The Latona Fountain in the Garden of the Palace of Versailles
Lycian peasants transformed into mud-pool animals by Latona's anger

« one has to go straight to the top of Latona and make a break to consider Latona and the Lezards, the ramps, the Royal Alleyl'Allée Royale, the Apollol'Apollon, the canal then turn around back to see the Parterre and the château. » As Louis XIV wrote in his “Way(Manière) to(de) present(montrer) the(les) Gardens(jardins) of(de) Versailles(Versailles)”, from the palace western facade, along its central axe, after the the(le) Ornamental Pool( Parterre d'Eau), enjoying the opening change of the horizon line, the(le) Latona Fountain and Parterre(Bassin et le Parterre de Latone) appears。
Here is a fountain inspired by the opposition between Latona, that was to give birth, despite the persecution of goddess Juno, to twins, Apollo, god of the sun, Diana, goddess of the moon and the Lycian peasants.
With the text written by Ovid in “The Metamorphoses”, this opposition should probably comes closer to us.


333 There Latona, as she leaned
against a palm-tree—and against the tree
most sacred to Minerva, brought forth twins,
although their harsh step-mother, Juno, strove
to interfere.—And from the island forced
to fly by jealous Juno, on her breast
she bore her children, twin Divinities.

At last, outwearied with the toil, and parched
with thirst—long-wandering in those heated days
over the arid land of Lycia, where
was bred the dire Chimaera— at the time
her parching breasts were drained, she saw this pool
of crystal water, shimmering in the vale.

Some countrymen were there to gather reeds,
and useful osiers, and the bulrush, found
with sedge in fenny pools. To them approached
Latona, and she knelt upon the merge
to cool her thirst, with some refreshing water.
But those clowns forbade her and the goddess cried,
as they so wickedly opposed her need:

“Why do you so resist my bitter thirst?
The use of water is the sacred right
of all mankind, for Nature has not made
the sun and air and water, for the sole
estate of any creature; and to Her
kind bounty I appeal, although of you
I humbly beg the use of it. Not here
do I intend to bathe my wearied limbs.
I only wish to quench an urgent thirst,
for, even as I speak, my cracking lips
and mouth so parched, almost deny me words.
A drink of water will be like a draught
of nectar, giving life; and I shall owe
to you the bounty and my life renewed.—
ah, let these tender infants, whose weak arms
implore you from my bosom, but incline
your hearts to pity!” And just as she spoke,
it chanced the children did stretch out their arms
and who would not be touched to hear such words,
as spoken by this goddess, and refuse?

But still those clowns persisted in their wrong
against the goddess; for they hindered her,
and threatened with their foul, abusive tongues
to frighten her away—and, worse than all,
they even muddied with their hands and feet
the clear pool; forcing the vile, slimy dregs
up from the bottom, in a spiteful way,
by jumping up and down.—Enraged at this,
she felt no further thirst, nor would she deign
to supplicate again; but, feeling all
the outraged majesty of her high state,
she raised her hands to Heaven, and exclaimed,
“Forever may you live in that mud-pool!”

The curse as soon as uttered took effect,
and every one of them began to swim
beneath the water, and to leap and plunge
deep in the pool.—Now, up they raise their heads,
now swim upon the surface, now they squat
themselves around the marshy margent, now
they plump again down to the chilly deeps.
And, ever and again, with croaking throats,
indulge offensive strife upon the banks,
or even under water, boom abuse.

Their ugly voices cause their bloated necks
to puff out; and their widened jaws are made
still wider in the venting of their spleen.

Their backs, so closely fastened to their heads,
make them appear as if their shrunken necks
have been cut off. Their backbones are dark green;
white are their bellies, now their largest part.—

Forever since that time, the foolish frogs
muddy their own pools, where they leap and dive.

Ovid, “The Metamorphoses”, Book VI

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