Sodoma, Cupido in un paesaggio, ca. 1510
Sodoma, Cupido in un paesaggio (ca. 1510)

Esse quid hoc dicam, quod tam mihi dura videntur
strata, neque in lecto pallia nostra sedent,
et vacuus somno noctem, quam longa, peregi,
lassaque versati corporis ossa dolent?
nam, puto, sentirem, si quo temptarer amore.
an subit et tecta callidus arte nocet?
sic erit; haeserunt tenues in corde sagittae,
et possessa ferus pectora versat Amor.
cedimus, an subitum luctando accendimus ignem?
cedamus! leve fit, quod bene fertur, onus.
vidi ego iactatas mota face crescere flammas
et rursus nullo concutiente mori.
verbera plura ferunt, quam quos iuvat usus aratri,
detractant prensi dum iuga prima boves.
asper equus duris contunditur ora lupatis,
frena minus sentit, quisquis ad arma facit.
acrius invitos multoque ferocius urget
quam qui servitium ferre fatentur Amor.
en ego confiteor! tua sum nova praeda, Cupido;
porrigimus victas ad tua iura manus.
(Ovid, Am. 1.2.1-20)

How to say what it’’s like, how hard my mattress
seems, and the sheets won’’t stay on the bed,
and the sleepless nights, so long to endure,
tossing with every weary bone of my body in pain?
But, I think, if desire were attacking me I’’d feel it.
Surely he’’s crept in and skilfully hurt me with secret art.
That’s it: a slender arrow sticks fast in my heart,
and cruel Love lives there, in my conquered breast.
Shall I give in: to go down fighting might bank the fires?
I give in! The burden that’’s carried with grace is lighter.
I’’ve seen the torch that’’s swung about grow brighter
and the still one, on the contrary, quenched.
The oxen that shirk when first seized for the yoke
get more lashes than those that are used to the plough.
The hot steed’’s mouth is bruised from the harsh curb,
the one that’’s been in harness, feels reins less.
Love oppresses reluctant lovers more harshly and insolently
than those who acknowledge they’’ll bear his slavery.
Look I confess! Cupid, I’’m your latest prize:
stretching out conquered arms towards your justice.
(tr. Tony Kline)


Maria Callas as Medea (1961)

Quos ego servavi, paelex amplectitur artus
et nostri fructus illa laboris habet.
forsitan et, stultae dum te iactare maritae
quaeris et iniustis auribus apta loqui,
in faciem moresque meos nova crimina fingas,
rideat et vitiis laeta sit illa meis.
rideat et Tyrio iaceat sublimis in ostro—
flebit et ardores vincet adusta meos!
(Ovid, Her. 12.173-180)

Those arms which I saved, now your whore embraces, and she has the fruit of my labor. And perhaps, while you seek to puff yourself up to your stupid wife, and speak words suitable for her unjust ears, you can make up new reproaches against my appearance and behavior. Let her laugh, and let her be happy with my flaws; let her laugh as she sits, lofty on her Tyrian purple. She will weep, and she, enflamed, will then surpass my ardor. (tr. Laurel Fulkerson)


Peter Paul Rubens, Venus & Adonis

Labitur occulte fallitque volatilis aetas,
et nihil est annis velocius: ille sorore
natus avoque suo, qui conditus arbore nuper,
nuper erat genitus, modo formosissimus infans,
iam iuvenis, iam vir, iam se formosior ipso est,
iam placet et Veneri matrisque ulciscitur ignes.
namque pharetratus dum dat puer oscula matri,
inscius exstanti destrinxit harundine pectus;
laesa manu natum dea reppulit: altius actum
vulnus erat specie primoque fefellerat ipsam.
capta viri forma non iam Cythereïa curat
litora, non alto repetit Paphon aequore cinctam
piscosamque Cnidon gravidamve Amathunta metallis;
abstinet et caelo: caelo praefertur Adonis.
(Ovid, Met. 10.519-532)

Time swiftly glides by in secret, escaping our notice,
and nothing goes faster than years do: the son of his sister
by his grandfather, the one so recently hidden
within a tree, so recently born, a most beautiful infant,
now is an adolescent and now a young man
even more beautiful than he was as a baby,
pleasing now even to Venus and soon the avenger
of passionate fires that brought his mother to ruin.
For while her fond Cupid was giving a kiss to his mother,
he pricked her unwittingly, right in the breast, with an arrow
projecting out of his quiver; annoyed, the great goddess
swatted him off, but the wound had gone in more deeply
than it appeared to, and at the beginning deceived her.
Under the spell of this fellow’s beauty, the goddess
no longer takes any interest now in Cythera,
nor does she return to her haunts on the island of Paphon,
or to fish-wealthy Cnidus or to ore-bearing Amethus;
she avoids heaven as well, now—preferring Adonis…
(tr. Charles Martin)



