Omnia Vincit Amor Ovid Illustrated: The Renaissance Reception
of Ovid in Image and Text

George Sandys, Ovid's Metamorphosis (1632)

An Online Edition
Daniel Kinney, Director
Special Thanks to Alison Caviness, Zack Long, Keicy Tolbert, and the Many Resident Experts of U.Va.'s E-Text Staff

Electronic Text Center Ovid Collection Home Page Translations Latin Text Search

Book I Sidenotes  /  Sandys' Commentary /  Latin Text with Kline's Prose  /  All-Change Central--Additional Links

Represented in Figures.
An Essay to the Translation
By G. S.
Cum Priuilegio ad imprimendum hanc Ouidij

And Argument of this

FIRE, AIRE, EARTH, WATER, all the Opposites
That stroue in Chaos, powrefull LOVE vnites;
And from their Discord drew this Harmonie,
Which smiles in Nature: who, with rauisht eye,
Affects his owne made Beauties. But, our Will,
, and Powres Irascible, the skill
Of PALLAS orders; who the Mind attires
With all Heroick Vertues: This aspires
To Fame and Glorie; by her noble Guide
Eternized, and well-nigh Deifi'd.
But who forsake that faire Intelligence,
To follow Passion, and voluptuous Sense;
That shun the Path and Toyles of HERCVLES;
Such, charm'd by CIRCE's luxurie, and ease,
Themselues deforme: 'twixt whom, so great an ods;
That these are held for Beasts, and those for Gods.

PHOEBVS APOLLO (sacred Poesy)
Thus taught: for in these ancient Fables lie
The mysteries of all Philosophie.

Some Natures secrets shew; in some appeare
Distempers staines; some teach vs how to beare
Both Fortunes, bridling Ioy, Griefe, Hope, and Feare.

These Pietie, Deuotion those excite;
These prompt to Vertue, those from Vice affright;
All fitly minging Profit with Delight.

This Course our Poet steeres: and those that faile,
By wandring stars, not by his Compasse, saile.

To the most High and Mightie
Prince CHARLES, King of
Great Britaine, France and
Your Gracious acceptance of the first fruits of my Trauels, when You were our Hope, as now our Happinesse; hath actuated both Will and Power to the finishing of this Peece: being limn'd by that vnperfect light which was snatcht from the houres of night and repose. For the day was not mine, but dedicated to the seruice of your Great Father, and your Selfe: which, had it proued as fortunate as faithfull, in me, and others more worthy; we had hoped, ere many yeares had turned about, to haue presented you with a rich and welpeopled Kingdome; from whence now, with my selfe, I onely bring this Composure:
Inter victrices Hederam tibi serpere Laurus.
It needeth more then a single denization, being a double Stranger: Sprung from the Stocke of the ancient Romanes; but bred in the New-World, of the rudenesse whereof it cannot but participate; especially hauing Warres and Tumults to bring it to light in stead of the Muses. But how euer vnperfect, Your fauour is able to supply; and to make it worthy of life, if you iudge it not vnworthy of your Royall Patronage. To this haue I added, as the Mind to the Body, the History and Philosophicall sence of the Fables (with the shadow of either in Picture) which I humbly offer at the same Altar, that they may as the rest of my labours, receiue their estimation from so great an Authority. Long may you liue to bee, as you are the delight and Glorie of your People: and slowly, yet surely, exchange your mortal Diadem for an immortal. So wishes
Your Maiesties
most humble
   George Sandys.

