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

This is part 1 of 3.

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)


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)


Öèôðîâàÿ ðåïðîäóêöèÿ íàõîäèòñÿ â èíòåðíåò-ìóçåå
Giuseppe Cesari, Diana e Atteone (ca. 1606)

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

Dumque ibi perluitur solita Titania lympha,
ecce nepos Cadmi dilata parte laborum
per nemus ignotum non certis passibus errans
pervenit in lucum: sic illum fata ferebant.
qui simul intravit rorantia fontibus antra,
sicut erant, nudae viso sua pectora nymphae
percussere viro subitisque ululatibus omne
implevere nemus circumfusaeque Dianam
corporibus texere suis; tamen altior illis
ipsa dea est colloque tenus supereminet omnes.
qui color infectis adversi solis ab ictu
nubibus esse solet aut purpureae Aurorae,
is fuit in vultu visae sine veste Dianae.
quae, quamquam comitum turba est stipata suarum,
in latus obliquum tamen adstitit oraque retro
flexit et, ut vellet promptas habuisse sagittas,
quas habuit, sic hausit aquas vultumque virilem
perfudit spargensque comas ultricibus undis
addidit haec cladis praenuntia verba futurae:
‘nunc tibi me posito visam velamine narres,
si poteris narrare, licet!’ nec plura minata
dat sparso capiti vivacis cornua cervi,
dat spatium collo summasque cacuminat aures,
cum pedibusque manus, cum longis bracchia mutat
cruribus et velat maculoso vellere corpus;
additus et pavor est. fugit Autonoeius heros
et se tam celerem cursu miratur in ipso.
ut vero vultus et cornua vidit in unda,
‘me miserum!’ dicturus erat: vox nulla secuta est;
ingemuit: vox illa fuit, lacrimaeque per ora
non sua fluxerunt; mens tantum pristina mansit.
(Ovid, Met. 3.173-203)

And while Diana bathes as usual,
see where Actaeon on a holiday,
wandering clueless through the unfamiliar
forest, now finds his way into her grove,
for so Fate had arranged.
At sight of him
within the misty precincts of their grotto,
the naked nymphs began to beat their breasts
and filled the grove with shrill and startled cries;
in their concern, they poured around Diana,
attempting to conceal her with a screen
of their own bodies, but to no avail,
for the goddess towered over all of them.
The color taken from the setting sun
by western clouds, so similar to that
which rosy-tinted Dawn so often shows,
was the same color on Diana’s face
when she was seen undressed. And even though
her virgin comrades squeezed themselves around her,
she managed to turn sideways and look back
as if she wished she had her arrows handy—
but making do with what she had, scooped up
water and flung it in Actaeon’s face,
sprinkling his hair with the avenging droplets,
and adding words that prophesied his doom:
“Now you may tell of how you saw me naked,
tell it if you can, you may!”
No further warning:
the brow which she has sprinkled jets the horns
of a lively stag; she elongates his neck,
narrows his eartips down to tiny points,
converts his hands to hooves, his arms to legs,
and clothes his body in a spotted pelt.
Lastly, the goddess endows him with trembling fear:
that heroic son of Autonoe flees,
surprised to find himself so swift a runner.
But when he stopped and looked into a pool
at the reflection of his horns and muzzle—
“Poor me!” he tried to say, but no words came,
only a groaning sound, by which he learned
that groaning was now speech; tears streamed down cheeks
that were no longer his: only his mind
was left unaltered by Diana’s wrath.
(tr. Charles Martin)


Willem van Mieris, Diana en haar nimfen, 1702
Willem van Mieris, Diana en haar nimfen (1702)

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

Vallis erat piceis et acuta densa cupressu,
nomine Gargaphie, succinctae sacra Dianae,
cuius in extremo est antrum nemorale recessu
arte laboratum nulla: simulaverat artem
ingenio natura suo; nam pumice vivo
et levibus tofis nativum duxerat arcum.
fons sonat a dextra tenui perlucidus unda,
margine gramineo patulos incinctus hiatus.
hic dea silvarum venatu fessa solebat
virgineos artus liquido perfundere rore.
quo postquam subiit, nympharum tradidit uni
armigerae iaculum pharetramque arcusque retentos,
altera depositae subiecit bracchia pallae,
vincla duae pedibus demunt; nam doctior illis
Ismenis Crocale sparsos per colla capillos
colligit in nodum, quamvis erat ipsa solutis.
excipiunt laticem Nepheleque Hyaleque Rhanisque
et Psecas et Phiale funduntque capacibus urnis.
(Ovid, Met. 3.155-172)

There is a grove of pine and cypresses
known as Gargraphie, a hidden place
most sacred to the celibate Diana;
and deep in its recesses is a grotto
artlessly fabricated by the genius
of Nature, which, in imitating Art,
had shaped a natural organic arch
out of the living pumice and light tufa.
Before this little grotto, on the right,
a fountain burbles; its pellucid stream
widens to form a pool edged round with turf;
here the great goddess of the woods would come
to bathe her virgin limbs in its cool waters,
when hunting wearied her.
She is here today;
arriving, she hands the Armoress of Nymphs
her spear, her quiver, and her unstrung bow;
and while one nymph folds her discarded robe
over an arm, two more remove her sandals,
and that accomplished Theban nymph, Crocale,
gathers the stray hairs on Diana’s neck
into a knot (we cannot help but notice
that her own hair is left in careless freedom!);
five other nymphs, whose names are Nephele,
Hyale, Rhanis, Psecas, and Phiale,
fetch and pour water from enormous urns.
(tr. Charles Martin)


Joseph Stallaert, De dood van Dido, ca. 1872
Joseph Stallaert, De dood van Dido (ca. 1872)

Arserat Aeneae Dido miserabilis igne,
arserat exstructis in sua fata rogis;
compositusque cinis, tumulique in marmore carmen
hoc breve, quod moriens ipsa reliquit, erat:
“praebuit Aeneas et causam mortis et ensem.
ipsa sua Dido concidit usa manu.”
protinus invadunt Numidae sine vindice regnum,
et potitur capta Maurus Iärba domo,
seque memor spretum, “thalamis tamen” inquit “Elissae
en ego, quem totiens reppulit illa, fruor.”
diffugiunt Tyrii, quo quemque agit error, ut olim
amisso dubiae rege vagantur apes.
pellitur Anna domo lacrimansque sororia linquit
moenia: germanae iusta dat ante suae.
mixta bibunt molles lacrimis unguenta favillae,
vertice libatas accipiuntque comas;
terque “vale!” dixit, cineres ter ad ora relatos
pressit, et est illis visa subesse soror.
(Ovid, Fast. 3.545-564)

Wretched Dido burned with love for Aeneas,
She burned on the pyre built for her funeral:
Her ashes were gathered, and this brief couplet
Which she left, in dying, adorned her tomb:
The Numidians immediately invaded the defenceless
Realm, and Iarbas the Moor captured and held the palace.
Remembering her scorn, he said: ‘”See, I, whom she
So many times rejected, now enjoy Elissa’’s marriage bed.’”
The Tyrians scattered, as each chanced to stray, as bees
Often wander confusedly, having lost their Queen.
Anna, was driven from her home, weeping on leaving
Her sister’’s city, after first paying honour to that sister.
The loose ashes drank perfume mixed with tears,
And received an offering of her shorn hair:
Three times she said: “‘Farewell!”’ three times lifted
And pressed the ashes to her lips, seeing her sister there.
(tr. Tony Kline)


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)