Latin Language Blog

A Latin Love Triangle: Zeus, Echo and Narcissus PART II Posted by on Apr 30, 2020 in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes, 

 Let us continue in the fashion of the February post, I wanted to wrap up this brief translation of Echo and Narcissus.  

English: Narcissus and Echo. Ancient Roman fresco (45-79 a.C.) from Pompeii, Italy. By Stefano Bolognini

The story of Echo and Narcissus is best known from book three of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a Latin narrative poem in 15 parts which emerged around AD 8, whose unifying theme is transformation. It chronicled more than 250 Classical myths and was a huge influence on Dante and Shakespeare. Their story may found in Book III Chapter V. Well, let us continue off where we last ended.

Costanzi narcissus and echo Public Domain.


o quotiens voluit blandis accedere dictis               375 

 et mollis adhibere preces! natura repugnat 

 nec sinit, incipiat, sed, quod sinit, illa parata est 

 exspectare sonos, ad quos sua verba remittat. 

 forte puer comitum seductus ab agmine fido 

 dixerat: ‘ecquis adest?’ et ‘adest‘ responderat Echo. 


how often she wants to get close to him with seductive words, 

 and call him with soft entreaties! Her nature denies it,  

and will not let her begin, for what it will allow her to do, but she is ready 

to wait for sounds, to which she can return words.  

By chance, the boy, separated from his faithful band of followers,  

He had called out ‘Is anyone here?’ and ‘Here’ Echo replied 


This was always one of my favorite myths growing up because it was an origin myth and a love myth at the same time. It is the origin of the “echo,” and one of unrequited love which maybe when you are young is more acceptable (i.e. my crush doesn’t like me back). Ovid is quite poetic in his interpretation of this myth – however, there are said to be darker versions of the myth written by Parthenius of Nicaea, Conon, and Pausanias. These versions differ with Narcissus committing suicide since he cannot love himself or having a male suitor instead of Echo and even one where he falls in love with his twin sister. In whichever case, they are still quite tragic.


Tags: , , , , , , ,
Keep learning Latin with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.