Ovid - Metamorphoses - The Story of Erisichthon
Type of Spiritual Experience
Ovid gained from friendship and companionship which is under the generic heading of reducing threats
A description of the experience
The Story of Erisichthon - Ovid Metamorphoses
……….An ancient oak in the dark centre stood,
The covert's glory, and itself a wood:
Garlands embraced its shaft, and from the boughs
Hung tablets, monuments of prosperous vows.
In the cool dusk its unpierced verdure spread,
The Dryads there their hallowed dances led;
And oft, when round their lovely arms they cast,
Full fifteen ells it measured in the waist:
Its height all under standards did surpass,
As they aspired above the humbler grass.
These things, which would a gentler mind restrain,
Could not make Triope's boldened son abstain;
He sternly charged his slaves with strict decree,
To fell with gashing steel the sacred tree.
But whilst they, lingering, his commands delayed,
He snatched an Axe, and thus blaspheming said:
“Was this no oak, nor Ceres' favourite care,
But Ceres' self, this arm, unawed, should dare
Its leafy honours in the dust to spread,
And level with the earth its airy head”.
He spoke, and as he poised, a slanting stroke,
Sighs heaved, and tremblings shook the frighted oak;
Its leaves looked sickly, pale its acorns grew,
And its long branches sweat a chilly dew.
But when his impious hand a wound bestowed,
Blood from the mangled bark in currents flowed.
With such a plenty from the spouting veins,
A crimson stream the turfy altar stains.
The wonder all amazed; yet one more bold,
The fact dissuading, strove his axe to hold.
But the Thessalian, obstinately bent,
Too proud to change, too hardened to repent,
On his kind monitor, his eyes, which burned
With rage, and with his eyes his weapon turned;
“Take the reward”, says he, “of pious dread”:
Then with a blow lopped off his parted head.
No longer checked, the wretch his crime pursued,
Doubled his strokes, and sacrilege renewed;
When from the groaning trunk a voice was heard,
“A Dryad I, by Ceres' love preferred,
Within the circle of this clasping rind
Coeval grew, and now in ruin joined;
But instant vengeance shall thy sin pursue,
And death is cheered with this prophetic view”.
At last the oak with cords enforced to bow,
Strained from the top, and sapped with wounds below,
The humbler wood, partaker of its fate,
Crushed with its fall, and shivered with its weight.
The grove destroyed, the sister Dryads moan,
Grieved at its loss, and frighted at their own.
Strait, suppliants for revenge to Ceres go,
In sable weeds, expressive of their woe.
The beauteous Goddess with a graceful air
The awful motion shook the fruitful ground,
And waved the fields with golden harvests crowned.
Soon she contrived in her projecting mind
A plague severe, and piteous in its kind
With pinching want, and hunger's keenest smart,
To tear his vitals, and corrode his heart.
The source of the experienceOvid
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