Prostare

Jean-Jacques le Barbier, L'Amour sur un arbre lançant ses traits, 1806
Jean-Jacques le Barbier, L’Amour sur un arbre lançant ses traits (1806)

This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here.

Qualis ab Eurota Phrygiis avecta carinis
coniugibus belli causa duobus erat,
qualis erat Lede, quam plumis abditus albis
callidus in falsa lusit adulter ave,
qualis Amymone siccis erravit in agris,
cum premeret summi verticis urna comas—
talis eras; aquilamque in te taurumque timebam,
et quidquid magno de Iove fecit amor.
nunc timor omnis abest, animique resanuit error,
nec facies oculos iam capit ista meos.
cur sim mutatus, quaeris? quia munera poscis.
haec te non patitur causa placere mihi.
donec eras simplex, animum cum corpore amavi;
nunc mentis vitio laesa figura tua est.
et puer est et nudus Amor; sine sordibus annos
et nullas vestes, ut sit apertus, habet.
quid puerum Veneris pretio prostare iubetis?
quo pretium condat, non habet ille sinum!
nec Venus apta feris Veneris nec filius armis—
non decet imbelles aera merere deos.
(Ovid, Am. 1.10.1-20)

Such as was she who was carried from the Eurotas in Phrygian keel to be cause of war to her two lords; such as was Leda, whom the cunning lover deceived in guise of the bird with gleaming plumage; such as was Amymone,* going through thirsty fields with full urn pressing the locks on her head—such were you; and in my love for you I feared the eagle and the bull, and what other form soever love has caused great Jove to take. Now my fear is all away, and my heart is healed of straying; those charms of yours no longer take my eyes. Why am I changed, you ask? Because you demand a price. This is the cause that will not let you please me. As long as you were simple, I loved you soul and body; now your beauty is marred by the fault of your heart. Love is both a child and naked: his guileless years and lack of raiment are sign that he is free. Why bid the child of Venus offer himself for gain? He has no pocket where to put away his gain! Neither Venus nor her son is apt at service of cruel arms—it is not meet that unwarlike gods should draw the soldier’s pay.

* Sent by her father Danaus for water, she attracted Neptune.

(tr. Grant Showerman, with his note)

2 thoughts on “Prostare”

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