Ipse tene distenta suis umbracula virgis,
ipse fac in turba, qua venit illa, locum.
nec dubita tereti scamnum producere lecto,
et tenero soleam deme vel adde pedi.
saepe etiam dominae, quamvis horrebis et ipse,
algenti manus est calfacienda sinu.
nec tibi turpe puta (quamvis sit turpe, placebit),
ingenua speculum sustinuisse manu.
ille, fatigata praebendo monstra noverca
qui meruit caelum, quod prior ipse tulit,
inter Ioniacas calathum tenuisse puellas
creditur, et lanas excoluisse rudes.
paruit imperio dominae Tirynthius heros:
i nunc et dubita ferre, quod ille tulit.
(Ovid, Ars Am. 2.209-222)

Do you yourself hold her parasol outstretched upon its rods, yourself make room for her in the crowd, where she is coming. Nor hesitate to place the footstool for her trim couch; take off her slipper from her dainty foot, or put it on. Often too when she is cold, though you are shivering too, you must warm your lady’s hand in your own lap. Nor think it base (though base, it will give pleasure) to hold a mirror in your freeborn hand. He who won the heaven which first he bore himself, when his step-mother was wearied of sending monsters, is believed to have held a basket among Ionian maidens, and to have spun fine the unworked wool*. The Tirynthian hero obeyed a mistress’ command: go, shrink from enduring what he endured!

* The reference is to Hercules and his servitude to the Lydian queen Omphale. His stepmother was of course Juno.

(tr. John Henry Mozley)

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