such words, and approved the songs of the Muses and their righteous anger, then with the following:)
'laudare parum est, laudemur et ipsae numina nec sperni sine poena nostra sinamus.'
(‘However little there is to praise, let’s praise and let’s allow our divine power not to be denied without a punishment on her’)
Maeoniaeque animum fatis intendit Arachnes, quam sibi lanificae non cedere laudibus artis audierat.
(And she reached the mind of Maeonian Arachne with her prophesies, as she had heard that no one surpassed her in the praiseworthy skills of weaving;)
non illa loco nec origine gentis clara, sed arte fuit:
(And she was not only famous in her position and the distinction of her birth, but also in her craft:)
pater huic Colophonius Idmon Phocaico bibulas tinguebat murice lanas;
(There, her father Idmon of Colophon used to paint the heavy wools with Phocacian dye;)
occiderat mater, sed et haec de plebe suoque aequa viro fuerat;
(Her mother had passed away, but this girl from was her equal in the eyes of the common folk and to her husband;)
Lydas tamen illa per urbes quaesierat studio nomen memorabile, quamvis orta domo parva parvis habitabat Hypaepis.
(Still, throughout the Lydian city, she had sought a reputation worthy of memory in her devotion, since she, raised from a meager home, used to live among the meager locals;)
huius ut adspicerent opus admirabile, saepe deseruere sui nymphae vineta Timoli, deseruere suas nymphae Pactolides undas.
(So they would gaze at her marvelous works of art; often the nymphs would leave vineyards of their own town Timolus, and the Pactolidean nymphs would leave their own waters;)
nec factas solum vestes, spectare iuvabat tum quoque, cum fierent:
(At that time too, it was not too pleasing to behold the fashioned clothes alone, since these things would happen:)
tantus decor adfuit arti, sive rudem primos lanam glomerabat in orbes, seu digitis subigebat opus repetitaque longo vellera mollibat nebulas aequantia tractu, sive levi teretem versabat pollice fusum, seu pingebat acu; scires a Pallade doctam.
(She was so distinguished in her craft, be it when she balled up the raw wool into its first spheres, or when she pulled down here artwork with her fingers and softened the fluffs along a long tract with constant and measured strokes, or when she turn round and round the smooth spindle on her delicate thumb, or when she threaded with the needle; you would realize that she was taught by Athena;)
quod tamen ipsa negat tantaque offensa magistra ‘certet’ ait ‘mecum: nihil est, quod victa recusem!’
(But because she denies that, and taking such great offense at her teacher, she says “And this is certain my own skill: never will I withdraw, defeated!’)
Pallas anum simulat: falsosque in tempora canos addit et infirmos, baculo quos sustinet, artus.
(Athena disguises as an old women: and she adds false gray to her hair and frail limbs, which she leans on with a walking stick;)
tum sic orsa loqui 'non omnia grandior aetas, quae fugiamus, habet: seris venit usus ab annis: seris venit usus ab annis.
(So then, rising, she said, ‘Not even the greatest age holds anything that I would flee: experience comes from passing years;)
‘consilium ne sperne meum: tibi fama petatur inter mortales faciendae maxima lanae;
(Do not spurn my advice: the greatest fame in weaving wool may be sought for you among mortals;)
cede deae veniamque tuis, temeraria, dictis supplice voce roga: veniam dabit illa roganti’;
(Bold girl, give way to the goddess with your words; ask with supplicant voice: she will give way to one who asks’)
adspicit hanc torvis inceptaque fila relinquit vixque manum retinens confessaque vultibus iram talibus obscuram resecuta est Pallada dictis:
(She gazes at her with savage eyes, and releases the threads she had caught up, and scarcely holding back a slap, revealing her dark anger with cringes, she chided Pallas with these words:)
'mentis inops longaque venis confecta senecta, et nimium vixisse diu nocet. audiat istas, si qua tibi nurus est, si qua est tibi filia, voces;
(You unfortunate old woman, with your insane thoughts, have made senile by old age, and it pains you to have lived so very long. Let her hear these insults, even if she was your nurse, even if she was your daughter;)
consilii satis est in me mihi, neve monendo profecisse putes, eadem est sententia nobis. cur non ipsa venit? cur haec certamina vitat?'
(There is enough advice for me in myself, so you may not think to have accomplished anything by your warning; this is my own opinion. Why doesn’t she come? Why does she avoid this challenge?’
tum dea 'venit!' ait formamque removit anilem Palladaque exhibuit:
(Then the goddess said, “She has come!” and removed her aged disguise and revealed herself to be Athena;)
venerantur numina nymphae Mygdonidesque nurus;
(The Mygdonian nymphs and nurses begin to worship her divine power;)
sola est non territa virgo, sed tamen erubuit, subitusque invita notavit ora rubor rursusque evanuit, ut solet aer purpureus fieri, cum primum Aurora movetur, et breve post tempus candescere solis ab ortu.
