Fall 2003, Week Six
|haec ubi nos vidit, dicta acceptaque salute
diffudit vultus et reddidit omina votis.
nec mora, misceri tosti iubet hordea grani
mellaque vimque meri cum lacte coagula passo,
quique sub hac lateant furtim dulcedine, sucos
adicit. accipimus sacra data pocula dextra.
quae simul arenti sitientes hausimus ore,
et tetigit summos virga dea dira capillos,
(et pudet et referam) saetis horrescere coepi,
nec iam posse loqui, pro verbis edere raucum
murmur et in terram toto procumbere vultu,
osque meum sensi pando occallescere rostro,
colla tumere toris, et qua modo pocula parte
sumpta mihi fuerant, illa vestigia feci
cumque eadem passis (tantum medicamina possunt!)
claudor hara, solumque suis caruisse figura
vidimus Eurylochum: solus data pocula fugit;
quae nisi vitasset, pecoris pars una manerem
nunc quoque saetigeri, nec tantae cladis ab illo
certior ad Circen ultor venisset Ulixes.
pacifer huic dederat florem Cyllenius album:
moly vocant superi, nigra radice tenetur;
tutus eo monitisque simul caelestibus intrat
ille domum Circes et ad insidiosa vocatus
pocula conantem virga mulcere capillos
reppulit et stricto pavidam deterruit ense.
inde fides dextraeque datae thalamoque receptus
coniugii dotem sociorum corpora poscit.
spargimur ignotae sucis melioribus herbae
percutimurque caput conversae verbere virgae,
verbaque dicuntur dictis contraria verbis.
quo magis illa canit, magis hoc tellure levati
erigimur, saetaeque cadunt, bifidosque relinquit
rima pedes, redeunt umeri et subiecta lacertis
bracchia sunt: flentem flentes amplectimur ipsi
haeremusque ducis collo nec verba locuti
ulla priora sumus quam nos testantia gratos.
When she saw us, and words of welcome had been received, she smiled at us, and seemed to give a blessing to our desires. Without delay she ordered a drink to be blended, of malted barley, honey, strong wine, and curdled milk, to which she secretly added juices, that its sweetness would hide. We took the cup offered by her sacred hand. As soon as we had drained it, thirstily, with parched lips, the dread goddess touched the top of our hair with her wand, and then (I am ashamed, but I will tell you) I began to bristle with hair, unable to speak now, giving out hoarse grunts instead of words, and to fall forward, completely facing the ground.
I felt my mouth stiffening into a long snout, my neck swelling with brawn, and I made tracks on the ground, with the parts that had just now lifted the cup to my mouth. I was shut in a sty with the others in the same state (so much can magic drugs achieve!) We saw that only Eurylochus had escaped the transformation: the only one to avoid the proffered cup. If he had not refused, I would even now be one of the bristly herd, since Ulysses would not have heard of our plight from him, or come to Circe, as our avenger.
Peace-loving Cyllenian Mercury had given him the white flower, the gods call moly, that springs from a black root. With this, and divine warnings, he entered Circe's house in safety, and, when he was asked to drink from the fateful cup, he struck aside the wand, with which she tried to stroke his hair, and scared off the frightened goddess, with drawn sword. Then they gave their right hands to each other, as a pledge of good faith, and after being received into her bed as her husband, he asked for his friends true bodies to be restored, as a wedding gift.
We were sprinkled with the more virtuous juices of unknown herbs, our heads were stroked with the wand reversed, and the words, she had said, were pronounced, with the words said backwards. The more words she spoke, the more we stood erect, lifted from the ground. Our bristles fell away, our cloven hoofs lost their cleft, our shoulders reappeared, and below them were our upper and lower arms. Weeping we embraced him, as he wept himself, and clung to our leader's neck, and nothing was said until we had testified to our gratitude.