Io Restored, from the Metamorphoses

P. Ovidius Naso

Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, was born in 43 B.C. and died in the year 18 A.D. The Metamorphoses is an epic poem which describes the literal transformations of men, women, and gods. This particular selection is from the end of the story of Io. Jupiter fell in love with Io and visited her as a bull. After his visit, he turned Io into a white cow to keep her safe from his jealous wife Juno. Unfortunately, Juno discovered the trick, and tormented Io until Jupiter swore to give her up.

The selection begins with Jupiter's oath. Note that his wording is deliberately vague. He promises that "this" will never cause his wife sorrow; in Latin, "this" might mean either "things like cheating on you" or "this woman Io." Clearly, Ovid's attitude toward the ruler of the gods is not entirely respectful.

Intro - English - Latin - Trot
Animal Poetry

Translations by Ursula Whitcher, 2001