The Metamorphoses of Ovid Essential Quotes by Theme: Change


Essential Quotes by Theme: Change

Essential Passage 1: Book II

The years rolled on; Arcas was now sixteen,
His mother lost, her fate, her name unknown.
One day, out hunting in the forest glades
Of Erymanthus, as he placed his nets,
He chanced to meet her; seeing him she stopped
Stock still, seeming to recognize his face.
He shrank away; those eyes, unmoving, fixed
For ever on his own, froze the boy’s heart
With nameless fear, and as she moved towards him
He aimed his javelin to strike her dead.
The Almighty stayed his hand and swept away
Both son and mother—with the threatened crime—
Whirled in a wind together through the void,
And set them in the sky as neighbouring stars.


Jove, inspecting his birth place of Arcadia after the destruction caused by Phaeton’s fiery ride across the heavens, sees the nymph Callisto, a warrior in Diana’s service. Jove seduces and impregnates Callisto, thus earning for her the enmity of Diana as well as the ire of Jove’s jealous wife, Juno, who turns Callisto into a bear. Sixteen years later, her son, Arcas, is out hunting in the forest and encounters a bear. The bear stops, recognizing that the boy facing her is her own son by Jove. Arcas raises his spear to kill the bear but is stopped by Jove himself. Rather than have Callisto, his favored one, be killed by their son, Jove turns both Callisto and Arcas into star constellations—Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Essential Passage 2: Book VIII

Philemon briefly spoke with Baucis, then
Declared their joint decision to the Gods:
“We ask to be your priests and guard your shrine;
And, since in concord we have spent our years,
Grant that the selfsame hour may take us both,
That I my consort’s tomb may never see
Nor may it fall to her to bury me.”
Their prayer was granted. Guardians of the shrine
They were while life was left, until one day,
Undone by years and age, standing before
The sacred steps and talking of old times,
Philemon saw old Baucis sprouting leaves
And green with leaves she saw Philemon too,
And as the foliage o’er their faces formed
They said, while still they might, in mutual wards
“Goodbye, dear love” together, and together
The hiding bark covered their lips. Today
The peasants in those parts point out with pride
Two trees from one twin trunk grown side by side.


Theseus returns from hunting the great boar that plagued...

(The entire section is 1081 words.)