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i'm currently on daily blogging sabbatical, but i'll be back very soon.

Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love by Ovid
|| 4/3/2008 || 1:28 pm || Comments Off || ||

newblaeu ovid Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love by Ovid

Remedia Amoris (Love’s Remedy or The Cure for Love) is a 814 line poem in Latin by the Roman poet Ovid written around 5 BC. The aim of the poem is to teach young men how they can avoid idealizing the women they love and to give assistance if love brings despair and misfortune.

I discovered this poem when I was researching antique stained glass sundials and I came to the initial conclusion that Ovid’s prose is visually interpreted on Blaeu’s world map from the mid-1600s (detail above). Late last night I found both the latin and translated version of the poem, so I decided to do something I wish there was more of on the internet: a side by side layout which shows the original Latin on the left and the translated English on the right.

To add a unique visual element to the poem, I made the line number (which came from the Latin text) the color of the English translation. This involved quite a bit of manual coding, but I think it makes the latin / english comparison easier and slightly more visually engaging. By using red & white type face and numerical indention, the layout looks like a creve coeur or broken heart when scrolling. I bolded one section for emphasis related it’s discovery [hint: around line #185].

There are a few translation discrepancies that I’ve found thus far and there are many others which come across slightly convoluted and require more inquiry, but overall the poem is quite interesting. It includes topics like tree grafting (Genetic Engineering Version 1.0), having multiple lovers, travelling, and what to do and not to do when getting over a relationship. It’s interesting how much things have changed in the last 2,000 years, and as cliche as it may sound, how much our emotions have stayed the same. We all face the same relationship troubles and like Ovid, there will always be people telling you how to deal with them.



If you’ve got about 45 minutes to spare, here is Ovid’s Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love:
(You might need to widen your browser window to view the on-line polyglot correctly — it was originally design for a previous layout on this website. Drag the lower right hand corner to make the screen wider. Some browsers you can adjust the font size to achieve a similar result.)

Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love by Ovid

Legerat huius Amor titulum nomenque libelli:
‘Bella mihi, video, bella parantur’ ait.
‘Parce tuum vatem sceleris damnare, Cupido,
Tradita qui toties te duce signa tuli.
Non ego Tydides, a quo tua saucia mater
5
In liquidum rediit aethera Martis equis.
Saepe tepent alii iuvenes: ego semper amavi,
Et si, quid faciam, nunc quoque, quaeris, amo.
Quin etiam docui, qua posses arte parari,
Et quod nunc ratio est, impetus ante fuit.
10
Nec te, blande puer, nec nostras prodimus artes,
Nec nova praeteritum Musa retexit opus.
Siquis amat quod amare iuvat, feliciter ardens
Gaudeat, et vento naviget ille suo.
At siquis male fert indignae regna puellae,
15
Ne pereat, nostrae sentiat artis opem.
Cur aliquis laqueo collum nodatus amator
A trabe sublimi triste pependit onus?
Cur aliquis rigido fodit sua pectora ferro?
Invidiam caedis, pacis amator, habes.
20
Qui, nisi desierit, misero periturus amore est,
Desinat; et nulli funeris auctor eris.
Et puer es, nec te quicquam nisi ludere oportet:
Lude; decent annos mollia regna tuos.
[Nam poteras uti nudis ad bella sagittis:
25
Sed tua mortifero sanguine tela carent.]
Vitricus et gladiis et acuta dimicet hasta,
Et victor multa caede cruentus eat:
Tu cole maternas, tuto quibus utimur, artes,
Et quarum vitio nulla fit orba parens.
30
Effice nocturna frangatur ianua rixa,
Et tegat ornatas multa corona fores:
Fac coeant furtim iuvenes timidaeque puellae,
Verbaque dent cauto qualibet arte viro:
Et modo blanditias rigido, modo iurgia posti
35
Dicat et exclusus flebile cantet amans.
His lacrimis contentus eris sine crimine mortis;
Non tua fax avidos digna subire rogos.’
Haec ego: movit Amor gemmatas aureus alas,
Et mihi ‘propositum perfice’ dixit ‘opus.’
40
Ad mea, decepti iuvenes, praecepta venite,
Quos suus ex omni parte fefellit amor.
Discite sanari, per quem didicistis amare:
Una manus vobis vulnus opemque feret.
Terra salutares herbas, eademque nocentes
45
Nutrit, et urticae proxima saepe rosa est;
Vulnus in Herculeo quae quondam fecerat hoste,
Vulneris auxilium Pelias hasta tulit.
Sed quaecumque viris, vobis quoque dicta, puellae,
Credite: diversis partibus arma damus,
50
E quibus ad vestros siquid non pertinet usus,
Attamen exemplo multa docere potest.
Utile propositum est saevas extinguere flammas,
Nec servum vitii pectus habere sui.
Vixisset Phyllis, si me foret usa magistro,
55
Et per quod novies, saepius isset iter;
Nec moriens Dido summa vidisset ab arce
Dardanias vento vela dedisse rates;
Nec dolor armasset contra sua viscera matrem,
Quae socii damno sanguinis ulta virum est.
60
Arte mea Tereus, quamvis Philomela placeret,
Per facinus fieri non meruisset avis.
Da mihi Pasiphaen, iam tauri ponet amorem:
Da Phaedram, Phaedrae turpis abibit amor.
Crede Parim nobis, Helenen Menelaus habebit,
65
Nec manibus Danais Pergama victa cadent.
Impia si nostros legisset Scylla libellos,
Haesisset capiti purpura, Nise, tuo.
Me duce damnosas, homines, conpescite curas,
Rectaque cum sociis me duce navis eat.
70
Naso legendus erat tum, cum didicistis amare:
Idem nunc vobis Naso legendus erit.
Publicus assertor dominis suppressa levabo
Pectora: vindictae quisque favete suae.
Te precor incipiens, adsit tua laurea nobis,
75
Carminis et medicae, Phoebe, repertor opis.
Tu pariter vati, pariter succurre medenti:
Utraque tutelae subdita cura tua est.
Dum licet, et modici tangunt praecordia motus,
Si piget, in primo limine siste pedem.
80
Opprime, dum nova sunt, subiti mala semina morbi,
Et tuus incipiens ire resistat equus.
Nam mora dat vires, teneras mora percoquit uvas,
Et validas segetes quae fuit herba, facit.
Quae praebet latas arbor spatiantibus umbras,
85
Quo posita est primum tempore virga fuit;
Tum poterat manibus summa tellure revelli:
Nunc stat in inmensum viribus aucta suis.
Quale sit id, quod amas, celeri circumspice mente,
Et tua laesuro subtrahe colla iugo.
90
Principiis obsta; sero medicina paratur,
Cum mala per longas convaluere moras.
Sed propera, nec te venturas differ in horas;
Qui non est hodie, cras minus aptus erit:
Verba dat omnis amor, reperitque alimenta morando;
95
Optima vindictae proxima quaeque dies.
Flumina pauca vides de magnis fontibus orta:
Plurima collectis multiplicantur aquis.
Si cito sensisses, quantum peccare parares,
Non tegeres vultus cortice, Myrrha, tuos.
100
Vidi ego, quod fuerat primo sanabile, vulnus
Dilatum longae damna tulisse morae.
Sed quia delectat Veneris decerpere fructum,
Dicimus adsidue ‘cras quoque fiet idem.’
Interea tacitae serpunt in viscera flammae,
105
Et mala radices altius arbor agit.
Si tamen auxilii perierunt tempora primi,
Et vetus in capto pectore sedit amor,
Maius opus superest: sed non, quia serior aegro
Advocor, ille mihi destituendus erit.
110
Quam laesus fuerat, partem Poeantius heros
Certa debuerat praesecuisse manu;
Post tamen hic multos sanatus creditur annos
Supremam bellis imposuisse manum.
Qui modo nascentes properabam pellere morbos,
115
Admoveo tardam nunc tibi lentus opem.
Aut nova, si possis, sedare incendia temptes,
Aut ubi per vires procubuere suas:
Dum furor in cursu est, currenti cede furori;
Difficiles aditus impetus omnis habet.
120
Stultus, ab obliquo qui cum descendere possit,
Pugnat in adversas ire natator aquas.
Impatiens animus nec adhuc tractabilis artem
Respuit, atque odio verba monentis habet.
Adgrediar melius tum, cum sua vulnera tangi
125
Iam sinet, et veris vocibus aptus erit.
Quis matrem, nisi mentis inops, in funere nati
Flere vetet? non hoc illa monenda loco est.
Cum dederit lacrimas animumque impleverit aegrum,
Ille dolor verbis emoderandus erit.
130
Temporis ars medicina fere est: data tempore prosunt,
Et data non apto tempore vina nocent.
Quin etiam accendas vitia inritesque vetando,
Temporibus si non adgrediare suis.
Ergo ubi visus eris nostra medicabilis arte,
135
Fac monitis fugias otia prima meis.
Haec, ut ames, faciunt; haec, quod fecere, tuentur;
Haec sunt iucundi causa cibusque mali.
Otia si tollas, periere Cupidinis arcus,
Contemptaeque iacent et sine luce faces.
140
Quam platanus vino gaudet, quam populus unda,
Et quam limosa canna palustris humo,
Tam Venus otia amat; qui finem quaeris amoris,
Cedit amor rebus: res age, tutus eris.
Languor, et inmodici sub nullo vindice somni,
145
Aleaque, et multo tempora quassa mero
Eripiunt omnes animo sine vulnere nervos:
Adfluit incautis insidiosus Amor.
Desidiam puer ille sequi solet, odit agentes:
Da vacuae menti, quo teneatur, opus.
150
Sunt fora, sunt leges, sunt, quos tuearis, amici:
Vade per urbanae splendida castra togae.
Vel tu sanguinei iuvenalia munera Martis
Suspice: deliciae iam tibi terga dabunt.
Ecce, fugax Parthus, magni nova causa triumphi,
155
Iam videt in campis Caesaris arma suis:
Vince Cupidineas pariter Parthasque sagittas,
Et refer ad patrios bina tropaea deos.
Ut semel Aetola Venus est a cuspide laesa,
Mandat amatori bella gerenda suo.
160
Quaeritur, Aegisthus quare sit factus adulter?
In promptu causa est: desidiosus erat.
Pugnabant alii tardis apud Ilion armis:
Transtulerat vires Graecia tota suas.
Sive operam bellis vellet dare, nulla gerebat:
165
Sive foro, vacuum litibus Argos erat.
Quod potuit, ne nil illic ageretur, amavit.
Sic venit ille puer, sic puer ille manet.
Rura quoque oblectant animos studiumque colendi:
Quaelibet huic curae cedere cura potest.
170
Colla iube domitos oneri supponere tauros,
Sauciet ut duram vomer aduncus humum:
Obrue versata Cerialia semina terra,
Quae tibi cum multo faenore reddat ager.
Aspice curvatos pomorum pondere ramos,
175
Ut sua, quod peperit, vix ferat arbor onus;
Aspice labentes iucundo murmure rivos;
Aspice tondentes fertile gramen oves.
Ecce, petunt rupes praeruptaque saxa capellae:
Iam referent haedis ubera plena suis;
180
Pastor inaequali modulatur harundine carmen,
Nec desunt comites, sedula turba, canes;
Parte sonant alia silvae mugitibus altae,
Et queritur vitulum mater abesse suum.
Quid, cum suppositos fugiunt examina fumos,
185
Ut relevent dempti vimina curva favi?
Poma dat autumnus: formosa est messibus aestas:
Ver praebet flores: igne levatur hiems.

