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The seer Apollo appointed me to this office.

[1204] Can it be that he, a god, was smitten with desire?

[1203] Before now I was ashamed to speak of this.

[1205] In prosperity all take on airs.

Oh, but he struggled to win me, breathing ardent love for me.

Did you in due course come to the rite of marriage?

I consented to Loxias but broke my word.

[1210] Were you already possessed by the art inspired of the god?

Already I prophesied to my countrymen all their disasters.

How came it then that you were unharmed by Loxias' wrath?

Ever since that fault I could persuade no one of anything.

And yet to us at least the prophecies you utter seem true enough.

Ah, ah! Oh, oh, the agony! [1215] Once more the dreadful throes of true prophecy whirl and distract me with their ill-boding onset. Do you see them there—sitting before the house—young creatures like phantoms of dreams? Children, they seem, slaughtered by their own kindred, [1220] their hands full of the meat of their own flesh; they are clear to my sight, holding their vitals and their inward parts (piteous burden!), which their father tasted. For this cause I tell you that a strengthless lion, wallowing in his bed, plots vengeance, [1225] a watchman waiting (ah me!) for my master's coming home—yes, my master, for I must bear the yoke of slavery. The commander of the fleet and the overthrower of Ilium little knows what deeds shall be brought to evil accomplishment by the hateful hound, whose tongue licked his hand, who stretched forth her ears in gladness, [1230] like treacherous Ate. Such boldness has she, a woman to slay a man. What odious monster shall I fitly call her? An Amphisbaena1? Or a Scylla, tenanting the rocks, a pest to mariners, [1235] a raging, devil's mother, breathing relentless war against her husband? And how the all-daring woman raised a shout of triumph, as when the battle turns, the while she feigned to joy at his safe return! And yet, it is all one, whether or not I am believed. What does it matter? [1240] What is to come, will come. And soon you, yourself present here, shall with great pity pronounce me all too true a prophetess.

1 Amphisbaena, a fabulous snake “moving both ways,” backwards and forwards. Tennyson's “an amphisbaena, each end a sting,” reproduces Pliny's description.

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