sexta-feira, 4 de março de 2011

‘What’s mine is yours!’

Bk III: 359-401 How Juno altered Echo’s speech

Echo still had a body then and was not
merely a voice. But though she was garrulous,
she had no other trick of speech than she has
now: she can repeat the last words out of many.
Juno made her like that, because often when
she might have caught the nymphs lying
beneath her Jupiter, on the mountain slopes,
Echo knowingly held her in long conversations,
while the nymphs fled. When Saturnia realised
this she said ‘I shall give you less power over
that tongue by which I have been deluded, and
the briefest ability to speak’ and what she
threatened she did. Echo only repeats the last of
what is spoken and returns the words she hears.
Now when she saw Narcissus wandering
through the remote fields, she was inflamed,
following him secretly, and the more she
followed the closer she burned with fire, no
differently than inflammable sulphur, pasted
round the tops of torches, catches fire, when a
flame is brought near it. O how often she wants
to get close to him with seductive words, and
call him with soft entreaties! Her nature denies
it, and will not let her begin, but she is ready for
what it will allow her to do, to wait for sounds,
to which she can return words.
By chance, the boy, separated from his
faithful band of followers, had called out ‘Is
anyone here?’ and ‘Here’ Echo replied. He is
astonished, and glances everywhere, and shouts
in a loud voice ‘Come to me!’ She calls as he
calls. He looks back, and no one appearing
behind, asks ‘Why do you run from me?’ and
receives the same words as he speaks. He
stands still, and deceived by the likeness to an
answering voice, says ‘Here, let us meet
together’. And, never answering to another
sound more gladly, Echo replies ‘Together’,
and to assist her words comes out of the woods
to put her arms around his neck, in longing. He
runs from her, and running cries ‘Away with
these encircling hands! May I die before what’s
mine is yours. She answers, only ‘What’s mine
is yours!’
Scorned, she wanders in the woods and
hides her face in shame among the leaves, and
from that time on lives in lonely caves. But still
her love endures, increased by the sadness of
rejection. Her sleepless thoughts waste her sad
form, and her body’s strength vanishes into the
air. Only her bones and the sound of her voice
are left. Her voice remains, her bones, they say,
were changed to shapes of stone. She hides in
the woods, no longer to be seen on the hills, but
to be heard by everyone. It is sound that lives in


Translated by A.S.Kline