Temporibus certis maturam rusticus uvam
Deligit, et nudo sub pede musta fluunt;
190
Temporibus certis desectas alligat herbas,
Et tonsam raro pectine verrit humum.
Ipse potes riguis plantam deponere in hortis,
Ipse potes rivos ducere lenis aquae.
Venerit insitio; fac ramum ramus adoptet,
195
Stetque peregrinis arbor operta comis.
Cum semel haec animum coepit mulcere voluptas,
Debilibus pinnis inritus exit Amor.
Vel tu venandi studium cole: saepe recessit
Turpiter a Phoebi victa sorore Venus.
200
Nunc leporem pronum catulo sectare sagaci,
Nunc tua frondosis retia tende iugis,
Aut pavidos terre varia formidine cervos,
Aut cadat adversa cuspide fossus aper.
Nocte fatigatum somnus, non cura puellae,
205
Excipit et pingui membra quiete levat.
Lenius est studium, studium tamen, alite capta
Aut lino aut calamis praemia parva sequi,
Vel, quae piscis edax avido male devoret ore,
Abdere sub parvis aera recurva cibis.
210
Aut his aut aliis, donec dediscis amare,
Ipse tibi furtim decipiendus eris.
Tu tantum quamvis firmis retinebere vinclis,
I procul, et longas carpere perge vias;
Flebis, et occurret desertae nomen amicae,
215
Stabit et in media pes tibi saepe via:
Sed quanto minus ire voles, magis ire memento;
Perfer, et invitos currere coge pedes.
Nec pluvias opta, nec te peregrina morentur
Sabbata, nec damnis Allia nota suis.
220
Nec quot transieris et quot tibi, quaere, supersint
Milia; nec, maneas ut prope, finge moras:
Tempora nec numera, nec crebro respice Romam,
Sed fuge: tutus adhuc Parthus ab hoste fuga est.
Dura aliquis praecepta vocet mea; dura fatemur
225
Esse; sed ut valeas, multa dolenda feres.
Saepe bibi sucos, quamvis invitus, amaros
Aeger, et oranti mensa negata mihi.
Ut corpus redimas, ferrum patieris et ignes,
Arida nec sitiens ora levabis aqua:
230
Ut valeas animo, quicquam tolerare negabis?
At pretium pars haec corpore maius habet.
Sed tamen est artis tristissima ianua nostrae,
Et labor est unus tempora prima pati.
Aspicis, ut prensos urant iuga prima iuvencos,
235
Et nova velocem cingula laedat equum?
Forsitan a laribus patriis exire pigebit:
Sed tamen exibis: deinde redire voles;
Nec te Lar patrius, sed amor revocabit amicae,
Praetendens culpae splendida verba tuae.
240
Cum semel exieris, centum solatia curae
Et rus et comites et via longa dabit.
Nec satis esse putes discedere; lentus abesto,
Dum perdat vires sitque sine igne cinis.
Quod nisi firmata properaris mente reverti,
245
Inferet arma tibi saeva rebellis Amor.
Quidquid et afueris, avidus sitiensque redibis,
Et spatium damno cesserit omne tuo.
Viderit, Haemoniae siquis mala pabula terrae
Et magicas artes posse iuvare putat.
250
Ista veneficii vetus est via; noster Apollo
Innocuam sacro carmine monstrat opem.
Me duce non tumulo prodire iubebitur umbra,
Non anus infami carmine rumpet humum;
Non seges ex aliis alios transibit in agros,
255
Nec subito Phoebi pallidus orbis erit.
Ut solet, aequoreas ibit Tiberinus in undas:
Ut solet, in niveis Luna vehetur equis.
Nulla recantatas deponent pectora curas,
Nec fugiet vivo sulpure victus amor.
260
Quid te Phasiacae iuverunt gramina terrae,
Cum cuperes patria, Colchi, manere domo?
Quid tibi profuerunt, Circe, Perseides herbae,
Cum sua Neritias abstulit aura rates?
Omnia fecisti, ne callidus hospes abiret:
265
Ille dedit certae lintea plena fugae.
Omnia fecisti, ne te ferus ureret ignis:
Longus in invito pectore sedit amor.
Vertere tu poteras homines in mille figuras,
Non poteras animi vertere iura tui.
270
Diceris his etiam, cum iam discedere vellet,
Dulichium verbis detinuisse ducem:
‘Non ego, quod primo, memini, sperare solebam,
Iam precor, ut coniunx tu meus esse velis;
Et tamen, ut coniunx essem tua, digna videbar,
275
Quod dea, quod magni filia Solis eram.
Ne properes, oro; spatium pro munere posco:
Quid minus optari per mea vota potest?
Et freta mota vides, et debes illa timere:
Utilior velis postmodo ventus erit.
280
Quae tibi causa fugae? non hic nova Troia resurgit,
Non aliquis socios rursus ad arma vocat.
Hic amor et pax est, in qua male vulneror una,
Tutaque sub regno terra futura tuo est.’
Illa loquebatur, navem solvebat Ulixes:
285
Inrita cum velis verba tulere noti.
Ardet et adsuetas Circe decurrit ad artes,
Nec tamen est illis adtenuatus amor.
Ergo quisquis opem nostra tibi poscis ab arte,
Deme veneficiis carminibusque fidem.
290
Si te causa potens domina retinebit in Urbe,
Accipe, consilium quod sit in Urbe meum.
Optimus ille sui vindex, laedentia pectus
Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel.
Sed cui tantum animi est, illum mirabor et ipse,
295
Et dicam ‘monitis non eget iste meis.’
Tu mihi, qui, quod amas, aegre dediscis amare,
Nec potes, et velles posse, docendus eris.
Saepe refer tecum sceleratae facta puellae,
Et pone ante oculos omnia damna tuos.
300
‘Illud et illud habet, nec ea contenta rapina est:
Sub titulum nostros misit avara lares.
Sic mihi iuravit, sic me iurata fefellit,
Ante suas quotiens passa iacere fores!
Diligit ipsa alios, a me fastidit amari;
305
Institor, heu, noctes, quas mihi non dat, habet!’
Haec tibi per totos inacescant omnia sensus:
Haec refer, hinc odii semina quaere tui.
Atque utinam possis etiam facundus in illis
Esse! dole tantum, sponte disertus eris.
310
Haeserat in quadam nuper mea cura puella:
Conveniens animo non erat illa meo:
Curabar propriis aeger Podalirius herbis,
Et, fateor, medicus turpiter aeger eram.
Profuit adsidue vitiis insistere amicae,
315
Idque mihi factum saepe salubre fuit.
‘Quam mala’ dicebam ‘nostrae sunt crura puellae!’
Nec tamen, ut vere confiteamur, erant.
‘Brachia quam non sunt nostrae formosa puellae!’
Et tamen, ut vere confiteamur, erant.
320
‘Quam brevis est!’ nec erat; ‘quam multum poscit amantem!’
Haec odio venit maxima causa meo.
Et mala sunt vicina bonis; errore sub illo
Pro vitio virtus crimina saepe tulit.
Qua potes, in peius dotes deflecte puellae,
325
Iudiciumque brevi limite falle tuum.
Turgida, si plena est, si fusca est, nigra vocetur:
In gracili macies crimen habere potest.
Et poterit dici petulans, quae rustica non est:
Et poterit dici rustica, siqua proba est.
330
Quin etiam, quacumque caret tua femina dote,
Hanc moveat, blandis usque precare sonis.
Exige uti cantet, siqua est sine voce puella:
Fac saltet, nescit siqua movere manum.
Barbara sermone est? fac tecum multa loquatur;
335
Non didicit chordas tangere? posce lyram.
Durius incedit? fac inambulet; omne papillae
Pectus habent? vitium fascia nulla tegat.
Si male dentata est, narra, quod rideat, illi;
Mollibus est oculis? quod fleat illa, refer.
340
Proderit et subito, cum se non finxerit ulli,
Ad dominam celeres mane tulisse gradus.
Auferimur cultu; gemmis auroque teguntur
Omnia; pars minima est ipsa puella sui.
Saepe ubi sit, quod ames, inter tam multa requiras;
345
Decipit hac oculos aegide dives Amor.
Improvisus ades, deprendes tutus inermem:
Infelix vitiis excidet illa suis.
Non tamen huic nimium praecepto credere tutum est:
Fallit enim multos forma sine arte decens.
350
Tum quoque, compositis cum collinet ora venenis,
Ad dominae vultus (nec pudor obstet) eas.
Pyxidas invenies et rerum mille colores,
Et fluere in tepidos oesypa lapsa sinus.
Illa tuas redolent, Phineu, medicamina mensas:
355
Non semel hinc stomacho nausea facta meo est.
Nunc tibi, quae medio veneris praestemus in usu,
Eloquar: ex omni est parte fugandus amor.
Multa quidem ex illis pudor est mihi dicere; sed tu
Ingenio verbis concipe plura meis.
360
Nuper enim nostros quidam carpsere libellos,
Quorum censura Musa proterva mea est.
Dummodo sic placeam, dum toto canter in orbe,
Quamlibet impugnent unus et alter opus.
Ingenium magni livor detractat Homeri:
365
Quisquis es, ex illo, Zoile, nomen habes.
Et tua sacrilegae laniarunt carmina linguae,
Pertulit huc victos quo duce Troia deos.
Summa petit livor; perflant altissima venti:
Summa petunt dextra fulmina missa Iovis.
370
At tu, quicumque es, quem nostra licentia laedit,
Si sapis, ad numeros exige quidque suos.
Fortia Maeonio gaudent pede bella referri;
Deliciis illic quis locus esse potest?
Grande sonant tragici; tragicos decet ira cothurnos:
375
Usibus e mediis soccus habendus erit.
Liber in adversos hostes stringatur iambus,
Seu celer, extremum seu trahat ille pedem.
Blanda pharetratos Elegia cantet Amores,
Et levis arbitrio ludat amica suo.
380
Callimachi numeris non est dicendus Achilles,
Cydippe non est oris, Homere, tui.
Quis feret Andromaches peragentem Thaida partes?
Peccet, in Andromache Thaida quisquis agat.
Thais in arte mea est; lascivia libera nostra est;
385
Nil mihi cum vitta; Thais in arte mea est.
Si mea materiae respondet Musa iocosae,
Vicimus, et falsi criminis acta rea est.
Rumpere, Livor edax: magnum iam nomen habemus;
Maius erit, tantum quo pede coepit eat.
390
Sed nimium properas: vivam modo, plura dolebis;
Et capiunt animi carmina multa mei.
Nam iuvat et studium famae mihi crevit honore;
Principio clivi noster anhelat equus.
