Stanley Lombardo successfully matches Ovids human drama, imaginative brio, and irresistible momentum; and Ralph Johnsons superb Introduction to Ovids narratological paradise is a bonus to this new and vigorous translation that should not be missed. Together, Introduction and text bring out the delightful unpredictability of Ovids history of the world down to his times.—-Elaine Fantham, Giger Professor of Latin, Emerita, Princeton University Mercury was poised to tell the whole story, When he saw that all of the eyes had closed. He Stopped speaking and deepened Argus slumber, By waving his wand over those languid orbs. And then he brought his sickled sword down, On that nodding head where it joined the neck, And sent it spattering down the steep rocks. Now you lie low, Argus, and all your lights are out, Those hundred eyes mastered by one dark night. (1.766-74) Ovids Metamorphoses gains its ideal twenty-first-century herald in Stanley Lombardos bracing translation of a wellspring of Western art and literature that is too often treated, even by poets, as a mere vehicle for the scores of myths it recasts and transmits rather than as a unified work of art with epicscale ambitions of its own. Such misconceptions are unlikely to survive a reading of Lombardos rendering, which vividly mirrors the brutality, sadness, comedy, irony, tenderness, and eeriness of Ovids vast world as well as the poems effortless pacing. Under Lombardos spell, neither Argus nor anyone else need fear nodding off. The translation is accompanied by an exhilarating Introduction by W. R. Johnson that unweaves and reweaves many of the poems most important themes while showing how the poet achieves some of his most brilliant effects.
This new translation reproduces in modern idiom the graceful, fluent style of one of the great poets of classical antiquity.