A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Narcissus
Wednesday, August 19, 2015






Metamorphoses Ovid Bk III:474-510 Narcissus is changed into a flower

He spoke, and returned madly to the same reflection, and his tears stirred the water, and the image became obscured in the rippling pool. As he saw it vanishing, he cried out ‘ Where do you fly to?  Stay, cruel one, do not abandon one who loves you! I am allowed to gaze at what I cannot touch, and so provide food for my miserable passion!’ While he weeps, he tears at the top of his clothes: then strikes his naked chest with hands of marble. His chest flushes red when they strike it, as apples are often pale in part, part red, or as grapes in their different bunches are stained with purple when they are not yet ripe.

As he sees all this reflected in the dissolving waves, he can bear it no longer, but as yellow wax melts in a light flame, as morning frost thaws in the sun, so he is weakened and melted by love, and worn away little by little by the hidden fire. He no longer retains his colour, the white mingled with red, no longer has life and strength, and that form so pleasing to look at, nor has he that body which Echo loved. Still, when she saw this, though angered and remembering, she pitied him, and as often as the poor boy said ‘Alas!’ she repeated with her echoing voice ‘Alas!’ and when his hands strike at his shoulders, she returns the same sounds of pain. His last words as he looked into the familiar pool were ‘Alas, in vain, beloved boy!’ and the place echoed every word, and when he said ‘Goodbye!’ Echo also said ‘Goodbye!’

He laid down his weary head in the green grass, death closing those eyes that had marveled at their lord’s beauty.

 And even when he had been received into the house of shadows, he gazed into the Stygian waters. His sisters the Naiads lamented, and let down their hair for their brother, and the Dryads lamented. Echo returned their laments. And now they were preparing the funeral pyre, the quivering torches and the bier, but there was no body. They came upon a flower, instead of his body, with white petals surrounding a yellow heart.





     

Previous Posts
The Music of the Violin Does Not Emerge Alone

Pasado

Sukie- The Last To Leave Eastwick

En Casilla Tumatae & Pauline Kael

Sukie - Hair of Plangent Color

Nobody Is A Prophet In His Own Land

Norman Baldwin, A Manhole Cover & Sean Rossiter

A Corpse On Arvind Gupta's Former Doorsteps

Bard's Shakespeare's Rebel - All's Well That Ends ...

Anita Roberts Twice



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