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Ovid, Metamorphoses book III.

[155] There is a valley called Gargaphia; sacred to Diana, dense with pine trees and the pointed cypress, where, deep in the woods that fringed the valley's edge, was hollowed in frail sandstone and the soft white pumice of the hills an arch, so true it seemed the art of man; for Nature's touch ingenious had so fairly wrought the stone, making the entrance of a grotto cool. Upon the right a limpid fountain ran, and babbled, as its lucid channel spread into a clear pool edged with tender grass. Here, when a-wearied with exciting sport, the Sylvan goddess loved to come and bathe her virgin beauty in the crystal pool. After Diana entered with her nymphs, she gave her javelin, quiver and her bow to one accustomed to the care of arms; she gave her mantle to another nymph who stood near by her as she took it off; two others loosed the sandals from her feet; but Crocale, the daughter of Ismenus, more skillful than her sisters, gathered up the goddess' scattered tresses in a knot;—her own were loosely wantoned on the breeze. Then in their ample urns dipt up the wave and poured it forth, the cloud-nymph Nephele, the nymph of crystal pools called Hyale, the rain-drop Rhanis, Psecas of the dews, and Phyale the guardian of their urns. And while they bathed Diana in their streams, Actaeon, wandering through the unknown woods, entered the precincts of that sacred grove; with steps uncertain wandered he as fate directed, for his sport must wait till morn.—soon as he entered where the clear springs welled or trickled from the grotto's walls, the nymphs, now ready for the bath, beheld the man, smote on their breasts, and made the woods resound, suddenly shrieking. Quickly gathered they to shield Diana with their naked forms, but she stood head and shoulders taller than her guards.—as clouds bright-tinted by the slanting sun, or purple-dyed Aurora, so appeared Diana's countenance when she was seen.

[187] Oh, how she wished her arrows were at hand! But only having water, this she took and dashed it on his manly countenance, and sprinkled with the avenging stream his hair, and said these words, presage of future woe; “Go tell it, if your tongue can tell the tale, your bold eyes saw me stripped of all my robes.” No more she threatened, but she fixed the horns of a great stag firm on his sprinkled brows; she lengthened out his neck; she made his ears sharp at the top; she changed his hands and feet; made long legs of his arms, and covered him with dappled hair—his courage turned to fear. The brave son of Autonoe took to flight, and marveled that he sped so swiftly on.—He saw his horns reflected in a stream and would have said, “Ah, wretched me!” but now he had no voice, and he could only groan: large tears ran trickling down his face, transformed in every feature.—Yet, as clear remained his understanding, and he wondered what he should attempt to do: should he return to his ancestral palace, or plunge deep in vast vacuities of forest wilds? Fear made him hesitate to trust the woods, and shame deterred him from his homeward way.

[206] While doubting thus his dogs espied him there: first Blackfoot and the sharp nosed Tracer raised the signal: Tracer of the Gnossian breed, and Blackfoot of the Spartan: swift as wind the others followed. Glutton, Quicksight, Surefoot, three dogs of Arcady; then valiant Killbuck, Tempest, fierce Hunter, and the rapid Wingfoot; sharp-scented Chaser, and Woodranger wounded so lately by a wild boar; savage Wildwood, the wolf-begot with Shepherdess the cow-dog; and ravenous Harpy followed by her twin whelps; and thin-girt Ladon chosen from Sicyonia; racer and Barker, brindled Spot and Tiger; sturdy old Stout and white haired Blanche and black Smut lusty big Lacon, trusty Storm and Quickfoot; active young Wolfet and her Cyprian brother black headed Snap, blazed with a patch of white hair from forehead to his muzzle; swarthy Blackcoat and shaggy Bristle, Towser and Wildtooth, his sire of Dicte and his dam of Lacon; and yelping Babbler: these and others, more than patience leads us to recount or name. All eager for their prey the pack surmount rocks, cliffs and crags, precipitous—where paths are steep, where roads are none. He flies by routes so oft pursued but now, alas, his flight is from his own!—He would have cried, “Behold your master!—It is I—Actaeon!” Words refused his will. The yelping pack pressed on. First Blackmane seized and tore his master's back, Savage the next, then Rover's teeth were clinched deep in his shoulder.—These, though tardy out, cut through a by-path and arriving first clung to their master till the pack came up. The whole pack fastened on their master's flesh till place was none for others. Groaning he made frightful sounds that not the human voice could utter nor the stag; and filled the hills with dismal moans; and as a suppliant fell down to the ground upon his trembling knees; and turned his stricken eyes on his own dogs, entreating them to spare him from their fangs.

[242] But his companions, witless of his plight, urged on the swift pack with their hunting cries. They sought Actaeon and they vainly called, “Actaeon! Hi! Actaeon!” just as though he was away from them. Each time they called he turned his head. And when they chided him, whose indolence denied the joys of sport, how much he wished an indolent desire had haply held him from his ravenous pack. Oh, how much;better 'tis to see the hunt, and the fierce dogs, than feel their savage deeds! They gathered round him, and they fixed their snouts deep in his flesh: tore him to pieces, he whose features only as a stag appeared.—'Tis said Diana's fury raged with none abatement till the torn flesh ceased to live.

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