|the abduction of Europa|
From "Metamorphoses," Book II, 846-875
The Rape of Europa
By Ovid Translated By Daryl Hine
Dignity down with his sceptre, adopting the guise of a bull that
Mixed with the cattle and lowed as he ambled around the fresh fields, a
Beautiful animal, colored like snow that no footprint has trodden
And which no watery south wind has melted. His muscular neck bulged,
Dewlaps hung down from his chin; his curved horns you might think had been hand carved,
Perfect, more purely translucent than pearl. His unthreatening brow and
Far from formidable eyes made his face appear tranquil. Agenor's
Daughter was truly amazed that this beautiful bull did not seem to
Manifest any hostility. Though he was gentle she trembled at first to
Touch him, but soon she approached him, adorning his muzzle with flowers.
|Madame Yevonde: Mrs Donald Ross as Europa (from the Goddess series) 1935|
Then he rejoiced as a lover and, while he looked forward to hoped for
Pleasures, he slobbered all over her hands, and could hardly postpone the
Joys that remained. So he frolicked and bounded about on the green grass,
Laying his snowy-white flanks on the yellowish sands. As her fear was
Little by little diminished, he offered his chest for her virgin
Hand to caress and his horns to be decked with fresh flowers. The royal
Maiden, not knowing on whom she was sitting, was even so bold asAlso to climb on the back of the bull.
from Fasti, Ovid's poem on the Roman calendar
When Jupiter, as a bull, offered his back to Phoenician Europa,
wearing phony horns on his forehead,
she hung on, his mane in her right hand, dress in her left,
and her very fright was a fresh source of her charm.
The breeze made her dress billow, and made her blonde hair stream--
nice for Jupiter to behold the Phoenician like that.
Often she drew up her girlish feet from the sea's surface
for fear of the touch of the cresting waves.
Often the god intentionally dipped his back in the water
to make her cling more tightly to his neck.
At landfall Jupiter stood there with no horns at all;
he had been transformed from cow into god.
The bull entered heaven while Jupiter entered the Phoenician,
and one of the continents now bears her name.