"Metamorphoses," Vocabulary from Book 3

Ovid's "Metamorphoses" are tales full of shape-shifters and the supernatural, but the storytelling is grounded in a realism which transcends the mythology. (etext found here).

Learn these word lists for the tales: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6, Book 7.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. tempest
    a violent wind
    Through storms and tempests he the virgin bore,
    And lands her safe on the Dictean shore;
    Where now, in his divinest form array'd,
    In his true shape he captivates the maid;
  2. stern
    severe and unremitting in making demands
    When now Agenor had his daughter lost,
    He sent his son to search on ev'ry coast;
    And sternly bid him to his arms restore
    The darling maid, or see his face no more,
    But live an exile in a foreign clime;
  3. suppliant
    one praying humbly for something
    He goes a suppliant to the Delphic dome;
    There asks the God what new appointed home
    Should end his wand'rings, and his toils relieve.
  4. servitude
    state of subjection to an owner or master
    No sooner had he left the dark abode,
    Big with the promise of the Delphic God,
    When in the fields the fatal cow he view'd,
    Nor gall'd with yokes, nor worn with servitude:
  5. brandish
    exhibit aggressively
    Three tongues he brandish'd when he charg'd his foes;
    His teeth stood jaggy in three dreadful rows.
  6. pestilential
    likely to spread and cause an epidemic disease
    All their endeavours and their hopes are vain;
    Some die entangled in the winding train;
    Some are devour'd, or feel a loathsome death,
    Swollen up with blasts of pestilential breath.
  7. infernal
    being of the underworld
    And now his rage, increasing with his pain,
    Reddens his eyes, and beats in ev'ry vein;
    Churn'd in his teeth the foamy venom rose,
    Whilst from his mouth a blast of vapours flows,
    Such as th' infernal Stygian waters cast.
  8. grotto
    a small cave, usually with attractive features
    The chaste Diana's private haunt, there stood
    Full in the centre of the darksome wood
    A spacious grotto, all around o'er-grown
    With hoary moss, and arch'd with pumice-stone.
  9. eminent
    standing above others in quality or position
    Then in a huddle round their Goddess prest:
    She, proudly eminent above the rest,
    With blushes glow'd; such blushes as adorn
    The ruddy welkin, or the purple morn;
  10. supplicate
    ask for humbly or earnestly, as in prayer
    His servants with a piteous look he spies,
    And turns about his supplicating eyes.
  11. aggravate
    make worse
    Besides, to aggravate her hate, she heard
    How Semele, to Jove's embrace preferr'd,
    Was now grown big with an immortal load,
    And carried in her womb a future God.
  12. decrepit
    lacking bodily or muscular strength or vitality
    Old Beroe's decrepit shape she wears,
    Her wrinkled visage, and her hoary hairs;
    Whilst in her trembling gait she totters on,
    And learns to tattle in the nurse's tone.
  13. beguile
    influence by slyness
    The Goddess, thus disguis'd in age, beguil'd
    With pleasing stories her false foster-child.
  14. abate
    make less active or intense
    And yet, the dazzling lustre to abate,
    He set not out in all his pomp and state,
    Clad in the mildest light'ning of the skies,
    And arm'd with thunder of the smallest size:
  15. quench
    cool (hot metal) by plunging into cold water or other liquid
    For the rough Cyclops, who by Jove's command
    Temper'd the bolt, and turn'd it to his hand,
    Work'd up less flame and fury in its make,
    And quench'd it sooner in the standing lake.
  16. quaff
    swallow hurriedly or greedily or in one draught
    As to his queen in nectar bowls he quaff'd,
    "In troth," says he, and as he spoke he laugh'd,
    "The sense of pleasure in the male is far
    More dull and dead, than what you females share."
  17. solicitous
    full of anxiety and concern
    The tender dame, solicitous to know
    Whether her child should reach old age or no,
    Consults the sage Tiresias, who replies,
    "If e'er he knows himself he surely dies."
  18. prattle
    speak about unimportant matters rapidly and incessantly