Tantum se nobis elegi debere fatentur,
395
Quantum Vergilio nobile debet epos.
Hactenus invidiae respondimus: attrahe lora
Fortius, et gyro curre, poeta, tuo.
Ergo ubi concubitus et opus iuvenale petetur,
Et prope promissae tempora noctis erunt,
400
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,
405
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.
410
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,
415
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.
420
Parva necat morsu spatiosum vipera taurum:
A cane non magno saepe tenetur aper.
Tu tantum numero pugna, praeceptaque in unum
Contrahe: de multis grandis acervus erit.
Sed quoniam totidem mores totidemque figurae,
425
Non sunt iudiciis omnia danda meis.
Quo tua non possunt offendi pectora facto,
Forsitan hoc alio iudice crimen erit.
Ille quod obscenas in aperto corpore partes
Viderat, in cursu qui fuit, haesit amor:
430
Ille quod a Veneris rebus surgente puella
Vidit in inmundo signa pudenda toro.
Luditis, o siquos potuerunt ista movere:
Adflarant tepidae pectora vestra faces.
Adtrahat ille puer contentos fortius arcus:
435
Saucia maiorem turba petetis opem.
Quid, qui clam latuit reddente obscena puella,
Et vidit, quae mos ipse videre vetat?
Di melius, quam nos moneamus talia quemquam!
Ut prosint, non sunt expedienda tamen.
440
Hortor et, ut pariter binas habeatis amicas
(Fortior est, plures siquis habere potest):
Secta bipertito cum mens discurrit utroque,
Alterius vires subtrahit alter amor.
Grandia per multos tenuantur flumina rivos,
445
Saevaque diducto stipite flamma perit.
Non satis una tenet ceratas ancora puppes,
Nec satis est liquidis unicus hamus aquis:
Qui sibi iam pridem solacia bina paravit,
Iam pridem summa victor in arce fuit.
450
At tibi, qui fueris dominae male creditus uni,
Nunc saltem novus est inveniendus amor.
Pasiphaes Minos in Procride perdidit ignes:
Cessit ab Idaea coniuge victa prior.
Amphilochi frater ne Phegida semper amaret,
455
Calliroe fecit parte recepta tori.
Et Parin Oenone summos tenuisset ad annos,
Si non Oebalia paelice laesa foret.
Coniugis Odrysio placuisset forma tyranno:
Sed melior clausae forma sororis erat.
460
Quid moror exemplis, quorum me turba fatigat?
Successore novo vincitur omnis amor.
Fortius e multis mater desiderat unum,
Quam quem flens clamat ‘tu mihi solus eras.’
Ac ne forte putes nova me tibi condere iura
465
(Atque utinam inventi gloria nostra foret!),
Vidit ut Atrides (quid enim non ille videret,
Cuius in arbitrio Graecia tota fuit?)
Marte suo captam Chryseida, victor amabat:
At senior stulte flebat ubique pater.
470
Quid lacrimas, odiose senex? bene convenit illis:
Officio natam laedis, inepte, tuo.
Quam postquam reddi Calchas, ope tutus Achillis,
Iusserat, et patria est illa recepta domo,
‘Est’ ait Atrides ‘illius proxima forma,
475
Et, si prima sinat syllaba, nomen idem:
Hanc mihi, si sapiat, per se concedat Achilles:
Si minus, imperium sentiat ille meum.
Quod siquis vestrum factum hoc incusat, Achivi,
Est aliquid valida sceptra tenere manu.
480
Nam si rex ego sum, nec mecum dormiat ulla,
In mea Thersites regna, licebit, eat.’
Dixit, et hanc habuit solacia magna prioris,
Et posita est cura cura repulsa nova.
Ergo adsume novas auctore Agamemnone flammas,
485
Ut tuus in bivio distineatur amor.
Quaeris, ubi invenias? artes tu perlege nostras:
Plena puellarum iam tibi navis erit.
Quod siquid praecepta valent mea, siquid Apollo
Utile mortales perdocet ore meo,
490
Quamvis infelix media torreberis Aetna,
Frigidior glacie fac videare tuae:
Et sanum simula, ne, siquid forte dolebis,
Sentiat; et ride, cum tibi flendus eris.
Non ego te iubeo medias abrumpere curas:
495
Non sunt imperii tam fera iussa mei.
Quod non es, simula, positosque imitare furores:
Sic facies vere, quod meditatus eris.
Saepe ego, ne biberem, volui dormire videri:
Dum videor, somno lumina victa dedi:
500
Deceptum risi, qui se simularat amare,
In laqueos auceps decideratque suos.
Intrat amor mentes usu, dediscitur usu:
Qui poterit sanum fingere, sanus erit.
Dixerit, ut venias: pacta tibi nocte venito;
505
Veneris, et fuerit ianua clausa: feres.
Nec dic blanditias, nec fac convicia posti,
Nec latus in duro limine pone tuum.
Postera lux aderit: careant tua verba querellis,
Et nulla in vultu signa dolentis habe.
510
Iam ponet fastus, cum te languere videbit:
Hoc etiam nostra munus ab arte feres.
Te quoque falle tamen, nec sit tibi finis amandi
Propositus: frenis saepe repugnat equus.
Utilitas lateat; quod non profitebere, fiet:
515
Quae nimis apparent retia, vitat avis.
Nec sibi tam placeat, nec te contemnere possit;
Sume animos, animis cedat ut illa tuis.
Ianua forte patet? quamvis revocabere, transi.
Est data nox? dubita nocte venire data.
520
Posse pati facile est, ubi, si patientia desit,
Protinus ex facili gaudia ferre licet.
Et quisquam praecepta potest mea dura vocare?
En, etiam partes conciliantis ago.
Nam quoniam variant animi, variabimus artes;
525
Mille mali species, mille salutis erunt.
Corpora vix ferro quaedam sanantur acuto:
Auxilium multis sucus et herba fuit.
Mollior es, neque abire potes, vinctusque teneris,
Et tua saevus Amor sub pede colla premit?
530
Desine luctari: referant tua carbasa venti,
Quaque vocant fluctus, hac tibi remus eat.
Explenda est sitis ista tibi, quo perditus ardes;
Cedimus; e medio iam licet amne bibas:
Sed bibe plus etiam, quam quod praecordia poscunt,
535
Gutture fac pleno sumpta redundet aqua.
I, fruere usque tua, nullo prohibente, puella:
Illa tibi noctes auferat, illa dies.
Taedia quaere mali: faciunt et taedia finem.
Iam quoque, cum credes posse carere, mane,
540
Dum bene te cumules et copia tollat amorem,
Et fastidita non iuvet esse domo.
Fit quoque longus amor, quem diffidentia nutrit:
Hunc tu si quaeres ponere, pone metum.
Qui timet, ut sua sit, ne quis sibi detrahat illam,
545
Ille Machaonia vix ope sanus erit.
Plus amat e natis mater plerumque duobus,
Pro cuius reditu, quod gerit arma, timet.
Est prope Collinam templum venerabile portam;
Inposuit templo nomina celsus Eryx:
550
Est illic Lethaeus Amor, qui pectora sanat,
Inque suas gelidam lampadas addit aquam.
Illic et iuvenes votis oblivia poscunt,
Et siqua est duro capta puella viro.
Is mihi sic dixit (dubito, verusne Cupido,
555
An somnus fuerit: sed puto, somnus erat)
‘O qui sollicitos modo das, modo demis amores,
Adice praeceptis hoc quoque, Naso, tuis.
Ad mala quisque animum referat sua, ponet amorem;
Omnibus illa deus plusve minusve dedit.
560
Qui Puteal Ianumque timet celeresque Kalendas,
Torqueat hunc aeris mutua summa sui;
Cui durus pater est, ut voto cetera cedant,
Huic pater ante oculos durus habendus erit;
Hic male dotata pauper cum coniuge vivit,
565
Uxorem fato credat obesse suo.
Est tibi rure bono generosae fertilis uvae
Vinea? ne nascens usta sit uva, time.
Ille habet in reditu navim: mare semper iniquum
Cogitet et damno litora foeda suo.
570
Filius hunc miles, te filia nubilis angat;
Et quis non causas mille doloris habet?
Ut posses odisse tuam, Pari, funera fratrum
Debueras oculis substituisse tuis.’
Plura loquebatur: placidum puerilis imago
575
Destituit somnum, si modo somnus erat.
Quid faciam? media navem Palinurus in unda
Deserit; ignotas cogor inire vias.
Quisquis amas, loca sola nocent, loca sola caveto!
Quo fugis? in populo tutior esse potes.
580
Non tibi secretis (augent secreta furores)
Est opus: auxilio turba futura tibi est.
Tristis eris, si solus eris, dominaeque relictae
Ante oculos facies stabit, ut ipsa, tuos.
Tristior idcirco nox est quam tempora Phoebi;
585
Quae relevet luctus, turba sodalis abest.
Nec fuge conloquium, nec sit tibi ianua clausa,
Nec tenebris vultus flebilis abde tuos.
Semper habe Pyladen aliquem, qui curet Oresten:
Hic quoque amicitiae non levis usus erit.
590
Quid, nisi secretae laeserunt Phyllida silvae?
Certa necis causa est: incomitata fuit.
Ibat, ut Edono referens trieterica Baccho
Ire solet fusis barbara turba comis,
Et modo, qua poterat, longum spectabat in aequor,
595
Nunc in harenosa lassa iacebat humo.
‘Perfide Demophoon!’ surdas clamabat ad undas,
Ruptaque singultu verba loquentis erant.
Limes erat tenuis longa subnubilus umbra,
Quo tulit illa suos ad mare saepe pedes.
600
Nona terebatur miserae via: ‘viderit!’ inquit,
Et spectat zonam pallida facta suam,
Aspicit et ramos; dubitat, refugitque quod audet
Et timet, et digitos ad sua colla refert.
Sithoni, tum certe vellem non sola fuisses:
605
Non flesset positis Phyllida silva comis.
Phyllidis exemplo nimium secreta timete,
Laese vir a domina, laesa puella viro.
Praestiterat iuvenis quidquid mea Musa iubebat,
Inque suae portu paene salutis erat:
610
Reccidit, ut cupidos inter devenit amantes,
Et, quae condiderat, tela resumpsit Amor.
Siquis amas, nec vis, facito contagia vites;
Haec etiam pecori saepe nocere solent.
Dum spectant laesos oculi, laeduntur et ipsi,
615
Multaque corporibus transitione nocent.
In loca nonnumquam siccis arentia glebis
De prope currenti flumine manat aqua:
