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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

A Transformation

By Ovid (43 B.C.–18 A.D.)

Translation of Henry King

WEARY and travel-worn,—her lips unwet

With water,—at a straw-thatched cottage door

The wanderer knocked. An ancient crone came forth

And saw her need, and hospitable brought

Her bowl of barley-broth, and bade her drink.

Thankful she raised it; but a graceless boy

And impudent stood by, and, ere the half

Was drained, “Ha! ha! see how the glutton swills!”

With insolent jeer he cried. The goddess’s ire

Was roused; and as he spoke, what liquor yet

The bowl retained, full in his face she dashed.

His cheeks broke out in blotches; what were arms

Turned legs, and from the shortened trunk a tail

Tapered behind. Small mischief evermore

Might that small body work: the lizard’s self

Was larger now than he. With terror shrieked

The crone, and weeping, stooped her altered child

To raise; the little monster fled her grasp

And wriggled into hiding. Still his name

His nature tells, and, from the star-like spots

That mark him, known as Stellio, crawls the Newt.