Posci

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

Non bene conducti vendunt periuria testes,
non bene selecti iudicis arca patet.
turpe reos empta miseros defendere lingua;
quod faciat magni, turpe tribunal, opes;
turpe tori reditu census augere paternos,
et faciem lucro prostituisse suam.
gratia pro rebus merito debetur inemptis;
pro male conducto gratia nulla toro.
omnia conductor solvit; mercede soluta
non manet officio debitor ille tuo.
parcite, formosae, pretium pro nocte pacisci;
non habet eventus sordida praeda bonos.
non fuit armillas tanti pepigisse Sabinas,
ut premerent sacrae virginis arma caput;
e quibus exierat, traiecit viscera ferro
filius, et poenae causa monile fuit.
nec tamen indignum est a divite praemia posci;
munera poscenti quod dare possit, habet.
carpite de plenis pendentes vitibus uvas;
praebeat Alcinoi poma benignus ager!
officium pauper numeret studiumque fidemque;
quod quis habet, dominae conferat omne suae.
est quoque carminibus meritas celebrare puellas
dos mea; quam volui, nota fit arte mea.
scindentur vestes, gemmae frangentur et aurum;
carmina quam tribuent, fama perennis erit.
nec dare, sed pretium posci dedignor et odi;
quod nego poscenti, desine velle, dabo!
(Ovid, Am. 1.10.37-64)

It is not honour for witnesses to make false oaths for gain, nor for the chosen juror’s purse to lie open for the bribe. ‘Tis base to defend the wretched culprit with purchased eloquence; the court that makes great gains is base; ’tis base to swell a patrimony with a revenue from love, and to offer one’s own beauty for a price. Thanks are due and deserved for boons unbought; no thanks are felt for love that is meanly hired. He who has made the hire pays all; when the price is paid he remains no more a debtor for your favour. Spare, fair ones, to ask a price for your love; a sordid gain can bring no good in the end. ‘Twas not worth while for the holy maid to bargain for the Sabine armlets, only that arms should crush her down*; a son once pierced with the sword the bosom whence he came, and a necklace was the cause of the mother’s pain**. And yet it is no shame to ask for presents from the rich; they have wherefrom to give you when you ask. Pluck from full vines the hanging clusters; let the genial field of Alcinous yield its fruits! He who is poor counts out to you as pay his service, zeal, and faithfulness; the kind of wealth each has, let him bring it all to the mistress of his heart. My dower, too, it is to glorify the deserving fair in song; whoever I have willed is made famous by my art. Gowns will be rent to rags, and gems and gold be broke to fragments; the glory my songs shall give will last for ever. ‘Tis not the giving but the asking of a price, that I despise and hate. What I refuse at your demand, cease only to wish, and I will give!

* The Vestal Tarpeia asked as the price of her treason what the Sabines had on their left arms, meaning their armlets of gold, but was crushed beneath the shields they carried there.
** Knowing that the Fates had decreed his death in case he went, Eriphyle, for a necklace, caused her husband Amphiaraus to be one of the seven against Thebes, and was slain by Alcmaeon, her son.

(tr. Grant Showerman, with his notes)

Mercabilis

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

Stat meretrix certo cuivis mercabilis aere,
et miseras iusso corpore quaerit opes;
devovet imperium tamen haec lenonis avari
et, quod vos facitis sponte, coacta facit.
sumite in exemplum pecudes ratione carentes;
turpe erit, ingenium mitius esse feris.
non equa munus equum, non taurum vacca poposcit;
non aries placitam munere captat ovem.
sola viro mulier spoliis exultat ademptis,
sola locat noctes, sola licenda venit,
et vendit quod utrumque iuvat, quod uterque petebat,
et pretium, quanti gaudeat ipsa, facit.
quae Venus ex aequo ventura est grata duobus,
altera cur illam vendit et alter emit?
cur mihi sit damno, tibi sit lucrosa voluptas,
quam socio motu femina virque ferunt?
(Ovid, Am. 1.10.21-36)

