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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10 thoughts on “Clytie – The Heliotrope

    • Very nice! I look forward to some pictures 🙂 And thanks! I love finding plant stories, which a lot of old Greek myths involve either the people turning into plants or using them in some magical way.

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      • Ditto! Like the origin of dragon trees; supposedly a dragon name Ladon guarded the golden apples of Hesperides and Hercules tricked and defeated him, and from his blood sprouted the dracaena draco 🙂

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        • I love that! Whether or not it could ever happen in our view of reality, I think that on some level, these things do happen somehow 🙂

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