Manat amor tectus, si non ab amante recedas;
Turbaque in hoc omnes ingeniosa sumus.
620
Alter item iam sanus erat; vicinia laesit:
Occursum dominae non tulit ille suae.
Vulnus in antiquum rediit male firma cicatrix,
Successumque artes non habuere meae.
Proximus a tectis ignis defenditur aegre;
625
Utile finitimis abstinuisse locis.
Nec quae ferre solet spatiantem porticus illam,
Te ferat, officium neve colatur idem.
Quid iuvat admonitu tepidam recalescere mentem?
Alter, si possis, orbis habendus erit.
630
Non facile esuriens posita retinebere mensa,
Et multam saliens incitat unda sitim.
Non facile est taurum visa retinere iuvenca,
Fortis equus visae semper adhinnit equae.
Haec ubi praestiteris, ut tandem litora tangas,
635
Non ipsam satis est deseruisse tibi.
Et soror et mater valeant et conscia nutrix,
Et quisquis dominae pars erit ulla tuae.
Nec veniat servus, nec flens ancillula fictum
Suppliciter dominae nomine dicat ‘ave!’
640
Nec si scire voles, quid agat, tamen, illa, rogabis;
Perfer! erit lucro lingua retenta tuo.
Tu quoque, qui causam finiti reddis amoris,
Deque tua domina multa querenda refers,
Parce queri; melius sic ulciscere tacendo,
645
Ut desideriis effluat illa tuis.
Et malim taceas quam te desisse loquaris:
Qui nimium multis ‘non amo’ dicit, amat.
Sed meliore fide paulatim extinguitur ignis
Quam subito; lente desine, tutus eris.
650
Flumine perpetuo torrens solet altior ire:
Sed tamen haec brevis est, illa perennis aqua.
Fallat, et in tenues evanidus exeat auras,
Perque gradus molles emoriatur amor.
Sed modo dilectam scelus est odisse puellam:
655
Exitus ingeniis convenit iste feris.
Non curare sat est: odio qui finit amorem,
Aut amat, aut aegre desinet esse miser.
Turpe vir et mulier, iuncti modo, protinus hostes;
Non illas lites Appias ipsa probat.
660
Saepe reas faciunt, et amant; ubi nulla simultas
Incidit, admonitu liber aberrat amor.
Forte aderam iuveni; dominam lectica tenebat:
Horrebant saevis omnia verba minis.
Iamque vadaturus ‘lectica prodeat’ inquit;
665
Prodierat: visa coniuge mutus erat.
Et manus et manibus duplices cecidere tabellae,
Venit in amplexus, atque ‘ita vincis’ ait.
Tutius est aptumque magis discedere pace,
Nec petere a thalamis litigiosa fora.
670
Munera quae dederas, habeat sine lite, iubeto:
Esse solent magno damna minora bono.
Quod si vos aliquis casus conducet in unum,
Mente memor tota quae damus arma, tene.
Nunc opus est armis; hic, o fortissime, pugna:
675
Vincenda est telo Penthesilea tuo.
Nunc tibi rivalis, nunc durum limen amanti,
Nunc subeant mediis inrita verba deis.
Nec compone comas, quia sis venturus ad illam,
Nec toga sit laxo conspicienda sinu.
680
Nulla sit, ut placeas alienae cura puellae;
Iam facito e multis una sit illa tibi.
Sed quid praecipue nostris conatibus obstet
Eloquar, exemplo quemque docente suo.
Desinimus tarde, quia nos speramus amari:
685
Dum sibi quisque placet, credula turba sumus.
At tu nec voces (quid enim fallacius illis?)
Crede, nec aeternos pondus habere deos.
Neve puellarum lacrimis moveare, caveto:
Ut flerent, oculos erudiere suos.
690
Artibus innumeris mens oppugnatur amantum,
Ut lapis aequoreis undique pulsus aquis.
Nec causas aperi, quare divortia malis:
Nec dic, quid doleas: clam tamen usque dole.
Nec peccata refer, ne diluat: ipse favebis,
695
Ut melior causa causa sit illa tua.
Qui silet, est firmus; qui dicit multa puellae
Probra, satisfieri postulat ille sibi.
Non ego Dulichio furari more sagittas,
Nec raptas ausim tinguere in amne faces:
700
Nec nos purpureas pueri resecabimus alas,
Nec sacer arte mea laxior arcus erit.
Consilium est, quodcumque cano: parete canenti,
Tuque, favens coeptis, Phoebe saluber, ades.
Phoebus adest: sonuere lyrae, sonuere pharetrae;
705
Signa deum nosco per sua: Phoebus adest.
Confer Amyclaeis medicatum vellus aenis
Murice cum Tyrio; turpius illud erit:
Vos quoque formosis vestras conferte puellas;
Incipiet dominae quemque pudere suae:
710
Utraque formosae Paridi potuere videri,
Sed sibi conlatam vicit utramque Venus.
Nec solam faciem, mores quoque confer et artes:
Tantum iudicio ne tuus obsit amor.
Exiguum est, quod deinde canam; sed profuit illud
715
Exiguum multis: in quibus ipse fui.
Scripta cave relegas blandae servata puellae:
Constantes animos scripta relecta movent.
Omnia pone feros (pones invitus) in ignes,
Et dic ‘ardoris sit rogus iste mei.’
720
Thestias absentem succendit stipite natum:
Tu timide flammae perfida verba dabis?
Si potes, et ceras remove: quid imagine muta
Carperis? hoc periit Laodamia modo.
Et loca saepe nocent; fugito loca conscia vestri
725
Concubitus; causas illa doloris habent.
‘Hic fuit, hic cubuit; thalamo dormivimus illo:
Hic mihi lasciva gaudia nocte dedit.’
Admonitu refricatur amor, vulnusque novatum
Scinditur: infirmis culpa pusilla nocet.
730
Ut, paene extinctum cinerem si sulpure tangas,
Vivet et e minimo maximus ignis erit,
Sic, nisi vitaris quidquid renovabit amorem,
Flamma redardescet, quae modo nulla fuit.
Argolides cuperent fugisse Capherea puppes,
735
Teque, senex, luctus ignibus ulte tuos.
Praeterita cautus Niseide navita gaudet:
Tu loca, quae nimium grata fuere, cave.
Haec tibi sint Syrtes: haec Acroceraunia vita:
Hic vomit epotas dira Charybdis aquas.
740
Sunt quae non possunt aliquo cogente iuberi,
Saepe tamen casu facta iuvare solent.
Perdat opes Phaedra, parces, Neptune, nepoti,
Nec faciet pavidos taurus avitus equos.
Cnosida fecisses inopem, sapienter amasset:
745
Divitiis alitur luxuriosus amor.
Cur nemo est, Hecalen, nulla est, quae ceperit Iron?
Nempe quod alter egens, altera pauper erat.
Non habet, unde suum paupertas pascat amorem:
Non tamen hoc tanti est, pauper ut esse velis.
750
At tanti tibi sit non indulgere theatris,
Dum bene de vacuo pectore cedat amor.
Enervant animos citharae lotosque lyraeque
Et vox et numeris brachia mota suis.
Illic adsidue ficti saltantur amantes:
755
Quod caveas, actor, quam iuvet, arte docet.
Eloquar invitus: teneros ne tange poetas!
Summoveo dotes impius ipse meas.
Callimachum fugito: non est inimicus Amori:
Et cum Callimacho tu quoque, Coe, noces.
760
Me certe Sappho meliorem fecit amicae,
Nec rigidos mores Teia Musa dedit.
Carmina quis potuit tuto legisse Tibulli,
Vel tua, cuius opus Cynthia sola fuit?
Quis poterit lecto durus discedere Gallo?
765
Et mea nescio quid carmina tale sonant.
Quod nisi dux operis vatem frustratur Apollo,
Aemulus est nostri maxima causa mali:
At tu rivalem noli tibi fingere quemquam,
Inque suo solam crede iacere toro.
770
Acrius Hermionen ideo dilexit Orestes,
Esse quod alterius coeperat illa viri.
Quid, Menelae, doles? ibas sine coniuge Creten,
Et poteras nupta lentus abesse tua.
Ut Paris hanc rapuit, nunc demum uxore carere
775
Non potes: alterius crevit amore tuus.
Hoc et in abducta Briseide flebat Achilles,
Illam Plisthenio gaudia ferre viro;
Nec frustra flebat, mihi credite: fecit Atrides,
Quod si non faceret, turpiter esset iners.
780
Certe ego fecissem, nec sum sapientior illo:
Invidiae fructus maximus ille fuit.
Nam sibi quod numquam tactam Briseida iurat
Per sceptrum, sceptrum non putat esse deos.
Di faciant, possis dominae transire relictae
785
Limina, proposito sufficiantque pedes.
Et poteris; modo velle tene: nunc fortiter ire,
Nunc opus est celeri subdere calcar equo.
Illo Lotophagos, illo Sirenas in antro
Esse puta; remis adice vela tuis.
790
Hunc quoque, quo quondam nimium rivale dolebas,
Vellem desineres hostis habere loco.
At certe, quamvis odio remanente, saluta;
Oscula cum poteris iam dare, sanus eris.
Ecce, cibos etiam, medicinae fungar ut omni
795
Munere, quos fugias quosque sequare, dabo.
Daunius, an Libycis bulbus tibi missus ab oris,
An veniat Megaris, noxius omnis erit.
Nec minus erucas aptum vitare salaces,
Et quicquid Veneri corpora nostra parat.
800
Utilius sumas acuentes lumina rutas,
Et quidquid Veneri corpora nostra negat.
Quid tibi praecipiam de Bacchi munere, quaeris?
Spe brevius monitis expediere meis.
Vina parant animum Veneri, nisi plurima sumas
805
Et stupeant multo corda sepulta mero.
Nutritur vento, vento restinguitur ignis:
Lenis alit flammas, grandior aura necat.
Aut nulla ebrietas, aut tanta sit, ut tibi curas
Eripiat; siqua est inter utrumque, nocet.
810
Hoc opus exegi: fessae date serta carinae;
Contigimus portus, quo mihi cursus erat.
Postmodo reddetis sacro pia vota poetae,
Carmine sanati femina virque meo.
Love, having read the name and title on this book,
said: ˜It’s war, you declare against me, I see, it’s war’.
˜Cupid, don’t condemn your poet for a crime, who has so often
raised the standard, you trusted him with, under your command.
I’m not Diomede, by whom your mother was wounded,
she, carried back to the clear heavens on Mars’s steeds.
Other young men often grow cool: I’ve always loved,
and if you ask me now, too, what I do, I love.
Indeed I’ve taught, as well, by what art you can be won,
and what was passion before, is now reason.
Sweet Boy, I’ve not betrayed you or my art,