A Panegyricke to the King.
--- Materiae respondet Musa.---

Ioue, whose transcendent Acts the Poets sing,
By Men made more then Man, is found a King:
Whose Thunder and ineuitable Flame,
His Iustice and maiestick Awe proclaims:
His chearfull Influence, and refreshing Showers,
Mercy and Bounty; Marks of heauenly Powers.
These, free from Ioues disorders, blesse thy Raigne;
And might restore the golden Age againe,
If all men, by thy great Example lead,
Would that prepared way to Vertue tread.
Rare Cures, deepe Prophesies, harmonious Layes,
Insphear'd Apollo; crown'd with Wisdomes Raies.
Thy onely touch can heale: Thou, to thy State,
The better Genius, Oracle, and Fate
The Poets Theame and Patron; who at will
Canst adde t' Augustus Scepter Maro's Quill.
Our Worlds cleare Eye, thy Cynthia, euer bright
When neerest thee, displayes her fairest light:
May her exalted Rayes for euer ioyne
In a beneuolent Aspect with thyne!
Not Cupids wild-fiers, but those Beames which dart
From Venus purer Spheare, inflame thy hart.
Minerua's Oliue prospers in thy Land:
And Neptunes Ocean stoopes to thy Commaund.
Like Bacchus thy fresh Youth, and free Delights;
Not as disguised in his frantick Rites:
Such, as when he, with Phoebus, takes his seate
On sacred Nisa; and with quickning heate
Inspires the Muses. Thou, our Mercury,
From shades infernall, wretches, doom'd to dy,
Restor'st to light: thy prudent Snakes asswage
Hell-norisht Discord, and Warres bloody Rage
Thy Zeale to many Mercuries giues wing,
Who heauenly Embasyes to Mortals bring:
Thy Vigilance secure Repose imparts;
Yet build'st no Counsels on his subtil Artes.
Those old Heroes with their Heroines,
Who spangled all the firmament with Signes,
Shut out succeeding worthies; scarce could spare
A little roome for Berenices Haire.
Great Iulius; who their Gods transcended farre,
Could rise no higher then a Blazing-starre.
Others, whom after Ages most admire,
At Comets catch, or Starres new set on fire;
Which, though Aetheriall, see not their euent;
So soone, like sublunary Glories, spent!
These, whose Aspects gaue lawes to Destiny,
Before the luster of the Day starre fly:
Their lights prou'd erring Fiers, their Influence vaine;
And nothing but their empty Names remaine.
Those last immortaliz'd, whose dying breath
Pronounc'd them Men, created Gods by Death;
Whom fragrant Flames, Ioues Eagles, Periuries,
And Popular Applause, raisd to the Skies,
Downe shot like Falling starres: more transitory
In their Diuine, then in their Humane Glory.
These, as the first, bold Flattery deifi'd:
Thou, to whom Heauen that title hath apply'd,
Shalt by Humility, a Grace vnknowne
To their Ambition, gaine a heauenly Throne.
Enough my Muse: Time shall a Poet raise,
Borne vnder better starres, to sing his Praise.

Vrania to the Queene.

The Muses, by your fauour blest,
Faire Queene inuite you to their Feast.
The Graces will reioyce, and sue,
Since so excel'd, to waite on you.
Ambrosia tast, which frees from Death;
And Nectar, fragrant as your breath,
By Hebe fill'd; who states the Prime
Of Youth, and brailes the winges of Time.
Here in Adonis Gardens grow,
What nether Age nor winter know.
The Boy, with whom Loue seem'd to dy,
Bleeds in this pale Anemony.
Self-lou'd Narcissus in the Myrror
Of your faire eyes, now sees his error;
And from the flattering Fountaine turnes.
The Hyacinth no longer mournes.
This Heliotrope, which did pursue
Th' adored Sun, conuerts to you.
These Statues touch, and they agen
Will from cold marble change to men.
Chast Daphne bends her virgin boughs,
And twines to imbrace your sacred browes.
Their tops the Paphian Myrtles moue;
Saluting you their Queene of Loue.
Myrrha, who weepes for her offence,
Presents her teares; her Frankinsence
Leucothoë; the Heliades
Their Amber: yet you need not these.
They all retaine their sense, and throng
To heare the Thracian Poets Song.
How would they, should you sing, admire!
Neglect his skill! as he his Lyre!
Contending Nightingals, strucke mute,
Drop downe, and dy vpon your Lute!
The Phoenix, from the glowing East,
With sweetes here builds her Tombe and Nest:
Another Phoenix seene, shee dyes;
Burnt into ashes by your eyes.
This Swan, which in Peneus swims,
His Funerall songs conuerts to Hymnes.
These azure-plum'd Halcyones,
Whose Birth controules the raging Seas,
To your sweete Vnion yeild the praise
Of Nuptial loues; of Peacefull Dayes.
Nymph, take this Quiuer, and this Bow:
Diana such in shape and show;
When with her starr-like traine shee crownes
Eurotas bancks, or Cynthus Downes.
There, chace the Calydonian Bore:
Here see Actaeon fly before
His eger Hounds. Wild Heards will stand
At gaze; nor feare so faire a hand.
There be, who our Delights despise,
As Shaddowes, and vaine Phantasies.
Those Sons of Earth, inthrald to sense,
Condemne what is our Excellence.
The Aire, Immortall Soules, the Skyes,
The Angels in their Hyrarchies;
Vnseene, to all things seene dispense
Breath, Life, Protection, Influence.
Our high Conceptions craue a Minde
From Earth, and Ignorance refin'd:
Crowne Vertue; Fortunes pride controule;
Raise Obiects, equall to the Soule:
At will create; eternity
Bestow on mortals, borne to dy.
Yet we, who life to others giue,
Faire Queene, would by your fauour liue.


