from METAMORPHOSES X, ll.243-297 PYGMALION AND THE STATUE
Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) John Dryden
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Quas quia Pygmalion aevum per crimen agentis

viderat, offensus vitiis, quae plurima menti

femineae natura dedit, sine coniuge caelebs

vivebat thalamique diu consorte carebat.

interea niveum mira feliciter arte

sculpsit ebur formamque dedit, qua femina nasci

nulla potest, operisque sui concepit amorem.

virginis est verae facies, quam vivere credas,

et, si non obstet reverentia, velle moveri:

ars adeo latet arte sua. miratur et haurit

pectore Pygmalion simulati corporis ignes.

saepe manus operi temptantes admovet, an sit

corpus an illud ebur, nec adhuc ebur esse fatetur.

oscula dat reddique putat loquiturque tenetque

et credit tactis digitos insidere membris

et metuit, pressos veniat ne livor in artus,

et modo blanditias adhibet, modo grata puellis

munera fert illi conchas teretesque lapillos

et parvas volucres et flores mille colorum

liliaque pictasque pilas et ab arbore lapsas

Heliadum lacrimas; ornat quoque vestibus artus,

dat digitis gemmas, dat longa monilia collo,

aure leves bacae, redimicula pectore pendent:

cuncta decent; nec nuda minus formosa videtur.

conlocat hanc stratis concha Sidonide tinctis

adpellatque tori sociam adclinataque colla

mollibus in plumis, tamquam sensura, reponit.

Festa dies Veneris tota celeberrima Cypro

venerat, et pandis inductae cornibus aurum

conciderant ictae nivea cervice iuvencae,

turaque fumabant, cum munere functus ad aras

constitit et timide "si, di, dare cuncta potestis,

sit coniunx, opto," non ausus "eburnea virgo"

dicere, Pygmalion "similis mea" dixit "eburnae."

sensit, ut ipsa suis aderat Venus aurea festis,

vota quid illa velint et, amici numinis omen,

flamma ter accensa est apicemque per aera duxit.

ut rediit, simulacra suae petit ille puellae

incumbensque toro dedit oscula: visa tepere est;

admovet os iterum, manibus quoque pectora temptat:

temptatum mollescit ebur positoque rigore

subsidit digitis ceditque, ut Hymettia sole

cera remollescit tractataque pollice multas

flectitur in facies ipsoque fit utilis usu.

dum stupet et dubie gaudet fallique veretur,

rursus amans rursusque manu sua vota retractat.

corpus erat! saliunt temptatae pollice venae.

tum vero Paphius plenissima concipit heros

verba, quibus Veneri grates agat, oraque tandem

ore suo non falsa premit, dataque oscula virgo

sensit et erubuit timidumque ad lumina lumen

attollens pariter cum caelo vidit amantem.

coniugio, quod fecit, adest dea, iamque coactis

cornibus in plenum noviens lunaribus orbem

illa Paphon genuit, de qua tenet insula nomen.


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Pygmalion loathing their lascivious Life,
Abhorred all Womankind, but most a Wife:
So single chose to live, and shunned to wed,
Well pleased to want a Consort of his Bed.
Yet fearing Idleness, the Nurse of Ill,
In Sculpture exercised his happy Skill;
And carved in Ivory such a Maid, so fair,
As Nature could not with his Art compare,
Were she to work; but in her own Defence,
Must take her Pattern here, and copy hence.
Pleased with his Idol, he commends, admires,
Adores; and last, the Thing adored, desires.

A very Virgin in her Face was seen,
And she had moved, a living Maid had been:
One would have thought she could have stirred; but strove
With Modesty, and was ashamed to move.

Art hid with Art, so well performed the Cheat,
It caught the Carver with his own Deceit:
He knows 'tis Madness, yet he must adore,
And still the more he knows it, loves the more:
The Flesh, or what so seems, he touches oft,
Which feels so smooth, that he believes it soft.

Fired with his Thought, at once he strained the Breast,
And on the Lips a burning Kiss impressed.
'Tis true, the hardened Breast resists the Gripe,
And the cold Lips return a Kiss unripe:
But when, retiring back, he looked again,
To think it Ivory, was a thought too mean:
So would believe she kissed, and courting more,
Again embraced her naked Body o'er;
And straining hard the Statue, was afraid
His Hands had made a Dint, and hurt his Maid:
Explored her, Limb by Limb, and feared to find
So rude a Gripe had left a livid Mark behind
With Flatt'ry now he seeks her Mind to move,
And now with Gifts (the powerful bribe of Love):

He furnishes her Closet first; and fills
The crowded Shelves with Rarities of Shells;
Adds Orient Pearls, which from the Conches he drew,
And all the sparkling Stones of various Hue:
And Parrots, imitating Human Tongue,
And singing-birds in Silver Cages hung;
And ev'ry fragrant Flower, and odorous Green,
Were sorted well, with Lumps of Amber laid between:
Rich, fashionable Robes her person Deck:
Pendants her Ears, and Pearls adorn her neck:
Her tapered Fingers too With Rings are graced,
And an embroidered Zone surrounds her slender Waist.

Thus like a Queen arrayed, so richly dressed,
Beauteous she shewed, but naked shewed the best.
Then, from the Floor, he raised a Royal Bed,
With Cov'rings of Sydonian Purple spread:
The Solemn Rites performed, he calls her Bride,
With Blandishments invites her to his Side,
And as she were with Vital Sense possessed,
Her Head did on a plumy Pillow rest.

The Feast of Venus came, a Solemn Day,
To which the Cypriots due Devotion pay;
With gilded Horns the milk-white Heifers led,
Slaughtered before the sacred Altars, bled:
Pygmalion offering, first approached the Shrine,
And then with Pray'rs implored the Powers Divine:
Almighty Gods, if all we Mortals want,
If all we can require, be yours to grant;
Make this fair Statue mine, he would have said,
But changed his Words for shame; and only prayed,
Give me the likeness of my Ivory Maid.
The Golden Goddess, present at the Prayer,
Well knew he meant th' inanimated Fair,
And gave the Sign of granting his Desire;
For thrice in cheerful Flames ascends the Fire.
The Youth, returning to his Mistress, hies,
And, impudent in Hope, with ardent Eyes,
And beating Breast, by the dear Statue lies.

He kisses her white Lips, renews the Bliss,
And looks and thinks they redden at the Kiss:
He thought them warm before: Nor longer stays,
But next his Hand on her hard Bosom lays:
Hard as it was, beginning to relent,
It seemed, the Breast beneath his Fingers bent;
He felt again, his Fingers made a Print,
'Twas Flesh, but Flesh so firm, it rose against the Dint:
The pleasing Task he fails not to renew;
Soft, and more soft at every Touch it grew;
Like pliant Wax, when chafing Hands reduce
The former Mass to Form, and frame for Use
He would believe, but yet is still in pain,
And tries his Argument of Sense again,
Presses the Pulse, and feels the leaping Vein.

Convinced, o'erjoyed, his studied Thanks and Praise,
To her who made the Miracle, he pays:
Then Lips to Lips he joined; now freed from Fear,
He found the Savour of the Kiss sincere:
At this the wakened image oped her Eyes,
And viewed at once the Light and Lover, with surprise.
The Goddess present at the Match she made,
So blessed the Bed, such Fruitfulness conveyed,
That e'er ten Moons had sharpened either Horn,
To crown their Bliss, a lovely Boy was born;
Paphos his Name, who, grown to manhood, walled
The City Paphos, from the Founder called.

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