and this new Muse unravels no prior work.
Let him rejoice in happiness, any eager man who loves
and delights in love: let him sail with the wind.
But any man who suffers badly from the power of a worthless girl,
shouldn’t die, if he understands the help that’s in my art.
Why should any lover hang from a high beam,
a sad weight, with a knotted rope round his neck?
Why should anyone stab himself with cold steel?
Lover of Peace, you earn dislike for such hateful death.
Let him who’ll die of wretched passion unless he quits it,
quit it: and you’ll be the cause of no one’s funeral.
And you’re a boy: you’re not fit for anything but play:
play then: a sweet dominion suits your years.
For you might have used naked arrows with which to war:
but your shafts are free of deadly blood.
Your stepfather Mars may fight with swords and sharp spears,
and as a victor stride through the carnage:
you cultivate your mother’s arts, which are safe to use,
through whose fault no parent’s ever bereaved.
Make doors burst open to nocturnal fights,
and the entrance be buried in many fine garlands:
have young men and shy girls meet secretly,
and cheat watchful husbands by whatever art:
and now let the lover who’s shut out, speak flatteringly,
and now curse the rigid doorpost, and, weeping, sing.
You, be content with these tears, with no guilt for death:
it’s not fitting for your torch to plunge beneath greedy pyres.’
So I spoke: golden Love moved his jewelled wings,
and said to me: ˜Finish the work you planned.’
Come to my teaching, young men who’ve been deceived,
you whose love has utterly betrayed you.
Learn how to be cured, from him who taught you how to love:
the one hand brings the wound and the relief.
The same earth nurtures healing herbs as harmful,
and the nettle’s often near to the rose:
Achilles’s spear that once wounded Telephus, his enemy,
also brought the cure for the wound.
But believe me, girls, I tell to you whatever I tell the men:
I grant weapons to either side:
and if any of it does not apply to your needs,
it can still teach you a great deal by example.
It’s a good idea to quench fierce flames,
don’t let your heart be slave to your failings.
Phyllis would have lived, if she’d used me as her master,
and gone the way she went, nine times, more often.
Dido, as she died, would not have watched the Trojan ships,
from the summit of her tower, as they set sail:
nor would pain have armed Medea against her children,
taking vengeance on her husband by harming his offspring.
By using my art, Tereus, when Philomela charmed him,
would not have deserved to become a bird for his crime.
Give Pasiphae to me, then, surely, she’d lose her love for the bull:
Give me Phaedra: Phaedra’s shameful love will vanish.
Trust Paris to me, Menelaus would have Helen,
and Troy not conquered to fall at the hands of Greeks.
If impious Scylla could have read my books,
Nisus, the purple lock would cling to your head.
With me as leader, quench your ruinous sorrows:
let ship and crew sail true, with me as leader.
You read your Ovid then, when you learnt about love:
now the same Ovid’s to be read by you.
The public champion, I lighten hearts constrained
by their masters: each of you, thank the rod that frees.
Phoebus, source of the power of medicine and song,
may your laurel help me, I beg of you, as I begin,
Yours is the nurturing of doctor and poet alike:
the protection of both falls to your care.
If you’ve regrets, and moderate emotions touch your heart,
then halt your feet, while you can, at the first threshold.
Crush the evil germs of sudden illness while they’re young,
and prevent your horse’s gallop at the start.
For time gives strength, time ripens tender grapes,
and creates healthy crops from what were shoots.
The tree that spreads wide shadows for passers-by,
was only a slip at first that had been planted:
then a hand could pluck it from the topsoil:
now by its growth it stands, in all its immense power.
Let your swift mind encompass what it is that you love,
and withdraw your neck from the collar that hurts you.
Halt its beginnings: it’s too late for the doctor to be called,
when the illness has grown stronger through delay.
But hurry, don’t put it off to a later time:
who’s not ready today, will be less so tomorrow:
all love deceives, and gains nourishment by waiting:
every next day is the best for freedom.
You see few rivers flow from mighty fountains:
by many inflowing waters they’re multiplied.
Myrrha, if you’d realised sooner what sins you’d begun,
you’d not have hidden your face with tree-bark.
I’ve seen a wound that could at first be healed
suffer harm through enduring long delays.
But since it charms us to cull the fruits of Venus,
we always say: ˜the same could happen tomorrow.’
Meanwhile the secret flames creep into our heart,
and the baleful tree drives its roots deeper.
If the moment for early help’s been lost, however,
and ancient love’s settled in the captive breast,
the greater the work that remains: but because I’ve been called
to the illness later, it won’t be abandoned by me.
That bit of Philoctetes that was wounded
he should surely have cut off long ago:
they say that, having been healed, many years later
he dealt the last blow of the Trojan war.
I who rushed to drive off the nascent illness,
now calmly bring you late relief.
Either you try, if you can, to quench a fire at the start,
or when it dies down, through its own violence:
while passion’s in full flow, give way to the rush of passion:
all of us find approaching its onrush difficult.
He’s a foolish swimmer, who fights against the stream,
when he could descend the current obliquely.
The impatient spirit, that’s not yet tractable, rejects my art,
and is possessed by hatred for my words of advice.
Better for me to approach him now when he’ll let me touch
the wound, and is more suited to words of truth.
Who’d stop a mother weeping, unless he’s mad,
at her son’s grave? That’s not the place to admonish her.
When tears are over, and the sorrowful spirit’s done,
then grief can be given expression in words.
Medicine requires the art of timing: given at the right time
wine may help, at the wrong time it may harm.
Indeed you may even inflame and provoke the disease
by denying it, if it’s not applied at the proper moment.
So when you’re ready for my medical arts,
first ban idleness, on my advice.
This encourages you to love, and protects the love it encourages:
it’s the pleasurable source, and the evil nourishment.
If you take away idleness, Cupid’s bow’s unstrung,
his torch is dark and held to scorn.
As plane trees like wine, as poplar trees like water,
as muddy reeds like the marshy ground,
so Venus loves idleness: you who seek to end love,
love gives way to business: be busy, you’ll be safe.
Languor and excess sleep that go unchallenged,
and gambling, and time lost to too much drink
take away all vigour, without damaging the heart:
insidious Love enters the unwary.
That Boy’s accustomed to following idleness: he hates the busy:
give your vacant mind work to occupy it.
There are the courts, the laws, the friends you might defend:
make your way through the splendid camp of city togas.
Or admire the youthful service of blood-drenched Mars:
then you’ll turn your back on your delights.
Behold, the fleeing Parthian, fresh cause of a great triumph,
he sees Caesar’s weapons now in his own country:
Conquer both the arrows of Cupid and Parthia,
and bring back twin trophies to your native gods.
As soon as Venus was wounded by Diomede’s spear,
she ordered the war to be fought by her lover.
You ask what made Aegisthus an adulterer?
the reason’s obvious: it was idleness.
Others fought the long battles with Troy:
Greece had sent over all her fighting men.
If he’d wanted acts of war, there were none to be had:
if the courts of law, Argos was free of quarrels.
He did what he could, he loved: better than doing nothing.
So the Boy comes, and so the Boy stays.
Country matters too delight the spirit, and the study
of agriculture. Any care will give way to those cares.
Order tame bulls to bow beneath the collar,
to furrow the hard soil with the curving blade:
sow the seed for your harvest, in the earth you’ve ploughed,
seed that the field will return to you with interest.
See the branches bowed with the weight of apples,
so the tree hardly bears the weight it carries.
See the flowing streams with happy murmurs:
see the sheep grazing on the fertile grass.
Behold, the goats seek the rocks and steep boulders:
soon they’ll bring back full udders for their kids:
The shepherd blows a melody on his reed pipes,
no lack of dogs for company, a watchful crowd.
Lowing sounds from another part of the high wood,
and a mother complains the loss of her calf.
Don’t the swarm fly, when you smoke them out,
to take the honey from the arching hive?
Autumn gives its apples: summer is lovely with harvest:
spring offers flowers: winter’s eased with fire.