Since it should be the principall end in publishing of Bookes, to informe the vnderstanding, direct the will, and temper the affections; in this second Edition of my Translation, I haue attempted (with what successe I submit to the Reader) to collect out of sundrie Authors the Philosophicall sense of these fables of Ouid, if I may call them his, when most of them are more antient then any extant Author, or perhaps then Letters themselues; before which, as they expressed their Conceptions in Hieroglyphickes, so did they their Philosophic and Diuinitie vnder Fables and Parables: a way not vn-trod by the sacred Pen-men; as by the prudent Law-giuers, in their reducing of the old World to ciuilitie, leauing behind a deeper impression, then can be made by the liuelesse precepts of Philosophic. Plato in his imaginarie Commonwealth ordaineth, that Mothers and Nurses should season the tender minds of their children with these instructiue fables, wherein the wisdome of the Antient was inuolued: Some vnder Allegories expressing the wonderfull workes of nature; Some administring comfort in calamitie; others expelling the terrors and perturbations of the mind; Some inflaming by noble examples with an honest emulation, and leading, as it were, by the hand to the Temple of Honour and Vertue. For the Poet not onely renders things as they are; but what are not, as if they were, or rather as they should bee; agreeable to the high affections of the Soule, and more conducing to magnanimitie: iuster then either men or Fortune, in the exalting of Vertue and suppressing of Vice, by shewing the beautie of the one and deformitie of the other, pursued by the diuine Vengeance, by inbred terrors, and infernall torments. For apparent it is, that They among the Heathen preserued that truth of the immortalitie of the Soule: and therefore Epicurus, who maintained the contrarie, dehorted his Scholars from the Reading of Poetrie. In the Muthologie I haue rather followed (as fuller of delight and more vseful) the varietie of mens seuerall conceptions, where they are not ouer-strained, then curiously examined their exact proprietie; which is to be borne-with in Fables and Allegories, so as the principall parts of application resemble the ground-worke.
I haue also endeauored to cleare the Historicall part, by tracing the almost worne-out steps of Antiquitie; wherein the sacred stories afford the clearest direction. For the first Period from the Creation to the Flood, which the Ethnickes called the Obscure, some the Emptie times; and the Ages next following which were stil'd the Heroycall, because the after deified Heroes then flourished; as also the Fabulous, in that those stories conuayed by Tradition in loose and broken Fragments, were by the Poets interwouen with instructing Mythologies, are most obscurely and perplexedly deliuered by all, but the supernaturally inspired Moses. Wherefore, not without authority, haue I here and there giuen a touch of the relation which those fabulous Traditions, haue to the diuine History, which the Fathers haue obserued, and made vse of in conuincing the Heathen. By this and the rest it may appeare, that our Subiect, how euer slight in apparance, is nothing lesse both in vse and substance, wherein if my Intentions faile not, the matter and deliuery is so tempred, that the ordinary Reader need not reiect it as too difficult, nor the learned as too obuious.
To the Translation I haue giuen what perfection my Pen could bestow; by polishing, altering, or restoring, the harsh, improper, or mistaken, with a nicer exactnesse then perhaps is required in so long a labour. I haue also added Marginall notes for illustration and ease of the meere English Reader, since diuers places in our Author are otherwise impossible to be vnderstood but by those who are well versed in the ancient Poets and Historians; withall to auoid the confusion of names which are giuen to one Person, deriued from his Ancestors, Country, Quality, or Achieuements. The heads of the stories set in capitall letters in the Margent of the Translation are the same with those in the margent of the Commentary: by which you may readily find the Mythologie peculiar vnto euery Fable. And for thy farther delight I haue contracted the substance of euery Booke into as many Figures (by the hand of a rare Workman, and as rarely performed, if our iudgments may be led by theirs, who are Masters among vs in that Faculty) since there is betweene Poetry and Picture so great a congruitie; the one called by Simonides a speaking Picture, and the other a silent Poesie: Both Daughters of the Imagination, both busied in the imitation of Nature, or transcending it for the better with equall liberty: the one being borne in the beginning of the World; and the other soone after, as appeares by the Hieroglyphicall Figures on. the Aegyptian Obelisques, which were long before the inuention of Letters: the one feasting the Eare, and the other the Eye, the noblest of the sences, by which the Vnderstanding is onely informed, and the mind sincerely delighted: and as the rarest peeces in Poets are the descriptions of Pictures, so the Painter expresseth the Poet with equall Felicitie; representing not onely the actions of men, but making their Passions and Affections speake in their faces; in so much as he renders the liuely Image of their Minds as well as of their Bodies; the end of the one and the other being to mingle Delight with Profit. To this I was the rather induced, that so excellent a Poem might with the like Solemnity be entertained by vs, as it bath beene among other Nations: rendred in so many languages, illustrated by comments, and imbelished with Figures: withall, that I may not proue lesse gratefull to my Autor, by whose Muse I may modestly hope to be rescued from Obliuion.
Lastly, since I cannot but doubt that my errors in so various a subiect require a fauourable conniuence, I am to desire that the Printers may not be added to mine. The literall will easily passe without rubs in the reading; the grosse ones correct themselues; but by those betweene both the sence is in greatest danger to suffer. Howeuer, I haue sifted out all, or the most materiall, and exposed them in the end of the Volume.


