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DIANA AND ACTAEON [Video with Subtitiles Follows Below]
The man was exhausted from the hunt.
During much of the day he had run furiously.
Now even his dogs welcomed the rest.
His bag was empty. He had not caught a thing.
Worse yet, his family expected bounty upon his return.
He stopped at a grove, and saw that within it
There was a pond and at its nearest edge
A bed of turf and some shade. He sat.
He was sorry for himself, piqued,
And wondered how he had failed, that he had no game.
Absentmindedly plucking single blades of grass,
Now half-asleep, he reclined,
Hoping time would restore his breath.
The splash, the Naiad, she startled him,
When he refocused his eyes, he saw her green helmet,
And a moment later he spied two more, sister-divinities.
It seemed to him that they had joined together
In order to preside over the waters.
He thought that he heard their laughter.
He perceived from somewhere in the distance
The playing of a well-piped tune;
The magic of the scene overcame him.
Then all at once another marvel befell him.
He witnessed a bright, white light,
A radiance at the opposite side of the pond.
Although forced to shade his eyes,
He soon discerned maidens at the bath, who,
With pail after pail of water, showered a naked woman.
She and her servant companions stood in the shallows.
Her tresses had been released.
Her hair dropped to her waist.
From his vantage he enjoyed an unobstructed view.
He could measure her exact physical proportions,
And was able to consider for his delight
What are usually a woman's secret places.
He gazed upon the absolute symmetry of her face,
A skin without fault, and he noted the way
She diverted her eyes,
Seeming to look upon the world askance .
She was posed to her left side.
Her hip was slightly raised.
Her knee was bent and she had her elbow set
Akimbo with her palm pressed at the waist.
He sensed that before him was immortal beauty.
The air carried a soft scent of rose.
He was ravenous. He did not chew his food,
Rather he wildly stuffed his mouth.
His eyes devoured the meal.
In a fantasy run of his hands,
He tore at the meat of the feast.
He saw upset tankards of red wine,
Whose contents stained the top of the table,
And on the ground were silver bowls,
Which had fallen and were smashed,
Ice and fruit were scattered about the earthen floor.
His feet wildly tapped to the airy music.
His sense of smell had left him.
It nestled in the flowers that now floated about
Her ankles at the other end of the pool.
He paid no heed to his hounds,
He did not notice that their slumber turned to ferocity.
Not until after the first dog had bit,
When he recognized that his flesh was hide,
That his head had horns,
Only after he heard his torment,
That his screams, his cries transformed into
Awful, narrow screech over his out-stretched tongue,
And he saw that blood ran
Within the snorts which belched up through his nostrils,
That were once his limbs, his feet and hands,
Cloven hooves vainly kicking and thrashing, wild thumps,
The mad noise of his dogs snapping and snarling,
Then he realized that he was prey,
That he was feast and being eaten alive.
And within the glory at the other end of the pond,
Nothing closed upon the rapture.
The mad dash, the cacophony, the every noise,
All that terrible frenzy of ravenous dogs at their meal,
The wild within every heart beat in the animal kingdom,
Complemented the harmony of the goddess at her bath.
And, as if it were a signal of Zeus's approbation,
The pleasure of the Olympian king
That justice had been done,
– The virtue of his daughter preserved --
A great, lone wolf appeared behind the woodland regalia.
For a while he ran along the shore,
Occasionally lapping upon the waters of the pond,
Then the creature abruptly stopped,
Stretched his neck towards the heavens and howled,
The entire scene seemed basked in a silvery moon,
All of nature bore a feel of triumphant delight.
By the way, the hunter's family and friends,
His whole community had searched for weeks,
Yet neither the place of the man's demise,
Nor was one scintilla of his remains ever found.