is a collection of poems by Ovid recounting mythological stories of transformation. Pygmalion and Galatea is probably the most famous story.
|Pygmalion a sculptor in Cyprus, witnesses the Propoetides deny Venus (Aphrodite) was the Goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality. Seeing them then prostituting themselves in the streets, he refuses to marry any woman.|
From a block of marble, Pygmalion sculpts an ivory white statue of a beautiful woman. Working passionately to perfect the life-like form, he eventually falls in love with her, calling her Galatea.
Aphrodite, knowing of the love he has in his heart, sees the statue and recognizes that he has in fact sculpted her image, the image of love. Aphrodite then grants his unspoken desire for the statue to be alive and love him as well.
Caressing Galatea, he then feels she is warm to the touch and she comes to life. In love, they marry, live happily and have a child, Paphos, together.
Here is the first chapter "On Love":
|Then said Almitra,
"Speak to us of Love."
And he raised his head and looked upon the people,
and there fell a stillness upon them.
And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
|And when his wings enfold you yield to him, |
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height
And caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots
and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
|Like sheaves of corn
he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
That you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you
That you may know the secrets of your heart,
And in that knowledge
become a fragment of Life's heart.
|But if in your fear|
You would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness
And pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh,
But not all of your laughter, and weep,
but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself
and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say,
"God is in my heart,"
But rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love,
If it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Artist Luo Li Rong
creates life-size bronze sculptures of women
inspired by Renaissance and Baroque techniques.
|And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart|
And a song of praise
upon your lips.
© 2018 MU-Peter Shimon