PVBLIVS OVIDIVS NASO, descended of the ancient Family of the NASONES, who had preserued the dignitie of Roman Knights from the first originall of that Order, was borne at Sulmo, a Citie of the Peligni, on the XIIII of the Calends of April, in the Consul-ships of HIRCIVS and PANSA, both slaine at the battle of Mutina against MARCVS ANTONIVS. While yet a boy, his quick wit and readie apprehension gaue his parents an assurance of a future excellencie: in so much as his father LVCIVS sent him to Rome (together with his brother, a years elder than hee, and borne on the same day) to be instructed by PLOTIVS GRIPPVS, that Art might perfect the accomplishments of Nature. In his first of youth he was much addicted vnto Poetrie, wherein hee had an excellent grace and naturall facilitie. But continually reproued by his father for following so vnprofitable a studie, with an ill will he forsooke the pleasant walkes of the Muses to trauell in the rugged paths of the Law, Vnder AVRELIVS FVSCVS and PORCIVS LATRO; of whose eloquence and learning he was a great Admirer. Neither attained he therein to a vulgar commendation, being numbred by MARCVS ANNAEVS SENECA among the principall Orators of those times. His prose was no other then dissolued verse: his speech wittie, briefe, and powerfull in perswasion. Hauing past through diuers offices of iudicature, and now readie to assume the habit of a Senator; his elder brother and father being dead, impatient of toyle, and the clamours of litigious Assemblies, he retired himselfe from all publike affaires to affected vacancie and his former abandoned studies. Yet such was the mutuall affection betweene him and VARRO that hee accepted of Command, and serued vnder him in the warres of Asia, from whence hee returned by Athens, where hee made his aboad, vntill hee had attained to the perfection of that language. A man of a meane stature, slender of bodie, spare of diet; and, if not too amorous, euery way temperate. Hee drunke no wine but what was much alayed with water: An Abhorrer of vnnaturall Lusts, from which it should seeme that age was not innocent: neat in apparell; of a free, affable, and courtly behauiour; whereby he acquired the friendship of many, such as were great in learning and nobilitie; among whom not a few of Consular dignitie; and so honoured by diuers, that they wore his picture in rings cut in precious stones. One haue I scene in a Cornelian, of exquisite workmanship, with his name ingrauen on the one side and certaine obscure characters on the other, supposed as ancient as those times: I haue also an old Medall of Siluer stamped with his image: both which are presented vnder his Figure, with the Reuerse of the latter. A great Admirer, and as much admired, of the excellent Poets of those times, with whom hee was most familiar and intimate. Being perswaded by some of them to leaue out three verses of those many which he had written, he gaue his consent, so that of all he might except three onely: whereupon they priuately writ those which they would haue him abolish, and hee on the other side those which he excepted; when both their papers being showne, presented the same verses: the first and second recorded by PEDO ALBINOVANVS, who was one of the Arbiters,
Semi-bouemque virum, semi-uirumque bouem.
Sed gelidum Borean, egelidumque Notum.