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

Termine, post illud levitas tibi libera non est:
qua positus fueris in statione, mane;
nec tu vicino quicquam concede roganti,
ne videare hominem praeposuisse Iovi:
et seu vomeribus seu tu pulsabere rastris,
clamato “tuus est hic ager, ille tuus”.’
est via quae populum Laurentes ducit in agros,
quondam Dardanio regna petita duci:
illa lanigeri pecoris tibi, Termine, fibris
sacra videt fieri sextus ab Urbe lapis.
gentibus est aliis tellus data limite certo:
Romanae spatium est Urbis et orbis idem.
(Ovid, Fast. 2.673-684)

Since then, Terminus, you’ve not been free to wander:
Stay there, in the place where you’ve been put,
And yield not an inch to your neighbour’s prayers,
Lest you seem to set men above Jupiter:
And whether they beat you with rakes, or ploughshares,
Call out: “This is your field, and that is his!”‘
There’s a track that takes people to the Laurentine fields,
The kingdom once sought by Aeneas, the Trojan leader:
The sixth milestone from the City, there, bears witness
To the sacrifice of a sheep’s entrails to you, Terminus.
The lands of other races have fixed boundaries:
The extent of the City of Rome and the world is one.
(tr. Tony Kline)



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

Conveniunt celebrantque dapes vicinia simplex
et cantant laudes, Termine sancte, tuas:
‘tu populos urbesque et regna ingentia finis:
omnis erit sine te litigiosus ager.
nulla tibi ambitio est, nullo corrumperis auro,
legitima servas credita rura fide.
si tu signasses olim Thyreatida terram,
corpora non leto missa trecenta forent,
nec foret Othryades congestis lectus in armis.
o quantum patriae sanguinis ille dedit!
quid, nova cum fierent Capitolia? nempe deorum
cuncta Iovi cessit turba locumque dedit;
Terminus, ut veteres memorant, inventus in aede
restitit et magno cum Iove templa tenet.
nunc quoque, se supra ne quid nisi sidera cernat,
exiguum templi tecta foramen habent.
(Ovid, Fast. 2.657-672)

Neighbours gather sincerely, and hold a feast,
And sing your praises, sacred Terminus:
‘You set bounds to peoples, cities, great kingdoms:
Without you every field would be disputed.
You curry no favour: you aren’t bribed with gold,
Guarding the land entrusted to you in good faith.
If you’d once marked the bounds of Thyrean lands,
Three hundred men would not have died,
Nor Othryades’ name be seen on the pile of weapons.
O how he made his fatherland bleed!
What happened when the new Capitol was built?
The whole throng of gods yielded to Jupiter and made room:
But as the ancients tell, Terminus remained in the shrine
Where he was found, and shares the temple with great Jupiter.
Even now there’s a small hole in the temple roof,
So he can see nothing above him but stars.
(tr. Tony Kline)



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

Nox ubi transierit, solito celebretur honore
separat indicio qui deus arva suo.
Termine, sive lapis sive es defossus in agro
stipes, ab antiquis tu quoque numen habes.
te duo diversa domini de parte coronant,
binaque serta tibi binaque liba ferunt.
ara fit: huc ignem curto fert rustica testo
sumptum de tepidis ipsa colona focis.
ligna senex minuit concisaque construit arte,
et solida ramos figere pugnat humo;
tum sicco primas inritat cortice flammas;
stat puer et manibus lata canistra tenet.
inde ubi ter fruges medios immisit in ignes,
porrigit incisos filia parva favos.
vina tenent alii: libantur singula flammis;
spectant, et linguis candida turba favet.
spargitur et caeso communis Terminus agno,
nec queritur lactans cum sibi porca datur.
(Ovid, Fast. 2.639-656)

When night has passed, let the god be celebrated
With customary honour, who separates the fields with his sign.
Terminus, whether a stone or a stump buried in the earth,
You have been a god since ancient times.
You are crowned from either side by two landowners,
Who bring two garlands and two cakes in offering.
An altar’s made: here the farmer’s wife herself
Brings coals from the warm hearth on a broken pot.
The old man cuts wood and piles the logs with skill,
And works at setting branches in the solid earth.
Then he nurses the first flames with dry bark,
While a boy stands by and holds the wide basket.
When he’s thrown grain three times into the fire
The little daughter offers the sliced honeycombs.
Others carry wine: part of each is offered to the flames:
The crowd, dressed in white, watch silently.
Terminus, at the boundary, is sprinkled with lamb’s blood,
And doesn’t grumble when a sucking pig is granted him.
(tr. Tony Kline)


Furiën bij huwelijksnacht Tereus en Procne
Crispijn van de Passe, De Furiën bezoeken Theseus en Procne tijdens hun huwelijksnacht

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)