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The Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses


by Ovid

The Metamorphoses Transformation Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation, but these citations refer not to the lines in Mandelbaum's edition, but to the original Latin.

Quote #10

"I add: in all this world, no thing can keep
its form. For all things flow; all things are born
to change their shapes. And time itself is like
a river, flowing on an endless course.
Witness: no stream and no swift moment can
relent; they must forever flow; just as
wave follows wave, and every wave is pressed,
and also presses on the wave ahead;
so, too, must moments always be renewed.
What was is now no more; and what was not
has come to be; renewal is the lot
of time." (15.177-185)

In the final section of his poem, Ovid brings the wheel of his thinking full circle (see the first quotation from this section, above). If you've been taught the Pythagorean Theorem in math class, you might also be experiencing a sense of repetition: here he turns up again in your literature class. Don't worry too much about it; basically, Ovid just wants Pythagoras to put a fancy spin on transformation, presenting it as the most natural thing in the world. Which worldview do you think Ovid, in his heart of hearts, supports more: the view in Book 1, where the supernatural gods are responsible for all changes, or that of Pythagoras, who attributes it to more scientific causes?

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