whereby it appeareth that his admirable wit did not want an answerable iudgement in suppressing the libertie of his verse, had he not affected it. An ample patrimonie he had in the territories of Sulmo; with a house and a Temple in the Citie, where now stands the Church of Sancta Maria de Tumba: and where now stands the Church of Sancta Maria de Consolatione; he had another in Rome, not farre from the Capitoll; with pleasant Hort-yards betweene the wayes of Flaminia and Claudia, wherein he was accustomed to recreate himselfe with his Muses. Hee had three wiues: whereof the first being giuen him in his youth, as neither worthie nor profitable, soone after (according to the custome of the Romans) he diuorced: nor liu'd he long with the second, although nobly borne, and of behauiour inculpable. The chastitie and beauty of the third he often extolleth; whom he instructed in poetrie, and to his death entirely affected. Neither was her affection inferior to his; liuing all the time of his banishment like a sorrowfull widdow, and continuing to the end exemplarie faithfull. But in this eueryway happy condition, when his age required ease, and now about to imploy his beloued vacancie in the reuiew and polishing of his former labours, he was banished, or rather confined to Tomos (a citie of Sarmatia bordering on the Euxine Sea) by AVGVSTVS CAESAR, on the fourth of the Ides of December, and in the one and fiftieth yeere of his age, to the generall griefe of his friends and acquaintance: who sayled into Thrace in a ship of his owne, and by land performed the rest of his voyage. The cause of this his so cruell and deplored exile, is rather coniectured then certainely knowne. Most agree that it was far his too much familiarity with IVLIA the daughter of AVGVSTVS, masked vnder the name of CORINNA. Others that hee had vnfortunately seene the incest of CAESAR: which may be insinuated, in that he complaines of his error, and compares himselfe to ACTAEON. But the pretended occasion was for his composing of the Art of Loue, as intollerably lasciuious and corrupting good manners. A, pretence I may call it, since vnlikely it is, that hee should banish him in his age for what hee writ when hardly a man, and after so long a conniuance. Yet AVGVSTVS, either to conceale his owne crime or his daughters, would haue it so thought: neither would OVID reueale the true cause, least hee should further exasperate his displeasure. After he had long in vaine solicited his repeale by the mediation of GERMANICVS CAESAR, and others that were neere vnto the Emperour; or at least to be remoued to a more temperate Clime; his hopes (as he writes) forsaking the earth with AVGVSTVS, he died at Tomos in the fifth yeare of the raigne of TIBERIVS; hauing liued seuen yeares in banishment. As TIBVLLVS and hee were borne in one day, so hee and LIVIE died on an other; that his birth and death might be nobly accompanied. He had so wonne the barbarous GET'S with his humanitie and generous actions (hauing also written a booke in their language) that they honoured him in his life with triumphant garlands, and celebrated his funerals with vniuersall sorrow; erecting his tombe before the gates of their citie, hard by a lake which retaineth his name to this day. His sepulcher was found in the yeere, MDVIII, with a magnificent couerture presenting this Epitaph.
Here lies that liuing Poet, by the rage
Of great Augustus banished from Rome:
Who in his countrie sought t'interre his Age;