‘Tis the harlot stands for sale at the fixed price to anyone soe’er, and wins her wretched gains with body at the call; yet even she calls curses on the power of the greedy pander, and does because compelled what you perform of your own will. Look for pattern to the beasts of the field, unreasoning though they are; ’twill shame you to find the wild things gentler than yourself. Mare never claimed gift from stallion, nor cow from bull; the ram courts not the favoured ewe with gift. ‘Tis only woman glories in the spoil she takes from man, she only hires out her favours, she only comes to be hired, and makes a sale of what is delight to both and what both wished, and sets the price by the measure of her own delight. The love that is to be of equal joy to both—why should the one make sale of it, and the other purchase? Why should my pleasure cause me loss, and yours to you bring gain—the pleasure that man and woman both contribute to? (tr. Grant Showerman)

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)

Falli

Cheating-Spouse

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

Nil equidem inquiram, nec quae celare parabis
insequar, et falli muneris instar erit.
si tamen in media deprensa tenebere culpa,
et fuerint oculis probra videnda meis,
quae bene visa mihi fuerint, bene visa negato —
concedent verbis lumina nostra tuis.
prona tibi vinci cupientem vincere palma est,
sit modo ‘non feci!’ dicere lingua memor.
cum tibi contingat verbis superare duobus,
etsi non causa, iudice vince tuo!
(Ovid, Am. 3.14.41-50)

For my part I’’ll not enquire, not seek to know what you hide, and treat deception as a gift. But if I catch you in the guilty act, and your shame’’s visible to my eyes, deny I’’ve really seen what I’’ve really seen.– I’’ll accept your words and not my sight. It’’s easy for you to win the palm if I want to be beaten, just remember to say the words: ‘’I didn’’t!’’ While you succeed in winning with those two words, though you’’ve no case, you’’ll conquer the judge too! (tr. Tony Kline)

Lascivia

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

Est qui nequitiam locus exigat; omnibus illum
deliciis imple, stet procul inde pudor!
hinc simul exieris, lascivia protinus omnis
absit, et in lecto crimina pone tuo.
illic nec tunicam tibi sit posuisse pudori
nec femori impositum sustinuisse femur;
illic purpureis condatur lingua labellis,
inque modos Venerem mille figuret amor;
illic nec voces nec verba iuvantia cessent,
spondaque lasciva mobilitate tremat!
indue cum tunicis metuentem crimina vultum,
et pudor obscenum diffiteatur opus;
da populo, da verba mihi; sine nescius errem,
et liceat stulta credulitate frui!
Cur totiens video mitti recipique tabellas?
cur pressus prior est interiorque torus?
cur plus quam somno turbatos esse capillos
collaque conspicio dentis habere notam?
tantum non oculos crimen deducis ad ipsos;
si dubitas famae parcere, parce mihi!
mens abit et morior quotiens peccasse fateris,
perque meos artus frigida gutta fluit.
tunc amo, tunc odi frustra quod amare necesse est;
tunc ego, sed tecum, mortuus esse velim!
(Ovid, Am. 3.14.17-40)

If there’’s a place demands naughtiness: then fill it with all delights, let shame be far away! Likewise when you leave off, straightaway forget all lasciviousness: leave the sin there, in your bed. There, don’’t let your slip make you over-shy, or not allow your thigh to press against a thigh: there, let my tongue be buried between your rosy lips, and let desire shape a thousand ways to love: there, don’’t let your words and sounds of delight cease, let the naughty bed tremble at your agility! Then, with your dress, put on the face that fears sin, and let shame disown the works of obscenity: Tell me, tell people anything: let me err without knowing, and let me enjoy a fool’’s credulity! Why do I see so many notes received and given? Why are the pillow and the sheet wrinkled? Why do I have to see such obvious love-bites on your neck, and your hair disturbed by more than sleep? You only hide the sin itself from my eyes: If you hesitate to spare your reputation, well spare me! My mind’’s gone, I’’m dying, when you confess your crimes, and the blood runs cold in my whole body. Then I love, and hate, in vain, what I have to love: then I wish, with you, that I was dead! (tr. Tony Kline)

Imitare

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Idylle, 1851
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Idylle (1851)