(Only the girl was not afraid, but still she blushed, and sudden redness revealed her stubborn face and vanished again, just as a violet sky is accustomed to happen, when first Dawn is stirred, and after a brief period of time, it radiates sunlight from its ascent;)
perstat in incepto stolidaeque cupidine palmae in sua fata ruit;
(She stands still in a desire for foolish victory palms, and she rushes to her own destruction;)
neque enim Iove nata recusat nec monet ulterius nec iam certamina differt.
(For Jove’s daugher does neither retracts nor warns any longer nor refuses the challenge now;)
haud mora, constituunt diversis partibus ambae et gracili geminas intendunt stamine telas:
(There is no delay, both set up on different sides, and they reach for two sets of shafts on the soft warp;)
tela iugo vincta est, stamen secernit harundo, inseritur medium radiis subtemen acutis, quod digiti expediunt, atque inter stamina ductum percusso paviunt insecti pectine dentes.
(The shaft is tied to the yoke; the warp splits from its clinging; the middle of the weft is rubbed upon with sharp blows, as the fingers fly along, and between the warps, the teeth strike the comb that is led across the beaten groove;)
utraque festinant cinctaeque ad pectora vestes bracchia docta movent, studio fallente laborem.
(And each set of learned arms hurry along and stir the clothes upon their chests, while their concentration complete their task;)
illic et Tyrium quae purpura sensit aenum texitur et tenues parvi discriminis umbrae;
(And there where purple felt the Tyrian bronze was covered, and there were light shadows on the small border;)
qualis ab imbre solent percussis solibus arcus inficere ingenti longum curvamine caelum;
(Just as, while the sunlight are struck along by the rain, arcs tend to fix the broad sky with a huge rainbow;)
in quo diversi niteant cum mille colores, transitus ipse tamen spectantia lumina fallit:
(In this way, so many thousands of colors glitter, that still someone walking by is deceived by the shining lights:)
usque adeo, quod tangit, idem est; tamen ultima distant.
(Up to as far as he can touch, it is the same color; yet the farthest regions appear to spread apart.)
illic et lentum filis inmittitur aurum et vetus in tela deducitur argumentum.
(And there heavy gold is cast inside the threads, and an ancient story is lead down into the shafts;)
Cecropia Pallas scopulum Mavortis in arce pingit et antiquam de terrae nomine litem.
(Athena paints the Cecropian mount upon Mars’ citadel and the ancient quarrel over the country’s name;)
bis sex caelestes medio Iove sedibus altis augusta gravitate sedent;
(The twelve celestial beings are sitting upon their loft thrones in grandeur, with Jove in the center;)
sua quemque deorum inscribit facies: Iovis est regalis imago;
(A unique image depicts each of the gods: the royal image belongs to Jove;)
stare deum pelagi longoque ferire tridente aspera saxa facit, medioque e vulnere saxi exsiluisse fretum, quo pignore vindicet urbem;
(She makes the god of the sea stand and smash the sharp sur with his long trident, and from the middle of the rock’s gash, a channel of water leapt up, by which benefit he claims title to the city;)
at sibi dat clipeum, dat acutae cuspidis hastam, dat galeam capiti, defenditur aegide pectus, percussamque sua simulat de cuspide terram edere cum bacis fetum canentis olivae;
(Yet he gives it the shield; he gives the spear with its sharp point; he gives the helmet for the head; the chest is protected by the breastplate, and he makes the earth, beaten by his spear, give forth willingly the shoot of olive with its shining berries;)
mirarique deos: operis Victoria finis.
(And the gods wondering: Victory with her finished masterpieces;)
ut tamen exemplis intellegat aemula laudis, quod pretium speret pro tam furialibus ausis quattuor in partes certamina quattuor addit, clara colore suo, brevibus distincta sigillis:
(Still so, the opponent chooses praiseworthy examples, because she hoped for the prize for adding four contests with Furies attacking on all fours corners, radiant in its color, well-defined with its intricate signettes:)
Threiciam Rhodopen habet angulus unus et Haemum, nunc gelidos montes, mortalia corpora quondam, nomina summorum sibi qui tribuere deorum;
(One corner depicts Treicia and Haemus of Rhodes, now icy mountains, but once bodies of mortal men, who gave themselves names of the loftiest immortal gods;)
altera Pygmaeae fatum miserabile matris pars habet: hanc Iuno victam certamine iussit esse gruem populisque suis indicere bellum;
(Another part depicts the woeful fate of the Pgymaea’s mother: Juno ordered her to be defeated in battle and to announce gruesome war upon her own people;)
pinxit et Antigonen, ausam contendere quondam cum magni consorte Iovis, quam regia Iuno in volucrem vertit, nec profuit Ilion illi Laomedonve pater, sumptis quin candida pennis ipsa sibi plaudat crepitante ciconia rostro;
(And she painted Antigone, who, once upon a time, dared to compete with the great bedfellow of Jove, one whom Queen Juno turned into a bird, and on this side Laomedon, founder of Troy, stood forth; indeed, he, a stork having taking on wings, claps on his behalf with his trembling beak;)
qui superest solus, Cinyran habet angulus orbum;
(The last corner that remains depicts wretched Cinyras;)
isque gradus templi, natarum membra suarum, amplectens saxoque iacens lacrimare videtur.