But vainly, Fate hath lodg'd him in this tombe:
    ISABELLA Queene of Hungarie in the yeare MDXL shewed to BARGAEVS a pen of siluer, found not long before vnder certaine ruines, with this inscription; OVIDII NASONIS CALAMVS: which she highly esteemed, and preserued as a sacred relique. Of the bookes which hee writ, since most of them are extant among vs, I will onely recite these following verses of ANGELVS POLITIANVS.
1 From times first birth he chants the change of things,   Metamorphosis.
2 The flames of Loue in Elegiacks sings,   De Arte, & Amorum.
3 With curses doubtfull Ibis he insnares,   In Ibin.
4 Epistles dictates fraught with Louers cares,   Epist. Heroidum.
5 In Swan-like tunes deplores his sad exile,   Trist. & de Ponto.
6 His verse the Roman Festiuals compile,   Fasti.
7 Of fishes sings vnknowne to Latin eares,   Halieutica.
8 Computes the stars that glide in heauenly spheres,   Phaenomena.
9 His paper fils with Epigrammick rimes,   Epigrammata.
10 The tragick stage on high cothurnals climes,   Medeae trag.
11 Whips Poetasters that abuse the times.   In malos Poetas.
Yet leaues he out the Remedie of Loue, a legitimate Poem (except hee make it an appendix to the Art) and his Consolation to LIVIA for the death of DRVSVS: which SENECA hath excerped and sprinkled among his seuerall Consolations. Among such a multiplicitie of arguments our gentle Poet did neuer write a virulent verse, but onely against CORNIFICVS; (maskt vnder the name of IBIS) who solicited his wife in his absence, and laboured against the repeale of his banishment. Concerning his Metamorphosis, it should seeme that he therein imitated PARTHENIVS of Chios, who writ on the same argument: as the Latin Poets euen generally borrowed their inuentions from the Graecian Magazins. I will conclude with what himselfe hath written of this Poem,1 wherein I haue imployed my vacant houres: with what successe, I leaue to the censure of others, which perhaps may proue lesse rigid then my owne.
I thanke your loue: my verse farre liuelier then
My picture shew me; wherefore those peruse:
My verse, which sing the changed shapes of men;
Though left vnperfect by my banisht Muse.
Departing, these I sadly with my hand

