Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Nyctimene mutationem in statu
from Ovid, Book II, Nyctimene Transformed Into an Owl, the Crow's story

But what is this to me if Nyctimene,
Changed to an owl for her dark sins, has taken
My place of honor at Minerva's court?
You heard what things were said of her at Lesbos--
That Nyctimene shared her father's bed?
And though she is all owl she still remembers
Her guilt, her lust, and in her darkness flies
From sight of men and from the light of day,
Exiled by all who rule the brilliant sky."

Horace Gregory tr.

Nyctimene is a genus of bats found mostly in the Philippines and Indonesia.
Ovid's Nyctimene is the daughter of Epopeus, King of Lesbos.
The Crow, Cornix, bewails that her place at the side of Minerva has been replaced by such a one.

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