The farmer picks ripe grapes at the right time,
and the juice flows under his bare feet.
At the right time he binds the cut grasses,
and sweeps the stubble soil with wide comb.
You yourself can plant seedlings in your watered gardens,
you yourself can guide gentle streams of water.
Grafting comes: make a branch adopt a branch,
and the tree stands there concealed by strange foliage.
When once the mind begins to enjoy these pleasures,
Vain Love departs on weakened wings.
Or you can cultivate the art of hunting: often Venus
retreated in shame from her conquering sister Phoebe.
Now hunt the headlong hare with keen-scented dog,
now spread your nets across the leafy hills,
or fright the quivering deer with motley scares,
or the boar’s brought down, stabbed by your hostile spear.
Sleep at night, not desire for girls, welcomes the weary man,
and the limbs will be restored by calm rest.
Easier work, but still work, is capturing birds
following the humble prize with net or lime,
or, what greedy fish might swallow with eager jaws,
hiding a curved hook under a little bait.
This pursuit or that, till you forget your passion,
you’ve got to secretly beguile yourself.
You only need to journey far, though strong chains
hold you back, and start to travel distant ways:
you’ll cry, and your lost girl’s name will oppose it,
and your feet will often stop you on the road:
but the less you wish to go, the more you should go:
endure it, and force unwilling feet to run.
Don’t hope for rain, or a foreign Sabbath, to delay you,
nor the River Allia noted for its losses.
Don’t ask how many miles you’ve done, and how many
there are left: nor feign delays so you can stay around:
Don’t count the hours, or keep looking back at Rome,
but fly: the Parthian flying from the enemy’s safe.
Some might call my advice hard: it’s hard, I acknowledge:
but you have to endure a lot of pain to be well.
Often when sick, unwillingly, I’ve drunk bitter juices,
and denied all food to my pleadings.
To save your body, you’ll endure fire and steel,
won’t relieve your dry thirsting mouth with water:
to heal your mind, what would you not accept?
So that part is worth more than the body.
Still, the entrance to my art is very gloomy,
and the greatest task’s to survive the first few hours.
You see how the collar at first chafes new bullocks,
and a new girth irritates a fast steed?
Perhaps you’ll be sorry to leave your fathers’ home:
but all the same you’ll leave: then want to return:
not your father’s home but love for your little friend,
will call you back, fine words excusing your crime.
When once you’ve gone, the countryside, your comrades,
the long road, give you a hundred solaces for your cares.
And don’t think it’s enough just to leave: stay away a while,
till the ashes have lost their power with their flame.
because unless, in hurrying back, your mind is strong,
rebellious love will fight you with cruel weapons.
And however long you’re away, you’ll return hungry and thirsty,
and the interval will have done you nothing but harm.
If anyone thinks he can be helped by harmful herbs,
and magic arts, from Thessalian lands, that’s his affair.
That’s the old way of witchcraft: my Apollo
offers innocent aid with sacred song.
With me in charge no spirits will be ordered from their graves,
no witch, with wicked spells, will split the ground:
no crops will skip from one field to another,
nor Phoebus’s orb suddenly grow pale.
As usual, Tiber’s waters will run down to the sea:
as usual, the Moon will ride on snow-white horses.
No pains will be charmed away to ease the heart,
conquering love won’t be put to flight by burning sulphur.
What use, Medea, to you were herbs of Colchis,
when you desired to stay in your father’s house?
Circe, what profit to you were Perse’s magic plants
when his breeze took Ulysses’s ships away?
You did everything that your cunning guest might not go:
Love settled deep in your unwilling heart.
-Translation missing — will add later
-Translation missing —
You could change men into a thousand shapes,
you could not change the commands of your heart.
Indeed it’s said that when he wished to leave
you stopped the lord of Ithaca with these words:
˜I don’t pray now for what I recall, that I used to hope for,
that you might wish to be my husband:
and yet I might be thought worthy of being your wife,
who am a goddess, daughter of the mighty Sun.
I beg you not to hurry: I ask a little time as a gift:
what less could I ask for in my prayers?
And you see the waves are high, and you ought to fear them:
later the wind will better suit your sails.
What reason have you for flight? No new Troy rises here,
no one calls their allies to arms again.
Here are love and peace, where I alone am badly wounded,
and the land will be safe in future under your rule.’
While this was spoken, Ulysses loosed his ships:
carrying away her fruitless words on familiar sails.
Circe was inflamed, and turned to her usual arts,
but love was still not lessened by them.
So whoever you are who call for help from my art,
put no faith in witchcraft and incantations.
If some overriding reason keeps you in the City,
(that mistress!), accept my advice from the City.
He’s his own best liberator who snaps the chains
that hurt his heart, and ends the grief forever.
But the man who’s brave as that, I marvel at it, and him,
and say: ˜He’ll not act out my prophecies.’
It’s you, who love, and can scarcely forget your loving,
that wish to, but can’t, who must be taught by me.
Tell yourself often what your wicked girl has done,
and before your eyes place every hurt you’ve had.
˜She’s had this and that, but she’s not satisfied with plunder:
the greedy girl’s given the household gods notice to quit.
She swore to me, and, having sworn so, deceived me,
lying stretched out so often at her door!
She prizes others, despises my love: ah,
a pedlar has nights with her, she won’t give me!’
Let all this embitter your every feeling:
recall it, look here for the seeds of your dislike.
And I want you to be fluent in them as well!
Suffer enough: you’ll be eloquent yourself.
Recently my affections clung to a certain girl:
she was not conducive to my spirit:
sick, Podalirius was cured by his own drugs,
and, I confess, I was a shamefully sick doctor.
It helped to continually dwell on my friend’s faults,
and it often was the thing that made me better.
˜How ugly,’ I’d say ˜my girl’s legs are!’
and yet they weren’t, if the truth be told.
˜How little are my girl’s arms beautiful!’
and yet they were, if the truth be told.
˜How small she is!’ she wasn’t: ˜How much she asks of a lover!’
That was the main cause of my dislike.
And the bad is neighbour to the good: in that confusion
virtue often bears the guilt for vice.
As much as you can, disparage your girl’s attractions,
and let your judgement fall a little short.
Let her be called ˜plump’ if she’s full-figured, ˜black’ if she’s dark:
in slenderness there’s the charge of being ˜lean’.
And she can be called ˜pert’, who’s not naive,
and she can be called ˜naive’, if she’s too honest.
Then too, whatever talents your woman lacks,
promote those, with flattering words and prayers.
Demand the use of song, if the girl’s bereft of voice:
make her dance if she doesn’t know how to move her hands.
Her speech is barbarous? Make her talk with you a lot:
she hasn’t learnt to sweep the chords? Ask for the lyre.
She walks awkwardly? Make her walk up and down:
Her chest’s all breasts? Let no bindings hide the fault.
If her teeth are bad, relate what she’ll laugh at:
Her eyes are sensitive? Report what makes her cry.
And appear suddenly, when she’s applied no make-up to herself,
having hastened your steps to your lady in the dawn.
We’re carried away by adornment: in gold and gems
all’s hidden: the least part of it’s the girl herself.
You often ask where what you love is amongst it all:
rich Love deceives the eyes with all that armour.
Be there unexpectedly, safe, you catch her defenceless:
the poor girl’s undone by her faults.
But it’s still not safe to trust in this rule too much:
since true beauty without art beguiles many.
So approach your lady’s presence (don’t let modesty deter you)
when she’s smearing her cheeks with blended potions.
You’ll find little pots and a thousand coloured things,
and dripping greases flowing, over her warm breasts.
Those cosmetics smell like your table, Phineus:
more than once they’ve made my stomach sick.
Now I’ll speak openly, about what I should offer, regarding
your sexual practice: love must be wholly driven away.
There’s much of this in fact that it’s shameful for me to say:
but with wit you’ll understand more than my words.
For lately there’s been a sort of slandering of my books,
of which the criticism is my Muse is insolent.
While I please in my way, while I’m sung throughout the world,
those few can attack my work as much as they like.
Envy disparages the genius of mighty Homer:
because of it Zoilus the critic (who was he?) has a name.
And sacrilegious tongues have savaged your poem, Virgil,
you who led the conquered gods here, carried from Troy.
Envy seeks the summits: wind blows across the heights:
the lightning seeks the summits, flung from Jove’s right hand.
But you, whoever you are, whom my licence offends,
if you’re wise, consider everything in context.
Manly warfare rejoices to be told in Homeric measure:
what place can there be in that for our delights?
Tragedians sound sublimely: rage suits the tragic heights:
from public life comedy’s realised.
The frank iambic is unsheathed against our enemies,
either as swift-paced trimeter, or dragging its last foot.
Let smooth-tongued Elegy sing Cupids with their quivers,
and play the gentle mistress, as she decides.
Achilles is not spoken of in Callimachus’s rhythms,
sweet Cydippe’s not for your mouth Homer.
Who could stand Andromache’s part performed by Thais?
Whoever acted Andromache in Thais’s role would err.
Thais is in my art: liberated playfulness is mine:
I’ve nothing to do with wives: it’s Thais in my art.
If my Muse corresponds to light-hearted matters, I’ve won,
and the case against the defendant’s a false charge.
Gluttonous Envy, burst: my name’s well known already:
it will be more so, if only my feet travel the road they’ve started.
But you’re in too much of a hurry: if I live you’ll be more than sorry:
many poems, in fact, are forming in my mind.
Now I’m happy, and my enthusiasm for fame grows with my esteem:
my stallion’s panting for the start of the climb.
It’s acknowledged the elegy owes as much to me,
as the epic owes to famous Virgil.
So far I’ve answered Envy: tighten the reins
more resolutely, and ride your course out, poet.
So when you’re headed for bed and youthful labour,