Into the fire, with other riches, threw.
Her sonne
Althea burning in his brand,
A better sister then a mother grew:
So I, what should not perish with me, cast

Those bookes, my issue, in the funerall flame:
In that I did my Muse my crime distast;

Or that as yet vnpolished and lame.
But since I could not so destroy them quite;
For sundry copies it should seeme there be:
Now may they liue, nor lazily delight

The generous Reader; put in minde of me.
Yet they with patience can by none be read,
That know not how they vncorrected stand:
Snatcht from the forge, ere throughly anuiled;
Depriued of my last life-giuing hand.

For praise I craue thy pardon: highly grac'd,
If, Reader, they be not despisd by thee:
Yet in the front be these sixe verses plac'd,
If with thy liking it at least agree.

Who meets this Orphan-uolume, poore in worth,
Within your Citie harborage afford.

To winne more fauour, not by him set forth;
But rauisht from the funerall of his Lord.
He, all the faults, which these rude lines deface,
Would haue reform'd, had his mishaps giu'n space.


Since diuers, onely wittie in reprouing, haue profaned our Poet with their fastidious censures we, to vindicate his worth from detraction, and preuent preiudicacie, haue here reuiued a few of those infinite testimonies, which the cleerest iudgements of all Ages haue giuen him. I will begin with the censure of that accurate Orator
One of his frequent and admiring Auditors. NASO had a constant, becomming, and amiable wit. His Prose appeared no other then dissolued Verses. And a little after. Of his wordes no Prodigall, except in his Verse: wherein, he was not ignorant of the fault, but affected it: and often would say, that a Mole misse-became not a beautifull face, but made it more louely.2 Amongst the excellent of his time, wee may esteeme
Who writeth thus in his historie. It is almost a folly, to number the wits that are euer in our eyes. Amongst these, of our Age the most eminent are, Virgil the Prince of Verse, Rabirius, Liuie imitating Salust, Tibullus, and NASO in the forme of his absolute Poem.3 Nor doth
degenerate from his Fathers opinion: who to that Verse, by him thus dissolued, The Rocks appeare like Ilands, and augment the dispersed Cyclades, annexeth this, as saith the wittiest of all Poets.4 A constant Imitator of his, through all his Philosophie; but especially in his Tragedies. Whereupon some haue coniectured that Seneca's Medea belongeth to OVID. Whereof
thus censures. OVID'S Medea seemeth to me to expresse how much that man could haue performd, would he rather haue restrained then cherished his inuention.5 And
Neither is there any composition of Asinius, or Messala so illustrious, as OVID' s Medea.6 The wittie
for the most part linkes him to incomparable Virgil: as in this Epigram;
Th' art more then mad! those, whom thou see'st so bare,
With OVID's selfe, or Virgil may compare.7
And in that to Instantius.
Would'st thou adde spirit to my fainting Muse,
And read immortall Verses? loue infuse.

Me, Mantua; SVLMO mee should stile diuine;
Were but Alexis, or
CORINNA mine.8
Recorded by
amongst the best Poets.
That honoured Day, the old Callimachus,
Philetas, Vmbrian Propertius,
Prepare to celebrate with one consent;
And NASO, chearefull though in banishment,
With rich
Nor is he onely approued by prophane Authors. Thus learned
OVID, in the beginning of his excellent Poem, confesseth that God (not disguizing his Name) ordayned the world; who cals him the Creator thereof, and Maker of all things. In the following booke. Which that ingenious Poet hath admirably described.10 And
Semiramis, of whom they report many wonders, erected the walls of Babylon; as testifies that renowned Poet in the 4. book of his Metamorphosis.11 Nor is he forgot by
And NASO, that excellent Poet.12 Now descend wee to those, whom later times haue preferred for learning and iudgement. Thus sings the high prais'd
Tis doubtfull, whether He, whom SVLMO bore,
The World-commanding Tyber honour'd more,
Then his foule exile thee defam'd, O
Whom Getick sands (alas!) but halfe intombe,
Perhaps obserued by
Augustus Spyes
To looke on IVLIA with too friendly eyes.13
crownes him with the perfection of Eloquence.14 And the Censurer of all Poets,
thus writes, when he comes to censure our Author. But now we arriue where the height of wit, and sharpnesse of iudgement, are both to be exerciz'd. For, who can commend OVID sufficiently? much lesse, who dares reprehend him? Notwithstanding, I will say something; not in way of detraction, but that we also may be able to grow with his greatnesse. Then speaking of his Metamorphosis. Bookes deseruing a more fortunate Author; that from his last hand they might haue had their perfection: which he himselfe bewaileth in luculent Verses. Yet are there, in these well-nigh an infinite number, which the wit of another, I beleeue, could neuer haue equall'd.15 And thus exclaimes against Caesar in the person of OVID.
Tyrant, with me I would thou hadst begun:
Nor thy black slaughters had my Fate fore-run.
If my licentious Youth incenst thee so;

Thy owne condemnes thee: into exile goe.
Thy Cabinets are stayn'd with horrid deedes:
And thy foule guilt all monstrous names exceeds.
Diuine wit, innocence, nor yet my tongue,