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

Non ego, ne pecces, cum sis formosa, recuso,
sed ne sit misero scire necesse mihi;
nec te nostra iubet fieri censura pudicam,
sed tamen, ut temptes dissimulare, rogat.
non peccat, quaecumque potest peccasse negare,
solaque famosam culpa professa facit.
quis furor est, quae nocte latent, in luce fateri,
et quae clam facias facta referre palam?
ignoto meretrix corpus iunctura Quiriti
opposita populum summovet ante sera;
tu tua prostitues famae peccata sinistrae
commissi perages indiciumque tui?
sit tibi mens melior, saltemve imitare pudicas,
teque probam, quamvis non eris, esse putem.
quae facis, haec facito; tantum fecisse negato,
nec pudeat coram verba modesta loqui!
(Ovid, Am. 3.14.1-16)

I don’’t say ‘don’’t sin’, since you’’re beautiful, but there’’s no need for me, poor fool, to know: and no censure of mine demands that you’’re chaste, it only asks that you try and conceal it. She didn’’t sin, if she can deny she sinned, only confession makes crimes notorious. What madness to expose, by day, what midnight hides: why make what’’s secret into a well-known fact? Some whore who couples with a nameless citizen moves away from the crowd before it’’s too late. Will you prostitute your sins for worthless fame and talk about what you’’ve done to fuel opinion? Improve your ways: at least pretend you’’re chaste, and I can approve, thinking you what you’’re not. What you do, keep doing it: just deny it, and don’’t be ashamed to speak modestly in public! (tr. Tony Kline)

Dilacerant

Paolo Persico, Pietro Solari & Angelo Brunelli, Actaeonfontein, Caserta (detail)
The Actaeon fountain at Caserta

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

Ille fugit, per quae fuerat loca saepe secutus,
heu famulos fugit ipse suos! clamare libebat:
‘Actaeon ego sum, dominum cognoscite vestrum!’
verba animo desunt; resonat latratibus aether.
prima Melanchaetes in tergo vulnera fecit,
proxima Therodamas, Oresitrophos haesit in armo:
tardius exierant, sed per compendia montis
anticipata via est; dominum retinentibus illis,
cetera turba coit confertque in corpore dentes.
iam loca vulneribus desunt; gemit ille sonumque,
etsi non hominis, quem non tamen edere possit
cervus, habet maestisque replet iuga nota querellis
et genibus pronis supplex similisque roganti
circumfert tacitos tamquam sua bracchia vultus.
at comites rapidum solitis hortatibus agmen
ignari instigant oculisque Actaeona quaerunt
et velut absentem certatim Actaeona clamant
(ad nomen caput ille refert) et abesse queruntur
nec capere oblatae segnem spectacula praedae.
vellet abesse quidem, sed adest; velletque videre,
non etiam sentire canum fera facta suorum.
undique circumstant, mersisque in corpore rostris
dilacerant falsi dominum sub imagine cervi,
nec nisi finita per plurima vulnera vita
ira pharetratae fertur satiata Dianae.
(Ovid, Met. 3.228-252)

…and he flees the hunt
he has so often led, longing to cry out
to the pack behind him “It’s me! Actaeon!
Recognize your master!” But the words
betray him and the air resounds with baying.
Now Brownie and Buster leap onto his back
while Mountain Climber dangles from one shoulder;
they’d started late but figured out a shortcut
across the hilltop; now he’s held at bay
until the pack can gather and begin
to savage him: torn by their teeth, he makes
a sound no man would make and no stag either,
a cry that echoes through those well-known heights;
and kneeling like a suppliant at prayer,
he turns toward them, pleading with his eyes,
as a man would with his hands.
But his companions
loudly encourage the ferocious pack,
all unaware: they look around for him,
call out to him as though he weren’t there;
“Actaeon!” “Pity he’s not here with us!”
And hearing his own name, he turns his head:
he might wish to be elsewhere, but he’s present,
and might wish merely to be watching this,
rather than feeling the frenzy of his dogs
who press around him, thrusting pointed snouts
into the savaged body of their master,
convinced that he’s a stag.
And it is said
he did not die until his countless wounds
had satisfied Diana’s awful wrath.
(tr. Charles Martin)