A Prescient Passage from Metamorphoses
Ovid, Metamorphoses, Bk Xll, Melville trans.
Remind you of anything … does it?
... Here Rumour dwells, Her chosen home set on the highest peak, Constructed with a thousand apertures And countless entrances and never a door. It’s open night and day and built throughout Of echoing bronze; it all reverberates, Repeating voices, doubling what it hears. Inside, no peace, no silence anywhere, And yet no clamour of voices, but muted murmerings Like waves one hears of a remote sea, Or like a far-away thunder rumble, When Jove has clashed the rain-clouds. Crowds throng its halls, mobs of liteweights That come and go, and rumours everywhere, Thousands of them, false mixed with true, roaming to and fro, And words flit by, phrases all confused. Some pour their trash into idle ears, Some just pass it on, and as each Gossip adds something new so the story grows. Here is Credulity, here reckless Error, Groundless Delight, Whispers of unknown source, Sudden Sedition, Overwhelming Fears. All that goes on in heaven or sea or land Rumour observes and scours the whole wide world.