Next to Apollo's, could preuent my wrong.
I smooth'd th' old Poets with my fluent vaine;
And taught the New a farre more numerous straine.
When thee 1 prais'd, then from the truth I sweru'd;
And banishment for that alone deseru'd.
Now heare we the much-knowing
NASO, in his Metamorphosis, may well be called the Poet of Painters; in that those witty descriptions afford such liuely patternes for their pencils to imitate.17 And
This diuine worke is necessary, and to be desired of all, that are addicted to Poetrie, both for the gracefulnesse of speech, the admirable art of the Poet and delightfull varietie of the Subiect. Neither was there euer any, that diligently collected, or learnedly, elegantly and orderly expressed the fables, but OVID; who composed out of Orpheus, Hesiod, Homer, and other the most ancient Poets, so excellent and noble a Worke, that therein the learning of the Latines may worthily glorie.18 Add wee that of
I conceiue the Poet of SVLMO did follow the industrie and aduice of Zeuxes, in the composure of that admirable worke of his Metamorphosis. For as that excellent Painter, about to draw the Picture of Helena, had assembled together the most rare and beautifull Virgins of Greece; that by examining their seuerall perfections and graces he might expresse all in one with his curious pencill: so he out of the innumerable volumes of the Graecian Poets, first gathered these multiplicities of fables, composing the diffused and variously dispersed into one bodie: and then diligently noting what in euery author was elegant and beautifull, transferd the same to his owne, that nothing might be wanting to the enriching and adorning of his so diuine a Poem.19 I must not omit this testimonie of the learned
The Metamorphosis, a diuine Poem; shining through-out, with all the lustres of conceit and eloquence.20 Nor this of
in that a Citizen of SVLMO. A wittie worke, repleat with solid manifold learning. Who peruse it diligently, shall find such admirable fluencie, such fulnesse, so great a grauitie of words and sentences; that few or none amongst the Latine Poets can be said to transcend him. What should I say of that singular, and well-nigh diuine contexture of Fable with Fable? so surpassing that nothing can be spoken or done, more artificially, more excellently, or, indeed, more gracefully. Who handling such diuersity of matter, so cunningly weaues them together, that all appeare but one Series. Planudes, well knowing that Greece had not a Poem so abounding with delight and beauty, translated it into that language. What should I say more? All Arts, which antiquitie knew, are here so fully delineated, that a number, expert in both tongues, of Prime vnderstanding and iudgements, admire it beyond all expression.21 The first that writ a Commentarie on this booke (whereof fiftie thousand were vented, and that in his life time) was
who thus in his Preface. There is nothing appertaining to the knowledge and glorrie of warre, whereof we haue not famous examples in the Metamorphosis of OVID; (not to speake of stratagems, nor the Orations of Commanders) described with such efficacie and eloquence, that often in reading, you will imagine your selfe imbroiled in their conflicts. Neither shall you finde any Author, from whom, a ciuill life may gather better instructions .22 Conclude we with
Hardly shall you find a Poem, which flowes with greater facilitie. For what should I speake of Learning? Herein, so great, so various and abstruse; that many places haue neither beene explained, nor yet vnderstood; no, not by the most knowing: requiring rather a resolution from the Delian Oracle, &c.23
    Let the ingenuous that affect not error, now rectifie their owne by the iudgements of these. But incurable Criticks, who warre about words, and gall the sound to feed on their sores, as not desiring their sanitie, I forbeare to disswade and deliuer them vp to the censure of AGRIPPA.

Interpretis sui nomine faciunt
    Excipe pacato, Caesar Brittannice, vultu,
    Hoc opus, et timidae dirige nauis iter.
    Officioque, leuem non auersatus honorem,

    Huic tibi deuoto, numine dexter ades.
    Huic te da placidum, dederis in carmina vires;
    Ingenium vultu statque caditque tuo.

    Pagina iudicium docti subitura mouetur
    Principis, vt Clario missa legenda Deo.

On to Book I