cui placeas inquire tamen; non incola montis,
non ego sum pastor, non hic armenta gregesque
horridus observo. nescis, temeraria, nescis
quem fugias, ideoque fugis mihi Delphica tellus
et Claros et Tenedos Pataraeaque regia servit;
Iuppiter est genitor; per me quod eritque fuitque
estque patet; per me concordant carmina nervis.
certa quidem nostra est nostra tamen una sagitta
certior, in vacuo quae vulnera pectore fecit.
inventum medicina meum est opiferque per orbem
dicor et herbarum subiecta potentia nobis.
ei mihi, quod nullis amor est sanabilis herbis,
nec prosunt domino quae prosunt omnibus artes!”

(Met. 1.512-24)

“Nevertheless, ask yourself who it is that finds you pleasing; I’m not a hillbilly mountain man,
I’m not a shepherd, not some hairy man watching over cows and flocks
you have no idea, foolish girl, no idea
whom it is you flee, and so you flee me who holds the Delphic land
and Claros and Tenedos – even the Pataraean kingdom serves me;
Jupiter is my father; through me what will be and was
and is are revealed; through me songs are plucked on strings.
My shot with a bow is sure, although there was an arrow
more sure than mine, which made a wound in the hollow of my chest.
Woe is me, that love is curable by no herbs
nor is the art [of healing], which is there for all, there for its master!”


Here it is, Apollo’s case for Daphne’s love!  It’s actually pretty impressive, although this fact only makes the whole scene that much more ironic.  Apollo is a lofty invidual, the son of Jupiter and a great god in his own right (he patronises art, music, archery and medicine); he’s the kind of god who should never have to run after girls…. and yet…

This theme of the lover feeling abused and debased by his own unrequited feelings of love is not new in Greco-Roman poetry; indeed, it is arguably the bread and butter of elegy*, especially in Augustus’ Rome.  Ovid innovates on the trope here, however, by playing on Apollo’s status as a god.  As Barchiesi (2008) notes, the language Apollo uses in this scene should be familiar to Ovid’s Roman readers, since it is a hymn.  That is, it’s a rather sad hymn, sung by Apollo to himself.  Yet again, the god is debased, as he praises himself the way the poets should be praising him.  Our poet Ovid, meanwhile, is setting up Apollo to play the love-sick fool.

In all this time, we don’t get an indication of what Daphne is doing, so we must assume she keeps on running.  I’ve been having a little trouble varying the scenery in this episode, what with it being 90% running around the forest and all, but I tried to use the scenery symbolically.  For instance, I intended to accenuate the irony visually by having Apollo slam into the log when talking about knowing the future, and then going “oof” before praising his musicality.  Drop me a comment and let me know if you noticed those touches and whether you think I pulled them off well.

* For the definitive analysis of Apollo’s resemblance to the poet-protagonists of erotic elegy (love poems), check out Hardie (2002), Ovid’s Poetics of Illusion, pp. 45-50.