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Horace, Wife of the Invincible
From the Ode to Galateia * Post a question / start a discussion on this text
Thus Europe entrusted her snowy flank to the cunning bull, and amidst the swarming sea monsters and snares that surrounded her, turned pale with her audacity. She who, lately in the meadows, had devoted herself to flowers, skilfully making a crown dedicated to the Nymphs, in the faint glimmering of the night, saw nothing but the stars and waves.
But as soon as she had reached powerful Crete of the hundred towns: "O father, said she, O daughter's name that I have abandoned, and piety overcome by my frenzy! How have I come to this? A single death is too mild for a virgin's unchastity. Am I awake, weeping for a shameful act? or, without reproach, am I the plaything of a phantom Whose deceitful flight through the ivory door brings me a dream? Was it better to fly over the vast waves or pluck fresh flowers? If someone now would surrender to my anger this young bullock that has dishonoured me, I should, with all my might, rend and shatter the much-loved monster's horns. Shameless, I have abandoned my home and family, Shamelessly I shall await Orcus. O ye gods (if any hear my words) would that I might wander naked among lions! Before a hideous leanness has invaded the bloom of my cheeks, before this tender prey, full of sap, has become withered, I want to feed the tigers, still beautiful. Worthless Europe! your absent father presses you: what delays you from dying? You can hang yourself and break your neck on this mountain ash, with the girdle that has fortunately accompanied you. Or, if you prefer death on rocks and sharpened reefs, come on, commit yourself to a swift gust of wind, unless you choose to spin out the task of a slave. You with the blood of kings yielded to a barbarian mistress."
Thus she lamented, but at her side stood Venus, with a treacherous smile, and her son, his bow loosened. Soon, when the goddess had amused herself enough: "Hold back", said she, "from fits of rage and fiery quarrels, when the hated bull delivers up his horns to you to rend. You are, unknowingly, the wife of Jupiter the Invincible. Give up your sobbing, learn to bear great fortune well; a part of this world will bear your name."
Cf. Cicero, I have spared no pains to make myself master of the Greek language and learning Schiller, A glorious humanity Hugo, In a grand parliament of intelligence Emerson, When the Gods come among men - Disclosing in every fact a germ of expansion Ortega y Gassett, The birth of the city Aeschylus, Nobody's slaves Plato, Tyranny and slavery Gennadius Scholarius, Words are the fathers of all Good.