Clytie The Heliotrope





BY OVID (ADAPTED)



There was once a Nymph named Clytie, who gazed ever at Apollo as he

drove his sun-chariot through the heavens. She watched him as he rose in

the east attended by the rosy-fingered Dawn and the dancing Hours. She

gazed as he ascended the heavens, urging his steeds still higher in

the fierce heat of the noonday. She looked with wonder as at evening

he guided his steeds downward to their many-colored pastures under the

western sky, where they fed all night on ambrosia.



Apollo saw not Clytie. He had no thought for her, but he shed his

brightest beams upon her sister the white Nymph Leucothoe. And when

Clytie perceived this she was filled with envy and grief.



Night and day she sat on the bare ground weeping. For nine days and nine

nights she never raised herself from the earth, nor did she take food

or drink; but ever she turned her weeping eyes toward the sun-god as he

moved through the sky.



And her limbs became rooted to the ground. Green leaves enfolded her

body. Her beautiful face was concealed by tiny flowers, violet-colored

and sweet with perfume. Thus was she changed into a flower and her roots

held her fast to the ground; but ever she turned her blossom-covered

face toward the sun, following with eager gaze his daily flight. In vain

were her sorrow and tears, for Apollo regarded her not.



And so through the ages has the Nymph turned her dew-washed face toward

the heavens, and men no longer call her Clytie, but the sun-flower,

heliotrope.





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