and the time of night she promised you is near,
lest your girl’s charms, if you spend you whole self on her,
captivate you, I’d like you to do it as much as you want to first.
Take as much as you want, where your initial pleasure can end:
after the first the next will be much more sluggish.
Sex postponed is most welcome: sunlight’s delighted
by the cold, shade by sun, water’s welcome in a drought.
I speak but I’m ashamed: make love too in a position
that you think makes love least likely, and becoming.
It’s not hard to do: few truthful girls confess even to themselves
that there’s nothing they think unbecoming to them.
Then too order all the windows to be opened,
and note her worst features in broad daylight.
As soon as pleasure’s 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.
You should only fight in strength, and assemble
all my rules together: from many one large heap will be made.
There are so many methods, so many positions
there’s no need to give them, all in my opinion.
The action that won’t offend your feelings,
to another’s judgement will seem a crime.
One man who saw the sexual organs on a naked body,
brought his lovemaking, that was in progress, to a halt:
one, on his girl’s rising from Love’s affairs,
considered those shameful tokens, in the stained bed.
O, you’re just playing at it, if those things bother you:
your heart is being breathed on by tepid flames.
Let that Boy draw the straining bow more strongly:
you’ll look for greater help for a mass of wounds.
What about the man who hid secretly to observe a girl,
and saw indecent things that custom forbids us seeing?
The gods forbid that I advise anyone to do such things!
While they might help, they just aren’t suitable.
I also urge you to have two girls at once
(You’re very brave if you could consider more):
When the heart’s divided it goes in both directions,
and one love saps the power of the other.
Vast rivers are thinned out through many channels:
fierce flames die down when the fuel’s removed.
One anchor’s not enough to hold a well-waxed hull,
a single hook’s not enough in clear water:
Who long ago arranged a double solace for himself,
long ago was victor on the highest summit.
But you, who were foolishly trusting of one mistress,
at least now a fresh love is to be contrived for you.
Minos quenched the fires of Pasiphae in Procris:
Cleopatra, Phineus’s first wife, left, conquered by Idaea.
Callirhoe made Alcmaeon share her bed
lest he always love Alphesiboea.
And Oenone would have held Paris, to the end of time,
if she’d not been harmed by Helen, her Spartan rival.
His wife Procne’s beauty would have pleased Tereus:
but Philomela, her imprisoned sister, was more beautiful.
Why dwell on more examples, a crowd that tires me?
Every love’s defeated by a fresh successor.
A mother loses one son of many more resolutely,
than one in tears who cries: ˜You were my only son.’
But don’t think I’m writing new rules for you
(and I wish these discoveries added to my glory!)
Agamemnon witnessed it (what did he not see, in fact,
he who was in command of all the Greeks?)
The conqueror loved Chryseis, captured in the war:
but her old father wept everywhere, foolishly.
Why weep, so annoyingly, old man? They suit each other well:
you wound you daughter, tactlessly, with your attentions.
When Calchas, later, safe, under Achilles’s protection, ordered
she be returned, and she was received by her father’s house,
Agamemnon said: ˜There’s one Briseis, close to her in beauty,
and, if you allow for the first syllable, her name’s the same:
If he’s wise, Achilles will hand her over to me, in lieu:
if he doesn’t, he’ll experience my power.
If your actions show mine to be at fault in this, you Greeks,
there’s something, a powerful sceptre, grasped in my hand.
For if I’m king, and no girl sleeps beside me, then it’s right
that impudent Thersites take my kingship.’
He spoke, and had, from her, much solace for the first girl,
and love was laid aside, driven out by new love.
So, from Agamemnon’s example, take up with new flames,
in order for your love to be distracted, in twin directions.
You ask, where you can find her? Read my works:
you’ll soon possess a boatload of girls.
But if my suggestions have value, if Apollo
through my mouth teaches all to mortal men,
though, unhappy man, you’re roasting in the midst of Etna,
make it seem to your girl that you’re chillier than ice:
and if you’re grieving deeply, look happy, lest she see it,
and laugh, when tears come to you.
Not that I order you to break off in mid-sorrow:
my commands aren’t as cruel as that.
Pretend to what is not, and that the passion’s over,
so you’ll become, in truth, what you are studying to be.
I’ve often wished to seem asleep, lest it seem I’ve been drinking,
while I seemed so, I gave my conquered eyes to sleep:
I’ve laughed at one caught, who pretended to himself he was in love,
hunting birds, but fallen into his own net.
Love penetrates the heart by habit, through habit it’s forgotten:
he who can imagine he’s well, will be well.
She might ask you to come: go on the night agreed:
you’ve come, and the door is locked: well endure it.
Don’t speak fawning words, or abuse the doorpost,
nor lay your body on the hard threshold.
The new day will dawn: lose your words of grievance,
and show no signs of suffering in your face.
She’ll soon drop her disdain, when she sees your indifference:
this too’s a gift you’ll gather from my art.
Still, deceive yourself as well, don’t let there be a plan
to stop loving: the horse will often fight against the bit.
Conceal your advantage: what’s not declared will be:
the bird avoids the net that’s too apparent.
Don’t let her be too pleased with herself, nor have the power
to despise you: be brave, so she gives way to your bravery.
The door’s wide open? Though you’re called to, pass by.
There’s a night agreed? Hesitate to go on the given night.
To be able to endure it’s easy, when, if patience fails,
it’s fine to take your enjoyment with easy girls.
And who can call my suggestions difficult?
Look, I even play the matchmaker’s role.
For since hearts vary, let me vary my arts:
there are a thousand kinds of illness, a thousand kinds of health.
Some people are barely relieved by sharp knives:
while herbs and juices are a help to many.
You’re too weak, unable to go, tenderly bound,
and cruel Love presses your neck beneath his foot?
Stop struggling: let your sails be brought before the wind,
where the tide calls, let your oars travel too,
That thirst’s to be quenched, by which you’re desperately parched:
I allow it: it’s fine now to drink from mid-stream:
but drink even more than your heart demands,
make your throat overflow, full of the water you’ve taken.
Go, and enjoy your girl, any time, nothing’s forbidden:
let her steal away your nights and days.
Seek loathing for your sickness: and let loathing end it.
Now, too, when you believe you could be free, stay on,
till you’re quite overwhelmed, and abundance destroys love,
and disgusted you’ve no pleasure in her house.
Love’s also lasting when mistrust feeds it:
if you seek to relinquish it, relinquish fear.
He who fears lest she’s not his, and someone’s taken her away,
he’ll scarcely be made well with Machaon’s help.
Generally a mother loves the one of her two sons best,
whose return she’s fearful for, because he bears arms.
There’s an ancient shrine by the Colline Gate:
Venus of high Eryx gives her name to the shrine:
Lethean Love lives there, who heals the heart,
and adds his torches to the chilly water.
and it’s there the young men pray they might forget,
and the girls captivated by hard-hearted men.
He spoke to me in these words (I’m not sure if it was Cupid
truly, or a dream: but I think it was a dream):
˜O you who now incite love, and now quell it,
add this one, Ovid, to your maxims too.
He who calls to mind his ills, kills love:
the god gives more or less of those to all.
Let him who fears the swift months, and the money-lenders,
torment himself with the whole sum he’s borrowed:
who has a hard-hearted father, though his other prayers prosper,
let him have that hard-hearted father before his eyes:
This poor man living with an ill-dowered wife,
let him believe his wife has harmed his fate.
Have you, on a fine estate, fertile vineyards,
full of vines? Fear, lest the new-born grapes are scorched.
You have a ship returning: think of ever-hostile seas
and the losses littering the vile shore.
Let a soldier son, you, and you, a marriageable daughter torment:
and who hasn’t reason for a thousand sorrows?
So you could hate her, Paris, you should have kept
your brothers’ deaths before your eyes.’
Still speaking, the boyish image departed
from my gentle sleep, if sleep it was.
What to do? Palinurus slips from the ship in mid-ocean:
I’m forced to sail on unknown ways.
You who love, beware lonely places, lonely places are harmful!
Why flee? You can be safer in a crowd.
You don’t need secrecy (secrecy nurtures passion):
in future it’s the crowd that will assist you.
If you’re alone, you’ll be sad, and the form of the girl you’ve left
will be there before your eyes, so like herself.
Because of that, night’s sadder than the daylight:
your crowd of friends missing, who might ease the gloom.
Don’t shun conversation, or let your door be closed,
don’t hide your tearful face in the shadows.
Always have some Pylades, to support Orestes:
here too the benefit of friendship is not slight.
What but the lonely woods caused harm to Phyllis?
The cause of her death is certain: she had no friend.
She went as the Thracian Bacchae go, marking the festival,
a savage troop of women with streaming hair,
and now, wherever she could, gazed at the distant sea,
now threw herself down exhausted on sandy earth.
˜Faithless Demophoon!’ She cried to the dumb waves,
and her words were spoken punctuated by sobs.
There was a narrow path darkened by long shadows,
by which she often took her way to the shore.
The poor girl traversed it nine times: and said: ˜I’ll show him!’
and with pallid face looked up at the branches, and gazed
down at her belt: uncertain, shrinking from what she might dare,
and from fear, and lifting her fingers to her neck.
Thracian girl, I wish you’d not been so alone then: the trees
might not have wept for Phyllis, by shedding their leaves.
Fear too much seclusion, with Phyllis as your example,
men who’ve been hurt by women, girls by men.
One young man performed whatever my Muse
commanded: and his life was nearly safe:
he relapsed, he’d come among some passionate lovers,
and Love picked up the weapons he’d laid down.
If you love, but don’t wish to, avoid making contact:
it’s often accustomed to harm cattle too.
When eyes look at wounds they’re also wounded,
