Non pronuba Iuno,
non Hymenaeus adest, non illi Gratia lecto:
Eumenides tenuere faces de funere raptas,
Eumenides stravere torum, tectoque profanus
incubuit bubo thalamique in culmine sedit.
hac ave coniuncti Procne Tereusque, parentes
hac ave sunt facti; gratata est scilicet illis
Thracia, disque ipsi grates egere; diemque,
quaque data est claro Pandione nata tyranno
quaque erat ortus Itys, festum iussere vocari:
usque adeo latet utilitas.
(Ovid, Met. 6.428-438)
But neither Juno, who presides
at weddings, nor the wedding god himself,
Hymenaeus, nor the required Graces
attended theirs. Instead, the Furies shook
the torches they had snatched from funerals,
and turned down the coverlet upon their bed;
and all night long, an evil owl perched
and brooded on the roof of their bedchamber.
Under these omens, Tereus and Procne
are wed; and under them, their child is born;
and naturally all of Thrace is one
in its felicitations to the parents,
who offer up their own thanks to the gods.
That day is now proclaimed a festival
on which the king of Athens gave his daughter
to the distinguished ruler, and the day
as well on which Itys, their son, was born.
What does us good is to a great extent
concealed from us. (tr. Charles Martin)
Tunc etiam iubeo totas aperire fenestras,
turpiaque admisso membra notare die.
at simul ad metas venit finita voluptas,
lassaque cum tota corpora mente iacent,
dum piget, et malis nullam tetigisse puellam,
tacturusque tibi non videare diu,
tunc animo signa, quaecumque in corpore menda est,
luminaque in vitiis illius usque tene.
forsitan haec aliquis (nam sunt quoque) parva vocabit,
sed, quae non prosunt singula, multa iuvant.
parva necat morsu spatiosum vipera taurum:
a cane non magno saepe tenetur aper.
(Ovid, Rem. Am. 411-422)
Then too order all the windows to be opened,
and note her worst features in broad daylight.
As soon as pleasures reached the finishing post,
and the spirit lies there exhausted, and the whole body,
while you’re repenting, and you’d rather never have touched
a girl, and you don’t think you’re going to touch one for years,
then impress your mind with whatever’s wrong with her body,
and keep your eyes fixed all the time on those faults.
Perhaps someone might call these things trivial (as they are too),
but what has no benefit on its own, is useful in numbers.
And a little viper may kill a vast bull with its bite:
the boar is often gripped by a not very large hound. (tr. Tony Kline)
Ergo ubi concubitus et opus iuvenale petetur,
et prope promissae tempora noctis erunt,
gaudia ne dominae, pleno si corpore sumes,
te capiant, ineas quamlibet ante velim;
quamlibet invenias, in qua tua prima voluptas
desinat: a prima proxima segnis erit.
sustentata venus gratissima; frigore soles,
sole iuvant umbrae, grata fit unda siti.
et pudet, et dicam: venerem quoque iunge figura,
qua minime iungi quamque decere putas.
nec labor efficere est: rarae sibi vera fatentur,
et nihil est, quod se dedecuisse putent.
(Ovid, Rem. Am. 399-410)
When you are called to taste the delights of love and youthful dalliance, when the night of promised bliss approaches, then, lest you should have too much joy of your mistress if you go to her with a full quiver, find another charmer with whom you may blunt the edge of your attack. The love that follows love is not so fierce. But sweeter than any is the love for which we have waited long. When it is cold, we love the sun; when hot, the shade. Water is pleasant to the parching tongue. I blush to say it, yet I will say it; when you’re about the act of love with your mistress, take her in the posture that becomes her least. That will be easily accomplished. Rare is the woman who tells herself the truth. They deem themselves beautiful in every aspect. (tr. James Lewis May)
Debilitaturum quid te petis, improbe, munus,
quod tibi si populi donaverit error Achivi,
cur spolieris, erit, non cur metuaris ab hoste,
et fuga, qua sola cunctos, timidissime, vincis,
tarda futura tibi est gestamina tanta trahenti?
adde quod iste tuus, tam raro proelia passus,
integer est clipeus; nostro, qui tela ferendo
mille patet plagis, novus est successor habendus.
