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Diluvium. Deucalion et Pyrrha.

And now his thunder bolts
would Jove wide scatter, but he feared the flames,
unnumbered, sacred ether might ignite
and burn the axle of the universe:
and he remembered in the scroll of fate,
there is a time appointed when the sea
and earth and Heavens shall melt, and fire destroy
the universe of mighty labour wrought.
Such weapons by the skill of Cyclops forged,
for different punishment he laid aside—
for straightway he preferred to overwhelm
the mortal race beneath deep waves and storms
from every raining sky. And instantly
he shut the Northwind in Aeolian caves,
and every other wind that might dispel
the gathering clouds. He bade the Southwind blow:—

the Southwind flies abroad with dripping wings,
concealing in the gloom his awful face:
the drenching rain descends from his wet beard
and hoary locks; dark clouds are on his brows
and from his wings and garments drip the dews:
his great hands press the overhanging clouds;
loudly the thunders roll; the torrents pour;
Iris, the messenger of Juno, clad
in many coloured raiment, upward draws
the steaming moisture to renew the clouds.

The standing grain is beaten to the ground,
the rustic's crops are scattered in the mire,
and he bewails the long year's fruitless toil.

The wrath of Jove was not content with powers
that emanate from Heaven; he brought to aid
his azure brother, lord of flowing waves,
who called upon the Rivers and the Streams:
and when they entered his impearled abode,
Neptune, their ancient ruler, thus began;
“A long appeal is needless; pour ye forth
in rage of power; open up your fountains;
rush over obstacles; let every stream
pour forth in boundless floods.” Thus he commands,
and none dissenting all the River Gods
return, and opening up their fountains roll
tumultuous to the deep unfruitful sea.

And Neptune with his trident smote the Earth,
which trembling with unwonted throes heaved up
the sources of her waters bare; and through
her open plains the rapid rivers rushed
resistless, onward bearing the waving grain,

the budding groves, the houses, sheep and men,—
and holy temples, and their sacred urns.
The mansions that remained, resisting vast
and total ruin, deepening waves concealed
and whelmed their tottering turrets in the flood
and whirling gulf. And now one vast expanse,
the land and sea were mingled in the waste
of endless waves—a sea without a shore.

One desperate man seized on the nearest hill;
another sitting in his curved boat,
plied the long oar where he was wont to plow;
another sailed above his grain, above
his hidden dwelling; and another hooked
a fish that sported in a leafy elm.
Perchance an anchor dropped in verdant fields,
or curving keels were pushed through tangled vines;
and where the gracile goat enjoyed the green,
unsightly seals reposed. Beneath the waves
were wondering Nereids, viewing cities, groves
and houses. Dolphins darting mid the trees,
meshed in the twisted branches, beat against
the shaken oak trees. There the sheep, affrayed,
swim with the frightened wolf, the surging waves
float tigers and lions: availeth naught
his lightning shock the wild boar, nor avails
the stag's fleet footed speed. The wandering bird,
seeking umbrageous groves and hidden vales,
with wearied pinion droops into the sea.
The waves increasing surge above the hills,
and rising waters dash on mountain tops.
Myriads by the waves are swept away,
and those the waters spare, for lack of food,
starvation slowly overcomes at last.

A fruitful land and fair but now submerged
beneath a wilderness of rising waves,
'Twixt Oeta and Aonia, Phocis lies,
where through the clouds Parnassus' summits twain
point upward to the stars, unmeasured height,
save which the rolling billows covered all:
there in a small and fragile boat, arrived,
Deucalion and the consort of his couch,
prepared to worship the Corycian Nymphs,
the mountain deities, and Themis kind,
who in that age revealed in oracles
the voice of fate. As he no other lived
so good and just, as she no other feared
the Gods.

When Jupiter beheld the globe
in ruin covered, swept with wasting waves,
and when he saw one man of myriads left,
one helpless woman left of myriads lone,
both innocent and worshiping the Gods,
he scattered all the clouds; he blew away
the great storms by the cold northwind.

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load focus English (Arthur Golding, 1567)
load focus Latin (Hugo Magnus, 1892)
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