and many things harm our bodies through infection.
Not infrequently into an arid place with parched soil,
water permeates from a stream flowing nearby:
Hidden love permeates, if you don’t depart your lover:
and in this we’re all an ingenious crowd.
Another man was already cured: being near harmed him:
he couldn’t bear any meeting with his mistress.
The wound, poorly healed, reopened at the old scar,
and not one of my arts had the least success.
Houses are barely defended from a neighbouring fire:
it’s best to keep away from places nearby.
Don’t take your walks in the colonnade where she’s
accustomed to: and don’t adorn the same functions.
What pleasure for a tepid heart to be rekindled by memory?
If you can do, you should find another sphere.
It’s not easy if you’re hungry to hold back from a laid table,
and splashing water rouses a huge thirst.
It’s not easy to restrain the bull that’s seen the heifer,
the stallion always whinnies strongly when he sees the mare.
When you’ve done all that, for you still to reach dry land,
it’s not enough for you to leave the girl.
Say goodbye to mother, sister, and the nurse who’s in the know,
and whoever plays any part in your girl’s life.
Don’t let her slave come by, or her maid, with lying tears,
humbly saying: ˜Greetings!’ in their mistress’s name.
And if you want to know what she’s doing, still, don’t ask:
endure! It will profit you to hold your tongue.
You too, who relate the reason why your love ended,
and make so many complaints against your mistress,
beware of it: it’s better to revenge yourself by silence,
so she’ll vanish from your longing.
And I’d rather you were silent than say that you’ve left off:
he who says: ˜I’m not in love’, too often, is.
But put faith more in love being extinguished slowly
than suddenly: slowly abandon it, you’ll be safe.
The deluge may run higher than the settled river:
but all the same it won’t last, while the other’s permanent water.
Let love fail, and, vanishing, dissolve into thin air,
and let it fade away in gentle stages.
But it’s wrong to hate the girl you loved, in any way:
that conclusion suits uncivilised natures.
It’s enough not to care: who ends his love by hating,
is either still in love, or finds it hard to leave off being sorry.
Shame for a man and woman, once joined, now to be enemies:
Appian Venus, near the Court, herself frowns on those quarrels.
Often they’re defendants, and still love: while no dispute
has really occurred, love’s strayed without a warning.
By chance I took on one young client: a litter held the wife:
his every word was bristling with cruel threats.
Intending to have her bound over, then bailed, he said:
˜she ought to step down’: she did: seeing her he fell silent:
his hands dropped, his double-tablets (the security) with them:
he fell into her embrace, and said: ˜You win.’
It’s safer, and more fitting, to separate, in peace,
and not search out the law-court from the bedroom.
Tell her to keep the gifts you gave her, without any ruling:
small losses are usually a major gain.
But if some chance brings you together again,
keep in mind all the weapons I’ve given you.
Now you need my weapons: here, brave man’s a fight:
Penthesilea’s to be conquered by your spear.
Now let your rivals come to mind, now the lover’s hard threshold
now the useless promises she made amongst the gods.
Don’t comb your hair because you’re going to meet her,
don’t wear your toga free to catch her eye.
She’s nothing, so please yourself, and care for other girls,
let her be just one of many, to you, now.
But I’ll tell you what specially obstructs our efforts,
and everyone can learn by his own example.
We give way slowly, because we hope to be loved:
since each is pleased with himself, we’re a credulous crowd.
And don’t believe that words carry any weight,
(well what’s more deceptive?) or the eternal gods.
And beware that girls’ tears don’t move you:
their eyes have been instructed how to cry.
Innumerable arts oppose a lover’s willpower,
as the waves beat on the rocks from every side.
Don’t let the cause be known why you prefer divorce:
don’t say what grieves you: just grieve silently the while.
Don’t recall her sins, lest she dilutes them: favour yourself,
so that your own cause is better than hers.
Who’s silent is strong: who pours abuse on his girl,
is only accusing himself, for his own satisfaction.
I wouldn’t dare steal Love’s arrows like Ulysses,
nor, having snatched his torches, quench them in the stream:
nor would I ever clip the Boy’s bright wings,
nor by my art slacken his sacred bow.
It’s wisdom, whatever I sing: heed the singing,
and you, health-giving Apollo, support my work: be here.
Apollo is here: to the sound of quiver and lyre:
I know the god by his emblems: Apollo’s here.
Compare wool dyed in the bronze cauldrons of Sparta
with Tyrian purple: it will be less beautiful:
compare your girl too with all the beauties:
each man will start to be ashamed of his girl:
to Paris the other goddesses might have seemed lovely,
but, compared with those beside her, Venus won.
Don’t just compare the face, but their characters and skills:
so long as love doesn’t cloud your judgement.
It’s a trifle, what I sing next: but many have benefited
from that trifle: amongst whom I was one.
Don’t re-read the letters you’ve kept from your sweet girl:
re-reading letters shakes the steadfast heart.
Put them all in the fierce flames (you’ll hate to do it),
and say: ˜Let this be the funeral pyre for my passion.’
Althaea’s brand set Meleager, her absent son, on fire:
will you give false words to the flames reluctantly?
And remove the wax images of her, if you can: why weaken
at dumb likenesses? Once Laodamia died because of that.
And often places hurt you: flee the places where you slept
guiltily together: they’re a cause of grief:
˜Here she was, here she lay: we slept in this room:
here she granted me playful delights at night.’
Remembering reopens love, the wound’s newly re-opened:
trifling errors damage the weak-minded.
Consider how, if you touch ashes that are almost dead
with sulphur, they revive, and a tall flame comes from nothing.
So, if you don’t avoid whatever reawakens love,
the flames will light again that once were quenched.
The Greek ships must wish they’d fled Cape Caphereus,
while you, old man, take revenge with the light of your fires.
With Scylla past, the careful sailor’s happy:
you too beware places that were once too dear.
This is your quicksand of Syrtes: Acroceraunia’s living Cape:
here fatal Charybdis spews out the water she sucks in.
There are things no one can command to order,
yet often by chance things happen that delight.
Let Phaedra lose her wealth, you’ll spare Hippolytus, Neptune,
the grandfather’s bull won’t scare the nephew’s horses.
Pasiphae rendered poor, would have loved more wisely:
voluptuous love is nurtured by riches.
Why did no woman court Irus, no man court Hecale
because the one was a beggar, and the other poor.
Poverty has nothing with which it can feed its love:
still it’s not worth wishing to be poor.
But there’s value in not indulging in the theatre,
till love’s truly vanished from your empty heart,
The zithers, and lutes and lyres unman you,
and the sound and waving limbs of the troupe.
There lovers’ parts are danced, continually:
the actor, with art shows, what delights: and what you must avoid.
I speak unwillingly now: don’t touch the tender poets!
Disloyally I banish even my own gifts.
Shun Callimachus: he’s no enemy of Love:
and as well as Callimachus, you Philetas do harm.
I’m certain Sappho made me sweeter on my lover,
and Anacreon’s Muse gave out no rigid rules.
Who can have read your songs, in safety, Tibullus,
or you, Propertius, whose work was Cynthia alone?
Who could depart harshly from reading Gallus?
And I’m not sure some such doesn’t sound in my songs too.
Unless Apollo, the patron of our work, deceives the poet,
rivalry’s the greatest cause that troubles us:
so don’t let yourself imagine any rival,
and best believe she lies in bed alone.
That’s why Orestes loved Hermione the more,
because she’d started to become another man’s.
Why grieve, Menelaus? You went wife-less to Crete,
and could do without your bride for all that while.
Not till Paris snatched her, did you miss your spouse:
through another’s love your own increased.
And, in Briseis’s abduction, it was this Achilles cried for,
the pleasure to Agamemnon of taking her.
Believe me he didn’t cry in vain: the son of Atreus took her,
who’d have been shamefully timid if he hadn’t.
Certainly I’d have taken her, and I’m no wiser than him:
she was the greatest reward of envy.
For he swore by his sceptre Briseis was untouched,
but he did not think the sceptre was a god.
May the gods let you shun the door of the girl you left behind,
and your feet be adequate to your resolve.
And you can: only have the will to hold on: go hard now,
now the task’s to plunge your spur into your swift horse.
Imagine in that lair are Lotos-eaters, Sirens:
add your oars’ effort now to your sails.
He also, who once grieved you with excessive rivalry,
I want you to stop thinking of him as an enemy.
Now, though you still hate him, you should certainly greet him:
as soon as you can kiss him you’ll be cured.
Behold, there’s still your diet, to complete all the doctor’s duties,
I’ll give you what to swallow and avoid.
Italian onions, or the ones they send you, from the shores of Libya,
or the ones that come from Megara, every one will do you harm.
It’s no less fitting to avoid that lustful garden rocket,
and whatever readies these bodies of ours for making love.
Better to eat rue, which sharpens up the eyesight,
and whatever stops these bodies of ours from making love.
You ask what I teach about the gifts of Bacchus?
Expect to be enlightened, by my warnings, very briefly.
Wine prepares your heart for love, unless you take enough,
and your wits are stupefied, overcome by the neat juice.
By wind a fire is fed, by wind it is extinguished:
light breezes fan the flames, heavier gusts will kill them.
So don’t drink at all, or drink so much your cares all vanish:
if it’s anywhere between the two it’s bound to do you harm.
This work is done: hang garlands on my weary prow:
I’ve reached the port for which my course was set.
Soon you’ll say your holy prayers to the shrine of the poet,
men and women, healed by my song.


Related Latin Entries:

Related Antique Entries:



Post Title: Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love by Ovid
Post Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Animals, Antique, Blaeu, Design, Greek, history, Latin, Library, Poetry
Last edited by Nikolas Schiller on 5/18/2010 at 5:27 pm



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