(Ovid, Met. 13.112-119)
‘Perverse man, why do you go after a prize that will cripple you, one that, if it is given you in error by the Achaean people, will be a reason for being despoiled by the enemy, not feared by them? And running away, in which you surpass everyone, you master-coward, will turn out to be a slow game for you, if you are carrying such a weight. Add to that your shield that is rarely used in battle, and uninjured, and mine split in a thousand places from fending off spear-thrusts, that needs a new successor.’ (tr. Tony Kline)
Dum licet, et vernos etiamnum educitis annos,
ludite: eunt anni more fluentis aquae;
nec quae praeteriit, iterum revocabitur unda,
nec quae praeteriit, hora redire potest.
utendum est aetate: cito pede labitur aetas,
nec bona tam sequitur, quam bona prima fuit.
hos ego, qui canent, frutices violaria vidi:
hac mihi de spina grata corona data est.
tempus erit, quo tu, quae nunc excludis amantes,
frigida deserta nocte iacebis anus,
nec tua frangetur nocturna ianua rixa,
sparsa nec invenies limina mane rosa.
(Ovid, Ars Am. 3.61-72)
Be mindful first that old age will come to you:
so don’t be timid and waste any of your time.
Have fun while it’s allowed, while your years are in their prime:
the years go by like flowing waters:
The wave that’s past can’t be recalled again,
the hour that’s past never can return.
Life’s to be used: life slips by on swift feet,
what was good at first, nothing as good will follow.
Those stalks that wither I saw as violets:
from that thorn-bush to me a dear garland was given.
There’ll be a time when you, who now shut out your lover,
will lie alone, and aged, in the cold of night,
nor find your entrance damaged by some nocturnal quarrel,
nor your threshold sprinkled with roses at dawn. (tr. Tony Kline)
Invideo Phrixo, quem per freta tristia tutum
aurea lanigero vellere vexit ovis;
nec tamen officium pecoris navisve requiro,
dummodo, quas findam corpore, dentur aquae.
parte egeo nulla; fiat modo copia nandi,
idem navigium, navita, vector ero!
(Ovid, Her. 18.143-148)
[Leander to Hero]
I envy Phrixus, whom the ram with gold in its woolly fleece bore safely over the stormy seas; yet I ask not the office of ram or ship, if only I may have the waters to cleave with my body. There is nothing I lack; if only I may swim, I will be at once ship, seaman, passenger! (tr. Grant Showerman, revised by George Patrick Goold)
Ne foret hic* igitur mortali semine cretus,
ille** deus faciendus erat; quod ut aurea vidit
Aeneae genetrix, vidit quoque triste parari
pontifici letum et coniurata arma moveri,
palluit et cunctis, ut cuique erat obvia, divis
‘adspice,’ dicebat ‘quanta mihi mole parentur
insidiae, quantaque caput cum fraude petatur,
quod de Dardanio solum mihi restat Iulo.
solane semper ero iustis exercita curis,
quam modo Tydidae Calydonia vulneret hasta,
nunc male defensae confundant moenia Troiae,
quae videam natum longis erroribus actum
iactarique freto sedesque intrare silentum
bellaque cum Turno gerere, aut, si vera fatemur,
cum Iunone magis? quid nunc antiqua recordor
damna mei generis? timor hic meminisse priorum
non sinit; en acui sceleratos cernitis enses.
quos prohibete, precor, facinusque repellite neve
caede sacerdotis flammas exstinguite Vestae!’
(Ovid, Met. 15.760-778)
* sc. Augustus; ** sc. Caesar.
But, so that the one might not be born from mortal seed,
the other had to be made a god; and when Aeneas’ golden
mother saw that, and saw too that a sad death
was being planned for the pontifex and that conspiratorial arms were being readied,
she went pale and began to say to all the gods as she met
each one, ‘See with what great effort plots are being prepared
against me, and with what great deceit the only life
that I have left from Dardanian Iulus is being attacked.
Shall I always be the only one troubled by just cares,
I whom at one time the Calydonian spear of Tydeus’ son wounded,
whom at another time the walls of ill defended Troy distressed,
I who saw my son driven to long wanderings
and tossed on the sea and entering the abodes of the silent ones
and waging war with Turnus or, if we admit the truth,
with Juno rather? Why do I now recall my race’s
ancient losses? This fear does not allow me
to remember earlier things; look, you can see the wicked swords being sharpened!
Stop them, I pray, and prevent the crime, and do not
put Vesta’s fire out with the slaughter of her priest.’ (tr. Donald E. Hill)