Your fate is sad and bitter. I do pity you, Cal.
The earth is a lovely place but nature is cruel.
Sweet mortal, my actions were thoughtless, I admit,
but your own blood made you give in to me.
I am filled with sorrow for your human frailty,
but I am unable to undo what jealous Juno has wrought.
No god can undo what another has done.
Although I must obey certain laws of Nature,
I still have the power to make amends
by exalting you amidst the glory of the night skies
where for ages men will look at you
not with hunger but with wonder.
ORESTES IN TORMENT
I left the oracle torn by inner strife —
Apollo's command cannot be disobeyed.
Although it's my father who's been betrayed
vengeance balks at taking a mother's life.
Is it justice to murder those who kill?
My mother should be punished for her crime,
and no doubt she'll repent of it in time . . .
I've no choice but to follow the god's will.
There's power in my nature to forgive . . .
How can I slay her staring in her face?
She'll wear a look my mind cannot erase . . .
If not for Electra I'd let her live!
According to Ovid, as Jove was restoring the rivers and woodlands of Arcady, he spied Callisto resting from the hunt. At the sight of her, lust enflamed him and he thought: "Juno will never know." But he underestimated a woman's power of perception, and when Juno found out, she turned Callisto into a bear.
Do you see that my maidenly form is gone?
Here is my nose, a full six inches from my face
at the end of this clumsy whiskered snout.
And Jove, my hands have been turned to paws
with claws that rip the bark from trees.
These legs are not mine, they are short with heavy haunches.
How I yearn to run long-legged through the grass
with bow and quiver bouncing on my back,
to enter the marketplace and catch the hungry eyes of men.
You, the all-knowing god — O Jove! Pity me!
I who was the hunter have become the hunted.
Restore me at once to the shape that made you love me.
BIRTH OF VENUS
She rose from the sea foam,
bathed in brightness.
swinging iron and strumming on a lyre,
I wooed her who would not be won.
Then forth from the pit came a lame man,
ugly as death,
to see what all the clamor was about.
Together we beheld her
as she walked in a garden,
he on one side, I on the other.
I tried to overshadow him.
O, but he was clever!
Dropping his treasures down in a heap,
he lifted up a shield.
With its mirror, he drew her to him.
With his ugliness, he led her away.