    And then she cried, "That tongue, for this thy crime,
    Which could so many subtle tales produce,
    Shall be hereafter but of little use."
    Hence 'tis she prattles in a fainter tone,
    With mimic sounds, and accents not her own.
  19. bereft
    sorrowful through loss or deprivation
    Where pining wander'd the rejected fair,
    'Till harrass'd out, and worn away with care,
    The sounding skeleton, of blood bereft,
    Besides her bones and voice had nothing left.
    "Bereft" also means "unhappy in love; suffering from unrequited love"--this describes how Echo is feeling, but the example sentence is using the adjective to describe how her lovesickness over Narcissus causes her to wander for so long that she is bereft of blood and becomes nothing more than a skeleton with a voice.
  20. bulwark
    an embankment built around a space for defensive purposes
    In such a maze of love my thoughts are lost:
    And yet no bulwark'd town, nor distant coast,
    Preserves the beauteous youth from being seen,
    No mountains rise, nor oceans flow between.
  21. disdain
    reject with contempt
    My charms an easy conquest have obtain'd
    O'er other hearts, by thee alone disdain'd.
  22. presumptuous
    going beyond what is appropriate, permitted, or courteous
    Th' unhallow'd Pentheus only durst deride
    The cheated people, and their eyeless guide.
    To whom the prophet in his fury said,
    Shaking the hoary honours of his head:
    "'Twere well, presumptuous man, 'twere well for thee
    If thou wert eyeless too, and blind, like me:
    When a person "presumes," he thinks he knows more than he knows, and Pentheus thinks he knows more than a prophet, which leads him to act presumptuously by deriding ("treat or speak of with contempt") the prophet and all the people who worship Bacchus.
  23. audacious
    invulnerable to fear or intimidation
    Thus did th' audacious wretch those rites profane;
    His friends dissuade th' audacious wretch in vain:
    In vain his grandsire urg'd him to give o'er
    His impious threats; the wretch but raves the more.
    "Audacious" also means "unrestrained by convention or propriety"--this definition is suggested by the words "impious" and "profane" ("violate the sacred character of a place or language") but since Pentheus does not believe that Bacchus is a god, he audaciously wants to punish the impostor, whom he believes is being audacious ("disposed to venture or take risks") in his kingdom.
  24. zealous
    marked by active interest and enthusiasm
    The God they found not in the frantic throng,
    But dragg'd a zealous votary along.
  25. seditious
    arousing to action or rebellion
    "Vile slave! whom speedy vengeance shall pursue,
    And terrify thy base seditious crew:
    Thy country and thy parentage reveal,
    And, why thou joinest in these mad Orgies, tell."
  26. avarice
    extreme greed for material wealth
    To the same purpose old Epopeus spoke,
    Who over-look'd the oars, and tim'd the stroke;
    The same the pilot, and the same the rest;
    Such impious avarice their souls possest.
  27. hospitable
    disposed to treat guests and strangers with generosity
    To Naxos then direct your course, said he;
    Naxos a hospitable port shall be
    To each of you, a joyful home to me.
  28. officious
    intrusive in a meddling or offensive manner
    Th' officious servants hurry him away,
    And the poor captive in a dungeon lay.
  29. brindled
    having a gray or brown streak or a patchy coloring
    Her leafy jav'lin at her son she cast,
    And cries, "The boar that lays our country waste!
    The boar, my sisters! Aim the fatal dart,
    And strike the brindled monster to the heart."
  30. ghastly
    gruesomely indicative of death or the dead
    His mother howl'd; and, heedless of his pray'r,
    Her trembling hand she twisted in his hair,
    "And this," she cried, "shall be Agave's share,"
    When from the neck his struggling head she tore,
    And in her hands the ghastly visage bore.
    "Ghastly" also means "shockingly repellent; inspiring horror"--both definitions are fitting descriptions of the head of Pentheus, which ripped from his body, indicates that he's dead, and in the hands of his spellbound mother, inspires horror in others.

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