(Here is the stair of the temple, where he appears, embracing the limbs of his own daughters and lying upon the stone, to cry;)
circuit extremas oleis pacalibus oras (is modus est) operisque sua facit arbore finem.
(She surrounds the farthest edges with gentle olive branches [this is her sign], and she makes a border around her masterpiece with her own tree;)
Maeonis elusam designat imagine tauri Europam: verum taurum, freta vera putares;
(She weaves Europa, swept away by the image of a Maeonian cow: you would think that the bull was real, that the reins were real;)
ipsa videbatur terras spectare relictas et comites clamare suas tactumque vereri adsilientis aquae timidasque reducere plantas.
(The girl seemed to gaze at the lands and call her companions, to the touch of the leaping water, and to lead your feet back down;)
fecit et Asterien aquila luctante teneri, fecit olorinis Ledam recubare sub alis;
(And she wove Asteries, held by a shining eagle; she wove Leda lying down with her swans wings;)
addidit, ut satyri celatus imagine pulchram Iuppiter inplerit gemino Nycteida fetu, Amphitryon fuerit, cum te, Tirynthia, cepit, aureus ut Danaen, Asopida luserit ignis, Mnemosynen pastor, varius Deoida serpens.
(She added more: a scene in which Jupiter, disguised in the form of a satyr, impregnated Nycteida with twins; he feigned Amphitryon with you, Tirynthia, just as the golden showered deceived Danae; a flame deceived Asopida; the shepherd Mnemosyne; the striped serpent Deois;)
te quoque mutatum torvo, Neptune, iuvenco virgine in Aeolia posuit;
(She also wove you, Neptune, changed into a male bull, upon an Aeolian virgin;)
tu visus Enipeus gignis Aloidas, aries Bisaltida fallis, et te flava comas frugum mitissima mater sensit equum, sensit volucrem crinita colubris mater equi volucris, sensit delphina Melantho:
(You, pretending to be Enipeus, father the Aloidas; pretending to be a ram, you sire Bisaltida, while one mother, most bountiful in her golden locks, recognized you, as a horse: the long-haired mother, sitting on the horse, recognized the bird among the slithering snakes; Melantho recognized you as a dolphin:)
omnibus his faciemque suam faciemque locorum reddidit.
(From all of these disguises, recovered his own appearance and his station;)
est illic agrestis imagine Phoebus, utque modo accipitris pennas, modo terga leonis gesserit, ut pastor Macareida luserit Issen, Liber ut Erigonen falsa deceperit uva, ut Saturnus equo geminum Chirona crearit.
(Phoebus is over on that side, in a depiction of the countryside, just now as he took on the feathery wings of an hawk, then took on the back of a lion, so that the shepherd could deceive Isse from Macareida, so that Bacchus could rape Erigone as a false grapevine, so that Saturn’s son, in the form of a horse, could conceive a twin in Chirona;)
ultima pars telae, tenui circumdata limbo, nexilibus flores hederis habet intertextos.
(The final part of the tapestry, surrounded by a thin borderline, has interwoven flowers with vines connecting.)
Non illud Pallas, non illud carpere Livor possit opus:
(Pallas could not bear to take it; her Anger could not bear this masterpiece:)
doluit successu flava virago et rupit pictas, caelestia crimina, vestes, utque Cytoriaco radium de monte tenebat, ter quater Idmoniae frontem percussit Arachnes.
(The golden-haired she-warrior was offended by her audacity, and she breaks the tapestry, and as she began to put on her celestial hair, robes, and crown from the Cytorian mountain, she slapped Idmonian Arachne’s face three, then four times;)
non tulit infelix laqueoque animosa ligavit guttura:
(The unlucky girl did not resist, and she stopped her feisty voice with a pause :)
pendentem Pallas miserata levavit atque ita 'vive quidem, pende tamen, inproba' dixit, 'lexque eadem poenae, ne sis secura futuri, dicta tuo generi serisque nepotibus esto!'
(Athena, grieving, lifted her up, hanging, and thus said, ‘But live, yet hang down, naughty girl, and this same decree will be your punishment, so that you not be sure of the future, let this be decreed for you son-in-law and future descendents!’)
post ea discedens sucis Hecateidos herbae sparsit:
(After these words, before she left, she sprinkled on her the juices of the Hecates plant:)
et extemplo tristi medicamine tactae defluxere comae, cum quis et naris et aures, fitque caput minimum; toto quoque corpore parva est:
(And suddenly her hair fell off, touched by a malicious potion, whatever was of her nose and ears and head, they shrink; she was shrunken entirely in her whole body:)
in latere exiles digiti pro cruribus haerent, cetera venter habet, de quo tamen illa remittit stamen et antiquas exercet aranea telas.
(Spindly fingers cling to her hip, in place of legs; her stomach has the others, from where she pushed back her thread still, and she, a spider, spins out her ancient string.)