Ovid: Metamorphosis

Book 1, Plate 10

(The python)

From hence the surface of the ground, with mud
And slime besmear'd (the faeces of the flood),
Receiv'd the rays of Heav'n: and sucking in
The seeds of heat, new creatures did begin:
Some were of sev'ral sorts produc'd before,
But of new monsters, Earth created more.

Unwillingly, but yet she brought to light
Thee, Python too, the wondring world to fright,
And the new nations, with so dire a sight:
So monstrous was his bulk, so large a space
Did his vast body, and long train embrace.

Whom Phoebus basking on a bank espy'd;
E're now the God his arrows had not try'd
But on the trembling deer, or mountain goat;
At this new quarry he prepares to shoot.

Though ev'ry shaft took place, he spent the store
Of his full quiver; and 'twas long before
Th' expiring serpent wallow'd in his gore.

Then, to preserve the fame of such a deed,
For Python slain, he Pythian games decred.

Where noble youths for mastership shou'd strive,
To quoit, to run, and steeds, and chariots drive.

The prize was fame: in witness of renown
An oaken garland did the victor crown.

The laurel was not yet for triumphs born;
But every green alike by Phoebus worn,
Did, with promiscuous grace, his flowing locks adorn.

From here you may go to the text and image of Book 1, Plate 11, or to the complete page of Plates for Book 1, or to the Baur 1703 Title Page, or to the Ovid Title Page.

Hope Greenberg, University of Vermont, Last update: November 17, 1997.