(See Cover) My mind is bent to tell of bodies
changed into new forms. Ye gods, for
you yourselves have wrought the
changes, breathe on these my undertakings,
and bring down my song in
unbroken strains from the world's very
beginning even unto the present time.
When the Roman poet Ovid wrote this supplication, "the present time" was roughly the time of Christ, when it was far easier to think of gods becoming men, beasts or monsters and to see the palpable world as the creature of unseen magical forces....