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The Amores: Book 1, Poem #3 -- Ovid

Guest poem sent in by Kerri
(Poem #1389) The Amores: Book 1, Poem #3
 Fair's fair now, Venus. This girl's got me hooked. All I'm asking from her
 Is love - or at least some future hope for my own
 Eternal devotion. No, even that's too much--hell, just let me love her!
 (Listen, Venus: I've asked you so often now.)
 Say yes, pet. I'd be your slave for years, for a lifetime.
 Say yes--unswerving fidelity's my strong suit.
 I may not have top-drawer connections, I can't produce blue-blooded
 Ancestors to impress you, my father's plain middle-class,
 And there aren't any squads of ploughmen to deal with my broad acres -
 My parents are both pretty thrifty, and need to be.
 What have I got on my side, then?  Poetic genius, sweetheart,
 Divine inspiration. And love. I'm yours to command -
 Unswerving faithfulness, morals above suspicion
 Naked simplicity, a born-to-the-purple blush.
 I don't chase thousands of girls, I'm no sexual circus-rider;
 Honestly, all I want is to look after you
 Till death do us part, have the two of us living together
 All my time, and know you'll cry for me when I'm gone.
 Besides, when you give me yourself, what you'll be providing
 Is creative material. My art will rise to the theme
 And immortalise you. Look, why do you think we remember
 The swan-upping of Leda, or Io's life as a cow,
 Or poor virgin Europa whisked off overseas, clutching
 That so-called bull by the - horn?  Through poems, of course.
 So you and I, love, will enjoy that same world-wide publicity,
 And our names will be linked, forever, with the gods.
-- Ovid
        (trans. from the Latin by Peter Green)

Hard to believe he was born in 43 BC, huh?  Such a wonderful,
irreverent, naughty, brilliant poet, bursting with passion and
self-confidence. For me, this poem has an exuberance which is
unstifled by the intervening years. So many great writers over the
centuries have been influenced by Ovid's works, and upon reading this,
it's apparent why. I just love this poem - it always makes me laugh
with sheer delight.

Kerri

[Latin original]

Iusta precor: quae me nuper praedata puella est,
    aut amet aut faciat, cur ego semper amem!
a, nimium volui—tantum patiatur amari;
    audierit nostras tot Cytherea preces!
Accipe, per longos tibi qui deserviat annos;
    accipe, qui pura norit amare fide!
si me non veterum commendant magna parentum
    nomina, si nostri sanguinis auctor eques,
nec meus innumeris renovatur campus aratris,
    temperat et sumptus parcus uterque parens—
at Phoebus comitesque novem vitisque repertor
    hac faciunt, et me qui tibi donat, Amor,
et nulli cessura fides, sine crimine mores
    nudaque simplicitas purpureusque pudor.
non mihi mille placent, non sum desultor amoris:
    tu mihi, siqua fides, cura perennis eris.
tecum, quos dederint annos mihi fila sororum,
    vivere contingat teque dolente mori!
te mihi materiem felicem in carmina praebe—
    provenient causa carmina digna sua.
carmine nomen habent exterrita cornibus Io
    et quam fluminea lusit adulter ave,
quaeque super pontum simulato vecta iuvenco
    virginea tenuit cornua vara manu.
nos quoque per totum pariter cantabimur orbem,
    iunctaque semper erunt nomina nostra tuis.

        -- [broken link] http://www.gmu.edu/departments/fld/CLASSICS/ovid.amor1.html

[Links]

A more literal translation:
http://www.tkline.freeserve.co.uk/Webworks/Website/AmoresBkI.htm#_TocPeter Green deserves at least some of the credit for the delightful irreverence
of the first translation.

A biography of Ovid:
 http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovid

And of Peter Green (scroll to the bottom)
  [broken link] http://www.biserbalkanski.com/book_details.asp?book_id=15

Ovid FAQ:
  http://www.jiffycomp.com/smr/rob/faq/ovid_faq.php3

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