Many a lesson about live. And interestingly without trying to make it complicated or some deeper psychological struggle. Simply by acting the actors here reveal so much more than a lot of introspection could ever reveal.
“Horace Walpole’s favourite saying, that life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.” (Melville, in Ovid, 1986, p. xix).
“And out on soaking wings the south wind flew,
His ghastly features veiled in deepest gloom.
His beard was sodden with rain, his white hair drenched;
Mists wreathed his brow and streaming water fell
From wings and chest; and when in giant hands
He crushed the hanging clouds, the thunder crashed
And storms of blinding rain poured down from heaven.” (Ovid, 1986, p.9).
“The sun – how slow he seemed! –
Plunged in the waves and from the waves rose night.” (Ovid ‘Diana and Actaeon’, 1986, p.77).
“The huge three-angled isle of Sicily
Lies piled upon the body of the giant,
Typhon, whose hopes had dared heaven’s palaces,
And holds him fast beneath its mighty mass.” (Ovid ‘The rape of Proserpine’, 1986, p.109).
“And with the boxwood shuttle in her hand
(Box of Cytorus) three times, four times, struck
Arachne on her forehead. The poor wretch,
Arachne on her forehead. The poor wretch,
Unable to endure it, bravely placed
A noose around her neck; but, as she hung,
Pallas in pity raised her, ‘Live!’ she said,
‘Yes, live but hang, you wickedgirl, and know
You’ll rue the future too.” (Ovid ‘Arachne’, 1986, p.1025).
“ … Nothing he would not do,
Nothing not dare, as passion drove unrefined,
A furnace barely in his heart contained.” (Ovid ‘Tereus, Procne, and Philomela’, 1986, p.135).
“And then before her eyes duty and honour
Stood clear and love, defeated, turned away.” (Ovid ‘The rape of Proserpine’, 1986, p.146).
“Take, Athens, take
Our help, don’t ask it!” (Ovid ‘Minos, Aeacus, Plague at Aegina’, 1986, p.109).
“The morning star revealed the shining day,
Night fled, the east wind fell, the rain-clouds rose,
A steady south wind speeded the return
Of Cephalus with the Aeginetan force.” (Ovid ‘Scylla and Minos’, 1986, p.171).
“Then night, the surest nurse of troubled souls.” (Ovid ‘Scylla and Minos’, 1986, p.173).
“and as a ship
That drives before the breeze against the tide
Will feel twin forces and obey them both,
So with both feelings, swaying back and forth,
In turn Althaea lulled and roused her wrath.” (Ovid ‘Meleager and Calydonian Boar’, 1986, p.185).
“Hunger did Ceres’ bidding …
Entered the scoundrel’s room and, as he slept
(The hour was midnight), wrapped him in her arms
And breathed upon him, filling with herself
His mouth and throat and lungs, and channeled through
His hollow veins her craving emptiness;
Then, duty done, quitting the fertile earth
Returned to her bleak home, her caves of dearth.” (Ovid ‘Erysichthon and his daughter’, 1986, p.196).
“I wrote, I wooed, I wanted wickedness.
Though no more’s done, I’ll not seem innocent.
What lies ahead may little add of sin,
But much, oh much, of happiness to win.” (Ovid ‘Byblis’, 1986, p.218).
“The forest failed; on the hard ground she fell,
Exhausted by her quest, and lay face down,
With tumbled hair, among the fallen leaves.” (Ovid ‘Byblis’, 1986, p.219).
“… And now a hawk,
Benign to none, he vents his savagery
On every bird and, as in grief he goes,
Ensures that others frieve and share his woes.” (Ovid ‘Daedalion’, 1986, p.259).
“(Ajax:)It’s safer then to fight with lies than face
A foe in arms. But I’ve no way with words,
Nor he with action; in the battle-line
Of bloody war I’m master, so is he
Master of language. Yet, I’m sure, no words,
My friends, need tell my exploits. Your own eyes
Have seen them. Let Ulysses speak of his,
Done without witness, only known to night!” (Ovid ‘Ajax and Ulysses and the arms of Achilles’, 1986, p.294).
“(Ulysses:) Good comrades, had my prayers and yours prevailed,
There’d be no heirship in dispute today
In this great contest. Your arms there, Achilles,
You’d have yourself; and we should still have you.
But since the Fates’ unfairness has denied him
To me and you alike (he wiped his eyes
As if he wept) ‘who’d better win, as heir
Of great Achilles, than the man who won
The aid of great Achilles for the Greeks?” (Ovid ‘Ajax and Ulysses and the arms of Achilles’, 1986, p.299).
“With neither sleep nor food, as chance might lead.
Tiber was last to see her; tired and worn
With grief and journeying, she laid her head
By his long riverside, and there, in tears,
Breathed weak faint words in cadences of woe,
As dying swans may sing their funeral hymns;
Until at last, her fragile frame dissolved
In misery, she wasted all away
And slowly vanished into empty air.” (Ovid ‘Ficus and Canens’, 1986, p.338).
“Both sides had gods and, what’s as good as gods,
Courage; their aim not realm for dowry now,
Nor royal marriage, nor Lavinia,
Princess for bride; they fought for victory,
Too proud to halt the conflict.” (Ovid ‘Aeneas’ triumph and apotheosis’, 1986, p.342).
“…make my tale
Be told long ages hence, so may the time
You shortened of my life prolong my fame.” (Ovid ‘Pomona and Vertumnus, 1986, p.347).
“… gods are never allowed
to undo what gods have done.” (Ovid ‘Legends of early Rome; The Apotheosis of Romulus, 1986, p.349).
“… Though the gods in heaven
live far removed, he approached them in his mind,
and things that nature kept from mortal sight
his inward eye explored. When meditation
and vigils of long study had surveyed
all things that are, he made his wisdom free
for all to share.” (Ovid ‘The doctrines of Pythagoras’, 1986, p.354).
“How vile a crime that flesh should swallow flesh,
Body should fatten greedy body; life
Should live upon the death of other lives!” (Ovid ‘The doctrines of Pythagoras’, 1986, p.354).
“ … Can you not placate
Without another’s doom – a life destroyed –
The urgent craving of your bellies’ greed?” (Ovid ‘The doctrines of Pythagoras’, 1986, p.355).
“Nature, the great inventor, ceaselessly
Contrives. In all creation be assured,
There is no death – no death, but only chnge
And innovation; what we men call birth
Is but a different new beginning; death
Is but to cease to be the same. Perhaps
This may have moved to that and that to this,
Yet still the sum of things remains the same.” (Ovid ‘The doctrines of Pythagoras’, 1986, p.359).
“We too ourselves, who of this world are part
Not only flesh and blood but pilgrim souls
Or of the farm. These creatures might have housed
Souls of our parents, brothers, other kin,
Or men at least, and we must keep them safe,
Respected, honoured, lest we gorge ourselves
On such a banquet as Thyestes ate.” (Ovid ‘The doctrines of Pythagoras’, 1986, p.365).
“The shore of Corinth’s bay when the sea rose
And a fantastic mound of water swelled
And towered mountain-high, with a loud noise
Of bellowing, and then its crest split wide
And out there burst, as the wave broke, a huge
Horned bull, that reared beast-high into the air,
Its great wide mouth and nostrils spouting brine.” (Ovid ‘The doctrines of Pythagoras’, 1986, p.367).